1-15 of 15 Results  for:

  • Keywords: epic x
  • Greek Literature x
Clear all

Article

Stasinus, of Cyprus, poet  

Martin Litchfield West

Poet sometimes named as author of the Cypria (see epic cycle). *Pindar (fr. 265 S.-M.) already knew the story that *Homer gave Stasinus the poem as a dowry. The tale served to reconcile alternative ascriptions.

Article

Philo Epicus  

Thomas Kuhn-Treichel

Philo Epicus was a Jewish-Hellenistic poet. He composed a hexametric poem on Jerusalem that featured both descriptions of the city and references to biblical events relating to the patriarchs. It is not clear whether he is to be identified with a Philo mentioned by Josephus (Ap. 1.218, with the attribute “the Elder”), Clement of Alexandria (Str. 1.141.3), and Eusebius of Caesarea (Hist. eccl. 6.13.7); while Nikolaus Walter argued for a distinction between the poet and a homonymous, otherwise unknown historian, some recent scholars seek to justify the identification.1 As to the date of his work, scholars have adduced literary, historical, and archaeological arguments to support various periods between the end of the 3rd and the first half of the 1st centuries bce.2 The only undisputable terminus ante quem for his work is the death of Alexander (11) Polyhistor (not long after 40bce), who quoted the poem in his treatise Περὶ Ἰουδαίων.

Article

Colluthus of Lycopolis, fl. c. 490–520 CE  

Laura Miguélez-Cavero

Colluthus (Κόλλουθος) of Lycopolis (modern Asyut, Egypt) is the author of the Abduction of Helen (Ἁρπαγὴ Ἑλένης), an epyllion of 392 lines narrating the events leading to the beginning of the Trojan War, from the wedding of Thetis and Peleus to the arrival of Paris and Helen at Troy. According to the Suda (K 1951), Colluthus was a contemporary of emperor Anastasius (reigned 491–518) and composed a Calydoniaca in six books (probably on the hunt of the Calydonian boar; perhaps celebrating the love of Meleager and Atalanta), verse encomia, and a Persica (most likely a verse encomium on Anastasius, celebrating the end of the war against the Persians in 505). The Suda does not mention the Abduction of Helen, Colluthus’s only extant work, which has been transmitted in a very poor state.1

The Abduction can be divided into three sections. After the initial invocation to the nymphs of the Troad (ll. 1–16), Eris retaliates for not being invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis by throwing a golden apple amongst the banqueters, which leads to the contest of Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, resolved by Paris in favour of the latter (ll. 17–191). Paris then voyages to Sparta and encounters Helen (ll. 192–325). Finally, a desolated Hermione tries to make sense of her mother’s absence (ll. 326–392).

Article

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Greek epic poet, 2nd/3rd century CE  

Silvio Bär

Quintus Smyrnaeus was a poet of the late 2nd or 3rd century ce, the author of the epic poem the Posthomerica (14 books, 8,786 lines), which covers the narrative lacuna between Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey and thus treats stories that were originally covered by the Epic Cycle. The narrative technique is more episodic and linear than that of the Homeric epics, but it does not lack plot coherence and an overarching design. The language and style is strongly Homericising: vocabulary, syntax, and the use of formulaic phrases resemble that of the Homeric epics to a large degree. At the same time, Quintus’s language is also characterised by Alexandrian traits. In a wider cultural context, Quintus belongs to the same period as the Second Sophistic, and the Posthomerica can be understood as a response to revisionist tendencies against Homer. Scholars debate the question as to whether Quintus still had access to the Epic Cycle and whether he was influenced by Roman authors, especially by Vergil’s Aeneid.

Article

epic  

Philip Hardie

At the summit of the ancient hierarchy of genres, epic narrates in hexameter verse the deeds of gods, heroes, and men The authority of Homer, the name given to the composer of the Iliad and the Odyssey, ensures that the forms and conventions of the Homeric poems are determinative for the whole of the Greco-Roman tradition of epic. From an early date, the production and reading of epic poems was accompanied by intensive scholarly and critical activity. Over the centuries, numerous epics were written on both legendary and historical subjects, as the genre responded to changing aesthetic and ideological conditions. In Rome, Virgil’s Aeneid successfully established for itself an authority comparable to that of the Homeric poems, and all later Latin epics place themselves within a Virgilian tradition. Epic in Greek and Latin continues to flourish in late antiquity, when Christian writers appropriate its forms to propagate their own messages and praise their own heroes.

Article

Triphiodorus, of Panopolis  

Laura Miguélez-Cavero

Triphiodorus, who originated from Egypt and lived in the 3rd century ce, was an epic poet and teacher of grammar whose only extant work is The Sack of Troy (691 lines, narrating the final events of the Trojan War).Triphiodorus means “gift of Triphis,” a local deity of Panopolis (modern Akhmim) in Upper Egypt, and was a common name in Panopolis itself and all over Upper Egypt. This and the entry of the Suda (T 1111), calling him an Egyptian, have led to the conclusion that he originated from the area of Panopolis. The Suda actually includes two entries under the same name, the first (T 1111) calling him a poet and grammarian (γραμματικὸς καὶ ποιητὴς ἐπῶν) and attributing to him Marathoniaca (Μαραθωνιακά, on the battle of Marathon, or more likely on Theseus and the Marathonian bull, as in Callimachus’ Hecale), The Sack of Troy.

Article

Soterichus, epic poet, c. 300 CE  

Richard Hunter

Epic poet from Libya; the Suidas lists epics on various mythical and historical subjects and an Encomium of *Diocletian.

Article

neoanalysis  

Christos Tsagalis

Neoanalysis is a method of interpreting Homeric poetry that aims to discover the sources of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Like the 19th-century analysts, neoanalysts study the genetic aspect of the Homeric poems, but instead of trying to distinguish different layers or versions (Schichtenanalyse), they seek to identify source material from other poems that preceded the received Homeric epics.

The term “neoanalysis,” coined by Kakridis,1 was invented to describe a method of interpreting Homeric epic that responds to the analytical school which dissected the Iliad and Odyssey into smaller epics in order to arrive at the “proto-Iliad” (Urilias) and “proto-Odyssey” (Urodyssee) as the genuine works of Homer. Like the analytical school, neoanalysis locates poetic inconcinnities, gaps, and narrative fissures in the text, but unlike the analytical school it does not explain them as resulting from the work of different poets who added, omitted, and changed entire scenes and episodes. Instead, neoanalysis argues that these supposed problems can be explained by the transfer of motifs (and, to a lesser extent, of phraseology) from pre-Homeric poetry. Whereas, for the analytical school, poetic quality stems solely from Homeric ingenuity, for neoanalysis it results from the highly creative interaction of Homer with earlier epic poetry.

Article

Batrachomyomachia  

A. Sens

The Batrachomyomachia (BM), the “Battle of Frogs and Mice,” is a mock epic poem of slightly more than 300 dactylic hexameter verses, broadly imitating the language and style of Homer. The poem was widely read as a school text in the Byzantine period. As transmitted in the manuscripts, it contains a number of interpolated verses, and the generally problematic character of the textual tradition complicates the assessment of a number of passages. The work has been variously dated, but it is more likely to be the work of the late Hellenistic period than of the early Classical age, since it contains what appear to be allusions to Moschus’s Europa and Callimachus’s Aetia, and its language shows the influence of Latin. References to the poem in the preface to the Silvae of Statius (1 pr.) and in an epigram of Martial (14.183) provide a terminus ante quem in the last decades of the 1st century ce.

Article

Pseudo-Oppian  

Emily Kneebone

A poet from Apamea in Syria (see Cyn. 2.127), author of the Cynegetica, a Greek didactic poem on hunting in four books (2,144 hexameter verses). The author’s name is lost, and nothing is known of him beyond the information provided in the poem, which was frequently transmitted in manuscripts together with Oppian’s Halieutica and was attributed to the same poet until the 18th century, along with a now-lost Ixeutica (a poem on bird-catching, possibly in two books). The Suda and the Byzantine Vitae attached to the manuscripts conflate the poets. The Cynegetica models itself on the Halieutica in many respects, but was clearly composed by a different author: the two poems refer to different homelands (the author of the Halieutica is from Cilicia), were written at different times (the Halieutica between 177 and 180 ce), and are stylistically distinct. The Cynegetica is addressed to the Roman emperor Caracalla, and is likely to have been composed between 212 and 217 ce, after the deaths of Septimius Severus and Geta in 211.

Article

Nonnus, of Panopolis, Greek epic poet, mid-5th c. CE  

Berenice Verhelst

The 5th-century ce Greek poet Nonnus of Panopolis (the modern Akhmim, Upper-Egypt) is known as the author of two poems. The Dionysiaca is the longest extant ancient Greek poem, a mythological epic (48 books, 21,286 lines) about the young god Dionysus. The much shorter Paraphrase of the Gospel of John (3,640 lines) closely follows the structure of its gospel model, but renders its story in Nonnus’ impeccable hexameters and florid language.Apart from the little that can be deduced from his poems (e.g., the references in Dion. 1.13 and 26.238 to the “neighbouring Isle of Pharos” and “my Nile,” which confirm the author’s Egyptian connection), biographical information about the author behind this remarkable oeuvre is scarce. Nonnus is mentioned as the author of the Dionysiaca in the oldest (partial) manuscript (P. 10567 = Π, papyrus of Berlin, 6th century), which at the start of book 15 reads “start of the 15th poem [sic.] of the .

Article

Oppian  

Emily Kneebone

Oppian: author of a five-book Greek didactic poem on fish and fishing at sea, composed around 177–180 ce and addressed to the emperor Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus. The first two books of the poem deal with the habits and habitats of marine species; the last three deal with methods for their capture. The poem, which contains a wealth of material on fish and fishing, is notable for its extended epic similes and representation of the affinities between human and non-human animals.A poet from Cilicia (see Hal. 3.7–8, 205–209), author of the Halieutica, a Greek didactic poem in five books (3,506 hexameter verses) on fish and fishing at sea. The poem is addressed to the emperor “Antoninus” and his son, and mentions their current period of co-regency (2.682–683); this is usually understood to refer to Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus, which dates the poem to .

Article

Achilles  

Jonathan S. Burgess

Achilles is the grandson of Aeacus of Aigina and son of Peleus and the Nerei.d Thetis. He rules the Myrmidons of Phthia in southern Thessaly and is generally considered the best (aristos) of the Greeks in the Trojan War. In Homer’s Iliad he is said to have led fifty ships to Troy (2.681–685). The Iliad’s plot turns on his withdrawal from battle in anger at the Greek commander Agamemnon and his return to take vengeance on Hector for killing his close friend Patroclus. Many episodes in the life of Achilles, including his early life and death at Troy, were popular in Greek and Roman literature and iconography. Summaries of mythological events found in the life of Achilles can be found in the Epitome of Apollodorus and the Fabulae of Hyginus (1st century bce to 1st century ce). Reception of myths about Achilles has continued in post-antiquity.

Article

Epic Cycle  

Jonathan Burgess

Epic Cycle refers to an ancient gathering of thematically linked epics of the Archaic Age on the origins of the gods, the Theban Wars, and the Trojan War. The poems are lost, with few fragments remaining; testimony for their contents and authors. The 9th-century ce Photius provides a general overview. Summaries of the Trojan War epics by Proclus, a 5th-century ce scholar (the date is disputed in modern scholarship), have survived in the manuscript tradition of the Iliad. The contents of the epics were popular throughout Greco-Roman antiquity.Epic Cycle (ἐπικὸς κύκλος) is the term given to a gathering of originally independent epics of the Archaic Age. The poems are mostly lost: less than a hundred and fifty lines of verse survive. Our primary source of information is a concise summary by Proclus of the Trojan war section of the Cycle, preserved in the famous 10th-centuryce manuscript of the .

Article

Apollonius (1) Rhodius  

Richard Hunter

Apollonius (1) Rhodius, a major literary figure of 3rd-century bce*Alexandria (1), and poet of the Argonautica, the only extant Greek hexameter *epic written between *Homer and the Roman imperial period.Our main sources are: POxy. 1241, a 2nd-cent. ce list of the librarians of the Royal Library at *Alexandria; two Lives transmitted with the manuscripts of Argonautica which probably contain material deriving from the late 1st century bce; and an entry in the Suda. All four state that Apollonius was from Alexandria itself, though two 2nd-century ce notices point rather to *Naucratis. The most likely explanation for the title “Rhodian” is thus that Apollonius spent a period of his life there, which would accord well with what we know of his works, though it remains possible that he or his family came from *Rhodes. Apollonius served as librarian and royal tutor before .