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date: 09 December 2021

Dionysius (9) 'Periegetes'locked

, 'the Travel Guide', Greek poet

Dionysius (9) 'Periegetes'locked

, 'the Travel Guide', Greek poet
  • Eric Herbert Warmington,
  • J. S. Rusten
  •  and Ewen Bowie

Extract

Dionysius (9) ‘Periegetes’ (‘the Travel Guide’), Greek poet of a περιήγησις τοῦ οἰκουμένης (‘Tour of the known world’), located by an acrostich (112–134) in Alexandria and dated by another (513–532) to *Hadrian's reign, perhaps after Antinous’ death in 130ce. Dionysius’ 1,185 hexameters, reworking both *Hesiod and *Hellenistic poetry (not only didactic), describe the known world from Britain to India and China, chiefly following *Eratosthenes, noting Rome’s Mediterranean dominance but taking little account of subsequent discoveries: he sweeps his reader from the Ocean in the west across north Africa, then similarly across Europe to his third continent, Asia, gazetting prominent cities, rivers and mountains. The poem’s use to teach geography ensured it a rich manuscript tradition and continued even in Oxford until the 17th cent. He may well not be the Dionysius (or Dionysii) responsible for only fragmentarily preserved hexameter epics—Βασσαρικά and Διονυσιακά (both narrating legends of Dionysus) and a Γιγαντίας (‘War of giants’)—and didactic poems—Λιθικά (on [gem?]-stones), and Ὀρνιθιακά (‘On birds’) of which a later prose paraphase survives.

Subjects

  • Greek Literature

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