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date: 23 January 2021

allegory, Greeklocked

  • M. B. Trapp

Extract

Elements of allegory are present in Greek literature from the earliest stage: in *Homer, in Phoenix' Prayers (Λιταί, Il. 9. 502–12), and *Achilles' image of *Zeus' jars (Il. 24. 527–33); in *Hesiod, the fable of the hawk and the nightingale (Op. 204–12) and the personifications of Aidos, *Nemesis, and *Dike (1) (Op. 197–201, 256–62). If an ancient interpretation is accepted, *Alcaeus (1) frs. 6 and 326 LP presented political exhortation through nautical imagery. Larger-scale allegorical tableaux and narratives begin to be composed in the late 5th and early 4th cents.: *Prodicus' Choice of *Heracles (Xen. Mem. 2. 1. 21), and *Plato (1)'s myths (esp. Phd. 108e ff.; Resp. 524a ff., 614b ff.; Phdr. 246a ff.). Thereafter, literary allegory remains largely the territory of philosophers and moralists (e.g. *Cleanthes in Cic.

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