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Theognis (1), elegiac poet from Megara  

Andrew Ford

The Theognidea is a collection of archaic Greek elegy amounting to nearly 1400 verses; its content is mainly gnomological advice on issues of politics and ethics, with the symposium as the ostensible occasion for its presentation. A passage near the opening of the work announces that these are the verses of Theognis of Megara, who is widely famed for his songs; and yet some of the verses are attested as having been composed by other Greek elegiac poets and the corpus as a whole has clearly suffered from repeated editing and excerpting. If neither the poetry nor the historical traditions about Theognis yield much reliable information about him, the Theognidea remains a valuable anthology of social and political thought among late archaic and early classical Greek elites.Theognis (1) is the nominal author of the Theognidea, a collection of archaic sympotic elegy amounting to nearly 1400 verses. Evidence for Theognis’s life is meagre: the entry on him in the .


Volumnia Cytherisa  

Marilyn B. Skinner

Volumnia Cytheris, a freedwoman of P. Volumnius Eutrapelus, was a celebrated mime actress (see mime, roman), notorious during the 40s bce for her affairs with prominent political figures. Her lovers included Mark Antony and C. Cornelius Gallus, the inventor of Roman love elegy, who celebrated her under the pseudonym “Lycoris” in four books of amatory verse (Serv. ad Verg. Ecl. 10.1 and 6). According to a late source (De vir. ill. 82.2) she was also the paramour of the tyrannicide M. Iunius Brutus (2). All three men were, like Eutrapelus, at one time adherents of C. Iulius Caesar (2), and her association with them may have furthered her former owner’s ambitions.1 While the name “Cytheris,” alluding to Venus’s birthplace, sexualizes its possessor and is thus a suitable appellation for a stage performer, “Lycoris,” reminiscent of a cult title of Apollo, transports her into the realm of literature.


parody, Latin  

Peta G. Fowler and Don P. Fowler

No Latin *genre gives as central a place to literary parody as does Greek Old Comedy (see comedy (greek), old), and traditionally parody has been seen as playing a more restricted role in Latin, the concept being reserved for instances such as the broader para-tragedy of *Plautus and *Terence,1 and self-standing poems such as the parody of *Catullus (1) 4 (to a ship), in Catalepton 10 (to a magistrate), and the parodies of *Virgil, Ecl. 1 and 3 by Numitorius (Courtney, FLP, Obtrectatores Vergili 1–2). Increased attention given to intertextuality in general, however (see literary theory and classical studies), with perhaps some influence from those modern theories which offer broad definitions of parody,2 has led to the concept being employed more widely. In general, any intertextuality with a “higher” genre in a lower may be read as parody, and hence parody has been seen especially in genres like *satire (e.


Ovid, poet, 43 BCE–17 CE  

Stephen Hinds

Born in 43 bce, Ovid first made his name at Rome as a playful and experimental love poet, in the Amores, the epistolary Heroides, and the didactic Ars Amatoria and Remedia Amoris; by about 2 ce, he was able to claim that “elegy owes as much to me as epic does to Virgil.” Concurrently with the epic Metamorphoses, he was at work (2–8 ce) on the elegiac Fasti, a poetical calendar of the Roman year, with one book devoted to each month; and he would spend his final decade further extending the range of elegy with the pleas and laments of the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, sent to Rome from afar, along with the curse-poetry of the Ibis. When Ovid turned in his forties to epic, he did not attempt direct competition with the already classic Aeneid. The 15-book Metamorphoses recounted dozens of tales from classical and Near Eastern myth and legend, with no central hero, but with characters and settings changing every few pages; every episode was in some way a story of supernatural transformation, and the whole took the ostensibly chronological form of a history of the universe. As the epic neared completion in 8 ce, the poet was suddenly banished by the emperor Augustus to the Black Sea frontier, (a) for the perceived immorality of the almost decade-old Ars Amatoria, and (b) for a still-mysterious error or indiscretion.


Archilochus, Greek iambic and elegiac poet  

Laura Swift

Archilochus of Paros is one of the earliest surviving Greek poets, and can be dated to the 7th century bce. He composed iambus and elegy, and is most famous for his invective poems, which range from light-hearted banter with friends to vitriolic attacks on his enemies, and whose tone can be high-flown or vulgar. Despite the later tradition that narrowed the reception of Archilochus’s work to focus almost exclusively on abuse poetry, he was in fact one of the most wide-ranging of the Greek poets. The topics he treats include battle narratives, erotic stories, philosophical reflection, political criticism, lamentations for men lost at sea, heroic myths, and animal fables. Archilochus’s work survives only in fragments, but in antiquity he was highly rated as a poet, and his work is distinctive for its energy, its care with language and imagery, and its lively persona. His influence can be seen on classical, Hellenistic, and Roman writers.