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Hellenistic Epigram
Contexts of Exploration


  • Date Published: October 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107168503

$ 132.00

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About the Authors
  • This book offers scholars and students of Hellenistic and Roman literature an overview of Hellenistic epigram, a field closely related to other Hellenistic poetry and highly influential upon Roman poetry. In fourteen themed chapters, it foregrounds the literary, linguistic, historical, epigraphic, social, political, ethnic, cultic, onomastic, local, topographical and patronage contexts within which Hellenistic epigrams were composed. Many epigrams are analysed in detail and new interpretations of them proposed. Throughout, the question is asked whether epigrams are literary jeux d'esprit (as is often assumed without proper discussion) or whether they relate to real people and real events and have a function in the real world. That function may be epigraphic, for example an epigram can be the epitymbion for inscription at someone's grave, or the anathematikon for inscription on or beside a dedicated object, or a picture-label - an ekphrasis to accompany a painting or mosaic.

    • Offers detailed studies of individual epigrams throughout
    • Allows readers to become involved holistically in individual epigrams
    • Studies individual epigrams in thematic groupings
    • Allows readers to expand their understanding to analogous epigrams
    Read more

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107168503
    • length: 532 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.89kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Introductory: Contexts and their Loss:
    1. Audience context and circulation context
    2. Epigraphic context
    3. The state of the text
    Part II. Afterlives:
    4. Optimism
    5. Consolation
    6. Pessimism?
    7. Shipwrecks
    Part III. Philosophical Matters:
    8. Over-philosophical interpretations (Callimachus, Asclepiades, Posidippus)
    9. Philosophical superficiality (Leonidas)
    10. Meleager and philosophy
    11. Philodemus
    Part IV. Temples and Shrines:
    12. A shrine of the Great Mother
    13. Apollo's deer at Kourion
    14. Paphian Aphrodite
    Part V. Literary Polemics:
    15. Posidippus
    16. Asclepiades on Lyde
    17. Further Hellenistic literary programmes
    18. Antipater of Sidon
    19. Epigrams about Erinna
    Part VI. Literary Polemics Continue:
    20. Telchines and grammarians
    21. Polemic pro/anti epic?
    Part VII. Poetry, Sex, the Countryside:
    22. Poetry and sex
    23. Country matters
    Part VIII. Medical Connections:
    24. Medicine in non-epigrammatic Hellenistic poetry
    25. Medicine in epigram
    Part IX. Epitaphs: Epigraphic or Epideictic?:
    26. Death caused by wine
    27. Deaths while drunk
    28. Deaths of drunken old women
    29. Cenotaphic epitymbia
    Part X. Local Interests:
    30. Archaizing language: Anyte and Nicias
    31. Dialects
    32. Local customs: hair dedications
    33. Historical claims: the Thyreatis
    Part XI. Speakers, Addressees, Antecedents:
    34. Geese taken for swans
    35. Speakers and addressees in archaic inscribed epigrams
    36. Epitymbic speakers and addressees
    37. Unsafe assumptions of originality
    38. Over-interpretations of Hellenistic epigrams
    Part XII. The Erotic:
    39. Novelty in the erotic komos
    40. Legalism
    41. 'Enrichment' and emotion
    42. Cynical attitudes and mercenary motives
    43. Meleager and mosquitoes
    Part XIII. Generic Innovation:
    44. Implicit dialogue
    45. Explicit dialogue
    46. Initial generic deception
    47. Epigraphic genres in amatory epigrams
    48. Function as context
    49. Multiple addressees
    Part XIV. Learning:
    50. Philological
    51. Technical
    52. Metrical
    53. Mythography and local culture
    Index locorum
    Index anthologiae graecae
    Index of personal names in epigrams
    General index.

  • Author

    Francis Cairns, Florida State University
    Francis Cairns held the Chairs of Latin at the University of Liverpool and of Latin Language and Literature at the University of Leeds before moving in 2000 to his present position as Professor of Classical Languages at Florida State University. His earlier books are Generic Composition in Greek and Roman Poetry (1972), Tibullus: A Hellenistic Poet at Rome (Cambridge, 1979), Virgil's Augustan Epic (Cambridge, 1989), Sextus Propertius: The Augustan Elegist (Cambridge, 2006), Papers on Roman Elegy (1969–2003) (2007) and Roman Lyric (2012).

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