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  • Thomas J. Nelson (a1)


This paper looks beyond Ptolemaic Alexandria to consider the literary dynamics of another Hellenistic kingdom, Attalid Pergamon. I offer a detailed study of the fragmentary opening of Nicander's Hymn to Attalus (fr. 104 Gow–Schofield) in three sections. First, I consider its generic status and compare its encomiastic strategies with those of Theocritus’ Encomium of Ptolemy Philadelphus (Idyll 17). Second, I analyse its learned reuse of the literary past and allusive engagement with scholarly debate. And finally, I explore how Nicander polemically strives against the precedent of the Ptolemaic Callimachus. The fragment offers us a rare glimpse into the post-Callimachean, international and agonistic world of Hellenistic poetics.


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This paper has benefited greatly from the feedback of audiences in Cambridge, Edinburgh (CA 2016) and San Diego (SCS 2019). I am particularly grateful to Aneurin Ellis-Evans, Brett Evans, Alex Forte, Maria Gaki, Kathryn Gutzwiller, Richard Hunter, Max Leventhal, Stephen A. White and two anonymous referees for their comments and suggestions on earlier versions. Nicander's works are cited from Gow and Schofield (1953); Callimachus’ Aetia from Harder (2012), Hecale from Hollis (2009), and other works from Pfeiffer (1949–53). All translations are my own.



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  • Thomas J. Nelson (a1)


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