Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 February 2009
Valerius Flacgus has few readers and still fewer admirers, even among classical specialists. Most of us, if we want to refresh our memories of Hylas, will turn to Theocritus' thirteenth Idyll or perhaps to Propertius' statuesque version (1. 20). Apollonius Rhodius is read mainly in his third book, so that his Hylas story at the end of the first is ignored, and Valerius Flaccus is hardly read at all. In the year 1894 W. C. Summers in A Study of the Argonautica of Valerius Flaccus called for a fair reappraisal of the much-neglected poet. The works of the few scholars who have since attempted a literary assessment lie, for the most part, obscurely stored in the stacks of those Teutonic universities that awarded them a Ph.D.
page 260 note 1 For convenience ‘Hercules’ and other Latin forms will be used even in reference to Apollonius' epic.
page 261 note 1 The scholion on Theocritus 13. 75, saying that in later versions Hercules is left behind suggests that the idea may not be original in Valerius.
page 262 note 1 Cf. 3. 474 where Hercules' exuberance in the rowing contest forms an ironic contrast with the tragedy that results, or 3. 81 where Jason calls upon his father to witness his valour, unaware that it will be wasted in killing his former kindly host. The allitera- tion in primam hanc nati, pater, accipe pugnam brings out the forcefulness of the appeal.
page 267 note 1 p. xviii of the introduction to his translation of Argonautica 1.
page 267 note 2 Dealing with the love of Jason and Medea.
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