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Homeric archaeology long dominated the study of early Greece, but new approaches have recently revolutionized the field. Drawing from these approaches, I offer a regional and diachronic analysis of Homeric stories about Crete, an assessment of the reception of these stories by the island's inhabitants throughout antiquity and an account of their impact on medieval to modern literature and art. I find that Cretan interest in Homer peaks in the Hellenistic period, but also argue for the much earlier familiarity of some Cretans with stories that underlie the Homeric epics. This argument relies on an analysis of the archaeological assemblage of a Knossian tomb of the 11th century BC, which includes a range of arms that is exceptional for both Aegean archaeology and the Homeric epics. In the epics, this equipment is carried by the Knossian hero Meriones, whose poetic persona can be traced back to the Late Bronze Age on philological and linguistic grounds. Based on this, and on current understandings of performance at death, I argue that the Knossian burial assemblage was staged to reference the persona of Meriones, therefore suggesting the familiarity of some Cretans with early stories that eventually filtered into the Homeric epics.
This article is a discussion and analysis of Aeschylus Agamemnon 104–05, with special reference to the epic models operating behind the typically Homeric enjambement ἀνδρῶν / ἐκτελέων. The ἄνδρες should be understood as the Argive heroes of the expedition against Troy, and not as the sons of Atreus, Agamemnon and Menelaus. This interpretation is supported by a number of examples taken from Archaic and Hellenistic epic poems.
The Patrocles mocked as an unwashed miser in Aristophanes Wealth 83–85 has been wrongly identified as a tragic poet (TrGF no. 57). This note explains the error and discusses some possible identifications of Aristophanes’ Patrocles.
The fragmentary biographical work by Damascius, known as either the Life of Isidore or Philosophical History, appears to have begun with the myths of the dismemberment of Osiris and Dionysus. These programmatic allusions establish an important theme in the text that followed: ‘becoming a Bacchus’. This, as is clear from Damascius’ Phaedo Commentary, refers to the process of unifying and liberating oneself from the body at the ‘cathartic’ stage in the Neoplatonic scale of virtues. The acquisition of likeness to this specific deity is, therefore, a vital though far from final stage in the progression towards the ultimate goal of late antique Platonic philosophy: ‘becoming like god as far as possible’.
Scrutiny of Herodotus’ ethnographic accounts of northern Syria and the region he calls ‘Palestinian Syria’ reveals oddities and inconsistencies. Here it is argued that such problems may be resolved if a fundamental fact is recognized: the enormous early literary prestige of the Phoenicians has obscured the historical roles of these other peoples in the Histories. The character and extent of this process, specifically as it bears on Syria-Palestine during Iron Age II, is analysed here. It is hoped that a new appreciation of the Syrians as an ethnicity may be gained as a result. It is suggested as well that for important historical problems researchers should ascertain whether Herodotus is not actually talking about Syrians when he discusses Phoenicians.
This paper re-evaluates the narrative roles occupied by Geryon and Herakles in Stesichoros’ Geryoneis in the light of contemporary thinking about Herakles’ apotheosis. It proposes that Stesichoros activates his audience's awareness of Herakles’ fated divinity in order to reframe the hero versus monster encounter not as a duel between two mortal heroes – the usual interpretation – but as a showdown between a hero and a god. This reorientation destabilizes an audience's sympathies and self-identification, forcing a re-evaluation of the nature of both heroism and humanity. Following a discussion of the potential narrative roles in play, the prominence of Herakles’ apotheosis in the sixth century and its salience for Stesichoros’ audience is established. The apotheosis is then applied as a complementary lens to the long-recognized Iliadic intertexts in a reinterpretation of the encounter between Geryon and Herakles on Erytheia. Finally, the use of the apotheosis as a lens for interpreting two fragments beyond Erytheia is considered.
This article discusses the rationale and the implications of the inclusion of slaves as victims of punishable hubris in the law about the graphē hubreōs. It argues that hubris against slaves was a punishable offence in Athens not because slaves had institutionally and legally recognized rights or a modicum of honour, but rather because it was hubris, as a disposition to overstep and overestimate one's claims to honour (although manifested in concrete acts), that was deemed unacceptable. The article also investigates the implications of the law for our understanding of the connectedness of ‘legal’ and allegedly ‘extra-legal’ spaces, as well as advocating an understanding of honour that is not necessarily competitive and zero-sum, but also cooperative and aimed at securing smooth social interaction in all spheres of social life.
Chariton's Chaereas and Callirhoe is a Greek novel that is extremely rich in historical and historiographical allusions. Virtually all of those so far detected derive from Greek texts and events in Greek history. In this article I shift the focus to Roman history, and suggest that Rome is not as absent as it is usually supposed to be in the Greek novels. In support of this claim, I propose that Chariton's choice of Sicily as a topographical setting can be related to three episodes from the Republican period that all involve Roman interventions in Sicily. Section I: the removal of Callirhoe (described at the beginning of the novel as an ἄγαλμα) from Syracuse recalls Verres’ provincial mismanagement of Sicily (73–71 BC), specifically his removal from Syracuse of Sappho's statue. Section II: the character of the pirate Theron is freighted with markers that point to the ‘pirate’ Sextus Pompey and his conflict with Octavian from 42–36 BC. Section III: Chaereas’ triumphant return to Syracuse at the end of the novel, loaded with spoils from the Persian king, symbolically reverses and redresses Marcellus’ sack of Syracuse in 211 BC. These all have significant ramifications for how readers (ancient and modern) approach the Greek novels.
The regularly occurring Homeric motif τρὶς μέν … τρὶς δέ shares key characteristics with both formulas and type scenes. Like a formula, it is a group of metrically localized words that refers regularly to the same idea. Like a type scene, it describes a series of discrete events that feature ‘repeated attempts to do something, often by two different characters’. This motif evokes the same basic theme in the narratives of both Homeric poems: a vigorous hero gains the sympathy of the audience in the course of repeated attempts, usually in vain, to surmount a powerful opposing force. As with many forms of narrative repetition in Homeric epic, most of the instances of the τρὶς μέν … τρὶς δέ motif display regular narrative patterns, and then a few key scenes elaborate on those patterns in order to create moments of outstanding poetic and emotional force. Highly developed examples of this motif make significant contributions to the aristeia of Patroclus in Iliad 16, the death of Hector in Iliad 22 and Telemachus’ attempt to string Odysseus’ bow in Odyssey 21.
An unusual ancient Greek lament form, hitherto overlooked by students of the subject, displays the following syntax: parallel sentences with verb in initial position (Vi) expressing the loss, followed by the grammatical subject (S). Sometimes the same verb was used in each of the parallel lines. ViS parallelism is a subliterary syntax reflecting a very old style. A number of Greek authors adopted this syntax to represent or allusively echo the form. Examples, although relatively scarce, are spread through a diverse range of ancient literature spanning at least six centuries, from the second century BC to the fourth century AD, with earlier echoes as far back as Homer.
This article argues that Pindar refers to cyclic Trojan epics as fixed poems known to his audiences and discusses why this matters for our understanding of his poetry. Section I claims that Isthmian 4 alludes to the Aethiopis as the work of Homer. Section II examines how Nemean 10 closely engages with the Cypria. Section III argues that Nemean 6 and Isthmian 8 signal an intertextual engagement with the Aethiopis and the Cypria. A conclusion assesses how far we can extrapolate from the preceding arguments to generalize about Pindar's relationship to Trojan epic and then suggests one particular way in which recognizing allusions to lost epic can enrich our understanding of his preserved lyric.
PHerc 1669, formerly identified with book 5, book 7 and book 10 of Philodemus’ On Rhetoric, actually transmits book 20. The book number – a clear Κ – is still legible in the final title of the papyrus. This means that On Rhetoric was in precisely or at least 20 books, depending on whether or not PHerc 1669 is to be considered the final book of the work.
Scholars remain far from reaching agreement about the structure of Middle Platonist commentaries on Plato's dialogues: some take them to have been running line-by-line commentaries, while others believe that Middle Platonist commentaries were mainly specialist works. In this paper I propose a fresh and comprehensive analysis of extant sources in order to show that both views, while shedding light on important features of this literary genre in Middle Platonism, should be supplemented in order to draw a more complex picture. Extant sources suggest that the Middle Platonist commentaries were characterized by a set of features which shaped a specific conception of the literary genre: they were lemmatic and followed the development of a dialogue in its progression, yet at the same time they applied a thematic focus and hence admitted a substantial degree of selectivity.
Comparison between an original ancient composition and modern supplements shows that the ancient poetcomposer paid attention to sub-metrical parameters defining the suitability of a metrically long syllable for extended voiced performance. This criterion is explored as a potential guide to overlong syllables, developing a statistical method including thoroughly calculated weighted expectations. The method is then applied to Pindar's dactylo-epitritic Epinicia, where the rhythmical time of ‘missing link syllables’ is shown to have been incorporated within the preceding syllable. The notation and the rhythm of dactylo-epitrites are discussed in detail.
This contribution reconsiders the question of indications of speakers in ancient Greek dialogue literature and their ‘invention’ by Theodoret of Cyrus by offering a systematic examination of the available (mostly papyrological) evidence. It discusses ancient conventions for marking changes of interlocutors in Greek literary dialogues and compares them with those present in dramatic works and in documentary and paraliterary texts such as reports of court proceedings, the Acta Alexandrinorum and Acta Martyrum, and reports of Church councils. It is hypothesized that the development of indications of speakers in Greek dialogue was influenced by documentary practices of the Imperial period and by paraliterary genres which imitated them.