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In this paper I explore archaic wandering poets' representation in their poetry of themselves and of their performances. I confine myself (some comparanda apart) to non-hexameter poetry of the period down to 500 BC and to pieces that I take to be in the first instance for monodic rather than choral performance. That is one of the reasons I have decided to exclude Stesichorus; another is that in his surviving poetry itself there is almost nothing that contributes to the issues I investigate. My cut-off date of 500 BC is partly to legitimise my exclusion of Bacchylides and Pindar. But another, and better, reason for that exclusion is that even their surviving epinikia on their own merit a separate treatment, and I am pursuing some related issues concerning them in another volume.
A high proportion of the surviving poetry whose audience of first performance can be identified purports, at least, to be delivered to an audience outside the poet's polis. To some extent the bare data may be misleading: a huge proportion of the surviving poetry bears no unambiguous indication of the location of its first audience, and when we can be sure, or almost sure, that this audience is not in the poet's own polis, it is because there is either an identifying vocative plural address or a clear marker of some other sort – e.g. the poet praises an overseas host – features that we have much less right to expect in poetry composed for a poet's regular Friday-night drinking-companions in his own community.
'Am I always to be a listener? Am I never to get my own back?' With these words the Latin poet Juvenal in the early second century CE opened the first of his Satires, purporting to give his readers a reason for his taking up writing. He goes on to give 'reasons' for his choice of satire. These can be only some of the factors we might want to see as contributing to an explanation for his writing what he did, but his opening offers us a good way into the issues relevant to why, in the literary world of the high Roman empire, somebody might choose to write poetry or prose at all, and into the factors that might have influenced a would-be writer either to choose an unusual genre or even to develop one that could be seen as in all or many respects new. Some of these factors are different in the Greek and the Latin worlds, and the greater part of the following exploration of the place of novels in the literature of the Roman empire will focus on the setting of the Greek novels within Greek literary production and consumption. My discussion of the Greek novels will attempt to set each of four surviving 'ideal' novels in the context of the Greek literature that had recently been written. For each period I shall ask what sort of literature was already prevalent when a choice to write a novel was made; what features in that literature might have encouraged or contributed to the novelist's project; and in assessing the subsequent period will ask whether there are any traces of the novel impinging on literature in other genres.
Before Latin literature had staggered its first imitative steps, Greek education and culture had been diffused by Alexander's conquests not simply across the eastern Mediterranean but as far as Afghanistan and India. This chapter discusses the Greek philosophy of the empire. It is important to note that many sophists and philosophers saw each other as rivals in the provision of tertiary education. Mannered style and Atticist language suggest that Achilles, Longus and Heliodorus of Emesa may have been practising sophists. Many of the subjects were popularized in didactic poetry, usually, following the Hesiodic tradition, in dactylic hexameters. The Latin literary world presents a fundamentally different picture from the Greek, and at least part of the explanation may be found in the different place in it of sophistic rhetoric. The absence of sophistic declamation by members of the élites of the Latin West becomes much less puzzling if that function is conceded to Greek sophistic.