Introduction to the Forum focused on the article by Peter Bing, Embedded epigrams in Callimachus, and including works by Timo Christian, Joseph Day, Lucia Floridi, Jan Kwapisz, Regina Höschele, Évelyne Prioux, Evina Sistakou, Steven D. Smith. A brief overview of the last twenty years of studies on the genre epigram (on the Greek side) and the last trends of research on this topic.
During its history, epigram spread beyond its original context on monuments in a physical landscape to the bookish territory of the scroll. The Hellenistic poet Callimachus played with the aesthetic possibilities of that shift. On the one hand, writing epigrams for literary collections, he exploited the absence of material context to let readers supplement imaginatively what was no longer physically present («Ergänzungsspiel»). Elsewhere, however, he experimented with embedding verse-inscriptions into longer poems, recontextualizing them through narrative, which could employ them to new ends and shape readers’ understanding, just as their physical circumstances had. Yet examples in Callimachus such as the Sepulcrum Simonidis and Thales’ epigram on the cup of Bathycles in Iambus 1 suggest that a verse-inscription can stay true to its monument or artifact even when embedded in someone else’s story: it remains the product of a (notionally or actually) different author, able to ‘express itself ’ with a voice unlike that of its surrounding narrative, indeed it may even be at odds with, and push back against, the context into which it has been embedded.
This article extends Peter Bing’s approach to epigrams that are framed within epigrams; it suggests that a similar dichotomy of absorption and opposition can be operative between epigrammatic frame and embedded ‘inscription’. To illustrate this literary technique and (some of ) its functions, three cases studies are presented. The article also briefly discusses pre-Hellenistic inscriptional examples of epigrammatic framing and asks whether the refinements of this technique as found in literary epigrams were in turn adopted by composers of inscribed epigrams.
This article considers epigraphical realities that may lie behind Bing’s embedded epigrams. In the case of the song for Sosibios, I explore an echo of epigraphic verse in the embedded epigram (praise of the dedication’s artistry) and this echo’s possible relationship to a form of that inscriptional motif of self-praise in older epinician. As concerns Simonides’ epitaph and Thales’ dedication, I have imagined ways the epigrams Callimachus quotes (or at least their prose models) might have started life as genuine, if not necessarily very old inscriptions and made their way to the Hellenistic poet.
In this paper, as a minor complement to Bing’s analysis of Callimachus’ embedding of inscribed poems into narratives, I will discuss some examples of embedded inscriptional voices in literary epigrams. I will first analyse some Hellenistic erotic poems; I will then concentrate on certain imperial epigrams preserved in book XI of the Greek Anthology. All the examples I will consider share a common feature: they embed an epigraphic voice into a bookish epigram of the sort that most departs from inscriptional subgenres. While Hellenistic poets, however, manipulate the inscriptional voice in subtle ways, imagining surprising mediums and messages for their inscriptions, the scoptic poets of the early imperial age place their epigraphic statements in traditional contexts, and adapt them to standard messages and phraseology. As I will show, this different choice serves different purposes, connected to the evolution of epigrammatic poetry as a genre.
This article discusses the intertextuality of Call. Aet. fr. 64 Harder between the anecdote, preserved in several sources, on Simonides and the grateful dead and Horace’s Archytas ode (carm. I 28). The correspondences between these texts notably include the use of epigram.
In his essay, Peter Bing discusses, inter alia, an epigram inserted into Callimachus’ first Iamb, which has been preserved thanks to Diogenes Laertius. My response moves the focus from the Alexandrian poet to Diogenes, who frequently embellishes his biographical anecdotes with epigrams. I analyze two stories in particular – one on the hidden tomb of Periander (Diog. Laert. I 96-97), the other on Empedocles’ speech against the erection of a monument in honor of the doctor Acron (Diog. Laert. VIII 65) –, showing how both tales invert the typical commemorative function of epigram and how the respective narrative context gives a layer of meaning to the embedded poems which they do not have if read on their own.
This article presents the various cases in which one or more literary epigrams were copied on a monument and inserted in a context including painted or sculpted images. Three vases painted by followers of the Amykos Painter in the early 4th century BCE present us with a first example: on these vases, the literary epigrams enable the painter to explain or to modify the meaning of an otherwise commonplace composition. Apart from a little number of isolated cases (a plastic vase from Hellenistic Skyros, a portrait-herm in Aelian’s villa), another interesting and apparently coherent group of examples is offered by Roman frescoes painted in the late 1st century BCE or the early 1st century CE. In these cases, Hellenistic epigrams were apparently used to create the fantasy of a different and possibly ‘exotic’ landscape or setting: an epigram could allow the viewers to pretend that they were not in a Roman town, but in a rural sanctuary lost in a Greek-speaking countryside, or that they were in third-century Alexandria and about to meet Callimachus in person. Finally, another interesting set of examples appears to have been created in Renaissance times, when epigrams from the Planudean Anthology were copied on slabs or gemstones.
By employing Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory, the paper examines how various speech genres are embedded into the generic framework of the Ps.-Theocritean Idyll 23 Erastes. These include the paraklausithyron, the lament, the epitaph and the paraenesis and are uttered by a real speaker (the lover) and imaginary ones (the youth and the passer-by). The aim of the paper is first to identify these speech genres and their speakers and second to interpret them within the narrative structure of the poem.
An embedded epigram in Book 2 of the Histories by Agathias of Myrina offers an interesting case study for analyzing the double-voicedness that emerges when one genre (classicizing historiography) absorbs another (epigram). Agathias inserts an invented epigram as documentary evidence for the victory of the Byzantine army over Frankish-Alemanni forces in Capua in 554 CE. On one hand, the epigram buttresses the ideological superstructure of the historian’s narrative of military conquest. But the centrifugal force of the poetic voice persists in ways that resist Justinianic ideology. Read against the grain of the historiographic context in which it is embedded, Agathias’ epigram on the Byzantine victory over the Franks gives voice to an independent poetic authority.
The article analyses two rewritings of Aeschylus’ Oresteia written by Irish authors – Seamus Heaney’s The Mycenae Lookout and Colm Tóibín’s House of Names – investigating the common needs that motivated their interest in the tragedy and their different approach to it. In 1996, Heaney published The Mycenae Lookout, a sequence of five poems, describing the tragic event from the point of view of the sentinel, who waits for the signal of the king’s return from Troy. The background of the rewriting is the civil war in Northern Ireland. In 2017, Tóibín was inspired by the trilogy of Aeschylus for the novel House of Names, which not only demonstrates a careful reading of Aeschylus’ Oresteia, but also of Sophocles’ Electra and Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis. Tóibín, like Heaney, wrote bearing in mind the conflicts that devastated his land, but he also thought about contemporary civil wars that oppress defenceless populations nowadays, like the Syrians. The detailed study of the texts, which differ in genre and purpose, highlights the analogies between them in order to understand where and how Tóibín was inspired by his illustrious predecessor, demonstrating the influence of The Mycenae Lookout on the composition of his novel.
A new exam of the problems about the publication date of Pliny’s Panegyric leads us to identify as terminus ante quem the first triumph of Trajan over the Dacians (December 102). Pliny indeed in paneg. 46, a chapter dedicated to pantomimes, seems to ignore that these shows, initially banned by Trajan, were reintroduced in Rome just during this triumph (cfr. Cass. Dio LXVIII 10, 2). Thus, a publication in 101 (the stronger hypothesis) is corroborated and the possibility of a publication after 107 (perhaps in 109-110) recently argued through intertextual parallels is instead weakened.
This paper focuses on the characteristics and on the role of Aeneas’ comites of exile in Vergil’s Aeneid, in which the Trojan migrating crowd grows through a progressive aggregation of different groups of followers: the Penates, Aeneas’ familia, the survived Trojan citizens and the ships of the fleet. While observing the formation of this community, it is possible to identify some moral and interpersonal dynamics regulating the relationships among the members of the Trojan group and between them and their dux Aeneas.
This paper investigates, in a stylistic-rhetorical perspective, the communicative intent of the emotional infinitive and focuses on the deviation from the linguistic proprium implied by this construction. The analysis will be carried out through a selection of significant case studies, mostly in Greek, Latin and Italian language.
The Pythia’s prologue in Aeschylus’ Eumenides serves an important function – since the action has just moved to Delphi, it must create its own space, and provide the spectators with a credible ‘verbal setting’. This paper wishes to show how Aeschylus achieves this poetic and dramatic aim. It will contend that Aeschylus uses topographical and archaeological data to represent the new space, and it will zero in on two parts of the Pythia’s monologue – the initial prayer to the Delphic gods, and the description of the Erinyes. By means of comparison with coeval lyric and dramatic passages, the paper aims at showing how archaeology can be used as a poetically effective strategy.
My approach of analysing discourse in Greek lyric rests on the concept ‘intrasubgenre’, which I coin in order to demonstrate the way in which the dithyramb infiltrates another subgenre in its own narrative environment. I come to grips with the narration of Bacchylides 18, which is semanticised by fairly comprehensive features of the epinikion in a refined shape.
As groundwork for a new edition of the fragments of Diogenes of Babylon, this paper gives an overview of the sources available to us on his logic (dialectic and rhetoric) and his philosophy of language, particularly in light of Philodemus’ account on this topic in his On Rhetoric. Among other considerations, the paper provides the editio princeps of P.Herc. 469 (a ‘scorza’ ascribable to Philodemus’ On Rhetoric) and attempts to reappraise and contextualize its content within the polemical debates between Stoics and Epicureans on the relationship between rhetoric and philosophy.