Performance and Occasion

Andrew Ford

in Aristotle as Poet

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199733293
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918539 | DOI:
Performance and Occasion

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This Chapter compares another pair of representations of Hermias, two epigrams in elegiacs. An epigram Aristotle is said to have composed for a memorial at Delphi is read against the mocking response to this verse by Theocritus of Chios and the different social functions of elegiacs as opposed to lyric verse are introduced. It emerges that Aristotle’s poetry for his friend necessarily took on a polemical, even propagandistic aspect. The genre of epigram also raises possibility that the occasion projected by a poem for its ostensible performance may be fictive, as in the case of “book epigrams.” Although it declares itself a poem inscribed on stone, Aristotle’s Delphic epigram shows a rhetorical subtlety that suggests that he, like Theocritus, may have anticipated the Hellenistic tradition of literary epigrams.

Keywords: Theocritus of Chios; Simonides; epigrams; Greek literacy; Xenia; epitaphs; oral performance; Hermotimus; poetry books

Chapter.  5122 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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