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Piety And Diplomacy In Apollonius Argonautica

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Chapter Summary

The Ptolemaic synthesis of piety and diplomacy is certainly suggested by the poem's representation of royal cult activity: Alcinous and the other monarchs who aid the Argonauts are associated with public sacrifices and in addition are shown to prefer mediation to aggression, to honor sworn agreements, and to respect the mandates of straight justice". Apollonius probably composed the Argonautica between 270 and 260, revising it several times during Ptolemy II Philadelphus' rule, a period when the court poets Callimachus and Theocritus were also active. Yet while their works openly celebrate the Ptolemies in their encomiastic works, the Argonautica does not, presumably because the narrative is set in the generation before the Trojan War. Theocritus praises the king in military terms in Idyll 17, observing that Berenice bore the king as a warrior son to a warrior". Later in the poem Theocritus also describes him as skilful in wielding the spear".

Keywords: Alcinous; Apollonius; Argonautica; Ptolemy II Philadelphus; Theocritus; Trojan War



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