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Callimachus' Sacrifice To Apollo (Fragment 1.21–24)

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Chapter Summary

Sacrifice is one of the central subjects in the study of ancient religion, and as such it has often retained the interest of Jan Bremmer. On a smaller scale, sacrifice occurs as a poetological metaphor, as what Walter Wimmel has called the Opfervergleich: when a poet wishes to contrast his own modest composition with the more substantial productions of others, he may use the comparison with poor versus rich sacrifices to the gods. The Opfervergleich gives a new and typically Roman twist to what is no doubt the most famous instance of the poetological use of motif of sacrifice: the passage in the prologue to the Aetia where Callimachus reports the instructions he claims to have received from Apollo. This chapter proposes some tentative suggestions about the religious background of the sacrifice envisaged by Callimachus, in the hope of further clarifying the poetological meaning of the prologue to the Aetia.

Keywords: Aetia; Apollo Lykios; Callimachus; Opfervergleich; Poetological; sacrifice



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