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Poetic Predecessors In Epigram

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Chapter Summary

The foundation of the Ptolemaic library and museum made by Alexandria into the intellectual centre of the Hellenistic world, a shrine of Greece's literary and intellectual heritage, towards which scrolls from all over the known world gravitated, just like the scholars and poets who studied them. The image of the poets of the past found in Hellenistic epigram suggests certain tendencies in the Hellenistic perception and hence representation of predecessors. The general tone of the epigrams confirms that poets of the past were held in high esteem, even if their idiosyncrasies sometimes lent themselves to caricature or expressions that appear to hint at moral condemnation. This chapter provides the living with the possibility to know them, judge them, imagine what they might have said (ethopoia) and distil their essence in caricature, the facile side of cultural memory.

Keywords: epigram; hellenistic; museum; poetic predecessors; Ptolemaic library



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