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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with the matter that is necessary to consider two interrelated factors to understand the way Hellenistic poets represented poets and poetry: their position in Greek (literary) history and their socio-cultural surroundings. Addressing the preoccupation with the past, the first part of the chapter focused on two categories of predecessors, legendary poets and historical ones. The second part focused on the poets' portrayal of contemporaries, mainly from the point of view of the social interaction of the Museum and Library and comparable institutions at other royal courts. The discussion of some epigrams attacking contemporaries confirms that what poses as aesthetic judgement may often conceal very different and personal opinions. As the discussion of the epigrams in praise of Aratus' Phaenomena showed, sphragis-passages could also contain etymological explanations or puns on the name of the author.

Keywords: Aratus'; contemporaries; epigrams; Greek; Hellenistic poets; legendary poets; library; Museum



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