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Proverbs and Popular Sayings in Callimachus

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Chapter Summary

Callimachus employs numerous proverbs and popular expressions suitably adapted to the diversity of his literary genres. In his Hymns we find especially Homeric and Hesiodic sententiae, which are elevated in tone. In his Aetia there are proverbs that serve as the basis for an aition, as well as numerous proverbs of less formal tone. In the Epigrams often the proverb provides the poet with an effective cap and closure. In the Iambi there are many colloquial expressions and popular proverbs connected with realia and animals. Finally, the proverb is employed by Callimachus (probably as senex) in autobiographical (fr. 178; 193 Pf.) or poetological (fr. 1 Pf.) contexts, to emphasize moments of reflection.

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