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Beyond the Argonautica: In Search of Apollonius' Ktisis Poems

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Chapter Summary

Apollonius appears to be another potential candidate for the introduction of ktisis into the literary jargon of third century Alexandria. This chapter argues that Apollonius' ktisis poetry not only displayed all the idiosyncratic features of Alexandrian poetics, but, more importantly, that in refashioning the archaic genre of foundation poetry, Apollonius introduced a series of innovative narrative devices and thematic emphases, which reach their full potential in the Argonautica and, thence, find their way into late Hellenistic literature. To this end, it offers a reading of the extant fragments from different angles-the Callimachean background, the anticipation of late Alexandrianism, the novelistic character, the epic subtext-and conclude with some thoughts on how the ktisis poems constituted a generic experiment which may have taken the form of an autonomous poetry book.

Keywords: Alexandria; Apollonius Rhodius; Argonautica; Ktisis



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