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An Ambiguous Literary Genre

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The Origins of Early Greek Mythography

image of Mnemosyne

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the origins of early Greek mythography, exemplarily represented by Hecataeus of Miletus and Acusilaus of Argos. The paucity of verbatim quotations and a total lack of information about the publication of their prose works and their audience makes it difficult to frame them within a specific literary genre. Despite that, a better understanding of their cultural milieu could help us approach their literary production in a new way. What arises from this investigation is how unprofitable it is to rely upon a rigid distinction among the production of early prose writers who clearly share a common goal and, to some extent, a similar communicative strategy.

Affiliations: 1: ‘Sapienza’ Università di Roma, Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità


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