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Le rythme de la prose de Phérécyde de Syros

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Mythographie en prose et poésie en hexamètre dactylique

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The prose treatise that Pherecydes of Syros composed in the middle of the 6th century BC shows several instances where the rhythm of the dactylic hexameter is imitated. After defining four criteria to identify such imitations of dactylic rhythm by archaic prose writers (word order within the rhythmic sequence, potential substitution to an unmarked rhythm, length and interpretation), I analyse six examples and I argue that Pherecydes introduces rhythmic echoes to underscore the differences of his own view from the thought-contents that were developed by epic and theogonic poems. This study sheds light on traditional problems raised by archaic prose treatises: I argue that Pherecydes’ work was meant to be read before an audience on which it was intended to have an effect. In this light, it seems unlikely that his treatise had a purely hypomnematic function, or that it was only meant to be disclosed within the school itself.

Affiliations: 1: Université de Lille UMR 8163 Savoirs, Textes, Langage


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