Hedylus (4 and 5 Gow–Page) and Callimachean Poetics

in Mnemosyne
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The phrase λεπτὸν καί τι μελιχρὸν ἔπος in Hedylus 5 Gow–Page has been read as engaging with Callimachean esthetic language, though its precise significance has been debated. This paper argues that Hedylus’ engagement with Callimachean esthetic imagery and language is best understood by juxtaposing Hedylus 4 and 5 Gow–Page. The structure of the former, on a gold rhyton dedicated to Arsinoe Zephyritis, pointedly treats two Egyptian deities—one miniature, the other colossal—in language evocative of poetic composition, and does so in a way that effaces the bright oppositions between large and small in the prologue to Callimachus’ Aetia. At the same time, the poem identifies sounds made by wine with sounds made by water, and thus sheds light on Hedylus’ treatment of wine as a source of poetic inspiration in both epigrams. Far from being a rebuttal of Callimachean values, these poems appropriate and adapt his esthetic imagery and language to the genre of epigram.

Hedylus (4 and 5 Gow–Page) and Callimachean Poetics

in Mnemosyne


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Thus Kambylis 1965122: “Es ist nicht daran zu zweifeln dass er diese Bezeichnung von Kallimachos übernommen hat um das Symbol des Wassers zu entkräften.”


For discussion see Crowther 1979; Knox 1985115; and below.


Cameron 1995325-326; Lehnus 2002 suggests that the mysterious ιλ̣ειονι in the list of those identified as Telchines by the Florentine Scholia may conceal Hedylus’ name.


Albiani 2002163-164.


See Thompson 1973esp. 1-33. The description of the vessel by Dorotheus of Sidon (ap. Ath. 11.497e) διατετρημένα δ’ εἶναι ἐξ ὧν κρουνιζόντων λεπτῶς κάτωθεν πίνουσιν seems confused.


So Kenny 1932190-191; cf. Bonneau 1964 361-420.


Bowie 198628; Cameron 1995 311.


West 1992118-121.


Wimmel 1960115; Pfeiffer 1968 137-138; Hunter in Hunter and Fantuzzi 2005 70 (cf. 108-109).


For discussion see Massimilla 1996235-237; Harder 2012 95.


See Sens 2011309-310311-312 318.


Sens 2011309-310.


Luck 1968402n.1 suggests that the epigram parodies the sort of explanations offered by tour-guides at the temple of Aphrodite-Arsinoe while Stephens 2005 246 treats it more broadly as a parody of other dedicatory inscriptions. The presence of Bes on the vessel is consonant with the appearance of pygmies on extant rhyta and thus not inherently absurd despite the poem’s play on the relationship between size and volume.


Gow–Page 1965ii.188 observe a contrast between ‘serious’ poetry and the product of the symposium. Although Callimachus uses ἀοιδή and its cognates of a variety of his own poetic activities (Aetia: e.g. frr. 1.29 33; 26.8; Iambi: frr. 191.27 203.53; hymns: e.g. 1.71 2.18 43 44 106; lyric: fr. 228.1) he never applies them to his epigrams. More important within his epigrams themselves he applies words of this root only to epic verse (HE 1293 [Homer welcomed by Creophylus]; AP 9.507.1 = HE 1297 [Aratus]).


See Hunter in Hunter–Fantuzzi 200576-83; Harder 2012 969.


As Harder 2012971 observes in that passage ζωροποτεῖν (Ath. 11.477c Macrob. 5.21.12) is supported by allusions in other passages of poetry and generally preferred by recent editors to the more general and commonplace οἰνοποτεῖν (P.Oxy. 1362; Ath. 10.442f 11.781d).

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