Teaching through Images

Imagery in Greco-Roman Didactic Poetry


In ancient didactic poetry, poets frequently make use of imagery – similes, metaphors, acoustic images, models, exempla, fables, allegory, personifications, and other tropes – as a means to elucidate and convey their didactic message. In this volume, which arose from an international conference held at the University of Heidelberg in 2016, we investigate such phenomena and explore how they make the unseen visible, the unheard audible, and the unknown comprehensible. By exploring didactic poets from Hesiod to pseudo-Oppian and from Vergil and Lucretius to Grattius and Ovid, the authors in this collective volume show how imagery can clarify and illuminate, but also complicate and even undermine or obfuscate the overt didactic message. The presence of a real or implied addressee invites our engagement and ultimately our scrutiny of language and meaning.

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Jenny Strauss Clay is William Kenan Jr. Professor of Classics Emerita at the University of Virginia. She has written extensively on early Greek poetry including The Wrath of Athena, The Politics of Olympus, Hesiod’s Cosmos, and Homer’s Trojan Theater.

Athanassios Vergados is Professor of Greek at Newcastle University. His publications include A Commentary on the Homeric Hymn to Hermes (De Gruyter) and Hesiod’s Verbal Craft: Studies in Hesiod’s Conception of Language and its Ancient Reception (OUP).

Contributors are Ilaria Andolfi, Arnold Bärtschi, Abigail Buglass, Noah Davies-Mason, Joseph Farrell, Monica R. Gale, Patrick Glauthier, Christoph G. Leidl (†), John F. Miller, Eva Marie Noller, Zackary Rider, Zoe Stamatopoulou, Jenny Strauss Clay, Athanassios Vergados, Anke Walter.
Scholars, undergraduate and post-graduate students in Classics; scholars/students of modern literatures working on didactic poetry.