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This collection of essays explores processes of innovation in Greco-Roman technology and science. It uses the concept of ‘anchoring’ to investigate the microhistories of technological and scientific practices and ideas. The volume combines broad, theoretical essays with more targeted case studies of individual inventions and innovations. In doing so, it moves beyond the emphasis on achievement that has traditionally characterized modern scholarship on ancient technology and science. Instead, the chapters of this volume analyse the manifold ways in which new technologies and ideas were anchored in what was already known and familiar, and highlight how, once familiar, technologies and ideas could themselves become anchoring points for inventions and innovations.
A Study in Hymnody, Hero Cult, and Homeric Reception
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Apollonius represents a crucial link in the epic tradition spanning Homer and Vergil, but arrestingly, his epic Argonautica rather begins and ends in the style of a Homeric Hymn. This book contends that Apollonius thus frames his poem as an innovative synthesis of both branches of his Homeric inheritance: an “epic hymn” that simultaneously commemorates its protagonists’ glorious deeds and venerates them in their religious capacity as divinized cult heroes. This study—the first-ever in-depth investigation of Apollonius’ profound engagement with the hymnic Homer—promises to reorient scholarly understandings of the Argonautica’s novel narrative strategies, its inclusive conception of heroism, and indeed, its very generic affiliations.
Is it possible to be better than Homer? For most literary critics in late antiquity, the answer was an unequivocal no, but the anonymous author of the Argonautika by Orpheus disagreed. This book, the first English monograph on this late antique epic poem, demonstrates that that the idea of competing with Homer is central to the Argonautika by Orpheus. Through a series of case-studies on the poem’s diction and compositional technique, it proposes a novel approach. Since the mythological bard Orpheus is ostensibly the poem’s author, readers are invited to view it from two perspectives simultaneously: as a late antique epic modelled on Homer’s works, but also a prehistorical model for Homer’s works.
Lightness – Quickness – Multiplicity
In his Memos for the Next Millennium, the Italian writer Italo Calvino identified five literary qualities that should accompany writers and readers into the literature of the future: lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, multiplicity. Though never finished, the Memos continue to inspire readers and scholars. This volume turns three of Calvino’s poetic qualities – lightness, quickness, multiplicity – into powerful hermeneutic strategies for reading ancient and late antique texts, ranging widely from Homer’s Iliad to Claudian’s carmina minora. It is the first book to read ancient literature through the lens of Calvino’s Memos, thus fostering a new discussion of the interactions between modern and ancient texts as well as between methodologies.
So little happens in the earliest surviving plays that their dramatic status almost escapes the reader. This calls for a revision of traditional views and historiographies of dramatic literature: for example, how did action come to define drama, and how did these genre developments influence reception? Above all, what constitutes drama when action is as optional as it apparently was in the 470s-460s BCE? This book rethinks Aeschylean theatre as a practice that combines elements of storytelling with enacted responses to them, and reads the literary remains of this practice from cross-generic perspectives (ancient, modern, and transhistorical). Recognizing the importance of embedded narratives in Aeschylus helps us adapt our poetological frameworks to his art at last, rather than vice versa.
Poetry and Genre, with a Critical Text and Translation
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The Orphic Hymns, a collection of invocations to the complete Greek pantheon, have reached us without explicit information about the contexts of their composition and performance. Combining a new critical edition and translation of the hymns with an in-depth study of the poetic strategies they employ and the forms of Greek poetry they draw upon, this book explores what the hymns can tell us about themselves. Through the use of allusion and figures that look to the earliest Greek poetry, the hymns present themselves as a text to be heard and meditated upon in performance, and as Orpheus’ summative revelation on the nature and unity of the divine realm.
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The book offers an in-depth narratological analysis of the 'Book of Orpheus' (10.1-11.84) of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Starting from fundamental aspects of narrative like time, space, and focalisation, the commentary highlights the polyphony of the various narrative levels. The complex and challenging design results from a constant oscillation between the narrator-persona of Ovid and the programmatic Orpheus-figure which has found a wealth of interpretations. In addition, the study places the 10th book in the overall narrative framework of Ovid's Metamorphoses with its density of intertextuality and metanarrativity.