The paper discusses the various ways in which Greek poets, from the midthird century BC down to the Byzantine age, exploited Callimachus’ language, style, and poetics and how the reception of Callimachus changed over time. Refined Hellenistic authors such as Euphorion and Nicander imitated the Cyrenaean poet in both diction and meter: their Imperial successors proved more selective, integrating a Callimachean heritage into their own (sometimes very different) literary agendas—such is the case of Nonnus, pairing countless borrowings from Callimachus with a markedly un-Callimachean style. Epic parody, inscriptional poems, Christian reworking of Callimachus, and his reception in Byzantine highbrow poetry are also subjects for analysis.
This paper aims to reconsider the so-called ‘comic heroism’ in Aristophanes’ extant plays. The comic hero does not always express the collective self-image, like Dicaeopolis in Acharnians and Trygaios in Peace; Knights, as early as 424 bc, is a telling instance of Aristophanes’ will to introduce a much more nuanced picture of both the imaginary and the real Athens. Clouds and Wasps also provide further variations. But the real turning point comes in 414 with Birds, whose much disputed political meaning deserves the closest attention. After the ambiguous, disquieting Peisetaerus, comic heroes will not entirely disappear from Aristophanic comedy, yet their nature will never be the same again. Good ideas may come from a clever woman (Lysistrata), a cowardly god (Dionysus in Frogs), or even Apollo’s shrine (in the late Plutus), no longer from the Attic ‘common man’ of the earlier plays. The political evolution of Athens during the Peloponnesian War appears to have altered Aristophanes’ (alleged) trust in some kind of ‘saviour’ emerging from the erratic mass of Athenian male citizens.