Karen ní Mheallaigh takes a large-scale look not only on Lucian, but on imperial literature and culture as a whole, proposing that there is a large and omnipresent interest in what Umberto Eco has called ‘hyperreality’: to give torsi, fragments, relics and all that seems to count in constituting cultural tradition, a new, splendent and overwhelmingly ‘real’ allure by making perfect copies, fakes. Evidently there must be, then, a strong intellectual occupation with questions about both the status of reality and fictionality and the ‘making of’, i. e. ‘mimesis’, as a way of dealing with the past, of controlling and reshaping it. Ní Mheallaigh particularly reflects on implicit and motivic ways of addressing such questions in literary and scientific texts. There emerges a postmodern openness of meaning and an epistemological fascination by materiality of media, as well as by the status of readers. The following review article tries to recapitulate the main positions of the book and to challenge some of them.
Alexander the Great, Caesar, Caligula, Cicero, Cleopatra, Diogenes, Hypatia, Leonidas, Lucretia, Nero, Sappho and Socrates—all famous women and men from Antiquity who have fascinated across the centuries that divide us from them. We encounter them again and again in literature, art, music, film and new media forms such as graphic novels.
The 96 contributions in
Brill’s New Pauly Supplement 7: Historical Figures from Antiquity written by an international team of scholars depict the survival of these great characters from Antiquity to the modern world. Each article presents an overview of the latest research on what we know concerning the lives of the historical person or legendary figure and then recounts the reception of these figures throughout history, giving special attention on the viewpoints in the early modern and contemporary periods. Turning the spotlight on the leitmotifs of established images and theories allows the reader to reassess the importance of these figures in our history and culture.
Translated and edited by Duncan A. Smart and Chad M. Schroeder