A Companion to Hellenistic Literature by James J. Clauss, Martine Cuypers

By James J. Clauss, Martine Cuypers

Delivering extraordinary scope, A better half to Hellenistic Literature in 30 newly commissioned essays explores the social and highbrow contexts of literature construction within the Hellenistic interval, and examines the connection among Hellenistic and previous literature. offers a breathtaking serious exam of Hellenistic literature, together with the works of well-respected poets along lesser-known historic, philosophical, and medical prose of the interval Explores how the indigenous literatures of Hellenized lands encouraged Greek literature and the way Greek literature inspired Jewish, close to jap, Egyptian, and Roman literary works

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Ironically, the area of Hellenistic prose where most texts are extant also happens to be the one least accessible to most students of Greek literature. Scientific writing, even if it could be classified under philosophy, was somewhat separate back then as it is now. It addressed an audience of specialists through concise verbal explanation with visual illustration, using formal conventions which are surprisingly similar across disciplines (Cuypers). Substantially preserved (occasionally in Arabic translation) are works on mathematics, optics, astronomy, and mechanics by over a dozen authors, including key figures such as Euclid and Archimedes.

Much of this is as before. Even local wars continue, often over land and boundaries. What is new, at least in its pervasiveness, is the emergence of the king and the powerful citizen benefactor as significant influences on civic life, their status reflected in honorary decrees. The king, transformed into the object of cult, could even become part of the religious structure of the city. Far from the death of the polis one might even see its reinvigoration as kings, following the example of Alexander, set about founding new cities and in this way simultaneously affirmed their power and their Greek identity.

7–9; Plu. Alex. 12). This combination of violence and literary sensibility was to be a continuing feature of the Hellenistic world. Alexander was a man who slept, so it was said, with two objects under his pillow, a dagger and a copy of Homer’s Iliad, the latter considered by him to be a manual of the art of war. Indeed, when he had to choose his most precious possession to place in a valuable casket seized from Darius, it was the Iliad that he selected (Plu. Alex. 8, 26). By 334 Alexander had asserted his control over Macedon and the Greek mainland.

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