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SKIDMORE CC 200 - Aesthetic & Style of Hellenistic Poetry

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Aesthetic & Style of Hellenistic PoetryCallimachus of CyreneCallimachus, Aetia Prologue (F 1.1-36 Pfeiffer)Often the Telchines grumble at my song— Fools who are not friends of the Muse! — because I haven’t written a single continuous songin thousands of verses on kings or [...] heroes, but I [tell my stories] little by little just like a child,though the decades of my years are not few. [...] and so to the Telchines I reply this: ‘you race [of ...], knowing only how to devour the liver, [the Coan poet?] to be sure was not a man of a few verses, but his bountiful Thesmophoros drags down by far his tall [oak?]...and of the two it is the [...], not the great lady who teaches that Mimnermus is sweet. [...] let the Thracian crane who delights in the blood of Pygmies [fly] away from Egypt and let the Massagetai shoot at long range at the Mede. [Nightingales] are so much sweeter. Get out of here! You destructive seed of Envy. Henceforth judge poetic skill by art, not by the Persian chain. Don’t search for a huge noisy song to be born from me; it is not for me to do the thundering, that’s Zeus’ job!In fact the very first time I put the writing tablet on my knees, Lykian Apollo said to me:“[...] poet, nurture your sacrificial victim to be as fat as possible,but your Muse, O good fellow, to be slender!One more thing, I enjoin you this: the paths that wagons don’t drive on,tread on those, don’t drive your chariot in the same tracks as the others,don’t take the broad street, take instead unworn paths even though you drive on a narrower road.I have obeyed him. We sing among those who love the shrill sound of the cicada, and not the noise of donkeys.Let someone else bray like a long eared beast, but let me be small, the winged one,yes indeed, so that I sing feeding on pure dropletsdewy food from the bright aether,and let me shake of old age straightaway which weighs upon me heavy likethe three cornered isle weighs upon Encelados.EpigramsCallimachus AP 7.80Someone told me of your fate, Heraclitus, and it broughtme to tears. I remembered how often the two of usmade the sun go down on our talk. But I suppose, my Halicarnassian friend,you have been ash for a long, long time.Yet your nightingales live on, untouched by the handof Hades, the snatcher of all.Asclepiades AP 9.63 = GP 9Lyde is my name and my race; I am more majesticthan all the women from Kodros because of Antimachus. Who has not sung me? Who has not read the Lyde, the joint poem of the Muses and Antimachus?AP 7.11Sweet is this labor of Erinna, it is not verbose at allas is fitting for a maiden of nineteen,but it is more powerful than many other works. ‘If Hades had not come too soon, who would have a name as great as mine?’Posidippos 62 Austin and BastianiniImitate these works, O creators of living shapesand, yes, hurry past the old-fashioned rules of statuary!For if ancient works [of the sculptor’s] hand — either Hagelaidesthat total antique, older than Polyclitus,or the stiff figures [of Deinomenes] — had entered the fieldwhat would be the point, lining up here the newcreations of Lysippus as our touchstone? But if it must be so and [a contest] comes about, [he set the limit] for today’s artists!63 Austin and BastinaniniThe bronze resembling Philitas in every detail, downto the tips of his toes, painstaking Hecataeus fashionedhis eye on [the measure] of humanity, its dimensionsand textures, nothing of the heroic thrown in;with all the resources of art, adhering to the strictcanon of truth, he captured the old mandeep in thought, on the brink of speech—with so much characterin his rendering, he’s [alive], though made of bronze!‘[Thanks to Pt]olemy who is both god and king at once, and forthe Muses’ sake, here [I stand], the man of Cos.’140 = AP 12.168 = GP 9Pour out two for Nanno and Lyde, and two for sexy Mimnermus and chaste Antimachus! Mix a fifth for me, and a sixth, Heliodorus, for each person you say happens to be in love. The seventh is for Hesiod, the eighth is for Homer, the nineth for the Muses, for Mnemosyne the tenth. Cypris I am drinking a cup that’s brimming over. Loves, well it is not too graceless to be sober while drunk.TragedyLycophron’s Alexandra, TRANSLATED BY A. W. MAIRThe speaker is a slave appointed to watch Cassandra and report her prophecies. He addresses Priam.[1] ALL will I tell truly that thou askest from the utter beginning, and if the tale be prolonged, forgive me, master.For not quietly as of old did the maiden loose the varied voice of her oracles, but poured forth a weird confused cry,and uttered wild words from her bay-chewing mouth, imitating the speech of the dark Sphinx. Thereof what inheart and memory I hold, hear thou, O King, and, pondering with wise mind, wind and pursue the obscure paths ofher riddles, whereso a clear track guides by a straight way through things wrapped in darkness. And I, cutting theutter bounding thread, will trace her paths of devious speech, striking the starting-point like winged runner.[16] Dawn was just soaring over the steep crag of Phegion on swift wings of Pegasus ,leaving his bed by Cerne.12Tithonus, brother of thine by another mother, and the sailors loosed in calm weather the cables from the grooved34rock and cut the landward ropes. And the centipede fair-faced stork-hued daughters of Phalacra smote5maiden-slaying Thetis with their blades, over Calydnae showing their white wings, their stern-ornaments, their67sails outspread by the northern blasts of flaming stormwind: then Alexandra opened her inspired Bacchis lips on8the high Hill of Doom that was founded by the wandering cow and thus began to speak:9[31] Alas! hapless nurse of mine burnt even aforetime by the warlike pineships of the lion that was begotten in10 11three evenings, whom of old Triton’s hound of jagged teeth devoured with his jaws. But he, a living carver of themonster’s liver, seething in steam of cauldron on a flameless hearth, shed to ground the bristles of his head; he theslayer of his children, the destroyer of my fatherland; who smote his second mother invulnerable with grievous12 13shaft upon the breast; who, too, in the midst of the race-course seized in his arms the body of his wrestler sire14beside the steep hill of Cronus, where is the horse-affighting tomb of earth-born Ischenus ; who also slew the15 16fierce hound that watched the narrow straits of the Ausonian sea, fishing over her cave, the bull-slaying


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