Theocritus: Encomium of Ptolemy Philadelphus

Theocritus: Encomium of Ptolemy Philadelphus

Richard Hunter

Language: English

Pages: 244

ISBN: 2:00336969

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Under Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who ruled Egypt in the middle of the third century B.C.E., Alexandria became the brilliant multicultural capital of the Greek world. Theocritus's poem in praise of Philadelphus—at once a Greek king and an Egyptian pharaoh—is the only extended poetic tribute to this extraordinary ruler that survives. Combining the Greek text, an English translation, a full line-by-line commentary, and extensive introductory studies of the poem's historical and literary context, this volume also offers a wide-ranging and far-reaching consideration of the workings and representation of poetic patronage in the Ptolemaic age. In particular, the book explores the subtle and complex links among Theocritus's poem, modes of praise drawn from both Greek and Egyptian traditions, and the subsequent flowering of Latin poetry in the Augustan age.

As the first detailed account of this important poem to show how Theocritus might have drawn on the pharaonic traditions of Egypt as well as earlier Greek poetry, this book affords unique insight into how praise poetry for Ptolemy and his wife may have helped to negotiate the adaptation of Greek culture that changed conditions of the new Hellenistic world. Invaluable for its clear translation and its commentary on genre, dialect, diction, and historical reference in relation to Theocritus's Encomium, the book is also significant for what it reveals about the poem's cultural and social contexts and about Theocritus' devices for addressing his several readerships.

COVER IMAGE: The image on the front cover of this book is incorrectly identified on the jacket flap. The correct caption is: Gold Oktadrachm depicting Ptolemy II and Arsinoe (mid-third century BCE; by permission of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).





















context of the provision and consumption of food: polloi; me;n bovskontai ejn Aijguvptwi polufuvlwi bibliakoi; caraki'tai ajpeivrita dhriovwnte" Mousevwn ejn talavrwi (SH 786) In teeming Egypt are fed many creatures of the book, fenced-in, constantly squabbling in the Muses’ basket sitei'sqai, the verb with which Athenaeus glosses Timon’s bovskesqai, was, at least in Roman times, part of the “title” of the Alexandrian scholars or “those being fed in the Museum without payment” (oiJ ejn tw'i

that if we knew the date of the poem, those verses would appear more historically nuanced than they do now. As for arguments based on 12. Cf. Fraser 1972, 2: 367. 13. Grzybek 1990, 103–12; cf. Koenen 1993, 51–52. For the earlier date cf. Minas 1994; Cadell 1998. Introduction / 5 the (undeniable) intertextual relation with Callimachus, these are always likely to be no more than suggestive. The Hymn to Zeus is standardly (and attractively) dated early in Philadelphus’s reign, on the basis of

girdles; the goddess, well disposed, stood beside her and poured painlessness down over her whole body, and the longed-for son, the image of his father, was born. Cos cried aloud at the sight, and, taking the infant in her loving hands, she addressed him: “May you be blessed, my son, and may you honor me as much as Phoebus Apollo honored dark-circled Delos. In like honor too may you hold the hill of Triops, assigning an equal reward to the Dorians who dwell nearby; (70) equally too did lord

polla; de; pianqevnta bow'n o{ge mhriva kaivei mhsi; periplomevnoisin ejreuqomevnwn ejpi; bwmw'n, aujtov" t j ijfqivma t j a[loco", ta'" ou[ti" ajreivwn numfivon ejn megavroisi guna; peribavllet j ajgostw'i, ejk qumou' stevrgoisa kasivgnhtovn te povsin te. 117 h] klevo" Tr: klevo" W 121 te kai; w|n Briggs: tekevwn K: tokevwn W koniva K: - ivh W 126 o{ge Tr(ii): o{te W: o{de SM 127 mhsi; Ahrens: masi; codd. 128 ajreivwn KTr: ajreivw W 115 120 125 130 Encomium of Ptolemy Philadelphus / 89

celebrated. 7–8 I shall hymn Ptolemy, in the form of song appropriate also to the gods. 9–10 The woodcutter on Mount Ida. 11–12 Where do I begin? Already, then, as the proem establishes apparently discrete categories of being, vv. 7–8 test the boundary (as indeed does Ptolemy) between analogy and identity through a self-conscious acknowledgment that the language and mode of praise, the hymnos (cf. above, p. 8, 8n.), has been transferred from god to man. “Likeness” and analogy, diªerence and

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