The New Posidippus: A Hellenistic Poetry Book by Kathryn Gutzwiller

By Kathryn Gutzwiller

The Milan Papyrus (P. Mil. Volg. VIII. 309), containing a suite of epigrams it sounds as if all by means of Posidippus of Pella, presents the most interesting new additions to the corpus of Greek literature in many years. It not just comprises over a hundred formerly unknown epigrams via the most well-liked poets of the 3rd century BC, yet as an artifact it constitutes our earliest instance of a Greek poetry ebook. as well as a poetic translation of the whole corpus of Posidippus' poetry, this quantity comprises essays approximately Posidippus through specialists within the fields of papyrology, Hellenistic and Augustan literature, Ptolemaic historical past, and Graeco-Roman visible tradition.

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The hands and hearts of eighty were there, then, to support her when she reached the end— whom now, at the age of a hundred, the Paphians have laid, 5 Onasas' blessed nursling, in this dust [left by the fire]. (VII 3 6-VIII 2) 48 For Bithynis the wise, this is enough, O Themis: a slave's grave; nearby, masters who were good. And I am blest, who did [not] toil to be free, to have a tomb better than liberty. (VIII 3-6) 27 Frank Nisetich 49 [With sharp cries] to the wail of the flute, [her mother] Philaenion here put to rest sad Hegedice, ei[ghteen] years [old], drenched in tears.

Is this an indication that new types of epigrams by Posidippus were categorized by an editor in the manner of prose collections, or evidence of the Hellenistic aesthetic preference for poeticizing non-traditional sources, here in the form of an epigram sequence? While the collection offers a panorama of humanity, it seems weighted toward women, including royal women. Does this reflect the audience for whom Posidippus composed his epitaphs, dedications, and celebratory epigrams over the course of his career, or does it reflect a collection arranged to appeal to the interest of a principal patron, even Queen Berenice herself?

VI1-4) 35 Here lies Strymon of Thrace, hero and prophet, under his crow, that 'Steward of Omens Supreme', as Alexander styled it, who conquered the Persians three times, listening, each time, to this man's crow. (VI5-8) 24 5 The Poems of Posidippus III. ): in my dream, beloved, your eager struggles over, you seemed to reach for it, as if to wipe the fragrant sweat from your limbs—I see you still, Philadelphus, the sharp spear in your hand, the hollow shield on your arm. Here, then, it is: to you from maiden Hegeso, of Macedonian lineage, this delicate strip of white cloth.

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