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A Moment’s OrnamentThe Poetics of Nympholepsy in Ancient Greece$
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Corinne Ondine Pache

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195339369

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195339369.001.0001

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Hellenistic Nympholeptoi

Hellenistic Nympholeptoi

(p.155) 6 Hellenistic Nympholeptoi
A Moment’s Ornament

Corinne Ondine Pache

Oxford University Press

Leaving the city of Athens in the classical period, chapter 6 turns to the countryside of the Hellenistic poets. Hellenistic poets highlight the indeterminacy of nympholeptic encounters, which can result in blindness, death, disappearance, or poetry. For Theocritus, the death of a nympholeptic herdsman, Daphnis, becomes the beginnings of a new genre, bucolic poetry. Callimachus plays on the paradigm of the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite to tell a story of divine punishment that leaves the mortal Teiresias blinded but endowed with a prophetic gift. The pastoral nymph, a goddess who lives in the human landscape, displaces the more traditional Muses as the source of inspiration for this new genre of poetry that fuses folk narratives and archaic models into a new poetic and religious landscape, where the nympholept becomes a central figure simultaneously as he disappears.

Keywords:   Hellenistic poetry, Muses, Nymphs, Theocritus, Daphnis, Callimachus, Teiresias, Indeterminacy, Death, Bucolic

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