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BacchylidesPolitics, Performance, Poetic Tradition$
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David Fearn

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199215508

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215508.001.0001

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The Politics of Fantasy: Bacchylides on Alexander of Macedon (fr. 20B)

The Politics of Fantasy: Bacchylides on Alexander of Macedon (fr. 20B)

(p.27) 1 The Politics of Fantasy: Bacchylides on Alexander of Macedon (fr. 20B)


Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how Bacchylides' engagement with his subject opens up rival receptions of Alexander, in a poem that precariously balances praise of the future monarch against drunken visions of power and wealth; this risks sounding rather more than paraenetic, even potentially critical of the nature of monarchy. It shows how Bacchylides uses an overarching sympotic framework to explore problems pertaining to boundaries, definitions, illusion, and praise itself in relation to Alexander, at a time when political and cultural allegiance, and Greekness itself, is up for grabs, but is becoming a very serious issue in view of Persian threats from the East. The complexity of the poem's sympotic rhetoric cannot be divorced from these much broader themes.

Keywords:   Bacchylides, poems, Alexander, sympotic framework

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