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Tombs of the Ancient PoetsBetween Literary Reception and Material Culture$
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Nora Goldschmidt and Barbara Graziosi

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198826477

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198826477.001.0001

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Tombs of Poets’ Minor Characters

Tombs of Poets’ Minor Characters

(p.147) 7 Tombs of Poets’ Minor Characters
Tombs of the Ancient Poets

Peter Bing

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Hellenistic epigrams commemorating the death of minor literary characters: a hero named just once in Homer, the slaughtered children of Medea, a prostitute berated by Sappho, the daughters of Lycambes vilified by Archilochus, and the lovely Baucis, Erinna’s friend. It argues that these commemorations reveal an aspect of the Hellenistic reception of earlier Greek poetry—its avid engagement with the tradition, extending even to lesser figures. The chapter suggests that the epigrams, viewed against the backdrop of real-life hero cult, are a kind of metafiction, reactions to, and spin-offs from, an urtext. It demonstrates how an interest in buried literary figures enabled a discourse on literature as autonomous from real-life ritual and yet as best expressed through the materiality of the tomb.

Keywords:   Palatine Anthology, imaginary tombs, cult, minor characters, Charlotte Temple, Doricha, daughters of Lycambes, Baucis

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