Adrian Scaife

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  nsatkovich 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #532

    nsatkovich
    Keymaster

    This forum is dedicated to your writing on your prospective paper/abstract/bibliography.

    #536

    nsatkovich
    Keymaster

    Statement of Intent

    Based on our readings, lectures, discussions, and my responses, I intend to explore the relationship and interaction between Hellenistic literature and the Ptolemaic court/Alexandrian elite. The intersection between these two fields seems most apparent during the symposia, during which intellectuals like Callimachus and Apollonius would deliver performances of their work before a gathering of peers. Within the there are frequent references and allusions to aspects of elite Alexandrian society, and I intend to consider the way the reading of these instances differ when presented at a symposia versus when read as a text.

    I have several times during this course used the idea of a “closed-loop” to describe the nature of the Alexandrian intelligentsia, as I think it appropriately captures the way in which the literature we have read frequently alludes to different elements of the court. In this way, my topic touches on the three primary topics we have considered: the references to women, at least in comparison to men, are few and far between, and their occasional inclusions are as relevant as their omissions; many of the texts make note of lands or other kingdoms associated, either as friends or foes, with the Ptolemaic Kingdom, and in this way the Alexandrian authors pay homage to Ptolemaic power; and in terms of the Hellenistic aesthetic, the stylistic choices permeate each work, and those constraints affect how the aforementioned allusions are made. While these elements will each factor in as a component of my research, they are not the central focus.

    This research will require me to consider the texts in context of, for example, the nature of the elite Alexandrian symposia, the relationship and rift between Callimachus and Apollonius, the nature and history of the Ptolemaic dynasty, and the Alexandrian intellectual scene, to name a few. A preliminary list of sources is listed below (and I appreciate any further reading suggestions!):

    Acosta-Hughes, Benjamin. 2010. “The Politics of Apollonius Rhodius’ Argonautica.” American Journal of Philology. 131 (2): 332-335.

    Griffiths, Frederick T. 1997. “Callimachus and His Critics.” American Journal of Philology. 118 (2): 339-343.

    Gutzwiller, Kathryn J. 1998. Poetic garlands: Hellenistic epigrams in context. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.31905.

    And primary sources:

    Callimachus, Aetia

    Callimachus, Epigrams

    Callimachus, Hymn to Apollo

    Apollonius, Argonautica

    #540

    nsatkovich
    Keymaster

    Hi, Adrian:
    You have a really rich topic here, which I think you can tell already. The basic issue is how does the literature of the Hellenistic era interact with its social structures. For the literature, the specifics you have highlighted are the authors Callimachus and Apollonius, and for the social structures you have highlighted the Alexandrian symposium, the Ptolemaic dynasty, and, more generally, the Alexandrian intellectual scene.

    My initial advice would be to shave this down. One source that might help is Alan Cameron’s Callimachus and His Critics (Princeton, 1995). The first three chapters “Cyrene, Court and Kings”, “The Ivory Tower”, and “The Symposium”, discuss the separate issues you want to analyze. In roughly 100 pages, you get a full overview and full range of bibliography on the subject.

    Getting you hands on this book and digging into those chapters would help you decide which of the subtopics are most interesting and, then, which to make the focus of your prospectus. Even though the book’s focus is on Callimachus, there is a good amount on Apollonius, and, in particular, on the supposed quarrel between C. and A., which you also mention.

    The piece you highligh by Frederick Griffiths is a review of Cameron’s book. So it would serve as a good supplement to read along with Cameron.

    Let me know what you think.

    #561

    nsatkovich
    Keymaster

    Final Abstract:

    As scholar Alan Cameron argues in Callimachus and His Critics, there was no loss of sympotic culture by the age of Callimachus, and in fact the era was “arguably a new golden age of sympotic poetry” (73). The Hellenistic authors whose works came to represent the age labored under conditions distinct from their predecessors, namely as an institutionalized intelligentsia serving an official role under the kings and courts of the Hellenistic empires. Still, though the literati spent more time reading literature than listening to literature, as evidenced by the vast numbers of scrolls they kept in the libraries of the age, the public reading of works still held a prominent place in the intellectual life of the vast majority of people of the era. Indeed, kings and elites sponsored these spectacles with the intention of accruing renown and recognition among their subjects.

    For the artists in Alexandria, then, their intentions were varied. On the one hand, they had been tasked with concocting a Greek mythical and historical past for the Ptolemaic Empire. Graham Zanker asserts that the “cultural isolation” that occurred after Alexander the Great’s empire fractured led to a proliferation of epic and epigrammatic poetry stressing the connections between the Ptolemaic dynasty and its classical antecedents (Realism in Alexandrian Poetry, 20). The density of references and allusions that came to define Hellenistic poetry reflected that desire to root their poetic tradition firmly in familiar territory, despite new political divisions.

    On the other hand, the points at which contemporary poets interacted in their writings are reflective of the newly institutionalized nature of the Alexandrian literary sphere. This paper will explore the relationship and interaction between Hellenistic literature and the Ptolemaic court/Alexandrian elite. The intersection between these two fields seems most apparent during the symposia, during which intellectuals like Callimachus and Apollonius would deliver performances of their work before a gathering of peers and subjects. Within the works there are frequent references and allusions to aspects of elite Alexandrian society, and I intend to consider the way the reading of these instances differ when presented at a symposia versus when read as a text.

    The poets, in participating in this “closed-loop” dynamic, are using the obscure and selective allusions—sources indicate some texts required a complementary commentary in order to be understood even by contemporaries—as a means of indicating to both their fellow elites and to the lesser subjects their membership in the upper echelons of the Ptolemaic court. But to indicate their shared membership, they must prove their poetic virtue, and so there arose a seemingly contradictory situation of asserting their sameness by emphasizing their uniqueness in regards to poetic creativity and originality.

    This paper touches on the three primary topics of consideration: the references to women, at least in comparison to men, are few and far between, and their occasional inclusions are as relevant as their omissions; many of the texts make note of lands or other kingdoms associated, either as friends or foes, with the Ptolemaic Kingdom, and in this way the Alexandrian authors pay homage to Ptolemaic power; and in terms of the Hellenistic aesthetic, the stylistic choices permeate each work, and those constraints affect how the aforementioned allusions are made. While these elements will each factor in as a component of my research, they are not the central focus.

    The texts must be considered in context of, for example, the nature of the elite Alexandrian symposia, the relationship and rift between Callimachus and Apollonius, the nature and history of the Ptolemaic dynasty, and the Alexandrian intellectual scene, to name a few. A preliminary list of sources is listed below:

    Secondary Sources:

    Acosta-Hughes, Benjamin. “The Politics of Apollonius Rhodius’ Argonautica.” American Journal of Philology (2010). 131 (2): 332-335.

    Cameron, Alan. Callimachus and His Critics. Princeton: Princeton University Press (1995).

    Griffiths, Frederick T. 1997. “Callimachus and His Critics (Review).” American Journal of Philology. 118 (2): 339-343.

    Gutzwiller, Kathryn J. Poetic garlands: Hellenistic epigrams in context. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press (1998).

    Zanker, Graham. Realism in Alexandrian Poetry: A Literature and its Audience (London, 1987).

    Primary sources:

    Callimachus, Aetia

    Callimachus, Epigrams

    Callimachus, Hymn to Apollo

    Apollonius, Argonautica

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