Nicholas Winthers

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



    For my research I intend to focus on prestige and propaganda in the Ptolemaic court by looking at Callimachus’ hymns of Delos, Apollo, and Zeus. Within these Hymns Callimachus boosts his status by equating the Ptolemaic king with the Olympian gods, the king being that of Ptolemy II Philadelphus. As a result of Callimachus doing this he also becomes connected to the gods, since he was the one to invoke them.

    This is what I want to do for my research, but I am open to suggestions on how to further develop it. I am also struggling with how to go about writing this exactly, and would appreciate any suggestions on how to format it as well as connect everything.

    Sources that I have looked at are:
    “Literature and the Kings” -Rolf Strootman
    “Gods in Callimachus’ Hymns” -Ivana Petrovic
    “Callimachus and his Crtitics, The Ivory Tower”



    Topic is excellent, but we should focus a bit. Let’s try two steps:

    Step (1)
    Think about these questions:

    • What kind of ‘connections’ do Callimachus’ hymns establish between Ptolemies and Olympians? Do they ‘resemble’ one another? in appearance? in glory? power? scope of rule?
    • Do Olympians and Ptolemies ‘act like’ one another? in general or specific ways? what actions or kinds of actions?
    • Are they ‘legitimated’ like one another? by lineage? office? administration of justice?
    • Do they ‘relate’ to others (mortals, citizens) in similar ways? what are those ways?

    Step (2)
    For each question, think of particular passages from the Hymns that show the kind of connection/relation/legitimation/other similarity you think Callimachus is depicting. Pick some:

    • individual key words (the articles you mention include suggestions)
    • short phrases (start with phrases that surround each of the key words you’re picking
    • phrases that don’t include your key words (poets often depict the same things in multiple ways!)

    Please reply here with your responses to each steps, or email me directly if you prefer (



    Here is my research abstract, think this is where i am suppose to post it.
    In Callimachus’s hymns to Zeus and Delos, he alludes to the Hellenized king of Egypt, Ptolemy II Philadelphus. Each reference in the separate hymns help uphold Philadelphus’s appearance as the true ideal king. In the Hymn to Zeus, lines 84-90 mention that kings are a favorite of the deity; however, Philadelphus surpasses any other king for the reason that his will is fulfilled as soon as thought while other kings are ruined by Zeus. In contrast, the Hymn to Delos speaks of Philadelphus as another god, not just a king. The extent of his prominence is furthered by Apollo who gives a prophecy, still within his mother’s womb, to “Bear me not, mother, here. I blame not the island nor have any grudge, since a bright isle it is and rich in pasture as any other. But there is due to her from the Fates another god” Hymn to Delos, line 162-165. The hymn goes further into describing this future god from lines 166-190 as his power being limitless and his empire stretching sunrise to sunset. Callimachus generally mentions a broad range of places in the Hellenistic world which ultimately contributes to depicting the Ptolemies as hypothetical rulers of the whole world. Much like how the Olympian gods have a wide rule because of their divinity and the grand spectacle their myths give them (i.e. their prominence, power, etc.). My research would consist of looking at these two hymns and how they each described Philadelphus rule as well as his image. I have looked at Rolf Strootman’s “Literature and the Kings” and Ivana Petrovic’s “Gods in Callimachus’ Hymns”, to assist with my research. I will then conclude that Callimachus used the world of the Olympians to validate the dynastic politics of Ptolemaic Egypt by connecting their king with the divine.

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