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Wandering Poets and Other Essays on Late Greek Literature and Philosophy$
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Alan Cameron

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190268947

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190268947.001.0001

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Claudian Revisited

Claudian Revisited

Chapter:
(p.133) 6 Claudian Revisited
Source:
Wandering Poets and Other Essays on Late Greek Literature and Philosophy
Author(s):

Alan Cameron

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190268947.003.0006

The chapter begins reflectively, with a consideration of why Claudian represented an ideal subject for early study, bearing as it did on matters of history as well as of literature. The author’s subsequent research on Claudian’s contemporaries and on other court poets refined and revised the early image of Claudian as propagandist. Modern assumptions about what propaganda is and how it works do not easily apply to the early period. The elite attachment to poetry was itself part of the way that governments tried to influence opinion. Claudian was able to perform at court and circulate written copies of his works, conveying his political opinions by enfolding them in his poetry. He was not a mouthpiece for Stilicho so much as a skilled poet who put his poetry at the service of his patron.

Keywords:   Claudian, poetry as propaganda, Stilicho, panegyric, epic, invective

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