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Mimetic ContagionArt and Artifice in Terence's Eunuch$
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Robert Germany

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198738732

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198738732.001.0001

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(p.178) Epilogue
Mimetic Contagion

Robert Germany

Oxford University Press

This epilogue looks briefly at a story told by Lucian about a performance of Euripides’ Andromeda in Abdera that led to a mass epidemic, following which the Abderites could only speak in quotations of the play. The implicit danger of contagious performance, whether for an individual or a community, which this book has examined from so many angles, is seen here in radiant clarity. In the Andromeda Euripides had represented the nymph Echo, pathetically able only to repeat back her interlocutor’s last line (a scene delightfully parodied in Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae). The Andromeda’s infectious quality in Lucian’s story thus leaves the Abderites’ echoing Echo and neatly demonstrating the phenomenon of mimetic contagion.

Keywords:   Lucian, How to Write History, Euripides’ Andromeda, Echo, Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae

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