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Aristotle as PoetThe Song for Hermias and Its Contexts$
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Andrew L. Ford

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199733293

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733293.001.0001

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Performance and Occasion

Performance and Occasion

(p.27) Chapter 3 Performance and Occasion
Aristotle as Poet

Andrew Ford

Oxford University Press

This Chapter compares another pair of representations of Hermias, two epigrams in elegiacs. An epigram Aristotle is said to have composed for a memorial at Delphi is read against the mocking response to this verse by Theocritus of Chios and the different social functions of elegiacs as opposed to lyric verse are introduced. It emerges that Aristotle’s poetry for his friend necessarily took on a polemical, even propagandistic aspect. The genre of epigram also raises possibility that the occasion projected by a poem for its ostensible performance may be fictive, as in the case of “book epigrams.” Although it declares itself a poem inscribed on stone, Aristotle’s Delphic epigram shows a rhetorical subtlety that suggests that he, like Theocritus, may have anticipated the Hellenistic tradition of literary epigrams.

Keywords:   Theocritus of Chios, Simonides, epigrams, Greek literacy, Xenia, epitaphs, oral performance, Hermotimus, poetry books

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