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The New Politics of OlymposKingship in Kallimachos' Hymns$
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Michael Brumbaugh

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190059262

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190059262.001.0001

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Zeus as a Paradigm for Dynastic Continuity

Zeus as a Paradigm for Dynastic Continuity

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 Zeus as a Paradigm for Dynastic Continuity
Source:
The New Politics of Olympos
Author(s):

Michael Brumbaugh

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190059262.003.0002

This chapter looks at ways in which the Hymn to Zeus jointly praises Zeus and the Ptolemaic kings. It takes as its starting point the scholarly consensus that associates this hymn with the first succession in the Ptolemaic dynasty. Against that historical context, it demonstrates that the standard myth of Zeus’ rise to power was ill suited to the Ptolemaic succession. Zeus was an important symbol for Ptolemy I Soter’s kingship, and of Makedonian kingship more broadly, but the god became king via a brutal cycle of oppression and usurpation that pitted father against son, as Hesiod’s Theogony famously recounts. Kallimachos decouples the god’s kingship from its violent origins in order to create a pro-dynastic discourse capable of quelling anxiety occasioned by Ptolemy II Philadelphos’ contested succession. The true measure of the poet’s success is that, by selectively calling attention to points of contention within the tradition and passing over others, he persuades his audience to accept his new Zeus unhesitatingly.

Keywords:   paradigm, kingship, Kallimachos, Ptolemies, dynasty, Hymn to Zeus, Theogony, Hesiod, succession

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