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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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The Poetics of Praise in the Hymn to Zeus

The Poetics of Praise in the Hymn to Zeus

(p.90) 3 The Poetics of Praise in the Hymn to Zeus
The New Politics of Olympos

Michael Brumbaugh

Oxford University Press

This chapter further examines how Kallimachos depicts the poet and the praise he crafts as essential to kingship. It argues that the hymn’s lengthy narrative detailing Rhea’s postpartum search for a stream in the Hymn to Zeus is a metaphor for the poet’s own aporia, the sense of not knowing how to proceed, which he highlights in the hymn’s opening frame. In his narrative Kallimachos uses intertextual markers to contrast Arkadia with the landscape of the Theogony proem, where Zeus’ praises are abundant, and his reign is guaranteed. Drawing on the metaphor of water as poetry, Kallimachos casts Rhea’s search for a stream in which to bathe Zeus as analogous with the narrator-poet’s own search for the praises with which he will shower his honorand. In this way, Kallimachos makes three subtle assertions: true praise is difficult to come by; it is extremely important to kingship; and he is expert in crafting it.

Keywords:   Kallimachos, Hymn to Zeus, Hesiod, Theogony, aporia, metaphor, metapoetics, intertextuality, praise, kingship

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