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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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Saviors, Tyrants, and the Poetics of Empire

Saviors, Tyrants, and the Poetics of Empire

(p.162) 5 Saviors, Tyrants, and the Poetics of Empire
The New Politics of Olympos

Michael Brumbaugh

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines ways in which the Hymn to Delos revisits the role of the king as a guard, set out in the first hymn. Here, Kallimachos adds nuance to his earlier characterization by distinguishing between the savior, Apollo, who protects and the tyrant, Hera, who oppresses those who are less powerful. As in the preceding hymns, Kallimachos de-emphasizes aspects of his narrative that could be seen as anti-dynastic, presenting in its place a more whimsical account. Explicitly paralleling the birth, kingship, and universal empire of Apollo and Ptolemy II Philadelphos, Kallimachos effectively replaces Zeus with a new paradigm of ideal kingship. This hymn’s embrace of a pan-Mediterranean stage mirrors, in a way, Philadelphos’ efforts to expand his kingdom into a vast, overseas empire during the first years of his reign. During this period, the honorific title Sōtēr, meaning “Savior,” once again gained currency within diplomatic discourse as a way for independent poleis to laud kings who had saved them from invading Gauls. Not only does Kallimachos incorporate this contemporary dynamic into his hymn, but he also maps the diplomatic traffic in praise onto the reciprocal charis dynamic that traditionally obtains between a hymnist and his honorand.

Keywords:   Kallimachos, Hymn to Delos, Savior, Apollo, Hera, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, charis, diplomacy, tyrant, empire

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