Under Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who ruled Egypt in the middle of the
third century B.C.E., Alexandria became the brilliant multicultural
capital of the Greek world. Theocritus's poem in praise of
Philadelphus-at once a Greek king and an Egyptian pharaoh-is the
only extended poetic tribute to this extraordinary ruler that
survives. Combining the Greek text, an English translation, a full
line-by-line commentary, and extensive introductory studies of the
poem's historical and literary context, this volume also offers a
wide-ranging and far-reaching consideration of the workings and
representation of poetic patronage in the Ptolemaic age. In
particular, the book explores the subtle and complex links among
Theocritus's poem, modes of praise drawn from both Greek and
Egyptian traditions, and the subsequent flowering of Latin poetry
in the Augustan age. As the first detailed account of this
important poem to show how Theocritus might have drawn on the
pharaonic traditions of Egypt as well as earlier Greek poetry, this
book affords unique insight into how praise poetry for Ptolemy and
his wife may have helped to negotiate the adaptation of Greek
culture that changed conditions of the new Hellenistic world.
Invaluable for its clear translation and its commentary on genre,
dialect, diction, and historical reference in relation to
Theocritus's Encomium, the book is also significant for
what it reveals about the poem's cultural and social contexts and
about Theocritus' devices for addressing his several readerships.
COVER IMAGE: The image on the front cover of this book is
incorrectly identified on the jacket flap. The correct caption is:
Gold Oktadrachm depicting Ptolemy II and Arsinoe (mid-third century
BCE; by permission of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).
Subjects: Language & Literature
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