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Encomium of Ptolemy Philadelphus

Encomium of Ptolemy Philadelphus

Text and Translation with Introduction and Commentary by Richard Hunter
Copyright Date: October 2003
Edition: 1
Pages: 238
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  • Book Info
    Encomium of Ptolemy Philadelphus
    Book Description:

    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 Invaluable for its clear translation and its commentary on genre, dialect, diction, and historical reference in relation to Theocritus's Encomium, the book is also significant for what it reveals about the poem's cultural and social contexts and about Theocritus'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).

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92937-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-72)

    Theocritus’s Idyll 17 (EP)¹ celebrates Ptolemy II “Philadelphus,”² who became co-regent of Egypt and the Ptolemaic empire with his father, Ptolemy I “Soter,” in 285³ and then assumed the throne in his own right on Soter’s death in 283/2; he died in 246, to be succeeded by his son Ptolemy III “Euergetes.” Much of the surviving high poetry of Alexandria dates from his long reign, which also saw the full flourishing of literary and scientific scholarship in the famous Museum and its associated Library,⁴ as well as a period of active foreign expansion and exploration; from a modern perspective this...

  6. Sigla
    (pp. 73-74)
  7. Encomium of Ptolemy Philadelphus THEOCRITUS
    (pp. 76-92)
  8. Commentary
    (pp. 93-200)

    1–12 Proem. The twelve-verse proem falls into three quatrains, demarcated by the absence of connecting particles in vv. 5 and 9, which gives the sense of three fresh starts:

    1–4 Zeus and Ptolemy hold analogous positions on heaven and on earth ;

    5–8 The great deeds of the heroes of old were celebrated by excellent poets, but I will hymn Ptolemy [i.e., rather than the heroes of old];

    9–12 The woodcutter on Mount Ida does not know where to begin. Where shall I begin, as there is so...

    (pp. 201-218)
    (pp. 219-222)
    (pp. 223-224)
    (pp. 225-226)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 227-230)