“Déjà la pierre pense où votre nom s’inscrit”. Identity in context in verse epitaphs for Hellenistic soldiers

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Abstract

Success in war over rival kings or barbarian invaders was one of the marks of legitimation for the Hellenistic rulers. Depictions of, or allusions to, war are quite rare in the surviving Hellenistic court poetry; however, we can have a glance of military life (and death) through the lens of verse epitaphs for men who served in the army –in every rank, from royal philoi to humble privates–, and from the occasional dedicatory epigrams they commissioned for temple offerings. Poetic portrayal of members of an army involves display (or concealment) of many layers of their individual and public “identity”: social status, ethnicity, cultural background, religious belief, etc. Building a corpus of such epigrams produced in the 4th-1st cent. BC, from every area of the Hellenistic world (mainland Greece, Macedonia, the Ptolemaic, Attalid and Seleucid kingdoms, the independent poleis of Asia Minor) I shall try to assess similarities and differences in self-presentation of men who –often gone unremarked by ancient historians or court poets– helped building the power of their basileis or keeping the freedom of their own polis.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteHellenistic Studies at a Crossroads Exploring Texts, Contexts and Metatexts
EditorAntonios Rengakos, Evina Sistakou, Richard Hunter
Pagine305-338
Numero di pagine34
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014

Serie di pubblicazioni

NomeTrends in Classics - Supplementary Volumes 25

Keywords

  • Greek
  • epigram
  • epigraphy
  • hellenistic
  • literature
  • military
  • poetry

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