Mother of snakes and kings. Apollonius Rhodius’ Foundation of Alexandria.

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Of all the lost Foundation Poems attributed to Apollonius Rhodius, active at the court of Ptolemy II, the Ktisis of Alexandria must have been the most important for his contemporaries, and surely is the most intriguing for modern scholars of the Hellenistic world. Unfortunately, only a brief mention of this epyllion survives, in a scholion to Nicander’s Theriaka, relating to the birth of poisonous snakes from the severed head of Medusa, carried by Perseus over Libya. Deadly and benign serpents belong to a multi-cultural symbolic imagery intertwined with the Greek, Macedonian, Egyptian and Jewish origins of the city. This paper explores the possible connections of the only episode preserved from Apollonius’ Ktisis with the most ancient known traditions on the foundation of Alexandria —possibly even created at the time of Alexander or of the first Lagid dynasts, Ptolemy I and II.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)209-245
Numero di pagine37
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014


  • Alexandria
  • Apollonius Rhodius
  • Hellenistic
  • Ktisis
  • poetry


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