By Rhiannon Ash, Alison Sharrock

ISBN-10: 0203446917

ISBN-13: 9780203446911

ISBN-10: 0203755154

ISBN-13: 9780203755150

ISBN-10: 0415165105

ISBN-13: 9780415165105

ISBN-10: 0415165113

ISBN-13: 9780415165112

A chronological consultant to influential Greek and Roman writers, Fifty Key Classical Authors is a useful advent to the literature, philosophy and background of the traditional global. together with essays on Sappho, Polybius and Lucan, in addition to on significant figures equivalent to Homer, Plato, Catullus and Cicero, this publication is a crucial software for all scholars of classical civilization.

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Example text

Man must work to fill her belly with food, and with his seed so that she may produce children, without which he faces the final extinction. ‘Woman’, then, is part of the human condition. The famous ‘Pandora’s box’ is an error. Hesiod’s Pandora had a jar, which she opened and so allowed plagues and other toils and evils out into the world, while only hope remained inside (Works and Days 94–8). The meaning of this jar has been debated, but many people would now accept that at least one of its functions is as a metaphor for the womb, which was thought by the ancients to be like an upturned jar.

Aeschylus’ language isn’t easy, but it is enormously powerful. We have one connected trilogy extant from Athenian tragedy: Aeschylus’ Oresteia, which took the victory in 458 BC. The subject matter comes from the Trojan mythic world, with Homer always in the background, but the treatment is fundamentally different and fundamentally tragic. A recurrent feature of tragedy is that the sufferings it depicts come in cycles, that evil in one generation begets evil in another. In the house of Atreus (father of Agamemnon and Menelaus, Greek leaders in the Trojan war), there is a long history of horrors within the family, right from the start when Tantalus fed his own son Pelops to the gods.

What is crucial about Hesiod isn’t just that he was a very early poet, but that he spoke in his poetry about his experiences as a poet, thus providing us with the first surviving ancient ‘poet’s voice’, in the sense of a developed, self-aware personality presented as a first-person character in poetry. This isn’t to say, however, that he wrote autobiography. Everything we know about Hesiod we learn from his own work, so the details are as subject to poetic embellishment as are those of a sophisticated liar like Ovid.

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Fifty Key Classical Authors (Routlegde Key Guides) by Rhiannon Ash, Alison Sharrock


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