Aretalogical Poetry: A Forgotten Genre of Greek Literature: Heracleids and Theseids

Philologus: Zeitschrift für Antike Literatur Und Ihre Rezeption 162 (2):208-231 (2018)
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The article deals with a hitherto largely neglected group of poetic texts that is characterized by the representation of the vicissitudes and deeds of a single hero through a third-person omniscient authorial voice, henceforth called ‘aretalogical poetry’. I want to demonstrate that in terms of form, contents, intertextual ‘self-awareness’ and long-term influence, aretalogical poetry qualifies as a fully-fledged epic genre comparable to bucolic or didactic poetry. In order not to blur my argument, I will focus on heroic aretalogies, and on Heracleids and Theseids in particular, because of their prominence in the minds of ancient literary critics. In the case of Heraclean aretalogies, it is expedient to distinguish further between aretalogies of ‘epic’ and ‘lyric epic’.



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The rise of the Greek epic.Martin L. West - 1988 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 108:151-172.

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