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(154 words)

Author(s): Schmitzer, Ulrich (Berlin)
[German version] (literally 'refusal'). With the 'rejection' of epic poetry on aesthetic grounds, first formulated in the Hellenistic era, its affirmative-panegyric function also became obsolete [1]. In Rome, the recusatio was first found in neoteric poetry (Neoteric poets; Catull. 68: [2. 87 f.]). Under the Principate of Augustus, the Hellenistic tradition [3] of recusatio, justified with artistic arguments and the modesty topos, obtained special significance (e.g. Verg. Ecl. 6; Hor. Sat. 2,1, [4]; Hor. Carm. 1,6 [2. 294]; Prop. 3,3). The attempt by Aug…


(1,288 words)

Author(s): Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg) | Schmitzer, Ulrich (Berlin)
I. Greek [German version] A. Definition The dedication of a literary work is the naming of a person from the author's surroundings with the intent of expressing an honour or gratitude to this person by association with the publication. (Occasionally the recipient was promised immortality [1. 25 f.]). Works which discuss the named person as a subject do not fall under this definition (e.g.,   enkṓmion ). It is apparent in works such as the ‘Epinician Odes’ of  Pindar that the author is aware of…


(1,908 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Schmitzer, Ulrich (Berlin)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt As a rule, literature in the Ancient Orient and in Egypt was anonymous. It was produced in schools by the  scribes. However, a number of important literary or scholarly works in special list-like compilations are attributed to certain authors, as e.g. the Egyptian wisdom literature [1] or the  Epic of Gilgamesh. The author of the latter, Sîn-leqe-unnīnī [2;…


(257 words)

Author(s): Schmitzer, Ulrich (Berlin)
[German version] A legally entrenched copyright protected by penalties did not exist in Greek and Roman antiquity ([1]; cf. [2]).  Plagiarism was considered reprehensible but had no legal consequences. The occurrence described in Vitr. 7 praef. 4-7 according to which  Aristophanes [4] of Byzantium exposed the victors of a poetic competition in Alexandria as plagiarists, who were then punished by the king, is an exception. Similarly, the wish of  Martial [1] (1,52, cf. [3] ad loc.) that a plagiarist of his poems should be punished according to the lex Fabia de plagiariis, is an expression of frustration, not of legal reality. The right of authors to their texts could only be secured through measures concerning the content, for example, by appending a   sphragís [3] (cf.   subscriptio II.; [4; 5]) or acrostichic comments ( Acrostich; Cic. Div. 2,112: Q. Ennius fecit) [4]. The best protection against plagiarism probably was an intensive public discussion of the work and the resulting public knowledge of at least a considerable portion of the text.  Copy;  Autograph;  Book (C.);  Forgeries;  Sphr…

Muse, invocation of the

(739 words)

Author(s): Schmitzer, Ulrich (Berlin)
[German version] Both Homeric epics (Homer) begin with an invocation of the Muse: The request, expressed in the imperative, calls for support in dealing with the theme at hand [1]. In formal terms, this is a special type of prayer, an invocatio, but witho…

Occasional poetry

(510 words)

Author(s): Schmitzer, Ulrich (Berlin)
[German version] A form of poetry created for a specific occasion, not as a result of the poet's autonomous desire. From a perspective that privileges original thinking, occasional poetry (OP) is often regarded as inferior [1. 9-11] but this is unjustified since large parts of ancient poetry from the earliest periods on are OP in a broader sense, as can be seen -- in what appears to be self-reflection -- in the song of Demodocus in Hom. Od. 8,250ff. [cf. 2. 35ff.]. Homer himself is attributed with…

Commissioned poetry

(348 words)

Author(s): Schmitzer, Ulrich (Berlin)
[German version] comes into being when a poet accepts an explicit (not merely implied) request by a power not identical with the  author (regarding rejection   recusatio ) and is therefore always  occasional poetry. The request can come from a deity (inspiration), a ruler ( court poetry), another individual (a), or a community (b). (a) Ancient tradition holds that Simonides of Ceos was the first to produce paid commissioned poetry (CP) with his epinikia in the 6th cent. BC (Schol. Aristoph. Pax 697b H.), followed by Pindar and Bacchylides [2. 46f.]. The trend toward…