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Recusatio

(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…

Court poetry

(182 words)

Author(s): Schmitzer, Ulrich (Berlin)
[German version] Its origin at the court of a king or prince was constituted for the content of court poetry (CP) in the narrower sense. As part of the court society (each differently constituted) the author contributes, with or without an explicit commission, to the legitimisation of rule by shaping power structures through his literature or, simply through his writing, by expanding these with a cultural dimension. The earliest example is the naming of the Aeneads in the Iliad; especially signifi…

Copy­right

(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 express…

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 without reference to earlier accomplishments or a promise of a gift in return (common in the prayer or hymn style), which shows a high degree of intimacy between mortal and deity [2]. One might conclude from formulations like Hom. Il. 1,1 or Hom. Od. 1,10 that the poet was acting only as a …

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…

Dedication

(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 his role as a mediator of fame. A specia…

Authors

(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; 3] rewrote, probably in the 12th cent. BC, traditional material dating from the 18th cent. BC into the…