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(1,547 words)

Author(s): Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg)
[German version] I. Definition and Origin Protreptics here refers to a literary genre which attempts to persuade the reader of the value of a subject of study and seeks to enthuse him and convince him to 'turn' to it (προτρέπειν/ protrépein, 'to turn towards something'). Generally philosophy is meant, but secondarily also other subjects (see II below). The origin is the adjective προτρεπτικός/ protreptikós, 'hortatory'; προτρεπτικὸς λόγος/


(1,832 words)

Author(s): Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg)
[German version] A. Definition Dialogue is defined as a prose genre, in which a conversation between several participants is recorded in direct speech. In Greek and Latin literature, this form of representation is mostly used for theoretical debates, particularly philosophical ones. Somewhat lesser developed were the entertaining humorous scenes (see below for Lucian: E. Roman Period), which were close in genre to the  mimos. The most important author of dialogues is Plato; he has been seen througho…


(237 words)

Author(s): Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg)
[German version] (Βῶλος; Bôlos) of Mendes (in the Nile Delta). Greek writer c. 200 BC. His essential themes were occult powers, sympathy and antipathy between people, animals, plants, stones and metals (Fr.: 68 B 300 and 78 DK). He gave important impetus to the spread of the theory of sympathy [1], later also to the development of  Alchemy [5].…


(3,557 words)

Author(s): Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg) | Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
I. Greek [German version] A. Definition and prehistory Biography as a literary genre is the account of the life events of an individual human being; it gives voice to the tendency to respect lifetime achievements and personal individuality as a meaningful unity. Biography has existed in this mould in Greek literature since Hellenism; the term for that is bíos (βίος; βιογραφία, biographía is first used in Damascius, Vita Isidori = Phot. Bibl. Cod. 242, § 8, as nomen actionis: ‘biographical writing’, then Phot. Bibl. Cod. 181 for the text itself). The search for its origins leads further back [9; 12; 15]. Precursor forms and writers appear within other literary forms and then move from experiments in the genre (like Xenophon's ‘Cyropaedia) into Hellenistic biography. In terms of the history of ideas we proceed from the premise that the origin of biography is linked to the development of the concept of individualism. The most important elements of this prehistory are as follows: 1. Anecdotic interest in famous people. The ‘popular books’ about Homer and Hesiod (like the Certamen Homeri et Hesiodi,  Competition between Homer and Hesiod),  Aesop, the  Seven Sages and  Archilochus date back to the 5th or 6th cents.;   Sappho's life was surrounded by legend.  Scylax of Caryanda wrote about Heracleides, the tyrant of Mylasa (Suda, s.v. Skylax), and  Xanthus of Lydia about Empedocles (Diog. Laert. 8,63).  Ion of Chios recounted anecdotes of …


(1,752 words)

Author(s): Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg)
[German version] A. Term This term is mainly applied to literary letters; however, the transition from private letters ( Epistle) to lite…


(1,230 words)

Author(s): Uthemann, Karl-Heinz (Amsterdam) | Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg)
[German version] A. Concept Diatribe is a modern concept which owes its existence to the fact that, based on Wilamowitz's [3] formal description of the Cynic  Teles' popular-philosophical ‘sermons’ (3rd cent.BC), Usener [1. LXIX] and Wendland [2] introduced for these ‘diatribe’ as a generic term. It has stood the test of time, as long as it is taken as a kind of ancient dialexis (first in [4]); originally as a synonym of dialogos, dialexis referred to any kind of conversation, but in the usage of philosophers and rhetors, it then came to mean a didactic, but also ent…

Symposium literature

(1,392 words)

Author(s): Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg)
[German version] A. Definition SL is a genre of prose literature containing a report of a symposion (Latin convivium, symposium, see Banquet), sometimes also of the preceding dinner (δεῖπνον/ deîpnon , Latin cena ). The main narrative current consists of the conversations of the participants, which can also contain complete speeches or lectures. SL can also be seen as a special case of the literary dialogue [4]. A deîpnon literature can be distinguished from a SL [8] (see below [D5]). However, these strands converged from the Hellenistic period, esp. among Roman authors. Görgemanns, He…


(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 expressi…


(2,386 words)

Author(s): Pongratz-Leisten, Beate (Tübingen) | Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg) | Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient A heterogeneous group of texts exists in the Ancient Orient which are supposed, on the basis of the categories of form (1st person singular) and semantics (reflection on past behaviour in respect of a current or future search for meaning), to be of an autobiographical character. In Mesopotamia this includes on the one hand texts which, written at a later point, give a more or less fictitious report of an episode in the life of great rulers of the past, for instance …


(603 words)

Author(s): Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg)
(τέχνη/ téchnē, Latin ars). [German version] I. Term and areas of usage Techne or ars refers to any kind of professional knowledge and skill (art I), and in the larger sense, intelligence, cunning and a clever course of action in general. Areas of usage are the crafts (V. H.), visual arts (Art, theory of), poetry and music, medicine, sports, mantics etc. The term implies a general awareness of culture and progress (cf. Progress, idea of; Origin myths and theories on the origin of culture; Art; Könnensbewußtsein). Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelb…


(1,479 words)