Herodes Atticus Reflected in Occasional
Poetry of Antonine Athens

By Fotini Skenteri
Studia Graeca et Latina Lundensia, No. 13
December 2005
Almqvist & Wiksell
ISBN: 912202137X
134 pages, Illustrated, 6” x 8 ¾”
$69.50 Paper Original

The occasional poetry of the Antonine period relating to the wealthy sophist and important second century AD political personality in Athens, Herodes Atticus, is studied. Some of the functions of poetry are illustrated, as it is used by one of the leading personalities of the Second Sophistic. This study differs from previous research in focusing totally on verse inscriptions connected with Herodes Atticus found in two different regions of the Roman Empire. Earlier studies treated these inscriptions almost exclusively as sources for Herodes' biography.

In this study, the texts are also regarded as illustrations of the applications of occasional poetry in the contemporary society and of the manner in which Herodes exploited the poetic medium in order to enhance his own person, family and endeavors. All the compositions discussed are poetic creations indicted on particular occasions and carved on stone for public display; they have common characteristics, especially of style and language.

Diverse aspects of Herodes' character are identified, as are various roles he adopted during his life: patron, husband and father. The authorship of the poems remains unresolved; however, it is argued that Herodes was deeply involved in their creation, whether as the sole originator, or as the commissioner in full control of the details. Herodes' aim was to glorify his own position in Athenian society, to honor loved ones, or to express mourning. All the works convey the image Herodes had of himself, together with that he wished to portray to others.

Literature / Poetry

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