Greek Mythography in the Roman World

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Overview

By the Roman age the traditional stories of Greek myth had long since ceased to reflect popular culture. Mythology had become instead a central element in elite culture. If one did not know the stories one would not understand most of the allusions in the poets and orators, classics and contemporaries alike; nor would one be able to identify the scenes represented on the mosaic floors and wall paintings in your cultivated friends' houses, or on the silverware on their tables at dinner.

Mythology was no longer imbibed in the nursery; nor could it be simply picked up from the often oblique allusions in the classics. It had to be learned in school, as illustrated by the extraordinary amount of elementary mythological information in the many surviving ancient commentaries on the classics, notably Servius, who offers a mythical story for almost every person, place, and even plant Vergil mentions. Commentators used the classics as pegs on which to hang stories they thought their students should know.

A surprisingly large number of mythographic treatises survive from the early empire, and many papyrus fragments from lost works prove that they were in common use. In addition, author Alan Cameron identifies a hitherto unrecognized type of aid to the reading of Greek and Latin classical and classicizing texts—what might be called mythographic companions to learned poets such as Aratus, Callimachus, Vergil, and Ovid, complete with source references. Much of this book is devoted to an analysis of the importance evidently attached to citing classical sources for mythical stories, the clearest proof that they were now a part of learned culture. So central were these source references that the more unscrupulous faked them, sometimes on the grand scale.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Alan Cameron is Charles Anthon Professor of the Latin Language and Literature at Columbia University.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 An anonymous ancient commentary on Ovid's Metamorphoses? 3
Ch. 2 The Greek sources of Hyginus and narrator 33
Ch. 3 Mythological summaries and companions 52
Ch. 4 Narrator and his Greek predecessors 70
Ch. 5 Historiae and source references 89
Ch. 6 Bogus citations 124
Ch. 7 Myth in the margins 164
Ch. 8 Mythographus vergilianus 184
Ch. 9 Myth and society 217
Ch. 10 The Roman poets 253
Ch. 11 Conclusion 304
App. 1 Lactantius placidus 313
App. 2 Three versions of Hyginus 317
App. 3 The text of the Narrationes 319
App. 4 Marginal source citations in Parthenius and Antoninus liberalis 321
App. 5 Source citations in the Origo Gentis Romanae 328
App. 6 Anonymus florentinus 335
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  • Posted July 3, 2014

    Great Writing....!... Wonderful...! LOVE it...!

    Great Writing....!... Wonderful...! LOVE it...!

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