By Patricia A. Rosenmeyer

The 1st referenece to letter writing happens within the first textual content of western literature, Homer's Iliad. From the very starting, Greeks have been enthusiastic letter writers, and letter writing grew to become a special literary style. Letters have been integrated within the works of historians yet additionally they shaped the foundation of works of fiction, and the formal substructure for plenty of sorts of poem. Patricia Rosenmeyer, an expert at the background of the Greek letter, assembles during this publication a consultant choice of such 'literary letters', from Aelian and Alciphron to Philostrartus and the intended letters of Themistocles. The publication might be priceless for all scholars of Greek literature in particular these learning Greek (and Latin) letter.

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Extra info for Ancient Greek Literary Letters: Selections in Translation (Routledge Classical Translations)

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We know that Antiphanes, as a practitioner of Middle Comedy (after Aristophanes and before Menander), was both prolific and successful on stage in Athens, but we rely mostly on citations in the prose compiler Athenaeus (ca. 200 CE) for our extant passages. I chose this bit not for its outward form, since it is not actually epistolary in shape at all, but for its content. The comic character Sappho, presumably based on the archaic lyric poet, presents a riddle: what is female and holds close to her body babies who are mute but can be heard far away?

This is the best way to spend your time, in harmony with Dionysius, Aphrodite, and the Graces. Then the next day they’ll tell everybody about your generosity and increase your popularity. You’d spend a lot to buy this kind of service, but this way you get it free. Let me ask you something. If poor people walked around with their eyes closed—let’s just suppose they did—wouldn’t you be upset that nobody was admiring your elegant clothes, your crowd of supporters, and the size of your rings? I won’t even mention 36 LETTERS OF THE SECOND SOPHISTIC 1111 2 3111 4 5111 6 7 8 9 10111 11 2 3111 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40111 1 21111 folio the plotting, the hatred you inevitably arouse in the poor against yourselves if you decide to enjoy your wealth alone.

Lucian 30 LETTERS OF THE SECOND SOPHISTIC 1111 2 3111 4 5111 6 7 8 9 10111 11 2 3111 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40111 1 21111 folio (the author) has read his Homer well, and recalls in this scene Bellerophon’s narrow escape in the Iliad. But the suspicion of epistolary abuse is unwarranted; instead, Odysseus’ letter is both a love letter to Calypso and a letter of recommendation for the courier. The whole passage is also a sequel to the Odyssey, expanding on what was famously hinted at by Teiresias’ prophecy in the Homeric epic.

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