By Susan A. Stephens
While, within the 3rd century B.C.E., the Ptolemies turned rulers in Egypt, they discovered themselves not just kings of a Greek inhabitants but in addition pharaohs for the Egyptian humans. supplying a brand new and accelerated figuring out of Alexandrian poetry, Susan Stephens argues that poets comparable to Callimachus, Theocritus, and Apollonius proved instrumental in bridging the gap among the 2 specified and every now and then diametrically adverse cultures below Ptolemaic rule. Her paintings effectively positions Alexandrian poetry as a part of the dynamic during which Greek and Egyptian worlds have been absolute to engage socially, politically, and imaginatively.The Alexandrian poets have been image-makers for the Ptolemaic courtroom, Seeing Double indicates; their poems have been political within the broadest experience, serving neither to aid nor to subvert the established order, yet to open up an area during which social and political values will be imaginatively re-created, tested, and critiqued. Seeing Double depicts Alexandrian poetry in its right context--within the writing of origin tales and in the inventive redefinition of Egypt as "Two Lands"--no longer the lands of higher and reduce Egypt, yet of a shared Greek and Egyptian tradition.
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Extra info for Seeing Double: Intercultural Poetics in Ptolemaic Alexandria
44. 9. 45. See below and chapter 3. 46. 4. 36 Conceptualizing Egypt built great monuments. His foreign policy included building a navy, strengthening Egypt’s defenses against her enemies, treating the conquered with respect, and settling his veterans on plots of land. 47 To so construct the past as an exemplum for the future was very much in keeping with an Egyptian ideal of kingship in which each king—insofar as he was a good king—acted not only to replicate but to exceed the distinguished behavior and moral excellence of his precedessors.
Introduction 17 The primary focus of this book is poetry, and speciﬁcally poetry that, I will argue, operates to imagine a new form of kingship, operating in two worlds, Greek and Egyptian. In order to see it in its contemporary context, I have begun with a chapter that sets out earlier Greek writings on Egypt and what we can learn about the various Egypts that Greeks constructed for themselves. In particular I consider the fourth-century writers in prose who were near contemporaries of the Alexandrian poets, Hecataeus of Abdera, Euhemerus, and (somewhat later) Dionysus Scytobrachion, all of whom were familiar with Egypt.
1 with Greek writers alternately demonizing or romanticizing Egypt and its cultural institutions, inventorying, and ﬁnally appropriating them. , we need to take cognizance not only of the contents of previous Greek writings on Egypt but also of the intellectual Tendenz of earlier writers like Herodotus who interpret or refract Egyptian culture for Greeks, because much that is central to this study is already visible in earlier Greek writers, though considerably altered in form. The signiﬁcance of this earlier material should not be underestimated.