Nicander of Colophon's "Theriaca": A Literary Commentary by Floris Overduin

By Floris Overduin

Nowa days the Theriaca of Nicander of Colophon (2nd century BCE) has now not attracted many fans. Its complex kind, abstruse diction and technical subject material – venomous bites and their treatments – have lengthy dispose of classical students. within the wake of renewed curiosity in Hellenistic poetry, even if, Nicander’s darkish poetry merits new appreciation.
In this e-book Floris Overduin offers a literary statement at the Theriaca, concentrating on Nicander’s inventive advantages. considered opposed to the historical past of Alexandrian aesthetics and the didactic epic culture, Nicander merits delight of position between his Hellenistic friends. This publication, the 1st complete observation in English, may perhaps hence give a contribution to the reappraisal of Nicander’s Theriaca as a piece of literature, no longer technological know-how.

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Moreover, before Nicander catalogue-like didactic poetry, such as Aratus’ Phaenomena, added to 141 142 143 144 145 The influence of Hesiod’s Catalogue of Women on Hellenistic poetry is discussed by Hunter 2005. An interesting variant of an early catalogue poem in iambics is Semon. 7 ieg2. For catalogues within catalogues cf. the catalogue of Nereids in Hes. Th. 233–264 within the larger catalogue of the Theogony. g. Nic. Ther. 934–956 (a catalogue of ingredients within a catalogue of recipes). Ovid plays the same game in Met.

Fakas 2001, 77 n. 48. introduction 31 a sense that both strains are closely connected, a connection that is corroborated by Nicander, who in turn helps to define the genre in its development. In this light Nicander’s choice for the verb κατέλεξε (cognate to καταλόγος) in Ther. 12 is interesting, as it is used here for catalogue poetry composed by Hesiod. 13 Conclusion As we have seen the Theriaca fits the genre of didactic poetry well. It picks up on all of its characteristics, and thus firmly places itself in the tradition established by Hesiod, and continued in the Alexandrian era by Aratus.

This 147 148 149 Cf. Morrison 2007, 27. Different narratologists use different models of narratorial identification. For the distinction made here see Pfister (1977, 20), who describes this first layer as the “empirischen Autor in seiner literatur-soziologisch beschreibbaren Rolle als Werkproduzenten”. Cf. Pfister 1977, 21; Stoddard 2004, 40–42. This narratorial-authorial layer is not distinguished by De Jong (2004, 3–4), who considers it unnecessary. e. focusing on different aspects of the same narrator.

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