Aristotle as Poet: The Song for Hermias and Its Contexts by Andrew L. Ford

By Andrew L. Ford

Aristotle is really a thinker and as a theorist of poetry, yet he was once additionally a composer of songs and verse. this is often the 1st finished examine of Aristotle's poetic task, examining his closing fragments in terms of the sooner poetic culture and to the literary tradition of his time. Its centerpiece is a learn of the one entire ode to outlive, a track commemorating Hermias of Atarneus, Aristotle's partner's father and buyer within the 340's BCE. This outstanding textual content is expounded to have embroiled the thinker in fees of impiety and so is studied either from a literary viewpoint and in its political and spiritual contexts.Aristotle's literary antecedents are studied with an extraordinary fullness that considers the complete variety of Greek poetic types, together with poems through Sappho, Pindar, and Sophocles, and prose texts to boot. except its curiosity as a posh and refined poem, the track for Hermias is noteworthy as one of many first Greek lyrics for which we now have massive and early facts for the way and the place it used to be composed, played, and got. It therefore offers a chance to reconstruct how Greek lyric texts functioned as functionality items and the way they circulated and have been preserved. The ebook argues that Greek lyric poems cash in on being learn as scripts for performances that either formed and have been formed through the social events during which they have been played. the result's a radical and wide-ranging research of a posh and interesting literary rfile that provides a fuller view of literature within the overdue classical age.

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The most striking aspect of the inscription is that it is between “the Erythraeans” on one side and “Hermias and his companions” on the other (hetairoi, repeated in lines 2–3, 10–11, 14–15, 20–21, 25). 18 This idealizing view, powerfully advanced in Werner Jaeger’s account, would harmonize with the representation of 20 ARISTOTLE AS POET Hermias found in a prose eulogy for him that was composed by Aristotle’s nephew, Callisthenes of Olynthus (to be discussed below). According to Callisthenes, Hermias died wishing to have word sent “to his friends and companions” that he had done nothing unworthy of philosophy (Didymus col.

Indeed, that document assigns a certain Nicanor to be guardian to the younger Pythias (whom he eventually married), and an attractive conjecture by C. M. 26 Apart from these shadowy but possibly close familial ties, the fact that when he went east Aristotle found himself in the company of several sympathetic students of philosophy inclines me to think that he anticipated something like the substantial hospitality Hermias could afford. 27 We do not know who else exactly was in Assos, but Theophrastus, Aristotle’s student, collaborator, and eventual successor in the Lyceum, was certainly not far—if not in Assos, then just opposite on Lesbos.

Theocritus’s little poem thus fits squarely in a satirical tradition that mocked sages who abandoned the cultural centers of Greece for distant courts and hospitality of a not altogether spiritual kind. 21 Earlier still, the archetypal “intellectual for sale” had been Simonides of Ceos: an avowed consort of tyrants in the late sixth century—for whom he composed songs celebrating the victories that they, like Hermias, won in the games—Simonides was remembered as the first poet to charge money for songs.

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