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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The variety of topics in the surviving works of Philostratus makes generalizations about the corpus as a whole difficult. Two biographical works take contrary approaches. The Lives of the Sophists (in which he coined the term “Second Sophistic”) constructs a partial history of Greek rhetorical culture, while the Life of Apollonius of Tyana transforms the portrait of a philosopher into a condensation of Hellenic tradition. In the Heroicus the foundational text of Homeric epic is reimagined through hero cult and Homeric correction, and in the Imagines the mythic past is reconstituted in ekphrasis of artworks. The defining trait of these works is a profound and creative engagement with the Hellenic past, in which readers are shown interpretive approaches to the traditions of Greek art, literature, and religion, and allowed the opportunity to hone their own hermeneutic skills.

Keywords: Philostratus, ancient biography, Second Sophistic, ekphrasis, Lives of the Sophists, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Heroicus, hero cult, Imagines

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