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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter gives an overview of the production and reception of Greek poetry in the Second Sophistic. It addresses questions of its performance and “setting in life,” looks at the generic tradition and creative innovation of epic, drama, melic poetry, epigram, and fable, and takes into account different cultural backgrounds and literary functions. Poetry was at the core of Greek paideia, functioned as a code for the educated elite, was regarded as an essential element of rhetoric, helped to shape Greek identity, and could be used for propaganda by poets belonging to the imperial court. Educated Greeks from all parts of the Roman Empire shared more or less the same knowledge of the Greek literary tradition regardless of their different cultural backgrounds, a function of the uniform Greek educational system based upon literary canons of established genres.

Keywords: Second Sophistic, melic poetry, epic, epigram, drama, fable, paideia, rhetoric, identity

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