Show Summary Details

Article expanded to include a detailed survey of “ekphrasis” in Greek literature. Bibliography updated to incorporate recent scholarship.

Updated on 27 Jul 2017. The previous version of this content can be found here.
Page of

 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, CLASSICS (classics.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 29 July 2017

Summary and Keywords

Ekphrasis refers to the literary and rhetorical trope of summoning up—through words—an impression of a visual stimulus, object, or scene. As critical trope, the word ekphrasis (ἔκφρασις) is attested from the first century ce onwards: it is discussed in the Imperial Greek Progymnasmata, where it is defined as a “descriptive speech which brings the subject shown before the eyes with visual vividness.”

Keywords: Ekphrasis (ecphrasis), visual-verbal relations, rhetoric, Progymnasmata, enargeia, vividness, Homeric shield of Achilles

Access to the complete content on Oxford Classical Dictionary requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.