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Text and bibliography expanded to reflect current scholarship on Quintus Smyrnaeus. Keywords added.

Updated on 26 September 2017. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 16 October 2018

Summary and Keywords

Quintus Smyrnaeus was a poet of the late 2nd or 3rd century ce, the author of the epic poem the Posthomerica (14 books, 8,786 lines), which covers the narrative lacuna between Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey and thus treats stories that were originally covered by the Epic Cycle. The narrative technique is more episodic and linear than that of the Homeric epics, but it does not lack plot coherence and an overarching design. The language and style is strongly Homericising: vocabulary, syntax, and the use of formulaic phrases resemble that of the Homeric epics to a large degree. At the same time, Quintus’s language is also characterised by Alexandrian traits. In a wider cultural context, Quintus belongs to the same period as the Second Sophistic, and the Posthomerica can be understood as a response to revisionist tendencies against Homer. Scholars debate the question as to whether Quintus still had access to the Epic Cycle and whether he was influenced by Roman authors, especially by Vergil’s Aeneid.

Keywords: Quintus of Smyrna, Posthomerica, Greek epic, Homer, Iliad, Odyssey, Epic Cycle, Vergil, Aeneid, Second Sophistic

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