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The Alexandrian Tradition

Interactions between Science, Religion, and Literature


Edited By Luis Arturo Guichard, Juan Luis García Alonso and María Paz de Hoz

This book is the outcome of the conference «Imperial Alexandria: Interactions between Science, Religion and Literature», held at Salamanca University in October 2011. The conference convened a group of experts from different fields to address the interrelationship between Science, Religion and Literature in the Graeco-Roman world during the Imperial Period, and especially in Alexandria, situating it within the context of the long tradition of knowledge that had been consolidating itself in this city, above all during the Hellenistic era. The encounter’s main aim was to create a forum for interdisciplinary reflection on «the Alexandrian model» of knowledge in the Imperial Period and its background, being attended by philologists and historians specialising in different types of texts (literary, scientific and religious), whose study requires an interdisciplinary approach, with priority being given to the notion of contact and the relationship between these subjects in order to gain a better understanding of the spirit, way of thinking and moral values of a particularly important era in the development of ancient culture.
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Paradox and the Marvellous in Greek Poetry of the Imperial Period: Luis Arturo Guichard



Paradox and the Marvellous in Greek Poetry of the Imperial Period

This paper’s initial purpose is to continue the analysis of the relationship between paradoxography and literature that I began with authors from the Hellenistic period, and in particular the influence of paradoxography in poetry, and adapt it to the Imperial period.1 It is widely known that paradoxography is a hybrid genre that incorporates elements from literature, religion and science, but without being fully any one of these three.2 Since its origins in the Hellenistic ← 141 | 142 → period, paradoxography collects curiosities and extraordinary events from natural and human nature.3 As time passed, the genre not only gained wide popularity, but also had an influence on literature, religion and science. One of the aspects I found most interesting in my study of the thaumasia in Posidippus’ epigrams and in Apollonius Rhodius’ Argonautica was the relationship between mythography and the rational explanation that paradoxography combines: the same event can be explained in paradoxographic treatises using the mythographic tradition and scientific rationalism. I was even more intrigued by the fact that both authors, but especially Apollonius, enjoyed apposing both “explanations” of the same event, subtly combining the version of the myth with paradoxography and the rationalist tradition of the “euhemerist” philosophers and authors heirs to Palaephatus and Dionysius Scytobrachion. A very interesting book appeared between the writing of both articles, product of an Oxonian Congress on thaumasia in the Latin poetry of the Augustan period.4 To...

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