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The Metamorphoses of Ancient Myths

Edited By Malgorzata Budzowska, Burc Idem Dincel, Jadwiga Czerwinska and Katarzyna Chizynska

This book gives a comprehensive overview of the phenomenon of artistic dialogue with ancient myths. The contributions assume a double-track research approach. The contributors investigate the procedure of myths' recycling within Greco-Roman antiquity, and they consider modern re-occupations of myths in dramatic literature and theatre. Providing various examples of myths' reception from antiquity to present days, this book confirms the persistent human need of re-mythization.

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Mythical Motifs in Early Byzantine Epigrams (Hanna Zalewska-Jura)


Hanna Zalewska-Jura*

Mythical Motifs in Early Byzantine Epigrams

Abstract: In the Early Byzantine writings from the 6th and 7th century, during which Christian thought permeated and influenced literature, the epigram seems to have appeared as a literary relic of the past. Moreover, the Cycle of Agathias Scholasticus elicited a certain revival of the epigram in its classical form and content (as “classical” the author refers to the epigrams composed in the Hellenistic period as well as the time of the Roman Empire, i.e. during the acme of the genre), in which the Greek poet collected the works of his own, but also of other, contemporary poets. A striking characteristic of the traditionalism of these poets, also comprising the followers of the new religion, is their use of references to the world of pagan myths. A few examples will allow us to recognize the purpose of revoking the motifs of past legends and beliefs, as well as the messages they conveyed.

Keywords: mythical motifs, Greek epigram, Early Byzantine literature.

Nearly all Early Byzantine writings1 are permeated by the spirit of Christianity. This also refers to poetry, especially the so-called secular poetry, which reflected the quotidian social life along with its religious aspects (Jurewicz 1984: 81). In this regard, the epigram appears as a unique literary form. The genre exceeded the iconic themes of literature of that time and returned to the contents and artistic form it had achieved in its heyday, i.e. the...

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