The Intellectual Context:
a. Third Century BC Ptolemaic Alexandria
i. Alexandria got named from Alexander the Great. Egypt
ii. Last Ptolemy was Cleopatra.
iii. Alexander & his generals were Macedonians. Not
considered very sophisticated to Greeks. Thought they
were uneducated and uneducable. Did not respect.
iv. Created largest library of ancient world.
v. Plato set up his academy at a grove sacred to an
Athenian hero. Aristotle, his student, when founded his
own school set up near a sanctuary Apollo.
b. Mouseion in the Library
i. Near sanctuary of Muses – 9 goddesses of art and
ii. Trying to create institution imitating Plato and Aristotle.
Gives literary merit.
iii. Where do you put incoming texts? First time in Greek
culture that books were organized by genre.
iv. Copies of books were handwritten.
c. Reconstruction of the Classical Texts
i. Realized that some of texts were different because they
were copied differently. May have inserted different word,
some lines were lost, some words uncertain of meaning.
d. Homeric Studies
i. Major industrial industry in Homeric studies. Scholars
coming from all over, funded by Ptolemy, to decipher.
o Apollonius chief librarian.
e. Writing as Rewriting
i. Originality was telling old mythic stories in new way.
ii. No new myths.
iii. Updating classical texts.
f. Mixing of Genres
i. i.e western opera.
Born around 295 BC
Chief Librarian 260-247 BC
a. Ancient biographies written as moral stories. Not as a history.
Many biographies were written influenced by their writing. i.e.
writing about Shakespeare on the basis of his plays.
Famous argument with Callimachus
a. Small poetry is best – Callimachus b. Ancient biographers believed that Apollonius was forced to
retire to Rhodes
"Exile" on Rhodes
Poet and Scholar
Dream to Folktale to Myth
Folktale: old story told over and over again
Same structure (i.e. sleeping beauty, hero slays
o Original folktales not identified with any particular place