By Floris Overduin
Nowa days the Theriaca of Nicander of Colophon (2nd century BCE) has now not attracted many lovers. Its complex variety, abstruse diction and technical subject material – venomous bites and their treatments – have lengthy dispose of classical students. within the wake of renewed curiosity in Hellenistic poetry, notwithstanding, Nicander’s darkish poetry merits new appreciation.
In this ebook Floris Overduin presents a literary statement at the Theriaca, targeting Nicander’s creative benefits. seen opposed to the heritage of Alexandrian aesthetics and the didactic epic culture, Nicander merits delight of position between his Hellenistic friends. This e-book, the 1st complete statement in English, may possibly hence give a contribution to the reappraisal of Nicander’s Theriaca as a piece of literature, now not technology.
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Extra info for Nicander of Colophon's "Theriaca": A Literary Commentary
In the same way as Aratus does, but this is of course the poet’s theme, not the subject of its didactic content. g. an extensive passage on herpetology in Lucan does not make the ninth book of the Pharsalia a didactic poem. 81 In addition one needs to distinguish between poetry with and poetry without a narrative plot. It is clear that a subject like ‘the capture of Troy’ belongs to epic narrative, and is not a suitable subject for a didactic poem. 5 (Pseudo-)Instruction A fourth criterion lies in the element of instruction, or at least the semblance of instruction, which perhaps can be labelled ‘pseudo-instruction’.
Hes. Th. 22, where the shepherd Hesiod is referred to in the third person, but subsequently as ‘me’ in 24. There too we get the impression that the narrator referring to Hesiod is an external one, although the shift is very brief. introduction 35 way in which the historical author wants to be presented, by himself or by an external commentator, in this particular passage, reflecting on the rest of the poem. This model thus helps to distinguish between Nicander, the historical Hellenistic poet from Colophon, and the first-person internal speaker who speaks to his internal addressee Hermesianax in the proem of the poem as a teacher.
These four layers will be explained below. 4). This 4author does not exist within the text itself, and from a narratological point of view there is no reason to assume that this Nicander was a doctor simply because he wrote about medical issues, a supposition that is based on the confusion between the historical author of the first layer, and the role assumed by the poet in the third layer (see below). 149 He is the one who presents us with intertextual allusions, verbal play, the acrostic, etymology and aetiology for the sake of aesthetics, or sophisticated play with presentations of romantic-bucolic scenery in earlier poetry.