Ancient Greek Literary Letters: Selections in Translation by Patricia A. Rosenmeyer

By Patricia A. Rosenmeyer

The 1st referenece to letter writing happens within the first textual content of western literature, Homer's Iliad. From the very starting, Greeks have been enthusiastic letter writers, and letter writing turned a different literary style. Letters have been incorporated within the works of historians yet additionally they shaped the foundation of works of fiction, and the formal substructure for lots of varieties of poem. Patricia Rosenmeyer, an expert at the background of the Greek letter, assembles during this booklet a consultant choice of such 'literary letters', from Aelian and Alciphron to Philostrartus and the intended letters of Themistocles. The ebook could be necessary for all scholars of Greek literature specially these learning Greek (and Latin) letter.

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Sample text

9 I, Rufinus, send cheerful greetings to my sweetest Elpis, if she can be cheerful when I’m not there. I swear an oath on your eyes that I can’t bear it anymore, this loneliness, the separation, my solitary bed. When I visit Coressus’ hill and great Artemis’ shrine, I’m always dripping with tears. But tomorrow I’m coming home. I’ll fly to your eyes, calling down a thousand blessings on you. 44 Dear Piso, your friend who is loved by the Muses, who honors Epicurus’ birthday every year on the twentieth day, invites you to his humble home tomorrow, after the ninth hour strikes.

Don’t hold a grudge because of that reckless kick of mine. I’ve been crucified on your account, and I didn’t say a word against you. If you still remember me, all my suffering was worth it; but if you ignore me, then you’ll deliver the death sentence. Mithridates gave this letter to his loyal slave Hyginus whom he’d put in charge of his whole estate in Caria and who knew all about his love [for Callirhoe]. Mithridates himself also wrote to Callirhoe, revealing his sympathy and concern, claiming that he had saved Chareas for her sake .

But I thought I really understood what you were talking about. So go on, tell me. Then Antiphanes presents Sappho solving the riddle herself: The female creature is a letter, and the babies she carries around inside are the letters of the alphabet. Even though they have no voice, they chat with people far away, whomever they wish. But if someone else happens to stand near the person reading the letter, he won’t hear a thing. 9 I, Rufinus, send cheerful greetings to my sweetest Elpis, if she can be cheerful when I’m not there.

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