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n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Received responses : ancient testimony on Greek lyric imagery
This article attempts to assess the value of ancient responses (testimonia) to the imagery in Greek lyric (= melic) poems. As such it offers a contribution to the history of the reception of the lyric texts, as well as to the interpretation of specific images.
Such an investigation is severely impeded by the fragmented state both of the lyric poems and of the testimonia on them. Questions of content and context arise in almost every instance. Even the identification of an image can be uncertain. The impact or effect of the imagery on the original target audiences cannot be reconstructed; the responses of the testimonia, all later than the poetry, are all we have.
Nevertheless, the examples discussed show that ancient critics have a limited interest in imagery per se, yet often offer useful and even essential information on content and context, and on occasion even provide a valid literary evaluation of an image.
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