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Durham e-Theses
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Certamen Homeri et Hesiodi: Introduction, Critical Edition and Commentary

BASSINO, PAOLA (2013) Certamen Homeri et Hesiodi: Introduction, Critical Edition and Commentary. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This dissertation provides an up-to-date introduction to the Certamen Homeri et Hesiodi, a critical edition of the text, and the first commentary in English on it. The Certamen is an anonymous work composed around the second century AD. It gives an account of the lives of Homer and Hesiod and of their poetic contest by re-elaborating biographical anecdotes attested from the sixth century BC onwards. As a biographical work that draws on older texts and oral traditions which developed over hundreds of years, it yields unique insights into the reception of early Greek Epic in the course of classical antiquity.
This thesis begins with an introduction to the tradition of the contest between Homer and Hesiod that collects and discusses the extant ancient accounts of that story. It argues that all versions are equally authoritative in principle, for they testify to different acts of reception of the poets in different contexts. The thesis then offers an up-to-date analysis of the manuscript witnesses of the Certamen and of their contribution to our understanding of the textual tradition of this text, and shows that the ancient biographies of the poets form a corpus that is naturally open to variation. The Edition provides a text that accounts for such an open tradition. The line-by-line Commentary offers a systematic analysis of both general and specific issues related to the text: this is a necessary and urgent task, not least because the Certamen is a stratified text, bringing together traditions of very different provenance, which can only be assessed and interpreted through a process of close reading.
The ultimate aim of the thesis is to show how the story of the contest between Homer and Hesiod provides crucial insights into the processes of reception and canonisation of early hexameter epic from the archaic period to late antiquity.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Homer, Hesiod, epic poetry, ancient biography
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Classics and Ancient History, Department of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:23 Sep 2013 10:57

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