The speech of Pythagoras in Ovid Metamorphoses 15: Empedoclean _Epos_

Classical Quarterly 45 (01):204- (1995)
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Abstract

Ovidians continue to be puzzled by the 404-line speech put into the mouth of Pythagoras in book 15 of the Metamorphoses. Questions of literary decorum and quality are insistently raised: how does the philosopher's popular science consort with the predominantly mythological matter of the preceding fourteen books? Do Pythagoras' revelations provide some kind of unifying ground, a ‘key’, for the endless variety of the poem? Can one take the Speech as a serious essay in philosophical didactic, or is it all a mighty spoof, as intentionally laughable, perhaps, as the imperial panegyric with which the narrative of book 15 concludes? Or should we beware of imposing modern tastes on Ovid's original audience, and respect the Hellenistic and Roman predilection for scientific poetry? This article seeks to establish further contexts for the evaluation of the Speech of Pythagoras through a study of Ovid's allusive practice within the Greco-Roman tradition of hexameter epos. The figure who provides a foundation for Ovid's construction of his own poetic genealogy turns out to be the Greek philosophical poet Empedocles. The resulting reflections on Ovid's manipulation of generic conventions may be timely in the light of the recent appearance of sophisticated and fresh approaches to the question of whether the Metamorphoses is, or is not, an epic

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Citations of this work

What is Pythagorean in the Pseudo-Pythagorean Literature?Leonid Zhmud - 2019 - Philologus: Zeitschrift für Antike Literatur Und Ihre Rezeption 163 (1):72-94.
Citing empedocles: A bilingual pun at ovid, met. 15.58.Paul Roche - 2018 - Classical Quarterly 68 (2):552-556.

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References found in this work

The Presocratic Philosophers.G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven & M. Schofield - 1983 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 36 (4):465-469.
Aristotle's Poetics: The Argument.Gerald Frank Else - 1963 - Harvard University Press.
Empedocles Recycled.Catherine Osborne - 1987 - Classical Quarterly 37 (01):24-.
Lukrez und Empedokles.Walther Kranz - 1944 - Philologus: Zeitschrift für Antike Literatur Und Ihre Rezeption 96 (1-2):68-107.

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