Phaethon in Ovid and Nonnus

Classical Quarterly 38 (02):536- (1988)
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Among the artifacts produced by nineteenth-century Quellenforschung, few have exerted more influence or endured more censure than the lost Hellenistic epyllion which, as reconstructed by G. Knaack, told of the journey of Phaethon to the palace of the sun-god and his disastrous ride in the solar car. Relying chiefly upon the two versions of the story told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses and Nonnus in the Dionysiaca , and applying techniques comparable to the stemmatic method of textual criticism, Knaack traced every shared feature of these two accounts to the inevitable lost Hellenistic ‘original’. Details from Lucian and Philostratus , who were also presumed to have read this lost poem, helped to fill in the blanks. Knaack's thesis illustrates the extremes of which source criticism was capable at a time when it was naively assumed that Roman poets were capable of little more than literal translation of their Greek models. In the early part of this century, a reaction set in against Knaack's method, when it was alleged that there was no common source for the two poets and that Nonnus derived his account of Phaethon directly from his reading of Ovid. The case was first made by J. Braune, who examined four episodes common to both works – Phaethon, Cadmus, Actaeon, and Daphne – and argued that correspondences between the two are due to imitation of Ovid by Nonnus. Braune's arguments did not win complete acceptance; it is noteworthy that even his supporters were not entirely convinced by three of his four test passages, for which abundant evidence survives of sources earlier than Ovid



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A History of Education in Antiquity.H. I. Marrou & George Lamb - 1956 - British Journal of Educational Studies 5 (1):83-86.
Quintus von Smyrna und Vergil.Rudolf Keydell - 1954 - Hermes 82 (2):254-256.

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