By Richard Rutherford
This obtainable one-volume survey of the literature of Greece and Rome covers the interval among Homer round seven-hundred BC and Augustine round advert 410. It highlights what's very important traditionally and of continuous curiosity and cost in classical literature. it's an creation by way of the editor provides crucial info in a concise, obtainable approach.
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Extra resources for Classical Literature: A Concise History
Comedy can make fun of grandiose tragedy. ). Plato in his dialogues includes parody of rhetoric and satirical portraits of its practitioners. Plutarch declares that biography, with its attention to small-scale detail and personal idiosyncrasy, can often provide illumination in a way that history cannot (Alexander 1). Writers in the higher genres generally abstain from comment on lesser forms (and impersonal genres like epic and tragedy have little room for such comment in any case); as a result we tend to see more examples of low authors parodying or sniping at high than the reverse.
We can also argue from the knowledge of these writers in later times. The scholars of Alexandria were able to assemble most of the oeuvre of Sappho and Alcaeus, Aeschylus and Sophocles. Sappho’s work alone occupied nine books, the ﬁrst of which included 330 stanzas. These texts could not have survived so long had they not been treated as important in themselves, independent of performance. Evidence is more abundant in Hellenistic and Roman times: in particular, the letters of Cicero give us many insights into the writer’s life and the process of publication (his friend Atticus regularly organized the copying and distribution of Cicero’s numerous works).
The reader had to unwind the roll as he read, using one hand to hold and roll up again the part he had already seen. The awkwardness of the unrolling process was considerable; to judge by surviving examples, some of the papyrus rolls were as much as 10 metres long. The material was by no means strong, and could easily be damaged. As a rule writers would use only one side of the roll, as the outside would be handled and easily smudged or worse. As for the text itself, punctuation was often absent or minimal.