The Captors Image: Greek Culture in Roman Ecphrasis

Hardcover | March 13, 2013

byBasil Dufallo

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An influential view of ecphrasis - the literary description of art objects - chiefly treats it as a way for authors to write about their own texts without appearing to do so, and even insist upon the aesthetic dominance of the literary text over the visual image. However, when considering itsuse in ancient Roman literature, this interpretation proves insufficient. The Captor's Image argues for the need to see Roman ecphrasis, with its prevalent focus on Hellenic images, as a site of subtle, ongoing competition between Greek and Roman cultures. Through close readings of ecphrases in a wide range of Latin authors - from Plautus, Catullus, and Horace to Vergil, Martial, and Ovid, among others - Dufallo contends that Roman ecphrasis reveals an uncertain receptivity to Greek culture that includes implications for the shifting notions of Romanidentity in the Republican and Imperial periods. Individual chapters explore how the simple assumption of a self-asserting ecphrastic text is called into question by comic performance, intentionally inconsistent narrative, satire, Greek religious iconography, the contradictory associations of epicimagery, and the author's subjection to a patron. Visual material such as wall painting, statuary, and drinkware vividly contextualizes the discussion. As the first book-length treatment of artistic ecphrasis at Rome, The Captor's Image resituates a major literary trope within its hybrid cultural context while advancing the idea of ecphrasis as acultural practice through which the Romans sought to redefine their identity with, and against, Greekness.

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An influential view of ecphrasis - the literary description of art objects - chiefly treats it as a way for authors to write about their own texts without appearing to do so, and even insist upon the aesthetic dominance of the literary text over the visual image. However, when considering itsuse in ancient Roman literature, this interp...

Basil Dufallo is Associate Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan.

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Hardcover|Jan 29 2007

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:March 13, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199735875

ISBN - 13:9780199735877

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Table of Contents

AbbreviationsIntroduction. Greek Culture in Roman Ecphrasis1. Staging Ecphrasis in Early Latin Literature: From Naevius to Plautus and Terence2. Becoming Ariadne: Marveling at Peleus's Coverlet with the Inconsistent Narrator of Catullus 643. The Challenge of Rustic Art: Ideals of Order in Vergil, Eclogues 3 and Horace, Satires 1.84. Describing the Divine: The Ecphrastic Temples of Vergil, Georgics 3.13-36 and Propertius, Elegies 2.315. Heroic Objects: Ecphrasis in the Aeneid and Metamorphoses6. Sex, Satire, and the Hybrid Self in Petronian Ecphrasis7. The Patron's Image: Philhellenism, Panegyric, and Ecphrasis in Statius and MartialEpilogue. Captives and Captors: Apuleius and PhilostratusBibliographyIndex