Message-Stick of the Muses: Lyric Epistolarity and Textuality in Pindar and Bacchylides
This article is the first thorough examination of the motif and pragmatics of sending songs in the epinician corpus. It demonstrates that the sending motif developed out of early Greek cultural attitudes towards textuality itself. Examples of the motif found in Bacchylides 5 and Pindar Pythian 3, Pythian 2, Nemean 3, Olympian 6, Isthmian 2 are examined to demonstrate how each affects the ode’s pragmatics and self-framing. In each ode, the motif is shown both to reflect an ancient Greek regime of textuality heavily focused on the text’s vocality, and to emphasise the ode’s existence as a material, entextualised object within the self-imposed limitations of a poetic style rooted in the song culture. It argues that the sending motif must be seen as one of Greek encomiastic poetry’s most interesting metapoetic tropes.
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