The Captor's Image: Greek Culture in Roman Ecphrasis
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 its use 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 Roman identity 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 epic imagery, 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 a cultural practice through which the Romans sought to redefine their identity with, and against, Greekness.
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Introduction Greek Culture in Roman Ecphrasis
From Naevius to Plautus and Terence
Marveling at Peleuss Coverlet with the Inconsistent Narrator of Catullus 64
Ideals of Order in Vergil Eclogues 3 and Horace Satires 18
The Ecphrastic Temples of Vergil Georgics 31336 and Propertius Elegies 231
Ecphrasis in the Aeneid and Metamorphoses
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Achilles Aeneas Aeneas’s Aeneid Alexandrian allusion ambiguous ancient Apollo appears Ariadne Ariadne’s art objects artistic artworks audience audience’s Augustan Augustus’s becomes Bonadeo Callimachean Callimachus Catullus Catullus’s Cena Chaerea Chapter context cups Daedalus’s Damoetas Danaids depicted describes divine Domitian’s Eclogues ecphrasis Elsner emperor’s Encolpius Encolpius’s epic epigram erotic especially Eumolpus fact figure further Georgics Gigantomachy Greece Greek and Roman Greek art Greek culture Hellenic Hellenistic Hellenophile Hercules Homeric Horace Horace’s imagery Latin literary Lysippus Maecenas’s Martial Menaechmus Menalcas’s Metamorphoses Minerva myth mythical Naevius’s narrative narrator narrator’s Octavian’s Ovid Ovid’s paintings Palatine temple passage patron Petronius philhellenism Plautus poem 64 poem’s poet poetic poetry Pollio Priapus Priapus’s Propertius Propertius’s recalls receptivity Roman ecphrasis Rome Rome’s Satires 1.8 Satyricon sculptures Shield Silvae social Statius Statius’s statue statue’s story suggests Terence’s text’s theme Theseus tion tradition Trimalchio’s Trojan trope Troy Vergil’s Vergilian victory viewer Vindex’s visual