Through a series of critical readings this book builds a picture of the Roman reaction to, and adoption of, the Greek poetry of the last three pre-Christian centuries. Although the poetry of the greatest figure of Greek poetry after Alexander, Callimachus of Cyrene, and his contemporaries stands at the heart of the book, the individual studies embrace the full scope of what remains of Hellenistic poetry, both high literary productions and the more marginal poetry, such as that in honour of the great goddess Isis. The singularity of the poetry of Catullus and Virgil, of Horace and the elegists, emerges as more rich and complex than has hitherto been appreciated. Individual studies concern the poets' declared attitudes to their own work, the figure of Dionysus/Bacchus and the poetry of world conquest, the creation of similes, and the conversion of Greek bucolic into Latin pastoral.

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