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The Epigrams of Philodemus
(David Sider, 16 October, 1997)

Elaborating on the general point made in my book (The Epigrams of Philodemos) that Philodemos - a philosopher writing poems for, in the first instance, an audience comprising philosophers, poets, and critics - developed several topoi that derive from passages found in Plato,Aristotle, Epicurus, et alii philosophi, in this talk I further argued that several of the epigrams should seen as reflections of some particular points Philodemos makes in his "Peri Parrhesias" ("On Frankness in Speech"). In particular, the notion that true friends must offer each other frank criticism is illustrated in AP 9.412 and 9.570, where the "friend" criticized is a persona of Philodemos himself, chided for being an imperfect Epicurean. This results in the wit required by epigram, and the allusion (and no more) to "thought" (i.e., philosophical ideas) that Philodemos calls for in his literary treatise "On Poems."

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Created on Sunday, 07 March, 1999: 14:55:44