2004
Volume 52, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573

Abstract

Summary

This paper offers a new reading of the longest extant fragment of Hegemon of Thasos’ parodies (fragment 1 Brandt) in the context of Greek parodic literature and ancient conceptions of literary propriety (τὸ πρέπον or ). After a brief overview of Hegemon’s life and works and an introduction to the ancient term παρῳδία and the history of Greek parodic literature, the paper suggests that the incongruity between elevated style and lowly subject matter is the most salient feature of ancient parody. This contrast between form and content, it argues, is at odds with ancient norms of literary propriety, which prescribed that manner and matter should form a harmonious unity. Throughout Greco-Roman history, parodic texts overtly play with their incongruity by finding various ways of denying accusations of transgression. Hegemon’s fragment 1 is perhaps the earliest instance of a parodist grappling with the issue of literary propriety. The paper shows how in Hegemon’s epic, Homeric language contrasts with the iambic (or -like) content of his poem; how the poet authorizes his parodic transgressions of genre through the divine permission of Athena; and how he invokes his nickname, ‘Lentil Soup’, to argue that παρῳδία is the most suitable genre possible for him.

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/content/journals/10.5117/LAM2019.2.002.JANS
2019-06-01
2022-01-19
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