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Apollonius of Rhodes

Apollonius of Rhodes (third century BCE): Greek poet and scholar, living in Alexandria.

The influential poet Callimachus of Cyrene had avoided writing long poems, comparing them to a muddy river, but his student Apollonius of Rhodes chose exactly this genre. His epic Argonautica, which deals with Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece, is written, like Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, in hexameters and is comparable to these epic poems. Often, Apollonius paraphrases the old master, who was very popular at the court of the Ptolemaic rulers Ptolemy IV Philopator and Arsinoe III

There is a big difference with Homer, however: Callimachus' heroes and heroines are, from a psychological point of view, more complex and credible. 

Apollonius's poem inspired the Roman Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica.

This page was created in 2005; last modified on 24 August 2014.

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