Original Research - Special Collection: Marianne Dircksen Festschrift

Some more ways to die: Accidental deaths in Hellenistic epigrams

William J. Henderson
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 53, No 2 | a2525 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v53i2.2525 | © 2019 William J. Henderson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 July 2019 | Published: 02 December 2019

About the author(s)

William J. Henderson, Department of Languages, Culture Studies and Applied Linguistics, School of Languages, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

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In this article, the focus falls on five Hellenistic epigrammatic poets (Theaetetus of Cyrene, Antipater of Thessalonica, Bianor of Bithynia, Apollonides of Nicaea and Antiphilus of Byzantium) and epigrams they wrote on the theme of extraordinary accidents. Typically of Hellenistic epigrammatists, each poet aimed at finding novelty and surprise, or at varying (and outdoing) predecessors’ efforts. The process generated innovative language and thought, pushing the literary epigram far away from its origins in lapidary epitaphs. The article aims at demonstrating this.


Hellenistic Epigrams; Accidental Deaths; Theaetetus; Antipater of Thessalonica; Bianor; Apollonides; Antiphilus.


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