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Accademia Editoriale Persona Problems. The Literary Persona in Antiquity Revisited Author(s): Roland G. Mayer Source:

Accademia Editoriale

Persona Problems. The Literary Persona in Antiquity Revisited Author(s): Roland G. Mayer

Source: Materiali e discussioni per l'analisi dei testi classici, No. 50 (2003), pp. 55-80

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Materiali e discussioni per l'analisi dei testi classici.

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RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a

RolandG. Mayer

RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a r
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a r
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a r
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a r

Persona<l> Problems.

RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a r
RolandG. M a y e r Persona<l> Problems. The L i t e r a r

The Literary Persona in Antiquity Revisited*

A n t i q u i t y R e v i s i t
A n t i q u i t y R e v i s i t
A n t i q u i t y R e v i s i t
A n t i q u i t y R e v i s i t

I am not

poeticenough to separate a man's poetryentirelyfrom his character.

separate a man's poetryentirelyfrom his character. Charlotte H e y w o o d in JaneAusten,

Charlotte Hey wood in

JaneAusten, Sanditon

Charlotte H e y w o o d in JaneAusten, Sanditon J e est un autre.
Charlotte H e y w o o d in JaneAusten, Sanditon J e est un autre.

Je est un autre. Artur Rimbaud, La lettredu voyant

est un autre. Artur Rimbaud, La lettredu v o y a n t A brief preliminary
est un autre. Artur Rimbaud, La lettredu v o y a n t A brief preliminary
est un autre. Artur Rimbaud, La lettredu v o y a n t A brief preliminary
est un autre. Artur Rimbaud, La lettredu v o y a n t A brief preliminary
est un autre. Artur Rimbaud, La lettredu v o y a n t A brief preliminary
est un autre. Artur Rimbaud, La lettredu v o y a n t A brief preliminary

A

brief

preliminary word is necessary, since my topic,

the

literary

preliminary word is necessary, since my topic, the literary persona in antiquity, has been so recently

persona in antiquity, has been so recently

Diskin

literary persona in antiquity, has been so recently Diskin Clay in this tle new orusefiilcouldbe saidon

Clay

in this

in antiquity, has been so recently Diskin Clay in this tle new orusefiilcouldbe saidon the matter.

tle new orusefiilcouldbe saidon the matter.

Clay in this tle new orusefiilcouldbe saidon the matter. Early in 1997 I delivereda seminar p

Early in 1997 I

delivereda seminar paper in London'sInstituteof

aimwas to establishso faras

r in London'sInstituteof aimwas to establishso faras verytopic.My readers,who, significantly, often a strat-

verytopic.My

aimwas to establishso faras verytopic.My readers,who, significantly, often a strat-

readers,who,

significantly, often

a strat-

ClassicalStudieson this

possible how Greek and Roman

comprise

writers-as-readers, regarded the literarypersona,

e d the l i t e r a r y p e r s o

fuÜyacquainted.My

egy

évidence, which spannedmany centuries, suggested that the an-

cient notion of the

of

représentation with which they

n - cient notion of the of représentation with which they literarypersona fundamentally différent fromours.Few if
n - cient notion of the of représentation with which they literarypersona fundamentally différent fromours.Few if

literarypersona

fundamentally différent

with which they literarypersona fundamentally différent fromours.Few if c e i v i n g o

fromours.Few if

ceiving of thè persona in the termsnow commonto

My approach to the issue was thus différentfrom Clay's:

specificallylooking of the modern

logues

his résuméat (1998,18). In thè event, he found

cluswas as closeashe could

any

Greekor Romanreaderswere

for what

theory

of the

literarypersona -

I

capable of con- moderncritics. he was

might be called 'pre-echoes' or ana-

was m i g h t be called 'pre-echoes' or ana- identify(1998,38), persona s i m

identify(1998,38),

be called 'pre-echoes' or ana- identify(1998,38), persona s i m i l a r t o
be called 'pre-echoes' or ana- identify(1998,38), persona s i m i l a r t o

persona

'pre-echoes' or ana- identify(1998,38), persona s i m i l a r t o o u

similarto ours.So we arrivedat the same

différentroutes.

s . S o w e arrivedat the same différentroutes. B u t , as I

But, as I wish to stress, my concernwas to establish, if possible,

what the literarypersona was thought to be in antiquity, and for

valuable, espe-

that reasonthe évidenceI have assembledremains

é v i d e n c e I have assembledremains placeby t h a t
é v i d e n c e I have assembledremains placeby t h a t

placeby

that the ancientsdid not entertainnotions aboutthe

at ali

rely

virtually none - Pro- andhe too concluded

hère on

was

were

by

periodical(1998) thatit might be thought thatlit-

and so

ably

handled

.

Introductory

o u g h t thatlit- and so ably handled . Introductory * A u d
o u g h t thatlit- and so ably handled . Introductory * A u d
o u g h t thatlit- and so ably handled . Introductory * A u d

* Audiences at the Institute of Classical Studies

t h e I n s t i t u t e of Classical Studies gers,
t h e I n s t i t u t e of Classical Studies gers,

gers, sentation of this

essay. I am most grateful

of this essay. I a m m o s t grateful mann, Gian Biagio to set

mann, Gian Biagio to set out my views.

Conte and Lowell Edmunds for offering me platforms from which

e r i n g me p l a t f o r m s from

(London), Heidelberg, Pisa and Rut-

as well as this journal's two anonymous référées, have helped to improve the pré-

to Christina Kraus, thè late Hubert Peters-

to Christina K r a u s , thè late Hubert Peters- This content downloaded from
to Christina K r a u s , thè late Hubert Peters- This content downloaded from
to Christina K r a u s , thè late Hubert Peters- This content downloaded from
to Christina K r a u s , thè late Hubert Peters- This content downloaded from
to Christina K r a u s , thè late Hubert Peters- This content downloaded from
to Christina K r a u s , thè late Hubert Peters- This content downloaded from
to Christina K r a u s , thè late Hubert Peters- This content downloaded from
to Christina K r a u s , thè late Hubert Peters- This content downloaded from
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5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e

56

Kolana G. Mayer

5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e p
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e p
5 6 Kolana G. M a y e r cially was not utilised c e p

cially

was not utilised

cept similar to ours.

thè évidence of poets

on

their predecessors,

much of which

of p o e t s on their predecessors, much of which by Clay, since he

by Clay,

since he was

for évidence for a con-

looking could not find, and there he

Such a concept he

i n d , and there he S u c h a concept h e left

left the matter, did nonetheless

asserting create the sort of

a conviction however that ancient

for themselves

poets

that

a conviction however that ancient for themselves poets that personae ( 1 9 9 8 ,

personae

however that ancient for themselves poets that personae ( 1 9 9 8 , 3 9

(1998, 39). He did not ex-

modem critics so readily ascribe to them

to free themselves from the which, as readers, they so of-

plain how, as writers, they managed

persona,

in my view, leaves us with a con-

sidérable

aporia. At this point then I part Company with him. I do not feel that it is

so easy to demonstrate, on thè one hand, that thè literary persona

and

was

ten

l i t e r a r y p e r s o n a and

common ancient view of thè

p e r s o n a and was ten common ancient view of thè b

betray. His account, therefore,

view of thè b e t r a y . His account, therefore, différent then to
view of thè b e t r a y . His account, therefore, différent then to
view of thè b e t r a y . His account, therefore, différent then to

différent

b e t r a y . His account, therefore, différent then to a s s

then to assert, on the other, that it still existed as it is now deemed

t h e r , that it still existed as it is now deemed t o

to exist, albeit largely unrecognised by readers (many of whom

were also writers). Granted that the différence is so fundamental, is it a useful

interpretational exercise to impose the modern concept

upon the ancient writers and texts, when the ancients had their own

understanding not an issue to be dealt with axiomatically, and to it I will return in the course of my discussion of the évidence.

of thè use to be made of the authorial mask?That is

t o b e m a d e of the authorial mask?That is interpreted i n
t o b e m a d e of the authorial mask?That is interpreted i n
t o b e m a d e of the authorial mask?That is interpreted i n
t o b e m a d e of the authorial mask?That is interpreted i n

interpreted in a fundamentally

way

in

antiquity,

is interpreted i n a fundamentally way in antiquity, 2. The Problem Poets w h o
is interpreted i n a fundamentally way in antiquity, 2. The Problem Poets w h o
is interpreted i n a fundamentally way in antiquity, 2. The Problem Poets w h o

2. The Problem

i n a fundamentally way in antiquity, 2. The Problem Poets w h o c o
i n a fundamentally way in antiquity, 2. The Problem Poets w h o c o
i n a fundamentally way in antiquity, 2. The Problem Poets w h o c o

Poets who compose in the personal genres of lyric, elegy, and satire

do not always address their audience in their own person. We find

e in their own p e r s o n . W e f i n
e in their own p e r s o n . W e f i n

from thè start in the earliest Greek lyric that some writers - we

the earliest Greek l y r i c that some writers - we s h o

should more properly or

song, they

assumed a character with

its appropriate per-

they assumed a character with i t s appropriate per- of self-masking was perhaps easüy enough

of

self-masking

was

perhaps easüy enough

appropriate per- of self-masking was perhaps easüy enough had no serious problems of interpreting thè use
appropriate per- of self-masking was perhaps easüy enough had no serious problems of interpreting thè use

had no serious

problems

of

interpreting

thè use

shall see. It was left to readers and critics of the

use shall see. It was left to readers and critics of the thè use of thè

thè use of thè mask or persona, and

last Century to «problematize»

for good reason: thè persona became a prominent strategie device

who entitled a

among

collection of his poems Personae (1926), and the Portuguese poet

Fernando Pessoa,

pub-

The use of the mask in modernist

lished), weirdly, means 'persona'.

lyric prompted critics during the past half Century to reread per-

sonal forms of classical poetry in the belief that a

mask could be found in them. Such a

seemed valid just be-

be found in them. Such a seemed valid j u s t be- modernist writers, for
be found in them. Such a seemed valid j u s t be- modernist writers, for

modernist writers, for instance, Ezra Pound,

u s t be- modernist writers, for instance, Ezra Pound, whose v e r y name
u s t be- modernist writers, for instance, Ezra Pound, whose v e r y name

whose very name (under which he never

v e r y name ( u n d e r which he never s i
v e r y name ( u n d e r which he never s i
v e r y name ( u n d e r which he never s i

similar persona or

d e r which he never s i m i l a r persona or rereading

rereading

which he never s i m i l a r persona or rereading cause the Greeks

cause the Greeks and Romans themselves had a notion of the autho- rial persona and a concept of the use to be made of literary masks.

of the use to be made of l i t e r a r y masks.

right

cali them 'singers' - played a rôle, and in their

poem,

sonality. This technique

recognized by an audience at a symposium, and even later readers

of texts in

antiquity of the mask, as we

readers of texts in antiquity of the m a s k , as we This content
readers of texts in antiquity of the m a s k , as we This content
readers of texts in antiquity of the m a s k , as we This content
readers of texts in antiquity of the m a s k , as we This content
readers of texts in antiquity of the m a s k , as we This content
readers of texts in antiquity of the m a s k , as we This content
readers of texts in antiquity of the m a s k , as we This content
readers of texts in antiquity of the m a s k , as we This content
readers of texts in antiquity of the m a s k , as we This content
readers of texts in antiquity of the m a s k , as we This content

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The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s

The Literary Personain Antiquity

The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s s

57

The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s s
The Literary Personain Antiquity 57 There are in which seem to particular p a s s

There are in which seem to

particular passages

anticipate

in Catullus, Ovid, and Martial

C a t u l l u s , O v i d , and Martial

distinguish

son singular. But that ancient

expounded

évidence

himself from his work, even when he used thè first per-

w o r k , even when he used thè first p e r - concept,

concept,

in this

before Clay, was never fully to

supplément Clay's

or

analysed. I want

y to supplément Clay's or analysed. I w a n t for what thè literary persona.

for what

thè

Clay's or analysed. I w a n t for what thè literary persona. Clay, view i
Clay's or analysed. I w a n t for what thè literary persona. Clay, view i

literary persona.

Clay,

I w a n t for what thè literary persona. Clay, view i s radically différent

view is radically

différent from thè modern, and this throws

thè

from thè m o d e r n , and this throws thè p r o

problem

thè

I have just enunciated: thè modern

concept

of thè use of

enunciated: thè modern c o n c e p t of thè use of authorial p

authorial persona was demonstrably

unavailable to thè ancient

n a w a s demonstrably unavailable to thè ancient very of masks. Now since by
n a w a s demonstrably unavailable to thè ancient very of masks. Now since by

very of masks. Now since

unavailable to thè ancient very of masks. Now since by personal poet cal System and since

by

personal poet

to thè ancient very of masks. Now since by personal poet cal System and since it
to thè ancient very of masks. Now since by personal poet cal System and since it

cal

System and since it is élément in a

of

literary analysis (like

agreed by

ali

poem

structuralism or deconstruction),

created

that so far as

that thè persona

1998,39),

it

is a

consciously

(so Clay

may be urged

1998,39), it is a consciously (so Clay may b e urged classical p o e t

classical poetry is concerned

at any rate is thè conclusion I am driven to.

thè modern

is

misapplied. That

I am driven to. thè modern is misapplied. T h a t Let us our i
I am driven to. thè modern is misapplied. T h a t Let us our i

Let us

our investigation of thè ancient view of thè authorial

g a t i o n of thè ancient view of thè authorial p e r

persona with Greek

personal poetry.

authorial p e r s o n a with Greek personal poetry. begin reading sona-criticism is

begin

reading

sona-criticism is an approach to reading

per-

texts rather than a theoreti-

about thè use made

thè

reader or writer-as-reader,

who had his own

différent notion

up

about thè

We shall indeed, like

find that their

as readers,

thought

paper

ancients themselves,

thè modern view, that thè writer could

thè modern v i e w , that thè writer could 3 . The Greeks' Use
thè modern v i e w , that thè writer could 3 . The Greeks' Use
thè modern v i e w , that thè writer could 3 . The Greeks' Use

3. The Greeks' Use ofthe Literary Persona

Use o f t h e L i t e r a r y Persona Archilochus
Use o f t h e L i t e r a r y Persona Archilochus

Archilochus must be our starting place, for he is credited with thè

development of personal lyric into a literary

cept of «literary form» will be fundamental

» w i l l b e f u n d a m e n t

form. Now this con-

d a m e n t a l f o r m . N o w

to an understanding of

N o w this con- t o a n understanding o f how later Greeks at

how later Greeks at

rate carne to

interpret his poetry, a way per-

poet and thè perceptions

symposium. The classic exposition of this

e c l a s s i c exposition o f t h i s haps

haps quite of his first audience at a

at odds with thè intention ofthe

of his first audience at a at odds with thè intention ofthe p r o b

problem in reception is Sir Kenneth Dover's 1964 essay, The Poetryof

Archilochus (overlooked by Clay

remained true to their

study, Dover argued

origin in song, and he observed that songs in many preliterate cul-

tures do not necessarily express thè personality and émotions of thè

of another

composer, who may adopt

t h è o f another composer, w h o may adopt that pioneering 1 9

that pioneering

f another composer, w h o may adopt that pioneering 1 9 9 8 , 11

1998, 11 n. 4). In

lyrics

that pioneering 1 9 9 8 , 11 n. 4 ) . In lyrics t h
that pioneering 1 9 9 8 , 11 n. 4 ) . In lyrics t h
that pioneering 1 9 9 8 , 11 n. 4 ) . In lyrics t h

thè character and

standpoint

4 ) . In lyrics t h è character and standpoint fictional, in what may b

fictional,

in what may be an imaginary

standpoint fictional, in what may b e a n imaginary ring Dover then went on to
standpoint fictional, in what may b e a n imaginary ring Dover then went on to

ring Dover then went on to

to himself when he used thè word «I».

speculate about how Archilochus might

made

a b o u t h o w Archilochus m i g h t made have

have used a persona

out a good case that Archilochus' practice may dose to

in his own

p r a c t i c e m a y dose to in his own

well have been very

that of other preliterate singers, and that thè persona

member

a n d t h a t t h è persona member at ali to do

at ali to do with thè

h a t t h è persona member at ali to do with thè t h

thè island of Paros who

composed thè

with thè t h è island of Paros who composed t h è adopted may h

adopted may have had nothing

of

a distinguished family on

young

lyric songs (1964,206-210). He

person, possibly

(1964, 202). In some such traditions, thè singer might not be refer-

situation

that Archilochus'

any

b e r e f e r - situation that Archilochus' any This content downloaded from
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58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h

58

Rohnd G. Mayer

58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h e
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h e
58 Rohnd G. Mayer l y r i c s . It is worth h e

lyrics. It is worth hearing in mind too that thè context for thè perfor-

mance of thèse songs,

singer known to his audience adopted

for thè purpose of his song thè persona of a love-lorn maiden, his

companions knew what was going on. Only

its musical performance

text and was freed from the conventions of

a n d was f r e e d from the conventions of ambiguity. a f
a n d was f r e e d from the conventions of ambiguity. a f
a n d was f r e e d from the conventions of ambiguity. a f

ambiguity.

was f r e e d from the conventions of ambiguity. a f t e r
was f r e e d from the conventions of ambiguity. a f t e r

after the song became

of ambiguity. a f t e r the s o n g became might difficulties a
of ambiguity. a f t e r the s o n g became might difficulties a

might

difficulties arise, a point stressed later

by Clay too (1998, 30-

and it must be reiterated that

spéculation he made a point which has a fundamental

he made a p o i n t which has a fundamental 32). D o v

32).

Dover was speculating -

In the course of his

-

v e r w a s speculating - In the course of his - on the

on the

issue of reception:

- In the course of his - on the issue of reception: lyric poems in an

lyric poems

in an

Aegean

island

- on the issue of reception: lyric poems in an Aegean island the seventh C e

the seventh Century «ceased to appear naturai

by the âge

«ceased to a p p e a r naturai by t h e âge about himself
«ceased to a p p e a r naturai by t h e âge about himself

about himself whenever he used the

by t h e âge about himself whenever he used the of Archilochus for b e

of

by t h e âge about himself whenever he used the of Archilochus for b e

Archilochus for being very criticai of himself»1. Critias plainly as-

sumed that Archilochus in speaking of his birth from

woman, his adultery, lechery, and cowardice was

self. This assumption

ary documents, and were read as personal

cial, just because Archilochus was so admired and imitated in

uity. Dover may well be right that his later readers in the wider

antiq-

i g h t that his later readers in the wider antiq- a slave was fostered

a slave

h t that his later readers in the wider antiq- a slave was fostered once his

was fostered once his

referring had become liter-

lyrics testaments. This is cru-

to him-

become liter- lyrics testaments. This is cru- t o him- Greek world lacked t h e
become liter- lyrics testaments. This is cru- t o him- Greek world lacked t h e
become liter- lyrics testaments. This is cru- t o him- Greek world lacked t h e

Greek world lacked the clue to a correct

understanding of his po-

nonetheless became the dom-

h i s po- nonetheless b e c a m e the dom- etry. B u

etry. But that possibly flawed reading

inant mode of

a t possibly f l a w e d reading inant mode of identifying t h

identifying the poet's

characterfrom the text. For the

t h e poet's characterfrom the text. For the p e r s o n a

personal poet, describing and

pro-

personal poetry thereafter. Particular emphasis must be

laid upon the later reading of his poems as personal documents, be-

cause (on Dover's

hypothesis) the Greeks themselves lost forever

the key to a récognition of thè assumed persona.

rest of antiquity Archilochus was read as a

his own

expériences. duction of

was read as a his own expériences. duction o f shaped understanding A v e r

shaped

understanding

a his own expériences. duction o f shaped understanding A v e r y able discussion
a his own expériences. duction o f shaped understanding A v e r y able discussion
a his own expériences. duction o f shaped understanding A v e r y able discussion
a his own expériences. duction o f shaped understanding A v e r y able discussion

A very able discussion of thè difficulty is offered

Rosier, who

also provides a helpful summary

by Wolfgang of the

anglophone

provides a helpful summary by Wolfgang of the anglophone persona loquens as a t h i
provides a helpful summary by Wolfgang of the anglophone persona loquens as a t h i

persona loquens as a thing

of the anglophone persona loquens as a t h i n g (1985,134-138 with a c

(1985,134-138 with a critique of Dover's

with a c r i t i q u e of Dover's m a k e

makes the salutary point that the fonction of early

within

point t h a t the fonction of e a r l y within society w

society was not primarily autobiographical.

society w a s n o t primarily autobiographical. poetica he believes that «prassi di vita
society w a s n o t primarily autobiographical. poetica he believes that «prassi di vita

poetica

w a s n o t primarily autobiographical. poetica he believes that «prassi di vita e

he believes that

«prassi

di vita e creazione

costituiscono [

]

un'unità», in short that there is a secure link between the real and

i s a s e c u r e link between the real and t h

the poetic «I»). He agrées with Dover that by

man Archilochus was identified with the content of his

poetry, he adds that Pindar too shared Critias' prédisposition to regard the

the time of Critias the

t o r e g a r d t h e the time of Critias the

and

o r e g a r d t h e the time of Critias the and
o r e g a r d t h e the time of Critias the and

song

(But nonetheless

Greek

position at 1985,136). Rosier

aesthetic of thè

distinct from the writer

That belief

the

lar. This is dear from the famous judgment

Critias,

who

(1964,208). Over

time Archilochus came to be understood as

talking

unqualified first person singu-

«blamed

of Pericles»

hearing

those earliest Greek

the conditions

which shaped

of

community

sion and

If a maie

thè symposium,

will hâve precluded

confu-

If a maie t h è symposium, will hâve precluded confu- 1. See A e l
If a maie t h è symposium, will hâve precluded confu- 1. See A e l
If a maie t h è symposium, will hâve precluded confu- 1. See A e l

1. See Aelian, Var. Hist. x.13 = Critias 88

44 Diels - Kranz = fr. 295 W.

= Critias 88 4 4 Diels - Kranz = fr. 2 9 5 W . This
= Critias 88 4 4 Diels - Kranz = fr. 2 9 5 W . This
= Critias 88 4 4 Diels - Kranz = fr. 2 9 5 W . This
= Critias 88 4 4 Diels - Kranz = fr. 2 9 5 W . This
= Critias 88 4 4 Diels - Kranz = fr. 2 9 5 W . This
= Critias 88 4 4 Diels - Kranz = fr. 2 9 5 W . This
= Critias 88 4 4 Diels - Kranz = fr. 2 9 5 W . This
= Critias 88 4 4 Diels - Kranz = fr. 2 9 5 W . This
= Critias 88 4 4 Diels - Kranz = fr. 2 9 5 W . This
= Critias 88 4 4 Diels - Kranz = fr. 2 9 5 W . This
= Critias 88 4 4 Diels - Kranz = fr. 2 9 5 W . This

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The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p

The Literary Personain Antiquity

The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p h

59

The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p h
The Literary Personain Antiquity 59 incidents related as b i o g r a p h

incidents related as

biographical (cf. Pyth. 2.54-56). This point of

Rosier's must be stressed, because Critias and Pindar thus assume a

e d , because Critias a n d Pindar thus assume a importance examples fwriters-as-readers\ p
e d , because Critias a n d Pindar thus assume a importance examples fwriters-as-readers\ p
e d , because Critias a n d Pindar thus assume a importance examples fwriters-as-readers\ p

importance

examples

fwriters-as-readers\ poets

a importance examples fwriters-as-readers\ p o e t s themselves who m i g h t

themselves who

might as such hâve

been expected to hâve an

insid-

such hâve been expected t o h â v e a n insid- special understanding superfìcially
such hâve been expected t o h â v e a n insid- special understanding superfìcially

special understanding

superfìcially 'person-

of

insid- special understanding superfìcially 'person- of al· Statements. But in f a c t t h

al· Statements. But in

fact their view of what Archilochus

c t t h e i r v i e w of what Archilochus exactly everyday
c t t h e i r v i e w of what Archilochus exactly everyday

exactly

everyday

poets

v i e w of what Archilochus exactly everyday poets t u r n out to

turn out to be commonplace readers in their belief that Archilochus

expériences into the subject matter of

had turned some his

subject m a t t e r o f h a d turned some his of

of his own

a t t e r o f h a d turned some his of his own

lyrics.

e r o f h a d turned some his of his own lyrics. at any
e r o f h a d turned some his of his own lyrics. at any

at

any

rate,

«misunderstood» the circumstances

own lyrics. at any rate, «misunderstood» the circumstances to regard lyric for m o n o
own lyrics. at any rate, «misunderstood» the circumstances to regard lyric for m o n o

to

regard lyric

for

monodies as records "in

song"

of

the poet's

s as records "in song" of t h e poet's life». S o , instance, in

life». So,

instance, in Histones 5.95, he relates

that the

S o , instance, in Histones 5.95, he relates that the by himself, but lost his
S o , instance, in Histones 5.95, he relates that the by himself, but lost his

by

S o , instance, in Histones 5.95, he relates that the by himself, but lost his

himself, but lost his arms [

]

he made a

poem

caeus «in a battle won

the Athenians [

]

took to

flight,

and saved

describing his acci-

to flight, and saved describing h i s a c c i - d e n

dent for his friend

Herodotus clearly is unaware of

Melanippus, and sent

a persona

it

to

him

at Mytilene».

regards

the

here, and he

it to him a t Mytilene». regards the here, and he does he acknowledge t h
it to him a t Mytilene». regards the here, and he does he acknowledge t h

does he acknowledge the probability

that this

designed

he acknowledge t h e probability that this designed His interprétation o f s o n

His

interprétation of

song as a documen-

His interprétation o f s o n g as a documen- tary text may, as Ford

tary

text

may,

as Ford

on to suggest (2002, 147), owe something

the use to which

g g e s t (2002, 147), owe something the use to which to fifth-century l

to

fifth-century lives of the poets,

but

l i v e s o f t h e poets, but h e p u

he put

priate or mistaken. He is thus an important witness, like Critias,

the established

the

would not hâve struck his own

audience as

song

inappro-

of

his own audience as s o n g i n a p p r o -
his own audience as s o n g i n a p p r o -

tendency

to

regard poems

as documentary

records. takes it to

tendency to regard poems as documentary records. takes it to A l c a e u

Alcaeus' poem

hâve been a sort of letter. It is

p o e m hâve been a s o r t o f letter. It is

was addressed to his friend, so Herodotus

just that tendency

his f r i e n d , so Herodotus just that tendency h e l

helped

able information about their writers. Let us now turn back to Archilochus to look at the

to foster thè treatment of

as documents giving

t e r thè treatment of as documents g i v i n g lyrics he
t e r thè treatment of as documents g i v i n g lyrics he

lyrics

r thè treatment of as documents g i v i n g lyrics he overtly assumed

he overtly

assumed a character, or

that of Charon the

lyrics he overtly assumed a character, or that of Charon the carpenter ( F r .

carpenter

(Fr. 22D. = 19W.), or that of a

father speaking

about his

o r that of a f a t h e r speaking about his ( F

(Fr. 74D.

122W.). Aristotle

r speaking about his ( F r . 74D. 122W.). Aristotle learn how a Greek, accounted

learn

how a Greek,

accounted for this

74D. 122W.). Aristotle learn how a Greek, accounted for this people, it would be an error

people,

Aristotle learn how a Greek, accounted for this people, it would be an error of taste
Aristotle learn how a Greek, accounted for this people, it would be an error of taste

it would be an error of taste to speak in propriapersona,

be an error of taste to s p e a k in propriapersona, y e t

yet he reckoned nonetheless that the assumed personality generally

reckoned nonetheless that the assumed personality generally assumption mask when of t h è m a

assumption

mask when

of

thè mask. He believed that an author donned the

well-acquainted

daughter

(Rhetonc3.1418B23ff.), and it is from him that we with the literature of his

=

recognized

this

device

persona, e.g.,

in which

poems

which arguably

reli-

presumably

goes

be sung at a symposium2.

poem

was

to

incident as fact,

rather than a literary

topos or an invention.

Nor

poet

Al-

composition, is Herodotus. As Andrew Ford

tends

says (2002, 147), «he

Another example

of a writer-as-reader who,

by modem accounts

of archaic poetic

himself is

the same as that of the

reader:the

says

er's

of how to discount

fresh

as our first

of

says er's of how to discount fresh as our first of his testimonia he refersto Alcaeus
says er's of how to discount fresh as our first of his testimonia he refersto Alcaeus
says er's of how to discount fresh as our first of his testimonia he refersto Alcaeus
says er's of how to discount fresh as our first of his testimonia he refersto Alcaeus
says er's of how to discount fresh as our first of his testimonia he refersto Alcaeus

his testimonia he refersto

Alcaeus (Paris1999), vol.

Synesius, De Insomniis20, 156a, p. 188 Terzaghi, from which it is clear that Synesius too

regarded thè

I, pp. xxvii ff. and then p. 11. Among

x x v i i ff. and then p . 11. A m o n g

personalpoetry of ArchilochusandAlcaeusas documentary.

ArchilochusandAlcaeusas d o c u m e n t a r y . 2 . S

2. See the discussion of this

passage by

Gauthier Liberman in his Budé édition of

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6o

Roland G. Mayer

6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own
6o Roland G. M a y e r s p o k e thè author's own

spoke thè author's own mind

of a

(something expected

of the members

own mind of a (something expected o f the members tude to thè use of a
own mind of a (something expected o f the members tude to thè use of a

tude to thè use of a persona: the mask served

to express the speak-

a : the mask served t o express t h e speak- opinion, only by Solon

opinion, only by Solon next deserves a moment's notice, for he

course to not one,

but two personae in a poem

er's own

a tactful indirection4.

had re-

ingeniously of advice. The Athe-

indirection4. had re- ingeniously of advice. The Athe- nians had long and indecisively disputed with M

nians had

long

and

indecisively disputed with Megara the posses-

indecisively disputed with M e g a r a the posses- sion of S a l

sion of Salamis; defeat

prompted in Athens a prohibition on speak-

- about a renewal of

a prohibition o n speak- - about a renewal of i n g or w r

ing or writing - those words must be stressed

t i n g - those words m u s t b e stressed the campaign

the

campaign (according

to Plutarch, Solon 8.1). Solon hid

away in

r c h , Solon 8 . 1 ) . Solon hid away i n gave
r c h , Solon 8 . 1 ) . Solon hid away i n gave

gave

reap-

of mad-

speak-

peared suddenly and, wearing a felt cap,

ness), recited in public an elegy (that is to say,

ing nor writing), in which he encouraged

(the sign he was neither

w h i c h h e encouraged (the sign he was neither a r e

a renewal of conflict with

he was neither a r e n e w a l of conflict with Megara. from

Megara.

from lovely Salamis (Fr. iW.

He

daimed in the first words of the

song to be a herald

t h e first words of the s o n g to be a herald =

= Aristotle, Ath.

Pol §12). So there

t l e , Ath. P o l §12). S o t h e r e

were two personae

nian injunction. Solon got away

inviolable herald. The advice was nonetheless his own, and the

at work hère, both assumed to elude the Athe-

o r k h è r e , both assumed to elude the Athe- w i

with it both as a madman and as an

elude the Athe- w i t h it both as a madman and as an per-

per-

If the Atheni-

i t h it both as a madman and as an per- If the Atheni- ans
i t h it both as a madman and as an per- If the Atheni- ans

ans had failed in their fresh attack upon

Salamis, do we suppose that thè

persona

of a deranged herald which had prompted their foray? There are

other

himself, for

being measures (Frs. 5,

are other himself, for being measures ( F r s . 5 , poems t o
are other himself, for being measures ( F r s . 5 , poems t o

poems

too that

give every appearance

of

about Solon

o o that g i v e every appearance of about Solon they 3 6 W

they

o that g i v e every appearance of about Solon they 3 6 W .

36W.), and they were used by

nian constitution (Ath. Pol. §12) as documents which corroborated

Aristotle in his account of the Athe-

which corroborated Aristotle in his account of the Athe- other historical accounts. T h e r
which corroborated Aristotle in his account of the Athe- other historical accounts. T h e r
which corroborated Aristotle in his account of the Athe- other historical accounts. T h e r

other historical accounts. There was no doubt in Aristotle's mind

T h e r e was n o doubt in Aristotle's mind place f o r
T h e r e was n o doubt in Aristotle's mind place f o r

place for a persona - in the modem sensé - in poetry of politicai ad-

- i n p o e t r y o f politicai a d - b
- i n p o e t r y o f politicai a d - b

by BernardKnox5. Pindar is the last ail encountered the

running his songs. Is it the chorus,

Greek singer

who needs brief mention. We hâve

in

who needs brief m e n t i o n . We hâve in identity or

identity

or the singer, or even the victor? If the

or the s i n g e r , or even the victor? If the debate

debate about the

of the

vice,

and attention has been drawn to this feature of Solon's verse

that Solon

was referring

to his actual

arrangements.

There was no

refer to his social and economie

they would hâve pardoned Solon, because it was really

sonae would hâve afforded him no

lasting protection.

his home and

out

that his wits had wandered. He then

symposium)3.

This is a valuable

testimony

of the ancient atti-

This is a valuable testimony of the ancient atti- FrançoiseFrontisi-Ducroix, Du masque a u
This is a valuable testimony of the ancient atti- FrançoiseFrontisi-Ducroix, Du masque a u
This is a valuable testimony of the ancient atti- FrançoiseFrontisi-Ducroix, Du masque a u
This is a valuable testimony of the ancient atti- FrançoiseFrontisi-Ducroix, Du masque a u
This is a valuable testimony of the ancient atti- FrançoiseFrontisi-Ducroix, Du masque a u

FrançoiseFrontisi-Ducroix, Du masque au visage.Aspects de l'identitéen Grèce

masque a u visage.Aspects de l'identitéen Grèce a n c i e n n e ,

ancienne, Paris 1995, does not recognize this 'rhetorical'account of the 'prosopon' in her

otherwise impressivesurvey and analysis.

i n h e r otherwise impressivesurvey and analysis. 4 . Another motive for the use

4. Another motive for the use of a mask, or an assumed name,

might hâve been politi-

a m e , m i g h t hâve been p o l i t
a m e , m i g h t hâve been p o l i t
a m e , m i g h t hâve been p o l i t

5. See P.E. Easterling - B.M.W. Knox

i: Greek Literature, Cambridge 1981, p. 151.

(eds.), The CambridgeHistoryofClassical Literature

5 1 . (eds.), The CambridgeHistoryofClassical Literature cuse ( s e e P l u t

cuse (see Plut., Glor.Ath.

345c).

cai; I hâve in mind

Xenophon's assumption of the nom-de-plumeThemistogenes of Syra-

3. For the biographical inferences Aristotle was

Solon or Theodorus of Colophon see Pol. 1296a and fr. 515 Rose = Athen. Deip. 14.618. I

believe that

prepared to draw from the poetry of

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The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i
The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i
The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i
The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i
The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i
The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i
The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i
The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i
The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i
The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i
The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i
The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i
The L i t e r a r y Persona in A n t i

The Literary Persona in Antiquity

61

t e r a r y Persona in A n t i q u i t
t e r a r y Persona in A n t i q u i t

to be identified with thè writer?To what degree

singer, is thè singer

are apparently personal Statements to be regarded as telling us

n t s t o b e regarded a s telling u s something epinikion This
n t s t o b e regarded a s telling u s something epinikion This
n t s t o b e regarded a s telling u s something epinikion This
n t s t o b e regarded a s telling u s something epinikion This

something

epinikion

This reductive view

poet? rhetorical structure with no

is gradually being overturned,

is a

purely

personal and G. D'Alessio

élément.

is a purely personal and G. D'Alessio élément. h a s carefully ment scrutinized thè and

has carefully

ment

scrutinized thè

and offers his own assess-

arguments involved in thè construction

his own assess- arguments involved in thè construction strategy of thè personaloquens»(1994, 121). He condudes

strategy

own assess- arguments involved in thè construction strategy of thè personaloquens»(1994, 121). He condudes that in

of thè

personaloquens»(1994, 121).

He condudes that in this period

cannot be di-

He condudes that in this p e r i o d cannot be di- « t

«thè construction of thè

poet's literarypersona [

]

of thè p o e t ' s literarypersona [ ] v o r c e

vorced from thè construction of his social

persona»(1994, 138). He

thè construction of his social persona»(1994, 138). He points C e n t u r y

points

Century to have had a

because that was what he daimed

out that Pindar was, for instance, believed

in thè late fifth

gods,

particularly close relationship with thè

particularly close relationship w i t h t h è w e a r e faced
particularly close relationship w i t h t h è w e a r e faced

we are faced with thè audience's assumption that what thè

of himself was rooted in reality

poet

thè

said

was rooted in r e a l i t y poet thè said made earlier by

made earlier

by

in r e a l i t y poet thè said made earlier by d u

dulging in self-revelation for its own sake; thè

serves a purpose within thè strategy of praise).

Discussion of thè literary persona is almost exdusively confìned

to poetry. This is to neglect thè important area of thè persona in

it crudely,

writing a philosophical opinion that

whilst Piato never expressed

prose, specifically in thè

personal détail always

i n t h è personal d é t a i l always philosophical dialogue. T
i n t h è personal d é t a i l always philosophical dialogue. T
i n t h è personal d é t a i l always philosophical dialogue. T
i n t h è personal d é t a i l always philosophical dialogue. T

philosophical dialogue. To put in

t a i l always philosophical dialogue. T o put in philosophical cüd not deter from
t a i l always philosophical dialogue. T o put in philosophical cüd not deter from

philosophical cüd not deter

dialogue. T o put in philosophical cüd not deter from identifying a specifically P l a

from identifying a specifically Platonic

from identifying a specifically P l a t o n i c bution to philosophical thought.

bution to

philosophical thought.

Aristotle, for example, recognized

to philosophical thought. Aristotle, for example, recognized Piato behind thè mask of thè Athenian s t

Piato behind thè mask of thè Athenian stranger in thè Laws (EN

2.3.iiO4bi2), and behind Socrates in thè Philebus (EN io.2.ii72b28).

behind Socrates in thè Philebus ( E N io.2.ii72b28). This is not a loose way b
behind Socrates in thè Philebus ( E N io.2.ii72b28). This is not a loose way b

This is not a loose

way because Aristotle was

of

talking, but is surely

pupil:

thè more

significant

to have

Plato's

his induction ought

t o have Plato's his induction o u g h t been founded on knowledge man

been founded on knowledge

man world, we find Quintilian saying of thè

rather than on

guesswork. Gorgias:quae [ ]

In thè Ro-

sunt

rather than on guesswork. Gorgias:quae [ ] In thè Ro- sunt tiat ( I n s
rather than on guesswork. Gorgias:quae [ ] In thè Ro- sunt tiat ( I n s

tiat (Inst. 2.15.26); thè Socrates. In thè

through

ring to thè view Socrates held of contemporary

corrects himself: Socratesautemseti Piato. There are

opinions

are felt to

be

Plato's, speaking

refer-

next sentence Quintilian begins by

refer- next sentence Quintilian b e g i n s by rhetoric, but q u i

rhetoric, but quickly

b e g i n s by rhetoric, but q u i c k l y
b e g i n s by rhetoric, but q u i c k l y

to which readers attributed doctrine to Socrates

ances in thè degree

or to Piato (and Aristotle himself attributes notions to Socrates that

a t t r i b u t e s notions to Socrates that h e
a t t r i b u t e s notions to Socrates that h e
a t t r i b u t e s notions to Socrates that h e

he has found in Piato or in

but it is sufficient for my pré-

sent purpose to stress that ali of thè later Greek systematic accounts

of Platonic

doctrine are based entirely upon thè assumption that thè

Xenophon),

o n thè assumption t h a t t h è Xenophon), undeniably nu- [ ]
o n thè assumption t h a t t h è Xenophon), undeniably nu- [ ]

undeniably

nu-

[

]

dieta [

]

a Socrate,

cuius persona uidetur Piato significare quid sen-

subséquent

contri-

is attributable to himself,

conducted by personae, that however

thinkers and writers