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Music and Immortality: The Afterlife of Achilles in Philostratus


Miles, GRI, Music and Immortality: The Afterlife of Achilles in Philostratus, Ancient Narrative, 4 pp. 66-78. ISSN 1568-3540 (2005) [Refereed Article]


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Of all the rewritings of epic tradition which Philostratus undertakes in the Heroicus,1 one of the most striking is his depiction of Achilles. While Achilles still has his Homeric and Cyclic character as the great Achaean warrior, son of the sea-goddess Thetis, the musical aspect of the hero is dramatically increased.2 After considering the aspects of Achilles as he appears in the Iliad which may have led Philostratus to develop him in this way, I shall consider the significance of the song which Philostratus’ Achilles sings on Leuke. The song, I would argue, is important for an understanding of Philostratus’ own ideas regarding literary creation within a traditional framework. Finally, I will examine the dialogue’s broader presentation of Achilles’ posthumous existence, and the curious, even unique, treatment of time and space which Philostratus’ focus on this subject requires.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Literary studies
Research Field:Latin and classical Greek literature
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Miles, GRI (Dr Graeme Miles)
ID Code:57656
Year Published:2005
Deposited By:History and Classics
Deposited On:2009-08-06
Last Modified:2010-06-01
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