chapter  7
36 Pages

Literature and social identity

Greek culture gave rise to a large body of creative writing. Yet hellenistic writers have often been seen as poor relations of their classical forebears, a view fostered by the image of Alexandrian scholarship as a dry and dusty exercise in classification, and of the literature of the age as little more than inept imitations of earlier works of genius. These attitudes have now been abandoned, and scholars now recognize third-and second-century works of literature as important in their own right and no less ‘classical’ than the works of fifth-and fourth-century Athenians.