Groningen Workshop Hellenistic Poetry: Beyond Alexandria

Thursday 14 September - Friday 15 September, 2023

Jacqueline Klooster


Alexandria and the poets associated with its Ptolemaic court (foremost among them Callimachus, Theocritus, Apollonius and the epigrammatists) have dominated the scholarship on Hellenistic poetry to such an extent that the indication ‘Hellenistic Poetry’ is often in fact shorthand for ‘Alexandrian poetry of the Hellenistic era’.

But there was poetry beyond Alexandria. Much of it was written at the courts of the competitors of the Ptolemies, but poets also operated beyond the royal sphere: not only in places like Athens, Rhodes and Sicily, but also in the context of philosophical ‘schools’: the Cynic Crates of Thebes, or Cleanthes of Soloi (Hymn to Zeus). Epigrammatists were active throughout the Greek-speaking world and Hellenistic drama flourished not just at Athens (Menander) but also in a Jewish context (Ezekiel). Finally, there are many anonymous inscribed poems from across the Hellenistic world. A good portion of this literature has been unlocked by modern scholarship, such as the 2006 Hellenistica Groningana volume ‘Beyond the Canon’


The 2023 workshop Beyond Alexandria seeks to take up where 'Beyond the Canon' left off. How do writings ‘beyond Alexandria’ react, compete or otherwise interact with what was happening in Alexandria at the time? In what sense is court poetry beyond Alexandria in conscious dialogue with its Alexandrian counterpart, and  can we find a radically different aesthetics in this poetry? How do different cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds influence poetic form, genre and styles in recently ‘Hellenised’ regions? Questions such as these will take focus during this workshop. 



Thursday 14 September 2023 (Day 2)


9:00 - 9:15 | Annette Harder and Jacqueline Klooster

Welcome and opening

Panel 1: Courts and Kings


9:15 - 10:00 | Marijn Visscher (Bergen)

The menace from the east: Antigonus Epimanes and the madness of Nebuchadnezzar


10:00 - 10:45 | James Oakley (Oxford)

The (Re)Interpretation of the King: Greek and Egyptian Receptions and Subversions of Kingship Ideology outside Alexandria

Respondent: Vittoria Vairo (Naples)


10:45 – 11:00

Coffee break


11:00 – 11:45 | Thomas Nelson (Oxford)

Heracles, Euphorion and Seleucid Ideology in the Aetion of Apamea-on-the-Orontes (Ps.-Oppian, Cynegetica 2.100-158)

Respondent: Estella Kessler (Oxford)


11:45 - 12:30 | Rotem Avneri Meir (Harvard / Helsinki)

Beyond the Jerusalem Temple: Poets and Poetry in the Hasmonean Court


12:30 – 14:00

Lunch Break at Bruinszaal, Academiegebouw


Panel 2:  Inscriptions and book culture

(chaired by Nita Krevans)


14:00 - 14:45 | Davide Massimo (Nottingham)

Seleucid Singing Stones: the Hellenistic verse inscriptions from Seleucia-on-the-Eulaios (Susa).

Respondent: Flavia Licciardello (Bologna)


14:45 – 15:30 | Daniel Anderson (Coventry)

Book Cultures beyond Alexandria

Respondent: Hans Wietzke (Amherst)


15:30 – 15:45

Coffee Break


15:45 – 16:30 | Brett Evans (Georgetown)

Hesiod and Euripides in Armenia: literary taste and cultural politics in the verse inscriptions of Armavir (SGO 12/05/01-03)

Respondent: Viola Palmieri (Tübingen)


16:30 – 17:15 | Hanna Golab (New York University)

Women’s Poetry in the Service of the Aitolian League

Respondent: Antiopi Argyriou (Athens)

Friday 15 September 2023 (Day 3)


Panel 3: Epigram beyond Alexandria

(chaired by Floris Overduin)


9:00 - 9:45 | Chiara Pesaresi (Venice)

Reassessing Anyte’s votive epigrams: a case of authentic Alexandrianism

Respondent: Camilla Basile (Virginia)


9:45 - 10:30 | Matthew Chaldekas (Tübingen)

Effacing Alexandria? Theodoridas of Syracuse’s Rewritings of Callimachus

Respondent: Maria Kovalchuk (Penn)


10:30 -10:45

Coffee break


10:45 – 11:30 | Marcie Gwen Persyn (Pittsburgh)

Lucilius: Roman Satirist, Hellenistic Scholar

Respondent: Emma Celestini (Pisa)


11:30- 12:15 | Veronica Piccirillo and Elly Polignano (Cagliari/Newcastle)

Dioscorides and Marcus Argentarius: examples of dialogue between Alexandrian and non-Alexandrian poetry

Respondent: Marije Derksen (Nijmegen)


12:15 – 13:00

Lunch Break at Bruinszaal, Academiegebouw

Panel 4: Nothing to do with Alexandria?


13:00 - 13:45 | Max Leventhal (Cambridge) 

The ps.-Orphic Testament as Hellenistic Hymn

Respondent: Raffaele Bernini (Pisa)


13:45 - 14:30 | Michele Solitario (Tübingen)

Paradoxography from Alexandria to Pergamon

Respondent: Alessandro Giardini (Pisa)


14:30 - 15:15 | Jason Nethercut (South Florida)

Were the Earliest Roman Poets Hellenistic?

Respondent: Irma Scaletti (Trento/Augsburg)


Extra activity:

From East to West in Late Antiquity

Marking the retirement of Jan Willem Drijvers

Location: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Oude Boteringestraat 33, 9712 GD Groningen





10:40-11:20 | Roger Rees

The Love Songs of the Panegyrici Latini


11:20-12:00 | Catherine Ware

Friendship and Free Speech: The voice of Consuls in the Panegyrici Latini


12:00 -13:00



13:00-13:40 | Gavin Kelly

Philological and Historical Notes on Ammianus Marcellinus


13:40-14:20 | Peter van Nuffelen

Creating the Acts of Nicaea: the Ecclesiastical History of the Anonymous of Cyzicus


14:20-15:00 | Danielle Slootjes

Imperial Residences and Travelling Emperors. Or: Who Is Left Behind?



Discussion and presentation of volume






Farewell Lecture by Jan Willem Drijvers: Julian and the Third Temple


17:00- 19:00