Philostratus: Interpreters and Interpretation: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Philostratus: Interpreters and Interpretation

1st Edition

By Graeme Miles


186 pages

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pub: 2017-11-27
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Philostratus is one of the greatest examples of the vitality and inventiveness of the Greek culture of his period, at once a one-man summation of contemporary tastes and interests and a strikingly individual re-inventor of the traditions in which he was steeped. This Roman-era engagement with the already classical past set important precedents for later understandings of classical art, literature and culture. This volume examines the ways in which the labyrinthine Corpus Philostrateum represents and interrogates the nature of interpretation and the interpreting subject. Taking ‘interpretation’ broadly as the production of meaning from objects that are considered to bear some less than obvious significance, it examines the very different interpreter figures presented: Apollonius of Tyana as interpreter of omens, dreams and art-works; an unnamed Vinetender and the dead Protesilaus as interpreters of heroes; and the sophist who emotively describes a gallery full of paintings, depicting in the process both the techniques of educated viewing and the various errors and illusions into which a viewer can fall.


"Philostratus: Interpreters and Interpetation is a stimulating, focused and coherent first book and first contribution to a new series. It should, as the author hopes with a traditional envoi in his last paragraph, happily encourage further research in an important area of understanding the Greek culture of the Roman Empire."

- Simon Goldhill, University of Cambridge, UK, Byrn Mawr Classical Review 2018

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Mimēsis and the Active Interpreter in the VA and Heroicus

3 Limitations on Infallibility: Containing the Interpretive Voices in the VA and Heroicus

4 The Transcendent Interpreter in the VA and Heroicus

5 The Imagines: The Deeds and Appearances of Heroes

6 The Imagines: Reflexive Landscapes

7 The Sophist on Sophists: Vitae Sophistarum

8 The Desirous Interpreter: Philostratus’ Letters

9 Reading Nature and Culture: Gymnasticus and Dialexis

10 Conclusion: Mimēsis and Paideia


About the Author

Graeme Miles is a lecturer in classics at the University of Tasmania. He researches in ancient Greek literature and thought, especially of the Roman era. He has published numerous articles on Philostratus and is currently produ?cing, with Dirk Baltzly and John Finamore, a translation of Proclus’ Commentary on Plato’s Republic.

About the Series

Image, Text, and Culture in Classical Antiquity

Since the Renaissance - and arguably much earlier - the visual and verbal remains of the Greco-Roman world have been a constant source of inspiration and enlightenment. This series offers an interdisciplinary forum for research into those ancient literary and artistic cultures, exploring classical materials both on their own terms and in light of their subsequent receptions. Attuned to the ways in which different cultural forms mediate different aspects of the classical past, the series explores both the fundamental problems and opportunities of reconstructing Greco-Roman antiquity from its surviving archaeological and textual traces.

A defining interest of the series lies in the intersection between ancient visual and verbal media. In what ways do images and texts construct different records of the classical past, and how did ancient artists and writers themselves theorize the relations between what can be seen and what can be said? Drawing on recent comparative literary and visual cultural studies, series-volumes explore how interdisciplinary approaches can illuminate different aspects of ancient cultural and intellectual history. At the same time, they demonstrate how classical materials can nuance more modern theories of visual and verbal mediation in turn.

The series will publish monographs and edited volumes on all periods of Greco-Roman history, from Archaic Greece through to Late Antiquity. We are particularly interested in projects that are structured according to theme, medial difference or methodological problem rather than chronological timeframe. Above all, volumes aim to probe, interrogate and provoke: by crossing traditional disciplinary and subdisciplinary boundaries within and beyond the field of classics, while also drawing on approaches developed outside its historicist parameters, Image, Text and Culture in Classical Antiquity engages a broad readership from a range of different academic perspectives. 

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General
HISTORY / Ancient / Greece
HISTORY / Ancient / Rome