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.
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 Bibliography
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 producing, with Dirk Baltzly and John Finamore, a translation of Proclus’ Commentary on Plato’s Republic.
"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