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Nonnos: Dionysiaca, Volume I, Books 1-15…

Nonnos: Dionysiaca, Volume I, Books 1-15 (Loeb Classical Library No. 344)

by Nonnos

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A curious ride written 1500 years ago and already then decadent in its relation to the myths, which by the way is made extremely clear by the unflattering introduction by H.J. Rose, not to mention the critical notes throughout the work. One appreciates the facts and clarifications, only the sarcastic tone strikes one a bit odd at first, but then becomes a small source of entertainment in itself. That aside, even the translator includes an apologetic note in the beginning, although he naturally must love the work sufficiently to endure such a vast translation project. One could say that it's hard to come across a work that appears less encouraging to get on with… -- But that's all part of the fascinating backwardness of this work. I'd come across fragments of the battle between Typhoeus and Zeus (Books I-II of XXXXVIII) and those
were branded on my mind from the first moment -- and I'm glad I didn't hesitate to acquire this three-volume set -- freshly having finished Ovid's ”Metamorphoses” in the same deliciously dry but equally competent Loeb series. ”Dionysiaca” is wild, confusing, occasionally a bit exhausting but this is only to gain strength for the next odd leap in the storyline that culminates in Dionysos’ war against the Indians. Where Nonnos fails in mythological accuracy (remember, this was written 500 years after Ovid, and all in all 700 years after the veneration of the Greek gods fell into disuse), he gains with his unrestrained imagination and often movie-like drama. -- For more information about this wonderfully obscure work, see http://www.rochester.edu/College/translation/threepercent/index.php?id=3139
1 vote ketolus | Aug 7, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674993799, Hardcover)

Nonnos of Panopolis in Egypt, who lived in the fifth century of our era, composed the last great epic poem of antiquity. The Dionysiaca, in 48 books, has for its chief theme the expedition of Dionysus against the Indians; but the poet contrives to include all the adventures of the god (as well as much other mythological lore) in a narrative which begins with chaos in heaven and ends with the apotheosis of Ariadne's crown. The wild ecstasy inspired by the god is certainly reflected in the poet's style, which is baroque, extravagant, and unrestrained. It seems that Nonnos was in later years converted to Christianity, for in marked contrast to the Dionysiaca, a poem dealing unreservedly with classical myths and redolent of a pagan outlook, there is extant and ascribed to him a hexameter paraphrase of the Gospel of John.

The Loeb Classical Library edition of the Dionysiaca is in three volumes.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:08 -0400)

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