This paper focuses on Cadmus’ last words in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Ov. met. 4, 583-585) and suggests that the Ovidian text should be interpreted in the light of an indication given by the author of the rhetorical treatise Περὶ εὑρέσεως included in the Hermogenian corpus (Hermog. inv. 4, 12). Pseudo-Hermogenes quotes two verses of Euripides (fragment 930 N², Eur. Frg. 2 Jouan et Van Looy), for which he is the only source, and comments upon the κακόζηλον of the first verse (“Alas, I become a snake in half”) and the σεμνότης of the second (“Son, embrace what is left of your father”). In Ovid Cadmus’ words deal with the same subject: the king describes his own metamorphosis into a snake and asks his interlocutor (his bride, instead of his son in Euripides) to embrace him before his body is completely transformed. Ovid takes care to formulate Cadmus’ speech in high style, by using literary devices such as repetition and the syntactic structure of the sentence. Therefore, the Hermogenian analysis allows us to evaluate the stylistic quality of the Ovidian passage, which has not been satisfactorily understood. This instance of σεμνότης corresponds also with certain precepts of Demetrius’s On Style about ‘grand style’.

Il cacozelon nello Ps. Ermogene e una proposta di interpretazione stilistica a Ov., met. 4, 583-585

Alessandra Romeo
2019

Abstract

This paper focuses on Cadmus’ last words in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Ov. met. 4, 583-585) and suggests that the Ovidian text should be interpreted in the light of an indication given by the author of the rhetorical treatise Περὶ εὑρέσεως included in the Hermogenian corpus (Hermog. inv. 4, 12). Pseudo-Hermogenes quotes two verses of Euripides (fragment 930 N², Eur. Frg. 2 Jouan et Van Looy), for which he is the only source, and comments upon the κακόζηλον of the first verse (“Alas, I become a snake in half”) and the σεμνότης of the second (“Son, embrace what is left of your father”). In Ovid Cadmus’ words deal with the same subject: the king describes his own metamorphosis into a snake and asks his interlocutor (his bride, instead of his son in Euripides) to embrace him before his body is completely transformed. Ovid takes care to formulate Cadmus’ speech in high style, by using literary devices such as repetition and the syntactic structure of the sentence. Therefore, the Hermogenian analysis allows us to evaluate the stylistic quality of the Ovidian passage, which has not been satisfactorily understood. This instance of σεμνότης corresponds also with certain precepts of Demetrius’s On Style about ‘grand style’.
Ovid, Ps. Hermogenes, kakozelon, grand style
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/297888
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