Biblioteca della Pontificia Università della Santa Croce Catalogo della Biblioteca

Ceccarelli, Paola

Ancient Greek letter writing : a cultural history (600 BC-150 BC) / Paola Ceccarelli. - Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013. - xviii, 435 p. : c. geogr. ; 24 cm.

Bibliogr. p. 385-413.

Ancient Greek letters : an introduction -- Greek beginnings : writing and letter writing, evidence and representation. Writing and letter writing : the evidence -- Writing and letter writing : representations -- When a letter and why? : Narrative strategies in the ancient historians -- Letter writing and the polis. Writing and letter writing on the Athenian dramatic stage -- Letters on the legal and political stage -- Poleis and kings, letters and decrees : official communication in the Hellenistic period -- Appendices. Archaic and classical documentary letters -- Ancient traditions on the invention of writing -- Official letters sent by Greek poleis or koina and inscribed on stone, in chronological order.

In this volume, Ceccarelli offers a history of the development of letter writing in ancient Greece from the archaic to the early Hellenistic period. Highlighting the specificity of letter-writing, as opposed to other forms of communication and writing, the volume looks at documentary letters, but also traces the role of embedded letters in the texts of the ancient historians, in drama, and in the speeches of the orators. -- -- While a letter is in itself the transcription of an oral message and, as such, can be either truthful or deceitful, letters acquired negative connotations in the fifth century, especially when used for transactions concerning the public and not the private sphere. Viewed as the instrument of tyrants or near eastern kings, these negative connotations were evident especially in Athens where comedy and tragedy testified to an underlying concern with epistolary communication. In other areas of the Greek world, such as Sparta or Crete, the letter may have been seen as an unproblematic instrument for managing public policies, with inscriptions documenting the official use of letters not only by the Hellenistic kings, but also by some poleis.

9780199675593 0199675597


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