A couple of days ago I picked up my copy of the Argonautica. As I have been rereading this epic, its author, Apollonius Rhodius, strikes me as an extremely intelligent man. Tradition has it that he was a librarian at the great library of Alexandria during the Ptolemaic period. He would have had access to all of the known literature of his time and it shows. Apollonius constantly refers the reader to events and characters mentioned in earlier epics and it is beyond obvious that his poetic style was very much inspired by Homer. According to tradition, Apollonius’ work was not well received and he was then exiled from Alexandria. If true, then it is a shame.
I see myself as a “literary archaeologist.” No field work is required. The purpose of this self appointed and non-existent discipline is to marry two fields which do not cooperate very well with each other: archaeology and literary studies. The texts are historical artifacts and must be treated as such.