A complementary text to the Greek poet of Argonautica


This volume presents a companion text to ancient Greek poet Apollonius of Rhodes, author of the epic poem Argonautica, which stands on a level of importance with other major ancient epics like the Aeneid or the Odyssey. Ruth Scodel and her contributors examine Apollonius’ work from three points of view—his literary influences and impact on contemporary writers, the actual work of Apollonius, and his later reception in Latin. This companion volume seeks to help readers with varied reasons to be interested in Apollonius—whether they are interested in Latin poets whom he influenced, or in patronage, or narrative method.

A Companion to Apollonius of Rhodes aims to help contemporary readers appreciate what is most characteristic of Apollonius’ epic—its fascination with ritual and myth, gods who act without the direction of Zeus, frequent distanced narration, the portrayal of characters in situations where there are no good choices. It includes thorough analyses of the poem's relationship to contemporary art with illustrations and treats familiar topics, such as Jason's leadership, with nuance. Contributors include Benjamin Acosta-Hughes, Annemarie Ambühl, Anja Bettenworth, Keyne Cheshire, Christopher Chinn, James Clauss, Adele Teresa Cozzoli, Kristopher Fletcher, Regina Höschele, Alexander Hollmann, Niklas Holzberg, Alison Keith, Adolf Köhnken†, Anatole Mori, William H. Race, Norman Sandridge, Selina Stewart, Stefanie Stürner, and Graham Zanker.

Ruth Scodel is D.R. Shackleton Bailey Collegiate Professor Emerita of Greek and Latin at the University of Michigan and Research Associate at UC Davis. She has previously published Listening to Homer: Tradition, Narrative, and Audience with the University of Michigan Press among many other monographs and articles, and is editor of Theater and Society in the Classical World.

“Despite the Argonautica poem’s relative contemporary obscurity, the work relates one of the most important and influential Greek myths. Nevertheless, readers of the work still experience difficulty in finding useful introductory material to assist their exposure to Apollonius’ complex and often opaque epic. This volume not only fills that void, but also explicitly and successfully aims at a broader readership.”

- Ingrid Holmberg, University of Victoria

“This is a volume of high quality and all the contributions have thought-provoking, relevant, and timely things to say. It will fill a gap in existing literature and will be useful for those teaching courses on myth and ancient epic, as well as for scholars working on the Argonautica and on Hellenistic poetry more generally.”

- Damien Nelis, University of Geneva