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Lies and Fiction in the Ancient World$
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Christopher Gill and T.P. Wiseman

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780859893817

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780859893817.001.0001

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Lies, Fiction and Slander in Early Greek Poetry

Lies, Fiction and Slander in Early Greek Poetry

(p.1) Chapter One Lies, Fiction and Slander in Early Greek Poetry
Lies and Fiction in the Ancient World

E.L. Bowie

Liverpool University Press

This chapter challenges the idea that the invocation of the Muses in early Greek Poetry means that poets saw themselves as reporting historical facts. Referring to Homeric epic, Hesiod, and archaic lyric poetry, it points to a variety of indicators that the authors were aware of their own invention of new material and expected their audiences also to be aware of this invention. Key examples include Hesiod's reported meeting with the Muses, Stesichorus’ two prologues on Helen and epodes by Archilochus referring to invented episodes. The overall implication is that there is a wide awareness of the possibility of what we call ‘fiction’ even if there is no genre which is explicitly presented as fictional and no term corresponding to the idea of fiction.

Keywords:   Epic, Fiction, Lies, Lyric, Muses, Slander

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