Oxford University Press – 536 pages
Relatively little is known of the life of Crinagoras of Mytilene: a Greek epigrammatist and diplomat who lived between the first centuries BC and AD, he was despatched to Rome as part of the embassies to Julius Caesar and Octavian, was held in high regard by his contemporaries, and divided his life between his home of Mytilene and the centre of the Roman Empire, where he was acquainted with the family of the emperor Augustus. Much of the detail we have to flesh out this brief account comes from his poems, which, in keeping with the genre, draw extensively on his personal experience and on the events of the day to provide a key source for the circumstances of his life. They are also eloquent and dynamic in their own right, and as a corpus they cover a wide thematic range: many were inspired by contemporary political or military events or by personal experiences, observations, or contemplation, though they also include several sepulchral epigrams concerning the deaths of persons the poet knew, and many which were composed as notes to be sent with gifts to friends or acquaintances.
This new edition collects together all fifty-one of the surviving epigrams which have come down to us as part of the Greek Anthology. Presented here in a new critical text alongside engaging English translations, they are analysed in detail in an incisive introduction and exegetic word-by-word commentary, both as individual poems and as part of the corpus as a whole. With discussion throughout covering not only textual and stylistic matters, but also literary and historical context and Crinagoras’ place within his social and cultural milieu, this edition provides a guide to the life and work of this understudied poet which is both authoritative and accessible.