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Date and Time: Thursday, 9th November, 2023 at 16:30h BST

Venue: Room G.21, Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DA

Join us for tea and biscuits, before the seminar, at 4pm in Room G.22


In the second seminar of season four of Greek Dialogues, we delve into Atticism, a profoundly influential phenomenon in Imperial Greek. Professor Olga Tribulato (Lewis-Gibson Visiting Fellow and Università Ca' Foscari) will explore Atticism's impact on Roman contemporary texts, shedding light on linguistic correctness and style during this period.

In the Imperial age, Atticism – perhaps the most influential phenomenon in the history of the Greek language – looked back to the Classical Attic dialect as a benchmark of linguistic correctness.

Atticism was both a theory of literary style and a form of linguistic purism which sought to counteract the changes taking place in Postclassical Greek and to orient the prose production of the time.

Based on the research of the ERC project Purism in Antiquity, devoted to the linguistic theories of Atticist lexicography and their reception, this paper will explore how we can relate Atticist precepts to the style of contemporary texts. By considering both Second Sophistic prose and epigraphic sources, the paper will argue that their language was not a slavish imitation of Classical Attic, but a refined reuse where carefully selected Atticising tesserae were interwoven in the fabric of high-register koine.

To understand the function of these embellishing elements, the style and content of each piece must be evaluated in the light of its production and performance context. This methodology, which the paper will outline based on selected examples, allows us to reach a more nuanced approach to how authors of the Imperial age sought to ‘sound Attic’.

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Thursday, 9 November, 2023 - 16:30
Event location: 
Room G.21, Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DA