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Domitian and Pentheus, Apollonius and Dionysos echoes of Homer and of Euripides' Bacchae in Philostratus' Vita Apollonii

Danny Praet (UGent) , Kristoffel Demoen (UGent) and Wannes Gyselinck (UGent)
(2011) LATOMUS. 70(4). p.1058-1067
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Abstract
The conflict between Apollonius of Tyana and the emperor Domitian reaches a climax in book 7 of the Vita Apollonii, but the confrontation between the two is prepared in the previous books by a very ingenious system of references to Homer and Euripides. Domitian, the tyrant who made laws against vines, is depicted as a godfighter: a fool who did not realize that in opposing Apollonius he was fighting the god Proteus, just as Pentheus did not recognize the god Dionysos in human form. Domitian and Pentheus imprison the god and cut his hair. Domitian was bald and rather obsessed with hair. His lover sacrificed his hair to the god in whose sanctuary Apollonius started to wear his hair long. As he was made to look a fool by Dionysos in Euripides, so we can wonder about the subtle irony used by Philostratus at the expense of Domitian. Apollonius wears long hair in honour of Dorian traditions. He follows and partially inverts the example of the Pythagorean Empedocles who had groomed hair and claimed he was ‘an immortal god to you and no longer a mortal’ (quoted in VA 1.1.3). The intertextual references support the claims made by some about the divine nature of Apollonius. The sophist Philostratus managed to weave a web of allusions between Homer, Euripides, philosophy, and history - both Greek and Roman – and this web is one of the many ways in which the sophist managed to connect his eight books on Apollonius.
Keywords
Homer, Empedocles, Euripides, Philostratus, Apollonius of Tyana, Greek literature, Pythagoras, Second Sophistic, intertextuality, STATIUS, EUNUCH

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Citation

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Chicago
Praet, Danny, Kristoffel Demoen, and Wannes Gyselinck. 2011. “Domitian and Pentheus, Apollonius and Dionysos Echoes of Homer and of Euripides’ Bacchae in Philostratus' Vita Apollonii.” Latomus 70 (4): 1058–1067.
APA
Praet, D., Demoen, K., & Gyselinck, W. (2011). Domitian and Pentheus, Apollonius and Dionysos echoes of Homer and of Euripides’ Bacchae in Philostratus' Vita Apollonii. LATOMUS, 70(4), 1058–1067.
Vancouver
1.
Praet D, Demoen K, Gyselinck W. Domitian and Pentheus, Apollonius and Dionysos echoes of Homer and of Euripides’ Bacchae in Philostratus' Vita Apollonii. LATOMUS. 2011;70(4):1058–67.
MLA
Praet, Danny, Kristoffel Demoen, and Wannes Gyselinck. “Domitian and Pentheus, Apollonius and Dionysos Echoes of Homer and of Euripides’ Bacchae in Philostratus' Vita Apollonii.” LATOMUS 70.4 (2011): 1058–1067. Print.
@article{1974561,
  abstract     = {The conflict between Apollonius of Tyana and the emperor Domitian reaches a climax in book 7 of the Vita Apollonii, but the confrontation between the two is prepared in the previous books by a very ingenious system of references to Homer and Euripides. Domitian, the tyrant who made laws against vines, is depicted as a godfighter: a fool who did not realize that in opposing Apollonius he was fighting the god Proteus, just as Pentheus did not recognize the god Dionysos in human form. Domitian and Pentheus imprison the god and cut his hair. Domitian was bald and rather obsessed with hair. His lover sacrificed his hair to the god in whose sanctuary Apollonius started to wear his hair long. As he was made to look a fool by Dionysos in Euripides, so we can wonder about the subtle irony used by Philostratus at the expense of Domitian. Apollonius wears long hair in honour of Dorian traditions. He follows and partially inverts the example of the Pythagorean Empedocles who had groomed hair and claimed he was {\textquoteleft}an immortal god to you and no longer a mortal{\textquoteright} (quoted in VA 1.1.3). The intertextual references support the claims made by some about the divine nature of Apollonius. The sophist Philostratus managed to weave a web of allusions between Homer, Euripides, philosophy, and history - both Greek and Roman -- and this web is one of the many ways in which the sophist managed to connect his eight books on Apollonius.},
  author       = {Praet, Danny and Demoen, Kristoffel and Gyselinck, Wannes},
  issn         = {0023-8856},
  journal      = {LATOMUS},
  keyword      = {Homer,Empedocles,Euripides,Philostratus,Apollonius of Tyana,Greek literature,Pythagoras,Second Sophistic,intertextuality,STATIUS,EUNUCH},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {1058--1067},
  title        = {Domitian and Pentheus, Apollonius and Dionysos echoes of Homer and of Euripides' Bacchae in Philostratus' Vita Apollonii},
  volume       = {70},
  year         = {2011},
}

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