Marcie Gwen Persyn (University of Pittsburgh)
One of the many poets of the Greek Anthology, the skoptic epigram writer Loukillios has challenged textual critics and literary scholars alike for decades. His name, the pseudo-biographical hints of his poems, and his claim to Neronian patronage all declare his Romanitas; yet his language, his poetry, and his literary context are undeniably Hellenic (Cameron 1993). The sole author of Greek Anthology 11 to compose under a Latin nomen, Loukillios’ identity can be interpreted as an invitation to read him as a poet of two cultures, an intellectual shift that positions his epigrams within not only Greek but also Roman poetic traditions: his Greek literary models on the one hand (Robert 1968; Magnelli 2005; Sens 2011), and his subsequent influence upon the Latin poet Martial on the other (Rozema 1971; Nisbet 2003; Lucci 2015).
Nevertheless, it is my belief that Loukillios’ poetry can also be productively contextualized with a view to his Roman precedents: specifically, the Roman satirist with whom he, coincidentally or otherwise, shares a name in common—the father of Latin verse satire himself, Gaius Lucilius. Just as Lucilius the satirist has been shown to affect Greek and to implement Hellenic literary motifs (Chahoud 2004; Persyn 2019), I argue that Loukillios the author of skoptic epigram may have likewise been influenced by the satire of Rome.
By examining this potential cross-cultural influence from one poet to another, this paper will not only illuminate the oeuvre of Loukillios, but will also contribute to our growing understanding of the role of Greek epigram within the Roman empire (see König 2009, Höschele 2018). I will explore further what Gutzwiller has called the “important, but poorly understood cultural/literary interaction between Greeks and Romans” (Gutzwiller 2005), and reveal new aspects of the vibrantly transcultural literary milieu of the first century CE.