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Πάντ᾽ ὀλιγοχρόνιος – alles war ich nur kurz (AP 7,167)

Das griechische Grabepigramm als Form erfüllter Lebenskürze

Peter von Möllendorff

Pages 191 - 207

The article first examines how Greek funerary epigrams of ‚Anthologia Graeca‘ determine the quality of life in retrospect to the biographies of the deceased. The nuances of such life criticism are numerous, by no means always affirmative, and highly differentiated in their use of form. The duration of a life is put in relation to the achieved, and the degree of fulfillment as well as the intensity of the feeling of life is measured by social expectations on the individual. Therefore, a short life is by no means to be regarded as unfulfilled from the outset. The actual focus of the article is on how epigrammatists deal with the challenge of adequately mapping the fullness of life in texts that are generically determined by brevity and pointed emphasis. It is argued that epitaphs develop strategies to formally compensate for an unfulfilled life. Where life has not attained intensity, they offer aesthetic substitutes and, in this way, engage the recipient in the past life atmospherically and emotionally, offer comfort and create significance where life itself withheld it.


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