Document Type

Honors Project


This paper examines ancient conceptions of social behavior, using the works of two epigrammatists, Callimachus and Martial. Both poets lived under empires (Ptolemaic and Roman, respectively), and their writing engages with ideas of imperial power. I argue that Martial and Callimachus reinforce ideas of proper social behavior under empire, especially in the ways that imperial and public opinion influenced the expected behavior for women and sexual conduct of people of all genders. The epigrams themselves are evidence of these behavioral precepts, and epigrammatic tendencies aid in their interpretation. This paper provides a better sense of society’s behavioral expectations, bringing us closer to understanding ancient daily life.

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