COLLOQUIUM: Alexander Sens, Georgetown, "Like a Winged Runner: Lycophron’s Alexandra and the Reconfiguration of the Messenger’s Speech"

Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Lycophron's Alexandra opens with a thirty-verse prologue in which an unnamed messenger announces to Priam (also not directly named) that he will be reporting the prophecy uttered by Cassandra at the moment that Paris' ships were departing Troy for Greece. The messenger's prologue both reflects Lycophron's two principal generic models--tragedy and epic--and sets up the poem's intensive concern with the question of poetic truth and authority by engaging with the conventions of tragic messenger's speeches. The paper focuses on the prologue's reconfiguration of the messenger speech, in the process considering the ways in which these opening verses frame the broader interpretive questions raised by the work.