This paper examines the last epigram of the ecphrastic section of Martial’s Apophoreta (14.182), where the clay figurine of a hunchback is presented as one of the monsters created by a drunken Prometheus during the Saturnalia. The analysis shows how skillfully Martial combines occasional motif and mythological parody in so short a poem, exploiting in a comic-realistic key the ambivalent character of Prometheus, inherent in the mythical tradition to justify the merits and defects transmitted to humans by their creator. In particular, the analysis focuses on the motif of drunkenness, which, by turning the Titan into a clumsy demiurge who creates monsters, has an interesting precedent in an etiological fable of Phaedrus (4.16): here Prometheus, invited to dinner by the god of wine, comes back home completely drunk and confusedly completes the demiurgic work he interrupted, giving rise to monstrous androgynous beings, from which the tribades and effeminate males come. This coincidence, together with the fact that Phaedrus and Martial are among the few authors of antiquity to talk about female homosexuality, sharing the rare Graecism tribas and assigning her a monstrous phallic nature (as the exam of Mart. 1.90, 7.67 and 70 shows), supports the hypothesis that Martial knew Phaedr 4.16. Furthermore, the statuette of the hunchback could allude to Aesop, whom Phaedrus introduces as narrator of his etiological tale; if this is so, the grotesque figurine would be particularly suitable to highlight the subtle strategy of passage from the ecfrastic section to that on books.
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|Titolo:||Prometeo ebbro e i suoi monstra (a proposito di Mart. 14,182 e Phaedr. 4,16)|
|Citazione:||Mattiacci, S. (2014). Prometeo ebbro e i suoi monstra (a proposito di Mart. 14,182 e Phaedr. 4,16). LEXIS, 32, 315-330.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|