- Pluperfects and the Artist in Ekphrases: From the Shield of Achilles to the Shield of Aeneas (and Beyond)
- Volume | Issue number
- 68 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
This study discusses the figure of the artist in classical ekphrases, in particular the pluperfects of verbs of making of the type ἐτέτυκτο, ἤσκητο, ἐκεκόσµητο, ἐτετείχιστο, caelaverat, fecerat, struxerat which evoke that artist. After setting up a framework of the various other ways in which the artist can be represented in ekphrases, I zoom in on the pluperfects and show how they are used differently in Greek and Latin ekphrases: in Greek the medio-passive pluperfect describes a finished object while at the same time acknowledging the act of making and hence the maker; in Latin the active pluperfect occurs in analepses which evoke the act of making by a maker as an event of the past. I end with the remarkable use of the pluperfect by Vergil in the shield of Aeneas in Aeneid 8. He uniquely combines the Greek epic tradition of the refrain of verbs of making with the Latin analeptic force of the tense, in order to keep reminding the narratees of the maker of the shield, Vulcan, and his prophetic powers and of the earlier, crucial scene of the divine smith forging the shield.
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