Parody and Charm

Demetrius, On Style 158

“Charm also comes from imitating someone else’s style, as Aristophanes does when he mocks Zeus someplace because “he fails to hit evil people with lightning but hits his own temple instead as well as the Athenians’ Sounian peak!” See, here it is not Zeus who is mocked, but Homer and a Homeric line too, and more charm comes from this.”

(150) καὶ ἀπὸ στίχου δὲ ἀλλοτρίου γίνεται χάρις, ὡς ὁ Ἀριστοφάνης σκώπτων που τὸν Δία, ὅτι οὐ κεραυνοῖ τοὺς πονηρούς, φησίν,
ἀλλὰ τὸν ἑαυτοῦ νεὼ βάλλει, καὶ Σούνιον ἄκρον​
ὥσπερ γοῦν οὐκέτι ὁ Ζεὺς κωμῳδεῖσθαι δοκεῖ, ἀλλ᾿ Ὅμηρος καὶ ὁ στίχος ὁ Ὁμηρικός, καὶ ἀπὸ τούτου πλείων ἐστὶν ἡ χάρις.

Athenaeus 15.698b

“Polemon in the 12th book of his Essay to Timaios writes on his inquiry into composers of parody:’ I would say that the parodists Boiotos and Euboios are clever because they toy with double meanings and surpass previous poets even though they are later born. Still, it needs to be said that the iambic poet Hipponax created the genre. He speaks in Hexameters:

Muse, tell me about the stomach slicing, sea-swallowing
Eurymedontes who was eating out of order so that
He was allotted a terrible death by the vote
Of all the people along the strand of the tireless sea.”

Πολέμων δ᾿ ἐν τῷ δωδεκάτῳ τῶν πρὸς Τίμαιον περὶ τῶν τὰς παρῳδίας γεγραφότων ἱστορῶν τάδε γράφει· “καὶ τὸν Βοιωτὸν δὲ καὶ τὸν Εὔβοιον τοὺς τὰς παρῳδίας γράψαντας λογίους ἂν φήσαιμι διὰ τὸ παίζειν ἀμφιδεξίως καὶ τῶν προγενεστέρων ποιητῶν ὑπερέχειν ἐπιγεγονότας. εὑρετὴν μὲν οὖν τοῦ γένους Ἱππώνακτα φατέον τὸν ἰαμβοποιόν. λέγει γὰρ οὗτος ἐν τοῖς ἑξαμέτροις·
Μοῦσά μοι Εὐρυμεδοντιάδεω τὴν ποντοχάρυβδιν,
τὴν ἐγγαστριμάχαιραν, ὃς ἐσθίει οὐ κατὰ κόσμον,
ἔννεφ᾿, ὅπως ψηφῖδι <κακῇ> κακὸν οἶτον ὄληται
βουλῇ δημοσίῃ παρὰ θῖν᾿ ἁλὸς ἀτρυγέτοιο.

Distorted adult figures fight over an overgrown baby. Small babies run around hatched from eggs. Oil painting.
Grotesque parody of an accouchement. Oil painting attributed to Faustino Bocchi.

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