Le Sirene e l’arte culinaria

The present contribution examines the relationship between ancient Greek comic poets, who worked in different periods and cultural contexts. The study considers the specific case that binds Epicharmus (Syracuse, 5th century BC), Nikophon (Athens, 5th century BC) and Hegesippus (native of Taras, 3rd century BC). The comparison of fragmentary texts casts new light on the connection between these authors, highlighting the reuse of subjects previously known and developed. The main part of this work analyses a long fragment from Hegesippus, where a boastful chef compares his own culinary skills to the seduction technique of the Homeric Sirens. The juxtaposition of these monstrous beings with food is not only a parody of Homer and does not constitute a new image in the Greek comic literature. Instead, it seems to be part of a shared repertoire, since it was used by Epicharmus and Nikophon two centuries earlier. It is therefore possible that the ancient Greek comic poets had at their disposal a number of models and situations already tested and deemed good for the success of the pieces. The paper considers the importance of Epicharmus’ image and examines the function of the Homeric parody as well as the meanings that it conveys. Hegesippus refers to this subject with an allusion which should be easily understood by his audience.

 Tosetti S. Le Sirene e l’arte culinaria