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The Neotericoi (Greek νεωτερικοί "new poets"), Neoterics or the Neoteric period refers to avant-garde poets and their poetry, specifically those Greek and Latin poets in the Hellenistic Period (323 BC onwards) who propagated a new style of Greek poetry, deliberately turning away from the classical Homeric epic poetry.

Their poems featured small-scale personal themes, instead of the feats of ancient heroes and gods. Although these poems might seem to address superficial subjects, they are subtle and accomplished works of art.

Greek Neoterics[edit]

The most famous of these were the Alexandrian Greeks, Callimachus, the author of many epigrams, and Theocritus, a bucolic poet from Sicily.

Latin Neoterics[edit]

Influenced by the Greek Neoterics, the Latin Neoterics or poetae novi (writing in the 1st century BC) rejected traditional social and literary norms. Their poetry is characterized by tight construction, a playful use of genre, punning, and complex allusions. The most significant surviving Latin Neoteric is Catullus. The modern edition of his works derives from a single codex, which appeared in the 14th century in his hometown of Verona, but now is lost. His poetry exemplifies the elegant vocabulary, meter, and sound which the Neoterics sought, while balancing it with the equally important allusive element of their style.

Latin poets normally classified as neoterics are Catullus and his fellow poets such as Helvius Cinna, Publius Valerius Cato, Marcus Furius Bibaculus, Quintus Cornificius etc. Some neoteric stylistic features can also be seen in the works of Virgil, who was one generation younger than the poetae novi. They were occasionally the subject of scorn from older, more traditionally minded Romans such as Cicero.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oxford Latin Reader, Maurice Balme and James Morewood (1997)