This study examines Nonnus’ use of gestures in the Dionysiaca, in particular those related to power (supplication, obeisance, dragging of the defeated), spectacles (mainly the pantomime), grief, and love. The first impression is that they enhance the visuality of the poem, a central late antique proposal, but Nonnus also exploited them thoroughly to enrich the texture of his poem. The gestures in the Dionysiaca are reminiscent of those occurring in other literary works (Homer, as well as imperial authors), rhetorical treatises, and the visual arts, thus weaving a net that combines tradition and modernity. They also were used to reflect changes in genre, for example, a dramatic passage called for dramatic gestures, and were intended to induce a passionate reaction to the poem in contemporary readers, who could mirror the passionate gestures of the inner audiences.


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pp. 251-273
Launched on MUSE
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