This is a general reading of Callimachus' work within the socio-political context of Ptolemaic Alexandria. "Alibis" refers to the constitutionally expatriate nature of the populace and culture established there, which in Callimachus gives rise to a poetics based on the principles of displacement and convergence. Close analysis of a wide variety of passages, drawn principally from the epigrams, Aetia, and Hymns, demonstrates how the "order of the alibi" informs all major aspects of the poet's work, from the lexical make-up of his texts to their larger narrative and thematic structure. Certain poems in the corpus, such as the Lock of Berenice and the Hymn to Apollo, not only require detailed knowledge of Greek literature, history, and religious institutions, but also draw extensively on Egyptian mythography and cultural models, which do not so much replace the Hellenic matter as-characteristically-cohabit with it. In this respect, Callimachus served both as a key architect of the new, multi-ethnic culture that the Ptolemies institutionalized in Egypt and as its most penetrating critic.
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