Classics Greek Poetry: Elegiac and Lyric
by
Ian Rutherford
  • LAST REVIEWED: 05 April 2013
  • LAST MODIFIED: 14 December 2009
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0048

Introduction

Although the best-known genres are epic and drama, most Greek poetry took the form of shorter works performed by soloists or choruses in any of a variety of meters. Since performance was usually accompanied by music, the term “songs” is often more appropriate than “poems”: ancient Greece of the Archaic period was a “song culture.” These shorter forms are conventionally divided into lyric, elegy, and iambos by modern scholars. This entry deals only with elegy and lyric.

Elegiac Poetry

Like other ancient Greek generic terms, “elegy” is difficult to define; the best recent attempts are West 1974 and Bowie 1986. A key characteristic is a metrical structure comprising a sequence of elegiac couplets, an elegiac couplet consisting of a dactylic hexameter followed by a pentameter (an “elegeion” in Greek terminology). The fact that the metrical scheme included a hexameter line allowed for the use of epic vocabulary and may well have influenced the development of the genre: it was different enough from epic to allow for the expression of personal themes, but close enough to discourage the use of undignified subject matter (contrast the iambos). Elegiac meter came to be the most commonly used one for epigrams, short poems intended to be inscribed somewhere. Performance of elegy seems to have been sung and to accompaniment of the aulos (a kind of flute). The length of elegies varied from a few lines to a hundred or more. Performance context and function varied, and it seems likely that there were several different subgenres. A common feature seems to be a speech situation in which the singer or speaking subject addresses an audience on a certain state of affairs (West 1974): an army, a city, a political faction, a friend. The symposion (drinking party) is a particularly common scenario for the performance of such poems. Some elegies may have had a narrative function; this was first argued by Bowie 1986, and confirmation seemed to be found in the discovery of the Plataia poem of Simonides (see Simonides). Other elegies may have been associated with lament, ultimately the origin of the modern sense of “elegy,” although it is a mistake to generalize this for ancient Greek elegy. The funerary epigram may have been a factor here. The classic study of this is Page 1936.

  • Bowie, E.L. 1986. Early Greek elegy, symposium, and public festival. Journal of Hellenic Studies 106:13–35.

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    The standard treatment of the issue of narrative elegy.

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    • Page, D. L. 1936. The elegiacs in Euripides’ Andromache. In Greek poetry and life: Essays presented to Gilbert Murray. Edited by Cyril Bailey, 206–230. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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      Clear statement of the hypothesis that there is a lost tradition of archaic lamentary elegy.

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      • West, M. L. 1974. Studies in Greek elegy and iambus. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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        Fundamental study of Greek elegy by the world’s leading expert in the field. See especially pp. 1–39.

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        Lyric Poetry

        The term “lyric” is used for songs performed to musical accompaniment, composed in complex stanzas or triadic structures. The metrical structures of elegy and iambos are, by contrast, simpler, consisting of repetition of a single line (“stichic”) or of a combination of two metrical kola (“epodic”). “Lyric” literally means “performed to the lyre,” or at any rate a stringed instrument. In fact, the term is inaccurate, since some of what we conventionally call “lyric poetry” was performed to accompaniment with the aulos, a wind instrument. The term “melic” (from “melos” “song”) has greater ancient authority and is sometimes preferred (e.g., Smyth 1904). Lyric poetry could be performed by either soloists or choruses, and there is no hard and fast distinction between poems intended for these two modes of performance (see Davies 1988). Common performance scenarios were religious celebration, including poetry competitions, and the symposion. Elegiac and lyric overlap to some extent; for example, short songs with political or erotic content intended for performance at the symposion are found in both forms.

        Bibliographies

        Useful bibliographies of the subject have been compiled by Gerber 1991, Gerber 1993, and Gerber 1994 and were published in the periodical Lustrum.

        Companions

        Budelmann 2009 provides an up-to-date overview of the subject. Gerber 1997 is also useful. Entries on archaic choral lyric can be found in Segal 1985, and on monody in Campbell 1985. Segal 1998 collects many of his previously published papers on Greek lyric.

        • Budelmann, Felix, ed. 2009. The Cambridge companion to Greek lyric. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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          Comprehensive guide to the subject, comprising twenty newly written essays by experts.

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          • Campbell, David A. 1985. Monody. In The Cambridge history of classical literature, volume 1: Greek literature. Edited by P. E. Easterling and B. M. W. Knox, 202–221. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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            Useful survey of Sappho, Alcaeus, Ibycus, and Anacreon.

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            • Gerber, Douglas E. 1997. A companion to the Greek lyric poets. Mnemosyne Supp. 173. Leiden: Brill.

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              Useful guide to lyric, elegiac and iambic by leading Canadian experts. See especially pp. 89–132.

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              • Segal, Charles P. 1985. Archaic choral lyric. In The Cambridge history of classical literature, volume 1: Greek literature. Edited by P. E. Easterling and B. M. W. Knox, 165–201. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                Useful survey of the subect.

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                • Segal, Charles P. 1998. Aglaia: The poetry of Alcman, Sappho, Pindar, Bacchylides and Corinna. Lanham, MD: Rowan and Littlefield.

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                  Collection of Segal’s papers on lyric poetry.

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                  Journals

                  Although there are no journals exclusively devoted to Greek lyric and elegy, the journal Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica (conventionally abbreviated QUCC), founded by Bruno Gentili in 1966, in practice specializes in papers in these areas.

                  Modern Anthologies

                  The standard anthology of Greek lyric texts is Campbell 1982. Extremely useful is Hutchinson 2001, which provides introductions to Alcman, Stesichorus, Sappho, Alcaeus, Ibycus, Simonides and Anacreon. Mention should also be made here of the excellent study of Neri 2004, although it includes the poems only in translation. An older anthology is Gerber 1970. In Italian, we have Degani and Burzacchini 1977 and Perrotta 2007; in Polish, Danielewicz 1999 and Bartól 1999.

                  Translations

                  The Loeb Classical Library volumes contain reliable translations of all the substantial fragments. Translations of the most important fragments are to be found in Miller 1996, West 2008, and Fowler 1992. A reliable Italian translation is in Neri 2004.

                  • Fowler, Barbara Hughes. 1992. Archaic Greek poetry: An anthology. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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                    A useful anthology in translation, incuding the major lyric and elegiac poets, as well as some Homeric Hymns, and some poems of Pindar and Bacchylides.

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                    • Miller, Andrew M. 1996. Greek lyric: An anthology in translation. Indianapolis: Hackett.

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                      A useful volume of translations of the major fragments of the lyric, elegiac, and iambic poets, as well as some poems of Pindar and Bacchylides.

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                      • Neri, Camillo. 2004. La lirica greca: Temi e testi. Rome: Carocci.

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                        Excellent study of Greek lyric, which includes an Italian translation of some fragments.

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                        • West, M. L., ed. and trans. 2008. Greek lyric poetry: The poems and fragments of the Greek iambic, elegiac, and melic poets (excluding Pindar and Bacchylides) down to 450 B.C. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                          The most widely available modern English translation, by one of the most significant modern scholars in the field.

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                          Texts

                          The texts are mostly fragments preserved by citation in other ancient works or in papyri; very few poems survive in their entirety. It is conventional to refer to the texts by the number assigned to them in a standard modern edition; the standard enumeration is mentioned in this section for elegy and lyric. The exception is the elegiac poet Theognis, whose poems survive in an ancient collection, which is referred to by line numbers.

                          Elegiac Poetry

                          For the fragments of the elegists, the standard text is the second edition of Martin West’s two-volumes (West 1989–1992). The only significant fragment not included in this is the most recently published text of Archilochus (see Archilochus). Most of West’s texts appear also in the editio minor, West 1980. Another modern edition, with fuller testimonia, is Gentili and Prato 1988–2002 (second edition), which, however, does not include the elegies of Archilochus or Theognis. West’s enumeration is followed in the Loeb volume of Gerber 1999. Gerber’s edition was published too early to include the text of the Simonides Plataea poem.

                          • Gentili, Bruno, and Carlo Prato, eds. 1988–2002. Poetarum elegiacorum testimonia et fragmenta. Bibliotheca Teubneriana. Leipzig: Teubner.

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                            Edition of the fragments of the elegiac poets, except for Archilochus and Theognis, with extensive testimonia and critical apparatus. The enumeration differs from that in West.

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                            • Gerber, Douglas E., ed. and trans. 1999. Greek elegiac poetry: from the seventh to the fifth centuries. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                              Useful edition, following West’s enumeration, with Engish translation.

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                              • West, M. L., ed. 1980. Delectus ex iambis et elegis graecis. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                Useful abbreviated edition.

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                                • West, M. L., ed. 1989–1992. Iambi et elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                  Standard edition of the fragments.

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                                  Lyric Poetry

                                  For the lyric poets of the Archaic and Classical periods except for Sappho and Alcaeus the standard texts is Page 1962, conventionally cited as PMG, to be used alongside Page 1974, cited as SLG; the first volume of a re-edition comprising the fragments of Alcman, Stesichorus and Ibycus is Davies 1991 (cited as PGMF). For Sappho and Alcaeus, see Lobel and Page (Sappho and Alcaeus 1955; cited as PLF); recourse may also be made to the text of Voigt (Sappho and Alcaeus 1971). This order is also followed in the Loeb Classical Library volumes edited by Campbell (1982–1993), which are the most convenient place to consult the fragments.

                                  • Campbell, David M., ed. 1982–1993. Greek lyric. 5 vols. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                    Edition of Greek lyric poetry, except for Pindar; all fragments and testimonia have an accompanying English translation. Vol.1, Sappho and Alcaeus; Vol. 2, Anacreon, Anacreontea, Choral lyric from Olympus to Alcman; Vol. 3, Stesichorus, Ibycus, Simonides and others; Vol. 4, Bacchylides, Corinna, and others; Vol. 5, The new school of poetry and anonymous songs and hymns.

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                                    • Davies, Malcolm, ed. 1991. Poetarum melicorum graecorum fragmenta I. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                      Partial re-edition of Page 1962 and 1974. Only Vol. 1 has appeared as of 2009, covering the poets Alcman, Stesichorus, and Ibycus.

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                                      • Page, Denys L., ed. 1962. Poetae melici graeci. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                        Reprinted, Oxford: Oxbow, 2003. Standard edition of the fragments known up until 1962 of the lyric poets except for Sappho, Alcaeus, Pindar. and Bacchylides.

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                                        • Page, Denys L., ed. 1974. Supplementum lyricis graecis. Oxford: Clarendon Press,

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                                          Supplement to Page 1962, with fragments published in the intervening years.

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                                          • Sappho and Alcaeus. 1955. Poetarum lesbiorum fragmenta. Edited by Edgar Lobel and Denys L. Page. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                            Reprinted, 1997. Standard edition of the fragments of Sappho and Alcaeus then known.

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                                            • Sappho and Alcaeus. 1971. Fragmenta. Edited by Eva-Marie Voigt. Amsterdam: Athenaeum–Polak & Van Gennep.

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                                              Includes fragments published after those in Sappho and Alcaeus 1955, as well as full citations of ancient commentaries; uses a different enumeration of fragments, however.

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                                              Studies of Elegy

                                              Important recent studies are West 1974, which deals with both general and specific topics, and Adkins 1985, which provides a good overview of literary issues. A more recent survey is Aloni and Iannucci 2007, which includes a text of the Telephus fragment of Archilochus. Another important survey is Gerber 1997. The Cambridge history of classical literature 1: Greek literature includes Barron and Easterling 1985 on “Early Greek elegy.” Bowie 1986 includes much general material, as does Irwin 2005, particularly on the exhortatory elegies of Tyrtaeus and Callinus and on Solon. Faraone 2008 argues that many early elegies were composed in units of five couplets (ten lines).

                                              • Adkins, Arthur W. H. 1985. Poetic craft in the early Greek elegists. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                A comprehensive literary study of the early elegists.

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                                                • Aloni, Antonio. 2009. Elegy. In The Cambridge companion to Greek lyric. Edited by Felix Budelmann, 168–188. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                  An up-to-date survey of elegy.

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                                                  • Aloni, Antonio, and Alessandro Iannucci. 2007. L‘elegia greca e l‘epigramma dalle origini al V secolo. Con un’appendice sulla ‘nuova’ elegia de Archiloco. Florence: Le Monnier Università.

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                                                    Important recent survey of elegy; includes the new “Telephus” poem of Archilochus.

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                                                    • Barron, J. P., and P. Easterling. 1985. Early Greek elegy. In The Cambridge history of classical literature, volume 1: Greek literature. Edited by P. E. Easterling and B. M. W. Knox, 128–135. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                      Useful survey of early Greek elegy.

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                                                      • Bowie, E. L. 1986. Early Greek elegy, symposium, and public festival. Journal of Hellenic Studies 106:13–35.

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                                                        Classic study of narrative elegy; includes much general material on the genre.

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                                                        • Faraone, Christopher A. 2008. The stanzaic architecture of early Greek elegy. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                          Important study of the form structure of archaic elegiac poems.

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                                                          • Gerber, Douglas E. 1997. Elegy. In A companion to the Greek lyric poets. Edited by Douglas E. Gerber, 89–132. Mnemosyne Supp. 173. Leiden: Brill.

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                                                            Useful survey of elegy.

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                                                            • Irwin, Elizabeth. 2005. Solon and early Greek poetry: The politics of exhortation. Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                              Important recent study of elegiac poetry.

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                                                              • West, M. L. 1974. Studies in Greek elegy and iambus. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter.

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                                                                Even after thirty-five years, the analysis of elegy in this book is still of fundamental importance.

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                                                                Studies of Lyric

                                                                Two useful surveys are Gentili 1988 and Podlecki 1984. Fränkel 1975 sets the poems in the context of Archaic Greek culture. Bowra 1961 surveys the evidence for the canonical poets. Campbell 1983 takes a thematic approach. General studies that do not aim at a comprehensive treatment are Burnett 1983, Stehle 1997, and Calame 1997.

                                                                • Bowra, C. M. 1961. Greek lyric poetry: From Alcman to Simonides. 2d ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                                                  With its mainly biographical approach, still a useful survey.

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                                                                  • Burnett, Anne Pippin. 1983. Three Archaic poets: Archilochus, Alcaeus, Sappho. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                    Study of the three best-preserved poets of Archaic monody.

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                                                                    • Calame, Claude. 1997. Choruses of young women in ancient Greece: Their morphology, religious role, and social function. Translated by Derek Collins and Janice Orion. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

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                                                                      French original, Choeurs de jeunes filles en Grèce archaique. 1, Morphologie, fonction religieuse et sociale (Rome: Edizioni dell’Ateneo and Bizzarri, 1977). Groundbreaking analysis of the partheneion genre, taking an anthropological approach.

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                                                                      • Campbell, David A. 1983. The golden lyre: The themes of the Greek lyric poets. London: Duckworth.

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                                                                        Valuable survey of Greek lyric by theme.

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                                                                        • Fränkel, Hermann F. 1975. Early Greek poetry and philosophy. Translated by Moses Hadas and J. Willis. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

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                                                                          German original, Dichtung und Philosophie des frühen Griechentums (2d ed., Munich, 1962). Fundamental study of early Greek poetry and philosophy.

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                                                                          • Gentili, Bruno. 1988. Poetry and its public in ancient Greece: From Homer to the fifth century. Translated by T. Cole. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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                                                                            Italian original, Poesia e pubblico nella Grecia antica: da Omero al V secolo (Rome: Laterza, 1984). Important study by a leading Italian expert, setting Greek lyric in a broad context of society and poetics.

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                                                                            • Kurke, Leslie. 2001. The strangeness of ‘song culture’: Archaic Greek poetry. In Literature in the Greek world. Edited by Oliver Taplin, 58–87. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                              Brief but excellent introduction to the subject.

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                                                                              • Podlecki, Anthony J. 1984. The early Greek poets and their times. Vancouver: Univ. of British Columbia Press.

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                                                                                Valuable study of early greek poetry in its political context.

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                                                                                • Stehle, Eva. 1997. Performance and gender in ancient Greece: Nondramatic poetry in its setting. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                  Innovative study of Greek lyric poetry and gender.

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                                                                                  Elegiac Poets

                                                                                  Listed here are the most important poets of elegy in the 7th to 5th centuries BCE. The standard text for all of them is West 1989–1992.

                                                                                  Archilochus of Paros

                                                                                  For the text see West 1989. The only commentary, that of Tarditi (Archilochus 1968), is now very much out of date. Still useful are the essays in Pouilloux 1964. Archilochus (7th century BCE) composed poems in elegiac, iambic, and trochaic meters, as well as “epodic” forms consisting of an iambic line alternating with another line. Scholarly discussion on Archilochus in recent decades has centered on the epodic fragment in Cologne, published in the 1970s, which describes the violent seduction of a young woman. Some of the elegiac fragments tell of events in the poet’s military career, for instance war against the Thracian Saioi (his father, Telesikles, had led the Parian colonization of Thasos in the early 7th century); others have more general themes, such as consolation on a shipwreck (fr. 13). There are no clear thematic distinctions from fragments in other meters, except that there is no sign of invective in the elegiac poems. On the issue of the poet’s “I” and the biographical tradition, see Carey 1986. A recent discovery of considerable importance is an Archilochean elegy containing a mythological narrative about Telephus, P.Oxy. 4708 (see Obbink 2006 and POxy: OxyrhynchusOnline.

                                                                                  Mimnermus of Colophon

                                                                                  All the fragments of Mimnermus (7th century BCE) are elegiac; see West 1992, pp. 83–88. The surviving fragments deal with love and the mutability of life. Several fragments come from a poem entitled “Nanno,” including one describing the Sun’s journey under the Earth. Another theme was war against Lydia. We now have a commentary on the whole, Allen (Mimnermus 1993). Other useful studies include Slings 2000 on symposiastic performance, and Griffith 1975 on the relation of fr. 2 to Homer.

                                                                                  • Gentili, Bruno, and Carlo Prato, eds. 1988–2002. Poetae elegiaci: Testimonia et fragmenta. 2d ed. Leipzig: Teubner.

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                                                                                    Edition of the fragments of Mimnermos with full testimonia and apparatus criticus, Vol. 1, pp. 39–61.

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                                                                                    • Griffith, Mark. 1975. Man and the leaves: A study of Mimnermos fr. 2. California Studies in Classical Antiquity 8:73–88.

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                                                                                      Study of the relation between Mimnermus and Homer.

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                                                                                      • Mimnermus. 1993. The fragments of Mimnermus: Text and commentary. Edited by Archibald W. Allen. Stuttgart: Steiner.

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                                                                                        Standard edition of the surviving fragments of Mimnermus.

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                                                                                        • Slings, S. R. 2000. Symposium and ideology: Two hermeneutical questions in early Greek lyric with special reference to Mimnermus. Mededelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen 63:1–33.

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                                                                                          Essay on the context of performance of early elegy, focusing on the examples of fr. 1 and fr. 2 of Mimnermus.

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                                                                                          • West, M. L., ed, 1992. Iambi et elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati, vol. 2: Callinus; Mimnermus; Semonides; Solon; Tyrtaeus; Minora adespota. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                                                                            Standard edition of the fragments.

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                                                                                            Callinus of Ephesos

                                                                                            For the text of Callinus’s (7th century) extant work, see West 1989–1992. Fragments of his elegies seem to relate to the wars of Ephesos against Magnesia on the Maeander and also the Cimmerians. A good study of the largest fragment is Verdenius 1972. Irwin 2005 provides a valuable discussion of exhortatory elegy.

                                                                                            Tyrtaeus

                                                                                            For the text of Tyrtaeus (7th century BCE), see West 1989–1992, and also Gentili and Prato 1988. There is a commentary, Prato 1968. Although it has sometimes been argued that some fragments attributed to Tyrtaeus are products of later generations, the usual view these days is that they are authentic (see Gerber 1997, p. 104; Prato 1968, pp. 8–20).

                                                                                            Thematic Studies

                                                                                            The themes of the elegiac fragments of Tyrtaeus have to do with the wars and constitution of Sparta, particularly in the context of the second Messenian war of the mid-7th century BCE. One composition, the “Eunomia” (fr. 2, 4–5 West), was believed in Antiquity to allude to the early Spartan constitution, or rhetra, as dictated by Delphi, although that has been doubted: see Ogden 1994 and van Wees 1999. On the “choral voice” of this elegy, see D’Alessio 2009, pp. 150–156. Other poems, e.g. fr. 10, 11, 12 West, contain exhortations to soldiers (cf. Callinus, fr. 1). A good introduction to the problem of performance of the elegies of Tyrtaeus is Bowie 1990. Irwin 2005, pp. 19–62, has an excellent discussion of exhortatory elegy and its social and political context. Tyrtaeus’s poems seem to have been performed in Sparta down into the 4th century BCE, as Philochorus and Plato attest (Powell 1994 on Plato’s Laws).

                                                                                            • Bowie, E. L. 1990. Miles ludens? The problem of martial exhortation in early Greek elegy. In Sympotica: A symposium on the symposium. Edited by Oswyn Murray, 221–229. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                              Argues that martial elegies of Tyrtaeus were performed in the royal skene.

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                                                                                              • D’Alessio, Giovan B. 2009. Defining local identities in Greek lyric poetry. In Wandering poets in ancient Greek culture: Travel, locality, and pan-hellenism. Edited by R. L. Hunter and Ian Rutherford, 137–167. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                Discussion of how early Greek poetry gives a sense of local identity, including a section on Tyrtaeus.

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                                                                                                • Irwin, Elizabeth. 2005. Solon and early Greek poetry: The politics of exhortation. Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                  Valuable recent study of exhortatory elegy and its social and political context.

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                                                                                                  • Nagy, Gregory. 1990. Poetry and the ideology of the polis: The symbolism of apportioning meat. In his Greek mythology and poetics. By Gregory Nagy, 269–275. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                    On Philochorus’s testimony that Tyrtaeus’s poems were performed as part of a competition at Spartan feasts.

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                                                                                                    • Ogden, Daniel. 1994. Crooked speech: The genesis of the Spartan rhetra. Journal of Hellenic Studies 114:85–102.

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                                                                                                      Analysis of the origin of Spartan rhetra, showing how Tyrtaeus’s “Eunomia” relates to it.

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                                                                                                      • Powell, Anton. 1994. Plato and Sparta: Modes of rule and non-rational persuasion in the Laws. In The shadow of Sparta. Edited by Anton Powell and Stephen Hodkinson, 271–321. London and New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                        Discussion of Plato’s representation of Sparta, includes discussion of his references to Tyrtaeus.

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                                                                                                        • Van Wees, Hans. 1999. Tyrtaeus’ Eunomia: Nothing to do with the Great Rhetra. In Sparta: New perspectives. Edited by Stephen Hodkinson and Anton Powell, 1–41. London: Duckworth.

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                                                                                                          Argument that Tyrtaeus’s “Eunomia” is not related to the Spartan rhetra.

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                                                                                                          Theognis of Megara

                                                                                                          The “Theognidea,” or corpus of poetry ascribed to Theognis (6th century BCE) in the manuscript tradition, is easily the largest category of Archaic elegy, comprising a total of 1,389 lines, lines 1231–1389 being conventionally regarded as a second book of homoerotic poems. The standard text is in West 1989–1992. Ferrari (Theognis 1989) provides a brief commentary on the whole corpus, using West’s text. The standard commentary on Book 1 is van Gröningen (Theognis 1966); on Book 2, Vetta (Theognis 1980).

                                                                                                          Central Issues

                                                                                                          For discussion of general issues, see Selle 2008. There are two key issues that are related to each other. The first is the historical context of the collection: Can it be assigned to a single historical period of the history of Megara, and if so, which? Or do different poems or sections reflect different historical periods? A good overview of the historical context is provided by Lane Fox 2000. The second issue is how the present collection was compiled and how much goes back to the 6th century. In particular, what do we make of passages repeated within the collection (“doublets”), and occasional overlaps with lines attributed to other elegists? Some see the present collection as the result of a complex process of anthologization from earlier written collections (see West 1974 and Bowie 1997); others posit the model of an evolving oral tradition (see Nagy 1983 and Irwin 2005, p. 217).

                                                                                                          • Bowie, E. L. 1997. The Theognidea: A step towards a collection of fragments? In Collecting fragments = Fragmente sammeln. Edited by Glenn W. Most, 53–66. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht.

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                                                                                                            Useful discussion of the origins of the first book of the Theognidea from earlier collections of elegies.

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                                                                                                            • Figueira, Thomas J., and Gregory Nagy, eds. 1985. Theognis of Megara: Poetry and the polis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                              Useful collection that treats general issues.

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                                                                                                              • Irwin, Elizabeth. 2005. Solon and early Greek poetry: The politics of exhortation. Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                Important study of early elegy, which contains the most recent treatment of “doublets” in Theognis.

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                                                                                                                • Lane Fox, Robin. 2000. Theognis: An alternative to democracy. In Alternatives to Athens. Edited by Roger Brock and Stephen Hodkinson, 35–51. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                  Readable discussion of the date and political context of Theognis.

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                                                                                                                  • Nagy, Gregory. 1983. Theognidea 39–52, 1081–1082b. In Studies in classical lyric: A homage to Elroy Bundy. Edited by Rhomas D’Evelynn, et al., 82–91. Special issue of Classical Antiquity 2(1). Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                    Study of the “doublets” in Theognis, arguing they should be seen as reflecting dfferent stages of an evolving poetic tradition.

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                                                                                                                    • Selle, Hendrik. 2008. Theognis und die Theognidea. Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte 95. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                      Recent survey of scholarship on Theognis.

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                                                                                                                      • West, M. L. 1974. Studies in Greek elegy and iambus. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                        This general study of elegy includes one of the most complete modern studies of Theognis.

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                                                                                                                        The Meaning of the So-called Seal

                                                                                                                        A special issue that has evoked much discussion is the poem (19–30) in which Theognis talks of a “seal” (Greek, sphregis) that is laid upon his verses. Many theories have been put forward (see the overview in Gerber 1997, pp. 124–127), including that it means that the poet’s name is in the poetry, which guarantees the authenticity of the verses (Ford 1985), that it is literally a seal (Cerri 1991), and that it stands for writing (Pratt 1995).

                                                                                                                        • Cerri, Giovanni. 1991. Il significato di sphregis in Teognide e la salvaguardia dell’autenticità testuale nel mondo antico. Quaderni di Storia 17:21–40.

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                                                                                                                          Study of the “sphregis poem,” arguing that it is literally a seal.

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                                                                                                                          • Ford, A. L. 1985. The seal of Theognis: The politics of authorship in Archaic Greece. In Theognis of Megara: Poetry and the polis. Edited by Thomas Figueira and Gregory Nagy, 82–95. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                            Discussion of the “seal,” arguing that it stands for the name of the poet.

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                                                                                                                            • Gerber, Douglas E. 1997. Elegy. In A companion to the Greek lyric poets. Edited by Douglas E. Gerber, 89–132. Mnemosyne Supp. 173. Leiden: Brill.

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                                                                                                                              Reliable survey of elegy that contains an excellent survey of the issue of the Theognidean “seal.”

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                                                                                                                              • Pratt, Louise H. 1995. The seal of Theognis, writing, and oral poetry. American Journal of Philology 116:171–184.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/295439Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Exploration of the “seal,” arguing that it represents writing.

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                                                                                                                                Xenophanes of Colophon

                                                                                                                                For the text of Xenophanes (6th century BCE), see West 1989–1992. Two large elegiac fragments survive, one laying down ideal rules for the symposium (fr. 1), the other thoughts on the utility of the Olympic Games (fr. 2). His famous diatribe against conventional religion appears in hexameter fragments. The standard commentary is Lesher (Xenophanes 1992). Still useful are Bowra 1938a and Bowra 1938b on fragments 1 and 2, respectively.

                                                                                                                                Solon of Athens

                                                                                                                                A number of elegiac, iambic, and trochaic poems are ascribed to the Athenian politician Solon (6th century BCE). For the text, see West 1989–1992 and Gentili and Prato 1988–2002. The content seems not to vary significantly among the meters. Of the elegiac poems, some relate explicitly to Athenian politics, especially fr. 4 West (the “Eunomia” poem), and also the Salamis poem (fr. 1–3), while others are more general in scope (such as the “Hymn to the Muses”, fr. 13 West). The most recent commentaries on Solon’s poems are Mülke 2002 and Noussia 2001.

                                                                                                                                Interpretive Studies

                                                                                                                                A number of studies of specific aspects can be found in Blok and Lardinois 2006. The most significant recent monograph is Irwin 2005, which offers a subtle analysis of Solon’s poetry and its complex relationship to political realities and poetic traditions, focusing particularly on fr. 4 West. Three key issues stand out. First, how does Solon’s poetry relate to earlier Greek poetry? Out of the huge bibliography, one might single out Werner Jaeger’s classic study of the “Eunomia” poem (Jaeger 1966), which argues for a relation to Homer’s Odyssey and to Hesiod. Irwin 2005 has now superseded any other study of that topic, developing the idea of an intertextual relationship between Solon and Odysseus, and argung for a relation to exhortation elegy of the Tyrtaeus type. Second, how does Solon’s poetry relate to his political career? This is a more diffcult issue because we know less about contemporary Athenian politics than we do about earlier poetry. Recent contributions include Almeida 2003, which seeks to understand Solon’s verse against the background of the picture of the early political makeup of Athens as revealed by the “new classical archaeology,” and Irwin 2006, which detrects unexpected signs of transgressive and tyrannical rhetoric in Solon. Third, how were the surviving fragments of Solon reshaped by oral tradition at Athens in the following centuries? Recent studies have tended to argue that they were reshaped a great deal: see Lardinois 2006, looking at language, and Stehle 2006, looking at political attitudes.

                                                                                                                                • Almeida, Joseph A. 2003. Justice as an aspect of the polis idea in Solon’s political poems: A reading of the fragments in light of the researches of new classical archaeology. Mnemosyne Supp. 243. Leiden: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                  Exploration of Solon’s poetry against the background of the exceptional political structure of early Athens as revealed by recent archaeological work.

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                                                                                                                                  • Blok, Josine, and André Lardinois. 2006. Solon of Athens: New historical and philological approaches. Mnemosyne Supp. 272. Leiden: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                    A collection of papers on aspects of Solon.

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                                                                                                                                    • Irwin, Elizabeth. 2005. Solon and early Greek poetry: The politics of exhortation. Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                      Sophisticated study of Solon’s poetry in its political and poetic context.

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                                                                                                                                      • Irwin, Elizabeth. 2006. The transgressive elegy of Solon? In Solon of Athens: New historical and philological approaches. Edited by Josine Blok and A. Lardinois, 36–78. Mnemosyne Supp. 272. Leiden: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                        Investigation of the political language in Solon’s poetry, focussing on points where his voice is transgressive or even tyrannical.

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                                                                                                                                        • Jaeger, Werner. 1966. Solon’s Eunomia. In his Five essays. By Werner Jaeger, 77–99. Montral: M. Casalini.

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                                                                                                                                          First published as “Solons Eunomie,” Sitzungsberichte der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, 1926, Nr. 11 (Berlin, 1926). Study of Solon fr. 4 as a document for the evolution of Greek political theory.

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                                                                                                                                          • Lardinois, André. 2006. Have we Solon’s Verses?” In Solon of Athens: New historical and philological approaches. Edited by Josine Blok and André Lardinois, 15–35. Mnemosyne Supp. 272. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                            Persuasive demonstration that, given the nature of oral traditions, the surviving poems and fragments attributed to Solon in later Greek sources are likely to have been significantly altered from what Solon himself composed.

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                                                                                                                                            • Martin, Richard. 2006. Solon in no-man’s land. In Solon of Athens: New historical and philological approaches. Edited by Josine Blok and André Lardinois, 157–172. Mnemosyne Supp. 272. Leiden: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                              Explores the idea of a poet-statesman against the background of analogous African traditions.

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                                                                                                                                              • Stehle, Eva. 2006. Solon’s self-reflexive political persona and its audience. In Solon of Athens: New historical and philological approaches. Edited by Josine Blok and André Lardinois, 79–113. Mnemosyne Supp. 272. Leiden: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                Brilliant analysis of the “political persona” that emerges from Solon’s poems and fragments, arguing that this is likely to be a construction of debates about democracy in Athens in the 4th century BCE.

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                                                                                                                                                Simonides of Keos: Elegy

                                                                                                                                                For the text, see West 1989–1992. Extensive fragments of elegies by Simonides (5th century BCE) came to light with the publication of P.Oxy. 3965 in 1989. The most celebrated of the fragments is an elegy on the battle of Plataea, but there are also sympotic fragments. The best guide to the subject is found in the papers collected in Boedeker and Sider 2001. This volume contains a commentary on the poems by Rutherford 2001. Since then, a number of further contributions have appeared, including Kowerski 2005 on the fragments dealing with the Persian Wars, and Sider 2006, which raises again the issue of whether the Plataea poem should be considered a historical elegy. On the sympotic fragments, an important contribution is Yatromanolakis 1998, which suggests that one of them (fr. 22 West) may have had a threnodic context, which makes sense in view of other things we know about Simonides and about the elegiac genre. The publication of new fragments also seems to have settled the question of the authorship of an elegiac fragment mentioning Homer’s simile of the leaves, which Stobaeus ascribes to “Simonides”; many modern scholars had previously attributed this to the iambographer Semonides of Amorgos, but it turns out to be by Simonides of Keos (fr. 19–20 in West 1989–1992), and the number of elegiacs known to have been composed by Semonides of Amorgos is now zero. On this issue see Sider 2006. See also Simonides of Keos: Lyric.

                                                                                                                                                • Boedeker, Deborah Dickmann, and David S. Sider, eds. 2001. The new Simonides: Contexts of praise and desire. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                  Collection of papers on the “new Simonides,” an expanded version of a special issue of Arethusa (29[2], 1996), by the same editors.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Gentili, Bruno, and Carlo Prato, eds. 1988–2002. Poetae elegiaci: Testimonia et fragmenta. 2d ed. Leipzig: Teubner.

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                                                                                                                                                    Edition of the fragments with full testimonia and apparatus criticus; for simionides see pp. 183–225.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Kowerski, Lawrence M. 2005. Simonides on the Persian Wars: A study of the elegiac verses of the “new Simonides.” New York and London: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                                      The first monograph devoted exclusively to the Plataea poem.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Rutherford, Ian C. 2001. The new Simonides: Towards a commentary. In The new Simonides: Contexts of praise and desire. Edited by Deborah Dickmann Boedeker and David S. Sider, 167–192. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                        Commentary on the elegies of Simonides.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Sider, David S. 2001. “As is the generation of leaves” in Homer, Simonides, Horace and Stobaeus. In The new Simonides: Contexts of praise and desire. Edited by Deborah Dickmann Boedeker and David S. Sider, 263–293. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                          Important analysis of the “leaves” fragment (fr. 19–20 West).

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                                                                                                                                                          • Sider, David S. 2006. The new Simonides and the question of historical elegy. American Journal of Philology 127:327–346.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1353/ajp.2006.0044Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            New analysis of the Plataea poem, questioning the validity of the category “historical elegy.”

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                                                                                                                                                            • West, M. L., ed. 1989–1992. Iambi et elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati. 2d ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                                                                                                                                              Standard edition of the fragments; for Simonides see Vol. 2, pp. 114–137.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Yatromanolakis, Dimitrios. 1998. Simonides fr. eleg. 22 W2: To sing or to mourn? Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigrafik 120:1–11.

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                                                                                                                                                                Study of fr. 22 West, arguing that the context is threnodic.

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                                                                                                                                                                Critias of Athens

                                                                                                                                                                For the text, see West 1989–1992. The varied poetic output of the Athenian aristocrat Critias (late 5th century BCE) included sympotic elegies. Iannucci 2002 provides recent edits of the fragments.

                                                                                                                                                                Issues in Elegiac Poetry

                                                                                                                                                                In recent work on elegiac poetry, five major issues stand out: performance contexts, narrative elegy, formal features, the development of the genre after the 5th century BCE, and reception.

                                                                                                                                                                Performance Contexts

                                                                                                                                                                West 1974 argues for a wide range of performance contexts, and Bowie 1986 for a much narrower range. See also Bartól 1993, pp. 51–57.

                                                                                                                                                                Narrative Elegy

                                                                                                                                                                One of the most important developments in the past few decades is hypothesis of Bowie 1986 that in the Archaic period elegy was used for extensive narratives. This hypothesis seems to find confirmation in the publication in 1989 of Simonides’s elegy on the battle of Plataea. Narrative elegy is also discussed by Dougherty 1994. More recently, doubt has been expressed about this line of argument by Sider 2006.

                                                                                                                                                                Formal Features

                                                                                                                                                                The standard account is now Adkins 1985. Faraone 2008 has recently argued that elegiac poetry tends to be composed in stanzas of five couplets or ten lines.

                                                                                                                                                                Development of the Genre after the 5th Century BCE

                                                                                                                                                                Elegy seems to have developed in the late 5th and early 4th centuries BCE in the hands of Antimachus of Colophon, whose Lyde seems to have contained a sequence of narrative elegies designed for consolation (see Cameron 1995, p. 315). Narrative and lamentation seem to have been characteristics of the Demeter of Philetas of Cos (see Powell 1925). Callimachus used the same meter for learned etiology his Aitia. Other Hellenistic poets used elegy for erotic themes: Hermesianax in his Leontion, Alexander of Pleuron in his Apollo, and Phanocles in his Erotes. It is widely suspected that Roman love elegy had Hellenistic models (see Butrica 1996).

                                                                                                                                                                • Butrica, J. L. 1996. Hellenistic erotic elegy: The evidence of the papyri. In Papers of the Leeds International Latin Seminar 9. Edited by Francis Cairns and Malcolm Heath, 297–322. Leeds: F. Cairns.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Survey of the evidence for erotic elegy in the Hellenistic period.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Cameron, Alan. 1995. Callimachus and his critics. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Standard work on Callimachus and Hellenistic poetry; includes a discussion of Hellenistic elegy.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Powell, J. U. 1925. Collectanea Alexandrina. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Reprinted, 1970. Standard edition of the fragments of Hellenistic poets includes a section on Philetas of Cos, pp. 90–91.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Reception of Elegiac Poetry

                                                                                                                                                                      In the case of political elegies, especially those of Solon, our knowledge is owed to their reuse in the later tradition, which may have shaped them considerably (see Stehle 2006). The same is probably also true for Theognis, whose poems were circulated among Athenian aristocrats in the late 5th century BCE (see Lane Fox 2000). Mimnermus was a favored model for the Alexandrian poet Callimachus of Cyrene (see Cameron 1995, pp. 308–314). Of all early elegies, the one that seems to have been most influential on later Greek and Roman poetry is Simonides’s Plataea poem: see, for example, O’Hara 1998 and Barchiesi 1996. On the reception of another fragment from a Simonidean elegy, see Pontani 2001.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Barchiesi, Alessandro. 1996. Simonides and Horace on the death of Achilles. Arethusa 29:247–253.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1353/are.1996.0018Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Study of the influence of Simonides’s Plataea poem on Horace.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Cameron, Alan. 1995. Callimachus and his critics. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Includes a discussion of the use Alexandrian poets made of Mimnermus.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Lane Fox, Robin. 2000. Theognis: An alternative to democracy. In Alternatives to Athens. Edited by Roger Brock and Stephen Hodkinson, 35–51. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Includes a discussion of the reception of Theognis in 5th-century Athens.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • O’Hara, J. J. 1998. Venus or the Muse as “ally” (Lucr. 1.24, Simon. Frag. Eleg. 11.20–22W). Classical Philology 93:69–74.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Demonstation that a key passage of Lucretius’s De rerum natura alludes to Simonides’s Plataea poem.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Pontani, Filippomaria. 2001. The tooth of time: A poetic metaphor from Simonides to Shakespeare – and beyond. Classica et Mediaevalia 52:5–36.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Study of the reception of a metaphor from a Simonidean elegy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Stehle, Eva. 2006. Solon’s self-reflexive political persona and its audience. In Solon of Athens: New historical and philological approaches. Edited by Josine Blok and André Lardinois, 79–113. Mnemosyne Supp. 272. Leiden: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Study of the reception of Solon’s poetry in later Athenian sources.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Major Lyric Poets

                                                                                                                                                                                  The major lyric poets are the nine members of the “canon” (a modern term) singled out by the Hellenistic scholars the 3rd century BCE. The best guide to this process remains Pfeiffer 1968. For Hellenistic reception of the nine, see Barbantani 1993. This section covers elementary bibliography for all nine, except for Pindar and Bacchylides. The primary texts for the lyrics of Alcman, Stesichorus, Ibycus, Anacreon and Simonides are cited under Texts.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Barbantani, Silvia. 1993. I poeti lirici del canone alessandrino nell’ epigrammistica. Aevum 6:5–97.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Study of the representation of the canon of the nine lyric poets in the Greek epigrammatists.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Pfeiffer, Rudolf. 1968. A history of classical scholarship: From the beginnings to the end of the Hellenistic age. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Reprinted, 1976. Includes an account of Hellenistic scholarship on Greek lyric poetry.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Alcman

                                                                                                                                                                                      For the text, see Davies 1991. For the text with translation see Campbell 1988. There is a standard commentary on Alcman in Calame (Alcman 1983); notice that this uses a different enumeration of fragments from Davies.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Studies

                                                                                                                                                                                      Alcman is usually regarded as chronologically the first of the lyric poets, in the late 7th century BCE (rather later than Archilochus, and contemporaneous with the first elegiac poetry in Ionia and Sparta). On the complex issues of chronology, see Schneider 1985. Best-preserved are fragments of Alcman’s Partheneia, the first published in 1863, and fragments of one or more published as P.Oxy. 2389 in 1957. The definitive study of these is Calame 1977, who interprets the poems as part of a Spartan institution of “rite de passage” for girls. Still useful is the monograph of Page 1951. Hutchinson 2001 includes a useful commentary. Other recent studies of the First Partheneion include Robbins 1994, which analyzes the balance between the mythical part and the self-description by the chorus; Too 1997, which argues that the poem represents the values of the early Greek city; and Peponi 2004. Much scholarly interest has also been generated by a fragment of scholion (PMG5fr.2co.ii) that seems to attribute a cosmogony to Alcman (see Most 1987 and Ferrari 2008).

                                                                                                                                                                                      Stesichorus

                                                                                                                                                                                      For the text, see Davies 1991. For the text and translation, see Campbell 1993. There is still no complete commentary. ‘Scholarly attention has focused on the new fragments that seem to come from long poems of over a thousand lines, particularly a fragment now in Lille, which seems to come from a poem about the conflict between Polyneices and Eteokles, and usually regarded as from a “Thebaid”; there are also a number of fragments of papyri from Oxyrhynchus in Egypt, chief among them P.Oxy. 2617, the “Geryoneis.” For the Geryoneis, see Page 1973; a number of other fragments from Oxyrhynchus in Egypt are studied by Schade 2003. See also West 1969 on P.Oxy. 2619 (“Iliou Persis”), though notice that P.Oxy. 2735 is now usually ascribed to Ibycus (SLG166). For the Thebaid, the best guide is now Hutchinson 2001. See also Bremer, et al. 1987. A first edition of the Thebaid is Parsons 1977; Burnett 1988 tries to put the poem in context of Stesichorus’s origins in Magna Graecia.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Major Issues

                                                                                                                                                                                      Two issues have dominated. First is the question of performance. Although the name Stesichorus means “he who starts the chorus,” are these poems too long to have been performed by a chorus? See West 1971, Segal 1985, p. 187, Cingano 1990 and D’Alfonso 1994 for discussion. Second, what was the relation to Homeric epic? For the latter question, see Burkert 1987. Special problems are raised by the so-called Palinode fragment (PMG192), in which the poet asserts that Helen did not really go to Troy but an image of her did, apparently having represented himself as being blinded for earlier telling the conventional version. Modern studies of this include Bassi 1993 and Beecroft 2006.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Bassi, Karen. 1993. Helen and the discourse of denial in Stesichorus’ Palinode. Arethusa 26:51–75.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Speculative interpretation of the “Palinode” fragment, arguing that the effect of Stesichorus’s innovation is to reaffirm rather than undermine the conventional version.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Beecroft, A. J. 2006. “This is not a true story”: Stesichorus’s “palinode” and the revenge of the epichoric. Transactions of the American Philological Association 136:47–69.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1353/apa.2006.0002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          Study of the “Palinode” fragment, seeing it against the background of the contrast between “local” and “panhellenic” poetics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Burkert, Walter. 1987. The making of Homer in the 6th century BC: Rhapsodes versus Stesichorus. In Papers on the Amasis painter and his world. Edited by Andrea P. A. Pelloli, 43–62. Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Reprinted in Oxford readings in Homer, edited by D. Cairns (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 92–116. Important discussion arguing that Stesichorus should be seen as influenced by, and reacting to, the performances of Homeric rhapsodes in the 6th century BCE.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cingano, Ettore. 1990. L’opera di Ibico e di Stesicoro nella classificazione degli antichi e dei moderni. AION 12:189–224.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Discussion of whether the poems of Stesichorus and Ibycus should be viewed as designed for solo or choral performance.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • D’Alfonso, Francesca. 1994. Stesicoro e la performance: Studio sulle modalità esecutive dei carmi stesicorei. Rome: Gruppo Editoriale Internazionale.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Discussion of the performance of Stesichorus’s odes, arguing in favor of choral performance.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Segal, Charles P. 1985. Archaic choral lyric. The Cambridge history of classical literature, volume 1: Greek literature. Edited by P. E. Easterling and B. M. W. Knox, 165–201. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Includes a valuable survey of Stesichorus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • West, M. L. 1971. Stesichorus. Classical Quarterly 21:302–314.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/S0009838800033450Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Argues that Steschorus was a kitharode—a singer who who accompanied himself on the kithara.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sappho of Lesbos

                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the text, see Lobel and Page (Sappho and Alcaeus 1955), which remains a standard guide, and Voigt (Sappho and Alcaeus 1971). For a text and translation see Campbell 1982. A more recent guide is Yatromanolakis 2008. The world was stunned in 2004 by a new papyrus discovery that enabled the reconstruction of a complete poem previously known only in fragments; see Gronewald and Daniel 2004 and West 2005. For another recent textual advance see Ferrari 2005.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Campbell, David M., ed. and trans. 1982. Greek lyric, vol. 1: Sappho and Alcaeus. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Contains text and translation of Sappho.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ferrari, Franco. 2005. Contro Andromeda: Recupero di un’ode di Saffo. Materiali e discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici 55:13–30.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Innovative study arguing that some papyrus fragments of Sappho already known can be put together to form a previously unknown poem.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Gronewald, M., and R. W. Daniel. 2004. Ein neuer Sappho-Papyrus. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigrafik 146:1–8.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          First edition of a papyrus text enabling the reconstruction of a new fragment of Sappho.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sappho and Alcaeus. 1955. Poetarum lesbiorum fragmenta. Edited by Edgar Lobel and Denys L. Page. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Reprinted, 1997. Standard edition of the fragments of Sappho and Alcaeus then known.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Sappho and Alcaeus. 1971. Fragmenta. Edited by Eva-Marie Voigt. Amsterdam: Athenaeum–Polak and Van Gennep.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Edition that includes fragments, as well as full citations of ancient commentaries; uses a different enumeration of fragments, however.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • West, M. L. 2005. The new Sappho. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigrafik 151:1–9

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Definitive study of the new Sappho fragment.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Yatromanolakis, Dimitrios. 2008. Fragments of Sappho: A commentary. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The most recent commentary in English on the fragments of Sappho.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thematic Issues

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Many useful papers can be found in Greene 1996a; the reception of Sappho is studied in Greene 1996b as well. The biggest debate concerning Sappho has been the issue of performance: Are the poems public or private, for cult or private association, and were the performers soloists or choruses? See in particular Lardinois 1994, Lardinois 1996, and Lardinois 2001; also Parker 1993 and Nagy 2007.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Greene, Ellen, ed. 1996a. Reading Sappho: Contemporary approaches. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A useful collection of papers about Sappho, mostly previously published.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Greene, Ellen, ed. 1996b. Re-reading Sappho: Reception and transmission. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A useful collection of previously published papers about the reception of Sappho.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Lardinois, André. 1994. Subject and circumstance in Sappho’s poetry. Transactions of the American Philological Association 124:57–84.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/284286Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Survey of hypotheses about the performance of Sapphos poems, favoring the theory that they were performed by girls’ choruses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lardinois, André. 1996. Who sang Sappho’s songs? In Reading Sappho: Contemporary approaches. Edited by Emily Greene, 150–172. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Complements Lardinois 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Lardinois, André. 2001. Keening Sappho: Female speech genres in Sappho’s poetry. In Making silence speak: Women’s voices in Greek literature and society. Edited by André Lardinois and Laura McClure, 75–92. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Penetrating analysis of speech genres in Sappho.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Macleod, C. W. 1974. Two comparisons in Sappho. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigrafik 15:217–220.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Reprinted in his Collected essays (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 16–19. Literary analysis of two of Sappho’s similes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Nagy, Gregory. 2007. Did Sappho and Alcaeus ever meet? Symmetries of myth and ritual in performing the songs of ancient Lesbos. In Literatur und Religion: Wege zu einer mythisch-rituellen Poetik bei den Griechen. Edited by Anton Bierl, R. Lämmle, and K. Wesselmann, 211–269. MythosEikonPoiesis 1.1–2. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Study of the performance of Sappho’s poems, arguing that they were initially composed for choral performance and subsequently adapted for the symposion.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Parker, H. N. 1993. Sappho schoolmistress. Transactions of the American Philological Society 123:309–351.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Argues that Sappho’s poems were performed at the symposion.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Yatromanolakis, Dimitrios. 2007. Sappho in the making: The early reception. Hellenic Studies 28. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press for Center for Hellenic Studies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Study of the early reception of Sappho’s poetry.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Alcaeus of Mytilene

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the text, see Lobel and Page (Sappho and Alcaeus 1955) and Voigt (Sappho and Alcaeus 1971). For the text and translation, see Campbell 1982, Liberman (Alcaeus 1999), and Porro (Alcaeus 1996). Liberman’s edition contains a brief commentary. The principal new discovery of the past half-century is the so-called Cologne Alcaeus (fr. 298 Voigt, SLG 262), which narrates the myth of Ajax and Cassandra. Fundamental studies are found in Lloyd-Jones 1968, Fowler 1979, Bremer, et al. 1987, and Hutchinson 2001.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Alcaeus of Mytilene. 1996. Frammenti. Edited and translated by Antonietta T. Porro. Florence: Giunti.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Text of the fragments of Alcaeus with Italian translation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Alcaeus of Mytilene. 1999. Alcée: Texte établie, traduit et annoté. Edited and translated by Gauthier Liberman. 2 vols. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Text and commentary of Alcaeus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bremer, Jan Maarten, S. R. Slings, and A. Maria Erp van Taalman Kip, eds. 1987. Some recently found Greek poems: Text and commentary. Mnemosyne Supp. 99. Leiden: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Contains a commentary on the “Cologne fragment” of Alcaeus, pp. 95–127.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Campbell, David M., ed. and trans. 1982. Greek lyric, vol. 1: Sappho and Alcaeus. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Contains text and translation of Alcaeus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Fowler, R. L. 1979. Reconstructing the Cologne Alcaeus. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigrafik 33:17–28.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Study of the Cologne Alcaeus papyrus fragment.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hutchinson, G. O., ed. 2001. Greek lyric poetry: A commentary on selected larger pieces. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Contains a commentary on the Cologne Alcaeus, as well as Alcaeus fr. 129 and fr. 130b pp. 215–227.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Lloyd-Jones, Hugh. 1968. The Cologne fragment of Alcaeus. Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 9:125–139.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Early study of the Cologne fragment of Alcaeus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sappho and Alcaeus. 1955. Poetarum lesbiorum fragmenta. Edited by Edgar Lobel and Denys L. Page. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Reprinted, 1997. Standard edition of the fragments of Sappho and Alcaeus then known.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Sappho and Alcaeus. 1971. Fragmenta. Edited by Eva-Marie Voigt. Amsterdam: Athenaeum–Polak and Van Gennep.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Edition which includes fragments, as well as full citations of ancient commentaries; uses a different enumeration from PLF.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Scholarship

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The principal debates have been about performance and context. Rösler 1980 argues that Alcaeus’s political poems were ephemeral pieces aimed at his own political party, whereas poetry took on a broader political function only with the elegies of Theognis. Other politics issues are explored by Kurke 1994. For general treatments of Alcaeus, see Burnett 1983 and Yatromanolakis 2009.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Burnett, Anne Pippin. 1983. Three Archaic poets: Archilochus, Alcaeus, Sappho. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Includes a survey of Alcaeus, pp. 107–205.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Kurke, Leslie. 1994. Crisis and decorum in sixth-century Lesbos: Reading Alkaios otherwise, Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica n.s. 47:67–92.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Innovative study of the political agendas of Alcaeus’s poetry.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Rösler, Wofgang. 1980. Dichter and Gruppe: Eine Untersuchung zu den Bedingungen und zur historischen Funktion früher griechischer Lyrik am Beispiel Alkaios. Munich: W. Fink.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fundamental study of the political circumstances in which Alcaeus’s poems might have been composed and performed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Yatromanolakis, Dimitrios. 2009. Alcaeus and Sappho. In The Cambridge companion to Greek lyric. Edited by Felix Budelmann, 204–226. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Contains an up-to-date survey of Alcaeus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ibycus of Rhegium

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              For the text, see Davies 1991, 235–305. For the text and translation, see Campbell 1993, 220–293. Ibycus (6th century BCE), like Anacreon, seems to have been employed by Polycrates, the tyrant of Samos, and the largest and most significant surviving piece by Ibycus is in fact a poem in honor of Polycrates, for which see Woodbury 1985 and Hutchinson 2001. The relation of the poem to Hesiod’s Works and days is discussed by Steiner 2005. The existence of epinicia by Ibycus was demonstrated by Barron 1984. On fragments of love poems, see West 1984 and Davies 1986.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anacreon of Teos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anacreon (6th century BCE), like Ibycus, spent time at the court of Polycrates of Samos; he is said also to have come to Athens under the tyranny of Hippachus, and to have died in Thessaly. For the text, see Page 1962. For the text and translation, see Campbell 1988. Refer to Gentili (Anacreon 1958) for a commentary. There is a useful recent survey in Budelmann 2009. Recent general studies of the material include Kantzios 2004–2005 on politics, Lear 2008 on poetic persona, and Rosenmeyer 1992 on the relationship to the later tradition of “Anacreontea.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Simonides of Keos: Lyric

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The oeuvre of Simonides covers lyric, elegy, and epigram (see also Simonides of Keos: Elegy). For the lyric fragments, the standard edition is Page 1962. Text and translation can be found in Campbell 1993. We now have a complete commentary on the melic fragments by Poltera 2008. For the epigrams, see Petrovic 2007; for the elegies, see Rutherford under Simonides of Keos: Elegy. Papyrus discoveries have not been as spectacular in the area of Simonides’s lyric fragments as for his elegies, but they have given us fragments of epinicia and paeans (see Poltera 2008 for these; on the paeans see Rutherford 1990). Other lyric genres Simonides was famous for were dithyrambs and threnoi (lamentations). A fragment of a threnos is discussed by Steiner 1999. The genre of some fragments is uncertain, for example the emotive fragment describing the sea voyage of Danae and Perseus, discussed by Rosenmeyer 1991. Another fragment of uncertain generic identity is one discussing moral virtue, known from the citation by Plato in the Protagoras, for which see Most 1994.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Minor Lyric Poets

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Besides the nine lyric poets of the canon, many others are known. A reference work useful on the later lyric poets is Stefanes 1988.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Stefanes, I. E. 1988. Dionysiakoi technitai: Symvoles sten prosopographia tou theatrou kai tes mousikes ton archaion hellenon. Iraklion: Panepistemiakes Ekdoseis Kretes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Useful research tool listing poets, singers, and performers from all periods of Greek literature.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Terpander of Lesbos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Terpander of Lesbos was supposed to have originated “kitharodic nomos,” one of the least understood forms of melic poetry. For the text see, Page 1962. For a text and translation, see Campbell 1988. Terpander’s few fragments have been edited by Gostoli 1990.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Campbell, David A., ed. and trans. 1988. Greek lyric, vol. 2: Anacreon, Anacreontea, Choral Lyric from Olympus to Alcman. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Contains text and translation of Terpander, pp. 314–319.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Gostoli, Antonietta. 1990. Terpander: Introducione, testimoniance, testo critico, traduzione e commento. Lyricorum Graecorum quae exstant 8. Rome: Edizioni dell’Ateneo.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Commentary on Terpander.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Page, Denys L., ed. 1962. Poetae melici graeci. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Reprinted, Oxford: Oxbow, 2003. Contains standard text of Terpander, pp. 362–363.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Corinna of Tanagra

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Corinna of Tanagra is the most mysterious of the lyric poets, because it remains uncertain whether she should be dated to the 5th century BCE or the Hellenistic period. Unusually for a poet not in the canon of nine, her poems survive in papyrus. For the text see Page 1953 and Page 1962. For a text and translation, see Campbell 1992. On dating, see West 1970, Davies 1988, and West 1990. For other topics, see Larson 2002 and Collins 2006.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ion of Chios

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ion of Chios was a versatile poet of the 5th century BCE. His “Hymn to Opportunity (kairos)” (PMG742) is discussed by Jennings 2007. For the text, see Page 1962. For a text and translation, see Campbell 1992.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Campbell, David A., ed. and trans. 1992. Greek lyric vol. 4: Bacchylides, Corinna, and others. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Contains text and translation of the fragments of Ion’s lyrics, pp. 348–369.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Jennings, Victoria. 2007. Ion’s Hymn to Kairos. In The world of Ion of Chios. Edited by Victoria Jennings and Andrea Katsaros, 331–346. Mnemosyne Supp. 288. Leiden: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Study of one of the few surviving lyric fragments of Ion of Chios.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Page, Denys L., ed. 1962. Poetae melici graeci. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Reprinted, Oxford: Oxbow, 2003. Contains standard text of lyric fragments of Ion, pp. 383–386.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lasos of Hermione

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lasos of Hermione was an influential poet and musician, author of a hymn to Demeter of Hermione. For the surviving text, see Page 1962, Brussich 2000 provides a commentary and literary study. Privitera 1965 sets Lasos in his cultural and political context.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Timocreon of Rhodes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Timocreon of Rhodes is the author of an unusual poetic fragment praising the Athenian statesman Aristides. For the text, see Page 1962. For a text and translation, see Campbell 1992. Recent studies of Timocreon include Scodel 1983 and McMullin 2001–2002.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Campbell, David A., ed. and trans. 1992. Greek lyric vol. 4: Bacchylides, Corinna, and others. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Contains text and translation of the fragments of Timocreon, pp. 88–95.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • McMullin, Rachel M. 2001–2002. Aspects of medizing: Themistocles, Simonides, and Timocreon of Rhodes. Classical Journal 97:55–67.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Exploration of the historical context of Timocreon’s Encomium, contrasting it to Simonides’s Plataea poem.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Page, Denys L., ed. 1962. Poetae melici graeci. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Reprinted, Oxford: Oxbow, 2003. Contains standard text of Timocreon, pp. 375–378.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Scodel, Ruth. 1983. Timocreon’s Encomium of Aristides. Classical Antiquity 2:102–107.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Analysis of the invective strategies in Timocreon’s Encomium.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Melanippides of Melos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Melanippides of Melos is remembered as the outstanding poet of the 5th century Athenian dithyramb (cf. Xenophon, Memorabilia 1.4). For the text, see Page 1962. For a text and translation, see Campbell 1993. His largest fragment, from his Danaides (PMG 757), is discussed by Moreau 1985.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Campbell, David A., ed. and trans. 1993. Greek lyric, vol. 5: The new school of poetry and anonymous songs and hymns. Loeb Classical Library 144. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Contains text and translation of fragments of Melanippides, pp. 14–29.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Moreau, Alain. 1985. Les Danaïdes de Mélanippidès: La femme virile. Pallas 32:59–90.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Study of Melanippides PMG 757, which presents the Danaids as dangerous, mystical women.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Page, Denys L., ed. 1962. Poetae melici graeci. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reprinted, Oxford: Oxbow, 2003. Contains standard text of Melanippides, pp. 392–395.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Telesilla of Argos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Telesilla of Argos is one of the few women poets known to have been active in the Classical period. For the text, see Page 1962. For a text and translation, see Campbell 1992. For an overview of Telesilla, consult Pizzocaro 1993.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Aristotle of Stagira

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Aristotle of Stagira, the famous philosopher, is also known to have written one lyric poem, a hymn to Hermias, tyrant of Atarneus. For the text, see Page 1962. Renehan 1982 provides a literary study.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Timotheus of Miletus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The best example of how traditional melic poetry was influenced by the “new music” of the late 5th century BCE is the nomos “The Persians” by Timotheus of Miletus. For the text, see Page 1962. For a text and translation, see Campbell 1993. A good recent study of this and the other fragments of Timotheus is Hordern 2002. On the reception of Timotheus in Egypt a generation or two after his death, see Van Minnen 1997.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Campbell, David A., ed. and trans. 1993. Greek lyric, vol. 5: The new school of poetry and anonymous songs and hymns. Loeb Classical Library 144. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Contains text and translation of Timotheus, pp. 70–121.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Hordern, A J. H., ed. 2002. The fragments of Timotheus of Miletus. (Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Most recent commentary on Timotheus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Page, Denys L., ed. 1962. Poetae melici graeci. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Reprinted, Oxford: Oxbow, 2003. Contains standard text of Contains standard text of Timotheus, pp. 399–418.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Van Minnen, Peter. 1997. The performance and readership of the Persai of Timotheus. Archiv für Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete 43:246–260.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Exploration of the early reception of Timotheus in Egypt in the 4th century BCE.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Callimachus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Hellenistic poet Callimachus wrote cult poems in complex stichic metres, which are given the title “Lyrica” in Pfeiffer (Callimachus 1949, pp. 216–225; fr.227, 228, 229), but it is disputed whether this is appropriate (cf. Cameron 1995, pp. 163–173). The poems now have a commentary by Lelli (Callimachus 2005).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Melinno

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A hymn in Sapphic metre in praise of Rome was written by a woman poet called Melinno, of either the Hellenistic or the Roman period. For the text, see Lloyd–Jones and Parsons 1983. Good studies of Melinno can be found in Bowra 1957 and Gauger 1984.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Folk Songs and Skolia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aside from the songs by celebrated poets, there was a large amount of song that seems to have been anonymous. A good example is the drinking songs, or skolia. For text, see Page 1962. For a text and translation, see Campbell 1993, from which we now have the edition of Fabbro 1995. For the so-called swallow-song (PMG 848), see Stehle 1997. Anonymous cult songs include the Elean hymn to Dionysus, on which see Brown 1982. For the “Dictaean hymn to the Kouros,” the text is in Powell 1925, and a good recent treatment in Perlman 1995. Finally, we have the hymns to the Mother of the Gods and to Pan preserved on stone at Epidauros (for the text, see Page 1962; for text and translation, see Campbell 1993). The most recent edition is Wagman 1995.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Issues in Lyric Poetry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Recent work on Greek lyric has focused on seven major issues: first, the social and political functions of Greek lyric; second, performance; third, external reference (“deixis”); fourth, genre (both general issues of genre and specific genres); fifth, the origin of lyric forms; sixth, formal features; and seventh, the reception of Greek lyric, from Greek drama to modern poetry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Social and Political Functions of Greek Lyric

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lyric poetry is deeply embedded in its social context in Archaic and Classical Greece and had broad social functions (Gentili 1981). Choral poetry may have had an educative function in Archaic Greece (Calame 1997). It may act as a medium to represent the point of view of the polis. A good guide there is Stehle 1997; on Alcman and the polis, see Too 1997. For the role of choral lyric in representing the polis at panhellenic sanctuaries, see Rutherford 2004. Melic poetry, like elegy, may also express a political viewpoint, as we see in the political poems of Alcaeus. See Rösler 1980, Kurke 1994, and the critique of Hammer 2004.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Calame, Claude. 1997. Choruses of young women in ancient Greece: Their morphology, religious role, and social function. Translated by Derek Collins and Janice Orion. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fundamental study of the role of the partheneion genre in Archaic Greece.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Gentili, Bruno. 1981. The interpretation of the Greek lyric poets in our time. In Contemporary literary hermeneutics and interpretation of classical texts. Edited by Stephanus Kresic, 109–120. Ottawa: Univ. of Ottawa Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fundamental statement of the need to study Greek lyric poetry in the context of its society.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Hammer, D. C. 2004. Ideology, the symposium, and archaic politics. American Journal of Philology 125:479–512.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1353/ajp.2005.0005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Important critique of recent theories about symposiastic poetry and politics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hornblower, Simon, 2009. Greek lyric and the politics and sociologies of Archaic and Classical Greek communities. In The Cambridge companion to Greek lyric. Edited by Felix Budelmann, 39–57. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Provides a useful overview.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Kurke, Leslie. 1994. Crisis and decorum in sixth-century Lesbos: Reading Alkaios otherwise. Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica n.s. 47:67–92.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Analysis of the political content of Alcaeus’ poem.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Rösler, Wofgang. 1980. Dichter and Gruppe: Eine Untersuchung zu den Bedingungen und zur historischen Funktion früher griechischer Lyrik am Beispiel Alkaios. Munich: W. Fink.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Classic statement of the thesis that the primary audience of Alcaeus’s poetry was members of a political faction,

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Rutherford, Ian. 2004. Heis khoros ek tesde tes poleos: Song-dance and state-pilgrimage at Athens. In Music and the Muses. Edited by Penelope Wilson and Peter Murray, 67–90. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Exploration of the use of choral lyric poetry for civic display at panhellenic sanctuaries.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Stehle, Eva. 1997. Performance and gender in ancient Greece: Nondramatic poetry in its setting. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Innovative study of the relationship between performance and gender in Greek lyric poetry.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Too, Y. L. 1997. Alcman’s Partheneion: The maidens dance the city. Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica 56:7–29.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Analysis of the best-preserved fragment of Alcman as a representation of the early polis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Performance

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Melic poems were intended to be performed rather than read, and we can surmise that the primary venues included cult settings, festivals, and the symposion, and that the performers could be either soloists or choruses. It is harder to determine how any given poem was performed, whether we can use clues in the text to establish a real performance scenario, and indeed whether it even makes sense to ask the question. Stehle 1997 provides an important overview of the subject, particularly as relates to gender. For the distinction between choral and monodic performance, see Davies 1988. Performance has been an issue in the case of Stesichorus (Segal 1985, p. 187) and Sappho (Lardinois 1994).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Davies, Malcolm. 1988. Monody, choral lyric and the tyranny of the handbook. Classical Quarterly 38:52–56.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/S0009838800031268Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Important demonstration of the fact that the categories of monody and choral performance do not exist for ancient critics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Lardinois, André. 1994. Subject and circumstance in Sappho’s poetry. Transactions of the American Philological Association 124:57–84.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Survey of hypotheses about the performance of Sappho’s poems, favoring the theory that they were performed by girls’ choruses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Segal, Charles P. 1985. Archaic choral lyric. In The Cambridge history of classical literature, volume 1: Greek literature. Edited by P. E. Easterling and B. M. W. Knox, 165–201. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Includes a valuable survey of Stesichorus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Stehle, Eva. 1997. Performance and gender in ancient Greece: Nondramatic poetry in its setting. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Exploration of the performance of early Greek poetry, particularly as relating to gender.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Deixis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            How are we to interpret apparent references in poems to speakers or external reality? This important area sits at the interstice between social history and linguistics: in linguistic theory, it is regarded as a matter of “pragmatics” or “deixis.” On this see Rösler 1985, Danielewicz 1990, the useful volume edited by Felson 2004, and, most recently, D’Alessio 2009.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • D’Alessio, G. B. 2009. Language and pragmatics. In The Cambridge companion to Greek lyric. Edited by Felix Budelmann, 114–129. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Useful guide to the issue of pragmatics and deixis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Danielewicz, Jerzy. 1990. Deixis in Greek choral lyric. Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica 63 (= n.s. 34.1: 7–17.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Important early study of deixis in lyric.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Felson, Nancy, ed. 2004. The poetics of deixis in Alcman, Pindar and other lyric. Special issue of Arethusa 3. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Collection of articles exploring the issue of deixis in Greek Lyric Poetry.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Rösler, Wolfgang. 1985. Persona reale o persona poetica? L‘interpretazione dell’io nella lirica greca arcaica. Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica 48:131–144.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Important paper analyzing the problem of whether the speaking subjects of Greek lyric poetry are real or fictional.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Genre Issues

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The names of a large number of ancient terms for genres of lyric song are known. Key studies of the terminology are Färber 1936 and Harvey 1955. The summary of lyric genres found in the Chrestomathia attributed to Proclus can be consulted in Severyns 1938–1963. For the names of lyric genres the introduction of Smyth 1904 is still useful. On the association between genre and occasion, see Nagy 1994–1995.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Specific Genres

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Several genres have had studies devoted to them recently: the partheneion, Calame 1997; the paean, Käppel 1992 and Rutherford 2001; the dithyramb, Zimmermann 1992 and Käppel 2000; the hymn, Furley and Bremer 2001; the skolion and enkomion, Cingano 2003; and the hymenaios (wedding song), Contiades-Tsitsoni 1990.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Calame, Claude. 1997. Choruses of young women in ancient Greece: Their morphology, religious role, and social function. Translated by Derek Collins and Janice Orion. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      French original, Choeurs de jeunes filles en Grèce archaique. 1, Morphologie, fonction religieuse et sociale (Rome: Edizioni dell’Ateneo and Bizzarri, 1977). Classic analysis of the partheneion genre.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Cingano, Ettore. 2003. Entre “skolion” et “enkomion”: Réflexions sur le “genre” et la performance de la lyrique chorale grecque. In Colloque: La poésie grecque antique. Edited by Jacques Jouanna and Jean Leclant, 17–45. Paris: Boccard.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Study of the symposiastic genre variously known as skolion or enkomion.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Contiades-Tsitsoni, Eleni. 1990. Hymenaios und Epithalamion: Das Hochzeitslied in der frühgriechischen Lyrik. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 16. Stuttgart: Teubner.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Study of wedding-songs in ancient Greece.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Furley, Wukkuan D., and Jan-Maarten Bremer, eds. 2001. Greek hymns: Selected cult songs from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period. 2 vols. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Comprehensive collection of testimonia to the hymn.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Käppel, Lutz. 1992. Paian: Studien zur Geschichte einer Gattung. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Theoretical study of the paean.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Käppel, Lutz. 2000. Bakchylides und das System der chorlyrischen Gattungen im 5. Jh. v. Chr. In Bakchylides: 100 Jahre nach seiner Wiederentdeckung. Edited by Andreas Bagordo and Bernhard Zimmermann, 11–27. Zetemata 106. Munich: Beck.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Analysis of the narrative dithyramb as we know it from Bacchylides.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Rutherford, Ian. 2001. Pindar’s paeans: A reading of the fragments with a survey of the genre. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Study of Pindar’s paeans begins with a survey of the paean genre.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Zimmermann, Bernhard. 1992. Dithyrambos: Geschichte einer Gattung. Hypomnemata 98. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Study of the dithyramb.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Origin of Lyric Forms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Homer already describes various forms of choral poetry, and it seems likely that they are very old. On the Indo-European background of lyric verse forms, see West 1973. On the Mycenaean antecedents of lyric vocabulary, see Trümpy 1986. On Near Eastern parallels, see West 1997, pp. 495–543. On Greek lyric and the biblical psalms, see Müller 2003.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Formal Features

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    On the structure of poems, see Fowler 1987 and Danielewicz 1976. An ambitious and elaborate survey of formal motifs can be found in Pavese 1997. Special aspects of form are discussed in Rutherford 1997, pp. 43–61, and Race 1982. For imagery, see Silk 1974. On dialect, refer to Cassio 2005. For meter, the best guide is West 1982.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Cassio, A. C. 2005. I dialetti eolici e la lingua della lirica corale. In Dialetti e lingue letterarie nella Grecia arcaica: Atti della 4a giornata ghisleriana di filologia classica: (Pavia, 1–2 aprile 2004. Edited by Francesco Bertolini and Fabio Gasti, 13–44. Como: Ibis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Important recent discussion of the poetic dialect of Greek lyric.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Danielewicz, Jerzy. 1976. Morfologia hymnu antycznego; The morphology of the ancient hymn. Poznan: Uniwersytet Adama Mickiewicza.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Formal analysis of ancient hymn, one genre of Greek lyric poetry. In Polish, with English summary.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Fowler, R. L. 1987. The nature of early Greek lyric: Three preliminary studies. Phoenix Supp. Vol. 21. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Important study containing an analysis of the formal structure of Greek lyric.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Pavese, Carlo Odo. 1997. I temi e i motivi della lirica corale ellenica: Introduzione, analisi e indice semantematici: Alcmane, Simonide, Pindaro, Bacchilide. Pisa: Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Speculative study proposing a comprehesive methodology for analyzing Greek lyric poems into formal and thematic units.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Race, W. H. 1982. Aspects of rhetoric and form in Greek hymns. Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 23:5–14.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Analysis of formal and thematic aspects of the genre of hymn.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Rutherford, Ian C. 1997. Odes and ends: Closure in Greek lyric poetry. In Classical closure: Reading the end in Greek and Latin literature. Edited by Deborah Roberts, Francis Dunn, and Don Fowler, 43–61. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Analysis of the endings of Greek lyric poems.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Silk, Michael S. 1974. Interaction in poetic imagery: With special reference to early Greek poetry. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Important study of metaphor and simile in early Greek poetry, containing much material about Greek lyric.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • West, M. L. 1982. Greek metre. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Classic study of Greek meter, including the complex meters of Greek lyric poems.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Reception of Lyric Poetry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    “Reception” is a broad category, ranging from reception in the periods immediately following the floruit of the poets, right down to the modern age. Five zones of reception stand out: first, Greek drama; second, Plato; third, Hellenistic poetry; fourth, the Roman Empire, and fifth, modern poetry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Drama

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the reception of choral lyric in drama, an important guide is Herington 1985; in tragedy, Bagordo 2003; in comedy, Kugelmeier 1996. Excellent overviews are also Hutchinson 2001, pp. 427–439, and Stehle 2004.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Bagordo, Andreas. 2003. Reminiszenzen früher Lyrik bei den attischen Tragikern: Beiträge zur Anspielungstechnik und poetischer Tradition. Zetemata 118. Munich: Beck.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A comprehensive survey of allusions to Greek lyric poetry in Greek tragedy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Herington, C. J. 1985. Poetry into drama: Early tragedy and the Greek poetic tradition. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A classic study of the relationship between Greek tragedy and the traditions of Greek choral song that preceded it.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hutchinson, G. O., ed. 2001. Greek lyric poetry: A commentary on selected larger pieces. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hutchinson’s commentary includes an excellent analysis of the relationship between lyric poetry and tragic choral odes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Kugelmeier, Christoph. 1996. Reflexe früher und zeitgenössischer Lyrik in der alten attischen Komödie. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 80. Stuttgart: Teubner.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Study of the use of choral lyric in Attic comedy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Stehle, Eva. 2004. Choral prayer in Greek tragedy: Euphemia or Aiskhrologia. In Music and the Muses. Edited by Penelope Wilson and Peter Murray, 121–155. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A important study of the relationship between the tragic chorus and choral poetry outside drama.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Plato

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Plato’s frequent citations of lyric poetry have been much discussed. See in general Demos 1999. On the citation of Simonides in the Protagoras, see Most 1994. On the discussion of lyric genres in Laws 3, see Nagy 1994–1995. Plato’s use of choral poetry is discussed in Kowalzig 2004.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Demos, Marian. 1999. Lyric quotation in Plato. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Survey of Plato’s use of Greek lyric poetry.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kowalzig, Barbara. 2004. Changing choral worlds: Song-dance and society in Athens and beyond. In Music and the Muses. Edited by Penelope Wilson and Peter Murray, 39–65. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Exploration of Plato’s use of the idea of choral poetry in the Laws.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Most, Glenn W. 1994. Simonides’ ode to Scopas in context. In Modern critical theory and classical literature. Edited by Irene De Jong and J. P. Sullivan, 127–152. New York and Leiden: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Analysis of Plato’s citation of Simonides in the Protagoras from a literary theoretical perspective.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Nagy, Gregory. 1994–1995. Transformations of choral lyric traditions in the context of Athenian state theater. Arion 3:41–55.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Study of Plato’s account in the Laws of the Athenian democracy’s mixing of traditional lyric genres.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hellenistic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For the Hellenistic canon of lyric poets, see Major Lyric Poets. Hellenistic practice with respect to genre is illuminated by P.Oxy. 2368, discussed by Käppel and Kannicht 1988 and Rutherford 2001, pp. 90–92. For Hellenistic editorial practice and Sappho, see Yatromanolakis 1999. It remains unclear to what extent the lyric poets had been edited before the Hellenistic period. A pre-Hellenistic edition of Stesichorus is argued for by Cassio 1997. Archaic lyric poetry was still, apparently, performed in the Hellenistic period. Cretan diplomats sang the poems of the Archaic poet Thaletas of Gortyn (Chaniotis 1988).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Cassio, A. C. 1997. Futuri dorici, dialetto di Siracusa e testo antico dei lirici greci. AION 19:187–214.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Argues for a pre-Hellenistic edition of Stesichorus, on the basis of poetic dialect.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Chaniotis, Angelos. 1988. Als die Diplomaten noch tanzten und sangen: Zu zwei Dekreten kretischer Städte in Mylasa. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigrafik 71:154–156.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Study of Hellenistic inscriptions that show that poems by Thaletas of Gortyn were still being performed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Käppel, Lutz, and R. Kannicht. 1988. Noch einmal zur Frage “Dithyrambos oder Paian”? Im Bakchylideskommentar P. Oxy. 23.2368. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigrafik 73:19–24.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Analysis of an important papyrus that shows two Hellenistic scholars arguing about the genre of a poem.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Rutherford, Ian. 2001. Pindar’s paeans: A reading of the fragments with a survey of the genre. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Comprehensive study of Pindar’s paeans, includes discussion of Hellenistic editorial practice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Yatromanolakis, Dimitrios. 1999. Alexandrian Sappho revisited. Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 99:179–195.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Study of the Hellenistic edition of Sappho.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Roman Empire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The main focus of attention has been influence of Greek lyric on Horace; see Paschalis 2002, Feeney 1993, and Lyne 2005. Another focus has been the Anacreontea, which are generally regarded as in part dating to the Roman period; see Rosenmeyer 1992. For the text of the Anacreontea, refer to West 1993.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Modern Poetry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There is an excellent survey of the impact of Greek lyric in modern literature in Neri 2004, pp. 112–118. Consult also Johnson 1982. For the special case of Sappho, see Greene 1996 and Dejean 1989.

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