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t h e ca m b r i d g e c o m p a n i o n t o g re e k l y ri c Greek lyric poetry encompassed a wide range of types of poem, from elegy to iambos and dithyramb to epinikion. It particularly flourished in the archaic and classical periods, and some of its practitioners, such as Sappho and Pindar, had significant cultural influence in subsequent centuries down to the present day. This Companion provides an accessible introduction to this fascinating and diverse body of poetry and its later reception. It takes account of the exciting new papyrus finds and new critical approaches which have greatly advanced our understanding of both the corpus itself and of the socio-cultural contexts in which lyric pieces were produced, performed and transmitted. Each chapter is provided with a guide to further reading, and the volume includes a chronology, glossary and guide to editions and translations. A complete list of books in the series is at the back of this book

Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO

GREEK LYRIC EDITED BY

FELIX BUDELMANN

Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

cambridge university press Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi Cambridge University Press The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge cb2 8ru, UK Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York www.cambridge.org Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521849449 © Cambridge University Press 2009 This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published 2009 Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication data The Cambridge companion to Greek lyric / edited by Felix Budelmann. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. isbn 978-0-521-84944-9 1. Greek poetry – History and criticism. I. Budelmann, Felix. II. Title. pa3110.c26 2009 884′.0109–dc22 2009004022 isbn 978-0-521-84944-9 hardback isbn 978-0-521-61476-4 paperback Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

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CONTENTS

List of illustrations and maps Notes on Contributors Preface Citations, abbreviations and transliteration Introducing Greek lyric felix budelmann part i

page viii xi xv xvii 1

contexts and topics

1

Genre, occasion and performance chris carey

2

Greek lyric and the politics and sociologies of archaic and classical Greek communities simon hornblower

19 21

39

3

Greek lyric and gender eva stehle

58

4

Greek lyric and the place of humans in the world mark griffith

72

5

Greek lyric and early Greek literary history barbara graziosi and johannes haubold

95

6

Language and pragmatics giovan battista d’alessio

114

7

Metre and music luigi battezzato

130

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contents part ii

poets and traditions

147

8 Iambos chris carey

149

9 Elegy antonio aloni

168

10

Alcman, Stesichorus and Ibycus eveline krummen

189

11

Alcaeus and Sappho dimitrios yatromanolakis

204

12

Anacreon and the Anacreontea felix budelmann

227

13

Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides hayden pelliccia

240

14

Ancient Greek popular song dimitrios yatromanolakis

263

15

Timotheus the New Musician eric csapo and peter wilson

277

part iii

reception

295

16

Lyric in the Hellenistic period and beyond silvia barbantani

297

17

Lyric in Rome alessandro barchiesi

319

18

Greek lyric from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century pantelis michelakis

336

19

Sappho and Pindar in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries margaret williamson

352

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contents epilogue 20 Lyric and lyrics: perspectives, ancient and modern michael silk Chronology of select melic, elegiac and iambic poets Editions, commentaries, English translations, lexica, bibliographies Glossary List of works cited Index

371 373

386 388 396 400 449

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ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS

1 Wooden plaque showing sacrificial procession of women and musicians. Corinthian, c. third quarter sixth century BCE. National Archaeological Museum, Athens, inv. no. 16464. © Ministry of Culture, Archaeological Receipts Fund. page 85 2 Inside of a red-figure kylix attributed to Douris, showing aulos-player and singing symposiast. Attic, c. 480 BCE. Staatliche Antikensammlung und Glyptothek, Munich, inv. no. 2646. ARV² 437.128. © Hirmer Verlag. 86 3 Red-figure kylix signed by Douris, showing a school scene, including youths playing the aulos and writing on tablet (side a), and man and youth playing lyres and man holding scroll (side b). Attic, c. 490–480 BCE. Antikensammlung, Berlin, inv. no. F2285. ARV² 431.48. © bpk. 87 4 Black-figure Siana cup attributed to the Heidelberg painter, showing choral group of dancers. Attic, mid-sixth century BCE. Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam, inv. no. 3356. ABV 66.57. 88 5 Red-figure kalathos-psykter. Obverse side, showing Sappho and Alcaeus. Attic, c. 480–470 BCE. Staatliche Antikensammlung und Glyptothek, Munich, inv. no. 2416. ARV² 385.228. 205 6 Red-figure hydria showing Sappho, attributed to the Group of Polygnotus. Attic, c. 440–430 BCE. National Archaeological Museum, Athens, inv. no. 1260. ARV² 1060.145. © Ministry of Culture, Archaeological Receipts Fund. 224 7 Red-figure hydria in the manner of the Niobid Painter, showing a seated female figure reading in the company of three other female figures. Attic, c. 440 BCE. British Museum, London, inv. no. E190. ARV² 611.36. © The Trustees of the British Museum. 225 8 Fragmentary red-figure kalyx-krater attributed to the Kleophrades painter, showing three men, one wearing headdress and carrying a parasol and one carrying a barbitos inscribed ANAKREON. Attic, c. 500 BCE. ARV² 185.32. Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen, inv. no. 13365. 237 viii Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

list of illustrations and maps 9 Jacques-Louis David, Sappho and Phaon, 1809. State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, inv. no. GE-5668. 10 Théodore Chassériau, Sapho se précipitant dans la mer, 1846. Musée du Louvre. Photo RMN / © Jean-Gilles Berizzi. 11 Simeon Solomon, Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene, 1864. Tate Collection, London, inv. no. T03063.

357 358 359

The background on the front cover is a detail of P Lond. 733 (the ending of Bacchylides 18 and the beginning of 19). The foreground is a black-figure plate showing an aulos player and a dancer holding a barbitos. Athenian, late sixth century BCE. Antikenmuseum und Sammlung Ludwig, Basel, Kä 421. ABV 294.21.

Maps The Greek world in the archaic and early classical periods. The major dialect areas during the archaic and classical periods.

xxii 121

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Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS

a n t o n i o a l o n i is Professor of Greek Literature at the University of Turin. He has published on New Comedy, Plutarch and tragedy, and especially on Greek epic and archaic lyric poetry. He is currently working on Hesiod. s i l v i a b a r b a n t a n i is Researcher in Greek Literature and teaches Greek language at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano. She has written widely on literary papyrology and Hellenistic poetry and history, including the monograph Φά τις νικηφόρoς: Frammenti di elegia encomiastica nell’età delle guerre galatiche (Milan 2001). a l e s s a n d r o b a r c h i e s i teaches Latin literature at the University of Siena at Arezzo, and at Stanford. His work on Latin poetry (especially Vergil, Ovid and Horace) frequently addresses the appropriation of Greek literary and cultural traditions, for example in the preface to Ovidio: Metamorfosi (Milan 2005), vol. I. He has contributed chapters to several Cambridge Companions on Roman literature. l u i g i b a t t e z z a t o is Professor of Greek Literature at the Università del Piemonte Orientale, Vercelli. He has published on textual criticism, ancient Greek language and metre, and Greek tragedy (Il monologo nel teatro di Euripide, Pisa 1995; Linguistica e retorica della tragedia greca, Rome 2007). f e l i x b u d e l m a n n teaches Classics at Magdalen College, Oxford. He is the author of The Language of Sophocles (Cambridge 2000), and works on Greek lyric and drama, as well as their reception history. His current main project is a ‘green-andyellow’ commentary on selections from Greek lyric. c h r i s c a r e y has taught in Cambridge, St Andrews, Minnesota and London. He has published on Greek lyric, epic, tragedy, comedy, oratory and law. He is editor of the Oxford Text of Lysias. e r i c c s a p o is Professor of Classics at the University of Sydney. He is co-author of The Context of Ancient Drama, and author of Theories of Mythology. Together xi Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

notes on contributors with Peter Wilson he is currently working on a social and economic history of the ancient theatre. g i o v a n b a t t i s t a d ’ a l e s s i o , Professor of Greek Language and Literature at King’s College London, has studied at the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa), and has taught at the University of Messina. He has published extensively on Greek archaic epic and lyric poetry and on Hellenistic poetry. b a r b a r a g r a z i o s i is Senior Lecturer in Classics at Durham University. She has written Inventing Homer (Cambridge 2002) and, together with Johannes Haubold, Homer: The Resonance of Epic (London 2005). She is currently working on a commentary of Iliad 6 and editing, together with George Boys-Stones and Phiroze Vasunia, The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies. m a r k g r i f f i t h is Professor of Classics, and of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies, at the University of California, Berkeley. He has worked primarily on Greek drama, and is also the author of articles on Hesiod, ancient Greek education and various aspects of performance in the ancient world. j o h a n n e s h a u b o l d is Leverhulme Senior Lecturer in Greek Literature at Durham University. He is the author of Homer’s People: Epic Poetry and Social Formation (Cambridge 1999) and has written, together with Barbara Graziosi, Homer: The Resonance of Epic (London 2005). He is currently working on a commentary of Iliad 6, and on a collection of essays on Plato and Hesiod. s i m o n h o r n b l o w e r is Professor of Classics and Grote Professor of Ancient History at University College London. He is the author of Thucydides and Pindar: Historical Narrative and the World of Epinikian Poetry (Oxford 2004) and he coedited Pindar’s Poetry, Patrons and Festivals (Oxford 2007). The third and final volume of his Thucydides commentary was published by OUP in 2008. His next project is a ‘green-and-yellow’ commentary for CUP on Herodotus book 5. e v e l i n e k r u m m e n is Professor of Classics at the Karl-Franzens-University in Graz (Austria). She is the author of Pyrsos Hymnon (Berlin and New York 1990, English translation in preparation), and has published on Greek and Roman literature and culture, including religion and reception history. She is currently working on a monograph on Greek lyric and its institutional background and on a Fragmente der griechischen Historiker volume devoted to the history of Greek literature. p a n t e l i s m i c h e l a k i s is Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Achilles in Greek Tragedy (Cambridge 2002) and Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis (London 2006). He has also co-edited Homer, Tragedy and Beyond: Essays in Honour of P. E. Easterling (London 2001) and Agamemnon in Performance, 456 BC–AD 2004 (Oxford 2005). xii Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

notes on contributors h a y d e n p e l l i c c i a has taught Classics at Cornell University since 1989; he is the author of Mind, Body, and Speech in Homer and Pindar (Göttingen 1995) and a variety of articles on classical literature from Homer to Virgil; he has edited Selected Dialogues of Plato (New York 2000). m i c h a e l s i l k is Professor of Classical and Comparative Literature, and from 1991 to 2006 was Professor of Greek Language and Literature, at King’s College London. He has published widely on poetry, drama, thought and theory in Greek antiquity and the modern world, from Homer to Aristotle to Shakespeare to Nietzsche to Ted Hughes. e v a s t e h l e teaches at the University of Maryland, mainly in the areas of Greek language, literature and religion. She uses performance analysis as a method of investigating several areas of Greek culture, including the complexities of gendered public performance in Performance and Gender in Ancient Greece (Princeton 1997). m a r g a r e t w i l l i a m s o n is Associate Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College. She is the author of Sappho’s Immortal Daughters (Cambridge, Mass. 1995) and co-editor of The Sacred and the Feminine in Ancient Greece (London 1998). Her current project, provisionally entitled The Classicising Self, is on classical allusion and colonialism in the nineteenth-century British West Indies. p e t e r w i l s o n is the William Ritchie Professor of Classics at the University of Sydney. He is author of The Athenian Institution of the Khoregia: the Chorus, the City and the Stage (Cambridge 2000), editor of Greek Theatre and Festivals: Documentary Studies (Oxford 2007) and co-editor of Music and the Muses: the Culture of Mousike in the Classical Athenian City (Oxford 2004). Together with Eric Csapo he is currently working on a social and economic history of the ancient theatre. d i m i t r i o s y a t r o m a n o l a k i s is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and the Department of Anthropology at The Johns Hopkins University. He is the co-author of Towards a Ritual Poetics (with P. Roilos; Athens 2003) and author of Sappho in the Making (Cambridge, Mass. 2006) and Fragments of Sappho: A Commentary (Cambridge, Mass. forthcoming). He is currently completing a book on the history of the socio-cultural institution of mousikoi agônes against the background of religious festivals in archaic, classical and Hellenistic Greece.

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Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

PREFACE

Greek lyric has been a vibrant field of study in recent years. New papyrus finds, new approaches and new philological work have advanced our understanding of both the corpus itself and of the socio-cultural contexts in which lyric pieces were produced, performed and transmitted. This companion aims to give a stimulating and accessible account of Greek lyric in the light of these developments (with ‘lyric’ understood here as including elegy and iambos: see pp. 2–3). It is intended to provide essential information and broad coverage, but it also reflects both the contributors’ and the editor’s interests and viewpoints. Where appropriate, chapters take one step beyond summarising the current state of play. The result, it is hoped, is a more engaging book. The volume is intended for anybody with a serious interest in Greek lyric. As demanded by the subject, it includes discussion of relatively technical matters such as fragmentary texts, dialect, metre and ancient scholarship, which make certain demands on readers, but all chapters were written with non-experts in mind. The first chapter is intended as a general introduction to Greek lyric and scholarship on Greek lyric, and thus to the volume. The last chapter is an epilogue. Technical terms are usually explained where they occur, but note also the glossary on pp. 396–9. As the list of contributors illustrates, scholarship on Greek lyric is highly international. The challenge for a volume like this lies in the fact that many important publications are in languages other than English. The policy adopted here is to provide for all topics sufficient references to Englishlanguage work but not to shy away from pointing to material in other languages where relevant. Translations unless otherwise noted are the contributors’ own. For further practical matters, note pp. xvii–xxi, on citations, abbreviations and transliteration. I have accumulated a number of debts in preparing this volume. To Pat Easterling, Johannes Haubold, Liz Irwin, Pantelis Michelakis, Tim Power and Richard Rawles for commenting on one or both of my own chapters (and to xv Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

preface

Richard Rawles also, and especially, for various kinds of advice and editorial work). To Peter Agocs, Luigi Battezzato and Agis Marinis for advice on bibliography. To Michael Sharp at CUP for commissioning the volume, for guidance on its shape and for efficient support throughout. To Malcolm Todd for meticulous copy-editing. And, most of all, to all contributors for their commitment and their readiness to tailor their chapters to the needs imposed by the series and the volume overall.

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CITATIONS, ABBREVIATIONS AND TRANSLITERATION

Citations from Greek lyric With a few exceptions the numbering systems used for citing Greek lyric texts in this volume are those of the following editions (see below for the bibliographical detail): Voigt’s Sappho et Alcaeus (V) for Sappho and Alcaeus; Davies’ Poetarum melicorum Graecorum fragmenta (PMGF) for Alcman, Stesichorus and Ibycus; Maehler’s Teubner editions (M) for Pindar fragments and for Bacchylides; Page’s Poetae melici Graeci (PMG) for all other melic poetry; West’s Iambi et elegi Graeci (W) for iambos and elegy. For the vast majority of texts these are also the numbering systems used in the most recent Loeb editions. For the sake of clarity, the numbering system used is explicitly indicated in all potentially ambiguous citations, e.g. ‘Sa. 1 V’ for Sappho, fragment 1, in the numeration of Voigt. The word ‘fragment’ or ‘fr.’ is often left out: ‘Sa. 1 V’ = ‘Sa. fr. 1 V’. However, rather awkwardly, in the case of Pindar the fragments are conventionally numbered separately from the complete epinikia and in the case of Bacchylides the fragments are numbered separately from the longer epinikia and dithyramb texts (even though most of those are fragmentary too). So for instance ‘Bacch. 3 M’ (one of the longest Bacchylidian epinikian texts) is not the same as ‘Bacch. fr. 3 M’ (a one-word fragment from a hymn). In citations of Pindar and Bacchylides, therefore, unlike in the citations of other lyric texts, the presence or absence of ‘fr.’ or ‘fragment’ is always significant, rather than a matter of stylistic preference. The works of Simonides and Anacreon are divided across West’s elegy edition and Page’s PMG. To avoid ambiguity, their elegiac fragments are indicated by ‘eleg.’ Thus Simonides’ fr. eleg. 11 W2 is elegiac, while his fr. 542 PMG is melic.

Abbreviations The following abbreviations are regularly used for the poets covered in this volume: Alcm(an), Anacr(eon), Archil(ochus), Bacch(ylides), Hipp(onax), xvii Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

citations, abbreviations and transliteration

Ibyc(us), Mimn(ermus), Pind(ar), Sa(ppho), Sem(onides), Sim(onides), Sol(on), Stes(ichorus), Th(eo)gn(is), Timoth(eus), Tyrt(aeus), Xenoph(anes). Pindar’s books of epinikia are abbreviated: Ol(ympians), Pyth(ians), Nem(eans), Isthm(ians). Abbreviations of journals in the bibliography follow L’Année Philologique. Abbreviations of editions of inscriptions follow the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum. For other abbreviations, of ancient and modern authors and works, see the third edition of the Oxford Classical Dictionary, but note Aristot(le) and Aristoph(anes). Abbreviations used frequently in the volume (and those not included in the Oxford Classical Dictionary) are listed here for convenience: ABV ARV2 Bekker Bernabé

CA

CEG Consbruch Courtney Da Rios Degani D-K

Domingo-Forasté FGE

J. D. Beazley, Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters. Oxford 1956. J. D. Beazley, Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters, 2nd edn. (3 vols.). Oxford 1963. I. Bekker, Photii Bibliotheca. (2 vols.). Berlin 1824–5. A. Bernabé, Poetarum epicorum Graecorum testimonia et fragmenta. (2 parts, part 2 in three fasc.). Leipzig (part 1) and Munich (part 2) 1996–2007. J. U. Powell, Collectanea Alexandrina: Reliquiae minores poetarum Graecorum aetatis Ptolemaicae 323–146 a.C. Oxford 1925. Reprinted Chicago 1981. P. A. Hansen, Carmina epigraphica Graeca. Vol. I. Berlin 1983. M. Consbruch, Hephaestionis Enchiridion. Leipzig 1906. Reprinted Stuttgart 1971. E. Courtney, The Fragmentary Latin Poets. Oxford 1993. R. Da Rios, Aristoxeni Elementa harmonica. Rome 1954. E. Degani, Hipponactis testimonia et fragmenta. 2nd edn. Stuttgart 1991. H. Diels and W. Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. (3 vols.). 11th edn. Zurich and Berlin 1964. D. Domingo-Forasté, Claudii Aeliani epistulae et fragmenta. Stuttgart 1994. D. L. Page, Further Greek Epigrams: Epigrams Before 50 A.D. from the Greek Anthology and

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citations, abbreviations and transliteration

FGH FHG Fortenbaugh

Gerber GLP GMAW

G-P

Greene Harding

Hausrath HE Heitsch IG

Jan K-A

Other Sources not Included in ‘Hellenistic Epigrams’ or ‘The Garland of Philip’, revised by R. D. Dawe and J. D. Diggle. Cambridge 1981. F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker. Berlin 1923–. K. Mueller, Fragmenta historicorum graecorum. (5 vols.). Paris 1841–84. W. W. Fortenbaugh, Theophrastus of Eresus: Sources for his Life, Writings, Thought and Influence. (2 vols.). Leiden 1992. D. E. Gerber, Greek Iambic Poetry from the Seventh to the Fifth Centuries B.C. Cambridge, Mass. 1999. D. L. Page, Select Papyri III. Greek Literary Papyri I. Poetry. Revised edn. London 1950. E. G. Turner, Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World. 2nd edn., revised and expanded by P. J. Parsons. (BICS Suppl. 46). London 1987. B. Gentili and C. Prato, Poetarum elegiacorum testimonia et fragmenta. 2nd edn. (2 vols.). Leipzig 1988–2002. W. C. Greene, Scholia Platonica. Haverford, Pa. 1938. Reprinted Chico, Calif. 1981. P. Harding, From the End of the Peloponnesian War to the Battle of Ipsus. (Translated Documents of Greece and Rome, 2). Cambridge 1985. A. Hausrath, Corpus fabularum Aesiopicarum. 2nd edn., ed. H. Hunger. Leipzig 1959–. A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams. (2 vols.). Cambridge 1965. E. Heitsch, Die griechischen Dichterfragmente der römischen Kaiserzeit. (2 vols.). Göttingen 1961–4. Inscriptiones Graecae. Berlin 1873–. [Roman numerals indicate the volume, index figures the edition, Arabic numerals the number of the inscription. Thus IG I3 671 is inscription no. 671 in the third edition of volume I.] G. Jan, Musici scriptores Graeci. (2 vols.). Leipzig 1895–99. Reprinted Stuttgart 1995. R. Kassel and C. Austin, Poetae comici Graeci. Berlin 1983–.

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citations, abbreviations and transliteration

Kannicht Kemke Koniaris LGPN LSJ

M M Meineke M-L

M-W OCD Pfeiffer PMG PMGF P.Oxy. PSI Radt RE

Rose Rutherford

R. Kannicht, Tragicorum Graecorum fragmenta. Vol. V: Euripides. Göttingen 2004. J. Kemke, Philodemi De musica librorum quae exstant. Leipzig 1884. G. L. Koniaris, Maximus Tyrius: Philosophumena – Διαλέξεις. Berlin and New York 1995. P. M. Fraser et al. (eds.), A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. Oxford 1987–. H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, revised by H. S. Jones, A Greek–English Lexicon. 9th edn with supplement edited by E. A. Barber et al. Oxford 1996. H. Maehler, Bacchylidis carmina cum fragmentis. 11th edn. Leipzig 2003. H. Maehler, Pindari carmina cum fragmentis, Vol. II. Leipzig 1989. A. Meineke, Stephani Byzantii Ethnicorum quae supersunt. Berlin 1849. R. Meiggs and D. Lewis, A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions to the End of the Fifth Century BC. Revised edn. Oxford 1988. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West, Fragmenta Hesiodea. Oxford 1967. S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth (eds.) The Oxford Classical Dictionary. 3rd edn. Oxford 1996. R. Pfeiffer, Callimachus. (2 vols.). Oxford 1949–53. D. L. Page, Poetae melici Graeci. Oxford 1962. M. Davies, Poetarum melicorum Graecorum fragmenta. Vol. I. Oxford 1991. Oxyrhynchus Papyri. London 1898–. [Cited by papyrus number.] Papiri della Società Italiana. S. Radt, Tragicorum Graecorum fragmenta. Vol. IV: Sophocles. Göttingen 1999. A. Pauly et al. (eds.), Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. Stuttgart 1893– 1972. V. Rose, Aristotelis qui ferebantur librorum fragmenta. Leipzig 1886. Reprinted Stuttgart 1966. I. Rutherford, Pindar’s Paeans: A Reading of the Fragments with a Survey of the Genre. Oxford 2001.

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citations, abbreviations and transliteration

schol. Schwartz SEG SH

Skutsch Slater SLG S-M Uhlig V W, W2

Wehrli

West Winnington-Ingram

scholion. E. Schwartz, Scholia in Euripidem. (2 vols.). Berlin 1887–91. Supplementum epigraphicum Graecum. Amsterdam 1923–. P. J. Parsons and H. Lloyd-Jones, Supplementum Hellenisticum. (2 vols.). Berlin and New York 1983–2005. O. Skutsch, The Annals of Q. Ennius. Oxford 1985. W. J. Slater, Aristophanis Byzantii Fragmenta. Berlin and New York 1986. D. L. Page, Supplementum lyricis Graecis. Oxford 1974. B. Snell and H. Maehler, Pindari carmina cum fragmentis, vol. I. 8th edn. Leipzig 1987. G. Uhlig, Dionysii Thracis Ars Grammatica. (Grammatici Graeci, 1.1). Leipzig 1883. E. M. Voigt, Sappho et Alcaeus: fragmenta. Amsterdam 1971. M. L. West, Iambi et elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati. 2nd edn. (2 vols.). Oxford 1989–92. [W2 is used where the second edition differs significantly from the first.] F. Wehrli, Die Schule des Aristoteles: Texte und Kommentar. 2nd edn. (10 vols.). Basel and Stuttgart 1967–9. M. L. West, Carmina Anacreontea. Corrected edn. Stuttgart and Leipzig 1993. R. P. Winnington-Ingram, Aristidis Quintiliani De musica libri tres. Leipzig 1963. Transliteration

Transliteration of Greek terms always involves choices and compromises, especially in a volume that covers periods from antiquity to the twentieth century. The overriding aim has been to use the spellings that are currently most familiar – inevitably a matter of judgement. The letters η and ω are rendered in transcription ê and ô to distinguish them from ε and ο. Long α, ι and υ are not specially marked in transcription.

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Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

100

100

200

Camarina

200

300

Syracuse

400

500 km

ENIA MESS

S EU

LACONIA

Sparta

Siphnos Melos

Cydonia

Cythera

R. Eurotas

Map 1 The Greek world in the archaic and early classical periods

300 miles

LY ESS A T H Pherae

Lemnos

Chios

Lesbos

Tenedos

CRETE

MYSIA

Cos

Cnidus

Rhodes

Halicarnassus

Miletus

C AR

LYDIA Sardis

Magnesia

Mytilene

Sigeum Troy

Smyrna Clazomenae Colophon Teos I O N I A Ephesus Samos

Knossos

Naxos

Delos

Thera

Paros

B Thermopylae O LOCRIS Orchomenus Opus E A Thebes Delphi Plataea Gulf o f Co Ithaca BOEOTIA rint Megara Marathon h EA HA Sicyon C Athens A Corinth ATTICA Nemea Aegina ARCADIA Ceos Epidaurus Olympia Argos

Dodona

Mt Olympus

Thasos Samothrace

A

Gela

M. Aetna

S I C I LY

Corcyra

E

M Methone

Abdera

E

Acragas

Selinus

Locri Epizephyrii Rhegium

Croton

Taras

E D O N A C

T H R A C E

N

Himera

Poseidonia Metapontion

RU

E

E A

Segesta

Bay of Naples

PI

A G

S

IA

FELIX BUDELMANN

Introducing Greek lyric

In my eyes he matches the gods, that man who sits there facing you – any man whatever – listening from closeby to the sweetness of your voice as you talk, the sweetness of your laughter: yes, that – I swear it – sets the heart to shaking inside my breast, since once I look at you for a moment, I can’t speak any longer, but my tongue breaks down, and then all at once a subtle fire races inside my skin, my eyes can’t see a thing and a whirring whistle thrums at my hearing, cold sweat covers me and a trembling takes ahold of me all over: I’m greener than the grass is and appear to myself to be little short of dying. But all must be endured, since even a poor [

This is Sappho’s fragment 31 V, in the translation by Jim Powell.1 It has proved to be an engrossing text to many readers, arresting in its physicality yet elusive in its description of what is happening between the speaker, the addressee and the man. A long list of later poets were prompted to write their own versions – Catullus, Philip Sidney, Tennyson, William Carlos Williams, Robert Lowell, Marguerite Yourcenar – to name just a few. Sappho 31 is a text that shows the ability of Greek lyric to fascinate readers throughout the centuries. Yet at the same time as exerting fascination, Greek lyric is sometimes perceived as one of the less easily accessible areas of Greek literature. Greek 1

Powell 2007, 11. The Greek text is uncertain in various places.

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lyric has many points of contact with Homer, tragedy and other early Greek literature, but it also poses a distinct set of challenges. This introduction will discuss these challenges and the way in which they have shaped lyric scholarship. The aim is not to characterise Greek lyric as forbidding – its cultural influence across the centuries proves that in many respects it emphatically is not – but to help users of this volume understand some of the concepts and issues that dominate the study of Greek lyric today. Greek lyric and its challenges The meanings and history of ‘lyric’ One immediate obstacle in approaching Greek lyric is the ambiguity of the term itself. Classicists use ‘lyric’ in both a narrow and a comprehensive sense. The narrow sense excludes two major genres, elegy and iambos,2 while the comprehensive usage includes them. David A. Campbell’s Greek Lyric Loeb edition and G. O. Hutchinson’s Greek Lyric Poetry edition, for instance, contain only lyric in the narrow sense (elegy and iambos have separate Loeb volumes), while Campbell’s Greek Lyric Poetry commentary and M. L. West’s Greek Lyric translation cover also elegy and iambos, and scholarship in other languages shows similar variation. This variation in the scope of the term ‘lyric’ today is a consequence of its changeful history. λυρικός, ‘lyric’, means literally ‘relating to the lyre’, and appears first in the second century BCE.3 The Hellenistic age was a period of intense scholarly work on the famous poets of the past. ‘Lyric’ arose in the context of this work, as a term to refer to one particular category of poets and poetry. It picks up on the frequent mention of the lyre in the lyric poems themselves. Before λυρικός was coined the terminology was more loose. The most important term was μέλος (‘song’, ‘tune’), which is used by various early lyric poets to refer to their compositions, and Plato occasionally distinguishes ‘songs’ from other poetic forms, like epic and tragedy.4 μέλος continued in use also when λυρικός existed, and the adjective μελικός, literally ‘relating to μέλος’ and often rendered ‘melic’, is attested from the first century BCE. From then on, λυρικός and μέλος / μελικός existed side by side. λυρικός seems to have been associated in particular with early lyric poetry rather

2 3

4

See Aloni and Carey, this vol. chs. 9 and 8, respectively, for discussion of their definitions. In the inscription F.Delphes III.1 no.49 = SIG³ no. 660, and possibly (date debated) Ps.-Dion. Thrax Ars gramm. 2, p. 6 Uhlig. In general, on the history of ‘lyric’ discussed in this section, and also for a sceptical view of ‘lyric’ as a genre, see Calame 1998. μέλος in lyric: e.g. Alcm. 39.1 PMGF, Pind. Pyth. 2.68. μέλος in Plato: Ion 533e–34a (vs. epic) and Rep. 379a (vs. epic and tragedy).

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than contemporary work: it is standard in lists of the canonical lyric poets from the seventh to fifth centuries BCE. By contrast, μελικός and other μέλοςwords often appear in timeless classifications of different kinds of poetry. But there was a good deal of overlap, and in many cases ‘lyric’ and ‘melic’ are used with little distinction.5 Eventually, Latin adopted both terms, as lyricus and (the less frequent) melicus, and Renaissance poetics created equivalents in modern languages. ‘Lyric’, then, is not a term known to the lyric poets themselves, but was coined with hindsight for what had previously been – and to a degree remained throughout antiquity – more loosely ‘songs’. What is more, it is a term that changed its meaning over time. In Greek and Roman antiquity, both ‘lyric’ and ‘melic’ were used only in the narrow sense, distinct from elegy and iambos. Ancient scholars drew up separate canons of lyric and iambic poets, and in the rare cases that the word μέλος occurs in an elegiac and iambic (rather than a melic) poem it usually points to some other song rather than this song (e.g. Archil. 120 W, Thgn. 761). By contrast, elegiac poetry could be described with the same term as epic: ἔπη (‘words’, ‘statements’, e.g. Thgn. 22, Hdt. 5.113). The narrow sense of lyric remained the norm also in the Renaissance, but gradually lyric began to occupy a place on a par with epic and drama and hence became more comprehensive. This broader sense became standard from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Goethe created the notion of ‘natural forms of poetry’, of which there are three: epic, lyric and drama.6 In the course of the nineteenth century, this triad entered classical scholarship and with it the comprehensive meaning of lyric. Yet the narrow ancient sense was never completely forgotten, and so we are left with the ambiguous scope of lyric. One response to the ambiguity is to drop ‘lyric’ altogether and to use only melos and ‘melic’, which retained its ancient meaning with little ambiguity: elegy and iambos are hardly ever called melic. Another response is to specify explicitly how one uses ‘lyric’. This volume covers melos as well as elegy and iambos. ‘Lyric’ in the title is therefore to be understood in the broad sense, as an anachronistic but convenient term referring to all the poetry under discussion. Individual chapters use ‘lyric’ in different ways as suits their subject matter, but are careful to avoid ambiguity. A second, less frequently discussed, kind of ambiguity in ‘Greek lyric’ concerns periods. Greek poets composed lyric pieces in the broad and narrow 5 6

On the use of λυρικός vs. μέλος / μελικός see Färber 1936, 7–16, with full documentation. ‘Naturformen der Dichtung’: in ‘Besserem Verständnis’, first published 1819 (Münchner Ausgabe, vol. 11.1.2 (1998), 194–5). An early example of the triad is: Antonio Sebastiano Minturno, L’arte poetica (1563) 3. For seventeenth-century examples see Scherpe 1968, 60–1. On Plato (Rep. 3.394b–c) as a possible predecessor, see Silk, this vol., 377–8, but note the different view of Calame 1998, 97–8. On ‘lyric’/‘melic’ in Renaissance poetics in general see Behrens 1940, section C.

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sense throughout antiquity. Mesomedes, for instance, wrote lyric in the second and Synesius around the turn of the fifth century CE, and see ch. 16 for Hellenistic lyric. Some lyric genres, in particular dithyrambs and paeans, were more or less popular throughout antiquity. ‘Greek lyric’ can refer to all such pieces, and can also include Byzantine and modern Greek lyric. However, many classicists restrict the term to the archaic and classical periods, with a cut-off somewhere in the late fifth or the fourth century. In this they may consciously or unconsciously be influenced by the ancient connections of ‘lyric’ with the canon of archaic and classical poetry or indeed the canonical status of early lyric in later periods. This volume follows the same convention: it is a companion to early Greek lyric. The latest poet treated at length is Timotheus, who died in the mid-fourth century BCE. It is hoped, however, that the chapters on reception open out vistas on later kinds of lyric, both ancient and modern. Many of the issues discussed so far – the retrospective coinage of the term ‘lyric’, its broad and narrow usage, the question of dates – concern ancient Greek lyric more than modern or even Latin lyric, but they need to be seen in the context of the complexity of lyric overall: ‘lyric’ is never a self-evident concept. Scholarship on lyric of various modern periods stresses again and again that lyric is difficult or impossible to define. A wealth of greatly different lyric theories have been advanced through the centuries, based on metre, singability/readability, brevity, density, subjectivity and much else. Most work now contents itself with cataloguing different ways of approaching lyric, looks only for weak generic coherence or speaks of lyric as a ‘mode’ rather than a ‘genre’.7 No literary form can be satisfactorily described in timeless terms, but lyric is often singled out as particularly difficult. As one critic puts it: ‘There is no theory of lyric or the lyrical mode in the way that there is a theory of the dramatic and narrative mode.’8 There are several factors that make lyric hard to pin down in many periods. One that is not to be underestimated takes us again back to ancient scholarship. Lyric poetry is largely absent from the text that has shaped western poetics more than any other: Aristotle’s Poetics. In this work, Aristotle takes little interest in lyric as a whole (under whatever name) or in any of the lyric genres. Even the dithyramb, which is mentioned at the beginning and several times throughout, pales into insignificance when compared to tragedy and epic.9 Both later ancient and Renaissance theorists experimented with various ways of fitting lyric beyond the dithyramb into Aristotle’s schema, but the gap 7

8 9

Variety of lyric stressed: Wellek 1970, Müller-Zettelmann 2000, Poiss 2001. Modes: Fowler 1982. On lyric theories see further Silk, this vol., ch. 20. Warning 1997, 17–18. My translation. Discussion of Aristotle on lyric: Genette 1977, 392–9; Walker 2000, 277–90 (who goes beyond the Poetics); and Silk, this vol., 377 n. 17. On ancient lyric theories more broadly: Färber 1936; Janko 1984, 128–33.

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could never be filled completely.10 It has been suggested that the foundation texts of eastern poetics, unlike their western counterpart Aristotle, focused on lyric rather than epic or drama and on the ‘affective-expressive’ dimension of literature rather than narrative and mimesis, and that this difference in choice affected later literary scholarship.11 While no doubt too sweeping, this claim contains an important kernel of truth as far as Aristotle is concerned. The staples of analysis that western poetics inherited from Aristotle, like ‘plot’ and ‘character’, are ill-suited for the many lyric pieces that do not tell stories, and may even stand in the way of developing appropriate conceptual tools for analysing lyric. Probably Aristotle’s lack of interest in lyric is at least as significant in its consequences for critics today as the Hellenistic creation of a lyric canon or the Romantic idea of lyric as one of three natural kinds. A varied and ill-defined corpus Next, the texts themselves. The first thing to notice about the corpus of Greek lyric is its striking variety, on the broad but also on the narrow understanding of the term. As an example of a poem that is rather different from Sappho 31, here is an extract from Simonides’ elegy commemorating the battle of Plataea in 479 BCE, in which the Greek forces commanded by the Spartan regent Pausanias son of Cleombrotus decisively defeated the Persians (Sim. fr. eleg. 11.20–34 W², trans. West). …I [now summon] thee, i[llustriou]s Muse, to my support, [if thou hast any thought] for men who pray: [fit ou]t, as is thy wont, this [grat]eful song-a[rray] [of mi]ne, so that rem[embrance is preserved] 25 of those who held the line for Spart[a and for Greece,] [that none should see] the da[y of slavery.] They kept their co[urage, and their fame rose] heaven-high; [their glory in] the world [will] never die. [From the Eu]rotas and from [Sparta’s] town they [marched,] 30 accompanied by Zeus’ horsemaster sons, [the Tyndarid] Heroes, and by Menelaus’ strength, [those doughty] captains of [their fath]ers’ folk, led forth by [great Cleo]mbrotus’ most noble [son,] … Pausanias.

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A second influential classification schema, also focusing on the dithyramb rather than ‘lyric’, is Plato’s, Rep. 3.392c–98b. Cf. 3 n. 6 above. Miner 1990, criticised in Gu 2005.

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The differences are numerous. Sappho sings about love and desire, while Simonides’ piece is about a battle. Both poets use the first person, but Simonides moves on from invoking the Muse to a third-person narrative, while Sa. 31 maintains a first-person perspective throughout. Sa. 31 is only seventeen lines long and many critics think we are missing only a further three lines. By contrast, we have parts of well over 100 lines of Simonides’ elegy, and many more lines may have been lost. Sa. 31 is composed in four-line stanzas, while Simonides uses elegiac couplets. Sappho composed on the island of Lesbos in the late seventh and early sixth centuries BCE; Simonides composed this piece in the 470s for performance at a commemorative event in mainland Greece. Simonides’ elegy uses a broadly Ionic and Sappho a broadly Lesbian dialect. Further examples would add to the sense of variety. Greek lyric varies in almost every respect: subject matter, purpose, length, metre, dialect, tone, geography, period, number and kind of performer(s), mode of performance and musical accompaniment, audience, venue (sanctuaries, streets, convivial settings, homes, etc.). Because of this variety it is difficult to draw a clear line and say what is not lyric. Obviously, prose is excluded, and so is drama (except for the lyric odes contained within it, which are not covered in this companion). But what about philosophy? The Presocratics are usually treated as philosophy rather than lyric, and are studied separately. This division has its obvious purpose, but becomes questionable in cases like that of Xenophanes who wrote both ‘philosophy’ and ‘non-philosophy’ in elegiac verse. Or what about the Homeric Hymns? They are normally put alongside Homer’s epics, with which they share language and metre, but a case can be made also for looking at them together with hymns by lyric composers like Alcaeus or Anacreon. Or Hesiod’s Works and Days? This work too belongs to epic in form, but as poetry that gives advice on topics of traditional wisdom it also shares much with the elegiac poetry of Theognis and Phocylides. Even the Iliad and Odyssey do not inhabit an entirely separate world: especially elegy is close in both language and metre, and there is no reason why short chunks of Homer should not have been performed in the same format and by the same people as lyric pieces, especially at symposia. Greek lyric in the broad sense, then, is both a varied and an ill-defined corpus. As a consequence, a good number of scholars abandon this notion and return as far as possible to ancient concepts. The limitations of Greek lyric in the broad sense as a critical concept are certainly not to be ignored. For many kinds of analysis, the more clearly defined units melos, elegy and iambos, or indeed sub-genres of melos like paean and dithyramb, are more appropriate (see further below, p. 10). Yet it would be wrong to deny Greek lyric in the broad sense all usefulness. The corpus displays a number of tendencies that set it apart from other 6 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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literature of the same period, especially epic, and that bind together melos, elegy and iambos. (1) Most of the poems are short, certainly shorter than epic: Sa. 31 is more typical in its length than Simonides’ Plataea elegy, and even Simonides’ poem is shorter than the Iliad. (2) Often poems are anchored in the present, structured around a strong ‘I’ or ‘we’, and (3) are non-mythical in content: again Sa. 31 is typical, and again the Plataea elegy too has a stronger first person than epic. (4) Moreover, many lyric pieces do not just narrate but aim to achieve something: they pray, they exhort, they teach, they flirt and so on. Sa. 31 does so only in a weak way, but Simonides invokes the Muse and prays to her, and note the much clearer examples cited in ch. 4. (5) Like early epic, lyric is composed for performance, but unlike epic, it can point to its own performance, readily mentioning the dancers, singers or instruments that form part of its execution. ‘I now summon thee’ in the Plataea elegy is, again, only a weak example but see also the opening of Pind. Ol. 9 quoted on p. 253. (6) Finally, and this is related to all the other features, lyric poems often bear signs of being composed for a specific occasion or at least type of occasion. Like epic, lyric could be – and often was intended to be – performed more than once, but many poems are more context-specific than epic. Simonides commemorates one particular, recent battle, and scholars have speculated at some length about whether and how the unusual situation portrayed in Sa. 31 – a female singer distraught by watching intimate conversation between the female addressee and a man – reflects specific circumstances in which Sappho’s song was performed (as so often with Sappho, there is little agreement: see below).12 It is obvious that these tendencies do not amount to firm criteria for including or excluding poems from the corpus of early Greek lyric: neither Sa. 31 nor the Plataea elegy, nor indeed many other lyric pieces, can serve as examples of each of the tendencies listed in the previous paragraph. None the less, between them these tendencies create sufficient resemblance between the surviving poems to permit general statements about the corpus as a whole, and to distinguish the corpus from other kinds of texts, above all epic and drama. Such statements – like most statements about literary genres – have to allow for exceptions, but they still have descriptive force. Greek lyric in the broad sense is a concept that should neither be used as a firm category nor dismissed as meaningless. An incomplete record A major challenge of a different sort is posed by the incomplete survival of Greek lyric. Little is known of the early stages of the transmission of lyric, and 12

The often complex relationship between the lyric text and its real or imagined performance context is discussed by D’Alessio, this vol., 115–20.

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we are mostly reduced to speculation.13 It is likely that some lyric pieces, especially towards the classical period, were composed with the help of writing, while others originated in purely oral composition. Similarly, in some cases written copies may already have been kept after the first performance, by the poets themselves, by performers, by teachers, by communities, by patrons and their families. On other occasions songs will have been handed down orally for a certain period before being recorded. The survival of certain pieces in different versions attributed to different poets (e.g. Mimn. 7 W ∼ Thgn. 795–6; Alcaeus 249.6–9 V ∼ the drinking song 891 PMG) suggests that certain kinds of lyric pieces could be adapted in the course of successive performances, probably both before and after they were recorded in writing. How widespread and how drastic such changes were and to what degree what we have today has gone through successive adaptations is difficult to tell. It seems unduly optimistic to take for granted that all our texts are transcripts of what was first performed, and unduly pessimistic to imagine the same degree of textual fluidity throughout as is generally assumed for the early stages of epic composition in performance. A certain number of written texts were almost certainly in circulation in the fourth century, when lyric was quoted and discussed by many authors, sometimes in intricate and sophisticated ways (most famously, Plato, Prot. 339a– 46d on Sim. 542 PMG). Especially in the Hellenistic period there was a systematic programme of gathering the texts of the canonical poets in reliable editions (see ch. 16). Only two such editions, that of Pindar’s epinikia and that of pieces preserved in the name of Theognis, were still copied in the Middle Ages and survive reasonably intact in manuscripts. For all other lyric we rely on papyrus finds (e.g. Simonides’ Plataea elegy), or on later authors quoting snippets of lyric in their own works, creating what is called ‘indirect’ transmission (e.g. Sa. 31, quoted by Pseudo-Longinus). Overall, only a small proportion of the canonical songs edited by the Hellenistic scholars has come down to us, and just a vanishing fraction of songs composed altogether. What is left is often not representative. Pindar appears today as a composer of epinikian poetry, even though epinikia filled only four books of the seventeen-book Hellenistic edition. Mimnermus has become a poet of mostly small convivial pieces, even though he also composed a long elegy that was probably more similar to Simonides’ Plataea piece. What is left of popular song is probably only the tip of the iceberg, and of some genres, such as proems sung to the kithara (a stringed instrument: see Battezzato, this vol., 144), we have only the vaguest understanding. Especially 13

On this controversial topic see Herington 1985, 45–7 and 201–6; Pöhlmann 1990, 18–23; Ford 2003.

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songs that were only of local interest were lost early on. There is no doubt that the overall picture of Greek lyric that we have is skewed in a number of ways. The fragmentary preservation of the majority of the surviving pieces adds further obstacles. The loss of the ending of Sa. 31 may have substantially changed the character of the song: the last line Pseudo-Longinus quotes suggests a turn from despair to endurance, but we do not know what came next. Simonides’ Plataea elegy is full of gaps, indicated in the text above by dots and parentheses containing guesses about what may be lost. Perhaps the most distorting effect of the transmission history is the loss of music. A few cases of musical notation survive, but for the most part all we have is texts, and we find it hard to imagine what they may have sounded like in performance. The relative importance of text and music will have varied from piece to piece and performance to performance. Clearly, the text always mattered and in fact the rhythm was determined by the words rather than the music, but the extensive use of the word μέλος, ‘song’ (above, p. 2), shows that we are missing a crucial dimension. Music was central to Greek lyric, and there will have been some degree of continuity between lyric and what we would conceptualise as just instrumental music: the difficult term nomos seems to have been used both for texts set to music, such as Timotheus’ Persians, and for instrumental pieces such as the ‘Pythian nomos’ performed by just an aulos player. Just as frustrating as the loss of the compositions themselves, text and music, is the loss of their performance contexts. In many cases it is possible to make reasonable guesses, but in others, including Sa. 31, we simply do not know. Should we imagine a setting with only Sappho and a few of her female companions (and who are they?) or a larger occasion (and what sort of occasion would that be?) We can make guesses, but the sheer number of different theories that have been advanced shows how little we have to go on. As the only female lyric poet to survive in substantial amounts, Sappho is a particularly difficult case (we have more information about the social institutions in which men participated), but fundamental uncertainty surrounds the performance of many Greek lyric pieces. Next, our knowledge of the poets themselves is exiguous. Almost all our biographical material dates from after their lifetimes, and most of it from many centuries later. As a result, even some basic facts are debated. Corinna for instance may be archaic or Hellenistic (see p. 128, n. 58). Ibycus is variously argued to have lived in the first or second half of the sixth century (see p. 199 n. 25). Theognis seems to have become a name attached to a tradition of different poets composing anonymously (see pp. 174–75), and something similar has been suggested, though on less evidence, for other names. Finally, our knowledge of the period of Greek lyric as a whole has severe limitations. Our earliest substantial written source for archaic history is 9 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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Herodotus in the second half of the fifth century, whose reliability is not always easy to assess. Material culture helps fill in many gaps but poses its own interpretative problems. As a result much detail of archaic history is debatable and the work on the social and political contexts especially of the earlier pieces has to allow for vagueness and uncertainty. The historical context which can help understand a lyric text is often as problematic as the text itself, creating the risk of circular argument. This potential circularity has a positive counterpart in the scope it creates for constructive interaction between text and context. Sometimes the lyric texts are most fruitfully regarded as one of several sources we have of early Greece, reinforcing, contradicting or reshaping what we know from elsewhere. Greek lyric can be a way into early Greek history as much as it can be illuminated by this history. Scholarship on Greek lyric The problems posed by the complexities surrounding ‘lyric’, the varied corpus and the incomplete record all shape current scholarship on Greek lyric and help explain its particular concerns and approaches. Genres and categories Ever since antiquity lyric scholarship has been characterised by attempts to subdivide the corpus of Greek lyric (in the narrow as well as the broad sense) so as to get a handle on this large but only weakly coherent collection of material. One approach has been to look for recognisable genres, like dithyramb, epinikion, enkômion, paean, elegy or iambos. Attempts to define and understand these genres and to trace their development have been a staple of lyric scholarship for a long time, and have gained new momentum in recent years, with several books devoted to individual genres. Sometimes such attempts are prompted by a somewhat arid desire for neat classification, but more often they arise from a genuine need to understand the form and purpose of a given set of songs or from the desire to analyse more coherent bodies of poems than that of lyric in either the broad or the narrow sense. Moreover, many of the genre terms go back to the lyric poets themselves. So whereas hiving off, say, revenge tragedies from the overall body of Greek tragedies is to introduce modern categories, the focus on these genres of lyric is an often immensely productive way of getting back to ancient, and in many cases archaic, Greek concepts (see further ch. 1). A second, partly related way of getting a purchase on the varied corpus is to use polar opposites to divide up the material in various ways. When used with an awareness of their limitations, such dichotomies are powerful tools that are central to the study of lyric. The most important are as follows. 10 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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Choral vs. solo performance. This distinction will have made a fundamental difference to the experience of performers and audiences. For this reason it has been prominent in many modern taxonomies of Greek lyric, which differentiate between choral song and monody (= solo song). By contrast, it hardly plays a role in the discussions of their ancient predecessors.14 The lack of interest in antiquity may partly reflect an emphasis on text rather than performance by bookish Hellenistic scholars, but it also shows up the fluidity in what might initially seem a straightforward dichotomy. First, for many songs the information necessary to determine whether they were performed by a chorus or an individual is lost, and was probably lost early on. A much discussed example is Stesichorus, whose work resembles choral song in metre but Homer in length and content.15 Second, a number of lyric poets seem to have written for both choral and solo performance (e.g. Pindar’s dithyrambs vs. his shorter enkômia or Anacreon’s erotic songs vs. his partheneia). Thus the division can be meaningful only at the level of individual poems, not that of poets. Third, the mode of performance could change when songs were reperformed in other contexts.16 The best documented example is the performance in convivial settings of short extracts from longer and more formal songs, with a shift from chorus to solo (see e.g. Aristoph. Clouds 1355–62). Finally, there will have been mixed forms, such as a solo introduction to a choral song. Public vs. private. The various performance venues of Greek lyric differ in the degree to which they are public. Open-air polis festivals are more public than indoor gatherings with select attendees, and there has been much work on how these differences are reflected in the kinds of lyric performed at particular occasions. Here too there is a need for flexibility since the possibility of reperformance in different contexts shows that poems as such are not necessarily either private or public. Moreover, the private end of the scale is not private in a modern sense. The mere fact that lyric was performed with listeners present gives it a public aspect. The symposion,17 which is the most significant event at the private end of the scale, was an occasion at which matters of broad civic importance could be discussed, and which is not always easily distinguished from more public banquets. Altogether, archaic Greece had different notions of private and public from today’s western societies, with strong public elements in areas that are now considered predominantly

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Davies 1988. Krummen, this vol., 194. There are similar debates about epinikia (see Pelliccia this vol., 245, n. 17) and enkômia (see Cingano 2003). Detailed discussion for Pindar (with further references): Currie 2004. On the symposion see in this vol., Carey, 32–8 and Griffith, 88–90.

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private, such as weddings and funerals or even certain forms of erotic behaviour.18 Elite vs. non-elite. Like most societies archaic Greece was to some degree stratified, and changes in the respective standing of different groups were bound to take place. Both the systems of stratification themselves and anxieties about them are reflected in lyric poetry. Pindar’s epinikian poetry, for instance, many scholars believe, takes account of the different perspectives of different groups; much of Theognis’ poetry comes to life before the background of increasing social mobility; and Hipponax contains – alone among surviving lyric poets – substantial amounts of what appears to be lower-class material.19 Yet in none of these cases does poetry simply describe historical realities: Hipponax is now rarely believed to be lower-class himself, and Theognis’ use of terms like οἱ κακοί (either morally ‘bad’ or socially ‘lowly’ people) is both polemical and inconsistent.20 Sung vs. spoken. This is probably the pair that has suffered least from the recent scholarly distrust of binary oppositions. In fact the renewed use of ‘melic’ has emphasised the division between sung and spoken poetry. Sometimes this is used as the master criterion for dividing all early Greek poetry, including epic: sung lyric in the narrow sense (= melic) is opposed to spoken elegy, iambos and epic. Support for giving weight to this division comes from ancient practice. Ancient scholarship provides a strong precedent by consistently distinguishing between melic/lyric on the one hand and elegy and iambos on the other. As already noted, the elegiac and iambic poets themselves, unlike the narrowly lyric ones, never use μέλος of their own songs. The metre too confirms the division: elegiac and iambic poetry, like epic, have more regular metres which lend themselves better than the highly varied lyric metres to spoken delivery, and which are likely to have more regular (if any) kinds of melody. Finally, instrumentation was different: melic poetry was typically performed to stringed instruments, such as the lyre, played in solo performances by the singers themselves, while both vase painting and the poems themselves suggest that elegiac poetry was performed usually to the accompaniment of a musician playing the aulos, a wind-instrument (little is known about iambic performances). Even so, it would be a mistake to go too far. Narrowly lyric metres vary in the degree of regularity: many of Alcaeus’, Sappho’s and Anacreon’s metres are considerably more 18

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On the public/private polarity and its limits in ancient Greece see Polignac and Schmitt Pantel 1998. Epinikia: Kurke 1991, but note the different views of Pelliccia, this vol., 247. Theognis: CobbStevens 1985. Hipponax: Carey, this vol., 162–67. Note Hornblower 2004, 255–6 on the ‘treacherous’ category of aristocrats. The most ambitious generalising account of social strata in lyric is Morris 1996, rightly criticised by Kistler 2004 and Irwin 2005, 58–62.

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regular than those of most epinikia, suggesting perhaps a less colourful tune. The use of the aulos in elegiac recitals shows these were by no means occasions without music: conceivably they should be imagined as an intermediary between full-scale song and mostly tune-free performances of epic and perhaps iambos. What is more, the aulos seems to have been used also for melic poetry (Pind. Ol. 5.19), and it was certainly the instrument of choice for the sung passages of drama. Clearly there was some flexibility in the use of instruments. And two passages in the elegiac Theognis collection (534, 791) mentioning the lyre and various texts from the fourth century and later referring to sung elegiacs and iambics (e.g. Plato, Laws 935e, Chamaeleon fr. 28 Wehrli = Athen. 620c) show at a minimum that these are metres that can be sung, even if they reflect later practice more than knowledge of earlier performance conditions (as they may well). Reperformance in different contexts too complicates any generalisations. Sung and spoken is the binary pair for which we have the best evidence, but it too is better conceptualised as a sliding scale with a good degree of variability.21 The sense of uncertainty that surrounds these and other critical categories has been mostly productive. It has led to rich discussions of the categories themselves and of the complex ways in which they can be applied to poems, poets and genres. Generalisations are now usually stated with due regard for exceptions, and the categories have become tools of analysis as often as they are tools of classification. Thus used with an awareness of their limitations, the categories are fundamental to interpreting Greek lyric. Reconstruction 1: texts Reading Greek lyric soon engages one in a project of reconstruction at one level or another. The various kinds of gaps in the record ask to be filled. The demands Greek lyric makes this way on one’s imagination and/or detective skills is one of the major attractions the corpus holds for some of its readers.22 Scholarly reconstruction work starts at the level of fragmentary texts, supplementing missing words, estimating the overall length, identifying the author or the genre. It is this kind of close textual work that explains the importance for this field of technical disciplines. Papyrology, metrics, dialectology, critical editions, line-by-line commentaries come to the fore in the study of Greek lyric. All this work calls for both attention to minute detail and judgement in weighing up different more or less likely alternatives. 21

22

Discussion of elegiac and iambic performance in West 1974, 1–39, and Bartol 1993; also Carey and Aloni, this vol., 23–4 and 170. The case for a strict division sung / spoken is made most fully by Nagy 1990, ch. 1. Fragmentariness can also be prized for its aesthetic values: see Williamson, this vol., 364–5 on Romantic and modernist poetics.

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A second consequence of the reconstructive mode is the need to draw on texts from later periods: the study of ancient reception is built into the subject. Understanding Hellenistic scholarship and later authors who embedded lyric quotations in their texts and thus give us many of our fragments is an intrinsic part of work on Greek lyric. Often reconstructing the views and ways of working of the Hellenistic scholars is the first step towards reconstructing the ancient texts. Reconstruction 2: contexts Equally great effort is expended on reconstructing contexts. Since so much Greek lyric was composed for performance at specific occasions, or specific types of occasion, placing texts in their performance contexts as well as their wider social, cultural and political contexts is of particular importance in this field. Like the reconstruction of the texts themselves, this project involves a great deal of detail. Much of the discussion is about individual texts and their individual surroundings. Separate texts need separate treatments, as do separate poets, venues, occasions, poleis, and genres. Behind the separate discussions, however, there are overarching paradigms. The best known attempt to construct a background for Greek lyric goes back to the Romantics and was worked through in detail and made widely known among classicists by Bruno Snell in the middle of the twentieth century.23 Snell argued that Greek lyric, with its frequent first person singular, represented a major chapter in the story of what he called ‘the discovery of the mind’ in ancient Greece. After the age of epic, with its conception of human life as (in his view) governed by inescapable chains of cause and effect, the age of lyric was one in which people started perceiving their individuality. That is why lyric poets say ‘I’ so often, and why lyric is so different from epic. Greek lyric is our best evidence for, as Snell puts it in the title of his piece, ‘the awakening of individuality’. This model is appealing in its simplicity as well as its focus on the firstperson and present-tense phrasing that is characteristic of many (though, as Snell himself says, by no means all) Greek lyric pieces. However, it is problematic in a number of ways. One issue concerns the temporal sequence of epic followed by lyric. Epic was still performed and composed during the seventh and sixth centuries. Conversely, there is no reason to believe that lyric was not being composed and performed already a long time before our earliest 23

Snell 1946, ch. 3 (English translation: Snell 1953). This scholarly tradition goes back to Schlegel’s Geschichte der Poesie der Griechen und Römer (1798) and beyond.

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surviving pieces. It is intuitively unlikely that full-scale epics were composed before the first short lyric pieces, and it has also been argued that the epic hexameter developed out of certain lyric metres.24 The implausibility of Snell’s diachronic model does not remove the question of the relationship between lyric and epic, but the question has shifted from development and mentalité to issues of generic difference and overlap, of rivalry and codependence, of developments that both epic and lyric underwent in parallel, as for instance an increasingly panhellenic scope and increasing textual stability (see further chs. 4, 5 and 9). A second objection to Snell’s model is that it takes little interest in Greek lyric as a kind of poetry that is written for performance and for specific kinds of occasion. Any notion of the lyric ‘I’ expressing the author’s genuine thoughts and feelings needs to be circumscribed with an account of the context and purpose of the performance of the piece in question. As scholarship in the humanities started taking a ‘performative turn’, performance became the heart also of a new paradigm for Greek lyric, pioneered by Bruno Gentili and John Herington in the 1980s and dominant ever since. This paradigm looks at Greek lyric as part of what has come to be called a ‘song culture’:25 a culture in which song-making suffuses many aspects of life. Everybody sings, and song is a means of expressing things that matter as much as it is entertainment. The perspective, therefore, has shifted from authors to performers and audiences, and from a lyric of individuality and subjective self-expression to a lyric that has a function in the lives of archaic and classical communities and the various groups that make up those communities. Much of the most imaginative recent work on Greek lyric explores the place lyric has in ritual, in education, in self-presentation and self-promotion, in propaganda, in resolution of conflict, in creating social coherence, in commemoration, in celebration. This paradigm of Greek lyric as an integral part of the texture of archaic Greek life also underlies all chapters in this volume. Greek vs. Latin and modern lyric A related characteristic of recent scholarship is an emphasis on differences between Greek lyric and the lyric of later ages. As a rule, classicists working on Greek lyric are less prepared than experts in Homer or Greek drama to look at their subject matter through the lens of its modern or even Latin poetic 24 25

See Nagy 1974 and Gentili and Giannini 1996, and Battezzato, this vol., 138. Gentili 1988 (Italian original in 1985) and Herington 1985. Herington introduced the term ‘song culture’; a concise treatment of Greek lyric as part of song culture in Kurke 2000.

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reception. This reluctance stems from the desire to do justice to Greek lyric as performance poetry: drama is still written for performance today, but lyric in the West is now mostly a lyric of the written page, and so, at least to a degree, it was already in Rome. Later lyric is indeed a problematic model to use in approaching Greek lyric. Yet as Snell’s paradigm is gradually receding into the background and as the centrality of performance has deeply engrained itself in scholarship on Greek lyric, we may find it easier to adopt a more pluralistic view of both Greek and later lyric and begin to make connections again. Two central terms in the debate over distinctions between ancient Greek and later lyric will serve as illustrations.26 Performance For all its ties to writing, lyric through the ages has been acutely aware of its performance heritage. The lyre that gives it its name has been evoked by countless poets and theorists, and so have other formal markers of performance such as addresses (‘you’) or performative statements (‘I sing’). Horace’s odes, for example, clearly not performance poetry in the narrow sense, are nevertheless peppered with such references to imaginary performances, and so is some Hellenistic poetry.27 Moreover, some recent scholarship on Latin, early modern and modern lyric has broadened the notion of ‘performance’ to include activities like reading and writing. Literal performance, too, is not abnormal. Lyric poems were set to music throughout the ages, lyric gave its name to opera (French drame lyrique and Italian lirica) and modern pop music has ‘lyrics’. One of the most persistent attributes of lyric is its readability, whether in silence or in a public event. Conversely, whether or not Greek lyric was read to any extent in archaic Greece (above, p. 8), some of the poems clearly display characteristics that are often thought to be markers of later, written lyric, such as intertextuality (e.g. Mimn. 6 W and Sol. 20 W) and an ideology of timelessness (e.g. Thgn. 20). They do not do so to the same degree or in the same way as Hellenistic or Augustan poetry, but sufficiently so to chip away at the brick wall between performed Greek lyric and unperformed later lyric. The lyric ‘I’ The frequent use of the first person and the frequent emphasis on thoughts and emotions makes much Greek lyric a suitable vehicle for expressing and

26

27

Michael Silk, this vol., ch. 20, discusses similarities and differences between ancient and modern lyric (including matters of both performance and the lyric ‘I’) more fully and from a different angle. Horace: Barchiesi, this vol., 332–333. Hellenistic: Barbantani, this vol., 303.

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indeed creating particular states of mind (see Griffith, this vol., pp. 92–3, and on the lyric first person, D’Alessio, pp. 119–20). Therefore, Snell’s assumption that where Greek lyric says ‘I’ it gives us direct access to the author’s mind fails to take into account the performance conditions specific to Greek lyric. The first person of Greek lyric is often elusive to the extreme, and raises questions about whether we are confronting the poet’s true thoughts and feelings, a performer, or a mere persona shaped by the requirements of the broader or immediate performance context, or indeed some combination of all three. Yet classicists need to be careful about assuming that any such unmediated expression of self is characteristic of later lyric: Snell’s view of lyric would not be accepted by scholars working on modern lyric today any more than it is accepted by classicists. The notion of a lyric persona which makes the author’s true self difficult to pin down has been a fundamental and influential tenet of New Criticism. Moreover, the reception history of Greek lyric itself shows a number of ways in which later poets have engaged with the elusiveness of the ‘I’ of Greek lyric (some examples are discussed by Margaret Williamson, this vol., ch. 19). For all the considerable differences that there so clearly are between the ‘I’ (let alone the ‘we’) of early Greek and, say, Romantic lyric, there are also important similarities: an elusive I, one that puts the spotlight on the poet’s (or performer’s) state of mind but gives readers (or audiences) only uncertain access to the real person, is a staple of much lyric, Greek and later. The long reception history of Greek lyric (chs. 16–19) shows that Latin, early modern and modern lyric has been shaped in many ways by perceptions of continuity with Greek lyric. Such perceptions are not a reliable guide to the historicist interpretation of Greek lyric, but what they do is offer us further viewpoints. These viewpoints can help us pinpoint aspects of Greek lyric that are worth thinking about, and reexamine our own perceptions. Whatever interest Sappho 31 held – and holds – for later readers will need to be treated with considerable caution when studying the song as a product of song culture in early sixth-century Lesbos, but it should not be ignored as necessarily irrelevant. FURTHER READING: GENERAL DISCUSSIONS OF GREEK LYRIC

Bowie 1986b and Kurke 2000 and 2007b are chapter-length introductions to Greek lyric. Bowra 1961, Fränkel 1975 and Gentili 1988 are longer discussions, each important and stimulating, even though the first two now show their age. Gerber 1997a is a companion, structured around individual poets. Stehle 1997 explores lyric and other poetry through a broad focus on 17 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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performance and gender. Nagy 1990 is a complex and wide-ranging book on Greek lyric, discussing among other things issues of poetic tradition, genre, orality and panhellenism. Ian Rutherford is preparing an edited volume of Oxford Readings in Greek Lyric. For translations, editions and commentaries, see pp. 388–95.

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1 CHRIS CAREY

Genre, occasion and performance

The nature of genre The urge to categorise creative art has an excellent pedigree. In the case of lyric, the concept and some of the labels are there already in the Homeric poems, which identify both specific contexts for sung performances and also terminology for certain kinds of song. At Il. 1.473 the Greek emissaries to Chryses sing a paean to Apollo at the sacrifice and feast which follows the reversal of the offence against the god. A paean is again sung by the Greeks after the killing of Hector (Il. 22.391). The wedding depicted on Achilles’ shield includes a song explicitly termed a hymenaios (Il. 18.492), the term later used for wedding songs. At Hector’s funeral, the verb thrêneô and the noun thrênos (the standard term later for sung lament) are used of the song of mourning sung for him. The depiction of the harvesting on Achilles’ shield (Il. 18.570) includes the singing of a Linos-song. The list is not exhaustive even for its own day, for it omits the dithyramb in honour of Dionysus, just as the Homeric poems in general avoid Dionysus, even though his worship goes back to the Bronze Age. That the dithyramb was a recognised poetic form by the date of the monumental composition of the Homeric poems is suggested by its matter-of-fact mention by Archilochus in the seventh century (120 W):1 ὡς Διωνύσου ἄνακτος καλὸν ἐξάρξαι μέλος οἰ ̑δα διθύραμβον οἴνωι συγκεραυνωθεὶς φρένας. I know how to lead the fine song of lord Dionysus, the dithyramb when my mind is blasted with wine.

However, as recent scholars have repeatedly emphasised,2 it is unwise to reify literary genres to the point of envisaging a set of objective rules – especially for the archaic and early classical periods. Though the tendency to categorise exists 1 2

Archilochus also mentions the paean, at 121 W. See the introduction of Depew and Obbink 2000, 4–6; Most 2000, 17–18.

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from the earliest period, the formulation of an explicit grammar of genres postdates the performance culture of archaic and early classical Greece. Equally, it is a mistake to view genres as completely homogeneous and distinct. The boundaries are not fixed but elastic, porous, negotiable and provisional. Literary genres are best seen not as fixed categories but as tendencies, firm enough to allow affinities and influences to be discernible and to generate a set of audience expectations, but sufficiently flexible to allow and even tacitly invite frustration and redefinition of those expectations.3 Literary forms exist and evolve within a dynamic process whereby individual exponents stake a claim to their own space within the larger terrain of the genre; they add, omit, mix, expand and contract. Genres come into being and pass away. Thus the victory ode has its origins in the sudden explosion of interest in athletics in the sixth century BCE and is almost inconceivable before that. The dithyramb underwent major change during the fifth century, becoming (in the eyes of contemporary commentators) verbally more ornate and both freer and more complex musically, with a consequent shift from choral to solo performance.4 Though genre boundaries are always imprecise, the case for caution is especially strong when we attempt to grasp the classification of lyric by those who composed, performed and experienced it in the archaic and classical periods. Generic boundaries have none of the neatness they developed in later ages. Whatever discriminators we use – verse form, civic or individual, solo or group,5 spoken or sung, religious or secular – we find overlaps and imprecisions. Paeans are most commonly performed by groups but are sometimes performed by individuals;6 hymns to the gods can be performed in large civic celebrations but also at symposia. ‘Secular’ forms such as the victory ode inevitably have a religious content7 in a society where sacred and secular always to some degree coexist. The names of genres attested for the classical period also overlap; categories are not exclusive. This does not invalidate the attempt to distinguish different kinds of composition; it does however mean that the borders are imprecise, as will be immediately apparent from the discussion which follows. 3

4

5 6

Or as discourses constituted and repeated by and in performative contexts; see especially Day 2000, 38–42. For genre as discourse see also Yatromanolakis 2003. For the dynamic – primarily social – process by which performed genres are (re)constructed in relation to previous performances and the expectations generated thereby see Käppel 1992, 10–21. For discussion see Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 38–56; Zimmermann 1992, ch. 7, and Csapo and Wilson, this vol., ch. 15. We tend to see these changes through the eyes of Plato (Laws 700a–e), who viewed them with distaste, though a speaker in Xenophon (Mem. 1.4.3) places Melanippides – one of the exponents of the new music – on the same level as Homer and Sophocles in their fields, and the public more generally must also have admired the new music – otherwise it would not have prevailed. On the choral/solo distinction see most recently Cingano 2003. For (rare) solo paeans see Rutherford 2001a, 59. 7 So already Smyth 1900, xxvi.

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Verse form, genre and performance Verse form has an ambiguous status as a basis for taxonomy. There are no hard and fast rules linking metrical form and content. But from another perspective metrical form is critically important, since it determines performance – and all these forms in the archaic and classical periods were experienced as performed, not read, texts. Elegy and lyric/melos8 were sung, while the various iambic, trochaic and epodic forms appear generally to have been spoken or recited.9 Both elegy and iambos (which is here taken to refer to the range of iambic, trochaic and epodic forms used by Archilochus, Semonides and Hipponax) were almost exclusively solo vocal performances (with musical accompaniment in the case of elegy), while the lyric metres were used both for solo performance and for performance by choruses which both sang and danced. Since the chorus is the ideal means of representing a collective voice, works written for presentation by groups representing the community were in the archaic and classical periods the preserve of lyric. This does not allow us to distinguish lyric as (potentially) public and elegy/iambos as private. Apart from the fact that all archaic poetry is composed for performance, so that public and private are relative and not absolute terms, there is good reason to believe that the longer narrative elegies dealing with civic (such as foundation poems), political and military issues (such as Mimnermus’ Smyrneis, Tyrtaeus’ Eunomia, the new Persian War narrative of Simonides, and possibly the martial narratives of Archilochus)10 were public performances at civic festivals. On the other hand, we have examples of choral songs composed for performance at (probably rather grand) symposia. But the ease with which it accommodates both solo and choral performance gives lyric a much wider range than the other verse forms in civic contexts. It is very difficult to make firm distinctions between verse forms in noncivic contexts.11 Form is not entirely without significance. Elegy was the preferred form for martial themes, as we can see in the work of Tyrtaeus, Callinus and Archilochus, though it had no exclusive right on such topics (Archilochus makes extensive use of trochaic tetrameters for military narrative,12 as well as elegiac couplets,13 while Alcaeus uses lyric 8

9

10 11 13

On the terms lyric and melos see pp. 2–3. As Cingano 2003, 17 has recently reiterated (cf. Smyth 1900, xvii–xviii, Pfeiffer 1968–76, I.182f.), the term ‘lyric’ is not found as a designator of a poetic form before the Hellenistic period; songs which later were called lyric were designated melos (‘song’) in the classical period. See Färber 1936, 7ff. This is not universally true, however, for we also have evidence for the singing of iamboi (Rotstein forthcoming). For these and other contenders see Bowie 1986a, 27–33 and Aloni, this vol., 178–9. Cf. Gentili 1988, 36. 12 Archil. 89–98 W. Archil. 3, 5, 15 W and most recently P.Oxy. 4708 fr.1, for which see Obbink 2005 and Aloni, this vol., 179.

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metres14) and it was never confined to them. Its affinity with the dactylic hexameter (together with the tendency – itself the product of this affinity – of early elegy to make extensive use of recognisable Homeric phraseology) invited such a use.15 In contrast, though the iambic, trochaic and epodic forms characteristic of iambos can be used to deal with the whole range of themes we find in lyric and elegy, they are also capable of levels of coarseness which elegy and (most) lyric resist. This can be seen in the work of Archilochus, whose elegiacs consistently avoid the level of sexual explicitness which we find in his other metres. The boundary is the more striking for the fact that structurally (in the use of alternating lines of differing length) elegy bears a pronounced resemblance to the epodic metres used by Archilochus and Hipponax. Elegy is evidently more decorous, again perhaps because of the formal kinship with epic. Lyric too rarely descends to crudity, and then almost exclusively (in what survives) in the hands of Alcaeus. Metre has associations and the choice of form was not entirely neutral. But the content converges too much for metrical form to serve as a basis for anything beyond the most broad classification. Genre and occasion Most of the specific categories we find attested for the archaic and classical period concern lyric/melos. Elegy and iambos are not in general subdivided.16 As Dover observed forty years ago and scholars have often reaffirmed since,17 lyric categories in archaic and classical Greece generally reflect aspects of the occasion of performance. Though later writers add elaboration, the major kinds of lyric which appear consistently in Hellenistic and later classifications were already explicitly acknowledged by the end of the fifth century and in most cases demonstrably earlier.18 Songs for gods Pindar opens a dirge (fr. 128c M = 56 Cannatà Fera, lines 1–10) with a much cited list of types and occasions which largely mirrors the terminology found in Homer (trans. Race adapted): 14 15

16 17

18

Alcaeus 6a, 129, 140 V, Archil. 89–113 W. For the alleged origin of elegy in lament and the supposed existence of a lost category of threnodic elegy proposed by Page 1936, see Aloni, this vol., 169 and 179. Calame 1974, 120. Dover 1964, 189; cf. Gentili 1988, 34; and more recently Calame 1996, 478–80; Cingano 2003, 22; Ford 2002, 10; Fantuzzi and Hunter 2004, 22–6. Calame 1974, 118. On the subject of Hellenistic classification see Barbantani, this vol., 299–300.

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Ἔντι μὲν χρυσαλακάτου τεκέων Λατου̑ς ἀοιδαί ὥ[ρ]ιαι παιάνιδες· ἐντὶ [δὲ] καί θάλλοντος ἐκ κισσου̑ στέφανον Διο[νύσου ọ[ βρομι παιόμεναι· τὸ δὲ κοίμισαν τρει ς̑ υἱα̑ ς ἐκ Kαλλιόπας, ὡς οἱ σταθῃ̑ μνάμα’ ἀποφθιμένων· ἁ μὲν εὐχαίταν Λίνον αἴλινον ὕμνει, ἁ δ’ Ὑμέναιον, ἐν γάμοισι χροϊζόμενον νυ]κτ[ὶ σύμπρωτον λάβεν, ἔσχατος ὕμνων· ἁ δ’ ’Ιάλεμον ὠμοβόλῳ νούσῳ ὅτι πεδαθέντα σθένος· There are paean-songs in due season belonging to the children of Leto with the golden distaff; there are also songs of Dionysos with crown of flourishing ivy Bromios … struck … but (other songs) put to sleep the three sons from Kalliope, so that memorials of the dead might be set up for her. The one sang ailinon for long-haired Linos; another sang of Hymenaios, whom the last of hymns took when at night his skin was first touched in marriage; and another sang of Ialemos, whose strength was fettered by a flesh-rending disease.

Though many details of text and interpretation are unclear, Pindar appears to recognise dithryramb, paean and lament (here subdivided into different types). We can probably add the hyporchêma to the list of genres recognised in the fifth century. One of the books into which Alexandrian scholars divided Pindar’s collected works was called hyporchêmata and the term is applied by later sources to some of Bacchylides’ poems, as we know from Stobaeus and Athenaeus.19 The term hyporchêma occurs first in Plato (Ion 534c), who mentions it in a matter-of-fact way alongside other established poetic types as a term readily intelligible to his audience and presumably therefore current before his time.20 Maiden songs (partheneia) were recognised in the Hellenistic period as part of the output of Alcman, Anacreon, Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides.21 The chorus at Aristoph. Birds 919 confirms the 19 20

21

Suda s.v. Πίνδαρος, Stob. 3.11.19, Athen. 631c. We may have a near-explicit reference to the term hyporchêma at Pindar fr.107ab M, attributed to his hyporchêmata. The fragment speaks of rapid dancing and Pindar does not normally give this degree of prominence to dance. The ancient commentators on Pindar (schol. Pind. Pyth. 2.127, Drachmann II.52–3) associate the hyporchêma with the weapon-dance (pyrrhichê), which was highly acrobatic in character (Lonsdale 1993, 140). The case remains subjective, however, since the inclusion of this poem among the hyporchêmata in the Alexandrian editions was probably based on just this emphasis on dance. Suda s.v. Πίνδαρος, Ps.-Plut. De mus. 1136f, Dion. Hal. Dem. 39, schol. Pind. Pyth. 3.139a (Drachmann II.81), schol. Theoc. 2.10b, Anacr. 501.6 PMG.

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recognition of maiden songs (partheneia) as a category in the fifth century; so indirectly do Pindar (fr. 52b M, Pyth. 2.19, Pyth. 10.38), Bacchylides (13.61 M) and Euripides (Hel. 1313). By the Hellenistic period compositions by Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides were recognised as prosodia. Though none of the lyric poets uses the word, it is found in Aristoph. Birds 853 in a lyric context, evidently referring to processional song, the later meaning of prosodion. There is one striking omission from the vocabulary of lyric forms up to the end of the fifth century. As far as we know there was no general term for a song of praise to the gods. Plato (Laws 700b) uses the term ‘hymn’ (hymnos) for such compositions. But in our earliest sources hymnos is simply song; it is used for instance of Demodocus’ song on the Trojan Horse in Odyssey book 8 (429). This usage persists. But noun and verb are also used more specifically to designate song of praise for humans or for gods.22 In the last usage hymnos is equivalent to ‘hymn’ in our sense of song in praise of a deity. Pindar uses the verb hymneô to describe his song in praise of Zeus (fr. 29.7 M) but there is no reason to suppose that it has a technical meaning there (it merely means ‘praise’). It is difficult to see what else he would have called his song but hymnos. But hymnos has none of the precision for Pindar which it developed after Plato. It meant at most a song of praise. There is one other lyric composition to note, which is the nomos, a term given to a complex musical form, sometimes accompanied by song (usually solo), associated by later sources with Apollo,23 though confusingly also used as a generic term for song. Our sources attest to the technical term – and to different kinds of nomoi – for at least the fifth century,24 though the form is clearly much older; its invention is associated with Terpander in the seventh century. Later sources refined the broad categories established by the end of the classical period; but there is no reason to retroject later subdivisions onto the lyric poets or their audience. Thus a fragment of Pindar performed by a maiden chorus (fr. 94b.7–8, 69 M) associates itself with the carrying of laurel (daphna). Later theory recognised daphnêphorika as a category.25 Though Pindar composed songs for the Daphnephoria festival, there is no evidence that he or any contemporary regarded this as a distinct category of song. The address to the god may be prompted by particular circumstances or it may be part of the recurrent cycle of festivals. But broadly speaking each of the songs we have so far identified constitutes a speech act, equivalent to a 22

23 24 25

Cf. e.g. Pind. Isthm. 2.3, Pae. VIIb.10 (fr. 52h.10) M = C2.10 Rutherford, Bacch. 6.11 M, Hom. Hymn Ap. 19.207. Proclus apud Phot. Bibl. cod. 239 p. 320a. Bekker. Soph. fr. 966 Radt, Hdt. 1.24, Aristoph. Frogs 1282. Proclus apud Phot. Bibl. 239, Bekker p. 320a, Pollux 4.53.2 , Suda s.v. Πίνδαρος, schol. Dion. Thrax 450.17.

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material offering, designed to win the good will of a god as part of a reciprocal and transactional culture of worship.26 The hymnos to a god is the generic song of worship. The other cult songs we encounter are largely specialised subdivisions and reflect specific features of the occasion (god, chorus, mode of performance) of the event at which they were performed. In the case of paean and dithyramb the distinction as Pindar presents it is the identity of the recipient, Apollo and Artemis for the paean and Dionysus for the dithyramb. Pindar oversimplifies for the sake of neatness the diverse role of the paean, since he is not writing literary theory; his list is an elaborate preparation27 for the specific genre represented in the song it introduces, and for this purpose crisp distinctions are rhetorically useful. Though he is right to stress its associations with Apollo (especially) and Artemis, this is a very versatile form and we find paeans sung in a variety of contexts, not merely in the worship of Apollo (they were sung, for instance, before battle or in victory, or at the end of a meal), and they are found in festivals devoted to other gods than Apollo.28 The categories of hymn and paean are not exclusive, in that hymns as well as paeans could be offered to Apollo (Pind. fr.51 M). Prosodion too is a subset of the hymnos to the gods; it derives its name from the manner of performance, in that it was probably performed during or at the end of a procession (either of worshippers or of victim or both) to a shrine or altar.29 In the classical period the term may have indicated no more than a particular way of performing paeans or hymns. Hence the imprecision in the boundary between prosodion and other categories in the Hellenistic era.30 The terms partheneion and hyporchêma also reflect the nature of performance, the former based on the gender of the performers, the latter on the role of the dance. In general one is more struck by the shared features than by the divergences between these types. Most substantial songs of worship contained a mythic narrative and it is normal for the myth to be connected with the god, 26 27

28 29

30

For the hymnos as equivalent to agalma and both designed to generate charis see Pulleyn 1997, 49. The term for this kind of list designed to prepare for and so emphasise or prioritise the final item is priamel (praeambulum). For the priamel see Race 1982. See Rutherford 2001a, 36–58. For the possible versatility of the dithyramb see below, p. 29. This inclusive definition of the ‘procession’ draws on Rutherford 2003. Though one would imagine that the processional context would generally be marked in the content or in the metrical form, in fact, as Rutherford 2003 notes, the scant remains of classical prosodia do not advertise the circumstances of performance. Rutherford 2001a, 106. Rutherford 2003 notes that Hellenistic scholarship recognises a type called prosôdia or prosôdion (lit. ‘song in accompaniment’), sung to the aulos, which in turn opens up the possibility that the prosodion was still more diverse than a simple etymology from prosodos ‘approach’, might suggest. However, the morphological confusion (prosôd-/ prosŏd-) and the vacillation about terminology (-ia/-ion) suggest Hellenistic tidying up; one hesitates to impose this broader definition of prosodion on the classical period, even if (which is possible but uncertain) the term prosôdia was in use by then for an accompanied song.

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the significant exception being the dithyramb, which often contained a nonDionysiac myth.31 Poetry composed for a specific occasion, including worship, usually has a pronounced deictic element; that is, it draws attention to its immediate context and/or function. Cult song also identifies its deity early, often (though not inevitably) in the form of invocation, and gives praise. A tripartite structure is normal (though not inevitable32), with a central mythic section flanked by an introductory section dealing with the immediate context and a finale which returns to the (performer’s) present. It is common but not inevitable for a prayer to be made.33 It is important however to note that, since we have lost music and dance, some differences between types which were very noticeable for the first audience are largely invisible to us. Different musical modes were recommended by Hellenistic writers for the dithyramb and for the paean.34 Though we need to beware of schematic formulations which are moralising and prescriptive rather than merely descriptive, it may be that these two forms generally differed – at least from each other – in their musical accompaniment.35 The loss of the musical and visual elements is perhaps most keenly felt in the case of the hyporchêma. All Greek choral lyric involved dance, but the dance was especially prominent in the hyporchêma (Plut. Quaest. conv. 748a), enough to earn this rather than any other of the choral song-and-dance forms a name which etymologically stresses the role of dance (orcheisthai). Still, even with only words to go by we can perceive some distinctive features of content, at least for some genres. Maiden songs were of course marked out most obviously by gender, but they also intensify the deictic/ dramatic element, in that they are marked by a high degree of self-description of the appearance of the chorus and/or the ritual activity with which they were coordinated. They have a veneer of maidenly modesty (Pind. fr. 94b M, cf. Alcman 1.85–7 PMGF) but no more than a veneer, for they freely moralise on large issues. The paean was distinguished most markedly by the ritual cry,36 iê paian, either at intervals or at the end of the song; the punctuation of song by ritual cries will have had the effect of keeping the occasion more persistently in view than was the case in other forms. The dithyramb is more difficult to pin down, since though some advertise their link with Dionysus with their introduction and/or their myth, the dithyramb did not necessarily focus on Dionysiac themes.37 31

32

33 35 37

Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 11, 17, 26–7; Weiden 1991, 3–4; Hordern 2002, 18–19. See further below, p. 29. Thus Bacch. 16 M, a dithyramb, has the opening contextualisation but no return to the occasion at the end. Cf. Pulleyn 1997, 46. 34 See Rutherford 2001a, 80–1 with n. 43. Cf. Rutherford 2001a, 82. 36 Rutherford 2001a, 69–72. This is not true only of those dithyrambs (discussed below) which consist of free-standing narrative, since dithyrambs unmistakably addressed to Dionysus, like Pindar fr.70b M and Bacch. 16 M, could still contain mythic narratives which had no overt connection with him.

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I have saved to this point a special problem raised by the dithyramb. Though the tripartite structure described above is the norm in cult choral performance, the dithyramb often consisted of a free-standing narrative.38 Narratives of this sort may also have featured in the worship of other gods and the role of narrative divorced from occasion-specific elements may have been still more widespread than our explicit evidence suggests.39 We know that scholars debated in antiquity whether the Cassandra of Bacchylides was a paean or a dithyramb.40 It clearly had a mythic narrative and did not specify its occasion. Another ancient source (Ps.-Plut. De musica 1134c) notes a dispute about whether the poet Xenocritus wrote paeans or his poems should better be classed as dithyrambs, because they consisted of heroic narrative. The focus on narrative was used in the Hellenistic period as a basis for the classification of poems as dithyrambs, but at considerable risk of circularity. In our Athenian sources (both literary and epigraphical) for the classical period we find frequent mention of the kyklios choros. The phrase is often taken in ancient discussions as a technical term for the dithyramb. The simple equation ‘circular dance’ = ‘dithyramb’ is however a problem, since the dithyramb remains unambiguously associated with Dionysus throughout antiquity, while the kyklios choros is attested in Athenian sources across a surprisingly wide range of festivals, including non-Dionysiac festivals;41 the persistent absence of the term dithyramb to designate these performances is also striking. David Fearn has argued plausibly that the term kyklios choros is a generic term for narrative choral performance, of which the dithyramb was simply the most common.42 Our sources for the term kyklios choros in the classical period are all Athenian. We do not know how such compositions would be designated elsewhere in Greece. There may have been no collective name. If so, they may simply have been assimilated to the nearest type available, dithyramb for Dionysus, paean for Apollo, or the (almost) colourless hymnos for other gods. What emerges for songs of worship is a taxonomy determined sometimes by the cult context, sometimes by the identity of the performer or manner of the performance, where these are sufficiently distinctive to generate a title. It is a

38

39

40 41 42

See especially Plat. Rep. 394c. The nomos also had a pronounced narrative content, but appears to have retained the deictic element normal for ‘occasional’ poetry. This might be the case for some of Bacchylides’ odes 15–20, which are frequently classed as dithyrambs by modern scholars but whose status has been the subject of debate. See the different classifications of Bacch. 17 M by Zimmermann 1992, 91–2; Käppel 1992, 187; Rutherford 2001a, 35–6; Schmidt 1990. P.Oxy. 2368B, col.1, 9ff. Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 37; Zimmermann 1992, 37–8; Hordern 2002, 22–5. Fearn 2007, ch.3.

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taxonomy with overlaps, gaps and imprecisions. This absence of system is what one would expect from an approach to classification which arose before the corpus of performed lyric was subjected to scholarly study. In all probability it was in origin simply accretive. It seems to have satisfied the needs of poets and publics in the classical period, who were present as participants in the performance. Divorced from their context, the poems could cause problems for later editors, especially if the occasion/performance markers were weakly expressed. Nonetheless, by the Hellenistic period the nomenclature was sufficiently embedded – and contained enough substance – to allow only for extension of categories and debate about classification of specific poems rather than revision. Songs for humans There are a number of other lyric labels known from the classical period which unlike the preceding have human honorands, even if they have ritual connections: epinikion, thrênos, hymenaios (or epithalamion), enkômion. The distinction ‘to gods’/‘to humans’ is used as the basis for classification by Proclus in the fifth century CE and does reflect a real distinction between occasions.43 It is however a hermeneutic convenience rather than a reflection of any ascertainable system in use in the classical period; it is not used by Pindar (cited above), who makes no attempt to group occasions in this way. In some respects the most interesting of these forms is the wedding song. According to Anth. Pal. 7.19.1–2, Alcman composed wedding songs for Sparta and some fragments have been tentatively assigned to this class.44 Sappho composed wedding songs45 presumably for local consumption on Lesbos. But in the late archaic period this kind of composition seems to have been of parochial interest only. The great craftsmen of the sixth and fifth centuries either did not receive or did not accept commissions for wedding songs. Though the emotional importance of marriage was recognised from Homer onwards, relationships developed after, not before, marriage; consequently marriage was approached as a transaction (dynastic in the case of the elite) driven by family as much as personal considerations, not the climactic moment it becomes in post-romantic cultures. For women marriage and childbirth were the raison d’ être, but women did not commission public poetry in the archaic and classical periods. The burial of the dead is always an occasion for display. In the archaic period this could even include funeral games, as we know from Hesiod (Works and 43

44

45

Cf. Furley and Bremer 2001, I.2 (though their distinction between the ‘cult hymn’ and the ‘literary piece’ is unhelpful). Cf. Haslam 1977, 3; Campbell 1988, 339. The argument for the Louvre partheneion as a wedding song by Griffiths 1972 is ingenious but ultimately unconvincing. 103–17 V. On this category see Page 1955, 72–4; Burnett 1983, 218–19.

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Days 654–7). By the late archaic and early classical period it could also include commissioned songs composed by the great professional panhellenic poets. The thrênos surprises only in the absence of emotive lament. The tone is sombre but varies between the reflective and the consolatory; sometimes (at least in Pindar), the consolation takes the form of eschatological descriptions influenced by the mystery religions and by orphic beliefs which console with an account of the pleasures which the dead honorand enjoys. As noted above, the epinikion is a distinctive development of the late archaic period, summoned into being by the rise of the panhellenic athletic festivals. Bacchylides describes a victory ode (2.11–14 M) as follows: Καλει ̑ δὲ Μου̑σ’ αὐθιγενὴς γλυκει α̑ ν αὐλω̑ν καναχάν, γεραίρουσ’ ἐπινικίοις Πανθείδα φίλον υἱόν. The local born Muse (or Muse born on the spot) summons the sweet din of pipes, honouring with victory songs the dear son of Pantheidas.

Pindar refers to songs in praise of victory at Nem. 4.78 as ἐπινίκιοι ἀοιδαί. Pindar also uses the term enkômios or epikômios, ‘at a kômos’, for this kind of composition.46 The kômos was generally an informal type of celebration, often (but not exclusively) associated with the revel bands which went under the influence of drink to visit symposia or serenade loved ones of either sex. There is good internal evidence that these songs were (often) sung at celebratory banquets.47 So the designation is not entirely inaccurate, though it misleads in understating the formality of the occasion. Slightly more problematic is enkômion. Pindar at one point refers to a commissioned song, written for the installation of a gift of sacred prostitutes in Corinth, as a skolion (fr. 122.14 M). This is the term for drinking-song. It is likely48 that this type of composition is what later editors classed as enkômion, ‘at a kômos’. The poem in question is obviously performed at a grand event. But already by Pindar’s date (to judge by Aristoph. Ach. 532, Wasps 1222, 1236–40, Frogs 1302) the term skolion was in general use to designate more informal songs sung at the symposion.49 It would be naive to 46 47 49

Ol. 2.47, Ol. 10.77, Ol. 13.29, Pyth. 10.6, 53, Nem. 1.7. See Carey 2001, 21–2. 48 Harvey 1955, 161. On skolia see in more detail Yatromanolakis, this vol., 271–5. We have some anonymous papyrus fragments of a more elaborate kind which appear to be convivial songs (PMG 917) and are termed skolia by modern scholars. There is no evidence that they were so called in antiquity.

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suppose that Pindar seriously regarded this elaborate professional composition as equivalent to these light songs and we may reasonably doubt that he seriously termed it a skolion. Since Pindar tends to disguise his victory odes – presumably written for highly formal celebrations – as more informal compositions, it is likely that the term skolion is another example of this tendency. He may not have had a specific name for this kind of composition; but since he uses the adjectives epikômios and enkômios to designate his victory odes, it may be that ‘kômos song’ was the term he would use. The surviving fragments are generally unhelpful; metadorpion (after dinner) and sympotai (fellow drinkers) are terms used by Pindar (fr. 124a M) and Bacchylides (fr. 20C M) to provide a mise en scène for compositions (later) identified as enkômia; but these are not titles. The term enkômion is used by Aristophanes and Plato to designate a song of praise (a usage which becomes standard later). However, if this was the term used by Pindar and Bacchylides, it had a less precise definition. Their songs for the kômos do not invariably contain praise of the recipient; they are rather songs composed in honour of (and presumably on commission from) a named individual. Commemoration may be in the form of praise or may consist in the act of naming. The victory ode is generally distinguished from the other poems which find their way into the enkômia in the Hellenistic period by its athletic focus and its starting point in the specific victory or victories it celebrates. However, the borderline was not precise, as we can see in the case of Nemean 11,50 which occasioned debate in antiquity because, though it used epinikian motifs, it appears to celebrate the inauguration of the patron as a member of the council in Tenedos; and Bacch. fr. 20C M, which celebrates an athletic victory of Hieron and differs from his victory odes only in the emphasis on drinking at the beginning. In a case such as this the Hellenistic classification could have gone either way. For patron and poet the distinction may have been minimal, with the specifics of the composition determined by the degree of formality of the occasion rather than nomenclature. Though the performative occasion affects the content of these compositions, it has little significance for the structure, which almost invariably follows the tripartite model we find in the cult songs. Genre and symposion We noted above that taxonomy in the archaic and classical periods was imprecise. More than this, it was and remained incomplete. For we are left 50

There was however also debate about the event or occasion of some other Pindaric compositions, such as Pyth. 2 (schol. Drachmann II pp. 31–2).

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with a large amount of poetry which has no generic name at all.51 Most of the output of Archilochus, Sappho, Alcaeus, Anacreon, Ibycus was an undifferentiated mass susceptible to separation or subdivision on formal grounds (metre) for the purposes of Alexandrian editors but never differentiated on grounds of content. This does not mean however that immanent genres did not exist; for genre is as much (if not more) about the behaviour and expectations of poets and audiences as about labels. And here too context is influential. In addition to the (largely though not exclusively) cultic or formal occasions/genres already noted, song and verse in ancient Greece probably had a wide range of performative contexts. As in any age before the advent of portable music (from the transistor radio to the i-Pod), singing at work, on the road, on the march, in the tavern,52 in the bath or when serenading a loved one must always have included lyric works remembered or half-remembered. We know that for at least some of these and other contexts folk songs – in the sense of anonymous, traditional, non-specific songs – existed, for instance work songs and popular songs occurring both in ritual worship and in recurrent, relatively informal rituals unconnected with the worship of specific gods, such as the celebration of the return of spring.53 No doubt occasionally songs were composed by named poets for some of the contexts listed above.54 But since all archaic Greek poetry is public to the extent that it is always performed, composition (as distinct from repeat performance) was in most cases aimed at a group. And for this the regular context was the symposion. The term symposion bundles together a wide range of occasions, often confused within a modern interest in particular kinds of symposion and particular socio-political groups. At one extreme it includes impromptu celebrations of the sort described by Archil. 4 W, which presents its occasion as a drinking party on sentry duty on board ship. The poem gives a fleeting but suggestive insight into informal drinking bouts on campaign (as, in a more ambiguous way, does Archil. 2 W). More structured but only slightly more formal is the drinking party alluded to in Aristophanes’ Peace 1140–55, represented as impromptu but organised. At the other extreme is the formal banquet. Some of these will have been civic banquets,55 others highly formal and semi-public elite gatherings. It is likely that the commissioned victory

51 52

53

54 55

Cf. Smyth 1900, xxvi. Modern discussion focuses exclusively on the symposion; but not all drinking was formal, social or shared with friends. Taverns were to be found throughout the Greek world; for Athens see Davidson 1997, 53–61. For a selection of popular songs see PMG pp. 449–70. Some folk songs fell naturally into existing classes such as the paean. On popular song see Yatromanolakis, this vol., ch. 14. Anacr. 373 PMG and Alcaeus 374 V purport to be composed for serenading. For the civic banquet see Schmitt Pantel 1992.

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odes and enkômia of Pindar and Bacchylides were performed at such grand events. Somewhere in between come the more structured drinking parties associated especially but not exclusively with the upper end of the socioeconomic spectrum, with money, power, influence to varying degrees. These events were marked by elaborate rules for drinking and by entertainment which could include hired performers, impromptu singing or debate between members of the party. Song or recitation in some form or another was always at home in the symposion. In most cases it amounted to no more than a recycling of preexisting compositions, such as remembered works of the great lyric poets56 or the short skolia of which Athenaeus preserves examples.57 In some it certainly included fresh songs either composed on the spot or composed specifically for that event. Though we have sympotic poetry from major poets, there must have been a vast quantity of such songs produced by lesser talents which enjoyed a brief vogue or scarcely survived beyond the event which called them into existence. Though the aristocratic symposion can at times occupy an ideological space opposed to that of the polis at large, this is by no means inevitable;58 the difference between the audiences is more generally one of scale and intimacy. The difference is often explicitly signalled by an opening apostrophe to a named individual, which by turning the poem into a (one-sided) conversation stresses the intimacy of the occasion. This difference is crucial for the themes and internal markers of the poetry performed. The corpus of poetry which we can plausibly connect with such occasions is too diverse to be subdivided neatly; there is always too much left over. But within this body of texts we can see some themes which are distinct enough to suggest that they were tacitly recognised (though never designated) as genres, in that thematic coherence is accompanied by shared conventions. The themes often interpenetrate and the poems differ largely in the degree of emphasis ascribed to specific topics, without necessarily being exclusively devoted to one theme. A marked characteristic of sympotic poetry is an overt reflexivity which turns the symposion itself into theme as well as context. This is found for instance in the elegy of Xenophanes (1 W) which gives detailed instructions for the conduct of the party. The theme reappears in Anacr. 356b PMG and Thgn. 467ff. This reflexivity is more commonly expressed in the form of reflections on or exhortations to drink. The incitement to drink is common, otiose in practical terms but important as an expression of the social bond between the participants. This theme like others cuts across formal

56

57 58

For the re-use of the drinking songs of the archaic lyric poets cf. Aristoph. Birds 1410–16, Daitaleis fr. 235 K-A and Bowra 1961, 374. For these songs see PMG pp. 472–82. Pace Murray 1990, Stehle 1997, 215.

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distinctions within the corpus of archaic personal poetry. It is found for instance in the Theognidea (879ff., 1039–40) and the elegiacs of Archilochus (4 W) and is especially prominent in the work of Alcaeus (38A, 332, 338, 346, 347 V). It is also found in Anacreon (356a–b, 396 PMG). Though the theme is simple, it admits of considerable variation in terms of the nature of the case for drinking. Alcaeus in particular delights in endlessly finding new ways to argue the case for drinking wine. The theme can also take the form of reflection on the nature of wine (Alcaeus 333, 335 V, Thgn. 221– 2, 873ff., personalised Thgn. 503ff.). The permeability of boundaries noted above can be seen particularly in Alcaeus 338 V, which is an encouragement to drink cast in the form of a political imperative. Likewise, sympotic scenes occur in Alcaeus’ attacks on Pittakos (70, 72 V) or emerge from narrative or reflection on current events (73 V). Though the symposion is a male affair in ancient Greek states, it has an analogue in the activities of Sappho’s circle, which certainly included wine among their activities (transformed in the poetic imagination into nectar as a reflex of the transfiguring intervention of the goddess Aphrodite in the collective life of the group, Sa. 2.15, 96.27 V). Like the male symposion the Sapphic group finds its activities framed in turn by the song which the performative context frames, as (most famously) in 2 V.59 At Anacr. 357 PMG wine converges with another common theme, love. This witty poem begins as a prayer to a god, initially unnamed, who is associated with Aphrodite. He is identified in the final line as Dionysus and urged to advise Cleobulus to accept the poet’s love in preference to that of others (τὸν ἐμόν γ’ ἔϱωτα). The effects, as often with Anacreon, are complex. As well as complimenting the boy implicitly on the number of his admirers the poem also plays with the relationship between drink and love. In the sympotic context implicitly conjured up in the poem the boy, under the influence of wine, is to reciprocate the poet’s love. As well as demonstrating again the interplay between text and context in such poetry this poem also illustrates the shifting boundary between different themes. Love with or without wine is one of the most common themes of archaic personal poetry.60 The sense of some sort of generic identity projected by the poems is visible not only from the presence of typical elements (such as the tag dêute ‘again’, signalling the hopeless commitment of the poet to love and the recurrent impact of eros on his/her life, already found in Alcm. 59

59

60

Cf. Sappho 94 and 96 V, both of which (as in the case of Alcaeus) include past convivial activity. Love and desire (including the use of dêute) are discussed from the perspective of gender by Stehle, this vol., 66–71.

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PMGF), but by the way in which on occasion this affiliation is not merely implicitly present but quasi-explicitly foregrounded.61 When Anacreon in the role of anguished lover says (347.8–9 PMG): ἐγὼ δ’ ἄσηισι τείρομαι ‘I am worn down with anguish’

the combination of the noun (relatively rare in poetry) in the dative plural with a verb meaning ‘wear down’ immediately calls up Sappho’s (1.4–5 V): μή μ’] ἄσαισι [μηδ’ ὀνίαισι δάμνα, πότν]ια, θυ̑[μον Do not subdue with anguish and pain my heart, mistress.

The reference is simultaneously ironic, in that a word used by Sappho for the pain of desire is applied by Anacreon to the anguish caused by the cutting of a boy’s hair, and respectful, in that it pays homage to a lyric classic. It also aligns Anacreon firmly with Sappho as part of a tradition of subjective love poetry. The same is true of Ibycus, when he draws a contrast between the luxuriant grove of the nymphs and his own devastating desire (286 PMGF):62 ἠ̑ρι μὲν αἵ τε Κυδώνιαι μηλίδες ἀρδόμεναι ῥοα̑ν ἐκ ποταμω̑ν, ἵνα Παρθένων κη̑πος ἀκήρατος, αἵ τ’ οἰνανθίδες αὐξόμεναι σκιεροι σ ̑ ιν ὑφ’ ἕρνεσιν οἰναρέοις θαλέθοισιν· ἐμοὶ δ’ ἔρος οὐδεμίαν κατάκοιτος ὥραν. †τε† ὑπὸ στεροπα̑ς φλέγων Θρηίκιος Βορέας ἀίσσων παρὰ Κύπριδος ἀζαλέαις μανίαισιν ἐρεμνὸς ἀθαμβὴς ἐγκρατέως πεδόθεν †φυλάσσει† ἡμετέρας φρένας

In spring the Cydonian apples watered from the flowing rivers, where the Maidens have their inviolate garden, and the vine blossoms growing under the shady shoots 61

62

The term erôtika is applied to the work of Sappho by Epicrates fr.4 K-A (fourth cent. BCE). It is later used for instance with reference to a class of Bacchylides’ compositions by Ath. 667c, and Proclus recognises erôtikon in his list of lyric genres. On this poem see further Krummen, this vol., 199–200.

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Genre, occasion and performance of the vines burgeon. But my desire rests at no season. †Like† Thracian Boreas blazing with lightning rushing from Cypris with parched madness dark, shameless powerfully shakes(?) to the base my mind.

Both the grove and the image of desire as wind have antecedents in Sappho, the grove with Sappho 2 V, the wind with Sappho 47 V: Ἔρος δ’ ἐτίναξέ μοι φρένας, ὠς ἄνεμος κὰτ ὄρος δρύσιν ἐμπέτων. Desire shook my mind like a wind falling on oaks on a mountain.

Though the poetry may occasionally mask itself, however temporarily, as something else,63 the essence is subjective love poetry, almost invariably with the poetic ‘I’ as the lover. The contents are the staple of love poetry throughout the ages, pursuit and flight, the lover’s helplessness and the beloved’s control, the anguish of unrequited love, recrimination about the cruelty of the beloved (Archilochus, Sappho, Anacreon, Ibycus, Theognis, even – according to Horace64 – Alcaeus). Within archaic love poetry conquest is rarely celebrated. The tone varies significantly from poet to poet – Anacreon in particular likes to ironise self and experience to a degree which we do not find in Sappho or even Ibycus. Though the context is generally the group, some poems advertise themselves as a serenade at a beloved’s door (one version of the kômos); whether this is literal or metaphorical is uncertain.65 The prominence of love within the oeuvre also varies. The theme is especially prominent in Sappho, for whom the larger issues of politics and war are largely excluded by the realities of Greek gender roles and experience. The object can be male or female. Though arresting details such as eyes (Anacr. 346, 360, 414, 417 PMG, Ibyc. 287 PMGF, Pind. fr. 123.3–4 M) or hair (Anacr. 347, 358 PMG, Archil. 31 W) may be emphasised, in general, as with Homer’s characters (except for the teichoskopia), the object of desire is not described objectively but experienced subjectively in terms of impact or focus. This applies also to iambos (Archil. 191, 193 W), though the readiness of iambos to embrace the physiology of sex allows it to focus on the breasts and sex organs.66 63 64

65

Note e.g. Sa. 16 V and Anacr. 357 PMG cited above. Hor. Carm. 1.32.3ff. Alcaeus 73 and 335 V are consistent with the assumption that an erômenos is named, but certainty is impossible. Anacr. 373 PMG, Alcaeus 374 V. 66 See Carey, this vol., ch. 8 on iambos.

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The inverse of love and concomitant praise is hate and invective, largely though not quite exclusively in iambos.67 If the symposion defines and unites the group, it offers the opportunity to isolate either a group member or an outsider by exposing him to criticism and mockery. The obverse, praise, is also common.68 Other themes sufficiently common across the region and the poetic forms to deserve individual mention are war and politics. Both have their origins in the nature of the symposion as an event which unites and defines the group. War figures in Archilochus’ anticipations and reminiscences of specific encounters (3, 5, 15, 89–98 W) as well as in Tyrtaeus and Callinus. Exhortation to action unsurprisingly is the most common theme. In its content and stance (which locates the speaker always at the centre of collective military values) martial elegy has some claim to recognition as a genre. This theme also emerges in lyric in the work of Alcaeus, the most experimental of the lyric poets before Pindar. His work is different from that of the elegiac writers, however, in that, in keeping with the internecine nature of his fighting, in Alcaeus the addressee is the faction rather than the army or militia. His war is an extension of his politics to a degree not found in the other archaic poets. Which takes me to politics. In what survives of archaic sympotic poetry, politics occupies a firm place only in contexts of factional strife and political pressure, in the work of Alcaeus and Solon and in the Theognidea. Alcaeus uses the symposion to encourage his faction in the often violent struggle with other factions for control of Lesbos, Theognis to express the feeling of insecurity of an elite group under pressure, Solon to justify his political acts and lay out his views. But competition for control there must always have been, if less bloody than on Lesbos. So we should perhaps see these merely as extreme examples of a more general use of the symposion as a forum for political expression, even if this often meant preaching to the converted. The lack of taxonomy within this large class of poetry and song may strike the modern as unsatisfactory. But for those who experienced them in their original performative context formal subdivision was evidently unnecessary. FURTHER READING

The classic discussion of lyric classification is Harvey 1955. Calame 1974 adds important observations on classification before Plato. For approaches to the study of genre in the late mid-twentieth century, Bundy 1962 and Cairns 1972 are useful. For the current tendency to see genre in more flexible terms see the contributions to Depew and Obbink 2000 and Yatromanolakis 2003. For genre and performance see in particular Calame 1996 and Cingano 2003. On the individual genres see the footnotes in this chapter. 67

Alcaeus test. 429 V (= Diog. Laert. 1.81), frs. 72 and 129 V.

68

Bowie 2002a.

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2 SIMON HORNBLOWER

Greek lyric and the politics and sociologies of archaic and classical Greek communities

Introduction: the mercenary motive, or, going for a song Why did the Greek lyric poets compose their poems?1 Why do any poets write? In any age, the motive for artistic and literary production is partly mysterious, and certainly complex. Some writers do what they do for money and not much more. But this banal statement cannot be straightforwardly applied to the archaic Greek world, partly because there was no such thing as coined and thus easily negotiable money before the sixth century BCE, by which time lyric poetry was already well under way. Odysseus in Phaeacia (actually an honoured guest rather than a host) sends Demodocus the epic bard a rich portion of meat after he has sung of the adulterous love-making of Ares and Aphrodite (Od. 8.477ff.). Might he have sent him cash instead, the equivalent of slipping him a £20 note, if cash had been invented? We would incline to say ‘No’. Hospitality costs the giver something in financial terms, of course; but cash is a cruder medium. But the real difference is not in the medium but in the method of presentation. To be sure, anthropology and economics teach us that there is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch; the expectation of a return is always there, and Odysseus is about to ask Demodocus a favour: please now sing about the Wooden Horse (lines 492–3). What makes the difference is less that between food and cash as between unconditional and conditional giftgiving. Odysseus makes his ‘gift’ first, then asks his favour. But is the ‘mercenary motive’ so contemptible? From a modern perspective, the answer depends on how far the poet allows what he sings to be unduly

This chapter has been read and improved in draft by Chris Carey, Alan Griffiths and Hans van Wees. The usual exemption clause applies. 1 For the different ways of defining the scope of ‘lyric’ see Budelmann, this vol., 2–3. In the present chapter, which itself has so much to say about hospitality, I take a hospitable or inclusive view of the genre, one which lets in iambos and elegy.

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influenced by the patron (see below for Pindar’s ‘politics’). In any age, most artists, poets and musicians have needed financial support beyond the fees they can command for what they produce. Most artists must either rely on patrons, or else do something else besides practising their art. The author of a poem which included the lines ‘those who honour the gods most beautifully in dancing, are best in war’, and also wrote a paean to Apollo, was very much a part-time lyric poet, since he was also a stonemason and teacher – none other than the famous Socrates.2 The ancient lyric poets did not include bankers or lawyers like T. S. Eliot or Wallace Stevens, but Solon was presumably not under anyone else’s patronage, any more than was Thucydides. We know that the latter was rich (Thuc. 4.105); we infer it for Solon. Plutarch, it is true, has an explicit and modern-sounding story of Solon going into trade after his father had frittered away the family fortune (Solon ch. 2). This is not likely to be more than inference from Solon’s own poetry, and in any case Plutarch also says that some people think Solon’s travels were undertaken for fun rather than money. The story that Solon tipped off some aristocratic friends about his impending debt-cancellation, who were thus able to make a profit (ibid., ch. 15), sounds like the sort of scandal you can read about in the financial pages of today’s newspapers, and invites disbelief. But if there is anything in the stories of Solon’s travels, he must have been rich and independent.3 Certainly no friend of his own class would have sponsored Solon to do what he did, because the economic reforms associated with Solon were not obviously in the interests of that class. A much later politician-elegist was Critias (ca. 460–403, one of the Thirty Tyrants)4: a clever man of extreme views. His varied output was partly in prose (politeiai (‘constitutions’) of the Thessalians and Spartans); but in one tantalising three-line elegiac fragment (5 W) he claimed to have proposed the decree which recalled Alcibiades from exile in 407. The poem went on to give details which Plutarch unfortunately did not trouble to quote (Alc. 33). This was certainly political poetry. Critias belonged to the highest social class at Athens, and was related to Solon; the family was the subject of encomia not only by Solon himself but by Anacreon and ‘other poets’ (Plat. Charm. 155a, 157e; cf. Tim. 20e = Sol. 22W for Solon’s poetic mentions of Critias’ ancestor Dropides).5 As with Solon himself, we need not doubt a poet’s economic independence. But if most known poets were members of the elite (below n. 46), the real distinction will not be between poets who needed money and 2 3 4 5

West 1989–92, II.138–9. See Gentili 1988, 160 for Solon as working ‘in conditions of complete economic independence’. Aloni, this vol., 177–8. See Davies 1971, 322f., 324ff., 334f., sorting out the many genealogical problems, as far as they can be sorted out.

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those who did not. It will be that between poetry produced ‘spontaneously’ or on the poet’s own initiative, and that commissioned by others. We also need to bear in mind such motives as friendship; thus Simonides’ epigram for the seer Megistias was written κατὰ ξεινίην, ‘out of friendship’ (Hdt. 7.228).6 But even here, the specification of the motive may – especially given Simonides’ reputation for greed – indicate that such poems were normally written for money. It would be good to be able to sort poems by genre into those written to order and those ‘spontaneously’ produced. But this is difficult. ‘Political poems’, in the strong sense discussed below (pp. 51–55), are perhaps the best candidates for non-commissioned poetry. In any case, poets did accumulate wealth from their art; Gentili collects the evidence, good and not so good.7 We all have our favourites, and I should be reluctant to say goodbye to a story in [Ps.-]Plato, dramatically used by Mary Renault in her novel about Simonides, The Praise Singer (which is much the best evocation of the world of the Greek lyric poets). Hipparchus, brother of Hippias the tyrant of Athens, whisked Anacreon the Teian away from Samos in a pentekonter in the chaos following Polycrates’ murder; Plato continues that Hipparchus always kept Simonides about him, ‘persuading him with great fees and gifts’ (Hipparchus 228c). The story well illustrates poetic mobility between monarchical courts, and the crucial importance of political power. The sixth-century dithyrambic poet Arion was from Methymna on Lesbos in the north-east Aegean, a cosmopolitan island which, with its proximity to Lydia and the Troad, and its position on one of the great sealanes, that to the Black Sea (Thuc. 3.2.2), produced several outstanding lyric poets. (Lydia features in the poems of both Sappho and Alcaeus.) Arion spent time at Corinth, but then went to Italy and Sicily where he made a lot of money. This is stated explicitly by a good source, Herodotus (1.24.1). He was famously thrown overboard on the way back to Corinth, but was rescued by a dolphin. In 1990, Nicholas Purcell began his brilliant study of ‘mobility and the polis’ with Arion’s journeys across the Aegean and Adriatic, using this Herodotus passage as an epigraph to his chapter, and calling Arion ‘an apt symbol of personal mobility and of ease of communications’.8 Corinth, with its two harbours at Kenchreai and Lechaion, was another hub of communications, always looking both east and west. Arion may have dabbled in trade as well as practising his art, like many an archaic mobile individual: the great festivals or panêgyreis such as the Olympic and

6 7

8

And see below on Pindar and Aegina. Gentili 1988, 155–76: 160f. for Anacreon, 162 for Simonides, 159 for Arion. See also Kurke 1999. The novel is Renault 1978. Purcell 1990, 29.

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Pythian were multi-functional, and in some ways resembled the great fairs of medieval Europe.9 We have no authentic fragments of Arion, so must leave him there. But not before noting the colonial factor, to which I return properly later: the greatest daughter-city of Corinth was Sicilian Syracuse, and Arion surely performed there among other places. The Syracuse of the comedy-writer Epicharmus and the mime-writer Sophron (both fifth century) was theatre-mad, and in the time of the tyrant Dionysius (ruled 406– 367) it produced its own dithyrambic poet, Philoxenus. This man had a high reputation as a composer, and spoke his mind about the ‘pitiful’ poems of the tyrant himself after they were read out at a symposion (Diod. Sic. 15.6; note the explicit mention of the sympotic context, which we might wish to read back into an earlier period).10 Epinikian poets, the composers of victory odes for athletic, equestrian and musical victors at the great festivals, get a bad press in the tradition for being mercenary.11 Pindar says of the ‘men of long ago’, πάλαι, that in their time ‘the Muse was not yet greedy for gain nor up for hire’, ἁ Μου̑σα γὰρ οὐ ϕιλοκέρδης πω τότ᾽ ἠν̑ οὐδ᾽ ἐργάτις (Isthm. 2.6, for a Sicilian). Less famous, but even more candid in its implication about himself, is the invocation in an ode to a Theban fellow-townsman: Μοι̑σα, τὸ δὲ τεόν, εἰ μισθοι̑ο συνέθευ παρέχειν | ϕωνὰν ὑπάργυρον, ἄλλοτ᾽ ἄλλᾳ ταρασσέμεν, ‘Muse, it is your duty, since you have contracted to hire your voice for silver, to keep it moving this way and that’ (Pyth. 11.41–2). Simonides of Ceos fares worse in the tradition than most, and if we are to accept this, then logically we should also accept that others were less ‘bad’. And anyway, to repeat, poets must eat. Pindar seems to have been particularly fond of writing odes for young Aeginetan athletes – not tyrants or big equestrian spenders. He may have found Aeginetan hospitality specially congenial.12 As for the charge that Pindar ate tyrannical bread (like Aeschylus in Sicily or Euripides in Macedon, if the biographical tradition about these two can be trusted),13 this raises the slippery question of Pindar’s own politics, and I have argued elsewhere that the entire range of his patrons needs to be taken into reckoning. It includes the moderate oligarchy of Opus in central Greece (Ol. 9), newly liberated Himera in the north of Sicily (Ol. 12) and newly democratic Camarina in the south (Ol. 4 and perhaps 5 if authentically by Pindar, for Psaumis of Camarina), not to mention the Athens for which he wrote two epinikian odes and an ephebic poem called an Oschophorikon (Pyth. 7, Nem.

9 10 11

12

For the commercial aspect to the Pythia and other panhellenic festivals see Davies 2007, 63f. For the symposion, see Carey and Griffith, this vol., 32–8, 88–90. On the question of Simonides’, Pindar’s and Bacchylides’ pay, see also Pelliccia, this vol., 244–7, who takes a sceptical view. Hornblower 2007a. 13 Lefkowitz 1981 doubts it comprehensively.

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2, fr. 6c M).14 How these various places paid their poets is uncertain, but some sort of choregic system, in the financial or institutional sense, is possible for Sicily. At Athens, wealthy individuals, chorêgoi, paid for the production of plays and dithyrambs. At Sicilian Gela, perhaps as early as the first part of the fifth century BCE, a curse tablet15 in the name of one Apelles ‘registers all chorêgoi for failure in word and deed’ and ends by hoping for ‘victory for Eunikos everywhere’. ‘Deed’ suggests that chorêgos here does not have its literal or original meaning ‘chorus leader’, but means someone who paid for the chorus. The word chorêgos is ambiguous, just as ‘trierarch’ at Athens can mean either a ship’s captain or the man who paid for the equipping of the trireme. So in those Sicilian communities which were not tyrannically ruled when Pindar celebrated their victors, there may have been some institutionalised system of payments by wealthy individuals (‘liturgies’). This could have applied to victory odes and festal songs as well as to drama (after all, at Athens, the choregic system financed dithyramb, which is a species of lyric poem). Singing competitions are certainly attested in the next city along on the south coast of Sicily. At mid-fifth-century Camarina, an intriguing, recently discovered, inscription claims ‘…keas [son of?] Thrasys an Emmenid is the supreme at singing among all the Doristomphoi’ (SEG 42.846, p. 245).16 The last word sounds military (‘those who take pride in the spear’), suggesting martial poetry. As for the Emmenidai, the name was borne by the tyrants of Acragas, but what is a member of that family doing here in democratic Camarina? There is much that we do not know about the world beyond Athens. We should not assume that the liturgy system was peculiarly Athenian, and if so this might help with the problem of non-tyrannical patronage of poets, in the west at least. For instance, who paid Pindar for Olympian 12, the poem for Ergoteles the former Cretan? For once we have a statue-base epigram as well as the Pindaric poem (CEG 393). This is heavy financial outlay to celebrate one Olympic victory. Both poem and epigram stress the reflected glory enjoyed by the city of Himera. It is tempting to think that the expenditure on all this was, in part at least, civically borne. Much poetry was written for festivals. Pindar’s paeans ‘for the Thebans’, ‘for the Abderites’, ‘for the Ceans’, ‘for the Athenians to Delos’ (Paeans nos. I, II, IV and V M), his dithyrambs, his partheneia, his prosodia,17 and so on, were presumably paid for by the communities honoured. The same is true of some of the fragmentary poems of Bacchylides. These fragmentary poems of Pindar and Bacchylides are the subject of intense, detailed modern study and we can hope for more illumination, as the results of that study are exploited by social and 14 15 16

Hornblower 2004, ch. 5. See further below, p. 53 for Bacchylides 18. Dubois 1989, 152ff., no. 134 (Gager 1992, 76f. no. 17), as interpreted by Eidinow 2007. Murray 1997, 498. 17 On these genres see Carey, this vol., ch. 1.

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religious historians. Thus if one aim of such poetry was at all periods the ending of stasis, civil strife (pp. 54–5 below), there was an obvious community interest in commissioning the poems. But will we ever know who paid for the much earlier Partheneion 1 of Alcman (seventh century BCE)?18 Hutchinson says cautiously that the Spartans assigned him ‘the job of producing poetry to be sung at festivals’,19 and that is probably as far as we can go, given that this was a pre-monetary age. But the sheer honour of receiving such a commission might be enough for many. If Krummen is right that poems like Pindar’s Isthmian 4, for a Theban, were written for civic festivals,20 this might have had financial consequences. Did victors’ families and communities somehow share the cost? (Cf. above, on Himera). Payment from public funds becomes possible in the late archaic period (Hdt. 3.131 for a public doctor; SEG 41.725, Eretria, pay for rowers); or we might think of the funding mechanism envisaged in the Odyssey (13.13–15): the lords of Phaeacia will make gifts to Odysseus, for which they will somehow reimburse themselves from the people.21 Fame Other motives for the early poets were as important then as they are now. One is the desire for fame,22 or – more humbly and prosaically – for recognition. Again we can start with Arion: ‘what sea, what land does not know Arion?’, asked Ovid (Fasti 2.83), quod mare non novit, quae nescit Ariona tellus? Pindar says more than once that the two sweetest things in life are, to succeed and to hear one’s praises sung (Isthm. 5.11–12; cf. Pyth. 1.99–100). He is surely thinking of himself as much as of his patron. Naming is necessary for immortality, as Chris Carey has observed,23 and self-naming comes in properly with the lyric poets. Homer never mentions his own name, which literally means a ‘hostage’; the Homeric Hymn to Apollo talks, in ostensible self-reference, of the blind man who lives on rocky Chios;24 but poem and poet are considerably later than the great epics, the Iliad and Odyssey. Hesiod names himself (Theog. 22). Martin West is sure that this is not to ‘set his signature upon the poem’, but ‘rather out of simple pride’.25 However this may be – and the two motives are hardly mutually exclusive – other poets do very soon start naming themselves, in one way or 18 19 21 22

23 24 25

On this song see Krummen, this vol., 190–3. Hutchinson 2001, 75. 20 Krummen 1990, 54–97. I owe the suggestions at the end of this paragraph to Hans van Wees. Thomas 1995, 113–17 and Goldhill 1991, ch. 2 are both full of good remarks but are more concerned with the fame and immortality bestowed by poets than with that sought by them. Carey 1989b, 3. See, on this passage (Hom. Hymn Apollo 156–76) Graziosi and Haubold, this vol., 104–6. In his note on the passage, West 1966, 151.

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another (Thgn. 22, Alcm. 39 PGMF, Alcaeus 401B a V, Sol. 33 W). Sappho has Aphrodite address her by name (‘Sappho, who wrongs you?’ 1.19–20 V, cf. 65.5, 94.5 and 133 V), thus ensuring her own immortality. This motive transcends class, time and place. But it is worth remembering it alongside mercenary and other ‘socio-economic’ motives. The motive never dies. At the very end of the fifth century, the elegist Ion of Samos neatly and inextricably sewed his own name into the final and extra pentameter of a five-line poem commemorating Lysander’s victory at Aegospotami in 405: ἐχσάμο ἀμϕιρύ[του] τευ̑ξε ἐλεγει ο̑ ν ⋮ Ἴων.

‘He from sea-girt Samos composed the elegiac poem. Ion [is his name]’ (M-L 95c = CEG 891 = Harding no. 4 trans. Harding, except that I have added ‘elegiac’)

The punctuation is notable: there are three dots, arranged vertically, before the name Ion. This sets the name off emphatically.26 By adding an extra line about himself to the four-line epigram, he might be thought to be avoiding criticism for inappropriate self-magnification, were it not for the accompanying poem about the Dioscurus, Polydeuces. This seems to begin [Παι ̑ Διός, ὠ̑ ] Πολυδευ̑[κ]ες, Ἴων [ καὶ τοι σ̑ ]δ᾽ ἐλεγείοι[ς]. If these restorations are right, the address to Polydeuces is immediately followed by the boast that Ion was responsible for ‘these elegiacs also’, and this may suggest that Ion had also managed to get his name into the poem on the statue-base of the other Dioscurus, Castor, of whose dedication only three full words survive (M-L 95 a and b). This was a serious bid for immortality on the part of the elegist. His fee was presumably part of the large bill, surely footed by the Spartan state rather than Lysander personally, which also included the Dioscuri statues. The Spartans were not short of money just then. There may have been a political motive as well: Ion’s ethnic is interesting at this crisis moment in Samian history, but I cannot pursue that line of speculation further here. Pride in place: colonisation poetry and epinikia A too-often overlooked motive for poetic as for prose literature is patriotism, or just obsessive and parochial interest in one’s own place27 or community, and its origins. Nos. 297–607 in Jacoby’s collection of the ancient Greek historians (FGH) are all of them historians of individual city-states and 26

27

Alan Griffiths suggests to me that it may be an archaising feature, because the three vertical dots are found as word-separators on the work of the early sixth-century BCE vase-painter Sophilos, also on early Etruscan inscriptions, and on the lapis niger of perhaps the late sixth century BCE (Gordon 1983, 79). Bowie 2009 discusses poetic awareness of landscape, a different but related idea.

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peoples, most post-classical in as far as they can be dated at all. It is sobering to leaf through that fat volume and realise that most of the authors in it are just names to us. Pindar’s favourite island of Aegina, for instance, is represented by just two deeply obscure and probably post-classical figures, Pythaenetus and Theogenes (FGH 299 and 300). But Bacchylides’ Ceos was the subject of what looks like an important prose work by Xenomedes, a fifthcentury BCE native of the island. This was drawn on and saluted by Callimachus (see FGH 442). That is, the desire to write about one’s own place is not a purely Hellenistic phenomenon. Nor was it confined to prose authors. There must have been much local poetry about civic origins, much of it probably very bad, which has not survived (but see below for hints in Aristophanes at what it was like). Shorter poems of this sort were perhaps written for and performed at symposia,28 longer ones at public festivals.29 What we have is the cream, and what was thought educationally valuable.30 Solon speaks proudly of Athens as the ‘oldest Ionian land’ (4a W), and indeed he is the first literary source to say that the Athenians were Ionians. These few words are, in fact, a foundation or ‘ktisis’ legend in a poetic nutshell, though the primary aim is to deplore the ‘tottering’ of that ‘oldest land’. Solon may here hint at the well-attested genre of ritual laments for cities.31 A famous Hellenistic example of this genre is an epigram by Antipater of Sidon for Corinth, destroyed by the Roman Mummius in 146 BCE, ‘Dorian Corinth, where is your admired beauty, where are the crowns of your towers … where are the descendants of Sisyphus?’, and so on.32 Athens in the 590s had not literally perished like this, but Solon pretends it had. The sixth-century Xenophanes of Colophon in coastal Asia Minor wrote a ‘foundation of Colophon’,33 and the super-versatile Ion of nearby Chios did the same for his island in the next century. This kind of writing could be a peg for local or patriotic fictions. Xenophanes says that coinage was invented by the Lydians, next door to his home city Colophon: fragment 4 W, from Pollux 9.83. The whole Pollux passage shows how far such absurdity could be taken. Semonides wrote an ‘archaeologia’, or early history, of Samos – and was himself Samian ‘oikist’ or founder of Amorgos (a secondary foundation perhaps, reinforcing an original Naxian settlement). He belongs to an interesting minor literary category: ‘oikist poets’. Another is Archilochus of Paros but also Thasos, and then, much later, the Athenian Dionysius Chalcus, an oikist of 28 30

31 33

Bowie 2001a, 60f.; cf. Bowie 1986a. 29 Bowie 1986a. Griffiths 1995, 88, in the course of an excellent discussion of non-aristocratic elements in early Greek poetry. Alexiou 2002a, ch. 5. 32 Anth. Pal. 9.151; see Chaniotis 2005, 197f., Alexiou 2002a, 85. A separate ‘ktisis’ poem about Colophon has also been attributed to Mimnermus, but see Dougherty 1994, 38.

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Italian Thurii in the 440s (see Aloni, this vol., 177). Anacreon of Teos may be another candidate, in the sense that he is often said to have taken part in the foundation of Thracian Abdera.34 But no more than every other Teian, because Strabo (14.1.30) says that the Teians abandoned their city ‘in the time of Anacreon’ en masse and went to Abdera. There are certainly Thracian themes in Anacreon’s poetry (cf. 417 and 422 PMG and eleg. 5 W), but strictly Strabo is just using Anacreon as a date, and not suggesting that he was specially prominent in the foundation process. Alcaeus’ poem about his own exile (130b V) proves the same sort of local attachment in reverse. The poet misses the agora of Mytilene, from his safe haven, watching beauty-contests at the Messon sanctuary in the middle of the island of Lesbos. (For this ‘great common’ i.e. federal sanctuary inland to the north of Pyrrha, and the contests at the Messon, see the reconstruction of Louis Robert, brilliantly bringing the evidence of later epigraphy into relation with the poems of Alcaeus. See esp. 129.2–3 V, τέμενος μέγα ξυ̑νον).35 Even when the poet is merely sitting in comfortable exile on a different part of the same island, there is an acute and very Greek consciousness of his local place: this is the perennial Greek phenomenon of sadness at being in xenitia. There may be something of the same in Archilochus when he denounces north Aegean Thasos, which he helped to colonise, as being ‘like the spine of a donkey, wreathed with unkempt forest’ (21 W). This reads oddly to those of us who feel that Thasos is a delightfully green island, and it may just indicate home-sickness for Cycladic Paros – unless the liking for greenness is north European, and should not be projected onto the poet. Early Spartan poetry celebrated that great military city’s origins. Tyrtaeus’ poem Eunomia (the title may not be his own) has been much worked over by historians for what it tells about the early Spartan constitution. It is however more than a political document (cf. p. 54 below for this aspect); it is also a poetic Foundation or ‘ktisis’ of Sparta. (The separate existence of a genre of ‘ktisis’ poems has been doubted: they are always, it is said, part of a larger project.36 But it is equally true that some poems which seem mainly to be about ‘something else’ can also be categorised as ‘ktisis’ poems.) ‘Zeus’, says Tyrtaeus (2 W), ‘gave the sons of Heracles this state. Under their lead we left windswept Erineos and came to Pelops’ broad sea-circled land’, and so on. 34 35

36

See e.g. Asheri 1988, 361 (n. on Hdt. 1.168). Robert 1960. See the Barrington Atlas map of Lesbos (Talbert 2000, 56), marking the Messon with a star to indicate ‘sanctuary’. Dougherty 1994. The genre claim may be right, but so is the basic point that the relevant poems of e.g. Semonides and Xenophanes ‘certainly focused in part on the early history of poleis’, in the formulation of Bowie 2001a, 56. In what follows, I speak of ‘colonisation poems’, but without implying they were about nothing else.

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There must have been much more of this sort of Spartan poetry, as we can infer from an unexpected source, Thucydides. In his account of the restoration in 427 of King Pleistoanax, who had been exiled in 446, he tells us that in the nineteenth year after his banishment the king was recalled ‘with the same choruses and sacrifices as when they established the kingship at the time when they founded Sparta’ (5.16.3, under 422/1). It is characteristic of Thucydides to frustrate us by saying so much and no more. The passage does certainly show that patriotic poetic traditions, whether real, invented or elaborated, were kept alive well into the classical period. So too the rather convincing ‘Spartan’ lyric which closes the Lysistrata of the Athenian Aristophanes (411 BCE), and which celebrates the beauties of ‘Sparta, which delights in dances in honour of the gods’, is a clever and politically courageous recreation of the manner of poets such as Alcman.37 (‘Courageous’ because the Athenians were at war with the Spartans at the time.) A natural extension of this local patriotic feeling is the retailing of a foundation-story not about the city itself but about its own secondary foundations. One mythically founded community founds another in historical time, often far away, and this generates poetry of the same sort, perhaps intended for sympotic performance. Pindar’s Pythian 4 (Sparta founds Thera which in turn founds Cyrene) is merely an unusually complex example of the genre.38 City-foundations generate prose too: the first half dozen chapters of Thucydides book 6 are a sort of descendant; Thucydides is not himself a parochial historian, but he here based himself on a local historian of Syracuse, Antiochus (FGH 555). All Thucydides’ dates are given in relation to the founding of Syracuse (733 BCE), including Naxos, one year before (734). Thucydides surely read and heard more of this sort of thing, in prose and poetry, than he reveals. When he says (7.57.6) that the Rhodians are ‘Argive by race’ he presupposes the entire myth set out so fully and richly in Pindar’s Olympian 7. It has also been ingeniously suggested that there are parallels between Pericles’ Funeral Oration in Thucydides book 2 (35–46) and the praise of Abdera in Pindar’s much earlier Paean II M; some direct influence on the historian is possible.39 But Paean II is a colonial poem (n. 36), whereas Thucydides and Pericles are both Athenians celebrating their own, ‘autochthonous’, city (Thuc. 2.36.1). 37

38 39

Taplin 1993, 58 n.7 thinks the play did not end with that dance-song, which he suggests was written by some lyric poet composing for Spartans. But, as Alan Sommerstein points out to me, Aristophanes would not have called an old song by Alcman or somebody a ‘new Muse’ (line 1295). See also Dougherty 1994, 42 for Pythian 5. D’Alessio 2009 for this particular suggestion; for the general idea that Thucydides knew Pindar see Hornblower 2004.

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Xenophanes of Colophon may have written an early example of ktisis literature for his own city, as we have seen, but the poem does not survive. But he also wrote about the foundation of Elea in Italy. This is curious because Elea was founded, not by Colophonians but by Phocaeans. It is just possible that there was a Colophonian element in Elea alongside the Phocaean (cf. the Arcadian element in Corinthian-founded Syracuse, which Pindar hints at, Ol. 6.6). But it looks as if Xenophanes, a ‘wandering poet’, anticipated Pindar and Bacchylides by writing about the foundations of cities other than his own. We have seen that colonisation was prominent in early Greek poetry, and that some poets were actually oikists themselves. And those oikists were, in turn, often successful athletes, of the sort praised in epinikian poetry. I have suggested elsewhere40 that the origins of epinikian or praise poetry are colonial, and should be sought specifically in the west. Oikists were semifabulous figures, who deserved and got extravagant praise, including herocult on occasion, for getting a community started, against often ferocious local opposition. (The classic text from lyric poetry is Pind. Pyth. 5.95, Battus heroised at Cyrene.)41 Certainly, the relevant poetry of the sixth-century epinikian predecessors of Pindar and Bacchylides often seems to have been written for ‘westerners’: I refer to the fragmentary epinikian poems of Ibycus and Simonides. As it happens, the earliest Olympian victor to be named so far on a contemporary inscription is Kleomrotos (sic; the expected spelling is ‘Kleombrotos’) of Sybaris in south Italy. His epigram, found in 1965, is partly in verse.42 It is not easy to construe or interpret, but it uses a remarkable collocation, μα̑κός τε πάχος τε, ‘length and thickness’. The combination is found in Pindar, Pyth. 4.245, of the dragon; but also in Homer, Od. 9.324, where it is used of the stake with which the Cyclops will be blinded.43 Kleomrotos does not prove my thesis about the western origins of epinikian poetry, but he fits it nicely. In any case, the prominence of colonial motifs in ‘standard’ epinikian odes is unmistakable. It is prominent even in a poem (Nem. 10) for a man from Argos: ‘many the cities it established in Egypt’ (line 5). Argos was not a great colonising power in actuality, though Pindar as we have seen treats Argos as the mother-city of Rhodes (Ol. 7.19ff.) and he may even have hinted that the Argives colonised Aegina (schol. Pyth. 8.79).44 Not much is left of Pindar’s 40 42

43

44

Hornblower 2004, 26f. 41 See Currie 2005. Dubois 2002, 23–7, no. 5; CEG no. 394. I have discussed this epigram, particularly in its Pindaric and Homeric aspects, in Hornblower 2007b. Segal 1986, 6f. n. 7 acutely noticed the Homer/Pindar relationship, but was apparently unaware of Kleomrotos. Hornblower 2004, 13, 103, 206.

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enkômia for Alexander I, king of Macedon (frs. 120, 121 M), but one might wonder if he took the opportunity to play on the Argive descent of the Macedonian royal house (cf. Hdt. 5.22.1, 137, Thuc. 5.80.2 – and much Hellenistic evidence).45 Elites or not? Was Greek lyric poetry written just by and for elites?46 Colonial poetry is a kind of assertion of elite status. But arguably the status divisions it asserts are horizontal – that is, they separate Greeks from their non-Greek neighbours – rather than vertical, that is, on ‘class lines’ in the Marxist sense.47 A Marxist approach to Pindar sees the poet’s praise of his patrons as two-edged: 48 the conferring of praise logically implies the possibility of withholding it. The poet thus chooses whether or not to validate the social order which he celebrates, and his approval is decisive in the maintenance of the regime which pays him. On this view Pindar keeps a certain haughty distance, however sycophantic his language may seem.49 Polycrates needs Anacreon needs Polycrates needs Anacreon50 (Hdt. 3.121). Powerful individual autocrats and lyric poets go together; but such autocrats do not end with the ‘archaic’ period, or even with the fifth century (see above for Dionysius). But what of lesser literary figures than Pindar? There was non-aristocratic poetry in early Greece,51 however little trace of it is left now, and there were wandering classical poets, ‘poeti vaganti’,52 to whom Aeginetan hospitality was presumably not available at quite the level enjoyed by Pindar or Bacchylides. To begin with colonisation poems, Aristophanes’ Birds of 414 BCE has a fine example of a low-grade lyric poet of this sort, who turns up claiming that he has ‘composed many fine songs in honour of your Cloudcuckooville, dithyrambs, and partheneia, and songs in the manner of Simonides’ (lines 916–18). The point of the joke is that the city is very recently founded, so that Peisetaerus asks the poet when exactly he managed to compose these songs. When he gets the answer ‘long, yea long, have I been

45

46

47 49 50 51

Bacch. fr. 20b M, a better preserved enkômion to Alexander, did not touch on Argos, but Bacchylides’ preoccupations were not quite the same as Pindar’s. Carey, this vol., 153, observes (in connection with Archilochus) that ‘almost all poets in antiquity’ were members of the elite. This is no doubt right, provided it is taken to refer to those poets whose work survives. Hornblower 2004, 372. 48 Rose 1992. For reservations about this view see Hornblower 2004, 84–6. As Alan Griffiths neatly puts it to me. Griffiths 1995. 52 See Hunter and Rutherford 2009.

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celebrating this city’, Peisetaerus points out that the city has only just had its name-day (lines 921–4). Aristophanes’ poet is a low-grade imitator of Simonides. Pindar’s epinikians do not seem to have attracted lesser imitators, unless we think that Olympian 5 for Psaumis of Camarina is inauthentic, in which case it was presumably turned out by some other fifth-century poet of the locality, a nameless but patriotic Camarinan. Who paid him? Perhaps Psaumis, if he had anything left in his bank account after paying Pindar for Olympian 4. Or perhaps the nameless and maybe non-elite poet wrote it out of sheer love of his city; and in return for some free dinners in the prytaneion as well. Both of the Camarina poems (Ol. 4 and 5) keep quiet, for once, about an obvious colonial aspect, namely the city’s foundation by Syracuse. This is not surprising, when we remember how appallingly Syracuse treated its daughter over the decades (Thuc. 6.5.3). The political motive: Solon and others Solon began Athenian democracy in the early sixth century, in 403 his younger kinsman Critias briefly helped to end it. A poem connected to Critias seems deliberately to copy and echo Solon, though using a different metre to do so. Solon, in one of his iambic poems, had said that nobody but himself would have been able to restrain the dêmos, οὐκ ἂν κατέσχε δη̑μον (37 W); Critias’ supposed grave monument (D-K 88 A13) carried a hexameter epigram which said ‘this is the monument of good men, who for a short time restrained the accursed Athenian dêmos from its violence’, τὸν κατάρατον ∣ δη̑μον Ἀθηναίων ὀλίγον χρόνον ὕβριος ἔσχον. Whoever wrote this poem, the Solonian echo is a clever and plausible touch: the oligarchs at the end of the fifth century invoked Solon’s name in their attempts to recreate a fictitious ‘ancestral constitution’. Critias himself showed explicit awareness of Anacreon, that is, of the poet who together with Solon had celebrated Critias’ ancestors (above, p. 40). A hexameter poem by Critias (D-K 88 B1) enumerates the influences exerted by ‘sweet Anacreon, whom Teos sent to Greece’. West’s edition of the iambic and elegiac poets has a section for Critias which, however, quite correctly omits this poem. But this goes to show the artificiality of the categorisation by metre, because this is a thoroughly sympotic production (symposia are specifically mentioned in line 3), no less than fragment 6 W which happens to be in elegiac couplets. This long latter fragment is about Sparta, and in good laconising fashion celebrates that notoriously Spartan virtue, sôphrosyne.53 It is hard to believe that

53

North 1966, 95–6.

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Critias, by using so loaded a word, meant to be taken as praising nothing more than Spartan moderation in drinking. There is a sense in which these two poets ‘book-end’ not just classical Athenian democracy but also political poetry (Alcaeus’ ‘political’ poetry is more like invective than a thought-out programme); and we have seen that Critias was conscious of the loop or parallel, in that he effectively proclaims himself literary heir to Solon and Anacreon. They were his family’s benefactors, and it was right that he should remember them favourably. In the same way, Alexander the Great spared the house of Pindar because he had praised his royal ancestors in poetic enkômia (above; Dio Chrys. 2.33 is the only ancient author to make this precise causal connection, but he is clearly right).54 Political literature does not stop after 400; it merely tends to take a prose form after that date. The advice given in lyric by Pindar to kings of Syracuse and Cyrene finds its fourth-century continuation in such writings on kingship as the Cyprian orations of Isocrates.55 With the famous opening of Pindar, Nemean 5, ‘I am no statue-maker’ compare Isocrates’ ‘these [discourses] I prefer to statues’ (9.73–4).56 The present section will be concerned with politics in a strong sense, that is, we shall be looking for attempts to use lyric poetry actually to influence the human world, rather than just looking for political allusions in lyric poems.57 This is a fourth motive, in addition to money, fame and the desire to write about one’s own place or its daughter-cities. In ancient Greece, however, the human and the divine worlds overlap extensively at all periods, 58 so we shall also be concerned with religious politics. Since so many of the genres of lyric poetry were religious or ritual in origin and character59 – dithyrambs, paeans, dirges, processional songs, maiden songs – there is plenty of relevant evidence, and not just at the early end of the history of Greek lyric. Bacchylides fr. 4 M (a paean?) is about a sanctuary of Apollo Pythaieus at Asine which, as we learn from Thucydides, was controlled by the neighbouring Argives (5.53, under 420 BCE).60 Somebody, probably at a fairly late date, put about the legend that Pythaieus son of Apollo was primarily connected with Argos and only secondarily with Asine. I have suggested that the promoter or even agent of this change may have been another lyric poet, the early fifth-century Argive Telesilla.61 In the same way Pindar (it has been suggested) may in his Paean 54 55 57 58 59 60

Hamilton 1969, 31, citing Instinsky 1961. Race 1987; Hornblower 2004, 63–6 and 2007. 56 Gentili 1988, 163–5; Burnett 2005, 63. For narrative elegy about real events, especially the ‘new Simonides’, see Aloni, this vol., 178–9. On Pindar and Greek Religion see Hornblower and Morgan 2007, 19–30. Thomas 1995, 109f.; Carey 1996, 900. See the masterly elucidation of the two texts by Barrett 1954. 61 Hornblower 2004, 125.

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VII M have played a part in reaffirming Theban control over the Boeotian oracular sanctuary, the Ptoion.62 And his Olympian 7, by anticipating the Rhodian synoecism of 408/7 (Diod. Sic. 13.75), may actually have helped to bring it about; the poem has a lot about Helios, the eventual patron god of the unified island.63 There are, however, other hints of a ‘pan-Rhodian importance for this divinity even prior to 408/7’; see the dedication recorded in SEG 27.481.64 And Pindar did not invent a federal role for the Rhodian sanctuary of Zeus Atabyrios,65 though it is intriguing that he should emphasise it as he does (Ol. 7.87). On the contrary, it must have played a centralising role long before 408. The Messon sanctuary on Lesbos offers a clear parallel (above, p. 47). But the five (or six, if we include Arisba) cities of Lesbos were never successfully united by synoecism, so no modern scholar holds Alcaeus even partly responsible for uniting that island. (For an unsuccessful attempt at synoecism see Thuc. 3.2.3, an aspect of the Mytilenean revolt of 428. One obstacle was that Arion’s Methymna, as often, stayed aloof from the rest of the island).66 In a recent book, Barbara Kowalzig has subtly correlated the ‘songs’ of Pindar and Bacchylides with political events and predicaments.67 She shows, for instance, that poems sung on Delos can be seen as comment on the nature of the Athenian empire. On this view, poets in their own delicate way can influence attitudes and action. Silence can also function as a sort of comment. Several of Pindar’s epinikia were for victors from places in tributary subjection to imperial Athens (Rhodes, Tenedos, Aegina after 458, Thebes in the decade before 446), but you would never guess it from the poems themselves.68 In these non-Ionian cities and islands, non-Athenian values could be upheld through festivals and ritual action in which Athens and Athenians had no part, in a gesture of proud but unobtrusive cultural assertiveness. But Bacchylides and, perhaps, Pindar too (above, pp. 42–3), were happy to write for Athenian festivals with an ephebic flavour. A likely example is Bacchylides 18 M, a dithyramb which has been speculatively associated with the Panathenaic festival of 458, and specifically the sons of the great Cimon.69 Nor is it right to impute to either poet an antipathy to Ionianism. Both Bacchylides 17 and 18 M begin with Ionians, as does Pindar’s Paean II M for the Abderites. And I have suggested that Pindar wrote a dithyramb for those admittedly rather Dorian and conservative Ionians, the Chians (frs. 71–74 M, the ‘Orion’ dithyramb).70 The attitude to 62 64 65

66 67 69

Rutherford 2001a, 343. 63 Kowalzig 2007; cf. Hornblower 2004, 134. See Nielsen and Gabrielsen 2004, 1196, whence the quotation. South of Camirus, on Mt. Atavyrion. See Hornblower 2004, 134, and, for the sanctuary, Hornblower and Morgan 2007, 21 n. 76, cf. n. 35. See Hansen et al. 2004, 1018–19. Kowalzig 2007. 68 Hornblower 2004, 262. Maehler 2004, 190. 70 Hornblower 2004, 145–56.

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Ionians of the Cean Bacchylides might be thought straightforward: does not Thucydides say Ceos was Ionian (7.57.4)? Indeed he does, but it is a complication that Bacchylides himself gave Ceos a Cretan, that is a Dorian, foundation legend (Ode 1).71 So, with some imagination, it is possible to hold lyric poets responsible for quite a lot of political change. They can even be seen as ‘unacknowledged legislators’. An extreme and ingenious version of this approach was Forrest’s picture of Tyrtaeus as a reactionary Spartan poet. On this long-influential reconstruction, the evil Tyrtaeus, through his poetry (above all 4 W), somehow managed dishonestly to dilute or even cancel the democratic achievements of the two kings Theopompus and Polydorus, who had, in a precocious move, given power to the Spartan people, as recorded in the so-called ‘Rhetra’ (on this ‘law’ or ‘agreement’ setting up the Spartan constitution see Plut. Lyc. 6) at an astonishingly early date.72 Tyrtaeus is then supposed to have taken this power away by shifting the emphasis from the people to the kings and the council of elders. A better view is that of van Wees:73 Tyrtaeus, who may even have been an outsider (tradition made him an Athenian by origin), was earlier than the Rhetra, and was called in by the Spartan authorities to restore social harmony. This he did by reaffirming the divine order, and the divinely sanctioned power of the kings, by means of song. Only later came the (prose) Rhetra, an example of ‘conflict-resolution through change’.74 Other examples of this use of poets as mediators and reconcilers are the stories that Terpander of Methymna on Lesbos brought harmony to the Spartans in time of stasis after they consulted an oracle (Diod. Sic. 8.28) and the similar tradition about Thaletas of Cretan Gortyn (Plut. Lyc. 4) who sang to the Spartans songs tending to promote obedience and harmony.75 This view of Tyrtaeus still awards him political importance, but as the commissioned upholder of existing values, rather than as an anti-democratic intriguer – surely an anachronistic role for his time. He was, in a useful distinction drawn by J. Ellul, the voice of ‘integration’ rather than ‘agitation’ propaganda.76 Van Wees’ picture of Tyrtaeus’ ‘political’ poem the Eunomia seems to me a definite improvement on earlier views. But he speaks of the Eunomia as the ‘last-known’ of attempts to effect reconciliation through songs and rituals, 71 72 73 75

76

As did Pindar in Paean IV M. See Hornblower 2004, 121–3. Forrest 1968, 67, speaking of ‘[Tyrtaeus] and his fellow reactionaries’. Van Wees 1999. 74 Van Wees 1999, 26. Forrest 1963, 162–5, sees some of this as manufactured by Hellanicus of Lesbos in the fifth century. Van Wees 1999, 26 is more ready to accept the historicity of such ‘reconciliations through songs and rituals’. See Ellul 1973. But the word ‘propaganda’ is usually best avoided in the study of the ancient world; see Hornblower 1996.

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rather than through secular reform, and he detects here a gradual historical change.77 A different view is however beginning to emerge among students of fifth-century lyric, according to which even Pindar played such a role of stasisdissolver, a role already played by Stesichorus of Himera in the sixth century.78 Pindar’s daphnêphorikon for Agasikles of Thebes (fr. 94b M) mentions ‘hateful and unrelenting strife’ in a very fragmentary section (lines 64–5);79 and a dithyramb, which may have been written for the Corinthians, seems to beg that stasis may cease (fr. 70c.3 M).80 D’Alessio81 interprets Paean IV (fr. 52d M), for the Ceans, in similar fashion; note line 57, ‘no sorrows, no civil strife, στασίων’. In fr. 109 M, stasis is ‘giver of poverty, hateful nurse of children’. But all these poems are fragmentary, some desperately so, and it is not clear how much weight should be put on such individual mentions of stasis, when they float like this, free of definitely explicable surrounding context. In any case, students of Greek tragedy argue about the significance of the prayer for the aversion of stasis in a fully surviving play, Aeschylus’ Eumenides of 458 BCE (lines 976ff.). On the one hand it was produced soon after a divisive political reform at Athens, the so-called Ephialtic changes of the late 460s, so that it is tempting to see a topical reference. On the other hand, as Macleod put it, ‘to pray for a city that it should be free of faction is natural and normal at any time’.82 Epilogue: panhellenism Freedom from internal stasis is one sort of peace. Panhellenism, in the proper sense of the word – that is, the idea that Greeks of different cities should be at peace with each other (and fight Persians instead?) – is much rarer in Greek lyric poetry. (‘Panhellenic’ features such as performance right across the Mediterranean, and use of mixed dialect forms, are something rather different, with which I am not here concerned.) But Maehler argues that the praise of Peace, Eirênê, in Bacchylides fr. 4 M (the fragmentary Asine poem mentioned above) has just such a panhellenic function. He calls it ‘a wonderful hymn to Peace, which – as far as we can see – had no parallel in his time’. 77

78 79

80 81 82

Van Wees 1999, 26. He sees Solon as belonging to this early phase too. There is something in this (Solon was called diallaktês, ‘mediator’, as well as law-giver) but he was also, surely, effecting profound and deliberate reform of a secular sort. See Noussia 2001. Gentili 1988, 158 and n. 13. See Kurke 2007a on the stasis aspect. I am grateful to the author for sending me this paper in advance of publication. Hornblower 2004, 202. D’Alessio 2009, with strong emphasis on poets as concerned with putting an end to stasis. Macleod 1983, 130. Only Alcaeus actually seems to say it is ignoble to give up stasis (fr. 130b.11–12 V, very fragmentary); see Page 1955, 207 and Lane Fox 2000, 44.

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Maehler lists the other main poetic passages praising peace, but thinks they all refer to peace within, not between, cities.83 This panhellenism may not seem so remarkable: were the Olympic games, celebrated in epinikian poetry, not an embodiment of the ‘panhellenic ideal’ of peace? The answer is ‘No’. The idea that the panhellenic festivals were shrines to international peace is a modern myth; the Olympic (and Pythian and Nemean and Isthmian) truces were merely temporary safe-conducts for athletes and pilgrims, though war against the state hosting the festival was prohibited.84 If Maehler is right, Bacchylides was the first and only ‘panhellenic’ poet in the true sense. On the whole, Greek lyric poetry celebrates and reinforces polis-particularism, though with the important qualification that kinship between cities – including but not only that between mother- and daughter-cities – imposed limits on aggression, and this sort of kinship, and the resulting ‘kinship diplomacy’, are duly prominent in Greek lyric.85 We have also seen (p. 53) that Alcaeus and Pindar, at least, celebrated ‘federal’ religion on Lesbos and Rhodes respectively. Such shared cult must have acted as a bonding agent between separate poleis, and have functioned like the Delian panêgyris celebrated by the Ionians in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo.86 Maehler’s view is appealing, but necessarily inconclusive, given that the Bacchylides poem is so fragmentary. That fragmentary character, which I have insisted on so often in this chapter when drawing historical inferences from Greek lyric, is a suitable note on which to end. I have on the whole been more concerned to stress how much stayed the same through the period of the Greek lyric poets, rather than how much changed. Coined money made a difference, but hospitality must always have been an essential reward. Fame was always a motive, from Sappho to Ion of Samos. But at all times non-elite figures may have written lyric without achieving fame by getting into modern collections. Epinikian poetry starts with archaic oikists and in the colonial west, and the oikist poet is still going strong in the mid-fifth century. Powerful individuals and lyric poetry attract each other, and this too is not just ‘archaic’. Greeks always liked to write and sing about their native place and the daughter cities of that place. Stasis and civic reconciliation were probably preoccupations throughout. Only panhellenism, in the true sense, may be new towards the end of the period. FURTHER READING

The most important book-length discussion of Greek lyric in its socio-cultural settings is Gentili 1988. The collections Dougherty and Kurke 1993 and 2003

83 85

Maehler 2004, 225–7. 84 See Hornblower and Morgan 2007, 30–5. Hornblower 2004, 115–19; van Wees 2004, 8f. 86 Graziosi and Haubold, this vol., 104–6.

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give an impression of recent new-historicist work on archaic Greece and Greek lyric. In the same scholarly tradition, Kurke 1991 is an influential interpretation of Pindar’s epinikian poetry as a reflection of its social context. Both Hornblower 2004 and Hornblower and Morgan 2007 discuss the world of epinikian poetry, the former through a dual focus on Pindar and Thucydides, the latter from a range of different perspectives. Two valuable book-length studies place Pindar and Bacchylides in their social and cultural context, Fearn 2007 and Kowalzig 2007. Ford 2002 explores numerous aspects of archaic and classical literary culture. Irwin 2005 debates the uses of elegy, especially Solon’s, in various contexts. The representation of colonisation in Greek lyric and elsewhere is the topic of Dougherty 1993 and Calame 2003. Murray 1993, Osborne 1996 and Hall 2007 are textbooks, and Shapiro 2007 is a companion, covering archaic Greece. For tyrants see Andrewes 1956 and McGlew 1993, and for panhellenism Flower 2000 and Hall 2002.

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3 EVA STEHLE

Greek lyric and gender

Introduction ‘Gender’ is pervasive and polymorphous. I take gender to be a socially constructed matrix of identity, based on a rigid division of people into two biological categories. It covers social roles assigned on the basis of that biology, including sexual roles, but also ideological constructions, which prescribe the values to be attached to bodies. In Greek culture gender norms were both powerfully coercive and unstable in fantasy. They were enforced by a habit of public scrutiny and gossip, with men vulnerable to political attack through mockery of their sexual behaviour or association with women who violated decorum.1 Yet Greek literature and art are populated by transgressive figures like satyrs, maenads, men dressed in ‘women’s’ clothes, Amazons, Paris and Adonis, Helen and Atalante, Athena and an androgynous Dionysus. In lyric poetry (broadly defined), a largely first-person form, ‘gender’ representation of self and others veers between the ideologically normative and fantasy, which seeks delight in imagining an alien sexual body.2 And, as always, sexual language can be used to negotiate other kinds of relationships. A modern scholarly consensus has formed concerning classical Greek gender ideology, founded on the work of K. J. Dover, Michel Foucault, Froma Zeitlin and others.3 It represents the male body as solid, the female as porous and therefore more prone to possession, madness, desire, pollution. The virgin woman, who has an intact body like a man’s, is the ideal, but most women were perforce married. Despite her being ‘tamed’ by sex, ideally submissive to her husband and confined to the house, the sexual woman’s inaccessible, dark insides may give birth to deceit and treachery; she can never 1 2

3

Winkler 1990a. Ideology itself is a fantasy construction; see Wohl 2002, 25–6. But for this discussion I use ‘ideology’ to mean conscious, articulated norms of gender-role behaviour and ‘fantasy’ for consciously imagined alternatives to it. I deal not at all with actual behaviour. Dover 1989, Foucault 1986, Zeitlin 1978.

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be adequately controlled or trusted. Sexually, the adult man is the penetrator and his partner the ‘passive’, penetrated party; this imagery links biology with the social dominance of men.4 The man, as active lover, may desire either a young woman or a pubescent boy, for both are ‘beautiful’ and receptive. In the case of a youth of citizen class, however, a conflict arises because to be penetrated makes him a ‘woman’ and can compromise his adult masculinity. In Greek literature, various screens obscure the problem, and the educational role of pederasty is often stressed. Some modern scholars see it as a form of initiation.5 Though much still holds sway as generally correct, this reconstruction now draws criticism, both as a strait-jacketed description of how individuals actually acted and as a distorted account of ideals.6 James Davidson stresses that (as Foucault saw) a man’s self-restraint was ethically admired, while constant self-gratification of any sort drew scorn.7 Yet within this ideology of self-restraint there are contradictions, for to express desire, erôs, for beautiful youths or maidens is also a sign of manhood. Much current scholarship on Greek sexuality investigates these ideological tensions in the context of pederastic relationships. The poetry discussed here both explores the contradictions within ideology and teasingly evokes fantasies of transgressive pleasures. Choral poetry deploys gendered/sexual imagery to negotiate the relationship between the singers and a human recipient of praise. Solo poetry, with its more intimate self-representation, openly proclaims the might of Eros (personified), who steals a man’s mind from his breast (Archil. 191 W), intoxicates it (Anacr. 376 PMG), blasts it with winds (Ibyc. 286 PMGF). Yet to be without Eros makes life cold (Pind. fr. 123 M, Mimn. 1, 2 W). Desire provokes the man to assert, forcefully, repeatedly, his masculine competence in the face of erotic prostration (Thgn. 1283–94, Anacr. 417 PMG).8 On the other hand, to be the beautiful object of others’ desire, men’s or women’s, confers a more subversive pleasure and power. For female poets, little choral poetry survives, so we cannot adequately judge its representations. For monodists, evoking Eros means overturning the norm. In confessing to feeling Eros a woman creates a subject position for

4 5

6 7 8

See Halperin 1990, who importantly expands Foucault’s study of Greek culture. See the discussion in Skinner 2005, 62–71; Calame 1999, who has excellent observations, though I find the initiation hypothesis untenable. For the first objection, see Winkler 1990a, Cohen 1992. Davidson 2001; cf. Wohl 2002, 12–16 on the consensus and challenges to it; Halperin 2002. Theognis exhibits interesting gender confusion. West, in app. crit. ad loc., thinks that one poet compared himself to Atalante wounding her suitors with a spear and a later poet, misunderstanding, made Atalante an image for the fleeing boy. Cf. Martin 2001.

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herself. Her violation of the prescribed female role is less in being overwhelmed by wayward desire than in becoming an analyst of her own experience, an autonomous authority on the nature of desire. In 16 V Sappho asserts, ‘Some say that an army of horsemen … is most beautiful, but I [say] that it is that which one loves.’ Her emphatic first person proclaims not that she loves but that she knows how Eros affects all.9 The woman who embraces the experience of love by exploring its nature in speech is a more transgressive figure than the man penetrated by Eros, for he can recuperate authority by speaking, while the woman who speaks claims a sexual subjectivity that the culture does not accord her. To trace the problematic of gender through lyric poetry is thus to follow the tracks of Eros, desirability and speaking authority as speakers represent themselves and others. Moreover, gender in lyric poetry and other genres is not just ‘in’ the text. Archaic and classical Greece was a performance culture: men and young women acted out an identity in various public venues in a range of first-person performances, from the impromptu to the formal and choreographed, from symposion to public religious festival. These bring pleasures for the audience as well. Lyric song itself was ‘play’, aiming to be seductively beautiful and persuasive. Given these complicated cross-currents of self-presentation and appeal (overt or subliminal), this poetry cannot be used to recover information about actual behaviour. In the following sections I discuss choral then solo poetry, in each case for men then women. I take a feminist perspective, which I consider essential in order to defamiliarise the representations of gender found in lyric and undo the long-dominant male perspective in exploring the interactions of gender ideology and fantasy. Choral lyric Pindar’s victory odes comprise the largest extant corpus of choral lyric. They celebrate the prowess of the victor, his strength, skill, labour of body and victory – all indices of manhood. His political power may get admiring notice as well. In competitive Greek society the victor gains in prestige and diminishes his fellow citizens by drawing all attention to himself. Pindar’s ode prolongs the focus on him, as well as his high-achieving ancestors, attributing his lustre to a god’s favour, Zeus or Hermes or another paradigmatically male patron of the games. But simply to elevate the victor beyond other men as more ‘masculine’ is a counter-productive strategy, certain to cause resentment among fellow citizens and even the gods. The singers of an 9

See DuBois 1995, 100–10 on Sappho’s philosophical perspective.

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ode must do something to mitigate the victor’s lurking claim to sexual and political dominance. Typically, the chorus represents itself as setting an example of freely given praise, while stressing the fleeting nature of glory and the dangers of envy for both the victor and the envious. A supplementary tactic, described by Deborah Steiner, exalts the victor and meets the difficulties of envy by representing him implicitly as the erotic object of the viewers’ desire.10 She adduces victors’ statues and vase painting in which the athlete’s idealised youthful body and bashful looking away from the viewer constitute him as to-be-looked-at, as was the victor himself at the peak moment when he was crowned. Pindar, she shows, does the equivalent by exalting the victor’s beauty or making him the subject of sexually allusive verbs in the passive; for example, he has been ‘mingled with victory’ (Nemean 2.22).11 By ascribing submissive along with assertive qualities to him, the chorus restores the balance, offers the victor as ‘beloved’ to the audience, and prolongs his own pleasure in being the object of the gaze. In the case of boy victors, Pindar uses this tactic openly. Steiner gives the example of Olympian 10, in which the chorus gazes on the victor: ‘I praise the lovely (eraton) child of Archestratus, whom I saw conquering by the strength of his hand beside the Olympian altar at that time, beautiful in form and suffused with the youth that once, along with the Cyprus-born, warded off shameful death from Ganymede’ (99–105).12 Olympian 1 daringly expands this technique in applying it to Hieron, the powerful and not-young tyrant of Syracuse.13 The performers mingle references to his power with hints of youthful beauty, beginning with aglaizetai (14): ‘he is made bright in/by the finest songs, such as we men often playfully sing around the dear table’. The charis (beauty, delight) of the winning horse Pherenikos likewise should rouse ‘sweetest thoughts’ (18–19). In the epode the singers end one sentence with Hieron and turn in the next to the myth of Pelops (23–6): ‘… the horse-loving king of Syracuse; and his fame shines in the manly colony of Lydian Pelops; him the powerful Earth-shaker Poseidon loved …’ It is initially unclear that Poseidon loved Pelops, not Hieron; momentary ambiguity invites the hearers to associate Hieron with the beautiful boy. Poseidon, ‘tamed in his mind with longing’ (41), carried Pelops off to Olympus, where ‘at a later time Ganymede also came for the same service to Zeus’ (43–5). 10 12

13

Steiner 1998, esp. 137–42. 11 Steiner 1998, 141. Steiner 1998, 140; note also 141 n. 102 and 142: visualisations are carefully indeterminate to keep the victor poised between passive and active erotic roles. See also Hubbard 2005. Cf. Nicholson 1999/2000 on Pindar evoking aristocratic pederasty as disguise for more pragmatic relationships, though he takes it to be between poet and patron; 250–1 on Hieron and Pelops.

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Returned to earth and on the cusp of adulthood, Pelops wishes to compete for the hand of Hippodameia. He petitions Poseidon alone at night by the sea: ‘If the dear (philia) gifts of the Cyprian, Poseidon, count at all toward charis (delight/gratitude) … give me a dear (philan) deed’ (i.e. winning the race, 75, 85). Poseidon, responsive, gives him winged horses. In these exchanges, charis, youthful male beauty, erôs, and winning all become equivalents. For Hieron, the gender–age norms subtly dissolve in a dream of being both beloved and victor, glorious object of the desiring gaze, while the audience can take on the role of Poseidon. Heterosexual imagery may work to the same end. Anne Carson analyses the erotics of Pythian 9, where Apollo observes the nymph Cyrene wrestling a lion and falls under her spell. He carries her off to Libya, where he founds the city Cyrene for her.14 The victor is like the nymph, but the end of the ode transforms him into a bridegroom. With few exceptions (e.g. Clytaemestra in Pythian 11) women in Pindar do not perform actions; Cyrene wrestling the lion is a tableau. Women appear mainly as mothers, eponymous nymphs (like Cyrene), personified virtues, and divinities. A number of odes open with ‘hymns’ to female entities such as Fortune (Olympian 12) or the Graces (Olympian 14). Fostering deities or abstractions are ‘mothers’: the Muse is ‘our mother’ in Nemean 3.1, and Olympia is ‘mother of gold-crowned games’ in Olympian 8.1. But the ‘mother’ to whom the defeated boy athlete must go home (Pythian 8.83–7) represents his defeat: he has not outgrown the protection of women. In Olympian 1, when Pelops is abducted by Poseidon, ‘nor, though they searched much, did men lead [you] to your mother’ (46). Charles Segal explores a more demonic use of the female in Pythian 12, for a winner of an aulos contest. The brief myth describes Athena inventing the ‘many-headed tune’ to reproduce the wail sounded by the Gorgons as Perseus cut off Medusa’s head.15 Women’s fierce voices keen in lament, but Athena, virgin and patron of technology, tames them into an art fit for civilisation and men’s imitation. Behind Athena’s aestheticising one could also detect fascination with the power of women’s unbridled emotional expression – again, surreptitiously defying prescribed gender roles in celebrating the aulosplayer’s mimetic power. In Bacchylides women loom larger, especially as figures for hidden aspects of a man’s life. In a dithyramb (17 M), the youthful Theseus seeks his father and finds his stepmother instead. Theseus intervenes when King Minos lays lustful hands on a maiden during the voyage to Crete. Challenged by Minos to leap into the sea to prove that his father is Poseidon, he dives. When he 14

Carson 1982. Kurke 1991 explores wedding imagery, esp. in Olympian 7.

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reaches Poseidon’s home in the depths, he meets Amphitrite, who bestows a purple robe and wreath of roses, a wedding gift to her from Aphrodite.16 Theseus then surfaces, ‘a marvel to all, and the gods’ gifts shone about his limbs’ (123–4). His boldness has been proven, but Amphitrite adds irresistible allure (which will provoke Minos’ daughter Ariadne to betray her father). The contest between Minos and Theseus has become one of sexual power, which Theseus wins through the favour of the hidden woman. Women harbour secret destructiveness in another complex poem, Bacchylides’ epinikian ode (5 M) for Hieron, celebrating the same victory as Olympian 1. Heracles descends to Hades to fetch Cerberus; there he meets the shade of Meleager, whose life was bound up with a log that his mother had snatched from the fire at his birth and stored in a chest. Meleager explains his death: he killed his two maternal uncles by accident, whereupon ‘the fierce daughter of Thestios, my ill-fated mother, planned destruction for me, the reckless woman, and burned the swift-fated log, taking it from the decorated box’ (137–42). As it burns, he fades. ‘Breathing my last I cried, wretched, leaving my bright (aglaan) youth’ (153–4). Admiring him, Heracles asks whether Meleager has an unmarried sister. The ode does not say so, but that sister is Deianeira, who will kill Heracles with an alleged love-potion kept in a box. The ambiguous seductiveness of the ‘bright’ young man and the concealed/concealing power of the sexual woman play against each other, in various configurations, in these choral poems.17 Young women’s choral performance was widespread and traditional in Greece. But only fragments survive, notably of Alcman’s partheneia (1, 3 PMGF) for Spartan maidens and Pindar’s daphnêphorikon song (fr. 94b M) for the Theban Daphnephoria (‘Laurel-bearing’) festival. The young women’s songs are simpler than epinikian poetry and more focused on the occasion itself. Erotic charge and self-reflexivity characterise their utterances also, but expressed as sensuous non-human imagery and comments, sometimes negative, on their clothes, their voices, their ability to attract attention. In Alcman the singers articulate praise of individual women who are significant ritual actors and whose attention they profess to desire. In the very fragmentary partheneion fr. 3 PGMF the language is that of erotic surrender: of Astymeloisa (‘Darling of the city’) the chorus says, ‘with limbloosening longing, and she glances more meltingly than sleep and death’ (61–2). But (in a new stanza) ‘Astymeloisa answers me not at all’ (64) as she performs a ritual, ‘like a star streaking across the bright-shining (aiglaentos) 16 17

Segal 1979. Simonides’ isolated fragment 543 PMG offers another image of a mother, Danae afloat in a box on the sea, speaking tenderly to her sleeping baby Perseus.

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heaven or a golden shoot or soft feather (?)’ (66–8). In 71–2 ‘moist delight (charis) of Kinyras’ (i.e. perfume) sits on maidens’ hair. In the following very broken stanza she is ‘among the community, a care to the people’ (73–4). Yet, ‘I might see if somehow … she might take (my) soft hand … I would/might become her suppliant’ (79–81).18 Astymeloisa is at the centre of communal attention but distant from the singers, who bathe her verbally in sensuous effects. In partheneion 1, the young women use less intense, non-erotic language to describe Agido and Hagesichora (‘Chorus-leader’), but it has the same phantasmagoric quality.19 ‘I see her (Agido) like the sun’ (40–1); Hagesichora ‘seems as outstanding as if someone had set among cattle a solid, prize-winning, pounding-hoofed horse from the dreams beneath the rock’ (45–9).20 Ritual may lie behind the image of a horse (cf. 50–9). But here too the women praised are distanced and de-humanised by the imagery.21 By way of contrast, the first part of the partheneion praises a series of mythic heroes in standard language (‘swift-footed’, ‘strong’, ‘outstanding among half-gods’, ‘great’, 3–9). About themselves the singers speak deprecatingly, describing their voices as the screeching of an owl (while in the lacunose lines at the end Hagesichora (or the chorus?) sings less well than the Sirens, but like a swan: 85–7, 96–101).22 Scholars differ over how to take these assertions of admiration or love for the named women and the chorus’s own expressions of inadequacy. Claude Calame argues for a context in initiatory groups that fostered homosexual liaisons; the named women are departing, their ‘beauty’ signalling their ripeness for marriage, and those who remain behind lament the loss.23 Others see a public ritual performance – but disagree about the effects.24 Certainly, the singers cast a diffuse erotic glow over the women they praise and heighten their social value to men in the audience. But do they demonstrate, through

18

19

20 22

23

24

Hutchinson 2001, 111–12 at ‘80–4’ states that the fragment containing the beginnings of those lines (as now placed) cannot be shown to belong there. They are extremely difficult to construe, so his finding is welcome. Depending on whether one reads τηϱεῖ or τείϱει in 77 (a purely literary decision), the chorus says that Hagesichora ‘protects’ them or that she ‘wears [them] down’ (with erotic longing). The latter would constitute the only sign of the chorus’ desire in the extant lines. For another discussion of this song see Krummen, this vol., 190–3. Hutchinson 2001, 88 ad loc. considers the last phrase corrupt. 21 Cf. Peponi 2004. Hutchinson 2001, 100–1, at ‘96–101’ disputes the usual view of these lines as describing Hagesichora. Calame 1997. He draws an analogy with Sappho’s poetry; there is no direct evidence for an initiatory institution in either case. Partheneion fr. 3 PMGF refers to going ‘to the assembly’ and of Astymeloisa ‘among the community’ (8, 73), which suggests a public performance.

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their fractured imagery and self-deprecation, that public speaking brings them no sense of sexual subjectivity, while eliciting visual delight and fantasy?25 Or do they playfully (and fictively) reveal their loves ‘in a way that delights and amuses for itself’?26 Pindar’s daphnêphorikon (fr. 94b M) was certainly for public performance before male and probably female spectators.27 Pindar gives the maidens similar language: the singers announce that Apollo has come with favour ‘to mingle immortal delight (charis) with Thebes’; they will sing ‘having a bright (aglaon) branch in (our) soft hands’ and ‘flourishing with wreaths on (our) virgin heads’ (4–5, 6–7, 11). Of their voices they say first, ‘I will imitate the boast of the Siren in song to lotus-wood pipes, that boast that silences the swift blasts of the West Wind …’ (11–17). But after an unreadable transition they begin the third triad by contrasting the Siren’s (?) stories about the past with what Zeus knows – ‘but for me it is fitting to think virginal thoughts and speak them with my tongue’ (33–5). Just as in Alcman, they suppress their authority as speakers while linguistically casting an aura of visual delight about themselves. They also acknowledge the chorus-leader and her mother (67–72), along with family members who lead the procession. Of women poets, Sappho wrote wedding poems for choruses (frs. 104–5, 110–17 V). Small fragments remain; they range from joking to tender praise. Corinna (whom some consider Hellenistic)28 probably wrote for women’s choruses: the female speaker of 655 PMG mentions ‘adorning stories from the time of the fathers […] for maidens’. Her two major fragments (whether choral or not) consist of mythic narrative with local variants on panhellenic stories. In 654 col. i PMG she foregrounds Rhea in telling of the birth of Zeus, and in 654 col. iii she lists the rapes by various gods of the nine daughters of the Asopus River. The focus is on women, but within a patriarchal system.29 Public poetry for women could hardly be otherwise. There were other female poets, probably of choral poetry, in the classical period. We hear the names of Myrtis, Praxilla and Telesilla, but almost nothing survives.30 It is tempting to speculate that women poets often composed for and trained choruses of young women, which sometimes brought them to public notice.

25 26 28 29

30

Stehle 1997, 90–3; cf. Clark 1996, Too 1997. Hutchinson 2001, 77–8, 112–13, quotation from 77. 27 Calame 1997, 59–62. See further D’Alessio, this vol., 128n. 58. Larmour 2005 sees Corinna as a self-conscious competitor with male poets; cf. also Rayor 1993. Snyder 1989 presents what is known of these poets. Rayor 1991 translates the fragments.

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Monodic lyric, elegy, and iambos (poetry for single performers) There is no certain way to determine whether a given lyric poem was initially meant for individual or choral performance.31 However, some lyric poems are short, with simpler metres than the poetry just discussed. Elegy and iambos were never meant for choral performance. All of these appear to be designed for those gathered in small groups to perform for each other. Male friends typically gathered at the symposion, where they drank and sang after dinner. There were many configurations of the symposion group, from civic or religious associations to small groups of political allies, and the range of songs is equally great. Much of what remains is fragmentary, so discussion is inevitably tentative. The songs focus largely on contemporary life, tendentiously portrayed. Eros and personal relationships are common themes, configured to contribute to a politics of male bonding that permeates the discourse, including affirmation of ‘our’ values against others (Archilochus, Alcaeus, Anacreon, Theognis) and fellowship of common suffering (Archilochus, Mimnermus, Alcaeus, Ibycus, Anacreon). Women with legal claims of kinship to the men did not participate in the symposion, nor does real home life figure in the poetry; no poet mentions his wife or children. In this context, poets used wives to represent some ‘other’ opposing the male group. Alcaeus 42 V uses Helen to illustrate disloyalty to a man in contrast to the true-hearted nymph Thetis (mother of Achilles). The myth was probably an illustration of a more mundane political betrayal. Similarly, in 283 V he describes Helen as ‘maddened’ and persuaded by erôs to leave her child and husband; subsequently many Trojans died on her account. Archilochus claims (30–31 W in context) that a fellow-citizen betrayed him by promising then refusing his daughter in marriage; elsewhere (196a W²) he portrays the daughter as promiscuous. Some think that Archilochus is using his poetry to punish an actual father, others that it is a fiction designed to contrast kinship through marriage with male bonding. Semonides 7 W offers a nasty list of different kinds of obnoxious wives and ends by asserting that even the apparently ideal wife betrays her husband; by implication, the symposion group is the refuge from female insubordination. Confessions of desire bind participants also, for erotic suffering can be shared as an existential condition of manhood. Pindar reveals this dynamic. In an enkômion for Theoxenos son of Hagesilas (fr. 123 M), apparently meant to be sung at a symposion, the speaker asserts that the man who does not swell with desire at the sight of Theoxenos’ flashing eyes labours with an iron heart for money or ‘is carried along serving a cold road under a 31

Carey, this vol., 23–4.

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woman’s insolence’ (8–9). Here being passively dominated by one’s wife is the negative inverse of desire circulating within the symposion. But the speaker does not say that he desires Theoxenos, rather that those with warm hearts do and that he, the speaker, melts whenever he looks on the youth of boys. This two-way generalisation circumspectly avoids identifying Theoxenos as the object of his particular passion in favour of making responsiveness to Theoxenos’ charms a sign of emotional loyalty to the group.32 Masculinity as constructed within the symposion group relies on the contrast between men’s collective desire for the young and beautiful – masculine bonding as a shared, arrested sexual dominance – and individual relations with a wife.33 Other symposion poets declare their own desire for a named youth. Yet here too we see the same dynamic: erôs aroused by an individual – one whose status is left indeterminate – is deflected to the group, its satisfaction deferred. Theognis’ ‘sphragis’ (poetic claim to authorship) acknowledges that poetry replaces sexual fulfilment. After sixteen lines asserting the power of his poetry to give Kyrnos immortality, he ends: ‘however, I get little respect from you, but you deceive me with words as if I were a little boy’ (237–54). If not portrayed as deceptive, the boy may be aestheticised or mythicised: in 288 PMGF Ibycus describes Euryalus as nurtured in roses by Aphrodite and Persuasion, and in 357 PMG Anacreon prays to Dionysus, who plays in the mountains with Eros, the Nymphs and Aphrodite, to advise Cleobulus to accept his love. Or the beloved may be generic and unnamed. It may be a boy, as in Anacreon 360 PMG, ‘O boy, virgin-glancing, I seek you but you do not hear, not knowing that you are the charioteer of my soul/life’. Or it may be a young woman. A snippet of Alcaeus (45 V) describes girls with beautiful (?) thighs bathing in the Hebrus River. Anacreon fantasises about riding a ‘filly’ who flees from him and gambols in a meadow (417 PMG; cf. 358). In an amusing variation Anacreon claims that Eros again invites him to play, with a girl from Lesbos, but she disdains his white hair ‘and gapes at another – woman’ (358 PMG). This may be a joking allusion to Sappho’s poetry, but it also plays a joke on the listeners: she rejects you as well; no imagining that you would succeed! Often (as here) the confessing lover opens with ‘again’ (dêute). ‘Again’ marks him as a coherent personality who subsumes his experiences, for the word binds them together as duplicate demonstrations of his masculine heat.34 Eros himself/itself, violent or sensuous, is the burden of many songs (or quoted fragments). As well as overwhelming the mind or melting one’s insides, he provokes a host of images. He glances meltingly and entangles his victim in 32 33

Ibycus S151 PMGF may be similar or could be choral. Cf. Nicholson 1999/2000, 253–6 on it. Cf. Hubbard 2002 for a different perspective. 34 On this word see also Carey, this vol., 35–6.

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the nets of Aphrodite (Ibyc. 287 PMGF) or whacks him like a blacksmith (Anacr. 413 PMG). ‘Lifted up again’, Anacreon dives into the grey sea, drunk with erôs (376 PMG). Mimnermus offers the purest form of celebration of erôs itself: ‘may I die when these things no longer interest me, secret love and sweet gifts and bed, which are the enticing blossoms of youth for men and women’ (1.2–5 W). Ibycus mentions no object of his passionate desire in (the extant part of) 286 and 287 PMGF. In 286 he describes a ‘garden of maidens’ and continues, ‘But for me erôs sleeps at no season. (Like) Thracian Boreas, flaming with lightning, swooping from Aphrodite with scorching madnesses, dark, shameless, (erôs) powerfully sucks up (?) my mind from its foundations.’ All these modes of representation (named or unnamed beloved, no love object) offer the group stirring images of erotic fantasy or suffering without individual fulfilment. For all the vivid language of invasive desire, however, the singers do not imagine themselves as women; Anacreon savages a ‘kept’ (?) man who has adopted a woman’s style (388 PMG). Theognis eschews brilliant imagery in favour of self-assertion. In lines 341– 50 the speaker proclaims his love, adducing Ganymede. The boy, he says, has spread word of his love, though he wanted it kept secret – yet the song itself reveals it. In this fictional dynamic, the boy tries to demonstrate the man’s being in thrall, but the man recuperates his power by making his love an independent form of self-expression. The more resisting the beloved the more he or she can stimulate the lover to rhetoric intertwining longing and vague threat. Most of Theognis’ erotic poetry is collected in ‘book II’ of the corpus35 and addresses a ‘boy’ to express a variety of attitudes toward the inevitably recalcitrant beloved: the speaker is cynical (1249–59) or wheedling (1299– 1304) or morally outraged (1311–18) or relieved to be free (1337–40). Archilochus and Alcaeus are more complex. Archilochus has a bold persona, which appears in his descriptions of encounters with women. In the Cologne Epode (196a W²), he recounts making love with the daughter of a citizen. As a description of sex it belongs with iambic poetry like that of Hipponax (e.g. 84 W), but its description of the girl is startlingly romantic – an illustration of Archilochus’ power of seduction – and discreet. By making a citizen woman the object the poem also violates the norm of picturing unattached women, but the speaker seems to say at the last moment that he did not deflower the woman (though many read it as ambiguous).36 On the other hand, he denounces Neoboule as ‘overripe’ in the middle of his seduction speech, and the young

35 36

On the make-up of the Theognis collection see Aloni, this vol., 174–5. See Bremer et al. 1987, 50–1 on line 35. In this poem Archilochus also denounces Neoboule, the only named young woman in his poetry and the one to whom he had been engaged before her father broke it off, according to the perhaps fictional story.

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woman he is seducing will become the same if he succeeds. Indeed, like the satyric Hipponax, Archilochus could describe scenes of intercourse in exuberant physical terms (119 W): ‘and to fall, a workman, on her wineskin and press stomach on stomach and thighs on thighs’. This is shared sex, not erôs. Alcaeus had a reputation for singing erotic poetry to boys (Horace Carm. 1.32.9–12). Almost no such poetry survives, though 296b V has an address to Aphrodite and a name in the first line, then suggestive phrases such as ‘the gates of spring are opening’ and ‘smelling of ambrosia’; it may be the remains of a love poem. Women may be beautiful but distant. In 130 V the speaker has taken sanctuary in a precinct where ‘the Lesbian women being judged on their beauty, go to and fro in long robes, and the divine ring of the women’s holy annual cry sounds’ (lines 32–5). Like the young women bathing in the Hebrus (see above), these women seem to live in a different world from Alcaeus. In these poems by and for men, visions of a deferred or impossible, maddening love substitute speech about desire for self-absorbed fulfilment and create shared fantasies. Sappho is unique. She depicts a ‘woman-centred’ world but we do not know the context in which to place her performance.37 Some believe that she had a group or ‘school’ for young women being initiated into adulthood, some of whom she loved; they adduce an emphasis on beauty and deportment in her fragments and assume that her addressees are young and unmarried.38 Others set her in a circle of friends like the symposion group, adducing parallels with male love poetry and noting political implications in some poems.39 A further question is whether to read her poetry as parallel to that of male love poets or investigate ‘difference’ in her construction of love relationships. In the case of 1.21 V, for instance, how should we read Aphrodite’s response to Sappho, ‘for if she flees, soon she will chase’? There is no pronoun indicating whom she will chase. Theognis (e.g. 1327–34) warns a boy that he will soon become a lover himself and be jilted by a boy. Is Sappho’s Aphrodite making the same point, or is she implying that the other woman will have a change of heart and ‘chase’ Sappho? Anne Carson accepts that Sappho agrees with Theognis, and nothing confutes that reading.40 However, one could point to other signs of erotic reciprocity in Sappho’s poetry as supporting the alternative. For instance, 96.15–17 V describes an absent woman’s longing for Atthis and seems to say 37

38 39 40

See Skinner 1993; Snyder 1997; Lardinois 2001 on women’s genres. On Sappho and the question of her context see also Yatromanolakis, this vol., 216–20. Calame 1997; he takes her poetry to be analogous to Alcman’s partheneia. Parker 1993; Stehle 1997, 262–78. Giacomelli [Carson] 1980; cf. Parker 1993 on Sappho as similar to the symposion poets. DuBois 1995, 9 and 15 describes Sappho as aiming at sexual domination.

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(18–20) that ‘we’ cannot go to her – implying that Atthis wishes to do so. In 48 V, a two-line fragment whose context is lost, the speaker says, ‘You came and acted; I was seeking for you; you cooled my mind burning with longing’.41 And there is another angle: in 16 V, mentioned earlier, Sappho contrasts the male world of war (‘Some say that an army of horsemen … is most beautiful’), a world of visible power and hierarchy, with her own view (‘but I [say] that it is that which one loves’). She understands beauty as subjective, but she also suggests that men predictably love power and hierarchy, while her loves cannot be categorised. If she rejects the hierarchy of lover and beloved, multiple configurations of passion are possible – as she shows. She adduces Helen, outstanding in beauty, but not to repeat Helen’s predictable desirability to men (which would contradict her principle). Sappho’s Helen chooses her own ‘most beautiful’ in defiance of convention and makes the point that love does not fall in prescribed patterns.42 Yet, as 16 V hints, Sappho is elusive. Her poems are miniature dramas, sometimes told as memories, in which she is a character. Of the major fragments of love poems, Sappho speaks of her own desire in three (1, 16, 31 V). In these, the beloved woman is absent (1, 16) or cut off by the presence of a man close to her (31), and the drama lies in Sappho’s positioning of the speaking voice. In 1, Aphrodite’s voice breaks through the narration to address Sappho. In 31 she speaks to the woman who sits near the man, an address that is blocked within the fiction, leaving Sappho’s (fictive) location obscure.43 In two other fragments, 96 and 22 V, she speaks to another woman about the latter’s relationship to a third woman. In 96 she reveals nothing about herself but speaks to Atthis in evocative imagery about the beauty of an absent woman who yearns for Atthis. In 22, another woman feels rekindled longing for the addressee, ‘and I rejoice, for Aphrodite once blamed (me) for praying for …’ (lines 11–17; the papyrus breaks off). That is, Sappho’s intimacy is with the goddess. Imagistic memory, absence, visions, the ‘fluttering’ of desire, conversations with gods replace direct statements about relationships. Scholars who investigate ‘difference’ in Sappho’s construction of love relationships see her poems as expressions of female intimacy and reciprocity rather than a collective projection of a desirable object. More radically one could say that her poetry escapes from hegemonic gender coding or any other

41 42

43

Cf. Greene 2002, Snyder 1997 on reciprocity in Sappho. Stehle 1990; cf. Worman 1997. Compare Alcaeus’ conventional figure (283 V, see above) and see Segal 1998. Cf. Clark 2001 on deixis in this poem, Greene 1994 on Sappho’s use of apostrophe.

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specific construction.44 As open texts whose ‘reader’ / singer can arrange the figures in the relationship, the poems foster an ever-renewed sense of erotic subjectivity for women. Sappho becomes an invisible presence who confirms another woman’s beauty and attests to an emotional investment whose exact force the ‘reader’ can fantasise. Sappho’s authority as a speaker always plays against her longing.45 In 1 V she recreates Aphrodite’s presence through her prayer, and thus she reveals the strategy by which a female with erotic power speaks another’s attractiveness into existence. Aphrodite plays the role for Sappho here, but Sappho herself plays the role for other women. Her speaking so openly of desire and beauty allows another woman to build a sense of subjectivity from it. Like Helen, a woman who imagines herself through Sappho’s poetry can transform herself (at least privately) from just being beautiful to speaking of that which she loves. FURTHER READING

There is much recent work on Greek gender and sexuality. For an excellent overview of current issues in the study of sexuality, with bibliography, see Skinner 2005. Cohen 1992, Zeitlin 1999 and Halperin 2002 offer differing perspectives. The essays in Halperin et al. 1990 are still important. Studies of specific aspects are Carson 1990 and Padel 1992 on women’s bodies in literary imagination, Lissarrague 1990 (especially 56–7, 83–6, 104–6) and Calame 1999 on erôs in the symposion, Scanlon 2002 and 2005 on athletics and sexuality, MacLachlan 1993 on the erotics of charis. Blundell 1995 and Fantham et al. 1994 give substantive overviews of women in Greek culture; Rabinowitz and Auanger 2002 focuses on women’s relations. Rosen and Sluiter 2003 has essays on masculinity, mainly on classical Athens and later. For gender and lyric poets see Stehle 1997, from which a number of the ideas in this essay are drawn, and Carson 1986 on erôs in poetry. Williamson 1995 (with wide-ranging section on further reading, 175–87), the essays in Greene 1996, and Snyder 1997 offer different, often complementary, approaches to Sappho and gender issues. Diotima (www.stoa.org/diotima) hosts numerous articles and other material on women. 44

45

DuBois 1995, 24–30 and passim makes the fragmentary state of her poetry a metaphor for both her otherness and postmodern alternatives to a homogeneous history. Stehle 1997, 288– 318 argues that Sappho created poems that invite a woman to construe Sappho’s meaning according to her desire. Wilson 1996 uses psychoanalytic theory to suggest that Sappho ‘destabilises’ (41) or ‘exceeds’ (67) the binary construction of male/female. Skinner 1993 proposes that Sappho drew on a women’s tradition of poetic speech as a source of authority; Bowman 2004 points out that we cannot track such a tradition, though there is evidence of women poets responding to earlier women’s poetry that circulated in writing.

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4 MARK GRIFFITH

Greek lyric and the place of humans in the world

Introduction: Human wisdom and poetic expertise Greek lyric poetry was, among other things, a form of communication about the world that its authors and audiences lived in. It was also often an intervention into that world, with intended effects or functions. That is to say, not only does Greek elegiac, iambic, choral and monodic poetry offer explanations, speculations and justifications – or sometimes complaints – about the nature of human existence in general, and about particular local and personal circumstances, but the very production and performance of these poems also frequently seeks more or less directly to bring about change in those circumstances, or at least to provide some kind of comfort for the impossibility of doing so. Thus, much more obviously than e.g. in the case of epic, and more like ‘didactic’ poetry, Greek lyric tends to be involved in bringing about the very state of affairs that it is describing or prescribing: it is ‘perlocutionary’. Consequently almost all these poems, whatever their purpose and occasion, assert or imply some identifiable attitudes and opinions about the world and the best way to live in it. In this chapter, I shall be discussing some of the most typical and/or striking of these attitudes and opinions, as well as some of the characteristic techniques and terminologies employed to convey them to their audience. During the archaic period it was widely believed (or the fiction was maintained) that the talent required to engage and delight audiences was derived more or less directly from a divine source. And while such expressions as ‘gift from the gods’ were commonly applied to all kinds of fortunate human attributes (beauty, strength, prosperity, etc.), poetic skill and intelligence in general do seem to have been regarded as especially blessed endowments. Thus the standard epic epithets for song and poet, ‘divine, heavenly’ (thespesios, thespis, theios), are employed in lyric too, and the dynamics of poetic inspiration and empowerment are described in numerous half-literal, half-figurative images. The Muses, or Apollo, or some unnamed god, may be said to 72 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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‘breathe’ a ‘voice’ or pour ‘honeyed words’ into the poet; and both in Greek and in Latin, words for ‘wind, breath’ are closely associated with human ‘life’, ‘spirit’ and ‘inspiration’.1 The poet may also be given a ‘staff’ (skêptron) or a musical instrument: so, for example, Archilochus (in a poem now lost) narrated his ‘calling’ by the Muses and their gift to him of a lyre, in exchange for the cow he was taking to market, in a parody of the famous proem to Hesiod’s Theogony (Archil. T3 col. II 22–57 Gerber – the ‘Mnesiepes Inscription’).2 The etymological root for the Greek name ‘Muse’ (*mn: *Mn-sa > Mousa) is the same as that for ‘memory’ (mnêmê) – indeed the Muses were conventionally hailed as ‘daughters of Memory’ (Mnêmosynê; so e.g. Sol. 13 W). From this same root come also such terms for altered consciousness as ‘madness’ (mania) and ‘prophecy’ (manteia, mantikê), as well as Latin mens and English ‘mind’ – and even (in the form menos) that peculiar ‘energy, spirit’ which may suddenly fill the breast of a Homeric warrior or Pindaric nobleman (e.g. Pind. Ol. 8.70–1) from whom special achievements were expected. Thus a poet’s mind was thought to be altered and enhanced: Presage the truth (manteueo), Muse, and I will be the interpreter (prophateusô) (Pind. fr. 150 M) I am … knowledgeable (epistamenos) in the lovely gift (dôron) of the Muses. (Archil. 1 W; cf. too 120 W, Sol. 13.51 2 W)

A performer full of such divine spirit may even be described as entheos (‘engodded’, whence the term enthousiasmos = ‘possession by god, enthusiasm’: Soph. Ant. 964, Plato Ion 535c, 536b, etc.; cf. Aristot. Rhet. 1408b19). Yet such expressions do not mean that a poet is ‘out of his/her wits’. On the contrary, poetic wisdom was thought to entail an unusually secure grasp of ‘realities’ (etuma, etêtuma) and ‘truth’ (alêtheia: cf. Bacch. 3. 96–8 M, Hes. Theog. 26–8), an uncanny accuracy in discerning and recalling events and details that ordinary people may not notice or remember or may never have known, and an exceptionally acute and well-tuned ‘insight’ (noos, nous), as well as the skill to communicate such ideas effectively to others: The servant and messenger of the Muses, if he should know something exceptional,

1

2

Greek pneô > pneuma, Latin spiro > spiritus (whence inspiro = ‘inspire’). For the close associations between a gifted speaker’s ‘fluency’ and the utterances of a poet, see Solmsen 1954; and for Greek and Indo-European terms for poetic ‘inspiration’, see further Onians 1951, Schmitt 1968, Murray 1981. See further Clay 2004.

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The Cambridge Companion to Greek Lyric Must not end up being stingy in his poetic wisdom (sophiês), … What good would it do him if he is the only one knowledgeable (epistamenos)? (Thgn. 769–72)

Like the songs and poems of traditional societies all over the world, Greek lyric involved the artful use of words and rhythms, and usually melody, gesture and dance as well, in various conventional combinations. Those performing the song, or chant, or dance, whether they were full-time specialists or (as seems to have been more common) part-timers selected to compose and/or perform on behalf of the community for a particular occasion, possessed a special status as ‘singers’ (aoidoi) or ‘experts’ (sophoi, epistamenoi):3 we find the noun sophia (‘wisdom, poetic skill’) and verb sophizomai (‘disseminate wisdom’) used with this sense frequently, e.g. in the programmatic announcements of Sol. 13.52 W, Thgn. 19. Poets thus belonged in the more general category of ‘sages’ whose ideas and verbal expressions were unusually ‘wise, authoritative, skilled’ (sophos can mean any of these), and they were regarded as sources of authority and expertise as well as purveyors of entertainment, fantasy and excitement. The expectation that a poet be knowledgeable and expert does not mean, of course, that his/her views had always to be consistent with one another, let alone that they should amount to a coherent ‘world-view’. Often one poet’s ‘wisdom’ was set explicitly or implicitly against another’s in virtual or actual competition. Audiences were aware that different poets might have different songs to offer about the same topics, and that sometimes a poet – or a performer selecting from a previously existing repertoire of well-known songs – might tell a story from a very different, even contradictory, angle from one occasion to the next. So poetic ‘truth’ was far from a simple or unambiguous object of faith: certain mythological or genealogical ‘facts’ might be quite mutable, and a well-known heroic event from the past, or a contemporary moral-political dilemma, might be open to stimulating or paradoxical disagreement. As Aristotle recommended to orators of later generations (Rhet. 1.2.1355b25), a poet thus had to be skilled at finding ‘what is persuasive’ (to pithanon) in any given situation and presenting it in the most attractive and effective verbal form possible. This means, of course, that for 3

For the ‘wisdom’ of poets, see Solmsen 1954, Griffith 1990, Detienne 1996, Ford 2002. Not before the mid-fifth century is the term ‘maker’ (poiêtês) found in the sense of ‘poet’ (e.g. Hdt. 2.23, 3.115). Several Greek terms connoting poetic ‘composition’ are derived from the root (h)ar-, including arariskô, harmottô (‘fit, arrange, shape’), arthron (‘joint, limb’; cf. Latin artus, English ‘articulate’), harmonia (‘harmony, arrangement’, cf. Latin ars, English ‘art’). Likewise, the adjective artios (‘well-attuned’) is used of an ‘intelligent’ mind (noos) by Solon (4.32 W), Theognis (154, 946), and others; see below, pp. 80–1.

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us it is not always easy to tell whether a particular statement that we may encounter in a piece (often fragmentary) of Greek lyric is in fact the considered opinion of the author: sometimes words spoken by a character in a narrative or mini-drama, or by a chorus, may represent a point of view quite distinct from that of the poet; or s/he may speak ironically or hyperbolically for particular rhetorical effect. Nonetheless, if we sift through the remains of the lyric poetry of this period, looking for statements and descriptions that indicate, implicitly or explicitly, a particular ‘world-view’ and set of beliefs about the human condition, we find no shortage of such expressions, covering a wide variety of situations and outlooks. Relating to the gods The most frequently encountered, as well as the most basic, set of issues concerning the place of humans in the world was the relationship of mortals to immortals and the value and purpose of human life as viewed specifically in contrast to the ‘deathless and ageless’ existence of the Olympians. Quite a high proportion of Greek lyrics are addressed directly to divinities, usually in some version or variation of the age-old hymn-form or prayer-form common to most of the Near Eastern and Indo-European cultures known to us.4 It would be a mistake to assign these all to a category of ‘religious’ poetry, however (especially as the Greeks had no word for ‘religion’). For while the Greeks considered it to be important to distinguish holy vs. non-holy spaces, pure vs. impure objects and actions, and divine vs. human persons and privileges, in practice there was virtually no area of human existence in which the gods were not felt to be involved. And there were innumerable occasions that required the performance of a new or reused song invoking divine approval and assistance: thus, in addition to regular festivals in honour of this or that deity, poems of praise and/or thanks might be required for treaties, military or athletic victories, weddings, funerals and numerous other social events, while divine help might be summoned by lower-class singers even for such mundane activities as milling flour (carm. pop. 869 PMG), avoiding a beating from one’s ‘demented master’ (Hipp. 40 W) or robbing one’s neighbour’s house (Hipp. 32 W, cf. 36, 38 W). The traditional form and rhetorical strategies of hymns and prayers reflect, and also reinforce, the structure of the relationship between the human and divine realms, a structure in which humans are imagined to depend on the protection and favour of particular divinities, while these divinities in turn, despite their enormously greater power, resemble humans closely in both 4

A representative sample of Greek hymns are edited and discussed in Furley and Bremer 2001.

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appearance and behaviour – especially in their insistence on being properly respected and honoured. The relationship between human communities and their gods can thus be seen as extensions of the basic social institutions of family/household (oikos) and local chiefdom or aristocratically governed city (polis), with the gods operating as a class of super-parents and super-elites. Divinities are often addressed or described as ‘king’ (anax), ‘mistress’ (despotis, potnia), or ‘father’ (patêr – especially Zeu-pater = the Roman Ju-piter), and are invited to act as ‘shepherd’, ‘ally’, ‘overseer’ or ‘helper’ to humans in their collective and individual endeavours. To some degree their human subjects/ children thus all share with one another a common status; and indeed, participation in ‘common’ cults is one of the most important mechanisms of social cohesion and group/regional/ethnic unity in ancient Greek (as often in modern) society. Poets, especially choral lyric poets, were prime promoters of this sense of community; but at the same time, different elements within a particular society might be expected to relate to the deity in significantly different ways, and one of the poet’s functions was to regulate this interface, as an intermediary both (vertically) between human and divine and (horizontally) among the various humans themselves (an issue to which I shall return below, pp. 83–8). Most Greek divinities (like those of e.g. ancient Mesopotamia or the Levant) were closely associated with particular localities and social (or ethnic) groups, which they were expected to protect and promote, by rewarding the pious and just and conversely causing harm to their enemies – including internal enemies, if necessary: the greedy, the unjust, the treacherous, all those guilty of arrogant, abusive misconduct (hubris). Greek lyric poetry tends to focus especially on the local (‘epichoric’) connections and characteristics of the gods, in contrast to dactylic epic, which (at least in its surviving ‘Homeric’ versions) tends to have a more panhellenic slant. Pindar’s epinikian odes are full of genealogies and aetiologies relating various divinities (and demigods) to the sites of the great circuit games or to the homelands of the victors, and his paeans appear to be even more locally focused. Likewise the monodies of Alcaeus, Sappho, Ibycus and Anacreon make frequent mention of local cult and sacral topography (e.g. Anacr. 348 PMG, Alcm. 1 PMGF, Alcaeus 129 V). Although the gulf between gods and mortals is often regarded as vast, the conventions for composing a ‘hymn’ (hymnos) for the gods are in fact similar to those for an enkômion or eulogy for a human being, as later rhetoricians observed. In either case, the key transactions are conducted in terms of reciprocal ‘favour’ (charis, chairô, charizesthai) and ‘gifts’ (didômi, dôron); and this is as true of a verbal prayer or hymn as it is of a more tangible dedication or animal sacrifice. For ritual to succeed, both action and speech must be correctly performed, and the worshippers must take care to 76 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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apportion the appropriate degree of ‘honour, value’ (timê) to the more powerful partner in the exchange, thereby guaranteeing in return (it is hoped) an appropriate acknowledgement of the obligation to help. The standard prayer format, which occurs already in the opening episode of the Iliad (1.33-42) is found in innumerable occurrences from lyric. For example: Brilliant children of Memory and Olympian Zeus, Pierian Muses, hear (klute) me as I pray: Grant (dote) that I have prosperity …

(Sol. 13 W)

Ornate-flowered, immortal Aphrodite, Wile-weaving daughter of Zeus, I entreat you: … come (elthe) here, if ever on another occasion you heard (eklues) my voice from afar … … Come to me now again … … … and you yourself be my ally (summachos). (Sa. 1.1–7, 25–28 V)

The formula is consistent: first, a direct address, rich with epithets, followed by mention of the god’s place(s) of birth/residence/special fondness; characteristic activities and powers; particular connection to this speaker and/or community and any special obligation/entitlement that may be claimed. Finally, after making sure that the deity is indeed paying due attention (‘hear me (or us) now’: kluthi/klute, or a form of akouô), the request is made: ‘come’ (to help, as an ‘ally’, as e.g. summachos at Sa. 1.28 V; cf. Archil. 108.2 W) or ‘kindly give/grant the requisite favour’ (dos, dote = ‘give, grant’, as at Sol. 13 W, Anacr. 347, 358 PMG, etc.).5 The verbal and ritual conventions thus, on the one hand, symbolise and confirm the close bond between god and worshippers – also among the fellowworshippers whose representative and spokesperson the poet often is – while at the same time reaffirming the distance that separates gods and humans. Many Greek lyric addresses and narratives describe occasions on which the deity may ‘come’ to help, ‘descend’ from heaven and ‘appear in person’ (phanêthi, whence ‘epiphany’); or else s/he may ‘pay a visit’ as a ‘guest’ in a favoured community for certain days in the year. Sometimes anxiety may be expressed, lest this deity may have other ideas in mind; and occasionally we find a poet even

5

For the traditional Near Eastern and Greek prayer-formula (which persists to the present: e.g. ‘Our Father, which art in heaven … give us this day our daily bread …’), see further West 1997, 269–75.

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complaining that the god is neglecting his/her worshippers (e.g. Thgn. 341–50, 373–400, 731–52). It is not easy for modern readers to assess the original impact and significance of those examples of ritual song that (by accident, or by design) continued in circulation through the classical period through being reperformed in symposia (see Fig. 2) and schools (Fig. 3), and that subsequently were collected into written ‘editions’ during the Hellenistic era for more leisurely circulation and study. We do not know whether, or how often, the poets originally wrote their ‘occasional’ pieces with a view to such reperformance or reading. In any case, a poem that has been selected to be reperformed at symposia or public gatherings, or written down to be read by later generations, is clearly no longer directly operating in furtherance of actual cult (a prayer, a request for help, a victory celebration etc.). We may wonder, too, whether the degree of allusiveness, narrative sophistication, and complexity of self-reference may not mark out several surviving poems as distinctively crafted art-poems (or even ‘literature’, like the religious poems of e.g. John Donne and George Herbert), several cuts above the run-of-the-mill (actual) prayers offered up by ordinary singers and poets – and of course most real-life prayers were presumably expressed in prose. Nonetheless the overall function was, we may presume, not radically different, and many of the same conventions and expectations of ‘reading’ are required.6 Many Greek hymns and poetic prayers include narratives demonstrating the god’s wonderfully superior capabilities and entitlement, often to the point of exaggerating human feebleness and futility; the gulf separating human from divine is unbridgeable: ‘By no means is everything accomplished according to men’s desires; for the immortals are far superior to mortals’ (Thgn. 617–18; cf. 143–4, 165–6, 171–2, 617–18, 687–8). Many descriptions of divine activity stress the effortless ‘ease’ with which gods accomplish their will. But sometimes (e.g. in the epinikia of Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides, or Ibycus’ praise of Polycrates, S151 PMGF) it is instead the closeness of particular noble families to the gods that may be foregrounded. Lyrics composed or commissioned by elites often emphasise the genealogical connections and exemplary resonances between the heroes of the past and the best, divinely blessed achievements of their own day. Thus Croesus’ exceptional piety and benefactions earn his rescue (‘Apollo carried the old man then to the Hyperboreans … by reason of his piety, since he had sent up to holy Pytho the greatest gifts of any mortal’, Bacch. 3.58–62 M); and the special qualities of a brilliant chorus-leader can win the divine favour that the others cannot achieve on their own (‘I desire to please Aeotis especially, for she was the

6

See further Depew 2000.

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healer of our labours; but it was thanks to Hagesichora that girls set foot on the path of lovely peace’, Alcm. 1.87–91 PMGF). A god’s very willingness to hear and to help may itself be taken as a sign of the speaker’s or patron’s elevation above the ordinary – for example, Sappho’s close relationship to Aphrodite (Sa. 1, 2, 5, 15, 65?, 86, 90, 112, 133, 140 V), Archilochus’ or Arion’s to Dionysus, Hipponax’s to Hermes (Hipp. 3, 32, 35 W). In the same vein, stories about the Seven Sages (sophoi), several of whom were renowned as poets as well as legislators (Solon, Bias, Pittacus), are generally framed by accounts of their interactions with the cult of Delphic Apollo. Thus, even as the superiority of the divine is maintained, humans might still ride on its coat-tails, as it were, and hope to gain for themselves fame, prosperity and salvation from danger – even a kind of poetic ‘immortality’, as e.g. at Sol. 13.1–4 W, Pind. Ol. 11.4–9 (and cf. Ol. 5.23–5), a capacity of lyric to which I shall return below (pp. 90–3). Fate, fortune and morality Yet, however piously and poetically mortals may address them, the gods cannot be counted upon always to protect them from harm or grant them happiness. For not only are those gods sometimes hard to fathom – even downright whimsical – but they are themselves also subject to the constraints of ‘fate’ (moira, to peprômenon), to the conflicting demands of other divinities, and to the unwritten laws and ‘rhythm’ (rhysmos, Archil. 128 W) of the cosmos as a whole. (As Sappho observes, even the goddess Dawn (Eos) failed to secure for her beloved Tithonus the eternal youthfulness that was needed: the ‘New’ Sappho, papyri P.Köln 21351 and 21376, partially overlapping with Sa. 58 V). In general, the fact that no single god was thought to rule alone, or to be perfect and all-powerful, had broad implications for the archaic Greek worldview. For if gods are in competition with one another, just as humans are, the world is accordingly imagined as a place where spheres of influence and control are constantly in flux. Polytheism, it may be said, is a system more invested than monotheism in explaining a world that appears full of instability, transitoriness, and even inequity, since (as Plato and others later came to acknowledge) a truly omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent deity would never allow injustice and unmerited suffering to exist in the world. So it is not surprising among the lyric poets to find, along with references to ‘gods’, ‘fate’ and ‘necessity’, numerous observations to the effect that life is unstable, anything that is born and grows must soon shrink and die (‘We are like leaves’, Mimn. 2 W, Sim. fr. eleg. 19 W²) and whatever (whoever) goes up must eventually come down – the higher, the harder. For example: 79 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

The Cambridge Companion to Greek Lyric Everything is by/for the gods. Often when men are lying flat on the dark earth They raise them upright (orthousin) from their troubles; And often they overturn onto their backs even those whose stance was very well set. Then much misery is theirs, and a man wanders about In lack of livelihood and distraught in his mind. (Archil. 130 W; cf. Pind. Ol. 2.33–8, Ol. 7.24–6)

Such expressions offer consolation both for those who are perpetually puny and for suddenly victimised elites. But, along with these reminders of the fragility of human happiness, we also often find the stipulation that one must consequently ‘play/think safe’ (sôphronein) and observe moderation even – especially – when things seem to be going as well as they possibly can: Do not exult too openly in victory And in defeat do not fall down and keep lamenting in your home, But let your rejoicing in joyful times and your grief in bad times not be excessive … Get to know (ginôske) what sort of pattern (rhysmos) controls mankind (Archil. 128.4–7 W; cf. too Thgn. 159–60, 591–4)

Here the phrase for ‘not excessive’ (mê liên) recalls the Delphic maxim ‘nothing in excess’ (best known in the dactylic-hexametric phrase mêden agan), just as the admonition to ‘know … the pattern’ echoes the Delphic ‘know yourself’ (gnôthi seauton). Indeed, much Greek lyric exhibits a similar sense of uncertainty and insecurity about the biological, economic and political realities governing society: life is unreliable and dangerous. The archaic period has been characterised by some as one in which such instability and transitoriness were experienced more acutely than in the preceding (‘dark’, or ‘Homeric’) or succeeding (‘classical’) ages. Critics have highlighted the term ‘creature-of-a-day’ (ephêmer(i)os, e.g. Sem. 1.3 W; Thgn. 656, 966; Pind. Pyth. 8.95) as being especially revealing of ‘lyric’ Greek sensibilities,7 even as they have also noted the growing concern in the poetry of this period for personal ‘endurance, perseverance’ (tlêmosunê, tolma, e.g. Archil. 13.5–8 W; Thgn. 593–4, 657–66, 1029; Alcaeus 38a V; Sa. 31 V) and for collective commitment to law, justice, purity and order of all kinds: This is what my heart bids me teach the Athenians, That Disorder (Dusnomiê) brings the city countless ills, But Good Order (Eunomiê) reveals all that is neat (eukosma) and fitting (artia) And often fastens chains around the unjust.

7

Fränkel 1946, Dickie 1976.

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Greek lyric and the place of humans in the world She makes the rough smooth, puts a stop to excess, weakens insolence (hubrin) … Under her all things among men are fitting (artia) and intelligent. (Sol. 4.30–9 W; cf. Thgn. 145–8)

There may be some validity to this modern critical assessment. Certainly this was a period of remarkable change and social instability. Class distinctions, land-holdings and forms of government seem to have been more fluid than they had been in previous centuries. Boundaries between free and slave, rich and poor, dominant and dominated, were more liable to be crossed, through travel, warfare, commerce, piracy and colonisation. Population growth provoked emigration and exploration, as well as troublesome disputes about distribution and inheritance. Wealth was becoming more movable and transferable, thanks in part to the invention of coinage and new forms of land tenure and distribution. Chattel slavery was more widespread, replacing forms of debt-bondage and land-servitude and thus reducing the status of many members of society to mere animate objects. Above all, the development of new – and often hotly contested – institutions and constitutions within the polis tended to bring closer to the surface (or call into question) many deep-seated anxieties, resentments and aspirations regarding justice and natural entitlement, community and class identity, gender, sexuality and individual aspirations.8 But at the same time one should not exaggerate the novelty of the expressions of insecurity and anxiety about the human condition that we find in Greek lyric. There are many such observations to be found in earlier Near Eastern literature, and indeed similar expressions occur here and there within the Homeric epics and Hesiod’s Works and Days as well. The difference in overall flavour and emphasis between lyric and epic ‘world-views’ may therefore be attributed as much to the different generic constraints and conventions of their particular occasions and audiences as to a temporal or spiritual (r)evolution. The same may be said about the so-called ‘rise of the individual’ and ‘growth of self-consciousness’. If the earliest surviving Greek lyric presents to us – as it does – named individuals whose works contain forthright expressions of first-person opinions and feelings, and passionate demands to examine the innermost hearts of their friends and enemies, we cannot be sure that such expressions had not in fact been available to poets and their audiences for hundreds of years before they came to be written down and preserved (for us) in the works of Archilochus, Tyrtaeus, Alcaeus, Sappho and the others. Nonetheless we do find among the lyric poets some particular forms of individual self-presentation and existential speculation that appear

8

See Snodgrass 1980, Dougherty and Kurke 1993, Fisher and van Wees 1998.

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to be quite novel, and to be aimed quite directly to contradict traditional heroic claims and postures. Archilochus’ famous dismissal of his shield (5 W), or Sappho’s assertion that the ‘finest’ thing (kalliston) is not an array of infantry or cavalry or ships, but ‘whatever someone is in love with’ (κῆν᾽ ὄττω τις ἔραται, 16.3–4 V), derive much of their wit and force from their contradictory stance and specifically anti-epic mentality, whether we explain these statements in chronological or generic terms. At some level, epic was always considered the ‘primary’ poetic genre, and therefore the primary vehicle for describing the most elevated types of human conduct. Hence sometimes whole lyric ‘scenes’ are built as virtual commentaries or parodies of particular episodes from Homer.9 Indeed, lyric in general often seems to relish those very moments and feelings that epic is least capable of including, or at least, of sustaining and approving: romance, courtship, seduction and marriage; partying (especially dancing and drinking); low-class joking and gross physical enjoyment or discomfort (involving food, sex, excretion, slapstick). Thus characters in epic who attract negative comment (Paris, Helen, Thersites) may be matched in lyric by more positive equivalents: we may point, respectively, to the ‘delicacy, luxuriance’ (habrosunê) of cosmetics, hair and graceful self-presentation promoted by Sappho and Anacreon; to the erotic fervour of extramarital love affairs encountered in Archilochus, Sappho, Mimnermus, Theognis and Ibycus; and to the comic invective, scatology and obscenity of Archilochus, Hipponax and Anacreon – all of them directly contradicting those Homeric ‘models’. Yet in the same time-period, even the very same poets, when occasion demands, also sometimes express feelings and opinions that are more or less identical to those we find in Homeric epic and/or in Hesiod (and of course, the morality and opinions found in the Works and Days about e.g. war, lords, labour, the gods etc. are often sharply at variance with ‘Homer’s’ – itself strong evidence that a generic, rather than purely chronological explanation for such differences is likely): exhortations to martial valour and self-sacrifice; admiration for feats of strength and agility, and for beauty, piety, justice, loyalty and the other conventional moral virtues, along with disapproval of treachery, cowardice, ugliness, injustice and greed. Indeed, the moral injunctions attributed to Theognis of Megara characterise themselves with the same term, ‘maxims, principles’ (hypothêkai), as was given to the ‘Maxims of Chiron’, a hexameter collection often attributed to Hesiod (frs. 282–5 M-W). For me, skilled and wise poet (sophizomenôi) that I am, let a seal be placed on these verses … 9

On this, see further Graziosi and Haubold, this vol., 97–108.

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Greek lyric and the place of humans in the world It is with good thoughts (eu phroneôn) for you that I shall give advice (hypothêsomai) such as I myself, Kyrnos, learned from noble men (agathoi) while still a child. Be sensible, and pay attention … (Thgn. 19–20, 27–9)

Such elegiac ‘wisdom’, frequently echoed by Callinus (1 W), Tyrtaeus (e.g. 12.10–20 W), Solon and others, continued to be sung in symposia and taught to children for centuries to come, forming a deeply traditional mainstream of ‘educational’ moralising that was shared by Greeks of all localities and genealogies.

Building community Both as authoritative representatives of their fellow-humans in addressing the gods (as discussed above, pp. 75–9), and more directly by contributing poems in furtherance of particular collective endeavours such as war, politics and civic ceremonies of various kinds, as well as by providing songs and dances for the education of the young (paideia, a topic to which I shall return below), lyric poets were explicitly or implicitly involved in the building of (a) human community. Thus, for example, the author of a hymn to the gods, whether s/he composed it for solo or choral performance, was usually positioned as a member of a particular social group whose relationship to the god(s) is mediated by this musical-poetical transaction of charis. The phrases, ‘Hear me’, ‘Do this for me’, ‘Come to me!’ normally imply a further dimension of ‘us’ as well as ‘me’, whether those others are imagined as being equals and comrades of the poet, or as being in some sense subordinate to him or her, their ‘leader’. Thus Alcaeus’ prayers to the Dioscuri and to Dionysus (34 and 129 V), and Sappho’s to Aphrodite (see above, p. 77) invoke the divine presence for the benefit both of the singer and of the assembled (or imagined) group of fellow-worshippers; and likewise, it seems, Theognis, when addressing his young boyfriend Kyrnos (e.g. 31–8, 53–68, 101–16), or Archilochus, when addressing his comrade Pericles (13 W, 1 astôn, cf. 7 hêmeas = ‘us’), is explicitly locating the pair of them within a group of like-minded symposiasts or ‘citizens’. This dynamic is nicely captured in Anacreon 348 PMG, where the ‘reciprocal joy’ (7 chairousa) felt by Artemis seems to be evoked both by Anacreon’s hymn itself and by her contemplation of a city full of brave and civilised men (8). The poet’s ‘community’ may be a small group of elites, or a whole polis, or a combination of the two (e.g. an elite family or clique jockeying for power and prestige within a larger political arena). Occasions for poetic negotiation and reinforcement of social bonds, goodwill and self-image were numerous; and 83 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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the combination of verbal expressions with physical gestures and movements (choral dance, athletic and cosmetic display, sharing of food and (especially) wine, exchange of gifts, alternation and blending of voices and instrumental accompaniment, etc.) all contributed to the multi-dimensional process of creating social ‘harmony’. Expressions such as ‘peace’ (eirênê), ‘calm’ (hêsuchia) and ‘goodwill’ (euphrosynê) are in fact almost synonymous in archaic Greek with ‘poetry’, while ‘measure’ (metron), ‘harmony’ (harmonia) and ‘well-ordered, decorous arrangement’ (eunomia, kosmos) were as basic to good social behaviour as to musical performance. That is not to say that poetry was restricted to cheerful and friendly topics, however – far from it. Every group of ‘friends, comrades’ (philoi, hetairoi) tended to define itself in opposition to certain hated ‘enemies’ (echthroi) or rivals, and invective and ridicule were (as in most societies) ready mechanisms for promoting the in-group’s mutual loyalty and self-image. ‘Benefit friends, harm enemies’ was a fundamental moral imperative, and poets were of course the most eloquent exponents of this, as of other, ethical commonplaces (e.g. Sol. 13.5–6 W; Thgn. 869–72; also e.g. Archil. 26 W, 177 W; Hipp. (?) 115 W; Alcaeus 298 V). Within the polis, a poet like Alcaeus or Theognis may speak for the ‘nobles’ (agathoi, aristoi, esthloi) in direct opposition to the ‘low-lifes’ (kakoi), whereas in a different political context others like Solon or Archilochus may promote a middle-of-the-road position, appealing to the common interests of wealthy and poor, aristoi and dêmos alike. And for some occasions, the poet’s art consists precisely in designing a song that both exalts the exceptional talents of the few and simultaneously reassures the many that their local elite’s extravagant displays of wealth, achievement and good taste are in fact demonstrations of ‘piety’ (because beautiful offerings are being made to the gods), of ‘hospitality’ (xenia) and of ‘unselfish generosity’ (dapanê), all of which bring benefit and honour to the whole community.10 Thus e.g. Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides elegantly justify elite privilege, by emphasising the closeness of athletes and their families to the gods and heroes, and their superior moral qualities as well. By contrast, the elegies of Solon and Tyrtaeus sometimes remind the wealthy that their selfishness and extravagance are neither divinely approved nor socially useful, while Hipponax and Archilochus appeal in their iambics to Hermes, Dionysus or even Zeus (as god of oaths, beggars and guests) to curse their personal enemies and grant some alleviation of their own socially disadvantaged status. In each case, the gods – together with a more or less explicitly stated view of divine order in the

10

Kurke 1991.

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Fig. 1 Wooden plaque showing sacrificial procession of women and musicians. Corinthian, c. third quarter sixth century BCE

world – are deployed as essential elements in the sociology and rhetoric of praise, blame and community-building. The circulation of wealth, honours and symbolic energy essential to the internal cohesion and solidarity of elite groups took many forms, of which the most important for our purposes were the ‘buddy-clubs’ (hetaireiai) and ritualised drinking parties (symposia, discussed below, pp. 88–90), with their love affairs, intense homosocial bonding, and almost mandatory focus on ‘music’ (mousikê – i.e. poetry, song, dance). In general, of course, music, with its repetitive rhythms, combinations and juxtapositions of voices and limbs and strong emotional effect, has always been one of the strongest promoters of social cohesion and fellow-feeling; and much Greek lyric clearly participated in this dynamic (see Figs. 1, 2, 4). Thus not only choruses of boys and girls preparing for a festival or adolescent rite of passage, but athletes too trained to the sound of music, and their victories in turn were celebrated by choral performances.11 In the school-room – at least by the fifth century – boys (and perhaps sometimes girls too, though this may have happened more often at home) would be taught singing and dancing, reading and writing, music and poetry, all at once (Fig. 3).12 Military training likewise involved

11 12

Lonsdale 1993, Naerebout 1997, Murray and Wilson 2004. See Aristophanes’ Clouds 961–1023 for a (comedic) depiction of the role of music and poetry in boys’ education. As for girls, in Athens especially vase paintings indicate that women in the fifth century sang, danced, played instruments and also read papyrus texts quite extensively: Beck 1975. For Spartan (male and) female choruses, see Calame 1997.

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Fig. 2 Inside of a red-figure kylix attributed to Douris, showing aulos-player and singing symposiast. Attic, c. 480 BCE

group songs and solo dances (e.g. paean, pyrrhichê); soldiers and sailors sometimes sang as they entered battle; and in the mess-halls (syssitia), as well as in the private homes where the sympotic groups of companions met, elites were expected to be accomplished solo singers, dancers and improvisers 86 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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Fig. 3 Red-figure kylix signed by Douris, showing a school scene, including youths playing the aulos and writing on tablet (side a), and man and youth playing lyres and man holding scroll (side b). Attic, c. 490–480 BCE

of witty verses. A common repertoire and shared idiom of performance reinforced group solidarity, while opportunities were also provided for competitive rivalry and individual display of talent. Likewise choral performances of all kinds enhanced the sense of membership in a community (Fig. 1), even 87 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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Fig. 4 Black-figure Siana cup attributed to the Heidelberg painter, showing choral group of dancers. Attic, mid-sixth century BCE

as they acknowledged the special roles of key performers and composers as ‘chorus-leader’ and ‘teacher’ (chorêgos, chorodidaskalos). The ethical effects of poetry (and of music in general) were universally recognised. Much Greek lyric is overtly moralistic, praising virtue and castigating vicious and antisocial behaviour, while often providing good and bad ‘examples’ (paradeigmata) for children and adults alike to emulate or shun. But sometimes the didactic purpose is less overt, or entirely absent. Some poets, especially those in the ‘low’ or ‘proto-comic’ tradition, like Archilochus, Hipponax and Anacreon, making the most of the subversive licence bestowed by Dionysus, Aphrodite and Hermes as patrons of drunkenness, erotic desire, trickery and invective, even seem at times to revel in the impropriety and salaciousness of their appetites and in the absurdity and grossness of the human condition (Fig. 4). But for the most part the moral value of poetry is taken for granted, as are the social benefits of performing it in public. As Plato’s ‘Athenian’ remarks (Laws 654a), ‘Anyone who is untrained in choral performance (achoreutos) is uneducated (apaideutos).’ The symposion – microcosm of the human condition Among elites of the archaic and classical periods, the symposion, and the songs performed there, comprised a virtual microcosm of the world they lived in (or would like to imagine that they lived in). Reclining on couches in intimate proximity to one another, sharing a communal bowl of ritually mixed wine, waited on by elegant young slaves of either sex and entertained both by each other and by professional performers (musicians, dancers, 88 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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acrobats, prostitutes), a group of a dozen or more ‘right-minded, like-minded’ male comrades would spend the evening stylishly presenting to one another their opinions and feelings of mutual esteem, concern and solidarity.13 Within this performance context, their own individual recitations of poetry (spontaneous, or previously learned and rehearsed), and the collective aesthetic experience of admiring and critiquing the performances of others (see Fig. 2), encouraged the development of highly sophisticated – though also often fiercely opinionated, sexist and snobbish – expressions of poetic imagination and appreciation. For now the floor is clean (katharos), and so are the hands of everyone And the cups too; someone places woven garlands round (the heads of the guests), And someone else offers sweet-smelling perfume in a saucer (phialê). The mixing-bowl (kratêr) stands filled with good cheer/good sense (euphrosunê); … For men of good cheer/good sense (euphronas andras) it is appropriate first To hymn the god with reverent stories and pure words (katharoisi logoisi), After pouring libations and praying for the ability to do what is right … Not deeds of violence (hubreis) … … And to praise that man who, after drinking, reveals noble thoughts, So that there’s recollection (mnêmosunê) and striving for excellence (tonos aretês). (Xenoph. 1.1–4, 13–16, 19–20 W)

This sympotic ‘microcosm’, though it gave a platform to its members for discussing and critiquing almost anything they chose from the world outside, tended to follow certain conventional patterns. The symposiasts imagined themselves as the crew of Dionysus’ ‘ship’, steering their course harmoniously through a ‘sea of calm’ (hêsuchia) and avoiding the perils of ‘stormy’ argument and drunken brawling; or they were a well-ordered ‘city’, taking turns to speak (or sing) as equals, assailing their enemies’ ugliness, greed, injustice and bad taste (e.g. Alcaeus 129 V, Timocreon 727 PMG, Hipp. 28 W), and promoting their own or their comrades’ excellent qualities; or they might be ‘soldier/lovers’, on a campaign to court one another or some favourite object of desire, present or absent. They might lower themselves to the level of the animalistic (yet divine) ‘satyrs’ depicted on their drinking cups, dedicated to Dionysus, shameless in their sexual and exhibitionist behaviour, drinking themselves into a musical/sexual frenzy. Or they might choose instead (as Plato’s symposiasts do) to pursue a loftier program of more philosophical and 13

Murray 1990a, Lissarrague 1990. For reference to ‘like-minded’ (homophrôn) and ‘rightminded, friendly’ (euphrôn) sympotic attitudes, see e.g. Thgn. 81, 765; Solon 4.10 W; and Xenoph. 1.4, 13 (quoted immediately below).

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aesthetically discriminating discussion. Each of these behavioural modes brought with it its own performance conventions, and individual interactions might become highly agonistic or personal, with the participants adopting a variety of postures and subject positions, and perhaps reperforming (or parodying, or alluding to) lyrics drawn from the extensive poetic repertoire of previous generations (the ‘Harmodius-song’, the ‘Three of Stesichorus’, numerous riddles etc.), sometimes with new twists and modifications. Participants might also be expected from time to time to adopt a more vulnerable subject position than their normal public front, especially when discussing the effects of love and wine. Thus ‘Boy with a girlish glance: I pursue you, but you don’t notice, unaware that you are holding the reins of my soul’ (Anacr. 360 PMG); ‘Grey are my temples already and my head is white … And so I keep bursting into fear of Tartarus; for the dark hole of Hades is grim’ (Anacr. 395 PMG; cf. Alcaeus 38a V). The environment of the symposion was thus both intensely competitive and reassuringly supportive. Regardless of their individual roles within the civic environment of the polis – and the symposion was equally at home, it appears, under oligarchies and democracies – every member of a sympotic group was inherently recognised as an equal, a ‘trusty companion’ (pistos hetairos) to the others, even as he endeavoured to outdo his buddies in style and authority.14 At the same time, the sympotic group itself banded together in pursuance of its own collective image and prestige – and in sharp distinction from the slave attendants and professional performers, all of whom were forbidden to share in the wine or recline unless they were temporarily engaged as sexual partners or instrumental accompanists to one or other symposiast. Under the cheerful guidance of Dionysus, and offering additional paeans to Apollo and libations to ‘Zeus-the-third-and-saviour’, the band of drinking-companions thus steered its well-regulated course through the treacherous and uncertain seas of life, trusting in the power of song to reach its haven of (temporary) happiness. Immortalisation, transformation and ‘play’ Poetry in general was credited, as we have seen, with the power not only to generate and preserve ‘goodwill’ and ‘concord’ (euphrosunê, homophrosunê, eunoia), to celebrate virtue (aretê) and expose vice (kakia, hubris) and to ‘entertain’ and ‘distract’ people from their troubles,15 but also – perhaps its 14

15

Whether or not similar groups existed among elite women (e.g. Sappho and her companions) is not certain; see further Stehle, this vol., 69. On competitive techniques of sympotic poetry, see further Griffith 1990, Collins 2004. The Greek verbs for ‘turn, distract’ (trepô) and ‘please, entertain’ (terpô) appear to be etymologically linked.

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highest function of all – to immortalise human beings through the geographical and temporal extension of their name and reputation (kleos, doxa) and even to transport them, while still living, to an altered state of being. Lyric, no less than epic, constantly reminds us that great events, achievements and individuals require song (or ‘a voice’), whether in the medium of a live performance or through inscription on durable material (bronze, stone, pot, papyrus), or both: otherwise, the ‘value, honour’ (timê) of the moment, and the ‘pleasure, charm, gratitude’ of a personal relationship, may quickly fade from collective memory. A brilliant victory or marriage, an individual’s extraordinary beauty (or grotesque foulness), even a man’s whole lifetime of success, might end up being worth nothing – without poetic commemoration, it might as well never have happened, since nobody would know about it beyond the surviving eyewitnesses. It would be like having a name that is never mentioned. Indeed, kleos ‘glory’, means precisely ‘being named’ (kaleô), and the ‘truthfulness’ of good poetry resides in large part in its ‘unforgetfulness/unforgettable-ness’ (alêtheia ‘truth’ = the negation of lêthê):16 I have given you wings, Kyrnos… … And when you go to Hades’ house of wailing, down in the dark earth’s depths, never even in death will you lose your fame (kleos), but you will be in men’s thoughts, your name ever unfading (aphthiton). (Thgn. 237–54; cf. the ‘New’ Simonides: Sim. fr. eleg. 11.13–28 W²)

This process of ‘immortalisation’ had another dimension too, in the immediate present; for the very experience of celebrating these moments with music, poetry and ritual action was aimed at heightening the participants’ aesthetic and emotional sensibilities beyond the normal. The sense of heightened collective well-being, symbolised by the seating and/or viewing arrangements, and by the merging or alternation of voices in song and bodies in dance, might be further promoted in ‘live’ performance (at the symposion or certain other festival occasions) by the psychotropic effects of the wine: hence the prominent role assigned to Dionysus, as well as to Eros and Aphrodite, as an inspirer of poetry. The experience was thus at once sacral, social and individually mind-expanding; and even in written form much Greek lyric poetry is framed in such a way as to recapture or recreate some of that super-normal experience, celebrating, and recreating, the enhanced, quasi-divine states of being that can – at least briefly – be attained by human beings as they perform and listen to poetry and music (song). For if divine existence (to put it crudely) is imagined by humans as a permanent, invulnerable state of contemplating one’s own power, feeling joy at the goodwill and happiness that one is 16

See Detienne 1996, 35–52.

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providing for others, and appreciating the whole universe in all its variety and richness,17 then the moments in (real, human) life when a man or woman experiences or anticipates in his or her imagination the thrill of fulfilled desire, the warmth of mutual affection and shared values among friends, or the sense of entering into a different world, an altered consciousness provided by the verbal, narratological, visual and musical stimuli of others – these moments elevate the participants/recipients briefly into the realm of the divine: ‘That man seems to me equal to the gods, who…’ (Sa. 31.1–2 V); or, as Pindar phrases it (Ol. 8.72–4), ‘A man forgets about Hades when he has performed something fitting/harmonious (harmena praxais).’ (But lyric is also full of examples of those who tried mistakenly to climb too high and to ignore their mortal limitations. So it is also the lyric poet’s task to ensure that such mistakes are not made: the highest potential of the human mind and spirit must be celebrated, but never over-indulged.) The ‘enthusiasm’ of possession by Dionysus and the ‘experience, passion’ (pathos) of abject subjugation to Eros that we have noted are just two of the temporarily altered states of mind that participants in a poetic/musical performance might enjoy. There were other forms too, many of them involving role-playing and far-fetched fantasy. For, along with its function as a medium of ‘education’ (paideia), poetry was also valued as a form of ‘play’ (paidia).18 And it is with two of the more ‘playful’ aspects of lyric poetry that I will conclude this chapter. The first is the well-known power of poetry to take over the mind (soul, emotions, imagination) of a person, to stimulate and bewitch it in exciting and irresistible ways, a process which the Greeks of the fifth and fourth century termed psychagôgia (‘mind-bending’: psychê ‘soul, mind’ + agein, agôgê ‘lead, drive, control’). The extent to which this was believed to be a literal, physiological process is impossible to determine;19 but certain types of poetry (and even of oratory) were frequently characterised as ‘incantations, charms’ (epôidai), a term applied also to (religio-magical) ‘spells’.20 In both cases, rhythmical, artfully designed speech patterns were recognised as having 17

18

19

20

Thus (e.g.) Hom. Il. 1.423–4, Hes. Theog. 37–43, Op. 112–15, Pind. Pyth. 10.29–36, 1 Kings 22.19–23, Psalms 19.41–46, Isaiah 6.1–3, Revelation 4, 1 Enoch 46, 2 Enoch 8–9; see West 1997, 112–14, 140–3. Aristotle in his Poetics (4.1448b3–23) and Politics (8.1339a7–42b30) remarks on the natural human instinct for ‘pretending, playing’ (mimêsis), for ‘rhythm and harmony’ (rhythmos and harmonia), and for ‘play, distraction’ (paidia, diagôgê), and sees these as vital justifications (and ‘causes’) for ‘poetry’ and ‘music’. For a late-fifth-century cognitive-aesthetic theory with a physiological dimension see Gorgias’ Defence of Helen (fr. B 11b D-K), with Segal 1962. For magical spells, which were often composed in verse and arguably not firmly distinct from ‘lyric poetry’, see esp. Faraone 1999. For ‘magical’ language in Sappho, see Segal 1996.

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the power to harness the recipients’ grief and passion, even perhaps (in the case of ritual lamentations and necromancy) to penetrate to the underworld and reach the spirits of the dead, rousing them to renewed consciousness and reengagement with the world above.21 Or a love-spell might use ‘incantations’ (epôidai) and ‘drugs’ (pharmaka) to ‘bind’ one’s object of desire and ‘soften, melt’ her or him so as to cease resisting, or to render a rival powerless to compete. At a more metaphorical level, lyric poetry (in combination with wine) was believed to be especially efficacious in altering the states of mind of an audience, distracting them from the here-and-now, inducing ‘forgetfulness of troubles’ (Hes. Theog. 102–3, Stes. 210 PMGF, Alcaeus 38a, 346.3; and cf. 366, 377, 501) and transporting them into new states of awareness and euphoria. And besides the present-directed diversionary verses of an Archilochus ‘thunderstruck with wine’ (120 W), or the Aphrodite-inspired ‘coma’ of Sappho’s enchantments (2.8 V), there might also be occasions on which a poet could draw on the language and imagery of future ‘salvation’ and ‘rebirth’ associated with such quasi-shamanistic figures as Orpheus and Arion – the one Apollinian, the other Dionysian, but both credited with having founded traditions of eschatologically efficacious poetry.22 Thus a life, or a consciousness, beyond the limitations of the here-and-now was imaginable, and even attainable by means of (or at least, not without) the power of music and poetry. The other most peculiar capacity of lyric poetry, and one that was to morph into especially distinctive cultural forms in the fifth century, was its mimetic and dramatic potential. Even epic rhapsodists (like Plato’s Ion, mentioned above) might be skilled at ‘impersonating’ the various characters in their narratives; but the formal constraints of epic did not allow the reciter actually to ‘become’ those characters or to act out their experiences in person. Lyric monodists, elegist-iambists, and choruses (plus chorus-leader), however, were well positioned to impersonate the heroic characters, gods, satyrs, buffoons – or even animals – whose activities they sang, and thus to perform (recreate) fictional events drawn either from the mythological past or from a variety of contemporary options available for more or less stylised ‘imitation’ (mimêsis). Such poetic ‘performance, action’ (drama, praxis) might be enhanced by special costumes, choreography, vocal modifications, and metricalmusical stylings appropriate to the theme and occasion (see Fig. 4); but the fragmentary state of e.g. the lyric narratives of Stesichorus (Geryoneis, frs. 184–6 and S7–87 PMGF; or Thebaid, 222A PMGF) and of the ‘Aesopic’ epodes of 21 22

See further Ogden 2001, Alexiou 2002a. Carpenter and Faraone 1993, Parker 1995. For a famous example of eschatological promise in lyric (written for a West-Greek patron), see Pind. Ol. 2.56–80 (also fr. 133 M).

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Archilochus (e.g. 172–81 W) allow us only the scantiest glimpses into such ‘predramatic’ tragic and comic performance. Dionysus was of course the divinity most closely associated with such impersonations and altered states, and the phallic, satyric and dithyrambic choruses that (in Athens) evolved during the sixth century into theatrical comedy, satyr-drama and tragedy, respectively, were certainly paralleled and anticipated to some degree in many other parts of Greece. Choruses and solo performers could employ a growing range of ‘lyric’ resources – language, music, dance and gesture – to ‘make believe, imitate, represent’ (mimeisthai) all kinds of other people, real or imaginary; and such ‘play’ gave the opportunity to both performers and audience briefly to experience feelings and thoughts – even whole states of being – quite different from their usual, mundane selves. In the potential psychological spaces opened up by the god and the techniques of a skilled, inspired poet (sophos), Greek lyric thus enabled poet and audience to create and share a momentarily heightened mood and more expansive place for themselves (as humans) to occupy in the world. FURTHER READING

Influential and valuable (though in some respects dated) studies of archaic Greek mentalities and values are Adkins 1960, Fränkel 1975; more recent studies include Fisher 1992, Cairns 1993, Fisher and Van Wees 1998. For the distinctions, overlaps and interfaces between ‘lyric poetry’ and ‘Presocratic philosophy’ – much of which was composed in verse – see Kingsley 1995, Long 1999. On poetic inspiration, as described by the Greek poets themselves, see Murray 1981; for further analysis of the poet’s authoritative role within the community, Gentili 1988, Detienne 1996, Ledbetter 2003. Additional aspects of lyric poetry as a social institution promoting group cohesion and/or bringing disparate elements of a community together, are well explored by Nagy 1990, Kurke 1991, Calame 1997. On the religious aspects of festival performance, see in general Polignac 1995, and (focusing on Pindar in particular) Krummen 1990. The actual occasions for performance of lyric poetry (festivals, symposia, war; etc.) are listed in Herington 1985, together with discussion of the stages through which such poetry developed an increasingly ‘dramatic’ character. On the procedures, behaviours, and aesthetics of the symposion, see Murray 1990b and Lissarrague 1990. On the value of dance as an element in public poetic performances, see Lonsdale 1993, Naerebout 1997 (and again, Calame 1997). Perceptive discussions (with further bibliography) of the altered states of mind promoted by poetry in association with wine, love, dance and other Dionysian and/or erotic activities are provided in Carson 1986 and Seaford 2006.

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5 BARBARA GRAZIOSI AND JOHANNES HAUBOLD

Greek lyric and early Greek literary history

Placing lyric poetry within the early history of Greek literature is a difficult task for at least two reasons. The first is that, as the introduction to this volume makes clear, a variety of very different poems, songs, recitations and dances constitute the modern category of ‘Greek lyric’: these performances were not necessarily thought to have much in common in the archaic period. Aristotle offered no discussion or categorisation of them as a group in his Poetics; and even in Alexandria, where the term ‘lyric’ was employed as a means of systematising the canon of ancient authors, scholars tended to subdivide lyric poetry into more consistent and identifiable sub-genres, such as the paean, the victory ode, or the wedding song. Writing about lyric poetry in relation to other forms of literature in ancient Greece can thus easily lead to a strait-jacketing of a rich and disparate body of songs and recitations, whose status as a poetic genre is very doubtful indeed. The second problem concerns the notion of ‘literary history’, which tends to promote narratives of development. The most influential study of early Greek lyric in the twentieth century was arguably the third chapter of Bruno Snell’s Discovery of the Mind: The Greek Origins of European Thought (first published in German in 1946): according to Snell, lyric poets discovered a sense of the personal ‘I’ and of their own subjectivity, thus effecting an important transition from the impersonal and objective worldview of epic to the later developments of Greek philosophy, drama, and ultimately modern European thought. Such self-congratulatory narratives of development are difficult to resist, and much scholarship on Greek lyric today seems intent either on elaborating on or (more often) reacting against Snell’s vision.1 To these conceptual difficulties we also need to add a pragmatic one: much of what we call Greek lyric poetry is lost or fragmentary, but new texts continue

1

For criticism of Snell, see Dover 1964 and especially Fowler 1987. See also Griffith, this vol., 81–3.

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to emerge as papyri are found and edited. Recent discoveries have changed our overall perception of lyric and its relationship to other kinds of verbal art in ancient Greece, and there is every reason to believe that new fragments will affect our views of Greek lyric poetry in the future also. These problems notwithstanding, it seems possible to start with the general observation that we tend, in the first place, to understand lyric in opposition to epic: that is, for the archaic period, lyric can almost be defined as non-epic poetry. This contrast provides a useful starting point for the present investigation: epic was widely performed; there is no doubt that lyric poets were affected by it. On occasion they say so themselves: for example, Pindar mentions Homer far more frequently than he mentions other lyric poets, and Simonides quotes verbatim Iliad 6.146 before explaining why most people fail to understand the words of ‘the Chian man’.2 The exact nature of the relationship between epic and lyric, however, is difficult to characterise. The language of the earliest lyric poets – for example Callinus, Tyrtaeus, Alcman, Archilochus and Sappho – is closely related to that of epic, but it is difficult to identify precise quotations of, or allusions to, Homer or Hesiod.3 It is likewise clear that the Iliad and the Odyssey were partly shaped by what we now call lyric forms, such as the funeral lament or the wedding song, even if we cannot work out in detail how epic engaged with specific lyric poems. It thus seems that epic and lyric poetry mutually influenced and defined one another in the course of time.4 Some poets, for example Pindar and Simonides, made explicit claims about the poetry of Homer and Hesiod, but connections between epic and lyric had clearly been established and exploited by poets long before them. In that respect, Snell’s narrative of linear development from epic, to lyric, to classical literature does not seem to provide an accurate representation of the complex relationship between epic and lyric poetry. The first sections of this chapter are devoted to exploring that relationship, while the last discusses some of the ways in which lyric poems related to other forms of literary expression in ancient Greece. When early philosophers, historians, orators and dramatists sought to define their own work against the epic tradition, they often turned to lyric for examples of how to do it. In that respect, it does seem right to suggest that lyric had an important mediating role between epic and the literary experimentations of classical Greece.

2

3 4

Sim. fr. eleg. 19 W². The date and authorship of the lines are debated. Here we adopt the ascription to Simonides of Ceos rather than Semonides of Amorgos. See Fowler 1987, ch. 1, West 1995. Cf. Nagy 1990, Martin 1997, Irwin 2005, Aloni, this vol., 185–7.

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The epic Muses If no literature from ancient Greece survived, we would probably assume that its earliest forms involved songs and recitations like the ones we categorise under the label of lyric poetry: that is to say, we would expect to find performances related to specific occasions (such as wedding songs or funeral laments) and composed for recognisable purposes (such as courtship, political propaganda, party entertainment, religious ritual or martial exhortation). Instead, students of Greek literature must, from the outset, confront the monumental presence of Homeric epic, and the equally ambitious Hesiodic poems – and so did the Greeks of the archaic period. It is not clear for what kind of context or for what purposes the Homeric poems were composed. Nor do we know how they were performed, or when they reached a state of textual fixation: in some ways, they seem more surprising and inexplicable than lyric. Although the composition, function and performance of epic are much debated, one thing is clear: the Homeric poems enjoyed lasting authority and success in the ancient Greek world. Already in the sixth century, Xenophanes could state: ‘Since from the beginning everyone learned from Homer…’ (fr. 10 D-K). This tiny fragment conveniently summarises the place of Homeric epic in the cultural landscape of early Greece: it speaks of its perceived authority, antiquity and broad appeal. If we look for claims to authority within epic itself, we find them most clearly expressed in traditional appeals to the Muses. Epic poets typically invoke the goddesses at the beginning of their poems, and ask them to provide accurate information about their subject matter. In a passage of the Works and Days, the connection between knowledge and divine inspiration is made very explicit: Hesiod claims that the Muses enable him to sing authoritatively about the sea and seafaring, even though he has no personal knowledge of the matter (649: oute ti nautiliês sesophismenos oute ti nêôn ‘not being skilled in seafaring or ships’). Lyric poets also sometimes mention the Muses, though their appeals differ significantly from those found in epic, in that they usually draw attention to the poet’s own professional skills and knowledge, and emphasise authorial responsibility. Archilochus, for example, says that he is ‘expert’ in the gift of the Muses (epistamenos, 1.2 W). Solon likewise says that the poet ‘learns’ the gift of the Muses and is then an ‘expert’ in the ‘measure of wisdom’ (didachtheis… sophiês metron epistamenos, 13.51–2 W). Ibycus describes his Muses as ‘skilled’ (sesophismenai) but does not invoke them directly (S151.23 PMGF). His statement can be usefully contrasted to Hesiod’s appeal to the Muses in the Works and Days: whereas the epic poet claims personal ignorance and trust in the Muses, the lyric singer draws attention to his special skills by referring to the Mousai sesophismenai. It 97 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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may be tempting to fit these different treatments of the Muses into a narrative of development: from early and naive appeals for information, as found in epic, to sophisticated reflections on poetic skill, as attested in lyric poetry. In fact, however, it seems that epic and other forms of poetry coexisted in a complex form of symbiosis. In a famous passage at the beginning of the Catalogue of Ships, for example, the epic poet asks the Muses for information and then adds – emphatically – that personal knowledge and physical aptitude are not the point. There is nothing naive about the passage: Il. 2.484–92 can be read as a sophisticated attempt to define epic poetry in terms of the relationships it establishes between poet, Muses and audience. ἔσπετε νῦν μοι Μοῦσαι Ὀλύμπια δώματ’ ἔχουσαι – ὑμεῖς γὰϱ θεαί ἐστε, πάϱεστέ τε ἴστε τε πάντα, ἡμεῖς δὲ κλέος οἶον ἀκούομεν οὐδέ τι ἴδμεν – οἵ τινες ἡγεμόνες Δαναῶν καὶ κοίϱανοι ἦσαν. πληθὺν δ’ οὐκ ἂν ἐγὼ μυθήσομαι οὐδ’ ὀνομήνω, οὐδ’ εἴ μοι δέκα μεν γλῶσσαι, δέκα δὲ στόματ’ εἶεν, ϕωνὴ δ’ ἄϱϱηκτος, χάλκεον δέ μοι ἦτοϱ ἐνείη, εἰ μὴ Ὀλυμπιάδες Μοῦσαι, Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο θυγατέϱες μνησαίαθ’ ὅσοι ὑπὸ Ἴλιον ἦλθον.

Tell me now, Muses who have Olympian homes, for you are goddesses and are present and know all things – but we only hear rumours and know nothing – who were the leaders of the Danaans and their marshals? For I would not be able to describe the mass nor name it, even if I had ten tongues and ten mouths, a voice that never breaks and a heart of bronze – not unless the Olympian Muses, daughters of Zeus who wields the aegis recalled all those who came to Ilios.

Several features of epic are expressed in this invocation. The Muses are said to have a precise and complete knowledge of the past: they ‘know all things’. The bard and his audience, by contrast, have only heard ‘rumours’ and need the help of the Muses in order to remember all those who went to Troy. The audience is conceived here in the most general terms: the ‘we’ in line 486 potentially refers to anybody who is not a god, and the poet is thus included in this category of beings. The topic, moreover, is of universal interest: the Trojan expedition was important to anybody who understood Greek. This is a general characteristic of epic: with the exception of the Works and Days and the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, to which we return later, the poet never specifies a preferred audience in extant epic. Mark Griffith notes the inclusiveness of epic and uses it to explain why Homer never describes or even names himself in the poems: in archaic Greece, poets introduce their own 98 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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person when they want to establish a privileged relationship with a particular addressee or specific audience.5 In epic, the audience and the context of the performance are usually left unspecified; thus the poems present themselves as objective narratives equally true for everybody. The universal appeal of epic helps to explain why the poet does not draw attention to himself: even the knowledge and skills he displays are presented as a gift of the Olympian Muses, and not as a personal attribute. The anonymity, universality and authority of epic can also be explored from a different angle. The invocation to the Muses at Iliad 2.484–92 presents the poet’s knowledge and his ability to express it as part of the same divine gift. Other passages similarly suggest a close connection between the content and form of epic poetry. In the Odyssey, for example, king Alcinous must decide whether to believe what Odysseus, a wandering stranger, is telling him. He concludes that he is worthy of trust because his words ‘have shape’ and because he has put his story together ‘expertly, like a bard’ (11.363–8). The implication is that the ability to arrange a story and perform it like a bard is in itself a reason to accept the truth of its contents. This may seem strange to us, but there are in fact good reasons why the form and content of epic are closely linked in what has been called ‘a poetics of truth’.6 The early epic tradition is characterised by a remarkable consistency of language and by wellestablished techniques of composition. Early hexameter poems are composed in an artificial mixture of Ionic and Aeolic which seems to have developed precisely for the purpose of singing the deeds of gods and men. Epic poets compose using well-established patterns and forms, they draw on a common pool of stock epithets, type scenes and traditional themes.7 It is because their poems resonate within a wider tradition that they ring true even if, as Hesiod points out, the Muses can trick mortals by telling lies that resemble the truth (Theogony 27).8 To modern readers, early hexameter epic can sound repetitive and unyielding to context: Achilles remains ‘swift-footed’ even though he refuses to move for most of the Iliad. His epithet describes his traditional persona (that is, it reminds us of what we can expect of him) and refuses to adapt to his actual behaviour during most of the Iliad. The traditional language of epic helps to explain the extraordinary authority of the genre: epic poets were not perceived to adapt their words to a particular story or context, let alone audience, and so they remained true to a widely shared vision of the epic world.

5 7 8

Griffith 1983; see also Graziosi 2002, ch. 2. 6 Finkelberg 1998, 18–27. E.g. Lord 1960, Parry 1971, Nagy 1999 and Foley 1999. For the Muses of epic see Ford 1992 and 1997. For traditional features reinforcing epic’s claim to truthfulness see Graziosi and Haubold 2005, ch. 2.

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Cohesion and divergence There are, to be sure, significant differences between hexameter poems. Most obviously, they treat different topics and place themselves at different points in the history of the cosmos: the Theogony describes the early stages of cosmic history; many Homeric Hymns sing the births of the Olympian gods; the Iliad, the Odyssey, the poems of the Epic Cycle and the Catalogue of Women are set in the heroic age; the Works and Days describes life as it is today, in the age of iron.9 Accordingly, different narrative voices seem appropriate. In the Works and Days, for example, Hesiod mentions a specific addressee for his poem, his brother Perses, and a community where they both live, Ascra. Yet, the advice he gives is general enough to be relevant to anybody living in the iron age. Scholars have also commented on linguistic differences among early hexameter poems.10 Thematic inconsistencies are likewise evident: for example, Aphrodite is the offspring of Ouranos in the Theogony, but in the Iliad she is the daughter of Zeus. Yet such differences are not emphasised in epic. On the contrary, there is a general tendency to smooth them over: for example the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite no. 6 alludes both to the birth of the goddess from the genitals of Ouranos and to her place in the Olympian order as the daughter of Zeus. The hymn does not endorse one image of Aphrodite and reject the other: rather, it offers a conciliatory, composite picture. This is one example of a more general tendency: as Ruth Scodel has pointed out, early epic tends to adopt a ‘rhetoric of traditionality’, that is, it privileges widely accepted versions of myths, minimises differences and introduces innovations unobtrusively, as if they were common knowledge.11 Some lyric poets, by contrast, openly challenge their audience to make a choice between their own poem and other poems or, more generally, other stories they might have heard. Pindar dismisses the notion that Pelops was chopped up and eaten in Olympian 1, and similarly revises the myth of Ischys and Koronis in Pythian 3, thereby suggesting that other versions did not do justice to Apollo’s insight. In Solon 20 W, Solon openly and playfully corrects what his fellow poet Mimnermus said about old age and death in Mimn. 6.2 W. Pindar, Solon and others flag up their point of view and expose difficulties and contradictions which would otherwise remain unexamined and perhaps unnoticed. In general, lyric poems display a greater variety of language, metre, tone and content than epic poetry. The personality of the poet and the addressee, the

9

10

Discussions of the hexameter tradition can be found in Thalmann 1984, Nagy 1999 and Graziosi and Haubold 2005. For the Epic Cycle, see Davies 1989, Burgess 2001 and Debiasi 2004. For the Catalogue of Women see West 1985a and Hunter 2005. See, especially, Janko 1982. 11 Scodel 2002b.

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place of composition and the occasion for the performance are often explicitly evoked and have a direct impact on the form and content of the poems: we are meant to imagine that lyric poems are tailored to specific situations, whereas epic does not usually specify a privileged audience. Lyric poets compose in a language that can be as artificial and removed from everyday speech as that of epic. However, its use admits of greater variation and may reflect the origins of the poet (as in the case of, for example, Sappho and Alcaeus) or his/her generic affiliations (as in the case of Solon’s Ionian).12 Even when lyric poets use very similar language and expressions to those we find in epic, they do so in ways which depart sharply from traditional epic usage. This point is illustrated, for example, by the famous opening of Sappho 31 V: Φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θέοισιν ἔμμεν’ ὤνηϱ, ὄττις ἐνάντιός τοι ἰσδάνει καὶ πλάσιον ἆδυ ϕωνείσας ὐπακούει He seems to me equal to gods that man whoever he is who opposite you sits and listens close to your sweet speaking

(Sa. 31.1–4 V)13

The phrase ‘equal to gods’ (isos theoisin) evokes a range of traditional epic epithets such as isotheos (godlike), daimoni isos (equal to a god), theoeikelos (divine), theois enalinkios (comparable to a god). At first glance, there is not much difference between those and Sappho’s phrase. Yet, on closer inspection, she significantly departs from the epic parallels which she conjures up in our minds. As Hutchinson perceptively points out, ‘the reason for the phrase will be unclear to the listener until the narrator starts to speak of herself’.14 The man mentioned in the opening lines is not generally godlike like the Homeric heroes, but merely appears to be ‘equal to the gods’ to Sappho while her beloved is talking to him (‘He seems to me …’). Thus the meaning of Sappho’s phrase, isos theoisin, is not primarily determined by its epic resonance or, more generally, by poetic tradition; it emerges from the specific context in which it is used. No matter where the poem was actually performed, we are asked to imagine a particular situation to which the poet reacts: she is looking on, while the girl talks to the godlike man. The man is ‘equal to the gods’ only because he is sitting next to the girl. If he were anywhere else, Sappho certainly would not describe him in those terms. 12

13

To what extent lyric poets also adapted their language to their audiences remains an open question. For the problems raised by the poetry of Ibycus in particular see Wilamowitz 1900, 44–6; Nöthiger 1971, 66; Ucciardello 2005. Trans. Carson (2002) 63. 14 Hutchinson 2001, 170.

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Sometimes, lyric poets reflect on the differences between their own poetry and epic. For example, in a poem that has been much maligned by modern critics, Ibycus self-consciously defines his art against that of the epic poets (S151 PMGF).15 We have already remarked that the ‘skilled Muses’ he mentions in line 23 of this poem evoke Hesiod’s statements at Works and Days 646–62, while at the same time implying a different attitude toward knowledge, poetic skill and divine inspiration. In the same passage, he also includes an invocation to the Muses similar to that found at the beginning of the Catalogue of Ships. Like Homer, he claims that no ordinary mortal can give a full account of the Trojan expedition, since only the Muses know the details (23–31). Unlike Homer, however, he does not continue by enlisting their help but rather moves on to a different subject entirely: the fame of his addressee Polycrates (46–8). Thus most of the poem is taken up by an impressionistic catalogue of epic feats, which never becomes a narrative and draws on the Cypria as well as on the Iliad and Hesiod. Then, in the last two lines, Ibycus claims that his poetry will grant Polycrates ‘immortal glory’, aphthiton kleos (47). Again, we encounter an epic phrase in a surprising context: Ibycus uses it in order to make a point about Polycrates as well as about his audiences in future times. The resonance of the epic tradition is thus harnessed for the benefit of a specific relationship between poet and addressee. Generally, then, it seems that the language of lyric is more situational than that of epic. Even when epic phrases are used, they derive much of their force from the individual and seemingly unique contexts in which they are found. Only Sappho sees the girl talking to the godlike man. Only Ibycus can grant immortal glory to Polycrates. Yet a tendency towards linguistic innovation is evident also in the narrative poetry of Stesichorus which does not – as far as we know – normally include descriptions of the poet, or explicit references to his intended audience. Despite this, Stesichorus’ use of language seems to us innovative and flexible; in a word, unhomeric. This is how the poet scholar Anne Carson attempts to describe it: In the world of Homeric epic, being is stable and particularity is set fast in tradition. When Homer mentions blood, blood is black. When women appear, women are neat-ankled or glancing … For no reason that anyone can name, Stesichoros began to undo the latches. Stesichoros released being. All the substances in the world went floating up. Suddenly there was nothing to interfere with horses being hollow hooved. Or a river being root silver. Or a child bruiseless. Or hell as deep as the sun is high. Or Herakles ordeal strong. Or a planet middle night stuck. Or an insomniac outside the joy. Or killings cream 15

On this poem see also Krummen, this vol., 200–2.

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Greek lyric and early Greek literary history black. Some substances proved more complex. To Helen of Troy, for example, was attached an adjectival tradition of whoredom already old by the time Homer used it. When Stesichoros unlatched her epithet from Helen there flowed out such a light as may have blinded him for a moment. (Carson 1998, 4–5)

As Carson acknowledges, we do not know what factors may have affected Stesichorus’ choice of words and perspective. Some have argued that his apology of Helen was linked to the cult of Helen in Sparta and/or have suggested that he belonged to a different, western tradition of poetry.16 There is no certainty about the context, poetic influences or intended audience of his poems. What we do know, however, is that Stesichorus defined his poetry against the Homeric tradition in at least one poem: the famous Palinode. From various later quotations and paraphrases, we can reconstruct that the poem told the following story.17 In a dream, Stesichorus discovered why he had lost his sight: Helen of Troy had punished him with blindness for blaspheming against her. On waking up, he corrected his mistake and sang: οὐκ ἔστ’ ἔτυμος λόγος οὗτος, οὐδ’ ἔβας ἐν νηυσὶν εὐσέλμοις οὐδ’ ἵκεο πέϱγαμα Τϱοίας. That account is not true, you did not go in the well-benched ships and did not reach the citadel of Troy.

(Stes. 192 PMGF)

Upon which, he regained his sight. Although we do not know whether Stesichorus mentioned Homer by name, his remarks were pointed, especially if we consider that Homer himself was thought to be blind already in the archaic period.18 The implications of the story seem to be: Homer blasphemed against Helen, then stuck to his version of the myth and stayed blind; Stesichorus recanted and was healed. Here we see in the clearest way how Stesichorus defines himself through the ability to change and respond to new demands; and how Homer does not. Lyric and epic So far, we have argued that some lyric poets self-consciously defined themselves against the epic tradition, and we have also mentioned the possibility that lyric poetry in turn had an impact on the way in which epic defined 16 17

18

For Helen as a goddess see Bowra 1934; Nagy 1990, 420; Austin 1994, 113. For discussion of the Palinode see Bassi 1993; Austin 1994; Pallantza 2005, ch. 3.3; Beecroft 2006. The legend does not seem to stem from Stesichorus alone: Graziosi 2002, ch. 4, esp. 147–50.

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itself. This second suggestion needs more careful scrutiny. Scholars have argued that the hexameter might derive from lyric metres;19 that epic similes owe much to lyric forms;20 that epic alludes to lyric laments;21 and even that epic might have lost its music in a gradual process of differentiation from lyric performances.22 All these observations undermine linear histories of Greek literature, where epic comes first and lyric is described as a later development. Epic poetry usually adopts a traditional and universalising stance; for this reason, it is difficult to find epic texts that explicitly define themselves against other forms of poetry, yet there is one that does precisely that: The Homeric Hymn to Apollo. Perhaps because this is a hymn to the god of poetry and music, the poet is unusually explicit about himself, his poetry and the context of his performance. When he describes the festival of Apollo in Delos, he draws attention both to his own performance there, and to that of a chorus of girls: πϱὸς δὲ τόδε μέγα θαῦμα, ὅου κλέος οὔποτ’ ὀλεῖται, κοῦϱαι Δηλιάδες Ἑκατηβελέταο θεϱάπναι· αἵ τ’ ἐπεὶ ἂϱ πϱῶτον μὲν Ἀπόλλων’ ὑμνήσωσιν, αὖτις δ’ αὖ Λητώ τε καὶ Ἄϱτεμιν ἰοχέαιϱαν, μνησάμεναι ἀνδϱῶν τε παλαιῶν ἠδὲ γυναικῶν ὕμνον ἀείδουσιν, θέλγουσι δὲ ϕῦλ’ ἀνθϱώπων. πάντων δ’ ἀνθϱώπων ϕωνὰς καὶ κϱεμβαλιαστύν μιμεῖσθ’ ἴσασιν· ϕαίη δέ κεν αὐτὸς ἕκαστος ϕθέγγεσθ’· οὕτω σϕιν καλὴ συνάϱηϱεν ἀοιδή. ἀλλ’ ἄγεθ’ ἱλήκοι μὲν Ἀπόλλων Ἀϱτέμιδι ξύν, χαίϱετε δ’ ὑμεῖς πᾶσαι· ἐμεῖο δὲ καὶ μετόπισθε μνήσασθ’, ὁππότε κέν τις ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθϱώπων ἐνθάδ’ ἀνείϱηται ξεῖνος ταλαπείϱιος ἐλθών· “ὦ κοῦϱαι, τίς δ’ ὔμμιν ἀνὴϱ ἥδιστος ἀοιδῶν ἐνθάδε πωλεῖται, καὶ τέωι τέϱπεσθε μάλιστα;” ὑμεῖς δ’ εὖ μάλα πᾶσαι ὑποκϱίνασθαι †ἀϕήμως†· “τυϕλὸς ἀνήϱ, οἰκεῖ δὲ Χίωι ἔνι παιπαλόεσσηι· τοῦ πᾶσαι μετόπισθεν ἀϱιστεύουσιν ἀοιδαί.” ἡμεῖς δ’ ὑμέτεϱον κλέος οἴσομεν, ὅσσον ἐπ’ αἶαν ἀνθϱώπων στϱεϕόμεσθα πόλεις εὐ ναιεταώσας· οἳ δ’ ἐπὶ δὴ πείσονται, ἐπεὶ καὶ ἐτήτυμόν ἐστιν. And in addition, there is a marvel whose fame will never perish, the girls of Delos, servants of the farshooter. After they have first sung in praise of Apollo and Leto next and arrow-shooting Artemis, 19 20

Cf. Nagy 1974, section 1.3; Janko 1992, 9–10, and Battezzato, this vol., 138 n. 13. Martin 1997. 21 For epic and funeral laments cf. Nagy 1990, 36. 22 Burkert 1987.

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Greek lyric and early Greek literary history they recall the men and women of old and sing a song about them which charms the tribes of mortals. They know how to imitate the voices and chatter of all people, so that each one would think they are speaking themselves. So beautifully crafted is their song. But come, let Apollo be favourable, and Artemis too, and let me greet all of you. Remember me in the future, whenever some much-suffering stranger comes here and asks you: ‘O girls, which one of the singers who visit here pleases you most, and who gives you most enjoyment?’ Then you must all answer […]:23 ‘A blind man who lives in rocky Chios, all of his songs are the best forever more.’ But we shall carry your fame wherever we wander among the well-built cities of men. And they will believe it, for it is true. (Hom. Hymn Ap. 156–76)

This exchange sounds like an advertising agreement for the benefit of both parties. The girls will sing the praises of the blind man from Chios whenever they are asked who the best bard is. For his part, the epic performer will spread their fame wherever he goes. Much has been said about this passage.24 The reference to the ‘blind man from Chios’, in particular, has caused endless speculation: already in antiquity, some thought that this was a reference to Homer, author of the hymn; while others suspected that a rogue rhapsode had composed the hymn, and had then tried to pass it off as the work of Homer himself.25 Walter Burkert suggests a compromise position, arguing that the performer of the hymn was not describing himself at lines 172–3, but rather the founding father of the poetic tradition he represented. This interpretation seems attractive, but we need not enter into a debate about the precise meaning of these lines. What matters for our argument is the fact that the bard addresses a chorus of girls and makes explicit some differences between his performance and theirs. The first concerns context: the girls stay in Delos, whereas the epic performer travels everywhere. The second concerns the character of their songs. The girls’ performance is characterised by the variety of voices they adopt: pilgrims travelling to Delos from far and wide will recognise their own local speech in their eclectic singing. The songs of the Chian man, by contrast,

23

24 25

The last word seems corrupt, though Burkert 1987, 55 suggests it may mean ‘anonymously’, ‘without mentioning any name’. E.g. Burkert 1987; and Graziosi 2002, 62–6 with further bibliography. Thuc. 3.104, schol. Pind. Nem. 2.1.

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‘are best forever’: this kind of poetry stays the same, and its quality guarantees its appeal both across space and in the course of time. What we have here is an ancient summary of the present argument. The lasting and widespread appeal of epic – particularly the poems attributed to Homer and Hesiod – shaped the literary landscape of ancient Greece. Other pieces of evidence testify to a concerted effort, in the archaic and classical periods, to protect Homeric epic, in particular, from changes and innovations. There seems to have been a system of mutual control whereby audiences insisted that rhapsodes perform Homer correctly, while rhapsodes in turn refused to change the poems in order to suit the tastes of particular audiences or the political demands of the moment. A process of this kind must ultimately account for the fact that, in the course of the archaic period, many epic poems were discarded as not truly Homeric, while a narrowly defined corpus of Homeric epic was cherished and protected through time.26 The stance of the lyric poets towards the demands of their audiences, and towards the possibilities of innovation, were on the whole recognisably different. Lyric poets often urged audiences to reject what they had previously heard and accept a new version of a well-known story. As we have seen, in the first Olympian Pindar discredits older stories about Pelops and invites us to accept his own.27 He also appears to reject the lead of Homer in a much discussed passage in one of his Paeans, VIIb (fr. 52h) M = C2 Rutherford, vv. 10–13, where he also seems to offer a morally preferable version of the myth of Apollo’s birth and of Zeus’ desire for Asteria.28 The text is poorly preserved, and there has been a fierce debate over Pindar’s exact attitude to Homer in it.29 For our purposes, it is important to note that even the weakest reading of the paean involves some differentiation between the poetry of Homer and Pindar’s own song. In short, the individual perspectives offered by lyric poets are thrown into sharp focus when their poems are compared to the epic tradition. Archilochus expresses the opinion that a bandy-legged man, who looks a bit like Homer’s Thersites, can actually make a good general (114 W). Sappho complains about her grey hair and then remembers the story of Eos and Tithonus (58 V). Callinus adapts epic exhortations to battle for aristocratic symposiasts.30 Solon echoes Hesiod, but tailors his remarks to an Athenian context.31 Lyric 26 27 28 29

30

See Wilamowitz 1884, 353; Pfeiffer 1968–76, I.43–4; Graziosi and Haubold 2005, 24–7. Pind. Ol. 1.36; cf. Mackie 2003, 71. On the revision of myth in Paean VIIb, see Ferrari 2002, 203, with further bibliography. Rutherford 2001a, 248–9 discusses the reconstructions of Di Benedetto 1991, D’Alessio 1992 and D’Alessio 1995, and agrees with D’Alessio. Since then, the debate has continued: see Ferrari 2002, Di Benedetto 2003, D’Alessio 2004a. Callinus 1 W, with Bowie 1990. 31 Irwin 2005, 163.

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poets are not, of course, just concerned with the moment. They also want their poems to enjoy a lasting success: we have already seen how Ibycus promises Polycrates ‘immortal glory’.32 His strategy can be compared to the famous sphragis poem by Theognis: he too attempts to establish his own fame (and to prevent future generations from tampering with his poems) by insisting on his special relationship with his addressee, Kyrnos.33 In this respect too, the strategies adopted by epic and lyric seem very different: Homeric epic preserves its broad appeal through anonymity and a notional equidistance from all audiences. The lyric poets, by contrast, attempt to preserve their poetry by stressing their individual voice, perspective, context and addressees. This difference between epic and lyric does not just concern the future, but also affects notions of the past. Homeric epic promises an accurate and complete account of past events, which is guaranteed by the Muses and presented as objective. What is more, there is an insistence, particularly in the Odyssey, that bards should choose the contents of their song without tailoring their topics to the needs of their listeners.34 Lyric poets, by contrast, often adopt a consumerist approach to the past. Rather than offering a complete and generally accepted account, they focus on examples which are deemed to be relevant to the present. Often, mythical sections end with a maxim which provides a transition to the present situation or to the occasion for the performance. Sappho, for example, tells us the story of Helen of Troy in order to illustrate the fact that love makes us do crazy things: that thought, in turn, makes her ‘think of Anaktoria and … her lovely walk’ (16 V). Simonides remembers the story of Achilles and then observes that poetry made it familiar to younger generations of men: that thought in turn leads him to celebrate the battle of Plataea.35 Pindar’s Odes can be read as elaborate attempts to link the (suitably doctored) past and the present circumstance in which he performs.36 The issue is not that epic is in fact always traditional, or that the lyric poets necessarily always innovate. Rather, it seems that epic and other forms of poetry tended to adopt different rhetorical stances, and – crucially – that those stances affected their ancient reception. Early hexameter poems tended not to draw attention to the innovations they introduced: thus, for example, the newly popular god Pan was presented unobtrusively as ‘the son of Hermes’ at the beginning of the Homeric Hymn to Pan (no. 19).37 Because epic fails to emphasise novelties, most Greeks were happy to believe that ‘from the

32 34 35 36 37

See above, p. 102. 33 Thgn. 19–24. For a good discussion, see Griffith 1983. Scodel 2002b, esp. 80–9. Sim. fr. eleg. 11.15–28 W²; cf. Aloni 2001a, Stehle 2001, Capra 2004. Mackie 2003, ch. 2. Pan became a panhellenic god only in the fifth century: Hdt. 6.105; cf. Parker 1996, 164.

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beginning everyone learned from Homer’ without, for example, asking whether Homeric epic introduced radical changes in comparison to earlier accounts.38 Conversely, some ancient readers were prepared to maintain that Stesichorus had been the first to portray Heracles with a lion skin, a club and a bow, even though we know from the material record that he was portrayed with those attributes long before Stesichorus described him as having them.39 It seems, then, that in order to characterise the place of lyric in Greek culture, we have to consider an issue we have only touched upon so far: its early reception. Lyric and the emergence of new literary genres Boasts about singing a new song, using new tunes, telling a different and better version of a myth characterise some of the disparate poems we describe as lyric poetry. We have already seen that Pindar, for example, claims some autonomy from Homer. He also makes claims about musical innovation.40 Pindar’s older contemporary Simonides was likewise seen as an innovative poet. Yet, not long after his heyday, critics could ridicule Simonides as passé, or hold him up as a poet of the old school, an example of the simple, ancient and edifying style that was being subverted by the wild experiments of Euripidean drama, and the ‘New Music’.41 Claims to innovation quickly go out of date: new forms of lyric poetry constantly emerged, innovative poets were surpassed by yet more daring ones, and the claim of one poet was contradicted by the riposte of another. Yet, at the same time, lyric poetry offered an enduring model of innovation which was emulated by poets, historians, philosophers, orators and playwrights seeking to define their own place in the literary landscape of ancient Greece. For example, it seems that Stesichorus’ Palinode made a great impression in antiquity and was adopted far and wide as a model of resistance against the epic tradition. When Herodotus sought to establish a difference between his own Histories and Homeric epic, he argued for a version of the Trojan War which was indebted to Stesichorus. At Histories 2.112–20 we are told that Herodotus went to Egypt and found out from local sources that Helen never went to Troy. Herodotus does not mention phantoms, but he makes it clear that the whole war was fought under the illusion that Helen was present. Several defining features of Herodotus’ historiography are summarised in his

38 40 41

Xenoph. fr. 10 D-K, discussed above. 39 Robbins 1997, 235–6. E.g. Pind. Ol. 3.4–6. See Aristoph. Clouds 1353–62 and, more generally, Clouds 963–91. On the ‘New Music’ see Csapo and Wilson, this vol., ch.15.

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treatment of Helen: his allegiance to local sources (what the Egyptians say); his belief that such sources can be used to question common assumptions; and his rejection of the epic tradition in favour of truth – as established through his own personal enquiries and logical deductions. Stesichorus’ Palinode offers a powerful model for Herodotus’ explicit questioning of the epic tradition,42 but the connections between lyric and historiography do not end with this tacit allusion to the Palinode. Ewen Bowie has recently offered a wide-ranging survey of possible elegiac and iambic ancestors for historiography: he argues that although the iambic and elegiac poets rely on the Muses, they also draw on their own personal knowledge of the present and make their own connections between the present and the past, often in order to draw a moral. They also play down the intervention of the gods and privilege local histories as opposed to panhellenic accounts of the past. In all these respects, they can be seen as forerunners of historiography.43 To these observations we might add that Hecataeus and Herodotus self-confidently assert what they think and contrast it with other possible opinions: there is a strong sense of the personal ‘I’ emerging from their narratives, and that ‘I’ speaks from a particular vantage point and location – exactly as it does in lyric. Other critics of the epic tradition turned to Stesichorus as an important model and predecessor. Plato, for example, quotes the Palinode in the Phaedrus and implies that philosophy is superior to both epic and lyric. Homer, we are told, blasphemed against Helen and was blinded; Stesichorus did the same but knew how to recant, so he regained his sight; Socrates knows even better and avoids blasphemy from the beginning, thus keeping his sight throughout.44 This genealogy for philosophy is evidently tongue-in-cheek, but even Socrates’ flippant remarks about the Palinode highlight the close relationship between lyric poetry and the origins of philosophical enquiry. Like the lyric poets, wise men and philosophers of the archaic and classical era carved out a voice in conscious departure from powerful epic models. In this respect, the contribution of Xenophanes – a travelling performer who composed in hexameter, as well as in elegiac and other metres – seems crucial, but very difficult to assess. Aristotle described Xenophanes as a founding father of philosophy, and this is one reason why his fragments are categorised both as Presocratic philosophy and as lyric poetry. Modern divisions between disciplines sometimes obscure the connections between Xenophanes the Presocratic and Xenophanes the poet, but those connections are in fact crucial to any 42 43

44

Cf. Kannicht 1969, 41–8; Austin 1994, ch. 5, esp. 123, 127–8; Marincola 2006, 21. Bowie 2001a. Marincola 2006, 25 lists lyric poetry that treats historical themes before or at the time of Herodotus. Nagy 1990, 215–338 discusses connections between Herodotus and Pindar. Plat. Phdr. 243a–b, discussed in Demos 1999, ch. 4.

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interpretation of this elusive figure. Xenophanes complains about the immorality of the Homeric and Hesiodic gods, and declares that it is not fitting for the gods to behave as mortals do (frs. 10 and 11 D-K; cf. 15 and 16 D-K; 14 W). He goes on to argue that ‘there is one god, the greatest among gods and men, and he does not resemble mortals in appearance or thought’ (fr. 23 D-K). If we ask ourselves what kind of situation might have prompted (or accommodated) Xenophanes’ views on the gods, we find that he gives a possible answer in one of his elegiac fragments: at a symposion, he claims, ‘it is necessary for righteous men to praise the god with pious speech and pure words’ (1.13–14 W). These lines, as indeed the entire fragment, suggest an alternative to Homeric and Hesiodic epic which is defined primarily in terms of setting. The implied contrast with epic is spelled out in the closing lines of the surviving text, where Xenophanes dismisses Titans, Giants and Centaurs, and more generally strife, ‘as fictions of men of old’, implicitly drawing a contrast between epics like those of Hesiod and Homer on the one hand, and his own pure poem on the other (1.19–24 W). Epic is judged in terms of its value under the present circumstances, and found wanting.45 Typically, what matters to Xenophanes is the performance situation, not some ancient story. Xenophanes’ moral and theological concerns are an important ingredient in the development of Greek philosophy, but he also makes a contribution to what we may call epistemology. He states: ‘The gods have not revealed all things to mortals from the beginning; but by searching, they find out better’ (fr. 18 D-K). This is an unmistakable reference to the epic Muses, especially if we consider that, in epic, the goddesses are sometimes asked to sing ‘from the beginning’; and that Xenophanes is convinced that ‘from the beginning’ everybody learned from Homer.46 Xenophanes’ emphasis on enquiry and the acquisition of knowledge offers an important model for philosophical investigation, but seems equally pertinent to Herodotus’ historiographical project. In other respects too, lyric poetry seemed attractive to ancient critics of the Homeric tradition. We see for example that the Sophists, who swept audiences with their dazzling rhetorical performances, were sometimes presented as heirs of the lyric poets. Thus, Plato describes Simonides as a proto-sophist because of his interest in linguistic minutiae and ambivalent turns of phrase.47 More generally, Simonides was credited with innovations in music and phonetics, and associated with the unabashed pursuit of wealth, all aspects of his art that could make him appear as an early Sophist.48 Unsurprisingly, 45 46 47

See further Ford 2002, ch. 2. For a particularly close parallel see Hes. Theog. 114–15, with West 1966 ad loc. Plat. Protagoras 341a. 48 Lefkowitz 1981, 49–56.

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modern scholarship has painted a more complex picture of Simonides’ activities,49 but the clichés handed down from antiquity are not entirely without foundation: like the Sophists, Simonides and other lyric poets of the late sixth and fifth centuries BCE travelled from city to city, offering their friends and employers not the traditional view of the world presided over by the epic Muses, but a form of discourse which presented itself as malleable to the point of suiting the needs of specific individuals and communities.50 The splintering of truth that occurred as a result is characteristic of both lyric and oratory, as is the virtuoso pursuit of new forms of expression. Indeed, specific sub-genres of public oratory, such as epideictic speeches and funeral orations, can be traced back, very directly, to lyric prototypes.51 For all that lyric poetry had an important role to play in the development of new literary genres and sub-genres – including historiography, philosophy and oratory – its most obvious heir and, at times, rival was Attic drama. This is not the place to trace in detail the connections between lyric and drama, which have been the subject of many studies.52 Aristotle claims that tragedy originated in the dithyramb, a choral lyric performance in honour of Dionysus, and this view is broadly supported by modern scholarship.53 Extant plays feature elaborate choral odes as well as monodies, and owe much to lyric in terms of language, metre and themes. These are important points of contact, but it is perhaps possible to characterise the relationship between lyric poetry and tragedy by focusing in particular on three themes that have surfaced repeatedly in the course of the present discussion: the context of performance, the thrust towards innovation, and the uses of the past. Herodotus tells us an interesting story about epic and lyric performances in the city of Sicyon.54 When Sicyon became hostile to Argos, the tyrant Cleisthenes banned Homeric performances because Argos and the Argives featured prominently in them. As far as lyric performances were concerned, he did not ban them but imposed some drastic changes: rather than singing about the Argive Adrastus, choruses should henceforth celebrate Dionysus.

49 50

51 52

53

54

Wilamowitz 1913, 137–209; Bell 1978; Molyneux 1992. Cf. Griffith 1990, 200 (on Pindar). As with the sophists, the versatility of the lyric poets could easily be described as a form of self-interest. Cf. Aristoph. Birds 904–57. Cairns 1972; Cole 1991, 47–54 is more sceptical. For different aspects of this relationship see e.g. Pickard-Cambridge 1962, Cerri 1984–5, Nagy 1990, Kugelmeier 1996, Bagordo 2003 and the papers collected in Goldhill and Osborne 1999, Murray and Wilson 2004, and Csapo and Miller 2007. Aristot. Poet. 1449a9–14; cf. Pickard-Cambridge 1962, but note the cautionary remarks in Easterling 1997, 45–6. Hdt. 5.67.

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The story speaks, once again, of the conservatism of epic, and the adaptability of lyric. The situation seems to have been remarkably similar in classical Athens. Rhapsodes performed the same Homeric poems again and again at the most important city festival, the Great Panathenaea. Dramatic performances, by contrast, changed every year: the public expected to be surprised by new plays, offering novel perspectives on the mythical past and the political present. Aeschylus allegedly described his tragedies as ‘slices’ from the banquets of Homer.55 This comment alerts us to the fact that tragedy defined itself against the authoritative and unchanging poetry of Homer. Yet if we ask ourselves how exactly the tragedians went about slicing Homer, what subjects they chose, what perspectives they adopted, what words and what songs, then we need to turn to lyric poetry for answers. Drama offers a plurality of voices, and imitates different characters; we may recall the Delian maidens who are complimented on their mimetic powers in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo.56 Tragedy also has a characteristically modern flavour and a flexibility which enables it to pick up cultural and political trends at a rate quite unthinkable in epic: in this respect too it resembles lyric. The early history of Greek literature is fundamentally shaped by the authoritative, unchanging and objective accounts of the past provided by Homer and Hesiod. They describe the whole of history from the origins of the cosmos to the age of the heroes, to life as it is now. Yet the various and disparate manifestations of song and recitation which are known collectively as lyric poetry are just as important if we are to understand Greek literary history. They give us a sense of the constant drive towards innovation – new words, new songs, fresh perspectives, better thoughts – which is the other fundamental ingredient of ancient Greek culture. FURTHER READING

The relationship between lyric and epic is treated in Fowler 1987 and Dalby 1998, who supersede Snell 1953. A more wide-ranging and ambitious approach can be found in Gentili 1988 and Nagy 1990. Irwin 2005 discusses elegy and epic with special reference to Solon; for Archilochus, see Dover 1964 and Barker and Christensen 2006; for Simonides, see Boedeker and Sider 2001; for Theognis, Figueira and Nagy 1985; for Sappho, see Rissmann 1983 and Greene 1996, part 2; for Stesichorus, West 1971 and Burkert 1987. Pindar’s relationship with epic has attracted much attention: see Nisetich 1989, Nagy 1990, Sotiriou 1998, Mackie 2003, ch. 2. Fränkel 1975 offers the most comprehensive discussion of lyric and early Greek philosophy, but is wedded

55

Athen. 8.347e.

56

See above, 104–5.

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to a straightforward model of literary development; Griffith 1990 and Ford 2002 offer important correctives by focusing on the contexts in which early lyric and philosophy developed. For Plato and Aristotle see Demos 1999 and Murray and Wilson 2004, part 4. Lyric and oratory are discussed by Cole 1991, part 1. The relationship between lyric and historiography is analysed from diverse angles in Nagy 1990, chs. 5–8, Bowie 2001a and Hornblower 2004. Among the extensive bibliography on lyric and drama, it may be useful to start with Pickard-Cambridge 1962, Herington 1985, Nagy 1990, ch. 13, Murray and Wilson 2004, and Csapo and Miller 2007.

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6 GIOVAN BATTISTA D’ALESSIO

Language and pragmatics

Introduction The label ‘lyric’ applies in modern times to a heterogeneous group of Greek texts, which includes the songs originally performed by an ensemble of singers and dancers, those sung by soloists and the recitative poems, which were accompanied by the music of the aulos at banquets and on other occasions. These various categories of poems do share, however, important formal features. Greek ‘lyric’ and ‘epic’ poetry were both meant for oral performance in various contexts but, in contrast to the heroic tales narrated in the epic hexametric poems, lyric poems entail the possibility of an explicit textual interaction with an audience, which is often mentioned and sometimes addressed: they seem to work as part of a communication process, the context of which later readers usually have to extract from the texts themselves. It would be tempting to read these poems as the transcript of an actual face-to face interaction. From many points of view, however, they are set off from a normal, unmarked context of oral communication: to start with, they were arranged in accordance with a metrical pattern and were performed with a musical accompaniment, two features which distinguished them from normal face-to face conversation.1 Several other linguistic (lexical, morphological and syntactical) traits also distinguish lyric from other kinds of unmarked speech situations, as we shall see very briefly in the second part of this chapter. A further, important difference, which is the subject of the first part of the chapter, is that the interaction with extra-textual entities inscribed in these texts, such as the address to an audience, the reference to spatial and temporal coordinates and, more broadly speaking, their ‘pragmatics’, work in ways that diverge from those of ordinary face-to-face communication. 1

On ‘marked’ and ‘unmarked’ communication, cf. e.g. Nagy 1990, 17–51. For the purpose of this volume, I use the term ‘lyric’ as including both melic poems proper and elegiac and iambotrochaic poems: cf. the introduction to this volume, pp. 2–5.

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Some pragmatic features: from text to context (and vice versa) In a normal conversation, utterances are textually tied to a context, through socalled indexical signs, pointing to the identity of the parties involved in the communication, and to its spatial and temporal coordinates (a feature known to linguists as ‘deixis’, from the Greek verb δείκνυμι ‘to point at’).2 Most archaic epic poems were mainly narrative, and, apart from the rare and unobtrusive cases of first-person forms, there is nothing in the texts that points to their context: no reference to any ‘here and now’,3 no addressee, apart from the Muse and mythical characters. This does not apply, however, to all epic poems. The Homeric Hymns regularly include a section where a first-person voice addresses the god and prays for a successful performance, though only the Homeric Hymn to Apollo supplies more precise information about the poet’s ‘history’, envisages a concrete local audience and addresses a specific group of performers. Hesiod’s Works and Days displays several features of contextrelated speech: a first-person speaker repeatedly addresses his brother, ‘Perses’, and the ‘kings’, and refers to the communication context as ‘this judgement’ (ἥδε δίκη, 39, 249, 269, cf. τάδε 268). The ‘speaker’ even gives biographical details about his father and his own poetical career, mentioning a competition he won at the funerary games of one Amphidamas at Chalcis (654–62). The effect such a text would have on its audience (its pragmatic interpretation) would change considerably, according to whether these indexical signs were perceived as pointing to a real extra-textual communication situation, or as evoking entities which had no existence outside the text itself. Modern readers (and scholars) have very few clues and therefore sometimes oscillate between two radically divergent interpretations.4 For modern readers, of course, the possibility that a literary text may evoke a fictional world of its own is a common experience. Greek lyric was orally performed: there is, however, no reason to believe that only written ‘literature’ could be perceived as fictional. Even if we grant that there is an important difference between the private reception of a written text through reading, and its being performed in a definite communication context, it is clear that on certain occasions the audience may be ready to accept a ‘deictic shift’, an incongruity between the actual communication context and the reference of the text, and expectations 2

3

4

The term ‘deictic’ includes words such as ‘this’, ‘I’, ‘now’, ‘here’, ‘there’ and so on. For an analysis of deictic features within the context of pragmatics, cf. e.g. Levinson 1983. For an introduction focused on Greek lyric, with previous bibliography: Felson 2004, 253–66 and 445–7. There are a very few exceptions in expressions of the type ‘such men as they live now’, positioning the narrator at a chronological distance from the narrated events: cf. Jong 1987, 44–5. Nagy 1982, for example, argued that this information was not meant to be taken at its ‘historical’ face value by the audience.

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about particular genres must have played a crucial role in creating this effect. This happens not only with the later dramatic performances, but also with certain lyric poems, which were entirely constructed as speeches by fictional or typical characters (cf. at least Alcaeus 10B V; Thgn. 579–80, 861–4, 257–60; Archil. 19, 122 W; perhaps Anacr. 432 PMG, though the speech there might have been ‘framed’). Moreover, even the pragmatic value of ‘real’ biographical information provided by the poet, as that of any other textual connection with a non-fictional ‘here and now’, would change when the poem is performed on later occasions in a different context, by somebody assuming the persona of the author. In 105 W Archilochus addresses one Glaucus: Look, Glaucus! Already waves are disturbing the deep sea and clouds stand straight round about the heights of Gyrae, a sign of storm; from the unexpected comes fear (trans. Campbell)

Contemporary epigraphic evidence (SEG XIV 565) shows that Glaucus, son of Leptines, a character mentioned and addressed in several other Archilochus poems, was a ‘real’ person active in seventh-century Thasos. While we cannot know whether Archilochus was actually able to predict whether or not Glaucus would be present on the occasion these verses were first recited, it is very unlikely that his words were ‘pointing at’ an actual seastorm, taking place during the performance. Deictic elements may evoke imaginary contexts, which may be perceived as metaphorical or even as allegorical: the ancient source, which quotes these lines, in fact uses them as an example of allegory and tells us that Archilochus was comparing the dangers of the war against the Thracians to a storm.5 In most cases, to be sure, the pragmatic circumstances inscribed in the text do correspond to the actual situations in which archaic lyric poetry was usually performed. Performance scenarios are indeed an extremely important element of ancient lyric poetry as a whole, and poems abound which either describe their own actual performance setting, or evoke an imaginary situation through the fictional medium of poetic words. This can create a very peculiar kind of ambiguity. To stay with Archilochus, the elegy 4 W points to a definite situation: the speaker situates himself on the deck of a ship and asks an unnamed addressee to distribute wine, ‘because during this watch not even we shall be able to stay sober’. Drinking parties were the most usual contexts for the performance of elegiac poems. We have no way of telling, though, whether this particular poem was composed for a performance while the poet and his companions were keeping watch on a ship, or whether it more 5

For a similar case, cf. Alcaeus 6 and 208 V.

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generically evokes a situation the sympotic audience or the poet may have faced or may have expected to face.6 We should not assume that the same pragmatic interpretation applies to the whole corpus of the preserved poems. The fact itself that the poems have been preserved suggests that in most cases the texts that have survived were capable of ‘working’ in more than one context. What we have may range from the wholly fictional, to the stylised representation of the typical occasion, to the poem composed in order to ‘work’ in a single definite circumstance, and even to the apparent transcript of an extempore poem. Addresses implying pragmatic requests are relatively common, and elaborate, in sympotic poetry.7 Most cases involve exhortation to drink, addressed to the company,8 or orders to slaves to perform the usual, ritualised, sympotic tasks: mixing and pouring water and wine,9 preparing and bringing cups,10 crowns,11 perfumes and ointments,12 and similar activities, such as feeding the fireplace and providing warm cushions in winter13 or mixing snow into the beverage.14 The most elaborate pragmatic addresses are to be found in the few fragments of Dionysius Chalcus, who exhorts a fellow symposiast to welcome his poem as a toast and to respond with another one (1 W), requests attention from the audience (2 W) and gives instructions for playing the kottabos (3 W).15 Most of these activities were standard aspects of the banquet setting, and we may assume that such addresses were not always linked to an extempore need of the speaker: in Anacr. 356a PMG it has been reasonably argued that the poet’s order to the slave may have had a semifictional value.16 In some cases, however, it is legitimate to think that the pragmatic address may have been more strongly context-related. Alcaeus 368 V is an order to one of the slaves to go and call the beautiful Menon, whose absence, though perhaps not unforeseeable in advance by the poet, was by no means part of the ritual events taking place during the banquet.

6

7

8

9 10 13 15

16

Cf. Bowie 1986a, 16–17, with previous bibliography; Albert 1988 (further bibliography in D’Alessio 2004b, 268 n. 4). It goes without saying that in Greek lyric poetry, as in most forms of oral and written poetry, addresses to persons not actually present at the moment of utterance are also attested. E.g. Alcaeus 38A.1, 332, 335, 338.6f., 346.1, 347 and 352 V; Ion 27.5–7 W; Thgn. 879–84 (referring to a particular wine, belonging to the speaker). Alcaeus 346.4–5, 367.2–3 V, Anacr. 356a and 396 PMG, Ion 27.2–3 W. Alcaeus 346.2 V. 11 Anacr. 396.1–2 PMG. 12 Alcaeus 50.1–2, 362 V. Alcaeus 338.5–8 V. 14 In Sim. fr. eleg. 25 W2 (quoted by Ath. 125c as τὸ ἐπίγραμμα). Reitzenstein 1893, 31 n. 51 thought that the bold metaphor of Dionysius Chalcus 1 W could be understood only if the poem really was performed during a banquet. Already Welcker 1836, 443, on the other hand, had argued that these ‘artificial’ poems were not meant for actual performance during a symposion. Cf. Albert 1988, 31–3, with previous bibliography.

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Deictic adjectives point to objects really or fictively present at the performance. They are used much more rarely in lyric poems than they are in texts composed for the stage.17 In a few cases, deictic pronouns (as opposed to adjectives) are used (Thgn. 263, 467, 1045). It is interesting that Thgn. 467 (μηδένα τω̑νδ᾽ ἀέκοντα μένειν κατέρυκε παρ᾽ ἡμι̑ν ‘don’t hold back any of these so that he remain against his will’, transl. Gerber) was reused in a fifth-century Athenian comedy, but without the deictic contextual reference ‘of these’ (μηδένα μήτ᾽ ἀέκοντα μένειν κατέρυκε παρ᾽ ἡμι̑ν, Pherecrates fr. 162.11 K-A). Temporal indications may refer to the time of year (e.g. Alcaeus 347a, 352, 367 V), to the time of day (e.g. Alcaeus 346 V, cf. Sa. 43.9 V), to particular weather conditions (e.g. Alcaeus 338 V) or to a historical event (νυ̑ν ‘now’, in Alcaeus 206, 332, 351 V). These are all generic; note, however, Thgn. 939–42, referring to an event that took place ‘the night before’.18 Instances of poems evoking a more complex performance scenario are to be found in Sappho and in the ‘choral’ poets Alcman, Pindar and Bacchylides. In some of these cases, the text may be perceived as describing its own performance (by a chorus of singers and dancers), or as announcing a parallel performance, taking place at the same time or in the immediate future, though the cumulative evidence makes the first hypothesis overall much likelier.19 The pragmatic interaction with the addressees mostly involves ritual or standard activities, easily inscribed in a text that was not usually meant to be the record of an impromptu performance. Some aspects of the pragmatic interaction of the poems with a performance context are, unavoidably, lost as a consequence of their reuse in different contexts (including their becoming ‘reading’ texts). Thus, for example, several pragmatic issues raised by the reading of Alcman’s First Partheneion cannot ultimately be settled on the basis of the text alone.20 Other interpretative problems, however, are of a different nature, and depend more on the theoretical premises of modern readers, who have too often seen the texts as a simple record of the performance situation. Complex poems like Alcman’s partheneia and Pindar’s odes should not be read only from the deictic point of view of their performances, and their pragmatic value is different from that of a straightforward everyday face-to-face communicative situation. They

17 18

19

20

I explore this issue and its implications in greater detail in D’Alessio 2007. In Thgn. 943–4 the speaker describes his physical position in relation to the flute-player. For a pragmatic interpretation of the three couplets 939–44 as part of an impromptu sympotic exchange, cf. Vetta 1984. Cf. the debate on the performance of the victory odes summarised in Heath and Lefkowitz 1991 and Carey 1991; Calame 2004, 427–31. The problem cannot be ‘solved’ on a purely linguistic premise: cf. Bonifazi 2004, 399. On the whole issue, cf. Bonifazi 2004.

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originated with a composer, of both text and score, who usually composed a text to be performed in a different place and at a different time. On certain occasions, the composer will not physically have taken part in (or even been present at) the performance of the song. As happens in several other cases of complex oral poems, the deictic reference is not limited to the moment of performance. These poems are part of a mediated communication process, and contain meta-textual descriptive elements, such as information about their own (real or, more frequently, represented) ‘history’. The ‘now’ of these texts often includes the notional moment of their creation, while their performance and even the completion of their composition are foreseen as a future event.21 Pindar’s Olympian 10 provides a fascinating example of such sophisticated constructions. At the start of the ode Pindar reproaches himself for not yet having composed the ode he owes to the victor and promises to fulfil his task, as if the song whose performance the audience is enjoying had not yet come into existence (1–12). Later on, after evoking the archetypal songs performed at the very first Olympic games in the mythical past, new ones, following the ancient model, are announced as forthcoming (76–85): the singing and dancing of the poem itself (which, in the meantime, has come into being in the poet’s home town, line 85, and whose performance is now approaching its end, 105) is projected into the future, as if it were looked at from the point of view of its composition rather than from the temporal coordinates of its performance.22 A related and much debated problem is that of the interpretation of firstperson utterances within some of these performance-oriented texts,23 in particular the best preserved ones, by Pindar and Bacchylides. This has often been seen as strictly determined by the performance mode of the various poems (an issue which itself cannot be solved on purely linguistic grounds, as we have seen above, p. 118), the voice of the text being identified tout court with that of the performers. It is often assumed that choral poems are deictically centred on the performers, while solo poems may give voice to the poet.24 From a reading of the texts themselves and from comparative

21

22 23

24

Cf. D’Alessio 2004b. Danielewicz 2001 explores the meta-textual features in Greek lyric poetry from a different perspective. Cf. D’Alessio 2004b for a more detailed treatment of this and other related cases. By this, I mean texts inscribing themselves in a performance scenario that is not obviously fictional. A complete identification of the textual deictic reference system (above all for the first-person deixis) with the performance niveau has been advocated (to quote only some of the most recent contributions) by Burnett 1998, 493–4, Pavese 1997, 29–49, Stehle 1997, 15–17 and passim (with some allowed exceptions), Lefkowitz 1991 passim and 1995.

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evidence drawn from other song cultures, however, it emerges that lyric poems meant for oral performance are not necessarily deictically centred on the performance circumstances.25 To some degree, they share with ‘modern’ lyric (and ‘canonical’ communicative interaction) the linguistic capacity to operate free from contextual boundaries.26 Their communicative strategy can be more sophisticated than a straightforward identification with the performance occasion would allow:27 in the same way as the ‘now’ can move from a moment prior to the creation of the poem to that of its actual performance, first-person statements may include both the composer of the poem and its performer(s). Moreover, both possibilities are exploited to develop communicative strategies that may work as inclusive or exclusive toward the audience, who may or may not identify themselves with the speaking voice(s), making lyric poetry one of the most effective communication media in the archaic polis. Language Other linguistic features contribute to separating the kind of communication attested in Greek lyric poems from the norm of usual conversation: they are composed in an artificial language, which diverges in various degrees from the spoken one. In archaic Greece, there was no such thing as a common Greek language: each different community had its peculiar dialect. Modern linguists usually describe the various dialects as falling into four groups: Ionic-Attic, Arcadian-Cypriot, Aeolic and West Greek (which includes North-West Greek and Doric); see map 2. The corpus of the preserved Greek lyric poems includes works composed by poets and/or addressed to audiences belonging to all these dialect areas, except Arcadian-Cypriot. In most cases, however, at least in the form in which these texts have been transmitted, the language of a poem was determined not by the provenance of its author or audience but by the tradition to which it belonged. The elegiac poems were composed in a language very close to that of the epic tradition, with which they also broadly shared their metrical patterns. The earliest attested elegiac poets, Callinus, Mimnermus and Archilochus, were all native Ionians: the language of their poems is very close to the latest stage of the archaic epic diction, which is predominantly Ionic. Some local East Ionic forms foreign to the epic diction are occasionally attested, such as 25 27

D’Alessio 2004b. 26 Cf. D’Alessio 2004b, 268; Green 1992, 134. For this view regarding the first-person problem, cf. e.g. D’Alessio 1994, Schmid 1998, Felson 1999, D’Alessio 2004b.

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Map 2 The major dialect areas during the archaic and classical periods

Ionic-Attic

Aeolic

Arcadian-Cypriot

West Greek

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the velar rendition, instead of the labial attested in epic, of some labiovelars (e.g. κότε for πότε, from an original *kwote), regular in the Ephesian Callinus and sporadic in Mimnermus and Archilochus, though absent from the transmitted text of later poets. Interestingly, even the later mainland elegiac poets like Tyrtaeus (Sparta) and ‘Theognis’ (Megara), both active among Doric speakers, and the Athenian Solon show the same general Ionic linguistic features, with very few possibly local variants. In the case of Tyrtaeus it has been argued that most of these ‘Ionic’ features originated in the later transmission of his texts, but some of them are metrically guaranteed (e.g. the use of the movable ν in verbal endings and of the potential particles ἄν, ἤν, foreign to both West Greek and Aeolic).28 Original ᾱ, preserved in all dialects except Ionic and, partly, Attic, is almost always transmitted as η. While this η (and the monosyllabic Ionic forms in εω) may conceivably have replaced original forms with ᾱ and may be due to later transmission, this is not always possible in the numerous cases where the original /w/ sound (so-called digamma), preserved in Laconia long after Tyrtaeus, is not operative. Some features have been interpreted as influenced by local dialects. Tyrtaeus, for example, has three cases of a short accusative plural -ας in the -α stem (a feature he shares with the Hesiodic poems, with some of the Homeric Hymns, with Stesichorus and, possibly, Alcman) and no metrically unambiguous case of the long accusative: the explanation of this phenomenon as a mainland dialect feature, however, is not without problems.29 Tyrtaeus is also the only elegiac poet to use the ‘Doric’ future (19.12 W ἀλοιήσευ[μεν, metrically guaranteed).30 The collection attributed to the Megarian Theognis has a small number of ‘Doric’ forms, such as νιν for epic μιν (364) or ἠ̑μεν (with the variant εἰμ̑ εν, another West Greek form) for epic ἔμμεν (960), and some possibly ‘Doric’ lexical forms, such as λη̑ι (299), and μω̑σθαι (771). A few Attic features are present in the Athenian Solon and in other works, mainly in the Theognidea, which seem to have included Attic material; however, not all cases are guaranteed by the metre, and some may go back to the transmission of the poems rather than to their

28

29

30

Later authors (schol. on Dio Chrys. Or. 2.59, Tzetz. Chil. 1.692) attributed to Tyrtaeus also exhortatory poems in anapaestic metre (stichic paroemiacs, 856 PMG, cf. also the catalectic tetrameter 857 PMG, actually attributed to Alcman) and possibly also the iambic trimeters of the Spartan trichoria, 870 PMG: these present a clearly marked Doric facies, along with some mixed forms (πολιητα̑ν). On the possible interpretations of this feature, see Janko 1982, 58–62 with previous bibliography; Hinge 2006, 145–8. Note that it presents a contraction in ευ, as opposed to the ου form (not metrically guaranteed) in Stes. 222(b).278 PMGF. (Cassio 1997 has argued that the form in Stesichorus may possibly depend on a Syracusan edition.)

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composition.31 Overall, the transmitted text of the elegiac poets is far more uniformly ‘ionicised’ than that of the (shorter) archaic inscriptions in elegiac metre attested in mainland Greece.32 These too are heavily influenced by epic diction but show a decidedly more marked local patina, with the original ᾱ usually preserved outside the Ionic-Attic areas. Such divergences, however, mostly involve only the surface linguistic appearance, the deep structure being easily ‘translatable’ into a relatively late stage of the ionicised epic diction. The earliest iambic poems were composed by some of the same Ionian poets who produced elegiac ones, like Archilochus and Semonides. Later iambic poets, like Ananius, Hipponax, Solon and Anacreon, also belong to Ionic or Attic areas.33 Metre and, to some extent, content distinguish these poems from both the epic and the elegiac tradition. The dialect is Ionic and seems to be much more open to the spoken language, with a noticeably smaller number of epic elements felt as non-Ionic (such as the -οιο genitives). As in the case of the elegiac poems, the Eastern poets prefer the un-epic velar rendition of the labiovelar in κότε and related words. Anacreon uses very much the same dialect as well in his lyric solo songs, and the two Lesbian poets Sappho and Alcaeus are also close to their vernacular dialect, as the language of their songs reflects many features of the Aeolic dialect of the island, as it can be reconstructed from later inscriptions and from comparison with other Aeolic areas.34 It is not, however, the immediate transcription of a popular, spoken language. The presence of several morphological doublets, of formulae connected with the metre, and of forms alien to Lesbian Greek show that it was influenced both by earlier Aeolic poetic diction and by the neighbouring Ionic epic one. Another group of Aeolic poets exerted great influence in the archaic period, but unlike Sappho and Alcaeus they were active mainly outside their native island of Lesbos. The most ancient and famous of them was Terpander, from Antissa, who was known to have been active at Delphi and Sparta, where he established and won the first kitharodic competition at the Karneia festival in the early seventh century; he was considered the founder of the so-called first musical κατάστασις (‘institution’) at Sparta.35 According to a later tradition, Lesbos provided most of the winners of the Spartan Karneia down to the late

31

32 33

34

Other forms alien to the Ionic epic diction, such as the short infinitive ὑμνέν in Xenoph. 1.13 W (manuscript reading, with breach of Hermann’s Bridge, and easily emendable), are textually dubious: cf. also Thgn. 260 (modern conjecture), Hes. Op. 611 (Byzantine reading). Collected in CEG (to be updated through the SEG with subsequently published material). The apparent exception is Susarion, allegedly from Dorian Megara, whose surviving fragments are limited to five lines (transmitted with an Attic facies: 1 monosyllabic λεώι, 4 οἰκίαν). The lines, however, are most probably a later forgery: cf. Rusten 2006, 59 f. Cf. Blümel 1982. 35 Edition and commentary: Gostoli 1990.

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sixth century. Another influential Lesbian poet was Arion from Methymna, whose biography was given legendary traits early on. He was known both as a kitharode and as a composer of choral songs, active in Corinth, Italy and Sicily. We have no clear idea of the language these poets used since we have few, if any, authentic fragments of their poetry. It is often assumed that, at least partly, they used an Aeolic dialect. A fragment of Sappho (106 V) attests to the persisting popularity of Lesbian singers: ‘superior, as the Lesbian singer to those of other lands’ (transl. Campbell). This popularity has probably influenced the evolution of the language used in later choral lyric, which has some distinctly Aeolian features and is considerably more complex and difficult to describe than that of the previously mentioned genres. No authentic fragment is preserved of other early choral song, by poets such as Thaletas of Gortyna, Xenodamos of Kythera, Xenokritos of Lokroi Epizephyrioi, Sakadas of Argos, Polymnestos of Colophon. They were predominantly from the West Greek dialect area (the only exception being the Ionian Polymnestos), and were all involved in the so-called second musical κατάστασις at Sparta in the latter part of the seventh century, as well as in the establishment of important musical ritual festivals all over the Peloponnese (Sparta, Arcadia, Argos). The earliest fragment attributed to a choral poem amounts to a couple of lines quoted by the second-century CE author Pausanias, who attributes them to the eighth-century BCE Corinthian poet Eumelus (696 PMG). This has a claim to being the earliest preserved remnant of Greek poetry. It is very doubtful, however, that Pausanias’ quotation really belongs to an eighthcentury choral poem, though its language and metre are consistent with what later tradition would have considered as characteristic of the poetic production of the age.36 Its diction is compatible with that of the epic poems, apart from the non-Ionic long ᾱ and Μοι σ̑ α instead of the usual Μου̑σα (followed by the ‘normal’ ἔχουσα in the next line, corrected to ἔχοισα by most modern editors), a form to which I shall come back below. The language of the preserved texts of poets usually defined as ‘choral’ presents enough common features to justify grouping them together.37 The earliest securely attributed fragments date to the mid-seventh century. Apart from possible later interference, Alcman’s text has, along with several features it shares with the Ionic epic tradition, a clearly Doric veneer, and some aspects, which, in later times, were perceived as Aeolic. Several traits apparently belong to the local dialect of Sparta: some of them, however, are not attested in the area until later periods, and it has been suggested that they may 36 37

Cf. D’Alessio 2009. On the issue of their classification see most recently Cingano 2003, with previous bibliography.

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have been introduced at a later stage of the transmission of the text. Most are not metrically guaranteed and some are in fact unmetrical (e.g. the short infinitive ϕαίνεν at Alcm. 1.43 PMGF).38 Hinge has recently argued that Alcman’s Alexandrian edition was based at least partly on the transcription of orally transmitted poems and reflected the way these were performed in late-third-century or early-second-century Sparta.39 The idea is attractive, but not without problems. The shift from θ to σ, present in Alcman’s text, is not attested in Laconian inscriptions before the early fourth century (and even then only very sporadically: it becomes a standard epigraphic feature only in the second century CE). In the spoken language, however, this shift is likely to be older, as it is reflected in Laconian passages in Aristophanes and Thucydides:40 it is possible that local speakers did perceive a difference in the pronunciation of spirant θ and σ, and kept them distinct in their spelling, while to the ear of a foreign speaker the two sounds were easily assimilated and accordingly transcribed.41 On the other hand, the passage of intervocalic σ into an aspiration, absent in the text of Alcman, is attested sporadically already in sixth-century Spartan inscriptions, and becomes regular in fifthcentury inscriptions and in Spartan dialect as reflected by Aristophanes.42 Hinge argues that in Hellenistic Sparta more refined circles would have avoided the substitution of σ with an aspiration as a feature that was too markedly local, and reinstated the common Greek forms.43 The evidence for this particular linguistic shift is, however, doubtful. Early Hellenistic Spartan inscriptions avoid local forms altogether, in favour of forms belonging to a wider Doric koinαˆ.44 If the language of early Hellenistic Spartan inscriptions had been the linguistic model for Alcman’s text one would have expected a similar avoidance of other local features as well. The assumed restitution of intervocalic sigma is at odds with the trend which emerges from other features of Alcman’s text. Ancient grammarians, including Herodian (second century CE), thought that forms such as μω̑ἁ (with aspiration instead of σ, a form attributed to Spartan speakers in Aristophanes and attested in late Spartan inscriptions) were more recent than forms such as μω̑σα (Alcman).45 Though this may simply reflect the fact that Herodian found the forms with

38

39 42 44

45

The short ending is attested later also for Stesichorus, Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides. In most cases the metre is not decisive, but three occurrences are metrically guaranteed in Bacchylides. In Stes. S148 ii.8 PMGF it is metrically guaranteed also in a ‘contracted’ verb, γαμέν (the articulation γα μέν has also been proposed, but the context is in favour of γαμέν). Hinge 2006. 40 Colvin 1999, 169–71. 41 Cf. also Buck 1955, 59. Cf. Lillo 1995, 32. 43 Hinge 2006, 82. Local forms did however survive in the spoken language and make a new appearance in epigraphic texts of the Imperial period: Brixhe 1996. Cf. the sources in Thumb and Kieckers 1932, 85, Bourguet 1927, 48 and n. 1.

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sigma in a text as early as that of Alcman, it is worth noting that intervocalic sigma is indeed used in the earliest inscriptions and begins to be substituted by an aspiration only rarely in the sixth century, while later on the aspiration itself disappears. The evidence may be read as suggesting that intervocalic sigma was still pronounced in Alcman’s time.46 In the view of Apollonius Dyscolus (first/second centuries CE) and other grammarians Alcman frequently used Aeolic linguistic features. Their assessment is largely due to an error of perspective: they considered as Aeolic features like the persistence of the digamma, which was in fact preserved in Laconia for a long time. However, the language of Alcman and later choral lyric poets indeed displays several traits that may reasonably be interpreted as Aeolic: these include the gemination of a nasal instead of the compensatory lengthening as the outcome of the sequences /VsnV/, /VsmV/ (ϕαεννός, ἄμμε, from *ϕαεσνος, *ἀσμε), and the transformation of the sequence /Vns/ into /Vis/ (Ἀστυμέλοισα, from *-ονσα).47 This last feature, as we have seen above, is already attested in the two lines attributed to Eumelus and in hexametric or at any rate dactylic verse inscriptions from as early as the mid-seventh century in areas where it was foreign to the spoken language as reflected in other media.48 It sporadically appears in choral lyric down to at least the mid-fifth century and continues in the language of Hellenistic ‘Doric’ recitative and lyric poems, as well as in later ‘Doric’ philosophical (‘pythagorean’) prose. It was a normal feature in a few local dialects, notably in that of Aeolian Lesbos and of Dorian Cyrene (a colony of Sparta, via Thera).49 Its presence in Alcman has been explained in three ways: 1) The form did really belong to archaic Laconian, but has disappeared in later texts.50 2) It is due to the influence of the dialect of Cyrene on the Alexandrian grammarians who edited the texts of these poems.51 3) It is due to the influence of Aeolic poetic diction on the archaic poets themselves.52 The fact that this feature is not a general phonological phenomenon, but is restricted only to certain morphemes and lexemes is a strong argument in favour of the third explanation.53

46 47 49 50 52 53

The sigma is still used in CEG 377, dated to the early fifth century. On ‘Aeolic’ features in the language of choral lyric, see Cassio 2005. 48 See Cassio 2005. It is now attested also in an archaic verse inscription from Thera itself (SEG XLVIII 1067). E.g. Page 1951, 134. 51 Risch 1954, Ruijgh 1984. Ahrens 1853 and several others, including Nagy 1990, Hinge 2006. Cf. Cassio 2005, who argues that the diffusion of this feature may have started with its presence in feminine proper names of a participial type in catalogue poetry.

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It looks therefore as though the poetic diction of the choral lyric poets reflected, in a way, the archaeology of the genre. Most of the forms they used might well have been translated into the common epic linguistic repertoire, which provides the core of the poetic diction. Aeolic features of a more recent date attest to the success of the Lesbian poetic tradition in mainland Greece. The fact that the surface appearance is a ‘Doric’ (West Greek) one is easily explained, as in the seventh century the most important venues for choral competitions seem to have been in the Peloponnese. More local features are very rarely metrically guaranteed. The mobility of the poets (and of their songs) and the establishment of musical festivals to which various performers and communities had access are all factors that contributed, at least by the seventh century, to the formation of an international poetic koinê, which evolved toward a less and less locally marked poetic diction. A mixture of dialects that is similar in kind, though different in its proportions, characterises the language of the transmitted texts of all the later major choral poets known to have addressed an audience beyond their own home towns: Stesichorus, Ibycus, Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides. A curious feature shared by the texts of Alcman, Stesichorus and Ibycus is the so-called ‘Doric’ accentuation provided by ancient manuscripts and prescribed by grammatical sources.54 The West Greek (‘Doric’) patina gets thinner and thinner with time. Very few forms exclusive to this dialect are metrically guaranteed, while the reverse is true for several ones foreign to West Greek and Aeolic, but common in the Ionian epic tradition.55 The core of the mixed epic diction, in the stage reflected by its Ionian tradition, seems to have constituted a sort of basic koinê for most archaic poetic genres. The surface appearance may theoretically reflect three factors, or rather three stages in the history of the texts: 1) the trends determined by the provenance of famous poets and the locations of the ‘international’ musical festivals; 2) the effect of influential local (oral and written) transmission;56 3) the criteria followed in the authoritative Hellenistic editions. Local features seem to have been more common in song traditions more closely connected to a local context, and those that may have had scarce circulation in later times. It has been argued that a tradition of continuous local performances of texts hardly known outside Sparta may explain the local traits of some of Alcman’s songs.57 This may be even more true in the 54 55

56

57

Cf. Nöthiger 1971, 83–6; Pardini 2001; Hinge 2006, 122–30. E.g. ἄν (Ionic-Attic, and Arcadian) instead of κᾱ (the expected West Greek form, never attested in archaic lyric) or κε(ν) in Stes. 222(b).223 and 222(b).225 PMGF. Sparta for Alcman, perhaps Syracuse for Stesichorus and Ibycus (Cassio 1997, for the socalled ‘Doric’ futures; on Ibycus, cf. also Ucciardello 2005), Tanagra for Corinna. E.g. Hinge 2006.

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case of Corinna, a fifth-century poet from Tanagra, in Boeotia,58 whose poems seem hardly to have been known before the Hellenistic period, and whose text shows, in its spelling, several features of early Hellenistic Boeotian dialect. It is possible that they were written down for the first time in that period, after a long tradition of local reperformances. FURTHER READING Pragmatics

For a general introduction and some case studies on deixis in Greek lyric poetry cf. Danielewicz 1990 and the papers collected in Felson 2004. Bonifazi 2001 is a book-length introduction to the pragmatics of Pindar’s victory odes. Little has been published on the possible pragmatic interpretation of stylistic features: for some attempts in this direction see Slings 1997, 171–92 and Slings 2000a. Language

Surveys of the dialectal features of all lyric genres are to be found in most of the general handbooks on the history of the Greek language: Hoffmann, Debrunner and Scherer 1969 is particularly good on literary dialects; in English, the relevant chapters of Palmer 1980 are a useful introduction to the issue. Cassio 2008 provides an excellent and up-to-date account of the various literary languages, including those of the lyric poets (in Italian). Colvin 2007 includes dialect-focused commentaries on some elegiac, iambic and melic texts. On the language of iambic and elegiac poets West 1974 is thorough and informative. On the Aeolic poets, Hamm 1957 is still the standard reference grammar; Bowie 1981 offers a useful general assessment of their poetic diction; Tzamali 1996 is a reading of most fragments of Sappho, which focuses on syntactic and stylistic features. On the evolution of the language of ‘choral’ lyric, Cassio 2005 provides the most recent and useful assessment. Hinge 2006 is a very detailed and up-to-date treatment of Alcman’s language; the most complete English introduction is still Page 1951. On Stesichorus and Ibycus, Nöthiger 1971 is still useful; more recently, Ucciardello 2005 has studied Ibycus’ language in relation to the transmission of the text. Felsenthal 1980, an unpublished PhD dissertation, discusses the language of Alcman, Stesichorus and Ibycus. On Simonides see Poltera 1997, which is concerned

58

Recent communis opinio tends to place Corinna in the Hellenistic period: for a good defence of her traditional fifth-century date, cf. Palumbo Stracca 1993.

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almost exclusively with word formation. There is no recent comprehensive study on Pindar’s language: on his syntax, see Hummel 1993; the introduction of Gildersleeve 1890 is still very useful. On Bacchylides, see Jebb 1905, and the concise recent synthesis in Maehler 2004: 10–12, 18–25. The most complete introduction to Corinna’s language is in the introduction of Page 1953 (and see Levin 1989 for its accentuation). Style and imagery in the language of the Greek lyric poets

Dornseiff 1921 (fundamental on Pindar); Stanford 1939; Sulzer 1961; Silk 1974; Steiner 1986.

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7 LUIGI BATTEZZATO

Metre and music

Metre Greek metre Greek metre is simple. All metrical structures are built out of two bricks, short and long syllables, combined in a variety of simple, yet imaginative ways. Knowing Greek metre is indispensable. It is essential for understanding origins, genre, performance conditions, literary allusions and overall meaning in Greek poetry. It also gives fascinating glimpses of what came before Greek poetry. This chapter is designed to describe the most important types of metre used in Greek lyric, showing their interaction and their development. The presentation is meant to be accessible even to students with no prior knowledge of Greek metre.

The basics A knowledge of Greek prosody (the study of the sound of a language, especially speech rhythm and its relationship to versification) is necessary for scanning poetry. The basic rules are as follows. When we scan a line of Greek verse, we must ignore word division and regard all words as joined together. When a vowel or diphthong is separated from the next one by a single consonant, this consonant goes with the next syllable: e.g. ϕαίνεται = ϕαι - νε - ται. When we have a group of two or more consonants, the first normally goes with the preceding vowel or diphthong, the other(s) with the following vowel or diphthong: e. g. ἀριστοκάρπου = ἀ - ρισ - το - κάρ - που. A syllable ending with a vowel is called open; if it ends with a consonant it is closed. All open syllables containing a short vowel (that is ε, ο and short α ι υ) are short (dictionaries and grammars indicate the length of α ι υ in each word, in declension and conjugation). All other syllables (open syllables containing a 130 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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long vowel or a diphthong; all closed syllables, regardless of the length of their vowel) are long.1 The ancient Greeks interpreted a sequence of syllables as verse according to an abstract rhythmical pattern, just as we do in most modern languages. The pattern is best described as a series of elements. The elements can be of five types: long, short, anceps, biceps and indifferent. A long element is always realised in a long syllable (symbol: - ); a short element in a short syllable (symbol: ⏑); an anceps (plural: ancipitia) element may be realised in a short or long syllable, or, very rarely, as two short syllables (symbol: ×); a biceps (plural: bicipitia) element must be realised in either a long syllable or two short ones (symbol: ⏔ or ⏕). At verse-end, before pause, the final element is indifferent and may be short or long at will (symbol . ). The most important abstract rhythmic patterns are composed of two to six elements. These structures are called metra (singular: metron ‘measure’): spondee (- -), dactyl (- ⏑ ⏑), cretic (- ⏑ -), molossus (- - -), iamb (× - ⏑ -), trochee (- ⏑ - ×), ionic (⏑ ⏑ - -), dochmiac (× - - × -), anapaest (⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ -). Note that other possible combinations exist, but not all of them were in actual use. In iambs, trochees, ionics and dochmiacs (but not in dactyls, as a rule) long elements could be substituted by two short ones. This phenomenon is called resolution. The converse of resolution is called contraction. It occurs when a long syllable substitutes two short ones. This may happen in dactyls, anapaests and (less frequently) ionics. As we noted, two short elements contracted in a long one may be called a biceps. The metra listed above combined into larger structures, called cola (from the Greek kôlon, plural kôla: ‘limb, unit’). The unit that encompasses a single colon, or more cola, is called a verse. It is characterised by a metrical pause at the beginning and at the end. Metrical pause must coincide with word end and often, but not always, corresponds to a pause in sense and syntax. The symbol of the metrical pause is ‖. Pause makes hiatus permissible (symbol: ‖H): that is, a verse may end on a vowel and the next one may begin with a vowel, without elision or shortening. The element before the pause becomes ‘indifferent’ (see above); the symbol for this is . , but many scholars simply use the symbol that designates the anceps element (×),2 or mark the actual length of the syllables that implement the indifferent element (-,⏑, ⏓). Notice that in lyric it often happens that a ‘verse’ is too long to be written on a single line: for

̑

̑

1

2

On prosody see West 1974, 77–87; West 1982, 7–18; Martinelli 1995, 38–58; Mastronarde 2002, 97–100. Indifferent elements are, however, different from ancipitia in principle and in practice. For instance, in some types of iambs, the first anceps may be realised in two short syllables; the indifferent element must always be realised in a single syllable, in all types of metre. See Rossi 1963; Devine and Stephens 1975; Devine and Stephens 1994, 79–84 and 426–7.

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this reason a verse may be written on two or more lines. This is explained by editors and commentators. There of course are some places where it is uncertain where verse end occurred and editors may divide lines in different ways. This entails different metrical interpretations. The division of poems into lines is called colometry.3 I distinguish between ‘verse’ (‘metrical sequence preceded and followed by metrical pause’) and ‘line’ (‘words of a poem written by modern or ancient editors on a single line’): ‘verse’ refers to metre and ‘line’ to the layout of poetry on the page. Word end was also very frequent or mandatory at specific points within the verse, in some verse types. The symbol | indicates mandatory word end within the verse; frequent word end is indicated by ⋮ (more frequent) or : (less frequent). If word end occurs within a metron, it is called caesura (‘cut’; plural caesurae). If it comes at the junction of two metra, it is called diaeresis (‘division’: plural diaereses). In some verses, word end is avoided at specific points, or under specific conditions. This avoidance of word end is called bridge and it is often symbolised by a ligature written over the signs for syllables. For instance ⏕ ͡ means that the poet can choose to use a long syllable or two short ones, but that if two short syllables are chosen, they must be part of the same word. A single type of verse may be repeated throughout a poem: in that case scholars say that the metre (e.g. the hexameter, the iambic trimeter) is used kata stichon, ‘line by line’ (also: ‘stichic’ verse or poem). Alternatively, Greek poets could create a strophe which was repeated several times within a poem. All strophes must have the same metrical pattern: this phenomenon is called responsion. Two metrical sequences are in responsion if we can analyse them according to the same metrical pattern, making allowances for anceps and indifferent elements and for resolution/contraction. Some metrical sequences allow a greater freedom in responsion; they can be matched by a cognate, rather than an identical, metrical sequence, having the same number of elements. Archilochus, Sappho and Alcaeus, among others, write poems making use of a single strophe (often using the same type in different poems). Stesichorus, Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides compose more complex strophic structures, each of which is used in one poem only. They normally use a triadic structure: A (strophe), A (antistrophe, which follows the same metrical pattern as the strophe), B (epode, ‘the strophe that comes afterwards’; its metrical pattern is different from that of strophe and antistrophe). This triadic 3

On colometry see Fleming and Kopff 1992 (on tragedy; very controversial); Gentili and Perusino 1999; Nagy 2000; Parker 2001; Prauscello 2003 and 2006, 7–121; Barbantani, this vol., 301–2.

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structure is then repeated throughout the poem: AAB, AAB, etc. All strophes and antistrophes are in responsion; epodes respond to epodes. In the fifth century BCE some writers give up strophic composition altogether (astrophic poems: see e.g. The Persians by Timotheus). Looking behind the system: Indo-European metre and the rise of the Greek tradition In the nineteenth century scholars proved that Greek and Latin, along with Germanic, Celtic, Baltic, Slavic, Indic and Iranian languages, were part of the same linguistic family: the Indo-European group. The Sanskrit language is the earliest form of Indic. It is the language used in the Rig Veda, a corpus of hymns composed to accompany religious ceremonies, dating to the thirteenth century BCE at the latest. Scholars also noted that Sanskrit and Greek poetry had some features and expressions in common. This proved that IndoEuropean languages also had a common tradition of poetry.4 Meillet showed that some Greek metres, especially metres used in lyric, had many features in common with the metres used in the Rig Veda. This bold thesis was strikingly correct, but unconvincing in some details, and left some major problems unsolved (especially the origin of the hexameter).5 Indo-European versification had the following characteristics: (a) it was based on the length of syllables (‘quantitative’ versification); (b) it alternated long and short syllables, but limited series of three or more short syllables; (c) it had a fixed number of syllables per verse (‘isosyllabism’); (d) verses had a free beginning (‘basis’); (e) verses had a fixed cadence; (f) the quantity of the final syllable in the verse did not matter (‘indifferent’); (g) all verses had word end at a specific point, roughly (but not exactly) at mid-verse (‘caesura’). In the Indic tradition, Sanskrit verse presents all these characteristics. The length of syllables was determined by prosodic rules very similar to those that apply in ancient Greek (criterion a). In the Greek poetical corpus, archaic and classical lyric provide most of the comparative material: at this stage the Greek panhellenic system was still growing up from disparate local traditions, which went back to the Indo-European common stock of metres, rhythmic usage and poetic phrases. In particular, the so-called Aeolic metres present all the above characteristics except, at times, (g). Iambic verse types have all of them, including (g), but they occasionally admit resolution of a long element 4

5

On Indo-European poetics see Schmitt 1967, Schmitt 1968, Durante 1971, Watkins 1995, West 2007. On Indo-European metre see White 1912, 286–91 and 307 (anticipating some of Meillet’s points); Meillet 1923; West 1973a; West 1973b; Nagy 1974; Gasparov 1996; West 2007, 46–58.

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into two short ones. The dactylic hexameter has only (a), (b), (e), (f) and (g), but the so-called dactylo-epitrites (see below, pp. 140–2) had also (c), with a limited number of exceptions. Aeolic verses and strophes The Aeolic tradition is attested in the poems of Sappho and Alcaeus, who were active in the seventh and sixth centuries BCE on the island of Lesbos.6 Their metres have some peculiar features within the Greek tradition, and probably represent the most conservative group in Greek poetry. In particular, any given type of Aeolic verse has a fixed number of syllables. Later poets imitated some of the basic metres used by Aeolic poets. Among the most common types of Aeolic metre we must remember the glyconic (often shortened to glyc in metrical analyses): ××-⏑⏑-⏑-

The first two elements (× ×) are the so-called ‘Aeolic base’. In Sappho and Alcaeus the base is completely free: it can be formed by two short syllables (⏑ ⏑), one short and one long (⏑ - or - ⏑) or two long syllables (- -). Later poets limited this freedom, avoiding the pattern with two short syllables and also admitting ⏑ ⏑ ⏑ (‘resolution’ of ⏑ - / - ⏑). The poets created a shortened version of the glyconic. The process of omitting one syllable at the end of a metrical structure is called catalexis (‘ending, cadence’). The catalectic version of the glyconic is called pherecratean (pher): ××-⏑⏑--

There is a longer version, with an extra syllable at the end (hypercatalectic). This colon is called hipponactean (hipp): ××-⏑⏑-⏑--

There are other variants of each of these basic metrical structures, created by shortening the base to one syllable (acephalous colon: ‘headless’, that is ‘without the initial syllable(s)’), or by combining this structure with other ones. Among the structures added at the end or at the beginning we find the iamb (× - ⏑ -), its catalectic form, the baccheus (⏑ - -) (ba), and the cretic (- ⏑ -) (cr). Some variants of the Aeolic structures repeat, in different ways, the double short rhythm present in the middle. This process is called 6

For the metres of Sappho and Alcaeus see Page 1955, 318–26; Voigt 1971, 15–26; for Alcaeus see also Liberman 1999, vol. I, c–cxv.

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expansion.7 It may be noted by adding cho (choriamb: - ⏑ ⏑ -) or da (dactyl: - ⏑ ⏑ ) in apex after the symbol of the colon (for instance glyccho). The choriamb is added after the second long element: for instance, by adding a choriamb to a glyconic we obtain the verse called lesser asclepiadean (glyccho): ××-⏑⏑--⏑⏑-⏑-

If we add two choriambi, we have the greater asclepiadean (glyc2cho): ××-⏑⏑--⏑⏑--⏑⏑-⏑-

The dactyl is added after the two short elements (glycda): ××-⏑⏑-⏑⏑-⏑-

Sappho and Alcaeus combine these cola and a few less frequent ones, to form a great variety of verses, grouped in strophes of two, three or four lines. They used repeatedly some types of strophe, which later poets took up. The Sapphic strophe (example: Sa. 31.1–4 V) is formed by the pattern - ⏑ - × - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ - .‖ - ⏑ - × - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ - .‖ - ⏑ - × - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⋮ -×͡ ⋮ - ⏑ ⏑ - .‖

ϕαίνεταί μοι κη̑νος ἴσος θέοισιν ἔμμεν᾽ ὤνηρ, ὄττις ἐνάντιός τοι ἰσδάνει καὶ πλάσιον ἀ̑δυ ϕωνείσας ὐπακούει

̑ ̑

̑

The symbol -×͡ in the third line indicates that there is rarely a word break between the long and the anceps element (metrical ‘bridge’). One may interpret lines 1 and 2 as cretic (- ⏑ -) + acephalous hipponactean (× - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ - . ). The third and fourth ‘lines’ are in fact a single verse (possibly cretic + acephalous glyconic + acephalous pherecratean); they were pronounced together, with no metrical pause in between. There are even cases when there is no word break between them, as in the example given. Ancient editors decided to write them on separate lines, probably for practical reasons: they obtained a neater layout of the page, saved space by not leaving large blank sections between columns and made the readers perceive the rhythmic echo in the fourth ‘line’. The structure - ⏑ ⏑ - -, by itself, is called an adonean. The Alcaic strophe has the following pattern (example: Alcaeus 72.7–10 V):

̑

× - ⏑ ⋮ - × ⋮ - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ . ‖ κη̑νος δὲ τούτων οὐκ ἐπελάθετο × - ⏑ ⋮ - × ⋮ - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ . ‖ ὤνηρ ἐπεὶ δὴ πρω̑τον ὀνέτροπε,

̑ ̑

7

Some scholars, such as Sicking 1993, 135–8, contest the idea that Aeolic cola are created by expansion.

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× - ⏑ ⋮ -͡× - ⏑ -͡× ⋮ - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ - .‖

̑

παίσαις γὰρ ὀννώρινε νύκτας, τὼ δὲ πίθω πατάγεσκ᾽ ὀ πυθμήν.

In this strophe too the fourth ‘line’ is written separately for practical reasons, but lines 3 and 4 form a single verse. Lines 1 and 2 are formed by iamb + ‘headless’ glyconic; lines 3 and 4 by two iambs + ‘headless’ hipponactean with dactylic expansion. The line called wilamowitzianus (wil) or (more commonly) choriambic dimeter (cho dim) is remarkably free in its first four elements:8 ××-×-⏑⏑-

The choriambic dimeter may replace the glyconic (both structures have eight syllables): see Sappho 96.7 V and the fragmentary 95.9 V. This replacement is also attested in tragedy. The freedom of the initial part of the choriambic dimeter has striking parallels in the Sanskrit eight-syllable verse attested in the Rig Veda (× × × × ⏑ - ⏑ ⏓). Iambic and trochaic metres: Archilochus and Hipponax As we have seen, the iambic (× - ⏑ -) and the trochaic metron (- ⏑ - ×), as well as their variants (cretic, baccheus), are used in the Aeolic tradition in combination with other cola. This metrical group is attested as an independent rhythm even earlier than the Aeolic tradition.9 Archilochus, who was active in the seventh century BCE, lived in an area close to Lesbos and used for his poems the Ionic dialect; his works include poems in iambic trimeters (18–87 W) and trochaic tetrameters (88–167 W). The long elements of iambs and trochees are never resolved in the Aeolic poets; resolutions in iambic and trochaic verses are very rare in early iambic poets too. The Indo-European tradition of isosyllabism is modified at a very slow pace. The eleven-syllable verse in the Rig Veda shows a remarkable similarity to the iambic trimeter. Iambs and trochees are used kata stichon: Iambic trimeter × - ⏑ - × ⋮ - ⏑ ﹕ - × - ⏑ .‖ Catalectic trochaic tetrameter - ⏑ - × - ⏑ - × | - ⏑ - × - ⏑ . ‖

̑

̑

The similarity of the two metres is clear when we consider caesurae and diaereses. The iambic trimeter usually presents word end (caesura) after the fifth element; the trochaic tetrameter has word end after the eighth element 8 9

See Wilamowitz 1921, 210–44; Itsumi 1982. On the term iambos see Dover 1964, 186–7 (= Dover 1987, vol. I, 99); West 1974, 22–39; Lennartz 2000; Budelmann 2001, 211; Kantzios 2005a, 2–11, Carey, this vol., 149–50. Raalte 1986 analyses in detail early iambs.

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(diaeresis). The final part of both verses is identical. This structure is often called lecythion (- ⏑ - × - ⏑ . ‖). The iambic trimeter was formed by combining two independent cola, the iambic penthemimer (‘five halves’ of ⏑ -) (× - ⏑ - ×) and the lecythion; these metres occur elsewhere also in combination with cola of different rhythmical character. The iambic trimeter is one of the commonest Greek metres and it is used in a variety of contexts. Richard Porson (1759–1808) discovered that, in the iambic trimeters and trochaic tetrameters of tragedy, ‘no polysyllabic word can end after a long anceps, except at the caesura in the middle of the verse’.10 This applies also to archaic iambic poetry, and to other metres containing the rhythm × - ⏑ - × . The exact formulation of the law (which Porson phrased differently) and its explanation are the subject of complex discussions.11 Hipponax (sixth century BCE) used a very distinctive variant of the iambic trimeter and trochaic tetrameter. The penultimate element is long instead of short, reversing the rhythm of the rest of the verse. This is why these verses were also called scazôntes (‘limping’; singular: scazôn) or choliambs (‘lame/ limping iambs’):

̑

Trimeter Tetrameter

× - ⏑ - × ⋮ - ⏑ ﹕ - × - - .‖ - ⏑ - × - ⏑ - × | - ⏑ - × - - .‖

̑

̑

Hipponax used this surprising rhythm for writing poems that were in many ways eccentric in tone and content, exploring further the possibilities of the iambic genre (insult, obscenity, linguistic pastiche, parody). Archilochus and the epodes: dactyls, iambs, the hexameter and the elegiac distich Archilochus also created small strophic structures of two verses, called ‘epodes’: an ‘epode’ is ‘[a line] added after a line’. We have an epode (ὁ ἐπωιδός) ‘when upon a long line some surplus is made to follow’.12 This meaning should not be confused with that of ‘epode’ (ἡ ἐπωιδός) = ‘a strophe that comes after (the antistrophe)’ (above, p. 132). Archilochus not only writes iambic structures (172–181 W: 3 ia ‖ 2 ia ‖) but also combines iambs with dactylic cola. The most important dactylic cola are the hemiepes (‘half a hexameter’, siglum: D) (- ⏔ - ⏔ -), the feminine hemiepes (- ⏔ - ⏔ - ⏑) and the enoplion ‘[metre for a dance] with armour and weapons’ (× - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ - ×: see e.g. Archil. 168–171 W). The paroemiac (basic form: ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ - -) is also related. 10 12

Maas 1966, 34, adapted. 11 West 1982, 42; Devine and Stephens 1984. Hephaestion, Poem., page 71 Consbruch; see van Ophuijsen 1987, 78.

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Epodic structures often combine different rhythms, in separate verses and/ or within the same verse or line. The single most important epodic strophe is the elegiac distich, also called elegiac couplet (hexameter ‖ D | D |||) (example: Archil. 5.1–2 W): - ⏔ - ⏔ - ⏔ - ⏔ - ⏔ - . ‖ ἀσπίδι μὲν Σαΐων τις ἀγάλλεται, ἣν παρὰ θάμνωι, - ⏔ - ⏔ - | - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ .‖ ἔντος ἀμώμητον, κάλλιπον οὐκ ἐθέλων.

̑

̑

Note that contraction is avoided in the second half of the pentameter (= the verse ‘D | D’, which nominally has two and a half dactyls in each half). The elegiac distich was a hugely successful metre. Its origins must have been in Ionia: when Tyrtaeus uses this metre in seventh-century Sparta, he adopts a form of the Ionic dialect which must have been strictly associated with the genre and the metre. Even if the hexameter (=6 dactyls) per se is not a lyric metre, it was used in lyric in a variety of contexts and it is genetically related to lyric metres.13 If we combine dactylic cola together, we easily obtain a hexameter, for instance: D + paroemiac = hexameter with ‘masculine’ caesura - ⏔ - ⏔ - | ⏔ - ⏔ - ⏔ - .‖

̑

feminine hemiepes (D ⏑ ) + enoplion (with short anceps: ⏑ D . ‖ ) = hexameter with ‘feminine’ caesura

̑

- ⏔ - ⏔ - ⏑ | ⏑ - ⏔ - ⏔ - . ‖.

̑

These are two of the most common types of hexameter. Other types can be analysed along similar lines. Rhythmic irregularities often occur at the caesura in Homer, where different cola joined. The regularisation of the dactylic rhythm must have played an important role in the creation of the hexameter: it is not chance, but the will to create a homogeneous rhythm that led to the unification of similar rhythmic cola. The homogeneity of the dactylic rhythm was varied by a salient characteristic of the hexameter: contraction. The two shorts are frequently substituted by a single long syllable (the shorts are ‘bicipitia’). This is unlike what happens in most other metres. It has the effect of creating variation in a metre that would otherwise sound somewhat repetitive.

13

On the origin of the hexameter see the papers in Fantuzzi and Pretagostini 1995–6 (esp. Gentili and Giannini 1996); Wilamowitz 1921, 98; Nagy 1974, 49–102; Nagy 1990, 456–64; Nagy 1996a, 89–95. On its structure see Fränkel 1926; Fränkel 1955, 100–56; Fränkel 1996. The lyric hexameter differed from the hexameter of epic poetry, esp. in the treatment of caesurae: see Pretagostini 1995, 187.

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Archilochus makes a clear metrical allusion to the constituents of the hexameter in a famous epode, whose first lines are (168 W):

Text Ἐρασμονίδη Χαρίλαε, χρη̑μά τοι γελοι ο̑ ν ἐρέω, πολὺ ϕίλταθ᾽ ἑταίρων, τέρψεαι δ᾽ ἀκούων

Scansion of the poem ⏑-⏑⏑-⏑⏑-- ⏑ - ⏑ - .‖ ⏑-⏑⏑-⏑⏑-- ⏑ - ⏑ - .‖

Metrical pattern ×D×| ith ‖ ×D×| ith ‖

̑ ̑

‘Charilaos son of Erasmon, I will tell you something that will make you laugh, oh dearest among my companions, and you will be happy to hear it.’14 The first colon (× D ×) is the familiar enoplion; the second colon (- ⏑ - ⏑ - -) derives from iambs and is called ‘ithyphallic’ (abbreviation: ith). The first verse of the poem is a clear parody of metre and content of Iliad 1.1–2:

Μη̑νιν ἄειδε θεὰ | Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλη̑ος οὐλομένην, η῍ μυρί᾽ | Ἀχαιοι ς̑ ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε

- ⏑⏑- ⏑⏑- | - -⏑⏑ -⏑ ⏑-.‖ - ⏑ ⏑ - - - ⏑ | ⏑ - - - ⏑ ⏑ - .‖

̑ ̑

(D | - D ⏑ ‖) (D ⏑ | ⏑ D ⏑ ‖)

‘O Muse, sing to me the rage of Achilles son of Peleus, wretched rage, which caused thousands of sorrows to the Achaeans’ I have marked the caesura in both hexameters. Archilochus imitates the ending of the first verse of the Iliad and echoes its rhythm. Both lines have a patronymic followed by a personal name. What is more, Achilles means ‘he who brings sorrows to the people or the army (laos)’, whereas Charilaos ‘brings joy to the people (laos)’; he is the son of Erasmon, the ‘pleasant man’.15 The onomastic twist becomes a metrical twist in the next verse, with its iambo-trochaic rhythm: we do not have ‘thousands of sorrows’ in dactyls, but ‘something that will make you laugh’, in a completely different metre. The phrase ‘dearest among my companions’ echoes Homeric phrases used for Patroclus (Iliad 17.411 and 655) and Hector (Iliad 24.748 and 762). Archilochus highlights his metrical and literary wit by stressing that he will tell the funny story, not the Muse.

14

15

Note that ἐρέω counts as two syllables: two adjacent vowels may occasionally coalesce into a single syllable (a phenomenon known as synizesis). This happens also to epsilon and omega in Πηληϊάδεω of Iliad 1.1, quoted on this page. Nagy 1999, 69–83 and 91.

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The hexameter and Aeolic lyric There is another important alternative explanation for the origin of hexameter. Nagy, developing a suggestion offered by Wilamowitz, has argued that the hexameter derived from Aeolic metres.16 This is a priori likely, as we know there was an ‘Aeolic phase’ in the epic tradition that evolved into the Homeric texts. Just as the language of Homer presents the traces of the Aeolic dialect used by epic poets before him,17 the metre displays some genetic relationship with Aeolic cola. The ‘Sapphic fourteen-syllable verse’ (Sa. 43–52 V; see 227 V) gl2da × × - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ . ‖

̑

resembles in many ways the hexameter, even if the beginning and ending are different. It is not by chance that Sappho chose this metre to write a piece on the wedding of Hector and Andromache (44 V). Sappho (142 and 143 V) also used a pherecratean with three dactyls inserted in the nucleus: pher3da - - - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ - . ‖

̑

This can also be interpreted as a form of the hexameter. This metre is used in Sa. 104a.1, 105–106 V, in a way that was meant to recall the hexameter, as the basis was implemented by a three-syllable dactyl (104a.1, 105a.2, 105b.2, 106.1 V) as well as by two long syllables. The hexameter is at the confluence of two different but related traditions. Aeolic poets probably used a narrative verse that is similar to the one used by Sappho; Ionic poets composed similar verses by combining dactylic cola such as the hemiepes and the enoplion, but varied it in accordance with the phenomenon of contraction, which is important in the Ionic dialect (especially for verbs), but not in the Aeolic. This variety within homogeneity ultimately explains the success of the hexameter. Dactylo-epitrites in Stesichorus and the metrical inventiveness of Pindar and Bacchylides In the seventh century, Alcman, living in Sparta and writing in a form of Doric, combined trochaic rhythms with ‘enoplian’ and dactylic rhythms in strophes that are longer than those of Archilochus. In the seventh and sixth centuries 16

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17

Wilamowitz 1921, 98; Nagy 1974, 49–102 (originating from pher3da) and the corrections in Nagy 1990, 456–64; Nagy 1996a, 89–95. On Aeolic dactyls see also West 1982, 33–4; Martinelli 1995, 174–6, with references. Janko 1982, 89–93, 176–9. Some scholars argue against the existence of an Aeolic phase (e.g. Horrocks 1997), but see West 1988 and Janko 1998.

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Stesichorus, using a different form of Doric from Alcman, employed a variety of ‘enoplian’, dactylic and iambo-trochaic cola in his narrative lyric poems.18 His subject matter and metre recall epic; but the echo of the hexameter is deliberately blurred with surprising effects (see 222b PMGF, l. 232). Stesichorus writes his poems using a combination of enoplian, dactylic, trochaic and iambic cola: the so-called dactylo-epitrite metre. This rather cumbersome name was invented in the nineteenth century. It comes from the Greek ‘epitritos’, a mathematical term which means ‘four thirds’, ‘one and a third more’. Paul Maas suggested an excellent system of sigla for describing this metre: D=-⏑⏑-⏑⏑e=-⏑E = - ⏑ - × - ⏑ - (note that E is another way of saying e × e)

The structures called D, e and E do not normally occur next to each other: they are usually ‘linked’ by an element, which may be anceps, short or long (noted in the usual way: ×,19 ⏑, -). These few symbols suffice to analyse the vast majority of poems in dactylo-epitrite metres. A drawback of the notation devised by Maas is that it does not make clear whether the ‘link’ elements are part of the preceding or the following structure. This might make one think (incorrectly) that the ‘link’ elements are rhythmical structures in their own right. They are not. The structures D, e and E existed as independent cola. If a syllable was added at the beginning or at the end, a different colon resulted. We have already seen the ‘hemiepes’ (D), the prosodiac (× - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ -), which can be symbolised as × D, and the ‘enoplion’ (× - ⏑ ⏑ - ⏑ ⏑ - × = × D ×). Besides the cretic (e), poets used the trochee (- ⏑ - × = e ×) or the iamb (× - ⏑ - = × e). Besides the E structure, they used the trochaic dimeter, - ⏑ - × - ⏑ - × (which could be described as E ×) and the iambic dimeter × - ⏑ - × - ⏑ - (which could be described as × E). These more complex structures formed the dactylo-epitrite strophes. The first three lines of the strophe of Stes. 222b PMGF can be analysed either using Maas’ algebraic notation or by describing the cola used: D⏕ ⏑ D×| D × e × ‖H D×D×|

18 19 20

hemiepes and enoplion (with ‘resolvable anceps’)20 | hemiepes and iambic penthemimeres ‖H hemiepes and enoplion |

See Haslam 1974 and 1978. This anceps is often called ‘link anceps’ or ‘anceps interpositum’. It is characteristic of Stesichorus that the anceps may be implemented not only by a short or a long syllable, but also by two short syllables, as if they were replacing the long syllable. This is often noted with the symbol ⏕ ⏑ . This phenomenon has also been called ‘resolvable anceps’ (a convenient name, even if a logically dubious concept: Haslam 1978, 38–41).

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Maas’ notation does not make it explicit that the rhythm is iambic. Some scholars prefer the second type of analysis, which can however prove rather taxing and multiplies the number of names used to define cola.21 Pindar and Bacchylides not only take up dactylo-epitrite metres from the ‘Dorian’ tradition of Stesichorus, but also write in a Dorian dialect using Aeolic metres, and combine these two types of metre even within the same poem, in different strophic structures (Bacchylides 3) or even within the same strophe (Pind. Ol. 13).22 Moreover, Pindar and Bacchylides abandon isosyllabism in Aeolic metres: they realise the Aeolic basis in three syllables. Pindar occasionally resolves long elements and contracts the two short ones. They also shape iambic patterns into much longer and more complex structures than earlier writers (‘lyric iambics’).23 A panhellenic system rose out of local traditions. The fusion of different rhythms within the same poem will be taken up in tragedy and in later lyric poetry, especially in Timotheus. Timotheus uses the dochmiac metre (basic pattern: × - - ⏑ -), a metre typical of tragedy but also used in lyric.24 Music Greek music in its cultural setting Greek metre bears clear signs of its Indo-European origin. Greek music, even if it shows Indo-European connections (especially with the music of ancient India), was heavily influenced by non-Indo-European cultures in the Near East and Mesopotamia. Many Greek modes (harmoniai) have names that refer to Anatolia (Phrygia and Lydia in particular); the tuning system for string instruments has Babylonian parallels; the instruments themselves seem to have been imported from abroad. Influences from the culture of these parts of Asia are clearly important also for the content and imagery of Greek poetry. This cross-breeding of different traditions is proclaimed by the Greek lyric texts themselves as well as by Greek musical treatises. Greek and non-Greek traditions contributed to the richness of the panhellenic repertoire and were the point of departure for increasingly daring and revolutionary changes introduced by the star performers and poetical celebrities of the late archaic and classical age. 21

22 24

On dactylo-epitrites see Maas 1966, 40–2 and Snell’s metrical analyses in Snell and Maehler 1987, Maehler 1989, Maehler 2003b; also Barrett 1956. Against Maas’ notation see the analyses in Gentili et al. 1995 and Gentili and Lomiento 2003, 204–19. Prauscello (forthcoming). 23 West 1980. On the dochmiac see Pretagostini 1979; West 1980, 149–50; and in general Conomis 1964; Dale 1968, 104–19; West 1982, 62 and 108–15; on Timotheus Horden 2002, 55–60.

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Words and music Most of Greek lyric was sung, but ancient sources do not describe in detail singing techniques. The metrical pattern of short and long syllables and the occurrence of metrical pauses dictated the rhythm of the music. In music, a long syllable corresponded in duration to two short ones. It is only at the end of the classical era that we have some sporadic evidence for long syllables being prolonged to the length of three (trisêmos) or four (tetrasêmos) short ones. Similarly, in archaic lyric each syllable corresponded to a single note; it is only in the fifth century that musicians began to divide a long syllable between two notes.25 Greek words had a melodic accent: the accented syllable was normally pronounced at a higher pitch than those next to it. We know that there was only a partial correspondence between word accent and melodic pattern and we see that accent patterns changed from strophe to strophe, even if the same melody was presumably repeated in each strophe. Some astrophic Hellenistic poems for which musical notation has survived display a high degree of coherence between word accent and melodic pattern. Archilochus is said to have invented a peculiar type of delivery called parakatalogê ‘parallel recital’. It must have consisted in some sort of chanting, especially connected with the delivery of iamboi (iambic, trochaic, epodic, choliambic verses).26 Modes and genera Classical European music has two modes, major and minor; all major and all minor scales present identical successions of intervals, even if they start on different notes. In classical European music, an essential role is played by harmony: the rules that determine which notes can be played together in a chord and which successions of chords are permissible. By contrast, in Ancient Greece the accompaniment was mostly homophonic: the instrument(s) normally repeated the singer’s notes, or doubled them in the upper or lower octave.27 Greek harmoniai (‘modal scales’ or ‘modes’) often started on different notes and did not have the same succession of intervals. As a result, instruments such as auloi and lyres had to be ‘tuned’ to a particular mode. That is why ‘modes’ are called, in Greek musical theory, harmoniai, ‘tunings’.28

25

26 28

See Aristophanes, Frogs 1314 and 1348; Parker 1997, 504–9; Devine and Stephens 1994, 114; see also Sim. 543.9 and 587 PMG and West 1992a, 201. West 1992a, 40. 27 Barker 1988 and 1995; West 1992a, 59, 73–4, 103–4, 207. See West 1992a, 160–89 and 223–42; Rocconi 1998.

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Different harmoniai had different characters. The Dorian harmonia, for instance, was considered dignified (see Pind. fr. 67 M) and ‘manly’ (Aristot. Pol. 1342b12), while the Phrygian one was felt to be ‘Dionysiac’ and appropriate to dithyrambs (Aristot. Pol. 1342b1–12). A harmonia could be played according to one of the three main genera: enharmonic (the most common one), chromatic and diatonic. Choice of genus implied a different sequence of intervals in one section of the scale, within each harmonia. Instruments In myth, Hermes invented the lyre and Athena the ‘pipe’ (aulos). These were the two main instruments for accompanying archaic lyric poetry. Different types of lyres existed, used in different performance settings.29 Hermes makes the sound-box out of a tortoise shell: this is the lyra proper (Fig. 3b). A variant on this was the barbitos, also made out of a tortoise shell but with much longer arms (Fig. 5). The sound of the barbitos was deeper and softer than that of the lyra. According to Pindar fr. 125 M, the barbitos was introduced into Greece by Terpander of Lesbos (a kitharode active in the seventh century), in imitation of a Lydian instrument. Other sources also credit Terpander with the invention of the seven-stringed lyre.30 Lyres (both the lyra and the barbitos) were used for symposia, for teaching and ‘private’ music-making as well as in public occasions such as dances and processions (Fig. 1). The ‘lyre’ class comprised also instruments with a wooden sound-chest: the kithara types. These instruments were normally much bigger than the tortoise-lyra and had a fuller sound. Professional singers (‘kitharodes’) used them to accompany themselves at public festivals.31 The kithara, just like the lyra, was used to accompany choral dancing and singing. Stesichorus’ poems were accompanied by the kithara.32 Poets often use phorminx, kitharis, kithara, lyra, chelys (‘tortoise’; also chelynna) and barbitos interchangeably.33 The most important wind instrument was the aulos (‘pipe’; Fig. 2). Auloi normally came in pairs and were played at the same time, one with each hand. Many players, especially professional ones, used a ‘halter’ (phorbeia) to make the sound steadier and fuller. The aulos was a reed instrument: their sound was more like an oboe’s or a clarinet’s than that of a ‘flute’ (a traditional but

29 30 31 33

Maas and Snyder 1989; West 1992a, 49–70; Mathiesen 1999, 237–70. West 1992a, 330; Gostoli 1990, xxxix–xliii; Franklin 2002a, 442; Franklin 2002b, 673–9. West 1992a, 54–5. 32 On the music see Barker 2001; Barker 2002, 44–56. West 1992a, 50–1.

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misleading translation). Fragments of auloi that have come to us make it possible to draw some inferences about their pitch and tuning.34 Auloi had the reputation of stirring up emotions (Aristot. Pol. 1341a23)35 and were especially connected with Dionysus, but were heard also in the cult of Apollo (Alcaeus 307 V; Ps.-Plut., De mus. 1135e–1136a).36 The Homeric Hymn to Hermes says that Hermes gave the lyre to Apollo, who made the instrument prestigious. On the other hand, Athena rejected the auloi because she had to puff up her cheeks to play them and this made her look ugly. Auloi were then taken up by the ugly Thracian silenus Marsyas.37 These stories reflect the different type of connotations (and social level) associated with these two instruments in the fifth century: auloi were used by professionals or by entertainers at symposia, lyres by freeborn (and often aristocratic) citizens. The opposition between auloi and lyres was not so neat: literary sources (Pind. Ol. 3.8, 7.12, Nem. 9.8) and paintings (see Fig. 1) attest that auloi and lyres were in fact used together in a number of performance settings. They also underwent a parallel development in the fifth century to accommodate changes in musical practice. Around 400 BCE the Theban aulos-player Pronomos invented a type of aulos that modulated between different modes, probably by means of a mechanical device; prior to that, different sets of auloi served for different modes.38 At about the same time, Timotheus proudly boasts that he makes use of a kithara with eleven notes (791.221–32 PMG): he is said to have been expelled from Sparta because of his revolutionary innovation.39 An increase in the number of strings allowed players to modulate between different musical modes. FURTHER READING Metre

West’s excellent handbook is fundamental (West 1982; abridged version in West 1989). Maas 1966 treats in detail only some types of metre (hexameter, iambic trimeter), but is enlightening on many aspects. Snell 1962 (in German, summarised in Halporn, Ostwald and Rosenmeyer 1963) is brief but very informative and very good on lyric metres. Martinelli 1995 offers a lucid, very detailed and more discursive treatment, with large bibliography. On ancient theories of metre see Leo 1889, van Ophuijsen 1987, Leonhardt 1989, Pretagostini 1993 (excellent short presentation), Gentili and Lomiento 2003

34 36 38 39

West 1992a, 94–101; Mathiesen 1999, 204–18. 35 See Barker 1984–9, I.177. See Barker 1984–9, I.219. 37 Wilson 1999; Battezzato 2005, 98–100. See also Wilson 2008. Paus. 9.12.5; West 1992a, 87; Wilson (forthcoming). Paus. 3.12.10; Hordern 2002, 7–9; Prauscello 2009.

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(controversial). Sicking 1993 describes the metrical practice of single authors or groups of authors, but follows Dale’s idiosyncratic type of metrical notation (and is somewhat questionable on theoretical grounds: see West 1994). On linguistics and metre see the important works of Devine and Stephens 1984 and 1994. Music

West’s work is again the fundamental starting point (West 1992a). Barker 1984–9 translates into English all important sources, with extensive and excellent introductions and notes. Mathiesen 1999 offers an extensive discussion of Greek music and esp. music theory with full bibliography. On the Oriental origins of Greek music see Lasserre 1988, Franklin 2002a and 2002b, with further bibliography. The chapters in Wellesz 1957 give clear and useful general information on ancient Indian, Mesopotamian and Egyptian music; on the relationship between Greek and Near Eastern cultures see Burkert 1992 and West 1997; on string instruments Maas and Snyder 1989 (with illustrations); see also Bundrick 2005. Csapo 2000 and Csapo 2004a brilliantly investigate the ‘New Music’ of the fifth century. Wilson 1999 and Wilson 2004 offer equally brilliant discussions of the social and ideological connotations of auloi and stringed instruments in Athens. The papers collected in Gentili and Pretagostini 1988, Restani 1995 and Murray and Wilson 2004 give a sense of the variety of approaches to ancient Greek music. Comotti 1989 is a useful survey of Greek and Roman music. On musicians in antiquity see Bélis 1999. Several CDs with performances of ancient Greek music exist (see esp. Bélis 1996; Hagel and Harrauer 2005; see also Hagel’s website: http://www.oeaw.ac.at/kal/agm/) but no music from archaic or classical lyric survives. For the scores see West 1992a: 277–326 and Pöhlmann and West 2001.

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Iambos

Iambos has a long and rich history. As a literary form it emerges in the seventh century BCE, though as with all the lyric genres it must be heir to a long preliterate tradition. It flourishes for about a century, after which it attracts no major talents until it excites the imagination of Hellenistic poets. It then acquires a further lease of life in Rome through its influence on the works of Catullus and Horace. We have no definition of iambos before the classical period and even then we are given not a definition but either passing references or indicative characteristics. Though iambos as a genre is resurrected in the Hellenistic period, its reemergence comes mediated through the prism of Hellenistic tastes and trends which inevitably involve refashioning and some degree of redefinition. We can however put together a plausible if tentative picture. Though it is difficult when reconstructing iambos to escape the gravitational pull of the adjective ‘iambic’ with its connotations of metrical form, there is good reason to suppose that the term is not in origin metrical.1 Our first encounter with the word iambos is in an opaque fragment of Archilochus (215 W): καί μ᾽ οὔτ᾽ ἰάμβων οὔτε τερπωλέων μέλει. And neither iamboi nor pleasures (terpôlai) interest me.

Since terpôlê is never a metrical term, iambos is unlikely to have a primarily metrical force here. Since the word iambos is so persistently associated with Archilochus by later writers, it is possible that this word refers to Archilochus’ poetry. In the classical period the term iambos is applied to compositions of different metrical form, which again suggests that as a designation of a type of composition it is not primarily metrical. Aristotle (Rhet. 1418b28) uses the word of a poem in trochaic tetrameters and of another in iambic trimeters; 1

For a recent discussion which reopens the possibility of iambos as originally a metrical term see Rotstein (forthcoming).

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Herodotus (1.12) uses the term of the same trimeter poem. It is likely therefore that iambos in origin designates either content or occasion or both.2 Archaic and classical sources offer only limited help on the question of the precise nature of iambos. Aristotle (Pol. 1448b) distinguishes between two kinds of poetry, praise (epainoi) and ‘blame’ (psogoi) and associates the verb iambizein with the latter. Verbal aggression is also the feature of Archilochus’ poetry singled out for mention by Pindar (Pyth. 2.52–5). The association of iambos with mockery is also suggested by the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, where (200–5) a female servant named Iambe cheers up the grieving Demeter on her arrival at Eleusis in disguise:3 But unlaughing and tasting no food or drink she sat wasting with longing for her deep-girt daughter, until with teasing (χλεύῃς) loyal Iambe with much jesting (παρασκώπτουσα) induced the august goddess to smile and laugh and have a cheerful heart, she who later too pleased her moods.

The connection of the name Iambe with iambos is inescapable. Her wit is indicated by the noun chleuê and the verb (para)skôptein, which elsewhere refer not simply to wit but specifically to mockery. The representation of iambos as mockery (here beneficial) of a victim coheres with other sources. Mockery and abuse are not unique to iambos. They are already present in Homeric epic. Invective finds its way intermittently into lyric, especially in Alcaeus. But for Greek thinking mockery and invective are especially prominent in iambos. Another distinguishing feature is linguistic register. Archaic verse more generally lacks the explicitness of iambos, as evidenced for instance in Hipponax’s mêtrokoitês (‘motherfucker’) of Boupalos. The three major archaic exponents of iambos also share an interest in details and incidents from everyday life of a sort which rarely find a place in other poetry, in particular food and sex.4 Again the distinction is relative, not absolute. Feasting is an important theme in much Greek poetry and provides the setting for much of the Odyssey. And the symposion is embedded explicitly or implicitly in most small-scale Greek poetry. But iambos is distinctive for the level of interest in the minutiae of eating and drinking as distinct from the affective and convivial aspects. Sex too is omnipresent in Greek literature from Homer onwards. But in other small-scale archaic poetic forms erotic behaviour focuses on subjective emotional experience, not objective physical

2 4

West 1974, 22; Brown 1997, 14. 3 For Iambe see Brown 1997, 16 ff.; Rosen 2007, 47–56. For food see Pellizer and Tedeschi 1990, xxviii; West 1974, 34.

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fact. Iambos explicitly mentions body parts and describes processes which are avoided or mentioned allusively or fleetingly elsewhere. Like Old Comedy, iambos generally stresses sex where other genres stress love. A case in point is Archilochus’ graphic description of fellatio (42 W): ὥσπερ αὐλω̑ι βρυ̑τον ἢ Θρέϊξ ἀνέρ ἢ Φρὺξ ἔμυζε· κύβδα δ᾽ ἠ̑ν πονεομένη.

Like a Thracian drinking beer through a straw Or a Phrygian she slurped, and she was hard at it bent forward.

Another is Semonides’ description of what looks like sodomy (17W): καὶ τη̑ς ὄπισθεν ὀρσοθύρης ἠλσάμην. And I drove in at the back doorway.

And as with invective, in its treatment of sex iambos is free to incorporate a degree of vulgarity which is otherwise rare in Greek poetry. A further feature of iambos identified by Bowie is the presence of a pronounced narrative element.5 Narrative of personal experience (as distinct from narration of myth as exemplum) is common in archaic lyric;6 so again we are not dealing with a feature exclusive to iambos. But it may be that unmediated narrative of everyday experience was more pronounced in iambos. Some of these elements may reflect the distinctive origin of iambos. Aischrologia (indecent language and insult) played a part in the Eleusinian Mysteries and in other cults with a fertility aspect to them. Iambe’s role in the hymn is evidently an aetiology for cult practice at Eleusis, while her name suggests that iambos may have its origin in ritual mockery and ribaldry. This is supported by the later biographical tradition which links Archilochus and his family to the cult of Demeter and Dionysus.7 A cult origin also goes some way toward explaining the similarity between Athenian Old Comedy and iambos: sexual and scatological explicitness, propensity for personal abuse and interest in food.8 Aristotle (Poet. 1449a) traces comedy back to the phallic processions which persisted in some parts of Greece into and beyond his own day. This is conjecture – but plausible conjecture from an intelligent observer. The meagre evidence supports the hypothesis that the two genres share an origin in rituals of inversion of norms. However, though hypothetical origin may explain some distinctive aspects of iambos, by the early archaic period the link to cult was intermittent at most and too heavy an emphasis on origins risks obscuring the diversity and flexibility of the genre in its historical forms. 5 8

Bowie 2001b. 6 Gentili 1988, 109. 7 See most recently Brown 1997, 45–7. On this relationship see most recently Bowie 2002b.

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Archilochus We can date Archilochus securely to the seventh century BCE on the basis of a fragment of his poetry which alludes to an eclipse of the sun (122.1–4 W): χρημάτων ἄελπτον οὐδέν ἐστιν οὐδ’ ἀπώμοτον οὐδὲ θαυμάσιον, ἐπειδὴ Zεὺς πατὴρ Ὀλυμπίων ἐκ μεσαμβρίης ἔθηκε νύκτ’, ἀποκρύψας φάος ἡλίου †λάμποντος, λυγρὸν† δ’ ἠ̑λθ’ ἐπ’ ἀνθρώπους δέος. There is nothing which can be ruled out nor sworn impossible nor marvellous, since Zeus the father of the Olympians turned midday into night, hiding the light of the sun as it shone, and grim fear came upon humans.

There is no reason to doubt that this alludes to a specific event, probably the total eclipse of 648 BCE. We can also recover Archilochus’ place of birth and some key activities in which he participated, especially the colonial struggles for control of the island of Thasos, which forms the background to a number of fragments. We also have a hagiographic and mythologising inscription from Paros (SEG 15.517) relating to a Hellenistic hero-shrine of Archilochus, which gives some further information, derived partly from his poetry and partly from local tradition. Beyond this much remains uncertain. According to Aelian (Varia historia 10.13) the oligarch Critias complained that if Archilochus had not revealed the facts, ‘we would not have learned that he was the son of the slave Enipo nor that he left Paros for Thasos because of poverty and need, nor that on arrival he found the people there hostile, nor that he verbally abused both friends and enemies alike. In addition, said Critias, we would not have known that he was a seducer, if we hadn’t learned it from him, nor that he was lascivious and wild and – yet the most shameful of these revelations – that he threw away his shield.’9 Critias’ reading of Archilochus is simultaneously accurate and misleading. The shield incident is ‘real’, in the sense that it was reported by Archilochus, though it remains difficult to interpret. Archilochus’ self-presentation as a seducer is confirmed by the later tradition and by fragment 196a W², discussed below. Archilochus may well have claimed that he left Paros through ‘poverty’; but ‘poverty’ (penia) is a flexible term in Greek authors of all periods, subjective and relative, not objective and quantifiable. Relative to others of his class, or relative to the earlier situation of himself and his family, Archilochus may have been ‘poor’. This is entirely compatible with the supposition that (like almost all 9

For Critias’ criticism of Archilochus see most recently Rosen 2007, 248–52.

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poets in antiquity) he was a member of the elite, and the inscriptional evidence (for all its hagiographic distortion) suggests that his family were among the leaders of his society. The reference to servile birth could perhaps be evidence for illegitimacy, though even if true that might be of little significance, since even in the classical period states differed in the familial and political rights accorded to bastards. But scholars rightly advise caution here. The suspiciously apt ‘speaking name’ of the mother (Enipô, from enipê, ‘blame’) suggests that Critias may have taken literally a metaphorical claim by Archilochus to a generic pedigree as ‘son of Blame’. The most significant event in Archilochus’ life for Hellenistic and later writers was his relationship with Lycambes. The story told later is that Lycambes promised his daughter Neoboule in marriage to Archilochus but reneged on the promise, and that Archilochus attacked Lycambes and his daughters so ferociously in his poetry that they committed suicide. In the reaction against biographical criticism in the latter part of the twentieth century this story was rejected by several scholars and it was suggested that Lycambes, his family and the betrayal were part of a local folk entertainment tradition.10 The ‘I’ speaking in the attacks on Lycambes in Archilochus’ poetry is then not the historical Archilochus but a fictive persona. However, wherever we can establish the identity of the ‘I’ in Archilochus, it is almost invariably Archilochus and not an assumed personality. We can certainly establish the historicity of at least one of Archilochus’ addressees, Glaucus, which makes it rash to turn the rest into figments. It is wiser to suppose that Lycambes and his family were real.11 The fragments of Archilochus’ poetry present Lycambes (173 W) as oath-breaker and Neoboule (fr.196a W²) as duplicitous. The account of what looks like the seduction of Neoboule’s sister in fragment 196a (discussed below) confirms later references to attacks by Archilochus on the chastity of Lycambes’ daughters and so suggests that Hellenistic writers, like Critias, drew their biographical statements from the poems. However, if we accept that Archilochus told of alliance and betrayal, we need not accept his version.12 And we can dismiss the suicide. The recurrence of this topos in accounts of authors of lampoon and the fact that Iambe, eponym of iambos, allegedly hanged herself,13 suggest that here as often in the biographies of Greek poets myth-making supplements or replaces fact. But the suicide tradition is not entirely without value, since it does give a (hyperbolic) sense of the power of invective in a society with a strong sense of honour and shame. 10

11

12

See recently Miller 1994, 28–9; Stehle 1997, 240; and for a discussion of the status quaestionis Brown 1997, 50 ff. with n. 29. Certainly the later Parian tradition as represented in SEG 15.517 viewed Lycambes as a historical personage. See Slings 1990, 25; Irwin 1998. 13 See Carey 1986, 60.

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In Archilochus’ hands iambos is a flexible medium with a wide range of themes and tones, overlapping with other small-scale archaic literary forms which share its first person focalisation, differing only in its breadth of linguistic and thematic register. Archilochus uses epodic metres for explicit sexual material (42, 119 W) and for what looks like subjective love poetry (191, 193 W) comparable with archaic erotic lyric and elegy. Fragment 96 W has a military theme, a subject matter especially common in elegy. Fragment 114 W, one of the most celebrated of Archilochus’ poems, offers an assertive and abrasive attack on semblance without substance: οὐ φιλέω μέγαν στρατηγὸν οὐδὲ διαπεπλιγμένον οὐδὲ βοστρύχοισι γαυ̑ρον οὐδ’ ὑπεξυρημένον, ἀλλά μοι σμικρός τις εἴη καὶ περὶ κνήμας ἰδει ν̑ ῥοικός, ἀσφαλέως βεβηκὼς ποσσί, καρδίης πλέως. I do not love a big commander nor one with a straddling pose nor proud of his locks nor well shaved. No, let mine be some small man and in appearance bandy-kneed, standing firm on his feet, full of heart.

For all we know, the poem may have gone on to attack an individual. But that does not negate the fact that iambos could discuss larger social and ethical issues which would be equally at home in other archaic genres. The fragments as a whole show a number of recurrent characteristics. Perhaps the most striking is vividness. Archilochus has a very fine feeling for crisply observed and expressed descriptive detail: ἡ δέ οἱ σάθη ὥστ’ ὄνου Πριηνέως κήλωνος ἐπλήμυρεν ὀτρυγηφάγου.

His schlong like that of an ass of Priene, a he-ass grain fed, was in full spate.

(Archil. 43 W)

καὶ πεσει ν̑ δρήστην ἐπ’ ἀσκόν, κἀπὶ γαστρὶ γαστέρα προσβαλει ν̑ μηρούς τε μηροι ς̑ , and to fall hard at work on a bag and press belly against belly and thighs against thighs. (Archil. 119 W)

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statements which encapsulate a thought with great vigour which bestows freshness even on commonplace ideas: ἓν δ’ ἐπίσταμαι μέγα, τὸν κακω̑ς ἔρδοντα δεινοι ς̑ ἀνταμείβεσθαι κακοι ς̑ .

One big thing I know – To pay back the man who harms me with grim harm. (Archil.126 W) πόλλ’ οἰ ̑δ’ ἀλώπηξ, ἀλλ’ ἐχι ν̑ ος ἓν μέγα. The fox knows many things but the hedgehog one big one. (Archil. 201 W)

His linguistic register ranges between the dignified and the coarse. He also makes good use of the fact of performance by giving the poems an element of unpredictability which keeps its audience guessing as to the direction which a poem will take and allows the poet to use surprise to keep his audience attentive. It was however invective for which Archilochus was predominantly remembered in later antiquity. In Archilochus’ hands invective is a highly flexible tool. It can be blunt and harsh. 188 W² is an attack on an unidentified female: οὐκέ]θ’ ὁμω̑ς θάλλεις ἀπαλὸν χρόα, κάρφετα[ι γὰρ ἤδη ὄγμοι]ς, κακου̑ δὲ γήραος καθαιρει ̑ . . . . .], ἀφ’ ἱμερτου̑ δὲ θορὼν γλυκὺς ἵμερος π[ροσώπου πέπτω]κεν· ἠ̑ γὰρ πολλὰ δή σ’ ἐπη̑ιξεν πνεύμ]ατα χειμερίων ἀνέμων < > πολλάκις δε[ No longer does your soft skin blossom; it is already dried out with furrows, and the . . . of old age destroys it. And sweet desire has leaped from your face and fallen. For truly many blasts of stormy winds have assailed you and often . . .

There is an unashamed and explicit exultation in the disfiguration, reflected in the relentless accumulation of detail. But there is more. The theme is commonplace in later literature and presumably was a commonplace mode of attack in Archilochus’ day. It is lifted here above the commonplace both by its vividness and by its use of metaphor and hyperbole. The victim’s face is not merely lined but furrowed;14 simultaneously the word κάρφεται (‘is dried out’) in v.1 presents the face as like chaff. This vegetal metaphor is extended in the lines which follow, where desire has fallen from her face. 14

The text here is uncertain. I accept Snell’s emendation (ὄγμοις) of the nominative singular ὄγμος presented in Hephaestion. For a survey of recent views see Brown and Gerber 1993.

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The speaker then picks up on the idea of time and change. The winds here hover between the literal – resuming the notion of physically drying out (κάρφεται) – and the metaphorical, suggesting the physical effect of vicissitude. Despite its blunt physicality, the poem shows an oblique approach to its theme often deployed in Archilochean invective. The poem begins not with hyperbole but with understatement which could at first be mistaken for sympathy. This oblique approach recurs in 122 W, which begins as an awed and immediate reflection on a profound and unsettling experience and its implications for the human condition but then moves to talk about individuals, presumably to present their behaviour as being as startling as the eclipse.15 Arguably the best example of Archilochus’ oblique approach to his theme is fragment 196a W², probably the most subtle invective to survive from antiquity. Though fragmentary, this text offers our fullest example (before the discovery of the new elegiac papyrus) of Archilochus’ narrative technique. When the fragment becomes legible, a young woman is speaking to a young (14) admirer. He is evidently eager for sex and she attempts to restrain or divert him, offering a choice between abstinence (perhaps with delay, while he waits for her to be ready) or another girl in the household whose looks she commends and who is available immediately. The young man persists in his desire for the girl in front of him and urges that they need not have sexual intercourse (10–24): Daughter of Amphimedo, that good and [wise?] woman now beneath the dank earth, the goddess’s pleasures are many for young men besides the sacred thing itself. One of these will serve. These things at leisure when … grows dark you and I will plan. I’ll do as you say. A great … beneath the coping and … the gates. Don’t begrudge me, my dear. I’ll aim for the grassy meadow.

15

According to Aristotle (Rhet.1418b) the words were spoken by a father criticising his daughter. We do not know whether the father was Lycambes.

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Instead of full penetration, he offers a compromise – either withdrawal or intercrural coitus. The substitute woman offered is however rejected in forceful terms (24–8): Be sure of this: Neoboule another man can have. Ugh! She’s overripe. Her maiden bloom has shed its petals and the charm which she had before.

He goes on to revile Neoboule for her lasciviousness and duplicity, in contrast to the girl in front of him. The scene ends with sex with the girl. So I spoke, and taking the girl in the luxuriant flowers I laid her down. And with a soft cloak I covered her, and held her neck in my arms. As she … with fear … like a fawn I fondled her breasts gently with my hands where her coming prime showed her young skin. and caressing her whole beautiful body I shot forth my [white?] strength touching blonde hair.

It is difficult to do justice to the complex effects achieved here. In its sequence of demure refusal, persistence and ultimate seduction, the encounter echoes the celebrated sexual encounter between Hera and Zeus in Iliad book 14, which also ends in sex among the flowers.16 The sex act is exquisitely structured, in that we start with the breasts and follow his hands over her body before the poem like the activity described ends in ejaculation. The account is vivid and racy. Yet there is a restrained delicacy both in language and in conduct. The speaker uses periphrasis when offering compromise sex, not the coarse language sometimes used by Archilochus when speaking of sex (as in 119 W above). Apart from the word ‘breast’ (itself normal in Greek literature of all kinds), her body is not described, nor is his. Everything remains in soft focus. The poem has (for us) an almost romantic feeling. It is here however that the great subtlety of the poem resides. He treats the girl with consideration and (verbally) with respect. Yet in a world where a female’s chastity is vital to her family’s honour, her behaviour is shameful for a free woman.

16

See in particular Van Sickle 1975, 126.

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It is here that the identity of the parties becomes important. It seems inescapable that Neoboule is the alternative partner offered by the girl and the narrator’s evaluation of Neoboule corrects and rejects hers. Her statement (4) that she and Neoboule belong to the same household suggests that they are kin; and since the tradition gives Lycambes at least two daughters, it seems likely that this girl is her sister. Neoboule is reviled as faithless and sexually promiscuous and her sister in turn is revealed to be sexually available despite a facade of virtuous restraint. Her compliance tacitly undermines the speaker’s contrast between the two sisters for the audience. The irony goes further, since, though the speaker praises the girl’s honesty in contrast to Neoboule’s deviousness, she betrays her sister in giving herself to a man she believes to be interested in her sister. This poem shows no overt aggression toward the girl. But the respect turns out to be part of the rhetoric of generating narrative plausibility and thereby inflicting greater damage than the crude use of pejorative language. For those who recall their Homer, the incident from Iliad 14 is also loaded, in that the situation is one in which a male persuades a female to have sex but the sex is actually the goal of the female. The Homer source may imply that the girl is considerably more eager for sex than she appears. This is likely to have been one of the attacks on the Lycambides in which the poet accused them of unchastity attested indirectly by the Hellenistic tradition. We also have fragments of a poem attacking Lycambes himself (172– 81 W). The poem opens with an address to Lycambes which contrasts present and past to stress the reversal in society’s perception of Lycambes (172 W): πάτερ Λυκάμβα, ποι ο̑ ν ἐφράσω τόδε; τίς σὰς παρήειρε φρένας ἡ̑ις τὸ πρὶν ἠρήρησθα; νυ̑ν δὲ δὴ πολὺς ἀστοι σ ̑ ι φαίνεαι γέλως. Father Lycambes, what is this you’ve devised! Who unsettled your wits with which previously you were furnished? Now you are seen as a rich source of laughter for the townsfolk.

The reason for this reversal is Lycambes’ breach of his oath to Archilochus (fr.173): ὅρκον δ’ ἐνοσφίσθης μέγαν ἅλας τε καὶ τράπεζαν.

You have rejected the great oath sworn by salt and table.

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fond.17 According to the story, known from Aesop’s fables, the fox and the eagle made a compact to spare each other’s offspring. The eagle then ate the fox’s young. In Archilochus the fox prays to Zeus for revenge, since the eagle’s nest is unassailable. Subsequently the eagle snatches meat from an altar. A burning coal attached to the meat burns the nest and, in Aesop, the young of the eagle drop ready-cooked for the fox to eat. Here there is a complex relationship between poetry and revenge. The poem is at one level the revenge. In pillorying Lycambes the poet holds him up to scorn. That is, however, not the total effect. The fable asserts that nobody is above punishment and specifically divine punishment. As Zeus by implication punishes the eagle for his breach of the oath, so Lycambes can expect to be punished. However, in a world where action is regularly caused at both divine and at human level simultaneously, divine and human revenge go hand in hand. The fable tells of a parent who offends against justice and is punished as a parent through the destruction of its young. We know from other fragments that Archilochus inflicted his revenge on the daughters as well as on the father. Against this background the fable looks like an implied threat to attack Lycambes’ children.18 Lycambes’ stupidity pilloried at the beginning lies not simply in the failure to recognise the inevitability of divine punishment but in the provocation of a man who is capable of bringing a formidable verbal talent into play as part of his strategy of revenge. The attack on Lycambes raises a larger question about the social stance of the iambist. It has been suggested that the iambist always attacks from the position of the outsider.19 This view has a certain appeal, particularly in the case of Archilochus. In many of his poems scholars have in the past recognised a unique and individual voice.20 Certainly he speaks with a remarkable vigour. However, many of his personal statements are in fact merely an unusually sharp articulation of common values and his most iconoclastic pronouncements often turn out to be in tune with ideas discernible from epic onwards.21 Archilochus the outsider is not a modern invention (he is there in Critias); but invention he is. Christopher Brown argues rightly that Archilochus’ attacks are firmly based on shared social values.22 It is the victim, not the poet, who is marginalised. The use of the fable is significant here. Though as a popular form it is fitting for a genre which often concerns itself with everyday life, it is like myth a universalising medium which locates alleged offender and victim within larger general patterns of crime and punishment, turning personal affront into public concern and treating Lycambes as a 17 19 21

Cf. 185–7 W, also 23.16 W and 201 W. 18 Cf. Irwin 1998. Miralles and Pòrtulas 1988, 11–50. 20 The classic statement is in Snell 1953. See in particular Russo 1974. 22 Brown 1997, 42, 69.

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general warning. Revenge and retaliation are treated not simply as personal satisfaction but as justice. We are not told where Archilochus performed his poetry. Some of the elegiac poetry advertises itself as sympotic. There is evidence from the secondary tradition that Archilochus may have performed some iambos in a festival context. There is however no reason to suppose that all or even most of his poetry was performed in the context of civic ritual. Probably most of the iamboi, like most small-scale archaic poetry, were performed in the symposion.23 Semonides Of Semonides’ life nothing can be said with certainty, beyond the connection with the island of Amorgos. He is probably to be dated to the first half of the seventh century.24 In the case of Semonides we are particularly badly served by the nature of what remains. The fragments indicate that his output included first-person narratives dealing with incidents from everyday life. These included an interest in eating and drinking and tales of sexual experiences.25 But so little of these poems survives that it is impossible to develop any sense of Semonides’ narrative manner and even our sense of linguistic register is limited. The references to these lost poems are however invaluable in that they confirm that in his hands, as with Archilochus, the iambos was a flexible medium which could descend to the physicality of sex and also address issues of serious social and ethical concern. The most substantial fragment is the sustained attack on women (Sem. 7 W). The affinities of this poem to Archilochus’ attacks on Lycambes and his daughters are very visible. Both are aggressive, both have targets. Both use shared contemporary values as the basis for their attack. The difference is that Archilochus has precise individual targets in view, while Semonides takes the whole female sex as his target. Evidently the focus of iambos could expand and contract at need. Archilochus attacks the chastity and duplicity of Neoboule and (more subtly) her sister. Semonides makes use of a related but wider sense of male anxieties as the basis for his diatribe. The basis of the poem is the classification of women on the basis of a set of animal characteristics. The essential idea is that each type of female does not merely resemble an animal but was actually created from an animal, the type of animal determining the characteristics of the human female. Though lacking the sustained narrative of the Archilochean use of the beast fable, it draws on the same popular tradition. 23 25

Cf. Stehle 1997, 215; Bowie 2002b, 38–9. See Pellizer and Tedeschi 1990, xxvi–xxxiv.

24

Brown 1997, 70–2.

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The structure is essentially additive and the forward thrust – and arguably much of the appeal – is the inventiveness with which the poet finds yet more bases for comparison. In turn we have a sow, a vixen, a bitch, an ass, a weasel, a mare, a monkey and a bee. The poet does not adhere rigidly to this schema. The list of animals is interrupted by the introduction of two elements, earth and sea. There is a certain amount of repetition between animals. And the desire to assimilate the females to the animals leads to a loss of sharpness of distinction of characteristics. The poem, however, is not an exercise in logic. There is in this no attempt to argue. The poem proceeds by assertion and each type of female becomes the subject of a vivid vignette. It is from the liveliness of the vignettes that the poem derives much of its persuasive force. Some of these are very effective in themselves. The finest of all is the luxurious and high-maintenance mare (57–61): Another was born of the long-maned mare. She turns away from servile work and labour and would never touch a mill or lift a sieve or throw the dung from the house, or sit near the oven, because she shuns the soot. She makes love to a man perforce. She bathes herself clean every day twice, sometimes thrice, and rubs on perfume. She has her mane always combed out Long, covered in flowers. A woman like this is fine to look at for others, but for her husband she is a bane, unless he is a tyrant or a sceptred king who takes delight in such things.

In all these vignettes only one female, the bee (83ff.), has any real positive qualities. In all the other cases any seeming virtues are either specious or turn out to be ephemeral (27ff., 108–9). Inevitably for the reader in a world sensitised by feminism the poem invites the question: how serious? No simple answer is possible. It is difficult to dismiss the poem as simply entertainment,26 especially in view of the sustained generalising attack on women which follows the individual types and the reference at the end to the most dangerous female of them all, Helen. The poem reflects a suspicion and resentment of women which runs through Greek (and much subsequent) culture. It also reflects a recognition that women for all the problems men detect in them are essential, inescapable, desirable.27 It could be regarded as in a sense an act of revenge, more generalised than that of Archilochus, but 26

As Lloyd-Jones 1975.

27

See Osborne 2001, 56.

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based in male anxiety about, and dependency on, women. At the same time the poem evidently has the power to amuse a male audience, and Osborne has suggested that the likely place of performance was the symposion. The humour is not entirely comfortable, even for its male audience; but humour is often found in close proximity to, and often has its roots in, anxiety. The other substantial fragment (1 W) is very different. It deals not with individual targets or generic targets but with the vanity of human wishes. It begins: ὠ̑ παι ,̑ τέλος μὲν Zεὺς ἔχει βαρύκτυπος πάντων ὅσ’ ἐστὶ καὶ τίθησ’ ὅκηι θέλει· νου̑ς δ’ οὐκ ἐπ’ ἀνθρώποισιν, ἀλλ’ ἐπήμεροι ἃ δὴ βοτὰ ζόουσιν, οὐδὲν εἰδότες ὅκως ἕκαστον ἐκτελευτήσει θεός. ἐλπὶς δὲ πάντας κἀπιπειθείη τρέφει ἄπρηκτον ὁρμαίνοντας.

My boy, Zeus the loud thunderer holds the fulfilment of all things that are and sets them as he wishes. Mankind do not possess understanding but creatures of a day they live like beasts, completely unknowing how the god will bring each thing to its end. But hope and confidence nourish them as they strive for the impossible.

Though the poem criticises human folly, it lacks the adversarial nature of the satire on women. The poet finds in himself all the attitudes he criticises. Here iambos is used as a vehicle for philosophical reflection. The closest parallel to this poem is found not in iambos but in the elegiacs of Solon’s so-called Prayer to the Muses (Sol. 13 W). Again one notices the flexibility of iambos with its ability to move between gross themes and language and serious reflection. Hipponax Hipponax is securely dated to the sixth century.28 He is in key respects radically different from his predecessors. Hipponax withdraws from the larger social, ethical and political issues explored by Archilochus and Semonides.29 Though the later tradition maintains that Hipponax was exiled,30 in what survives of his poetry there is no political engagement. As well as narrowing its focus, iambos changes its social register. In Archilochus 28 30

Degani 1984, 19–20. 29 Cf. Brown 1997, 87–8. See the notice in Suda ‘Iππω̑ναξ, Test. 7 Degani.

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and Semonides the social level of the poetic persona remains that of the archaic aristocrat as in other small-scale archaic poetry. In Hipponax by contrast both the narrator and his social milieu are to be found at the bottom end of the socio-economic spectrum. The narrator defines himself as poor (32, 34 W) and describes his companions in similar terms (13–14, 79 W). The sense of being among the dregs of society is increased by the prominence in the poems of the pharmakos (scapegoat).31 The essence of the purificatory pharmakos ritual is the inversion of the normal rules of selection for ritual participation, in that poor and ugly people were selected as the vehicle for purging the community. The language is consistent with the world depicted. Where Archilochus and Semonides use the Ionic dialect, Hipponax mixes this with elements of Lydian, suggestive of a hybrid population on the edge of the Greek world. The linguistic register also differs. Sexually explicit language is more prominent and more graphic in Hipponax than in Archilochus or Semonides. The metre also changes, in that prominent among Hipponax’s metres is the so-called ‘limping iambic’ (skazôn or chôliambos).32 One aspect of the social setting in particular reinforces the gulf between Hipponax and his predecessors. There are strong hints that the speaker is a thief (3a, 79 W).33 Hermes, the god of thieves, is prominent in the poetry. Where Archilochus and Semonides attack their targets from within the collective value system, Hipponax operates as an outsider, subverting or ignoring the value system. The recurrent sense that we are in a world of poverty and ugliness is reinforced by another prominent feature of his poetry, parody. We have seen a readiness to play with epic intertexts in Archilochus. The presence of parody in Hipponax is not a fundamentally new phenomenon. The extent however is a new departure in iambos. It has been suggested plausibly34 that an encounter with an old woman, Iambe, mentioned by the early Byzantine scholar Choeroboscus in relation to Hipponax was derived from his narrative of his own poetic initiation. The anecdote is offered as the origin of the choliambos favoured by Hipponax. We appear to have an initiatory encounter similar to that of Hesiod with the Muses on Mount Helikon. There is also a second intertext in play. The meeting with an ugly old woman washing clothes on the seashore suggests that of Odysseus with the young and beautiful Nausicaa in Homer’s Odyssey. This in turn forms part of a pattern of sustained engagement with epic,

31 32 33 34

Hipp. 5–12 W; probably also 37, 92, 95, 104, 118, 128 W. On this metrical pattern see Battezzato, this vol., 137. For interpretations of the latter fragment see West 1974, 144; Degani 1984, 265–6. Rosen 1988a, Brown 1988; see also Fowler 1990.

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and specifically with the Odyssey.35 The female who plays such a prominent role in Hipponax’s social and sexual life, Arete, shares her name with the queen of the Phaeacians. The nymph who imprisons Odysseus for seven years, Calypso, seems to reappear in Hipponax’s Cypso (127, 129 W); her name (‘bender’) suggests either fellatio or sexual penetration from the rear. Rosen has suggested that the boxing match with Irus in the Odyssey may lie behind the boxing match with Boupalos in Hipponax (120–1 W). Hipp. 74 W seems to be entitled Odysseus and 77 W probably mentioned the Phaeacians. 128 W combines a generic parody of epic invocations with the presentation of the victim as an Odysseian monster. Also reminiscent of epic, and especially of the role of Athena in the Odyssey, is the role of Hermes as divine patron of the poet (79 W) on a night raid as a thief. It is interesting that Odysseus even lurks behind the Iliadic parody of Hipponax; Pòrtulas has stressed the relationship between Hipp. 16 and 72 W and Iliad book 10. The use of the Odyssey creates a complex relationship with the Homeric text. With his capacity for guile and his readiness to act the beggar Odysseus is the ideal precursor of the narrator figure in Hipponax; the world of the Odyssey more generally with its prominent presentation of slaves offers an appropriate backdrop for the poverty of Hipponax’s milieu. On the other hand, the recurrent focus on the Phaeacian narrative in Hipponax’s parody draws on the other aspect of the Odyssey as a fantasy narrative. The paradise of Phaeacia forms an implicit countertext to the grimy demi-monde created by Hipponax. It is no surprise that this vivid demi-monde with its pronounced contrastive engagement with heroic epic appealed so much to Hellenistic writers.36 The propensity for parody is a feature shared with fifth-century comedy. At one level this is no more than the humour created by grotesque juxtaposition. At another it reinforces the element of iambic inversion, since the serious world of epic is mocked. It also however constitutes a claim by Hipponax to be the Homer of his trade. Authorial self-consciousness on this scale is (at least in contrast with Archilochus and Semonides) a distinguishing feature of Hipponax’s iambos; it is a characteristic which aligns him with the lyric poets of the sixth century. It is no surprise therefore that (if poetic initiation lurks behind the anecdote of Choeroboscus) Hipponax explicitly claims an affinity with Iambe.

35

36

For the role of parody in Hipponax see Degani 1984, 187ff., for parody of the Odyssey Pòrtulas 1985, Miralles and Pòrtulas 1988, 77ff, and Rosen 1990. For Hipponax as ‘Hellenistic’ poet see Brown 1997, 87 n. 34.

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There is another respect in which Hipponax is distinctive. Generally in archaic Greek personal poetry, including iambos, even when the narrator/ speaker adopts the generic stance of the lover, the drinker or the warrior, explicit disjunction between historical speaker and poetic persona is avoided. Hipponax is different. The narrative persona is a pauper but the name is aristocratic.37 This in itself need be no more than irony. But against the background of the Greek love of honour the readiness of the poet to present himself in undignified situations (in particular 92 W) makes questionable the identity of narrator and author. Some of the activities narrated are illegal; again one imagines with difficulty such dangerous self-revelation if the narrative is offered as fact. Finally, the poetic self-awareness and intertextual play suggest the hand of a poet of some erudition, and this in turn in the Greek context suggests a member of the elite.38 The suspicion that author and narrator are separable is reinforced by the distancing device of self-naming.39 If the first-person speaker is a fiction, the narratives of Hipponax become a series of dramatic monologues, almost a soap opera.40 If the audience shares the poet’s distance from the world of the characters, the pleasure for them is like that afforded by Eastenders, in that the episodic narrative presents them with the diverse and colourful lives of exotic and largely fictional characters. The difference is that Hipponax’s characters unlike most soap opera figures appear to be penniless and shiftless. The similarity to Athenian comedy here is both suggestive and misleading. Firstly, this is not a step on the way to Athenian comedy, since there is no reason to suppose that Ionic iambos had a formative influence; this is a distinct, parallel development.41 Secondly, this never becomes dialogue; the form remains monologic. This manifestation of iambos does however develop a fantastic element, though the element of fantasy resides in the parade of grotesques within a broadly realistic plot and not in the impossibilities of the typical aristophanic myth. There is however a complicating factor. Hipponax’s persona may be fictive; but Boupalos appears to have been historical. So it looks as though

37

38 39

40 41

The assumption that the (historical) author was a member of the elite is also suggested by Hipp. 115 W (discussed below). West 1974, 28. The nearest is Sappho, who names herself frequently: Sa. 1.20; 65.5; 94.5; 133 V. However, in Sappho her interlocutors name her in direct speech, so that the name arises naturally from the intimacy of the situation. In Hipponax the narrator usually names himself, as though viewing himself as a character in a story: 32, 37, 79; 117 (dubious authenticity) W; 36 W in the vocative is unusual for Hipponax. 187 Degani is probably spurious. For this aspect of the iambus of Hipponax see Miralles and Pòrtulas 1988, 110. Bowie 2002b.

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Hipponax, like the exponents of Athenian comedy in the fifth century, mixed fictive and real figures.42 It is difficult to be confident about the performative context for Hipponax. We may again if we wish imagine the symposion,43 though it would be an unusual aristocratic audience in the archaic period which took such pronounced and consistent interest in the lower orders. Another possibility which has been suggested is that the poems were performed in a festival context, perhaps at the Thargelia with which the ritual of the pharmakos was associated.44 This would explain the ironic treatment of the gods in Hipponax, another point of convergence with Athenian comedy of the fifth century, though there is of course nothing in Hipponax which remotely resembles the treatment of Iris – and the gods collectively – in Birds or Hermes in Wealth. And Martin West observes to me that the metrical difference between Hipponax and his predecessors is consistent with a different performative context. None of this can be proven. Merely to raise the possibility indicates just how diverse archaic iambos was. Though what has been said is true of the majority of Hipponax’s work, the picture is more complicated. There is a celebrated fragment cursing an enemy: .[ η[ π.[

]ν[…]….[ κύμ[ατι] πλα[ζόμ]ενος· κἀν Σαλμυδ[ησσ]ω̑ι γυμνὸν εὐφρονε .[ Θρήϊκες ἀκρό[κ]ομοι λάβοιεν – ἔνθα πόλλ’ ἀναπλήσαι κακὰ δούλιον ἄρτον ἔδων – ῥίγει πεπηγότ’ αὐτόν· ἐκ δὲ του̑ χνόου φυκία πόλλ’ ἐπέχοι, κροτέοι δ’ ὀδόντας, ὡς [κ]ύων ἐπὶ στόμα κείμενος ἀκρασίηι ἄκρον παρὰ ῥηγμι ν̑ α κυμα. . . . δου· ταυ̑τ’ ἐθέλοιμ’ ἂν ἰδει ν̑ , ὅς μ’ ἠδίκησε, λ[ὰ]ξ δ’ ἐπ’ ὁρκίοις ἔβη, τὸ πρὶν ἑται ρ̑ ος [ἐ]ών. … driven by the waves. And in Salmydessos, naked, in kindly fashion may the top-knotted Thracians 42

43 44

Rosen 1988b, 32 suggests that Boupalos was a historical figure but that Hipponax borrowed his name because of its etymological potential – ‘Bouphallos’ = ‘Bulldick’. The possibility cannot be ruled out. So perhaps Brown 1997, 87 n. 34; Bowie 2002b, 38–9. West OCD3 s.v. ‘iambic poetry, Greek’.

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Iambos receive him – there may he endure much misery eating the bread of slavery – frozen from cold. And from the foam may thick seaweed cover him, and may his teeth chatter, lying like a dog face down and helpless at the edge of the breaking waves. This I should like to see for the man who wronged me, and trod the oaths underfoot though before he was my comrade. (Hipp. 115 W)

The structure is exquisite. With slow relish the poet anticipates the fate of his enemy, much as Archilochus revels in the destroyed beauty of his female target. The measured description culminates in the explanation for the curse. Unlike the amoral narrative of most Hipponactean iambos, the use of the language of justice takes us to the world of Archilochean iambos. Likewise the social level implied by the language of comradeship betrayed suggests Archilochus, the lyric of Alcaeus or the elegy of the Theognidea. The register too lacks the frank coarseness elsewhere typical of Hipponax. There is no trace of the amoral lowlife found in most of the fragments and no obvious reason to doubt that the poem was spoken by the poet in a persona compatible with the historical author. Whatever conclusion we draw about the performance of the soap-opera iamboi, the most likely context for the performance of this poem is the aristocratic symposion. Generalisations based on Hipponax’s ‘fictitious’ iamboi mislead in an important respect: there was another quite distinct strand to the work of this complex writer. FURTHER READING

The most useful general survey of early Greek iambos is Brown 1997. West 1974 is valuable for the definition of the genre and offers insightful comments on specific poems and his entry under ‘iambic poetry, Greek’ in OCD3 offers a general overview. Rotstein (forthcoming) addresses aspects of definition, form and performance. Rosen 2007 locates iambic mockery within a larger satirical framework in Greco-Roman poetry. Bowie 2001b and 2002b offer additional comments on and attributes of the genre. For Archilochus Dover 1964 remains useful, as is Burnett 1983. For Hipponax the most important work is still Degani 1984. Miralles and Pòrtulas 1988 are particularly strong on the role of fiction in Hipponax but overly reductive in their reading of the genre. For editions, commentaries and translations see pp. 388–95.

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9 ANTONIO ALONI

Elegy Forms, functions and communication M. V. in memoriam

Elegos and elegy Almost every European language has a word from the root *eleg based on Greek or Latin, but the precise meaning and connotations can vary. In this chapter elegy will refer to poems in elegiac couplets: a dactylic hexameter followed by a pentameter, a short strophe with this metrical pattern:1 -⏑⏑-⏑⏑-⏑⏑-⏑⏑-⏑⏑-. -⏑⏑-⏑⏑-‖-⏑⏑-⏑⏑-

̑

This definition includes texts very different in length, topic and mode of delivery. The use of the same metre is perhaps the lowest common denominator, but it is the only criterion that allows a synchronic and general approach to the history of this poetic form and its expressions. Elegy, as a genre and as a single poem, has been characterised – at different times and in different ways – by three terms: ὁ ἔλεγος, ἡ ἐλεγεία, τὸ ἐλεγει̑ον. The first term – and also the most problematic – quoted in the Greek literary tradition is ἔλεγος; it appears in the (not elegiac) epigram of Echembrotus for the dedicatory tripod won at the Pythian games in 586 BCE, quoted by Pausanias (10.7.5– 6, West 1989–92, II.62) in a context of songs of mourning with an aulos accompaniment. The ancient tradition confirms this original connection between mourning and elegy which, if trustworthy, would help to explain the use of the couplet as a typical metre of funerary inscriptions discussed below.2 The word ἐλεγει̑ον, ‘elegiac couplet’, has been used widely since the fifth century and in most sources refers just to the metre, rather than the content or the medium of transmission; the plural τὰ ἐλεγεία refers to poems in elegiac I am grateful to Felix Budelmann for comments on earlier versions. 1 For a brief discussion of the metrical pattern, including permitted contraction of ⏑ ⏑ into – in certain places, see Battezzato, this vol., 138–9. 2 Aristoph. Birds. 217 with schol. ad loc., and Mimn. test. 21 G-P, etc.; discussion: Page 1936 and West 1974, 7.

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couplets. ἡ ἐλεγεία mostly corresponds to our ‘elegy’, in the double meaning of a poem and a genre, while the plural ἐλεγει̑αι means a work consisting of elegiac couplets. None of these terms is used self-referentially in the archaic and classical elegies themselves, except in Critias 4.3 W, where ἐλεγει̑ον has primarily a metrical meaning. It seems impossible to determine the precise relationship between the three terms. Are ἐλεγει̑ον and ἐλεγεία derived from an adjective ἐλεγει̑ος? And does this adjective come from ἔλεγος? Opinions vary. Ewen Bowie understands ἔλεγος as ‘the sort of song usually accompanied by the aulos, that was sung chiefly at symposia’.3 This interpretation seems to prevail, but it is hard to deny that it is problematic in some instances. First, there is the use of elegiac couplets in Euripides’ Andromache (ll. 103–16), when the protagonist laments her own fate, as a continuation of the mourning that culminates in Hector’s death and Troy’s ruin. Moreover Euripides frequently employs the term ἔλεγος, without exception referring to a sad and mournful song.4 Since we can hardly consider complaint as a dominant characteristic of elegy at the time of Euripides (see below, pp. 175–8), this characterisation of ἔλεγος must be explained in other ways: it may be wrong to postulate a regional tradition5 or to assume that elegy had its origin in lament, but there must have been some forms of elegy in which complaint and mourning prevailed. Elegy as a medium of communication Archaic and classical elegy was ‘published’ in two media: oral performance and inscription on monuments or other objects. Elegiac texts written or engraved on monuments or objects are classified as epigrams. The term ‘epigram’ originally referred to any metrical text inscribed on a material object.6 Archaic and classical epigrams are usually classified as ‘funerary’ (inscribed on tombs or monuments commemorating the dead) and ‘dedicatory’ (inscribed on monuments or objects offered to the gods). Such texts are predominantly public. We also have many examples of private inscriptions from earlier times, mainly indicating the owner of the inscribed object. The elegiac couplet is not the original metre of epigram: the earliest examples of metrical writing (and some of the earliest examples of any

3 5

6

Bowie 1986a, 27. 4 Hel. 185; IT 146, 1091; Tro. 119. For the notion of a funerary kind of elegy originating in the Peloponnese see Page 1936, and for possible links between lament and elegy in the Ionian tradition see Gebhard 1926. On the meaning of ἐπίγραμμα in the fifth century: Gentili 1968, 39.

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writing to survive) are in hexameters, sometimes combined with pentameters, but also with iambic or generally ‘lyric’ metres.7 Only during the sixth century does the elegiac couplet come to prevail as the metre most widely used in epigram. The reasons for this dominance are a matter of speculation. Partly considerations of form play a role: the couplet is a short strophe, able neatly to contain a unit of meaning; furthermore, composition is made easier by the widespread diffusion of epic, and also specifically elegiac, diction.8 Even non-professional poets – and composers of epigrams were often non-professionals – can use an impressive repertory of themes, sentences and phrases that are greatly adaptable within the small confines of the elegiac strophe. Finally, at the level of communication, the elegiac medium may express, as we shall see, authoritative points of view, with a strong pragmatic impact on listeners, or readers in the case of epigram. (Further on epigram see below, pp. 179–82.) Elegy is performed in two different contexts: private or sympotic (below, pp. 171–8), and public (pp. 178–9). At the symposion, elegy is usually sung, accompanied by an aulos.9 Public elegy is more problematic. Bowie, in an influential essay, assigned elegiac performance almost exclusively to the symposion; the only exceptions were the very long narrative elegies which had a different setting: ‘these narratives were intended for performances in competition at public festivals’.10 When Bowie wrote this, long narrative elegiac poems were no more than a shadow: only titles reported in very late sources and some fragments attributed hypothetically to these elegies. The 1992 publication of the fragments of Simonides’ Plataea elegy broadly confirmed Bowie’s hypotheses, and has altogether changed our understanding of elegy. Simonides’ elegy is not simply narrative, but it is also celebratory, exhortatory and funerary because at the core of the preserved texts is the commemoration of those who fell at Plataea. It is conceivable that the aulos also accompanied public elegiac performances. However, the remarkable ability of elegy to adapt itself to different performance contexts and to different kinds of subject matter should make us hesitate before excluding a priori all modes of performance other than song accompanied by the aulos.11

7 9

10 11

8 Hansen 1983, xi. Gentili 1968, 65. Dicaearchus 88 and 89 Wehrli and Aristoxenus 125 Wehrli (with Reitzenstein’s remarks 1893, 3–44), Chamaeleon 28 Wehrli; for the elegiac ἀείδειν see also Thgn. 825 and 943. Bowie 1986a, 14–21, 34 (quoted). The possibility of elegy sung to the accompaniment of the lyre is affirmed by Gerber 1997b, 96–8, and see Thgn. 533–4. ἔλεγος in Euripides cited above n. 4.

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Sympotic elegy The history of sympotic elegy may be arranged as a sequence of four types distinguished by their respective temporal, spatial and socio-political structures. First of all the Ionian symposion, continued by the early Attic symposion; this is perhaps the original context of the more common varieties of elegy, and offers a linguistic and metrical pattern for sympotic forms in other geographical and dialectal areas. Then the Spartan symposion or parasymposion (pp. 173–4) and the Megarian symposion (pp. 174–5). Finally, the elegies of the best known poets of all this tradition are found in the Attic symposion of the fifth century (pp. 175–8). Ionian elegy The earliest Ionian poet known to us is Callinus, living in Ephesus in the first half of the seventh century. His remains are collected in four sets of fragments, twenty-five lines in total. The longest of them with twenty-one lines (1 W) is a lively exhortation to young citizens (νέοι, l. 2) while πόλεμος γαι̑αν ἅπασαν ἔχει (l. 4 ‘all the land is in the grip of war’), probably the Cimmerian invasion which is mentioned also in 3 W. The use of the verb κατάκεισθαι (‘lie’) at line 1 is clear evidence of the sympotic context of this elegy.12 Callinus’ symposion is similar to the assembly of military commanders described in the Iliad. His is an exhortatory kind of poetry, apparently avoiding personal themes. There are many analogies with the topics of epic poetry, although scholars have also pointed to ideological differences.13 At the time of Strabo (first century) the corpus of Callinus’ works was still extensively preserved: it was used as an authoritative historical source and was more varied than it is now, and included much historical and genealogical material.14 The few fragments surviving today are predominantly martial. Mimnermus’ symposion is less directed towards action and more interested in generalisation and reflection. Themes of public life, politics and war seem filtered through a pensive – sometimes even sorrowful – attitude. Mimnermus flourished at Colophon in the second half of the seventh century.15 His work was collected in two books:16 a collection of poems called Nanno, perhaps from the name of the αὐλητρίς (‘woman who plays the aulos’, but also ‘courtesan’) beloved by the poet,17 and a historical poem 12 14 16 17

Tedeschi 1978. 13 See below, pp. 185–6. E.g. test. 6 G-P = Strab. 13.1.48. 15 Jacoby 1918, 268–82 and West 1974, 63 and 72–4. Porphyr. ad Hor. Epist. 2.2.101 = test. 9 G-P. Hermesianax 7.37 Powell = test. 2 G-P; Posidippus epigr. 9.1 = test. 3 G-P. The same title accompanies Mimnermus’ fragments 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 24 W.

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entitled Smyrneis.18 Approximately eighty lines are preserved, most of them attributed to the Nanno by the ancient sources. Love and youth would seem the most frequent subjects. Elsewhere we find an invitation to capture ‘Aphrodite’s gifts’, while ‘youth’s flowers’ last (1 W), the famous comparison between the seasons of nature and the seasons of life (2 W) and a further contrast between youth’s frailty and impending painful old age, using the myth of Tithonus to speak of the ‘endless evil’ represented through the immortality of an aging body (4 W). But several fragments with narrative content suggest a less one-sided view of Mimnermus’ output. In fact, of twenty-one fragments published by West, only the first seven (comprising, however, more than half of the preserved verses) reflect the image of Mimnermus as a poet of love, pleasure and youth. The others seem to belong to historical and mythological tales; the original extent of these tales can only be guessed. In this selective transmission, Mimnermus’ reputation as a love poet in the Latin tradition must have been a crucial stage in shaping the elegiac genre. Despite certain variations (different emphases on political and philosophical reflection), the early Ionian symposion sets a pattern for most of the preserved sympotic elegies. First of all, Xenophanes’ poetry (sixth century, from Colophon, but active in Magna Graecia) represents a sort of philosophical ‘revolt’ against the epic tradition: this is how one should best understand the recusatio of myths ‘where nothing is useful’ (1.21 W), like those of the Giants and Titans, and the criticism of anthropomorphised gods. Today we have left sixty-eight lines in ten fragments as well as the titles of two historical and narrative poems (The Foundation of Colophon and The Colonisation of Elea). The themes of Xenophanes’ elegy are varied: the rules of the symposion (1 and 5 W),19 criticism of the honours granted to athletes (2 W), a polemic against Lydian ἁβροσύνη (‘luxury’), a narrative of the Colophonians’ moral corruption (3 W, perhaps from The Foundation of Colophon), invective against greed (6 W), parody of the Pythagorean doctrine of metempsychosis (7 and 7a W). The elegiac compositions of Solon (about 630–560 BCE, archon in Athens probably in 594/3) are predominantly political in character.20 There are 230 surviving lines in thirty fragments, along with fifty iambic lines. An elegy entitled Salamis (1–3 W) was probably composed for a public occasion;21

18 19 20 21

P.Univ.Mediol. 17 col. II 26 = fr. 21 G-P. Vetta 1996, 207 and 1999, 238 with bibliography and Ford 2002, ch. 2. For the chronology see Cadoux 1948, 93–9, 104–6 and Davies 1971, 323f. West 1974, 12; Henderson 1982, 24f.; Tedeschi 1982, 41–4; for a different opinion see Bowie 1986a, 16f. and Bartol 1993, 54f.

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otherwise, Solon’s poetic production seems to address a restricted audience, his hetaireia, a group of citizens in agreement with Solon’s politics of moderation and conciliation between social groups fighting at Athens.22 At the end of the fifth century, Solon is connected by oligarchs with the propagandistic motif of patrios politeia,23 the return to the (alleged) ‘constitution of the fathers’; the retrieval of Solon the poet, several traces of which remain in Theognis’ syllogê, begins in this context. Tyrtaeus and elegy at Sparta The sympotic tradition at Sparta is ancient and widespread, and certainly cannot be limited to the paramilitary syssition (the ‘common meal’ of the Spartiates, the ruling elite of Sparta), about which ancient sources speak most frequently. Already in one fragment of Alcman a sympotic atmosphere is created by the mention of klinai (‘couches’), suggesting a kind of symposion where guests reclined (19 PMGF). However, at an earlier stage, the Spartan symposion seems to have been an occasion also for melic and kitharodic performances, represented by the names of Terpander and Alkmanes.24 Elegy appears late, and probably Tyrtaeus is not just the most famous (and only surviving) Spartan elegiac poet but also the first, and as far as we know the last. The appearance of elegy at Sparta can be explained with reference to particular socio-political needs: it is the medium of an ideology based on the hoplite organisation of the army and already shaped in the Ionian world, but new at Sparta at the time of the second Messenian War, after a (half-legendary) defeat of the Spartan army by the Argive hoplites at Hysiae. Tyrtaeus, in the Spartiates’ symposia, sings and gives a heroic dimension to a new way of fighting, and turns it into an ethical principle valid for all. We have much information about Tyrtaeus, but most of it – like for instance the legend of his Attic origin (test. 8 G-P) – is historically doubtful. His floruit is at the time of the second Messenian War (first half of the seventh century):25 this period of severe crisis and social division is the wider context of the political-military exhortation in Tyrtaeus’ poetry, devoted to promoting ‘good government’ (εὐνομία) as the only means of escape from the threat posed by the enemy (1 W).26 Tyrtaeus’ work, of which twenty-three fragments

22

23 25

26

Vetta 1983, xvii f.; on Solon’s political elegy see Irwin 2005, and on various aspects of Solon and his contexts see the articles in Blok and Lardinois 2006. Morrow 1960, 81f., Mossé 1996, 1333. 24 Calame 1983, xii f. Suda τ 610.7 Adler; Pausanias’ chronology of the second Messenian war (684–668) would postpone Tyrtaeus’ floruit by at least a generation: see Kiechle 1959. On Tyrtaeus’ martial elegy see Shey 1976, Cartledge 1977 and Luginbill 2002.

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comprising altogether about 150 verses remain, was collected in five books including ὑποθήκας δι’ ἐλεγείας, ‘exhortations through elegies’, and μέλη πολεμιστήρια, ‘battle songs’,27 or μελη ἐμβατήρια, ‘marching songs’.28 With the exception of some remarkable Doric forms,29 Tyrtaeus’ fragments are composed in a panhellenic, universal and authoritative language, broadly similar to epic.30 The Megarian symposion (Theognidea) The nature of the Megarian symposion, in many ways similar to its Spartan counterpart, can be inferred from the collection (or syllogê) of poems preserved under the name of Theognis, not only from its genuinely ‘Theognidean’ parts, but also and above all from the inclusion in the collection of elegies from elsewhere which were felt suitable for revival and reuse alongside Theognis’ own. In Megara symposiasts were seated rather than reclining as elsewhere, and drawn from several age classes.31 Poetic performance seems confined to a form of elegy that did not indulge in narrative, but aimed to establish rules of behaviour and to reaffirm group values. This kind of elegy reflects the sobriety (due also perhaps to economic reasons) and the conservatism of the hetaireia. It is an essentially dialogical kind of elegy, in which authority is imposed vertically on lower age classes but in which the voices of ‘equals’ often follow on from each other in a sort of continuous performance of separate short pieces. Such dialogical structure is probably at the origin of the syllogê or at least an important element in its creation. In this kind of context, the conservatism of the sympotic group is the reason for the repetitiveness of the songs, but at the same time the aristocratic egalitarianism opens up the way to extemporisation. Extemporisation takes shape as new songs are composed, but also as elegies or parts of elegies are performed which are different in origin but express contents and ideologies consonant with those of the group. Theognis is the only elegiac poet under whose name a substantial collection of texts reached us through a medieval manuscript tradition: Theognis’ syllogê consists of a large section (1,230 lines) with pieces of an ethical and political nature and a second book (158 lines) with erotic pieces.32 Welcker’s

27 29

30

31 32

Suda τ 610.5 Adler = test. 19 G-P. 28 Ath. 14.630f. The comparative μα̑λιον (12.6 W) and the future ἀλοιησευ̑μεν (19.20 W). See also D’Alessio, this vol., 122. Arguing for an original composition in Doric, regularised into Ionic at an early stage of transmission, see Gentili 1969 and 1988, 56–60, 230. Dentzer 1982, 429ff. (seated); Vetta 1992, 194 (age). On this tradition see Young 1953.

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studies33 showed the composite and heterogeneous character of the syllogê, which brings together Theognis’ own poems, several texts already known under different authors’ names34 and others that are not known from elsewhere but are hardly attributable to Theognis. The original Theognidean nucleus can be pinned down only to a degree. The syllogê was probably formed as a kind of manual for symposiasts. The history of its formation can only be conjectured; in any case the stratification of the syllogê is a reflection of the progressive reuse of a collection based on an authoritative Megarian tradition, at symposia both in Megara itself and in Athens, especially in an oligarchic milieu. A poet named Theognis flourished about 600 BCE: the lines attributed to him contain several references to specific events, but in some instances they seem to point to the second half of the seventh century, in others to the sixth.35 Yet the distinctive features of Theognidean poetry are ideological, not historical, and the reconstruction of specific occasions often leads to a misunderstanding of the nature of the syllogê. ‘The Theognidean Megara’ is ‘a paradigmatic homeland for all archaic Greeks’;36 the city is the subject of ideological poetry, not a real city: the poet, or the poets, of the syllogê are the spokesmen of an oligarchic group which, by way of poetic performance, defends its opinions, its values in a period of political disturbances and social upheavals, as well as its standing. The relationship between Theognis and Megara (like that between Theognis and Kyrnos) has no historical basis, but is presented ‘as a traditional device for the organisation of wisdom’.37 Many of the pieces in the syllogê are addressed to Kyrnos, the erômenos of the persona loquens. Their concerns are essentially ethico-political. The recurrent call for moderation in drinking (211f., 413f., 497f., 509f., 841–4, 873–6) is not representative of Greek convivial culture in general, as is often suggested, but expresses a specifically Megarian viewpoint, similar to the Spartan ideal of moderation. In fact the syllogê itself reflects elsewhere a different and surely widespread convivial practice, which permits drinking to excess, and indeed ritualises it in the kômos which typically followed on from many symposia (e.g. 1063–8). Attic elegy The presence and diffusion of Theognidean poetry in fifth-century Athenian culture is an unquestionable fact, important both for the transmission of the 33 34

35 36

Welcker 1826. E.g. Tyrtaeus: 12.13–16 W = 1003–6; Mimnermus: 5.1–6 W = 1017–22; Solon: 6.3–4 W = 153–4. Dating Theognis: Okin 1985, Lane Fox 2000, 37–40. Introduction to Figueira and Nagy 1985, 3; see also Nagy 1985. 37 Edmunds 1997, 44.

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text and for the self-definition of politically oriented sympotic groups.38 Nevertheless, in the opinion of many scholars the same period saw an irreversible decline of traditional sympotic poetry, and especially of elegy. On this view, the scanty fragments of fifth-century elegy marked a break with the modes and patterns typical of the archaic period. Poets like Dionysius Chalcus, Euenus of Paros, Ion of Chios and Critias were characterised by a new kind of sophistication foreshadowing Hellenistic poetry.39 It was a phase of ‘decline’, marked by conventional, often sympotic, themes, and by the search for a ‘new’ style, affected in comparison with the vitality and engagement of archaic elegy. In this way fifth-century elegy has been denied the pragmatic function typical of traditional poetic communication. This misunderstanding was probably caused by the selection process through which these texts have come down to us, many of them preserved in Athenaeus’ Deipnosophistai (= Sophists at Dinner, third century CE). The prevalence of convivial precepts is perhaps only the result of such one-sided selection. In fact, in Athens sympotic elegy seems to be used to oppose and subvert the democratic institutions of the city. Ion of Chios was probably born about 48040 and died certainly before 421.41 Ion was an author versed in many literary genres, but he was famed above all as a tragedian.42 He also wrote dithyrambs, epigrams, paeans, hymns and prose works known under the title Epidêmiai, travel memoirs, in which he himself is the protagonist of many anecdotes of meetings with some of the best known men at the time. Only seven fragments remain of his elegiac output, thirty-seven verses in all. Particularly noteworthy are an elaborate poem dedicated to Dionysus (26 W) and a unique σπονδή (‘drink-offering’) to the guardian heroes of the Laconian genealogical tradition and of the Spartan royal families (27 W).43 This is consistent with Ion’s close links with Athenian oligarchic circles, supporters of a policy of conciliation with Sparta. Finally, Ion is credited with a χίου κτίσις (Foundation of Chios). This was once considered a prose work, but was almost certainly composed in verse, ‘in the tradition of elegiac ktiseis and more generally of archaic elegy’.44 There were two poets named Euenus, both natives of Paros (test. 5 and 6 G-P). The younger, a contemporary of Socrates, was better known and had probably many contacts in oligarchic sympotic circles. Plato mentions him on several occasions; when Socrates puts Aesop’s fables into verse during his imprisonment, it is not an accident that Euenus is the poet he inquires about 38 39 40 42 43

Lane Fox 2000, 46–51; Vetta 2000. Garzya 1963, 91ff.; Miralles 1971; Prato 1987, 650 and 660–3. Ion FGH 392 F 13 and T 5a with the comments of Piccirilli 1990, 232f. 41 Test. 2 and 3 G-P. Test. 1 and 6 G-P. For a collection of articles on Ion see Jennings and Katsaros 2007. West 1985b. 44 Cerri 1977; see Ion fr. 7 G-P.

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(Phaedo 90d–91c = test. 11–12 G-P). As a sophist he taught the two children of Callias ‘human’ and ‘political’ virtues (Apol. 20b = test. 10 G-P) and as an orator he is quoted (Phaedr. 267a = test. 13 G-P) as the first to theorise the παρέπαινος (para-praise) and to compose παράψογος (para-blame). About twenty verses of his elegies survive in eight fragments. Dionysius Chalcus is dated by two ancient testimonies: he led the foundation of Thurii in Magna Graecia (444 BCE) and his son was brought up at the home of the Athenian aristocrat Nikias (470–413).45 Like Euenus, he was an orator as well as a poet; he may have received his nickname Χαλκός (‘the Bronze’) in consequence of a speech (test. 5 G-P) urging the Athenians to adopt bronze instead of silver coins. We have seven elegiac fragments, about twenty-five verses in all, mostly convivial in subject matter. Dionysius seems to have enjoyed affected and expressly obscure language46 and bold metrical experiments, like the unparalleled use of a pentameter as the first line of an elegy (1 W). Critias, who lived from about 460 till 403, took an active part in the political life of his time and was versed in several literary genres: tragedy, political oratory, treatises on politeiai (‘constitutions’).47 In the sympotic fragments, the political references reveal continuity with the pragmatics of archaic elegy. Some verses of an elegy to Alcibiades (4 W) are mentioned by Hephaestion because of the anomaly of line 2, an iambic trimeter instead of the expected pentameter, explained by Critias by the impossibility of fitting Alcibiades’ name into dactyls; this does not seem an accident nor can it be just ascribed to the innovative tendencies of fifth-century elegy. Rather than a literary game, the intrusion of iambs could be a definite message to Alcibiades. In fact the presence of iambs in elegiac diction is a formal element of mocking parody. Also Critias’ unusual use of iambs could be a sign of mockery directed at a political antagonist.48 A comparable political thrust, anti-democratic and subversive, is to be found in a number of fragments (2, 5, 7, 9 W). Another example of his political commitment is the long sympotic elegy (6 W) comparing Ionian sympotic behaviour to the moderation typical of Spartan syssitia; this elegy reflects programmatic support for Spartan ways of life through codification of a convivial ethos according to which moderation, even political virtue, excludes every kind of excess, as an alternative to the normal sympotic culture, which accepts drunkenness in the ritual celebration of Dionysus.

45 47

48

Test. 3 and 5 G-P. 46 Prato 1987, 662. For a comprehensive treatment of Critias’ life and works, see Iannucci 2002, 3–27; for ideological context see also Wilson 2003. Iannucci 2003.

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It would seem therefore that in the context of oligarchic symposia at the end of the fifth century the poetry – certainly Critias’ poetry – was essentially practical, strictly tied to political action. Public elegy Our knowledge of public elegiac performances depends almost completely on the interpretation of the Simonides fragments published in 1992.49 The papyri in question are probably copies of a book containing all of Simonides’ elegies, or at least of a Simonidean anthology containing elegies on both military and erotic topics.50 Fragments eleg. 1–9 W² have been attributed, completely or in part,51 to the narrative of a naval battle, perhaps Artemision or Salamis, and fragments eleg. 10–18 W² have been recognised to be part of an elegy about the battle of Plataea. Fragments eleg. 19–22 W² are part of the sympotic elegies: 19 and 20 are of a gnomic kind and take up the Homeric theme of leaves as a symbol of life’s frailty;52 21 is evidently erotic, while 22 could be an erotic elegy or a funerary lament.53 11 W² (parts of which are quoted in translation in the introduction, p. 5) is particularly important for many reasons: it includes a proem modelled on Homeric prooemia. The valour of heroes who died at Troy (especially Achilles and Patroclus) serves as an example for the valour of those who fell at Plataea. Moreover the poetic ‘I’ affirms the greatness of the epic model, but at the same time keeps some distance from it in the name of a different kind of poetics, based less on divine revelation (Homer’s Muse) than on participation in the events of the present.54 The narrative of the events culminating in the decisive battle begins straight after the proem (11.23ff. W²): first there is the mention, elaborate and evocative, of the Spartans and their general Pausanias. All this together has led scholars to agree that the elegy was premiered at a public and official occasion. However, there is no agreement about the origin of the poem (was it commissioned for a special event, a festival or an agôn?); about who commissioned it (the Spartans and/or Pausanias, or the Athenians and/or Themistocles?); or about the place and circumstances of the performance (Plataea because of the commemoration of the war dead, Delphi,

49

50

51 53

54

P.Oxy. 3695, partly overlapping with P.Oxy. 2327. Discussion of the New Simonides in Boedeker and Sider 2001. All elegies: Parsons 1992, 5; introduction to Boedeker and Sider 2001, 3. Anthology: Rutherford 2001b, 34. Rutherford 2001b, 35–8; see also Kowerski 2005. 52 Sider 2001. See Rutherford 2001b, 51–3, and the opposed views of Mace 2001 (erotic utopia), Yatromanolakis 1998 (lament). Aloni 2001a, 95 and Capra 2001.

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Olympia – both panhellenic places in accordance with a panhellenic spirit perceived in the elegy – or again Sparta, in Achilles’ temple, or the Isthmus?). Beyond its (remarkable) aesthetic value, the Plataea elegy opens up new perspectives in considering elegy as a poetic genre. Even if it narrates events, the elegy is not a narrative poem comparable with attested foundation stories such as Mimnermus’ Smyrneis or the Archaeology of the Samians by Semonides of Amorgus. It suggests a performance firmly tied to a topical event, where the commemoration of victory is blended with elaboration of mourning for the warriors who fell in the battle. These peculiarities – further evidence for the flexibility of the genre – reopen the question of the existence of threnodic elegy, potentially both at sympotic events (Archil. 13 W) and in public contexts. A threnodic function (not necessarily origin) of elegy helps explain some facts that are otherwise hard to account for: the connotation of ἔλεγος as a mournful song as early as the fifth century, a progressively exclusive use of the couplet as the metre of funerary epigram, the use of the elegiac couplet by Euripides in Andromache’s thrênos (above, p. 169). Broadly narrative content characterises also the elegiac fragments of P.Oxy. LXIX 4708, published by Dirk Obbink in 2005. The papyrus consists of eight fragments, only the first of which – twenty-eight lines – presents some reasonably legible text. Obbink’s attribution to Archilochus is not based on coincidence with an already known text, but seems all the same sound. Although the papyrus has many gaps, its content is clear. It tells a mythical story: the Achaeans’ erroneous landing in Mysia and their hasty departure after bloody clashes with the Mysians led by the Arcadian Telephus. The narrative structure is complicated: a brief narrative of the Achaean defeat and retreat onto their ships in the first fifteen verses is followed by a sort of narrative regression focused on Telephus, whose deadly fight against Achilles is probably also covered. It is uncertain what role this story had in the elegy as a whole.55 Elegy and epigram A dual connection with real life characterises early epigram: circumstance and the inscribed object. The monument celebrating the dead, the statue that is dedicated or the object that is personalised really exists and can repeatedly be looked at or read. Written text in fact changes in a permanent way the inscribed object. This fact gives an inscription the power to communicate on various levels: the lettering, the type of the material object, the context of this object (often mentioned in the text of the epigram) are all part of the overall meaning of an inscription, just as music and dance were an integral 55

For a preliminary statement see Obbink 2005. More in Aloni and Iannucci 2007.

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part of the sense of a partheneion by Alcman. Yet the forces of nature and history have done away with some of these semiotic elements; in some cases, as with the partheneion, all we have left is the plain text transmitted by the literary tradition. The history of epigram is characterised by a progressive dissolution of its ties with its physical and communicative contexts. From the fifth century on, epigram started freeing itself first from its material support – to become a literary and then bookish genre – and then also from the obligation to treat real events and people; this is particularly clear in the case of funerary epigrams which soon started commemorating people who were long dead and people who never lived. The communicative structure of elegiac epigrams, as that of performed poems, should be considered from the point of view of addressees and commission. Both funerary and dedicatory epigrams were for public consumption, but their reception is not necessarily collective: the reader of an inscription may be alone. A few epigrams were written for a private context; most of these are inscribed on everyday objects, with a vaguely gnomic content, sometimes clearly playful or with political overtones (e.g. 439 and 454 CEG). Private commission seems to prevail for both funerary and dedicatory epigram. Private commission would seem to reflect the inherently private origin of inscriptions which were associated with particular individuals or families. Public commission is a fifth-century phenomenon, probably linked to collective inscriptions celebrating those who fell in the Persian Wars.56 Early epigrams are scanty in content, limited to the name of the dead person(s), the dedicator, the god the dedication is made to, and sometimes the maker of the inscribed object. Dedicatory epigrams often contain a reference to the dedicated object (for example ‘this statue’ or ‘this grave’) and to the origin of the dedication (expressed for example with the noun δεκάτη, ‘tithe’). Concise expressions of mourning and sometimes of the circumstances of the death appear quite early in funerary inscriptions. Death in battle or death while young is one of the most frequently recurring themes, and often comes with brief references to the unending mourning of those left behind, above all the parents. Progressively we find references to activities, to the social role and the civic virtues of the dead person, as well as to his or her beauty, wisdom or prudence. Funerary inscriptions are expressed in the first or third person, with standard phrasing: ‘I am the grave …’ and ‘This is the grave …’. Sometimes dedications speak in the first person too (e.g. 232 CEG: ‘[someone] dedicated 56

According to Hansen 1983, the only pre-fifth century publicly commissioned inscriptions are 143, 179 and 401 CEG.

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me …’ and 251 CEG: ‘I belong to Pallas Athena. Eudikos’ son dedicated me, | Dexitheos, as a first-fruit of his possessions’; both from Athens, late sixth century). However the use of the third person, with a deictic related to the dedicated object, is more usual (e.g. 202 CEG: ‘Aeschines dedicated this gift to Athena | having vowed a tithe to the child of Great Zeus’).57 The diction of epigram on the one hand contains a number of characteristic formulae, which are less common elsewhere, and which stayed mostly unchanged across periods.58 Most frequent among them are ση̑μα (σαμ ̑ α) τόδε (or with an inversion, according to metrical position, τόδε ση̑μα): ‘this tomb’; ἐνθάδ(ε) + proper noun + form of κει̑μαι: ‘here … lie(s)’; τόδ’ ἄγαλμα (ἀνέθηκε): ‘person xyz dedicated this gift’; εὐξάμενος δεκάτην: ‘having vowed as a tithe’. On the other hand, epigram owes much to epic and elegiac diction, and this connection has both stylistic and ideological implications. First, the use of a kind of diction that has already been consolidated in epic and elegy endows epigram with stylistic features and formulae that are typical of festive and sympotic performances. By contrast, the style of the earliest inscriptions had been mostly plain, without ornamental elements. Secondly, epic and elegy lend epigram elements of their respective characteristic ideologies. As a result, the ideology of epigram is at the same time aristocratic, aiming to exalt individual value and excellence, and yet – thanks to elegy (see below) – attentive to new values of hoplite warfare, as we can see from the large number of epigrammatic expressions that may be found in the few fragments of Callinus and Tyrtaeus. By contrast, at least for a large part of the sixth century, a properly civic ideology is less present. Elegiac epigram changed enormously in the course of the fifth century across all of Greece. The changes affected above all funerary epigram, perhaps partly because of its importance in the celebratory atmosphere following the victories in the Persian Wars. The most important cities – Sparta, Athens, Corinth among others – commissioned epigrams to commemorate their dead on monuments erected both on the battle sites and in the city itself (see 1–3, 131, 155 CEG). The focus of composition is no longer the dead individual (in the case of collective monuments he is no longer named in the text of the epigram) but the victorious event, the heroic glory of the fallen, and the splendour of the city that erects the monuments. New themes enter the epigrammatic repertoire; elegy, epic, but also all of lyric, offer a useful source of themes and verbal expressions. Some of these epigrams (for example the epigram for those fallen at Thermopylae, ‘Simonides’ 22 FGE) were to 57 58

On deixis see D’Alessio, this vol., 115–20. A classification of funeral epigrams according to recurring structures can be found in Peek 1955; for dedicatory epigrams see Lazzarini 1976.

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become famous and started spreading beyond the places where they were inscribed. Thus epigram begins to be increasingly separated from the need for an object, and the text circulates above all in sympotic circles, just like contemporary elegy. In a way, the genre has come full circle: after using for centuries the diction and expressive structures of elegy and epic, elegiac epigram becomes available for performance as a form of elegy, brief, dense and full of meaning. For a brief period, the distance between elegy and epigram decreases, but differences do not depend only on length. A deep difference in communicative structure remains between sympotic elegy and epigram: while much of elegy has a dialogical structure and is open to reuse and continuation (see next section), epigram maintains a character of completeness and invites reflection and appreciation more than a reply. In the Hellenistic period, there were collections of epigrams attributed to great (and less great) poets of the archaic and early classical periods: Anacreon, Simonides, but also Aeschylus, Plato and Alcibiades. These were probably single-author collections as well as anthologies. It is difficult to ascertain just how reliable they are in attributing epigrams to authors.59 The question of attribution apart, however, it is certain that between the sixth and the fifth centuries, great poets composed epigrams about both real and fictitious events and persons, thus transforming the character of the genre, and paving the way for the creation of one of the more productive genres of Greek literature. Elegy as a literary genre The most obvious characteristic of elegy is its capacity to adapt itself to different circumstances and subjects. As a consequence, it makes little sense to end with definite conclusions. Instead we will restrict ourselves to three general questions: (1) What kinds of function did elegy perform? (2) What is the relationship between the diction of elegy and epic? And in particular: does the dialectal uniformity of the preserved texts go back to the point of composition or is it the consequence of a process of normalisation that took place in Ionic- and Attic-speaking areas? (3) Finally: is it meaningful to speak of typically elegiac characteristics that may be assumed by poems in other metres in areas where elegy is not attested – especially Lesbos? The functions of elegy We have mentioned more than once the different kinds of function elegiac poems and epigrams can fulfil in the different contexts where they were 59

FGE, pp. 119–30, but also Gentili 1968, 42.

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performed or inscribed. Separating functions and occasions of a composition is of course impossible: the content is always shaped with a view to the occasion, to achieve a particular aim. Changing one of these factors affects all others. The great versatility of elegy is unquestionable. Elegy is able to engage with very different aspects of the lives (and deaths) of individuals and communities (interpreted both as groups and as political bodies). As a result, it can fulfil a multitude of functions. In fact, most or all of the functions performed by the different poetic genres are performed also by elegy, combined in various ways. A narrative song, which aims to commemorate or praise the deeds of ancestors, can turn into an exhortatory poem, when circumstances of performance require that the audience models its behaviour on that of its ancestors. The different functions of a song are not all and forever fixed in the act of composition. The constant reuse typical of all archaic poetry is typical also of elegy, and is if anything more pronounced there. None the less, it may be worth trying to outline a possible synthesis. We may theoretically discern three functions: telling (a), making (b) and causing action (c). This typology does not presuppose an analogous typology of poems: the same poem may have more than one function at the same time. (a) Telling: elegy often tells the present or the past, with the aim of formulating a model of reality, and above all of establishing a point of view. This is a thoughtful and pensive kind of elegy, inviting debates and responses. It is the kind of elegy that is typical of sympotic gatherings, dialogical and calling for an answer. The people it mentions are mostly the participants in the symposion, and the symposion is often also the subject of the poem. Mimnermus’ ‘pensive’ fragments, Xenophanes’ elegies and a large part of the Theognidean syllogê all are in this category. (b) Making: elegy builds a monument out of the memory of brave men and glorious acts past and present, a mnêma to be looked at as much as listened to, both by the immediate addressees and by those who will enjoy the poem in the future. Performance and inscription on physical objects converge in accomplishing this function which characterises poems like Simonides’ Plataea poem or the long poems about wars and the foundation of cities like Mimnermus’ Smyrneis; this is also the primary function of the inscribed epigram. Here communication proceeds only in one direction, from sender to receiver, and there is no potential for dialogue or swapping roles. Communication is authoritative and sometimes quite authoritarian. (c) Causing action: the function of causing an action, explicitly required by elegiac song of its own audience. This is an exhortatory kind of elegy, 183 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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sometimes coexisting with other functions, sometimes in isolation. The memory of the past (e.g. Mimn. 14 W about the strength and valour of a famous ancestor) is not only a behavioural model, but can become the cause of immediate and necessary action. This function seems to dominate in Callinus and Tyrtaeus: past and present converge to transform the audience into an active subject, ready to perform deeds of valour. As in the case of (b), the sender does not offer a viewpoint, to be adopted or to be engaged in dialogue with by others. One consequence of the complexity of the different functions elegy can perform – and one elegiac piece can fulfil more than one of these functions – is a corresponding complexity in the respective roles of the various parties involved in its performance. The dialogical character of much sympotic elegy makes the roles of sender and receiver largely interchangeable. Therefore, even if there is an author, elegiac compositions can always be added to or changed, so much so in fact that not even the threatening σϕραγίς (‘seal’) of Theognis – ‘These are the verses of Theognis the Megarian, and he is renowned among all men’ (22–3) – could preserve his poetry from interferences and additions. The ties with the composer are stabler and firmer for the poems where the dominant function is ‘making’ or ‘causing action’: the Smyrneis is indissolubly tied to the name of Mimnermus, and the Salamis (whatever its primary performance context might have been) is tied to Solon. But even works in which the author’s mark is stronger and more authoritative may be reused: Tyrt. 12.13–16 W, urging the ἀνὴρ νέος (‘young man/warrior’) to stand firm in the first rank of the phalanx, reappears as lines 1003–6 of the Theognidean syllogê, but the function of these verses is greatly different from the original one. In the context of the Theognidean symposion, Tyrtaeus’ verses recall the atmosphere and the values of another symposion (this one indeed authoritative). A slight textual variation underlines the change in function: an ἀνὴρ σοϕός (‘wise man’: Thgn. 1004) takes the place of the ἀνὴρ νέος. This way the two couplets assume a general gnomic value, valid for all those who share in the wisdom of the symposion. It is then very difficult to define the role of the composer towards his own poetry.60 The segments of Solon or Mimnermus in Theognis show that the symposiasts in the fifth century who sang Theognis’ elegies also sang certain elegies by Solon and Mimnermus as though they were Theognis’ own. In the process of reuse and recomposition for new performances, the composer turns in many cases into a semi-mythical figure, the starting point of a 60

On this relationship see Nagy 1990, 339–81, especially 373–81.

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tradition in which, in the course of time, different audiences come to recognise themselves: a tradition in which the poetic ‘I’ is only a temporary function. Elegiac (and epic) diction The language of elegy as transmitted to us is characterised by a predominantly Ionic dialect, frequent epic forms, and at the same time a number of local dialect forms. The role of each of these elements varies from period to period and author to author. But the available data is uncertain and based on written texts, which were subject to long processes of redefinition and normalisation during transmission. In the original oral performance local dialect traits would certainly have been more frequent. Moreover the reuse of the same texts in different circumstances and places suggests an adaptation not only in content, but also, as far as possible, in the dominant phono-linguistic characteristics. Dover argued for the theory that elegiac diction originated directly from Ionic Greek rather than from epic language, but this hypothesis presents various problems.61 The alternative solution, a derivation of elegy from epic,62 certainly of epic in the form it has come down to us, is not satisfactory either. It takes into account neither the stratification of early Greek epic, nor the fact that in traditional poetry language and content form a shared heritage, variously modified to suit specific places, poetic forms and poets’ personalities. Epic and elegy both draw on this common traditional heritage. It is not a mere repertory of words and phrases, which happen to be codified in a particular dialect and metre; rather, it is a heritage of songs, themes and also verbal templates, a heritage shared across the Greek world, in spite of some geographical differentiation, and increasingly homogenised as the process of panhellenisation gathered pace.63 In other words, elegy and epic are cognate genres, which developed synchronically.64 Their relationship was one of functional and ideological differentiation. Two recurring themes in both elegy and the Homeric poems – the aidôs (shame) of the individual in relation to the community (a), and the hoplite battle formation (b) – will help to describe this relationship. a) Callinus 1.2ff. W is a clear representation of aidôs inciting the fighters to valour in battle not as individuals and/or members of a clan, but with a view to how they are perceived by the citizens: οὐδ᾽ αἰδει̑σθ’ ἀμϕιπερικτίονας | ὡ̑ δε λίην μεθιέντες; ‘Don’t those who live round about make you feel ashamed of

61 63

Dover 1964. 62 This is the prevailing opinion; see for example Barron et al. 1985, 119–20. Aloni 1998, 56–63. 64 Bowie 1986a, 14, and Zanetto 2004.

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being so utterly passive?’ (trans. Gerber). The situation is very similar to Il. 6.441–3: ἀλλὰ μάλ᾽ αἰνω̑ς | αἰδέομαι Τρω̑ας καὶ Τρῳάδας ἑλκεσιπέπλους | αἴ κε κακὸς ὣς νόσϕιν ἀλυσκάζω πολέμοιο (‘but I am dreadfully ashamed when I look upon Trojans, the men and the women with trailing robes, if I were to shirk battle like a coward?’). Likewise at Il. 12.310–28, Sarpedon spurs on Glaukos by invoking the need to protect his kleos in the opinion of the Lycians. In this context fighting in the first ranks (meta prôtoisi) guarantees a public acknowledgement not different from that due to the brave hoplite in Tyrtaeus’ elegies. The same topics are dealt with in the same period using two forms of literary communication. Epic and elegy appear to be complementary in terms of ideology and to present different alternatives suited for different performance contexts. Valour (aretê) boosts not a fighter’s individual glory but the safety of the whole polis and the reputation of the descendants (Tyrt. 10.1–14 W and 12.13ff. W: cf. Il. 6.440–6). b) A compact battle formation and the courage of everybody in it guarantee the safety of the entire group of fighters (Tyrt. 11.11–14 W: cf. Il. 5.527– 32). The hoplites’ ranks praised by Tyrtaeus (11.30ff. W) face each other ‘foot by foot, shield on shield’ and fight the enemy ‘breast to breast’. Likewise, in the Iliad, the phalanxes are grouped around the two Ajaxes (13.126f.) and the soldiers await the battle against the enemy, fighting spear on spear and shield on serried shield (13.130f.). It is unlikely that hoplite elements are original in the context of epic, where κλέος comes from individual exploits. They might instead be a theme of martial elegy, gradually introduced into the text of the Iliad. In fact there can be little doubt that the version of the Iliad at our disposal must be a text shaped in the archaic period, the age of Tyrtaeus and Callinus. The addressees of epic and elegy, at least in the seventh and sixth centuries, were the same citizen-soldiers who were the protagonists of the contemporary transformation of socio-political structures, a transformation in which hoplite warfare played a major role.65 Indeed the Iliad kept its exhortatory function in hoplite society until the threshold of the classical period: the fourth-century orator Lycurgus (In Leocr. 103) reports how Hector’s appeal to the Trojans (Il. 15.494–9) inflamed Athenian minds on the eve of the battle of Marathon. Because of this close contact between elegy and epic, the well-known panhellenisation of epic suggests a parallel development for elegy: the poetic form of elegy, but above all its texts, may have spread across Greece from the Ionian world, just as epic did. This panhellenic dissemination may have involved also 65

On hoplites see Hanson 1991, Cartledge 2001; and on the relationship between hoplites and citizenship, Stein-Hölkeskamp 1989, 124ff., 132.

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the absorption of other already existing forms of elegy, such as the (possible) Peloponnesian public funerary elegy.66 In the course of the same process elegiac diction would have been contaminated with local characteristics. The use of the same authoritative and panhellenic artificial dialect is in fact the best explanation for the wide diffusion of elegy across space and time and for the variety of functions accomplished by the elegeion: from sympotic song to philosophical reflection, from mourning to public celebration, from historical narrative to exhortation. To conclude, an account of elegiac diction may perhaps start from the reuse of traditional poetic diction, a reuse and reformulation in new terms, powerful enough to create a genre with its own identity and powerful enough to influence the parallel development of epic (certainly epic as it is presented to us today by the Homeric poems). The original overlaps with epic diction represent the use of poetic language at, as it were, ‘degree zero’, which allowed the elegiac singer to address a large audience, the same large fairly undifferentiated audience as that of epic performances. However this ‘degree zero’ is subject to a process of progressive modification, in which the contexts and subject matter that are central to elegy play an important role: on the one hand a lexical refinement creating a ‘group language’, suitable for the different contexts in which elegy developed: the symposion and/or the polis;67 on the other hand a diversification depending on contents and the creation of specific kinds of diction, like the highly formulaic diction of martial elegy, which translates the socio-political hoplite revolution into poetic language. The trend towards an increasingly independent elegiac diction culminates in the detachment from Homeric diction in fifth-century Attic elegy. When epic poetry becomes fixed and is no longer a productive genre, elegy assumes its own specific linguistic features, derived especially from Attic Greek. The development of epic and elegy side by side now gives way to a regeneration of the latter. As epic poetry is fixed, elegy begins to develop in a space of its own, from Antimachus in the fourth century to the Alexandrians, to the Roman and then post-Renaissance traditions of the genre. But that is a different story. Nothing to do with Lesbos? A conclusion about elegiac definition By way of conclusion it is convenient to recall that we have no evidence for elegiac compositions in Lesbos. Recently, there have been attempts to identify iambic aspects in Lesbian poetry, even though the metres used are not

66

For the notion of a Peloponnesian funerary elegy, see above note 5.

67

Aloni 1981, 62–4.

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iambic.68 Is something similar possible for elegy? Scholars have argued that Latin elegy, especially Ovid, finds one of its ancestors in Sappho.69 Nevertheless, it is particularly the erotic subject matter, central to Latin elegy, but not after all crucial for Greek archaic elegy, which connects Sappho’s and Ovid’s poetry. In fact, without the formal marker, i.e. the couplet, it seems difficult to identify internal parameters for distinguishing elegy from other poetic forms. The sheer variety of subject matters, functions and occasions makes elegy an elusive genre. Sappho and Alcaeus certainly incited their own audience to do something, told it about the past and present, had a lot to say about the real context of the symposion, recalled its rules. But that is not enough. Without the elegiac form, elegy stops being recognisable. And that, as it were, brings us back to where we started. To understand ‘elegy’ as compositions in elegiac couplets is not unduly restrictive or unduly formalist, but is simply its only possible definition. FURTHER READING

Aloni and Iannucci 2007 is a book-length treatment of elegy, enlarging the scope of this chapter. Gerber 1997b also discusses elegy in general. On specific issues see the following. Elegy as a genre and ancient testimonies: West 1974, Bowie 1986a, Bartol 1993. Metre: Barnes 1995. Elegy and the symposion: Vetta 1984, Murray 1990a, Slings 2000c. Theognidea: Figueira and Nagy 1985, Edmunds 1997, Vetta 2000. Exhortatory elegy: Bowie 1990, Irwin 2005. Narrative elegy: Bowie 2001a. The ‘New Archilochus’: Obbink 2006, West 2006 and the appendix in Aloni and Iannucci 2007. The ‘New Simonides’: Boedeker and Sider 2001. Elegy in the fifth century: Iannucci 2002, Wilson 2003. Epigram: Gentili 1968, Day 1989, Ecker 1990, Svenbro 1993, Cassio 1994, Bruss 2005. Elegy and epigram as cognate genres: Nagy 1990 and Aloni 1998. For individual elegiac poets see the footnotes, and for editions, translations and commentaries see below, pp. 388–95.

68

Aloni 2001b and Andrisano 2001.

69

Bessone 2003a and 2003b.

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10 EVELINE KRUMMEN

Alcman, Stesichorus and Ibycus Translated from the German by Sira Schulz

Introduction The poets Alcman, Stesichorus and Ibycus lived between the late seventh and the late sixth century BCE. Their geographic origins span an area stretching from islands off the coast of Asia Minor to the Peloponnese and all the way to the Greek colonies of southern Italy and Sicily. Their activities belong to the age of the rise of the polis, one of great economic prosperity and expansive trade relations which led to familiarity with distant cities and their luxury goods and are reflected in the mobility of these poets. It is also the time of a well-developed music and festival culture closely connected to the institution of the polis and its need for representation: symposia, religious festivals and musical competitions (agônes mousikoi) provide a solid framework within which poetry is performed and circulated.1 The shared cultural environment of the three poets is manifest in the common subject matter of their poetry, which tells of magnificent festivities, horses and riches, and often establishes a close connection between the present and a glorious past – in Alcman this past is more local, mythic and cultic, while in Stesichorus and Ibycus it reflects the formation of a panhellenic identity. Their mythological and Trojan stories serve to develop this identity further and often have an encomiastic objective when they establish an immediate connection between past and present, so that the heroic past forms a grand backdrop to current events. All three poets compose in the Doric dialect (Alcman with local Laconian influences) and employ the triadic structure in their choral odes (Alcman only uses an early form of the triad). The wide scope of panhellenic communication becomes apparent in the poets’ mobility. Alcman was said to have come from Sardis to Sparta, just as Terpander had arrived there from Antissa on Lesbos about fifty years earlier. Stesichorus was thought to have travelled from Himera in Sicily to Sparta and Athens, just as Arion had made his way to Corinth from 1

Krummen 2003.

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southern Italy and Sicily. Ibycus moved from Rhegium to Samos, to the court of the tyrant Polycrates. This vast area of communication, which continues to grow in the sixth century, is an important prerequisite for the development of all early Greek poetry. Alcman Alcman (late seventh century BCE) is the earliest choral poet of whose work a few fragments have come down to us.2 Ultimately these go back to the sixbook Alexandrian edition of his oeuvre. His poems seem to be more closely connected with the cultic and social life of the polis than those of Stesichorus and Ibycus. Thus numerous festivals and religious cults are mentioned in Alcman’s poetry, such as the Hyakinthia, the festival of Apollo at Amyklai, the Gymnopaidia, the cults of the Leukippidai, of the Dioscuri and of Helen and Menelaus in Therapnai. The most substantial fragments that we have today are of songs for girls’ choruses, so-called partheneia, which were also performed in a cultic context: the text suggests the cults of Orthria and of Artemis Karyatis. It is important to remember that Alcman does not come from nowhere. Rather, he joins a rich musical tradition that already existed in Sparta. It included the elegies of Callinus and Tyrtaeus, the kitharodic contest during the Karneia introduced by Terpander around 676 BCE, and the nomoi of Polymnestos of Colophon, an aulos player, whose songs were performed at the Gymnopaidia, a choral festival established by Thaletas of Gortyn around 660 BCE. Archaeological discoveries in the sanctuaries of Sparta add to the picture: numerous figurines portraying dancers and the earliest surviving fragment of an aulos in the Greek world.3 These valuable dedicatory objects also demonstrate the prosperity of Sparta. Sparta had expansive trade relations with the cultural centres of Greece and the East as early as the seventh century BCE, a prerequisite for its thriving musical culture.4 The longest and most famous fragment of Alcman is the so-called LouvrePartheneion (fr. 1 PMGF), which consists of the last sixty-six lines of the poem (of an original 140).5 The poem mentions a festival (probably in honour

2

3

4

5

For the date see Hutchinson 2001, 71 with n. 1; for Sardis as his place of origin Hutchinson 2001, 75 with n. 7. Ps.-Plut. De mus. 9.1134b–c; list of victors at the Karneia: Hellanicus FGH 4 F 85a; Pettersson 1992; aulos with a dedicatory inscription in the sanctuary of Orthria, c. 650 BCE: Dawkins 1929, 236, tables 161–2. Hutchinson 2001, 72 with n. 2; Cavanagh and Walker 1998. Lydia: Kerschner 2006; Samos: Moustaka 2004; Pipili 2004. Discovered by Mariette in 1855 in Egypt, today in the Louvre. Commentary: Calame 1983, Hutchinson 2001; particularly important is Puelma 1995.

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of Orthria), girls’ names, astral constellations, horses, robes and jewellery. The subject matter and images are encomiastic and establish a repertoire that we encounter later in Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides, in whose poetry the description of chorus and festival is also an integral part. At the heart of this poetry is the prestige and values that are characteristic of an aristocratically oriented society, such as the performance by sumptuously dressed girls, the festival, horses and the heroic battle of young warriors. The poem starts with this last topic, a myth about the Hippokoöntidai (1–35), local heroes and role models for the young Spartan warrior.6 That story ends with a gnomic statement, a characteristic structural element in early Greek lyric, and then turns to the immediate present of the festival, introduced by the formula ‘but I…’ (ἐγὼν δ’…, 39 f.). We have here a typical example of the way in which the past serves as grand heroic frame for the current events of the festival. The second part moves on to the present and the events of the festival. It begins with the two most important girls at the festival, Agido and Hagesichora. Hagesichora is described as chorostatis ‘the one who sets up the chorus’ (84). The importance and beauty of these girls is emphasised right from the start, in the form of metaphors similar to those later used in epinikia, especially to praise the victors. Taking into account this tradition, which we see here for the first time, makes the difficult text easier to understand. The metaphors turn on heavenly bodies and light. The speaker says that she sings ‘the light (τὸ ϕῶς) of Agido’, that is, her radiance. Agido is compared to the sun, who is called upon ‘as witness’ to the celebration (42).7 The chorusleader Hagesichora is later likened to the corresponding heavenly body, the moon (55). In Pindar it is the victory with a racehorse in Olympia that is compared to the rising sun beside which all other heavenly bodies pale (Ol. 1.3–8). In light of this later tradition the metaphors in Alcman should be understood to say that Agido is as unique as the sun, shining with the brightest radiance: no other girl (heavenly body) can prevail beside her. The next lines and their connection to the immediate context are also difficult to understand initially (45–59), but it is important to realise that the main topic is ‘the horse’, i.e. a specific horse, ‘sinewy, prize-winning, with thundering hooves’ (48). The poet establishes a relationship between this victorious racehorse and Agido: she is just as outstanding as such a horse (ἵππον) might be if put among grazing animals (ἐν βοτοῖς). In what follows the fiction of a horse race and the equine metaphors intersect, referring now to both Agido and Hagesichora. Just as in a race, the best two horses, the Kolaxaian and the Ibenian, run side by side at the head of the pack. The 6 7

Hippokoöntidai: Paus. 3.14.6–7 and 3.15.1; Apollod. 3.10.5; Diod. 4.33.5. Puelma 1995, 16–19. Young girls and constellations: Alcm. 3.64–7 PMGF; Sa. 96.8–10 V.

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relation nevertheless stays the same; Agido is better, Hagesichora with the golden hair (the fair mane) and the silver countenance always follows behind (58f.). The racehorse thus provides the value system that underpins the comparison of the two most beautiful girls. In the sky the largest heavenly bodies, the sun and the moon, serve as a point of comparison, while on earth the most exquisite possession, valuable racehorses, take over this function. The next lines refer to a cultic dedication that is apparently part of the setting of the ode (60–3, trans. Campbell, adapted): ταὶ Πεληάδες γὰϱ ἇμιν Ὀϱθϱίαι ϕᾶϱος ϕεϱοίσαις νύκτα δι᾽ ἀμβϱοσίαν ἅτε Σήϱιον ἄστϱον ἀυηϱομέναι μάχονται. For the Pleiads as we bring Orthria a robe, rise through the ambrosial night like the star Sirius and compete against us.

Again it is important to realise that heavenly bodies continue to be used as metaphors. Both the Pleiades, a cluster of stars visible to the naked eye in the night sky, and Sirius, the brightest fixed star appearing in the morning, correspond to Agido and Hagesichora. The two most beautiful girls are thus set against the remaining ‘stars’, that is, the other girls in the chorus who will become more prominent in the following lines (64ff.). These girls bring Orthria a robe. The theme of celestial bodies is continued when Orthria is later on (87) equated with Aos or Eos (the Dawn). This comparison draws on epic and lyric passages in which we find Eos as a young girl with several attributes that seem to fit our context – a fine robe, golden sandals, beautiful tresses.8 Alcman also mentions a robe, ϕᾶϱος (61), that is, a purple ceremonial robe. We may therefore infer that a celestial phenomenon is being depicted metaphorically. The girls are like stars. They bring Orthria the robe in order that she ‘put it on’ and the sky can turn purple at dawn. The stars still twinkle but in the end lose the competition as they grow dim and Sirius rises bringing the new day. In the next section the girls describe their outfits (64–77). This has less to do with the vanity of young girls than with the representational aspects of their performance at the festival and in the sanctuary. The outfits of the young women symbolise the wealth, power and standing of particular families and of the polis.9 Accordingly luxury and expense receive great emphasis. The list itself follows an established pattern found in other poems: purple robes (64f.) 8 9

Od. 5.390; Sa. fr. 58.19, 103.10, 123 V; Soph. Ajax 672f.; Eur. El. 102. For the outfits and the importance of korai: Schneider 1975.

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so valuable that they are worth their weight in silver (cf. Ath. 12.526c), a golden bracelet in the form of a snake (66f.) and a Lydian mitra as adornment (67f.), worn by ‘violet-eyed’ girls – a conventional comparison of eyes and flowers. There is also a characteristic mention of the elaborately styled hair of one of the girls, Nanno, and another girl, Areta, is ‘godlike’. Two further names follow, Sylakis and Kleeisera. The overall effect is that of a whole group of exceptionally beautiful girls. Their self-description ends by highlighting yet again their erotic allure, which is still surpassed, however, by that of Hagesichora (73–7). For it is Hagesichora who is the object of desire, and the girls’ material adornments are no match for her. The last two stanzas of the poem (78–101) show Hagesichora, Agido and the girls together in festival and song. The much-discussed term θωστήϱια (81) denotes the complete ‘festival set-up’, which is praised by Hagesichora and Agido. A long passage follows containing a prayer to the gods and information regarding the song that the girls have learned (85–101). The four lines at the very end of the poem (102–5) do not survive, but probably included another prayer to the gods asking for well-being and success. Alcman documents in his song the specific moment of a performance of young girls in the sanctuary. Once one realises that central to the poetics of the song are conventional encomiastic themes and specifically agonistic metaphors (horses, heavenly bodies), the contents of the fragment become less mysterious. The poem fits into the established system of values of an aristocratic society and a polis that regularly reconfirms its history (cf. the myth of the Hippokoöntidai in the first part) and its identity through the celebration of recurring festivals. Love is another important topic in Alcman: he was famous already in antiquity for his erotic poetry, which is reminiscent of Sappho or Mimnermus. The physical reactions caused by Eros are described with much detail (fr. 59a PMGF, trans. Campbell, adapted): Ἔϱως με δηὖτε Κύπϱιδος ϝέκατι γλυκὺς κατείβων καϱδίαν ἰαίνει. At the command of Cypris, Eros once again pours sweetly down and warms my heart.

Elsewhere he sets the failing strength of old age in opposition to youth and love. The poet addresses young girls with sweet-sounding voices, lamenting that his limbs do not carry him any more, and wishes to be a kêrylos, ‘a sea-purple holy bird’ (ἁλιπόϱϕυϱος ἱαϱὸς ὄϱνις, fr. 26 PMGF).10 No less famous are his poems about nature and religious cults. One fragment describes the sleep of mountains and valleys, of animals in the country and in the depths of the sea, and 10

It is unclear what kind of bird the kêrylos was, possibly a shearwater or a petrel.

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of long-winged birds (fr. 89 PMGF). Another tells of a night-time festival celebrated by torchlight on ‘mountain summits’ (ἐν κοϱυϕαῖς ὀϱέων), during which cheese is made from the milk of a lioness in a large golden vessel (fr. 56 PMGF). In addition there are poems with mythical subjects, for example Helen and Paris, Orestes, Odysseus and Circe, Ajax, Peleus and Thetis. Warlike themes appear too. In fr. 41 PMGF, the poet opposes the ‘sword’ to the ‘kithara’, and ‘fighting’ to ‘music’. Overall, it is clear how vividly Alcman composes; his poetry is suffused with the buoyancy and light of a Mediterranean, perhaps Lydianinfluenced, lifestyle and culture. One has to imagine his songs being performed in the sanctuaries of the city, in natural groves, by torchlight during night-time festivals. They are the agalmata (‘adornment’) of religious festivals and cults. The charis of the gods surrounds them. Stesichorus With Stesichorus we shift our focus onto the Greek colonies in the west, to Himera in Sicily. Himera, like Sparta, is a flourishing city. Art and architecture are panhellenic in the sixth century BCE, and in Himera we find a mixture of Chalcidian, Doric and Ionic elements.11 As part of this environment the songs of Stesichorus exhibit local West Greek features while unmistakably belonging to a broader panhellenic culture. In contrast to Alcman we do not have any information about the performance context of Stesichorus’ poems; they are, as it were, ‘separable’ from the specific occasion of their composition and show little influence of a local dialect. Stesichorus is usually dated to the first half of the sixth century BCE.12 There has been much discussion about whether his poems were performed by one singer to lyre accompaniment, or sung by a chorus. The length of the songs – in the case of the Geryoneis an impressive 1,300 lines – suggests a monodic performance to the kithara. Nevertheless some of his work may have been composed for a chorus, as the contents of fr. 193 PMGF, for example, seem to indicate, in which the Muse who ‘loves the beautiful dance’ (ϕιλόμολπε) is asked to come and enjoy the singing and dancing. One should also bear in mind that the name ‘Stesichorus’ itself denotes a person who ‘has set up the chorus’, pointing to a performative activity – especially if one remembers Alcman’s ‘Hagesichora’, who was also termed chorostatis (‘the one who sets up the chorus’; fr. 1.84 PMGF).13 Stesichorus’ work might also 11 12 13

Mertens 2006, 125–6; Cerchiai et al. 2004, 188–93. For the date see Robbins 1997, 234f. Suda s.v. Stesichorus: ὅτι πϱῶτος κιθαϱῳδίᾳ χοϱὸν ἔστησεν ‘who was the first to establish a chorus for kitharodic performances’ (TA 19 PMGF). Pallantza 2005, 91f.; Schade 2003, 6f. (monodic); Burkert 1987, 43ff. (choral performances), Cingano 1990 and 1993. Choral performance is also implied by the triadic structure of his poetry, which he is said to have

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be seen in the context of the popularity and the fast-moving technical and musical development of kitharodic performances in the sixth century.14 Be that as it may, a long tradition of storytelling already existed in the western colonies. The song-culture that was deeply embedded in the religious and political institutions of the polis was among the cultural achievements brought by the colonists from the motherland to the west. Note, for instance, the inscription on Nestor’s cup in Pithekoussai (730–720 BCE), which belongs to the Homeric tradition; the poet Xenokritos of Locri in southern Italy, whose songs were performed during the Gymnopaidia in Sparta; and Arion, who made a fortune around 600 BCE as a kitharode in the colonies.15 Vase paintings and sculptures from southern Italy depicting scenes from heroic myth and the Trojan War also bear witness to this narrative tradition.16 The first long passages of narrative since Homer are found in Stesichorus’ Geryoneis and Thebaid. These poems are similar to epic poetry, inasmuch as they contain a divine plane, battle scenes, dialogue alternating with narrative and such typically Homeric values as valour, glory and heroic death. On the other hand, there are frequent changes of narrative perspective, laments, descriptions of intimate emotions and similes intricately inserted into the narrative. So in some respects the poems stand at a great distance from Homeric epic and in close proximity to hymnic and elegiac poetry. All of these features can be found in the Geryoneis. The poem tells the story of Heracles’ tenth labour, which involves stealing the cattle of the threeheaded Geryon at the western edges of the world. The underlying narrative pattern is a common one: the hero has to go on a quest for a certain object, often to a place far from home, fight the owner in order to obtain it and bring it back. Numerous places, myths and cults can thus be inserted into an established narrative, thereby laying claim to a cultural space. But at the same time Heracles is a panhellenic hero, especially worshipped in Peisistratean Athens. The story therefore looks toward the panhellenic world while remaining influenced by its western origins. The passage that survives tells of the fight with Geryon. The fragments begin with a scene in which Heracles lies in ambush for Helios, who is about to climb into his golden bowl in order to cross Oceanus, go home and recover from the toils of his day (fr. 185 PMGF). Two fragments regarding the cowherd Eurytion, Heracles’ first victim, follow. Stesichorus also creates a

14

15

16

invented in addition to the dactylo-epitrite metre. Of the twenty-six books of the Alexandrian edition, thirteen song titles have survived. Lysander of Sicyon: Philochorus FGH 328 F 23 apud Ath. 14.637f–638a. On kitharodic performances see Power 2009. Nestor’s cup: Danek 1994/95; Buchner and Ridgeway 1993, 219, nr. 168; 751–9. Xenokritos: Ps.-Plut. De mus. 9.1134b–c; Arion: Hdt. 1.23; Aristot. fr. 677 Rose. Reproduced for instance in Bennett et al. 2002 and Cerchiai et al. 2004.

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familiar atmosphere here: he narrates Eurytion’s birth ‘by the streams of inexhaustible, silver-nourished Tartessos, in a cave in the rock’ (fr. 184 PMGF), conveying at the same time local colour and – through the allusion to the silver mines – the prosperity of the west. The mother, a Hesperid, then brings her son to the island of the Hesperides, where she and her sisters live in golden houses. Thus the narrative is set in a specific location, but at the same time embedded in a broad cosmological and mythological space. Next Geryon is introduced by way of a conversation between him and Meneoites: Geryon’s descent from Chrysaor, his immortal father, and Callirhoe, his mortal mother, raises the question of his own immortality. Geryon says (fr. S11.16–21 PMGF, trans. Campbell): αἰ δ’ ὦ ϕί̣ [λε χϱὴ στυγεϱόν μ’ ἐπὶ γῆϱας [ἱκ]έ̣ σ̣ θαι., ζώ[ει]ν τ’ ἐν̣ ἐ̣ [ϕαμεϱίοις ἀπάνευθε θ̣ [ε]ῶ̣ ν μακάϱω[ν, νῦν μοι πο̣ λ̣ ὺ̣ κ̣ ά̣ [λλιόν ἐστι παθῆν ὅ τι μόϱσιμ[ον …

But if, my friend, I must indeed reach hateful old age and spend my life among short-lived mortals far from the blessed gods, then it is much nobler for me to suffer what is fated …

At this point Geryon’s mother appears, lamenting that she, unhappy, ‘bore’ her child ‘for misery’ (fr. S13 PMGF). Here one recognises a combination of themes characteristic of different genres: Geryon’s speech belongs to the epic tradition, but the vision of awful old age as no valid alternative to battle is also reminiscent of Tyrtaeus’ elegiac exhortation to combat. Another elegiac element here is the use of the term ‘creatures of the day’ (ἐϕαμεϱίοις) for mankind, found in Mimnermus and later in Pindar.17 The lamenting mothers of Eurytion and Geryon belong to the tradition of epic mothers like Thetis and Hecuba. But the poignant quality of their mourning, emphasising their misery, already points to tragedy; they are epic mothers employing tragic gestures of lamentation. The death of Geryon is first ordained by the gods (fr. S14 PMGF) and then brought to pass on earth.18 Characteristic of Stesichorus’ style is the dispassionate nature of his descriptions. He describes in great detail how the arrow penetrates Geryon’s forehead stealthily and without a sound, pierces the flesh and bones, and finally exits straight out of the crown of the head, staining his 17

Tyrt. 10 W; Mimn. 1.5–10, 2 and 5.5–8 W; Pind. Pyth. 8.95f.

18

Irvine 1997.

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armour and limbs with crimson blood. Geryon turns out to be mortal after all. As with a scalpel Stesichorus clinically exposes the individual stages of the arrow’s penetration, layer by layer. Yet Geryon’s death is also located within a mythical realm and depicted as certain and inescapable: the arrow is coated with poison ‘from the death-throes of the man-slaying Hydra with the shimmering neck’ (ὀλεσάνοϱος αἰολοδε[ίϱ]ου | ὀδύναισιν Ὕδϱας, fr. S15 col. ii.6–7 PMGF). The moment of the death is expressed in a much-discussed simile that belongs to the tradition of epic similes used for ‘dying warriors’; Geryon tilts his neck to one side (fr. S15 col. ii.14–17 PMGF, trans. Campbell adapted): … ὡς ὅκα μ[ά]κ̣ ω̣ [ν ἅτε καταισχύνοισ’ ἁπ̣ α̣λ̣ ὸ̣ ν̣ [δέμας αἶψ’ ἀπὸ ϕύλλα βαλοῖσα̣ ν̣ [ … like a poppy which spoiling its tender form suddenly sheds its petals and …

Compare the simile at Iliad 8.306–8: μήκων δ’ ὣς ἑτέϱωσε κάϱη βάλεν, ἥ τ’ ἐνὶ κήπω̩ , καϱπῶ̩ βϱιθομένη νοτίη̩ σί τε εἰαϱινῆ̩ σιν, ὣς ἑτέϱωσ’ ἤμυσε κάϱη πήληκι βαϱυνθέν. Just as the poppy in the garden tilts its head to one side weighed down by its seeds and the rains of spring, so he drops his head to the side, weighed down by his helmet.

A comparison with the Iliadic model shows how slight textual variations can result in entirely different visual effects that are crucial for interpretation. In Homer the head of the poppy (corresponding to the warrior’s head) is the focal point, in Stesichorus it is the whole flower. The loss of its petals is described as it gradually occurs. At first the centre of attention is Geryon’s strong neck (cf. l.14 αὐχένα), which used to carry his three heads and now droops to one side, having lost all its former strength. Without the heads the body appears, like the poppy’s stem, astoundingly weak. Just as the poppy has dropped its red petals, so Geryon’s blood now drips onto his armour and limbs.19 The simile in Stesichorus fits flawlessly into the narrative, giving it a deeper dimension by rousing pity for Geryon, who is killed in an ambush without having harmed anyone. The death of Geryon is thus not only highly dramatic, but also tragic. This is where our text ends. 19

On southern Italian/Sicilian, East Ionic and Chalcidian vases Geryon has two legs and three heads (late seventh century BCE), but three torsos in the Ionic tradition. P. Brize in LIMC IV s.v. Geryoneus.

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Another substantial fragment of Stesichorus is the so-called Lille papyrus, dealing with an episode from the Theban epic cycle (222b PMGF).20 The setting is Thebes just before the attack of Polynices, who wants to seize the throne from his brother Eteocles. Their mother has just received an oracle prophesying that the city would be taken and that the brothers would kill each other. Nevertheless she tries to find a way out; she reassures herself that there is constant change in the thoughts and the lives of men, that disagreements do not last forever, and neither does love. ‘Instead just for one day the gods put thoughts in men’ (ἐπὶ δ’ ἁμέ̣ ϱα̣[ι ἐ]ν νόον̣ ἀ̣ ν̣ δ̣ ϱῶν | θ̣ ε̣ ο̣ ὶ̣ τιθεῖσι, fr. 222b.207–8 PMGF). This notion of constant change is again typical of elegy.21 The mother also tries to mediate between the two brothers by proposing a compromise to prevent the fratricide. And yet there are forces beyond her control that propel the events to their dire outcome, for what the mother hopes never to witness will come to pass, namely that her ‘sons lie dead in the palace’. Once again a mother appears who will lose her sons, again the poet succeeds in creating a dense atmosphere that has a tragic colouring. The Trojan epic cycle provides the subject matter of other poems by Stesichorus: The Sack of Troy, Nostoi, The Oresteia and especially his Palinode, which told the story of Helen in Troy and Egypt.22 Here the poet probably balanced out the epic version with local narratives concerning Helen, who had a cult at Therapnai near Sparta.23 The poetry of Stesichorus is characterised by its intense vividness. In a few precise strokes the poet depicts a landscape, an emotional atmosphere, a character or a situation. The texts come to life through the alternation of speech and counter-speech; rarely are there narratorial comments that create a sense of distance. As in the art and architecture of the western colonies, Doric and Ionic and even Attic elements are combined in an innovative and distinct form of representation. The characters in Stesichorus have a tragic component, while their integration into the epic tradition gives them their deep literary dimension. Ibycus Ibycus, like Stesichorus, comes from the western colonies, from Rhegium, a Chalcidian foundation (second half of the eighth century BCE) at the southern tip of Italy. In the sixth century Rhegium was an economic and political centre of power, as is evidenced today by a large temple complex. Many

20

21 23

Bremer 1987; Hutchinson 2001, 120–39. Parsons 1977b is fundamental. See here also for discussion of the Greek text. Cf. Archil. 13.5–9 W; Il. 7.301f. 22 On the Palinode see Graziosi and Haubold, this vol., 103. Robbins 1997, 239f.; Pallantza 2005, 98–123.

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beautiful vases, among them the so-called ‘Chalcidian’ ones probably produced there in the second half of the sixth century, illustrate stories that are also the subjects of contemporary poetry, such as those of Troy, Heracles and the Argonauts.24 In all likelihood Ibycus too composed in the second half of the sixth century, since there is evidence that puts him on Samos at the court of the tyrant Polycrates, who ruled from 532 to 525. It was there that Ibycus probably met Anacreon.25 In his poetry Ibycus mentions several places in Sicily and southern Italy, possibly also Sparta. The language of his poems stands in the Homeric and Doric traditions, but in contrast to Stesichorus we have no evidence so far for any extended narratives. Myths tend to appear in the form of allusions that serve as the backdrop to a current event. Some of his poems already have encomiastic features and can be seen as precursors of the later epinikian poetry of Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides. The mythical figures Heracles, Peleus and Geryon were perhaps already mentioned in encomiastic poetry in honour of successful athletes, while other myths, such as the rape of Ganymede, can be found in the erotic poetry for which Ibycus (like Alcman) was famous already in antiquity. The Alexandrian edition of his work comprised seven books, the poems did not have any titles, and their central topics were praise, love and beauty. One of the most impressive poems about nature that survives from antiquity is by Ibycus (286.1–6 PMGF, trans. Campbell). ἦϱι μὲν αἵ τε Κυδώνιαι μηλίδες ἀϱδόμεναι ῥοᾶν ἐκ ποταμῶν, ἵνα Παϱθένων κῆπος ἀκήϱατος, αἵ τ’ οἰνανθίδες αὐξόμεναι σκιεϱοῖσιν ὑϕ’ ἕϱνεσιν οἰναϱέοις θαλέθοισιν …

In the spring flourish Cydonian quince-trees, watered from flowing rivers where stands the inviolate garden of the Maidens, and vine-blossoms growing under the shady vine-branches …

The poem stands in the tradition of Alcman and Sappho, whose songs feature gardens of nymphs as an important pre-nuptial theme, as do the vase paintings of that same period.26 The garden is a locus amoenus, sacred to 24 25

26

Rumpf 1927; Vallet 1958; Iozzo 1994; Gras et al. 2000, 237–49. For the date see Cavallini 1997; MacLachlan 1997, 187–9; Hutchinson 2001, 232 f. Anacreon on Samos: Budelmann, this vol., 227–8. Sa. 2 V. Girls and gardens: Davies 1986; Pfisterer-Haas 2003.

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Aphrodite, with cool water rushing through it, trees providing shade, apples and quinces as symbols of love: the landscape is permeated by a yearning for love. Eros is also mentioned in the following line, but the scenery completely changes. The rough Thracian north wind appears, we hear of lightning and the withering frenzy (mania) of Cypris; Eros has taken hold of ‘my senses from the innermost depths’ (ἐγκϱατέως πεδόθεν †ϕυλάσσει† ἡμετέϱας ϕϱένας, fr. 286.6–13 PMGF). Thrace is the land of Dionysiac frenzy, and it is the frenzy of love (mania) that overcomes the poet. While in the first part of the poem a mild spring that makes everything grow and bloom dominates the scenery, here the sweltering summer parches everything with its heat and blazing wind. The mood of relaxation initially created by the unconscious erotic play of the nymphs and young girls is now contrasted with the poet’s painful unfulfilled erotic longing (ἐμοὶ δέ …, sc. the poet). This poem is one of the earliest examples of how the description of a landscape can express inner feeling. Love and Eros gain their cosmic dimension in the landscape and nature. Other erotic poems by Ibycus survive, which speak about charms and glances of Love that drive the poet into the snares of Cypris, even against his will. Love becomes a threat to his life. The poet imagines himself as old. Only death will release him from love.27 The longest fragment of Ibycus demonstrates how a traditionally epic subject matter, like the sack of Troy, can also come under the heading of beauty and Eros. At the same time it exemplifies how the past is used to give a further dimension to the treatment of the present. The poem is composed in triads in a dactylic metre and thus formally corresponds to the poems of Stesichorus. The surviving text begins with the destruction of Troy (fr. S151.1–4 PMGF, trans. Campbell, adapted):28 Οἳ κ]αὶ Δαϱδανίδα Πϱιάμοιο μέγ’ ἄσ]τυ πεϱι̣κ̣ λεὲς ὄλβιον ἠνάϱον̣ Ἄϱγ]ο̣ θεν ὀϱ̣νυμένοι Ζη]νὸς μεγάλοιο βουλαῖς … They destroyed the great, glorious, wealthy city of Priam, son of Dardanus, setting off from Argos by the plans of great Zeus …

The accumulation of attributes, a typical feature of Ibycus’ poetry, initially creates an impressive tableau. Troy is a city with a great mythical past, ruled 27 28

Fr. 287 PMGF. Cf. 288 PMGF. Euryalos is brought up in a garden full of roses. Müller-Goldingen 2000; Hutchinson 2001, 235–56; Giannini 2004; Bonanno 2004; brief discussion in Graziosi and Haubold, this vol., 102.

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by the Dardanid Priam, extremely famous and prosperous (ὄλβιος). The word olbios means ‘being wealthy and successful’ and is normally only applied to people. By using it here to describe the city, Ibycus in effect implies that Troy and its ruling family are one. But after the city has thus risen before our eyes, the next word in the line is ἠνάϱον̣ , ‘they destroyed’. By contrasting Troy’s proud ruling family, fame and prosperity with its destruction (here interpreted as pre-destined, ‘according to the plans of mighty Zeus’), Ibycus creates a tension similar to that found later in tragic choral odes.29 Just as in Stesichorus, the scenes are imbued with strong emotions and a sense of foreboding and in this respect already point to tragedy. The cause of the war, however, was Helen; her beauty and Love, as the poet emphasises, brought tears and suffering. Beauty and Love are the undoing not only of a single human being, but of a whole city. The following lines have been the subject of much discussion. It is important to note first that the poet uses the conventional formula ‘but now’ (νῦ[ν̣ δέ) to turn attention to the present and his own singing (ὑμ]νῆν), yet at the same time Troy and the Trojan campaign provide the setting for the poet’s praise of the tyrant Polycrates in which the song culminates. The epic past, however, is alluded to rather than narrated in detail, condensed into resonant names. The names stand in for a well-known story, leaving it to the audience to make the appropriate connections. In this way Ibycus manages to evoke the complete Trojan narrative, and to do so from a particular perspective. Ibycus mentions first Trojan characters, and then turns to the Greek side, focusing on the theme of heroic valour and the multitude of ships that went from Argos to Troy with the heroes on board. The heroes are then represented by three names: swift-footed Achilles, mighty Ajax and the most beautiful of the Argives, Kyanippos. Here the poet, having brought up the other themes only to drop them at once, has finally arrived at his true topic, the beauty of the young ephebes, Kyanippos, Zeuxippos and Troilus.30 Trojans and Danaans agree in their judgement of the young men’s lovely appearance; their beauty is imperishable. The great war against Troy leads up to the one thing that outlasts everything else, including death and destruction: the ‘beauty’ of the young ephebes. Orienting a well-known story around a new focal point is a typical method in the composition of hymnic and encomiastic narratives. From here the poet can once again turn to the present and addresses Polycrates directly (ll. 47–8, the precise translation is disputed): καὶ σύ, Πολύκϱατες, κλέος ἄϕθιτον ἑξεῖς ὡς κατ’ ἀοιδὰν καὶ ἐμὸν κλέος.

29

Cf. e.g. Aesch. Ag. 681–782, esp. 699–716.

30

Similarly Sa. 16 V.

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These lines, which conclude the poem, show that Polycrates possesses both beauty and success as a ruler, as well as imperishable glory, the goal of every epic hero. Polycrates is thus inserted into the grand epic past, but so is the poet Ibycus, who presents himself as following in Homer’s footsteps and who, like the bard before him, will survive in his own songs. There is a connection to Simonides here, who would later associate the Persian Wars with the Greek campaign against Troy and his own poetry with that of Homer.31 Perhaps Ibycus’ goal was to integrate the thalassocracy of Polycrates and current imperial politics into the glorious past in a similar way. Conclusion Alcman’s songs have the qualities of hymns. As far as we can tell their contents are local in character and describe the circumstances and events of festivals. The odes of Stesichorus conversely are of literally epic proportions, coloured by their West Greek subject matter yet displaying a distinctly panhellenic orientation. His characters are portrayed with great individuality; epic, lyric and elegiac topics are combined; the narrative perspective is often already that of tragedy. Ibycus on the other hand covers great spatial and temporal expanses in his poetry and incorporates erotic, epic and encomiastic themes; yet a tragic perspective also pervades his work. A few suggestive attributes are enough to conjure up an impressive setting. His Polycrates ode is devoted to exalting the addressee, just like the enkômia and epinikia of Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides. One can thus observe that the geographical mobility of all three poets is matched by the variability of their poetry, and in Stesichorus and Ibycus regional subject matter is developed into a panhellenic narrative commodity. In particular Southern Italy and Sicily provided rather different cultural contexts, as is obvious also in contemporary art and architecture. But what made the development of such a sophisticated poetry possible in the first place, in a Greek-speaking world that extended from the western colonies to Asia Minor, was the existence of a dynamic musical culture nurtured in the symposion, cult practice, the great festivals of the poleis and the tyrants, as well as the agônes mousikoi, where singers and choruses met in order to praise gods and humans.

31

Hom. Hymn Ap. 165–76. Simonides: Boedeker and Sider 2001; Stehle 2001; Aloni, this vol., 178–9.

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Alcman, Stesichorus and Ibycus FURTHER READING

For a general introduction to Alcman and Stesichorus see Robbins 1997; to Ibycus, MacLachlan 1997 in the same volume. For an overview of all three poets see Segal 1985a. For orality, performance and the development of literacy see Edmunds and Wallace 1997, Krummen 2003 and Cingano 2003; on contemporary visual narrative, Giuliani 2003; and on the material culture of southern Italy and Sicily, Cerchiai et al. 2004, Lomas 2004 and Mertens 2006. See Calame 1977, Stehle 1997 and Peponi 2004 on the performance and context of Alcman’s partheneion, Puelma 1995 on grammatical questions (important), Sassi 2005 on cosmogonic material in the poem. On Sparta in general, Cavanagh and Walker 1998, on the festivals and performances, Pettersson 1992. There are selected papyri of Stesichorus, accompanied by a good introduction, in Schade 2003. Burkert 1987 and Cingano 1990 and 1993 discuss the performance of Stesichorus’ poetry; its connection to epic is treated by Pallantza 2005; on Helen and the Palinode see Baudy 2001. Bonanno 2004 discusses Ibycus’ Polycrates ode, and for Samos see Cavallini 2004, especially 339–50, and Kienast 2004. Barron’s (1969) work on Ibycus continues to be important. For editions, commentaries and translations (all three poets) see pp. 388–95.

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11 DIMITRIOS YATROMANOLAKIS

Alcaeus and Sappho

In a letter of 25 July 1907 to his wife, Rainer Maria Rilke drew a connection between an ancient dialogic song associated with Alcaeus and Sappho and an early fifth-century red-figure vase depicting the two Lesbian poets. Rilke writes: ‘Alcaeus was a poet, who on an antique vase stands before Sappho with head lowered and lyre in hand, and one knows that he has said to her: “Weaver of darkness, Sappho, you pure one with the honey-sweet smile, words throng to my lips, but shame holds me back”’.1 The song that Rilke quotes is a conflation of (a version of) Alcaeus fragment 384 V and Sappho fragment 137 V, while the kalathoid vase he has in mind depicts (on its obverse) two musicians, with their names, Sappho and Alcaeus, inscribed next to their figures (Fig. 5). Holding – or having just struck the strings of – his barbitos, Alcaeus is shown singing. The string of vowels that come out of his mouth do not disclose what he is singing about, but modern scholars – and Rilke – have seen in the lowered position of his head an indication of αἰδώς (‘shame’), thus connecting the image on the vase with the dialogic song between Sappho and Alcaeus that Aristotle quotes in his Rhetoric 1367a – a (fragmentary) song attributed by a number of editors to Sappho (137 V). Although the identity of the speakers in the preserved song is not indicated, Aristotle informs us that it was Alcaeus who began the dialogue: θέλω τί τ′ εἴπην, ἀλλά με κωλύει | αἴδως (‘I wish to tell you something, but I am prevented by shame’). And Sappho, we are told, replied as follows: ‘If you desired things honourable or beautiful, and your tongue were not concocting something bad to say, shame would not seize your eyes, but you would speak about what you claim [?].’ The connection of the image with the dialogic song and the information that Aristotle provides about it can be compared with significant aspects of For Helen Vendler. Thanks to Marcel Detienne, Michael Herzfeld, Peter J. Parsons, H. Alan Shapiro and Helen Vendler for invaluable dialogue. 1 Rilke 1984, 14–15.

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Fig. 5 Red-figure kalathos-psykter. Obverse side, showing Sappho and Alcaeus. Attic, c. 480–470 BCE

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modern approaches to the poetic corpus of Alcaeus and Sappho. Fictionalisation has been an important element in the modern scholarly reception of ancient poets, even when attempts are made to undermine what has often been termed ‘the biographical tradition’. More importantly for modern scholarship, the desire to fill in the substantial gaps in our fragmentary sources for the two poets has produced, I argue, narratives based on the device of ‘emplotment’2 – that is, the scholarly construction of continuous historical plots and convenient chronological sequences which, in some of its basic components, is not different from the construction of literary narratives. Alcaeus Politics, tradition as ideology, liminality …dangerous flood …that never sleeps or dies, And, held one moment, burns the hand. W. H. Auden (untitled: To Christopher Isherwood)

If with Sappho researchers have attempted to decipher female modes of thought in archaic Lesbos, with Alcaeus they have endeavoured to unearth socio-political aspects of late seventh- and early sixth-century Lesbos – or more precisely Mytilene, probably the most important Lesbian city – sometimes by heavily supplementing his fragmentary texts. A close examination of the fragments of Alcaeus in modern critical editions suggests that the scholarly interventions (textual emendations, reconstructions of poems from ancient prose paraphrases or from problematic quotations) are so numerous that at least a few of them must be misleading. Drawing primarily on the fragments of Alcaeus and related later sources, detailed reconstructions of the history of late seventh- and early sixth-century Lesbos have been advanced, which in turn are employed to illuminate Alcaeus’ poetry and the political ideas reflected in his fragments.3 Thus the songs of Alcaeus have often been seen primarily as political verses that refer to and reflect specific historical realities about his group of hetairoi (companions) or as simple compositions that outline a clear-cut development in Alcaeus’

2 3

For the operation of emplotment in historiographic writing, see White 1978, 66–7, 83, 91. Page’s historical reconstructions are among the best known (1955, 149–243); for diverse accounts of the political history of archaic Lesbos, see, among others, Mazzarino 1943; Boruhovic’ 1981; Aloni 1983; Burnett 1983, 107–20.

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political views and reactions set against the tumultuous social evolution of his society.4 In Alcaeus’ songs, two interrelated archaic institutions, the symposion and the hetaireia, are cast in high relief. Politics is an integral part of these institutional frames. In the archaic society of Mytilene, a competitive system of hetaireiai (political clubs) seems to have flourished, with each hetaireia aiming both at consolidating the ideologies and political interests of a particular male group of nobles and at bonding its members. Mytilene was an extremely unsettled state at the end of the seventh and the beginning of the sixth century. Alcaeus lived during this time of social disorder and the rule of Lesbian tyrannoi (‘tyrants’) such as Melanchros and Myrsilos. After the death of Myrsilos, Pittakos, who was later to be included among the Seven Sages of the ancient Greek world, became aisymnêtês (elective tyrannos). It is these three political figures,5 and especially Pittakos, whom Alcaeus opposed and castigated in his songs. The chronology of Alcaeus is not easy to establish,6 but it is safe to argue that he composed many of his songs between c. 600 and 580 BCE. That Alcaeus and Sappho probably represent an advanced stage in a long Lesbian tradition of song-making may not require emphasis. It is not certain whether the island had produced long epic poems of its own,7 but poetry sharing structural features with the Homeric epics is attested in the surviving fragments of Sappho: fragment 44 V (cf. 44A V) is an epically coloured narrative about the wedding of Hector and Andromache, evoking epic also through the dactylic elements in its metrical structure. Further, it seems that early on the local Lesbian tradition in song-making had become known in other archaic Greek communities; songs or compositions bearing the mark of this musical tradition must have been performed in diverse cities outside Lesbos. In the seventh century, Archilochus of Paros mentions a type of paean that was characteristically Lesbian (fr. 121 W2). The supreme skills of singers from Lesbos became proverbial.8 According to Aristotle, the proverbial pre-eminence of ‘the Lesbian singer’ over others should be connected with the art of Terpander, the first-known Lesbian poet after the possibly 4

5

6 7

8

Even such a perceptive reader as Bowra suggested that ‘[a]s a poet, [Alcaeus] was an amateur, as the Homeric rhapsodes before him were not, and as many poets after him were equally not’ (Bowra 1961, 174; cf. 157). Melanchros is mentioned in the one-line fragment 331 V, and in later tradition: Strab. 13.2.3, Diog. Laert. 1.74. See Hutchinson’s succinct discussion, with earlier bibliography (2001, 187–8). For the possible early existence of Aeolic epic, see, among others, West 1973b, 191; 1988, 162–5; 1992c and 2002; his view has been challenged by Chadwick 1990 and Wyatt 1992. First in Sa. 106 V; also Cratinus fr. 263 K-A, Aristot. fr. 545 Rose, and in later lexicographic and other tradition; cf. Gostoli 1990, 40–4 (test. 60a–i).

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earlier obscure figure of Lesches of Pyrrha (or Mytilene). Terpander, as well as Arion of Methymna, were highly talented kitharodes who left Lesbos and took up residence in the Peloponnese. Both Terpander and Arion were credited in later periods with innovations in music and choral dancing respectively. However shadowy some of these figures may be, it seems likely that Alcaeus inherited a vibrant musical and poetic tradition, as reflected in the metres and language he employed in his own compositions. At the dawn of the sixth century, Mytilenean society was developing with an acquaintance with artistic and ‘literary’ modes of thought often characteristic of societies heavily reliant on oral communicative systems. A hetaireia like the one of which Alcaeus was a member constituted a fundamental political institution which, by fostering solidarity and sociability – the basis of reciprocity – defined the overall social theory of each group and regulated its shifting position in society.9 Through the performance of topical songs and the musical ritualisation of drinking, Alcaeus’ hetaireia achieved its central goal: the gradual and often fleeting crystallisation of their ideas about political action in the city. Apart from promoting deliberation and dialogue, songs composed by Alcaeus for his club constantly shaped politics. It is important that, given the context of their performance, these songs must have been dialogic in scope, in the sense that diverse positions of Alcaeus’ political faction were refracted and negotiated in the discourse of the songs. Alcaeus’ faction was one of the political groups in Mytilene that struggled to gain power and rule the city, but it is almost exclusively this particular group’s activities and perspective that we hear about.10 As is evident in the discourse constructed in the fragments of Alcaeus, during the political turmoil of the early sixth century that seriously shook and apparently redefined Mytilenean social structures, members of the hetaireia fought battles, went into exile, sang against their political enemies in the context of drinking-parties, deliberated over plans11 and alliances for the near future, and castigated betrayals by former comrades. Members of Alcaeus’ faction seem to have been in exile more than once.12 Details of the political and social dynamics and circumstances elude us, and even the large number of reconstructions that have been advanced has not exhausted the possible historical configurations. In the context of the performance of Alcaeus’ songs and the gatherings, drinking-parties 9

10

11 12

For drinking and mutual commensality as a reflection of social contradictions and a mechanism for constructing social ideologies, see Karp 1980. For intriguing representation of the activities (including drinking habits) of the group’s political enemies, see Alcaeus 70 and 72 V, with Lentini 2002. Cf. Alcaeus 361 V. See schol. on Alcaeus 114 V (cf. Porro 1994, 218) and Alcaeus 306A e V (discussion in Porro 1994, 208–12).

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and deliberations of the hetaireia, its members will have shaped their own sociolect, in the sense of language ‘both as grammar and repository of the myths, traditions, ideological and esthetic stereotypes, commonplaces and themes’ constructed by a social group or a class.13 Because the audience for most of Alcaeus’ songs comprised the members of his political group, the ‘I’ and the ‘we’ in the poems merge, and the sociolect of the group becomes part of the authoritative idiolect of the poet. All this is related to the issues of genre and poetics in the songs of Alcaeus. Given the fragmentariness of his poetry and the immediacy and political fierceness which this fragmentariness reflects and promotes, modern readers are tempted to view Alcaeus as a partisan aristocrat who propagated his ideas through his often violent songs. Since Alcaeus has been seen as an almost exclusively political poet (who also enjoyed the delights of drinking and sympotic erôs), issues such as genre in the context of his overall poetics are not addressed systematically in current scholarship.14 Within the limits of the space available, I shall explore some central aspects of the poetics of the songs of Alcaeus. The range of subject matter and genres to be traced in the fragments of Alcaeus is significantly broad – parallel to the range of the compositions of Archilochus – especially given the fact that what has been preserved from Alcaeus’ poetry is mutilated. Fragment 298 V is a narrative in which the myth of Cassandra and Locrian Ajax is employed as a foil to the political discourse of the hetaireia. Allegorical tropes are very prominent in Alcaeus’ fragments: they must have been employed frequently and in a variety of circumstances, most of them political.15 Erotic songs and drinking-songs (even compositions related to kômoi16) were all appropriate in the context of the symposion (and could often be meant for group performance). The same may even have been true of a song in which a female persona is adopted and laments her fate:17 Me, pitiable woman, me, sharing in all evils … base destiny an incorrigible injury is indeed approaching me

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15 17

I here employ Riffaterre’s concept of ‘sociolect’: see Riffaterre 1990, 130 and passim. By ‘idiolect’ I mean the way in which Alcaeus exploits in his songs the sociolect of his group. On genre and archaic and classical melic poetry, see Calame 1998 (with further bibliography), Yatromanolakis 2003; 2006, ch. 4; 2007 (also with regard to Alcaeus). For a general survey of recent research on genre, see Carey, this vol., ch. 1. See, especially, frs. 6 and 208 V. 16 Cf. Alcaeus 374 V. Alcaeus 10 V. On other cases of a female persona embedded in compositions by male poets, cf. Yatromanolakis 1998, Martin 2001 and Aloni 2006.

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From Alcaeus’ hymns to gods only a few opening lines have survived. The old theme of the poet who abandons his shield (ῥίψασπις) occurs in one fragment,19 and it is not rare to find the rehandling of traditional images and ideas, such as the juxtaposition of men’s feebleness to women’s pestilential, lustful condition in the heat of the summer and amid the singing of the cicadas (fr. 347 V). One of the most thought-provoking features of Alcaeus’ songs is his use of proverbs or proverb-like phrases and traditional metaphors20 that often reinforce the performative authority of the poetic voice through the activation of markedly traditional discursive modes. In the politically anxious and turbulent society of Mytilene in which Pittakos and Alcaeus were living (c. 620–580 BCE), traditionality and ideologies that emphasised old socio-political structures in Lesbos seem to have been of central importance. Different clans – Penthilids, Cleanactids, Archeanactids and Alcaeus’ clan – were struggling to gain control of the state by successively and sometimes violently overthrowing the current rulers. In the context of Alcaeus’ songs for his hetaireia, a discourse seems to have developed about the importance of establishing continuity between the political past and present of the city – a discourse that revolved around ancestral authority. More specifically, in contrast to Pittakos and those κακοπάτριδαι (‘base-born’) who are presented as harming the city,21 the poetic voice often refers to noble parentage and claims that his/the hetaireia’s ancestors and fathers, who lie beneath the earth of Lesbos, should be duly respected and not disgraced.22 Noble ancestry functions as symbolic capital that is employed to suggest a seamless continuity between the past authority of his/ their family and the fighting or somewhat politically disempowered hetaireia of the present. In the competition for power, ideological schemata such as this must have become part of the sociolect of the hetaireia. But tradition, both as content and as ideology, is not static; it is often dynamic – a multi-layered 18

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20 21

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For μ]αινόμενον in line 6, cf. Sa. 1.18 V ⌟ μ αινόλαι ⌞ θύμωι (for Psappho), Alcaeus 283.5 V ἐκμάνεισα (for Helen), Archil. 196a.30 W2 μαινόλ̣ ι̣ ς̣ γ̣ υνή. Fr. 401B a and b V. The same theme in Archil. 5 W, Anacr. 381b PMG; concise discussion in Brown 1983, 3–4. See this vol., 270–1. Pittakos is called κακοπατρίδαις at Alcaeus 348.1 V; the word also at 67.4 V (in the plural); cf. 75.12 V. The connotations of the word have been debated: Bowra 1961, 151; Rösler 1980, 186–91; Davies 1985, 33–34; cf. Kurke 1994, 81. Alcaeus 6.12–14 V (and 6.17 V); on parentage, see 72.13, 130b.5–6, 339, 371 V, and cf. Favorinus περὶ ϕυγῆς col. IX 1ff. (= Alcaeus test. 452 V); also 140.14–15 V with Burnett 1983, 125, n. 11, and 126.

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process. It can legitimise or hinder change, or can be invented in diverse ideological contexts.23 In the context of social crisis, we capture Alcaeus’ poetic voice referring to the past, ‘the property in which my father and my father’s father have grown old’,24 in order to legitimise the hetaireia’s political struggles. More importantly, in a number of the more extensive fragments Alcaeus presents the singing voice as that of someone who experiences serious crises of social status due to ‘exile’ or other political predicaments. We hear the poetic ‘I’ being in a state of what anthropologist Victor Turner has termed ‘social drama’, a kind of social modality that is triggered in conflict situations. In Alcaeus’ political milieu (as represented in his songs), a breach of more or less established social structures had occurred, leading ineluctably to crisis. From the point of view of the hetaireia, normative orderings of society had been gravely undermined, oaths violated,25 and the rift in traditional ideologies widened excessively. We hear that Alcaeus and other members of the hetaireia went into exile as a result of unsuccessful political alliances and plots. In cases of such crises, as social anthropologists have often shown, members of a social group can go through a phase during which they find themselves in a ‘betwixt and between’ state, a state of liminality. There is a homology between liminal forms of action and ambiguity, ‘a sort of social limbo which has few (though sometimes these are most crucial) of the attributes of either the preceding or subsequent profane social statuses or cultural states’.26 Furthermore, liminality is closely related to the shaping of a special bonding among members of a social group (communitas, in Turner’s terminology).27 Social rites and processes of this kind dominate the poetic discourse in many of the fragments of Alcaeus, a discourse which, I suggest, is liminal on diverse levels. Perhaps the most significant of these levels is genre. In two of the most extensive and complex fragments, 129 and 130b V, the speaking voice presents itself as being in a state of exile. In 129 V he inveighs against the son of Hyrrhas, Pittakos, for outrageously defiling the laws of comradeship and alliance by breaking oaths sworn in common. In 130b V the singer finds himself at the margins, on the boundaries, in a state of inferiority that stands in contrast to his active political past. It is noteworthy that in this

23

24 26 27

For the concept of tradition, see Gusfield 1967, Eisenstadt 1973, Zwi Werblowsky 1976, Shils 1981, Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983. Alcaeus 130b.5–6 V. 25 See Alcaeus 129.14–20 and 129.22–3 V below. Turner 1982, 24. Turner defines and explores social dramas and liminality in Turner 1968; 1969, 94–130; 1974; 1982, 20–88. I do not subscribe to universalising aspects of Turner’s pioneering approaches (on this aspect of Turner’s methodologies, see Alexander 1991 and Crapanzano 1981, 17).

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fragmentary song the singer’s liminal state is highlighted as he describes himself as witnessing female rituals – a beauty competition held at a sacred space. The liminality of the poetic voice in such compositions is expressed by means of an accentuated blurring of discursive modalities. Fragment 129 V is largely constructed as a ritualised curse: … the Lesbians founded this great conspicuous precinct, to be shared by all, and in it they set altars of the blessed immortals,

4

and Zeus they named God of suppliants, and you, the Aeolian, Glorious goddess, Mother of all, and this third they named Kemelios,

8

Dionysus, eater of raw flesh. Come, with friendly spirit hear our prayer and save us from these toils and from grievous exile;

12

but let the Erinys (Avenger) of those28 pursue the son of Hyrrhas, since once we swore, cutting […], never [to …] any of our comrades, 16 but either to lie dead and clothed in earth, conquered by men who at that time […], or else to kill them and save the people from their woes.

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And the pot-belly [Pittakos] did not speak about these things to his heart (?), but trod the oaths underfoot readily (?), and devours the city …

24

against the law … grey … … Myrsil[os] [

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28 ]

On κήνων, see Page 1955, 165, who argued that it refers to ‘those comrades whom Pittacus betrayed’, and Hutchinson 2001, 200, who, instead, adopts the view that κήνων is a ‘genitive of the crime to be punished’. Several other aspects of the translation of the fragment are also uncertain.

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The description of the temenos, ‘precinct’, in the first two stanzas is employed as a metaphor for ancestral authority, a structural element that is foregrounded in the singing voice’s ideology and set against Pittakos’ authority. In this song, as well as in other fragments, words like ϕύσκων (rendered in modern English as ‘pot-belly’, 129.21 V) or [ἀ]λλαλοκάκων πολίτ. αν (‘citizens who do evil to each other’, 130b.7 V) are constituents of the sociolect of the group, especially in the context of a liminal poetic discourse. They do not function as ‘verbal firecrackers’, which are ‘intended to shock and draw attention to [their] own inappropriateness’.29 It may be misleading to see such words outside the context of the hetaireia’s political rhetoric – as ‘lowstyle’ or ‘low-class’ expressions embedded in a ‘high-style’ poem – and to discern a rupture of decorum in style, that is, in the aristocratic discourse of Alcaeus that needs to subscribe to reconstructed genre laws and classifications.30 Performed by a hetairos (or a group of hetairoi) for fellow hetairoi, Alcaeus’ songs might not perhaps be ‘classified’ as invectives in the same way as those of Archilochus and Hipponax. However, there are many shades of invective, and Alcaeus’ liminal discourse in a number of fragments allows a more pronounced blurring of modern ‘genre’ distinctions, if we can postulate clear-cut genre distinctions for the dynamic song-making traditions of archaic Greece. Furthermore, in some fragments, the group’s liminal state, ‘an instant of pure potentiality when everything, as it were, trembles in the balance’,31 is expressed by means of metaphor. Note for instance fragment 141 V: ‘This man who is so passionate for supreme power will soon turn the city upside down; it trembles in the balance’, 32 or the allegories of the ship of state at sea that occur in several fragments. The unsettling effect of experiencing social breach – an idea that informs many of Alcaeus’ compositions – is aptly captured in ἀχνάσδημι κάκως (‘I am gravely distressed’), the opening phrase of the singer in fragment 130a V. Finally, from the diachronic perspective of the reperformance of Alcaeus’ poems by other ancient Greek communities and societies, it should be observed that a large number of his songs must have been perceived as being skolia, drinking-songs performed at symposia and male gatherings. Aristotle calls Alcaeus 348 V – a song referring to Pittakos and his election

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30 31 32

‘ϕύσγων is a shocking anomaly in context’ (Kurke 1994, 72). Her reading of style in Alcaeus is partly based on (subjective) remarks on style made by Kirkwood 1974, 69–70. Rösler (1980, 203–4) does not find any incongruity of style in Alcaeus 129 V. The notion of decorum is irrelevant, I suggest, to the poetics of Alcaeus 70, 129, 130b and 348 V. Turner 1982, 44. In rendering ἀ δ’ ἔχεται ῤόπας at 141.2 V, I share Page’s caution and adopt his translation (1955, 237 and n. 3).

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as tyrannos by the people of Mytilene – a skolion.33 According to PseudoPlutarch,34 Pindar thought that the inventor of the songs called skolia was the Lesbian poet Terpander, and such a claim, if indeed by Pindar, may have influenced the reception of Alcaeus’ songs too.35 In a fifth(?)-century BCE collection of skolia preserved in Athenaeus, a shortened version of a poem by Alcaeus (249 V) was also included.36 Aristophanes refers to the singing of skolia by Alcaeus and Anacreon in the context of drinking parties.37 There must have been a number of modes of transmission of Alcaeus’ songs, oral transmission being originally the most prevalent, robust and resilient. Certainly music may have been a central element in the early popularity and transmission of Alcaeus’ compositions. Since hundreds of short elaborate poems survived until the time when the Alexandrian scholars began their work on the texts of archaic melic poets, Alcaeus’ hetairoi and, later on, other Lesbians may possibly have attempted to preserve some of his songs in writing too. We hear that a certain Agenor of Mytilene, a music teacher and Lesbian exile in Athens around the middle of the fourth century BCE, was engaged in research on the song-making traditions of early Lesbos: such activities probably presupposed the existence of written texts.38 The popularity of Alcaeus’ songs during the classical period was based, among other socio-cultural factors, on the fact that they were composed for a politically anxious period, an age pregnant with fundamental concerns relevant to fifthcentury Greece. The speaking voice in Alcaeus’ songs, like that of Solon and of compositions from the Theognidean collection, urged or encouraged audiences to reflect on the vicissitudes of political life in the city-state in the most intriguing, as well as sympotic, manner. Sappho In an innovative study, Elaine Scarry has argued that ‘[b]eauty always takes place in the particular, and if there are no particulars, the chances of seeing it go down’.39 Exploring, among a number of texts and visual representations of palm trees, a scene from Odyssey Book 6, in which Odysseus meets Nausicaa, looking like ‘a slip of palm tree’ that he once saw on Delos, Scarry detects four key elements in the concept of beauty which define it as ‘sacred’, ‘unprecedented’, ‘lifesaving’, and as inciting ‘deliberation’.40 33 35 36 37 38 39

Politics 1285a35–1285b1. 34 Mus. 28, 1140f. See further Yatromanolakis 2006a, ch. 3. On this fragment, see Rösler 1980, 96–9 and 1984. Cf. Fabbro 1992 and Rossi 1993. Daitalês fr. 235 K-A. Isocrates Letter 8 (Mandilaras 2003, vol. 3, 230–1), with Nagy 1996b 192–3. Scarry 1999, 18. 40 Scarry 1999, 18 and 23–33.

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Scarry’s analysis is also suggestive in exploring the dynamic discursive modalities of Sappho’s songs.41 Gazing at particulars, negotiating the sacred, the unprecedented – even the lifesaving (as in frs. 47 and 48 V), and inciting deliberation (socio-political or aesthetic), the speaking voice in Sappho’s compositions unfolds stories and narratives whose polyvalence is most often approached on the basis of a single reconstructive scholarly schema that attempts to capture female social structures lying behind her fragments. By focusing on details of female beauty and on specific snapshots of past and present experiences of the narrating voice, a number of Sappho’s songs articulate intricate discourses about desire and female companionship that have been the focus of intense research and scholarly debate, especially in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In Sa. 22.9–19 V, the dress of a female figure excites another woman (note that the fragment can also be reconstructed differently): ] I bid you [sing?] [of Gon]gyla, [Ab?]anthis, taking the [ ] h]arp, while desire now again flies around you, you beautiful one; for that dress [of hers?] stirred [you] when [you] saw it; and I rejoice; for once the Cyprian herself blamed [me?] for praying [ this [ I want [

9

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16

As in other fragments of Sappho, the challenge is to decodify the connotations of the reference to ‘desire once again flying around you’ and its juxtaposition with the idea of the ‘stir’ (?) or ‘excitement’ (?) that the dress caused a female viewer. I argue that it is the way we describe the possible connotations of the fragmentary narratives of the songs of Sappho that often leads to large-scale reconstructions of the original context within which these songs were composed. Diverse critical approaches – historical, literary, theoretical, feminist,42 comparative – have been adopted to shed light on the available material, which is slowly increasing through the publication of new papyrus fragments.43

41 42

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On dynamic discursive modalities in the poetics of Sappho, see Yatromanolakis 2006a. Feminist perspectives have been influential: see Hallett 1979, Winkler 1990b, DuBois 1995 and Stehle 1990. On gender see also Stehle, this vol., ch. 3. A new critical edition of Sappho is necessary. Current editions do not incorporate new material or the results of discussions based on autopsy: see, more recently, Malnati 1993, Yatromanolakis 1999b, Steinrück 2000, Ucciardello 2001. New fragments have been edited by Gronewald and Daniel 2004a and 2004b.

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The early modern and later reception of Sappho has attracted the interest of numerous researchers in comparative literature and other disciplines.44 In contrast to these scholarly perspectives, the ancient reception of Sappho, on which our fragmentary knowledge about Sappho is mainly based, has received the least attention, although the relevant ancient sources have been constantly employed in numerous reconstructions of Sappho’s role in archaic Mytilene. Paradigms, contexts, songs Attempting to find a cultural context for Sappho has been the central aim of research on her poetry. Different social roles have been attributed to her:45 Sappho has been viewed as an educator, presiding over generations of young girls from Lesbos and elsewhere; a cult leader; the head of an initiatory group or a trainer of maidens in choral performance; a poet who performed her songs for a circle of female friends; or a lyricist whose subtle exploitation of homoerotic spatiality is comparable to that of K. P. Kavafis in the latenineteenth- and early twentieth-century Greek community of Alexandria. Since Sappho composed wedding songs, she has been often associated with pre-matrimonial education and the awakening of sexuality in young girls. Some of these paradigms are – to a large extent – based on ancient literary representations of Sappho. Most frequently, one single model (for example, Sappho as a composer of choral songs and trainer of maidens in choral performance) is posited to explain the different aspects of her songs. However, if we leave aside the songs related to weddings, many of the fragments of Sappho cannot easily be categorised according to specific performance contexts. The fragmentariness of her songs involves intricate ‘gaps of indeterminacy’.46 Some of the fragments suggest a group of female companions who performed songs about the intimate experiences they shared. A number of Sappho’s songs include deictic references, the thorniest of which for modern readers has been the reference to ‘that man’ sitting opposite the female figure of fragment 31 V (quoted in this vol., p. 101) – a reference difficult

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Among more recent publications, see Prins 1999, Collecott 1999, Andreadis 2001, Écarnot 2002, Yatromanolakis 2002, 2004, 2006c. Cf. also Michelakis and Williamson, this vol., chs. 18 and 19. See, among numerous studies, Welcker 1816; Page 1955, 110–46; Merkelbach 1957; Kakrides 1966; Hallett 1979; Gentili 1988, 72–89; Rösler 1992; Parker 1993; Lardinois 1994; Calame 1997; Aloni 1997; Stehle 1997, 262–318; Ferrari 2003; Battezzato 2003, 37–9. For ‘gaps of indeterminacy’ with regard to the reception of texts (not fragmentary as Sappho’s), see Iser 1974 and 1978, 24, 59–60, 172–5, 203–6.

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to decipher with any contextual precision.47 In fragment 21.11–13 V, the singing voice asks a female figure to take [a musical instrument] and start singing ‘to us’ of the ‘violet-robed one’. In fragment 96.5 V, reference is made to the delight that one woman took in another woman’s performance of songs. Fragment 94 is a narrative about a female figure who is leaving ‘Psappho’ (the spelling of ‘Sappho’ in her fragments): ‘Oh how terribly things have turned out for us, Psapph[o], truly I leave you against my will.’

5

And this is what I replied to her: ‘Go in joy and remember me, for you know how we cared for you. If not, then I want to remind you […] […] and beautiful times we had.’

10

In what survives, the song does not disclose why the female figure is leaving. What we are provided with is a sensuous description of snapshots from their past: we hear that she had frequently put on wreaths of flowers and plaited garlands in Psappho’s company, she had often anointed herself with perfume, and she had loosened her longing on soft beds48 – a series of images that intriguingly reactivates precise sequences of sympotic ritual discourses and activities.49 In the last two fragmentary stanzas, we also hear of visits to shrines and groves, and possibly of [musical] sounds. In fragment 160 V, the speaking voice confirms that ‘I shall now sing these [songs?] beautifully for the pleasure (?) of my companions’, but we do not know to what kind of composition these lines belonged. Similar is the case of fragment 88a.17 V, where the speaking voice claims: ‘I say I have been a steadfast friend.’ At the same time, fragmentary lines express complaints about companions who befriended other women: ‘Atthis, you have come to hate the thought of me, and you fly to Andromeda’ (130.3–4 V). Partly influenced by late literary representations of Sappho,50 scholars have often thought that Andromeda was another trainer of choruses of young girls, but there can be no certainty in such a hypothesis since other possible scenarios might be reconstructed. For example, in fragment 71 V, we hear the speaking voice addressing a woman and reproaching her for choosing the friendship (ϕιλότας)51 of women of the 47

48

49 51

The discussion in Rösler 1983 and 1990 was the first insightful exploration of deixis in Sappho. Several scholars have considered this stanza (ll. 21–3) as a sensual climax to the recollections described (e.g. Winkler 1990b, 185–6). Yatromanolakis 2003, 57–8. 50 Maximus of Tyre 18.9 Koniaris (second century CE). ϕιλότας (ϕιλότ[ατ’] fr. 71.3 V) also at Sa. 1.19 V: it may mean either ‘love’ or ‘friendship’.

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house of Penthilos, an important political family of nobles in Lesbos.52 The turbulent socio-political milieu of late seventh- and early sixth-century Mytilene (c. 620–580 BCE, coinciding largely with the approximate floruit of Sappho) may have left some marks on her songs, and certainly invective was part of Sappho’s poetic discourse, as can be inferred from the following song, addressed, according to the sources that quote it, to a wealthy lady (fr. 55.1–3 V): ‘when you are dead you will lie there, and never any memory of you or any song [for you] will there be in the future; for you have no share in the roses of Pieria’.53 Furthermore, Sappho was active in a society enmeshed in an Eastern Aegean cosmopolitanism that is reflected in archaeological material as well as in contextual cultural references in her songs. Elements of this cosmopolitanism include Teian cups (Alcaeus 322 V), Sardian headbands and sandals (Sa. 98a and 39 V), Phocaean gifts (Sa. 102 V), and especially considerable amounts of abrosuna, ‘daintiness, delicacy’ (in her dialect). But the Lesbians were also familiar with lands lying as far away as Naucratis and Sicily. That Sappho might have composed songs for the training of choruses of young girls is possible. However, this idea, based mainly on comparisons with Alcman’s maiden-songs and archaic Sparta,54 should not be considered as a kind of panacea for attribution and consequently detected in, or applied to, the fragments of Sappho.55 With the exception of the songs related to weddings and the fragment about the death of Adonis (fr. 140 V),56 the preserved fragments do not provide unquestionable indications about the way – or the context within which – these songs were performed and any reconstructions we advance should be viewed as imaginative attempts to explore possibilities. It may be more fruitful to replace the concept of context with that of contexts.57 A case in point is Sappho fragment 58 V. As late as 2004 new papyrus fragments (P.Köln 21351 and 21376) were published that elucidated several aspects of this fragment and of the textual transmission of her poetry.58 These early Ptolemaic fragments come from an anthology and include a poem that is apparently not by Sappho. Further, in the papyrus that until 2004 was our

52 53 54

55

56 57

For this family, see Page 1955, 149–50. On this fragment, see, most recently, Yatromanolakis 2006b. For criticism of the possible similarities between Alcman’s maiden-songs and Sappho, see Parker 1993, 325–31 and Stehle 1997, 271–5. Following Calame’s reconstruction of Sappho’s group (1997, 210–14, 231–3, 249–52), Lardinois 1996 has argued that most (or perhaps almost all) of her songs were performed by choruses of young girls or by Sappho/a soloist accompanied by a dancing chorus. Not even all the wedding songs need to be associated with choral performance. Yatromanolakis 2008. 58 Gronewald and Daniel 2004a, 2004b, 2005.

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main source for what was called fr. 58 V (P.Oxy. XV 1787 frs. 1 and 2), Sappho fr. 58.11–22 V was placed between fragments (58.1–10 and 58.23–6 V) which are not the same as those among which it has been placed in P.Köln 21351 and 21376. In fragment 58.11–22 V, the myth of Eos and Tithonus is juxtaposed to the present state of the singing ‘I’ and the song seems to be addressed to παῖδες: ἰ]ο̣ κ[ό]λ̣ πων κάλα δω̑ρα παι δ̑ ες ]. ϕιλάοιδον λιγύραν χελύνναν. ] π̣ οτ̣᾽ [ἔ]ο̣ ντα χρόα γη̑ρας ἤδη ἐγ]ένοντο τρίχες ἐκ μελαίναν, βάρυς δέ μ᾽ ὀ [θ]υ̑μο̣ ς̣ πεπόηται, γόνα δ᾽ οὐ ϕέροισι, τὰ δή ποτα λαίψη̣ ρ᾽ ἔον ὄρχησθ᾽ ἴσα νεβρίοισιν. †τα† στεναχίσδω θαμέως. ἀλλὰ τί κεν ποείην; ἀγήραον ἄνθρωπον ἔοντ᾽ οὐ δύνατον γένεσθαι. καὶ γάρ π̣ [ο]τ̣α̣ Τίθωνον ἔϕαντο βροδόπαχυν Αὔων ἔρωι ..[.]α̣.εισανβάμεν᾽ εἰς ἔσχατα γα̑ς ϕέροισα[ν ἔoντα̣ [κ]ά̣ λ. ο̣ ν καὶ νέoν, ἀλλ᾽ αὐ̑τoν ὔμως ἔμαρψε χρόνωι π̣ ό̣ λ̣ ι̣ο̣ ν̣ γη̑ρας, ἔχ̣ [o]ν̣ τ̣᾽ ἀθανάταν ἄκoιτιν.

] the lovely gifts of violet-bosomed [Muses], paides,59 ] clear-sounding song-loving lyre. ] once being [tender] my body [is taken] now by old age ] my hair has turned [white] from black, and my heart has weighed down, my knees that once were nimble to dance as fawns do not support me. I often groan for this. But what could I do? It is impossible for a human being not to grow old. The story was that Tithonus once, loved by rose-armed Dawn, was carried off by her to the ends of earth, when he was handsome and young; yet grey old age in time overtook him, the husband of an immortal wife.

It is not clear whether the song ended like this. The speaking voice focuses on the undesirable symptoms of old age60 and on the inevitability of aging. The contrast between ‘once’ and ‘now’ is pronounced. What was the performance context of such a song? It has been suggested that it was performed by Sappho (or another soloist) accompanied by a chorus of young girls who danced.61 This reconstruction, which to some extent presupposes that Sappho was a chorus-trainer or chorus-leader in archaic Lesbos, is principally based on an anonymous epigram that envisages Sappho as singing for a female dancing 59 60

This appears to be the first line of the song. παῖδες can mean both ‘girls’ and ‘children’. Cf. Alcm. 26 PMGF. 61 Cf. Lardinois 1996, 169.

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chorus at a precinct of Hera (Anth. Pal. 9.189). However, attempting to associate each and every fragment with choruses of young girls for whom Sappho was a leader is methodologically questionable. A performance of this particular song in the context of a (non-ritual) gathering of women with their children in archaic Mytilene may not be excluded, and additional scenarios could be envisaged. ‘Locating’ the original context of each fragment or groups of fragments – gatherings where women sang about desire among ‘female companions’ or about their activities and concerns within the city; choruses of young girls; festive occasions; visits to shrines and groves; women’s festivals – remains a controversial issue. As the ‘prayer’ for the return of her brother (5 V) indicates, Sappho’s songs must have been composed for different performance contexts; no single context or reconstructed social role can accommodate all of her ‘non-wedding’ poems. Scholarly practice most often suggests or implicitly presupposes the opposite. Ancient reception And it seems that, like friends, Seas also communicate from afar. A little air is enough, a bit of dark osier Rubbed between the fingertips, and behold: The wave? Is it this? Is it this that speaks to you in the singular and says ‘Do not forget me, do not forget me’? Is it Anaktoria? Or perhaps not? O. Elytis, Villa Natacha (trans. J. Carson and N. Sarris)

The reception of Sappho in antiquity was rich and particularly diverse. One ancient commentary (P.Köln 5860, dated to the second century CE) presented her as educating the noblest [women] both from local families of Lesbos and from families in Ionia.62 In contrast to this favourable image, a biography preserved on a papyrus of the late second or early third century CE (P.Oxy. 1800 fr. 1.1–35) depicted Sappho as being γυναικε[ράσ]τρια (‘a lover of women’)63 and, significantly for a lover of women, quite ugly in her physical appearance. These antithetical approaches to her poetry reflect complex ideologies related to song-making and gender that changed over

62 63

See Gronewald 1974, 115; also included in Page’s SLG (S261A) and reedited by Kramer 1978. According to the compiler of this biography, she was accused of being γυναικεράστρια ‘by some’.

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time and within different socio-cultural contexts. I have space only for a few references to early and important cases. The earliest reception of Sappho’s poetry may not be, as has often been taken for granted, Anacreon fragment 358 PMG, a masterpiece of ambivalence in terms of its possible allusions.64 Some late archaic and classical vasepaintings provide significant aspects of the early reception of Sappho. One of them has already been referred to at the outset of the chapter (Fig. 5). A late sixth-century hydria (c. 510–500 BCE) in Six’s technique depicts Sappho as a singer with a barbitos – a musical instrument also held by Sappho on other vases. On vase-paintings this instrument is very often, but not exclusively, associated with symposia. Sappho’s poetry was envisaged in later antiquity as being performed in a sympotic or dinner-party context. Despite the fact that these sources are very late, it has most often been thought that they reflect early practice. Specifically, there are three sources that associate Sappho’s songs with dinner parties. In his Table Talk (Qu. Conv. 622c, cf. 711d), Plutarch refers to the singing of some of Sappho’s compositions at a dinner hosted by his friend Sossius. Similarly, in the second century CE Aulus Gellius (Noct. Att. 19.9.3–6) describes a performance of Anacreontic and Sapphic songs, as well as of ‘some mellow and charming erotic elegiac verses of more recent poets’, in the context of a dinner. More intriguingly, in the early third century CE, Aelian relates the following story: ‘Solon of Athens, son of Exekestides, when his nephew sang a song by Sappho at a drinking party, was delighted with the song and asked the boy to teach it to him. When someone asked why he was so keen on this, [Solon] answered “So that I may learn it and then die.”’65 Such sources, if viewed within their specific socio-cultural and textual contexts, should not be thought of as providing access to early – that is, late archaic and classical – cultural realities. Among other things, an important piece of evidence has escaped our attention, especially in the case of Aelian. In the fourth century CE, Ammianus Marcellinus recounts a similar story, but this time it is Socrates and not Solon who becomes enamoured of an archaic Greek song: ‘Socrates, condemned to death and thrown into prison, asked someone who was skilfully performing a song of the lyric poet Stesichorus, to teach him to do this while there was still time. And when the musician asked what good this could be to him, when he was to die next day, [Socrates] answered “So that I may learn something more before I depart from life.”’66 This and other sources should alert us to the complexity of the ancient receptions of Sappho. The often suggested or implied linear continuity in 64 65

On this poem see Budelmann, this vol., 229–31. Aelian fr. 187 Hercher = 190 Domingo-Forasté.

66

Amm. Marc. 28.4.14–15.

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the sympotic performance of Sappho from the classical period to late antiquity is difficult, and unnecessary, to ascertain. To detect early, fifth-century BCE sources for the performance of Sappho in Attic sympotic contexts, we need to redirect our attention to the visual signs of vase-paintings and attempt to ‘read’ them. A kalyx-krater attributed to the Tithonos Painter and dated to c. 480–470 BCE – a type of vase very closely associated with the world of the symposion – provides us with one of the earliest representations of Sappho in association with female companions. The vase-painting depicts Sappho (her name inscribed to the right of her head) dressed in chiton and himation holding a barbitos in her left hand, with a plektron in her outstretched right hand. The plektron itself and the positioning of the fingertips of her left hand on the strings of the barbitos suggest imminent performance. While ‘Sappho’ stands with her body facing right, on the reverse another female figure in somewhat similar pose (but with no instrument in her hands) and covered in her enveloping mantle appears. When the viewer of the vase rotates it in an attempt to gaze more fully at the representational field, he/she realises that the image, instead of being a static depiction of female figures abstractly moving in space and time, shows ‘Sappho’ following the other female figure on the reverse – her back turned toward Sappho – and vice versa. However, a second vase inscription, ΗΕ ΠΑΙΣ (‘the girl’), placed above the female figure’s head on the reverse, complicates the patterns of recognition of the visual representation.67 Both the type of vase that the Tithonos Painter decorated and the seven-stringed barbitos that Sappho holds indicate sympotic contexts.68 In view of the inscription ΗΕ ΠΑΙΣ and the visual sign of the enveloping mantle used in numerous courtship scenes on Attic vases of the late archaic and classical periods, the whole configuration would trigger, in Attic symposia and related male gatherings, another image for the viewers: the socio-cultural phenomenon of pederasty. Those viewers in particular who – through performances and reperformances – were familiar with the intimacy expressed in Sappho’s songs about her companions would associate the representation with the images employed in such songs. In a male sympotic context it was difficult for many of Sappho’s songs to avoid being identified simply as ‘erotic’, without any further contextual qualifications.69 Especially in view of significant comparable iconographic schemata exploited by both the Berlin Painter and 67

68

69

Bochum, Ruhr-Universität, Kunstsammlungen inv. S 508. On this vase, see Yatromanolakis 2001; 2005; 2006a, ch. 2. The barbitos also appears often in komastic scenes on Attic vases. However, on the Bochum image there are no indications that would lead us to the hypothesis that it simply represents Sappho as komast. See Epikrates fr. 4 K-A, with Yatromanolakis 2006a, ch. 4.

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the Tithonus Painter, the image on the Bochum kalyx-krater suggests an assimilation of Sappho into a pederastic paradigm – an assimilation that will be represented more markedly in later periods. As we have seen, except for her wedding songs (epithamalia), Sappho’s compositions cannot easily be systematised according to archaic genres, despite the fact that such taxonomic systematisations have been occupying, and employed by, scholars for a long time. Already in the archaic period, just as the letter (ἐπιστολή) of the riddle that the poetess thinks up in Antiphanes’ Sappho flies far off καὶ διὰ πόντιον οἰ ̑δμα καὶ ἠπείρου διὰ πάσης (‘over the swelling sea and across every mainland’) (fr. 194 K-A), so too did Sappho’s songs rapidly embark on their varied journeys and reach different milieus, achieving in this way a dynamic and fluid reception indicative of their resilience and adaptability to diverse cultural contexts. When knowledge of the original context gradually fades out or becomes less important, contexts start ‘defining’ the diverse genres of songs. However, the process is complex. If we focus on two fundamental socio-cultural institutions in the fifth century, the mousikoi agônes (‘poetic and musical competitions’) and the symposion, both, I would argue, primary ‘genre-defining’ contexts of performance, we realise that, despite contrary current assumption, occasion cannot help modern analysts define genre. As long as we have no, or little, evidence about the music of the pieces we investigate, we cannot comprehend how these institutions could have demarcated specific non-epic or non-‘religious’/ choral genres – or at least only in a most general manner. In the classical period symposia were, I suggest, a melting pot for archaic performative genres in which each ‘genre’ composition, structured in iambic, elegiac, or melic meters, ‘met’ and sometimes even merged with others. If we shift our attention to the institution of mousikoi agônes, in which categories of non-dramatic70 competition like kitharôidia and aulôidia emerge, it is general performative taxonomies with which later audiences were provided in the case of the reperformance of older pieces detached from their original context. Analytical categories of genres were developed later. At the same time, the workings of anthologies such as the one preserving the first lines of songs by Alcaeus and Anacreon (P.Mich. inv. 3498r = S286 SLG)71 must have contributed to the creation of genre associations based on performative contiguity. Therefore, when Sappho was performed at an Athenian 70

71

‘Dramatic’ is employed here in sensu technico. Sacadas composed auletic nomoi, instrumental musical pieces, which were dramatic. The hand of the papyrus should be dated to the second century BCE (not second century CE, as in Campbell 1982, 201 and elsewhere). Different features of the particular hand are characteristic of the second century BCE (cf. Turner and Parsons 1987, 82–3, no. 45, dated to c. 160 BCE, and Seider 1967, no. 8).

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Fig. 6 Red-figure hydria showing Sappho, attributed to the Group of Polygnotus. Attic, c. 440–430 BCE

symposion, any original genre markers would have been perceived in diverse manners.72 A different visual context is exploited on a red-figure hydria in Athens (Fig. 6). On this vase, Sappho (her name inscribed near the book-roll she holds) is seated on an elegant chair and reads a poem written on her scroll. A female figure stands behind her (lettering provides her name: Nikopolis) and two more women (one of them called Kallis) approach Sappho from the right. This hydria is attributed to the Group of Polygnotus and dated to c. 440–430 BCE. It should be investigated in the light of other similar, less intricate contemporary representations produced by painters of the Group of Polygnotus, influenced by the Niobid Painter and his circle. Especially on a 72

For the concepts of genre marker and genre discursive inflections, see Yatromanolakis 2003; 2006a, ch. 4.

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Fig. 7 Red-figure hydria in the manner of the Niobid Painter, showing a seated female figure reading in the company of three other female figures. Attic, c. 440 BCE

(Video) The Voynich Manuscript

hydria in the manner of the Niobid Painter and dated to about 440 BCE, the female figure seated in right profile does not – as often in comparable images – play or tune a lyre but instead holds a scroll (with no poetic text written on it), in the company of three female figures standing behind and in front of her (Fig. 7). The differences between these two representations are significant. On the latter hydria, two women approaching the seated female figure (all anonymous) hold a chest and a flower, respectively. By contrast, on the Athens hydria (Fig. 6), Kallis holds out a chelys lyre near the seated Sappho; the second female figure (this time unidentified) only rests her right hand on Kallis’ shoulder. The Athens hydria was modelled on the broader schema of all-female gatherings in domestic interiors, but what makes its image culturally complex is the genitive ΣΑΠΠΩ̣ Σ that defines the vase-painting as an εἰκών, a representation ‘of Sappho’ – a poet gazing at a poem. The other two 225 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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names render apparent ‘specificity’ to the image, whereas the line written on Sappho’s scroll prompts the beginning of the performance of a song. The poet is here contextualised in a way distinct from that of the Bochum kalyx-krater (see note 67 above) and is associated with modes of reception of female ‘reading’, ‘writing’ and performance linked to a wider contemporary social interest in a marked female visual thematic. During the classical and early Hellenistic periods – the earliest phases of her reception – the figure and the poetry of Sappho were recontextualised in complex and multi-layered ways. The ancient receptions of Sappho provide a fertile but underexplored area for interdisciplinary investigation of the synchronic socio-cultural contexts that defined her figure. FURTHER READING

Rösler 1980 provides the most thorough study of Alcaeus’ songs in the performative context of the hetaireia. Porro 1994 (and more recently Porro 2004) discusses the ancient commentaries on Alcaeus. Burnett 1983 focuses on literary analyses of major fragments. Nagy 1993 is thought-provoking. For a good introduction to Alcaeus, see Martin 1972. The poetics of the fragments of Alcaeus has not received much attention. The bibliography on Sappho is vast, more extensive than that on any archaic lyric poet, if one takes into account the studies on medieval, early modern and modern reception. On the Lesbian dialect, closely related to the texts of Sappho, see the important work by Blümel 1982 and Hodot 1990. On the language of Sappho’s compositions, see Hooker 1977; cf. Bowie 1981. Snyder 1997 is a well-written introduction to Sappho, and see also the introduction to Aloni 1997. Among recent scholarship, Calame 1997 (esp. 210–14, 231–3, 249–52) and Winkler 1990b provide stimulating analyses; see further Skinner 2002; Nagy 1973/1990; Svenbro 1993, ch. 8; Rösler 1983, 1990; Bowman 2004; Calame 2005. The ancient reception of Sappho has been investigated in Yatromanolakis 2006a. For editions, commentaries and translations (both poets), see 388–95.

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12 FELIX BUDELMANN

Anacreon and the Anacreontea

Along with Sappho and Pindar, Anacreon is probably the Greek lyric poet with the most extensive reception history. His cultural influence has been such that many European languages have a word like ‘anacreontic’. At the core of the ‘anacreontic’ is a simple pair: drink and desire, or ‘convivial, amatory’, as the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word. This image of Anacreon is dominant already in antiquity. In the second century BCE Antipater ends his imaginary epitaph for him (Anth. Pal. 7.27): ‘For all your life, old man, was poured out as an offering to these three – the Muses, Dionysus and Eros.’ Athenaeus (first/second century CE) has Democritus of Nicomedia say that Anacreon made all poetry ‘hang on drunkenness’ (429b), and Cicero claims it is all amatoria (Tusc. 4.71). There is of course plenty of variation. Anacreon can be a moderate or a debauched drinker, and can therefore spark moral, political and religious debates. Moreover, his reputation has further facets; he is often old for instance, and he can be wise, acting even as an advisor to rulers. But the dominant associations are stable: Anacreon is a poet of drink and desire. This traditional image, and the question of how good a guide it is to Anacreon’s own output, will run through the chapter. The discussion will begin with Anacreon’s contexts and his poetry and then move on to secondary performances and ancient reception, in particular the collection of poems known as the Anacreontea. Contexts Anacreon moved around the Ionian world.1 All sources agree that he was born in Teos, on the coast of Asia Minor, near Smyrna. The other two communities with which he is firmly associated are the Samos of Polycrates and the Athens of the Pisistratids. Herodotus (3.121) shows Anacreon and Polycrates together in the dining room near the end of the tyrant’s life (c. 522 1

Fuller discussion of Anacreon’s life and dates: Hutchinson 2001, 256–60.

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BCE), and numerous later sources connect the two. The pseudo-Platonic Hipparchus has Hipparchus, the son of Pisistratus (died 514), send a fiftyoared military ship to bring Anacreon to Athens.2 In Samos, Athens and elsewhere, Anacreon seems to have entertained relations not just with tyrants but with a whole range of aristocrats: later writers mention Critias, the grandfather of the Critias who was one of the thirty tyrants at the end of the fifth century, Pericles’ father Xanthippus, and (more vaguely) Aeschylus.3 Periods of residence in further places have been suggested, Thessaly and – more likely – Abdera on the Thracian coast among the possibilities.4 The tyrants of both Samos and Athens engaged in large-scale policies of public display. Both undertook major architectural projects, both surrounded themselves with stars in various domains, and both probably instituted a set of musico-poetic competitions. In Athens Anacreon overlapped with Simonides, and in Samos probably with Ibycus. For both Polycrates and Hipparchus, acquiring Anacreon’s services was part of a larger cultural programme.5 Anacreon’s role in these programmes was probably less public than that of an engineer or an architect, or even that of a predominantly choral poet. We only have a few pieces of evidence for fully public poetry by Anacreon, the most important of which are an anonymous scrap of a partheneion attributed to him by some scholars (501 PMG) and a difficult reference to ‘women’s songs’ and ‘female choruses’ in a hexameter piece by Critias (8 G-P).6 Most of Anacreon’s work tended towards the private. Almost all his fragments are short sympotic pieces, best suited to solo performance (mostly in lyric metres, but we also have some elegiac and iambic compositions).7 It is important to remember, however, that the (smallish) symposion may blend into the (largish) feast.8 Especially where Anacreon performed not so much as a member of a close-knit community but as a prized performer invited by a tyrant or a leading aristocrat, his host must have looked for

2

3

4

5

6

7 8

228b–c. Versions of the same story: Aristotle Ath. Pol. 18 and Ael. Ver. Hist. 8.2. See below pp. 235–6 on Attic vases further linking Anacreon with Athens. Critias: Plat. Charm. 157e, schol. Aesch. PV 128a. Xanthippus: Himerius 39.10 = Anacr. 493, raising chronological issues (discussed by Ridgway 1998, 719–20). Abdera at Strab. 14.1.30, Thrace in general at Suda A1916 and T319, discussion Isaac 1986, 80–6. Thessaly: epigrams Ps.(?)-Anacr. vii and xiii FGE. Athens: Slings 2000b. Samos: Shipley 1987, 69–99; Aloni 1989. Tyrants using the services of poets: Podlecki 1980, Bremer 1991 and Hornblower, this vol., 50–1. The remaining evidence: Himerius 28.2 = Anacr. 483 PMG, the epigram Anacr. ix FGE ~ CEG 313 (with Aloni 2000), and see 232 below on ‘cult’. A speculative argument about Anacreon’s songs for women in Bravo 1997, 25–42. The lyric pieces are collected in PMG, the elegiac and iambic ones in W. On tyrants’ symposia, see Vetta 1992, 208–15.

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ways of showing him off more widely. The surviving songs have all the characteristics of songs for private settings, but the divide between private and public will have been less strict at Anacreon’s than Alcaeus’ or Theognis’ symposia. An example One of Anacreon’s best-known songs, 358 PMG, will illustrate some of the characteristics of his compositions and will give a flavour of the kind of symposion entertainment he provided. σφαίϱηι δηὖτέ με ποϱφυϱῆι βάλλων χϱυσοκόμης Ἔϱως νήνι ποικιλοσαμβάλωι συμπαίζειν πϱοκαλεῖται· ἡ δ᾽, ἐστὶν γὰϱ ἀπ᾽ εὐκτίτου Λέσβου, τὴν μὲν ἐμὴν κόμην, λευκὴ γάϱ, καταμέμφεται, πϱὸς δ᾽ ἄλλην τινὰ χάσκει.

Once again golden-haired Eros strikes me with his purple ball and summons me to play with the girl in fancy sandals. But she – for she comes from well-founded Lesbos – finds fault with my hair – for it is white – and gapes at some other girl. (trans. Campbell, adapted)

The singer desires a young woman he sees, but she does not want him since he is too old; instead she is after another woman. The most celebrated feature of the song is its wit and sophistication. First, the woman’s objection to the singer’s white hair suggests that she is after somebody younger. She is indeed, but in the last line this somebody turns out to be ‘some other’ woman the speaker does not care to specify any further – a way of getting his own back one might say (like the choice of the aggressive ‘gapes’). At this stage, the earlier parenthesis about the Lesbian origin of the woman he desires changes its meaning. On first hearing, it may suggest to many hearers little more than that the girl is rather beautiful and refined, as the Lesbian women in Homer’s (likewise ‘well-founded’) Lesbos (Il. 9.129– 30, 271–2). A reference to ‘lesbian’ in the modern sense is unlikely since that usage is attested only much later, but in the context of a woman being attracted to another woman, Lesbos evokes Sappho’s poetry with its homoerotic desire between women. This allusion probably helped develop the (chronologically impossible) theory, first recorded in the fourth century BCE, that the song was addressed to Sappho.9 A second, similarly witty allusion, plays with the audience’s knowledge of the Nausicaa episode in Odyssey book 6. Nausicaa wakes up Odysseus as she 9

Chamaeleon fr. 26 Wehrli = Athen. 599c.

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throws a ball at him by mistake, and then falls in love with him, partly because Athena quickly improves Odysseus’ looks. Anacreon’s white-haired man is more in need of Athena’s attention than Odysseus, but he does not get it, and so the ball that hits him leads to nothing much. Display of wit was characteristic of performances at symposia, as is suggested by practices such as capping and riddling.10 Anacreon would have scored high in this respect. At the same time, he would not have lost any listeners who might have failed to pick up the jokes (or who would understand the poem differently and, as some scholars think, take ἄλλην τινά to refer to ‘some other hair’, i.e. another man rather than another girl). The song makes perfect sense without appeal to earlier poetry.11 Next, like many Anacreon songs, 358 takes its listeners out of the closed room into scenes of their imagination. The song may well recall prostitutes providing sympotic entertainment with a ball, but it goes beyond any such real-life scenario. Eros throws the ball and calls on the singer to play with the girl. Other Anacreon songs take their audiences onto pastures with a filly (417 PMG), onto the Leucadian cliff (376 PMG) and flying up to Olympus (378 PMG). Most such scenes are present-tense, and most are not even relegated to similes or symbols, prompting ancient scholarship to comment on his allegories.12 ‘Eros hits me with the ball’; not ‘I fall in love as though hit by Eros’ ball’ or ‘the girl hits me with a ball as Eros would’. Usually, these imaginary scenes are presented from the point of view of a male participant in a symposion, but occasionally the first person is somebody else, such as a woman carrying her washing (385 PMG).13 In both modes, Anacreon’s songs create little tableaux for others to watch. Bruno Gentili calls such moments ‘dramatic’.14 It is indeed tempting to speculate about connections with the contemporary beginnings of drama in Athens, but any such speculation will have to take account of the strong ‘dramatic’ element in earlier lyric and of the evidence for various kinds of mimetic performance at the symposion.15 For all this sophistication and appeal to the imagination perhaps the chief characteristic of much of Anacreon’s work is its simplicity and accessibility. First, dialect: Anacr. 358, like almost all of Anacreon, is predominantly Ionic,

10 11

12

13 15

On capping see Yatromanolakis, this vol., 274–5 and Collins 2004, 61–163. ‘Other hair’ = other man: see Woodbury 1979. A variant, ‘other hair’ = pubic hair, and hence a reference to fellatio (for which women from Lesbos were sometimes known), was proposed by Gentili 1973 and Giangrande 1973. Further discussion of ‘other woman’: Pelliccia 1991. On Nausicaa: Pfeijffer 2000. Heraclitus Ponticus Alleg. Hom. 5, and P.Oxy. 3722 frs. 20.8 and 52.4 (discussed by Molfino 1998). Further cases discussed by Braghetti 2001. 14 Gentili 1958, xvi–xviii. Puppini 1991 and Griffith, this vol., 88–90.

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the dialect associated with elegy and iambos but not normally monody (on dialect see D’Alessio, this vol., ch. 6). Later centuries called him the ‘glory of the Ionians’ and ‘poet of the Ionians’.16 His choice of dialect may indeed reflect his Ionian origins, but more important, it also ensured that his songs felt less alien to Samian or Athenian audiences than they would have in Doric or Aeolic (and in a period in which domination by foreign invaders changed the way Ionia was thought about there may have been political and ideological connotations too17). Second, length: The punch-line at the end suggests the song might be complete, after a mere eight lines. No Anacreon fragment is longer than twelve lines, including a few possibly complete ones (356a, 356b, 357, 388, 395 PMG). The lines are short, too, and the strophes only four lines long (again 358 is broadly in line with other songs). Third, the rhythm (a mix of glyconics and pherecrateans), a favourite of Anacreon’s and imitated by Aeschylus, is straightforward, as are all his rhythms.18 Finally, the word order and sentence structure is uncomplicated here and elsewhere – in fact the double parenthesis is at the more involved end of Anacreon’s style. Anacreon beyond drink and desire Anacr. 358 is characteristic of the surviving corpus also in its theme. Most Anacreon fragments circle around the topics of drink or desire for which Anacreon was known later and which were staples of sympotic activity and discourse. Dionysus and Eros appear more frequently in the fragments of Anacreon than those of any other poet of his time or before. The variation is considerable. The singer may recall past drinking sessions (433 PMG), may declare himself drunk (412 PMG) or – most frequently – may call for drink. Drinking may be moderate or excessive. Erotic overtures are made to both males (presumably aristocratic boys) and females (presumably prostitutes). As in other lyric, there is rarely a sense of reciprocation, but the mood fluctuates: flirtatiousness, despair, aggression, encomiastic admiration.19 Drink and erotics, however, are not all there is to the archaic symposion. It should not be surprising therefore that Anacreon offers several further themes. These are less prominent than the erotic and convivial material, but give us glimpses of a much more diverse Anacreon.

16 18

19

Anth. Pal. 7.27 (Antipater), Dio Chrys. 2.62. 17 See, e.g., Hdt. 3.122, 5.69; Connor 1993. Anacreon’s metre: West 1982, 56–9; Gentili 1958, 108–15. Certain characteristic rhythms imitated by Aeschylus: Herington 1985, 110–11, 217–22. For explanation of metrical terminology see Battezzato, this vol., ch. 7. Further on erotic monody see Stehle, this vol., 66–71, and on the ideology underlying Anacreon’s erotic compositions Kurke 1997 and Williamson 1998.

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Abuse. Occasionally our sources talk about Anacreon as a poet of abuse.20 A few fragments, both in iambic and lyric metres, bear this out. The longest of them (388 PMG) jeers at one Artemon, who is portrayed as a social riser who has traded his shabby clothes for a fancy outfit, complete with earrings and parasol, ‘just like women’.21 The tone and the context of this as of the other surviving abusive pieces are uncertain. But there is no doubt that Anacreon produced invective songs. Wisdom. Like many lyric poets (see Griffith, this vol., 74–5), Anacreon incorporates traditional wisdom into his songs. If our two clearest examples, 395 PMG about the affliction of old age and the fear of death, and fr. eleg. 2 W about the need to keep strife out of the symposion, are representative, Anacreon likes to maintain a first-person perspective also in his more gnomic pieces. Both are delivered as the singer’s own responses (‘I weep at’, ‘I do not like’), not as a generally held truth, and in this respect provide continuity with the majority of the more obviously emotional songs. Cult. Broadly cultic activity, such as hymns and libation, was part and parcel of the symposion. There was no clear dividing line between ‘serious’ religion and ‘light-hearted’ drinking. Anacreon’s many references to gods, therefore, especially to Dionysus and Eros, will have moved up and down the entire scale from playful metaphor of desire or drink to invocation of numinous powers that demand worship. Occasionally, we get hints at what may be larger cultic occasions, such as a formal address to Artemis (348 PMG) and an exhortation to put on garlands and ‘celebrate a plentiful festival for Dionysus’ (410 PMG), but these fragments sit as comfortably in a symposion context as in a public festival. With the possible exception of the partheneia (above, p. 228), we know of no works of Anacreon that unambiguously require a festival context. Politics is less prominent in Anacreon’s surviving corpus than in Theognis, Solon or Alcaeus, but it is not absent. 353 PMG mentions ‘talkers’ controlling the town. These talkers are glossed as rebellious Samian fishermen by our sources, and often connected with uprisings against Polycrates, as reported by Herodotus (3.44–5).22 Unfortunately, the nine surviving words do not permit much certainty, and other fragments are similarly tantalising.23 If the biographical tradition about links with certain aristocrats (above, pp. 227–8) is based on some variety of praise songs that Anacreon wrote, these do not survive. And if Strabo 14.1.16 (= Anacr. 483 PMG) is right to say that Anacreon’s ‘poetry is full of mentions of Polycrates’ (one thinks of Ibycus’ 20 21 23

Suda A1916; Et. Gen. p. 34 Calame (quoting Anacr. 432 PMG). Slater 1978 and Lenz 1994. Other abusive fragments: Brown 1983. 22 Vetta 1998. Potentially political references in: 348, 349, 371, 391, 401, 426, 505a PMG.

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Polycrates song, discussed by Krummen, this vol., 200–2), again we do not have them. Clearly there was politics in Anacreon, but what sort of politics or how much of it we cannot tell. So how reductive is the traditional ‘drink and desire’ image? On the one hand, Anacreon clearly covers a full range of symposion themes (and possibly composed also public poetry). He wrote songs for different symposia, and for different moments at those symposia. ‘Drink and desire’ is far too narrow, both for the archaic symposion and for Anacreon’s poetry. It is a stereotype, born out of the concern to give each poet an individual set of associations. Yet, there is still a question of degree. Is there any truth in the stereotype? Several considerations suggest that as an indication of the relative prominence of drink and desire the later tradition should not be dismissed out of hand. First, drink and desire loom much larger in the remaining fragments than any other theme. This means little for the fragments that are quoted by authors who talk about Anacreon as a drunken pederast and who will hence have chosen fragments to suit their view of Anacreon. But drink and desire are dominant also in papyrus fragments and in quotations in works by grammatical or metrical experts and others whose selection is not driven by content. Secondly, it is tempting to link the preponderance of drink and desire to the particular contexts Anacreon worked in. Eros received an altar in Athens under Pisistratus, and had links with tyrant culture elsewhere. He begins to appear in Athenian vase painting about 520, reflecting the importance of pederasty in the second half of the sixth century.24 Similarly, Dionysiac cult spread greatly in the course of the sixth century. Dionysus was the chief deity of both Teos and Abdera; in Athens the City Dionysia festival had been either introduced or greatly enhanced by Pisistratus; and Dionysus, who was in various ways a god of the people, may have appealed to the tyrants who drew some of their support from the rural and non-aristocratic population.25 What is more, the rarity of strongly partisan political fragments, while not inevitable, makes sense in poetry composed for tyrants. Sentiments like ‘our faction must win over others’, after the fashion of Alcaeus, or grumblings like Theognis’ about the rise of the erstwhile disenfranchised would not help tyrants in promoting themselves beyond their most immediate surroundings, as many of them did, whether to broader sections of their own population or 24

25

Paus. 1.30.1, Clidemus FGH III B323; Shapiro 1989, 118–24. More generally on the cultural context of Anacreon’s Eros: Breitenberger 2007, ch 8. Abdera and Teos: Isaac 1986, 83–4, RE s. v. ‘Teos’ (2. Reihe, vol. V.1, p. 560). Athens: Shapiro 1989, 84–100. Tyrants: Hdt. 1.23–4 (dithyrambs in Corinth), 5.67 (choruses for Dionysus in Sicyon).

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abroad. Where a common political enemy was less readily available, Eros and Dionysus might offer an alternative form of bonding.26 Reperformance For Anacreon, Polycrates and Hipparchus, as for all lyric poets and their patrons, the first performance of a song was not everything. Reperformance must have been key to their respective reputations. There are many different reasons and scenarios to account for repeat performances of Greek lyric, varying from genre to genre and period to period.27 In the case of Anacreon, his affiliation with different patrons and communities suggests that his fame spread across the Aegean already during his lifetime. We will return to Anacr. 358 for some tentative thoughts about what makes Anacreon a poet who was performed both frequently and in different places. First, Anacreon’s songs seem to have been distinctive. There is little here that could not be paralleled elsewhere, but between them the elegant sophistication, short forms, Ionian dialect, favourite rhythms (and presumably tunes), and creation of little imaginary scenes make him recognisable and memorable. Second, being recognisable, in Anacreon’s case, does not mean being difficult. 358 is an easy song for audiences not just to listen to but also to learn and perform. In fifth-century Athens, Anacreon was one of the lyric poets who were known as composers of skolia,28 short and simple lyric pieces sung by symposiasts (on which see Yatromanolakis, this vol., 271–5), and one can see why. Nothing in Anacr. 358 poses a challenge to an Athenian aristocrat with musical training. This leads to a third point: many of Anacreon’s songs are eminently transferable. Desire and drink are themes of potentially wide appeal, and Anacreon gave them treatments that were sufficiently generic to keep them that way. His fragments contain little that confines them to a particular context. In the case of 358 the place is vague: somewhere in the spectators’ imagination. The characters are unnamed: the adjective ποικιλοσάμβαλος (‘in fancy sandals’), just like ‘golden-haired’ Eros and the ‘purple’ ball, contributes to evoking a strong mental image, but it is vague enough to refer it, if one wants to, to any girl present or not present at the performance. Elsewhere names occur and may indeed originally refer to historical people, but they rarely demand knowledge of the person behind the name: treating them as ‘somebody I desire’, ‘somebody I address the song 26

27

28

Related arguments about Anacreon’s songs reflecting the environment of tyrants in Kantzios 2005b. Generally on the politics of tyrants: Salmon 1997. See Rösler 1980, 77–91, on increased reperformance in the sixth century, and Currie 2004 on reperformance of Pindar. Aristoph. fr. 235 K-A (Banqueters), quoted with discussion by Athen. 15.694a.

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to’, ‘somebody who is a trademark of Anacreon’s’ tends to create perfectly satisfactory sense. The use of the same set of names throughout adds further to Anacreon’s recognisability. Fourth, 358 – and again something similar is true for other Anacreon songs – can be performed in different ways. It can be performed as an amusing joke; or as a song about the frustrations of old age and human powerlessness in the face of capricious Eros; or as both. Dêute (‘again’), a marker of erotic song that is particularly frequent in Anacreon,29 encapsulates this openness: it has elements both of ‘here is the next song about unfulfilled desire’ and of despair at Eros’ ever-recurring attacks. The song suits different situations and different singers. At this point we are thrown back to the question of the balance in Anacreon’s output overall. 358 is easy to remember, easy to perform and easy to take elsewhere – a combination that seems ideal for ensuring reperformance for a symposion piece and fame for its author and patrons. But how typical of Anacreon’s output is this combination? Many fragments share a number of the characteristics of 358, but others do not. Not all are as witty, as ‘dramatic’, not even as simple and generic as 358. Especially among the shorter quotations there are numerous pieces that have a rather different feel. Anacreon had more than a couple of themes and also more than one style, suitable no doubt for different purposes. Again our evidence does not allow us to be sure about the proportion. Even so, one thing seems clear. Reperformance, by various singers and in various locations, is important for understanding Anacreon. It is not just accidental but is inscribed into at least one substantial group of his songs. Ancient reception The most eloquent demonstration of Anacreon’s skill in composing poetry that travels is the sheer length and breadth of his reception history. In the modern era, Anacreon stirred most interest between the mid-sixteenth and the late eighteenth centuries. Those periods are discussed by Pantelis Michelakis in ch. 18. Here we will look briefly at two bodies of work that are central to his ancient reception, one early and one late. Early iconography The earliest evidence of Anacreon’s reception is from his lifetime. We have three Attic pots inscribed with his name, more than for any other lyric poet except Sappho.30 They were painted between c. 520 and 490 BCE, and must 29 30

Discussed by Mace 1993. Anacreon: Richter 1965, I.77. Sappho: Yatromanolakis, this vol., ch. 11.

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reflect Anacreon’s popularity in at least some circles in Athens both under Hipparchus and during the early days of democracy. Anacreon is depicted as singing to the barbitos (the elongated lyre he was later thought to have invented) as he walks or dances. As in much of the later tradition the poet and his themes merge. On all three pots he is revelling; on one he has Dionysus’ vine in his hair, and in another he is handed wine. Twice he is depicted with boys, no doubt an allusion to his erotic songs, and once he is old. The most difficult aspect of the iconography is his and his fellow revellers’ outfits on the pot attributed to the Kleophrades painter (Fig. 8). By contrast with standard sympotic iconography (including the other two showing Anacreon), the men appear to wear long robes and turbans, some also holding parasols, a kind of costume that carries Eastern and perhaps feminine connotations, fitting for an Ionian singer and composer. Details are difficult to pin down and much debated. We do not know whether or not we should understand the vases as showing Anacreon in a satirical way.31 But what is clear is this: even though already on these early pots Anacreon is a poet of drink and desire, he can be looked at in fundamentally different ways – as a standard or an unusual Athenian male. This kind of dichotomy, presented with various degrees of polemics, continued throughout the fifth century and beyond.32 Intriguingly, the pot attributed to the Kleophrades painter shares its unusual iconography, more or less closely, with a set of uninscribed vases (up to fifty or more, depending on the criteria used). They are sometimes known as ‘Anacreontic vases’, because of the single inscribed specimen, but the vast majority depict anonymous singers and revellers. In fact even the inscription on the pot in Fig. 8 is not next to the singer but on the barbitos. This group of pots may well reflect and portray Anacreon’s own performances, but just as important it also invokes others – Athenians – performing Anacreon, or even ‘Anacreon’ becoming characteristic of a generic type of performance in Athens. The Anacreontea Anacreon was remembered throughout antiquity, but not always to the same degree. Like the other surviving lyric poets, he was studied and edited by Hellenistic scholars. Horace and Ovid use him in various ways,33 and he is

31

32 33

Kurtz and Boardman 1986, Price 1990, Frontisi-Ducroux and Lissarrague 1990, DelavaudRoux 1995. Anacreon in the fifth century: Zanker 1995, 29–38; Wilson 2003, 190–5. See the passages collected by Gibson 2003 on Ovid, Ars am. 3.330.

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Fig. 8 Fragmentary red-figure kalyx-krater attributed to the Kleophrades painter, showing three men, one wearing headdress and carrying a parasol and one carrying a barbitos inscribed ANAKREON. Attic, c. 500 BCE

celebrated in epigram, a form that shares a number of features with Anacreon’s own poetry, more often than any other lyric poet.34 Yet Anacreon comes into his own only when he – alone among Greek lyric poets, with the exception of Theognis – gives birth to his own genre: the Anacreontea. 34

Barbantani 1993; Rossi 2001, 279–85.

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We have about sixty of the poems known as the Anacreontea, preserved in a collection that survived as part of the main manuscript of the Palatine Anthology and is probably based on several earlier collections. Internal considerations, in particular prosody, combined with a few pieces of external evidence, suggest that they were written at various stages between perhaps the first century BCE and the sixth century CE. Five of them mention Anacreon by name, including the first (in which Anacreon passes on his garland to the first-person poet who since then has been unable to put an end to his erôs) as well as the last one. The majority do not name Anacreon, but they imitate him by other means: The Anacreontea are mostly short (though not as short as what survives of Anacreon); some of them are witty; many focus on wine or desire or both, with numerous appearances from Dionysus and Eros; references to old age are frequent; the metres are simple, most of them in fact related to the two metres known as ‘Anacreontic’ in antiquity, the iambic dimeter catalectic (× – ⏑ – ⏑ – – ) and the anaclastic ionic dimeter (⏑ ⏑ – ⏑ – ⏑ – -); a few poems integrate whole chunks of Anacreon. This is obviously a changed, in some ways reduced, Anacreon. There is less first-person and more third-person narrative, including set-piece descriptions of works of art: the poet is no longer part of the scenes he creates. Whatever political or cultic reference there was in Anacreon has gone, as has all invective. Altogether, the tone is more sweet and mannered. The Anacreontea reflect particular periods or places even less than Anacreon, and only a minority presume or pretend to presume performance at some convivial occasion (‘let’s drink’). The metrical range is considerably decreased, and Bathyllos the only named boy the poet desires. As they were defining their genre, the poets of the Anacreontea seized on some of Anacreon’s most recognisable features, both in his poetry and his reputation, and turned them into generic markers. The earlier Anacreontea were created in periods in which Anacreon’s own poetry was still reasonably well known, and there is some indication that Anacreon and the Anacreontea were sometimes considered part of the same phenomenon. In the second century CE Aulus Gellius (19.9) describes the performance of several pieces which he refers to as Ἀνακϱεόντεια (‘poems of Anacreon’ or ‘Anacreontic poems’) and ‘verses by the old Anacreon’, and he also speaks of ‘Anacreon and other poets of that genre’. The lines he quotes are a version of what we know as Anacreontea 4. Clearly, the Anacreontea were thought to continue the tradition of Anacreon’s poetry, so much so that most of the Anacreontea poets are now anonymous. What survives may well be only a glimpse of a wider literary phenomenon, and the survival of some poems in multiple versions (such as Gellius’ quotation and Anacreontea 4) suggests that this was a genre that, at least in some contexts, permitted a 238 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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degree of continuous variation and adaptation.35 Anacreon’s own poetry, I suggested above, went some way towards constituting a recognisable and easily transportable genre. This project is taken to a new level in the Anacreontea. Such was the success of the Anacreontea that over time they came close to displacing Anacreon’s own poetry. The fascination with Anacreon from the Renaissance till the eighteenth century was a fascination, in the first place, with the – much better preserved – Anacreontea. Only the classical philology of the nineteenth century separated Anacreon and the Anacreontea, thus focusing attention back on Anacreon. This separation is right and proper, but it should not detract from the achievement of the Anacreontea, a body of poetry that is attractive in its own right and interesting as a rare example of a poetic tradition created around a long-dead poet. As such it testifies also to the qualities of Anacreon’s own work. FURTHER READING

Most writing about Anacreon focuses on individual fragments. Bowra 1961, 268–307, is still the most perceptive of the discussions that run through the important fragments (biographically, in his case). Vox 1990 and Lambin 2002 are book-length thematic discussions of Anacreon, the latter reaching into reception history. The introduction to Gentili 1958 is an excellent short account. Ridgway 1998, 719–26, reviews the literary and artistic sources for his life, and Barron 1964 and La Bua 1984 discuss issues of chronology. Rosenmeyer 1992 is a literary treatment of the Anacreontea, starting from Anacreon’s own poetry and his reception in antiquity. The scholarship on the date range of the Anacreontea is summarised in the introduction to Campbell 1988. Labarbe 1982 provides an overall discussion of the reception history, useful especially on antiquity. For editions, commentaries and translations, see below, pp. 388–95.

35

Three cases: (1) Anacreontea 4(i) West =Aul. Gell. 19.9, 4(ii) = Anth. Pal. 11.48 and 4(iii); (2) Anacreontea 8 West and Anth. Pal. 11.47; (3) Anacreontea 45.1–4 West and Dioscorus Aphroditop. 42.28.9–12 Heitsch (sixth century CE).

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13 HAYDEN PELLICCIA

Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides

The surviving corpus of Pindar includes something unique in the remains of early Greek melic poetry: a large number of complete poems that come to us by way of a direct manuscript transmission. We will consider below how and why his four books of epinikia enjoyed this privileged mode of preservation; for now we will only remark that the fact of it conditions the way in which we perceive his relationship to Simonides and Bacchylides, which in turn conditions how we perceive the milieu inhabited by all three (henceforth, SP&B). Why do we group these three poets together? Because they worked as contemporaries, and in certain senses as competitors, before many of the same audiences and in the same poetic genres, which they brought to a peak of artistic perfection and cultural importance. Contributing to their achievement’s appearance of finality was the rise of Attic drama. The record of survival to our own era (which was to a certain extent accidental) contributes to this implied narrative of displacement: most of the datable work of SP&B belongs to the first third of the fifth century, and peters out as the second opens with the earliest surviving plays of Aeschylus. One reason SP&B seem to form a climax, then, is that their tradition was not continued by practitioners of comparable talent: ambitious younger poets were mostly drawn to tragedy and comedy, the poetic genres that have most abundantly survived from the fifth century. It should be kept in mind, however, that one of the features of Attic drama that made it so successful was its facility at absorbing other genres, especially those of lyric, which provided the chief models for its choral songs. If tragedy superseded lyric, it did so in part through co-optation. But that gets us ahead of the story; we need to know the cultural circumstances out of which this early-fifth-century efflorescence of lyric grew. First, our poets’ biographies. Although their dates cannot be established with precision, their active poetic careers certainly overlapped. Poetic activity on the part of Simonides, the eldest, is first attested for the teens of the sixth 240 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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century,1 while the earliest surviving poem of Pindar – Pyth. 10 – dates from 498.2 The beginning of Bacchylides’ career is harder to place; Bacch. 13 M most likely dates from the mid-to-late 480s;3 the next earliest securely dated poem is ode 5 M, from 476; given our general ignorance, however, these indications may be misleading. Simonides enjoyed a late-life peak as something like the official poet of the Persian War, and died around 468; Pindar and Bacchylides continued to flourish through the 460s and beyond, with their last datable poems coming from 446 (Pythian 8) and 452 (Bacch. 6 M), respectively.4 Simonides and Bacchylides shared against the Theban Pindar a common homeland in the Ionian island of Ceos, close to Athens and like her a naval participant in the struggle against Xerxes (contrast the medising of Pindar’s Thebes). Later tradition makes the two Ceian poets blood relations, perhaps uncle and nephew, but the details are unclear and of debatable trustworthiness.5 The first of the three sections that follow tries to explain, within the limits of our evidence, under what circumstances and stimuli SP&B composed their poetry; the second considers how and why of all the types of poetry they composed, the epinikia of Pindar (and, by fate, of Bacchylides) were the ones singled out for preservation, and thus touches upon the reception of their poems; the third section considers some representative texts from the poems themselves. How they came to write their poems SP&B were international poets, as a quick scan of the place-names in their poem titles will show. Earlier poets like Ibycus and Anacreon were international in the sense that they seem to have changed habitation a number of times; SP&B, on the other hand, operated on many distant fronts at once. Thus Pindar wrote two odes for Olympic victories assigned by the scholia to the same (79th) Olympiad (464): one in honour of a Rhodian (Ol. 7), the other for a Corinthian (Ol. 13). Again, in the opening of Isthm. 1 he represents himself as composing for Ceians a work to be performed on Delos, a project he says he will put aside now in order to celebrate a victor from his

1

2 4

5

Ps.-Aristotle, Ath. Pol. 18.1 and Ps.-Plato, Hipparch. 228c indicate that Hipparchus (who was assassinated in 514) invited Simonides to Athens. The Suda gives two birth dates: 56th Olympiad = 556–553 and 62nd = 532–529; the higher date is the ‘traditional’ one, challenged by Stella 1946, herself cautiously rebutted by Molyneux 1992; cf. Poltera 1997, 543f. Schol. Drachmann 1903–27, II. 241 Inscr. 3 See Maehler 1982–97, I.2. 250f. Simonides’ death: Suda and Parian Marble (= T 1 and 8, Campbell 1991, 330 and 336). Pythian 8: schol. Drachmann 1903–27, II.206. Bacch. 6: P.Oxy. 2.222; cf. Schmidt 1999. Hutchinson 2001, 321 n. 1.

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own city of Thebes (cf. Sim. 589 PMG). How did he and SB come to write for such a far-flung group, and how was it all arranged? The honest answer to both these questions is that we do not know. We must, accordingly, have recourse to speculation, but it can start from some reasonably solid facts. All three poets wrote dithyrambs ‘for Athens’,6 a community that had a serious addiction to that genre: each year, the City Dionysia, for example, saw twenty dithyrambs performed (one for each of the men’s and boys’ choruses of the ten tribes), and this was not the city’s only dithyrambic festival.7 We do not know exactly how the poets’ participation in such festivals was administered in the first half of the fifth century,8 but if we can extrapolate from the same festival’s arrangements for tragedy, and retroject some evidence from the late fifth and mid-fourth centuries, the picture that emerges is this: by the system of leitourgia, through which rich citizens were required to underwrite civic projects, each year’s new archon, the administrative head of Athenian government, assigned to the men’s and boys’ choruses of the ten tribes chorêgoi. The responsibility of a chorêgos was to pay for and manage the practical arrangements of and leading up to the eventual performances; each chorêgos was paired with an aulêtês (aulos player and presumably musical director or sub-director) and a didaskalos (apparently discharging one or, more usually, both of the jobs of poet and director).9 Where did the pool the archon drew upon for the didaskaloi come from? In the case of tragedy it looks as if an unknown number of tragedians applied to the archon to be considered, i.e. they ‘sought a chorus’; the archon then chose (‘gave a chorus to’) the three candidates he judged best.10 We do not know for sure how didaskalos and chorêgos were then paired up; fourth-century evidence for the pairing of chorêgoi and aulêtai indicates that the former chose the latter from a pool, in an order determined by lot (Demosthenes 21.13). Perhaps the same or a similar method by lot was used for the dramatic and dithyrambic didaskaloi: when the speaker of Antiphon 6 recounts his service as dithyrambic chorêgos, he says, ‘I was allotted Pantakles as didaskalos’ (6.11). This could refer to either direct allotment or, as for the fourth-century aulêtai, indirect; the question for us, however, is, how did Pantakles – or Simonides – get his name into the lottery to begin with? 6

7 8

9 10

Simonides: Ieranò 1997, T101 (= Simonides XXVIII FGE); Pindar: P.Oxy. 2438.8–10 (Ieranò 1997, 375), frs. 75–77 M; Bacch. 18 and 19 M. Ieranò 1997, 52–73, 239–79. Pickard-Cambridge 1968, 74–91, MacDowell 1989 and Wilson 2000, 61–70 are the best discussions. Ps.-Aristotle, Ath. Pol. 56.2–3; Antiphon 6.11, Demosthenes 21.13. ‘Sought a chorus’: χορὸν αἰτεῖν: Aristoph., Knights 513, Cratinus 17.1 K-A; ‘gave a chorus’: χορὸν διδόναι: Cratinus loc. cit., Aristoph. fr. 590.27–9 K-A, Aristotle, Poet. 1449b2.

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Presumably, dithyrambic poets, like the dramatists, could ‘seek a chorus’ from the archon, i.e. put themselves forward for consideration. But why did they do it? What was in it for them? The answer is elusive, but critical for the interpretation of our three poets’ work; it goes to the heart of what it meant to be a poet in this culture.11 Poet/performers must have operated at every level of ancient Greek society, some as ‘amateurs’, others to earn or significantly supplement their living. Many others will have been able to give informal poetic performances, a capability highly developed especially (but not exclusively) among the upper classes, whose education was largely musical and whose institution, the symposion, called for musical contributions from its participants. Its overall wide social distribution thus shows poetry to have been a rather exceptional type of activity: if, by virtue of its serving at the lower end of society as a means to earn a living, it must be classed as a demiurgic craft, then it was a unique one in that it was also intensively cultivated, studied and practised by members of the upper classes, whom we conversely do not find amusing themselves with other demiurgic activities like sculpting or muralpainting. Futhermore, the upper-class practice of poetry was not by definition ‘amateur’: the tragedians Sophocles and Euripides were upper-class,12 while the violently elitist Critias composed poetry in many genres, very probably including tragedy. Critias, then, quite possibly, and Sophocles and Euripides, unambiguously, repeatedly and successfully, submitted their work sua sponte to the selection process of the Athenian archon, described above. These two were not exceptional: ‘poets seem routinely to have come from the upper socio-economic tiers of society’.13 The mere practice of poetry, therefore, and even the ‘professional’ practice of poetry (for if Sophocles does not count as a professional poet no one does), cannot per se tell us anything about the socio-economic position of the practitioner. This conclusion in turn restricts access to an intuitively appealing answer to our initial question, i.e. that poets submitted their work to be considered for production in the tragic or dithyrambic contests because the practice of poetry was how they earned their living. Perhaps it was for some of them; but for others (Critias, for example) we can feel confident it was not, and, what is more important, was perceived not to be. It follows that we cannot assign an economic motive to any person’s poetic activity without external evidence in support. If we ask, 11

12

13

Some similar questions are approached from a different perspective by Hornblower, this vol., ch. 2. Sophocles: Ion of Chios FGH 392 F 6 ad fin. Euripides: Theophrastus fr. 576 Fortenbaugh = T33b Kannicht, Philochorus FGH 218 = T19 Kannicht; cf. Scullion 2003, 391. See also Green 1994, 12–13. Wilson 2000, 65.

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then, why, lacking an economic motive, an upper-class citizen like Sophocles or Euripides would have opened himself to the possible humiliations of choregic procedures, possibilities which included not only the formal humiliations of being denied a chorus or of suffering defeat in the festival itself, but also that of serving as the subordinate of the chorêgos, the answer is likely to be the same one we would give for a competitor in the Olympic or other games: the entrant submitted to these risks because he took pleasure and other kinds of satisfaction from the practice of a skill in which he had great natural talent, and desired to compete for a glorious victory in it against other practitioners. Why else were records of the poets’ victories preserved, if not because the fact of them was of importance? We started with the question of how SP&B came to write their poems, and have reached a tentative answer for one genre, the dithyrambs for Athens. This question arose in the context of a previous one concerning the nature of our poets’ international activity. The two questions are probably joined by a more direct link than we had previously supposed. The Athenian demand for choral poetry, remarked on at the beginning of the discussion, was itself occasioned by the institution of choral competitions among the newly formed Cleisthenic tribes into which the population of Athens and Attica was organised: the Greater Dionysia, as we have noted, included twenty non-dramatic choral performances a year; the festival of the Thargelia another ten; that of the Panathenaea an unknown further number, and that of the Anthesteria possibly others.14 Was there any comparable ‘market’ for new choral poetry elsewhere in Greece?15 If not (and our lack of evidence makes a clear answer impossible), then it may well have been this Athenian ‘consumer base’ itself that provided the greatest stimulus to the new poetic internationalism that seems, at any rate, to have developed concurrently with it.16 Athenian chorêgoi will have wanted access to the best poets available regardless of citizenship, and, either because the local talent was turning to tragedy, as suggested earlier, or for some other reason, the non-dramatic festival genres came to be dominated by non-Athenian poets, with Simonides, Pindar, and Bacchylides prominent among them. Precisely how and when SP&B entered this market we cannot say. But a general point can be made: not all of their poems were written to the dictates of a festival calendar or anything like it. When we consider their output as a whole, what we should probably think of is a kind of spectrum, with one end 14 16

See Wilson 2000, 33–40. 15 See Herington 1985, ch. 4, with 94 especially. On the increasingly panhellenic scope of Greek lyric see also Hornblower, this vol., 55–6. Woodbury 1968 traces the cause of the new poetic internationalism to the increase in trade stimulated by the introduction of coinage, a theory that may imply a slow response time on the poets’ part.

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representing their more professional poetic activity and comprising festival compositions like the Athenian dithyrambs and other types written for performance in scheduled (often recurrent) public events; at the other end stand more personal poems, composed under circumstances and for occasions that are largely invisible to us, often because they were not public. Many were probably composed on the poets’ own initiative for members of their circles of friends and acquaintances (and for the friends of friends and acquaintances, etc.), and on no official deadline. Such poems would have been occasional in the sense that they were occasioned, not so much by an event in the future (e.g. a festival) that they were composed to form a part of, but rather in response to a specific, unique event in the (typically, recent) past: e.g. a death (the genre of thrênoi), or a notable success (epinikia, above all). They would of course have an initial occasion of performance, but were probably often deliberately constructed to be portable, i.e. not to be tied to a specific performance circumstance, but reusable in many (especially, e.g., symposia, which could include elaborate performances, as at Xen. Symp. 9).17 The professional poems, as we will continue to call them, coincide with the more public genres, and will have been the vehicles of the poets’ ever-increasing public fame (and not least effective in that function when, as with the Athenian dithyrambs, the events were competitive and resulted in public victories). But there is likely to have been a strong backstage connection between the public/professional and private/personal types anyway: Athenian chorêgoi of this period by and large came from the aristocracy, and as such participated in an international network of personal relationships (guest-friendships); the symposion was one of the chief social instruments for renewing, consolidating and expanding these networks. Athenian aristocrats were the ones who introduced foreign poets because they were the ones who had been exposed to them, in the symposia of their foreign xenoi (‘guest-friends’). The networking will have worked in the opposite direction also: a poet who won attention by a victory in a public festival might well have been invited to enter the personal world of a new xenos’ sympotic circle. That SP&B were connected to many such circles is obvious from their surviving poems, which are composed in honour of some of the most powerful men in Greece, refer to those men and others like them as xenoi and in general exhibit an intimate air of familiarity characteristic of the symposion. Many scholars, however, guided by an unreliable ancient tradition of

17

As a result, much is uncertain about their initial performance context. Note in particular the controversy over epinikian performance, initiated by Heath 1988 and Lefkowitz 1988, with early responses by Burnett 1989 and Carey 1989a.

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biography and gossip,18 for lack of a better term, have assumed that poets like SP&B composed their epinikia on commission, to a ‘patron’, for a fee.19 Such an idea is obviously not going to be sustainable in the case of poets themselves born into the upper ranks of society, as discussed above. At the lower levels of the economy there probably did exist poets willing to compose epitaphs and other occasional poems for a fee. But at the upper reaches of society, where, as we have emphasised, professional poetic composition is well attested among the members, the full range of permutations of the nature of the relationships remains unclear to us. We have virtually no reliable evidence about the socioeconomic standing of the families of SP&B, so we cannot decide anything on that basis. But the consequences of this decision for the understanding of our poets’ work will be momentous and formidable: did they celebrate others as their paid lackeys, or as their equals, or in some role for which we have no obvious counterpart, and so do not easily conceive? In the absence of direct evidence it may be heuristically useful, if not probative, to look to Rome for comparative evidence. Cicero’s famous letter to the historian Lucius Lucceius (Fam. 8.2) gives us an extraordinarily intimate view of how a literary ‘negotiation’ was undertaken between a senior politician and a writer, if that is how we wish to describe them, though each was both:20 Lucceius was a notably rich man who was elected praetor (the second highest Republican magistracy) for 67 BCE, and an ally of Caesar’s in the consular elections of 60, in which he was defeated. Thus he was Cicero’s social equal, perhaps a bit more, and he was a historian to the same professional degree that Cicero, the consul for 63, was a poet and philosopher. The subject of Cicero’s letter is precisely that consulship of 63. Cicero implores Lucceius to write its history, and to fudge the facts in Cicero’s favour where possible. Why has Cicero chosen Lucceius for this honour? ‘I approve of Naevius’ Hector, who rejoiced not just that he “was praised”, but added “by a praised man”.’ Who here holds power over whom? Is one the ‘patron’ of the other? Cicero was himself regularly pressed by similar importunings from colleagues and friends who wished to be immortalised by his pen. At the

18

19 20

For the incorporation of unreliable material into the ancient biographical and scholarly traditions (with the addition of further fictions by the biographers themselves), see Fairweather 1974 and 1984 and Lefkowitz 1981 and 1991; for specific cases see especially, on Simonides, Slater 1972 and Bell 1978, and Scullion 2003, on Euripides; on ancient (mis-) interpretation of comic invective, see Halliwell 1984. I hope to publish a full discussion of poets’ pay in a future article. See n. 22 below. Bowie (forthcoming) gives strong reasons for doubting the model. For correct appreciation of this letter (long misunderstood) see Hall 1998.

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urgent behest of his brother Quintus, who was a participant (so there were different levels of self-interest at work), he composed a mini-epic on the subject of Caesar’s campaign in Britain.21 Such a request was not a ‘commission’, and the idea that either party might think of a fee in connection with it is grotesque – merely suggesting the idea would have ended the relationship, perhaps violently. Since the evidence does not justify, much less require the adoption of the commission/fee model for the personal poems of SP&B, and many considerations militate against it, we should resist the temptation to found upon it speculative interpretations of specific poems (a process regularly on show in our scholia), much less grandiose generalisations about the nature of the larger society of which the model supposedly formed an important part.22 Instead, having set aside the misinformation of the ancient anecdotal tradition, we should feel free to heed the self-confident tone in the poems themselves (in the end they are almost the only direct evidence we have); for it is a real defect of the commission/fee model that it requires elaborately artificial devices to explain away the intimate and self-confident sense of equality with which the speaking personae of SP&B’s poems consistently address some of the greatest men of Greece. Here we might appeal to our own sense of things and ask: if we ourselves were to be praised before our friends for some success, would we prefer that the speaker be a friend and equal (or superior), or someone we were known to have hired for the purpose? The reasons for thinking that the personages who appear in the poems of SP&B might, like ourselves, have preferred the former are substantial, if not absolutely conclusive. We should not deny ourselves the option, in interpreting a particular poem, of referring it to a model in which SP&B wrote in praise of Hieron, e.g., not as hired journeymen, but as social equals – amici, prized members of his sympotic circle and fellow victors in the great competitive festivals of Greece. This alternative model has the merit of according with the best direct evidence we have from Greco-Roman antiquity for how such things were arranged, that of Cicero as discussed above. The survival of the epinikia Fellow victors and their friends gathered in convivial conversation – this sounds like Plato’s Symposium. That work, like Xenophon’s of the same name, is the record of an epinikian event: a dinner party celebrating a 21 22

See White 1993, 66 f. Some scholars have made the poet’s fee the centrepiece of their accounts of the social function of epinikian poetry: e.g., Woodbury 1968, Kurke 1991 and 1993, Mann 2000 and 2001.

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competitive victory. That such celebrations should hold strong appeal for their participants seems perfectly natural; but why was the record of them so interesting to later centuries? For it is as such that we may conjecture that Pindar’s epinikia were ‘chosen’ for preservation by a direct tradition in preference to all the other genres he worked in, which included hymns, paeans, dithyrambs, prosodia, partheneia, hyporchêmata, enkômia and thrênoi. If we limit the question to literary taste, the common ground between Callimachean poetry and Pindaric demonstrates that the latter’s aesthetic appeal to the Alexandrians was immensely strong.23 The problem for our immediate enquiry is that Pindar’s aesthetic habits seem to carry over to all the genres he wrote in – so the surface brilliance of their language, e.g., does not help to explain why the epinikia came to be preferred. At any rate, the special preference for epinikia seems to have been a fairly late development: the supposed ‘edition’ of Aristophanes of Byzantium organised Pindar’s surviving works into seventeen ‘books’ or papyrus rolls, with four books occupied by the epinikia24 – that is, the epinikia constituted approximately one-quarter of the whole to reach Alexandria, and this proportion corresponds to their rate of appearance elsewhere, both in the indirect tradition, and in the papyri surviving from before the mid-third century CE. After the third century, however, the non-epinikian works start to fade away. This development, which implies that some kind of selection was made, by arbiters unknown, has been plausibly associated with the development of the codex book.25 The presence among the epinikian papyri of commentaries is perhaps telling. With the codex format the possibilities for including such aids together with the poems was greatly increased, and it is here that we might look for an answer to our original question. Earlier we divided SP&B’s bodies of work into ‘professional’ poems and ‘personal’ ones; prominent in the former group were the ‘festival’ poems, written to be performed for recurring events on the festival calendar, like the annual dithyrambic contests of Athens. Plato (Rep. 394c) says that dithyrambs consisted of mythic narrative, and this seems to be supported by surviving fragments. We must wonder if they ever included circumstantial details indicating date and occasion of original performance. If not, as it seems from the Bacchylidean dithyrambs, they must have been rather hard

23 25

Cf. Fuhrer 1992. 24 See further Rutherford 2001a, 146–8, esp. 147 n. 18. On the developments discussed in this and the preceding sentence see Irigoin 1952, 95 and 98f.; on the papyri, see Mertens-Pack3 (http://www.ulg.ac.be/facphl/services/cedopal/pages/ mp3anglais.htm).

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for Hellenistic scholars to trace; even if, for example, some administrative office had kept copies of the 200 winning poems of the City Dionysia in the fifth century (to write off the 1,800 losers), how would they have been identified? The only records we know of tell only each year’s victorious chorêgos and tribe (certainly nothing at all about the unvictorious eighteen). The repetitive sameness of festival ritual will have tended to render its remnants indistinguishable. Epinikia are significantly different: each is written for a specific, named, often famous, victor, from a named community, in a named event at a named contest. Over the course of the fifth century efforts were made to establish a list of Olympic victors, and in the fourth, systematic catalogues were drawn up, perhaps under the direction of Aristotle, among whose works Diogenes Laertius (5.26.9–10) records studies of the Olympic and Pythian victors. By comparing the names and references found within the preserved epinikia with those appearing on the victory lists, which themselves had become independent tools for chronology, Hellenistic scholars will have seen in these poems, perhaps as in no others, the materials for reconstructing the history of classical Greece’s ‘greatest generation’, from the inside – from their symposia and other celebrations. Their efforts at reconstructing this history, as epitomised and summarised by the late-Republic-era scholar Didymus, made their way into the margins of the codex texts of the poems, and thereby ultimately into the Byzantine scholarly tradition, and from there, eventually, to us, the slightly puzzled beneficiaries of this centuries-long tradition’s decisions. It follows that we should not necessarily think that it was a specifically aesthetic preference for epinikia that allowed that genre to eclipse the others, but rather of a preference for the whole package that epinikian poetry could offer:26 both the poems themselves, featuring as they do such celebrities as Hieron, Theron, Arcesilaus and others, and the accompanying scholarly apparatus that the unique datability of epinikian poetry had made possible. What has been delivered to us of Pindar’s work whole, the epinikia, is essentially that for which earlier scholars and readers thought they had a fighting chance to establish a social and historical context. Their success in this endeavour may be judged not to have been unvarying, and their methods have caused their modern successors a great deal of confusion, but their desire to win a glimpse of the poetic fare on offer in the symposia of the great figures of the early fifth century is one we can warmly sympathise with and feel gratitude to them for pursuing.

26

This is not to say that the appeal of epinikian poetry itself was not considerable: the GrecoRoman obsession with athletics surpassed even that of classical Greece.

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Some texts Simonides Simonides is the least well preserved of our three poets. He left his mark on a remarkable number of genres: epigram, which he seems to have been the first to recognise the full artistic potential of; elegy, including historical elegy, a stunning fragment of which just recently emerged;27 epinikia; the festival genres dithyramb and paean; and other choral types. In antiquity his poetry was especially admired for its pathos or ability to arouse pity. This judgement may seem at odds with most of the surviving fragments, which tend to offer practical wisdom in a didactic and analytic manner more reminiscent of Theognis than the emotive scenes of tragedy (see e.g. 520, 521, 526, 527, 579 and especially 542 PMG). But in 543 PMG we have one lyric fragment that is notably dramatic. Somewhat disconcertingly, this unique passage is quoted by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Comp. 26) not for its rhetorical and emotional brilliance, but as a metrical challenge: he defies the reader to ascertain what the rhythm is, or even to detect the strophic units. Interestingly, scholars have not yet been able to reach a consensus on the question, but Dionysius’ choice of the lines for this purpose suggests that they were not among the better known of the poet’s work to have survived to that time. The passage depicts Danae and Perseus, her infant son by Zeus, afloat in the wooden box in which Danae’s father, informed by a prophecy that his daughter’s child will kill him, has dispatched them onto the sea:28 ὅτε λάρνακι ἐν δαιδαλέᾳ ἄνεμός τέ μιν πνέων κινηθεῖσά τε λίμνα δείματι ἔρειπεν, οὐκ ἀδιάντοισι παρειαῖς ἀμϕί τε Περσέϊ βάλλε ϕίλαν χέρα εἶπέν τ᾽· ″ὦ τέκος οἷον ἔχω πόνον·

σὺ δ᾽ ἀωτεῖς, γαλαθηνῷ δ᾽ ἤτορι κνοώσσεις ἐν ἀτερπέϊ δούρατι χαλκεογόμϕῳ νυκτί 〈τ᾽ ἀ〉 λαμπέϊ κυανέῳ τε δνόϕῳ σταλείς· ἄχναν δ᾽ ὕπερθε τεᾶν κομᾶν βαθεῖαν παριόντος 27 28

5

10

See Aloni, this vol., 178–9. Text and translation from Campbell 1991, 436–9. Hutchinson 2001 provides an up-to-date commentary.

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Simonides, Pindar and Bacchylides κύματος οὐκ ἀλέγεις, οὐδ᾽ ἀνέμου ϕθόγγον, πορϕυρέᾳ κείμενος ἐν χλανίδι, πρόσωπον καλόν. εἰ δέ τοι δεινὸν τό γε δεινὸν ἦν, καί κεν ἐμῶν ῥημάτων λεπτὸν ὑπεῖχες οὖας. κέλομαι 〈δ᾽〉, εὗδε βρέφος, εὑδέτω δὲ πόντος, εὑδέτω 〈δ᾽〉 ἄμετρον κακόν· μεταβουλία δέ τις ϕανείη, Ζεῦ πάτερ, ἐκ σέο· ὅττι δὲ θαρσαλέον ἔπος εὔχομαι ἢ νόσϕι δίκας, σύγγνωθί μοι.

15

20

25

When in the intricately-carved chest the blasts of wind and the troubled water prostrated her in fear, with streaming cheeks she put her loving arm about Perseus and said, ‘My child, what suffering is mine! But you sleep, and with babyish heart slumber in the dismal boat with its brazen bolts, sent forth in the unlit night and dark blue murk. You pay no attention to the deep spray above your hair as the wave passes by nor to the sound of the wind, lying in your purple blanket, a lovely face. If this danger were a danger to you, why, you would turn your tiny ear to my words. Sleep, my baby, I tell you; and let the sea sleep, and let our vast trouble sleep. Let some change of heart appear from you, father Zeus. If anything in my prayer is audacious or unjust, pardon me.’

Simonides had the imagination to survey the entire narrative arc of the Danae/ Perseus story and spot the dramatic potential of precisely this moment: what went on in that little vessel? What went through the young girl’s mind? The special effect of pathos is a function not so much of the mise en scène itself (which could have been handled any number of ways) as of the use of soliloquy: the poet externally dramatises the anxious interior thought of his character. Homer, who likewise tends not to represent inner thought indirectly, customarily has recourse to the fairly artificial device of making his characters address their θυμός out loud, not something most of us actually tend to do, no matter how distressed. Simonides sets up Danae’s soliloquy much less awkwardly: he has her speak to her sleeping infant, something that mothers everywhere do. Danae comes across as extremely likable. Why? Her gentle love for her baby is obviously part of it, as is also the modesty and mildness of her concluding complaint to Zeus; but much more is owed to the dramatic technique itself: first, since her addressee is a sleeping infant and as such at a double remove from comprehending (to say nothing of responding to) her speech, she is licensed to pour out her heart; so we feel that we are hearing the real person. But there is something more to what Simonides is doing with the technique of 251 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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soliloquy here. In introducing the passage Dionysius says it is spoken by Danae τὰς ἑαυτῆς ἀποδυρομένη τύχας. This seems unfair; it looks like a stock formula for ‘female character wailing over her afflictions’, which is exactly what we feel Danae is not doing: her words are dignified and emotionally generous. We are not overhearing the interior monologue of someone wallowing in self-pity, but the measured expressions of anxiety, grief and love of a mother speaking to, or rather, about, her imperilled child. This quality of Danae’s character is a product of the dramatic arrangement, which allows us to see her attention focusing ever more on her addressee. She begins with ‘what suffering is mine!’; but she is speaking to the baby she holds, and as she studies him her concern becomes wholly invested in him: ‘Sleep my baby, I tell you; and let the sea sleep, and let our vast trouble sleep’. It is in terms of the child’s need for sleep that the whole set of dire circumstances, including the physical world, is now conceived. She had begun in apparent amazement that the baby could continue unawakened in the face of ‘what suffering is mine’; by the end, she is enjoining him to sleep on. The old Homeric dramatic technique of representing inner thought in direct speech, of taking the words out of the character’s private thoughts and putting them into speech so that an outside audience can have access to them, is used here to take the speaker psychologically out of herself, and into the plight of another, her baby. Simonides was evidently a very creative student of his inherited tradition. It is unfortunate that we have no idea when in his career this wonderful piece was written, but it would be very interesting to know if Simonides was at all influenced by soliloquy techniques he observed in Athenian drama, or if perhaps the tragedians learned something of their own techniques from him. The Greater Dionysia made mutual awareness unavoidable. Pindar The chief passage to be discussed in this section comes from his epinikia, but informed appreciation of Pindar can be founded only on a consideration of all his remains, the non-epinikian fragments of which are substantial. In particular, the Oxyrhynchus papyrus finds have delivered to us very substantial portions of the book of paeans, and there are significant fragments of hymns, dithyrambs, partheneia, hyporchêmata and enkômia, as well (the thrênoi are very meagrely represented), and other substantial fragments (like 169a, part of which is memorably quoted at Plato’s Gorgias 484b) have survived without book-assignment.29 29

Paeans: Rutherford 2001a; dithyrambs: Weiden 1991 and Lavecchia 2000; enkômia: Groningen 1960; thrênoi: Cannatà Fera 1990.

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Here we will begin with the opening of the ninth Olympian ode, composed for the wrestling victory of Epharmostus of Opous (in Lokris, on the east coast of the Greek mainland, opposite Euboea) in the Olympics of 466, i.e., when Pindar was in his 50s:30 Τὸ μὲν Ἀρχιλόχου μέ λος ϕωνᾶεν Ὀλυμπίᾳ, καλλίνικος ὁ τριπλόος κεχλαδώς, ἄρκεσε Κρόνιον παρ᾽ ὄχθον ἁγεμονεῦσαι κωμάζοντι ϕίλοις Ἐϕαρμόστῳ σὺν ἑταίροις· ἀλλὰ νῦν ἑκαταβόλων Μοισᾶν ἀπὸ τόξων Δία τε ϕοινικοστερόπαν σεμνόν τ᾽ ἐπίνειμαι ἀκρωτήριον Ἄλιδος τοιοῖσδε βέ λεσσιν, τὸ δή ποτε Λυδὸς ἥρως Πέ λοψ ἐξάρατο κάλλιστον ἕδνον Ἱπποδαμείας· πτερόεντα δ᾽ ἵει γλυκύν Πυθῶνάδ᾽ ὀϊστόν· οὔτοι χαμαιπετέ ων λόγων ἐϕάψεαι, ἀνδρὸς ἀμϕὶ παλαίσμασιν ϕόρμιγγ᾽ ἐλελίζων κλεινᾶς ἐξ Ὀπόεντος. αἰνήσαις ἓ καὶ υἱόν, ἃν Θέ μις θυγάτηρ τέ οἱ σώτειρα λέ λογχεν μεγαλόδοξος Εὐνομία. θάλλει δ᾽ ἀρεταῖσιν σόν τε, Κασταλία, πάρα Ἀλϕεοῦ τε ῥέ εθρον· ὅθεν στεϕάνων ἄωτοι κλυτάν Λοκρῶν ἐπαείροντι ματέ ρ᾽ ἀγλαόδενδρον. ἐγὼ δέ τοι ϕίλαν πόλιν μαλεραῖς ἐπιϕλέ γων ἀοιδαῖς, καὶ ἀγάνορος ἵππου θᾶσσον καὶ ναὸς ὑποπτέ ρου παντᾷ ἀγγελίαν πέ μψω ταύταν, εἰ σύν τινι μοιριδίῳ παλάμᾳ ἐξαίρετον Χαρίτων νέ μομαι κᾶπον· κεῖναι γὰρ ὤπασαν τὰ τέ ρπν᾽·

5

10

15

20

25

The song of Archilochus resounding at Olympia, that triumphal hymn swelling with three refrains, sufficed for Epharmostos to lead the way by Kronos’ hill as he celebrated with his close companions, but now, from the far-shooting bows of the Muses shoot a volley of arrows such as these at Zeus of the red lightning and at the sacred hilltop of Elis, which Pelops, the Lydian hero, once won as the fairest dowry of Hippodameia; and cast a sweet winged arrow at Pytho. You will surely take up no words that fall to the ground, while making the lyre vibrate in honour of the wrestling 30

Text as in S-M, translation of this and other Pindar passages in this section, except where otherwise indicated, from Race 1997.

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The Cambridge Companion to Greek Lyric of a man from famous Opous. Praise the son and his city, which Themis and her glorious daughter, saving Order, have as their allotment. It flourishes with achievements by your stream, Kastalia, and that of Alpheos; the choicest of crowns won there exalt the Lokrians’ famous mother city with its splendid trees. But as for me, while I light up that dear city with my blazing songs, more swiftly than either a high-sprited horse or a winged ship I shall send this announcement everywhere, if with the help of some skill granted by destiny I cultivate the choice garden of the Graces, for it is they who bestow what is delightful.

The speaker here exhibits a pronounced personality. As often, the poem opens with comments upon itself; the tendency to self-reflexivity is highly developed in Pindar.31 Lines 1–5 tell us that one song was suitable for celebration at Olympia, but now another kind is needed. Imperatives immediately succeed; to whom are they addressed? Is this a chorus-leader speaking to his chorus (or a kômos-leader speaking to his band)? Perhaps, or perhaps only by dramatic fiction: since these poems regularly refer to their future reperformance, the one constant is the presence of an audience; so here the audience, rather than some (perhaps imaginary anyway) subset of performers, is the real, if, by the terms of the fiction, indirect, addressee. The stage directions are not literally aimed at a chorus (or kômos), but rather constitutive of one. We do not know if epinikia were as a rule performed by a soloist (the poet himself?) or by a trained chorus,32 but the dichotomy may be misleading: a song like Ol. 9 is designed to create its own party, chorus or kômos, wherever it is performed, whoever performs it, whoever hears it. The speaker apostrophises even remote places (Kastalia, 17), lending further strength to the impression that these directives are not to be taken literally. The effect of them is to make the speech situation inclusively threedimensional: there are people in it over here, over there, even in Delphi – all are brought in. Once the speaker has staked out his territory in this way, though, he quickly foregrounds himself, the poet (ἐγὼ δέ ‘but as for me’, 21) and the present poem (ἀγγελίαν … ταύταν ‘this announcement’, 25). This constant, rapid change of pragmatic focus, accomplished especially by means of imperatival expressions and apostrophes, is one of the most distinctive features of Pindar’s style, and one not shared by Simonides (as far as we can tell) or Bacchylides. Pindar’s language is legendarily hard to follow; this penchant for making the deictic markers jump around in unpredictable directions contributes to the difficulty. We must wonder if even the original target audience could take 31

See Slater 1969.

32

Note 17 above.

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it all in. Consider the word αἰνήσαις in line 14: it is morphologically and syntactically ambiguous; the text and translation above assume it to be an optative, in the wish construction idiomatically used as the equivalent of an imperative: ‘Praise the son and his city’. But Pindar uses the ‘Aeolic’ forms of the active participles (i.e. in -αισ-, -οισ-), so that the form here might be taken as an aorist participle in agreement with the subject of ἐϕάψεαι and parallel to ἐλελίζων (with a comma rather than semicolon after ἐξ Ὀπόεντος): ‘giving praise to the son and his city’. The choice between the two is hard to make on scholarly grounds, but the decision will affect the tone and rhetorical rhythm of the sentence. How would an ancient Greek audience have resolved the ambiguity, or would they not have felt it was critical to do so (a perhaps disquieting possibility)? We cannot give a confident answer,33 but we can observe that Pindar poses this kind of problem far more often than does Bacchylides (that is, where textually sound). Also causing difficulty is the liveliness of the thought, which seems to fly off in as many unforeseeable directions as the deictic markers do. The poem begins with a literary reference: a victory song by Archilochus, in some sense ‘triple’, and apparently sung by or to victors at Olympia. Ancient scholars, who debated the passage, do not seem to have had a full text of whatever Archilochus poem is referred to, but they agreed that the victorious hero in question was Heracles, one of the founders of the Olympic games.34 This traditional song, Pindar tells us, was adequate for on-the-spot celebration, but the present celebration requires the Muses. At one level it is surely right to see in this ‘a contrast between the spontaneous celebration of Epharmostus’ victory at the site of the Olympic games and the elaborate epinician ode which is now being sung in Opous’.35 But at another that gets things backwards: the celebration at the games may have been spontaneous, but the Archilochean song sung in it was not: it is a pre-existing text that can be used for any or all Olympic victors. Much of the speaker’s boast begun in line 5 is that the song now begun is by contrast a unique ad hoc inspiration from the Muses: another purpose of the faux-komastic stage-business described above is to reinforce this air of inspired spontaneity. At yet a third level, the original audience was conscious, as we are, that the present song was composed by the poet long beforehand, and rehearsed by him and the performer(s), if they differed; so for the performer(s) this song was as scripted as the Archilochus was, but for at least that first audience, it was also completely new and original, unlike what was sung at Olympia. Pindar revels in drawing these nicely paradoxical distinctions. 33 34

See Gerber 2002, 26 f. for a survey of the possibilities. See Gerber 2002, 21–3 and Fuhrer 1992, 187. 35 Gerber 2002, 21.

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He also likes to leave much latent in the text, another source of obscurity. Heracles is alluded to by way of Archilochus. The transition (5–8) concludes with the Muses’ arrows metaphorically strafing the hill of Elis. To this geographical feature a relative clause is immediately attached: τὸ δή ποτε, followed by a bit of aetiological background: it looks as if the ode’s major myth is under way and we are about to hear the story of the Olympic games’ other founder, Pelops, treated at length (cf. Ol. 1.25). But this expectation is instantly defied in yet another dramatic change of direction: the victor had also won at the Pythian games, so, with πτεροέντα δ᾽ ἵει γλυκύν | Πυθῶνάδ᾽ ὀϊστόν, ‘and cast a sweet winged arrow at Pytho’, Pindar now directs our attention there. (He then moves on to another venue, the victor’s homeland, and from there to himself (21).) What is remarkable about the six-word excursion to the Pythian games is a latent effect: ἵει … Πυθῶνάδ᾽ ὀϊστόν is another ambiguous utterance. At the surface level of the metaphorical darts of the Muses, it means ‘shoot an arrow at Pytho’, i.e. the region of Delphi; but taken literally it can mean, ‘shoot an arrow at Python’, i.e. the dragon Apollo killed to take possession of Delphi, which act was the primal, foundational victory of the Pythian games.36 The imperative ἵει, brought in by the surface imagery of the ‘far-shooting bows of the Muses’, on this other level alludes to the paean-cry (ἰὴ παιάν, or variants), which also originated on the occasion of Python’s slaying.37 Like his contemporary Aeschylus, Pindar seems to have been accorded classic status early on, perhaps during his own lifetime, and maintained it for a long time. The Alexandrians’ fascination with his poetic techniques is partly responsible for this, but Horace’s Pindar is very different to Callimachus’.38 His reception into modern European poetry is a complicated and surprising study that cannot be entered into here (see chs. 18 and 19), but there is something impressive and sobering about a body of poems that could serve as an ideal of the unfettered Romantic sublime for one generation and of cold rhetorical calculation for another. Bacchylides There is a fairy-tale quality to the story of Bacchylides’ fate in the modern era: ‘Of B.’s works, only a handful of lines were known from quotations and 36

37

38

‘At Pytho’ implies Πυθῶνάδε, whereas ‘at Python’ would be Πύθωνάδε. In strophic melic composition accent is overridden by melody, so the distinction is immaterial; see West 1992a, 198f. Among the scholars who studied the opening of Ol. 9 was Callimachus, who took over Pindar’s aetiology of the paean-cry, and much of his language, for his own hymn to Apollo (97–103); cf. fr. 384.37–9. On Horace and Pindar, see Fraenkel 1957, 426–40.

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anthologies when the great papyrus [P.Lond. inv. 733, a detail on the front cover of this volume] was discovered’ and thereby ‘returned to students of Classical Literature an author whom they had reason to believe no one had read for almost thirteen hundred years’.39 The initial reaction to the new finds was, however, one of disappointment; many felt that Pseudo-Longinus’ disadvantageous comparison of the poet to Pindar had been vindicated (Subl. 33):40 Take lyric poetry: would you rather be Bacchylides or Pindar? Take tragedy: would you rather be Ion of Chios or Sophocles? Ion and Bacchylides are impeccable, uniformly beautiful writers in the polished manner; but it is Pindar and Sophocles who sometimes set the world on fire with their vehemence, for all that their flame goes out often without reason and they collapse dismally.

There may be something to this. Bacchylides has excellent virtues, but we may suspect that, as Truman Capote said of Gore Vidal, no one’s life has ever been changed by reading his work. Here is the major surviving narrative section of his thirteenth ode, written in honour of Pytheas, a scion of a distinguished Aeginetan family and victor in the pankration at the Nemean games, some time in the 480s:41 τῶν υἷας ἀερσιμάχ[ας, ταχύν τ᾽ Ἀχιλλέα εὐειδέος τ᾽ Ἐριβοίας παῖδ᾽ ὑπέρθυμον βοά[σω Αἴαντα σακεσϕόρον ἥ[ρω, ὅστ᾽ ἐπὶ πρύμνᾳ σταθ[εὶς ἔσχεν θρασυκάρδιον [ὁρμαίνοντα ν[ᾶας θεσπεσίῳ πυ[ρὶ καῦσαι Ἕκτορα χαλ[κοκορυστά]ν, ὁππότε Πη[λεΐδας τρα[χ]εῖαν [ἐν στήθεσσι μ]ᾶνιν

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ὠρίνατ[ο, Δαρδανίδας τ᾽ ἔλυσεν ἀ[λγέων· οἳ πρὶν μὲν [πολύπυργο]ν [Ἰ]λίου θαητὸν ἄστυ οὐ λεῖπον, ἀτυζόμενοι [δέ πτᾶσσον ὀξεῖαν μάχα[ν, εὖτ᾽ ἐν πεδίῳ κλονέω[ν 39 40 41

The successive quotations are from Maehler 2004, 28 and Stern 1970, 290. Translation by Russell in Russell and Winterbottom 1972, 492f. Text as in Maehler 1982–97, with some adjustments from Barrett 2007, 232–88; translation from Campbell 1992, slightly modified.

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Of their [i.e., Peleus’ and Telamon’s] battle-shouldering sons I shall shout aloud, swift Achilles and the high-spirited child of fair Eriboea, Ajax, shield-bearing hero, who stood on the stern and kept off bold-hearted bronze-helmeted Hector as he strove to burn the ships with awful fire, after Peleus’ son had stirred up fierce anger (in his breast) and freed the Dardanids from their distress: previously they would not leave the marvellous (many-towered) city of Ilium, but in bewilderment cowered in fear of the keen fighting, whenever Achilles went on his furious rampage in the plain, brandishing his murderous spear; but when the fearless son of the violet-crowned Nereid ceased from the fight – as on a darkblossoming sea Boreas rends sailors’ hearts with the billows, coming face to face with them as night rises up, but ceases on the arrival of dawn which gives light to mortals, and a gentle breeze levels the sea, and they belly out their sail before the south wind’s breath and eagerly reach the dry land which they had despaired of seeing again; so when the Trojans heard that the spearman Achilles was remaining in his tent on account of the blonde woman, lovely-limbed Briseis, they stretched up their hands to the gods, since they saw the bright gleam under the storm cloud [and brought the battle to the Greek ships].

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of the victor’s hometown, Aegina, which leads in turn to her descendants Achilles and Ajax (100, where the quotation above begins). The narrative thus embarked upon is articulated by a sequence of temporal back-andforths: 100, Ajax checked Hector’s onslaught; 110, ὅπποτε (back a step in time), when Achilles’ withdrawal had given new courage to the Trojans; 114, οἳ πρὶν μὲν (back another step), who before would not leave their city (118, εὖτ᾽, whenever Achilles joined battle); 121, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτε δή (forward a step to time of 110), but when Achilles withdrew; 124–32, extended ‘Homeric’ simile; 133–156, so also the Trojans (133, ἐπεί, when they learned of Achilles’ withdrawal) took heart and attacked the Greek ships. The papyrus is damaged in the portions covering the narrative’s conclusion, but it is clear that the poet emphasises that at this moment the Trojans conceived false hopes for the future (great hopes . . . that they themselves would return home again and their god-built city would hold feasts, 157–63), and he corrects these misconceptions with a parallel statement of what actually awaits them: they will dye the River Scamander with their blood (164–6). Temporal conjunctions and other markers are deployed here on a more generous scale than is usual for lyric narrative; the aim seems to be to focus intensely on the precise moment of the Trojans’ delusion. It seems likely that the concern with true and false insight into the future somehow connected with the prophecy we can only glimpse part of from the lost early portion of the poem; it is unfortunate that we cannot make out what the point might have been. Bacchylides elsewhere lingers over similar moments of false expectation: the myth of Bacch. 5 M ends with the shade of Meleager cheerfully offering his sister Deianeira to Heracles, and Bacch. 18 M, a dithyramb, ends with Aegeus and the chorus bracing themselves for the arrival of a formidable stranger (in fact Theseus); in both cases the idea seems to be to make us think ‘They’re in for a surprise!’ If we compare the appalling disquiet caused by Sophocles’ ending the Electra without mentioning the Furies, or the Trachiniae without a hint of an apotheosis of Heracles, we may feel that Bacchylides here has come up short once again. What is likely to surprise the hardened Pindarist about the Bacchylides 13 M narrative as a whole is that it is so easy to follow. This effect is not entirely owed to our previous knowledge of the details from the Iliad. Bacchylides has a fundamentally different conception of lyric narrative from Pindar’s; more like Homer, he seems to want to narrate events in such a way that they speak for themselves. Contrast the lead-in to the story of Asclepius in Pindar’s Pythian 3 (8–11): τὸν [i.e. Asclepius] μὲν εὐίππου Φλεγύα θυγάτηρ πρὶν τελέσσαι ματροπόλῳ σὺν Ἐλειθυίᾳ, δαμεῖσα χρυσέ οις 259 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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The word order and syntax seem to have been carefully chosen to magnify the profound oddity of the events described. No English translation can be faithful and remain English. The Loeb translator (W. H. Race) chooses to remain English: ‘Before the daughter of the horseman Phlegyas could bring him to term with the help of Eleithuia, goddess of childbirth, she was overcome by the golden arrows of Artemis in her chamber and went down to the house of Hades through Apollo’s designs’. A more literal non-English version would be: ‘to him before the daughter of horse-breeding Phlegyas gave birth, with mother-tending Eleithyia’s aid, she, laid low with golden arrows by Artemis, descended, in her bedroom, to the house of Hades, through the machinations of Apollo’. The reader may feel as if a boxer has delivered a left-right combo to his or her head. We have here a writer whose knowledge of clarity and simplicity, the virtues most often ascribed to Bacchylides, would seem to have been acquired primarily with a view to pursuing their opposites. He wants us to stop in bewilderment and puzzle things over, not to move gracefully through a sequence of naturally succeeding episodes that honour rational principles like cause and effect. Comparison of B and P is to some extent therefore an instance of ‘apples and oranges’, but if a reader develops a taste for passages like Pythian 3.8–11, Bacchylides may come to seem tepid and thin. There is some chance that Bacchylides was younger than Pindar, however, and we might want to consider the possibility that, even if not younger, he developed his uncluttered style in response to Pindar’s (and Aeschylus’?), as a corrective. By its nature the kind of style Bacchylides aimed at will leave few traces of such influence as it exercises. For the consequences of Pindar’s influence, see Horace, Odes IV 2. Did the two poets influence each other? Some instances of resemblance are notable, and we know that the poets belonged to the same or intersecting social groups, so that some of the conditions of a coterie seem to be present. But judgements about the respective overall talent of each should not be allowed to determine decision on specific cases. Furthermore, the poetry of both uses traditional topoi and conventionalised techniques, so that even establishing the chronological priority of one of two parallel passages need not imply direct dependency. If we think of our own popular song culture we know that at certain times some things are just ‘in the air’. For P and B, consider, for example, the scene with which the surviving fragments of Bacchylides 13 M (the myth of which was examined above) begin: two figures are watching Heracles wrestle with the Nemean lion; one, the speaker, is probably divine or semi-divine, since he or she is delivering a prophecy 260 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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(46–57): ‘see the neck-breaking hand that Perseus’ descendant [i.e. Heracles] lays with all manner of skill on the flesh-eating lion; for the gleaming manmastering bronze refuses to pierce its unapproachable body: his sword was bent back. Truly I declare that one day the Greeks will know sweat and toil here for the garlands of the pancration.’42 A pre-aetiology of the Nemean games is being delivered as a sort of play-by-play commentary on Heracles’ struggle as it unfolds. This seems like it must be an unusual, perhaps unique, narrative setting. But it recurs in Pindar’s Pythian 9, where Apollo calls Chiron out of his cave on Mt Pelion to observe the local princess Cyrene wrestling with, again, a lion; at Apollo’s instigation, Chiron prophesies (for the benefit of the god of prophecy) the marriage of Apollo and Cyrene, the birth of their son Aristaeus, and the founding of the Libyan city to be named after his mother. Bacch. 13 M dates from the 480s, Pythian 9 is assigned by the scholia to 474. Pindar’s seems like the richer realisation, full of wit and magnificent language; but that judgement is probably unfair, given how little survives of Bacchylides’. Was his poem Pindar’s inspiration? Or did both poets start from vase-paintings, for which this arrangement of figures seems more appropriate than it does for literary narrative? The detail of the lion seems unusual enough to suggest that Pindar had Bacchylides in mind. That we can draw some conclusion about Pindar’s opinion of his contemporary is not demonstrated, unfortunately. FURTHER READING

No recent comprehensive treatment exists of Simonides’ work. Two good examples of discussions of individual melic fragments are Most 1994 on 542 PMG and Ford 2002, ch. 4, on 531 and 581. Carson 1999 is not a standard scholarly treatment but valuable for its insights. (For Simonides the elegist, see ch. 9.) The bibliography on Pindar, especially his epinikia, is vast. A serviceable introductory treatment is Race 1986. Willcock’s commentary (1995) is designed as an introductory cursus for the beginner, and succeeds as such. For the poetic and rhetorical conventions of Pindar’s epinikian poetry, and for Greek lyric more widely, Bundy 1962 remains of fundamental importance. Young 1971 and Most 1985 are also literary treatments, not narrowly focused on conventions. Silk 1974 and Steiner 1986 are concerned with literary language. Crotty 1982 discusses Pindaric motifs as expressions not just of literary form but also of the broader world of epinikian performance.

42

Translation: Campbell 1992.

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Most recent work is historicist in emphasis. Krummen 1990 is an excellent attempt to recover the context for some specific odes. Kurke 1991 interprets epinikian poetry as reflecting the conflicting interests of different elements of the audience. Currie 2005 explores its connections with hero cult. Hornblower 2004 juxtaposes Pindar and Thucydides for discussing various aspects of epinikian poetry and its contexts. Stehle 1997 is an interesting treatment of performance context, not just of Pindar. The most important analysis of Pindar’s non-epinikian fragments is Rutherford 2001a, on the paeans. Negri 2004 discusses Hellenistic philological work on Pindar. Three collections present a broad range of articles: Rutherford (forthcoming) reprints important earlier articles on various topics in Pindaric scholarship, Hornblower and Morgan 2007 and Agocs et al. (forthcoming) are devoted to the victory ode and its contexts. Bacchylides is the subject of the monographs Burnett 1985 and Fearn 2007. The commentaries Maehler 2004 and Cairns (forthcoming) can also serve as introductions. Calder and Stern 1970, Pfeijffer and Slings 1999 and Bagordo and Zimmermann 2000 are collections of articles. For a list of editions, commentaries and translations (all three poets) see below, pp. 388–95.

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14 DIMITRIOS YATROMANOLAKIS

Ancient Greek popular song

Field-working scholars in the discipline of ethnomusicology have often suggested that widely endorsed and employed concepts such as ‘folk song’ and ‘popular song’ and their ideological implications may be misleading for context-sensitive and anthropological approaches to expressive culture.1 Viewed in terms of the socio-cultural dynamics of (especially) archaic Greece, these concepts might rather be considered as conventional classificatory terms that have been attached to ancient Greek songs for several centuries. Folk song and folk culture are marked categories that have been emphatically promoted since the eighteenth century. The aim of this chapter is not to investigate the historiography of a significant and influential concept but rather to point to ways of viewing what I shall call the interdiscursivity of ‘literary’ and ‘popular’/‘folk’ songs in archaic, classical and Hellenistic Greece. The problems with the term ‘popular song’ do not lie in possible associations with a post-1960s political economy of mass-media-related popular song.2 In the context of this chapter, carmina popularia (as ‘folk/popular songs’, ‘game songs’ and traditional ‘ritual songs’ are collectively labelled in Page’s Poetae Melici Graeci)3 refer to song texts apparently stemming from – and expressing aesthetic thought patterns of – a so-called ancient vox populi (‘people’s voice’). Volkslied (literally ‘people’s song’) is a paradigm widely promoted by Johann Gottfried Herder in the late eighteenth century,4 and since then zealously adopted – and more recently debated – by scholars working in the fields of linguistic anthropology, theory of folklore and

To John Shirley-Quirk. Thanks to Felix Budelmann for continuous intellectual exchange. 1 The study of ancient Greek musical cultures has not yet been constructively exposed to the interdisciplinary and theoretical methodologies of ethnomusicology (or cultural anthropology): see, e.g., Murray and Wilson 2004. 2 On this aspect of ‘popular song’, see Golding and Murdock 2000. For other aspects, see Adorno 2002. 3 Classicists tend to use the terms ‘popular song’ and ‘folk song’ interchangeably. 4 See, especially, Herder 1778/1779.

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ethnomusicology. The term acquired significant dimensions and status in Britain, among other countries, especially in the work and the folksong collections of Cecil Sharp and his numerous followers.5 Influenced by evolutionist models of his time and attempting to detect and implicitly promote cultural continuities with the folk spirit of a rural past, Sharp and other collectors suggested that among the most fundamental elements of folk songs are continuity, variation and selection, as well as oral transmission and anonymity. On different grounds, folk song has further been associated with ‘tribal song’ (the song of non-literate cultures) or ‘uncultivated song’.6 Several of these ideas, especially the notion of communal folk-song creation, have remained tacitly embedded in the thinking and scholarly practice of many classicists.7 Folk or popular songs are often viewed in isolation from the art songs of archaic and classical Greek societies, with the result that ‘great’ and ‘little’ singing traditions, which had almost no interaction, are implicitly constructed.8 When applied especially to the song culture or, more broadly, musical culture of archaic Greece, the concepts of ‘folk song’ – the genuine and anonymous singing voice of ‘common’ people – and ‘popular song’9 may not be apt categories, since, if not taken as conventional markers, they often betray traces of judgement of taste not shared by the transmitters of such song style and repertory.10 Although it is difficult to dispense with classification systems – a sanctioned paradigm especially in the social sciences11 – it is just as significant to think in terms of indigenous concepts, lack of such concepts and blurred ‘dichotomies’. There is no doubt that in archaic, classical and Hellenistic Greece anonymously transmitted song-making traditions existed. These were song repertories that cannot be captured in modern dichotomies of oral and written modes of transmission. In contrast to current scholarly practices in the field of classics, a number of anthropologists and ethnomusicologists who have conducted fieldwork in diverse socio-cultural contexts have warned us 5

6

7 8 9

10 11

Sharp 1907 and 1965; on Sharp and the English folk-song revival, see Sykes 1993 and Boyes 1993. Even in early ethnomusicological writings, ‘folk’ and ‘primitive’ are not defined or distinguished. Nettl 1990 draws a line between ‘folk music’ and ‘tribal music’. Lomax 1959 uses the concepts of ‘folk’ and ‘primitive’ song almost interchangeably. Cf. Bartók 1976, 3–24; 1997, 241–63. In theoretically oriented folklore studies, the concept of ‘vernacular song’ is often preferred: Pickering 1988; Kodish 1983, 132. Dale’s intuitive view (1969, 157) provides an exception. For the problematic notions of ‘great’ and ‘little’ musical traditions, see Babiracki 1991. Outside classics, ‘popular song’ is often distinguished from ‘folk song’ by the former category’s recurrent associations with some kind of ‘professionalism’. For the notion of ‘distinction’ as a modern category of cultural judgement, see Bourdieu 1984. Durkheim and Mauss 1963 has been influential. On classification, see Ellen and Reason 1979 and Ellen 1993.

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that such dichotomies are often based on persisting scholarly constructs. Keeping in mind that for archaic and classical Greece, ‘oral’ and ‘written’ are to be viewed not as elements of absolute binary oppositions (oral modes versus written modes) but as constituents of a qualitative continuum (from oral modes toward written modes), we shall see that these indigenous song-making traditions that we call carmina popularia should be approached as an integral part of a wider musical culture, structural/social elements of which may be homological to the cultural elements of other aspects of ancient Greek societies.12 Archaic Greek sources do not provide emic (indigenous) terms that might suggest a watertight dichotomy between ‘low’ (folk) and ‘high’ poetic/musical traditions. For example, Stesichorus 212.1–2 PMGF, τοιάδε χρὴ Χαρίτων δαμώματα καλλικόμων | ὑμνεῖν, ‘we must sing such public songs of the beautiful-haired Graces’, shows no traces of such a distinction. Damômata derives from the same root as dêmos ‘people’, but does not suggest a ‘low’ as opposed to a ‘high’ tradition.13 In the classical period, the concept of dêmôdês mousikê in Plato’s Phaedo (61a) does not have connotations that rely on a more general understanding of ‘popular song’ as belonging to ‘low’ or ‘high’ culture: for Plato, dêmôdês mousikê, ‘music as popularly understood’ – that is, songs or music in performance and possibly written poetry14 – is distinct from the highest art of the Muses (mousikê) – that is, philosophy (Phaedrus 259d and Republic 548b). From a different perspective, pandêmos mousikê, ‘people’s music’, in Aristoxenus fragment 124 Wehrli (= 28 da Rios) is associated with musical innovations promoted by the so-called ‘New Music’, to which, according to the ancient writers who employ this and other terms,15 mob culture and mass audiences were attracted. In view of the sources considered, ‘folk’ or ‘popular’ songs were not distinguished from ‘literary’ songs through an indigenous term. A comparable case is offered by traditional societies in modern China, where the scholarly term min’ge for ‘folk song’ is not a category shared by local singers and audiences.16 However, by the time of Aeschylus and Aristophanes, when 12

13

14 15 16

To avoid confusion, I have opted for an anthropologically oriented use of the term Greek: it refers to the early modern and contemporary Greek traditions, while ‘ancient Greek’ and ‘medieval Greek’ are employed in connection with the respective chronological periods. Cf. schol. on Aristoph. Peace 797; also Hsch. s.vv. δαμώματα, δαμώμενος and δημώματα (cf. Hsch. s.v. δημώδης and δημοῦσθαι); Pind. Isthm. 8.8 γλυκύ τι δαμωσόμεθα with Carey’s note, and D’Alfonso 1994, 105–19 on damômata. Rowe 1993, 121. Dêmôdê stichidia at Plut. Per. 30 are ‘hackneyed’ verses. See, e.g., σκηνικὴ μουσική in Aristoxenus fr. 76 Wehrli (= 26 da Rios). Tuohy 1999. In traditional societies in Madras (now Chennai) in India, as well as in the central region of Kerala state on the south-west coast of India, ‘classical’ and non-classical (‘folk’) musical genres are not sharply differentiated by local performers and audiences: see Allen 1998 and Groesbeck 1999.

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‘canons’ of archaic lyric classics began to be formed, and when musical professionalism and new changes in musical styles were gradually being established,17 distinctions between ‘art songs’ and ‘popular songs’ might have become pronounced. For example, in Frogs 1297, an influential playwright’s tragic songs are criticised – in a rather exaggerated manner – for producing the sound of ‘popular’ songs: specifically, ‘rope-winders’ songs’.18 At a later period, in the first century CE, Heraclitus employs the word dêmôdes to refer to a popular verse about Apollo being the same as the sun (carm. pop. 860 PMG). It needs to be stressed that, especially in the archaic period, ‘popular songs’ should be viewed not in isolation from what we currently label – or implicitly approach as – archaic literary songs, but as an integral part of a wider plurality of verbal art in archaic Greek expressive culture wherein ‘literary’ songs are in intense interaction with ‘popular songs’. If, as John Blacking emphasises, music is humanly organised sound often reflecting social structuration and practice,19 archaic, classical and Hellenistic musical cultures may be seen, each in its own complexity and social particularity, as vast arenas of dynamic poetic and musical forms that evolved or regressed, intersected and mutated, and – outside the world of some ancient learned critics and cataloguers – often defied genre boundaries in ever-reinvented manners. Such interdiscursivity20 with popular or ‘borderline’ traditions may be traced not only in the wedding songs of Sappho but also in the idylls of Theocritus.21 The proposed interdiscursivity is not related to what a number of scholars have overtly or covertly seen as ‘mixing of genres’, a concept hardly apt at least for the singing traditions of archaic Greece. Genre fluidity and plasticity, enhanced by the use of different musical registers or modes of performance, not accessible or decipherable nowadays, accounted for the lack, or inconsistency of use, of terms to denote diverse singing traditions in archaic Greece. The later ancient concepts of melic, elegiac and iambic, widely employed by modern researchers to classify genres or the surviving texts, and the fragmentariness of material often lead to a tacit marginalisation of the most pervasive musical traditions in archaic and classical Greece, that is, the popular

17 18 19 20

21

Wallace 2003. On Hellenistic canons see Barbantani, this vol., 302–3. On this line, see Dover 1993, 349 and Sommerstein 1996, 272. Blacking 1973. For the concept of interdiscursivity see Yatromanolakis 2003; Yatromanolakis and Roilos 2003, ch. 1; 2005, 15–18; and Roilos and Yatromanolakis, forthcoming. For Theocritus and traditional songs, see Dover 1971, xlix–l and lxi–lxii. Folk-song elements in Sappho’s wedding songs have been discussed by, among others, Page 1955, 119–23 and Bowra 1961, 214–23; cf. Bowra 1936, 453–8, on what he calls ‘popular origins of Aeolic metres’.

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traditions. Elite cultures, if we may employ this generalising term for the social specificities of archaic, classical or Hellenistic Greece, often have or construct their own popular culture, which is in interaction with the popular cultures of each small-scale or large-scale society. What do we know about ancient Greek carmina popularia? Transmitted to us as quotations embedded in ancient references to ritual practices, to children’s games and to songs associated with specific socio-political occasions, carmina popularia are usually presented as functional songs.22 We also have a number of references to work songs, lullabies, sympotic and seasonal songs, but without quoted texts. One of the most extensive carmina popularia is the Rhodian ‘swallow-song’ (carm. pop. 848 PMG),23 performed each year by children in the month of Boedromion: ἠ̑λθˈ ἠ̑λθε χελιδὼν καλὰς ὥρας ἄγουσα, καλοὺς ἐνιαυτούς, ἐπὶ γαστέρα λευκά, ἐπὶ νῶτα μέλαινα. 5 παλάθαν σὺ προκύκλει ἐκ πίονος οἴκου οἴνου τε δέπαστρον τυροῦ τε κάνυστρον· καὶ πύρνα χελιδὼν24 10 καὶ λεκιθίταν οὐκ ἀπωθεῖται· πότερˈ ἀπίωμες ἢ λαβώμεθα; εἰ μέν τι δώσεις· εἰ δὲ μή, οὐκ ἐάσομες· ἢ τὰν θύραν ϕέρωμες ἢ τὸ ὑπέρθυρον ἢ τὰν γυναῖκα τὰν ἔσω καθημέναν· 15 μικρὰ μέν ἐστι, ῥαιδίως νιν οἴσομες. ἂν δὴ †ϕέρηις τι, μέγα δή τι† ϕέροις· ἄνοιγˈ ἄνοιγε τὰν θύραν χελιδόνι· οὐ γὰρ γέροντές ἐσμεν, ἀλλὰ παιδία.

The swallow has come, has come, bringing fine weather, the fine time of year, 22

23

24

Most of them are collected in PMG 847–883; Diehl 1942: carm. pop. frs. 1–53; see also BaudBovy 1983 (Beaton’s 1980 analysis of the Seikilos song is overly speculative but has been adopted by Anderson 1994, 226). For ancient Greek carmina popularia, see the discussions in Pordomingo 1996, Palmisciano 2003a, 2003b and Neri 2003b. On ‘swallow-songs’, see recently Stehle 1997, 39–41, Martín Vázquez 1999 and Alexiou 2002b, 87–94. πύρνα χελιδών is Bergk’s emendation of the transmitted πυρῶν ἁ χελιδών (the latter has been adopted by other editors).

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The Cambridge Companion to Greek Lyric white on its belly, black on its back. 5 You, roll out a fruit-cake from your well-stocked house and a cup of wine and a basket of cheese. The swallow does not 10 refuse wheaten bread nor pulse-bread. Shall we go away or shall we get something? If you are to give us something; if not, we won’t leave you alone. We’ll carry off your door or the lintel of your door or your wife who sits inside; 15 she is little, we’ll easily carry her. If you bring something, let’s hope you bring us something big; open up, open up the door to the swallow; for we are not old men, but little children.

An interesting aspect of this song is its use of anantapodosis in line 13, that is, the reply to the question ‘if you are to give us something’ – left out but easily envisaged to be ‘that will be good’ or ‘that’s fine’ – was rendered by the children through gestures,25 a case where the actual performance supplements the wording of a song. As in other cases of popular songs attributed to or associated with specific historical or legendary figures, the oral tradition related to the swallow-song is connected with the name of Kleoboulos of Lindos, who introduced this kind of begging ‘when there was need for a collection of money’.26 Such a functionalist approach to popular song, reminiscent of Aristides Quintilianus’ view of music and song as always playing a role in specific human activities,27 is evident in most of the quotations of carmina popularia in ancient sources. The kind of functionalism reflected in our sources has contributed to an explicitly or implicitly articulated consensus among classicists, namely that because these songs were composed only for a specific use, they are simpler in structure and are consequently characterised by no intricate aesthetics. This view accords well with the widely adopted theory of a ‘unilinear evolution whereby the art of music progresses ever onward and upward from primitive, through folk and popular, to the fine art’.28 The following formulation by Kenneth Dover is somewhat representative of how we look at the few surviving carmina popularia: ‘I am reluctant to use as evidence those remnants of Greek folksong and cult-song which 25 26

27

Cf. Boegehold 2000, 10. Athenaeus 360d. For the attribution of popular song traditions to legendary poets, see, e.g., carm. pop. 850 PMG. Aristid. Quint. 2.4 (p. 57 Winnington-Ingram). 28 Seeger 1950, 826.

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have survived in citation, for none of them is necessarily of the degree of antiquity which we are seeking; in a culture which produces and values poetry of high quality, subliterate poetry tends to become subliterary and derivative’.29 Unconsciously such a stance has resulted in a depreciatory understanding of ancient Greek traditional songs, which have been lumped together under the rubric ‘folk songs’ – in accordance with the hegemonising practice of adopting ‘the mark of the plural’.30 This, in turn, has often given further prominence to a dichotomy between literary forms – which subscribe to specific genre laws that are respected or transgressed – and popular traditions, which cannot stand up to the standards of sophistication that literary forms display. It is true that anonymously transmitted traditional songs can sometimes be somewhat simpler in structure, with no traces of enjambment, with significant amounts of alliteration and repetition of short formulas. The following song composed in a Greek dialect of Southern Italy may suggest these ideas: Ἥλιο μου, εἴ ποῦ πάει; Μεῖνο νά ντεῖ, πόσον ἔνˈ ὥρια τούτη πού ἀγαπῶ. Ἥλιο μου, πού τόν κόσμον εἴ πραντεῖ, ὥρια σεκούντου τούη εἰ ̑ντε τινό; Ἥλιο μου, πού τόν κόσμον ἔει πρατημένα, ὥρια σεκούντου τούη ἔν ἔει δωμένα.31 My sun, where are you going? Stay here to see how beautiful is the woman I love. My sun, you who walk through the world, a beautiful (woman) like that one have you (ever) seen? My sun, you who have walked through the world, a beautiful (woman) like that one you have never seen.

Traditional songs from Ireland or China display similar structural features, but in these three traditions, and numerous others, we also find more complex, traditional narrative lyric songs rich in metaphor creation and ambiguity.32 Given the fact that by a fluke of transmission, the few surviving 29

30

31

32

Dover 1964, 199 (= 1987, 107). Dover’s is an otherwise perceptive discussion of Archilochus’ compositions from a comparative perspective. Memmi 1991, 85. Memmi uses this concept to describe the way colonisers view the colonised as a depersonalised mass. Polites 1914, 324 (from Corigliano). For other versions of this song, which involve a dialogue between the singer and the sun, with ἥλιε μου, instead of ἥλιο μου, at the beginning of the composition, see Morosi 1870, 14 (from Martano) and Montinaro 1994, 166 (from Calimera). On the ambiguities, complexities and performative elements of traditional Greek songs see Caravelli 1982, Alexiou 2005 and Roilos 1998, 2002, forthcoming. On songs from Crete and their performative and improvisatory context see Herzfeld 1985; cf. Fernandez 1986, 73–129.

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ancient carmina popularia do not include narrative songs, how safe is it to assume that ancient Greek communities had no such ‘folk songs’? Sa. 44 V, a narrative song about the wedding of Hector and Andromache, possibly performed by women at informal female gatherings,33 may provide some clues to this question and point to the kind of interdiscursivity between ‘literary’ and ‘popular’ singing traditions suggested here. Such interdiscursivity, however, exists on different levels. Popular, traditional genres like proverbs and jests/taunts or, more specifically, traditional discursive practices stemming from such genres, often interact with popular songs, to the extent that our investigation into popular song should be further expanded to include other forms of verbal art, in fact the whole continuum of verbal art found in each culture. This line of investigation covers a cultural space encompassing many determinants for each historical period. It is here limited to one case that can be treated only briefly. Again, the evidence is firmer not within the (now fragmentary) realm of ‘popular song’ but in its broader contexts: the musical cultures of archaic Greece. In this respect, it should perhaps be observed that the current understanding of the ‘dividing line’ between ‘popular’ songs and ‘art’ songs (especially in archaic and classical Greece), both in terms of content and performative context, has been partly legitimised by the textual transmission of these two ‘different’ song cultures. Each of these survived in later antiquity by separate processes and by dissimilar cultural mechanisms involved in the creation of canons: the ‘folk songs’ – which have come down to us mainly as individual quotations and not by means of song collections, as in the case of skolia (on which see below)34 – must have been underprivileged already in the editorial practice of ancient scholars, in contrast to the texts by canonical poets. The underexplored case I shall focus on briefly here comes from the canon of archaic lyricists: the embeddedness of proverbs or proverb-like phrases in Alcaeus’ compositions. In fragment 71 V, the singing voice claims: ‘you were a friend – someone to invite to kid and pork; such is the custom in these matters’.35 Proverbial pronouncements include: ‘I am Pitane’ (439 V);36

33

34

35

36

For antiphonal and thematic intricacies in Greek laments (thrênoi and moirologhia) see Alexiou’s influential book (2002a) and Seremetakis 1991; for the medieval Greek tradition see Roilos 2005, 79–111, 2007. For recent studies of thrênoi and ethnographic and comparative material, see Roilos and Yatromanolakis 2002. For the performance and transmission of mythological narratives by women in ancient Greece, see Veyne 1983, 148–9, n. 56 and Buxton 1994, 18–21. In his second-century-CE Onomasticon (the original form of which is lost), Pollux also puts together eighteen children’s songs, παιδιαί (‘games’, ‘game-songs’). Identified as proverbial by an ancient scholium. All translations of the fragments of Alcaeus quoted in this paragraph are from Campbell 1982 (here adapted). Zenob. 5.61 = Phot. 431.7ff. = Sud. Π 1668 ‘this proverb occurs in Alcaeus’.

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‘the sow provokes again’ (393 V);37 ‘now he is master, having moved the stone from the holy line’ (351 V);38 ‘I know indeed, that if one moves gravel, stone not safely workable, one may probably get a sore head’ (344 V).39 An ancient scholium on fragment 74.6 V refers to another traditional metaphor – that of the smouldering log – employed by Alcaeus. If we were to attribute Alcaeus 119 V to Alcaeus,40 we would have a kind of allegory expressed through a traditional, almost proverbial, contrast (lines 9–16): the harvested vine, now old, or the unripe one with sour grapes.41 The use of proverbs or maxim-like phrases contributes to the construction of a poetic discourse that is in dialogue with genre markers of the proverbial tradition and attests to the interdiscursivity of diverse elements of sociocultural discourses. Late archaic and classical Greece developed its own musical cultures, one of which is of special significance for ‘popular song’. Skolia, conventionally translated as ‘drinking-songs’, were thought of as having a long tradition in ancient Greece. A reference in Ps.-Plutarch to a purported ‘invention’ of skolia by the esteemed seventh-century Lesbian kitharode Terpander (‘as Pindar says’; Mus. 28) points to an ancient perception of the possible antiquity or broader geographical associations of this form. The precise motives for such an attribution to Terpander – apparently one of the most significant early pioneers in music, according to later traditions – elude us. Athenaeus (13.573f–574b) quotes an encomiastic composition by Pindar (fr. 122 M),42 in which the singing voice employs this term: ‘But I wonder what the lords of Isthmos will say about me for composing and coming up with a beginning such as this for a honey-minded skolion – to accompany common women’ (ll. 13–15). This is the first occurrence of the term skolion in ancient Greek literature, while a poem which, according to a later source, was attributed to Aristotle (fr. 842 PMG) and categorised as a special type of skolion, is one of the last known compositions to be identified in antiquity as a skolion (a rather complicated case). The term occurs with 37 38 39

40

41

42

The proverb is explained by Diogenian. 8.64 = Apostol. 17.74. See testimonia in Alcaeus 393 V. Explained by Eust. Il. 633.57ff. For this metaphor in Alcaeus, see Porro 1995, 358–60. Cf. Sa. 145 V. For other cases of maxims and traditional metaphors in Alcaeus, see 435 and 438 V; cf. 442 V. Liberman 1999, lxxxvii–xci does not follow Lobel and Page 1955 and Voigt 1971 in attributing frs. 115–128 (A) to Alcaeus. Even his allegories of the ship in trouble at sea (Alcaeus 6 and 208 V) may have had a proverbial basis in archaic Greek cultural discourses. Cf. Archil. 105 and 106, and Solon 9 and 12 W2. It has often been argued that this song was not a skolion and that Pindar manipulates the marked sympotic associations of skolia in the social context of the performance of this song: see, e.g., Bowra 1964, 388–90 (‘an encomium of an unusual kind’).

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frequency in the literature of the classical and Hellenistic eras, especially in comic poets and philosophers. If we start with their possible performance context, skolia have been considered as a late sixth- and fifth-century aristocratic art form.43 Although positing elite circles for the performance of these songs has been a common scholarly practice, skolia may be viewed as relatively short compositions not always or exclusively originating in the context of private elite symposia.44 The performance of the political ideological discourse exploited in the different versions of the Harmodios song45 – a celebrated skolion about the tyrannicides Harmodios and Aristogeiton, who slew the tyrant Hipparchus and symbolically contributed to the emergence of a system of government based on the principle of isonomia or ‘equality of law’ 46 – does not need to be related only to elite origins.47 The song might have circulated in wider contexts and its performative ideology and versions, in the context of the practice of capping (see below), must have been manipulated differently by diverse social groups: ἐν μύρτου κλαδὶ τὸ ξίϕος ϕορήσω ὥσπερ Ἁρμόδιος καὶ Ἀριστογείτων ὅτε τὸν τύραννον κτανέτην ἰσονόμους τˈ Ἀθήνας ἐποιησάτην.

In a myrtle-bough I shall carry my sword like Harmodios and Aristogeiton when they killed the tyrant and made Athens a city of equal rights (isonomous). carm. conv. 893 PMG

It is intriguing that attested (if sometimes imagined) occasions for the performance of skolia include state-sponsored dinners, ritual banquets, elite

43

44

45

46

47

Reitzenstein’s (1893) thorough study has been influential in subsequent discussions and the relative dating of the preserved skolia. For a representative argument that skolia were an aristocratic art form, with specific Attic skolia closely related to specific aristocratic and elite socio-political groups, see Bowra 1936, 402–33; 1961, 373–97. The socio-political ideologies promoted in such songs contributed to the eventual popular heroisation of the Tyrannicides and to the passing of laws against singing slanderous songs about them: Demosthenes 19.280; Hypereides Phil. 3; and discussion in Taylor 1991, 1–12. On the socio-political semantics of isonomia, see Vlastos 1953 and cf. Ostwald 1969, 96–160. The intricate relationship between isonomia, egalitarian society and demokratia is intensively debated. Carm. conv. 893–896 PMG. The debate among historians about the concept of isonomia in the Harmodios song has been extensive and dependent on different arguments about the possible dating of its multiforms.

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symposia, wedding symposia and non-elite symposia.48 I argue that elite or even middling origins of skolia are hard to ascertain. In the late archaic and classical periods, the term skolion refers to a genre associated with certain discursive modalities and a specific mode of performance: its semantic spectrum is primarily defined by the performative occasion of sympotic and related male gatherings. Ancient sources indicate that the central features of the genre included a tendency towards gnomic discourse, maxims and proverbial pronouncements, and a ‘relaxed’ (musical?) mode of composition.49 However, these are not fifth-century-BCE sources and often the term describes or defines a mode or modes of performance rather than actual distinctive thematic and structural elements that made skolia conspicuously different from other songs – sympotic, gnomic and erotic – performed during the ritual consumption of wine. Concerning the ‘relaxed’ mode of skolia, the Lydian harmonia – a ‘relaxed’ mode – might have been suitable for these compositions, and we hear that in Teos (significantly, the birthplace of Anacreon) Pythermus, a Teian poet mentioned by Hipponax or Ananius in one of their verses, composed his skolia in the ‘relaxed’, sympotic Ionian mode.50 Preserved skolia (not unlike Alcaeus’ songs) often display the gnomic character attributed to the genre by later sources and some of them draw on popular proverbs (carm. conv. 903 PMG), logoi (carm. conv. 897 PMG) and animal fables (carm. conv. 892 PMG; cf. 912a PMG): they are gnomic in the tradition of Hesiod and Aesop. The following skolion further provides traces of an intricate meta-poetic reference to its genre, by suggesting to sympotic hetairoi that they should not think ‘crooked thoughts’ (σκολιά) as it performs a fable in the manner of skolia:51 ὁ δὲ καρκίνος ὡ̑ δ’ ἔϕα χαλᾶι τὸν ὄϕιν λαβών· εὐθὺν χρὴ τὸν ἑταῖρον ἔμμεν καὶ μὴ σκολιὰ ϕρονεῖν.

The crab spoke thus, catching the snake in its claw: ‘A comrade ought to be straight and not have crooked thoughts.’

48

49 50

51

See, e.g., schol. Plat. Gorg. 451e (p. 462 Greene); Aristoxenus fr. 125 Wehrli; Aristoph. Wasps 1212–48; Ach. 979–87; Antiphanes Agroikos fr. 3 K-A. Aristoxenus fr. 125 Wehrli; Athen. 694a–c. Athen. 625cd (= carm. conv. 910 PMG). Plato considered the Ionian and Lydian modes soft and sympotic (Republic 398e μαλακαί τε καὶ συμποτικαὶ). On modes in general see Battezzato, this vol., 143–4. Carm. conv. 892 PMG. Cf. Bowie 1986a, 26. See, further, Aesop 211 Hausrath.

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By providing a performative medium for the expression of competition and mistrust among fellow-symposiasts, such compositions promoted a system of proverbial wisdom and ethics that were ‘useful for a man’s life’ (Athenaeus 694c), even in the context of sympotic erotic dalliance (carm. conv. 905 PMG): πόρνη καὶ βαλανεὺς τωὐτὸν ἔχουσˈ ἐμπεδέως ἔθος· ἐν ταὐτᾶι πυέλωι τόν τˈ ἀγαθὸν τόν τε κακὸν λόει. A prostitute and a bathman have constantly the same custom; in the same tub they wash the good man and the bad man.

It is probably, I suggest, because of their highly interdiscursive character with regard to genre that skolia as a genre assimilated a variety of melic and other compositions of the archaic period – and, in turn, many of them were eventually assimilated into more canonical (by the standards of later eras) genres. Based on ancient interpretations, modern attempts to trace the etymological origin of skolion cannot shed light on its encompassing different genre discourses.52 Ancient writers were fond of etymological approaches to skolia: by the first century BCE such diverse etymologies of the term skolion circulated that Didymus decided to collect them in his Symposiaka (fr. 2 Schmidt = Etym. Magn. 718.35–8). One of our most extensive sources about skolia is a collection of twenty-five Attic skolia preserved by Athenaeus (15.693f–695f; three of them quoted above).53 Scholarly consensus dates them to the fifth century BCE, but absolute certainty is hardly possible given the performative transmission of such collections. Athenaeus (15.364a–b) further refers to an analysis by Artemon of Cassandreia (second or first century BCE?) of the so-called ‘three types of skolia’. However, other sources attribute this analysis to Dicaearchus (late fourth century BCE): in his treatise On Musical Contests,54 Dicaearchus apparently explained that the first type was sung by all participants together, the second type by individuals in sequence, one after the other, and the third by the most sagacious and quick-witted performers in haphazard order. Capping, a socially embedded practice in ancient Greece, was central to the performance of skolia, which were often sung or recited by participants holding a twig of laurel or myrtle that was passed on to the next performer who would attempt to cap the previous song. The second ‘type’ of skolia is of significance for us here. It might perhaps be identified

52

53 54

For the variety of compositions by archaic poets that were called skolia, see Harvey 1955, 162 and Vetta 1983, 119–20. For recent etymological interpretations of the term skolion, see the survey in Collins 2004, 85–7, esp. n. 5. Some of them are also preserved in other sources. Dicaearchus fr. 88 Wehrli (= Mirhady 2001, 90–2, fr. 89).

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with the twenty-five Attic skolia preserved in Athenaeus, although this assumption lends a rather limited scope to the possible modes of performance of any of these skolia in elite, public and popular symposia or similar gatherings in Greek antiquity.55 The performative mode of these short compositions (comprised of four lines or a couplet in metres of Aeolic type) – more than one version is preserved for some – may be constructively compared with ‘spontaneous’ verse from Asturias in northern Spain, explored in pioneer fashion by the anthropologist James Fernandez.56 In these improvised verse exchanges in northern rural Spain, Fernandez saw the paradoxical quality of ‘aggressivity in commensality’ or ‘manipulation in mutuality’. In this context, we need to bear in mind that capping must have involved some form of improvisation, an element of ‘performance genres that are not prescriptively notated’.57 Some of the songs that capped previous songs should have been ad hoc improvised compositions,58 either based on the theme and performative mode of previously recited songs – at other sympotic occasions and/or at that particular drinking party – or adapting well-known songs. The more talented the performer, the more impressive will have been the configurations of individual creativity, traditional referentiality and improvised adaptation. It is in this kind of improvised song as well as in the twenty-five skolia preserved in Athenaeus that we find traces of interdiscursivity between ‘literary song’ and ‘popular song’. When known ‘lyric’ compositions gradually acquire a touch of anonymity, which can be manipulated in diverse ways in sympotic contexts, the apparent dividing line between the singing voice of an archaic poet like Alcaeus (249.6–9 V) and improvised song becomes blurred. Four lines of this particular song by Alcaeus (6–9) ended up being performed as an autonomous skolion in Attic symposia (carm. conv. 891 PMG).59 The twenty-five skolia preserved in Athenaeus represent, I suggest, borderline cases lying between ‘literary song’ and ‘popular song’. Furthermore, in the context of a drinking-party – a melting-pot of performance genres – genre fluidity is pronounced, since diverse compositions are detached from their original performative context and become skolia. This genre interdiscursivity cannot have remained unaffected by more popular performance genres. And in an atmosphere of ‘manipulation in mutuality’ or ‘aggressivity in commensality’ favoured by symposiasts, performative modes of popular song and ‘literary song’ often meet – creatively or aggressively. 55 56

57 59

On non-elite sympotic gatherings, see Wilkins 2000, 202–11 and Fisher 2000. Fernandez 1986, 73–102 (orig. publ. New Literary History 8, 1976–7, 459–83). Quotation from his p. 74. Sawyer 1999, 121. 58 Cf. Smyth 1900, civ; Vetta 1983, 117–31; also Collins 2004, 92. See Yatromanolakis, this vol., 214.

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FURTHER READING

Except for certain sections in Lambin 1992, there is no synthesis of ancient Greek popular song in its wider socio-cultural contexts. For skolia, Reitzenstein’s 1893 wide-ranging study is still significant. Two more recent contributions, Fabian et al. 1991 and Fabbro 1995, provide interesting discussions of carmina convivalia. Collins 2004, 84–134 is a recent overview. On skolia and sympotic songs, Vetta 1983 offers much that is valuable.

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15 ERIC CSAPO AND PETER WILSON

Timotheus the New Musician

Timotheus was born in Miletus about 450 and died about 360 BCE. His professional activity can be traced from about 415 BCE into the fourth century. Timotheus is said to have written nineteen kitharodic nomoi, eighteen dithyrambs, twenty-one hymns, an unknown number of enkômia, thirty-six preludes (prooimia) ‘and some other pieces’.1 Of the kitharodic nomoi there survive: about a third of the Persians; a single line of Artemis (unless this is a hymn), and nothing more than the titles of Nauplius and Niobe.2 Certainly dithyrambs and known by title only are Mad Ajax, Elpenor, Birthpangs of Semele and Skylla.3 Possibly dithyrambic is Cyclops, of which six lines survive. We also know the titles Laertes and Sons of Phineus, both of unknown genre. Though little verse and no music remains, there is plentiful evidence to show how the ancients reacted to Timotheus. From antiquity to modernity these reactions have been extreme. Indeed the history of Timotheus is the story of his reception – and at the heart of the story is the controversial ‘New Music’. Timotheus’ activity spans the most volatile and most creative period in the history of Greek music. He overlaps with other innovators, conspicuous for their efforts to develop the musical potential of song: Melanippides (c. 475–415 BCE), Euripides (c. 480–406 BCE), Phrynis (c. 460–400 BCE), Agathon (c. 450–399 BCE), Cinesias (c. 450–390 BCE), Telestes (c. 450–390 BCE), Crexus (c. 440–380 BCE) and Philoxenus (c. 435–380 BCE). Of all these poets the ancients considered Timotheus the most innovative. He soon came to symbolise the innovations of New Music generally.

1 2

3

Suda τ 620; cf. Steph. Byz. s.v. ‘Miletos’. If Anth. Pal. 9.429 (Crinagoras) and 11.185 (Lucillius), and Suet. Nero 21.2, 39.3 are evidence that Niobe and Nauplius were nomoi. Unless the ascription of P.Berol. 6870 to Timotheus’ Mad Ajax (Del Grande 1947, 89–90 and Bélis 1998) and P.Hibeh 693 + P.Heidelb. 178 to Elpenor or Skylla (Gerhard 1938, 26–38 and Del Grande 1947, 92–9) are correct.

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The term ‘New Music’ is a modern one, however, and it is misleading in that it suggests a coherent movement with an articulated aesthetic or artistic agenda. For this there is no evidence. Though we do hear of active collaboration between Timotheus and Euripides, and have proof of conscious imitation by one poet of the other,4 the evidence for relations between this group generally suggest rivalry rather than collaboration. Reception Modern The magnitude of Timotheus’ innovations has been compared to ‘the transition from eighteenth-century Classicism to nineteenth-century Romanticism’; more specifically, for sheer violence, West compares the criticism levelled at Timotheus with that aimed at Beethoven.5 Beethoven at least had the last laugh. Literary histories still continue to give Timotheus bad press and short shrift. In 1902 a papyrus was found containing the last 240 lines of Timotheus’ Persians, the largest continuous chunk of ancient Greek lyric poetry, with the exception only of Pindar’s odes. Scholarship showed little pleasure in this stroke of fortune. Kenyon, after denouncing Timotheus as ‘a curiosity, a monstrosity’ who ‘contradicts in every respect the ideals of Hellenic art and taste’, expressed the fervent hope that such an addition to our knowledge of Greek literature ‘for the credit of Greek literature, will not be repeated’.6 This was only the beginning of an orgy of vituperation not seen since Timotheus’ lifetime. Pickard-Cambridge complained that Timotheus ‘did not know where to stop’, his expressions were ‘simply grotesque and ridiculous’, and his ‘libretto vapid and silly’.7 Rose condemned him as ‘a most degenerate poet’ whose language ‘exhibits every possible type of bad taste, including wanton obscurity’, and whose metre was ‘restless and undignified, suggesting the modern horrors of “jazz”’.8 Levi cried ‘ghastly’, ‘awful’, and ‘sad proof’ of ‘the decline of lyric poetry’.9 Schmid and Stählin extended their disapproval of Timotheus to all other New Music as a ‘mere fashionmongering without permanence’, anticipating Segal’s curiously Platonic ‘taste formed by the mob’.10 Many historians of Greek literature felt it the better part of discretion to ignore Timotheus and New Music altogether.11 Otherwise he could be dismissed with two or three sentences,12 a single 4 6 9 11 12

5 Porter 1994, 199–207. Romanticism: West 1992a, 371; Ieranò 1997, 316–17. 7 8 Kenyon 1919, 5. Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 51. Rose 1951, 316. Levi 1985, 266, 382, 396. 10 Schmid and Stählin 1946, 516; Segal 1985b, 243. Most prominently: Norwood 1925; Campbell 1983; Romilly 1985; Gerber 1997a. Hadas 1950, 64; Levi 1985, 382; Dihle 1994, 129.

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sentence13 or a footnote.14 Peremptory mention might even take the form of brief comment on a fragment of the minor comic poet Pherecrates.15 Popularity in antiquity One might have thought that Greece’s most innovative poet would arouse more interest. But what of the most popular lyric poet in antiquity? Extant sources attest to as many as fifteen revivals (one annual) of Timotheus’ music in public theatres, stretching from the fourth BCE to the third century CE.16 No lyric poet has anything approaching this record of ancient reperformance: we hear next to nothing of the public reperformance of Pindar’s songs.17 By the fourth century BCE Timotheus’ songs were not only performed but widely cited and read. Maxims from Timotheus’ poetry came readily to the lips of Greeks living in Asia as early as the beginning of the fourth century.18 The earliest Greek papyrus found in Egypt (c. 350–325 BCE) is a text of Timotheus’ Persians. Fourth-century comedy regularly quoted and paraphrased Timotheus. Aristotle refers to his poetry six times to exemplify his arguments in the Poetics and Rhetoric, only once feeling it necessary to identify the author by name. In Metaphysics Aristotle cites Timotheus as an example of one who set the modern standard of lyric poetry. By Aristoxenus’ day mainstream professional kitharodes emulated Timotheus’ style at a time when musicians generally dismissed Pindar and Simonides as ‘archaic’.19 In Hellenistic times Timotheus was a classic commanding stintless veneration in even the most conservative backwaters of Greece. Polybius boasts that from childhood his compatriots learned Timotheus’ songs by heart; and in c. 170 BCE Cretan cities honoured a foreign ambassador who charmed his hosts by performing Timotheus in the theatre, ‘as befits an educated/cultivated man’.20 No literary canon of dithyrambic poets, however short, excludes him.21 At the famous library of Pergamon a statue (or bust) of Timotheus appeared alongside such Ionian greats as Homer, Alcaeus and Herodotus (but also with the obscure Balakros and Apollonios who provided

13 15 17

18 19

20 21

Baldry 1951, 114; Kirkwood 1974. 14 Kranz 1960, 241 n.1. Murray 1937, 278; Kranz 1960, 241–2. 16 Collected by Hordern 2002. Currie 2004. Unlike the work of earlier lyric poets, Timotheus’ lyrics may normally have been reperformed in their original musical setting. Plut. Ages. 14.603d. Anaxandrides fr. 6 K-A; Antiphanes fr. 110 K-A; Menander fr. 167 K-A; Aristot. Poet. 1448a15 (by name), 1454a30, 1457b22, 1461b31–2, Rhet. 1407a17–18, 1415a (but see Hordern 2002, 250–1), 1412b36, Metaph. A 993b15; Ps.-Plut. De mus. 20–1. Polyb. 4.20.8–12; I.Cret. I 66, no. 11, lines 10–11. Diod. Sic. 14.46.6; Dion. Hal. Comp. 6.19.8; Ps-Plut. De mus. 1135d.

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mandatory Macedonian content).22 ‘Timotheus’ kithara’ was a tourist attraction in the centre of second-century CE Sparta (and possibly identified by a curious document, forged and inscribed(?) at about the same time and purporting to be the ancient decree ordering its confiscation).23 In Timotheus’ home town of Miletus, we hear of musicians called ‘Timotheasts’, presumably dedicated to the spirit or substance of Timotheus’ music, like Homeridae for Homer, as late as the third century CE.24 Modern scholarship’s protestations of Timotheus’ ephemerality are belied by over six hundred years of ancient history. In antiquity he outshone and outperformed all the ancient lyric poets to whose credit modern scholars compare him. We learn, at any rate, from Timotheus’ own words (802 PMG) of an early victory, probably c. 415 BCE, over Phrynis, the then most famous kitharode in Greece.25 Soon afterwards Pherecrates’ Cheiron (a comedy of c. 400 BCE) recognised Timotheus as the most notorious contemporary lyricist. Anecdotes attest his celebrity and success; a fragment of Alexander the Aetolian (c. 315–227 BCE) claims that ‘all Greece honoured Timotheus for his skill with the kithara and for his songs’.26 In the last decade of the fifth century BCE Timotheus received an invitation from the Macedonian king, Archelaus, to reside at his court, an honour bestowed only upon the most renowned artists of the day, the tragedians Euripides and Agathon, the epic poet Choerilus and the painter Zeuxis.27 All the considerable criticism directed against Timotheus and the other ‘New Musicians’ from the comic stage and the scholar’s study is predicated on a high degree of achieved agonistic success. It is, in fact, largely motivated by that success. Music critics The negative reaction of modern critics is largely prepared by ancient musical criticism stretching back to the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. Ancient critics certainly conceded that Timotheus was the most innovative musician and composer of antiquity. Pherecrates declared that Timotheus’ musical innovations far surpassed those of Melannipides, Cinesias and Phrynis; Aristoxenus credited Timotheus with ‘the greatest possible innovation’; Pseudo-Plutarch calls him a ‘greater lover of novelty’ (philokainoteros) than any earlier poet; 22 23 24 26

27

I.Pergamon 200. Paus. 3.12.10; Boeth. Mus. 1.1. On the decree, see Prauscello 2009 with further literature. I.Didyma 181.5. 25 Plut. Mor. 539c = Timoth. 802 PMG. Dio Chrys. Or. 32.67, 33.57; Zenob. Athous 2.47 (Timoth. 790 PMG); Alexander Aet. apud Macrob. Sat. 5.22.4–5 (Timoth. 778 PMG). Timotheus in Macedon: Plut. Mor. 334b and 177b; Stephanus of Byzantium 452–3 Meineke = FGE anon. 124a.

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Satyrus speaks of his ‘breaking new paths’ (kainotomia) and Plutarch of his ‘novelty-creation’ (kainopoiia); Proclus ends a list of innovators by saying that Timotheus ‘brought the nomos to its present condition’.28 From the fourth century BCE till late antiquity Timotheus marked the threshold between ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’ music.29 The problem was that the critics – almost to a man diehard conservatives and disaffected elites – simply did not like innovation. Aristoxenus identified Timotheus as a chief author of the ‘barbarisation’, ‘effeminisation’ and ‘great corruption’ he saw in the popular music of his day; Pseudo-Plutarch speaks of his ‘transgressions’ against music and complains that, unlike earlier innovators who initiated change without departing from the beautiful, ‘Timotheus … and all the poets of that generation became more vulgar and more innovative, pursuing the popular and what is now called the “commercial” style’; he ‘dishonoured the traditional Muse’ says the Spartan Decree (mentioned above); the Suda sums him up with the epigram: ‘He led ancient music into degeneration.’30 Unlike modern scholars, however, the ancients did not specifically complain about the exuberance of Timotheus’ language. Such criticism is levelled against dithyramb generally, which is characterised as intoxicating, obscure and frothy. In antiquity, however, this was less a ground of complaint, than the description of a style which conformed to the requirements of the ancient genre. When modern critics speak freely of New Music’s ‘dithyrambic style’, it is worth recalling, that, on the one hand, many of the scraps of New Music do in fact come from dithyrambs, and that, on the other, Pindar’s dithyrambs are also notably ‘dithyrambic’. A tempest in a teapot (χειμὼν ἐν κακκά αβα ͅ)? Timotheus and tradition Modern reactions to Timotheus are, as we have seen, based on an implicit or explicit contrast with the standard set by Pindar, the usual representative of high-classical, mature lyric. But Pindar’s dithyrambs are not much different 28

29 30

Pherecrates fr.155 K-A; Aristox. fr. 26 da Rios; Ps.-Plut. De mus. 1135c; Satyrus P.Oxy. fr. 39, col. xxii 5–6; Plut. Mor. 795d; Proclus apud Phot. Bibl. 320 a 33. See above, note 19, and next note. Aristox. fr. 26, 28, 29 da Rios; Ps.-Plut. De mus. 1132e, 1135c–d; Boeth. Mus. 1.1; Suda τ 620. Note: thematikon, here translated as ‘commercial’, is often misunderstood. It refers to festival prizes beginning in the Hellenistic period which consisted of cash rather than crowns. It was considered vulgar by some to compete for cash rewards rather than the symbolic prizes, though in fact there was little difference between them since the gold crowns were normally melted down to retrieve their cash value.

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from Timotheus in style and that is how the ancients perceived them. Diogenes of Babylon, at least, found an ‘identity of style’ in the dithyrambs of Pindar and Philoxenus, while Horace celebrates not Timotheus’ but Pindar’s dithyrambs for boldness, neologism and polymetry.31 Seaford thinks it likely that ‘in respect of language at least the deviants from the dithyrambic tradition were not the later dithyrambists but Pindar and Bacchylides’.32 ‘Despite Timotheus’ reputation for innovation’, says Hordern, ‘his phraseology and vocabulary are in fact at times highly traditional.’33 The ancient wit Dorion once ridiculed the sound and fury of Timotheus’ Nauplius as a ‘tempest in a pot’, but the term might sooner be applied to the critical furore surrounding Timotheus himself. The innovation ascribed to Timotheus, whether revolutionary or decadent, is much exaggerated. Greek music and poetry assuredly underwent important changes in the second half of the fifth century BCE. But the New Musical ‘revolution’ may owe more to a sudden change in the climate of reception than to any decisive rupture with musico-poetic tradition. Musical developments some two or more generations in the making came to a head during Timotheus’ heyday and were suddenly imbued with a new and radical significance. Greek music and poetry had always been innovative, and self-consciously so. As D’Angour notes: ‘Hesiod, Alcman, Pindar and Bacchylides all explicitly drew attention to some aspect of novelty in their poetry.’34 Timotheus’ contemporary Choerilus even complained that the ceaseless experiments of earlier generations had exhausted the limits of art.35 But suddenly in the later fifth century musical innovation became an ‘issue’ for the Greeks. From about 430 BCE disaffected elite critics grew to detest, and theatre audiences – it appears – to prize novelty as never before. By the late fifth century, poets were expected to insert self-advertisement into their songs. ‘Cinesias’ twice plugs his originality in the briefest of parodies of his poetry in Aristophanes’ Birds and we have three such boasts in the extant poetry of Timotheus.36 There were indeed technical innovations which greatly increased the range and volubility of ancient music. But many of these can be dated to a good generation or two before Timotheus. By about 450 BCE, for example, a musician named Pythagoras invented a kithara with three sides, each equipped with a separate set of strings to allow modulations between three

31 32 34

35 36

Philodemus, Mus. 4 col. 31 (pp. 44–5 Delattre); Hor. Carm. 2.4.20–2. Seaford 1977, 92. 33 Hordern 2002, 36. D’Angour 2006, citing Hes. fr. 537 M-W; Alcm. 14a PMGF; Pind. Ol. 3.4–6, Ol. 9.53; Bacch. 19.8–10 M. Choerilus fr. 2 Bernabé. Aristoph. Birds 1377, 1384–6; Timoth. 791.203 and 211–12 PMG, 796 PMG.

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modes.37 In Timotheus’ own lifetime, the piper Pronomos invented a kind of rotating collar, which blocked and opened new holes, so that the same pair of pipes could play in all modes.38 Yet ancient critics falsely ascribed to Timotheus technical innovations which had been created at least one or two generations before him. They claimed that Timotheus had added an extra string to the kithara, though they could not agree whether it was the seventh, ninth, tenth, eleventh or twelfth.39 These stories were perhaps encouraged by Timotheus’ own words in Persians (791.230 PMG) where he describes himself as ‘making rise the kithara with eleven-noted metres and rhythms’; or they may have found inspiration in the comic poet Pherecrates, who drew a caricature of Timotheus assaulting Music ‘with twelve strings’. But it is unlikely that Timotheus authored any technical innovations to the kithara and certain that he added no strings. For one thing, Melanippides is said by Pherecrates to have ‘slackened Music up with twelve strings’ well before Timotheus; for another thing, Ion of Chios, who died in 422 BCE, addresses elegiac couplets to an ‘eleven-stringed lyre’, which in the poetic language of the day almost certainly means ‘eleven-stringed kithara’.40 The passages in Persians and Pherecrates can only refer to Timotheus’ use of a technically advanced instrument. That Timotheus was innovative we should have no doubt. But his contribution is inadequately described if framed as a series of contrasts between tradition and upheaval (with the ancient critics), or efflorescence and decadence (with the moderns). Certainly no simple contrast between Pindars and Timothei is likely to capture the complexity of this event. The polar oppositions with which the ancient critics set Timotheus against ‘tradition’ seek the forced moral clarity of myth. In opposition to the erstwhile noble simplicity of music, they ascribe to Timotheus an absolute degree of poikilia (both ‘complexity’ and ‘ornamentation’).41 In opposition to ‘the oligochordia [= ‘few-stringedness’], simplicity, and dignity’ of tradition, they insist upon his polychordia (= ‘many-stringedness’).42 Since many strings not only allowed more notes (the strings of ancient instruments were played ‘open’), but also allowed one to shift between different ‘modes’ (harmoniai, literally ‘tunings’, based on the seven-stringed lyre), Timotheus is accused by Pherecrates of filling music with ‘extra-modal notes’, and by others of mixing not only the modes, 37 39

40 41 42

Athen. 637b; D’Angour 2006. 38 Paus. 9.12.5–6. [Censorin.] p. 76, ll. 8–9 Sallmann (seventh, ninth); Paus. 3.12.10 (eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh); Pliny NH 7.204 (ninth); Suda τ 620 (tenth and eleventh); Nicomachus 4 (p. 274 Jan) (eleventh); Pherecrates fr.155.25 K-A (twelfth). Pherecrates fr.155.5 K-A, 25; Ion 32 W. Cf. West 1992b, 23–8. Ps.-Plut. De mus. 1135d–e, 1141c; Aristox. fr. 26 da Rios. Ps.-Plut. De mus. 1135d, 1137a–b; Plat. Rep. 399c–d.

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but the octave-species or ‘genera’, to which theorists had ascribed different ethical effects.43 Not only did Timotheus, like Mozart, have ‘just too many notes’, he mixed manly scales with effeminate, moderate with exuberant and self-controlled with self-indulgent.44 Timotheus was also remembered for his rejection of traditional metres and rhythmic patterns, particularly his abandonment of strophic responsion (the repetition of identical metrical patterns that had given choral verse much of the structural predictability that facilitated collective performance by citizen-amateurs). He became the textbook paradigm of the formless and wild ‘free verse’, though far from the first to use it.45 Timotheus’ tunes were likened to the wanderings of ants (but those of Philoxenus, who was nicknamed ‘Ant’, even more so).46 His rhythms were said to be ‘peremptory’ or ‘random’.47 The music was ‘fragmented’, ‘chopped into bits’ or ‘patchwork’.48 Timotheus vs. Sparta Democratic Athens was (rightly or wrongly) regarded as the Mecca of musical innovation. In reaction to the New Music, the ethically and politically reactionary music critics created an image of Sparta and Crete (sometimes even Egypt) as last bastions of traditional music, conservative utopias for the ears, where all violation of musical tradition was punished with the utmost severity of the law, and where music was thought to serve an exclusively military function.49 The symbolic opposition between Sparta and New Music was soon incorporated into the biography of Timotheus, and may have been known to Timotheus himself. From at least the second century BCE six ancient authors report that Timotheus competed at a Spartan festival but was charged by the Spartan authorities with an offence against music because he had four more than the traditional seven strings.50 The result, variously told, is that Timotheus either successfully defended himself (by pointing to a statue of 43 44 45

46 47 48

49 50

Phercrates fr. 155.26 K-A. For the terms ‘mode’ and ‘genus’ see Battezzato, this vol., 143–4. Dion. Hal. Comp. 131; Plat. Rep. 398d–9d. Ps.-Plut. De mus. 1132e; Heph. On Poems 3 Consbruch; Proclus apud Phot. Bibl. 320a; Dion. Hal. Comp. 131. Pherecrates fr.155.23 K-A; Suda ϕ 103; Aristoph. Thesm. 100 (New Music of Agathon). Dion. Hal. Comp. 131; Heph. On Poems 3 Consbruch. Ps.-Plut. De mus. 1138c, 1142b, 1138b (referring to the style of Polyidus, who by the late fourth century seemed unstructured even by comparison with Timotheus). Laws 660b; passages and discussion in Gostoli 1988; Csapo 2004a, 241–4. Artemon of Cassandrea FHG 4.342 = Athen. 14.636e; Plut. Inst. Lac. 17. 238c, Ages. 10.799f–800a; Paus. 3.12.10; Dio Chr. 32.67, 33.57; Cic. Leg. 2.14.39; Boeth. Mus. 1.1.

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Apollo holding an eleven-stringed lyre), or, more usually, had the extra strings cut off his kithara either before or after the competition. The story is certainly ben trovato. It squares off the airy Timotheus, personification of musical innovation and poikilia, against unyielding Sparta, supreme champion of music’s primitive simplicity. It redresses mythically what history could not reverse. But it is hard to believe, given the methods and predispositions of ancient biographers, that there is much historical basis to this encounter. Just possibly an actual performance or set of performances by Timotheus at one of Sparta’s major public festivals (like the Karneia) lies behind the passage of the Persians – performances at which his innovation came up against a degree of genuine Spartan cultural conservatism, and so helped feed the polarised ideological construction. Whatever happened, the cause of the stand-off, as reported, depends on the untenable belief that Timotheus invented extra strings for the kithara (see above). In any case, the earliest version has Timotheus playing an ordinary magadis (and its deus ex machina, the statue of Apollo, already carries a multi-stringed kithara!). The fact that the same anecdotes are told of Terpander and Phrynis inspires still less confidence in the historicity of the event, and even less the fact that Argos, too, out of concern for ‘the dignity and simplicity of ancient music … is said to have once laid down a penalty for breaches in the rules of music, and to have imposed a fine on the first man who tried to use more than seven strings’.51 Scholars are inclined to accept some version of the tale of Sparta’s legal prosecution of the poet, not only because of his mention of his ‘kithara with eleven-noted metres and rhythms’ in the Persians, but still more because of an earlier passage in the same poem where Timotheus speaks of Spartan hostility to his music (791.202–12 PMG). Come Paian to my songs as an ally, you who swell the strength of my newfashioned gold-kithara-bearing Muse. For the ‘noble, long-lived, great leader of Sparta’, ‘teaming with the flowers of youth’, blazing hostility, the host buffets me, assails me with the lurid reproach that I disgrace the very ancient Muse with new hymns.

The language is far from precise and it offers little purchase to any who would reconstruct a history of legal prosecution. The terminology is predominantly military, not legal. The last section of the Persians effects a transition, from the image of the Greeks celebrating their victory over the Persians by dancing a paean, to Timotheus’ own paean invoking Apollo’s aid against an assault by 51

Plut. Apoph. Lac. 220c, Inst. Lac. 17.238c, Prof. Virt. 13, Agis 10. 799f–800a; Ps.-Plut. De mus. 1144f.

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Sparta on his songs (not his instrument). We would suggest, rather, that ‘Sparta’ in this passage refers less to a political and geographical entity than to an ideological construction by conservative critics. The language need refer to nothing more injurious than negative criticism from a source which is perhaps not Sparta itself, but one which invokes Sparta as a bastion of traditional music (hence the probably ironic praise). If this is so, then it may explain why Timotheus seems concerned to defend his ‘new hymns’ and at the same time deny that he or his contemporaries were the first to innovate. Timotheus argues that innovation was present from the beginning. He names Orpheus who invented the lyre, then (791.225–31 PMG): After him Terpander yoked the Muse on ten notes … But now Timotheus, who opened the safe-stored many-songed treasury of the Muses, makes rise the kithara with eleven-noted metres and rhythms.

Since we know that he was not the first to use an eleven-stringed kithara (see above), Timotheus is unlikely to be stressing technical innovation to his kithara. He refers rather to the polychordia of his songs (i.e. the use of many notes, metres and rhythms). It is the growth in variety and complexity of song that is at issue in Timotheus’ history of innovation: Orpheus ‘invented the poikilo- [= complex, ornamented] songed lyre’, even Terpander added many notes, but Timotheus added great variety in all aspects of music. The biographical tradition’s focus upon the number of strings comes from a careless and over-literal interpretation of this passage. Indeed, in Persians, immediately following the reference to ‘Sparta’, Timotheus sets the inclusiveness of his own musical practice against the purist tradition represented by ‘Sparta’ (791.213–20 PMG): But I do not fence out anyone young, old or same-aged from these hymns, but the old-muse vandals, these defacers of song, who launch forth wailings of clearfar-voiced heralds, these I do keep off.

Unlike ‘Sparta’ Timotheus rejects nothing new or, for that matter, old. What he does reject is the ‘vandals’ and ‘defacers of music’. In this passage it is clear that his intervention in the dispute of new and old concerns, or at least extends to, the quality of vocalisation. He compares the critics’ vision of state-regulated ‘traditional’ song to the ponderous declamations of official heralds. This is an apt description of the style of song urged by the inventors of ‘tradition’, with ponderous repetitive rhythms, and minimal melodic variations which slavishly follow the natural rhythms and tonic accents of the spoken language. 286 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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The New Musical style As we are largely at the mercy of heavily biased critics for information about New Music, we can only surmise that there is a core of much abused truth behind the stark oppositions that they use to distinguish it from ‘tradition’. Above all one might freely doubt that the characteristics singled out by the following description were sudden or unprecedented innovations. But as a synchronic description of the tendencies of the style, they appear accurate and can be illustrated in the extant fragments. In the old style of song language governed music, but in the new style, so the critics said, music governed language. According to this account the musical qualities of archaic song were determined by the words. Rhythm was determined by the natural length of syllables, melody by the pitch accent of the words, and each note corresponded to a single syllable. There was no disparity between the instrumental and vocal lines, no harmony and no variation. In place of this mildly musified speech, New Music, as described by its critics, introduced nothing less than song as we know it, where rhythm and accent were moulded to the shape of the music, where any number of notes can be assigned to a syllable and vice versa, where voice and instrument complement each other in harmony or counterpoint. The Aristotelian Problems describes the reasons for the departure of the nomos and dithyramb from strophic form (918b): It is because they were performed by professional artists whose song became long and varied since by that time they were capable of imitation (mimesis) and prolonged delivery. Just like the words, the music must always keep changing as it follows the imitation: in fact it is more important to imitate with music than with words.

New Music not only liberated music from the constraints of natural language, but, as Plato complained, it reversed the traditional hierarchy and put the music before the logos.52 Words were chosen for their musical and mimetic qualities. Syntax imitated the flow and volubility of music. The poetry addressed the senses and the emotions, not the intellect. The narrative progressed through strings of arresting images or a succession of impassioned speeches. There was a preference for virtually paratactic syntax which avoided or suppressed the logical ordering of hypotaxis to create a more purely physical and sensual – a more music-like – flow of sounds and impressions. The language spoke, like musical signs, through juxtaposition and metaphor. Its expression was never clear or pointed; its outpourings, rather, 52

Plat. Rep. 398d.

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were, like music, irreducibly suggestive and polyvalent. The clear articulations and hierarchical structures that permit the mind to grasp a ‘referential’ communication, were omitted, blurred or levelled to numb the intellect, excite the senses and awaken the emotions. Above all Timotheus’ verse is mimetic and dramatic. The Persians, if we can judge from the surviving final third of the poem, does not tell the story of the Greek victory at Salamis so much as mimic the visceral experience of sea-battle. In describing the collision of the lines of ships physical and emotional immediacy is created by the use of a sustained metaphor condensing the members of the ships with human anatomy, above all at the moment when, at the convergence of the opposed battle lines, these members are crushed and splintered: some part of the ships are ‘teeth’, the rams become ‘curved heads’, banks of oars are ‘firwood arms’, while rams shave off the ‘limbs’ of the ships and expose their ‘linen-bound ribs’ and the ships ‘redden’ the sea with their ‘drops’. These metaphors, though they may bring the description of Salamis more into line with the conventionally heroic hoplite battle, serve mainly to bewilder the senses, imitating the confused carnage with a wild confusion of categories and images – at another moment the sinking ships ‘rear up’ like cavalry. The chaos of battle bears down upon our senses, as ‘the ship-borne barbarian army is carried hither and thither in confusion’. The imagery shifts and mixes as freely as the rhythm of the verse. Even the elements come into play, as the language confuses land and sea, while ‘the wind stops in one direction, and swoops down in another’: here a ‘man … ploughs the rainy ?flats’, there ‘the navigable plains’ are filled ‘with wandering sailors’. Most discussions of Timotheus’ use of language regard these metaphors as grotesque and compulsive, but it is worth considering the possibility of some method in the madness. The chaos of images, mixing bodies with boats and land with sea, is hardly inappropriate to the most important combined naval and hoplite action in Greek history. Traditional war poetry focused exclusively on the hoplite or cavalry experience. By assimilating naval to hoplite and cavalry warfare, Timotheus lent epic glory and dignity to the more demotic arm of the military. But the principal aim is to mimic the vicissitudes and emotional confusion of battle. Sometimes he does this by juxtaposing extreme reactions: as when ‘the war-cry [of the victor] mingled with shrieks [of the vanquished]’ or the description of the Persian defeat is followed immediately by the Greek triumph. Sometimes he creates an emotive counterpoint within a single metaphor: ‘The star-studded sea teemed with bodies ?emaciated by the desertion of breath’ blends the awesome beauty of the night sky and the repulsive horror of a corpse-littered seascape. The death agony of the Persians is described through the language of the symposion and Bacchic 288 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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celebration in a metaphor drawn from the conventional imagery of life, joy and serenity. The sea becomes the ‘lap of Amphitrite, with gleaming folds, crowned with fishes’ (the language suggests the mixing bowl ‘crowned with ivy’), and as the drowning islander sinks ‘the unBacchic shower foamed up [i.e. like the wine it is not] and poured down into his nourishing vessel [i.e. stomach] and then the sea surging up out of his mouth raged like a bacchant’. Above all, Timotheus seeks immediacy. For the most part, the story of the Persian defeat is not narrated but acted. The section of Persians which falls between the description of the ramming of the ships and Timotheus’ defence of his poetry is organised around four monodies in direct speech. They are highly dramatic and comparable to the monodies of Euripides’ later tragedies. Like many of them they are highly emotional and suitably placed in the mouths of Orientals in extremis. The first (791.72–81 PMG) is by a drowning island nobleman, probably an Ionian, who spews his rage at the sea ‘in shrill-raving voice and with demented cast of mind’. The second (105–38) is by a Mysian addressing his native land, one of many ‘breast-beating wailers, with shouts and tearful wailing, gripped by mournful lamentation’. The third (150–61) is by a rich Celaenaean pleading for his life ‘smashing the piercing seal of his mouth with Asiatic voice as he hunts for the speech of the Yauna’. The fourth (178–95) presents the Persian king ‘heaving’ with despair at the sight of his panic-stricken army. The speeches exhibit widely different characters as Timotheus’ introductory words might lead one to expect. A dramatic style complements the dramatic form of these monodies and contrasts with the alternately epic and lyric style of the rest of the narrative. Metrically the speeches are largely iambo-trochaic mixed with runs of the distinctly tragic dochmiac. The language of the first, second and fourth speech is tragic, and contains direct quotations of Aeschylus. The third speech, however, is written in a comic barbarised Greek. There can be little doubt that Timotheus not only expressed the different emotions of his embedded monodists in his music, but also mimicked their very different characters with his voice, displaying with his musico-poetic virtuosity a skill and versatility in acting which was itself a recent art and (for the elite critics) almost as controversial as the new virtuosity in music.53 Polyphonic, polymetric and polyeidic, the speeches offer a fine example of a type of performance which elicited Plato’s complaint about vulgar poets who did not know the proper limits of mimesis, but would imitate anything and anyone in direct speech, copying their pitch, rhythm and diction and therefore requiring ‘all modes and all rhythms if it is to be spoken in character, since it contains every manner of shifts’ (Rep. 397b–c). Musical, emotional, dramatic and wild, 53

See Csapo 2002.

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Timotheus’ poetry is the finest example we have of the kind of professional theatre music which Plato and Aristotle condemned as aiming at pleasure, not ethical or intellectual improvement. Musical poetry, like instrumental music, is best suited to a more purely aesthetic experience. Little wonder that it appeared vapid, silly or degenerate to those who wished to harness the persuasive powers of music to a programme of public indoctrination and social conditioning. The social context Democracy and class struggle Timotheus was not an Athenian, but it was the special political and social conditions of the city he may have dubbed ‘the Greece of Greece’ that made his career possible, as they made possible the whole ‘new wave’ on which he rode.54 Timotheus grew up during the period when the progress of the democratic ‘adventure’ of Athens was at its most mercurial. Over the course of the fifth century a series of constitutional reforms had produced a polity that located ever greater powers with the demos – the citizenry of adult males over the age of thirty – rather than with a narrow elite of birth, wealth or title. Although many politicians continued to be drawn from the moneyed elite, their actions were now minutely scrutinised in the courts, and the very shape of the economic elite was in any case changing. Democratic governance instilled a greater sense of collective purpose and commitment in the citizenry, and this new purposefulness was important in enabling Athens to play a lead role in resisting the Persian invasions early in the fifth century. That success in turn infused the Athenians with a yet greater sense of their collective capabilities. The decision to invest in a large and costly navy was also hugely significant: this clinched the victory at Salamis – celebrated in Timotheus’ distinctive style some eighty years later in the Persians – enabled the subsequent growth of a powerful maritime empire and helped foster a greater sense of political entitlement from the lower socio-economic orders of society, who manned the warships. As political power was spread more widely across the citizenry, the economic and material basis on and over which that power was exercised increased exponentially. For the maritime empire that grew out of the defensive alliance against Persia not only brought large sums of tribute from ‘allied’ states, but also made of Athens ‘a magnet for people and trade’, and of the growing harbour town of Peiraieus, ‘the economic center of the Aegean and 54

Vita Euripidis p. 3 Schwartz.

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far beyond’.55All of this fuelled a vigorous market economy and stimulated new manufacturing and financial activities. These created new sources of considerable wealth which in turn promoted socio-economic mobility, since the traditional elite whose wealth was based in the land tended to leave ‘commerce’ to others. A class of ‘new’ rich soon made their presence felt in the political arena.56 Athens of the later fifth century was thus a place of new power, new wealth, ‘new’ politicians, new intellectual horizons – as well as ‘new’ music. These developments are all interrelated. While the upheavals of Athenian social and economic life have long been seen as a stimulus to the intellectual revolution of the fifth century, their equally significant impact on the cultural – especially the musical – sphere has only recently started to be explored. A distinctive but neglected feature of the new musical scene is the social, economic and cultural mobility that underlies it. Its practitioners – especially the aulos-players who fuelled the technical innovations – were drawn from different social strata from the traditional cultural elite. Whereas poets, actors and other high-level public performers had tended to come from the leisured elite, these new musicians came from diverse, and often lower-class, backgrounds.57 This democratisation of performance explains much of the venom of the (elite) critics’ response. Having seen their political power systematically eroded by the progress of democracy, the old elite tried to hold on all the more tenaciously to their cultural supremacy. Even in the period of Periclean ascendancy (440s), Athens could be seen to have been an ideologically ‘aristocratic’ democracy, with elite cultural values unchallenged in many quarters. And yet the new conditions of performance were wresting this supremacy too from the elite, leaving their traditional musical resources looking decidedly thin and tired beside the explosive innovations of Timotheus and his kind. At the same time they were giving economic as well as cultural capital to a new breed of professionals. The result was a kind of cultural class conflict played out in theatres, concert halls and in the critical discourse surrounding them – a conflict that echoes the real violence of the two anti-democratic revolutions of the period (411, 403). One of the ways the elite responded was to politicise the innovations and freight critical discourse with a heavily ideological bias that represented the innovations as little less than the end of civilisation and the collapse of the social order. Timotheus and his peers seem to have responded in kind. Most or all of the central terms relating to the technical developments in music seem to have been the site of such ideological struggle: plurality, changeability, innovation, openness, liberation, inclusiveness and mixing. All of these were 55

Raaflaub 1998, 24.

56

Connor 1971.

57

Wilson 2002, Csapo 2004a.

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open to demonisation. It was for instance a very easy step to make those ‘multiple notes’ (polychordia) an icon of democracy’s pluralistic excess, a babble of noise and voices (polyphthongia) like the masses in Assembly.58 Whether Timotheus and his fellow new lyric composers intended their work to transmit the values of a radical democratic ideology in the first place, or whether they were simply responding to its politicisation, is not clear. The final phrase of the Persians (see above, 286) might suggest that he did in fact aim to do so, and that the musical revolution of which he was a leader did in part aim also to challenge cultural and political hierarchies by lyric means. Theatre The distinctive material conditions of Athenian performance in Timotheus’ day enabled and encouraged the growth of a professionalism and virtuosic experimentalism of a kind unknown elsewhere or before. The realm of theatrical and musical performance had, like much else in Athens, become a significant economic enterprise: leading musicians and actors commanded high fees; the festival infrastructure within Athens was lavishly supported by a combination of private and public funding; and the growing popularity of theatrical and musical performance within and outside Attica increased demand and so gave further impetus to the creation of a ‘star’ system.59 The contexts of Athenian performance had been developing for nearly a century. By the end of the fifth century, there were at least six annual festivals in Attica that showcased theatre and dithyramb, and more than twice that number by the mid-fourth century.60 In Timotheus’ heyday there were in addition three or four major musical contests that included his specialty, kitharôidia. Those of the Panathenaea were the most prestigious, and had a panhellenic status on a par with the Olympics for athletics. The construction or elaboration, under Pericles’ leadership, of the large Odeion adjacent to the theatre of Dionysus was probably driven in part by a desire to provide the city with a concert hall that allowed a mass audience to appreciate these musical events in all-weather conditions. Timotheus is likely to have carried off first prize in kitharôidia at the Panathenaea on more than one occasion: that consisted of an olive wreath made of solid gold (worth 1,000 drachmas), plus five hundred more drachmas in cash – a huge sum that might be as much as five years’ wages for a skilled worker.61 These conditions meant that by the middle of the century Athenian audiences had grown up on a rich diet of competitive performance from the best 58 60

See Csapo 2004a, plus Plut. Mor. 827b. 59 Taplin 1999, Dearden 1999, Csapo 2004b. Csapo 2004a, especially 207–9. 61 IG II2 2311.

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musicians of Greece. The ‘national character’ of the Athenian democracy was famed for its love of novelty,62 and the New Musicians ably fed that thirst. The competitive format prompted the demand for musical innovation; the economic and material structures were in place to feed that demand, and to be fed by it in turn. As we have emphasised, the critics consistently panned the New Music as playing to the mob, formed by the tastes of the large theatrical audience – the notorious ‘rule of the theatre’ (theatrokratia) decried by Plato.63 There is clearly a core of truth here, in that for all its criticisms, the new style could not have survived and thrived if it had not been broadly popular. This lyric poetry is probably the most truly ‘demotic’ cultural product to survive from Athens, however unwelcome that may be to critics ancient and modern. FURTHER READING

Serious scholarly study of Timotheus, his fellow musical innovators and the broader cultural context in which they lived and worked is in its infancy. Bibliography useful to further study is thus limited and, as we have tried to stress, almost all of it does little more than translate the hostile responses of elite ancient critics into a modern idiom. The editions of Timotheus by Hordern and Janssen contain valuable introductory essays (for details, and for translations, see pp. 388–95). Barker 1984–9, vol. I, includes discussion of New Music’s history, style and reception. The best reference work for information on the strictly musical side is West 1992a. Recent approaches to the New Music have seen more positive evaluations: above all, see Csapo 2004a, who takes the New Music as an expression of, among other things, the egalitarian ethos of Athenian democracy. In this connection see also Wilson 2004. Herington 1985 was among the first to give a sympathetic account of the performance aspects of Timotheus and the New Musicians. The publication of a book-length study of kitharôidia (Power 2009) challenges the undeserved neglect and maltreatment of this important performance type. Rosenbloom 2006, 148–54 has a valuable discussion of the historical context of the first performance of Timotheus’ Persians.

62 63

Thuc. 1.70.2, 3.38.5; Csapo and Miller 1998, 101. Plato Laws 701; cf. Gorgias 501–2, Aristot. Pol. 1341b15–18.

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16 SILVIA BARBANTANI

Lyric in the Hellenistic period and beyond

Like the works of Homer, Euripides and other classical authors, early lyric poetry quickly became part of the cultural treasure of the Greeks, even when – or should I say particularly when – they moved abroad, in search of a new life in the Hellenistic kingdoms in Egypt and Asia. Archaic melic, iambic and elegiac poems were no longer performed by the third century BCE, but they were studied carefully by philologists and, in selection, formed part of the syllabus of would-be orators. Likewise the learned lyric poetry produced by scholars was conceived mainly for reading, or recitation in closed circles. Lyric for wider audiences could still be performed in religious ceremonies or at public festivals, but for many reasons (historical, cultural, linguistic) lyric genres were slowly going out of fashion, increasingly outnumbered by simpler compositions in non-lyric (especially dactylic and iambic) metres. The most significant cultural feature of the Hellenistic period as regards lyric poetry was the importance that was attached to collecting and preserving texts from earlier periods. From performance to edition In the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, traditions about lyric poets of local and international renown flourished in mainland Greece, Magna Graecia and Asia Minor, yet Athens seems to have been where the memory of lyric poetry interacted most visibly with the production of new creations. Famous odes were used as educational texts. Dramatic authors composed lyric pieces as sections of their tragedies and comedies, where the chorus still played a fundamental role. Tragedians took inspiration from myths treated in lyric1 and often alluded to specific songs. Comedians not only quoted lyric poets, but made Sappho one of their favourite characters.2

1

Herington 1985.

2

Kugelmeier 1996.

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From the end of the fourth century, choral melic poetry, whether incorporated into drama or as stand-alone compositions, was undergoing radical change; citizens were less actively involved in what was once ‘civic’ poetry. Aristotle in his Poetics for the most part ignored lyric (the Peripatetic school nonetheless had a great influence on the study of early lyric, and in the collection of biographical material on lyric poets; see for instance the works of Chameleon). On the shelves of the Alexandrian Library The ambitious goal of the Alexandrian Library, along with its annex, the Museum, was not only to nurse new talent in the humanities and sciences but also to create the definitive collection of all extant written knowledge. Situated in Egypt, a land which was, from the Greek point of view, exotic and foreign, this institution was likely to be perceived by the Greek immigrants as a monument to their cultural heritage and identity. A true manifestation of intellectual exuberance, the Library was intended by the Ptolemies also as an instrument for their own legitimation and prestige in the eyes of their Greek subjects and their potential allies.3 It remained a unique institution for centuries thanks to the initial stability of the ruling dynasty and the first three Ptolemies’ love of the arts (Theoc. Id. 14.61; SH 979.7); by the second century BCE every major Hellenistic kingdom had created similar cultural centres. From every corner of the Mediterranean the whole of extant lyric poetry found its way to Alexandria. We can legitimately assume that some encomiastic pieces (epinikia, thrênoi) had been collected by the families of the dedicatees as a symbol of prestige;4 sanctuaries kept written records of the best religious poems and poleis may have looked after the work of their local literary heroes. School teachers may have collected poems in anthologies; philosophers and sophists, who often quoted lyric poetry, could have had written copies commissioned for personal use. The main problem for Alexandrian scholars was to organise a massive quantity of papyrus rolls both physically and intellectually, arranging in a rational way the information gathered on each author and literary work. Even though in some cases musical scores may have been transmitted along with the texts, lyric poems were studied mainly as texts, like epic and prose. Autobiographical data contained (or thought to be contained) in poetry was verified, where possible, against chronological information provided by different sources, and chronological frameworks were constructed: Callimachus, one of the first to work on archaic 3 4

Cameron 1995, 24 ff.; Weber 1993, 80–2 and Erskine 1995. Irigoin 1994, 46–9; Thomas 1989, especially 104–8.

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and classical epinikian odes, wrote a treatise on the chronology of the athletic games (403 Pfeiffer), and later on, Eratosthenes established the Olympics as a chronological reference system.5 Building on fourth-century studies, Alexandrian scholars also started to analyse in depth literary dialects (such as that of the Lesbian poets) and difficult vocabulary. Early lyric was treated by Alexandrian scholars with the same respect accorded to Homer – in fact, all the philologists who worked on lyric are also known to have been engaged in Homeric scholarship. There is no evidence that Zenodotus, the first Librarian (early third century BCE), produced a new edition of or systematic commentary on the main lyric authors, but he certainly made some contributions to interpretation, recorded in papyri and indirect sources, and suggested corrections to the text of Pindar and Anacreon (διόρθωσις).6 Classified: Callimachus’ Pinakes and the mystery of the genres The poet-philologist Callimachus, Zenodotus’ younger contemporary, carried out the enormous task of cataloguing all the works of literature acquired by the Library. His Πίνακες τω̑ν ἐν πάσῃ παιδείᾳ διαλαμψάντων καὶ ὧν συνέγραψαν (‘Indexes of the illustrious authors in every discipline and of what they wrote’) included all the available information on authors and their works: the first verse (the incipit), and a complete list of poems with a summary and date for each, as well as a short biography. A supplement was later compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium (453 Pfeiffer, 368–9 Slater). ‘Eidography’, that is the categorisation of poems by genre (eidos), was one of the most important activities in the Library (Proclus apud Phot. Bibl. 319b, 33ff. Bekker). As a premise for a new, comprehensive edition of the main lyric poets, a suitable criterion for arranging their odes had to be found – even though it was not necessarily the same for every author. And here arose the problem of classification. ‘Genre’ may be defined by a number of key features in the form and content of poetry, originally linked to the socio-cultural circumstances of the performance. Individual creativity and historical changes led to a gradual modification of genres.7 Lyric was easily distinguished, in metre and modes of performance, from dramatic or epic compositions; ancient editors also distinguished between dactylic and iambic rhythms on the one hand, and melic poems on the other. Melic poetry was then subdivided into genres and

5

6 7

Pelliccia, this vol., 247–9, suggests that the scholarly interest in the historical material in the epinikia was a reason for their survival in direct transmission. See Negri 2004, 12; Pfeiffer 1968–76, I.117–18. For the notion of ‘genre’ as regards early Greek lyric see Carey, this vol., ch. 1.

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sub-genres. Even though the poems had long lost their original performative context, Hellenistic scholars tried to establish their occasional and pragmatic character. They tended to classify poems by content or, when this was impossible or editorially impracticable, by metre: while books of Alcman, Alcaeus, Ibycus, Sappho and Anacreon are only quoted by number, odes by Pindar, Bacchylides and Simonides were organised by genre and occasion, and were sometimes given specific titles.8 Alexandrian classifications did not always correspond to differences perceived at the time of the composition of the poetry, and sometimes it is hard to understand which formal features the Alexandrians used to classify certain poems under certain categories: Bacchylides’ poems mysteriously entitled Dithyrambs are an example. Callimachus grouped different epinikia in different ways, no doubt for practical reasons: those by Simonides according to type of contest (441 Pfeiffer) and those by Pindar according to place (450 Pfeiffer), a division that was kept in editions down to the Byzantine manuscripts (and thus modern editions as well). It is not clear, though, if he was also the first to produce an edition of these poets.9 Callimachus also catalogued Archilochus’ poems by genre (384.39 Pfeiffer), a topic later discussed by his countryman Eratosthenes of Cyrene (schol. Pind. Ol. 9.1k). Although classification of archaic and classical genres was made mainly for editorial and practical purposes, and not as a normative rule for the future, the effort of categorisation also had an impact on the production of learned poetry in Alexandria and elsewhere, as we will see below (pp. 303–11) . The (lost?) Sound of Music: Aristophanes and the colometry of lyric texts In the third and second centuries BCE editions (ekdoseis) and commentaries (hypomnêmata) were produced at Alexandria for all the main poets. In the ekdosis, diacritical signs10 refer to a commentary, copied on a different papyrus roll or set of rolls. Accents and prosodic signs were introduced in lyric poetry, the first to distinguish between homographs and between unusual dialectal forms,11 the second to show the quantity of the syllables in complex metrical structures. These signs are occasionally attested in later papyri; they were never used systematically.

8 9

10

Negri 2004, 152–74. Pfeiffer 1968–76, I.130, 217; Harvey 1955, 158. On the Hellenistic edition of Pindar, see Rutherford 2001a, 137–43, 146–52; Negri 2004. Turner 1980a, 113–18. 11 On accents see e.g. Hinge 2001 and Hinge 2006, 123–37.

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Aristophanes of Byzantium (c. 255–180 BCE) is the first Alexandrian scholar to be consistently linked by sources to the editing of lyric poets (367, 378–384 Slater), in particular Pindar, Alcman, Anacreon. Unfortunately there are few traces left of his activity, because the commentary by Aristarchus later became the common reference work. Apparently he played an important part in introducing critical signs, punctuation and accents.12 Until the second century BCE, lyric papyri arrange the poems on the page without indicating metrical divisions. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Aristoph. 380B Slater; cf. schol. Pind. Ol. 2.48a; Sim. 543 PMG), ‘Aristophanes or somebody else’ arranged Pindar’s and Simonides’ poems in cola. The colometry – that is, the division of the text into verses or longer metrical units – of Pindar’s odes in the papyri and the Byzantine manuscripts seems to derive from a standard model, which must have been the work of an influential editor. Aristophanes was certainly perceived in antiquity as an important authority in the field, but there is no undisputed evidence that he was the inventor of colometry, or even that he systematically edited the work of all the lyric poets using cola: some steps could have been taken earlier, if we believe, with Turner, in a third-century date for the papyrus P.Lille 76, which shows a colometrical layout of a poem by Stesichorus.13 What is certain is that after Aristophanes colometry became the standard mise en page for lyric texts. As a result, monostrophic (sequence of identical stanzas) or triadic (strophe, antistrophe and epode, in sequence) structures became easily recognisable. To what degree did Alexandrian colometry follow the poets’ rhythmical and musical intentions? This is still a matter of much debate, most of all because our evidence for musical notation is so fragmentary, especially in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. Some scholars believe that ancient music and metrical knowledge was handed down to the Alexandrian editors, while others argue that the advent of the ‘New Music’ stopped the preservation of ancient scores.14 Archaic and classical music was usually transmitted orally, from master to pupil; people easily learned to sing famous lyrical pieces without being musical professionals or reading a score, as we do with pop songs. Possibly copies of dramatic pieces stored in Athens after the decree of Lycurgus (330 BCE) preserved musical notation, and this could have reached Alexandria along with the books (see GMAW 35). Some evidence for the survival of at least certain information on music derives from reports of

12 13 14

Pfeiffer 1968–76, I.178–80, 184–6; Fleming 1999, 26. Turner 1980b and GMAW 74; D’Alessio 1997, 55–6, with bibliography. Music handed down: Fleming and Kopff 1992 and Fleming 1999. Music lost: Parker 2001, especially 35–8, 49–52; Prauscello 2006.

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experiments Aristophanes’ successor, Apollonius the Eidographer, made in the third and second centuries BCE with classification by musical mode (Dorian, Lydian, Phrygian). Canons of excellence: Aristarchus Aristarchus (died c. 144 BCE) not only continued the editing work of Aristophanes and his predecessors, but also wrote commentaries to his editions, and developed a more complex system of critical signs.15 Testimonia are, as always, meagre. Commentaries on Archilochus and Alcman are attributed to Aristarchus; his editions of Alcaeus and Anacreon took the place of the previous editions by Aristophanes as the standard reference works (Aristoph. Byz. 383a Slater). Aristarchus’ material on Pindar has filtered through to the scholia, and he is quoted in a fragmentary monograph on passages of Alcman, Stesichorus, Sappho and Alcaeus (P.Oxy. 2506 fr. 6(a) = Alcaeus 306A(a) V). Aristarchus may also have produced a commentary on Bacchylides, but our only evidence is a reference to a disagreement with Callimachus on the genre of Bacchylides’ Kassandra.16 Although court and city libraries preserved rare or ‘minor’ works for a long time, there is evidence that by the first century BCE nine particular lyric poets were deemed the best in their genre: they formed a ‘canon’, that is a group of authors considered a model for style and/or content to be followed by other poets and prose writers. There is no certain evidence on when or where such formal canons were created, but it is quite possible that their beginnings go back to Alexandria.17 Roman sources seem to believe that Aristophanes, and most of all Aristarchus, as editors and ‘critics of poetry’ par excellence, had the authority to inscribe poets in selected lists (the ἐγκριθέντες).18 Evidence has long disproved Wilamowitz’s thesis that canons were not the product of a scholar’s choice but simply the result of a ‘natural selection’: in that case the only surviving lyric texts to be transmitted to Alexandria would have been those of the nine lyric poets of the canon.19 The taste of the audience, and the aesthetic and moral judgement of philosophers and poets, could certainly have enhanced the popularity of certain authors, but they did not completely obscure other poets’ work by the third century BCE. Aristarchus, probably following Aristophanes of Byzantium, also consecrated three canonical iambographers, about whom Lysania of Cyrene later

15 17

18

Pfeiffer 1968–76, I.215–19. 16 SH 293; for bibliography, D’Alessio 2000. Pfeiffer 1968–76, I.203–7. Sources: Färber 1936, I.25–6, II.7–11; status quaestionis: Gallo 1974, 106–9. Hor. Ars P. 450. See Quint. 10.1.54 and 61. 19 Wilamowitz 1900, 4–10; 63–71.

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wrote a monograph: Archilochus, Hipponax, Semonides.20 Nothing is known about a canon of elegiac poets, even though it is certain, from repeated allusions and references, that elegiac poems by Mimnermus, Simonides and others were well known to learned poets in the third and second centuries BCE. The editorial activity of Alexandrian scholars had a determinant influence on the reception of authors regarded as ‘classics’. Poets considered outstanding, and therefore included in canons, naturally coincided with the πραττόμενοι, that is, the authors to which most editorial and exegetic attentions were devoted. Unlike other categories, the number of the nine lyric poets remained stable from the first century CE onwards. The Alexandrian canon is the subject of two epigrams of the Palatine Anthology, 9.184 and 9.571;21 the former, dating to the third or second century BCE, is the first evidence for the existence of such a selection, and could belong to a scholastic-rhetorical environment. At play with tradition Access to the treasures of archaic and classical literature stored in libraries enabled the Hellenistic poetae docti (‘learned poets’) to study poems closely as written texts: once living songs, melic compositions were now often praised as ‘pages’ and ‘books’ (σελίδες, βιβλία: e.g. Anth. Pal. 9.184.5; 7.26.2 and 9.239; Posidippus HE XVIII 6). In this respect, archaic lyric poetry resembles Homer: for Greeks living in the Hellenistic and Roman period, these are all monuments of their culture and their historical past. On the other hand, even though not set to music, Hellenistic learned poetry still used a stock lyric terminology, presenting itself as imaginary song, and this practice continued until Late Antiquity:22 in the ‘civilisation of the book’ the definition of a text as ‘song’ could metaphorically indicate its status as ‘high poetry’ (encomium, hymn, epic), in opposition to more ludic or pedestrian genres, called παίγνια (‘games’) or Μουσέων πεζὸν νομόν (‘the prose pasture of the Muses’). Kreuzung der Gattungen and polyeideia Poet-philologists were masters in allusive art. It is impossible to study their verses without considering intertextuality, just as it is impossible here to give a complete account of the influence of the major lyric authors on Hellenistic docta poesis. The texture of this poetry is an intellectual dialogue with and

20 21 22

Cic. Att. 16.11.2; Quint. 10.1.59; Procl. apud Phot. Bibl. cod. 239 p. 319b 27–31 Bekker. Barbantani 1993, 7–11. Callimachus frs. 1.1, 227.1, 392 Pfeiffer, SH 238.4. Cf. e.g. GLP 132.b.15 (fourth century CE), and see Gelzer 1982–4, 140–3.

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emulation of Greek poetic tradition. Like Homer, early lyric is continually echoed in Alexandrian poetry. Erotic poems by Sappho are an interesting model for Theocritus and Apollonius Rhodius,23 and Ibycus seems to be alluded to and imitated by the same poets. Stesichorus’ influence on Theocritus, Lycophron, Euphorion and Alexander Aetolus is evident from their reprises of his innovative mythical versions.24 The so-called Kreuzung der Gattungen (‘contamination/blending of the genres’)25 in the Hellenistic period is a complex phenomenon, which can be explained both as an answer to a progressive loss of functionality experienced by some archaic poetic genres, and as an expression of the creativity of individual authors. Of course, even before the Hellenistic period there was room for change and experiment, in music, prosody and content, as is shown by Plato’s outrage at contemporary poets mixing generic features.26 The disappearance of the cultural and social spaces which in the archaic and classical periods functioned as venues for poetic performances, the divorce of music from poetry and the wider diffusion of ‘book culture’ forced authors to find a new kind of relationship between poetic forms and the traditional function of the genres. The codification of archaic and classical lyric poetry for editorial purposes prompted Alexandrian poets to meditate on the key features of each genre.27 They did not, however, try to reproduce earlier genres exactly. New hybrids were born: genres once associated with singing and dancing were transposed to recitative metres, as had happened already in the fourth century BCE with Erinna’s hexametric thrênos in Doric/Aeolic dialect.28 Theocritus in his Idylls transmuted popular lyric (and bucolic) song into hexameter verse,29 and did the same with a contemporary religious song (Id. 15.100–49, a fictive performance by a female singer). An example of clever mixing of features that belong to different genres is Theocritus Idyll 24.30 The subject is a variant of a story told twice by Pindar: the infant Heracles kills the snakes Hera set on him (Nem. 1 and Paean XX (fr. 52u) M = dub. S1 Rutherford). The snakes’ sparkling eyes (ll. 18–19) –

23 24 25

26 27

28 29 30

For the influence of Sappho on Theocr. Id. 2, 11 and 18 see Dagnini 1986. Massimilla 1995. Rossi 1971; Kroll 1991; Fantuzzi and Hunter 2004, 1–41. On the relationship between genre and performative context see Gentili 1988, ch. 3. Plat. Leg. 700a–701. On the ‘reverse normativity’ in Alexandrian poetry see Rossi 1971, 83 ff. Cameron 1995, 146–52 and Rossi 2000 insist on the pragmatic reason for changes; Gelzer 1982–4, 140 and Fantuzzi and Hunter 2004, 1–41 on experimentalism. Neri 2003a. Cf. GLP 106. Rossi 1971, 85–6 and 2000, 151–2; Pretagostini 1992 and 1997. Hunter 1996, 11–13; Stern 1974 and Porro 1999.

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Lyric in the Hellenistic period and beyond ἀπ’ ὀφθαλμω̑ν δὲ κακὸν πυ̑ρ ἐρχομένοις λάμπεσκε, βαρὺν δ’ ἐξέπτυον ἰόν.

From their eyes an evil fire sparkled as they were approaching, and they spat deadly venom.

– are an allusion to Pind. Paean XX.13 where, however, the eyes are those of the infant Heracles: ὀμμ]άτων ἄπο σέλας ἐδίνασεν ‘from his eyes a flame whirled out’. Theocritus’ poem opens with a quiet, homely scene, reminiscent of fables. Yet recalling solemn Homeric Hymns, including that to Heracles (Hom. Hymn. 15.1), the first word is the name of the hero: Ἡρακλέα δεκάμηνον ἐόντα ποχ’ ἁ Μιδεατ̑ ις ‘when Heracles was ten months old, once upon a time the Lady of Midea …’. And throughout, the description of the nocturnal attack of the snakes bristles with allusions to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. In Idyll 24 Alcmena sings a lullaby (ll. 7–8): εὕδετ’, ἐμὰ βρέφεα, γλυκερὸν καὶ ἐγέρσιμον ὕπνον· εὕδετ’, ἐμὰ ψυχά, δύ’ ἀδελφεοί, εὔσοα τέκνα Sleep, my children, a sweet sleep, and wake up again; sleep, twin brothers, my life, stay safe my sons.

echoing the lullaby whispered by Danae in a famous lyric piece by Simonides (PMG 543.21–22):31 κέλομαι δ’, εὑ̑δε βρέφος, εὑδέτω δὲ πόντος, εὑδέτω δ’ ἄμετρον κακόν· sleep my baby, I pray, and let the sea sleep too, and my immense misfortune.

Another example, in a less heroic mode: a desperate lyric lament of love is ‘translated’ into epic verse in Theoc. Id. 2.82–90: χὠς ἴδον, ὣς ἐμάνην, ὥς μοι πυρὶ θυμὸς ἰάφθη δειλαίας, τὸ δὲ κάλλος ἐτάκετο οὐκέτι πομπα̑ς τήνας ἐφρασάμαν, οὐδ’ ὡς πάλιν οἴκαδ’ ἀπη̑νθον ἔγνων, ἀλλά μέ τις καπυρὰ νόσος ἐξεσάλαξεν, κείμαν δ’ ἐν κλιντη̑ρι δέκ’ ἄματα καὶ δέκα νύκτας. […] καί μευ χρὼς μὲν ὁμοι ο̑ ς ἐγίνετο πολλάκι θάψῳ, ἔρρευν δ’ ἐκ κεφαλα̑ς πα̑σαι τρίχες, αὐτὰ δὲ λοιπά ὀστί’ ἔτ’ ἠ̑ς καὶ δέρμα. as soon as I saw him, I was mad, my heart caught fire, unfortunate me, and my beauty faded away. 31

Discussion of this song, Pelliccia, this vol., 250–2.

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The Cambridge Companion to Greek Lyric I had no more eyes for the feast, nor do I know how I managed to come back home, but a dry fever shook me, I lay in my bed ten days and ten nights […] and my skin turned as yellow as fustic, all the hair fell out of my head, I was no more than skin and bones.

This is heavily indebted to Sappho 31.5–16 V, trans. Campbell:32 τό μ’ ἠ̑ μὰν καρδίαν ἐν στήθεσιν ἐπτόαισεν, ὠς γὰρ ἔς σ’ ἴδω βρόχε’ ὤς με φώναισ’ οὐδ’ ἒν ἔτ’ εἴκει, ἀλλὰ †καμ† μὲν γλω̑σσα †ἔαγε† λέπτον δ’ αὔτικα χρω̑ι πυ̑ρ ὐπαδεδρόμηκεν, ὀππάτεσσι δ’ οὐδ’ ἒν ὄρημμ’, ἐπιρρόμβεισι δ’ ἄκουαι, †έκαδε† μ’ ἴδρως ψυ̑χρος κακχέεται. τρόμος δὲ παι σ̑ αν ἄγρει, χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίας ἔμμι, τεθνάκην δ’ ὀλίγω ’πιδεύης φαίνομ’ ἔμ’ αὔτ[αι· … that stuns my heart in my chest. For as soon as I see you, suddenly my heart pounds in my breast, I have no more voice, my tongue is broken, a subtle flame runs under my skin, I see nothing with my eyes, my ears roar, a cold sweat pours down me and I am seized by shaking all over, I am greener than grass. I seem to be close to dying.

Another instance of ‘the blending of genres’, motivated by a change in the socio-political context, is the hybridisation of hymn (in praise of the gods) and enkômion (in praise of human beings).33 The boundaries between the two poetic genres started becoming fragile in the fourth century, and were further weakened by the establishment of ruler cult: in Theocritus’ Encomium of Ptolemy (Id. 17) the king is not just compared to, but becomes identical with, 32 33

Pretagostini 1977; Segal 1984. Färber 1936, I.35–6, 56–7, II.42–5; Harvey 1955, 163–4; Gentili 1988, ch. 7.

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a god, and the enkômion acquires hymnic features; Callimachus’ prophetic Hymn to Delos, in praise of Ptolemy II, recalls Pindaric odes and Homeric hymns.34 Along with Homer, Pindar was one of the poets that Alexander the Great and his successors revered the most: it is no wonder that a statue of the Boeotian singer with his lyre was erected in the Serapeion at Memphis in Egypt.35 Pindar, alongside Simonides and Homer, was the patron saint of Hellenistic encomiastic poetry. Since metre is often key to defining genres, Hellenistic poets liked to play and experiment with this feature. Lyric metres were still used in bookish poetry in the third and second centuries BCE, but learned poets did not reproduce archaic and classical lyric strophic structures in the way Horace did later on: they mainly reused them in stichic sequence, or in epodic combinations (couplets), mainly in rare and abstruse divertissements. Theocritus experimented with brief compositions in Aeolic metre and dialect (Id. 28–31).36 Callimachus produced some virtuoso examples of melic poetry for reading rather than performance.37 Experiments with iambic metres were made also by less accomplished Hellenistic versifiers (e.g. SH 992 and 993).38 Another feature of Hellenistic learned poetry – loosely related to the reinvention and blending of traditional genres – was polyeideia or ‘versatility’: the freedom to compose in different (separate) genres. Polyeideia goes back to the ‘New Musician’ Ion of Chios in the fifth century BCE, and emphasises that poetry is a product of skill and not inspiration, as the eponymous rhapsode in Plat. Ion still believed. The manifesto for this new poetic self-consciousness is Callimachus’ Iambus 13.39 Epainos and psogos: Callimachus’ new elegy and iambos Callimachus is responsible for some of the most perfect examples of Kreuzung der Gattungen: his epinikia in elegiac couplets are a blend of Pindaric structure and style on the one hand, and the features of traditional epigrams inscribed on statues of athletes and warriors on the other.40 Callimachus’ eighth Iambus is also a curious mixture of epinikion and epigram (Diêgêsis VIII 21–32; 198 Pfeiffer).41 Having played a substantial part in cataloguing the odes of choral lyric poets, Callimachus must have meditated long and hard on the philological characteristics of an eidos epinikion. As a poet he reworked the characteristics 34 36 38 39 40 41

Meillier 1995; Hunter 2003. 35 Picard 1952. Gow 1950, I.236–7 (Id. 31); West 1982, 149–52. 37 Frs. 226–9 Pfeiffer. SH 992: Merkelbach 1973; Lloyd-Jones 1974. SH 992: Gronewald 1974. Hunter 1997, 43–4; Kerkhecker 1999, 252, 256ff.; Acosta-Hughes 2002, 60–103. Fuhrer 1992, 64–6, 86–90, 100–3; Barbantani 2000 and 2001, 86–8. Kerkhecker 1999, 197–204.

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of the genre in order to satisfy a new class of winners: Ptolemaic dynasts and courtiers. The elegy Victoria Berenices (SH 254–6C; frs. 54–60, 383, 176–7, 677, 597 Pfeiffer), celebrating a Nemean victory by Queen Berenice II, is defined explicitly as an epinikion (l.3). Evaluating the papyrological evidence, Parsons rightly suggested that the encomiastic poems for Berenice, Victoria and Coma, which frame the last two books of the Aetia in their definitive edition, could have circulated separately from the main poem.42 The introductory section, in line with epinikian tradition, contains the name, patronymic and homeland of the winner, and the category and location of the victory, concentrated within a few couplets. The opening thanks to the god protecting the site of the games, to which the poet offers his elegy, is also a topos of archaic odes, as well as of dedicatory epigram. The announcement to Egypt of the news of Berenice’s victory recalls the corresponding announcements in epinikia, but with a twist: Pindar often presents the victory as an event which his odes have the task to announce, while Callimachus presents himself as the one who first receives the splendid news and passes it on to the community, creating the illusion of a chronological proximity between the victory and its celebration, and of a poetic improvisation.43 Callimachus dedicated to an important member of the Ptolemaic court, Sosibios, another elegiac epinikion (384 Pfeiffer; Athen. 4.144e),44 possibly created to be read in the context of a (court?) symposion (l. 1: σπείσωμεν, cf. Callim. Hymn 1.1). Epinikian themes include the announcement of the victory, the idea that the glory of the winner reverberates in his homeland, the enumeration of previous victories, the claim to moderation in his praise and a first-person statement by the poet underlining his personal relationship with the laudandus. According to the unwritten rules of the genres, if dactylic poetry was suitable for praise (epainos), iambic poetry was a vehicle for rebuke (psogos). Archaic iambos, with its linguistic peculiarities, its mixture of neologisms and vulgarisms, experienced a strong revival in the Hellenistic period. The polemics against individuals of an Archilochus or a Hipponax became the expression of a moralistic tendency, mainly inspired by Cynicism (Phoinix, Cercidas), or else a vehicle for literary controversy (Callimachus, Herodas).45 The dispute between fans of Archilochus and supporters of Hipponax, often fought with the short and pointed weapon of the epigram, may conceal

42

43 44 45

Parsons 1977a; Fuhrer 1992, 55–138. For a different view, see Pfeiffer 1949–53, II. xxxvi–xxxvii; Hollis 1986. Fuhrer, 1992, 90–3, 219, 176–8. Fuhrer 1992, 139–204; Lehnus 1995; Barbantani 2001, 82–4. Degani 1984, 34–56 and 1995; Kerkhecker 1999, 29 ff.

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disputes about more contemporary literary preferences.46 Phoinix of Colophon, Sotades, Parmenon of Byzantium, Aischrion of Samos, Cercidas in his Meliambi (poems of iambic content but in lyric metre) and Choliambi,47 Herodas in his Mimiambi (mimes in iambic metre) and Callimachus in his Iambi are all taking inspiration, more or less overtly, from Hipponax. Callimachus’ choliambic poems do not only allude constantly to Hipponax’ poems, but open with a spectacular ‘resurrection’ of the dead Hipponax, rising from his tomb to scold Alexandrian philologists in the Serapeum (Iambus 1). In Iambus 13 Callimachus defends his own original ἰαμβίζειν and proudly trumpets his polyeideia: far from engaging in pedestrian imitation, he takes inspiration from famous models to create a poetry which would be suited to contemporary Alexandria.48 L’arme e gli amori: Hellenistic elegy on love and war The elegiac couplet tended to be used, from the sixth century BCE on, for inscribed epigrams, symposiastic pieces and poems of narrative, exhortatory and didactic content.49 In Hellenistic times it was frequently used for occasional court poetry, like Callimachean epinikia or the so-called Arsinoês Epithalamion (SH 961), or for narrative and erudite poems like the Aetia. Callimachus’ views on pre-Hellenistic elegiac poems with erotic/mythological content, especially Antimachus’ Lyde (fifth/fourth century), have been thoroughly explored by scholars.50 The overall impact of archaic and classical narrative elegy on Hellenistic poetry, however, is more difficult to assess; the recent discovery of Simonides’ elegies on the Persian Wars on a secondcentury BCE papyrus,51 in particular, opens new possibilities for the evaluation of Hellenistic historical and encomiastic compositions, especially in the treatment of the theme ‘Greeks versus Barbarians’. Simonides was well known and valued in Ptolemaic Egypt: along with Mimnermus’ Smyrneis, his war elegies were possibly considered models for ‘epic’ poems in elegiac couplets on the deeds of contemporary ‘kings and heroes’, like SH 958. Traces of the influence of Simonides’ elegies are to be found in Callimachus, who

46

47 48

49 50

51

Degani 1984, 178–81 on the fictitious epitaphs on Hipponax: Theocritus Anth. Pal. 13.3; Leonidas Anth. Pal. 7.408; Alcaeus Messenius Anth. Pal. 7.536. See Battezzato, this vol., 137 for this metrical pattern. On Ia. 1 and 13 see Kerkhecker 1999, 11–48, 250–70; Acosta-Hughes 2002, 21–59, 60–103; Fantuzzi and Hunter 2004, 8–12, 15–17. See Aloni, this vol., ch. 9. For an overview see Cameron 1995, chs. 11–12; for Hellenistic elegy see Barbantani 2001 and 2002. On this text see Aloni, this vol., 178–9.

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classified his poems for the Library, and paid homage to him in the Aetia (64 Pfeiffer); and in Theocritus, alluding to the Plataea elegy in one of his most engaging encomiastic poems, Id. 16.34ff. and 48ff. 52 Kammertheater: contexts of performance for learned poetry Learned poetry in lyric, iambic or elegiac verse was mostly devised for book circulation (the same is true for archaic lyric poetry edited by Alexandrian scholars), but also for recitation, or proekdosis, in restricted circles, such as private and court symposia. Staged performance of lyric pieces also continued into the Hellenistic period, but was restricted to religious occasions and festive competitions (see below, pp. 314–15).53 Even though encomiastic poems could occasionally reach a larger audience (e.g. in school anthologies, like SH 978–9), the primary audience for court poetry was one and the same court and its surrounding circle: scholars, the king’s ‘friends’, members of the royal family. One of the most important social moments at court was the symposion.54 Its forerunner was the sixthcentury symposion at the court of tyrants: poets like Anacreon and Ibycus were invited to sing erotic poems, mythical stories or praise of the host and his family. The total number of ‘encomiastic situations’ was dramatically reduced with the transition to the Hellenistic period: while Pindar and his contemporaries had to adapt to the requirements of their patrons who came from every part of the Greek world, each one with his own individual character and socio-political background, the Hellenistic learned poet generally spent all his life at the same court, or wrote for patrons with similar requirements. The occasions for celebration (weddings, accessions to the throne, victories, apotheôseis) required a standard treatment, in line with the ideological needs of a cross-cultural monarchy. Alexandrian poets of the third century respect tradition by employing a high style in encomiastic epic poetry (e.g. Theoc. Id. 17) but their philological play with glôssai, hapax legomena and allusions to earlier poetic tradition grant their compositions complete autonomy and originality. Some literary mimes were probably composed for the symposion.55 The iambic χρει α̑ ι by Machon (third century BCE), a collection of mottoes and

52 53 54

55

Callimachus: Hunter 2001. Theocritus: Hunter 1996, 97–109, especially 103–5; Fantuzzi 2001. Barbantani 2001, 32–49; Fantuzzi and Hunter 2004, 20–21, 23, 27. Weber 1993, 48–9, 283 ff.; O. Murray 1996. On court society: Mooren 1985; Weber 1993, 95ff. and 130ff.; Herman 1998. For the debate about the performance of Herodas’ Mimes see Mastromarco 1984, 140–3; Puppini 1991; Fountoulakis 2002.

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dirty jokes, was possibly conceived for a sympotic occasion.56 Callimachus’ pannychis (227 Pfeiffer) is set at a court symposion, while Iambus 13 is set (fictionally?) at a symposion of scholars. Archaic and classical elegies of historical/exhortatory content were performed at civic gatherings, but probably also in a sympotic environment: Callimachus’ Aetion on the Sicilian poleis (43 and 178 Pfeiffer) points to such a performance.57 The extensive victory odes of Pindar, Bacchylides and Simonides are widely (though not universally) thought to have been conceived mostly for public performance, with music and choreography.58 The future of the archaic lyric ode was its continuous reuse during symposia, while Hellenistic enkômia were written to be preserved in books (cf. SH 969.4): Callimachus in his elegiac epinikion for Sosibios alludes to the traditional refrain τήνελλα καλλίνικε (384.37–9 Pfeiffer, cf. Archil. 324), granting it the immortality of book poetry. Given the close bond between poet and patron, it is possible that the author recited the poem himself instead of leaving the performance to a professional, a transition facilitated by the use of recitative metres and the disappearance of music and dance. Teaching the lyric of the past The rediscovery of local traditions in cities and smaller centres was a key feature of the Hellenistic period, and this feeling of Greek identity became more and more important under the Roman empire. Statues, honours and prizes were assigned to contemporary poets by their hometowns and by the cities where they performed.59 Local hero-cults developed around archaic lyric poets, as well as around Homer. In the third century BCE a shrine was built in honour of Archilochus on Paros: Mnesiepes, a local citizen and possibly a rhapsode, put up a long inscription narrating legendary anecdotes about Archilochus’ youth and poetic investiture (Archil. T4 Tarditi = T3 Gerber); in the first century BCE the local tycoon Sosthenes added another inscription about Archilochus’ life to the shrine, quoting his poems.60 In the second century CE the city of Teos minted coins with the image of its citizen Anacreon playing the lyre;61 other cities followed this example, each praising its own famous poets.

56 57

58 59

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Weber 1993, 297–9. Massimilla 1996, 320, 399–401; Fabian 1992, 58–73; 114–20; 139–258; 327–35; Cameron 1995, 133–40. References: Pelliccia, this vol., 245, n. 17. Pelliccia emphasises uncertainty and flexibility. For learned poets see e.g. Hardie 1997 and Hollis 1996 (Philitas); Bing 1993 (Posidippos); Cameron 1995, 67–70. For Technitai see below, p. 315. FGH 502F1. Tarditi 1968, 18–19, T 5. Lefkowitz 1981, 27–31. Richter 1965, I.77, figs. 294–7.

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The nine lyric poets were edited and studied by scholars in Alexandria and elsewhere, but that was not enough to assure their survival. What determined the continuity of a tradition in antiquity was its role in education – along with chance: works and passages of particular dialectal or metrical difficulty (Dion. Hal. De imit. 421 praises Alcaeus for his clarity – in spite of the dialect), works considered immoral, or works simply insufficiently informative or felt to be stylistically insipid were not taught and therefore not copied. Lyric poetry was traditionally used as a model of style and a source of wisdom: already in the fifth century BCE the sophist Protagoras declared the most important part of education to be the evaluation of poetry (Plat. Prt. 339a). The Theognidea were used early on for educational purposes: Socrates based some of his lessons on Theognis (Plat. Men. 95d–e; Xenoph. Mem. 1.2.20; Symp. 2.4), while Isocrates appreciated him as an educator (2.13 and 43). Poetry played a fundamental part in Hellenistic ‘high-school education’, i.e. the teaching of the grammatikos,62 aimed mostly at would-be orators and upper-class bureaucrats. The core authors were few in number, and the selection was mainly left to the individual teacher, since there was no state control of the schools in the Hellenistic kingdoms. Along with Homer, Hesiod, Menander and Euripides, Pindar was one of the most frequently read (cf. Sext. Empir. Math. 1.58); everything else could be included occasionally: thanks to potsherds used as scrap-paper (ostraka), we have evidence for the educational use, in the third and second centuries BCE, of Theognis, Hipponax and Sappho.63 Under the Roman Empire high-school education was centrally organised and spread everywhere. The imitation of literary models from the past was at the core of the syllabus for orators (Cic. Tusc. 2.26; De or. 1.158–9), inspired by the dual influence of Alexandria and Pergamon: Pergamene and Rhodian scholars in the Hellenistic period focused on the moral and literary education of the orator, but used the same literary models as the Alexandrians, including the canons of poets. A twenty-line elegy64 listing the nine lyric poets as the Πρω̑ τοι (‘first’) of their genre possibly dates to the second century CE; it is clearly addressed to a school environment, as it invites the student to memorise (l. 2: μάνθανε) useful information such as the name, homeland, patronymic and dialect of the authors. Greek and Latin orators from the first century BCE to the second century CE, like Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Quintilian (10.1.58ff.) and Menander

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Cribiore 2001, 185–219, especially 194–204; Morgan 1998, especially 90–119. Cribiore 1996, nos. 234, 235, 237 and 247. Drachmann 1903–27, I.10–11; discussion in Labarbe 1968; Gallo 1974, 97–8, 101–3.

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Rhetor, consistently quote the nine canonical lyric poets, and especially Pindar, Alcaeus and Simonides, both as models of style65 and as useful sources of wise mottoes (gnômai). Stesichorus, who quickly attracted the attention of poets and scholars for his epic abundance in lyric form, remained a point of reference in the second century CE for his Homeric style,66 but seems to have been forgotten after the third century. Roman education made the second century CE a golden age for archaic and classical lyric authors, who became the subject of several commentaries and monographs. Individual poems are frequently quoted, mostly first-hand, by philosophical and antiquarian authors like Plutarch (with a preference for Pindar)67 and Athenaeus. The nine lyric poets also survived as characters in the anecdotal and biographical tradition, mostly as wise men; Simonides,68 considered the inventor of the mnemonic system, was always a favourite character for orators (Cic. Fin. 2.32; Ps.-Longinus 1.2.201). It is difficult to follow the path of the textual tradition after the crisis of the third century, when scholars still had access to library copies of the πραττόμενοι but only a few books remained in circulation. The latest Egyptian papyri containing works by Alcaeus and Bacchylides date from the third century, but apparently Bacchylides was the favourite author of an Emperor as late as Julian in the fourth century (Amm. Marc. 25.4.3). The paraphrase of a paean by Alcaeus in Himerius is the only evidence for the survival of his poems in the fourth century. Copies of Sappho were produced in Egypt until the seventh century.69 Even when the works of the lyric poets were no longer widely read, their statues were standing to be admired in the Zeuxippos Thermae in Constantinople, described by Christodorus in the second book of the Palatine Anthology;70 most surprisingly there is for the first time a description of Terpander (ll. 111–16), who was one of the first lyric poets but never listed in the canon and so soon forgotten. Of the works of the lyric poets of the canon, only Pindar’s epinikia, along with the Theognidean corpus, have been preserved for us by direct tradition. Nothing is known, after the Fourth Crusade, about the copy of Hipponax which could be read in Constantinople in the twelfth century. Quite possibly some other copies of now lost works of early lyric poets perished that way.

65 66 69

70

Cousin 1935, 565ff. See Men. Rhet. 9.135.16 and 149, 9.1–2.136. Arrighetti 1995. 67 Cannatà Fera 1992, 163; 157–8. 68 Bell 1978. Cataudella 1965; Garzya 1971. The last epigram dedicated to Sappho belongs to the Cycle of Agathias (sixth century CE): Anth. Pal. 16.310. See Lange 1880, 110–20; Tissoni 2000.

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The sanctuary and the stage: lyric poetry production in Hellenistic culture Apparently, early lyric poetry was no longer performed in the Hellenistic period,71 and contemporary learned lyric was mainly read. Some kinds of lyric poetry, however, were still composed for performance, mostly in religious contexts, in panhellenic or local competitions and in ‘popular’ entertainment, especially in the form of recited mimes and virtuoso singing exploits.72 Short odes in lyric verses were also performed at school (GLP 100, fourth century CE). The variety of forms of archaic and classical lyric was, however, drastically reduced, and some genres seem to have remained on the scene longer than others: dithyrambic poetry continued to be performed by professional poets in festive competitions throughout the Hellenistic period.73 Private anthologies with compositions in lyric metres by dilettanti have survived on papyrus.74 Lyric metres were also used for sympotic poems (skolia).75 From the end of the fourth century BCE the use of lyric metres followed different paths according to the contexts of performance: metres used for religious and popular lyric poetry are relatively simple (aeolic, ionic metres; iambic metres), and the structure of the songs is mainly monostrophic; on the other hand, virtuoso compositions like the Fragmentum Grenfellianum and P.Ryl. I 15 were designed for primadonnas of show-business.76 Recitative metres like hexameters and iambic trimeters, however, are the most widely used from the late Hellenistic period until Dioscorus of Aphrodito (sixth century).77 The professionals Most learned poetic production was intended to be enjoyed in relatively restricted circles. But rulers did not forget the need to relate to larger audiences:78 since Alexander, the communication between the king and his subjects had been based on the immediacy of spectacle and symbols. The Ptolemies organised impressive panhellenic festivals in Alexandria, like the Ptolemaia. Similar festivals took place in other Hellenistic kingdoms, and 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78

But note the continued popularity of Timotheus: Csapo and Wilson, this vol., 279–80. On popular lyric see Neri 2003b. See GLP 87 (first century BCE); GLP 88 and 89 (third century BCE) = CA 192–3. See PTebt. I 1 (CA 185 = GLP 89, see Pordomingo 2001) and GLP 93. GLP 97 (second/third century CE). West 1982, 162–77; CA 177–80 and 200–1 (= Heitsch I xi) (second century CE). Wifstrand 1933, 174ff.; Cameron 1965, 482; Fournet 1999, 278–88. Cameron 1995, 50, 62–3, 291.

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(Video) The Book of Enoch Explained

Lyric in the Hellenistic period and beyond

functioned also as a display of power and as a pretext for diplomatic meetings. Meanwhile, independent Greek states and sanctuaries tried to enhance their prestige by organising local celebrations. Many of these events included poetic competitions in several disciplines. In an era of flourishing international competitions a new breed of professional poets developed quickly, and from the third century BCE on they formed guilds of ‘Dionysian Technitai’ in Egypt, Asia Minor and mainland Greece. Professionals could also perform individually, such as the ‘wandering poets’ moving from town to town reciting encomia for the host city, the local powers, or the emperor. Epigraphical lists of winners of panhellenic competitions, inscriptions containing the statutes of the guilds (third to first centuries BCE) and other occasional references79 allow us to assess in which genres and disciplines the Technitai were skilled. Their main specialism was dactylic poetry, but there were also many authors and singers of dithyrambs, authors of paeans and prosodia, as well as musicians and singers – solo or accompanied by the kithara or the aulos. In dramatic competitions, chorodidaskaloi (instructors of choruses) and chorus members are listed until the first century BCE at least. Public festivals and competitions were not just for Technitai; early poetae docti also presented their compositions outside the court, like Posidippus (SH 705 mentions Agrionia in Boeotia), Teaetetus (Anth. Pal. 9.565) and Nicander;80 apparently Aristophanes of Byzantium himself was a judge in a competition, spotting the plagiarism of his colleagues (Vitr. De arch. VII praef. 5–7). More ambiguous is the evidence for Theocritus81 and Callimachus. There is no evidence yet for the production of learned lyric poetry specifically for festivals. Musical gifts to heavenly and earthly gods Poems in lyric metres commissioned for ritual use were inscribed on stone from the fourth century BCE and probably earlier: the song was conceived as a permanent offering to the god, and after the first performance it could also be reused on other solemn occasions.82 Anthologies of cultic hymns are found either in epigraphic form or copied on papyrus (PSI 1). The paean seems to have been a very popular lyric genre: numerous cultic songs to Apollo and other gods have been found inscribed at Epidaurus,

79 81

82

Le Guen 2001, I.113ff.; Aneziri 2003, 207ff., 425–8, Tab. 3. 80 Massimilla 2000. Id. 24.141ff. is an invocation to Heracles to obtain victory: discussion Gow 1950, II.415, 436; Cameron 1995, 53–5; Hunter 1996, 13. Rutherford 2001a, 144–6.

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Delphi, Erythrae.83 Some of the fourth- and third-century-BCE paeans, no doubt influenced by the poetic competitions in honour of humans that occurred from the fifth century, were encomiastic pieces for monarchs or military men.84 The paean in honour of T. Q. Flamininus (CA 173), was performed in 174 BCE, but, as far as we can judge from our sources, most of the encomiastic production from the third century on was in epic verses. Not all the hymns with religious subjects were composed for a cultic performance: some were just learned exercises mainly composed for reading, like Philicus of Corcyra’s Hymn to Demeter in catalectic choriambic hexameters.85 Another third-century-BCE hymn to Demeter, in archilocheans (cf. Hor. Carm. 1.7.28), could be the work of a well-read amateur, since it apparently alludes to Callim. Hymn 1.57–66.86 Hymns in iambic metres are very frequent. The second century CE brings some surprises: Sapphic stanzas are unexpectedly revived, possibly under the influence of Horace’s experimental lyric, by the poetess Melinno, in a Hymn to Rome (SH 541) which was long reputed to be Hellenistic. Under the Emperor Hadrian several literary hymns in lyric metres (mainly cretics and anapaests) were composed by Mesomedes.87 BIBLIOGRAPHICAL APPENDIX

Web Resources: For bibliographical updates on Hellenistic poets see the Hellenistic Bibliography, ed. M. Cuypers: http://www.tcd.ie/Classics/helle nisticbibliography. A list of literary papyri with updated bibliography is provided by the Leuven Database of Ancient Books, ed. W. Clarysse: http:// ldab.arts.kuleuven.ac.be. A database updating Pack 1965 is Mertens-Pack3, ed. M.-H. Marganne, Liège: http://promethee.philo.ulg.ac.be/cedopal/index. htm. For an updated bibliography on ancient scholars see Lessico dei Grammatici Antichi, ed. F. Montanari, Genoa: http://www.lgga.unige.it. From performance to edition

Fifth–fourth century ‘New Music’, especially dithyramb: Sutton 1989; Csapo 2004a; Wilson 2003. Echoes of ancient lyric poetry in Athenian classical drama: Kugelmeier 1996; Bagordo 2003. Aristotelian influence on Alexandrian

83

84 85

86 87

All the poems are collected in Powell’s Collectanea Alexandrina (CA) and in Furley and Bremer 2001; see also the introduction to Rutherford 2001a; Pizzoccaro 1991. SH 40 and 491–2, CA 140, 173–5. Discussion: Cameron 1995, 292–4. SH 678–9 (plus 676–7) = GLP 90 = PSI XII 1282 (third century BCE). Discussion: Brown 1990. SH 990, especially in ll. 3–10 = GLP 91. Discussion: Roberts 1934. CA 197–8; Heitsch I.2: 1–13.

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scholarship: Richardson 1994. Chameleon fragments concerning lyric poets are edited by Wehrli 1969, 45–63, and discussed by Scorza 1934, especially 26ff. Biographical traditions of lyric poets: Scorza 1934; Lefkowitz 1981, especially 24–66; Arrighetti 1987. The Alexandrian Library: the bibliography is particularly vast, but see in particular Pfeiffer 1968–76, I. 98–104; Canfora 1990; Erskine 1995; Maehler 2003a. For a general overview of libraries in the ancient world: Casson 2001; Nagy 1998 (on the Attalid library); Nicolai 2000. Alexandrian editions and later philological works: Wilamowitz 1900; Pfeiffer 1968–76, I; Reynolds and Wilson 1968, chs. I and II; Maehler 1994; Montanari 1994 and 1997; Irigoin 1994 and 1997; Kramer 2000; Papamathomas 2003. Callimachus’ Pinakes: Blum 1991; Pfeiffer 1968–76, I.123–51; Turner 1980a, 102–3. Papyri: List of literary finds – not up to date – in Montevecchi 1988, 360–3; for historical context of literary papyrus finds see Turner 1980a, chs. 6 and 7. Ancient editions and textual tradition. Sappho: Nicosia 1976; Yatromanolakis 1999a and 2006a. Alcaeus: Nicosia 1976; Pardini 1991; Porro 1990 and 1994; Rossi 1993. Anacreon: Gentili 1958. Pindar: Irigoin 1952; Poethke 1981; Schröder 1999; Rutherford 2001a; D’Alessio 1997 and 2001; Negri 2004; Lowe 2007. Bacchylides: Maehler 2003b. Alcman: Calame 1983, Hinge 2006. Stesichorus and Ibycus: Cingano 1987 and 1990. Simonides: Boedeker and Sider 2001. Archilochus and Hipponax: Tarditi 1968; Degani 1984 and 1995. Literary genres: Färber 1936; Harvey 1955; Rossi 1971 and 2000; Cairns 1972; Raible 1980; Fantuzzi 1980; Harder et al. 1998; Depew and Obbink 2000; Fantuzzi and Hunter 2004, 1–41. Transmission of ancient music (especially of dramatic lyric) and its relationship with colometry: Pöhlmann 1988; Fleming and Kopff 1992; Tessier 1995; Fleming 1999; Parker 2001; Pöhlmann and West 2001; Giordano-Zecharya 2003; Prauscello 2006. Loss of music in drama: Hunter 1979. At play with tradition

Ancient lyric and Hellenistic allusive art: the concept of ‘allusive art’ was first formulated by Pasquali 1942; more recently Bonanno 1990. On the presence of ancient lyric poetry in Hellenistic poetry see Cusset 1999, especially ch. 9; Acosta-Hughes 2009. Pindaric motifs in Callimachus: Fuhrer 1988, 1992 and 1993; Bona 1995; D’Alessio 1996, II.680–95. Callimachus’ Iambi: Puelma 1949; Clayman 1980; Depew 1992; Konstan 1998; Kerkhecker 1999, Acosta-Hughes 2002; Lelli 2005. Hellenistic iambos: Rusten and Cunningham 2002. Cercidas: Lomiento 1993; López Cruces 1995. Herodas: Mastromarco 1984; Cunningham 1987; 317 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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Simon 1991; Rosen 1992; Hunter 1993; Stanzel 1998; Fountoulakis 2002. Machon: Gow 1965; Kurke 2002. Sotades: Pretagostini 1984, 139–47; Weber 1998–9, 162–5. Hellenistic elegy: general overview in Barbantani 2001 and 2002, with particular attention to historical and encomiastic elegy. Theocritus’ Aeolic poems: West 1967; Cairns 1977; Palutan 1995; Fassino and Prauscello 2001. Teaching the lyric of the past

Education in antiquity, especially Hellenistic schools: Marrou 1956; Maehler 1983; Cribiore 1996 and 2001; Morgan 1998. The reception of the lyric poets: Barbantani 1993 (lyric poets praised in epigrams, and their evaluation in Greek culture until Byzantine age). Pindar: Des Places 1959; Cannatà Fera 1992. Sappho: Rüdiger 1933 and Yatromanolakis 2006a. Ibycus: Mosino 1966 and 1987. Artistic representation of lyric poets: Richter 1965; Schefold 1997. The sanctuary and the stage

Festivals, Technitai and wandering poets: Guarducci 1929; Cameron 1965 and 1995, 44 ff.; Perpillou-Thomas 1995; Lightfoot 2002. Specific monographs on Technitai, with sources: Le Guen 2001; Aneziri 2003. On imperial festivals, Nijf 1999. Hymns: Furley and Bremer 2001; Cadili 1995; Pordomingo 1984. Metric structure of cultic songs: Parker 2001, 32 ff. Performance of cultic songs: Grandolini 1991, Angeli Bernardini 1991. Byzantine hymnography: Wellesz 1961. Popular poetry: Lambin 1992; Neri 2003b. Mimes: Andreassi 2001; Esposito 2002, 2005. Melinno: Bowra 1957; Gauger 1984; Raimondi 1995–8. Mesomedes: Horna 1928; Husmann 1955; Whitmarsh 2004. Anacreontics: Labarbe 1982; Rosenmeyer 1992; O’Brien 1995.

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17 ALESSANDRO BARCHIESI

Lyric in Rome

The title makes the chapter appear almost fraudulent. Most of the discussion will foreground one individual, Horace, and this even though much of this collection is devoted to rediscovering shared conventions, performance spaces, social traditions and codes, rather than the voices of great individuals of the past. The contrast is unavoidable, as we will see, but it should not be resolved by generalising about Rome as a city of hopelessly individual literati, while Greece is a place of happy, embedded, communal performances and choruses. The fact is that lyric production at Rome is by no means representative of the entire system of what we call the literature of Rome. In Latin, theatre, epic, oratory and other kinds are much more socially grounded than lyric, and lyric is and remains the odd one out. But Horace steals the stage not just because, thanks to the vagaries of transmission, his texts are isolated, or because of his outstanding quality and artistic personality. His carmina (poems or songs) are isolated because of authorial choice and conscious, sometimes wily, self-positioning. He is a canonical author because he wants to be canonised. This is clearly a selfconscious difference vis-à-vis his Greek predecessors. Alcaeus and Pindar must have been competitive and aggressive in their own way, but the whole idea of a canon is dependent on a world of letters based on critics, wide readership, book trade, anthologies and schools, something that came into existence through a much later process, in the centuries between Isocrates and Meleager.1 Predecessors in Rome The poems of Greek lyric were no strangers to Latium in Republican times. If we are interested in locating their influence or simply their availability to individual readers, this can be done even in the fragmentary remains of 1

On the formation of canons cf. Barbantani, this vol., 302–3.

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mid-Republican literati. Plautus must have known about Sappho’s symptoms of love. Ennius, to quote another random example, alludes to the motif of Ibycus representing himself as the aging racehorse (fr. sed. inc. lxix Skutsch, with his note); if one has to speculate on what the memory of Greek lyric must have offered to a Republican epic poet, it might be significant that this is the first known example of an epic poet applying a simile to himself: an experimental and liberated approach to self-representation? What was absent was a regular space of performance and recreation such as the communal and social institutions of archaic and classical Greece, or a full-fledged symposion culture, or the contests and festivals of Hellenistic poleis and courts. The presence of one kind of ‘lyric’ from ‘Greece’ was however powerful in the theatre, where Latin dramatists worked hard to recreate and transform the style and metre of songs from Attic comedy and tragedy. That is not the lyric that matters to this Companion or to Horace. Horace, who publishes his Epodes and Odes after the victory of Octavian in the civil wars, is an author who distances himself from ‘archaic’ Roman literature, and contributes much to the very invention of the notion of archaic; but he also intentionally sidelines authors who are much closer to him in time and taste, and who might have been considered the pioneers in the adoption of lyric forms for Latin-speaking culture. The ‘Neoteric’ Catullus and even his (a quaint label) ‘Pre-Neoteric’ predecessor Laevius (early first century BCE) should be regarded as bona fide students and imitators of Greek lyric. Laevius, for example, is very close to the Anacreontic tradition, but he works without a clean break from the lyric of Roman drama (as in Horace). Laevius must have been one of the great avant-garde authors in Rome: even from the capricious choice of random fragments that we have, his range of metre, style, topics and models is remarkable. He does not seem to have any master-text or generic model, and mixes influences from Hellenistic poets, including the extremely bookish technopaegnia, with recollections of ancient lyric, in a way utterly alien to the poetics of Horace. His approach to narrating myth in lyric verse shows that he understands the relationship of Sappho to Homer. A fragment from the poem on Protesilaus and Laodamia (his Latin title was Protesilaudamia, a beautiful title for a story of separation and longing) presumably shows the heroine fantasising about the dangers of an Asiatic campaign for her husband: aut nunc quaepiam alia te puella Asiatico ornatu affluens aut Sardiano aut Lydio fulgens decore et gratia pellicuit

or some other girl has now seduced you, luxurious with Eastern outfits, and glamorous with the elegance and charm of Sardis or Lydia? (fr. 18 Courtney)

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The point must be, of course, that Laodamia imagines the Trojan war through the eyes of Sappho, combining jealousy, Eastern chic and the elegance of Sardis (as in Sappho 98, 10–11 V). Laevius is also self-conscious in his metrical innovations: one source attributes to him the title (or generic category?) Polymetra (Priscianus I 258: the commonly attested title for his verse is Erotopaegnia) and quotes the line omnes sunt denis syllabis uersi

all verses are in ten syllables (fr. 30 Courtney)

The line itself is decasyllabic, and it looks just possible that the poem is describing its own metrical innovation, perhaps based on a series of lines with identical number of syllables but varied forms: interesting, then, that Laevius adopts the unusual versi for versus ‘lines of verse’. His variant of the regular form could imply a strong link with verto ‘change, convert, translate’, his lines being ‘mutants, changelings’. We would love to know more about his use of the book structure, in such a varied collection. One little clue could be that one of the few substantial scraps, a technopaegnion (a poem representing an object in its layout) on the Phoenix, is attested as the final poem of the entire collection (Charisius 375 B, fr. 22 Courtney). The poem is a tour de force in the tradition of the Alexandrian poet Simias, the supposed inventor of technopaegnia: a mix of ionici a minore and anacreontics in the shape of wings of the phoenix, and so one does not expect much in the way of emotional energy – yet if one pays attention to the content, one notices the speaker’s voice is addressing Venus and saying that the goddess is a giver of blessings and serenity as well as a harsh, unforgiving master of slaves. The speaker is presumably the Phoenix, but can we exclude a programmatic ring, when the poem was the tailpiece of the entire book of Erotopaegnia? Laevius was aware that a passionate address to Aphrodite on her winged chariot was the first poem in the Alexandrian complete works of Sappho, and he certainly knew of many more artfully planned epigram collections in Greek than we can even imagine. Sappho is already retrieved as a model in Valerius Aedituus (fr. 1 Courtney): nothing is known of the author, except that he predates Laevius and was contemporary with better-known elite individuals (Porcius Licinus, Lutatius Catulus) who were among the first to compose love epigrams in Latin in the late second century BCE. It is also significant that one of the two preserved epigrams by Valerius deals with symptoms of love in a way reminiscent not only of Greek epigram but also of famous Sapphic representations of passion. From now on, long before Laevius and 321 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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Catullus, we can imagine that Sappho has entered Roman culture as the spokeswoman for the psychology and aesthetics of erôs.2 This is all necessarily speculative, but what matters in the context of this discussion is that in his territorial conquest of the lyric genre Horace operates by occluding predecessors who had been no less imbued with Greek culture, but were much more experimental and less systematic and consistent in their approach. This is obviously true of Catullus as well. Catullus is the Roman author who makes the breakthrough (in Horace’s perspective, certainly a crucial step) of composing a poem in Sapphics that is also a variation on Sappho. The poem (51) is a manifesto, a Latin transformation and a first-person appropriation of a famous text on desire by Sappho (31 V). It is frustrating that we are not sure what to make of the final strophe, one that looks like a personal supplement to the Sapphic model, but could also be (given what we know of the transmission of Catullus) an unrelated fragment: otium, Catulle, tibi molestum est. otio exsultas nimiumque gestis. otium et reges prius et beatas perdidit urbes.

Leisure, Catullus, does not agree with you. At leisure you’re restless, too excitable. Leisure in the past has ruined rulers and Prosperous cities. (51.13–16, trans. Lee)

In the best-case scenario, if we place some trust in this fourth strophe being integral to 51, we have an interesting surplus of poetic and cultural consciousness: for Catullus must be making not only a point about the relationship of leisure to desire, but a point about leisure and Sappho (she is a symbol of oriental luxuriousness in Greek; though, since the last stanza survives in a highly fragmentary state, how the poem now known to us as fr. 31 V ended is anybody’s guess); and even more than that, a point about leisure and imitation of Sappho: the triple repetition of otium demonstrates that otium, in Roman terms, is what makes the entire impersonation of Sappho by a Roman gentleman possible, yet dangerous. It is the productive condition of the poem, and the poison that seeps through it, making the poet’s voice despicable and attractive at the same time. This text is obviously fundamental for Horace’s adoption of an ‘Aeolic’ voice in his lyric (cf. the triple repetition of otium in II 16, 1–6), as is the fact that the same metre is selected by Catullus for the very interesting poem 11. There are other clear traces in the Catullan corpus of an interest in Sappho, especially in the epithalamic poems 61 and 62, and there is a crucial revelation 2

For the pre-Catullan examples in this section cf. respectively on Ennius, Skutsch 1985, 674; on Sappho and Roman comedy, Traill 2005; on Laevius and Greek poetry, Courtney 1993, 118–42, Fantuzzi 1995, Galasso 2004.

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in the choice of Lesbia as a pseudonym for the beloved (not an isolated choice, since Leucadia is the title heroine of the love elegies by Varro Atacinus in the generation between Catullus and Horace). But in the context of this discussion, what matters is that the corpus of Catullus’ poems does not use pre-Hellenistic lyric as a master-plan. In anachronistic terms, both he and Laevius posit a challenge to the new order that the Augustan poets will establish;3 both poets will in fact be rediscovered by the generations who write light poetry between the Flavian and the Hadrianic age, and to them they will still mediate an access to Greek monodic lyric (especially Anacreon and Sappho). The fact is that neither Catullus nor Horace inherits a culture where lyric has visibility and authority outside the spaces of reading and of occasional sympotic reperformance: this lack of social embedding explains their strategies (no matter if very different from each other) but it is also a witness to the power and fascination that Greek lyric is exercising through its new medium, the poetry book. Catullus reacts by recuperating some lyric voices into a personal combination of varied influences; Horace, by creating new generic rules that allow the existence of a ‘canonical’ Roman lyricist. The big Nine When Horace ends his programmatic first ode by saying to Maecenas quodsi me lyricis vatibus inseres, sublimi feriam sidera vertice.

But if you rank me among the lyric bards of Greece, I shall soar aloft and strike the stars with my head. (I 1, 35–6, trans. Rudd)

he is being true to the facts as well as dishonest. True to the facts: inseres matches the language of inclusion in a canon (enkrinô, cf. Barbantani, this vol., 302) and the canon is the list of the big nine lyric poets, as familiar for example from Greek epigrams of the second and first centuries. Even the metaphor of ‘striking the stars’ is eerily appropriate if we remember Greek clichés such as asteres (‘stars’) or Pleiades for ‘poetic celebrities’ (cf. e.g. Anth. Pal. 7.1; 7.21; Eust. Od. 1776.48). In fact, even with our partial knowledge of the Greek texts and with very poor support from Horace’s ancient commentators, all of the nine can be traced as textual models, although some more

3

Putnam 2006 emphasises Catullus in Horace’s poetic memory; he also notes (2006, 93) that often Catullan echoes are not only implicit, but tend to occur in close proximity to explicit mentions of other models.

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implicitly and less frequently (Alcman, Ibycus, Stesichorus), some named as a central model (Alcaeus and Sappho, the ‘Aeolian’ singers), some named as a problematic model (Simonides in II 1 and Pindar in IV 2). In fact no less than seven are listed in a single programmatic utterance at IV 9.6–12 (assuming that Ceae there can refer ambiguously to Bacchylides, cf. Bacch. 3.98 M, as well as to Simonides, cf. Horace himself at II 1.38). If one can further argue that Ibycus is the object of a humorous allusion through his namesake at III 15.1, Alcman is the only one of the nine not to be mentioned by name. Needless to say the youngest of the nine, Pindar, had been dead 420 years before the publication of the Odes, and in Roman chronology some of the oldest poets were seen as contemporaries of hoary figures of the early Roman Republic or even the monarchy: Archilochus, imitated in the Epodes and declared at Epist. I 19.26–31 the direct predecessor of the Aeolic poets, is treated by Roman antiquarians as a contemporary of King Tullus Hostilius (Cornelius Nepos in Aulus Gellius, 17.21.8). The canon – this is the disingenuous catch – was forever closed, open only to Greek-language authors from a distant past, and unavailable to latecomers, even to the celebrated Corinna.4 Archilochus – an even more famous outsider – is not entirely absent from the Odes, and he clearly had the potential to be styled a proto-lyricist; but for Horace the main point is that his aggressiveness is inseparable from iambos (cf. Horace himself at Epist. I 19). It is telling that there are differences in content as well as metre between Odes and Epodes. In the Epodes, even with our limited knowledge, all metres follow, or are at least compatible with, Archilochean praxis; in the Odes, the dominance of Aeolic forms is equally significant. Other major differences between Epodes and Odes, again confirmation of a strong sense of generic rules and decorum, include references to addressee and occasion: in the Epodes we find addressees responding and developing in the course of the poem (while lyric strives to modify and influence the addressee in a much less frontal way), we find an interest in ‘dialogic style’, more use of deixis, aggressiveness, references to collective male bonding. In the Odes poems are normally bound to discursive occasions (sometimes even with a calendrical date!), but they do not strive for immediate results, which the iambic Epodes often do, or try to do, drawing on performative forms, such as curse, oath and abuse. Coherence of the lyric voice The coherence and generic self-consciousness of the Odes are striking. Only a simple summary is possible here; most of the issues will come up again later in 4

Feeney 1993, 41–2.

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this chapter. Readers may also want to compare the various aspects with what emerges from the analysis of earlier lyric in this volume: Metre: strophic metres are remodelled to suit written composition and reception (see below). Music: more or less lost in transmission as far as the original Greek scores go (see Battezzato and Barbantani in this vol., 142–3, 300–2, respectively) and does not interfere with metre and style, but is all important as an atmospheric and thematic element. The poet is lyrical because he ‘sings’: but in real life (witness his own literary epistles and satires) he criticises all forms of public performance (theatre, spectacles, recitationes). The poems do not project or imply a collective audience; it is of course the Greek poets who sing ‘live’ (to a truly full house: II 13.24– 36), and their auditorium is in the underworld. Occasion: felt as necessary. Almost all poems have an occasion, marked by a subtle variety of devices (just one of them is often enough): addressee, time reference, location, deixis. These devices are still defining features in modern European lyric (see e.g. Cavafy’s December 1903). Time: front and centre of lyric ideology. Important clues in archaic lyric – especially references to aging and youth, season, and festival – are developed with precision and emotion. We are offered references to holidays, anniversaries, consuls, the poet’s own age, seasons, historical events. The tendency of Greek lyric to indicate a time of performance acquires new force through its ‘translation’ into Roman civic time.5 Even wine – a fundamental element of generic coherence in Horace – tends to incorporate indications of time. Time also reshapes the treatment of love and helps in drawing the line vis-à-vis Roman elegy. Elegiac time is organised in accordance with a constant desire and a goal. Lyric time in Horace makes love relative: we hear much about past loves, alternative loves, swapping love objects (women and boys), and about aging and love, or other people’s love affairs, all of that in unelegiac keys. The insistence on festivals and anniversaries obliquely suggests that reperformance will be possible: poems have occasions, but other – different – occasions will recur in the future. Space: another strong factor of coherence. Lyric requires a sheltered, exclusive space. It is neither marginal nor urban. Not marginal: the poet does not travel much, he sends off and greets friends travelling long distances, and mentions the edges of the earth frequently in political poems as the margins of Empire and of his own lyric. Not urban: Rome is for satire and elegy (and for the ritual Carmen Saeculare). The right space is often defined by 5

Feeney 1993, 58–9.

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images and imaginations of villas and moderate country estates, and the locations are typically within a day trip from Rome, in the Italic heartland. Addressee: almost always present, always individual (and sympotic situations are frequent but streamlined, often just a party for two, even for one) and poised between presence and absence (see below). Authorial voice: the carmina are unified by the strong presence of the authorial voice, and this lyric voice has significant aspects of inwardness, but this is no soliloquy; the poet ‘does not meditate, he exhorts, questions, invites, consoles, prays, and orders’ (as Nisbet, Hubbard and Rudd explain in their commentaries, with due reference to rhetoric).6 Deixis: the deictic element is important but tends to be temporal (nunc…), or partly implicit (uides ut…), rather than spatial and explicit (as it must have been frequently in the tradition of sympotic poetry and skolia). This is merely a laundry list, but one is struck by how all the salient general features stand in a direct relationship to Greek lyric, and more exactly to an active reception and transformation of Greek lyric in a particular setting. When Horace says that he is imitating the canon of lyric, he is being honest. Secondary lyric For Horace, the models are texts and they are transmitted along with characters and personae, anecdotal traditions, scholarly apparatus discussing genre, implications, historical context, figures of speech. Even with our scanty evidence from papyri, we can catch some glimpses of how those para-texts affect the poetics of Latin lyric. Horace uses one technique of allusion that deserves special mention, the so-called ‘motto’ (Pasquali).7 Some carmina begin with a recognisable quotation from a Greek classic (e.g. Alcaeus), but the poem then unfolds in different or unexpected directions. The effect is to define the model as a classic yet guarantee the poet’s autonomy. Some potential parallels in the Greek tradition are debated, but a few links stand out: (a) the sympotic tradition had a strong metapoetic element, precisely when it was improvisational, and made use of quotations; (b) the minisequence of ‘Aeolic pederastic’ poems in Theocritus offers one instance (from Alcaeus) at the beginning of poem 29; (c) (especially relevant here) the Alexandrian learned habit of cataloguing poems in books and anthologies according to their first line suggests that a reference to poetic authority is being mediated by book culture. We are even less well informed about other traditions of learning; one interesting area must have been commentaries and 6 7

The quote is from Nisbet and Hubbard 1970, xxiv; see also Davis 1991. Pasquali 1964, 9; Feeney 1993, 41–2 ; Cavarzere 1996, passim.

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essays discussing cases of poetic allegory. The Horatian poem about the ship (I 14) is so peculiar that it must have something to do not only with the poems of Alcaeus about various tantalising ships and storms, but also with attempts to clarify and differentiate them in terms of allegory. As we know from scraps of commentaries, the ship image was interpreted as the ‘ship of state’ or ‘the destiny of a party in the civil war’ or even as something erotic. It cannot be a coincidence that all of those scenarios continue to be aired in Horatian scholarship about I 14: the poet is aware of those controversies and anticipates them through his manipulation of Alcaeus. In this perspective the beginning of the poem O navis, referent in mare te novi fluctus. o quid agis?

O ship! New waves, again, are about to carry you out to sea. O, what are you doing? (I 14, 1–2, trans. Rudd adapted)

takes on a sardonic appropriateness: ‘O ship…’, ‘new waves, again’, ‘what are you doing?’, indeed. Examples could be multiplied, for instance by focusing on what is known of the order of poems in the various Complete Works of the Nine, and no doubt research on Greek discussions of lyric will contribute to a richer approach to Horace, one that does not just pit isolated fragments of verse against the Latin text in search of a fit. Patronage Alexandrian meditations on the poet–patron relationship are relevant to Horace, and it is important to remember that when they confront archaic lyric they are fraught with ironies. In the poem known as Charites (16), Theocritus laments the crisis of patronage and echoes the idea of immortality through poetry exploited in Simonides’ elegy about the dead at Plataea. Simonides is of course the poster-boy for poetic immortality, memory and economic trade-off: Theocritus echoes a text about the patriots who gave their life in the Trojan and Persian wars, but what he mentions explicitly are the traffics in praise and poetic reward between Simonides and his wealthy patrons, Thessalian cattle-barons such as the Scopadai and Aleuadai. He must have known that the leader of the clan during the Persian wars, Thorax the Red, was in the Persian camp at Plataea (Hdt. 9.1.58). This coincidence projects irony on the idea that poetry is more important than deeds to confer immortality. As for Callimachus, he has a piece in the Aitia (64 Pfeiffer) in which the speaker is dead and speaks from the grave, nothing revolutionary in the epigram tradition, and this voice turns out to be the poet Simonides, again not an unusual choice in the tradition of epitaphs of famous people. What is 327 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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more unusual is that the voice is actually speaking about the displacement and loss of the tomb, and the curse arising from this loss. This is nice, because on the one hand Simonides is reconstructed in Hellenistic culture as the inventor of epigram (and epitaph) collections, on the other he is famous for declaring that poetry surpasses monuments and honours in stone and bronze. So he, of all people, should be less anxious about the fate of his own funerary memorial. To compensate him, Callimachus now relocates the memorial to a very visible place, not the walls of Akragas, but the book-roll of the Aitia. The usual approach to patronage in Horace, scrutinising the identities of addressees as potential patrons, needs to be integrated with the effect of approaching the lyric tradition of Greece through a temporal gap: the temporal distance, and the canonisation of authors, shows that poetry can indeed invert the traffic in praise, and the lyric author can become, in the long run, the paradoxical ‘patron’ of his own great protectors. This is what time had done to the Skopadai in Simonides, Hieron in Pindar and Polycrates in Ibycus. Therefore Horace’s invocations of future renown and posthumous fame are predicated on the continuity with the Greek past, and affect his own negotiations with powerful Romans of his age. Horace confronts a number of recognisable Roman individuals but avoids overlap with Greek notions of patronage. He does not sing regularly for aristocrats.8 He keeps away from Augustus for a long while, and approaches him more or less directly only in books III and IV. He constructs Maecenas as an ambiguous patron figure, one who could provoke dependence but paradoxically guarantees autonomy, and invests most of the well-known and by implication wealthy and powerful Romans he approaches in books I and II with hints of familiarity or long-standing acquaintance, thus screening off any idea of trade-offs between poetry and reward. Later on, the poet stages the old Greek debate on poetry, praise and patronage in book IV, when a new poetics of praise is called for, since on the one hand Augustus’ power is stabilised in the image of an Imperial family and court, and on the other some younger aristocrats are now beginning to replace the older amici as addressees. When he does this, he is careful to realign the intertextual connections he makes, and stresses thematic links with e.g. Pindar and Simonides, more than with the guiding inspirations of the previous books, Alcaeus and Sappho. Coherence and restrictions There is of course a danger of oversimplifying if we focus on the recurring features and try to extrapolate a poetics of lyric, and in a sense the picture is 8

Nisbet 2002, 81, quoting Syme 1986, 382–95.

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clearer if we focus on things Horace does not do. He does not appear as a writer: until book IV, it is only other people who write, and the ideology of his song is ‘phonocentric’ (to borrow Michele Lowrie’s definition).9 He does not disclose the existence of any guild or corporate group of authors or performers. Other poets are mentioned – in all of his work Horace is the Augustan poet who works most in terms of explicit literary criticism – either as distant predecessors (for explicit naming of Greek lyric authors see above), or as contemporaries who practise entirely different, obviously non-lyric, genres (epic, historiography, love elegy). He does not create the impression of a permanent group of friends, in any of the possible configurations of this idea (e.g. as in Alcaeus and in other sympotic lyric or iambos, but also in the Neoteric ‘circle’). The addressee has a fundamental function but not as part of a durable group. In terms of relationship to the ever-present addressee, the poet stays away from the mimetic and the epistolary (or para-epistolary) modes. In other words, he activates the ‘presence’ of the addressee, but within certain limits: in the epistolary mode, the poem is written in order to overcome the gap of separation; in the mimetic mode, the poem is directly uttered, or pretended to be, to an audience that responds and develops ‘in real time’, while the utterance is in progress. Both modes have significant precedents in Greek literature (epistolary mode in elegy, but also choral lyric and monody: some Pindaric poems are clearly affected by the idea that the performance or the addressee are far away from the author; mimetic poems: influential examples in the Hymns of Callimachus); Horace adopts both modes when he is on different generic territory, in the Epistles and the Epodes (see e.g. poems 5, 7, 16), respectively. In the Epodes, the ‘iambic’ code apparently encourages situations which are almost dramatic, because the utterance takes into account reactions and changes on the part of the audience. In spite of the overwhelming importance of direct address in the Odes, only a modest number of similar examples, and most of them debatable, can be pointed out. Love poems are as a rule not mimetic; sympotic poems, where one would easily expect responses, interaction and implied dialogue, are remarkably free of mimetic effects; and, even more striking, those poems that strive towards communicating a strong sense of dynamics and drastic change ‘in real time’ are either purely imaginary, or completely self-absorbed, or both (‘I feel I am becoming a swan’; ‘Where am I, where are you whisking me away, Bacchus?’). Poems are regularly autonomous, they do not come in pairs, sequences or cycles (as is common in elegy or epigram), and there is a clear trend towards avoidance of the same metre in two or more consecutive poems (the sequence III 1–6, the so-called Roman Odes, is the exception that confirms the rule in 9

Lowrie 1997, index s.v. phonocentrism.

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every respect, including the anomalous approach to addressees). Needless to say, the readers do have a right to read against the grain: the lyric books were edited by Horace himself; run-over effects are sometimes irresistibly funny, and the positioning of poems in the books is part of their meaning:10 but here we are dealing with things that Horace does not want to happen at a surface level. Every single poem, then, is much more autonomous and occasionbound than it would be in other typical books or anthologies of this period.11 This is interesting for our discussion because it implies a reception of the canonical lyricists through their learned Alexandrian oeuvres: a reception in which books are too carefully arranged to sound spontaneous, but single poems also ‘resist’ their inscription in books by cleaving to their own occasional origins in aural performance. More than other kinds of poems, a lyric text is something that ‘happens’, a happening. On a metrical level, Horace never attempts triadic stanzas and choral metres (even Greek professionals in this period are not meeting that challenge) but he also reduces to a minimum the use of stichic metre. The two signature metrical forms, making up most of the collection, are adaptations of Aeolic strophes, the Alcaic and the Sapphic strophe. All of the poems, including the ones in what are officially stichic or distichic metres, are divisible by four (one of the interesting coincidences with the so-called ‘pederastic Aeolic poems’ in Theocritus). The metrical identity of the collection is therefore based on the exclusion of fancy and ambitious cantica (the polymetric songs of Republican comedy), and of Catullan-style ‘humbler’ metres such as the stichic Phalecean. The Aeolic metre invokes Sappho and Alcaeus, but it is a revised and ‘classical’ metre: the most interesting innovation is the invention of a fixed caesura in Sapphics. The caesura operates as a normalisation of archaic fluidity, but in its monotony it is almost unbearable in musical performance: Horace will relax the norm only with the Carmen Saeculare and, after it, in book IV: that is, he will allow the sapphic verse more freedom once he has experimented with (una tantum) live performance, including music and dance. This is one important argument confirming that he did not plan his lyric output as melos, but as a written recreation.12

10

11

12

Contra, see Nisbet 1995, 423–4; in favour of reading ‘across the blanks’ see e.g. Barchiesi 1997 on significance ‘by position’ as well as ‘by nature’, Barchiesi 2001a, 151–4 (discussing the reactions against Pasquali 1964, 324 and against Fraenkel 1957, 299ff. in Nisbet and Hubbard 1970, 421–3 on I 38). Krevans 1984 is important: her point that there is intentional striving for the autonomy of each poem is not in contradiction with the arguments of my previous note, since she allows the ‘poet as editor’ the same semiotic status as the poet’s mind qua ‘point of origin’ of individual poems. Rossi 1998 is fundamental. For competent advocacy of a musical Horace, contrast von Albrecht 1993.

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Other things Horace does not do, this time at a thematic level, are ekphraseis and ‘speaking objects’ – the first category probably felt as distinctive of epic and elegy, the second of epigram and of Neoteric poetry: both approaches have the typical effect of reinforcing ideas and implications of a ‘general addressee’ or ‘implied reader’ and of weakening the importance of a ‘second person’ addressee; they also necessitate the reader’s projection of a ‘writing’ author in a way that ‘textual performance’ does not. In sum, if it is legitimate to combine all those observations in a single model, Horace interprets the ode as a generic space where the addressee is a strong and individualised element of the text, often with identifiable features, and not without effect on the message of the song; the addressee is not as ‘present’ as in mimetic poems, nor as ‘absent’ as in epistolary texts. Hence the rhetorical importance of apostrophe: we are not surprised that titles such as ad Maecenatem or ad Leuconoen begin to appear in our late-antique manuscript tradition. Horace pioneers a tradition of lyric that has generated a considerable critical interest, the tradition in which apostrophe is not an embellishment or a residue, but a generic marker with a vital function: modern practitioners of the genre of course need not subscribe to this approach, but some still do, often with post-Horatian irony (one would like to imagine, for example, a debate between Philip Larkin, Eugenio Montale and Gottfried Benn on the vitality of apostrophe).

The Carmen Saeculare The Carmen Saeculare (whose performance in 17 BCE was commemorated by an inscription recording Horace’s authorship of the composition) is interesting in many respects as a control on the previous discussion. If we try, somewhat adventurously, to separate some of the main formal and thematic features, a complexity emerges: – Almost all the main choices at the formal and thematic level are compatible with a Pindaric paean: indeed, if the Greeks had had any interest in classifying works in a foreign language, the Carmen Saeculare should have earned the definition ‘Latin paean’, the category of paeans being one of the few types of lyric that still had some stability in the first century (cf. Barbantani, this vol., 315–16). Paeanic features in Horace include the centrality of Apollo and Diana, cultic atmosphere, the style in its refined simplicity, appropriate to a juvenile chorus of dancers and singers, the communal focus, self-reference to performance, the insistence on light and on bright images, the emphasis on renewal of life, the elision of dark and chthonic material (even though this material presented itself, and indeed was difficult to dodge: the ludi saeculares consisted of a nocturnal 331 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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and chthonic ritual alongside the diurnal ritual on which Horace’s poem is based, and the daytime proceedings were the innovation that diverged from Republican traditions). – The presence of the author has much lower profile than in any kind of Pindaric composition – and the Pindaric paean is already shorter on recognisable interventions in propria persona than most ancient lyric – and even more elusive if one compares the habits of the Horatian ode. – The poem is deeply Hellenising but in a less obvious sense than Catullan lyric or, for that matter, than most of Horace’s own verse: the surface is pure and moderate Latin, without spectacular imports from Greece (e.g. precious proper names, fancy epithets, Greek-style compounds or sound effects). The Hellenising is, on the contrary, a matter of a unified deep structure: it is the sober appropriation for the Roman people (and Augustus) of a kind of composition that is typical of classical Greece, in its social function and its message. – The choice of metre, however, confirms that it would be mad to try to adopt Pindaric metre (cf. Hor. carm. IV 2): the use of sapphics in the Carmen Saeculare lends itself to a number of divergent (but not incompatible) interpretations: (a) the limitation to an ‘easy’ and already Latinised metrical form fits the circumstances of choral performance and the choral traditions of Roman lyric; (b) but it also fits the ‘personal voice’ of Horace the lyric poet: it is his signature strophe, together with the Alcaic; (c) in a performance poem, this choice also ambiguously matches the tradition of civic performances of the Hellenistic age, where the use of simpler strophic or even stichic metres had been and still was the rule: but this tradition is not, we suspect, noble enough to be canonised from an Augustan perspective; (d) finally, the metre is (see above) subtly revised to mark the different context, live performance instead of publication in a book. Textual performance One important lesson of all this is that Roman readers seem to have encountered Greek lyric as a compact and tight genre: this effect was very much a product of Roman readerly work and of Hellenistic constructions of the past.13 The genre was experienced primarily as a sum of texts, but textuality 13

Of course much work had been done by the performance poets themselves. They are, for example, connected through a web of what looks like intertextual resonance; they address fellow-poets in more or less explicit ways; some of them are pioneers in what looks like (long before Hellenistic mottoes) textual quotation (‘as Homer says’, in Mimnermus and Simonides). It would be interesting to have a thorough discussion on how the ‘programmatic’ (a key concept of criticism on Roman and Hellenistic poetry) should be seen at work in a culture of predominantly aural transmission.

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created imaginary performances. The result is a clear example of how textuality recreates its own antidote, the imaginary recreation of ‘live’ acts of communication. A specifically Roman reaction that needs to be added to the mix is that these imaginary performances fostered the sense of a gap between Greek past and Roman present: a series of powerful poetic voices were expressing personalities and situations that simply could not be reproduced in Roman culture. Personalities: Sappho the woman singing about private life in public occasions; Anacreon and his display of decadence and vice; Alcaeus, a civil war fighter and an action man in a daily commute between adventure and poetic composition; Simonides, an incredible versatility and verbal charm in the service of shameless commercial transactions; Pindar, a maker of unruly, volcanic songs who is not fettered by his own dependence on patronage, and becomes a star in his own poetry. Those imaginary constructs were in fact, as is common in intercultural dynamics, a projection of desires and anxieties internal to Roman culture no less than the direct result of import; whatever their nature, they had an impact on the reception of those old songs. Similarly, there was the problem of ‘situations’, and here the difference encompasses distinctive features of Greek culture, not all of them necessarily felt to be archaic or extinct in Horace’s day. Textual artefacts of lyric would bring to mind or imply, in their various kinds and species of song, a number of institutions that were perceived as quintessentially Hellenic and not (or not yet) Romanised: the theatre as a defining civic space for the performance of various kinds of poetry; the various traditions of competition and display by rhapsodes, kitharodes, wandering poets; the links with political power and rich or powerful patrons, in poleis, monarchies and panhellenic environments; the regular, seasonal festivities where poetry was part of the religious proceedings; the link between song and agonistic celebration, song and wedding, song and funeral; even the significant epigraphic habit of inscribing e.g. ‘political’ paeans, and even a famous Pindaric ode – a form of publication totally unfamiliar in Rome (epitaphs or private inscriptions being of course a wholly different category of inscribed verse). Some of those ‘institutions’ had already been recreated in Latin at the level of learned poetry in books (e.g. by Catullus); others would be the object of imitation and challenge by Imperial initiative (especially with Nero and Domitian, but already in a different sense with the Augustan ludi saeculares); but all of those developments confirm that for Horace the cultural gap was much more important than the feeling of a Greco-Roman unity. Horace’s main contribution to the tradition of Western lyric is the invention of a coherent interplay between occasional song and a consistent individual personality: the personality is a cumulative effect assembled through the reading of the individual poems in book format; the ego-voice is balanced 333 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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by a rich sequence of individual addressees. There is no explicit continuity between the poems and no explicit effect of narrative. The occasional nature of every poem is strongly expressed through thematic devices, such as the treatment of time, space, address and deixis: those devices are the substitute for the idea of performance, as far as the idea was the necessary result of reading Greek lyric poems in Alexandrian books, as not only textual records of songs, but traces of past occasions. The Roman reception of Greek lyric is therefore a striking example of how what gets lost of a tradition continues to work in absentia and exerts a pull on new productions in a different culture. As we have seen, performance is one important issue; we also need to mention again, before concluding, the all-important ‘absence’ of music. All of the above should not be taken as a devaluation of the osmosis between lyric and music. We can be sure that for Horace there was a vital relationship, even if not the one typical of a song-and-performance culture. It would be wrong to treat his recreations of Dionysus as cold ersatz of the living presence of the Greek god. The relationship of voice and music to poetry is not unique to song cultures, if we think of composition and imagination, instead of performance. Here is Anne Sexton in the late 1960s: the typewriter becomes a musical instrument during composition, the poetess and psychiatric patient knew about Dionysiac inspiration from the inside out: Sexton had begun to take great pains over poetry as a spoken art. Increasingly, the medium she worked in was the voice, and she strove to transfer feeling into word association as her fingers played over the typewriter keys, setting words to emotional rhythms (as she had indicated in her remarks … a year earlier about the practice of writing to music). The result was in effect a monologue…14 FURTHER READING

On Catullus and Horace see Putnam 2006 (with references to previous work); on Catullus and Greek poetry, Hutchinson 2003 and Fantuzzi and Hunter 2004; and on Latin-speaking lyric reception before Horace, see above, p. 322 n. 2. For orientation on Horace’s work see Harrison 2007, especially the papers by Hutchinson and Barchiesi, and Davis (forthcoming). Crucial for the history of interpretation are Heinze 1960 (which includes seminal early-twentieth-century discussions of the lyric genre and of metre), Pasquali 1964 (a reprint of the 1920 edition, with much updated bibliography), Fraenkel 1957 and the commentaries Nisbet and Hubbard

14

Middlebrook 1991, 272f.

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1970 and 1978 and Nisbet and Rudd 2004. The entire territory is covered by the impressive encyclopaedia Mariotti 1996–8. Particularly important for the approach adopted here are Feeney 1993, Rossi 1998, Hutchinson 2002 and 2003, and Mindt 2007. On ‘imagined performances’ see Barchiesi 2000, on the Carmen Saeculare Feeney 1998 and on the link between the Carmen Saeculare and the Odes Barchiesi 2002. Selective bibliographical appendix on Horace and on Roman lyric verse, focusing on the themes of this chapter and the volume overall

Horace and Hellenistic reception / reinvention of Greek lyric: Pasquali 1964; Acosta-Hughes 2009. Mottoes: Cavarzere 1996. Mottoes, canons and Hellenistic scholarship: Feeney 1993. Metre, music and performance: Rossi 1998. Horace and the order of poems in Alexandrian collections of canonical lyric: Miller 1994; Barchiesi 2000; Lyne 2005. Symposion culture, convivia, and lyric: Murray 1990b; Landolfi 1990; Dunbabin 2003; Johnson 2004. Individual poems and books: Lowrie 1997; Hutchinson 2002; Barchiesi 2005; Cucchiarelli 2006. Communal and private time in Horace: Traina 1973; Feeney 1993; Schmidt 2002. Sense of space (protection, individualism, negotiation of patronage): Traina 1985 (fundamental on the poetics of angulus); Oliensis 1998; Bowditch 2001. Praise: Johnson 2004. Theories of lyric involving the problems of apostrophe and persona: Culler 1975, 161–88; Culler 1981, 135–54; and Culler 1997, 72–81, with references. Theories and comparative approaches to lyric more generally: Smith 1978; Johnson 1982; Hosek and Parker 1985. Reception: Edmunds 1992; Martindale and Hopkins 1993; Miller 1994. Mimetic poems: Albert 1988. Rhetorical approaches: Nisbet and Hubbard 1970 and 1978; Davis 1991; Dunn 1995; Oliensis 1998. Deixis: a study of deictic style in Horatian lyric is needed, especially after the important discussions on Greek texts and genres (e.g. Rösler 1983 on Alcaeus; D’Alessio 2004b on choral lyric). Iambic poetics in Horace: Harrison 2001a and Barchiesi 2001c. Music and performance in Horace: von Albrecht 1993; Lefèvre 1993. Studies of the imitation of individual poets: Wilamowitz 1913; Nisbet and Hubbard 1970 and 1978; Paschalis 2002. Alcaeus: Pasquali 1964; Davis 1991. Sappho: Woodman 2002. Simonides: Barchiesi 1996; Barchiesi 2001b; Harrison 2001b. Pindar: Fitzgerald 1987. Hellenistic lyric: Reitzenstein 1908; Pasquali 1964.

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18 PANTELIS MICHELAKIS

Greek lyric from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century

This chapter looks at a period with a decisive role in the formation of what we understand today as ‘Greek lyric poetry’. The importance of this period is no smaller than and certainly not independent from other decisive periods in the creation of the idea of early Greek lyric, most notably those associated with Hellenistic scholarship, Roman poetry and the literature and criticism of later antiquity. To use post-Romantic period terminology, the era examined here spans from the emergence of Renaissance humanism to the classicism of the seventeenth century and the neo-classicism and early romanticism of the eighteenth century. The period under consideration begins with the appearance of the first printed editions and translations of Greek lyric poets in the sixteenth century. The invention of the printing press had an instrumental role in the rediscovery of Greek lyric poets and their dissemination as a collective body of poetry, as did the emergence and consolidation of lyric as a distinct genre of modern European poetry and literary theory. Greek lyric poetry had not entered the didactic, rhetorical and poetic canons of the Middle Ages in the West for a host of reasons related to its linguistic and metrical features and its thematic and generic preoccupations. Before the sixteenth century and the arrival from the East of learned scholars and important manuscripts, Greek lyric poets were virtually unknown, and their names were recycled largely for the attention they received in more canonical authors such as Horace and Cicero.1 The end of the eighteenth century is another convenient period marker for the modern reception of Greek lyric poetry because it coincides with the calls for its reassessment, which start with the emergence of romanticism in poetry and literary criticism, the rising of historicism and empiricism in national traditions of classical scholarship, and more generally the formation of modern consciousness and bourgeois I am grateful to the editor of the volume and to Charles Martindale for valuable discussions and for their generous comments on earlier versions of this chapter. 1 Hummel 1997, 129–53.

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culture. The period under consideration is no more unified than any other period of literary history spanning three centuries. In this chapter I will attempt to map both neglected continuities but also striking discontinuities which inform perceptions of Greek lyric poetry before the nineteenth century and which to some extent account for the ways in which – and the fact that – we think about early Greek lyric today. This chapter does not attempt to provide a comprehensive list of scholars, poets and artists who contributed to the rediscovery of Greek lyric, nor a systematic presentation of national or other developments. Rather it is an attempt to focus on some of the debates which dominate the period under examination and which make it significant for the subject of this volume. Three lyric poets stand out during the early modern period: Pindar, Anacreon and Sappho. I will focus my attention on selected aspects of their vast and heterogeneous reception, referring to other poets only in passing. The decision to revisit the early modern history of Pindar, Anacreon and Sappho side by side, at the expense of other less popular lyric poets, is not dictated only by space constraints. The different threads of the reception of these three poets and their centrality to the poetry, literary criticism and scholarship of the period are interwoven in ways that only a comparative consideration of all three can highlight. Viewed from the perspective of twenty-first-century scholarship, poetry or public imagination, the pre-nineteenth-century period can perhaps appear to be able to satisfy little more than historical curiosity. Anacreontism may seem to be a curious literary movement, whereas the stories of Sappho as a heterosexual and betrayed lover and the attribution to Pindar of the label Greek David or Solomon may appear puzzling or even amusing. What I will try to show here is that the early modern reception of early Greek lyric forces us to address basic questions about literature, subjectivity, sexuality and historicity which range from the formation of literary identities and personal or poetic consciousness to the idea of progress, the interaction between rhetoric and literature, imitation and translation, and the dynamics of genre and canon formation and renewal.

Pindar Come out of your grave, divine Pindar, you who in other times used to celebrate the horses of some rich citizens, whether from Corinth or Megara; you who possessed the gift of speaking much without saying anything; you who skilfully modulated 337 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010

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This is how Voltaire opens his ode provocatively entitled ‘Pindaric nonsense for a carousel donated by the Empress of Russia’3, which he composed in 1766. The ode may launch a scathing attack on Pindar and his modern followers but at the same time it also draws on Pindar’s epinikian poetry for its subject matter, language and structure.4 With this double move, Voltaire positions himself as a modern Horace, recasting for a new age the warning against emulating Pindar which Horace first introduces and then defies in Odes 4.2.5 By the time of Voltaire, the debate about Pindar’s poetic value and the question of whether he is a suitable model for imitation had a long history in European poetry and literary criticism. It was fully articulated almost a full century earlier, with Charles Perrault’s questioning of Pindar’s suitability as an example for modern poets (Parallèlle des Ancients et des Modernes, 1688) and Nicolas BoileauDespréaux’s defence of Pindar’s genius and untranslatability (Discours sur l’Ode, 1693).6 By the time of Voltaire and the young Goethe, Pindar had been celebrated and contested for almost three centuries not only as an example of the inspired and possessed poet but also as a moral and religious voice, as a rhetorical model, and as an example of the public face of poetry. The first printed edition of Pindar, by Aldus Manutius, appeared in 1513, which is reasonably late if we consider that by this time editions of the didactic poets Phocylides and Theognis had been in circulation for some twenty years. But after a slow start, Pindar was quickly established as a father of lyric poetry. By the end of the sixteenth century, more than twenty editions of Pindar had appeared around Europe, not to mention anthologies of maxims and moral sententiae, translations, and other studies.7 These publications made available not only his extant poetry but also a wide range of ancient readings of his life and work. For humanist poets and scholars who read Pindar as a religious poet there was ample material to be drawn from the hymnic and gnomic elements of his epinikian poetry (for instance invocations to the gods and the Muses and moralising sententiae), his self-positioning as a poet-prophet, and the ancient evidence for his composition of hymnic poetry, together with the relatively few remaining fragments. For those who sought ways in which a connection between Pindar and religion could be established, examples for imitation could be derived from the similarities between Pindar’s poetry and the Homeric and Orphic hymns and from the appropriation of the genres of 2 3 4 6

Translation from Morford and Lenardon 2002, 684. Ode 17, ‘Galimatias pindarique sur un carrousel donné par l’impératrice de Russie’. Brix 1995, 141. 5 On Horace’s Pindar see Barchiesi, this vol., ch. 17, and Harrison 1995. Hamilton 2003, 152–61. 7 See Schmitz 1993, 267–308.

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hymnic poetry and praise by Neoplatonists for philosophical or Christian odes.8 Moreover, the rediscovery of Pindar offered scope for comparison between Greco-Roman lyric and Biblical lyric. Pindar could be seen as the Greek equivalent of the hymnic poets of the Bible, especially David, Solomon and Isaiah; he was ‘named frequently the Greek David for his exalted odes and hymns to the gods and a second Solomon for his moral and religious sentences’.9 The impact that such readings of Pindar had on his reputation is difficult to overestimate. The Reformation was instrumental in the consolidation of Pindar as the object of scholarly study, with Protestant circles in Northern Europe such as that of Melanchthon in Germany playing a decisive role in the early history of his printed editions.10 The anthologies of Pindar’s sententiae which circulated in the sixteenth century and which greatly enhanced his reputation also drew heavily on Pindar’s associations with morality and religion, as did allegorical and symbolic interpretations of Pindar, which also became widespread during this period. The association of Pindar with religious and hymnic traditions of lyric poetry facilitated his reception in vernacular traditions of lyric poetry, and, as we shall see below, shaped the genre of the solemn lyric ode.11 The use of the word ‘hymnoi’, which Pindar himself uses of his own epinikian poems, became widespread in the Renaissance, pointing as it did both to religious hymns (devoted to pagan but also Christian figures) and to long, lyric, stanzaic odes.12 Pindar’s poetry was not only a religious and moral example for humanist poets and scholars but also a rhetorical one. Encomiastic oratory and poetry of the sixteenth century, following the measured praise of Pindar by the Roman rhetorician Quintilian,13 scrutinised Pindar’s self-positioning as a poet-prophet, his techniques of praise and the logic of his encomiastic poetry in ways not seen again until Bundy’s contribution to Pindaric scholarship in the middle of the twentieth century.14 Central to the recommendation of Pindar as a model author were questions about how to imitate him and what to avoid in doing so. The strong humanist interest in biographical details, including Alexander the Great’s admiration for the poet and his decision to spare the house where he had lived, show how poets and scholars of the time turned to Pindar to construct their own position within a system of patronage where support could not be taken for granted.15 Pindar’s contribution to the 8 10 11 12

13 15

Revard 2001, 138. 9 Revard 2001, 3. See also Girot 2002, 262–4; Vöhler 2005, 160–2. Revard 2001, 13–25; Girot 2002, 225–69. Revard 2001, especially 132, 225–8 and 234–43. Revard 2001, 147–80; on neo-Latin hymns, see also Ijsewijn and Sacré 1998, 104–7 with bibliography. Inst. 8.6.71, 10.1.109 and especially 10.1.61. 14 Schmitz 1993, 31–49. Revard 2001, 26–8.

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politics of encomiastic poetry and the institutional context of patronage remains significant from the time of the Italians Francesco Filelfo and Michele Marullo in the fifteenth century to the French Pierre de Ronsard, the Italian Antonio Minturno, the German Paulus Melissus and the Anglo-French John Soowtherne in the sixteenth century.16 Pindar’s public and ceremonial poetry becomes a problem only with the emergence of the so-called Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns in the seventeenth century, when the social and public dimension of poetry and the thematisation of the exigencies of patrons, culture and society give way to a celebration of the poet’s subjectivity and of his exclusion from the community. However the concept of the lyric ode as a public event and the encomiastic and celebratory themes of Pindar’s epinikia resurface in the eighteenth century with the genre of the solemn, ceremonial ode. For instance, the solemn odes of the Russian poets Vasilij Trediakovskij, Mikhail Lomonosov, Alexander Sumarokov and Gavriil Derzavin were based on historical events such as important Russian victories in territorial wars, which were composed in an elevated lyric style merging the celebratory tone of epic material with the intensity of mood and eloquence of expression associated with the new and anti-classical ideal of ‘lyric disorder’.17 Arguably the most profound significance of the humanist rediscovery of Pindar lies in the support it provided to the legitimisation of medieval and Renaissance lyric – not only liturgical songs of the Church but also emerging forms of lyric in the vernacular languages – in the classification of poetic genres. The contribution of Pindar’s poetic inspiration and furor to the formation of lyric subjectivity and the emergence of lyric disorder as a poetic principle is central to seventeenth-century debates around the poetic sublime and to eighteenth-century debates around poetic originality and authenticity, but it appears as early as the French humanist poet Pierre de Ronsard and his poetic circle of the Pléiade in the middle of the sixteenth century (Ronsard’s Quatre premiers livres des Odes was published in 1550). To ‘pindarise’, a term meaning not only to imitate Pindar but more generally to make use of an elevated and bold style and to write with affectation – often without direct knowledge of Pindar’s work – appears even earlier, in Italian poets of the first half of the sixteenth century.18 Moreover, the rediscovery of Pindar’s poetry acts as a catalyst for the emergence and establishment of the ‘ode’ as a major poetic form in early modern literature and even leads to the formation of a specific sub-genre of the ode, namely the ‘Pindaric ode’.19 In English poetry

16 18

19

See the relevant entries in the index of Revard 2001. 17 Andersen 1988, 37. For further discussion of the verb ‘to pindarise’, see Silver 1981, 250–6 and Girot 2002, especially 235–7 and 258–60. For a very useful discussion of the ‘ode’, see the introduction of Rouget 1994.

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alone, one can trace the history of the Pindaric ode from Ben Jonson to John Milton, Abraham Cowley, John Dryden, Aphra Behn and Thomas Gray.20 Throughout this period, the adjective ‘Pindaric’ remained rich in associations with poetic creativity, freedom of expression and sublimity: it included experimentations with the stanzaic structure and with verse, richness of language, boldness of imagery, emotional rather than logical unity and an elevated and serious style. It is during the seventeenth century that Quintilianic readings of Pindar as a rhetorical and allegorical model of literary imitation gave way to Horatian and Longinian readings of Pindar as an example of freedom of poetic expression and artistic creativity. The rediscovery of Longinus with Franciscus Portus’ edition of On the Sublime in 1669 and Boileau’s French translation of the treatise in 1674 and analysis in the eighth Refléxion critique sur quelques passages du rhéteur Longinus in 1694, played an important role in the consolidation of the Horatian Pindar as a poet who, although not without faults, excels in his genius and originality.21 Boileau argues for Pindar’s new validity and acceptance and attempts to show that creative freedom is a poetic principle much closer to a genuine lyric attitude than the preoccupation with the logical sequence of elements, structural and metrical order and linguistic clarity privileged in the era of classicism.22 Yet as early as the end of the sixteenth century and much more so during the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, there were also voices of condemnation of Pindaric imitation which were growing fast. Before the end of the sixteenth century Philip Sidney speaks of ‘Pindar’s apes’,23 and a century later Samuel Johnson remarks caustically that ‘they who could do nothing else could write like Pindar’.24 The condemnation of the structural irregularity, linguistic obscurity and metrical liberties of Pindar’s imitators did not leave Pindar himself unaffected. The most vehement critics targeted him for both his subject (‘worthless Coachmen and Jockeys’ says John Dennis25) and his style (see Voltaire above). The fascination with Pindar’s obscurity and sublimity and with Horace’s programmatic failure to emulate him as a poetic model26 had a liberating impact on generations of poets, but it also fuelled criticisms with a long-lasting legacy on both the assessment of Pindar’s modern imitators and the scholarly debates around the unity and nature of Pindar’s poetry itself. By 20

21 23 24 25

On Jonson’s interest in Pindar, see Shafer 1966, 98–109, especially 104–9, and Vöhler 2005, 37–57 with bibliography; on Milton’s, Shafer 1966, 92–6; on Cowley’s, Shafer 1966, 123–57, Revard 1993 and Vöhler 2005, 57–70. Billault 2002, 329. 22 Andersen 1988, 28. From Astrophel and Stella, Sonnet III, quoted in Wilson 1989, 26. From The Life of Cowley, quoted in Wilson 1989, 26. Quoted in Wilson 1989, 29. 26 Jølle 2003, 84.

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the second half of the eighteenth century, a strong sense was prevailing of the historical and aesthetic distance separating the naive, primitive otherness of Pindar’s sublimity from the sentimental poetry of the moderns. But even during this period, the Russian Derzavin mentioned above, the Englishman Thomas Gray whose two Pindaric odes were published in 1757, and the Germans Friedrich Klopstock (‘Auf meine Freunde’ 1747) and young Goethe (‘Wanderers Sturmlied’ 1772) showed that Pindar’s grip on eighteenth-century poetics could overcome and contain the criticisms directed against him. Scholars too sought to reclaim Pindar’s work by relocating it in its original historical and cultural context. The publication in 1811–21 of August Boeckh’s edition of Pindar is often seen as the beginning of modern Pindaric criticism, but in many ways it marks the culmination of a century-long tradition of editions, studies and translations such as Richard West and Robert Welsted’s edition in 1697, Jan Cornelis de Pauw’s commentary in 1747, Gilbert West’s English translation in 1749, and Giovanni Luigi Mingarelli’s metrical study in 1772.27 Anacreon In Bernard Le Bovier Fontenelle’s New Dialogues of the Dead, published in French in 1680 and translated into English in 1713, the old poet of singing and drinking Anacreon takes part in a contest of wisdom against the philosopher Aristotle and wins. Anacreon declares with pride that ‘I with my little Sonnets made a Shift to gain the Name of Anacreon the Wise, a title in my opinion superior to that of Philosopher.’28 To Fontenelle’s seventeenthcentury readers, the nature of such a competition and the relative strengths of the two contestants must have made the dialogue legitimate and logical in a way that they probably do not today. Since the early nineteenth century Anacreon’s reputation has been in a state of more or less continuous decline. In contrast to poets such as Alcaeus, Sappho and Bacchylides, whose surviving works have increased with new papyrus finds and have gained a renewed appeal, Anacreon has suffered from the uncertainties surrounding his genuine poetry and its relation with the poems of the Palatine Anthology known as Anacreontea.29 The whole debate around the authenticity of the Anacreontea sought to draw a clear line between the real Anacreon and his ancient imitators, but by depriving him of a large body of influential poems it turned the history of his transmission into a cautionary tale of the changeability of literary value and judgement. It is difficult to imagine today that from the 27 29

See further Heath 1986. 28 Nouveaux Dialogues des Morts, quoted in Mason 1990, 110. Rosenmeyer 1992, 1–11, and in this vol., Budelmann, 236–9.

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rediscovery of Anacreon, or what the humanists identified as Anacreon, in the sixteenth century until the beginning of the nineteenth century, Anacreon became one of the most influential Greek lyric poets, with a whole literary movement named after him which spread across Europe to inspire poets from Spain to Russia and from England to Italy. It may also seem paradoxical that the whole movement owes more to the ancient imitators and admirers of Anacreon and to the biographical fictions they created than to what we recognise today as Anacreon’s genuine work or his socio-historical and cultural context. However obscure the movement of Anacreontism may seem today, by the end of the eighteenth century it had established itself not only as a major sub-genre of lyric poetry associated with the young, the idle and the solitary,30 but also as a broader cultural phenomenon centred on the excesses and pleasures of drinking, conviviality and love. Anacreon entered the modern world almost half a century after Pindar with an edition by the French scholar and publisher Henri Estienne (also known as Henricus Stephanus) in 1554. This edition was reprinted many times, and, with little competition from the editions of Greek lyric poets by Fulvio Orsini in 1568 and of the Anacreontea by Eilhard Lubin in 1597, it remained the most authoritative and influential edition of Anacreon until Joseph Spalletti’s edition in 1781. What was known about Anacreon before 1554 was his name, his biography, a few quotations in ancient grammarians and his reputation as a wise poet from Plato to Horace. Estienne provided the modern world with a body of fifty-five poems to accompany Anacreon’s reputation. Estienne’s edition was most probably based on one manuscript, the codex of the Palatine Anthology to which the Anacreontic texts were attached as an appendix.31 Estienne turned this marginal part of the Palatine Anthology into the principal part of his edition, rearranging the order of the poems and distinguishing between those he considered genuine, which he translated into Latin, and those he considered non-genuine (including not only those in which the speaker explicitly positions himself as a follower of Anacreon, but also some of the genuine poems), which he either put in an appendix or left out.32 That the Anacreon that Estienne rediscovered was a humanist construct, the product of sixteenth-century editorial practices and aesthetic principles, is evident from a number of points, including the opening of the collection with the poem ‘on the sons of Atreus’ (Anacreontea 23 West), which echoes the programmatic rejection of epic at the beginning of Ovid’s Amores,33 and the attribution of the editorial decision to reorganise the poems to the authority of a probably non-existent manuscript supposedly 30 32

Brown 1999, 390–7. Braden 1978, 255–8.

31 33

Rosenmeyer 1992, 3–4. O’Brien 1995, 96.

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predating that of the Palatine Anthology. Estienne’s textual, critical and exegetical edition, with its Greek preface, Latin commentary and translation, and radical editorial principles and methods, illustrates that Anacreon was not simply brought back to life but in fact reassembled as a rich and multilayered text with authorial, generic, stylistic, poetic and rhetorical debts to, among others, ancient masters such as Horace, Catullus, Quintilian and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.34 The invention of such an Anacreon had generic implications which extend well beyond the rediscovery of another lyric poet. The edition included the then known Sappho (two poems; see further below) and Alcaeus (four fragments) as well as an introduction in Greek in which Anacreon was established as a new and influential pole of gravity competing with Pindar for the fatherhood of lyric and pulling into his sphere of influence the hitherto unknown or overlooked remains of the poetry of other famous Greek lyric poets. How instrumental Estienne was in counterbalancing the heavy and formal Pindar with a type of lyric best represented by Anacreon’s light, sweet, flowery and private poetry becomes most apparent in his subsequent editions: the second edition of the odes of Anacreon ‘and of other lyric poets’ (Anacreontis et aliorum aliquot poëtarum odae) in 1556 and especially his 1560 edition of a canon of Greek lyric poets in two volumes, the first one devoted to Pindar, the second to ‘the songs of eight other lyric poets’ (Caeterorum octo lyricorum carmina), namely Alcaeus, Anacreon, Sappho, Bacchylides, Stesichorus, Simonides, Ibycus and Alcman. This was the first edition of Greek lyric poets in the modern world and its several reprints with additions until 1626 testify to its wide circulation and significance. Estienne’s invention of Anacreon did not only enable the emergence of a style of Greek lyric poetry opposed to Pindar and the creation of a humanist canon of Greek lyric poets drawing on the aesthetic and literary principles employed by Hellenistic scholars and Latin poets. It also provided a much needed link between the Greek origins of lyric poetry and a very popular but less formal type of medieval and early modern lyric, which Renaissance literary theory had largely ignored and for which Pindar could not be seen as a predecessor. That was the love poetry of the medieval troubadours, of the fourteenthcentury Petrarch and of the sixteenth-century sonnet, the sestina and the canzone.35 If Estienne and Elie André (or Helias Andreas) translated Anacreon into Neo-Latin, a language which opens up a whole range of possibilities for intertextual experimentation with the Latin poetry of 34 35

O’Brien 1995, especially 241–6. Magnien 1984, 407. On Petrarchism see further Kennedy 1999, and on the sonnet, the sestina and the canzone, see Greene 1999, 221.

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Catullus and especially Horace, Ronsard (esp. in his poetry in the years 1554– 6) and Remy Beleau (Les Odes d’Anacréon teien, 1555) opted for the French vernacular instead. In doing so, they took up the challenge of experimenting with the lexical and metrical capabilities of a language whose suitability for poetry was yet to be tested but which also highlighted the rivalry of the two French poets with the lyric legacy of the Italian Petrarch. By blurring the boundaries between translation and imitation and by merging different types of lyric style, both Neo-Latin and vernacular renderings of Anacreon sought to give expression to new personal and cultural identities and to reshape, rather than to declare subordination to, a past master and the literary tradition.36 The impossibility of accuracy and faithfulness and the search for modern equivalents to the linguistic, metrical, stylistic and thematic features of Anacreon’s poetry constitute two of the most persistent features of the movement of Anacreontism throughout its history. In England, for instance, where Anacreontism came to be associated with a long list of translators and imitators such as Robert Greene, Ben Jonson, Alexander Brome (the ‘English Anacreon’), Robert Herrick, Joseph Addison, Francis Fawkes and William Urquhart,37 the preoccupation with the present of lyric simplicity and sweetness, rather than with its past, found one of its most striking manifestations during the time of the English civil war. Royalist poets, who found themselves excluded from the political process and even persecuted, turned to the Anacreontic themes of drinking and symposiastic and erotic joy not only as a kind of escapism but also in search of symbolic answers to the real problems posed by the world they inhabited. Not only did they politicise the opposition of wine, an elitist drink binding the royalist present to the Greco-Roman past, to the debasing ale and beer consumed by Puritans,38 they also debated the relative merits of moderation and excess, and they even celebrated and gradually critiqued the excess of their own Anacreontic escapism. Richard Lovelace composed ‘The Grasshopper: To my Noble Friend, Mr. Charles Cotton’, a poetic imitation of the cicada poem (34 West) in the late 1640s, Thomas Stanley translated a substantial body of fifty-five Anacreontic poems in 1651,39 and Abraham Cowley published his Anacreontiques; or, Some Copies of Verses Translated Paraphrastically out of Anacreon, some of which may have been composed during a period he spent in prison, in 1656.40

36 37

38 40

On imitation and translation in the sixteenth century see Cave 1999 and Moss 1999. See Campbell 1990 as well as Braden 1978, 154–258; Brown 1999, 375–7; Pursglove 2000, 44; Scodel 2002a, 201. Scodel 2002a, 219. 39 Pursglove 2000, 44. Mason 1990, 112; Revard 1993; Scodel 2002a, 233.

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The lightness and sweetness of Anacreon enabled him not just to survive but indeed to thrive in the increasingly self-restrained and ‘rational’ eighteenth century, during which bourgeois freedom and serenity were idealised at the expense of emotions.41 By the end of the eighteenth century, the movement of Anacreontism played a role in the poetics of a handful of European languages including German and Russian.42 In England, Anacreon would also enter the social spaces of male clubs and societies, most notably the London Anacreontic Society, which pursued gentility and refinement in the name of the ‘jolly old Grecian’.43 The society’s song ‘To Anacreon in Heaven’ was going to outlive the society, and with new lyrics in 1814 to become ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, the USA’s official national anthem since 1931. The fascination with the sweetness, simplicity and grace of Anacreontism would also make itself present in the performing and visual arts: odes and operatic arias were set to Anacreontic music, and the excesses of a rococo taste for refinement and sentimentality would give the French ballet of the time its Anacreontic title.44 If by the end of the eighteenth century Pindar’s powerful poetry could reinforce the generic ascendance of lyric through its association with primitive intensity, Anacreon’s elegant poetry would perform a similar task through the less controversial route of accommodating the genteel taste of a growing middle class.45 But after three centuries of poetic and cultural fascination with the Anacreontea, the calls of scholarship for a return to a hitherto neglected but genuine body of poems by Anacreon himself, in combination with wider changes in nineteenth-century poetics and culture, were going to mark a profound shift in the conceptualisation of the poet and a major reevaluation of almost everything his name stood for.46 Sappho ‘But now I think there is no one who is not impatient to listen to the Tenth Muse.’47 This is how Marc-Antoine de Muret ‘with a real sense of occasion … triumphantly liberates this imprisoned masterpiece’, Sappho’s fragment 31 V, ‘and sends it vibrating out into the Renaissance to start the second phase of its existence’.48 Muret’s revelation of Sappho took place in his edition of Catullus in 1554. Unbeknown to him, Sa. 31 was also published in another edition of the same year, Francesco Robortello’s first edition of Longinus’ 41 42

43 45

46

Brown 1999. On Anacreontism in Germany, see Zeman 1972; Labarbe 1982, 176–7; Brown 1999, 386–7; in Russia, Schenk 1972; Brown 1999, 388. Achilleos 2004. 44 Chazin-Bennahum 1987, Labarbe 1982, 175–9. See Keach 1997 on the gradual ascendance of the lyric in the eighteenth century and the negotiation between the majestic and the elegant. Roth 2000. 47 Muret, quoted in Morrison 1962, 390. 48 Ibid.

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treatise On the Sublime. A second poem of Sappho, fragment 1 V, had already been published in the first edition of Dionysius of Halicarnassus in 1546 by Robert Estienne (the father of Henri Estienne). Despite the gradual emergence of other fragments, the publication of Sa. 31 in an edition of Catullus’ poetry was going to play a decisive role in Sappho’s early modern reception. One by one the Renaissance poets who discovered Sappho revisited and reenacted the strategies employed by the Roman poet in his appropriation of her lyric voice of desire and subjectivity. Ronsard and Jean-Antone de Baïf, for instance, who both sought to become ‘the new Catullus’,49 turned to Sappho to imitate not so much her own work but his male rewriting of it.50 Sappho was not the only Greek lyric poet to generate interest among the poetic circles of the sixteenth century as a result of the attention she received from a more familiar and influential poet of the ancient world. But in her case the drive to possess her literary legacy acquired sexual connotations which shaped all readings of her poetry, including those fuelling fictions about her life and death. A case in point is the association between Sappho and Anacreon, an association which goes back to antiquity but which now gained new force. Henri Estienne did not discover Sappho in the way he discovered Anacreon. However, he was instrumental in the literary wedding of the two through the inclusion of an increasing number of her fragments, initially in his 1554 edition of Anacreon (‘Ode to Aphrodite’ and ‘The Moon has set’), then in the second edition of Anacreon in 1556 (Sa. 31), in the 1560 edition of the Greek lyric poets (more than thirty new fragments), and finally in the second edition of the same work in 1566 (even more fragments plus a three-page biography which draws on the fictional narratives in circulation in antiquity).51 Estienne brought together all the information that was available about Sappho in the sixteenth century and thus provided the most complete and scholarly edition of her work until Johann Christian Wolff’s Greek–Latin edition in 1733. Estienne’s inclusion of her scanty fragments together with Anacreon’s more substantial and influential body of poetry had two farreaching consequences. First, it gave new life to the fiction of Anacreon’s love for Sappho and, second, it shaped the way her work was going to be read and interpreted for some time to come. Despite attempts as early as the middle of the eighteenth century (e.g. Johann Heinrich Zedler’s Universal-Lexicon in 1742 and Edward Burnaby Greene’s Works of Anacreon and Sappho in 1768)52 to challenge the fiction of Anacreon’s love for Sappho, their literary marriage maintained its position in the popular imagination well into the nineteenth century, largely promoted by their editorial pairing in numerous 49 51

DeJean 1989, 37. DeJean 1989, 34.

50 52

DeJean 1989, 34–5. Tomory 1989, 121.

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editions and translations.53 But Sappho’s literary wedding with Anacreon also replicated on the poetic register a gender hierarchy which turned Sappho into the lesser poet of the two and helped consolidate the view that her feminine poetry should be associated with simplicity, grace, softness, and ‘the “primitive voice” of the poet’,54 to be celebrated for its proximity to nature, song and folklore. Until the nineteenth century, the ambiguous and polyphonic voices of desire present in Sappho’s work, and more specifically her association with female homoeroticism, remained accessible only to those who knew Greek. Vernacular renderings of Sappho were not interested in same-sex eroticism, and concerns about aspects of her poetry thought to pose a threat to heterosexual norms were few in scholarly readings of her poetry before Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker’s study in 1816.55 The poet who perhaps played the most significant role in the popularisation of a heterosexual Sappho is Ovid, whose fictional letter by a passionate Sappho to the young boatman Phaon (Heroides 15) gained popularity in the seventeenth century along with the rest of Ovid’s widely translated and disseminated work. The fiction of Sappho as an unhappy and abandoned lover who kills herself caught the literary and artistic imagination of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, inspiring poets, novelists, painters and etching designers, and opera librettists and composers.56 Competing for her appropriation, different literary and artistic genres would enter into a struggle for domination not dissimilar to the one we saw in the case of Anacreon.57 Sappho found herself involved in literary debates about poetic creativity and gender already in the sixteenth century but it was only in the seventeenth and especially eighteenth centuries that she stepped out of the shadow of Anacreon and Catullus to establish herself as a counterpart to Pindar’s sublimity. Although the first edition of Longinus’ On the Sublime appeared in the middle of the sixteenth century, it is only a century later, with its literary translation into French by Boileau in 1674, that the treatise made an impact on European poetry and literary criticism as a serious rival to Aristotle’s Poetics and Horace’s Ars Poetica.58 As a sublime poet, the Sappho of Longinus illustrated the triumph of brevity, simplicity and emotions over the emptiness of grandiloquence and bombastic language, and the limitations of reason and rhetoric. Like Pindar, Sappho was seen as one of the pivotal poetic figures for the shift away from the neo-classical rules of style and the prescriptive definition of

53 55 56 57

See examples in the appendix of DeJean 1989. 54 Tomory 1989, 123. DeJean 1989, 37–8, 207–8; Andreadis 1996; Most 1996b, 18–19, 24. Stein 1981; DeJean 1989, 116–97; Tomory 1989; Reynolds 2003, 21–2, 55–76. DeJean 1989, 12. 58 Lamb 1997.

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poetry as pleasurable and useful towards aesthetic pleasure, empathetic power and the formation of the individual judgement. However, within a cultural context where gendered readings of Sappho saw her as a victim of her desire for Phaon, critics were not always willing to grant her the ability to represent aesthetic pleasure. During the eighteenth century in particular, Longinus’ Sappho could also be seen as an anomaly and be met with hostile responses as a result. Fragment 31 was now viewed as illustrating the mundane, prosaic and trifling particulars of passion: ‘surely there is nothing in it which elevates the mind,’ says Edward Gibbon.59 Sappho was reduced to an example of how poetry imitates nature in the way a painting imitates life and nature, with few critics prepared to defend her poetry as able to transcend superfluous ornamentation and to reconcile particularity and generality, the naive and the sentimental, the personal and the universal, everyday life or nature and the sublime. Sappho could be associated with female spontaneity, genuineness and natural self-expression but also with excess, seen as a symbol of the moral and selfdestructive connection of amorous passion and poetic genius. Female authority could represent a more genuine and natural voice of lyric poetry but also one that is inferior and private. Such a construction of Sappho’s female persona was mediated not only by Catullus’ poetic control of her voice and Longinus’ and Ovid’s aestheticisation of her beauty at the moment of dying but also by Renaissance love lyric, especially Petrarchism and its poetic conventions of fetishising and dismembering the female body.60 However, the interaction between gender, poetic creativity and aesthetics was also negotiated by the many female poets for whom Sappho provided a model for writing and for reading and who claimed for themselves her authority by assuming the title of the ‘New Sappho’. Like new Pindars and Anacreons, new Sapphos spread across Europe, including England, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden.61 Moreover, in the revival of interest in iconographic depictions of Sappho that followed her identification with the bust of a young woman holding a writing tablet and a stylus, which was found in Pompeii in 1752, there were many paintings of Sappho by female artists such as Angelica Kauffman, or of women depicted ‘as Sappho’.62 Returning to the archetypal woman writer, female artists did not resolve the conflicts embedded in a reception history oscillating between Sappho’s opposing roles as woman and as poet but, like some of her more inspired male imitators, sought to explore the possibilities opened up by the performance and experience of these conflicts.

59 61

62

Lamb 1997, 411–12. 60 Prins 1996, 56. See Derks 1969, 62–3; Tomory 1989, 121–4; Andreadis 1996, 112–14 and 2001, 38–9; Goodman 1999, 118, 151, 221–2, 255; Reynolds 1999, 123 and 2003, 28–52; Baldwin 2002. Reynolds 2003, 56–61.

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Conclusion From a historicist and anti-essentialist point of view, what has been labelled as Greek lyric poetry by scholars and poets of later times is to a great extent a heterogeneous body of metrically, stylistically, dialectically, thematically and generically different types of poetry.63 What this chapter has sought to demonstrate is that, from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century, the construction of different but competing models of Greek lyric was not a problem but an opportunity, becoming central to modern debates regarding lyric materiality and subjectivity, praise and epideixis, language and its relation to the realities of poets and their audiences. Focusing on some of the interpretive strategies, canonisation mechanisms and selection processes of groups that fostered different ideas of Greek lyric poetry during this period is not an exercise without value: not in the sense that it allows the identification of layers of meaning which can be removed and discarded for a (non-existent) original meaning or essence of Greek lyric poetry to come forth; but because they afford a better understanding of how Greek lyric poetry has been used in the past and why it remains in use today. The early modern fascination with Greek lyric poets is, among other things, also a fascination with their readings in Hellenistic poetry, Rome and late antiquity. Their rediscovery in the Renaissance and the processes of generic transformation and literary classification that have given them significance are also closely intertwined with larger debates about lyric as a dominant genre in the Western poetic canon. The rediscovery of Greek lyric poets is informed not only by considerations of historical specificity (socio-political, cultural, poetic or otherwise) but also by presentist considerations of imitation, rhetoric and aesthetics; not only through anxiety towards ancient founts of wisdom and models of form and style but also by a drive for innovation and creative freedom. We don’t have to patronise the early modern reception of Greek lyric poetry, or congratulate ourselves on our superior knowledge; instead we might learn from it how Greek lyric poets can be read differently. FURTHER READING

On the scholarly reception of Greek lyric poets in the Renaissance, see Hummel 1997, 155–251, with a comprehensive list of printed editions, translations and commentaries up to 1630 at 237–51. For the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, valuable lists of editions and scholarly works can be found in Hoffmann 1838–45. On the emergence of lyric as a genre in

63

Budelmann, this vol., 2–7; Calame 1998.

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early modern literature and criticism see Greene 1999 with further bibliography. On Pindar and his humanist reception, esp. in France, see Girot 2002 and Schmitz 1993, and on his impact on religious and philosophical poetry up to the seventeenth century, both in England and on the continent, see Revard 2001, Vöhler 2005, 12–89 and Ijsewijn and Sacré 1998, 92–4 with bibliography. On Pindar in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, see Shafer 1966, Wilson 1974 and 1989, Most 1996a and Vöhler 2005, 90– 179. The poetic fascination with Pindar’s obscurity and the debates around his sublimity are recently discussed in Hamilton 2003, which also provides further bibliography. On the early editions, translations and studies of Pindar, see Gerber 1969 and 1985, Heath 1986 and Schmitz 1993, 267– 308. On Anacreon and his rediscovery by Henri Estienne see O’Brien 1995, especially 5–124. On Anacreontic poetry in sixteenth-century France, see O’Brien 1995, 125–240, and Rosenmeyer 2002; on seventeenthcentury England, see Braden 1978, 154–258; Mason 1990; Scodel 2002a, especially 225–52; Achilleos 2004; on the eighteenth century see Brown 1999 and Achilleos 2004. On overviews of the poetic movement of Anacreontism, see Labarbe 1982, Zeman 1999 and Roth 2000. On Sappho’s pre-nineteenth-century reception in poetry, the novel, and the visual and performing arts, see discussions in DeJean 1989; Greene 1996; Reynolds 1999 and 2003. DeJean provides a useful list of editions, translations and works inspired by Sappho at 313–15; on the homoeroticism of Sappho in early modern England see Andreadis 2001; on Longinus’ Sappho and her rediscovery in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, see, among others, Lamb 1997, especially 411–16, and Prins 1996, 49–52. Further information on the various issues addressed in this chapter can be found in the relevant footnotes.

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19 MARGARET WILLIAMSON

Sappho and Pindar in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

During the last two centuries, classical literature has lost much of its hold on the European imagination, a process still being charted in our own time in the disappearance of classical knowledge and languages from educated discourse and from educational syllabi. Following the great age of creative engagement with Greek and (especially) Latin literature, the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the pace was already slowing in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Translation, it is true, continued apace, but attests the importance of Classics only in a paradoxical way: with the gradual decline of linguistic study, translations gave access to classical knowledge, still a mark of elite culture, without requiring lengthy study of Latin and Greek.1 And of course classical culture and languages alike declined still further in the twentieth century. But against this general background a number of factors have assured the vitality of many facets of the classical tradition, including and especially Greek lyric. To begin with, there was the rise of interest in Greece as opposed to Rome. Poetic fashion also played a part: in particular the pre-eminence of lyric in Romantic and modernist poetics.2 Then, there were dramatic advances in the available knowledge of the Greek texts. In the nineteenth century, German scholarship made available the fullest and most authoritative collection of texts since the Renaissance,3 and in England inspired Henry Thornton Wharton to produce a popularising edition of Sappho which stimulated the imagination of writers and other artists. At the turn of the century the papyrus discoveries at Oxyrhynchus revived the appeal of antiquity in the most literal way, revealing anew fragments of text which had been unknown for the best part of two millennia. Once again Greek lyric poetry, particularly Sappho’s, was at the centre of the discoveries and of the new 1 3

Turner 1981, 5. 2 On the redefinition of lyric in the Romantic period see Silk, this vol., 375–8. Volger 1810, Neue 1824, Schneidewin 1838 and especially Bergk 1843 (further editions in 1853, 1866–7, 1878–82 and 1900).

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poetics which they helped to inspire. Far from mirroring the decline of Classics in education, then, the twentieth century has been hailed as a period of renewed and creative reengagement with classical texts.4 A striking feature of this reengagement is the number of new voices who entered the field. The fragments of Greek lyric, though important to Imagist poetics, were not the only influence on the poets who wrote under its banner: Pound, Aldington, H.D. A similar diversity of interests and contexts can be found in the new readers which Greek lyric acquired in these two centuries, and the new perspectives they brought to bear. Already in the nineteenth century female readers and authors, in greater numbers than ever before, interrogated the legends surrounding Sappho in new ways. Her life has continued to be a focus for questions about gender and sexuality up to our own time, and shows no sign of losing its fascination. Tradition can, perhaps, survive only as mutation, or ‘creative misprision’,5 and Pindar too has found readers undreamed of in earlier centuries. The multifarious and reciprocally influential relationship between the texts of Greek lyric, the myths surrounding their authors and the preoccupations of the time will be illustrated here through a series of case studies drawn mainly from English literature. Romantics and Victorians At the beginning of the nineteenth century a classical education was still the norm; poets like Coleridge were steeped in the classics, routinely translated from classical languages, used poetic forms derived from ancient models and experimented with classical metres.6 Even writers who did not directly use classical models still often worked within traditions shaped by classical precedents. This is especially true for poetry, the canonical mode of Romanticism. The two most important Greek poets were now Pindar and Sappho, who between them were taken to exemplify many of the terms and qualities central to Romanticism. Both, as in Longinus, were linked with the sublime and with impassioned creativity; in other respects their spheres of influence split along gendered lines. While Pindar stood for public grandiloquence and high seriousness, Sappho evoked subjectivity, suffering and the fragmentary. And while the Pindaric tradition was linked to his surviving texts, Sappho’s image, at least to begin with, arose from fictional versions of her life. Anacreon, by contrast, declined in prominence after the influential translation of Thomas Moore (1800), though Anacreontic influences can still

4 6

Poole and Maule 1995, xlv. 5 McMahon 2002, 385. On nineteenth-century, especially Victorian, metrical experimentation see Prins 2000.

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be traced, for example in Wordsworth and Keats,7 and Byron and Elizabeth Barrett Browning translated Anacreontics.8 Pindar and the Romantic ode The Romantic ode in English is the last major development of an already established tradition in which the formative influences of Horace and Pindar were intertwined.9 The model of vatic pronouncement on public occasions and issues is as much Horatian as Pindaric; elements seen as specifically Pindaric were the strophic structure, a tendency to length and irregularity and a conception of the Pindaric manner as rhapsodic, impetuous and abrupt which derived both from Cowley’s misreadings of Greek metre and from Horace’s influential image of Pindaric poetry as a torrential river (Carm. 4.2.10–12). At a formal level the imitation of a Pindaric ode could simply mean writing a poem divided into stanzas with lines of irregular length. But some of the Romantic poets wrote odes based more closely on triadic form. Coleridge, for example, having won a prize at Cambridge for an ode written in Greek, practised Pindaric odes repeatedly on his way to producing his major odes. An early example is his 1796 ‘Ode on the Departing Year’, written in triads labelled with Greek terms and observing some metrical (accentual and syllabic) correspondence between strophes and antistrophes. More often, however, the term ‘Pindaric ode’ referred more broadly to manner and style as seen through the lens of more recent tradition. Thus Coleridge described his ‘Departing Year’ poem as an example of ‘the sublimer Ode’, characterised by ‘Impetuosity of Transition’ and ‘Precipitation of Fancy and Feeling’, and Wordsworth regarded ‘Tintern Abbey’ as having ‘the elements of an ode’ because of its ‘transitions and … impassioned music’, despite the absence of structural imitation.10 The ode’s redevelopment along Romantic lines was consolidated in the second-generation Romantic poets, especially Keats and Shelley. In Keats’ major odes, often described as the high point of the English ode, ‘Pindaric’ irregularity of form was rapidly abandoned,11 but the elevated style, high seriousness and link with the sublime remain. Many features still recognisably 7 9

10

11

8 Brown 1999, 389–404. On Barrett Browning, see Donaldson 1999, 33. For a clear, if schematic, account of the two strands, see Most 1996a. On the earlier tradition see also Michelakis, this vol., ch. 18. Coleridge 2004, 36; Wordsworth 1952, 517; see Curran 1986, 71–9. See also Forrester’s 1827 burlesque ‘The Fishmonger’s Lament: a Pindaric Ode’ which apart from its stanzaic structure and the occasional apostrophe is quite unPindaric. Only the early ‘Ode to Psyche’ employs irregular line length.

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draw on ancient tradition, particularly invocation as if to a deity, sometimes even including the description of attributes and genealogy (‘Season of mists …| Close bosom friend of the maturing sun’, ‘Ode to Autumn’.) But divorced from any actual audience or situation, invocation is now part of lyric’s characteristic repertoire of apostrophe, personification and prosopopoeia, tropes which in modern times have been seen as central to the definition of lyric poetry.12 Also, references to poetic skill, presented by Pindar as a counterpart to the victor’s achievement, now figure in a reflexive discourse about poetry itself.13 The ‘grandeur of the ode’, as Keats called it, was employed in both celebration and interrogation of poetry at a time when its cultural centrality was unmatched. The ode retained its prestige through the nineteenth century, and Swinburne in 1904 could still praise it as being ‘above all less pure and less absolute kinds of song’;14 but serious practitioners of the form became fewer. Those who employed it in English included Swinburne himself, Tennyson and Patmore, and Thoreau translated Pindar; but in both form and manner it was already being superseded. Perhaps the most important imitator of Pindar in European literature in the nineteenth century was Hölderlin, who translated seventeen of the extant epinikian odes, plus fragments, and called Pindar’s work ‘das Summum der Dichtkunst’; his own poetry, especially the Odes, shows Pindar’s influence.15 In France the ode was adopted as a vehicle for visionary enlightenment by, among others, Vigny and Hugo, and Pindaric translation underwent a renaissance.16 Nineteenth-century Sappho The other ancient lyric poet to take a leading role was Sappho, exemplifying in both her writings and her fictionalised life different but equally important Romantic qualities.17 Her fragment 31 V is the only lyric poem cited in Longinus’ treatise on the sublime, ‘the exemplar and source of many characteristic elements of romantic theory’,18 which links poetry, intense emotion and autobiography. Longinus’ partial quotation fed the contemporary taste for isolated, fragmentary flashes of intensity, and his commentary also

12 13

14 16 17

18

Culler 1975, 188–220, and 1981, ch. 7. See Fry 1980 on the Romantic ode as a ‘vehicle of ontological and vocational doubt’ (2) and Shankman 1994 on its reflexiveness. Swinburne 1966, 97. 15 Louth 1998, 125; Hamilton 2003, ch. 12. Ygaunin 1997; Brix 1995. Recent studies arguing that her image and surviving fragments were formative for Romantic and Victorian writers include Vanita 1996, Prins 1999 and Maxwell 2001. Abrams 1953, 72.

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suggests that creativity depends on suffering, a Romantic commonplace reinforced by the fiction of Sappho’s tragic life. Her gender too is crucial. The gender of sublimity in the period was and is open to debate and redefinition.19 Sappho’s life was paradigmatic for both men and women because the constellation of suffering, inspiration and song (also figured in the image of the nightingale) had come to be thought of as female. For the growing body of women writers at this time, she became a ‘grandmother’20 in the new sense of founding a lineage. Finally, from Baudelaire and Swinburne onwards the tide of received opinion turned in favour of seeing her as lesbian.21 Images of Sappho For most of the nineteenth century Sappho’s life story remained at least as important as her fragments. The changes it underwent can conveniently be traced in art. In the early part of the century the Ovidian fiction about her love for Phaon was still dominant; it is represented in David’s Sappho and Phaon (1809, Fig. 9). Phaon’s erotic power over her and the resulting loss of her poetic voice are evident in their respective positions and the lyre, now held by Eros, which she has just discarded.22 The story continues with her rejection by Phaon, after which she takes the fatal leap from the Leucadian cliff. Among the many other fictional works inspired by this narrative are Mme de Stael’s Sapho (1811), Grillparzer’s 1818 play of the same title and operas by Pacini (1840) and Gounod (1851). But by now the focus was already shifting from Phaon to ‘burning Sappho’ herself. In Chassériau’s Sapho se précipitant dans la mer (1846, Fig. 10), the image is of Sappho alone, the moment before her suicidal leap. Once again this moment also inspired writers: Lamartine and Leopardi, for example, both scripted ‘last songs’ for Sappho in the 1820s. But with the Romantic revaluation of suffering, a richer set of meanings come to be attached to the leap: just before it she produces her finest song, and the leap can be a gesture of daring, affirmation and liberation rather than despair, a combination explored with particular insistence by women poets.23 19

20 21

22 23

‘The example of Sappho contributes to a gradual “feminization” of the sublime that makes it possible for women poets to imitate Sappho’ (Prins 1996, 59). But there is a modern critical debate between, e.g., Mellor 1993 and Maxwell 2001 over the gendering of the sublime. See also Paglia 1991 on Swinburne. ‘I look everywhere for grandmothers, and see none’ (Browning 1897, 232). Her homoeroticism (seen as tribadism) had long been discussed, but tended to be repressed: see DeJean 1989, Reynolds 1999, 101. See further below, p. 360, on Welcker 1816. On this painting and Fig. 11 see most recently Goldhill 2006, 260–3. Other versions of the Leucadian leap include those of Taillasson (1791), Gros (1801), a second painting by Chassériau (1849), a late version by Mengin (Sappho, 1877) and a drawing by Queen Victoria (1841), published 1900. See Stein 1981.

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Fig. 9 Jacques-Louis David, Sappho and Phaon, 1809

Simeon Solomon’s (1864, Fig. 11) Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene reflects trends later in the nineteenth century which emphasise Sappho’s sexuality, often with scandalous overtones. The scandal can embrace Sappho’s heterosexual career, as in Daudet’s 1884 novel Sappho: Parisian Manners: A Realistic Tale, in which Sappho is a prostitute; this popular novel spawned numerous stage adaptations as well as an opera by Massenet (1897).24 Produced by a painter whose Jewishness and flamboyant homosexuality both made him an outsider (and, after his arrest for sodomy, an outcast), this image represents the growing trend to interpret Sappho’s passion as homoerotic. The atmosphere of scandal and decadence surrounding its creator clings to many other representations of Sappho as lesbian in the period, from Baudelaire and Swinburne (discussed below) to early lesbian writers like Renée Vivien at the turn of the century.25

24

See also Louys 1895.

25

On Vivien, see Gubar 1996, Blankley 1984.

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Fig. 10 Théodore Chassériau, Sapho se précipitant dans la mer, 1846

‘The lyric cry’: poetry as autobiography A persistent Romantic assumption about lyric poetry, that it represents the unmediated expression of intense emotion,26 can be traced in the habit of reading Sappho’s poetry through her life and/or her life and feelings in her poems. Scholars of ancient lyric shared the assumption that a lyric poet ‘is 26

See Silk, this vol., 375–7.

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Fig. 11 Simeon Solomon, Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene, 1864

often himself the subject of his work’,27 and took Sappho’s passionate poems as an illustration. This assumption can be shown to have contributed to a key editorial decision about the text. In 1835 the German philologist Theodor Bergk published an article written five years earlier, at the age of only eighteen, in which he proposed various emendations to the text of Sappho and Alcaeus. The most critical concerns poem 1 V, the hymn to Aphrodite, which until very recently was the only complete poem of Sappho’s to survive. It is also one of the few poems to contain an internal signature: in it Aphrodite addresses Sappho as the singer who has approached the goddess for her help in winning over an unresponsive beloved. In modern texts of the poem the gender of the beloved is indicated only by one accusative participle, in line 24; but the text is corrupt at this point, the various previous emendations did not clarify the gender question, and the 27

Mure 1850, 4.

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poem was often read as heterosexual. The youthful Bergk’s emendation, which he defended against repeated attack, adds one letter to a previous reading in order to produce an unambiguously lesbian love poem. Bergk’s defence of this reading, which was subsequently expanded but not essentially changed, is based on Sappho’s other poems: hoc quoque carmen ob puellae amorem, ut pleraque, scriptum videtur (‘this poem too seems, like most, to have been written for love of a girl’).28 What is noteworthy is not only Bergk’s boldness, a mere fourteen years after a book-length treatise had defended Sappho (and the reputation of classical scholarship) from the charge of lesbianism,29 but also his implicit appeal to contemporary notions of poetry as confessional and autobiographical. It is ironic that the text of this poem, in which the use of Sappho’s name appears to present a strong case for an autobiographical reading, should have been moulded by readings of the rest of her corpus, most of which lacks such a signature.30 Sappho in Romantic and Victorian poetry It may be owing to Longinus’ influence that English poets who imitate Sappho in the first part of the century concentrate on fragment 31 V, while the other major poem, the ode to Aphrodite, drops almost out of sight. Sappho was known to and appreciated by both Wordsworth and Coleridge, but her influence is more visible in the second generation of Romantic poets. Byron famously characterised ‘the isles of Greece’ as the place where ‘burning Sappho lov’d and sung’; Shelley’s ‘To Constantia, singing’ addresses a beloved female singer in lines that include an imitation of fragment 31, and the influence of that poem in particular has recently been traced in Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’.31 But it is on two Victorian poets that her impact is most pronounced: Tennyson and Swinburne. Tennyson An affinity between Sappho and Tennyson, especially in Tennyson’s early poems, was suggested by his friend Hallam, citing the way in which some ancient poetry, including Sappho’s, ‘imag[es] a mood of the human heart in a group of circumstances, each of which reciprocally affects and is affected by

28 30

31

Bergk 1835, 211. 29 Welcker 1816, on which see Calder 1988. On the influence of interpretive assumptions both here and in fragment 31 V, see Most 1996b, 28–33 and n. 79. Vanita 1996, 52–5. On Sappho’s influence on male Romantic poets, see also Maxwell 2001, 228 n. 72.

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the unity of that mood’.32 Something of what Hallam meant can perhaps be seen in fragment 168B V, still attributed to Sappho in the nineteenth century, in which the speaker’s mood of desolate loneliness is reflected in the landscape. This poem has been thought to have inspired Tennyson’s Mariana poems.33 The poem to which he returned repeatedly, however, was once again fragment 31 and in particular the moment of erotic intensity singled out by Longinus. In ‘Eleänore’ (1832) a male speaker suffers the familiar sensation of bodily dissolution as he looks at a beloved woman and hears her speak his name. Tennyson even quotes the opening lines of fragment 31 as an epigraph to ‘Fatima’ (1832), in which a woman feels ‘a thousand little shafts of flame’ at the mention of her lover’s name and anticipates ‘dying, clasped in his embrace’ upon his longed-for arrival. The woman who figures in these and other versions of fragment 31 is heterosexual and, if she speaks, preoccupied with love; as addressee she either remains silent or, as in ‘Eleänore’, speaks only to mouth her lover’s name. But all of this changes at other times and in other hands, including those of women poets. Sappho and nineteenth-century women writers The number of wome