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Work songs

(501 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] Although songs were generally part of the leisure sphere in Greece, there is some evidence that music also accompanied work. On the Reaper Vase Rhyton from Hagia Triada ( c. 1500 BC) a group of peasants, returning from work in the fields, are carrying their tools on their shoulders; the procession is accompanied by singing musicians, of which the first is shaking a sistrum. Homer mentions the λίνος( línos; Ailinos), a song played on the lyre by a boy to accompany dancing and singing at the grape harvest (Il. 18,569-572), as well as a song played …

Dosiadas

(142 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (Δωσιάδας; Dosiádas). Author handed down by Anth. Pal. 15,26, also in the Codex of the bucolic poets under the Τεχνοπαίγνια ( Technopaígnia). The poem is a γρῖφος ( gríphos) or riddle, in the way of the Alexandra of  Lycophron, with dark references and allusions to known mythological figures which are explained by the scholia in some MSS. Its subject is a literary dedication of an altar that Jason erected on Lemnos and at which  Philoctetes was injured. The language is a mixture of Doric and epic forms (e.g. Τεύκροι…

Encomium

(577 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (ἐγκώμιον/ enkṓmion, sc. μέλος/ mélos, ᾆσμα/ âisma). A song of praise. Praise (ἔπαινος, épainos) and reproach (ψόγος, psógos) are two important functions in oral poetry widely used and documented in early Greece [1. 141-151]. Reproach is largely the subject of the iambographers while praise is, for example, found in the poem addressed by  Alcaeus to his brother (350 Voigt [2]), the poems of  Sappho to her female friends, in the Partheneia of  Alcman, in the erotic poetry dedicated by  Anacreon and…

Stesichorus

(1,165 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
(Στησίχορος; Stēsíchoros). [German version] [1] Lyric poet, 6th cent. BC Greek lyric poet, one of the nine of the Alexandrian canon. Robbins, Emmet (Toronto) [German version] A. Life S. originated from Himera (Sicily) and was called 'the Himeraean' (Ἱμεραῖος/ Himeraîos), or he may have come from Mataurus in south Italy; he died in Catania (Catane). The dates in the Suda (σ 1095) are suspect: his birth in the 37th (632-629 BC) and death in the 56th Olympiad (556-553 BC) seem based on synchronisation with other poets, with the first giving an akme of a conventional 40 years after the Su…

Cleomachus

(120 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (Κλεόμαχος; Kleómachos). Kinaidographos, born in Magnesia, dates uncertain. According to Str. 14,1,41 he was a boxer who after falling in love with a kínaidos and a prostitute, whom he supported, began to write in the obscene language of the kínaidoi. Heph. Enchiridion 11,2 (= Consbruch 392,10-15) states that the Ionian acatalectic dimeter a maiore was called the Kleomacheion and that this verse form contained Molossian metre and choriambs. Hephaestion cites (as does Trichas ad loc. Consbruch 395,10) an example but neither is definitely…

Arion

(549 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (Ἀρίων; Aríōn). Lyric poet from Methymna on Lesbos. According to statements in the Suda, his akme was in Olympiad 38 (628-624 BC), and it is said there that he had been a pupil of  Alcman. Hdt. 1,23 reports that he had been the first person to compose a  dithyramb, and given it a name and performed it in Corinth. The mention in the Suda awards him the merit of being ‘the first to have put together a chorus, sung a dithyramb and to have given a name to that which the chorus sang, and to be the fi…

Hybrias

(140 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (Ὑβρίας; Hybrías). At the end of a collection of scholia, Ath. 695f adds a poem by H. of Crete, which ‘many consider to be a scholion ’ [1]. H. boasts of being the master of the public slaves (δεσπότας μνοΐας) and of earning a living as a soldier. The poem was formerly assumed to be a war song by a Doric nobleman, now is commonly regarded as the boasting of a man who comes from the class that he now rules [2]. A reference to the Persian Great King suggests the middle of the 6th cent. BC as terminus post quem. The two stanzas consist primarily of trochees, choriambs,and glyconics…

Erinna

(350 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (Ἤριννα; Ḗrinna). Poet and author of a work known in antiquity as the ‘Distaff’ (Ἠλακάτη; Ēlakátē), a poem of 300 hexameters (Anon. Anth. Pal. 9,190,3). Eusebius indicates that her creative time was between 353 and 352 BC (= Ol. 106.4 or 107.1). The Suda, which erroneously made her into Sappho's contemporary, names several possible places of origin; the most probable being the island of Telos since she writes in Doric with the occasional Aeolism. The literary similarities with the works of  Ascl…

Praxilla

(165 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (Πράξιλλα/ Práxilla). Lyric poetess from Sicyon, chief date c. 451 BC. (Eusebius, Jer. Chron. Ol. 82,2). Author of hymns (747 PMG), dithyrambs (748 PMG) and skólia (749, 750 PMG). Two verses about a girl seen at a window (754 PMG) are written in the praxilleion metre, named after her; the beginning syllables can be found as inscriptions on a Boeotian vase from the middle of the 5th cent. Her treatment of myth was innovative: Dionysus was the son of Aphrodite and not Semele (752 PMG); Zeus, not Laius, kidnapped Chrysippus (7…

Threnos

(312 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (θρῆνος/ thrênos, pl. thrênoi), dirge, lament. Homer apparently differentiated between a more spontaneous γόος ( góos, ‘weeping’, ‘wailing’) by relatives or friends (cf. Hom. Il. 18,316; 24,723; 24,747) and the threnos sung by outsiders: Hector's body, laid out on a bed, is surrounded by singers (Hom. Il. 24,719-722), the leaders of the threnos (ἔξαρχος/ éxarchos: Hom. Il. 24,721; ἐξάρχειν/ exárchein: 18,316) and the women who accompany the song with lamentations. In the lament for Patroclus (Hom. Il. 18,28-31 and 339-342), the captured T…

Lamynthius

(96 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (Λαμύνθιος; Lamýnthios). Lyric poet from Miletus, dating uncertain. Phot. s.v. calls him a ‘poet of erotic poetry’ (ποιητὴς ἐρωτικῶν μελῶν; poiētḕs erōtikôn melôn); Ath. 13,596f-597a mentions two poets who write about hetaerae named Lyde: Antimachus [3] of Colophon, who composed his Lýdē in elegiac meter, and L., who according to Clearchus composed lyrical verse about a foreign (βαρβάρου/ barbárou) girl of the same name in his Erōtiká. He is named by Epicrates [4] in the Antilaḯs (PCG v 4) as the author of love songs. Fragments have not been preserved. Robbins, Emmet (…

Corinna

(358 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (Κόριννα; Kórinna). Lyric Greek poet of the 5th cent. BC (?), probably from Tanagra in Boeotia (Paus. 9,22,3). The Suda gives various birthplaces, and has her a pupil of Myrtis and contemporary of  Pindarus, whom she is said to have defeated. Other, rather improbable, biographical anecdotes link her with Pindar. Although the Suda speaks of five bks., and many sources assign C. to the canon of nine lyric poets, her work was not published by the Alexandrians. There is also no survivi…

Melanippides

(141 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (Μελανιππίδης; Melanippídēs). Dithyrambic poet from Melos, whose main period of creativity was in the second half of the 5th century BC. A grandfather of the same name, also a poet, is mentioned in the Suda: there are no surviving fragments from this M. the Elder, who, according to information from the Marmor Parium , won a victory in Athens in 494/93. In Pherecrates' Cheírōn (PCG VII 155), M. the Younger, who exercised considerable influence on the new musical style, is reprimanded by Music personified, because he was the first to misuse it.…

Hymenaios

(864 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
(Ὑμέναιος; Hyménaios). Wedding song (cf.  Hymenaeus) Robbins, Emmet (Toronto) I. Greek [German version] A. Etymology The meaning of hyménaios is shared by ὑμήν ( hymḗn), as it is usually found in the cry Ὑμὴν ὦ Ὑμέναιε [1. vol. 2,361]. The origin of the word ὑμήν is disputed: some claim its origin is pre-Greek and not Indo-European [2]; others maintain it is Greek, and synonymous with hymḗn = membrane, i.e. the hymen, although this meaning first appears in later authors [3. 964-965]. Diehl, who assumes a connection with the Latin suo, sees a further link with ὕμνος ( hýmnos,  Hymn), which…

Embaterion

(236 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (ἐμβατήριον/ embatḗrion, sc. μέλος/ mélos, ᾆσμα/ âisma). Military march, often sung, usually played by an auletes (flute-player), although Phillis of Delos speaks of κινήσεις ἐμβατηρίους ( kinḗseis embateríous) in connection with ἀρχαίους κιθαρῳδούς ( archaíous kitharōidoús; Ath. 1,21f-22a). The proto-Corinthian Chigi vase of c. 630 BC (Rome, VG 22679) shows warriors marching with a flute-player (cf. Thuc. 5,70). The rhythm was undoubtedly anapaestic: Dion Chrys. 2,59 (PMG 856; cf. PMG 857) quotes one such song, supposedly…

Palinodia

(113 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (παλινῳδία/ palinōidía). Poem by Stesichorus in which he withdrew the vituperation of Helen [1] because of which he had lost his eyesight (192 PMGF). This 'revocation' is said to have restored his vision. Stesichorus withdrew his report that Helen had travelled to Troy and appears instead to have introduced the story that she had spent the war years in Egypt. There were apparently two palinodies (193 PMGF). Later the term was used for any type of revocation (cf. for instance Cic. Att. 4,5,1). Chiastically arranged songs (a b : b a) are also called 'palinodic' (H…

Ibycus

(633 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (Ἴβυκος; Íbykos), born in Rhegium in the 6th cent. BC, the second important poet of Magna Graecia after  Stesichorus. He came to Samos in the 54th Olympiad (564-561 BC) (Suda: ‘when Polycrates, the tyrant's father, ruled there’, should probably be corrected to Πολυκράτους, which would result in more common Greek, and would then say - in accordance with Hdt. 3,39, who names Aeaces as the father: ‘when the father of the tyrant Polycrates ruled there’). Eusebius' dating differs from t…

Hyporchema

(295 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (ὑπόρχημα; hypórchēma). Old Greek choral lyric that was originally associated with the weapon dance. The word hyporchema is first documented in Pl. Ion 534c, where it is cited along with forms of poetry.  Thaletas of Gortyn (7th cent. BC) was the first to compose hyporchḗmata to accompany the weapon dances of the  Curetes (schol. Pind. Pyth. 2,127). As warrior dances were more elaborate and mimetic than other choral dances, a soloist probably sang (Ath. 1,15d-e). Thaletas probably brought the hyporchema to Sparta, where, together with Xenodamus of Cythera, h…

Epicedium

(294 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (ἐπικήδειον; epikḗdeion, sc. μέλος; mélos, ᾆσμα; âisma). Ceremonial song at mourning (κῆδος, kḗdos) or during burial (cf. Pind. Pyth. 4,112). The chorus in Eur. Tro. 514 sings an epicedium (ᾠδὰν ἐπικήδειον; ōidàn epikḗdeion) over the fall of Troy; similarly, Plato speaks of the women who are ἐπικήδειοι ᾠδαί ( epikḗdeioi ōidai), professional mourners at a burial. As a substantive, however, epicedium is used rarely and only quite late. Ancient authors tried to distinguish it from other words for ‘lament’: Proclus (Phot. 321a 30-32) calls epicedium a song ‘before t…

Anabole

(290 words)

Author(s): Robbins, Emmet (Toronto)
[German version] (ἀναβολή; anabolḗ). A musical introduction that precedes the singing, as with Pind. Pyth. 1,4 f. addressed to the lyre, ὅταν προοιμίων ἀμβολὰς τεύχηις: dancers and singers receive their cue from the first notes. It is clear from e.g. Hom. Od. 1,155 (= 8,266) φορμίζων ἀνεβάλλετο καλὸν ἀείδειν, that the singer, who underscores his singing voice with music, previously plays an instrumental part. No doubt he also used his instrument during the pauses in the singing. Flute-players also played ἀναβολαί ( anabolaí; Eupolis, PCG V 81). Aristot. Rh. 3,9,1409b 25 ment…
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