Archilochus

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Coin frae auncient Thasos shawin Satyr an nymph, datit tae late fift century BC.
Archilochus wis involved in the Parian colonisation o Thasos aboot twa centuries afore the coin wis mintit. His poetry includes vivid accoonts o life as a warrior, seafarer an lover.

Archilochus (Greek: Ἀρχίλοχος Arkhilokhos; c. 680 – c. 645 BC)[nb 1] wis a Greek lyric poet frae the island o Paros in the Archaic period. He is celebratit for his versatile an innovative uise o poetic meters an as the earliest kent Greek author tae compone awmaist entirely on the theme o his ain emotions an experiences.[1][2] Alexandrian scholars includit him in their canonic leet o iambic poets, alang wi Semonides an Hipponax,[3] yet auncient commentators an aa nummered him wi Tyrtaeus an Callinus as the possible inventor o the elegy.[4] Modren creetics eften chairacterise him simply as a lyric poet.[5] Awtho his wirk nou anly survives in fragments, he wis revered bi the auncient Greeks as ane o thair maist brilliant authors, able tae be mentioned in the same braith as Homer an Hesiod,[6] yet he wis an aa censured bi them as the archeteepal poet o blame[7]—his invectives war even said tae hae driven his umwhile fiancee an her faither tae suicide. He presentit himsel as a man o few illusions either in war or in love, such as in the follaein elegy, whaur discretion is seen tae be the better pairt o valour:

Ἀσπίδι μὲν Σαΐων τις ἀγάλλεται, ἥν παρὰ θάμνῳ
ἔντος ἀμώμητον κάλλιπον οὐκ ἐθέλων·
αὐτὸν δ' ἔκ μ' ἐσάωσα· τί μοι μέλει ἀσπὶς ἐκείνη;
Ἐρρέτω· ἐξαῦτις κτήσομαι οὐ κακίω.[8]

 

Ane o the Saians (Thracian tribe) nou delichts in the shield I discairdit
Unwillinly near a bush, for it wis perfectly guid,
But at least I got masel safely oot. Wha should I care for that shield?
Let it gang. Some ither time Ah'll find anither na worse.

Archilochus wis much imitatit even up tae Roman times an three ither distinguished poets later claimed tae hae thrown away thair shields—Alcaeus, Anacreon an Horace.[9]

Notes[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. While thir hae been the generally acceptit dates syne Felix Jacoby, "The Date of Archilochus," Classical Quarterly 35 (1941) 97–109, some scholars disagree; Robin Lane Fox, for instance, in Travelling Heroes: Greeks and Their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer (Lunnon: Allen Lane, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7139-9980-8), p. 388, dates him c. 740–680 BC.

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. J. P. Barron and P. E. Easterling, 'Elegy and Iambus', in The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature, P.Easterling and B.Knox (ed.s), Cambridge University Press (1985), page 117
  2. David A. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982) page 136
  3. Sophie Mills, 'Archilochus', in Encyclopaedia of Ancient Greece, Nigel Wilson (ed.), Routledge (2006) page 76
  4. Didymus ap. Orion, Et.Mag. p. 57, Scholiast on Ar.Birds 217, cited by J. P. Barron and P. E. Easterling, 'Elegy and Iambus' in The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature, ed.s P.Easterling and B.Knox, Cambridge University Press (1985), n. 1 page 129
  5. Rayor, Diane J, Sappho's Lyre: Archaic Lyric and Women Poets of Ancient Greece (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991, ISBN 978-0-520-07336-4)
  6. J. P. Barron and P. E. Easterling, 'Elegy and Iambus', in The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature, P.Easterling and B.Knox (ed.s), Cambridge University Press (1985), page 118
  7. Christopher G. Brown, 'Introduction' to Douglas E. Gerber's A companion to the Greek Lyric Poets, Brill (1997) page 49
  8. Fragment 5, cited by Douglas E. Gerber, Greek Iambic Poetry, Loeb Classical Library (1999) page 81
  9. David A. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982) page 145