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A Greek lyric poet, especially eminent as a writer of lampoons. Born at Paros, he was the son of Telesicles by a slave-woman, but was driven by poverty to go with a colony to Thasos B.C. 720 or 708. From Thasos he was soon driven by want and by the enmities which his unrestrained passion for invective had drawn upon him. He seems to have roamed restlessly from place to place, until, on his return to Paros, lie was slain in fight by the Naxian Calondas. Long afterwards, when this man visited the Delphian temple the god is said to have driven him from his threshold as the slayer of a servant of the Muses, and refused to admit him till be bad propitiated the soul of the poet at his tomb : a story which expresses the high value set on his art by the ancients, who placed him on a level with Homer, Pindar and Sophocles. For Archilochus had an extraordinary poetical genius, which enabled him to invent a large number of new metres, and to manipulate them with the ease of a master. He brought Iambic poetry, in particular, to artistic perfection. The many misfortunes of his stormy life had bred in his irritable nature a deeply-settled indignation, which, in poems perfect in form and alive with force and fury, vented itself in bitter mockery even if his friends, and in merciless, unpardonable abuse of his foes. Such was the effect of his lampoons, that Lycambes, who had first promised and then refused him his daughter Neobule, hanged himself and his family in the despair engendered by the poet's furious attacks. Of his poems, which were written in the Old-Ionic dialect, and taken by Horace for, his model in his Epodes, only a number of short fragments are preserved.
Type: Standard
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