Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
A Greek elegiac poet, born about 540 B.C., of a rich and noble family in Megara. He lived at a time when bitter feuds had broken out in his native town between the nobles and the other citizens. On the fall of his party, having espoused the cause of the aristocracy, he as despoiled of his fortune and driven into exile. It was not until many years later that he was able to return to the home for which he yearned, and he was probably still alive, at the time of the Persian Wars. From the remains of his elegies, which are mostly addressed in a hortatory form to the noble youth Cycnus, it may be seen that they were closely connected with the political fortunes of the poet. They exhibit the pride and rancour of the aristocrat, in whose eyes all his own party are "good" and "noble," as contrasted with the adherents of the popular party, who are denounced as "base" and "cowardly." The loss of the great bulk of his poems was due to their containing an extraordinary abundance of proverbs, which were at an early date extracted from his writings, to serve (especially at Athens) as precepts for the conduct of youth. Under his name we still possess a dreary collection of all kinds of proverbial couplets and precepts, which are strung together without coherence or plan, being connected by means of merely casual catchwords, and including adventitious elements, such as sayings of Tyrtaeus, Mimnermus, Solon, and others.
Type: Standard
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