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STESICHORUS
The most famous representative of the earlier Dorian lyrical poetry, at Himera in Sicily, about 630 B.C. Originally called Tisias, he received the name of Stesichorus ("marshal of choruses"), possibly from his office of directing the choruses and superintending their practice. It is related that he was struck blind for a lampoon on Helen, as the cause of the Trojan War, but received his eyesight again when he composed a lyrical poem recanting the first, and called palinodia [Plato, Phoedr. 243A]. He died, aged eighty-five, at Catana, where he had a tomb in front of the gate named after him. The choral ode had been divided by Alcman into strophe and antistrophe. Stesichorus is said to have completed its form by adding the epodos (epode), which was sung by the chorus as they remained stationary after the completion of the two preceding movements. He is regarded as the founder of the loftier style of lyric poetry. His festal songs, afterwards divided into twenty-six books, were chiefly on mythological themes, especially the myths of Thebes and Troy, in simple metrical forms closely allied to epic verse, and in an epic dialect which contains a few Doric idioms. His splendid power of expression received the highest praise from the ancients; he was called the Homer of lyric poets [ep. Quintilian x 1 § 62], and it used to be said that Homer's soul had passed into him [Anthologia Palatina vii 75]. We only possess fragments of his poetry.
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