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MELINNO 100.00%
Greek poetess. (See ERINNA.)
 
SAPPHO 14.09%
The greatest poetess of antiquity, born at Mytilene or Eresus in Lesbos, lived between 630 and 570 B.C., being a younger contemporary of Alcaeus (see cut). She was married to a rich man of Andros, and had a daughter named Clais. About 596 she was obliged to flee from Lesbos, probably in consequence of political disturbances, and to remain some time in Sicily. In her later years she was again living in Lesbos, in the society of young girls with an inspiration for poetry. (See ERINNA.) Although, according to the principles expressed in her own poems, and according to trustworthy testimonies of antiquity she was a woman of pure and strict life, yet later scandal unwarrantably put an immoral interpretation on this society. Equally unfounded is the legend emanating from the Attic comedians, that she threw herself from the Leucadian rock into the sea out of despair at the rejection of her love by a handsome seaman named Phaon {fragm. of Menander's Leucadia}. Her poems were divided by the Alexander scholars into nine books according to their metres; and besides the purely lyric songs, among which the Epithalamia, or wedding-lays, were particularly celebrated, they included elegies and epigrams. Two of her odes, with a number of short fragments, are still extant. Her odes were for the most part composed in the metre named after her the sapphic strophe (or stanza), which was so much used by Horace. They are among the tenderest and most charming productions in the whole range of extant Greek literature, and afford some perception of the points of excellence ascribed to Sappho by antiquity: sincerity and depth of feeling, delicacy of rhythm, and grace and melodiousness of language.
 
MUSES 7.60%
In Greek mythology originally the Nymphs of inspiring springs, then goddesses of song in general, afterwards the representatives of the various kinds of poetry, arts, and sciences. In Homer, who now speaks of one, and now of many Muses, but without specifying their number or their names, they are considered as goddesses dwelling in Olympus, who at the meals of the gods sing sweetly to the lyre of Apollo, inspire the poet and prompt his song. Hesiod [Theog. 52-,76-,] calls them the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, born in Pieria, and mentions their names, to which we shall at the same time add the province and the attributes afterwards assigned to each (see cuts). (1) CALLIOPE (she of the fair voice), in Hesiod the noblest of all, the Muse of epic song; among her attributes are a wax tablet and a pencil. (2) CLIO (she that extols), the Muse of history; with a scroll. (3) EUTERPE (she that gladdens), the Muse of lyric song; with the double flute. (4) THALIA (she that flourishes), the Muse of comedy and bucolic poetry; with the comic mask, the ivy wreath, and the shepherd's staff. (5) MELPOMENE (she that sings), the Muse of tragedy; with tragic mask, ivy wreath, and occasionally with attributes of individual heroes, e.g. the club, the sword. (6) TERPSICHORE (she that rejoices in the dance), the Muse of dancing; with the lyre. (7) ERATO (the lovely one), the Muse of erotic poetry; with a smaller lyre. (8) POLYMNIA or POLYHYMNIA (she that is rich in hymns), the Muse of serious sacred songs; usually represented as veiled and pensive. (9) URANIA (the heavenly), the Muse of astronomy; with the celestial globe. Three older Muses were sometimes distinguished from these. MELETE (Meditation), MNEME (Remembrance), AOIDE (Song), whose worship was said to have been introduced by Aloidae, Otus and Ephialtes, near Mount Helicon. Thracian settlers, in the Pierian district at the foot of Olympus and of Helicon in Boeotia are usually mentioned as the original founders of this worship. At both these places were their oldest sanctuaries. According to the general belief, the favourite haunts of the Muses were certain springs, near which temples and statues had been erected in their honour: Castalia, at the foot of Mount Parnassus, and Aganippe and Hippocrene, on Helicon, near the towns of Ascra and Thespiae. After the decline of Ascra, the inhabitants of Thespiae attended to the worship of the Muses and to the arrangements for the musical contests in their honour that took place once in five years. They were also adored in many otherplaces in Greece. Thus the Athenians offered them sacrifices in the schools, while the Spartans did so before battle. As the inspiring Nymphs of springs they were early connected with Dionysus; the god of poets, Apollo, is looked on as their leader (Musagetes), with whom they share the knowledge of past, present, and future. As beings that gladden men and gods with their song, Hesiod describes them as dwelling on Olympus along with the Charites and Himeros. They were represented in art as virgin goddesses with long garments of many folds, and frequently with a cloak besides; they were not distingnished by special attributes till comparatively later times. The Roman poets identified them with the Italian Camence, prophetic Nymphs of springs and goddesses of birth, who had a grove at Rome outside the Porta Capena. (See EGERIA .) The Greeks gave the title of Muses to their nine most distinguished poetesses: Praxilla, Mcero, Anyte, Erinna, Te1esilla, Corinna, Nossis, Myrtis, and Sappho.
 
LYRIC POETRY 5.66%
While among the Greeks elegiac and iambic poetry (q.v.), which forms the transition from epic to lyric composition, was practised by the Ionians, lyric poetry proper, or, as it was more commonly called, melic poetry (melos, a song), viz. the song accompanied by music, was cultivated by the Aeolians and Dorians. This is due to the talent for music peculiar to these races. That playing on stringed instruments and singing were cultivated even in mythical times in Aeolia, in the island of Lesbos, is shown by the legend that the head and lyre of Orpheus, who had been torn to pieces by Thracian women, were washed ashore on that island, and that the head was buried in the Lesbian town of Antissa. Antissa was the native place of TERPANDER, who gave artistic form to the nomos (q.v.), or hymn to Apollo, by elaborating the laws of its composition. Settling at Sparta in B.C. 676 he laid down the foundation of Dorian music. While he had closely followed Homeric poetry in the texts which he wrote for his musical compositions, there afterwards arose a greater variety in the kinds of songs, corresponding to the greater variety of musical forms, springing from the foundation laid by him. In the Aeolian lyric the pathetic prevails, as might be expected from the passionate nature of the people; the feelings of love and hatred, joy and sorrow are their principal themes. As to the metrical form we find short lines with a soft, melodious rhythm, which make up a small number of short strophes. They are written in the Aeolic dialect; we may suppose that they were solos sung to the accompaniment of stringed instruments. In Lesbos the Aeolian lyric was brought to its highest perfection by ALCAeUS of Mytilene (about 600), and by his contemporary SAPPHO, also a Lesbian, and teacher of the poetess ERINNA. The joyous poems of ANACREON of Teos (born about 550), whose subjects are love and wine, were also in the Aeolian style, but in the Ionic dialect. An echo of the Aeoliau lyric are the scolia (q.v.). It was among the Dorians, however, that the lyric poetry of the Greeks reached the highest degree of its development. It is also called choral lyric, because the Dorian songs were intended to be sung at the public festivals, especially those of the gods, by a dancing choir to the accompaniment of stringed instruments and flutes. Intended therefore to be public, it naturally had on the whole an earnest, objective character, and is thus distinguished from the Aeolian lyrics that expressed the personal feelings of the poet. Their form shows further points of difference. Instead of the diminutive Aeolian strophes of short lines, unsuitable for dancing, the Dorian lyrics have ampler strophes, usually with longer lines, and the combination of strophes is again subdivided into strophe, antistrophe, and epode, of which the first two are exactly parallel, while the last differs from both in its structure. While the number of the Aeolian metres is fixed, every Dorian song has its own metre, the rhythm of which depends on the tune suitable to the subject. As to the kinds of songs we also find great variety in the Dorian lyric: there are paeans, hyporchemata, hymns, prosodia, parthenia, dithyrambs, encomia, epinicia, hymeaea, epithalamia, threnoi (q.v.); drinking songs and love songs are also not wanting. They are written in the old epic dialect, influenced by Doric. With regard to their historical development: ALCMAN (about 660), a Lydian who had become a citizen of Sparta, was the first to compose longer and more varied poems on the lines laid down by Terpander and his school. The Dorian lyric received its later artistic form from the Sicilian STESICHORUS of Himera (about 600), whose contemporary ARION first gave a place in literature to the dithyramb. (See DITHYRAMBOS.) In the 6th century choral poetry became the common property of all Greeks, and so flourished more and more. Of its older representatives we have still to mention IBYCUS of Rhegium (about 540), in whose choral songs the erotic element prevails. This class of poetry was brought to its greatest perfection at the time of the Persian Wars by SIMONIDES of Ceos, by his nephew, BACCHYLIDES, and above all by PINDAR of Thebes. Besides these TIMOCREON of Ialysus, and the poetesses MYRTIS, CORINNA, PRAXILLA, and TELESILLA deserve mention. Of the productions of Aeolian and Dorian lyric poetry only fragments have been preserved, except the epinician odes of Pindar. With the Romans, the first attempts to imitate the forms of the Greek "melic" date from the last years of the Republic. LAeVIUS wrote mythological poems in a great variety of metres, the Erotopaegnia ("Diversions of Love"), which however seem to have attracted little attention. CATULLUS also wrote some poems in "melic" measures. This kind of poetry was perfected in the age of Augustus by HORACE, who introduced the forms of Aeolian lyric. None of the succeeding poets were of even secondary importance, in spite of the great skill with which they handled the various melic metres; one of them, the Christian poet PRUDENTIUS, wrote as late as the 4th century. The Dorian lyric never obtained a footing among the Romans.
 
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