Ancient Greek lyric poet. Archilochus of Paros. Russian Wikipedia. Archilochus 01 pushkin.
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He is celebrated for his versatile and innovative use of poetic meters, and is the earliest known Greek author to compose almost entirely on the theme of his own emotions and experiences. Alexandrian scholars included him in their canonic list of iambic poets , along with Semonides and Hipponax ,  yet ancient commentators also numbered him with Tyrtaeus and Callinus as the possible inventor of the elegy. He presented himself as a man of few illusions either in war or in love, such as in the following elegy, where discretion is seen to be the better part of valour:.
One of the Saians Thracian tribe now delights in the shield I discarded Unwillingly near a bush, for it was perfectly good, But at least I got myself safely out. Why should I care for that shield? Let it go. Some other time I'll find another no worse. Archilochus was much imitated even up to Roman times and three other distinguished poets later claimed to have thrown away their shields — Alcaeus , Anacreon and Horace.
A considerable amount of information about the life of Archilochus has come down to the modern age via his surviving work, the testimony of other authors and inscriptions on monuments,  yet it all needs to be viewed with caution — the biographical tradition is generally unreliable and the fragmentary nature of the poems doesn't really support inferences about his personal history.
The philosopher quoted two fragments as examples of an author speaking in somebody else's voice: in one, an unnamed father commenting on a recent eclipse of the sun and, in the other, a carpenter named Charon, expressing his indifference to the wealth of Gyges , the king of Lydia. It has even been suggested by one modern scholar that imaginary characters and situations might have been a feature of the poetic tradition within which Archilochus composed, known by the ancients as iambus.
The two poems quoted by Aristotle help to date the poet's life assuming of course that Charon and the unnamed father are speaking about events that Archilochus had experienced himself. Whether or not their lives had been virtuous, authors of genius were revered by their fellow Greeks. Thus a sanctuary to Archilochus the Archilocheion was established on his home island Paros sometime in the third century BCE, where his admirers offered him sacrifices, as well as to gods such as Apollo, Dionysus, and the Muses.
According to the same inscription, the omen was later confirmed by the oracle at Delphi. Not all the inscriptions are as fanciful as that. Some are records by a local historian of the time, set out in chronological order according to custom, under the names of archons. Unfortunately, these are very fragmentary. Snippets of biographical information are provided by ancient authors as diverse as Tatian , Proclus , Clement of Alexandria , Cicero , Aelian , Plutarch , Galen , Dio Chrysostom , Aelius Aristides and several anonymous authors in the Palatine Anthology.
See and other poets below for the testimony of some famous poets. According to tradition, Archilochus was born to a notable family on Paros. His grandfather or great-grandfather , Tellis, helped establish the cult of Demeter on Thasos near the end of the eighth century, a mission that was famously depicted in a painting at Delphi by the Thasian Polygnotus.
The names 'Tellis' and 'Telesicles' can have religious connotations and some modern scholars infer that the poet was born into a priestly family devoted to Demeter. Inscriptions in the Archilocheion identify Archilochus as a key figure in the Parian cult of Dionysus  There is no evidence to back isolated reports that his mother was a slave, named Enipo, that he left Paros to escape poverty, or that he became a mercenary soldier — the slave background is probably inferred from a misreading of his verses; archaeology indicates that life on Paros, which he associated with "figs and seafaring", was quite prosperous; and though he frequently refers to the rough life of a soldier, warfare was a function of the aristocracy in the archaic period and there is no indication that he fought for pay.
The life of Archilochus was marked by conflicts. The ancient tradition identified a Parian, Lycambes, and his daughters as the main target of his anger. The father is said to have betrothed his daughter, Neobule , to Archilochus, but reneged on the agreement, and the poet retaliated with such eloquent abuse that Lycambes, Neobule and one or both of his other daughters committed suicide.
The inscriptions in the Archilocheion imply that the poet had a controversial role in the introduction of the cult of Dionysus to Paros.
It records that his songs were condemned by the Parians as "too iambic" the issue may have concerned phallic worship but they were the ones who ended up being punished by the gods for impiety, possibly with impotence. The oracle of Apollo then instructed them to atone for their error and rid themselves of their suffering by honouring the poet, which led to the shrine being dedicated to him.
His combative spirit also expressed itself in warfare. He joined the Parian colony on Thasos and battled the indigenous Thracians, expressing himself in his poems as a cynical, hard-bitten soldier fighting for a country he doesn't love "Thasos, thrice miserable city" on behalf of a people he scorns [f] yet he values his closest comrades and their stalwart, unglamorous commander.
A Naxian warrior named Calondas won notoriety as the man that killed him. The Naxian's fate interested later authors such as Plutarch and Dio Chrysostom, since it had been a fair fight yet he was punished for it by the gods: He had gone to the temple of Apollo at Delphi to consult the oracle and was rebuked with the memorable words: "You killed the servant of the Muses; depart from the temple.
I am the servant of Lord Enyalios [Ares, god of war], and skilled in the lovely gift of the Muses. This couplet testifies to a social revolution: Homer's poetry was a powerful influence on later poets and yet in Homer's day it had been unthinkable for a poet to be a warrior.
Ancient authors and scholars often reacted to his poetry and to the biographical tradition angrily, condemning "fault-finding Archilochus" for "fattening himself on harsh words of hatred" see Pindar's comment below and for "the unseemly and lewd utterances directed towards women", whereby he made "a spectacle of himself"  He was considered " But Archilochus went to the opposite extreme, to censure; seeing, I suppose, that men are in greater need of this, and first of all he censures himself The earliest meter in extant Greek poetry was the epic hexameter of Homer.
Homer did not create the epic hexameter, however, and there is evidence that other meters also predate his work. His innovations however seem to have turned a popular tradition into an important literary medium. His merits as a poet were neatly summarized by the rhetorician Quintilian :. Most ancient commentators focused on his lampoons and on the virulence of his invective  as in the comments below , yet the extant verses most of which come from Egyptian papyri  indicate a very wide range of poetic interests.
Alexandrian scholars collected the works of the other two major iambographers, Semonides and Hipponax, in just two books each, which were cited by number, whereas Archilochus was edited and cited not by book number but rather by poetic terms such as 'elegy', 'trimeters', 'tetrameters' and 'epodes'.
In his elegiacs we find neat epigrams, consolatory poems and a detailed prediction of battle; his trochaics include a cry for help in war, an address to his troubled soul and lines on the ideal commander; in his iambics we find an enchanting description of a girl and Charon the carpenter's rejection of tyranny.
Hence the accusation that he was "too iambic" see Biography referred not to his choice of meter but his subject matter and tone for an example of his iambic verse see Strasbourg papyrus. Elegy was accompanied by the aulos or pipe, whereas the performance of iambus varied, from recitation or chant in iambic trimeter and trochaic tetrameter, to singing of epodes accompanied by some musical instrument which one isn't known.
Archilochus was not included in the canonic list of nine lyric poets compiled by Hellenistic scholars — his range exceeded their narrow criteria for lyric 'lyric' meant verse accompanied by the lyre. He did in fact compose some lyrics but only the tiniest fragments of these survive today. His use of the meter isn't intentionally ironic, however, since he didn't share the tidy functionalism of later theorists, for whom different meters and verse-forms were endowed with distinctive characters suited to different tasks — his use of meter is "neutral in respect of ethos".
My Soul, my Soul, all disturbed by sorrows inconsolable, Bear up, hold out, meet front-on the many foes that rush on you Now from this side and now that, enduring all such strife up close, Never wavering; and should you win, don't openly exult, Nor, defeated, throw yourself lamenting in a heap at home, But delight in things that are delightful and, in hard times, grieve Not too much — appreciate the rhythm that controls men's lives.
A discovery of a fragment of writing by Archilochus contained a citation of a proverb that was important to the proper interpretation of a letter in the Akkadian language from the emperor of the Old Assyrian Empire , Shamshi-Adad I , with the same proverb: "The bitch by her acting too hastily brought forth the blind.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ancient Greek lyric poet. With regard to Tellis I heard only that he was the grandfather of Archilochus and they say that Cleoboea was the first to introduce the rites of Demeter to Thasos from Paros.
We swear by the gods and spirits that we did not set eyes on Archilochus either in the streets or in Hera's great precinct. If we had been lustful and wicked, he would have not wanted to beget legitimate children from us. Let mine be one who is short, has a bent look about the shins, stands firmly on his feet, and is full of courage. Classical Quarterly.
Travelling Heroes: Greeks and their myths in the epic age of Homer. London, UK: Allen Lane. Orion , Et. Sappho's Lyre: Archaic lyric and women poets of ancient Greece. Greek Iambic Poetry. Translated by Gerber, Douglas E. Loeb Classical Library. University of California Press. Parker, , The Songs of Aristophanes , Oxford, p. Harvard Studies in Classical Philology.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Archilochos. Wikiquote has quotations related to: Archilochus.
Archilochus was a Greek lyric poet from the island of Paros in the Archaic period. He is celebrated for his versatile and innovative use of poetic meters, and is the earliest known Greek author to compose almost entirely on the theme of his own emotions and experiences. Alexandrian scholars included him in their canonic list of iambic poets, along with Semonides and Hipponax, yet ancient commentators also numbered him with Tyrtaeus and Callinus as the possible inventor of the elegy. Modern critics often characterize him simply as a lyric poet. He presented himself as a man of few illusions either in war or in love, such as in the following elegy, where discretion is seen to be the better part of valour:. Archilochus was much imitated even up to Roman times and three other distinguished poets later claimed to have thrown away their shields—Alcaeus, Anacreon and Horace.