The Ancient Library

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P O E T I C A L P E R I O D. 87

cumstances, instead of being ashamed of the disaster, he recorded it in his verse. Plutarch states1 that Archilochus was banished from Sparta the very hour that he had arrived there, because he had written in his poems that a man had better throw away his arms than lose his life. But Valerius Maximus says that the poems of Archilochus were forbid­den at Sparta because of their licentiousness, and especially on account ofjbhe attack on the daughters of Lycambes.2

- The fact that the fame of Archilochus was spread in his lifetime over the whole of Greece, together with his unsettled character, render it probable that he made many journeys of which we have no account. It seems that he visited Siris, in Lower Italy, the only city of which he speaks well.3 At length he returned to Paros, and in a war between the Parians and the people of Naxos, he fell by the hand of a Naxian named Calondas, or Corax.

Of the merits of Archilochus in elegiac verse we have already spoken. His fame, however, principally rested on his satiric iambic poetry, the first place in which was awarded to him by the consent of the ancient writers, who did not hesitate to compare him with Sophocles, Pindar, and even Homer ; meaning, doubtless, that, as they stood at the head of tragic, lyric, and epic poetry respectively, so was Archilochus the first of iambic satirical writers ; while some place him next to Homer, above all other poets.4 The Emperor Hadrian judged that the Muses had shown a special mark of favor to Homer in leading Archilochus into a different department of poetry. The Iambics of Archilochus expressed the stron­gest feelings in the most unmeasured language. The license of Ionian democracy, and the bitterness of a disappointed man, were united with the highest degree of poetical power to give them force and point. In countries and ages unfamiliar with the political and religious license which at once incited and protected the poet, his satire was blamed for its severity; and the emotion accounted most conspicuous in his verses was "rage," as we see in the line of Horace,5 "Archilochum proprio rabies armavit iambo" and in the expression of Hadrian, Avo-awras Idfj-Povs, and his bitterness passed into a proverb, *A/?%fAoxov TrareTs.

But there must have been something more than mere sarcastic pow-. er; there must have been truth and delicate wit in the sarcasms of the poet, whom Plato does not hesitate to call the " very wise" (rov o-ocpwrd-rou).6 Quintilian also ascribes to him the greatest power of expression, displayed in sentences sometimes strong, sometimes brief, with rapid changes (quum validce, turn breves mbrantesque sententia), the greatest life and nervousness (plurimum vita atquc 7iervorum}, and considers that what­ever blame his works deserve is the fault of his subjects, and not of his genius.7 In the latter opinion the Greek critics seem to have joined.8 The best opportunity we have of judging of the structure of Archilochus's poetry, though not of its satiric character, is furnished by the Epodes of

1 Inst. Lacon., p. 239, b. 2 Vol. Max., vi., 3, ext. 1. 3 Athen., xii., p. 523, d. 4 Dion Chrysost., Orat. 33, vol. ii., p. 5; Longin., xiii., 3; Veil. Paterc., i., 5; Cic., Orat., 2, &c. * %p. ad Pis., 79 6 Plat., Repub., ii., p. 365. i Quint., x., 1, 60. 8 pint., De Aud., 13, p. 45, a.

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