The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Lysias

LYSIAS.

parallel, while the last differs from both in its structure. While the number of tha jEolian 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, prSsOdta, parthinta, dithyrambs, encSmia, gpinlcia, hymena'a, SpUhalamia, fhrSnoi (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 STESlCHdRUS of Hlmera (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 nourished more and more. Of its older representa­tives we have still to mention ibycds 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 SlMONlDES of Ceos, by his nephew, bacchylides, and above all by pindar of Thebes. Besides these timocreon of laly-sus, and the poetesses myrtis, corinna, praxilla, and telesilla deserve mention. Of the productions of ^Eolian and Dorian lyric poetry only fragments have been pre­served, except the epinicjan 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. l^evius wrote mythological poems in a great variety of metres, the ErotOpcegnla ("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 ^Eolian 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 pbudentius, wrote as late as the 4th 1 century. The Dorian lyric never obtained i a footing among the Romans.

Lyslas, in point of time the third of the Ten Attic Orators, was born at Athens about

even in mythical times in jEolia, 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 nSmOs (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 sEolian lyric the pathetic prevails, as might be expected from the passionate nature of the I 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 .fEolic dialect; we may suppose that they were solos sung to the accompaniment of stringed instruments. In Lesbos the JSolian lyric was brought to its highest perfection by alc^us of Mytllene (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 ^Eolian style, but in the Ionic dialect. An echo of the ^Eolian 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 JEolian lyrics that expressed the personal feelings of the poet. Their form shows further points of difference. Instead of the diminutive jEolian 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

Pages
About | First | Index

367

368

369
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.