The Ancient Library

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man had better throw away his arms than lose his life. But Valerius Maximus (vi. 3, ext. 1) says, that the poems of Archilochus were forbidden at Sparta because of their licentiousness, and especi­ally on account of the attack on the daughters of Lycambes. It must remain doubtful whether a confusion has been made between the personal history of the poet and the fate of his works, both in this instance and in the story that he won the prize at Olympia with his hymn to Heracles (Tzetzes, Chil. i. 685), of which thus much is cer­tain, that the Olympic victors used to sing a hymn by Archilochus in their triumphal procession. (Pin­dar, Olymp. ix. 1.) These traditions, and the cer­tain 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. (Athen. xii. p. 523, d.) 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. The Delphian oracle, which, before the birth of Archilochus, had pro­mised to his father an immortal son, now pro-' nounced a curse upon the man who had killed him, because "he had slain the servant of the Muses." (Dion Chrysost. Or at. 33, vol. ii.

P* 5-)

ArcMlocnus shared with Ins contemporaries,

Thaletas and Terpander, in the honour of esta­blishing lyric poetry throughout Greece. The in­vention of the elegy is ascribed to him, as well as to Callinus; and though Callinus was somewhat older than Archilochus [callinus], there is no doubt that the latter was one of the earliest poets who excelled in this species of composition. Me-leager enumerates him among the poets in his Corona. (38.)

But it was on his satiric iambic poetry that the fame of Archilochus was founded. The first place in this style of poetry was awarded to him by the consent of the ancient writers, who did not hesi­tate to compare him with Sophocles, Pindar, and 3ven Homer,—meaning, doubtless, that as they stood at the head of tragic, lyric, and epic poetry, 50 was Archilochus the first of iambic satirical writers ; while some place him, next to Homer, ibove all other poets. (Dion Chrysost. 1. c.; Longin. dii. 3; Velleius, i. 5; Cicero, Orat, 2; Hera-deitus, ap. Diog. La'crt. ix. 1.) The statues of Archilochus and of Homer were dedicated on the •ame day (Antip. Thessal. Epigr. 45), and two aces, which are thought to be their likenesses, are bund placed together in a Janus-like bust. (Vis-onti, Icon. Grec. i. p. 62.) The emperor Hadrian udged that the Muses had shown a special mark f favour to Homer in leading Archilochus into a Afferent department of poetry. (Epig. 5.) Other estimonies are collected by Liebel (p. 43).

The Iambics of Archilochus expressed the trongest feelings in the most unmeasured lan-uage. The licence of Ionian democracy and the itterness of a disappointed man were united with he highest degree of poetical power to give them }rce and point. In countries and ages unfamiliar dth the political and religious licence which at nee incited and protected the poet, his satire was lamed for its severity (Liebcl., p. 41) ; and the motion accounted most conspicuous in his verses



was "rage," as we see in the line of liorace (A.P. 79):

"Archilochum proprio rabies armavit iambo," and in the expression of Hadrian (I.e.), \vcrffwvras ld^.€ovs ; and his bitterness passed into a proverb, 'Ap^iAo'xou Trareis. But there must have been something more than mere sarcastic power, 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 cro^ccraTov, jRepub. ii. p. 365.) Quintilian (x. 1. § 60) ascribes to him the greatest power of expression, displayed in sen­tences sometimes strong, sometimes brief, with ra­pid changes (quum validae, turn breves vibrantesque sententiae), the greatest life and nervousness (plu-rimum sanguinis atque nervorwn), and considers that whatever blame his works deserve is the fault of his subjects and not of his genius. In the latter opinion the Greek critics seem to have joined. (Plut. de Aud. 13, p. 45, a.) Of modern writers, Archilochus has been perhaps best understood by Muller, who says, " The ostensible object of Ar­chilochus' Iambics, like that of the later comedy, was to give reality to caricatures, every hideous feature of which was made more striking by being magnified. But that these pictures, like carica­tures from the hand of a master, had a striking truth, may be inferred from the impression which Archilochus' iambics produced, both upon contem­poraries and posterity. Mere calumnies could never have driven the daughters of Lycambes to hang themselves,—if, indeed, this story is to be believed, and is not a gross exaggeration. But we have no need of it ; the universal admiration which was awarded to Archilochus' iambics proves the existence of a foundation of truth; for when had a satire, which was not based on truth, uni­versal reputation for excellence? When Plato produced his first dialogues against the sophists, Gorgias is said to have exclaimed "Athens has given birth to a new Archilochus!" This com­parison, made by a man not unacquainted with art, shows at all events that Archilochus must have possessed somewhat of the keen and delicate satire which in Plato was most severe where a dull lis­tener would be least sensible of it." (History of tlie Literature of Greece, i. p. 135.)

The satire of preceding writers, as displayed for example in the Margites, was less pointed, because its objects were chosen out of the remote world which furnished all the personages of epic poetry; while the iambics of Archilochus were aimed at those among whom he lived. Hence their per­sonal bitterness and sarcastic power. This kind of satire had already been employed in extempora­neous effusions of wit, especially at the festivals of Demeter and Cora, and Dionysus. This raillery, a specimen of which is preserved in some of the songs of the chorus in Aristophanes' Frogs, was called iambus; and the same name was applied to the verse which Archilochus invented when he in­troduced a new style of poetry in the place of these irregular effusions. For the measured move­ment of the heroic hexameter, with its arsis and thesis of equal lengths, he substituted a movement in which the arsis was twice as long as the thesis, the light tripping character of which was admirably adapted to express the lively play of wit. Accord­ing as the arsis followed or preceded the thesis, the verse gained, in the former case, strength, in the latter, speed and lightness, which are the charac-

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