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Italy between the natives and the Trojan settlers. (Virg. Aen. vii. 483, &c., ix. 28.) [L. S.]
TYRTAEUS (Tvpraios, or Trfprcuos), son of Archembrotus, the celebrated poet, who assisted the Spartans in the Second Messenian War, was the second in order of time of the Greek elegiac poets, Callinus being the first. At the time when his name first appears in history, he is represented, according to the prevalent account, as living at Aphidnae in Attica; but the whole tradition, of which this statement forms a part, has the same mythical complexion by which all the accounts of the early Greek poets are more or less pervaded. In attempting to trace the tradition to its source, Ave find in Plato the brief statement, that Tyrtaeus was by birth an Athenian, but became a citizen of Lacedaemon (De Legg. i. p. 629). The orator Lycurgus tells the story more fully ; that, when the Spartans were at war with the Messenians, they were commanded by an oracle to take a leader from among the Athenians, and thus to conquer their enemies ; and that the leader they so chose from Athens was Tyrtaeus. (Lycurg. c. Leocr. p. 211, ed. Reiske.) We learn also from Strabo (viii. p. 362) and Athenaeus (xiv. p. 630, f.) that Philochorus and Callisthenes and many other historians gave a similar account, and made Tyrtaeus an Athenian of Aphidnae (eliroviriv <?£ 'KQfivSov Kal >A<pi5*>wj' a<jf>*/ce(T0ai). The tradition appears in a still more enlarged form in Pausanias (iv. 15. § 3), Diodorus (xv. 66,), the Scholia to Plato (p. 448, ed. Bekker), Themistius (xv. p. 242, s. 197,198), Justin (iii. 5), the scholiast on Horace (Art. Poet. 402), and other writers (see Clinton, F. If. vol. i. s. a. 683). Of these writers, however, only Pausanias, Justin, the Scholiast on Horace, and Suidas, give us the well-known embellishment of the story which represents Tyrtaeus as a lame • schoolmaster, of low family and reputation, whom the Athenians, when applied to by the Lacedaemonians in accordance with the oracle, purposely sent as the most inefficient leader they could select, being unwilling to assist the Lacedaemonians in extending their dominion in the Peloponnesus, but little thinking that the poetry of Tyrtaeus would achieve that victory, which his physical constitution seemed to forbid his aspiring to. Now to accept the details of this tradition as historical facts would be to reject all the principles of criticism, and to fall back on the literal interpretation of mythical accounts ; but, on the other hand, we are equally forbidden by sound criticism to reject altogether that element of the tradition, which represents Tyrtaeus as, in some way or other, connected with the Attic town of Aphidnae. Perhaps the explanation may be found in the comparison of the tradition with the facts, that Tyrtaeus was an elegiac poet, and that the elegy had its origin in Tonia, and also with another tradition, preserved by Suidas (s. v.), which made the poet a native of Miletus ; from which results the probability that either Tyrtaeus himself, or his immediate ancestors, migrated from Ionia to Sparta, either directly, or by way of Attica, carrying with them a knowledge of the principles of the elegy. Aphidnae, the town of Attica to which the tradition assigns him, was connected with Laconia, from a very early period, by the legends about the Dioscuri ; but it is hard to say whether this circumstance renders the story more probable or more suspicious ; for, on the supposition that the story is an invention, we have in
the connection of Aphidnae with Laconia a reason why that town, above all others in Attica, should have been fixed upon as the abode of Tyrtaeus. On the same supposition the motive for the fabrication of the tradition is to be found in the desire which Athenian writers so often displayed, and which is the leading idea in the passage of Lycurgus referred to above, to claim for Athens the greatest possible share of all the greatness and goodness which illustrated the Hellenic race : —
" Sunt quibus unum opus est, intactae Palladia
Carmine perpetuo celebrare, et Undique discerptam front! praeponere olivam."
On the other hand, Strabo (L c.) rejects the tradition altogether, and makes Tyrtaeus a native of Lacedaemon, on the authority of certain passages in his poems. He tells us that Tyrtaeus stated that the first conquest of Messenia was made in the time of the grandfathers of the men of his own generation (tcara robs tS>v iraripwv irarepas), and that in the second he himself was leader of the Lacedaemonians ; and then Strabo adds, — directly after the words rois AaKeSaipoviots, — Kal yap elvat
Aurbs yap Kpovlwv KaXXiffrsfyavov 7rd(ris"llpr}S
Zebs 'VipaKXelSais Tyvde Sedw/ce Q'l<nv afj.a irpoXiirovres 'Epivebv fy
Evpsiav IleAoTros vr^ffov d(
From which Strabo draws the conclusion, that either the elegies containing these verses are spurious, or else that the statement of Philochorus, &c. (as already quoted) must be rejected. The commentators, however, are not content with Strabo's own negative inference from the verses quoted, but will have it that he understood them as declaring that Tyrtaeus himself came from Erineos to join the Spartans in their war against the Messenians ; and, to give a colour to this interpretation, Casaubon assumes as self-evident that after rots AaKeSamoviojs some such words as €\0&v e| 'Epweov have been lost. But, if the passage says that Tyrtaeus came from. Erineos at all, it says as plainly that he came thence to Peloponnesus together with the Heracleidae ; and it is therefore clear that the verses refer, not to any removal of Tyrtaeus himself, but to the great migration of the Dorian ancestors of those Lacedaemonians for whom he spoke, and among whom he, in some sense, included himself ; and the argument of Strabo, as the passage stands, is that Tyrtaeus was a Lacedaemonian (e/ceT0ei/ referring, of course, to Aa/ceSaiyUo-piois), because of the intimate way in which he associates himself with the descendants of the Dorians who migrated from Erineos (one of the four Dorian states of Thessaly) to the Peloponnesus. The true question that remains is this, whether his manner of identifying, himself with the Lacedaemonians in this passage, and in the phrase about their fathers' fathers, implies that he himself was really a descendant of those Dorians who invaded the Peloponnesus, and of those Lacedaemonians who fought in the first Messenian war, or whether this mode of expression is sufficiently explained by the close association into which he had been thrown with the Spartans, whom he not only aided in war, but by whom he had been made a citizen. This last feet is ex«