Alcman


Alcman

▪ Greek poet
flourished 7th century BC, Sparta [Greece]

      Greek poet who wrote choral lyrics in a type of Doric (Doric dialect) related to the Laconian vernacular, used in the region that included Sparta.

      Alcman's work was divided by the editors of Hellenistic Alexandria (3rd and 2nd centuries BC) into six books, or papyrus rolls, but the poems survived into modern times only in fragments. The longest is a partheneion (a choral song for girls) discovered on a 1st-century papyrus in Egypt in 1855. This ode was probably written to celebrate a rite of passage, and the poem is characterized by sensuous imagery and erotic implications. The Women Divers, the plot of which is unknown, may have taken up an entire papyrus roll.

      The Suda, a Byzantine lexicon (late 10th century AD), describes Alcman as a man “of an extremely amorous disposition and the inventor of love poems.” His learned verse is full of geographic detail. One fragment, telling of the sleeping world at the end of the day, was imitated by Virgil, Ludovico Ariosto (Ariosto, Ludovico), Torquato Tasso (Tasso, Torquato), and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von) (in his Wanderers Nachtlied, 1776–80). The fragment's sympathy with nature is unusual in Greek poetry. In two other fragments the poet attributes his poetic creativity to his imitation of nature; he says that he knows how all birds sing and that he composed his song by using human language to reproduce the voice of the partridge.

      Alcman's lighthearted manner, so different from the later Spartan style, gave rise to the traditional notion that he was not a Spartan but a native of Sardis in Lydia. In fact, contemporary scholars know that Sparta in the 7th century BC had a brilliant cultural life, a context into which Alcman fit perfectly.

Additional Reading
Important works include Denys L. Page (ed.), Alcman's The Partheneion (1951, reprinted 1985), still a useful text; and Claude Calame, Choruses of Young Women in Ancient Greece, trans. by Derek Collins and Janice Orion, new and rev. ed. (2001; originally published in French, 1977). Works that have significant discussions of Alcman are Charles Segal, Aglaia: The Poetry of Alcman, Sappho, Pindar, Bacchylides, and Corinna (1998); and G.O. Hutchinson, Greek Lyric Poetry: A Commentary on Selected Larger Pieces (2001).

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alcman — (also Alkman, Greek polytonic|Ἀλκμάν) (7th century BC) was an Ancient Greek choral lyric poet from Sparta. He is the earliest representative of the Alexandrinian canon of the nine lyric poets. Biography Family The name of Alcman s mother is not… …   Wikipedia

  • Alcman — Activités poète. Naissance VIIe siècle av. J.‑C. Langue d écriture grec ancien Genres poésie lyrique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alcmán — (siglo VII a. C.) era un poeta griego coral lírico de Esparta. Es el representante más antiguo del Canon de Alejandría de los nueve poetas líricos (los demás serán Safo, Alceo, Anacreonte, Estesícoro, Íbico, Píndaro, Simónides de Ceos y …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alcman — (siglo VII adC.) era un antiguo poeta griego coral lírico de Esparta. Es el representante más antiguo de la Canon de Alejandría de los nueve poetas líricos (los demás serás Safo, Alcaeus, Anacreonte, Stesichorus, Ibycus, Píndaro y Bacchylides) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • ALCMAN — Poeta Lyricus, Olymp. 27. cum Ardys Lydiae imperitaret, vixit; qui, utpote Lacedaemonius, linguâ scripsit Doricâ. Est vero diversus ab Alcmane Messenio, itidem Lyrico. Vide Voss. de Poet. Graec. p. 13. et 15. Pausan. l. 3. Euseb. in Chron. Plut.… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Alcman — noun An Ancient Greek name, particularly borne by a 7th century BC choral lyric poet from Sparta …   Wiktionary

  • ALCMAN —    an early Greek lyric poet, born at Sardis …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Alcman — Алкман (7 в. до н. э.) Греческий поэт, особо почитавшийся в Спарте. Алкман родился в Сардах в семье раба. Из 6 книг его поэтических произведений до нас дошли только отрывки. Это были главным образом гимны богам и строфы ритуального назначения, в… …   Cловарь-справочник по Древней Греции и Риму, по мифологии

  • Alcman — Алкман (7 в. до н. э.) Греческий поэт, особо почитавшийся в Спарте. Алкман родился в Сардах в семье раба. Из 6 книг его поэтических произведений до нас дошли только отрывки. Это были главным образом гимны богам и строфы ритуального назначения, в… …   Список древнегреческих имен

  • Alcman — /ˈælkmən/ (say alkmuhn) noun fl. 620 BC, Greek lyric poet …   Australian English dictionary


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