Wandering Poets in Ancient Greek Culture: Travel, Locality and Pan-Hellenism
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Although recent scholarship has focused on the city-state as the context for the production of Greek poetry, for poets and performers travel was more the norm than the exception. This book traces this central aspect of ancient culture from its roots in the near Eastern societies which preceded the Greeks, through the way in which early semi-mythical figures such as Orpheus were imagined, the poets who travelled to the brilliant courts of archaic tyrants, and on into the fluid mobility of imperial and late antique culture. The emphasis is both on why poets travelled, and on how local communities used the skills of these outsiders for their own purposes. Wandering poets are also set within the wider context of ancient networks of exchange, patronage and affiliation between communities and are seen as one particularly powerful manifestation of a feature of ancient life which is too often overlooked.
may have been the most common form of poetic itinerancy at all periods. It is for the most part what the poeti vaganti commemorated in the decrees collected by Guarducci were 69 70 72 For the evidence and discussion cf. Lightfoot 1999: 3–16. 71 Swinnen 1970. Cf. Hunter 1992. Cf, above p. 13. There is one example of this among the ‘poeti vaganti’ decrees as well: see Guarducci 1929, no. xvi (pp. 654–5). 18 2 3 4 5 6 73 76 77 richard hunter and ian rut her ford doing, and must have been
illuminating study of the function of poetic figures in Sumerian and Semitic poetry, including a good survey of the earlier secondary literature on the use of verbal art to empower incantations, based on the assumptions that the connection between signifier and signified is not arbitrary and that phonological parallels produce semantic ones. See Hoffner 1998a: 14–30 for translations of such incantations. Abbreviations follow the conventions of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary (= CHD, ed. G¨uterbock
Greek perspectives on travelling poets, texts and festivals 45 or constrained. Like Apollo, who honoured the little island of Delos by his birth there after his mother’s extended wandering, and who arrived at Delphi to slay the serpent and open the land to cultivation, the seventhcentury BC performer Cynaethus honoured and educated the spectators and other singers at the Delian festival by his superb and memorable performance. Just as Apollo came from afar to heal his worshippers, so in the
Thracian sophist’ (p. 924).56 He also returns to the stage – this time the comic stage – in the fourth century, in a work by Antiphanes named after him. It is quite likely that Antiphanes’ work interacted with its famous tragic predecessors.57 What issues in contemporary Athenian mousik¯e does this mythic musician serve to focus – at once an honoured figure of earliest musical history and an arch transgressor? The central and immutable fact of Thamyras’ existence (as we know of it) is his musical
will scatter dire cares, and well fortified you will be much lighter at heart. It is only a guess that they were first sung by a traveller – if so, a travelling Laconian who brings with him some of his own appellation to improve the party and allow him to praise his home – something he does with concise sensitivity, evoking Taygetan glens, cold water and the speaking toponym Platanistous. The reference to the provenance of the vines might also allow him to establish a connection with the