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Alcman


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Greek lyric poet, active in the mid‐ to late 7th cent. bc in Sparta. The Suda credits him with six books of lyric songs. Those songs, mostly choral, included maiden‐songs. We also hear of hymns and wedding‐songs. The most important surviving works are fragments of two maiden‐songs found on papyri. Both poems share a richness of sensuous imagery and a pronounced homoerotic tenor. There is an evident taste for puns, and a proliferation of proper names, many of significance only to the original audience. Alongside this parochiality we find a taste for the exotic. Together the two songs show a gaiety and humour not usually associated with Sparta. Alcman's descriptive power is shown in an account of the sleep of nature.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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