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Bacchylides

(c. 520—450 bc)


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(c.520–450 bc),

Greek lyric poet, nephew of Simonides. Although he was well known in Hellenistic and Roman times, only a handful of lines had survived in quotations when a papyrus containing his book of victory odes almost complete and the first half of his book of dithyrambs was found in Egypt in 1896. His patrons, apart from Hieron 1 I of Syracuse, included athletes from Ceos, Aegina, Phlius, Metapontum, and Thessaly. Several of his dithyrambs were composed for competitions at Athens, one for Sparta. Stylistically, his dithyrambs are like ballads, using lively narrative, often allusive and selective, as well as direct speech. They exploit the pathetic potential of the myths, as do those victory odes which contain a mythical narrative as their centre‐piece.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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