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Mimnermus


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Greek elegiac poet from Smyrna, later claimed by Colophon, whose foundation he described. His name may commemorate the Smyrnaeans' famous resistance to Gyges at the river Hermus sometime before 660 bc, which would imply his birth at that time. He commented on a total solar eclipse, probably that of 6 April 648. He was apparently still alive when Solon criticized a line of his, but there is no sign that he survived Alyattes' destruction of Smyrna c.600. His poetry was divided into two books, probably corresponding to the titles Smyrneis and Nanno. The Smyrneis was a quasi‐epic on the battle against Gyges, with elaborate proemium and ample narrative with speeches. The shorter elegies stood under the collective title Nanno, said to be the name of a girl aulos‐player whom Mimnermus loved, though she is not mentioned in fragments, and he also celebrated the charms of boys. He was esp. famous for poems on the pleasures of love, youth, and sunlight. But one fragment seems to come from a call to arms, contrasting the citizens' present spirit with that of a hero of the Hermus battle.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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