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Archaic Lyric.docx

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Department
Classical Studies
Course
Classical Studies 1000
Professor
Christopher Brown
Semester
Fall

Description
Archaic Lyric Vases: portrays a scene from Homers Odyssey. Given nature of oral tradition, it is not necessarily obvious. Must look at differences and similarities. Ex: some show characters that look like they’re from Homer that are doing things not from Homer Scene on a vase:  As Odysseus travels home he encounters the sirens who sing songs so alluring that suck in sailors to their death but Odysseus really wants to hear and stuffs his men’s ears with ear wax so they won’t hear it, and he is tied to the mast of the ship and if he struggles and asks to go, his sailors are told to tie him tighter, therefore he can hear the songs and survive.  Sirens described as alluring women, but there is something foul about them.  The representation of them in Greek art is ugly, they are strongly associated with death and the underworld and are creepy.  The skin is stretched tight to the corpses at their feet- they drained their victims Another scene:  Odysseus is trapped in a cave with a one eyed ogre who is eating the Greeks  Odysseus is told the monster will eat him last  Odysseus sees plan to get out- long stick he sharpens and hardens in the fire  Gets ogre drunk on wine and Odysseus drives the stick into his one eye, blinding him  Boulder is in the cave and the men could not move it because it was too big  Odysseus and his men conceal themselves beneath the sheep because the ogre has to let the sheep outside in the morning  Odysseus sacrifices the sheep to represent their escape Another scene:  Odysseus companions are now pigs, a witch transformed them into pigs  Odysseus is protected by her magic from the god Hermes who gives him a special root protecting him from her magic  His instructions by the God: As soon as her magic fails to change him, he is to pull his sword out, threaten her, and then they have to go to bed together, she turns the men back after and makes them even better than they were before Wall painting: Trojan Horse  A lot of Greeks contained within the Trojan horse  Homeric Epic, but not a Homeric scene- this scene was not narrated in the Odyssey or Iliad  Greek epic told by a Roman perspective, possibly a Roman Epic Archaic Greek Lyric Poetry  Homer was greatest but lyric poets still important  Pindar greatest of lyric poets ‘The Lyric Age of Greece’  Title somewhat misleading, although been important for many intellectual histories of Greece  A great deal of ‘lyric’ poetry written down during the 7 and 6 centuries BC o Some kind of song culture of a more personal sort (lyric, song) existed alongside epic o Little has survived into the modern world o Substantial body of text, but only quotations, pirate texts (tricky to decipher), incomplete evidence – missing the basic texts  Clearly rich and varied traditions of solo-song stretching back to Bronze Age and beyond “Lyric” vs. Lyric  We sue the word lyric to refer to broad range of personal poetry  The word properly refers to poetry sung to the accompaniment of a lyre (lyra) – plucked strings  The aulos was also used to accompany some kinds of poetry  The early Greeks often used the word melos (song) – melic poetry  Vase shows typical singer with stringed instrument, head bent back= posture of song  Women are also portrayed as playing the lyre and singing  Most info and evidence comes from men and perspective of men  Powerful women in plays were written by males and performed by males, question of whether women were even allowed to go to the theatre  Lack women perspectives  Do know one of the greatest lyric poets was a woman Characteristics of Early Greek Poetry  Very different from modern notions of personal poetry o A “spontaneous outpouring of emotion” (Wordsworth)  It was sung and so performed, not designed for reading o Therefore, it was public because it was not a private act of the poet o Always be an audience and occasion  Closely bound to occasions: o Religious festivals o Weddings – poetry can sometimes be raunchy for weddings o Funerals o Victory-celebrations – athletic victories, talks about the victor and situating that victory that takes us back to traditional myth, know about implications of the victory o Symposia – modern symposia is an academic event on certain subject, serious intellectual discussion. That sense of the word comes from dialogue from Plate on the discussion of love. Originally, Symposia means ‘drinking party’, everyone gets together and drinks. Women went- prostitutes and flute girls. Symposium could take many forms- designated leader decides if you drink more or discuss more. Greeks’ wine was strong but they mix it with water so lots of discussion of how much water to mix with the wine, depending on how they want to talk about things. Flexible occasion bringing elite males together. Design of Greek house formally instituted a symposium room. Poetry holds a large role in symposiums. Symposium seemed to cut across all Greek communities, place for serious political thought/change, also where Greeks reinforced important shared values- song plays big role in that Character of the songs  Formal and often traditional  Complex metres o Is very strong sense that Greek lyric poetry reflects highly organised sound o Elaborate o Texts are largely defective o Still don’t know how they really would sound, cannot replicate  Highly complex language o Elevated and artificial o Doric dialect common in some types, Ionic and others (even when produced in non- Dorian and non- Ionian communities)  Two basic modes: o Solo-song (monody)
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