11 Facts About Alcman


Alcman is the earliest representative of the Alexandrian canon of the Nine Lyric Poets.

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Alcman's dates are uncertain, but he was probably active in the late seventh century BC.

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One tradition, going back to Aristotle, holds that Alcman came to Sparta as a slave to the family of Agesidas, by whom he was eventually emancipated because of his great skill.

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Pausanias says that even though Alcman used the Doric dialect, which does not usually sound beautiful, it did not at all spoil the beauty of his songs.

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Alcman's songs were composed in the Doric dialect of Sparta .

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Type of songs Alcman composed most frequently appear to be hymns, partheneia, and prooimia .

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Choral lyrics of Alcman were meant to be performed within the social, political, and religious context of Sparta.

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Alcman could have composed songs for Spartan boys as well.

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Alcman says that songs of Alcman were performed during the Gymnopaedia festival :.

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Regardless of the topic, Alcman's poetry has a clear, light, pleasant tone which ancient commentators have remarked upon.

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Alcman describes the yellow color of a woman's hair and the golden chain she wears about her neck; the purple petals of a Kalchas blossom and the purple depths of the sea; the "bright shining" color of the windflower and the multi-colored feathers of a bird as it chews green buds from the vines.

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