Iambi in Sparta

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Several sources attest that at the Spartan festival of the Gymnopaidia three choruses sang a song in iambic trimeters with skoptic content; Alcman also composed some iambic poems to be performed in the symposium. This demonstrates that iambic poetry was not unknown in Sparta, as is normally believed, and may be connected to the more general dynamics of praise and blame, which were very important in Sparta, especially in local symposia.

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  • 1

    On the Gymnopaidiai cf. Wade-Gery 1949, 79-81; Brelich 1969; Pettersson 1992, 42-56; Sergent 1993, 161-178; Richer 2005, 237-262; Ducat 2006, 265-274.

  • 4

    Cf. Cordano 2004, 313-314; Nobili 2011, 26-48 and 2016.

  • 6

    Nobili 2011.

  • 11

    Rotstein 2010, 229-279.

  • 12

    Bartol 1993, 61-65; Rotstein 2010, 229-252. On sung elegies cf. Bowie 1986, 14; Bartol 1993, 46-51; Aloni – Iannucci 2007, 27-28; Aloni 2009, 170.

  • 13

    Nobili 2011 and 2016.

  • 15

    Cf. West 1974, 34-37; Brown 1977, 37-38; Degani 1987, 1005; Rotstein 2010, 213-221. Holford-Strevens 2009 actually tries to deny the existence of any Aristoxenos of Selinus, claiming that there is a confusion in the source with Aristoxenus the Musician.

  • 22

    Quattrocelli 2002, 22-23. Calame 1983, 534-535, suggests that the fragment was intended to be performed at a more large-scale banquet, a ritual meal organized at some religious festivals and called κoπίς (attested on the occasion of the Hyacinthia or the Tithenida). Nonetheless, the food served at the Hyacinthia and described by Athenaeus (4.138b-143a) does not coincide with that of our fragments (see Petterrsson 1992: 14-179; see also the criticisms of Calame’ s view expressed by Nafissi 1991, 215-216). However, it is interesting to note that Alcman’s poetry was performed at this festival: P.Oxy. 2506, fr. 1, col. ii (=Alcm. test. 5.1-18 Calame) preserves a fragment from a work of Alcman entitled Hyakinthia (cf. Calame 2001 [1977], 184-185.)

  • 25

    On this fragment see Nannini 1988, 19-35; Nafissi 1991, 206-214; Quattrocelli 2002, 27-30. Pizzoccaro 1990 gives a metaphorical interpretation.

  • 28

    Quattrocelli 2002, 31-32.

  • 29

    Quattrocelli 2002; Carey 2011.

  • 30

    Smith 1995 and 2000, 315-317.

  • 34

    Cf. Vetta 1983, liii-liv; Nannini 1988, 19-56; Nafissi 1991, 173-226; Quattrocelli 2002.

  • 36

    Cf. Jacoby 1947, 7-9; Huxley 1965, 31-33; Bartol 2000; Nobili 2012, 177-179.

  • 37

    Barron 1984; Wilkinson 2013, 97-98.

  • 38

    Nobili 2012 and 2013b.

  • 39

    Nafissi 1991, 93-94 and 318-327.

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