Solon and Early Greek Poetry: The Politics of Exhortation by Elizabeth Irwin

By Elizabeth Irwin

Analyzing the interplay among poetics and politics in historic Greece's archaic interval, in courting to the paintings of Solon, this quantity argues that, normally, the political expressions of martial exhortation elegy have been aristocratic in nature and that the symposiasts tried to say a heroic id at the wider polis neighborhood. The examine demonstrates how Solon's poetry subverts this custom, utilizing the poetic traditions of epic and Hesiod to extra diversified political goals. It concludes through having a look past the confines of Solon's poetic appropriations to argue for different affects on his poetry, particularly that of tyranny.

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36 Such cultural continuities with the rest of Greece suggest that particular interpretations of the supposed role of Tyrtaean elegy in Sparta should not necessarily influence our views on the general function of martial exhortation,37 or rather – to frame it more positively – that any account of the social function, or even the attraction, of exhortation poetry for its contemporary audiences must incorporate the poetry’s wide geographic appeal. 33 34 35 36 37 See Archilochus 3, 7a (on the latter as exhortation, see West (1985) 8–13 and Peek (1985) 13–17; pace Slings (1986) 1–8); Mimnermus 14; Solon 1–3; and Theognis 549–54.

On the differences between dh’mo" and laovv" see Casevitz (1992), and Haubold (2000) 114 n. 316, 184 n. 40. 5 Although most scholars would now blush to call Tyrtaeus a ‘superior officer at headquarters who had a gift for encouraging the troops’,6 Tyrtaeus’ poetry is almost always interpreted teleologically: his verses are seen to contain the seeds of Sparta’s later history, most particularly, its famous militaristic character. The meaning of his elegy seems obvious, and so scholars construct with Tyrtaeus the beginnings of Sparta’s later identity through a process not dissimilar to that of the authors in whose writings the fragments are preserved.

E. 38) and that cast the community or fellow citizens in a potentially negative light, such as 39–40: oujjdevv ti" aujjto;;n|blavvptein ou[[t j aijjdou’" ou[[te divvkh" ejjqevvlei (‘and no one wishes to cheat him neither of respect nor justice’). He admits that ‘the progression is not as straight and simple’ as he portrays it, but continues his discussion in a similar vein (1993) 42. 31 The Panhellenism of exhortation poetry The stirring exhortations of Tyrtaeus have not only informed accounts of the early history of Sparta, they have also had enormous influence on modern interpretations of archaic elegy.

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