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date: 11 November 2019

Bacchylides [Bakchylidēs]locked

  • Warren Anderson
  • , revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen



(b Iulis, Keōs [now Tzia/Kea]; flc470 BCE). Greek lyric poet. He was a nephew of Simonides and contemporary of Pindar; there are many indications of intense rivalry between the two as composers of victory odes and dithyrambs. Unlike Pindar, Bacchylides had little to say of the power of music; his references are correct but conventional, rendered distinctive only by colourful adjectives. Thus in one of the many victory odes the champion has returned home to the triumphal accompaniment of auloi ‘that delight mortals’ and revel-songs ‘sweetly breathing’ (Edmonds, frag.40.72–3). In another, the sound of the phorminx and ‘clear-ringing’ choruses are alien to war (Edmonds, frag.41.12–15; liguklangēs is one of many Bacchylidean coinages). Two poems begin with references to the barbitos, ‘lyre with many strings’ (Edmonds, frags.70, 71); here the term appears to be used with precision.

R.C. Jebb, ed. and trans.: Bacchylides: The Poems and Fragments...

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