This paper aims to detect some exceptions to the commonly accepted idea that elegy was an exclusively monodic genre. Pausanias (4.16.6) refers that a chorus of Messenian women celebrated Aristomenes’ victory against the Spartans with an elegiac couplet and this is not an isolated case. In the Laconian area the festival of the Gymnopaidia may have played an important role in the widespread of choral elegies, thanks to some well known aulodes and elegiac poets of the archaic age, such as Sacadas and Polymnestus. Choruses may also have been involved in the re-performance of sympotic elegies. Theognis (238-243) imagines that his song will be sung in the symposia by young men at the sound of the pipes, whereas Plato (Tim. 21b) attests that Solons’ elegies were sung by boys at the Athenian festival of the Apatouria.

(2016). Choral elegy: the tyranny of the handbook . Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/150764

Choral elegy: the tyranny of the handbook

Nobili, Cecilia
2016-01-01

Abstract

This paper aims to detect some exceptions to the commonly accepted idea that elegy was an exclusively monodic genre. Pausanias (4.16.6) refers that a chorus of Messenian women celebrated Aristomenes’ victory against the Spartans with an elegiac couplet and this is not an isolated case. In the Laconian area the festival of the Gymnopaidia may have played an important role in the widespread of choral elegies, thanks to some well known aulodes and elegiac poets of the archaic age, such as Sacadas and Polymnestus. Choruses may also have been involved in the re-performance of sympotic elegies. Theognis (238-243) imagines that his song will be sung in the symposia by young men at the sound of the pipes, whereas Plato (Tim. 21b) attests that Solons’ elegies were sung by boys at the Athenian festival of the Apatouria.
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