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date: 17 July 2024


, poet, 4th cent. BCE


, poet, 4th cent. BCE
  • C. Carey


Poet, 4th cent. bce (Eusebius gives a floruit of 352; the Suda erroneously makes her ‘a companion and contemporary of *Sappho’). The Suda offers four places for her birth and domicile, *Teos, *Lesbos, *Rhodes, and Telos. The statement that she died unmarried at the age of 19 (Suidas; cf. Anth. Pal. 7. 11. 13) may rest on conjecture derived from her poetry. Three epigrams in the Anthology are ascribed to her (6. 352, 7. 710, 712), perhaps falsely, but her reputation was based on a poem of 300 hexameters called The Distaff (Ἠλακάτη), which presented her as spinning and weaving at her mother's insistence (Anth. Pal. 9. 190). The largest surviving fragment laments her friend Baucis, who died shortly after marrying, and sets the games, tasks, and terrors of childhood against Erinna's grief; she gives her age as 19. Whether the poem is autobiographical is uncertain. Some doubted its authenticity (Ath. 283d). In the innovative blend of content, dialect (a mixture of Doric and Aeolic), and metre, and the concern for bourgeois themes, Erinna reflects contemporary and prefigures Hellenistic poetry. Her reputation in the Hellenistic period was high (she is compared with *Homer and Sappho Anth.


  • Greek Literature

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