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date: 31 March 2023

lyric poetry, Greeklocked

lyric poetry, Greeklocked

  • C. Carey


The term ‘lyric’ (λυρικός) is derived from λύρα, ‘lyre’. As a designation of a category of poetry it is not found before the Hellenistic period (earlier writers term such a poem melos, ‘song’, and the poet melopoios, ‘composer of song’; hence we find ‘melic’ used as a synonym for ‘lyric’). Its use in the ancient world was more precise than the terms ‘lyric’ and ‘lyrical’ as now used with reference either to modern or to ancient poetry. Though the term was extended to poetry sung to other stringed instruments or to the flute, it is always used of sung poetry as distinct from stichic, distichic (elegy included), or epodic poems which were recited or spoken.The ‘lyric’ age begins in the 7th cent. bce, though the finished metres of the earliest exponents indicate that they are the heirs to a long tradition of popular song. So does the evidence of *Homer, whose narrative mentions sung *paeans (Il.


  • Greek Literature

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