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date: 25 March 2023

pastoral poetry, Greeklocked

pastoral poetry, Greeklocked

  • Alan H. Griffiths


For as long as peasants have tended their flocks and herds on grazing lands away from the village, song and music (especially that of the pipe, which is easily cut, fashioned, and carried) have served as an anodyne against rustic tedium and brutality; the Taviani brothers' film Padre Padrone (1977) provides a powerful illustration from modern Sardinia. This is especially true of the goatherd, who ranges furthest into the wild territory of *Pan in search of shrubs on which only his chalcenteric and omnivorous charges will browse; and in these lonely wastes it is natural that two herdsmen whose paths cross should not only perform in each other's company but that their songs should be competitive. This real-world situation provided the foundation upon which a literary genre was established by the Sicilian poet *Theocritus in the 3rd cent. bce and developed by his followers in Hellenistic Greece (*Moschus, *Bion (2), and a school of epigrammatists), Rome (*Virgil, *Calpurnius Siculus), and the post-Renaissance world.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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