- C. Carey
ExtractIn *Sparta. His birthplace was disputed. Some believed him a *Laconian, while a number of ancient authors made him a *Lydian (Anth. Pal. 7. 18, 19, 709; Ael. VH 12. 50; Suda, entry under Ἀλκμάν, POxy. 2389, 2506, 3542; Vell. Pat. 1. 18. 2); the latter version (derived from fr. 16) was further embroidered to make him a freed slave (Heraclid. Pont. Excerp. Polit. 9). The Suda credits him with six books of lyric songs (μέλη, melē); a group called ‘Diving women’/‘Swimming women’ (κολυμβῶσαι, kolymbōsai), of which no certain trace survives, may have made up one of these or a seventh book. The lyric songs, mostly choral, included maiden-songs (παρθένεια, partheneia), which were probably arranged into two books by Alexandrian scholars (Steph. Byz. entry under Ἐρυσίχη). We also hear of hymns and wedding-songs (ὑμέναιοι, hymenaioi). The Suda credits him with love-poetry, and fragments with erotic content survive (58, 59a).
- Greek Literature