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date: 15 April 2024



  • Eveline Krummen
  •  and Donald Russell


A song (or speech) given ‘at the bridal chamber (θάλαμος)’ ([Dion. Hal.] Rhet. 4. 1); a regular feature of marriages (see marriage ceremonies). Strictly speaking, it is distinct from the general ‘wedding song’ (γαμήλιος), cf. Eust. 1541. 49, and from the ‘*Hymenaeus’, the processional song which accompanied the newly-married couple to their house (Hom. Il. 18. 491–6; ps.-Hes. Sc. 272–85; Eur. Tro. 308–41; Ar. Peace 1316–57; Ap. Rhod. 4. 1160). In literature, however, the title ‘epithalamium’ predominates. *Menander (4) Rhetor (399–405 Spengel) actually uses the term as a synonym for ‘wedding speech’ (γαμήλιος), preferring the more explicit ‘bedding-down speech’ (κατευναστικός) for the ceremony at the bedroom door.The tradition is of course old. *Sappho's wedding songs were famous. Comedy (*Aristophanes (1)'s Peace, Birds) and tragedy (Eur. Troades, Iphigenia at Aulis, Phaethon) provide examples.


  • Gender Studies
  • Greek Literature

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