The Fragments of Archilochus

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Title: The Fragments of Archilochus
Author: Hoit, Jennifer Kay
Type: Thesis
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: Archilochus’ life and the lethal effects of his poetry are legendary. Lycambes, having promised his daughter Neoboule in marriage to Archilochus, breaks his oath. Archilochus writes venomous iambics against Lycambes and his daughters who commit suicide out of shame. Because obscene, base, and potentially murderous subject matter were apparently ubiquitous in the poetry of Archilochus, he developed a reputation for being a lewd, slanderous, dangerous poet. The negative reception of Archilochus’ poetry was more prevalent than the positive one based on the quantity of negative testimonies to Archilochus and his reputation as an iambic poet.1 A comparison of citations of Archilochus to fragments of his poetry which survive in papyri suggest that citations of Archilochus misrepresent his work. He wrote in the genre of blame poetry using poetic devices to make his rebukes an art form rather than pure slander. Above all, he was not merely an iambic poet; some of his poetry is martial in content. Archilochus was noteworthy for his innovations in and ‘refinement’ of different meters. In contrast to the conventions of later poetry, Archilochus’ meter does not restrict his subject matter. His tetrameters can be ‘iambic’ in nature. His iambic trimeter does not have to be invective. Thus, when looking at fragments of Archilochus’ work in iambic trimeter (or any other meter), it is necessary to keep in mind that meter does not necessarily correspond with subject matter or poetic genre ... Chapter 1 of this paper looks at the negative attitudes toward Archilochus and his poetry through the lens of Plato’s Republic ... Chapter 2 presents the opposing opinion expressed in the testimonies to Archilochus in a similar way to Chapter 1 ... Chapter 3 examines the corpus of Archilochus as fragments in order to support the interpretation of Archilochus’ style and content offered in the first chapter.
Subject: Greek poetry
Subject: Archilochus
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Hoit, Jennifer Kay. "The Fragments of Archilochus". 2011. Available electronically from

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