The formative period of the Greek poleis overlaps with the earliest phase of the development of archaic lyric poetry. The two phenomena are not unrelated, as both the sympotic songs of solo lyric and public choral songs were among the most effective media used for negotiating the position of individuals and groups within the community, and for staging shared identities. Poetic discourse in the context of public festivals and other social gatherings was a privileged occasion for parading, reinforcing and redefining collective local identities and, strange as it may seem at first sight, in this process a very important rôle was played by itinerant and/or foreign poets: the construction of a local identity was in fact often voiced through the articulation of a foreign poet. I hope that the following exploration of some case studies of public poetic discourse as a means for defining and promoting civic identities in the archaic and classical periods, and of the different strategies by which such a poetic communal self-definition was constructed, may help us to shed some light also on this aspect of the issue.
A SONG WITHOUT A CITY: EUMELUS' DELIAN PROSODION FOR THE MESSENIANS
One of the most impressive examples of a song being crucial for defining civic identity is provided by what purports to be the most ancient preserved quotation of Greek choral lyric, or, indeed, of Greek poetry tout court.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.