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Headword: Ἀλκμάν
Adler number: alpha,1289
Translated headword: Alkman, Alcman
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
A Laconian from Messoa; but according to Crates[1] -- who is mistaken[2] -- a Lydian out of Sardis; a lyric poet, son of Damas or Titaros. He was born in the 27th Olympiad,[3] when Ardys, the father of Alyattes, was king of Lydia;[4] and being an especially passionate man, he was the inventor of love poetry.[5] His parents were slaves; he wrote six books: lyric poetry and Diving Women.[6] He was the first to introduce singing in meters other than the hexameter. He used a Doric dialect, as Spartans [do]. There is also another Alcman, one of the lyric poets, born in Messene. And the plural [is] "Alcmanes".[7]
Greek Original:
Ἀλκμάν: Λάκων ἀπὸ Μεσσόας: κατὰ δὲ τὸν Κράτητα πταίοντα Λυδὸς ἐκ Σάρδεων: λυρικὸς, υἱὸς Δάμαντος ἢ Τιτάρου. ἦν δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς κζ# Ὀλυμπιάδος, βασιλεύοντος Λυδῶν Ἄρδυος, τοῦ Ἀλυάττου πατρός: καὶ ὢν ἐρωτικὸς πάνυ εὑρετὴς γέγονε τῶν ἐρωτικῶν μελῶν. ἀπὸ οἰκετῶν δέ: ἔγραψε βιβλία ἓξ, μέλη καὶ Κολυμβώσας. πρῶτος δὲ εἰσήγαγε τὸ μὴ ἑξαμέτροις μελῳδεῖν. κέχρηται δὲ Δωρίδι διαλέκτῳ, καθάπερ Λακεδαιμόνιοι. ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἕτερος Ἀλκμὰν, εἷς τῶν λυρικῶν, ὃν ἤνεγκεν ἡ Μεσσήνη. καὶ τὸ πληθυντικὸν Ἀλκμᾶνες.
Notes:
OCD(4) s.v. Alcman (p.54).
See also alpha 1290.
[1] Crates of Mallus (fl. 168 BCE). See Campbell (1988) 337 n.3.
[2] This translates what is transmitted, the participle πταίοντα in agreement with the name Crates, but Adler (addenda) notes the attempts of several scholars to emend it into something quite different, e.g. πατρόθεν (Schneider), περὶ ποιητῶν (Bernhardy).
[3] 672-669 BCE.
[4] The chronology is hotly disputed. Campbell (1994, 192) suggests "Sadyattes" for the reading "Alyattes" in the mss. According to Herodotus (1.16.1), Ardys' son was Sadyattes, who passed the kingship on to his son Alyattes. For a full discussion of the problem with the chronology as it relates to Alcman's dates, see Davison 178.
[5] See PMG 58, 59 for a hint of Alcman's love poetry.
[6] The sentence is problematic. Did Alcman write 6 books of lyric poetry and a poem called Diving Women? Or was Diving Women the sixth book? The contributor of the OCD entry, C. Carey, leaves the question open. Whatever the case may be, nothing more than the title Diving Women is preserved, so its contents remain a mystery. (Adler [addenda] notes Flach's suggestion that 'and Diving Women' belongs with alpha 1284, q.v.)
[7] This final sentence, from the grammarians, is added in the margin of ms. A.
References:
Calame, Claude, Choruses of Young Women in Ancient Greece (Lanham MD 1997)
Campbell, David A., Greek Lyric vol. 2 (Cambridge MA, 1988); text and translations
Campbell, David A., Greek Lyric Poetry (London 1994)
Davison, John A., From Archilochus to Pindar (London 1968)
Page, Denys L., Alcman: the Partheneion (Oxford 1951)
See also web address 1.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; chronology; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; meter and music; poetry; women
Translated by: Samuel Huskey on 9 June 2000@18:23:01.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added note and keyword; cosmetics) on 1 February 2001@11:31:40.
Catharine Roth (Updated link.) on 1 February 2001@20:27:35.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 20 December 2001@00:00:22.
Catharine Roth (added italics, removed a link) on 8 April 2008@16:13:52.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 7 February 2012@09:15:57.
Catharine Roth (deleted link) on 26 March 2012@01:08:08.
David Whitehead (augmented notes) on 22 January 2014@09:25:05.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 30 July 2014@04:44:19.

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