The Idea of Iambos

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The Idea of Iambos is a long overdue study of the genre of Greek iambic poetry from the perspective provided by ancient testimonies. Andrea Rotstein places research on iambos in the framework of a new methodological approach to ancient genres based on the cognitive sciences, offering an unprecedented study of ancient theories of genres and the way they affected ancient scholarship. Rotstein also examines the possibility of musical performance of iambic poetry as well as the various occasions of public performance, particularly at musical contests and rhapsodic recitals. Finally, she argues that, from the Archaic to the Classical period, there was a shift from the notion of literary class depending primarily on rhythm and on its archetypical representative, Archilochus, towards iambos as a genre defined mainly by invective as its dominant feature.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this volume on arguably the most ephemeral and juvenile poetry to survive from antiquity, Rostein has given us a mature and substantial study, one that is sure to become the standard reference on the ancient scholarly reception of Greek iambos.—Donald E. Lavigne, Classical World

"A model for a complex and nuanced discussion of an ancient literary genre."—Religious Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199286270
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2010
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrea Rotstein is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Classics, Tel Aviv University.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations xvi

Part 1 Greek Iambos (7th-4th Cent. BCE): Genre and Corpus

1 Approaching Genre 3

1 A cognitive view of archaic poetic genres 3

2 Approaches to the genre and corpus of iambos 16

2 The Corpus of Iambic Poets 25

1 Canon vs. Corpus 27

2 The 'received iambos' 34

i The 'received iambos': three explanations 52

Part 2 Ways of Seeing

3 Iambos in Aristotle's Works 61

1 Aristotle's use of terms 61

2 Aristotle's scholarship on iambos 67

3 The Poetics on genres 69

4 Aristotle on the history of poetry (Poetics 4) 74

i Theoretical or Deductive approach 80

ii Empirical or Inductive approach 83

iii Iambos in Aristotle's history of poetry 86

5 Psogoi and iamboi 88

6 The Margites and iamboi 98

i Iambeion kaleitai nun 100

ii Back to the Margites 102

7 The iambike idea 104

8 Aristotle's conceptualization of iambos 108

4 Ancient Theories of Iambos 112

1 Ancient scholarship on iambos 113

2 Etymologies of iambos 116

3 Diomedes 125

4 Proclus (ap. Phot. Chrest. 319b) 130

5 Iambos in Hellenistic genre theories 136

6 Ancient theories of iambos: three paradigms 143

Part3 Iambos and Iambeion: A Study of Terms in Context

5 Iambos in Archilochus (fr. 215W) 151

6 Iambe and Iambos 167

1 Iambe in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter 167

2 Aischrologia 171

3 Iambe in later literary sources 173

4 Iambe and Baubo 176

5 Iambe and iambos 180

7 Iambos and Iambeion in the Classical Period 183

1 Iambos as a rhythmical term 183

2 Iambos as a generic term 188

i Herodotus (1.12) 188

ii Aristophanes and the first quotation of an iambos (Ra. 661) 201

iii Iamboi among literary genres in Plato 206

3 Iambeion 210

4 Aristoxenus of Selinus and the hypothesis of a Dorian iambos 213

5 A history of terms 221

Part 4 The Performance of Iambos

8 Musical Performance of Iamboi 229

1 Archilochus as a musical innovator 230

2 Iambis, pariambis and iambyke 234

3 Plato's Laws 935e: were iamboi sung? 240

4 Iambos and the Pythian Nomos 248

5 The occasional singing of iamboi 251

9 Public Performance of Iamboi 253

1 Archilochus in mousikoi agones (Heraclit. 42 DK) 256

2 Iamboi in mousikoi agones (Pl. Lg. 935e) 259

3 Watching iamboi in theatres (Arist. Pol 1336b) 261

4 Rhapsodic performances of iamboi (Ath. 620c) 263

5 Iambistai as performers of iamboi (Ath. 181c) 266

6 Iambos as performance 276

Part 5 Perceptions of Iambos

10 Archilochus as a Prototype of Invective Poetry 281

1 Pindar's Archilochus: praise and blame 284

2 Archilochus on the Athenian stage 289

3 The Parian heroization of Archilochus 293

4 The golden Gorgias and the new Archilochus 298

5 Critias' invective against Archilochus 300

6 Archilochus as representative of invective 317

11 Invective as the Dominant Feature of Iambos 319

1 Iambos and the ridicule of citizens (Pl. Lg. 935e) 320

2 Iambos and obscenity (Arist. Pol. 1336b) 325

3 'That sorcerer fed on iambos' (Dem. Cor. 139.7) 328

4 Parapsogos and iambos (Pl. Phdr. 267a) 333

5 The emergence of invective 341

Final Remarks 347

Bibliography 353

Index Locorum 381

General Index 384

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