Henry Spelman
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The archaic Greek lyric poet Alcaeus was born to an aristocratic family in the city of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, situated near the coast of Asia Minor. From his own poems and a patchwork of external evidence we can infer that he was active around the end of the seventh and the beginning of the sixth century BCE. Although Alcaeus is often overshadowed by interest in his compatriot and near contemporary Sappho, his work is of great concern to students of Greek literary history and consistently repays a sort of close attention which it too seldom receives.

Alcaeus was heir to a rich Lesbian poetic tradition. Scholars now agree that he composed in an inherited literary dialect markedly different from the everyday Lesbian Greek of his day. It has been convincingly argued that the poetic

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Citation: Spelman, Henry. "Alcaeus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 October 2016 [, accessed 15 July 2024.]

13721 Alcaeus 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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