Alcman of Sparta is the earliest Greek lyric poet whose work has come down to us. Partly on the basis of a mention of the Spartan king Leotychidas (fr. 5.2), he is now usually thought to have been composing around the end of the seventh century BCE.
The Sparta of Alcman’s day was not the austere, uncultured city of later legend but a vibrant artistic centre. The martial elegies of Tyrtaeus attest to a developed civic poetic culture. From later sources we hear that archaic Sparta also attracted talents from throughout the Greek world. Terpander of Lesbos and Sacadas of Argos, for example, were both said to have participated in major Spartan musical festivals. Alcman himself, according to some in antiquity, came to Sparta from Lydia in the east, but this story more probably reflects a
Citation: Spelman, Henry. "Alcman". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 October 2016 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=13722, accessed 26 February 2024.]