Alcman

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Henry Spelman

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 …

1179 words

Citation: Spelman, Henry. "Alcman". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 October 2016 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=13722, accessed 30 January 2023.]

13722 Alcman 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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