Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

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^ 33. (i) Erotic Poetry. Under this denomination are included such poetical per-
formances as refer particularly to the subject of love. It is sometimes applied to a
class of lyrical pieces, which were of an amatory character (ipwrixa fikXri). Alcman, or
Alcmceon, who lived at Sparta, B. C. about 470, is regarded as the father of erotic
poetry in this sense of the phrase. Most of his poems were of a class called vapQzvia,
or praises of virgins. His songs were very popular with the ancients, and were sung
by the Spartans at table with those of Terpander. Alcffius, Sappho, and Anacreon
wrote pieces of the same description.

But the term erotic is generally applied by critics to another class of writings; viz.
several productions of a later period, chiefly in prose, which had something of the na-
ture of novels, or modern works of fiction. They were truly a species of romance, and
properly therefore may be noticed as a distinct branch of literature. In this place we
shall speak only of such authors as wrote in verse. There were three writers in the
period after Constantino the Great, who composed poems, which may be justly ranked
among the performances here described. The most eminent of them was Theodorus
Prodromus, a learned philosopher and theologian, in the beginning of the twelfth cen-
tury, author of a great variety of poetical pieces. '^ Scrips it carmina,'^ says Harles,
'' invita autem Minerva.'''' The principal was his romance, in iambic verse, entitled
the love of Rhodanthe and Dosicles. The other two were Constantine Manasses, and
Nicetas Eugenianus ; both lived about the same time with Prodromus. The work of
the former, the loves of Aristander and Calhthea, is nearly all lost ; that of the latter,
the loves of Drosilla and Charicles, in nine books, is extant. They were both in the
verse called political.

Scholl, Hist. Litt. Gr. bk. ii. ch. 5. bk. vi. ch. 74.— "On appelle poKtiques des vers de quinze syllables, d.ins lesquels on n'obsef
pas la quaotite ; lis ont la cesure apres la huitieme syllable, et I'accent sur I'avant derniere." Cf. Hermann (on Meter), lib. ii.
c. xx\x. 26.

^ 34. (70 'The Epigram. The term e-!riYpaiiy.a originally signified merely an inscription,
and from this use the poetry so called derived its prevailing character. The Greek
epigram served for a motto on a pillar or an ofiering to a god, an explanation or me-
mento under a painting, a panegyric on a statue or a monument, an epitaph on a grave-
stone. Of course we could not expect it to be strikingly marked by that smartness
of manner and sharpness of wit and point, which modern taste demands. It usually
expressed a simple idea, a sentiment, a reflection, a regret, a wish; inspired by the
accidental sight of a monument, an edifice, a tree or other object ; or awakened by the
recollection of something agreeable, melancholy, or terrible in the past. Here we pro-
pose to mention some of the authors of different ages to whom epigrams are ascribed.

A few are referred to the time antecedent to Solon. Those ascribed to Homer are
the most ancient, but their genuineness is doubted. One worthy of its reputation bears
tne name of iEsop.

There are various epigrams belonging to the two periods between Solon and the
Roman supremacy, some said to be from the most distinguished authors. Indeea most
of the poets, it is probable, composed occasionally these little pieces. Anacreon, Erinna,
.(l^schylus. Euripides, and especially Simonides of Ceos, may be named. The latter
defeated ..•Eschylus in competition for the prize-inscriptio-j at Thermopylae. — A single



456 HISTORY OF GREEK LITERATURE.

epigram is referred to Socrates ; one to Thucydides ; thirty to Plato, but without foun-
dation. Three by the painter Parrhasius are preserved by Athenjeus.

The Alexandrine age abounded in epigrammatists ; more than thirty are enumerated.
The most eminent were CaUimachus, and Leonidas of Tarentum. The latter left a
hundred epigrams, in the Doric dialect, among the best that are preserved.

In' the next period, the number of epigrammatists was still larger; above forty wri-
ters are named between the fall of Corinth and the time of Constantine, and a great
number of their pieces are extant. Among them is the poet Archias, less celebrated
for his own productions than by the oration of Cicero in his behalf Diogenes Laertius,
the biographer, also has a place here. We have the largest number of pieces from
Meleager and Lucihus. The latter, a contemporary of Nero, published two books of
epigrams, of which more than a hundred remain, chiefly of a satirical cast. Some of
the emperors amused themselves in writing poetry of this description ; we have several
pieces from Trajan. In this period, collections of epigrams began to be compiled and
published under different titles. They are now called Anthologies, and will be de-
scribe!^ in the next section.

After Constantine, it was chiefly in the epigram that the poets labored, or gained
any distinction. Between forty and fifty different writers are mentioned, pagan and
Christian. The more eminent among them were Gregory ISazianzen (cf § 292), Paul
Silentarius, the consul Macedonius, and Agathias of IVlyrina (cf § 258).

Besides the epigrammatists that have been now alluded to under the different periods
of (jreek literature, the Anthologies contain the names of nearly one hundred others,
whose epoch has not been ascertained.

'Jd the Greek epigrams ; F. Jacobs, Delectus Epigramm. Grsecorum (a vol. of the Sibliotheca, cited § 7. )) in the InlrodactioD.
Verj good.— tfsnnf, on epigrams, in his Vermischte Schriften (Melanges). Berl. 1771. S.— Herder, in his Zerttreute Blatter.
(iotha, 1785-S6. (Samml. I. II.)— franc Vavasor, De Epigrammate, in his Opera. Amst. 1709. fol. — C. G. Sonntag, Hist. Fouecs
Or. brevioris, ab Auacr. usq. ab Meleag. ex Anthol. Gr. adumbrata. Lips. 17S5. — Schi'U, bk. iii. ch. 16. bk. iv. ch. 51. bk.
ti. ch. 72.

§ 35 t. Anthologies. The Greek Anthologies (Blumenlesen) are collections of small
poems, chiefly epigrams, of various authors. Many of the pieces are remarkable for
(heir beauty and simplicity in thought and their pecuhar turns of expression. These
collections began to be compiled during the decline of Greek literature. Several of
these collections were made before the fall of Carthage, but seem to have been formed
with more reference to the historical value of the inscriptions than to their poetical
merit. The collection of Polemo Periegetes was of this early class, which are entirely
lost. Next to these, the first of which we have any knowledge was made by JSMeager
of Gadara in Syria, B. C. nearly 100. It was entitled 'Zrctpa^v;, the croivn or garland,
and contained the better pieces of forty-six poets, arranged alphabetically. The next
was hv Philippus of Thessalonica, in the time of Trajan, with the same arrangement.
A httle after, under Hadrian, about A. D. 120, a collection of choice pieces was formed
by Diogenianus of Heraclea. About one hundred years later, Diogenes Laertius
gathered a body of epigrams composed in honor of illustrious men ; from the variety
of meters in them, it was styled ria/i/^rrpoj'. In the second or third century, Strato of
Sardis published a compilation including most of the poets embraced in the anthology
of Meleager, and some of those embraced in the work of Philippus, together with
several others. It was entitled UawiKh Movaa. But that which may be considered as
the third Anthology was published in the sixth century by Agathias of Myrina, who
has already been named as one of the more eminent epigrammatists after the time of
Constantine. This bore the title of KwXoj, and consisted of seven books, into which
the pieces were distributed according to their subjects. In the tenth century a fourth
collection was made by Constantine Cephalas, of whom nothing else is known. In
preparing it he made use of the preceding compilations, especially that of Agathias,
but inserted also pieces of ancient authors not introduced in them. The epigrams and
other pieces are arranged according to subjects, in fifteen sections. Finally, in the
fourteenth century, Maximus Planiides, a monk of Constantinople, the same who col-
lected the fables of .^Esop, formed a fifth Anthology. Planudes arranged the pieces
included in his collection in seven distinct books.

The two last mentioned, that of Cephalas and that of Planudes, are the only Antho-
logies now extant. That of Planudes was first printed in 1494, and the collection of
Cephalas was, after that, almost entirely forgotten. In 1606, a manuscript copy of
Cephalas was found by Claude Saumaise (Claudius Salmasius), in the hbrary at
Heidelberg.

Of the Anthology of Planudes the following are the principal editions •.—Henr. Etienne (Senr. Stephanus). Par. 1566. 4. —
Wechd, Frankf. 1600. fol.— An edition at Naples, 1796. 5 vols. 4. with an Italian translation.— /erome de £osch, Utrecht, 1795-98.
3 vols. 4. with a translation in Latin verse by Hugo Grotiui, and a supplement containing additional pieces; De Bosch added a 4th
vol. of Notes by himself and Claud. Salmasius; a 5th was published by D. J. Van Ltnntp, 1822. (" belle et bonne edition."

The discovery of the manuscript copy of Cephalas excited much interest in the literary world. Salamasius made preparations for
pnblishing an edition, but died without having accomplished the work; having delayed it fio.'n conscientious scruples, as is said,
iDout publishing some of the amatory pieces. After his death. /. Ph. d'Orville engaged in preparing for an edition of Cephalas;
to: be also died without effecting it, and bis papers passed to the library at Leyden. Some portions of the work of Cephalas witn



p. V. POETRY. DRAMATIC. TRAGEDY. 457

published, in the mean time, by /. Jentiua, at Rollerdam, 1742, and /. B. Ltich, at Leipzic, 1745. But af'er D'Orville, the next
principal labor upon this.Anthology was by /. J. Reiyhe, who published his work under the title Anthulogix gr. a C. Cephala con-
ditae llbri iii. &c. Lips. 1754. 8. This was republished, with a valuable preface, by Thos. Wartcm, Oxf. 1766. 2 vols. 12. Reiske
havioff declined editing the impure pieces which constituted the l2th section of Cephalas, they were published by Cnr. M. Klotz,
under the title Stratonis aliorumque vet. poet. gr. epigrammala eel. Altenb. 1764. 8.

A Diore con)plete collection of Greek epigrams and small poems is found in .Srunct, Analecta veterum poetanim Graecorum.

Argent. 2d edit. 1785. 3 vols 8. Each piece is placed under the name of Ihe author to whom it is ascribed A new edition was

afterwards published by f red. /acoij, Anlhologia Grjeca, sive poelarum grscorum lusus, ex recensioue Brunckii. Lips. 1794. 13
vols. 8; the first 4 vols, cont.iin the text, more correct ; the 5th consists of various tables and references; the remaining 8 contain
a valuable commentary by Jacobs.— By the same, Anihologia Grseca, ad fidem cod. olini Palatini nunc Parisini, ex apoirapho Go-
thano ecliu, curavit, epigranmiata in cod. Pal. desiderata et annotat. critic, adjecit F. Jacobs. Lips. 1813-17. 3 vols. 8. (" un corps
coniplet des epi^rammes grecques restant de I'anliquite." ,Schi II.)— The text of this edition is followed in the stereotype edition of
Tnuclmilz. Li|)Z. 1819. 3 vols. 12mo.— There are smaller collections: by A. F. Kanne, Halle, 1769. 8; A. ll'dd.ert, Meissen.
1823. 8; Meleager's Sinngedichte [epigrams], by Munso, .Tena, 1789, 8; and by Gra/e, Leipz 1811. 8— There are English
translations of some of the pieces, by Robert Bland and others. Collections from the Greek Anthology, comprising the fragments
of early lyric poetry, with specimens of all Ihe poets included in Meleagers Garland. Lond. 1833. Reviewed in Blackwo^idt
Mag. June, 1S33. — Also by IV. Hay, in Blackwood's Mae. vol. 39, p. 79. and vol. 40, p. 274, ss — There are tasteful translations
into German of some of the most beautiful pieces in Herders Zerslreute Blatter. Golba, 1785. 8; several also in Tempe (by f.
Jacobs). Lei[iz. 1803. 2 vols. 8.— Cf. Edinb. Rev. vol. ix.—Lond. Quart. Rev. x. 139.

For accounts of Anthologies, ic, see ScJdll, Hist. Litt. Gr. bk. vi. ch. 51. bk. vi. ch. 72 — Fuhrmann, Kleineres Handbuch, &C.
p. 83, i'l.-.Sckiieidtr, Analecia critica, Fasc. i. — F, Jacobs, Frolegomena, in his Anthol, Grxc. Lips. 1794, ss- — Harles, Introd.
in Hist. L. G. Proleg. vol. i. p. 91.

§ 36. (Z) Dramatic Poetry. Dramatic poetry took its rise from the religious ceremo-
nies of the Greeks. It was an essential part of the public worship of the gods, espe-
cially of Bacchus at Athens, that there should be choirs composed of a sort of actors,
who should, with dancing, singing, and instrumental music, represent some story
relating to the divinity worshiped.

flerodotus states, that the people of Sicyon thus represented by actors the adventures
of Adrastus, whom they honored as a god, and although referring to a period anterior
to the existence of dramatic poetry, he calls these choirs of actors tragic, because they
represented the sufferings (rrdfea) of Adrastus. Suidas and Photi'us mention Epigenes
the Sicyonian as the inventor of tragedy. Themistius asserts expressly, that tragedy
was invented by the Sicyonians, and perfected by the Athenians. — Ihe father of history
also states, that when the inhabitants of jEgina took away from the Epidaurians the
statues of two national divinities of the latter, and erected them in their own island,
they instituted in honor of the same, choirs of females under the direction of a male
leader, in imitation of the Epidaurians. These choirs, in the worship rendered to the
divinities, performed what might, by an anachronism similar to the other just mentioned,
be called coinic dramas.

At Athens, as has been intimated, there were choirs hke those of Sicyon and ^Egina,
that performed a part in the festivals of Bacchus. Sometimes representing, by their
dances, songs, and gestures, the expeditions of Bacchus and other events of his lile ;
sometimes yielding to the intoxication that accompanies the pleasures of the vintage,
they constantly vaunted the praises of the god, to whom they were indebted for the vine.
These performances were conducted with a high degree of licentiousness both in lan-
guage and in action.

In the.se performances the drama had us origin. Probably at first they did not in-
clude what is now understood either by action or by fable. The songs employed were
lyric in their nature. Those sung by the choirs of Sicyon and ^^gina were lyric, but
of a tragic or comic character. But at length it began to be a custom to interrupt the
song of the choir by the representation of some scene or action, which was called cpSna
or ETTuao^iov, that is, something acted or something brougJit in. The murder of Bacchus
or Osiris by Typhon was, it is hkely, one of the most common subjects thus repre-
sented. But subjects of a grotesque character would also be natural, from the great
license attending the Dionysiac festivals. Gradually, and from causes of which tra-
dition preserves no account, three distinct kinds or varieties of representation arose ;
and these laid the foundation of the three branches of the Greek drama, viz. tragedy,
comedy, and satire.

On the interest taken at Athens in dramatic exhibitions, cf. P. III. § 90. — The question whether women were admitted to such
exhibitions in Greece is discussed by BMiger, Kleine Schnften, as collected by Sitlig, vol. i. p. 293.

§ 37. (1) Tragedy. The etymology of the word tragedy is uncertain ; perhaps it
was derived from the circumstance that a goat {rpayos) was the prize received by the
conqueror. Tragedy was an improvement upon the chorus of the Bacchian festivals,
and for a long time retained marks of its origin ; having taken its rise, beyond question,
froni the songs at these annual festivals of the god of dissipation, when the poet who
furnished the most popular piece was rewarded with a goat, or perhaps a goal-fJci?! of
wine. The c^or?/s was a principal and essential part of the tragedy; it was lyric in
structure, and like other lyric poems usually presented the regular division of strophe,
antistrophe, and epode. In tragedy the chorus was charged with the exposiiion of the
feble ; it praised the gods and justified them against the complaints of the suffermg and
53 2 Q



458 HISTORY OF GREEK LITERATURE.

the unhappy ; it sought to soothe the excited passions and to impart lessons of wisdom
and experience, and in general to suggest usetui practical reflections.

The chorus usually never quitted the stage, but remained during tlie whole performance.
Their presence was indispensable, because the tragedy was not as among the moderns divided
into acts ; ii served also to [ireserve the unity of the piece. The chorus was usually composed
of men of advanced age and experience, or of young virgins of uncontaminated minds. The
number of xopcvral was at first quite large; in the Eumenides of .-Eschylus it consisted of
fifty; but aifier the representation of that piece, it was limited to fifteen. It was divided into
two portions, each having its chief or head, styled Koovtpaloq. When united they were jointly
under the direction of a leader styled xopr/ydf or neaoxopog- When they took part in the dialogue,
it was done by the Coryphfeus or leader. The portion strictly lyrical was sung by the whole
chorus together, accompanied by the flute. When the chorus moved, it was in the orchestra
(dpx'l'^Tfia) ; when still, they occupied the thymele (SivtxeXrj), a sort of altar placed in the orches-
tra, whence as spectators they could look upon all that transpired on the stage. In singing the
part termeil the sfrofhe, the chorus moved in a sort of dance across the orchestra from right hi
left ; and back from left to right, while uttering the avtistrophe ; in the epudi;, they stood in front
of the audience. Tragedy had its appropriate kind of dance, termed iiA/jiiXeta ; thai of comedy
was called /cdpjaf ; and that of satire, olkivvis. The chorus was instructed in performing its
part frequently by the poet himself. (Cf P. IV. $ 66.) The expense of preparing and furnishing a
chorus for an exhibition was often very great; it was defrayed by individuals {xop^tY^O desig-
nated by the civil authorities. ^Potter's Arch. GrBEC. bk. i. ch. .\v.)

SchlU, Hist. Lilt. Gr. bk. iii. ch. \\.—Lond. Quart. Rev. Sept. 1842. p. 315.— On the import of the chorus, SchlegeVs Drannt.
Lit. ]ect. iu.—Hteren, Diss, de chori trag. Grsc. uatura. Golt. 1785. 4—Ilgen, Choius Graec. qualis fuerit, &c. Erf. 1797. 8.—
VcUry, On the tragic chorus in the Mem. Acad. I'iscr. viii. 1 99. — Franklin, Diss, on the Tragedy of the ancients. Lond. 1762.— On

the music of the chorus ; /. N Forkel, Allg. Gesch. der Musik. Cf. C. Hermann, De Distribulione personarum inter histrione*

in tragoediis Graecorum. Marb. 1841. 8.

"5> 38. Thespis, of Icarus (a ward of Attica), contemporary with Solon and Pisistratus,
is regarded as the inventor of tragedy. Much obscurity rests on the changes, which
were introduced by this poet, as the work of the peripatetic Chamseleon of Heraclea,
which treated of the subject, is lost. His first innovation appears to have been in rela-
tion to the chorus. Before Thespis, its actors were masked as Satyrs, and indulged in
the most licentious freedom in amusing their auditors ; he assigned them a more decent
part. He also introduced an actor whose recitals allowed intervals of rest to the chorus.
Other events besides the exploits of Bacchus were likewise made the subject of repre-
sentation. But Solon prohibited the exhibition of his tragedies as being useless fabrica-
tions. The performances of Thespis were no doubt rude. The stage is said to have
been a cart, the chorus a troop of itinerant singers, the actor a sort of mimic, and the
poem itself a motley combination of the serious and trifling, the ludicrous and the pa-
thetic. — After twenty-five years, the prohibition was removed by Pisistratus, and Thes-
pis reappeared with new glory. It was now, 537 B. C. according to the Parian
marble, that he gained the prize in a tragic contest.

Suidas gives the tiiles of four tragedies of this poet. There remain two fragments of doubtful authority, cited by Clemens
Alexandrinus (Strom, v ) and Plutarch (De audiendis poetis), and a tbirJ found in Fotux (lib. vii. 13).

Phrynicus, of Athens, is the next name in the history of tragedy. He was a disciple
of Thespis, and introduced some changes, particularly the use of the female mask. He
employed, however, but one actor besides the chorus ; yet this actor represented diflferent
persons, by changing the dress and masks. He was the author of a tragedy, which
Themistocles caused to be exhibited with great magnificence, and which bore away
the prize. The memory of its success was perpetuated by an inscription. — The first
author, whose tragedies are cited as having been commitied to writing, was Choerilus
of Athens, about 500 B. C. It was from regard to him that the Athenians constructed
their first theatre. The ancients attribute to him 150 pieces, all lost. He is to be
distinguished from Chcerilus of Samos (cf ^ 19), and from Choerilus of lasiis, the con-
temporary of Alexander.

§ 39. The real father of tragedy was Mschylus of Eleusis, who flourished in the time
of the Persian war, and fought in the battles of Marathon, Salamis, and Platasa.
Before him. the fable formed but a secondary part, the episode of tragedy; he made it
the principal part, by adding a second actor and speaker, and thus introducing a dia-
logue in which the chorus did not always take a share. Sophocles of Athens, a con-
temporary of jEschylus but 27 or 28 years younger, added a third speaker and some-
times even a fourth. Thus the importance of the chorus was dimmished, and the
dialogue engrossed the chief interest of the play. Under Sophocles, Greek tragedy
received its final and perfect form. A third distinguished tragic writer, contemporary
with the two just named, was Euripides, born IG or 17 years later than Sophocles.
Euripides added nothing to tragedy in respect to the external structure; but in tragic
interest he excelled both his precursors. The productions of these three authors were
regarded by the Athenians as monuments of national glory. The orator Lycurgus
procured the enactment of a law, directing that an accurate and authentic copy of the
tragedies of jEschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides should be deposited in the archives
of the state, under the care of the magistrate called ypnuuarev; rPi; ttoXwoj. This copy, it
is said, was obtained by Ptolemy the Third, the son and successor of Philadelphus king
0/ Egypw, on a pledge of ] 5 talents, for the purpose of correcting by it the copies in use



p. V. COMEDY. 459

at Alexandria ; he chose to forfeit the money and retain the original manuscript, sending
back to Athens a copy in its stead.

Some hare expressed doubts whether we possess the exact productions of the poets above mentioned, as they came from their
fertile inia^iaatioiis. Corrections and additions may have been made by persons called iiavKtvdVTai. Those of 5^cliylus are
said to have been retouched by Bion, Euphorion, and Philocles ; those of Sophocles, by his sons lophon and Arision ; and those

of Euripides, by Cephisophorus. See jiuif. BCckh, Gtxc. Tra^tediae principum ^schyli, Sophoclis, Kuripidis, uum ea qu;e super-

>uut et genuina omnia sint et forma primitiva servata, Sic Heidelb. 1803. 8.

The history of tragedy in Greece, so far as it is chiefly important, is comparatively
brief, ^schylus, as has been stated, was its real author, and its history included but
two other names of any distinction ; Sophocles and Euripides complete the list. '1 hese
were nearly contemporary. jEschylus, at the age of 45 fought at the battle of Sala-
mis ; Euripides was born at that place on the very day of the battle ; and Sophocles,
the same or the next year, being 16 or 17 years old, led the choir of singers and dan-
cers around the trophy erected to commemorate the same battle. Of their writings
only about 30 plays remain to us. But their reputation rests on a basis more sohd than
the'quantity of what they produced or time has spared.

Perhaps, however, the plays now extant are valued the more because they are so few, beinf considered, as it were, the savings
of a vast wreck. There was a rich abundance of dramatic works among the Greeks. Pieces once exhibited were seldom again
brought forward, and this circumstance may have increased their number. Authors cite at least two hundred tragedies of the first



Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 96 of 153)