Alcaeus (Lyric Poet), Testimonia

LCL 142: 206-207

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Greek Lyric

Alcaeus

Testimonia Vitae Atque Artis

1 Str. 13. 2. 3 (iii 65s. Kramer)

ἄνδρας δ᾿ ἔσχεν (sc. Μυτιλήνη) ἐνδόξους τὸ παλαιὸν μὲν Πιττακόν, ἕνα τῶν ἑπτὰ σοφῶν, καὶ τὸν ποιητὴν Ἀλκαῖον καὶ τὸν ἀδελφὸν Ἀντιμενίδαν, ὅν φησιν Ἀλκαῖος Βαβυλωνίοις συμμαχοῦντα τελέσαι μέγαν ἆθλον . . . συνήκμασε δὲ τούτοις καὶ ἡ Σαπφώ . . . ἐτυραννήθη δὲ ἡ πόλις κατὰ τοὺς χρόνους τούτους ὑπὸ πλειόνων διὰ τὰς διχοστασίας, καὶ τὰ Στασιωτικὰ καλούμενα τοῦ Ἀλκαίου ποιήματα περὶ τούτων ἐστίν· ἐν δὲ τοῖς τυράννοις καὶ ὁ Πιττακὸς ἐγένετο. Ἀλκαῖος μὲν οὖν ὁμοίως ἐλοιδορεῖτο καὶ τούτῳ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις, Μυρσίλῳ καὶ Μελάγχρῳ καὶ 1 τοῖς Κλεανακτίδαις καὶ ἄλλοις τισίν, οὐδ᾿ αὐτὸς καθαρεύων τῶν τοιούτων νεωτερισμῶν. Πιττακὸς δὲ εἰς μὲν τὴν τῶν δυναστειῶν κατάλυσιν ἐχρήσατο τῇ μοναρχίᾳ καὶ αὐτός, καταλύσας δὲ ἀπέδωκε τὴν αὐτονομίαν τῇ πόλει.

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Alcaeus

Alcaeus

Life

1 Strabo, Geography

Mytilene produced famous men: in olden times 1 Pittacus, one of the seven sages, and the poet Alcaeus 2 and his brother Antimenidas, 3 who, says Alcaeus, ‘while fighting as ally of the Babylonians 4 performed a great feat . . .’ (fr. 350). At the same time as these flourished Sappho 5 . . . Because of dissensions the city was ruled in those days by various tyrants, and the so-called ‘stasiotic’ poems 6 of Alcaeus were written about them. Pittacus was one of the tyrants. 7 Alcaeus abused him and the rest alike, Myrsilus and Melanchrus and the Cleanactids 8 and others, although he himself was not innocent of such revolutionary attempts. 9 But Pittacus used his ‘monarchy’ for the overthrow of the powerful factions, and when he had overthrown them he restored the city’s autonomy.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.alcaeus_lyric_poet-testimonia.1982