Tyrtaeus, Testimonia

LCL 258: 26-27

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Elegiac Poetry

Athenian Origin

2 Pl. Leges 1.629a-b

προστησώμεθα γοῦν Τυρταῖον, τὸν φύσει μὲν Ἀθηναῖον, τῶνδε δὲ πολίτην γενόμενον, ὃς δὴ μάλιστα ἀνθρώπων περὶ ταῦτα ἐσπούδακεν, εἰπὼν ὅτι “οὔτ᾿ ἂν μνησαίμην οὔτ᾿ ἐν λόγῳ ἄνδρα τιθείμην” οὔτ᾿ εἴ τις πλουσιώτατος ἀνθρώπων εἴη, φησίν, οὔτ᾿ εἰ πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κεκτημένος, εἰπὼν σχεδὸν ἅπαντα, ὃς μὴ περὶ τὸν πόλεμον ἄριστος γίγνοιτ᾿ ἀεί. ταῦτα γὰρ ἀκήκοάς που καὶ σὺ τὰ ποιήματα.

3 Schol. ad loc. (p. 301 Greene)

ὁ Τυρταῖος οὗτος Ἀθηναῖος ἐγένετο, εὐτελὴς τὴν τύχην· γραμματιστὴς γὰρ ἦν καὶ χωλὸς τὸ σῶμα, καταφρονούμενος ἐν Ἀθήναις. τοῦτον Λακεδαιμονίοις ἔχρησεν ὁ Ἀπόλλων μεταπέμψασθαι, ὅτε πρὸς Μεσσηνίους εἶχον τὴν μάχην καὶ ἐν ἀπορίᾳ κατέστησαν πολλῇ, ὡς δὴ ἱκανοῦ αὐτοῖς ἐσομένου πρὸς τὸ συνιδεῖν τὸ λυσιτελές· αὐτῷ γὰρ ἐπέτρεψε χρήσασθαι συμβούλῳ. Quae sequuntur v. ad. fr. 5.3.

4 Lycurg. in Leocr. 106

τίς γὰρ οὐκ οἶδε τῶν Ἑλλήνων ὅτι Τυρταῖον στρατηγὸν ἔλαβον παρὰ τῆς πόλεως, μεθ᾿ οὗ καὶ τῶν πολεμίων

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Tyrtaeus

Athenian Origin

2 Plato, Laws

Let us cite in support Tyrtaeus, who was an Athenian by birth but became a citizen of the Lacedaemonians;1 he beyond all others had a keen interest in these matters, saying “I would not mention or take account of a man,”2 though he were the richest of men or possessed many good things—he mentions almost all of them—, if he were not always the best in war. Presumably you too have heard these poems.

3 Scholiast on the passage

This Tyrtaeus was an Athenian, one whose station in life was lowly; for he was a schoolmaster, lame, and looked down upon at Athens. Apollo gave the Lacedaemonians an oracle to send for him, when they were fighting the Messenians and were in great difficulty, since he would suffice for them to see what was to their advantage. Apollo ordered them to use him as an adviser.

4 Lycurgus, Against Leocrates

Who of the Greeks does not know that the Lacedaemonians took Tyrtaeus from our city (i.e., Athens) as their general

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.tyrtaeus-testimonia.1999