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The Cup of SongStudies on Poetry and the Symposion$
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Vanessa Cazzato, Dirk Obbink, and Enrico Emanuele Prodi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687688

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687688.001.0001

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Some Thoughts on the Symposiastic Catena, Aisakos, and Skolia

Some Thoughts on the Symposiastic Catena, Aisakos, and Skolia

(p.42) 3 Some Thoughts on the Symposiastic Catena, Aisakos, and Skolia
The Cup of Song

Gauthier Liberman

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with the ‘symposiastic catena’, the bond connecting the poems performed in archaic and classical Greek symposia. First, it tries to show that (a) aisakos, the name of the branch passed from one performer to the other, means ‘branch of myrtle’, (b) the Greeks connected this word with singing and Apollo as poet and prophet (cf. the seer Aesacus), but (c) it has a Near Eastern etymology (âsu ‘myrtle’). Then it focuses on the word skolion, indicating how one can connect it with Lydian symposiastic culture by considering Pindar’s testimony on Terpander inventing both barbitos and skolia while attending a Lydian banquet. Aristophanes’ imaginary symposium (Wasps 1219–48) is checked against Aristoxenus and Dicaearchus’ definition of skolia as poems performed in irregular order by the most competent symposiasts. The conclusion suggests that the pre-Alexandrian collections of Greek lyrics may have been repertoires used for reperformance in a symposiastic context.

Keywords:   symposion, catena, skolia, barbitos, Terpander, Pindar, myrtle, laurel, Lydia, aisakos

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