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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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Bacchylides’ Banquet Songs

Bacchylides’ Banquet Songs

(p.63) 4 Bacchylides’ Banquet Songs
The Cup of Song

Giovan Battista D’Alessio

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines both the indirect evidence for Bacchylides’ Banquet Songs and two papyri (P.Oxy. 1361 and 2361) usually interpreted as representing his Enkomia, discussing a recent alternative reconstruction which attributes them (wholly or partly) to his Dithyrambs. Through a close reading of the fragments and a new interpretation of the ‘Marpessa poem’ the author argues that these, and P.Oxy. 2362, represent copies of a collection of his Banquet Songs, which included poems composed for kingly patrons, in the same linguistic, metric, and stylistic tradition of Pindar’s Enkomia (and Bacchylides’ ‘choral’ production), as well as erotic and mocking poems, composed in metres akin to those of Anacreon, with a remarkable Attic veneer. Two possible explanations for this feature are examined, i.e. that it is due to their transmission, and that it reflects the development of a local tradition of sympotic song in early fifth-century Athens, arguing in favour of the latter.

Keywords:   Bacchylides, Pindar, Alexandrian scholarship, papyri, banquet songs, skolia, enkomia, Anacreon, choral lyric, Attic dialect

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