People - Ancient Greece: Mimnermus
Ancient Greek elegiac poet, who flourished in 630-
Mimnermus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
（Μίμνερμος). A native of Colophon or Smyrna; and creator of the erotic type of Greek elegy, an older contemporary of Solon. He flourished about B.C. 630-600. He gave his collection of love elegies the name of the beautiful fluteplayer Nanno, who on account of his advanced age would not return his love. There are only a few fragments of his poems left; their chief themes are the melancholy complaint of old age abandoned by love, the transitoriness of the life of man, and the exhortation to enjoy youth, the age of love. His language is simple and tender, and the ancients therefore called him “the sweet singer” (Λιγυαστάδης, in Solon's lines to Mimnermus; Bergk's Poëtae Lyrici, Solon, fragm. 20). The remains of Mimnermus have been separately edited by Bach (Leipzig, 1826).
Mimnermus in Wikipedia
Mimnermus (Greek: Μίμνερμος, Mímnermos) of Colophon was a Greek elegiac poet from Colophon, who flourished about 630-600 BC.
Life and work
Mimnermus lived in the troubled time when the Ionic cities of Asia Minor were struggling to maintain themselves against the rising power of the Lydian kings. One of the extant fragments of his poems refers to this struggle, and contrasts the present effeminacy of his countrymen with the bravery of those who had once defeated the Lydian king Gyges.
His most important poems were a set of elegies addressed to a flute player named Nanno, collected in two books called after her name. Mimnermus was the first to make the elegiac verse the vehicle for love-poetry. He set his own poems to the music of the flute, and the poet Hipponax says that he used the melancholy "fig-branch strain," said to be a peculiar melody, to the accompaniment of which two human purificatory victims were led out of Athens to be sacrificed during the festival of Thargelia (Hesychius, s.v.). Edition of fragments in T. Bergk, Poetae lyrici Graeci; see also G Tanzolini, Mimnermo (1883), a study of the poet, with notes and a metrical version of the fragments.
The newest critical edition of Mimnermus' work is Allen, Archibald (1993) The Fragments of Mimnermus. Text and Commentary. The text is Greek, the commentary English. For some translations, see West, M.L. (1993) Greek Lyric Poetry.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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