Making Monkeys: Archilochus frr. 185–187 W. in Performance

TitleMaking Monkeys: Archilochus frr. 185–187 W. in Performance
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsSteiner, D
EditorCazzato, V, Lardinois, A
Ancient AuthorsArchilochus Eleg., Iamb. (TLG 0232)
Book TitleThe Look of Lyric: Greek Song and the Visual. Studies in Archaic and Classical Greek Song, vol. 1
Series TitleMnemosyne Supplements 391
ISBN9789004314849 (ebook)

This chapter offers a close reading of Archilochus frr. 185–187 W. that situates the fragments within the performative, political, and visual context of the archaic symposium where they would have been delivered. After considering the relationship that the lines set up between the speaker and the target of his mockery, and which can be aligned with such relations of ‘mimetic rivalry’ in interactions between archaic iambographers and their victims, I suggest how Archilochus extends the scope of his attack from the symposium to the civic sphere; the mockery directed at Kerykides may even bear on an on going political struggle between the speaker and a rival within the Parian elite. The paper’s second half focuses on the figure of the monkey in the fable that the fragments include and suggests that painted vessels and terracotta objects designed for sympotic use present, much as does Archilochus’ song, the animal as a violator and deformer of the bodily decorum and ethics that the occasion requires. Komast dancers that proliferate on contemporary sympotic pottery, and who are, on a number of occasions, combined with monkeys whose conduct and appearance closely resemble their own, offer a point of comparison for the simians in the poetic and visual repertoires. []


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