Some Thoughts on the Symposiastic Catena, Aisakos, and Skolia

TitleSome Thoughts on the Symposiastic Catena, Aisakos, and Skolia
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsLiberman, G
EditorObbink, DD, Prodi, EE, Cazzato, V
Ancient AuthorsTerpander Lyr. (TLG 0299), Pindarus Lyr. (TLG 0033)
Book TitleThe Cup of Song: Studies on Poetry and the Symposion
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN9780199687688 (print)

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. []


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