Archilochus (Greek: Ἀρχίλοχος Arkhilokhos; c. 680 – c. 645 BC)[nb 1] wis a Greek lyric poet frae the island o Paros in the Archaic period. He is celebratit for his versatile an innovative uise o poetic meters an as the earliest kent Greek author tae compone awmaist entirely on the theme o his ain emotions an experiences. Alexandrian scholars includit him in their canonic leet o iambic poets, alang wi Semonides an Hipponax, yet auncient commentators an aa nummered him wi Tyrtaeus an Callinus as the possible inventor o the elegy. Modren creetics eften chairacterise him simply as a lyric poet. Awtho his wirk nou anly survives in fragments, he wis revered bi the auncient Greeks as ane o thair maist brilliant authors, able tae be mentioned in the same braith as Homer an Hesiod, yet he wis an aa censured bi them as the archeteepal poet o blame—his invectives war even said tae hae driven his umwhile fiancee an her faither tae suicide. He presentit himsel as a man o few illusions either in war or in love, such as in the follaein elegy, whaur discretion is seen tae be the better pairt o valour:
Ἀσπίδι μὲν Σαΐων τις ἀγάλλεται, ἥν παρὰ θάμνῳ :ἔντος ἀμώμητον κάλλιπον οὐκ ἐθέλων· αὐτὸν δ' ἔκ μ' ἐσάωσα· τί μοι μέλει ἀσπὶς ἐκείνη; :Ἐρρέτω· ἐξαῦτις κτήσομαι οὐ κακίω.
Ane o the Saians (Thracian tribe) nou delichts in the shield I discairdit
Unwillinly near a bush, for it wis perfectly guid,
But at least I got masel safely oot. Wha should I care for that shield?
Let it gang. Some ither time Ah'll find anither na worse.
- While thir hae been the generally acceptit dates syne Felix Jacoby, "The Date of Archilochus," Classical Quarterly 35 (1941) 97–109, some scholars disagree; Robin Lane Fox, for instance, in Travelling Heroes: Greeks and Their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer (Lunnon: Allen Lane, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7139-9980-8), p. 388, dates him c. 740–680 BC.
- J. P. Barron and P. E. Easterling, 'Elegy and Iambus', in The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature, P.Easterling and B.Knox (ed.s), Cambridge University Press (1985), page 117
- David A. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982) page 136
- Sophie Mills, 'Archilochus', in Encyclopaedia of Ancient Greece, Nigel Wilson (ed.), Routledge (2006) page 76
- Didymus ap. Orion, Et.Mag. p. 57, Scholiast on Ar.Birds 217, cited by J. P. Barron and P. E. Easterling, 'Elegy and Iambus' in The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature, ed.s P.Easterling and B.Knox, Cambridge University Press (1985), n. 1 page 129
- Rayor, Diane J, Sappho's Lyre: Archaic Lyric and Women Poets of Ancient Greece (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991, ISBN 978-0-520-07336-4)
- J. P. Barron and P. E. Easterling, 'Elegy and Iambus', in The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature, P.Easterling and B.Knox (ed.s), Cambridge University Press (1985), page 118
- Christopher G. Brown, 'Introduction' to Douglas E. Gerber's A companion to the Greek Lyric Poets, Brill (1997) page 49
- Fragment 5, cited by Douglas E. Gerber, Greek Iambic Poetry, Loeb Classical Library (1999) page 81
- David A. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982) page 145