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Greek Lyric Poets

Code: 104207 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503702 Ancient Studies OB 3 1
2504394 English and Classics Studies OB 3 1


Jordi Pamias Massana

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


It is recommended to have passed the subject The Iliad and the Odyssey, which is taken in the second semester of the second year

Objectives and Contextualisation

This compulsory subject of the 3rd year belongs to the branch Greek Philology of the Studies in Antiquities. The specific description of this subject in the officially published Studies Program is: "Lyric poetry in Greece. Genre characteristics. Historical context of the Greek Archaic period. Translation and philological commentary of a selection of elegiac and iambic poets, and monodian and choral poetry."

Therefore, this subject deals with the origins and genre characteristics of Greek lyric poetry. in the frame of the Greek Archaic period. A selection of Greek lyric poetry of the so-called Archaic period (7th, 6th and beginning of the 5th centuries BCE) will be translated and commented, focusing on elegiac and iambic poets. An introduction to the Lesbian monodic poetry, to Anacreon and to the choral lyric poetry will also be done. Students will must also read an anthology of Greek Lyric Poetry in translation, as it is prescribed in the officially published Studies Program.

Formative objectives: Work in attended classes, additional readings recommended, and, if appropriate, seminars and tutorials are intended for the student to acquire the following objectives at the end of the semester:

1/ To have the theoretical and technical knowledges which make him possible to understand any Greek lyric text, especially those composed by elegiac and iambic poets.

2/ To translate a Greek lyric text of 15-20 lines (especially elegiac and iambic) in one hour and a half.

3/ To make an exegetical and metrical analysis of a Greek poetry text (especially elegiac and iambic) from the issues proposed by the professor.

4/ To place a Greek lyric text in its historical and literary context.


    Ancient Studies
  • Apply grammatical knowledge acquired in the analysis and comprehension of Latin and Greek texts.
  • Interpret texts written in Latin and Greek to understand the history and Classical civilisations.
  • Interrelate linguistic, historical and archaeological knowledge of the ancient world with knowledge of other areas of the humanities, mainly ancient literature, philosophy and art.
  • Make a commentary on a literary texts applying knowledge of genres, metrics and stylistics.
    English and Classics Studies
  • Apply the methodology of analysis and knowledge of genres, metrics and stylistics to comment on literary texts and analyse the culture and history of English-speaking countries and the ancient world.
  • Demonstrate grammatical knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages and its application to the analysis and comprehension of Greek and Latin texts.
  • Interpret written texts in Latin and Greek to learn about classical history and civilizations.
  • Interrelate linguistic and historical knowledge of the ancient world with knowledge of other fields of the humanities, mainly literature and archaeology.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Extract information from the Greek texts on features of the Greek imaginary, ways of thinking and mentality.
  2. Recognise the themes and clichés contained in Greek works in the European literary and artistic traditions.
  3. Recognise the themes and topics emanating from the Greek works studied in the European literary and artistic traditions.
  4. Translate fragments of the Greek works proposed.
  5. Translate fragments of the proposed Greek works.
  6. Write a metric commentary on a Greek text in verse.
  7. Write a morpho-syntactic commentary on a Greek text.


1. Introduction to Archaic Greek lyric poetry. The Archaic age in Greece (7th and 6th centuries BCE): economic, social and political changes.- The genres of Archaic Greek lyric poetry. Metre and language.- The contents of Greek lyric poetry.- The spreading and transmission of texts.

Compulsory readings: 1/ A. Lesky, Historia de la literatura griega, chapter IV.C: “La lírica temprana.1. Sus orígenes y géneros”, pp. 131-134; 2/ F. R. Adrados in J. López Férez (ed.), Historia de la literatura griega, chapter V.1: “Lírica griega. Introducción general”, pp. 106-116.

2. Iambus. General features. Iambic poets: Archilochus, Semonides, Hipponax.

Compulsory readings: 1/ A. Lesky, chapter IV.C.2: “El yambo”, pp. 134-142; 2/ F. R. Adrados, chapter V.2-3: “Elegía y yambo. Generalidades” and “Arquíloco”, pp. 117-132; chapter V.6-7: “Semónides” and “Hiponacte”, pp.136-144.

Translation and commentary:

Archilochus, F 1-5; 13; 19; 30-31; 105; 114; 122 West.

Semonides, F 1; 7 West.

Hipponax, F 28, 32, 34, 36, 39 West.

3. Elegy. General features. Elegiac poets: Callinus, Tyrtaeus, Mimnermus, Solon and Xenophanes.

Lectures obligatòries: 1/ A. Lesky, chapter IV.C.3-4: “Elegy” and “Solon”, pp. 142-153; 2/ F. R. Adrados, chapter V.4-5: “Callinus” and “Tyrtaeus”, pp. 132-136; chapter V.8-9: “Solon” and “Mimnermus”, pp. 144-154.

Translation and commentary:

Callinus, F 1 Gentili-Prato.

Tyrtaeus, F 1b/14; 6-7 Gentili-Prato.

Mimnermus, F 5; 7-8 Gentili-Prato.

Solon, F 1-3 Gentili-Prato.

Xenophanes, F 1-2 Gentili-Prato.

4. The elegiac corpora. Theognis and the Theognidean corpus.- Epigram.

Compulsory readings: 1/ A. Lesky, chapter IV.G.1-2: “Teognis” and “El epigrama y el escolio”, pp. 195-201; 2/ F. R. Adrados, chapter V.10-11: “Teognis y la Colección Teognidea” and “Epigrama”, pp. 155-167.

Translation and commentary:

Theognis 1-52, 133-142, 1135-1150 West

5. Lesbian monody. Alcaeus and his political circle.- Sappho and her circle of women.

Compulsory readings: 1/ A. Lesky, chapter IV.C.5: “El canto lesbio” p. 153-174; 2/ F. R. Adrados, chapter VII: “Monodia”, pp. 185-200.

6. Introduction to choral lyric and to Anacreon. Alcman and the choruses of Spartan girls.- The renovation of choral lyric: Stesichorus.- Ibycus of Rhegium.- Anacreon's monodic and symposiac poetry.- The splendor of choral lyric: Simonides, Bacchylides, Pindar.

Compulsory readings: 1/ A. Lesky, chapter IV.C.6: “El canto coral”, pp. 174-180; chapter IV.G.3: “Anacreonte” (pp. 201-204) i 5: “Lírica coral”, pp. 208-235; 2/ F. R.Adrados, chapter VI: “Lírica arcaica coral”, pp. 168-184; cap. VII.4-5: “Anacreonte” and “Escolios”, pp. 200-205; 3/ E. Suárezde laTorre in J. A. López Férez (ed.), Historia de la literatura griega, chapter VIII: “Lírica coral”, pp. 206-231.

7. Women poets of Archaic choral lyric: Corinna, Myrtis, Telesilla, Praxilla.

Compulsory readings: 1/ A. Lesky, chapter IV.G.4: "Lírica de la madre patria", pp. 204-208; 2/ E. Suárez de la Torre, cap. VIII: "Lírica coral. 5. Corina y otras poetisas", pp. 231-242.


Attended lectures will be basically practical. The professor will devote time to:

1/ Reading, translating and commenting the programmed texts' selection.

2/ Giving to students means to can increase gradually the quantity of translated text.

3/ Correcting the texts daily translated by the students, individually or in groups.

4/ Commenting the linguistic, literary and sociocultural contents of the translated texts, focusing in particular on the aspects relating to their later tradition.

5/ Explaining contents which help to contextualise the text.

Students will have to be responsible for bringing every day the text to be translated and commented. 

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Compulsory reading test 1.5 0.06 1, 2
Presentantion of the theoretical concepts 9 0.36 1, 2
Translation and commentary exercises 30 1.2 7, 6, 4
Translation exams 4.5 0.18 7, 6, 4
Type: Supervised      
Group tutorials (x 3) 4.5 0.18 6, 1, 2
Reading of additional bibliography 15.5 0.62 1, 2
Supervised translations 10 0.4 7, 4
Type: Autonomous      
Exercises and translations 60 2.4 7, 6, 4
Reading of an anthology of Greek lyric 15 0.6 1, 2


Evaluation of this subject will be done according to the evaluation activities which are stated in the table below.

It is very important that students take into account that evaluation also considers the regular attendance at lectures and the execution and assessment of exercises, translations and several questions proposed in lectures within the periods stipulated by the professor, in order to show the understanding and use of the contents explained by the professor (20%).

Any student who has submittted two evaluation activities, one of them being an exam of translation, cannot resign to be evaluated; in other words, he/she will not have "Not Evaluable" as final mark.

Reaching a minimun mark of 4 in every evaluation activity is an essential requirement to do the final weighted average mark, which must be 5 or more to pass the subject. Only students who have failed an exam with a mark below 4, or have not reach 5 in the final weighted average mark, can resit at the reevaluation. Only two exam's marks (including the exam of compulsory reading) at the most can be resitted. The top mark of any resitted exam will be 5.

In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

In the event that tests or exams cannot be taken onsite, they will be adapted to an online format made available through the UAB’s virtual tools (original weighting will be maintained). Homework, activities and class participation will be carried out through forums, wikis and/or discussion on Teams, etc. Lecturers will ensure that students are able to access these virtual tools, or will offer them feasible alternatives.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Exam of the reading of the book: E. Suárez de la Torre, Antología de la lírica griega arcaica 10% 0 0 1, 2
Lecture participation 20% 0 0 7, 6, 1, 3, 2, 4
Translation with dictionary and commentary exam of non in-class translated texts (1st term) 25% 0 0 7, 6, 4, 5
Translation with dictionary and commentary exam of non in-class translated texts (2nd term) 25% 0 0 7, 6, 4, 5
Translation without dictionary and commentary exam of in-class translated texts 20% 0 0 7, 6, 1, 2, 4, 5


Basic bibliography:

A. Lesky, Historia de la literatura griega, Madrid: Gredos 1969.

J. A. López Férez (ed.), Historia de la literatura griega, Madrid: Cátedra 1988.

Editions of Greek texts:

- F. Budelmann (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Lyric (online), Cambridge 2010.

- F. R. Adrados, Líricos griegos. Elegíacos y yambógrafos arcaicos (siglos VII-V a. C.), Madrid 2010.

- B. Gentili; C. Prato, Poetae elegiaciTestimonia et fragmenta. Pars I, Leipzig 1988.

- D. L. Page, Lyrica graeca selecta, Oxford 1968.

- R. Torres; Margalida Capellà; J. Pòrtulas, Corinna de Tànagra. Testimonis i fragments. Barcelona: Fundació Bernat Metge, 2005.

- M. L. West, Delectus ex Iambis et Elegis Graecis, Oxford 1980.

- M. L. West, Iambi et Elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum Cantati, I-II, Oxford 1972.

Translations of Greek texts:

- F. R. Adrados, Lírica griega arcaica: poemas corales y monódicos, 700-300 a. C., Madrid 1980.

- M. Balasch, Píndar. Epinicis. Odes triomfals de l’olimpisme clàssic. Obra completa, Barcelona 1987

- A. Bernabé; Helena Rodríguez Somolinos, Poetisas griegas, Madrid 1994.

- Margalida Capellà i Soler, Poetes gregues antigues, Barcelona 2004.

- J. Ferraté, Líricos griegos arcaicos, Barcelona 1968.

- C. García Gual, Antología de la poesía lírica griega (siglos VII-IV a. C.), Madrid 1983.

- E. Suárez de la Torre, Antología de la lírica griega arcaica, Madrid 2002 [compulsory reading].

- E. Suárez de la Torre, Píndaro. Obra completa, Madrid 1988.

- E. Suárez de la Torre, Yambógrafos griegos, Madrid 2002.

- E. Suárez de la Torre, Elegíacos griegos, Madrid 2012.


- A. Bailly, Dictionnaire Grec-Français, Paris 196326.

- H. G. Liddell; R. Scott; H. S. Jones, A Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford 1996 (with a revised supplement).

Brief additional bibliography:

Lustrum 31-36 (1989-1994): critical bibliographic repertories of Greek lyric authors.

- F. R. Adrados, Orígenes de la lírica griega, Madrid 1976.

F. R. Adrados, El mundo de la lírica griega antigua, Madrid 1981.

- F. R. Adrados, Sociedad, amor y poesía en la Grecia antigua, Madrid 1995.

- M. Brioso; A. Villarrubia (eds.), Consideraciones en torno al amor en la literatura de la Grecia antigua, Sevilla 2000.

- F. J. Cuartero, “El simposi com a àmbit literari”, en Homenatge a Josep Alsina. Actes del Xè Simposi de la Secció Catalna de la SEEC (Tarragona, 28 a 30 de novembre de 1990), vol. I, Tarragona 1992, pp. 121-145.

- H. Fränkel, Poesía y Filosofía de la Grecia Arcaica. Una historia de la épica, la lírica y la prosa griegas hasta la mitad del siglo quinto, Madrid 1993 [translated from the original in German]

- B. Gentili, Poesía y público en la Grecia antigua, Barcelona 1996.

- D. E. Gerber (ed.), A Companion to the Greek Lyric Poets, ed. Brill: Leiden 2011.

- F. J. Gómez Espelosín, “La lírica arcaica como fuente histórica: condicionantes y perspectivas”, Estudios Clásicos 94 (1988),pp. 7-22.

- A. Guzmán Guerra, Manual de métrica griega, Madrid 1997.

- C. Miralles, “El yambo”, Estudios Clásicos 90 (1986), pp. 11-25.

- C. Miralles, “La lírica griega arcaica”, en Actas del VII Congreso Español de Estudios Clásicos (Madrid, 20-24 de abril de 1987), vol. II, Madrid 1989, pp. 17-42.

- C. O. Pavese, Tradizioni e generi poetici della Grecia arcaica, Roma 1972.

- J. Pòrtulas, “Poetas míticos de Grecia”, en Actas del X Congreso Español de Estudios Clásicos (Alcalá de Henares, 21-25 de septiembre de 1999), vol. I, Madrid 2002, pp. 289-312.

- E. Suárez de la Torre, “Religión griega y lírica arcaica”, en Actas del VIII Congreso Español de Estudios Clásicos (Madrid, 23 al 28 de septiembre de 1991), vol. II, Madrid 1994, pp. 33-79.

- M. L. West, Studies in Greek Elegy and Iambus, Berlín-New York 1974.

- M. L. West, Greek Metre, Oxford 1982.


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