The Reception of Greek Lyric Poetry, 600BC-AD400

Reading's Department of Classics is proud to host a conference under the auspices of the Network for the Study of Archaic and Classical Greek Song and in collaboration with the University of Oxford:

The Reception of Greek Lyric Poetry 600BC-AD400

Transmission, Canonization, and Paratext

Classics Department, University of Reading

6th-8th September 2013


Greek lyric, elegiac and iambic poetry have come down to us through the filter of selection, editing, and commentary by ancient scholars. This amounts to a textual and diachronic context for lyric poetry no less crucial to its understanding than the oral and synchronic context of an original performance. This conference aims to appraise the variety of ways in which the reading of the scholarly

The principal areas we shall cover are:

  • The transmission through antiquity. Is oral tradition or writing more important in the early period? can poetic personae be understood as performance traditions? When are songs first written down, why and by whom? how do early texts of lyric poems survive? how do early editions deal with dialect and with metre? how does the process of producing written editions affect the perception of genre?
  • Canonization. The process of literary canonization implies a decision to give privileged status to a small number of authors and exclude others. When is this first done for lyric, elegiac and iambic poets? what are the consequences of this process? when and why do secondary exclusions of authors from the class of those transmitted occur? In what ways does the authority of the tradition extend to issues such as genre and authenticity?
  • Scholarly Paratexts. By "scholarly paratexts" we mean commentaries on texts, scholia, lexica, and the biographical tradition. How indissolubly linked are poetic text and paratext? is it ever possible or desirable to dissociate the former from the latter? Must the paratext always be seen as secondary to the poetic text? How decisively, for better or for worse, have scholarly paratexts shaped critical approaches to the poetry?
  • Ancient reception. Much of the evidence for the lyric poets are citations of the poems and anecdotes about the poets in later writers. Why do authors cite poets? does it matter whether they draw citations from the texts of the poets or from other authors who cite them? are anecdotes about famous events in the poets lives always ultimately based on the poems themselves? are some of them entirely fictional, and how can we tell?


Kristina Bartol (Poznan), Hans Bersdorff (Frankfurt), Gregor Bitto (Eichstaett), Elsa Bouchard (Montreal), Joannes Breuer (Mainz), Michel Briand (Poitiers), Stefano Caciagli (Bologna), Claude Calame (Paris/Lausanne), Vanessa Cazzato (Nijmegen), Thomas Coward (UCL), Ronald Forero Giuseppetti, (Rome Tre), Theodora Hadjimichael (UCL/LMU Munich), Maria Kazanskaya (Paris) , Jacqueline Klooster (Ghent), Peter Kruschwitz (Reading), André Lardinois (Nijmegen), Glenn Most (Heidelberg), Greg Nagy (CHS), Arlette Neumann-Hartmann (Freiburg), Tom Phillips (Oxford), Enrico Prodi (Oxford), Jessica Romney (Bristol), Eveline Rutten (Nijmegen), Renate Schlesier (Berlin), Kristina Tomc (Vienna), Maria Xanthou (Thessaloniki)

For further information, contact Ian Rutherford or Bruno Currie.


Friday 6th of September

1pm: Introduction: Bruno Currie and Ian Rutherford

1.30 pm: Canons 1: Transmission

  • Glenn Most (Heidelberg): "Τὸν ᾽Ανακρέοντα μιμοῦ. Imitation and Enactment in the Anacreontics"
  • André Lardinois, Vanessa Cazzato, and Eveline Rutten (Nijmegen): "A New Philological Approach to the Textual Transmission of Archaic Greek Lyric Poetry"

3pm: Coffee

3.30pm: Biographical Paratexts.

  • Elsa Bouchard (Montreal): "The status of lyric in ancient poetics: Chamaeleon's method and the lyric 'I'"
  • Massimo Giuseppetti (Roma Tre): "Archilochus between Biographical Fictions and Performance Tradition"
  • Kristina Tomc (Vienna): "Μουσάων ἱερὸν στόμα: Pindar as an inspired poet in the ancient vitae, epigrams and Pindaric scholia"

7pm: Reception

Saturday 7th of September

10am: Canons 2: Canons and paratexts in the 5th-4th centuries

  • Jessica Romney (Bristol): "The Vaguarities of 'We': Solon and his Democratic Biographical Tradition"
  • Kristina Bartol (Poznan): "Structuring the Genre: The 5th- and 4th-century Authors on Elegy and Elegiac Poets"

11am: Coffee

11.30am Ancient Scholarship 1

  • Tom Phillips (Oxford): "History and Historians in Ancient Pindaric Scholarship"
  • Michel Briand (Poitiers): "Pindar in the Scholia Vetera in Pindari Carmina, or the lyric poet as a paratextual fiction"
  • Theodora Hadjimichael (UCL/LMU Munich): "The Peripatetics and the Transmission of Lyric"

1pm: Lunch

2pm: Canons 3. The Fifth Century

  • Claude Calame (Paris/Lausanne): "Poètes et formes méliques dans les comédies d'Aristophane: genres poétiques et choix canonique"
  • Greg Nagy (CHS): "On the Odeum of Pericles and the shaping of the Lyric Canon"
  • Maria Kazanskaya (Paris): "Sappho's kertomia"

3.30pm: coffee

4pm: Reception 1. The Second Sophistic

  • Ronald Forero Álvarez (Salamanca): "References to Lyric Poetry in Pausanias' Description of Greece"
  • Renate Schlesier (Berlin): "Athenaios' Sappho"
  • Jacqueline Klooster (Ghent): "The (ab)use of poetry in Plutarch's Life of Solon"

7pm: Conference Dinner

Sunday 8th of September

10am: Scholarship 2

  • Enrico Prodi (Oxford): "De poematum titulis apud Pindarum Bacchylidem Simoniden"
  • Hans Bernsdorff (Frankfurt): "105 (or so) ways to start a poem: a list of lyric and tragic incipits on a new Michigan papyrus"
  • Stefano Caciagli (Bologna): "Sympotic Sappho? The tradition of Sappho's text"

11.30am: Coffee

12pm: Reception 2. Rome

  • Gregor Bitto (Eichstaett): "Pindar, Paratexts, and Poetry"
  • Joannes Breuer (Mainz): "Greek Lyric Poetry in Horace and his commentators"
  • Peter Kruschwitz (Reading): "Innoventing Roman lyric poetry: the paradigm of Laevius"

1.30pm: lunch

2.30pm: Pindaric Paratexts

  • Maria Xanthou (Thessaloniki): "Challenging the pseudo-canonical status of Pind. P.2 and 3 M. post S. in the corpus of Pythian odes: the extrapolation of a new category through hard core text"
  • Arlette Neumann-Hartmann (Freiburg): "Why citing Pindar? Eustathios of Thessalonike and his works on Pindar"
  • Thomas Coward (UCL) "Pindar before Alexandria: Evidence for the Early Transmission of Lyric Poetry"

4pm: General discussion

Things to do now

Contact us:

Prof. Ian Rutherford





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