The “Echo of Pentamer”. Modes of Performance of Greek Elegy from Archaic to Hellenistic Age · A passage of Hermesianax (fr. 3 Lightfoot = 7 Powell, the socalled katalogos erotikon, vv. 35-46), speaking about the colophonian poets Mimnermus and Antimachus, outlines an ‘implicit’ history of elegiac poetry from archaic age to the time of Hermesianax. The terms used by the Hellenistic poet to define Mimner- mus’ poetry, on the one hand, and Antimachus’ poetry, on the other, have very spe- cific meanings in relationship to their different modes of performance: a sung execution with the accompaniment of the aulos for the archaic poet, a chanting recitative execution with musical accompaniment (parakataloge) or a purely reci- tative one, without musical accompaniment, for the poet of classical age. Indeed, a survey of the testimonia concerning elegiac poetry of archaic and classical age re- veals that there was an evolution of the genre from sympotic elegy (that of Mim- nermus) to rhapsodic elegy (that of Antimachus); and an analysis of some phonic and metrical features of the fragments of Mimnermus, compared with those which can be observed in the fragments of Hermesianax and Philitas, confirms that the poets of the first Hellenistic age tempted a revival of the sung execution of elegy.
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