Greek literature, ancient

Early Writings

The earliest extant European literary works are the Iliad and the Odyssey, both written in ancient Greek probably before 700 B.C., and attributed to Homer. Among other early epic poems, most of which have perished, those of Hesiod, the first didactic poet, remain. The poems dealing with mythological subjects and known as the Homeric Hymns are dated 800–300 B.C. Only fragments survive of the works of many early Greek poets, including the elegiasts Tyrtaeus, Theognis, Solon, Semonides of Amorgos, Archilochus, and Hipponax. The most personal Greek poems are the lyrics of Alcaeus, Sappho and Anacreon. The Dorian lyric for choral performance, developed with Alcman, Ibycus, and Stesichorus, achieved perfection in Pindar, Simonides of Ceos, and Bacchylides.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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