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Attic Poets?

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Attic Poets?

Postby Eureka » Mon Apr 18, 2005 11:38 am

Are there any poets (or better yet, playwrights if their monologues are in verse) who wrote in Attic and are relatively easy to understand?
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Postby annis » Mon Apr 18, 2005 1:44 pm

No poetry was written in pure Attic. All poets were pefectly happy to pilfer certain Ionic (Epic) forms when that solved metrical problems.

All dialog in the plays is in verse, and is mostly Attic (choral numbers have a Doric sheen), but even there surprising non-Attic apparitions appear. I've been reading Eurpides' Alcestis on my bus ride to and from work, and recently I ran across a Doric pronoun ([face=spionic]nin[/face]) in trimeters.

Greek drama is the most difficult Greek I've read apart from Pindar.

The dialog parts of Aristophanes are reputed to be very purely Attic, but I've never read him. I believe chad has, though.
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Postby chad » Mon Apr 18, 2005 11:31 pm

hi eureka and will, yes eureka i highly recommend you try aristophanes. he writes in a pure attic in the dialogue parts except for when he's intentionally speaking mock-persian, spartan, megarian &c (which is apparently why his texts were preserved alone of all the old comedy playwrights) and even better his greek is among the easiest i've read in the almost-3-years i've been studying greek. i've read many opinions that aristophanes' dialogue parts come the closest to 'conversational attic' of the literature we have.

aristophanes is far easier than tragedy i find. you actually start to find tragedy a bit pompous after reading aristophanes (because aristophanes is always ridiculing the pompous way people like euripides write). :) :)

i'm addicted to aristophanes at the moment and so i've read lots of secondary literature books on him and his use of language and metre so if you have any questions i might be able to help.
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Postby Eureka » Tue Apr 19, 2005 9:25 am

Thanks Will and Chad.

I do have one question: What's the metre? :)


(Also, are there any of his plays that you particularly recommend?)
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Postby annis » Tue Apr 19, 2005 12:16 pm

Eureka wrote:I do have one question: What's the metre? :)


Which line, of which play? :)

The old plays are metrical tours de force, with a few meters for talking (mostly iambics/trochaics), for walking onto stage (anapests), and for the chorus anything can happen.
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Postby chad » Tue Apr 19, 2005 11:33 pm

hi, for the dialogue at least in aristophanes, it's in comic iambic trimeter, which is like tragic trimeter but almost every long syllable can be resolved, and you can have a double-short in the third position of each foot (where it makes an anapaest). i've read big chunks of acharnians, knights, clouds and birds; there are good recent commentaries on acharnians, clouds and birds; for knights you have to dig a bit, the ones i found are around the years 1850-1900. the comic trimeter is described in lots of the commentaries i've read. i guess i like acharnians the best because it's the one i've read the most. :)
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Postby Eureka » Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:51 pm

annis wrote:
Eureka wrote:I do have one question: What's the metre? :)


Which line, of which play? :)

I was hoping you wouldn't say that. :shock:
chad wrote:hi, for the dialogue at least in aristophanes, it's in comic iambic trimeter, which is like tragic trimeter but almost every long syllable can be resolved, and you can have a double-short in the third position of each foot (where it makes an anapaest). i've read big chunks of acharnians, knights, clouds and birds; there are good recent commentaries on acharnians, clouds and birds; for knights you have to dig a bit, the ones i found are around the years 1850-1900. the comic trimeter is described in lots of the commentaries i've read. i guess i like acharnians the best because it's the one i've read the most. :)

But unfortunately there seem to be no commentaries on Perseus. :(
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Postby auctor » Thu Apr 21, 2005 12:51 pm

Prof Alan Sommerstein has produced a marvellous collection of Aristophanes' comedies for Aris & Phillips.
Good introductions with plenty of background info, Greek texts with facing English, and commentaries that provide ample help for the linguist and the Greekless general reader.
If you ever see any for sale I'd recommend them - even new they're only 15-17 pounds sterling, well worth the expense.

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