Textkit Logo

How to write Greek iambics for beginners

Textkit is a learning community- introduce yourself here. Use the Open Board to introduce yourself, chat about off-topic issues and get to know each other.

Moderators: thesaurus, Jeff Tirey

How to write Greek iambics for beginners

Postby chad » Tue Nov 09, 2004 10:49 pm

Hi all, I've put together a beginner's guide to writing Greek iambics, which is one of the main meters used in Greek tragedies, comedies and other Greek poetry.

I've tried to avoid technical terms where I can, and to describe the process or step-by-step method of composing, rather than just to catalogue the rules which must be obeyed. Will helped me out with it and is kindly hosting it on www.aoidoi.org here:

http://www.aoidoi.org/articles/meter/WritingIambics.pdf

It's aimed at beginners, by a beginner :) If you have any questions or advice please let me know. Cheers, Chad. :)
chad
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 757
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 2:55 am

Postby Kasper » Wed Nov 10, 2004 12:39 am

That's great Chad! I might still be a bit too much of a beginner for AG verse composition, but I am very interested in it.

It looks great!! :lol:
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
Kasper
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 3:01 am
Location: Melbourne

Postby chad » Wed Nov 10, 2004 2:38 am

Hi Kasper, thanks for that :) I'm hoping somebody who hasn't written iambics before will give it a try. Cheers, Chad. :)
chad
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 757
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 2:55 am

Postby Adelheid » Wed Nov 10, 2004 7:23 pm

Looks very nice, just one question right now: how did you get all those metric signs into the text? If I would want to give it a try, I would like to be able save my efforts digitally too.

Regards,
Adelheid
User avatar
Adelheid
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 422
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 8:58 pm
Location: Mijdrecht

Postby annis » Wed Nov 10, 2004 9:51 pm

Adelheid wrote:Looks very nice, just one question right now: how did you get all those metric signs into the text? If I would want to give it a try, I would like to be able save my efforts digitally too.


Chad sent the article to me as plain text email (Greek in Betacode), as well as a PDF of the two charts. Then I converted it to LaTeX. If you've never heard of LaTeX, you probably don't want to start using it just for the metrical signs. CTAN has the package metre.sty, which I use for those.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
annis
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3397
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA

Postby Adelheid » Wed Nov 10, 2004 10:17 pm

Funny, LaTex keeps popping up in a lot of different subjects that I've been looking into (bibliographical software for example, BibTex). I had a (very brief) look at it and it seemed complicated.

It also seems to be omnipresent, so it might be useful to take a closer look at it.

Thanks for the info.
User avatar
Adelheid
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 422
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 8:58 pm
Location: Mijdrecht

Postby Kasper » Wed Nov 10, 2004 10:48 pm

What would be a good author to start with for reading iambic poetry?
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
Kasper
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 3:01 am
Location: Melbourne

Postby chad » Wed Nov 10, 2004 11:15 pm

Hi Kasper, it comes down to the commentary resources which are easily available to you. The 3 main tragedians are Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Pharr says that (page vi) "Euripides furnishes the easiest reading" and Aristotle says that he's the "most tragic" of the 3: if you can get a good commentary (or 2 commentaries, because often one supplements an earlier one) you could make a good attempt. I've read the first few pages of the Medea but I don't find it easier than the other authors: maybe when you get further in, into the main dialogue, it's easier.

I personally prefer Sophocles, because you can get the Jebb commentaries (which are really good) on Perseus and I like the way he writes. I've only read parts though: I'm just a beginner as well. Sophocles was described as most Homeric: "Homer is epic Sophocles, and Sophocles is tragic Homer" or something like that from Diogenes Laertius.

If you want to read Aeschylus, the one to read is Prometheus Unbound: a commentary says it's far easier than other Aeschylus plays, and might have been written by someone else. And there's a commentary here on textkit, although the comments are pitched at an intermediate-advanced level. If you got another commentary for beginners, you could have a good attempt at this one.

On the other hand, the only surviving trilogy is by Aeschylus, the Orestea, and that's something I really want to read in Greek as a long-term goal: tragedies were written and meant to be understood as parts of a trilogy. The start of the first play in this only existing trilogy, the Agamemnon play, is really good and not too hard, a sentinel on the roof watching the stars.

In terms of style differences, Aristotle describes Aeschylus' plays as 'simple' in plot: the causes of the downfall happened before the play begins; what you see is the unavoidable fated downfall. In Sophocles there's a bit more choice involved; the downfall has a human as well as fated part... Euripides likes to show human wickedness :)

As another option, something else to think about, I have a good little commentary of Aristophanes' Birds: all the non-iambic bits, and the hard iambic bits, have been cut out, and it's really funny, Aristophanes is hilarious I've discovered. There's lots of resolution in Aristophanes, almost every line: the commentator says that, if he hasn't got resolution in a line, chances are he's pretending to write in snooty tragic style :)

So I think it'll come down to whatever good commentary resources you can get: for iambics you need them. I've talked about a few authors here so that you can choose which one you want to go with. If you find it too hard, you won't have lost anything making an attempt, and you'll have an idea of the poetry style so appreciated by the Greeks :)
chad
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 757
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 2:55 am

Postby annis » Thu Nov 11, 2004 2:03 pm

Adelheid wrote:Funny, LaTex keeps popping up in a lot of different subjects that I've been looking into (bibliographical software for example, BibTex). I had a (very brief) look at it and it seemed complicated.


It can be. A memo would be trivial. My commentaries on Aoidoi.org are not. The tables in Chad's article are the most complex things I've ever done in it.

It also seems to be omnipresent, so it might be useful to take a closer look at it.


If you decide to try it out, let me know and I can send you my standard preamble. The core LaTeX system is free, but magic is required to get the extra Greek fonts I use, as well as metre.sty, which I can only provide guidance on if you're using a Unix system.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
annis
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3397
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA

Postby Adelheid » Thu Nov 11, 2004 2:37 pm

I will make a note of that! Thanks.
User avatar
Adelheid
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 422
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 8:58 pm
Location: Mijdrecht


Return to Open Board

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests