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The Greek poetry of the archaic period that we call elegy was composed primarily for banquets and convivial gatherings. Its subject matter consists of almost any topic, excluding only the scurrilous and obscene. In this completely new Loeb Classical Library edition, Douglas Gerber provides a faithful translation of the fragments and significant testimonia that have come down to us, with full explanatory notes.
Most substantial in this volume is the collection of elegiac verses to which Theognis’s name is attached (the Theognidea). Drinking and merry-making are frequent themes in these poems; there are also more reflective and philosophic pieces and love poems. Together they offer an interesting picture of an aristocratic man’s views about life, friendship, fate, and daily concerns. Also notable in this volume is the martial verse of the Spartan Tyrtaeus and the poetry of Solon, Athens’s famous lawmaker.