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Biographies (3)

Poets

Erinna

Erinna, a poetess, and the friend of Sappho. She flourished about the year B.C. 610. All that is known of her is contained in the following words of Eustathius ( ad Il.ii. p. 327): Erinna was born in Lesbos, or in Rhodes, or in Teos, or in Telos, the little island near Cnidus. She was a poetess, and wrote a poem called "the Distaff" (Elakate) in the Aeolic and Doric dialect; it consisted of 300 hexameter lines. She was the friend of Sappho, and died unmarried. It was thought that her verses rivalled those of Homer. She was only nineteen years of age when she died. Chained by her mother to the spinning-wheel, Erinna had as yet known the charm of existence in imagination alone. She probably expressed in her poem the restless and aspiring thoughts which crowded on her youthful mind as she pursued her monotonous work. We possess at the present day only four lines by Erinna; for though three epigrams ascribed to her are given by Schneidewin in his Delectus Poesis Graecae Elegiacae (Gottingen, 1839), two at least are not genuine.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Feb 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Erinna, a contemporary and friend of Sappho (about B. C. 612), who died at the age of nineteen, but left behind her poems which were thought worthy to rank with those of Homer. Her poems were of the epic class: the chief of them was entitled Elakate, the Distaff: it consisted of three hundred lines, of which only four are extant (Stob. Flor. cxviii. 4; Athen. vii.). It was written in a dialect which was a mixture of the Doric and Aeolic, and which was spoken at Rhodes, where, or in the island of Telos, Erinna was born. She is also called a Lesbian and a Mytilenaean, on account of her residence in Lesbos with Sappho (Suidas, s. v.; Eustath. ad Il. ii. 726). There are several epigrams upon Erinna, in which her praise is celebrated, and her untimely death is lamented. The passage last cited, which is from the Ecphrasis of Christodorus (vv. 108-110) shews, that her statue was erected in the gymnasium of Zeuxippus at Byzantium. Her statue by Naucydes is mentioned by Tatian (Orat. ad Graec. 52). Three epigrams in the Greek Anthology are ascribed to her, of which the first has the genuine air of antiquity; but the other two, addressed to Baucis, seem to be a later fabrication. She had a place in the Garland of Meleager (v. 12).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



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