Mimnermus

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Lyric Poet (c.632 BC – ?)

Mimnermus was an elegiac poet from the city of Colophon, Asia Minor, who flourished during the 7th century BC. His influence among the Alexandrian erotic poets was significant; during the Roman era he became famous for two things: a skilled craftsman of elegy and a poet of love.

He was a contemporary of the Seven Sages of ancient Greece. Mimnermus is hailed by ancient writers as the best elegiac poet and the first one to make love his first and major theme in poetry. As a pioneer of elegiac poetry, his works are responsible for connecting the Hellenistic poetry with the Roman elegy.

In his poems, Mimnermus expresses his individual emotions, his erotic pathos and his melancholy as well as sorrow on the fact that youth is shorter and old age longer. Furthermore, he sings of bravery and acts of valor. His poetry is filled with vivid imagery of nature, magical and mythological elements, overwhelmed by charm and overall an encomium to love.

In addition, Mimnermus was an aulos-player, a wind instrument prevalent in ancient Greece. He is credited by Strabo and Plutarch as having established musical laws for aulos music. Indeed, Mimnermus possessed good knowledge on music as seen from the musical rhythm of his elegies. A large portion of his poems were published as a collection under the name Nanno, the name of a aulos-player he fell in love with.

Mimnermus’ reputation rose significantly during the early Roman era and his works enjoyed a high number of readers, namely Propertius and other Roman imitators who attempted to recreate his writings. Propertius admired Mimnermus’ approach to the depths of man’s emotions and musicality of his poems.

Bibliography:

  1. “Mimnermos”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. N.I. Luvaris, Passas, I. Athens: 1946. Print.
  2. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Mimnermus. Encyclopaedia Britannica. June 29, 2017. Britannica.com. December 25, 2018. Web.
  3. Καζάζης, Καραμήτρου. Ανθολόγιο Αρχαϊκής Λυρικής Ποίησης γεικού λυκείου (κατεύθυνσης). Οργανισμός Εκδόσεως Διδακτικών Βιβλίων. Ψηφιακό Σχολείο. Ebooks.edu.gr.Web.
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Mimnermus

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