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Στησίχορος). A celebrated Greek poet of Himera in Sicily, contemporary with Sappho, Alcaeus, Pittacus, and Phalaris. He is said to have been born B.C. 632, to have flourished about 608, and to have died in 552 at the age of eighty. Of the events of his life we have only a few obscure accounts. As with other great poets, his birth is fabled to have been attended by an omen; a nightingale sat upon the babe's lips, and sang a sweet strain. He is said to have been carefully educated at Catana, and afterwards to have enjoyed the friendship of Phalaris, the tyrant of Agrigentum. Many writers relate the fable of his being miraculously struck with blindness after writing an attack upon Helen, and recovering his sight when he had composed a Palinodia or recantation. He is said to have been buried at Catana by a gate of the city, which was called after him the Stesichorean Gate. Stesichorus was one of the nine-chiefs of lyric poetry recognized by the ancients. He stands, with Alcman, at the head of one branch of the lyric art, the choral poetry of the Dorians. He was the first to break the monotony of the strophe and antistrophe by the introduction of the epode, and his metres were much more varied, and the structure of his strophes more elaborate, than those of Alcman. His odes contained all the essential elements of the perfect choral poetry of Pindar and the tragedians. The subjects of his poems were chiefly heroic; and he transferred the subjects of the old epic poetry to the lyric form, dropping, of course, the continuous narrative, and dwelling on isolated adventures of his heroes. He also composed poems on other subjects, and fables, among the latter the wellknown one of the horse, the stag, and the man (Aristot. Rhet. ii. 20). His extant remains may be classified under the following heads:


mythical poems;


hymns, encomia, epithalamia, paeans;


erotic poems, and scolia;


a pastoral poem, entitled Daphnis;




elegies. The dialect of Stesichorus was Dorian, with an intermixture of the epic. The best editions of his fragments are those by Kleine (Berlin, 1828), and by Bergk in his Poetae Lyrici Graeci (4th ed. 1878). On the dialect, see Holsten, De Stesichori Dialecto (1884); and Mucke, De Dialecto Stesichori cum Pindar. Comparata (1879).

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