Anacreon in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

Anacreon (Ανακρέων). A famous Greek lyric poet, born about B.C. 550, at Teos, an Ionian town of Asia, whose inhabitants, to escape the threatened yoke of Persia, migrated to Abdera in Thrace, B.C. 540. From Abdera, Anacreon went to the tyrant Polycrates of Samos, after whose death (B.C. 522) he removed to Athens on the invitation of Hipparchus, and lived there, till the fall of the Peisistratidae, on friendly terms with his fellow-poet Simonides, and Xanthippus, the father of Pericles. He is said to have died at Abdera in his eighty-sixth year, choked by the stone of a dried grape. A statue of him stood in the Acropolis at Athens in the guise of an aged minstrel inspired by the wine-god; for Anacreon was regarded as the type of a poet who, in spite of age, paid perpetual homage to wine and love. Love and wine and merry company formed the favourite subjects of his light, sweet, and graceful songs, which were cast in the metres of the Aeolic poets, but composed in the Ionic dialect. Besides fragments of such songs and of elegies, we have also a number of epigrams that bear his name. His songs were largely imitated, and of such imitations we have under his name a collection of about sixty love-songs and drinkingsongs of very various (partly much later) dates, and of different degrees of merit. Of these, the renderings by Thomas Moore are unsurpassed in grace and melody. The genuine fragments are contained in Bergk's Poetae Lyrici Graeci (4th ed. 1878). Translation edited by Bullen (N. Y. 1893).

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