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BacchylidesPolitics, Performance, Poetic Tradition$
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David Fearn

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199215508

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215508.001.0001

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Bacchylides and the Kuklios Khoros: Performance, Genre, and Reception

Bacchylides and the Kuklios Khoros: Performance, Genre, and Reception

Performance, Genre, and Reception

(p.163) 3 Bacchylides and the Kuklios Khoros: Performance, Genre, and Reception


Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the nature of the Alexandrian edition of Bacchylides' Dithyrambs. Section I examines the importance of the kuklios khoros, or ‘circular chorus’, and looks at poetic evidence for the affiliations of the term, διθύραμβος during the period in which Bacchylides was operating. Section II discusses ways in which poetry became embroiled in scholarly, sophistic, and musical controversy about the ritual affiliations of choral culture, focusing on the New Music. Section III considers how the Alexandrians came to understand the term διθύραμβος and make it into a canonical genre, following Platonic and Aristotelian approaches to classification. Section IV focuses on later reception, in later antiquity and into the 19th century, to show how the orthodoxy concerning Bacchylides' poetry arose. Section V concludes by suggesting that a more discursive conception of genre needs to be adopted to do justice to Bacchylides' work. Furthermore, it argues that a more dynamic view of the interaction between the notions of genre and performance needs to be established.

Keywords:   Bacchylides, Dithyrambs, kuklios khoros, circular chorus, New Music, lyric poetry

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