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Greek Poet: c. 300 BC

Antye was a poetess of Hellenic Greece, known for her 24 epigrams recorded in Meleager of Gadara's (c.135-c.65) Garland, a compilation of epigrams by 50 writers of the Alexandrian period. She was the first poet recorded in the collection, her flower of the garland being the lily.

Antye was seen as 'one of the nine earthly muses' to later Greek writers, and her 24 poems are the most complete collection of poetry by any Greek female writer of antiquity, even Sappho. She is credited as one of the first users of the pastoral epigram style, and is possibly the first recorded writer of poetry for deceased pets.

"You met your death by a thickly rooted shrub, Locris,
swiftest of the puppies who love to bark.
Such a pitiless poison was trust into your nimble limb
by a viper with iridescent neck."

Other animals written about include a child's pet grasshopper and the warrior Damis' horse

Very little is known about her life, despite the very personal viewpoint of her poetry. She is thought to have come from Tegea in southern Arcadia on the Peloponnese and may have had a school of poetry there. She writes lyrically about children, animals and women, making her works very different to most of the male dominated epigrams of the time.

To date, the only poem noded on E2 by Anyte is The Tomb of Damis' Horse, which originally sparked my curiosity and this node. Please /msg me if you come across any others within the database and I shall add them to the list.


Also, see Gritchka's w/u on Sappho for more information about Meleager's 'Garland'.

From Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (London, 1880)

A'NTYE, of Tegea ('Anute Tegeatis), the authoress of several epigrams in the Greek Anthology, is mentioned by Pollux (v. 5) and by Stephanus Bysantinus (s.v. Tegea). She is numbered among the lyric poets by Meleager (Jacobs, Anthol. i. l, v. 5), in whose list she stands first, and by Antipater of Thessalonica (ibid. ii. 101, no. 23), who names her with Praxilla, Myro, and Sappho, and calls her the female Homer (Thelun Omeron), an epithet which might used either with reference to the martial spirit of some of her epigrams, or to their antique character. From the above notices and from the epigrams themselves, which are for the msot part in the style of the ancient Doric choral songs, like the poems of Aleman, we should be disposed to place her much higher than the date usually assigned to her, on the authority of a passage in Tatian (adv. Graecos, 52, p. 114, Worth.), who says, that the statue of Anyte was made by Euthycrates and Cephisodotus, who are known to have flourished about 300 B.C. But even if the Anyte here mentioned were certainly the poetess, it would not follow that she was contemporary with these artists. On the other hand, one of Anyte's epigrams (15, Jacobs) is an inscription for a monument erected by a certain Damis over his horse, which had been killed in battle. Now, the only historical personage of this name is Damis who was made leader of the Messenians after death of Aristodemus, towards the close of the first Messenian war. (Paus. iv. 10. 4, 13, 4) We know also from Pausanias that the Arcadians were the allies of the Messenians in that war. The conjecture of Reiske, therefore, that the Damis mentioned by Anyte of Tegea is the same as the leader of the Messenains, scarecely deserves the contempt with which it is treated by Jacobs. This conjecture places Anyte about 723 B.C. This date may be thought too high to suit the style and subjects of some of her epigrams. But one of these (17) bears the name of "Anyte of Mytilene," and the same epigram may be fixed, by internal evidence, at 279 B.C. (Jacobs, xii, p. 853.) And since it is very common in the Anthology for epigrams to be ascribed to an author simply by name, without a distinctive title, even when there was more than one epigrammist of the same name, there is nothing to prevent the epigrams which bear traces of a later date being referred to Anyte of Mytilene.

An original e-text for everything2. That is, I sat down and copied the text from the book (in the public domain) - it is not available on any other web site. Given sufficient interest, I may node more entries from this book, and try to get my ocr software to recognize the printing.

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