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Alcman and the Cosmos of Sparta
Author: Gloria Ferrari

ISBN: 9780226668680
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 192
Published: 7 February 2014
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 5.5 x 8.5 x 2.0
In this short book acclaimed archaeologist Gloria Ferrari tackles a mystery that has preoccupied scholars for many decades: the meaning of a lyric song called the Partheneion, composed by a writer known as Alcman in Sparta in the 7th century BCE. Scholars have translated and published the work in various editions, and have debated both its meaning and its place in Spartan culture for many years, but with few exceptions they have approached the work as a literary problem. Ferrari claims that the only way we can unlock the meaning of this lyric song, which describes the dance of the stars in a rather abstrusely rendered cosmos, is to consider it from a range of angles that include ancient theatre (the dance, Ferrari, thinks was performed by a chorus during the archaic period, well in advance of the great classical works of Sophocles, Euripedes, or even Aeschylus), ancient poetry and music, religion, Greek painting, and material culture.

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