‘Corpus Theognideum’ from an oral perspective. With special emphasis on fragments of double attribution (Solon, Theognis)


  • Jan Skarbek-Kazanecki Πανεπιστήμιο Łódź της Πολωνίας




Corpus Theognideum, a collection which includes around 1389 elegiac verses assigned to the archaic poet Theognis from Megara, has long given rise to the issue of its authenticity (namely the so-called ‘Theognidean question’); one of the principal problems encountered in this case is the similarities between Theognis’ poems and fragments which are elsewhere assigned to other poets. Accordingly, it is often held that the ‘true-Theognidean-poems’ are represented only by the vv. 19–254 of all collection, viz. the Florilegium Purum (in accordance with the term used by Martin L. West) or Gnomologia ad Cyrnum (Douglas Young’s term).
Studies on the authenticity of the Corpus Theognideum until the ’80s tended to treat the similarities between this sylloge and other elegiac works as the basis for the view that someone, some unknown copyist or a compiler, had used some pieces of Solon, Mimnermus, and Tyrtaeus in order to create this collection. However, the modern emphasis on the context of oral communication and on the performative character of archaic Greek poetry enables us to approach this issue from a new perspective through an oral communicative approach, and using the evolutionary theory of poetic development as the interpretative model for the process of formation of the Corpus Theognideum we can also understand the ‘double attribution’ of some Theognidean fragments as the manifestation of a broader phenomenon: from this point of view, both Solon and the poet/poets of the Theognidea use a pattern from the elegiac tradition and then lay it aside, adapting it more and more to their own purpose. Moreover, this interpretation is also strengthened by some disparties between Solon’ legacy and the elegies that we know from the Theognidean sylloge. Each difference appears to be purposeful and systematic (often repetitive as a constant lexical opposition, e.g. κέρδεα–χρήματα, χρῆμα–πρῆγμα) and to stem from the disparate nature of each poetic tradition.

Author Biography

Jan Skarbek-Kazanecki, Πανεπιστήμιο Łódź της Πολωνίας

Επίκουρος καθηγητής Τμήματος Φιλολογίας
Πανεπιστήμιο Łódź της Πολωνίας



How to Cite

Skarbek-Kazanecki, J. (2020). ‘Corpus Theognideum’ from an oral perspective. With special emphasis on fragments of double attribution (Solon, Theognis). Ariadne, (25-26), 017–043. https://doi.org/10.26248/ariadne.v0i25-26.1231