Semonides of Samos or of Amorgos? The Archaeology of the Samians and the Question of the Archaic Colonization of Amorgos Reconsidered

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Semonides of Samos or of Amorgos? The Archaeology of the Samians and the Question of the Archaic Colonization of Amorgos Reconsidered
  Semonides of Samos or of Amorgos? Te  Archaeology    of the Samians   and the Question of the Archaic Colonization of Amorgos Reconsidered* Christy Constantakopoulou I󰁮󰁴󰁲󰁯󰁤󰁵󰁣󰁴󰁩󰁯󰁮 My starting point is the stories about the colonization of islands in the Aegean Sea. More particularly, I want to examine the stories about the archaic colonization of the island of  Amorgos, with its three  poleis   in the Classical period (Aigiale, Minoa and Arkesine), by the island of Samos. Tese stories link the colonizing enterprise of Amorgos with the famous archaic poet Semonides. Indeed, Semonides’ life and poetry play a central role in the construction of the ancient and modern narratives of the colonization of Amorgos by Samos. By unravelling the historical context of the creation of a biographic tradition for the poet Semonides, we come closer to understanding exactly what happened in the archaic Aegean, or whether there was such a thing as an archaic colonization of the three  poleis   of Amorgos by Samos.Tese colonization stories are products of the larger context of the process through which overseas settlements were established in the Early Archaic period. Te primary context, therefore, for understanding such narratives about Greek colonization of the Aegean is the geographical landscape of the Aegean Sea and its islands. Te Aegean Sea is uniquely characterised by the presence of a large number of islands, a geographic feature which facilitated maritime connectivity from an early age. Te presence of the islands created the conditions for increased connectivity and occasionally political unification in specific historical contexts; such contexts, for example, were the fifth century and the period of control of the Athenian empire, or the period of the Ottoman rule, where both mainland Greece and the coastal strip of Asia Minor belonged to the same political power. I do not want to revisit here what impact the presence of sea power and maritime connectivity had on the Aegean Sea, as much of my recent work has concentrated on these topics 1 . But I do want to stress that the increased mobility of goods and people that we can see in the Aegean Sea from the Early Archaic period on created the conditions through which the complex phenomenon generally described as Greek “colonization” took place. Recent scholarship has emphasized the conceptual and methodological problems that the use of the term “colonization” causes when applied to the processes through which the Greeks established overseas settlements in the Early Archaic period 2 . Te scope of this paper does not allow me to engage with the debate of the nature of such “overseas” settlements during the eighth and seventh centuries, but I would like to highlight very briefly two issues. Firstly, the foundation of these settlements had a massive impact on ‘old’, so to speak, Greece, and it may * I would like to thank Grégory Bonnin and Enora Le Quéré for the invitation to participate in the confer-ence and for their overall splendid organisation.1 See Constantakopoulou 2007.2 As the scholarship on this subject is vast, I offer only a handful of examples of recent approaches. On problems of definition and recent trends, see Malkin 2011, esp. 23-25, and 51-53. A useful summary of recent approaches, with a particularly stimulating discussion of the problems of definition can be found in setskhladze & Hargrave 2010. Osborne 1998 and Purcell 2005a place colonization within a context of wider mobility. 02CONSTANTAKOPOULOU.indd 25920/03/14 16:48  260    C   h  r   i  s   t  y   C  o  n  s   t  a  n   t  a   k  o  p  o  u   l  o  u have kick-started the very process of state formation, through the consolidation of processes that eventually led to the Greek city-state, the  polis  , as we know it in the Classical period. Secondly, Greek colonization, and I am aware that this is a problematic term, did not appear suddenly out of a historical vacuum; rather it makes sense only if placed against a background of increased maritime mobility of goods and people. 󰁨󰁥 󰁡󰁮󰁣󰁩󰁥󰁮󰁴 󰁥󰁶󰁩󰁤󰁥󰁮󰁣󰁥 󰁡󰁮󰁤 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁣󰁲󰁥󰁤󰁩󰁢󰁩󰁬󰁩󰁴󰁹 󰁯󰁦 󰁡󰁮󰁣󰁩󰁥󰁮󰁴 󰁢󰁩󰁯󰁧󰁲󰁡󰁰󰁨󰁩󰁣󰁡󰁬 󰁴󰁲󰁡󰁤󰁩󰁴󰁩󰁯󰁮󰁳 Te story about the colonization of the three  poleis   of Amorgos by Samos in the Archaic period can be found in a single testimonium , which, as we shall see, discusses the archaic poet Semonides. It is perhaps worth quoting the source in full 3 : γραμματικός. ἔγραψε Γλώσσας βιβλία γ ’ ·  [[ ποιήματα διάφορα βιβλία  δ’]]. ἦν δὲ τὸ ἐξαρχῆς Σάμιος, ἐν δὲ τῶι ἀποικισμῶι τῆς ᾽Αμοργοῦ ἐστάλη καὶ αὐτὸς ἡγεμὼν ὑπὸ Σαμίων· ἔκτισε δὲ ᾽Αμοργὸν εἰς τρεῖς πόλεις, Μινώιαν, Αἰγιαλόν, ᾽Αρκεσίνην. γέγονε δὲ μετὰ υς ἔτη τῶν Τρωικῶν, καὶ ἔγραψε κατά τινας πρῶτος   ἰάμβους· [[καὶ ἄλλα διάφορα]]· ᾽Αρχαιολογίαν τε τῶν Σαμίων . [Simmias of Rhodes]. Grammarian. He wrote On Languages in three books; [[various poems in four books]]. He was srcinally from Samos, but he was sent as leader by the people of Samos in the colonization of Amorgos. In Amorgos, he founded three poleis, Minoa, Aigialos, Arkesine. He was active 406 years after the rojan War, and according to some, he was the first to write iambics [[and various other works]]. He  wrote also the  Archaeology of the Samians  . It is clear that this entry cannot possibly apply to the Hellenistic grammarian Simmias of Rhodes, but it must be a mistaken attribution to the archaic poet Semonides, who we know was associated with Samos and Amorgos and was understood in Antiquity to be the “first” to write iambics 4 . What we have here, therefore, is an entry on Semonides, which at some later stage  was erroneously attributed to Simias of Rhodes. I shall discuss the evidence that we have on Semonides’ life and work further below, but for the moment, I would like to consider another issue, one which is at the heart of the story about Samos’ colonizing expedition at Amorgos. Tis is the credibility of ancient biographical traditions, with particular reference to the lives of archaic poets. As the only source discussing the colonization of Amorgos by Samos links this  with the life of Semonides, the poet, it is essential that we understand the limits of the genre of biographical traditions, and consequently their credibility, as a source of Archaic History. Indeed, the credibility of biographic traditions of archaic poets is a much debated topic in recent scholarship 5 . One of the key questions of the debate is the relationship between historical truth and fiction in the ancient biographies of Greek poets. On the one hand, there is 3 FGrH  , 534 1 = Suda  , s.v.  “ Σιμμίας ῾Ρόδιος ” ( σ  431 Adler).4 Jacoby 1955b, 269 with n. 8a. See Hubbard 1996, 227 n. 6: “neither the archaic date given here nor the Samian/Amorgine nationality nor the status as ‘first iambographer’ can possibly apply to the Hellenistic Simmias of Rhodes, but they do correspond to information we find elsewhere concerning Semonides”. Semonides as the first writer of iambics: FGrH  , 534 2 = Suda  , s.v.   “Σιμωνίδης Κρινέω ᾽Αμοργῖνος” ( σ  446 Adler), quoted in full below. For a fuller discussion, see Constantakopoulou 2011.5 Momigliano 1993 accepts some truth in the biographical traditions of archaic poets, but Lefkowitz 1981 is more sceptical. Morrison 2007, 31-35, 45-61 adopts a middle position, but is willing to exclude archaic iambus (and therefore by implication, Semonides) from this (31 n. 190). Recently Kivilo 2010 emphasizes the role of oral traditions in the shaping of the stories. 02CONSTANTAKOPOULOU.indd 26020/03/14 16:48  261  S  e m o n i   d  e s  o f   S  a m o s  o r  o f   A  m o r   g o s  ?   a school of thought that advocates that ancient biographies of archaic poets are based on some historical truth about the actual lives of the archaic poets, and therefore, when treated with the appropriate care, can reveal much about the contemporary historical and cultural context of the poet’s life 6 . On the other hand, we have the approach that sees ancient biographical traditions as essentially later fictive narratives 7 . Te argument is that ancient biographies misunderstood the use of the ‘I’ person in archaic poetry, which they took to refer to the actual life and events of the poet himself (or herself, in the case of Sappho). Te personal voice of archaic poetry, that is the use of the personal pronoun ‘I’, is not necessarily that of the poet himself, but rather it is a form of expression appropriate to the genre. Certainly, how to read the use of the ‘I’ in archaic poetry is another thorny subject 8 . Rather than viewing it as the personal voice of the poet and therefore as an indicator of his/her own personal experiences, we should follow C. Calame in understanding it as “the powerful voice of the poet, in general in his author-function, the choral voice of the song’s performers, and also the voice of the victor and his family, and indeed the voice of the entire civic community” 9 . If we accept the use of the ‘I’ in archaic poetry as an issue largely related to that of genre, and an expression of multiple identities, then we should not read the poems as reflections of events that actually happened. Indeed, even if we do accept, with A. D. Morrison, that there is a certain overlap between the voice of the primary narrator in melic poetry (especially iambus) and that of the poet, we still cannot read the poems as biographical statements of the poets’ lives 10 . Furthermore, we should distrust ancient biographical traditions about the poets, as these traditions were based on the poems themselves 11 . Certainly, it is very difficult to draw a line between “fictionality” and “truth” in the lives of the poets: even if the lives are fictional, they draw inspiration from real life and reflect to a certain degree the contemporary audiences’ expectations, which, in turn, are shaped by real life experiences 12 . If we keep in mind the problematic credibility of ancient biographical traditions, then the source for a Samian colonization of Amorgos, under the leadership of Semonides, becomes even more questionable. We have no independent tradition of such a colonizing enterprise, other than what is linked with Semonides’ particular role in the expedition. We should therefore be extremely careful when understanding such traditions as reflecting historical facts. What these traditions reflect is not the “historical” reality of the Archaic period, but rather the historical context that generated them, which is, in most cases, the Hellenistic period. So, this would be my main argument: the story about an archaic Samian colonization of Amorgos does not reflect any “historical” reality. Rather, it is a third-century fabrication, constructed as a form of justification for the third-century Samian expansion on Minoa (one of the three  poleis   of Amorgos). In this, I am following G. Rougemont’s suggestion 13 . I argue that the tradition linking Semonides with the archaic colonization of Amorgos was the result of a conscious parallelism between Semonides and the other famous archaic poet of iambics, 6 Recently argued by Kivilo 2010.7 Lefkowitz 1981.8 For the controversy see Dover 1964; Bremer 1990; Slings 1990; Lefkowitz 1991; Goldhill 1991; Schneider 1993; Lefkowitz 1995; Morrison 2007. 9 Calame 2011, 137.10 Morrison 2007 rightly uses the term “quasi-biography” for such “personal” statements.11 Lefkowitz 1981.12 Morrison 2007; Compton 2006, 324-325.13 Rougemont 1983. 02CONSTANTAKOPOULOU.indd 26120/03/14 16:48  262    C   h  r   i  s   t  y   C  o  n  s   t  a  n   t  a   k  o  p  o  u   l  o  u  Archilochos, who famously participated in the colonization of Tasos by Paros. Unfortunately, G. Rougemont’s position has not been widely accepted in modern scholarship 14 . As a result, most scholarship on Semonides, or indeed on the early history of Amorgos, accepts the story preserved in the Suda as historical fact, and then uses it in order to date Semonides on the basis of the archaeological evidence of the early settlement of Minoa, or vice versa  , to date the Early  Archaic period of Minoa on the basis of the date of the poetry of Semonides. Clearly this is an unsatisfactory state of affairs and one that leads to unfortunate circular arguments. I would like to stress that it is methodologically unsound to link the question of the date of Semonides with any evidence from Amorgos: the archaeology of Amorgos alone can provide information for the early stages of its history. S󰁥󰁭󰁯󰁮󰁩󰁤󰁥󰁳 󰁡󰁮󰁤 󰁨󰁩󰁳 󰁰󰁯󰁥󰁴󰁲󰁹  In order to understand why the tradition of the colonization of Amorgos was created and  why it was linked with Semonides, we need to understand who Semonides was. Semonides (or his alternative spelling Simonides, not to be confused with the more famous poet Simonides from Keos) 15  was associated with Amorgos and Samos in the ancient testimonia  : in most cases he appears as an “Amorgian” and but in one case, he is associated with Samos 16 . Semonides was of course famous for his iambic poetry, and his was considered, along with Archilochos as one of the earliest writers of iambics, who also produced some of the best examples of this kind of poetry. It is possible that the claim that he was the first to write iambics was not altogether untrue 17 . His most famous poem (West, GLP  ,   F 7), and the longest fragment that we have, describes ten types of wives, who are all presented in an extremely negative light; indeed, the  whole poem can be viewed as one of the earliest enunciations of pure misogyny  18 . Semonides’ claim to fame may have been his iambics, but for our purposes it is the reference to elegiac poems that is important. It is worth quoting the relevant Suda entry in full 19 : 14 See comments in Marangou 2002, 123: the acceptance of a seventh-century Samian colonization of  Amorgos is “the most dominant opinion” in recent scholarship (“ επικρατέστερη άποψη ”).15 Te grammarian Choeroboscus ( Etym. Magn. , 713.17) distinguishes two names: “Semonides” is the iam-bic poet and “Simonides” is the lyric poet: ἐπὶ μὲν τοῦ ἰαμβοποιοῦ διὰ τοῦ η γράφεται (καὶ ἴσως παρὰ τὸ σῆμα ἐστίν), ἐπὶ δὲ τοῦ λυρικοῦ, διὰ τοῦ ι (καὶ ἴσως παρὰ τὸ σιμός ἐστιν ). Χοιροβοσκός  (= West 1992, 98). Te spelling “Semonides” is confirmed by the Herculaneum papyrus of Philodemus’ Poetics   ( P.Herc. , 1074.20 N = ractatus tertius  , fr. f, col. III [Sbordone] = Sbordone 1976, 213). All the other ancient cita-tions refer to “Simonides”.16 Semonides the “Amorgian” in FGrH  , 534 2 = Suda  , s.v.   “Σιμωνίδης Κρινέω ᾽Αμοργῖνος” (σ  446 Adler); Str. 10.5.12 C487: ἔστι δὲ καὶ Ἀμοργὸς τῶν Σποράδων, ὅθεν ἦν Σιμωνίδης, ὁ τῶν ἰάμβων ποιητής . Steph. Byz., s.v.  “Amorgos”, records three different versions of his Amorgian ethnic: ἀπὸ τῆς Μινώας ἦν Σιμωνίδης ὁ ἰαμβοποιός, Ἀμοργῖνος λεγόμενος, ὡς Ἐρυκῖνος. λέγεται καὶ Ἀμόργιος, ὥς φησι Χάραξ  ( FGrH  , 103 F 48).  Νικόλαος  ( FGrH  , 90 F 87) δ᾽ Ἀμοργίτην αὐτὸν καλεῖ  . Proclus was well aware of the confusion with regard to Semonides’ ethnic when he noted that some sources thought Semonides was a Samian (Proclus, apud   Phot., Bibl. ,   319b 28-31): Σιμωνίδης ὁ Αμόργιος ἤ, ὡς ἔνιοι, Σάμιος . See Bowie 2009, 110 for some possible Samian connections: the references to an eel from the Maeander river (West, GLP  , F 9) and a goose from the Maeander valley (West, GLP  , F 11) may indicate a Samian locality, as the Maeander valley was very close to Samos; yet, such delicacies could have reached Amorgos too.17 FGrH  , 534 2 = Suda  , s.v  . “ Σιμωνίδης Κρινέω ᾽Αμοργῖνος ” ( σ  446 Adler).18 Lloyd-Jones 1975.19 FGrH  , 534 2: Suda  , s.v.   “Σιμωνίδης Κρινέω ᾽Αμοργῖνος”  ( σ  446 Adler). 02CONSTANTAKOPOULOU.indd 26220/03/14 16:48  263  S  e m o n i   d  e s  o f   S  a m o s  o r  o f   A  m o r   g o s  ?   ἰαμβογράφος. ἔγραψεν ἐλεγείαν ἐν βιβλίοις β· ἰάμβους. γέγονε δὲ καὶ   αὐτὸς μετὰ  q καὶ υ ἔτη τῶν Τρωικῶν. ἔγραψεν ἰάμβους πρῶτος αὐτὸς κατά τινας . [Simonides (sic), son of Krines, from Amorgos]. Writer of iambics. He wrote elegies in two books and iambics. He flourished 490 years after the rojan War. According to some, he was the first to write iambics. Te reference to elegiac poems in two books 20  implies either a collection of short elegiac poems in two books, or a single poem of substantial length 21 . Te most economical reconstruction of the extremely scanty testimonia   is that the reference in the Suda entry for Simmias to a work entitled  Archaeology of the Samians ( ᾽Αρχαιολογίαν τε τῶν Σαμίων)  is the same as the reference to elegies in two books 22 . Te relatively recent discovery of a papyrus with the first substantial piece of the genre of historical elegy, the so-called New Simonides poem, which is a long elegy on the battle of Plataea, has had a big impact in scholarship on elegy  23 . Such historical elegies may have been written to be performed at a public occasion, rather than a more “private” sympotic context 24 . Semonides, therefore, was mostly famous for his iambic poetry, but he also wrote a long elegy, possibly around 2 000 lines 25 , entitled Te Archaeology of the Samians  , which belonged to the genre of historical elegy. We have quite a few names of early poets who have written elegy, and more specifically “historical” elegy  26 : Panyasis of Halicarnassus wrote Ionika   ( FGrH  , 440  1), Mimnermos wrote Smyrneis   ( FGrH  , 578 F 1), Xenophanes wrote Ktisis of Kolophon   20 Recently Hubbard 1994 and Hubbard 1996 suggested a date for Semonides as late as the latter half of sixth century. Te main argument put forward is that Semonides was the author of the elegy normally attributed to Simonides (West, GLP  , F 19; quoted in Stob., Flor. , 4.34.28) and that this elegy was written as a reply to a poem by Mimnermos (West, GLP  , F 2). See however Bowie 2001, 49 n. 13 and 54 n. 29 for a reply, and Brown 1997, 70-71 with n. 7. Although Hubbard’s argument has some attractions, such as the fact that it dissociates Semonides from any colonizing enterprise of the Samians, and the suggestion that this tradition was created as a parallel to Archilochos’ life, still, the discovery of the new papyrus with Simonides’ elegiac poems, which includes the rest of the poem quoted in Stob., Flor. , 4.34.28, seems to imply that West, GLP  , F 19 was rightly associated with Simonides the Keian.21 Brown 1997, 70, with n. 5.22 Suggested by Bowie 1986, 30, followed by Pellizer (Pellizer & edeschi 1990, xxv).23 Boedeker & Sider 2001.24 Bowie 1986 and Bowie 2010.25 Jacoby 1955a, 456 believed that if it was an elegy, its length would be comparable to yrtaios’ Eunomia   ( FGrH  , 580 F 1) or Solon’s Salamis   (West, GLP  , F 1-3). Jacoby’s position is largely followed by Grethlein 2010, 52 and 296, who does not believe that there is any evidence for long historical elegies outside a sympotic context; Semonides’ work, therefore, must have been short. Bowie 1986, 33, on the other hand, argued that it was about 2 000 lines long. He further argued (Bowie 2001b, 49) that if indeed Te  Archaeology of the Samians   was the same as the elegy in two books, then it “surely exceeded the length of poem that would fit in a single papyrus roll, i.e.   c.  2000 lines. But it may have occupied one of two books, or it may not have been an elegy at all, though if it was not an elegy and it was by Semonides, it must have been in some other verse form, whether hexameters or trochaic tetrameters”. So, even though  we cannot be certain about any of the above suggestions, it is likely, as Bowie argued, that Semonides’  work was long enough to “be given either its own book or more probably divided between two books in the Alexandrian edition: this suggests something nearer the 2000 lines that is given as the length of  Xenophanes’ Foundation of Kolophon and Colonization of Elea   by Diogenes Laertius [ FGrH  , 450  1].” (Bowie 2001b, 55).26 See Bowie 1986 and Bowie 2001b. Cairns 1979, 69-74 lists more examples of early foundation stories, included in either poems or prose works. 02CONSTANTAKOPOULOU.indd 26320/03/14 16:48
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