Sunday, July 25, 2021

Challenging Gender Roles: The Poet Corinna, Pausanias, Descriptio Graeciae, IX.xxii.3

Trigger Warning: misogyny, sexism

Corinnae quidem, quae sola apud Tanagraeos cantica fecit, in celebri urbis loco est monumentum: in gymnasio ipsa picta est, taenia redimita: victoriae illud insigne, quod Thebis carmine Pindarum vicerit. Vicisse ea arbitror linguae causa. Neque enim Dorica, uti Pindarus, cecinit, sed ea quam essent facile Aeolenses percepturi. Quod autem fuerit ea sui temporis feminarum formosissima, non est difficile ex ipsius imagine coniicere.

[3] Κορίννης δέ, ἣ μόνη δὴ ἐν Τανάγρᾳ ᾁσματα ἐποίησε, ταύτης ἔστι μὲν μνῆμα ἐν περιφανεῖ τῆς πόλεως, ἔστι δὲ ἐν τῷ γυμνασίῳ γραφή, ταινίᾳ τὴν κεφαλὴν ἡ Κόριννα ἀναδουμένη τῆς νίκης ἕνεκα ἣν Πίνδαρον ᾁσματι ἐνίκησεν ἐν Θήβαις. φαίνεται δέ μοι νικῆσαι τῆς διαλέκτου τε ἕνεκα, ὅτι ᾖδεν οὐ τῇ φωνῇ τῇ Δωρίδι ὥσπερ ὁ Πίνδαρος ἀλλὰ ὁποίᾳ συνήσειν ἔμελλον Αἰολεῖς, καὶ ὅτι ἦν γυναικῶν τότε δὴ καλλίστη τὸ εἶδος, εἴ τι τῇ εἰκόνι δεῖ τεκμαίρεσθαι.

--Pausanias, Descriptio Graeciae IX.xxii.3; Translated into Latin by Romulus Amaseus (1696)

There is a famous monument in the heart of the city for Corinna, the only famous poet from Tanagra; it lies in the Gymnasium. Corinna is depicted with a ribbon in her hair, the trophy of her victory over the poet Pindar in Thebes. It seems to me that she won because of her dialect; she didn’t use the Doric tongue (which Pindar used), but rather the Aeolian dialect. The fact that she was super pretty [if the she looks anything like the statue of her] probably helped her win, too.



Name:  Pausanias

Date:  110 – 180 CE

Works:  Description of Greece



Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans



 Pausanias was a Greek writer who lived during the era of the “Five Good Emperors.” His work, the Description of Greece, is an important source for geographical, historical, archaeological, and cultural information about ancient Greece.


ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)

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