Mean Fun: Archaic Iambos and the Transgression of Boundaries

Jessica M Romney

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paperpeer-review


The extended exhortation of Tyrtaeus fr. 11 W urges the audience to take up their shield and spears and fight in a defensive fashion, ‘placing foot against foot, leaning chest on chest’ (v. 31). The overt message of the poem is clear: do not shirk nor run away, but rather stand firm and fight. Within the poem, Tyrtaeus weaves a more subtle message, describing a hoplite group which derives its defining characteristics through possession of a stalwart, ‘passive’ courage and a shield with a ‘belly’ (v. 24). The cohesion that this poem calls for and reproduces through its use of the second person plural and description of close, hoplite fighting, however, is disrupted by the last four lines of the poem, which form a jarring address that sit uneasily alongside the remainder of the poem.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - Apr 2015
EventClassical Association Conference 2015 - Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Apr 201513 Apr 2015


ConferenceClassical Association Conference 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Genre theory
  • greek literature
  • iambos
  • Genre


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