Portrait bust of Greek lyric poet Archilochus.


(c. 740 BC - 680 BC)

Among the most ancient of Greek lyric poets whose work survives, Archilochus is noted for the personal nature of his writing and the variety of metres he used—elegiac, iambic, and trochaic. Born on the island of Paros to an aristocratic family, one of the legends that remains of his life concerns his betrothal to a woman named Neobule. When it was broken by her father, Lycambes, Archilochus caused him and his daughters to hang themselves out of shame after he detailed in verse the various ways in which he had enjoyed Neobule’s sexual favors.

All Writing

The fox knows lots of tricks, the hedgehog only one—but it’s a winner.

—Archilochus, c. 650 BC

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