Tyrtaeus and Archilochus

Both Tyrtaeus and Archilochus were poets that flourished during the 7th century. The stark differences in poetry between the two are remarkable and worthy of note. Tyrtaeus not only was a poet but also a Spartan solider, Archilochus was a poet that came to Sparta but his poetry is anything but warrior like. He was forced to leave Sparta and headed for Sicily; run out of town due to his unwarrior like poetry.

Below are extracts from their poetry to be able to compare their style:



...cast off whatever fears arise at the armoured legions. They'll muster before you, hedge yourselves round with hollow shields, and learn to love death's ink-black...

...mangle their gear, hack off limbs, lay open
the organs that warm their chests, then beat them down until the plain runs red with enemy blood...

Martial Elegy
How glorious fall the valiant, sword in hand,
In front of battle for their native land!
But oh! what ills await the wretch that yields,...





The Shield
Some half cocked Thracian swaggers about raising up before his men my blazoned shield. The one I abandoned near a blackthorn tree. So? It's not my head he's ragging them with, and any old shield can replace that one.

The Rallying
No man shall stay sober on my watch...

...around my heart, a fear that rises from the unforeseen.






Other Spartan poets during this time included; Terpander and Thaletas.

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