The Art of Bacchylides
Anne Burnett shows us the art of Bacchylides in the context of Greek lyric traditions. She discusses the beginnings of choral poetry and the functions of the choral myth; she describes the purposes of the victory song in particular and the practices of Bacchylides and Pindar as they fulfilled their victory commissions. In analyzing individual poems Burnett's approach is two-fold, for each ode is seen as a choral performance reflecting archaic cult practice, while it is also studied as the expression of a particular poetic vision and sensibility. Thus the formal elements of the Bacchylidean victory songs are recognized as the response of a chorus which must give semi-religious praise to a noble athlete or prize-winning prince in times of increasing democracy. At the same time an artistry and an ethic peculiar to Bacchylides are discovered in the manipulation of fictions and mythic materials.