:''For the hummingbird genus, see ''Archilochus''.''
Archilochus (; ''Arkhilokhos''; c. 680 – c. 645 BC)〔While these have been the generally accepted dates since Felix Jacoby, "The Date of Archilochus," ''Classical Quarterly'' 35 (1941) 97–109, some scholars disagree; Robin Lane Fox, for instance, in ''Travelling Heroes: Greeks and Their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer'' (London: Allen Lane, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7139-9980-8), p. 388, dates him c. 740–680 BC.〕 was a Greek lyric poet from the island of Paros in the Archaic period. He is celebrated for his versatile and innovative use of poetic meters and as the earliest known Greek author to compose almost entirely on the theme of his own emotions and experiences.〔J. P. Barron and P. E. Easterling, 'Elegy and Iambus', in ''The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature'', P.Easterling and B.Knox (ed.s), Cambridge University Press (1985), page 117〕〔David A. Campbell, ''Greek Lyric Poetry'', Bristol Classical Press (1982) page 136〕 Alexandrian scholars included him in their canonic list of iambic poets, along with Semonides and Hipponax,〔Sophie Mills, 'Archilochus', in ''Encyclopaedia of Ancient Greece'', Nigel Wilson (ed.), Routledge (2006) page 76〕 yet ancient commentators also numbered him with Tyrtaeus and Callinus as the possible inventor of the elegy.〔Didymus ''ap. Orion'', ''Et.Mag.'' p. 57, Scholiast on Ar.''Birds'' 217, cited by J. P. Barron and P. E. Easterling, 'Elegy and Iambus' in ''The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature'', ed.s P.Easterling and B.Knox, Cambridge University Press (1985), n. 1 page 129〕 However modern critics often characterize him simply as a lyric poet.〔Rayor, Diane J, ''Sappho's Lyre: Archaic Lyric and Women Poets of Ancient Greece'' (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991, ISBN 978-0-520-07336-4)〕 Although his work now only survives in fragments, he was revered by the ancient Greeks as one of their most brilliant authors, able to be mentioned in the same breath as Homer and Hesiod,〔J. P. Barron and P. E. Easterling, 'Elegy and Iambus', in ''The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature'', P.Easterling and B.Knox (ed.s), Cambridge University Press (1985), page 118〕 yet he was also censured by them as the archetypal poet of blame〔Christopher G. Brown, 'Introduction' to Douglas E. Gerber's ''A companion to the Greek Lyric Poets'', Brill (1997) page 49〕—his invectives were even said to have driven his former fiancee and her father to suicide. He presented himself as a man of few illusions either in war or in love, such as in the following elegy, where discretion is seen to be the better part of valour:
:::〔Fragment 5, cited by Douglas E. Gerber, ''Greek Iambic Poetry'', Loeb Classical Library (1999) page 81〕
::One of the Saiôn in Thrace now delights in the shield I discarded
:::Unwillingly near a bush, for it was perfectly good,
::But at least I got myself safely out. Why should I care for that shield?
:::Let it go. Some other time I'll find another no worse.
Archilochus was much imitated even up to Roman times and three other distinguished poets later claimed to have thrown away their shields—Alcaeus, Anacreon and Horace.〔David A. Campbell, ''Greek Lyric Poetry'', Bristol Classical Press (1982) page 145〕
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