Tisias. He was known as Estesícoro (which means “master of the choir”, for his ability to direct the choral songs), he was a Greek poet born in Hímera ( Sicily ) around 630 and died around [[ 550 BC] He was one of the esteemed and respected nine lyric poets by the scholars of the then Hellenic Alexandria .


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  • 1 Biographical synthesis
    • 1 Poetic career
  • 2 Legend
  • 3 Works
  • 4 Sources

Biographical synthesis

Son of Euforbo or Eufemo or in agreement with others of Euclides or Euetes or Hesiod . From the town of Himera in Sicily , it is in any case called the Himeraean, but some say it is from Metauros in southern Italy . Others say that when he was exiled from Pallantium in Arcadia he came to Catana and that there he died and was buried in front of the gate that is called Stesichorean after him. His poems are in the Doric dialect and in 26 books.

Poetic trajectory

Stesícoro was the first great poet of the Greek West. Within the Greek lyric, it represents a bridge between tragedy and epic , due to its preference for the narration of myths regardless of the conclusions that may be drawn from them, or that they are a pretext to praise a city or a city. character. He renewed the choral lyric by articulating the poems in ternary structures ( stanza , antistrophe and epodo), which with his hand will reach perfection. He is known for telling epic stories in lyrical meters but is also famous for some old traditions of his life, such as his opposition to the tyrant Phalaris, and the blindness that he is said to have incurred and is cured by composing first insulting and then verses. flattering to Helen of Troy.

He ranked among the nine lyrical poets esteemed by Hellenistic Alexandrian scholars and yet his work attracted relatively little interest among ancient commentators, so that very few fragments of his poetry now survive. Since the fifties of the last century, the corpus of texts available until now has increased, so that it is now possible to make an edition of his works, since of the more than 26 books attributed to him, only fragments had survived of about 16, although very numerous. Recorded on Egyptian papyrus, they have led to some improvements in our understanding of his work, confirming its role as a link between Homer’s epic narrative and the lyrical narrative of poets like Pindar .

Stesícoro traveled by all Greece and took part in poetic contests of great parties. It seems that he had two brothers: Helianacte, legislator, and Mamertino, mathematician ; the atmosphere of the time could be close to the Pythagorean.


It is said that when his fellow citizens decided to entrust the defense of their city, Hímera, to the tyrant of Agrigento (a certain Fularides), Stesícorus persuaded them of their error, telling them for the first time the fable of the horse and the deer: the horse. in a desperate attempt to put an end to his irreconcilable enemy, the deer that had been goring him, he came to the man. But it happened that, once the deer had been subdued by the ally, he did the same with the horse. The city of Hímera heeded the fable, and this time it was saved from being dominated by Agrigento.

Stesícoro is also famous for the legend of his palinodia, surely the first example in literature of such type of poetry. In this palinodia, he dismisses the tradition that Helen of Troy was the cause of the Trojan War , and that it was the subject of an earlier poem of his. They say he was blinded by writing Helen abuse and recovered the view after writing a eulogy of H elena , the recantation, as the result of a dream. He was called Stesícoro because he was the first to establish a choir of singers to the zither, and his name was originally Tisias.


His works, according to the Suda , were collected in 26 books, but each of them was probably a long narrative poem. The titles of more than half of them are recorded by the ancient sources:

  • Helen: This could have been the poem in which you portrayed Helen of Troy according to convention as a bad character. His interest in the epic Trojan cycle is evidenced in a number of works.
  • Helen: palinodias: An introduction to a poem by Theocritus refers to “Helen’s first book of Stesychorus”, indicating that there were at least two books with this title. Similarly, a commentary recorded on a papyrus , indicates that there were two palynodias, a censorship home run, the other Hesiod from the false story that Helen went to Troy . Dio Chrysostom summarizes two accounts of palinodia, one in which Helen never set sail for Troy, and a second in which she ended up in Egypt – only her image made it to Troy. It is not known if either of the two palynodies was separated from Helen’s book.
  • Sack of Troy: Some scholars think that the content of the poem can be deduced from a relief carved on a monument near Rome , but this is debatable – see the Iliaca Tabula section below.
  • Wooden horse: The title was recorded in fragmentary form on a papyrus scroll. Possibly it was just an alternate title for the sack of Troy.
  • Nostoi: This treatise with the return of the Greek warriors from Troy.
  • Geryoneis: This refers to the theft by Heracles of Geryon’s cattle. Many recently discovered fragments allow a glimpse of the poet at work throughout the entire poem. Includes: romantic geography; travel descriptions of the Sun in a golden cup under the ocean, of Eurytion’s homeland, the Hesperides ‘all-gold’, and of Pallanteum in Arcadia , possibly listed as the home of the centaur Pholus; poignant speeches based on the Homeric models; a proud voice from Geryon to Heracles that echoes Sarpedon’s speech to Glaucus, and an exchange between Geryon and his mother Callirhoe that echoes the exchanges between Achilles , Thetisand Héctor-Hécuba; Heroic action, again with Homeric coloring – a description of the dying Geryon that echoes Gorgythion’s death.
  • Cerberus: The title is mentioned by Julius Pollux only because it included the Greek word for a bag, but it clearly relates to Heracles’ descent into Hades in search of Cerberus.
  • Cycnus: A scholiast commenting on a poem by Pindar sums up the story: Heracles’ final triumph over Cycnus after an initial defeat.
  • Skylla: The title is mentioned by a scholiast from Apollonius of Rhodes , in a passing reference to Skylla’s paternity and possibly Heracles.
  • Thebaid, Seven Against Thebes: These two titles are conjectures by a modern scholar in his case for the longest fragment attributed to Stesícorus – discovered in 1974 among the wrappings of a 2nd century BC mummy stored at the University of Lille, usually known as El Estesícoro Lille. It features a speech by a queen of Thebes , possibly Jocasta, and some scholars have denied attribution to Stesícorus because of his “monotonous, repetitive sagging”. But opinions are mixed and a scholar sees in her “… the full mastery of her Estesícoro ‘technique, handling epic situations and characters with the flexibility and intensity of the lyric.”
  • Erifila: The title is mentioned by Sixth Empiricist in connection with an imaginative account of Asclepius raising the dead at Thebes. Obviously it is about Erifila’s role in the Theban epic cycle, but with an imaginative touch.
  • Europa : The title is mentioned by a scholiast in Euripides’ Phoenician, in relation to the imaginative variation of Stesícorus in the traditional tale of Cadmus , brother of Europe , the teeth of the dragon sowing – Stesícorus presents Athena in that role.
  • Oresteia: It came in two parts. The title is mentioned by a scholiast on Peace , a play by Aristophanes, attributing some of the letters from a loan from the poem by Stesícorus. The ‘second’ Oresteia is mentioned in the commentary of a scholiast by Dionysus of Thrace , according to which Stesícorus attributes the discovery of the Greek alphabet to Palamedes.
  • Wild boar-hunters: Athenaeus mentions the title when citing a description of a wild boar sniffing the earth and the poem, evidently, Meleager is concerned and the Boar of Calydon.
  • Funeral games in honor of Pelias, from the Thessalian legend. They are games in which many of the heroes of Greece participate. The work deals with very common themes in ancient poetry, the Dioscuri and the Calidón Boar hunters appear, it tells how Meleagro kills the wild boar and how he also kills his two uncles for the spoils of the prey.

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