Lyric Poetry and Social Identity in Archaic Greece

Jessica M. Romney
A thoughtful consideration of the poems and people in the performance space that was the Archaic Greek symposium


Lyric Poetry and Social Identity in Archaic Greece examines how Greek men presented themselves and their social groups to one another. The author examines identity rhetoric in sympotic lyric: how Greek poets constructed images of self for their groups, focusing in turn on the construction of identity in martial-themed poetry, the protection of group identities in the face of political exile, and the negotiation between individual and group as seen in political lyric. By conducting a close reading of six poems and then a broad survey of martial lyric, exile poetry, political lyric, and sympotic lyric as a whole, Jessica Romney demonstrates that sympotic lyric focuses on the same basic behaviors and values to construct social identities regardless of the content or subgenre of the poems in question. The volume also argues that the performance of identity depends on the context as well as the material of performance. Furthermore, the book demonstrates that sympotic lyric overwhelmingly prefers to use identity rhetoric that insists on the inherent sameness of group members.

‚ÄčAll non-English text and quotes are translated, with the original languages given alongside the translation or in the endnotes.
Jessica M. Romney is Assistant Professor of Classics in the Department of Humanities at MacEwan University, Alberta.

Praise / Awards

  • "Romney certainly succeeds in demonstrating that collective identity was of central importance to sympotic poets. The “rhetorical strategies to groupness” that she articulates here cut across metrical and geographic boundaries and provide a useful framework for future inquiries. Romney’s book is a valuable and stimulating contribution to the study of identity and ancient Greek lyric poetry." 
    Rhea Classical Reviews
  • "This book is an important resource for those interested in understanding the strategies that poets used to assert authority and build consensus within their sympotic group. ...Lyric Poetry and Social Identity in Archaic Greece is a thought-provoking contribution to the study of the dynamics of elite archaic symposia."
    Bryn Mawr Classical Review

News, Reviews, Interviews

Listen: Jessica Romney interviewed by New Books Network | 11/17/2021 
Read: Book review in the Sun News Tucson | 09/17/2020

Product Details

  • 264 pages.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2020
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-12659-0

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  • Greek literature; archaic lyric; symposium; symposion; sympotic poetry; elegy; iambus; lyric; Archilochus; Tyrtaeus; Solon; Alcaeus; Hipponax; Callinus; Theognis; social identity in ancient Greece; martial lyric; political lyric; exile poetry; group identity in ancient Greece; group dynamics in ancient Greece; social identity; cognitive theory and classics