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The Ancient Art of Poetry

Poetry. A dance of words across a page. A stance of rebellion against the constrictions of prose. But that is not to say that poetry is without rules.

Poetry is an ancient art form. Poetry crosses cultural, geographic, and historical boundaries, attested everywhere in the history of human existence.

Ancient Greek literature, in many ways the bedrock of Western society, rests on Homer’s epic poems.

But Homer was not the only composer of Greek verse; he influenced generations of Greek poets whose works are accessible to us in the Loeb Classical Library.

Three of the Loeb collections currently under Community Pricing contain a trove of Greek poetry, and they are worth investing in now.

Ancient Greek Poetry Collection (8 vols.)

This collection contains a compilation of Greek lyric poetry, including all that remains of Greek lyric poetry from Eumelus to Timotheus. Small anonymous works from the seventh to fifth centuries BC and a multitude of short poetic songs are included, bringing attention to a genre often (unjustly) overshadowed by Greek epic poetry.

Greek Poets of Late Antiquity (10 vols.)

The Greek poets of Late Antiquity include such masters as Quintus Smyrnaeus, Nonnos, Oppian, Colluthus, and Tryphiodorus.

Hellenistic Greek Poetry Collection (6 vols.)

This collection includes dramatic epics and tragedies, as well as hymns and poems about love, hardship, and everyday life. A highlight is The Argonautica, the story of Jason’s quest to recover the Golden Fleece, a complex narrative that includes geography, religion, ethnography, mythology, adventure, exploration, and human psychology.

Make one or all three of these epic collections of Greek poetry part of your Logos digital library.

They’ll make you smarter. Wiser. Sought out at every party for snippets of ancient Greek verse that will impress and humor your friends (and make you many new ones).

Get your Loeb on.

Written by
Tavis Bohlinger

Dr. Tavis Bohlinger is the editor of Word by Word's Lecture Hall and Creative Director at Reformation Heritage Books. He holds a PhD from Durham University and writes across multiple genres, including academia, poetry, and screenwriting. He lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and three children.

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Written by Tavis Bohlinger