1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mimnermus of Colophon

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MIMNERMUS of Colophon, Greek elegiac poet, flourished about 630–600 B.C. His life fell in the troubled time when the Ionic cities of Asia Minor were struggling to maintain themselves against the rising power of the Lydian kings. One of the extant fragments of his poems refers to this struggle, and contrasts the present effeminacy of his countrymen with the bravery of those who had once defeated the Lydian king Gyges. But his most important poems were a set of elegies addressed to a flute-player named Nanno, collected in two books called after her name. Mimnermus was the first to make the elegiac verse the vehicle for love-poetry. He set his own poems to the music of the flute, and the poet Hipponax says that he used the melancholy νόμος κραδίης, “the fig-branch strain,” said to be a peculiar melody, to the accompaniment of which two human purificatory victims were led out of Athens to be sacrificed during the festival of Thargelia (Hesychius, s.v.).

Edition of fragments in T. Bergk, Poetae lyrici Graeci; see also G. Vanzolini, Mimnermo (1883), a study of the poet, with notes and a metrical version of the fragments.