Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology/Corinna
CORINNA (Κόριννα), a Greek poetess, a native of Tanagra in Boeotia. According to some accounts (Eudocia, p. 270; Welcker, in Creuzer's Meletem, ii. pp. 10–17), she was the daughter of Achelodorus and Procratia. On account of her long residence in Thebes, she was sometimes called a Theban. She flourished about the beginning of the fifth century B. C., and was a contemporary of Pindar, whom she is said to have instructed (Plut. de Glor. Athen. iv. p. 348, a.), and with whom she strove for a prize at the public games at Thebes. According to Aelian (V. H. xiii. 25), she gained the victory over him five times. Pausanias (ix. 22. § 3) does not speak of more than one victory, and mentions a picture which he saw at Tanagra, in which she was represented binding her hair with a fillet in token of her victory, which he attributes as much to her beauty and to the circumstance that she wrote in the Aeolic dialect, as to her poetical talents. At a later period, when Pindar's fame was more securely established, she blamed her contemporary, Myrtis, for entering into a similar contest with him. (Apollon. Dyscol. in Wolf, Corinnae Carm. p. 56, &c.) The Aeolic dialect employed by Corinna had many Boeotian peculiarities. (Eustath. ad Od. vol. i. p. 376. 10, ad Il. vol. ii. p. 364. 22, ed. Lips.; Wolf, l. c.) She appears to have intended her poems chiefly for Boeotian ears; hence the numerous local references connected with Boeotia to be found in them. (Paus. ix. 20. § 1; Steph. Byz. s. v. Θέσπεια; Eustath. ad Il. vol. i. p. 215. 2. ed. Lips.; Schol. ad Apoll. Rhod. ii. 1177.) They were collected in five books, and were chiefly of a lyrical kind, comprising choral songs, lyrical nomes, parthenia, epigrams, and erotic and heroic poems. The last, however, seem to have been written in a lyrical form. Among them we find mentioned one entitled Iolaus, and one the Seven against Thebes. Only a few unimportant fragments have been preserved.
Statues were erected to Corinna in different parts of Greece, and she was ranked as the first and most distinguished of the nine lyrical Muses. She was surnamed Μύσα (the Fly). We have mention of a younger Corinna of Thebes, also surnamed Myia, who is probably the same with the contemporary of Pindar. And so also is probably a Myia or Corinna of Thespiae who is mentioned (Suidas, s.v. Κόριννα). The fragments that are left may be found in Ch. Wolf's Poët. octo Fragm. et Elog. Hamburg, 1734, and in A. Schneider's Poët. Graec Fragm. Giessen, 1802. [C.P. M.]