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Biographies (3)


Corinna, Korinna

TANAGRA (Ancient city) VIOTIA

Corinna (Korinna), a poetess of Thebes (fl. B.C. 490), or, according to others, of Tanagra, distinguished for her skill in lyric verse, and remarkable for her personal attractions. She was the rival of Pindar, while the latter was still a young man; and, according to Aelian, she gained the victory over him no less than five times. Pausanias, in his travels, saw at Tanagra a picture, in which Corinna was represented as binding her head with a fillet of victory, which she had gained in a contest with Pindar. He supposes that she was less indebted for this victory to the excellence of her poetry than to her Boeotian dialect, which was more familiar to the ears of the judges at the games, and also to her extraordinary beauty. Corinna afterwards assisted the young poet with her advice. It is related of her that she recommended him to ornament his poems with mythical narrations; but that when he had composed a hymn, in the first six verses of which (still extant) almost the whole of the Theban mythology was introduced, she smiled and said, "We should sow with the hand, not with the whole sack". She was surnamed "the Fly" (Muia), as Erinna had been styled 'the Bee." The poems of Corinna were all in the Boeotian or Aeolic dialect. Too little of her poetry, however, has been preserved to allow of our forming a safe judgment of her style of composition. The extant fragments refer mostly to mythological subjects, particularly to heroines of the Boeotian legends. These remains are given by Bergk in his Poetae Lyrici Graeci (4th ed. 1878).

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Corinna (Korinna), a Greek poetess, a native of Tanagra in Boeotia. According to some accounts (Eudocia), 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.), 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.). The Aeolic dialect employed by Corinna had many Boeotian peculiarities (Eustath. ad Od.). 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. Thespeia). 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 awe 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 Muia (the Fly). We have mention of a younger Corinna of Thebes, also sur named 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. Korinna).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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