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Who's Who Ancient Greece: The Arts

Archilochos of Paros (725-680 BC)

Though many modern people have never heard of him, this poet was considered the equal of Homer during his time, and is also the earliest Greek poet about whom many certain details are known.

His father led a military mission to Thassos island (in the north Aegean), in which his son participated, the son later referring to himself as both warrior and poet, reflected in some of his poetry, which described the bitter soldier's life.

He was said to have died in battle with Naxos (the large Cycladic island to the east of Paros).

Elegies, hymns, and epigrams were attributed to him by the ancient Greeks, but his fame comes more from his satire, written in iambic verse, though only fragments remain, the longest of which is a mere ten lines.

He frequently wrote about himself, and satirized himself too, but also ridiculed accepted social values of the heroic world, as well as his personal enemies, though sometimes tenderness is also seen in his work.