Reflections on Simonides' 'Plataia' Elegy (frr. 10—18 W2)
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The 'communis opinio' classifies the 'Plataia'-Elegy of Simonides as a poem intended for performance at a public festival. Since the elegy speaks highly of Pausanias, the victorious commander of the battle at Plataea, the time of his political downfall in 478 B.C. was regarded by the scholarship as a 'terminus ante quem', until whch the poem could be composed and officially performed. This paper argues for the sympotical performance of the elegy, and by postulating an exclusive performance context of this kind, defers the closing date of the composition until the time of the poet's death in the first half of the 460's B.C. In case of a relatively late composition we have to take into account the possibility, that Simonides was reflecting on the death of Pausanias about 470 B.C. in the poem, drawing a parallel between the Spartan commander-politician and the figure of Achilles in the poem.
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