Praxilla (fl. 450 BCE)

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Praxilla (fl. 450 bce)

Greek musician and poet, famous for her drinking songs. Born in Sicyon; flourished about 450 bce.

When ancient Greeks gathered around the table for a few glasses of wine, they often sang drinking songs composed by Praxilla, one of the so-called nine "lyric" Muses. Born in Sicyon in the middle of the 5th century bce, Praxilla composed poetry from the Dorian school, poems that were considered equal to those of Alcaeus and Anacreon. According to Athenaeus, her songs, known as table songs, drinking songs, skolias or scolias (short lyrical poems sung after dinner), were often sung at banquets, sometimes by soloists, sometimes by a chorus. Praxilla was also the author of the epic poem Adonia as well as dithyrambs and hymns, chiefly on mystic and mythological subjects, genealogies, and the love stories of the gods and heroes. A dactylic metre was also called by her name. Her songs have often been compared with Aklman's and Sappho 's.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia