The Idea of Iambos

Andrea Rotstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This study of the genre of Greek iambic poetry, from the perspective provided by ancient testimonies, places research on iambos in the framework of a new methodological approach to ancient genres based on the cognitive sciences, offering an unprecedented study of ancient theories of genres and the way they affected ancient scholarship. It examines the possibility of musical performance of iambic poetry as well as the various occasions of public performance, particularly at musical contests and rhapsodic recitals. The author argues that, from the Archaic to the Classical period, there was a shift from the notion of literary class depending primarily on rhythm and on its archetypical representative, Archilochus, towards iambos as a genre defined mainly by invective as its dominant feature.

Original languageAmerican English
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages408
ISBN (Electronic)9780191713330
ISBN (Print)9780199286270
StatePublished - 17 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Andrea Rotstein 2010. All rights reserved.


  • Archilochus
  • Cognitive sciences
  • Greek iambic poetry
  • Iambos
  • Public performance
  • Theories of genres


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