Alcman

, an ancient musician, and one of the early cultivators of lyric poetry, was a native of Sardis, and flourished about 670 B. C. Heraclides of Pontus assures us that he was a slave in his youth at Sparta, but that by his good qualities and genius, he acquired his freedom, and a considerable reputation in lyric poetry. He was consequently an excellent performer on the cithara, and, if he was not a flute player, he at least sung verses to that instrument; Clemens AleKandnnus makes him author of music for choral dances; and, according to Archytas Harmoniacus, quoted by Athenseus, Alcman was one of th first and most eminent composers of songs on love and gallantry. If we may credit Suidas, he was the first who excluded hexameters from verses that were to be sung to the Jyre, which afterwards obtained the title of lyric poems. And Ælian tells us, that he was one of the great musician! who were called to Lacedcemon, by the exigencies of the state, and that he sung his airs to the sound of the flute. | All the evolutions in the Spartan army were made to the sound of that instrument; and as patriotic songs accompanied by it were found to be excellent incentives to public virtue, Alcman seems to have been invited to Sparta, in order to furnish the troops with such compositions. Alcman was not more remarkable for a musical genius, than for a voracious appetite, and JEiian numbers him among the greatest gluttons of antiquity. This probably brought on the morbus pediculosus, of which he died. His tomb was still to be seen at Lacedaemon, in the time of Pausanias. But nothing, except a few fragments, are now remaining of the many poems attributed to him by antiquity. These have been published by Stephens, among other lyric fragments, at the end of his edition of Pindar, 1560; and have been often reprinted. There is said to have been another Alcman of Messina, also a lyric poet. 1

1

Fabr. Bibl. Gr. —Vossius de Poet. Grxc. Burney’s Hist, of Music, vol. I. Gen. Dict. —Moreri.