, a Greek poet, born in the isle of Paros, was the son of Telesicles; and, according to Mr. Bavle, flourished in the 29th olympiad, or about 660 years before Christ. His poetry abounded with the most poignant satire, and his satirical vein had such an effect on Lycambes, that he is said to have hanged himself. The indignation of Archilochus against Lycambes arose from the latter’s not keeping his word with regard to his daughter, whom he first promised and afterwards refused to Archilochus. It is not unlikely that he attacked the whole family of Lycambes in his lampoon, for it is said by Horace, that the daughter followed the example of her father; and there are some who affirm, that three of Lycambes’s daughters died of vexation at the same time. In this piece of Archilochus, many adventures are mentioned, full of defamation, and out of the knowledge of the public. There were likewise many indecent passages in the poem; and it is supposed to have been on account of this satire that the Lacedaemonians laid a prohibition on his verses. “The Lacedaemonians,” says Valerius Maximus, “commanded the books of Archilochus to be carried out of their city, because they thought the reading of them not to be very modest or chaste: for they were unwilling the minds of their children should be tinctured with them, lest they should do more harm to their manners than service to their genius. And so they banished the verses of the greatest, or at least the next to the greatest poet, because he had attacked a family which he hated, with indecent abuse.” It has been affirmed by some, that he himself was banished from Lacedsemon; and the maxim inserted in one of his pieces is assigned for the reason thereof, “That it was better to fling down one’s arms, than to lose one’s life:” he had written this in vindication of himself.

Archilochus was so much addicted to raillery and abuse, that he did not even spare himself.*


We should not have known, had it not been for himself,” says C’ritias, “that his mother Enipone was a slave; that he was forced, by his miserable condition, to quit the isle of Paros, and go from thence to Tliasus; that he made himself hated there; that he abused both friends and enemies; that he was extremely addicted to the debauching of women, and very insolent; and, what is worse than all, that, to save his life, he threw away his shield, and fled.” Ælian, Var, Hist, lib. x, cap, 13.

He excelled chiefly in iambic verses, and was the inventor of them, as appears from a passage in Horace: Epist. xix. lib. i. ver. 23. He is one of the three poets whom Aristarchus approved in | this kind of poetry. Quintilian puts him, in some respects, below the other two. Aristophanes the grammanan thought, that the longer his iambic poems were, the finer they were, as Cicero thus informs us: “The longest of your epistles,” says he to Atticus, “seem to me the best, as the iambics of Archilochus did to Aristophanes.” The hymn which he wrote to Hercules and lolaus was so much esteemed, that it used to be sung three times to the honour of those who had gained the victory at the Olympic games. There are few of his works extant; and this, says Mr. Bayle, is rather a gain than a loss, with regard to morality. Heraclides composed a dialogue upon the life of this poet; which, if it had remained, would in all probability have furnished us with many particulars concerning Archilochus. 1
1 Gen. Dict. —Saxii Onomasticon.Vossius.