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Definition: (Corinna) 5th C. B.C.?

While we don't know when Korinna was born or even which century, it seems likely she was a contemporary of Pindar's, i.e., fifth century B.C. This famous Greek poet was born in Tanagra, a Boeotian town near Pindar's Thebes. Pausanias says Korinna won a poetry competition against Pindar in honor of which, she had a monument erected to her. Aelian (c. 170 - c. 235) said she defeated Pindar five times, and in response to these defeats, Pindar called her a sow. But Korinna is not mentioned in any Greek sources until the first century B.C., when Antipater of Thessaloniki lists her in his catalogue of Nine Mortal Muses.

Suggesting a late birth date for the poet, there is a surviving fragment of her writing written in third century Boeotian spelling. On the other hand, there is a statue of Korinna that is said to be a copy of a statue made by the Athenian sculptor Silanion whom Pliny says lived from 328-325 B.C.

Korinna wrote choral poetry for celebrations using a Boeotian dialect. Unlike Pindar, she focused on local myths, and drew parallels between the world of mythology and ordinary human behavior.

SOURCE: Snyder, Jane McIntosh. The Women and the Lyre. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991.

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