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Alkaios of Mytilene

Alkaios of Mytilene was a Greek poet, politician and writer. He was born in 620 BC (Mytilene) and died in 560 BC (Lesbos).

Alkaios of Mytilene was one of the first great playwrights. He is a representative of the so-called solo lyric and is taken as a model of intimate lyricism.

He was one of the early lyric poets. It is likely that he admired Sappho, who came from the same island.

Alkaios attempted to overthrow the tyrant Myrsilus from his throne in Mytilene, but was unsuccessful. And so he was forced to emigrate. In his travels he passed through Egypt, Thrace and Lydia, to name a few.

He wrote a variety of songs (war songs, tavern songs, political songs) that express emotions consistent with his aristocratic origins. Thus, complex, but at the same time clear. His political songs can be considered "agitprop". He used four-line stanzas in his songs.

Only a fraction of Alcaeus' works have survived. Most of his political lyrics have survived.