Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.


(ălk`mən), fl. 620 B.C., Greek lyric poet of Sparta. He was the earliest writer of Dorian choral poetry whose work has survived. Short choral fragments and a longer one (part of a parthenion or choir song for girls) are extant. His verse, simple, clear, and musical, was often sung at festivals.


See his Partheneion (ed. by D. L. Page, 1951); Archilochos, Sappho, Alkman (tr. by G. Davenport, 1980).



an ancient Greek poet who lived in Sparta during the second half of the seventh century B.C.

Alcman was the author of parthenia (maiden songs), one of which was discovered in 1855. Within a mythic framework such songs included praise to the maiden choruses participating in cult competitions. Only fragments remain of Alcman’s hymns to the gods and nuptial poems. One of these served as the basis for J. W. Goethe’s poem, “Über alien Gipfeln ist Ruh,” and M. Iu. Lermontov’s “Gornye vershiny” (Mountain Peaks).


[Fragments] in Poetae melici graeci. Edited by D. Page. Oxford, 1962.
In Russian translation:
Ellinskie poety. Translated by V. V. Veresaev. [Moscow, 1963.]


Iarkho, V., and K. Polonskaia. Antichnaia lirika. Moscow, 1967.
References in periodicals archive ?
The association of Leucippe with lightning recalls the Greek poetic tradition (beginning with Alcman 1) of comparing women with astrological phenomena.
Greek Lyric II: Anacreon, Anacreontea, Choral Lyric from Olympus to Alcman.
His many classical sources include Hesiod, Alcman, Pindar, Herodotus, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Menander, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Aratus, Apollonius of Rhodes, Theocritus, Diodorus Siculus, Tibullus, Strabo, Hyginus, Horace, Diogenes Laertius, Lucian, and Claudian, to name but a few, along with many scholiasts and patristic authors such as the expected Lactantius, Eusebius, Augustine, and Fulgentius.
Each metre is based on patterns created by or associated with Greek poets like Sappho, Alcaeus, Archilochus, Alcman, Asclepiades.