This amazing collection of poetry from the famous Greek Anthology spans over 1,500 years of ancient Greek and Byzantine history. The selections in this recording were chosen and translated by famed classicist J. W. Mackail. Since its transmission to the rest of Europe in the early Renaissance, the Greek Anthology has left a deep impression on its audience. A reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement wrote, "The time of life does not exist when it is impossible to discover in it a masterly poem one had never seen before." Its influence can be seen on writers as diverse as Propertius, Ezra Pound, and Edgar Lee Masters.
The artistic inscription, or epigram, had been cultivated in Greece from an early period - less, however, as the vehicle of personal feeling than as the recognized commemoration of remarkable individuals or events on sepulchral monuments and votive offerings. The modern use of the epigram is a departure from the original sense, which simply indicated that the composition was intended to be engraved or inscribed.
Such a composition must necessarily be brief, and the restraints attendant upon its publication concurred with the simplicity of Greek taste in prescribing conciseness of expression, pregnancy of meaning, purity of diction, and singleness of thought as the indispensable conditions of excellence in the epigrammatic style. The examples in this recording represent some of the best ever written by masters such as Meleager, Plato, Polemon, Simonides, Agathias, Phillipus, Palladas, and Paulus Silentiarius.