rhapsode [rap′sōd΄]
Gr rhapsodos
in ancient Greece, a person who recited rhapsodies, esp. one who recited epic poems as a profession

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▪ ancient Greek singer
also called  rhapsodist , Greek  rhapsoidos , plural  rhapsodes  or  rhapsoidoi  

      a singer in ancient Greece. Ancient scholars suggested two etymologies. The first related the word with the staff (rhabdos) on which the singer leaned during his performance. In that view, the rhapsode is a “singer with a staff.” The second connected the word with the poetic act of sewing (rhaptein) the poem (oide). Thus, the rhapsode is a “stitcher of songs.” Modern scholars prefer the second etymology, which is attested in a fragment of Hesiod (7th century BC) and in Pindar's Nemean ode 2, lines 1–3. Both passages use the word rhaptein to describe the act of poetic composition. The noun rhapsoidosis is first found in 5th-century-BC inscriptions and literary sources, including Herodotus (History, Book V, part 67) and Sophocles (Oedipus Tyrannus, line 391).

      The common opinion is that rhapsodes were exclusively reciters of the compositions of others, which they consigned to memory. In the oral tradition of epic poetry, they represent the stage that followed that of the aoidoi, or bards, who created poems on traditional epic subjects each time they performed. The ancient testimonies, however, do not permit such a clear and secure distinction, at least through the 6th century BC. Inscriptions show that rhapsodes continued to perform through the 3rd century AD.

      A rhapsode's performance could be accompanied musically by the sound of the lyre or the aulos (a wind instrument with a double reed), or it could simply be declaimed. The rhapsode's repertory included not only Homer but also other ancient poets—e.g., Hesiod, Archilochus, Simonides (Simonides of Ceos), Mimnermus, Phocylides, and even the philosopher-poet Empedocles. After reciting poems or passages from longer poems, the rhapsode would comment on them. At some time in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, rhapsodic performances became a characteristic part of the Panathenaic festivals in Athens. A lively and instructive picture of rhapsodic activity in the Classical age is found in Plato's Ion, which takes its name from a famous rhapsode with whom Socrates discusses the art of poetry. From Plato's dialogue there emerges a portrait of the eminently dramatic character and the spectacular action of the rhapsodic recitations. The success of the rhapsode's recitation and the size of his fee, which could be rather large, depended on his effectiveness in moving his audience.

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  • rhapsode — ou rapsode [ rapsɔd ] n. m. • rapsodes, 1552; gr. rhapsôdos « qui coud, ajuste des chants », de rhaptein « coudre » et ôdê « chant » ♦ Chanteur de la Grèce antique qui allait de ville en ville récitant des extraits de poèmes épiques,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Rhapsode — Rhap sode (r[a^]p s[=o]d), n. [Gr. rapsw,do s. See {Rhapsody}.] (Gr. Antiq.) A rhapsodist. [R.] Grote. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rhapsode — [rap′sōd΄] n. [Gr rhapsodos] in ancient Greece, a person who recited rhapsodies, esp. one who recited epic poems as a profession …   English World dictionary

  • Rhapsode — In classical Greece, in the fifth and fourth centuries BC and perhaps earlier, a rhapsode (ῥαψῳδός) was a professional performer of poetry, especially of epic poetry (notably the epics attributed to Homer) but also the wisdom and catalogue poetry …   Wikipedia

  • Rhapsode — Pour le genre de musique classique, voir Rhapsodie. Un rhapsode ou rapsode (en grec ancien ῥαψῳδός / rhapsôidós) est, en Grèce antique, un artiste qui récite les œuvres écrites par un autre (principalement des épopées). Homère lui même en… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rhapsode — Rhapsoden (griech. ῥαψῳδία „Gesang“) waren wandernde Sänger im antiken Griechenland, die bei Festen und feierlichen Anlässen epische Dichtungen wie die von Homer zur Begleitung einer Phorminx (Saiteninstrument) vortrugen. Sie bildeten einen Teil… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Rhapsode — Rhap|so|de 〈m. 17; im antiken Griechenland 〉 1. wandernder Sänger, der erzählende Gedichte vortrug 2. Erzähler [<grch. rhaptein „nähen, zusammenfügen“ + ode „Gesang“] * * * Rhap|so|de, der; n, n [griech. rhaps 30̣1̣4̣Ḍdós, eigtl. =… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • rhapsode — (ra pso d ) s. m. Terme d antiquité grecque. Nom donné à ceux qui allaient de ville en ville chanter des poésies et surtout des morceaux détachés de l Iliade et de l Odyssée. •   Les poëmes étaient récités dans les places et dans les jeux publics …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • RHAPSODE (littérature) — RHAPSODE, littérature Le rhapsode est un récitant de poèmes épiques qui accompagne son chant de la lyre ou de la cithare. Il promène son texte et son talent à travers la Grèce antique. Il se distingue de l’aède qui est un véritable poète créateur …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • rhapsode — noun Etymology: French, from Greek rhapsōidos Date: 1834 rhapsodist …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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