Odes of Anacreon

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by Anacreon

Odes of Anacreon

Title page from Odes of Anacreon, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Anacreon
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator Thomas Moore
Published Philadelphia: Printed and published by Hugh Maxwell, opposite Christ-church
Date 1804
Edition {{{edition}}}
Language English
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages xvi, [17]-301
Desc. 8vo (20 cm.)
Location Shelf H-2
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]
Portrait of Anacreon.
Anacreon (582 BCE–485 BCE) was a Greek lyric poet born in Teos, an Ionian city on the coast of Asia Minor.[1] He likely moved to Thrace in 545 BCE with others from his city when it was attacked by Persians. He then moved to Samos, to Athens, and possibly again to Thessaly, seeking a safe place to write his poems as his patrons (including Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, and Hipparchus, brother of Athenian tyrant Hippias) kept being murdered.[2] It is unknown where Anacreon died,[3] though he lived to the unusually advanced age of 85.[4]

Few of Anacreon’s works survive, but those that do focus on wine, love (homosexual and heterosexual), and the overall pleasures of the legendary Roman symposium.[5] Anacreon used various techniques in his writings, including self-deprecation and irony.[6] The collection of miscellaneous Greek poems from the Hellenistic Age and beyond known as the Anacreontea[7] was “mistakenly labeled” with Anacreon’s name. Despite later appreciation for Anacreon’s true poems, his works were not appreciated during his lifetime.[8]

This work is a collection of the Odes of Anacreon, translated into English by Thomas Moore and also annotated to provide clarity and additional classical references.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Stamp and inscription, front flyleaf.
Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Moore’s Anacreon. p. 8vo." This was one of the books kept by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson later sold a copy of "Moore's Anacreon" to the Library of Congress in 1815, but it no longer exists to verify Wythe's prior ownership.[9] The Brown Bibliography[10] and George Wythe's Library[11] on LibraryThing include the 1804 Philadelphia edition based on E. Millicent Sowerby's inclusion of that edition in Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson. The Wolf Law Library purchased a copy of the same edition.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in contemporary full calf with gilt rules, decorative elements, and lettering to spine and boards. Stamped "Sam Hopkins" and inscribed "Hopkins, 1820" on the front flyleaf.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

Portrait of Thomas Moore.

See also


  1. " Ana'creon” in The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, ed. by M.C. Howatson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid
  4. Marty Roth, "Anacreon’ and Drink Poetry; or, the Art of Feeling Very Very Good,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 42, no. 3 (Fall 2000): 314.
  5. "Anacreon" in Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World, ed. by John Roberts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).]
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Roth, "Anacreon’ and Drink Poetry; or, the Art of Feeling Very Very Good,” 317.
  9. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 4:478 [no.4406].
  10. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433
  11. LibraryThing, s. v. "Member: George Wythe", accessed October 8, 2013.

External Links

View the record for this book in Google Books.