The nine lyric poets (nine melic poets) were a canon of archaic Greek composers esteemed by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria as worthy of critical study. They were:

In most Greek sources the word melikos is used (from melos "song"), but some authors have used lyrikos, which eventually became the regular word in Latin (lyricus) and in modern languages.

The ancient scholars defined the genre on the basis of the metrical form, not the content. Thus some types of poetry which would be included under the label lyric in modern literary criticism are nevertheless excluded, namely the elegy and the iambus.

Their poetry is traditionally divided into choral poetry and monodic lyric. This division is, however, contested by some modern scholars.[1]


  1. See especially M. Davies, "Monody, Choral Lyric, and the Tyranny of the Hand-Book," Classical Quarterly NS 38 (1988), pp. 52-64.

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