Anyte of Tegea

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Anyte of Tegea (Greek: Ἀνύτη Τεγεᾶτις, Anýtē Tegeâtis; fl. early 3rd century BC) was an Arcadian poet.[1][2] She is one of the nine outstanding ancient women poets listed by Antipater of Thessalonica in the Palatine Anthology.[3] He called her the female Homer because her poetry was so admired.[2]

Anyte was from Tegea in Arcadia.[1] No reliable information about her life survives, and she can only be approximately dated by the style of her work.[4] Only one story about Anyte's life is preserved, in which Pausanias claims that Anyte was once visited by the god Asclepius while she was asleep, and told to go to Naupactus to visit a certain blind man there. On doing so, the man was cured, and he built a temple to Asclepius.[4] Though little is known about Anyte's life, more of her poetry survives than any other ancient Greek woman, with the exception of Sappho.[4]

Anyte was known for her epigrams, and she introduced rural themes to the genre.[5] 24 epigrams attributed to Anyte survive today.[5] One of these is preserved by Julius Pollux; the remainder are part of either the Palatine or Planudean Anthology. Of these, Kathryn Gutzwiller considers that 20 of these were genuinely composed by Anyte.[5] It is likely that Anyte compiled a book of her poetry from her epigrams.[5] Anyte's poetry is often interested in women and children, and Gutzwiller argues that it was deliberately composed in opposition to traditional epigrams, which were composed by an anonymous author from a masculine and urban perspective.[6] Accordingly, of five epitaphs written by Anyte which survive, only one marks the death of a young man, as was traditional in the genre; the remaining four all commemorate women who died young.[7] She is also known to have written epitaphs for animals and poetry celebrating war.[8][2]

Here is a poem by her, referring to Aphrodite:

This is the site of the Cyprian, since it is agreeable to her
to look ever from the mainland upon the bright sea
that she may make the voyage good for sailors. Around her the sea
trembles looking upon her polished image.[9]

Anyte is recognized in the modern world as one of the 999 women included on Judy Chicago's Heritage Floor;[10] she also has a crater on Mercury named after her, called Anyte.[11]


  1. ^ a b Barnard 1978, p. 204.
  2. ^ a b c Joyce E. Salisbury (2001). Encyclopedia of Women in the Ancient World. ABC-CLIO. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-1-57607-092-5.
  3. ^ Palatine Anthology 9.26
  4. ^ a b c Barnard 1978, p. 209.
  5. ^ a b c d Gutzwiller 1993, p. 71.
  6. ^ Gutzwiller 1993, p. 72.
  7. ^ Gutzwiller 1993, pp. 75–76.
  8. ^ Gutzwiller, Kathryn J. (13 February 1993). "Anyte's Epigram Book". Syllecta Classica. 4 (1): 71–89. doi:10.1353/syl.1993.0005 – via Project MUSE.
  9. ^ André Lardinois; Laura McClure (25 March 2001). Making Silence Speak: Women's Voices in Greek Literature and Society. Princeton University Press. pp. 210–. ISBN 0-691-00466-8.
  10. ^ "Amyte". Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Anyte". Gazetteer of Planetary} Nomenclature. Retrieved 19 November 2017.

Works cited[edit]

  • Barnard, Sylvia (1978). "Hellenistic Women Poets". The Classical Journal. 73 (3).
  • Gutzwiller, Kathryn J. (1993). "Anyte's Epigram Book". Syllecta Classica. 4.

Further reading[edit]

  • M. J. Baale, Studia in Anytes Poetriae Vitam et Carminum Reliquias (Haarlem, 1903)
  • M. S. Fernandez Robbio, Musas y escritoras: el primer canon de la literatura femenina de la Grecia antigua (AP IX 26). Praesentia, v. 15, 2014, pp. 1-9. (online)

External links[edit]