The first Cologne Epode of Archilocus
The first Cologne Epode of Archilochus (196a W2) is widely considered to be a poetic account of a malicious seduction, committed or invented and uttered in revenge by the poet. The narrator as rejected suitor of Neobule seduces her younger sister, reaching his goal both by means of a promise of future marriage and of a proposition for sex on the spot. Actually, the first conception can not be proved or even made probable by the text. On the other hand the sexually coded proposition of the man (vv. 21-24) should rather be taken as a sparkling double-voiced utterance, understood in its metaphorical sense only by the male publicum of the iambos, whereas for the girl being equivalent to an invitation to innocent conversation. These observations, along with psychological and reception-aesthetical considerations, make a strong case for the minority opinion, that the Cologne Epode as erotic poem relates the meeting between a man filled with desire (rather than with thirst for vengeance), and an unknown virgin, who is unlikely to be the younger sister of Neobule.
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