Corinna’s ‘Daughters of Asopos’ and Identity in Boeotia (Thomas Alexander Husøy, Swansea University)

1:00pm - 2:00pm / Thursday 26th March 2020 / Venue: Seminar Room 6, Rendall Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Department
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In this paper, I shall discuss the impact of Corinna’s fragment, the daughters of Asopos, its impact on the Boeotians around the Asopos river and the Asopos River on these communities. The date of Corinna’s poetry has been debated, with dates ranging from the late sixth century until the Hellenistic period. Texts about Corinna suggest her to be a contemporary of Pindar, whilst her style of writing mythical genealogies is similar to that of Hellenistic mythographers. For the purpose of this paper, Corinna shall be treated as an Archaic poet and slightly older than Pindar. The focus of her poetry was the mythological background of the Boeotians, and one of the most well-preserved fragments of her poetry was related to the daughters of the Boeotian river-god Asopos.

In this fragment, Corinna alluded to nine daughters of the Asopos, four of which became eponyms of important poleis in Boeotia; Thebe, Thespiae, Plataea and Tanagra. In this paper, I will analyse this fragment in context with the development of Boeotian identity from the Battle of Plataea in 519 until the end of the Siege of Plataea in 427. After the Battle of Plataea, the Asopos river was established as the border between Thebes and her Boeotian allies and the Plataeans with her Athenian allies. I shall analyse the importance of the Asopos river and valley in Boeotian identity, as the Asopos river became an important geographical feature for localised identities in Boeotia.

This event is part of the Work in Progress Seminar Series.