Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In classical antiquity, a rhapsode was a professional reciter of poetry, especially the epics of Homer, but also the wisdom-verse of Hesiod and the satires of Archilochus, among others. Plato's dialogue Ion, wherein Socrates confronts a star rhapsode, remains our richest source of information on these artists.
Etymologically, the term means either "stitch-singer" (because the rhapsode stitched together elements of traditional poetry in his performances) or "staff-singer" (because he held a staff as the emblem of his trade).
It was much thanks to these rhapsodes that the works of Homer could be preserved until they were actually written down.
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