The title of the poem is taken from Lloyd-Jones, 'The Seal of Poseidippus', where the poem's ascription to our Posidippus and its character as a 'seal' or 'signature poem of a collection' (95 = 190) are both established.

1 with ears attuned: according to Lloyd-Jones ('Seal', 81—2 = 169), Kadapolc ovaciv, literally 'pure ears', means 'clean ears', i.e. ears that are not stopped with wax, ears that belong, then, to people who are 'quick in the uptake'. I take it a step further, interpreting it to mean sensitive to finer sounds, namely the nuances and subtleties of well-crafted poems.

5 Posidippus: the poet names himself (as again in 1. 10), putting a 'seal' or 'signature' to the collection in which this poem originally appeared.

8 the walls of Piplean Thebes: evidently, Thebes in Boeotia. Posidippus appears to be writing the poem there. As Lloyd-Jones observes ('Seal', 87 = 176) a Theban connection can be inferred from 145, Asopia, having to do with Asopus, the famous Boeotian river, father of Theba, eponymous nymph of Thebes. Piplea was in Pieria, a district of Thessaly, north of Mt. Olympus. Here, according to the oldest sources, the Muses were born. Hesiod in the opening line of his Works and Days summons them from Pieria, but in the Theogony he makes the Boeotian mountain Helicon in the vicinity of Thebes their haunt. The phrase 'Piplean Thebes' suggests that, thanks perhaps to Hesiod, the Muses are now as much at home in Thebes as they are in their birthplace.

12 the Parian: Archilochus, the famous poet, born on Paros, where there was a temple in his honour, built in response to a Delphic oracle. Posidippus in 11. 13—16 asks Apollo to decree a similar honour for himself, presumably at his birthplace, in Pella (1. 17). 18 a book in both hands: reading a/jbcfroiv. If the statue is to depict Posidippus perusing a book while standing, both his hands must be employed. But there is no clear indication of his position, no mention of 'hands', and the word here rendered 'both' is uncertain.

The photograph on the cover of AB shows the statue of a seated figure, an unopened roll of papyrus on his lap, in his right hand, his left raised across his chest. The statue, in the Vatican museum, has the name IIocilhnnToc inscribed on its plinth. According to M. W. Dickie,' Which Posidippus ?', the statue depicts our Posidippus; others (including A. Stewart, below, Ch. 10) think it depicts the contemporary and fellow Macedonian comic poet of the same name. 19 his due of lamentation: Archilochus died in battle, presumably not yet in old age.

21 but through my friendly lips: Posidippus may be contrasting the more congenial character of his own Muse with that of Archilochus, known for his unfriendly poems—fierce attacks on various enemies. But what, exactly, Posidippus imagines passing through his lips at this point cannot be determined.

24 and not a tear for me: as for Archilochus (see on 1. 19).

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