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The first column of the Herodas papyrus from the collection of the British Museum, showing Mimiamb 1.1–15


From mimiambus, possibly from French mimiambe, from Ancient Greek μιμιάμβους (mimiámbous, mime-iamb), from μῖμος (mîmos, actor, imitator) + ἴαμβος (íambos, iamb).



mimiamb (plural mimiambs)

  1. (literature, Ancient Greece, rare) A short humorous dramatic scene in verse.
    • 1891 November 28, The Athenæum, number 3344, London: J. Lection, OCLC 15641593, page 726:
      Its discovery, after a sleep of some five centuries and a half, will be as great a surprise to meteorologists as a new classical text, such as the ‘Mimiambs’ of Herondas, to Greek scholars.
    • 1917, Ph[ilippe] E[rnest] Legrand; James Loeb, transl., The New Greek Comedy, London: W. Heinemann; New York, N.Y.: G.P. Putnam's Sons, OCLC 2363123, page 524:
      For example, the school scene in the third mimiamb, the outburst of fierce jealousy on the part of Bitinna in Herondas and that of the Oxyrhynchus μοιχευτρία, the obscene conversation in the sixth mimiamb, and the tales of adultery committed by women which, according to Aristocles, formed the chief subject of the poems recited by the λυσιῳδοί.
    • 2014, Costas Panayotakis, “Hellenistic Mime and Its Reception in Rome”, in Michael Fontaine and Adele C. Scafuro, editors, The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Comedy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-974354-4, page 387:
      Matius's mimiambs have not survived complete, but the extant remains may not be unrepresentative of his general style of writing.


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