"This strict division between choral lyric and monody, however, does not stand up under scrutiny. Two different types of arguments can be marshalled against it. First, on a purely theoretical level, the use of the first person pronoun, as we have already shown, is no guarantor that the poems in which that pronoun appears recount, as Bowra phrases it, "the innermost feelings" of the poet. Indeed, as the second chapter has already shown at some length, the I/thou distinction, so central to modern liberal thought, did not have the same force for the archaic Greeks as it does for us. Rather, the self was closely identified with its place in the community. Consequently, a reader must not assume that sentiments which are voiced in the first person are, in fact, those of the poet as a private individual, rather than as a representative of a given social group (Havelock 1963: 199-200; Zumthor 1983: 56, 231; Kurke 1991: 1; Thomas 1992: 112). Indeed, when one considers the necessarily public and oral nature of these poems' performance, in order for them to have achieved wide popularity and thus survived to the present, they would have had to appeal to thoughts and feelings which were widely (although not necessarily universally) shared within the community, and not just to those sentiments which were peculiar to the poets themselves (Thomas 1989; 6, 8; 1992: 51, 105). As Havelock notes:
Archilochus and Sappho are appropriate examples to cite, if only because they are the favorite authors of those historians who would see in Greek lyric the emergence of a purely private poetry of the personal consciousness. The impression is fostered by the fact that the verse is often, though by no means always, spoken in the first person, and perhaps addressed to a second person. But the psychology of composition cannot be understood within the limits set by personal pronouns.What often appears to be private is, in fact, public and paradigmatic. The "I" in the world of monody does not, and indeed cannot, signify the private idiosyncratic world of a single individual, but rather is one possible embodiment of the shared or the communal (Calame 1977: 436-38). These poets fulfilled not only the didactic and informative functions alluded to earlier, but also had to present their work in a manner which was both directly intelligible to and enjoyable for the listening audience (Thalmann 1984: 32)."
(Havelock 1982: 19)
--Paul Allen Miller, Lyric Texts and Lyric Consciousness, p. 81-82.
"Two fragments of poems by Alcman, the poet of ancient Sparta at the end of the seventh century B.C., offer a list of young women's names that seem to imply a signified which goes beyond the simple identification of an individual. These were poems sung during a ritual, compositions referring to protagonists who had real social existences. Composed for choruses of adolescents, these verses were recited by young women in various rites that marked the successive phases of tribal initiation for girls becoming women. In Alcman's verses the group of young Spartan women express their affectionate admiration for the chorus leader, the khoregos; she is a girl possessing outstanding beauty and general excellence and has most probably completed the initiation cycle; therefore, as a recent initiate, she plays a pedagogical role vis-a-vis the adolescents in the chorus. In ancient Sparta a girl's transition to adulthood entailed an education in the civic values that defined the role girls were destined to play as the future wives of citizens, as well as in beauty and sexuality.
After evoking a myth from the legendary history of Sparta and praising the qualities of the khoregos, the young women who sing our first poem name themselves. Neither Nanno with her flowing hair nore godlike Areta nor even Thylakis or Kleesithera can rival the khoregos; none of them will go to Ainesimbrota to beg that Astaphis might be hers, that Philylla might look upon her or Demareta or the charming Vianthemis. We will briefly examine the morphology of these different names and find their corresponding signifieds, although this is not a game in which Alcman indulges. Areta, with no suffix, means "excellence"; Nanno 'the little doll' and Philulla 'the beloved child' are diminutives; the names Sulakis, Astaphis and Vianthemis, by way of their various suffixes, derive from the plant world: "poppy heart," "raisin," and "violet," Damareta, a determinative compound name, excels in the heart of the demos, while Kleesithera, a compound name with a verbal element, is "famous in hunting." Ainesimbrota, another verbal compound, ought to be "praised among mortals"; her place in the catalogue of chorus members gives her a special status outside the chorus. Ainesimbrota, who perhaps posesses magic powers, probably led a different group of young women from the one singing Alcman's verses.
With its references to merit and reputation in the eyes of the people, its appeal to feelings of affection evoked by diminutives, and its metaphors inspired by the plant world, the system of signifiers of the names of the adolescents taking part in the Spartan choruses seems to conform to the Greek norm.
There remain Agido and Hagesichora, the two girls whose praises the chorus members sing, displaying their rivalry in affection.
The name Agido not oly assigns to this friend of the khoregos the function of "directing" (by association with the verb hegeisthai) but also designates her possibly as a descendant of Agis, founder of the Agiades dynasty, one of the two royal families that held power in Sparta. The name Hagesichora describes the function this figure performs vis-a-vis the young women who announce her role and sing her virtues: Hagesichora "leads the chorus," she is the khoregos."
Claude Calame, The Craft of Poetic Speech in Ancient Greece, p. 179-181.