The "Swallow Song of Rhodes" is a famous ancient Greek folk song. In a tradition closely resembling the modern custom of trick-or-treating, during the month of Boedromion, the children on the Greek island of Rhodes would go out dressed as swallows and beg from door to door, singing the song. The song is preserved by the ancient Greek writer, Athenaeus of Naucratis, in his book, The Deipnosophists. On the Attic calendar, the month of Boedromion took place in early autumn. It usually began around mid-September and ended sometime around mid-October. On the Rhodian calendar, however, the month seems to have taken place in early spring. The tradition was claimed to have been started by the Rhodian lawgiver Cleobulus.
The melody to the song has not survived. All that has survived of the song are the lyrics themselves. The full text of the song in Ancient Greek and in English translation is as follows:
Original Greek text
|English translation by Pär Sandin
- Came, came the swallow...
- The Deipnosophists, or, Banquet of the learned, of Athenæus, Volume 2 - VIII 360 cd
- Turner, Angela (2015). Swallow. London, England: Reaktion Books Ltd. p. unpaginated. ISBN 9781780235592.
- Athenaeus. Deipnosophists 8.360b-d
- Folklore Studies: Ancient and Modern By W. R. Halliday, Page 120. ISBN 0-7661-4943-9.
- Dalby, Andrew (1998). "Homer's Enemies: Lyric and Epic in the Seventh Century". In Fisher, Nick; van Wees, Hans (eds.). Archaic Greece: New Approaches and New Evidence. London, England: General Duckworth & Co. Ltd. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-910589-58-8.
- Pär Sandin, professor of Greek at the University of Bergen from his wordpress blog at https://symmachus.wordpress.com/2008/11/23/the-swallow-song-carmina-popularia-2-pmg/