Skolion (from from Ancient Greek: σκόλιον) (pl. skolia), also scolion (pl. scolia), were songs sung by invited guests at banquets in ancient Greece. Often extolling the virtues of the gods or heroic men, skolia were improvised to suit the occasion and accompanied by a lyre, which was handed about from singer to singer as the time for each scolion came around. "Capping" verses were exchanged, "by varying, punning, riddling, or cleverly modifying" the previous contribution.
Skolia are often referred to as 'banquet songs', 'convivial songs", or 'drinking songs'. The term also refers to poetry composed in the same form. In later use, the form was used in a more stately manner for chorus poetry in praise of the gods or heroes.
Terpander is said to have been the inventor of this poetic form, although that is doubtful. Instead, he may have adapted it for musical accompaniment. That these skolia were written, not only by poets like Alcaeus of Mytilene, Anacreon, Praxilla, Simonides of Ceos, but also by Sappho and by Pindar, shows in what high esteem skolia were held by the Greeks. "The gods of Olympos sang at their banquets".
- “Poetry”, Encyclopædia Britannica, (1911).
- Christian Werner, review of Derek Collins, Master of the Game: Competition and Performance in Greek Poetry. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2005.05.18
- “Scolia”, Wolnej Encyklopedia.
- D. S. Robertson, "Pindar's Skolia." Review of B. A. van Groningen, Pindare au Banquet. The Classical Review, New Ser., Vol. 11, No. 2 (Jun., 1961), pp. 111-115.
- Herbert Weir Smyth, Greek Melic Poets, (1900); New York, Biblo and Tannen (1963), p. xcviii.
- "The Song of Seikilos", YouTube.
- "Skolion of Seikilos", The Session
- Richard Reitzenstein, Epigramm und Skolion, Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Alexandrinischen Dichtung. Giessen (1893); Olms, Hildesheim (1970).
- Herbert Weir Smyth, Greek Melic Poets, (1900); New York, Biblo and Tannen (1963) ISBN 0-8196-0120-9
- Gregory Jones, "Non-Elite Origins of the Attic Skolia and the Birth of Democracy", Abstracts of Papers for the Annual Meeting, American Philological Association (APA) (2005)