Literary history: How authors made their works known

Ancient Greek writers normally made their works known by reciting them rather than by passing out parchment copies. Recitation to reach as wide an audience as possible was their equivalent of distribution by social media. 

Authors either read aloud their work themselves or hired it out, but the point was to put their poetry or prose out there for judgment by others. When reading publicly, the author sat on a raised seat, and the audience sat on benches. The audience communicated their pleasure or their distress in ways we would recognize today.

From Manual of Classical Literature by Johann Eschenburg:
It was very common for the Greeks to avail themselves of the service of class of persons, whom they called readers, who made it their business to read aloud or recite to hearers the works of the more distinguished authors. The times selected for the purpose were the hours of the greatest leisure, those assigned to meals, or for bathing and so forth. These readers themselves cultivated letters, and especially strove to acquire a correct, agreeable, and commanding style of elocution. They usually read the works of poets, orators, and historians. Pythagoras is supposed to have introduced this practice. It doubtless took its rise from an early Greek custom, mentioned by Homer, according to which lyric songs and epic rhapsodies were sung by the poets themselves or by other singers, who as well as the poets played upon musical instruments.

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