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date: 02 April 2023


, of Syracuse, hexameter poet


, of Syracuse, hexameter poet
  • Alan H. Griffiths


Hexameter poet of the mid-2nd cent. bce; counted as second in the Suda's canonical list of Three Bucolic Poets, between *Theocritus and *Bion(2). Like most Hellenistic poets, he combined creative writing with scholarship; the Suda calls him a γραμματικός (grammarian) and pupil of *Aristarchus(2), and he may be the Moschus whom Athenaeus (11. 485e) mentions as author of a work on Rhodian lexicography.His masterpiece is the Europa, a 166-line pocket epic narrating the abduction of the Phoenician princess by Zeus in bull-form. It exhibits all the stigmata of the classic ‘*epyllion’: neat exposition of the situation in time and space, brief but rhetorical speeches, dreams and prophecies of the future, a summary conclusion, and in particular the elaborate, 25-line *ekphrasis of the golden basket which *Europa takes to the seaside meadow, inlaid by *Hephaestus with scenes which (unbeknown to her) prefigure her own imminent fate. Echoes of *Homer dominate the poem, both at the linguistic level and in the way the heroine recalls *Nausicaa; the influence of *Apollonius(1) and Theocritus can also be traced, besides that of earlier works like the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (flower-gathering) and Aeschylus (dream of the two continents; cf.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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