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Pigres  

Simon Hornblower

Carian poet; supposedly brother of *Artemisia (1) but perhaps post-classical; said (Suda) to have interpolated pentameters into *Homer's Iliad, and to have written the Margites.

Article

Pindar  

C. Carey

Lyric poet, native of Cynoscephalae in *Boeotia. He was born probably in 518 bce (Suda, fr. 193, if the latter refers to Pindar). The tradition (one of several competing accounts) that he lived to the age of eighty is at least roughly correct, since his last datable composition (Pyth. 8) belongs in or shortly after 446. On the basis of Pyth. 5. 72 it is widely believed that he belonged to the aristocratic family of the Aegeidae. He achieved panhellenic recognition early; at the age of 20 he was commissioned by the ruling family of *Thessaly to celebrate the athletic victory of a favourite youth, Hippocleas (Pyth. 10). His commissions covered most of the Greek world, from *Macedonia and *Abdera in Thrace in the north (fr. 120–1, Pae. 2) to *Cyrene in Africa in the south (Pyth. 4, 5, 9), from *Italy and *Sicily in the west (Ol.

Article

Martin Litchfield West

Pisander (1) (Πείσανδρος) of *Camirus, epic poet in Rhodes (7th or 6th cent. bce), author of the oldest *epic about *Heracles known to the *Alexandrians, in two books. The ascription of other poems to him was disputed.

Article

Arnold Wycombe Gomme, Antony Andrewes, and P. J. Rhodes

Pisander (2), Athenian politician, often attacked in comedy for corruption and cowardice, and ridiculed for his fatness (see comedy (greek), old). As an apparent democrat he took a principal part in the investigation into the mutilation of the *Herms (415 bce), but in 412 he showed still more energy in organizing the oligarchic revolution (see oligarchy): he travelled between *Samos and Athens, and seems to have been the author of the motion which brought the régime of the *Four Hundred into being. On the fall of that régime he fled to the Spartans and was condemned in his absence for treason.

Article

Pisander of Laranda wrote a comprehensive epic on world history in 60 books, the Ἡρωικαὶ θεογαμίαι, Heroic Marriages of the Gods. See septimius nestor.

Article

Michael Silk

The more sophisticated ancient critics distinguished ‘imitation’ of earlier writers (Gk. mimēsis, Lat. *imitatio) from ‘theft’ (Gk. klopē, Lat. furtum). ‘Theft’ involves derivative copying and is condemned: this, and only this, is plagiarism. ‘Imitation’ is an acceptable, even normal, re-use (in part, relatable to the modern structuralist's notion of ‘intertextuality’; see literary theory and classical studies), such that the ‘borrowed’ material is recreated as the borrower's ‘own property’ (‘privati iuris’, Hor.Ars. 131) and (perhaps because the original is well known and informs the new context) the relationship between new and old is acknowledged rather than concealed. When L. *Annaeus Seneca (1) suggests that *Ovid imitates *Virgil ‘not as pilferer but as open appropriator’ (‘non subripiendi causa sed palam mutuandi’, Suas. 3. 7), the distinction is clear; so too when ‘Longinus’ (Subl. 13) praises a whole tradition of writers, from *Archilochus to *Plato (1), for their re-use of *Homer.

Article

Plato (2), Athenian comic poet (see comedy (greek), old), won his first victory at the City *Dionysiac.410 bce (IG 2. 2325. 63). He produced Hyperbolus at some date during 420–416 bce, Victories after 421 (it referred to Ar. Pax), Cleophon in 405 and Phaon (probably) in 391. We have thirty titles and 300 citations. Many of the citations refer to people known to us from Aristophanes (esp. Av.) and from historians. The titles (see cleophon(1); hyperbolus) show that many of his plays were strongly political, and at least one of them, Envoys, belongs to the 4th cent., since it mentions an embassy of Epicrates and Phormisius to Persia (fr. 127). Other titles, e.g. Zeus kakoumenos, point to mythological burlesque; Sophists ridiculed contemporary artistic (and possibly, though not certainly, philosophical) innovations (see sophists).

Article

J. S. Rusten

Platonius, of unknown date (G. Kaibel speculated 9th or 10th cent. ce), whose writings ‘On the distinction among comedies’ and ‘On the distinction of styles’ are preserved in extracts. He argues that Old Comedy gave way to Middle because of political repression, but shows no knowledge of any author of Middle Comedy. See comedy (greek), old, and middle.

Article

Pleiad  

Simon Hornblower

The name given to eight or more tragic poets in *Alexandria (1): *Alexander (8) of Aetolia; Homerus of Byzantion, son of *Moero; *Sosiphanes of Syracuse; *Sositheus of *Alexandria (7) Troas; *Lycophron (2); *Philicus; Dionysiades of Tarsus; Aeantides. These are the eight names usually included in the group, though there are fluctuations in the ancient lists (cf. seven sages; seven wonders of the ancient world; canon). Strictly there ought to have been only seven members of the Pleiad, to correspond to the stars in the astronomical *constellation (no. 23) of that name. (See atlas; maia; merope(1); orion; sterope; for the Pleiades in myth, who gave their names to the stars.) See also tragedy, greek, § II. 1.

Article

The family had long been established in Chaeronea, and most of Plutarch's life was spent in that historic town, to which he was devoted. He knew Athens well, and visited both Egypt and Italy, lecturing and teaching at Rome. His father, Autobulus, his grandfather, Lamprias, and other members of his family figure often in his dialogues; his wide circle of influential friends include the consulars L. Mestrius Florus (whose gentile name he bore), Q. *Sosius Senecio (to whom the Parallel Lives and other works are dedicated), and C. *Minicius Fundanus , as well as magnates like the exiled Syrian prince *Iulius Antiochus Philopappus (see commagene ). For the last thirty years of his life, Plutarch was a priest at *Delphi . A devout believer in the ancient pieties and a profound student of its antiquities, he played a notable part in the revival of the shrine in the time of Trajan and Hadrian; and the people of Delphi joined with Chaeronea in dedicating a portrait bust of him ‘in obedience to the decision of the Amphictions’ (Syll.

Article

Richard Hunter

Greek discussion of unified organic form, as both a biological principle and a literary virtue, has been very influential in Western criticism. What survives before late antiquity of that Greek tradition as applied to literature is, however, relatively sparse; crucial above all are the Homeric poems and ancient discussion of them, together with some passages of Plato and Aristotle. The fact that the bulk of later surviving criticism derives from rhetorical teaching, heavily indebted to the Isocratean tradition, means that much greater prominence is given to the closely related ideas of variety (poikilia) and the avoidance of monotony over the course of a long work, and to the arrangement and ordering (taxis) of narrative than to “unity”; there is no standard term for “unity” in Greek criticism.Homer announces the subject of the Iliad as the wrath of Achilles, which wrought terrible destruction upon the Greeks, but, however dominant the story of the wrath and its consequences, the scope of the poem is clearly not limited to that subject. Reflection upon the Iliad stands at the beginning and the heart of ancient discussion of unity, and it is the Iliad that shows why “unity” and “variety” are entirely compatible in ancient criticism.

Article

Marcus Antonius Polemon (4) (c. CE 88–144), of *Laodicea-Lycus, was a member of an old and influential family who became a prominent sophist (see second sophistic) and enjoyed the friendship of *Trajan, *Hadrian and *Antoninus Pius. He was a citizen and benefactor also of *Smyrna, and was chosen to deliver the inaugural oration for Hadrian's *Olympieum at Athens in ce 130. His oratory was in the grand manner, his delivery passionate and excited. Extant are two short declamations, in which the fathers of two heroes of Marathon (see marathon, battle of), *Callimachus (1) and *Cynegirus, present their sons' claims for the prize of valour (ἀριστεῖα). The subjects of other declamations are known from Philostratus (see philostrati), all very conventional. More important was his work on *physiognomy, known from Latin and Arabic translations and a later Greek paraphrase. He gave examples of tell-tale physical features from contemporaries, mostly unnamed; but he also, for example, describes Hadrian's eyes as ‘full of light and bright’, a characteristic (we are told) of the ‘pure Greek’. Polemon is a fascinating example of the tastes and talents of his age and class.

Article

Peter Barr Reid Forbes, Robert Browning, and Nigel Wilson

His Onomasticon was composed in the lifetime of *Commodus, to whom are addressed epistles prefixed to each of its ten books: that introducing book 8 indicates that the author's appointment to a chair of rhetoric at Athens (not before 178 ce) preceded the completion of the work. Books 8–10 may be a reply to *Phrynichus (3)'s criticism of points in 1–7. As an example of Atticism (see asianism and atticism) and other profitable vices of the age he comes under Lucian's lash in Ῥητόρων διδάσκαλος (Rhetorum Praeceptor, a Teacher of Rhetoric): cf. ch. 24—οὐκέτι Ποθεινὸς ὀνομάζομαι ἀλλ' ἤδη τοῖς Διὸς καὶ Λήδας παισὶν ὁμώνυμος γεγένημαι (‘I am no longer called Potheinos—the Desired One—but have become the namesake of the children of Zeus and Leda’; i.e. the *Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux). Like his other works, the Onomasticon in its original form has perished: the extant manuscripts are derived from four incomplete, and interpolated copies, all descending from an early *epitome possessed (and interpolated) by Arethas, archbishop of Caesarea, c.

Article

M. B. Trapp

Pupil of *Gorgias (1) and teacher of rhetoric. He is a principal character in *Plato (1)'s Gorgias, which mentions his Rhetoric (τέχνη: 462b) and may parody its opening words (448c). Plato also makes fun of his readiness to coin new technical terms (Phaedr. 267b–c).

Article

Polybius was a Greek historian who documented Rome’s rise to power in the Mediterranean in the 3rd and 2nd centuries bce. Originally a leading figure of the Achaean League, he was deported to Rome after the defeat of Perseus of Macedon in 168 bce and became closely attached to Scipio Aemilianus, forming part of the so-called Scipionic Circle. While in Rome he began to write his Histories, a vast forty-book historical account of the middle-Hellenistic world and Rome’s establishment of dominion over the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, only the first five books remain complete; the rest are preserved in varying degrees of fragmentation. The Histories are the earliest surviving “universal” history and interweave events in the different geographical areas of the Mediterranean to demonstrate the increasing interconnectedness of world affairs.The Histories are described by Polybius as pragmatikos, concerned with political and military affairs, and have a strong didactic and moral tendency aimed at current and future leaders. The work intends not only to explain what happened in the Mediterranean and why, but also to train its readers to navigate a political and military career as successfully as possible and to bear the reversals of fortune with courage. As a historian, Polybius was characterized by his deep concern for the truthfulness of his narrative, his careful consultation of documents and witnesses, his efforts to apply reason and correct judgement, his focus on human character and action, and his elucidation of cause and effect. While not immune from political bias, Polybius adheres rigorously to his principles throughout the Histories and often criticizes other historians for their lack of accuracy, judgment, or objectivity.

Article

Polyclitus (1) of *Larissa, author of Historiae relating to *Alexander (3) ‘the Great’ (FGrH 128), is known primarily as a geographical source for *Strabo.

Article

Polycrates was an Athenian *sophist who spent his latter years in Cyprus, and is best known for his (lost) fictitious ‘Accusation of *Socrates’ (κατηγορία Σωκράτους), written after 393/2 bce, and put in the mouth of *Anytus. The defences of Socrates by *Plato (1) and *Xenophon (1) seem to be responses to Polycrates. His speech was known to *Libanius, who composed an elaborate ‘defence’ partly at least in reply to it. Polycrates also practised the genre of ‘paradoxical encomia’; his encomium on Busiris roused *Isocrates to criticize it in his own Busiris; and we hear also of encomia of *Clytemnestra and *Paris, and of mice and salt.

Article

Andrew Brown

Polyphrasmon, son of *Phrynichus (1), was also a tragic poet, winning his first victory between 482 and 471. His Lykourgeia tetralogy was defeated in 467 by the Theban tetralogy of *Aeschylus and by *Aristias.

Article

Kenneth Dover

Athenian comic poet who won four victories at the *Lenaea, the first in the last decade of the 5th cent. bce (IG 22. 2325. 130). We have six titles and a dozen citations; four of the titles indicate theogonic burlesque; a fifth, Demotyndareos, is certainly political, but its occasion and point are disputed.

Article

Geoffrey Arnott

Posidippus (1), New Comedy poet (see comedy (greek), new), born in *Macedonia; he won four victories at the *Dionysia (IG 22. 2325. 71 = 5 B 1 col. 5. 12 Mette), competing from 289/8 bce onwards (Sudaπ 2111). Fr. 13 KA, a version of the story of Phryne's acquittal; 28 KA, a cook instructs his pupils; 30 KA, a Thessalian claims that his dialect is not inferior to Attic; see greek language, § (3).Posidippus' importance is clear; he is alleged to have introduced slave cooks onto the stage (Ath. 14. 658f); his Ἀποκλειομένη, ‘Girl Locked Out’ (? or ‘In’), which ended with the formula now known to be typical in New Comedy (fr. 6 KA), was re-enacted twice in the late 180s (IG 22. 2323. 163 = 3 B 3 col. 3b 17 Mette, and a new fragment edited by A.