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Article

A. Sens

The Batrachomyomachia (BM), the “Battle of Frogs and Mice,” is a mock epic poem of slightly more than 300 dactylic hexameter verses, broadly imitating the language and style of Homer. The poem was widely read as a school text in the Byzantine period. As transmitted in the manuscripts, it contains a number of interpolated verses, and the generally problematic character of the textual tradition complicates the assessment of a number of passages. The work has been variously dated, but it is more likely to be the work of the late Hellenistic period than of the early Classical age, since it contains what appear to be allusions to Moschus’s Europa and Callimachus’s Aetia, and its language shows the influence of Latin. References to the poem in the preface to the Silvae of Statius (1 pr.) and in an epigram of Martial (14.183) provide a terminus ante quem in the last decades of the 1st century ce.

Article

Christopher Pelling

1. Biography in antiquity was not a rigidly defined genre. Bios, ‘life’, or bioi, ‘lives’, could span a range of types of writing, from *Plutarch's cradle-to-grave accounts of statesmen to *Chamaeleon's extravagant stories about literary figures, and even to *Dicaearchus' ambitious Life of Greece. Consequently the boundaries with neighbouring genres—the encomium, the biographical novel on the model of *Xenophon (1)'s Cyropaedia, the historical monograph on the deeds of a great man like *Alexander (3) the Great—are blurred and sometimes artificial. One should not think of a single ‘biographical genre’ with acknowledged conventions, but rather of a complicated picture of overlapping traditions, embracing works of varying form, style, length, and truthfulness.2. The impulse to celebrate the individual finds early expression in the *dirge and the funeral oration (see epitaphios); organization of a literary work around an individual's experiences is as old as the Odyssey (see homer), and various Heracleids and Theseids seem to have treated their subjects' deeds more comprehensively.

Article

Biottus  

Geoffrey Arnott

Biottus, Greek comic poet of the 2nd cent. bce, mentioned only in didascalic lists (see didaskalia). His Ποιητής (‘Poet’) was produced in 167, his Ἀγνοῶν (‘Man in Ignorance’) in 154 (IG 22. 2323. 212, 238 = 3 B 3 col. 4a 23, 5a 24). No fragments survive.

Article

Simon Hornblower

Biton (Βίτων) (3rd or 2nd cent. bce), the author of a small extant work on siege-engines, Κατασκευαὶ πολεμικῶν ὀργάνων καὶ καταπαλτικῶν (‘The Construction of War-machines and Catapults’; see artillery; siegecraft), and of a lost work on *optics.

Article

Boeo  

Ken Dowden

Boeo, short form of a woman's name (based on ‘Boeotian’ ?).(1) Legendary Delphian (see delphi) author of a *hymn mentioning *Hyperboreans and the prophet *Olen (Pausanias 10. 5. 7–8).(2) Either Boeo (fem.) or Boeos (masc.), author of the Hellenistic Ornithogonia (‘Origins of Birds’, cf. ‘Theogony’) used by *Ovid in his Metamorphoses.

Article

H. Maehler

Books existed in *Egypt long before they came into use in Greece. Systems of writing had been invented and developed for administrative purposes in both Egypt and *Mesopotamia by c.3000 bce. While the Sumerians (see sumerian) and Babylonians used clay tablets for their *cuneiform scripts, the Egyptians used papyrus. A blank sheet of papyrus was found in the tomb of the vizier Hemaka in Saqqara of c.3000 bce. The oldest surviving inscribed papyrus texts are the temple accounts of Abusir of c.2450 bce. A number of fine statues of seated scribes of the same period suggests that this profession was already well established and that writing had been practised for centuries, long enough for the ‘hieratic’ script to develop through the adaptation of hieroglyphs to the use of reed-brush and papyrus. The hieroglyph for ‘book-roll’ is first attested in the first dynasty (c.

Article

Said by some to have been a freedman of Jewish faith (see Suda). His range of interests and his literary outlook resemble those of *Dionysius (7) of Halicarnassus, who mentions him as a friend (Pomp. 3. 20). No fragments remain of his history of the slave wars (attested by Ath. 6. 272 f.), but there is a good deal of evidence for his rhetorical works. His book ‘On the Sublime’ (Περὶ ὕψους) was the target *‘Longinus’ attacked, and from which he no doubt drew many of his examples; his comparison of *Demosthenes (2) and *Cicero also attracted criticism (Plut.Dem. 3). A treatise on figures is often quoted by later writers, and the reported titles ‘What is the Difference between the Attic and the Asianic Taste (ζῆλος)?’ and ‘Against the Phrygians’ make his Atticist position clear (see asianism and atticism).

Article

Callias won first prize at the City *Dionysia in 446 bce (IG 22. 2318, col. 3), and was active at least until 430 (IG 14. 1097. 5 f.). We have eight titles (including Ἀταλάνται), and 40 citations; fr. 15 mentions *Socrates. ‘Callias the Athenian, a little earlier than Strattis' (Ath.

Article

Godfrey Louis Barber and Simon Hornblower

Callias (5), of *Syracuse, lived at the court of *Agathocles (1), tyrant of Syracuse (316–289 bce), and wrote a history of his reign in 22 books. It so favoured Agathocles that Callias was suspected of accepting bribes; so Diod. Sic. (21. 17. 4), who however probably knew Callias only through the medium of Agathocles’ enemy *Timaeus (2). Callias’ history had little influence on the tradition (which remained unfavourable to Agathocles), although, apart from the account written by Agathocles’ brother Antandrus, it was the first important work on this subject. The fragments do not provide sufficient material to determine the contents of the work in detail.

Article

Callimachus was a Greek poet and scholar who flourished in the first half of the 3rd century bce in Alexandria, wrote in the context of its Library and Museum, and had close connections to the Ptolemaic court. Apart from six hymns and around sixty epigrams, Callimachus’s texts, both poetry and prose, have survived only in fragments. Chief among his fragmentary works are the Aetia, Iambi, and Hecale: the many papyrus fragments and quotations from these poems give evidence of their lasting impact and popularity in antiquity. Callimachus’s work is highly allusive, refined, learned, and experimental, but also attuned to its political and cultural context and engaged in a poetological discourse with predecessors and colleagues. In his poetry, Callimachus absorbs much of the earlier Greek literary tradition, and his experiments and innovations, while highly original, also reflect trends suggested by the generations preceding him. He in turn exercised great influence on later Roman and Greek poetry, particularly on the poets of Augustan Rome.

Article

Greek elegiac poet of the mid-7th cent. bce, from *Ephesus. The only extended fragment is a call to arms in defence of the city; it may have been delivered at a *symposium. Other fragments refer to Ephesus’ war with *Magnesia (1) ad Maeandrum and to the hostile approach of the *Cimmerians and Treres (c.

Article

Callistratus (1), thought by some to have been a comic poet, but best known as the man under whose name *Aristophanes (1) produced his three earliest plays.

Article

Callistratus (3), pupil of *Aristophanes (2) of Byzantium, commented on Homer and other authors, and wrote Σύμμικτα, ‘Miscellany’, quoted by *Athenaeus (1). He attacked his fellow-pupil *Aristarchus (2) for departing from his master's doctrines.

Article

Callistratus (3rd or 4th cent. ce), a sophist (see second sophistic) who wrote Descriptions of fourteen statues (including Lysippus’ Opportunity), in imitation of the Images of *Philostratus of Lemnos.

Article

Klaus Meister

Callixeinus (Καλλίξεινος), of Rhodes, probably 2nd cent. bce, wrote On Alexandria (see alexandria (1)) in at least four books. Two extensive verbal quotations are preserved in *Athenaeus (1): F 2 = 5. 196a–203b on a grand *procession (πομπή) of *Ptolemy (1) II Philadelphus, presumably held to celebrate the victory in the First Syrian War 271/0(?); F 1 = 5. 203e–206c on the magnificent ships built by *Ptolemy (1) IV Philopator c.221–204 (including details of measurements, equipment, and technology). Neither local history nor a guidebook to Alexandria, it was rather a compilation of reports concerning extraordinary incidents; it was based on written sources and arranged thematically.

Article

canon  

Patricia E. Easterling

In Classical Greek the word kanōn (lit. ‘rod’) was used to mean ‘rule’ or ‘standard’; hence its use as the title of a manual on proportions by the sculptor *Polyclitus (2) and as the name of a statue illustrating his principles. The word was later applied by Christian writers to what became the approved selection of books of the Bible, but it was not used in pagan antiquity in the sense of a list of chosen ‘best authors’. (*Dionysius of *Halicarnassus uses it of (e.g.) *Lysias as ‘the perfect model of the Attic dialect’ (Lys. 2), and *Photius in the 9th cent. ce applies it to any author who represents the ‘standard’ of the genre or the model for another writer: e.g. *Thucydides (2) is the kanōn for *Cassius Dio, Bibl. 35b33.) The idea of compiling lists of the best writers in a particular genre, such as the Nine Lyric Poets, was attributed by Roman writers to Alexandrian scholars, particularly *Aristarchus (2) and *Aristophanes (2) of Byzantium (Quint.

Article

Geoffrey Arnott

Athenian comic poet, victorious at the *Dionysia in 422 bce (IG 22. 2318. 115 = 1 col. 8. 17 Mette).

Article

Carcinus (1), son of Xenotimus of the Attic *deme of *Thoricus, a dramatist repeatedly mocked by *Aristophanes (1) along with his sons, who had a reputation as dancers (Clouds 1260 f., Wasps1497–1534, Peace 781–95, 864). He made a dedication as a *trierarchc. 450 and served as general on a naval expedition in 431 (Thuc. 2. 23. 2). *Scholia call him a tragedian (like his son *Xenocles and grandson *Carcinus (2)), though the one title attributed to him (in another scholion) is Mice, which, if correct, could only be a comedy.

Article

Carcinus (2), son of *Xenocles and grandson of *Carcinus (1), a tragic poet who is said to have written 160 plays (*Suda). He competed at the *Lenaeac.376 bce, and won the first of his eleven victories at the *Dionysia shortly before 372. He paid several visits to the court of *Dionysius (2) II of Syracuse (Diod. Sic. 5. 1. 1). He was cited by *Lysias and *Menander (1), and *Plutarch (De glor. Ath. 7) speaks very highly of his Aerope. *Aristotle often refers to him: Poet. 16 (recognition scene in Thyestes), 17 (a fatal error of stagecraft in Amphiaraus), Eth. Nic. 7, 8 (the endurance of Cercyon in Alope), Rh. 2. 23 (an argument in Medea, a version in which *Medea was wrongly accused of killing her children, as a papyrus fragment now confirms), 3. 16 (arguments of Jocasta in Oedipus).

Article

Named by *Charon (2) of Lampsacus as author of the Naupactia, a genealogical epic (see genealogy) elsewhere cited anonymously. It included the *Argonaut story.