I would like to consider the Greek poet Machon, whose extant fragments pose a problem of genre that opens out to a historical problem. At issue is the historical – or at least historicising – reading of literary texts. Machon, who hailed from Corinth or Sicyon, wrote comic dramas and Chreiai, anecdotes and witty sayings of Athenian musicians, parasites, and courtesans. All that we have of Machon, and almost all that we know about him, comes from Athenaeus in his discursive, encyclopaedic Deipnosophistai (written in the 2nd or 3rd c. CE). Athenaeus quotes nearly 500 lines of Machon's verses – almost all of it from the Chreiai, as well as two very brief fragments from his comedies. As a writer entirely preserved in another author's work, Machon has languished in almost complete obscurity, although his fragments have been scrupulously edited and annotated by A. S. F. Gow.