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20 - Simonides of Eretria (redivivus?) (2010)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 December 2021

Ewen Bowie
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
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Summary

Two quite long elegies in ‘Book 1’ of the Theognidea are addressed to a Simonides, as is one in ‘Book 2’, a poem that is shorter, but by comparison with other pieces in ‘Book 2’ also relatively long.1 Modern students of classical Greek poetry have of course been tempted to suppose that this Simonides must have been the late sixth- and early fifth-century poet Simonides of Ceos.2 But the author of these three poems seems almost certainly to be Euenus of Paros, a poet and sophist whose activity is firmly pegged to the last decades of the fifth century.3 Several men named Simonides from the later fifth century could be Euenus’ addressee. One is the Athenian στρατηγός, ‘general’, mentioned by Thucydides (4.7), militarily active in the spring of 425 BC, and presumably active in Athenian symposia for some years on either side of that date: he cannot be ruled out. But a more appropriate literary profile seems to be that of a Simonides from Eretria or Carystus, known only from the Suda: for some reason his disappearance from modern literary histories has been compounded with omission from LGPN, but he deserves at least some attention.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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