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The comic poet Pherecrates, a war-casualty of the late 410s BC

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 November 2010

S. Douglas Olson
Affiliation:
University of Minnesota
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Abstract

The comic poet Pherecrates does not appear to have been active after the mid 410s. I suggest that he is to be identified with an epigraphically-attested war-casualty from a few years later.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies 2010

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References

* sdolson@umn.edu. Thanks are due Benjamin Millis for careful comments that greatly improved this note.

1 Thus first Geissler, P., Chronologie der altattischen Komödie (Berlin 1925Google Scholar; reprint with addenda Dublin and Zurich 1969) 6.

2 That Pherecrates is also supposed to have been an actor (Anon. de Com. III 29–30 Koster = test. 2.6–7) does not mean that he (like Crates) must initially have done this exclusively and only later become a poet. Whatever else Pherecrates did with his time, therefore, this tells us nothing about his age when he took the prize for the first time at the Dionysia as a poet.

3 Storey, Ian C., Eupolis: Poet of Old Comedy (Oxford and New York 2003) 6166CrossRefGoogle Scholar, especially 65–66.

4 Thus first Wilamowitz, as reported by Körte, Alfred, ‘Fragmente einer Handschrift der Demen des Eupolis’, Hermes 47 (1912) 312Google Scholar n.1. The editors of IG I3 remain unconvinced of the identification of the poet and the man in the casualty list: ‘dubium est an hic Eupolim poetam habeamus, quem ad Hellespontum pugnantem occidisse “Suidas” refert; nomen vulgare fuit et alii alia de Eupolidis morte rettulerunt’. But while LGPN II records 18 occurrences of the name other than the poet and the man in the casualty list, only two of these are possibly contemporary with the poet. For the various accounts of Eupolis' death, see Nesselrath, H.-G., ‘Eupolis and the periodization of Athenian comedy’, in Harvey, F.D. and Wilkins, J. (eds), The Rivals of Aristophanes (London 2000) 234–35Google Scholar; Storey (n.3) 56–60 (with further bibliography).

5 PA 14196 = PAA 920250 (Pherecrates of Collyte; legal disputant probably in the third quarter of the fourth century BC) and PAA 920255 (Pherecrates the son of Philocrates of the deme Collyte; bouleutes in 341/340 BC); perhaps the same man (thus tentatively Woodhead on Agora XVI 84.100, 102, p. 128).

6 This might none the less have been the case if the fourth-century individual(s) named Pherecrates was/were descendants of the sister vel sim. of the fifthcentury comic poet, in which case they would belong to her husband's tribe but might still have been given a family name.

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