Epigrammatists from The Greek Anthology: Alcaeus, Damagetus, Dionysius, Dioscorides, Artemidorus, Pamphilus, Antipater, Aristodicus, Ariston, Hermocreon, and Tymnes.
Source: Select Epigrams from The Greek Anthology
Edited with a Revised Text, Translation, and Notes, by J. W. Mackail
London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1890
(4) ALCAEUS of Messene, who flourished 200 B.C., represents the literary and political energy still surviving in Greece under the Achaean League. Many of his epigrams touch on the history of the period; several are directed against Philip III. of Macedonia. The earliest to which a date can be fixed is on the destruction of Macynus in Aetolia by Philip, B.C. 218 or 219 (Polyb. iv. 65), and the latest on the dead at the battle of Cynoscephalae, B.C. 197, written before their bones were collected and buried by order of Antiochus B.C. 191. This epigram is mentioned by Plutarch as having given offence to the Roman general Flaminius, on account of its giving the Aetolians an equal share with the Romans in the honour of the victory. Another is on the freedom of Flaminius, proclaimed at the Isthmia B.C. 196. An Alcaeus was one of the Epicurean philosophers expelled from Rome by decree of the Senate in B.C. 173, and may be the same. Others of his epigrams are on literary subjects. All are written in a hard style. There are twenty-two in all in the Anthology. Some of them are headed "Alcaeus of Mitylene," but there is no doubt as to the authorship; the confusion of this Alcaeus with the lyric poet of Mitylene could only be made by one very ignorant of Greek literature.
Of the same period is DAMAGETUS, the author of twelve epigrams in the Anthology, and included as "a dark violet" in the "Garland" of Meleager, l. 21. They are chiefly epitaphs, and are in the best style of the period.
DIONYSIUS of Cyzicus must have flourished soon after 200 B.C. from his epitaph on Eratosthenes, who died B.C. 196. Eight other epigrams in the Palatine Anthology, and four more in Planudes, are attributed to a Dionysius. One is headed "Dionysius of Andros," one "Dionysius of Rhodes" (it is an epitaph on a Rhodian), one "Dionysius the Sophist," the others "Dionysius" simply. There were certainly several authors of the name, which was one of the commonest in Greece; but no distinction in style can be traced among these epigrams, and there is little against the theory that most if not all are by the same author, Dionysius of Cyzicus.
DIOSCORIDES, the author of forty-one epigrams in the Palatine Anthology, lived at Alexandria early in the second century B.C. An epitaph of his on the comedian Machon is quoted by Athenaeus, who says that Machon was master to Aristophanes of Byzantium, who flourished 200 B.C. His style shows imitation of Callimachus; the "Garland" of Meleager, l. 23, speaks of him as "the cyclamen of Muses."
ARTEMIDORUS, a grammarian, pupil of Aristophanes of Byzantium and contemporary of Aristarchus, flourished about 180 B.C., and is the author of two epigrams in the Palatine Anthology, both mottoes, the one for a Theocritus, the other for a collection of the bucolic poets. The former is attributed in the Palatine MS. to Theocritus himself, but is assigned to Artemidorus on the authority of a MS. of Theocritus.
PAMPHILUS, also a grammarian, and pupil to Aristarchus, was one of the poets in the "Garland" of Meleager (l. 17, "the spreading plane of the song of Pamphilus"). Only two epigrams of his are extant in the Anthology.
Antipater of Sidon
ANTIPATER OF SIDON is one of the most interesting figures of the close of this century, when Greek education began to permeate the Roman upper classes. Little is known about his life; part of it was spent at Rome in the society of the most cultured of the nobility. Cicero, "Or." iii. 194, makes Crassus and Catulus speak of him as familiarly known to them, but then dead; the scene of the dialogue is laid in B.C. 91. Cicero and Pliny also mention the curious fact that he had an attack of fever on his birthday every winter. "The young Phoenician cypress of Antipater," in the "Garland" of Meleager, l. 42, refers to him as one of the more modern poets in that collection.
There is much confusion in the Anthology between him and his equally prolific namesake of the next century, Antipater of Thessalonica. The matter would take long to disentangle completely. In brief the facts are these. In the Palatine Anthology there are one hundred and seventy-eight epigrams, of which forty-six are ascribed to Antipater of Sidon and thirty-six to Antipater of Thessalonica, the remaining ninety-six being headed "Antipater" merely. Twenty-eight other epigrams are given as by one or other in Planudes and Diogenes Laërtius. Jacobs assigns ninety epigrams in all to the Sidonian poet. Most of them are epideictic; a good many are on works of art and literature; there are some very beautiful epitaphs. There is in his work a tendency towards diffuseness which goes with his talent in improvisation mentioned by Cicero.
To this period seem to belong the following poets, of whom little or nothing is known: ARISTODICUS of Rhodes, author of two epigrams in the Palatine Anthology: ARISTON, author of three or four epigrams in the style of Leonidas of Tarentum: HERMOCREON, author of one dedication in the Palatine Anthology and another in Planudes: and TYMNES, author of seven epigrams in the Anthology, and included in the "Garland" of Meleager, l. 19, with "the fair-foliaged white poplar" for his cognisance.