Callimachus (/kæˈlɪməkəs/; Greek: Καλλίμαχος, Kallimakhos; c. 310/305–c. 240 BC) was a native of the Greek colony of Cyrene, Libya. He was a poet, critic and scholar at the Library of Alexandria and enjoyed the patronage of the Egyptian–Greek Pharaohs Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Ptolemy III Euergetes. Although he was never made chief librarian, he was responsible for producing a bibliographic survey based upon the contents of the Library. This, his Pinakes, 120 volumes long, provided the foundation for later work on the history of ancient Greek literature. He is among the most productive and influential scholar-poets of the Hellenistic age.
|Born||c. 310/305 BC|
|Died||c. 240 BC|
|Occupation||poet, critic and scholar|
Callimachus was of Libyan Greek origin. He was born c. 310/305 BC and raised in Cyrene, as member of a distinguished family, his parents being Mesatme (or Mesatma) and Battus, supposed descendant of the first Greek king of Cyrene, Battus I, through whom Callimachus claimed to be a descendant of the Battiad dynasty, the Libyan Greek monarchs that ruled Cyrenaica for eight generations and the first Greek Royal family to have reigned in Africa. He was named after his grandfather, an "elder" Callimachus, who was highly regarded by the Cyrenaean citizens and had served as a general.
Callimachus married the daughter of a Greek man called Euphrates who came from Syracuse. However, it is unknown if they had children. He also had a sister called Megatime but very little is known about her: she married a Cyrenaean man called Stasenorus or Stasenor to whom she bore a son, Callimachus (so called "the Younger" as to distinguish him from his maternal uncle), who also became a poet, author of "The Island".
Elitist and erudite, claiming to "abhor all common things," Callimachus is best known for his short poems and epigrams. During the Hellenistic period, a major trend in Greek-language poetry was to reject epics modelled after Homer. Instead, Callimachus urged poets to "drive their wagons on untrodden fields," rather than following in the well worn tracks of Homer, idealizing a form of poetry that was brief, yet carefully formed and worded, a style at which he excelled. "Big book, big evil" (μέγα βιβλίον μέγα κακόν, mega biblion, mega kakon) is another saying attributed to him, often thought to be attacking long, old-fashioned poetry. Callimachus also wrote poems in praise of his royal patrons (such as Ptolemy II Philadelphus), and a wide variety of other poetic styles, as well as prose and criticism.
Due to Callimachus' strong stance against the epic, he and his younger student Apollonius of Rhodes, who favored epic and wrote the Argonautica, had a long and bitter feud, trading barbed comments, insults, and personal attacks for over thirty years. It is now known, through a papyrus fragment from Oxyrhynchus listing the earliest chief librarians of the Library of Alexandria  that Ptolemy II never offered the post to Callimachus, but passed him over for Apollonius Rhodius. Some classicists, including Peter Green, speculate that this contributed to the poets' long feud. According to the current scholarly consensus, however, the evidence for this putative feud is lacking, and it is likely to be specious; according to Alan Cameron, "there is no genuinely ancient evidence at all." Moreover, without knowing the precise nature of the role, it is impossible to conclude what should be inferred from Callimachus' failure to become chief librarian.
Though Callimachus was an opponent of "big books", the Suda puts his number of works at (a possibly exaggerated) 800, suggesting that he found large quantities of small works more acceptable. Of these, only six hymns, sixty-four epigrams, and some fragments are extant; a considerable fragment of the Hecale, one of Callimachus' few longer poems treating epic material, has also been discovered in the Rainer papyri. His Aetia (Αἴτια, "Causes"), another rare longer work surviving only in tattered papyrus fragments and quotations in later authors, was a collection of elegiac poems in four books, dealing with the foundation of cities, obscure religious ceremonies, unique local traditions apparently chosen for their oddity, and other customs, throughout the Hellenic world. In the first three books at least, the formula appears to ask a question of the Muse, of the form, "Why, on Paros, do worshippers of the Charites use neither flutes nor crowns?" "Why, at Argos is a month named for 'lambs'?" "Why, at Leucas, does the image of Artemis have a mortar on its head?" A series of questions can be reconstituted from the fragments. One passage of the Aetia, the so-called Coma Berenices, has been reconstructed from papyrus remains and the celebrated Latin adaptation of Catullus (Catullus 66).
The extant hymns are extremely learned, and written in a style that some have criticised as labored and artificial. The epigrams are more widely respected, and several have been incorporated into the Greek Anthology.
According to Quintilian (10.1.58) he was the chief of the elegiac poets; his elegies were highly esteemed by the Romans (see Neoterics), and imitated by Ovid, Catullus, and especially Sextus Propertius. Many modern classicists hold Callimachus in high regard for his major influence on Latin poetry.
Callimachus' most famous prose work is the Pinakes (Lists), a bibliographical survey of authors of the works held in the Library of Alexandria. The Pinakes was one of the first known documents that lists, identifies, and categorizes a library’s holdings. By consulting the Pinakes, a library patron could find out if the library contained a work by a particular author, how it was categorized, and where it might be found. It is important to note that Callimachus did not seem to have any models for his pinakes, and invented this system on his own.
The title "Acts of John" is used to refer to a set of stories about John the Apostle that began circulating in written form as early as the second century AD. Translations of the "Acts of John" in modern languages have been reconstructed by scholars from a number of manuscripts of later date. The "Acts of John" are generally classified as "New Testament apocrypha."Adrasteia
In Greek mythology, Adrasteia (; Greek: Ἀδράστεια (Ionic Greek: Ἀδρήστεια), "inescapable"; also spelled Adrastia, Adrastea, Adrestea, Adastreia or Adrasta) was a Cretan nymph, and daughter of Melisseus, who was charged by Rhea with nurturing the infant Zeus in secret, to protect him from his father Cronus.Adrastea may be interchangeable with Cybele, a goddess also associated with childbirth. The Greeks cultivated a patronic system of gods who served specific human needs, conditions or desires to whom one would give praise or tribute for success in certain arenas such as childbirth.Alexiares and Anicetus
Alexiares and Anicetus (Ἀλεξιάρης Alexiarês and Ανικητος Anikêtos) are minor deities in Greek Mythology. They are the immortal sons of Heracles, the greatest of the Greek heroes and the strongest mortal to live, and Hebe, the goddess of youth the server of Ambrosia and nectar to the other Olympian gods. Along with their father Heracles, they possibly were the guardians of Mount Olympus, and the pair may have been regarded as the gatekeepers of Olympus, a role which was often assigned to their immortal father. Additionally, they were likely responsible for the protection and fortification of towns and citadels. They were born after the hero's mortal death and assent to Olympus, where he gained immortality and married the goddess Hebe. Callimachus makes a reference to Hebe receiving assistance from her sister, Eiliethyia the goddess of midwifery, while in labour. Their names mean "he who wards off war" and "the unconquerable one" respectively.They were likely worshiped mostly in Thebes and Rhodes.
Their powers were said to be youth and sports and it is possible that they inherited their father's great strength. Little is known about them besides a mention of their birth in the Bibliotheca: Heracles achieved immortality, and when Hera’s enmity changed to friendship, he married her daughter Hebe, who bore him sons Alexiares and Anicetus.Apollonius of Rhodes
Apollonius of Rhodes (Ancient Greek: Ἀπολλώνιος Ῥόδιος Apollṓnios Rhódios; Latin: Apollonius Rhodius; fl. first half of 3rd century BCE), was an ancient Greek author, best known for the Argonautica, an epic poem about Jason and the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. The poem is one of the few extant examples of the epic genre and it was both innovative and influential, providing Ptolemaic Egypt with a "cultural mnemonic" or national "archive of images", and offering the Latin poets Virgil and Gaius Valerius Flaccus a model for their own epics. His other poems, which survive only in small fragments, concerned the beginnings or foundations of cities, such as Alexandria and Cnidus – places of interest to the Ptolemies, whom he served as a scholar and librarian at the Library of Alexandria. A literary dispute with Callimachus, another Alexandrian librarian/poet, is a topic much discussed by modern scholars since it is thought to give some insight into their poetry, although there is very little evidence that there ever was such a dispute between the two men. In fact almost nothing at all is known about Apollonius and even his connection with Rhodes is a matter for speculation. Once considered a mere imitator of Homer, and therefore a failure as a poet, his reputation has been enhanced by recent studies, with an emphasis on the special characteristics of Hellenistic poets as scholarly heirs of a long literary tradition writing at a unique time in history.Callimachus (polemarch)
Callimachus (Greek: Καλλίμαχος Kallímakhos) was the Athenian polemarch at the Battle of Marathon which took place during 490 BC. According to Herodotus he was from the Attica deme of Afidnes.Callimachus (sculptor)
Callimachus (Greek: Καλλίμαχος Kallímachos) was an architect and sculptor working in the second half of the 5th century BC in the manner established by Polyclitus. He was credited with work in both Athens and Corinth and was probably from one of the two cities. According to Vitruvius (iv.1), for his great ingenuity and taste the Athenians dubbed Callimachus katatêxitechnos (literally, 'finding fault with one's own craftsmanship': perfectionist). His reputation in the 2nd century AD was reported in an aside by Pausanias as one "although not of the first rank of artists, was yet of unparalleled cleverness, so that he was the first to drill holes through stones"—that is, in order to enhance surface effects of light and shade in locks of hair, foliage and other details. Thus it is reported that Callimachus was known for his penchant for elaborately detailed sculptures or drapery, though few securely attributed works by him survive.Charon
In Greek mythology, Charon or Kharon (; Greek Χάρων) is the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. A coin to pay Charon for passage, usually an obolus or danake, was sometimes placed in or on the mouth of a dead person. Some authors say that those who could not pay the fee, or those whose bodies were left unburied, had to wander the shores for one hundred years. In the catabasis mytheme, heroes – such as Aeneas, Dionysus, Heracles, Hermes, Odysseus, Orpheus, Pirithous, Psyche, Theseus and Sisyphus – journey to the underworld and return, still alive, conveyed by the boat of Charon.Elegiac
The adjective elegiac has two possible meanings. First, it can refer to something of, relating to, or involving, an elegy or something that expresses similar mournfulness or sorrow. Second, it can refer more specifically to poetry composed in the form of elegiac couplets.An elegiac couplet consists of one line of poetry in dactylic hexameter followed by a line in dactylic pentameter. Because dactylic hexameter is used throughout epic poetry, and because the elegiac form was always considered "lower style" than epic, elegists, or poets who wrote elegies, frequently wrote with epic poetry in mind and positioned themselves in relation to epic.Filippo Buonaccorsi
Filippo Buonaccorsi, called "Callimachus" (Latin: Philippus Callimachus Experiens, Bonacursius; Polish: Filip Kallimach; 2 May 1437 – 1 November 1496) was an Italian humanist and writer.Galene (mythology)
Galene (Greek: Γαλήνη) in ancient Greek religion was a minor goddess personifying calm seas. Hesiod enumerates her as one of the Nereids, while Euripides mentions "Galaneia" as a daughter of Pontus. Callimachus refers to her as "Galenaia". A statue of Galene, next to that of Thalassa, was mentioned by Pausanias as an offering at the temple of Poseidon in Corinth.The alternative name Galatea, which gained currency in the 18th century refers to same goddess.Latin poetry
The history of Latin poetry can be understood as the adaptation of Greek models. The verse comedies of Plautus are considered the earliest surviving examples of Latin literature and are estimated to have been composed around 205-184 BC.
The start of Latin literature is conventionally dated to the first performance of a play in verse by a Greek slave, Livius Andronicus, at Rome in 240 BC. Livius translated Greek New Comedy for Roman audiences, using meters that were basically those of Greek drama, modified to the needs of Latin. His successors Plautus and Terence further refined the borrowings from the Greek stage and the prosody of their verse is substantially the same as for classical Latin verse.The traditional meter of Greek epic, the dactylic hexameter, was introduced into Latin literature by Ennius (239-169 BC), virtually a contemporary of Livius, who substituted it for the jerky Saturnian meter in which Livius had been composing epic verses. Ennius moulded a poetic diction and style suited to the imported hexameter, providing a model for 'classical' poets such as Virgil and Ovid.The late republic saw the emergence of Neoteric Poets, notably Catullus—rich young men from the Italian provinces, conscious of metropolitan sophistication, and looking to the scholarly Alexandrian poet Callimachus for inspiration. Catullus shared the Alexandrian's preference for short poems and wrote within a variety of meters borrowed from Greece, including Aeolian forms such as hendecasyllabic verse, the Sapphic stanza and Greater Asclepiad, as well as iambic verses such as the choliamb and the iambic tetrameter catalectic (a dialogue meter borrowed from Old Comedy).Horace, whose career crossed the divide between republic and empire, followed Catullus' lead in employing Greek lyrical forms, identifying with Alcaeus of Mytilene, composing Alcaic stanzas, and also with Archilochus, composing poetic invectives in the Iambus tradition (in which he adopted the metrical form of the Epode or 'Iambic Distich'). Horace was a contemporary of Virgil and, like the epic poet, he wrote verses in dactylic hexameter, but in a conversational and epistolary style. Virgil's hexameters are generally regarded as "the supreme metrical system of Latin literature."Meliae
In Greek mythology, the Meliae (; Ancient Greek: Μελίαι Meliai or Μελιάδες Meliades) were usually considered to be the nymphs of the ash tree, whose name they shared.Mimnermus
Mimnermus (Greek: Μίμνερμος Mímnermos) was a Greek elegiac poet from either Colophon or Smyrna in Ionia, who flourished about 630–600 BC. He was strongly influenced by the example of Homer yet he wrote short poems suitable for performance at drinking parties and was remembered by ancient authorities chiefly as a love poet. Mimnermus in turn exerted a strong influence on Hellenistic poets such as Callimachus and thus also on Roman poets such as Propertius, who even preferred him to Homer for his eloquence on love themes (see Comments by other poets below). His work was collected by Alexandrian scholars in just two "books" (relatively few compared for example with the twenty-six books for Stesichorus) and today only small fragments survive. The fragments confirm the ancient estimate of him as a "consummate poet" but also indicate that he was a "sturdier character" than the indulgent love poet he was assumed to be by various ancient commentators. Almost no reliable, biographical details have been recorded. One ancient account linked him romantically with a flute girl who subsequently gave her name, Nanno, to one of his two books.Nike of Callimachus
The Nike of Callimachus (Greek: Nίκη του Καλλιμάχου) also known as The Dedication of Callimachus, is a statue that the Athenians created in honor of the Callimachus.Paradoxography
Paradoxography is a genre of Classical literature which deals with the occurrence of abnormal or inexplicable phenomena of the natural or human worlds.
Early surviving examples of the genre include:
Palaephatus' On Incredible Things (4th century BC?)
the Collection of Wonderful Tales composed by Antigonus of Carystus (fl. 3rd century BC), partly on the basis of a paradoxographical work of Callimachus
Apollonius paradoxographus' Mirabilia (2nd century BC)It is believed that the pseudo-Aristotelian On Marvellous Things Heard (De mirabilibus auscultationibus) "contains a core of early material from the Hellenistic period which was then added to over time, including some material that was added in the 2nd century C.E. or even later."Phlegon of Tralles's Book of Marvels, which dates from the 2nd century AD is perhaps the most famous example of the genre, including in the main, stories of human abnormalities. Phlegon's brief accounts of prodigies and wonders include ghost stories, accounts of monstrous births, strange animals like centaurs, hermaphrodites, giant skeletons and prophesying heads. Phlegon's writing is characterised by brief and forthright description, as well as by a tongue-in-cheek insistence on the veracity of his claims.
Other works of this genre in Greek include Heraclitus the paradoxographer's On Incredible Things (1st or 2nd century AD) and Claudius Aelianus' On the Nature of Animals (3rd century AD).
In Latin, Marcus Terentius Varro and Cicero wrote works on admiranda (marvelous things), which do not survive.Pinakes
The Pinakes (Ancient Greek: Πίνακες "tables", plural of πίναξ) is a lost bibliographic work composed by Callimachus (310/305–240 BCE) that is popularly considered to be the first library catalog; its contents were based upon the holdings of the Library of Alexandria during Callimachus' tenure there during the third century BCE.Telchines
In Greek mythology, the Telchines (Ancient Greek: Τελχῖνες, Telkhines) were the original inhabitants of the island of Rhodes, and were known in Crete and Cyprus.Thaumas
In Greek mythology, Thaumas (; Ancient Greek: Θαύμας; gen.: Θαύμαντος) was a sea god, son of Pontus and Gaia, and the full brother of Nereus, Phorcys, Ceto and Eurybia.Tomares callimachus
Tomares callimachus, the Caucasian vernal copper, is a butterfly of the family Lycaenidae. It is found in Anatolia, Iraq, Iran, the Caucasus, and Transcaucasia.
The wingspan is 18–23 mm. The species inhabits semi-deserts and arid mountain steppes. It occupies an elevation range from 1000 to 2000 m above sea level. The butterfly flies from late March to early June depending on latitude and elevation.
The larvae feed on the Astragalus species A. physodes and A. vulpinus.