Simonides of Ceos

Simonides of Ceos (/saɪˈmɒnɪˌdiːz/; Greek: Σιμωνίδης ὁ Κεῖος; c. 556 – 468 BC) was a Greek lyric poet, born at Ioulis on Ceos. The scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria included him in the canonical list of the nine lyric poets esteemed by them as worthy of critical study. Included on this list was Bacchylides, his nephew, and Pindar, reputedly a bitter rival, both of whom benefited from his innovative approach to lyric poetry. However, Simonides was more involved than either in the major events and with the personalities of their times.[3]

His general renown owes much to traditional accounts of his colourful life, as one of the wisest of men; as a greedy miser; as an inventor of a system of mnemonics; and also the inventor of some letters of the Greek alphabet (ω, η, ξ, ψ).[4] Such accounts include fanciful elements, yet he had a real influence on the sophistic enlightenment of the classical era.[5] His fame as a poet rests largely on his ability to present basic human situations with affecting simplicity.[1] In the words of the Roman rhetorician Quintilian (55–100 AD):

Simonides has a simple style, but he can be commended for the aptness of his language and for a certain charm; his chief merit, however, lies in the power to excite pity, so much so that some prefer him in this respect to all other writers of the genre.[6]

He is popularly associated with epitaphs commemorating fallen warriors, as for example the Lacedaemonians at The Battle of Thermopylae:

Ὦ ξεῖν', ἄγγειλον Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε
κείμεθα, τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι.

Tell them in Lacedaimon, passer-by
That here, obedient to their word, we lie,

—Translated by F L Lucas
as an English heroic couplet

Today only glimpses of his poetry remain, either in the form of papyrus fragments or quotations by ancient literary figures, yet new fragments continue to be unearthed by archaeologists at Oxyrhynchus, a city and archaeological site in Egypt that has yielded papyrus fragments over a century of excavations. He is included in narratives as diverse as Mary Renault's modern historical novel The Praise Singer (where he is the narrator and main character), Plato's Protagoras (where he is a topic of conversation), and some verses in Callimachus' Aetia (where he is portrayed as a ghost complaining about the desecration of his own tomb in Acragas).[7]

Corinthian Vase depicting Perseus, Andromeda and Ketos
Corinthian vase depicting Perseus, Andromeda and Ketos; the names are written in the archaic Greek alphabet.
Simonides was popularly accredited with the invention of four letters of the revised alphabet and, as the author of inscriptions, he was the first major poet who composed verses to be read rather than recited.[1] Coincidentally he also composed a dithyramb on the subject of Perseus that is now one of the largest fragments of his extant verses.[2]


Few clear facts about Simonides' life have come down to modern times in spite of his fame and influence. Ancient sources are uncertain even about the date of his birth. According to the Byzantine encyclopaedia, Suda: "He was born in the 56th Olympiad (556/552 BC) or according to some writers in the 62nd (532/528) and he survived until the 78th (468/464), having lived eighty-nine years."[8] Modern scholars generally accept 556-468 BC for his life in spite of some awkward consequences—for example it would make him about fifty years older than his nephew Bacchylides and still very active internationally at about 80 years of age. Other ancient sources also have awkward consequences. For example, according to an entry in the Parian Marble, Simonides died in 468/7 BC at the age of ninety yet, in another entry, it lists a victory by his grandfather in a poetry competition in Athens in 489/488 BC—this grandfather must have been over a hundred years old at that time if the birth dates for Simonides are correct. The grandfather's name, as recorded by the Parian Marble, was also Simonides, and it has been argued by some scholars that the earliest references to Simonides in ancient sources might in fact be references to this grandfather. However, the Parian Marble is known to be unreliable and possibly it was not even the grandfather but a grandson that won the aforementioned victory in Athens.[9] According to the Suda, this grandson was yet another Simonides and he was the author of books on genealogy.[10]

Early years: Ceos and Athens

Ioulis, present-day capital of Kea (Ceos in Ancient Greek), including remnants of the ancient acropolis. Like most Cycladic settlements, it was built inland on a readily defensible hill as protection against pirates

Simonides is identified in the Suda as the son of a Leoprepes. He was born in Ioulis on Ceos (Ἰουλίς, Κέως), the outermost island of the Cyclades. The innermost island, Delos, was the reputed birthplace of Apollo, where the people of Ceos regularly sent choirs to perform hymns in the god's honour. Carthaea, another Cean town, included a choregeion or school where choirs were trained, and possibly Simonides worked there as a teacher in his early years.[11] In addition to its musical culture, Ceos had a rich tradition of athletic competition, especially in running and boxing (the names of Ceans victorious at Panhellenic competitions were recorded at Ioulis on slabs of stone) making it fertile territory for a genre of choral lyric that Simonides pioneered—the victory ode. Indeed, the grandfather of Simonides' nephew, Bacchylides, was one of the island's notable athletes.[12] Ceos lies only some fifteen miles south-east of Attica, whither Simonides was drawn, about the age of thirty, by the lure of opportunities opening up at the court of the tyrant Hipparchus, a patron of the arts. His rivalry there with another chorus-trainer and poet, Lasus of Hermione, became something of a joke to Athenians of a later generation—it is mentioned briefly by the comic playwright Aristophanes[13] who earmarked Simonides as a miserly type of professional poet (see The Miser below)

Middle career: Thessaly

After the assassination of Hipparchus (514 BC), Simonides withdrew to Thessaly, where he enjoyed the protection and patronage of the Scopadae and Aleuadae. These were two of the most powerful families in the Thessalian feudal aristocracy yet they seemed notable to later Greeks such as Theocritus only for their association with Simonides.[14] Thessaly at that time was a cultural backwater, remaining in the 'Dark Ages' until the close of the 5th century. According to an account by Plutarch, the Ionian poet once dismissed the Thessalians as "too ignorant" to be beguiled by poetry.[15] Among the most colourful of his "ignorant" patrons was the head of the Scopadae clan, named Scopas. Fond of drinking, convivial company and vain displays of wealth, this aristocrat's proud and capricious dealings with Simonides are demonstrated in a traditional account related by Cicero[16] and Quintilian,[17] according to which the poet was commissioned to write a victory ode for a boxer. Simonides embellished his ode with so many references to the twins Castor and Pollux (heroic archetypes of the boxer) that Scopas told him to collect half the commissioned fee from them—he would only pay the other half.[18] Simonides however ended up getting much more from the mythical twins than just a fee: he owed them his very life (see Miraculous escapes). According to this story he was called out of the feast hall to see two visitors who had arrived and were asking for him – presumably Castor and Pollux. As soon as he left the hall, it collapsed, killing everyone within. These events were said to have inspired him to develop a system of mnemonics based on images and places called the method of loci. The method of loci is one component of the Art of memory.

Career highlight: Persian Wars

The Thessalian period in Simonides' career is followed in most biographies by his return to Athens during the Persian Wars and it is certain that he became a prominent international figure at that time,[19] particularly as the author of commemorative verses. According to an anonymous biographer of Aeschylus,[20] the Athenians chose Simonides ahead of Aeschylus to be the author of an epigram honouring their war-dead at Marathon, which led the tragedian (who had fought at the battle and whose brother had died there) to withdraw sulking to the court of Hieron of Syracuse—the story is probably based on the inventions of comic dramatists[21] but it is likely that Simonides did in fact write some kind of commemorative verses for the Athenian victory at Marathon.[22] His ability to compose tastefully and poignantly on military themes put him in great demand among Greek states after their defeat of the second Persian invasion, when he is known to have composed epitaphs for Athenians, Spartans and Corinthians, a commemorative song for Leonidas and his men, a dedicatory epigram for Pausanias, and poems on the battles of Artemisium, Salamis,[21] and Plataea.[23] According to Plutarch, the Cean had a statue of himself made about this time, which inspired the Athenian politician Themistocles to comment on his ugliness. In the same account, Themistocles is said to have rejected an attempt by the poet to bribe him, then likened himself as an honest magistrate to a good poet, since an honest magistrate keeps the laws and a good poet keeps in tune.[24] Suda mentions a feud between Simonides and the Rhodian lyric poet, Timocreon, for whom Simonides apparently composed a mock epitaph that touches on the issue of the Rhodian's medism—an issue that also involved Themistocles.[25]

Final years: Sicily

The last years of the poet's life were spent in Sicily, where he became a friend and confidant of Hieron of Syracuse. According to a scholiast on Pindar, he once acted as peace-maker between Hieron and another Sicilian tyrant, Theron of Acragas, thus ending a war between them.[26] Scholiasts are the only authority for stories about rivalry between Simonides and Pindar at the court of Hieron, traditionally used to explain some of the meanings in Pindar's victory odes[27] (see the articles on Bacchylides and Pindar). If the stories of rivalry are true, it may be surmised that Simonides's experiences at the courts of the tyrants, Hipparchus and Scopas, gave him a competitive edge over the proud Pindar and enabled him to promote the career of his nephew, Bacchylides, at Pindar's expense.[28] However, Pindar scholiasts are generally considered unreliable,[29] and there is no reason to accept their account.[30] The Hellenistic poet Callimachus revealed in one of his poems that Simonides was buried outside Acragas, and that his tombstone was later mis-used in the construction of a tower.[31]

Biographical themes

Traditional accounts of the poet's life embody a variety of themes.

Miraculous escapes

Pompeii - Casa del Poeta Tragico - Theater 3
Detail of a mosaic in Pompeii (Casa del Poeta Tragico) showing a poet

As mentioned above, both Cicero and Quintilian are sources for the story that Scopas, the Thassalian nobleman, refused to pay Simonides in full for a victory ode that featured too many decorative references to the mythical twins, Castor and Pollux. According to the rest of the story, Simonides was celebrating the same victory with Scopas and his relatives at a banquet when he received word that two young men were waiting outside to see him. When he got outside, however, he discovered firstly that the two young men were nowhere to be found and, secondly, that the dining hall was collapsing behind him. Scopas and a number of his relatives were killed. Apparently the two young men were the twins and they had rewarded the poet's interest in them by thus saving his life. Simonides later benefited from the tragedy by deriving a system of mnemonics from it (see The inventor). Quintilian dismisses the story as a fiction because "the poet nowhere mentions the affair, although he was not in the least likely to keep silent on a matter which brought him such glory..."[32] This however was not the only miraculous escape that his piety afforded him. There are two epigrams in the Palatine Anthology, both attributed to Simonides and both dedicated to a drowned man whose corpse the poet and some companions are said to have found and buried on an island. The first is an epitaph in which the dead man is imagined to invoke blessings on those who had buried the body, and the second records the poet's gratitude to the drowned man for having saved his own life—Simonides had been warned by his ghost not to set sail from the island with his companions, who all subsequently drowned.[33]

The inventor

During the excavation of the rubble of Scopas's dining hall, Simonides was called upon to identify each guest killed. Their bodies had been crushed beyond recognition but he completed the gruesome task by correlating their identities to their positions (loci in Latin) at the table before his departure. He later drew on this experience to develop the 'memory theatre' or 'memory palace', a system for mnemonics widely used in oral societies until the Renaissance.[34] According to Cicero, Themistocles wasn't much impressed with the poet's invention: "I would rather a technique of forgetting, for I remember what I would rather not remember and cannot forget what I would rather forget."[35]

The Suda credits Simonides with inventing "the third note of the lyre" (which is known to be wrong since the lyre had seven strings from the 7th century), and four letters of the Greek alphabet.[36] Whatever the validity of such claims, a creative and original turn of mind is demonstrated in his poetry as he likely invented the genre of the victory ode[37] and he gave persuasive expression to a new set of ethical standards (see Ethics).

The miser

In his play Peace, Aristophanes imagined that the tragic poet Sophocles had turned into Simonides: "He may be old and decayed, but these days, if you paid him enough, he'd go to sea in a sieve."[38] A scholiast, commenting on the passage, wrote: "Simonides seems to have been the first to introduce money-grabbing into his songs and to write a song for pay" and, as proof of it, quoted a passage from one of Pindar's odes ("For then the Muse was not yet fond of profit nor mercenary"), which he interpreted as covert criticism of Simonides. The same scholiast related a popular story that the poet kept two boxes, one empty and the other full - the empty one being where he kept favours, the full one being where he kept his money.[39] According to Athenaeus, when Simonides was at Hieron's court in Syracuse, he used to sell most of the daily provisions that he received from the tyrant, justifying himself thus: "So that all may see Hieron's magnificence and my moderation."[40] Aristotle reported that the wife of Hieron once asked Simonides whether it was better to be wealthy or wise, to which he apparently replied: "Wealthy; for I see the wise spending their days at the doors of the wealthy."[41] According to an anecdote recorded on a papyrus, dating to around 250 BC, Hieron once asked the poet if everything grows old: "Yes," Simonides answered, "all except money-making; and kind deeds age most quickly of all."[42] He once rejected a small fee to compose a victory ode for the winner of a mule race (it was not a prestigious event) but, according to Aristotle, changed his mind when the fee was increased, resulting in this magniloquent opening: "Greetings, daughters of storm-footed horses!"[43] In a quote recorded by Plutarch, he once complained that old age had robbed him of every pleasure but making money.[44] All these amusing anecdotes might simply reflect the fact that he was the first poet to charge fees for his services—generosity is glimpsed in his payment for an inscription on a friend's epitaph, as recorded by Herodotus.[45] Herodotus also mentions an earlier poet Arion, who had amassed a fortune on a visit to Italy and Sicily, so maybe Simonides wasn't the first professional poet, as claimed by the Greeks themselves.[46]

The sage and wit

Lyric Poetry, painted by Henry Oliver Walker (Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington D.C.).
"Simonides calls painting silent poetry and poetry painting that speaks"—Plutarch.

Plato, in The Republic, numbered Simonides with Bias and Pittacus among the wise and blessed, even putting into the mouth of Socrates the words "it is not easy to disbelieve Simonides, for he is a wise man and divinely inspired," but in his dialogue Protagoras, Plato numbered Simonides with Homer and Hesiod as precursors of the sophist.[47] A number of apocryphal sayings were attributed to him. Michael Psellos accredited him with "the word is the image of the thing."[48] Plutarch commended "the saying of Simonides, that he had often felt sorry after speaking but never after keeping silent"[49] and observed that "Simonides calls painting silent poetry and poetry painting that speaks"[50] (later paraphrased by the Latin poet Horace as ut pictura poesis). Diogenes Laërtius, after quoting a famous epigram by Cleobulus (one of ancient Greece's 'seven sages') in which a maiden sculptured on a tomb is imagined to proclaim her eternal vigilance, quotes Simonides commenting on it in a poem of his own: "Stone is broken even by mortal hands. That was the judgement of a fool."[51] His rationalist view of the cosmos is evinced also in Plutarch's letter of consolation to Apollonius:"according to Simonides a thousand or ten thousand years are an undeterminable point, or rather the tiniest part of a point."[52] Cicero related how, when Hieron of Syracuse asked him to define god, Simonides continually postponed his reply, "because the longer I deliberate, the more obscure the matter seems to me."[53] Stobaeus recorded this reply to a man who had confided in Simonides some unflattering things he had heard said about him: "Please stop slandering me with your ears!".[54]


Simonides composed verses almost entirely for public performances and inscriptions, unlike previous lyric poets such as Sappho and Alcaeus, who composed more intimate verses to entertain friends—"With Simonides the age of individualism in lyric poetry has passed."[55] Or so it seemed to modern scholars until the recent discovery of papyrus P.Oxy.3965[56] in which Simonides is glimpsed in a sympotic context, speaking for example as an old man rejuvenated in the company of his homo-erotic lover, couched on a bed of flowers.[57] Very little of his poetry survives today but enough is recorded on papyrus fragments and in quotes by ancient commentators for many conclusions to be drawn at least tentatively (nobody knows if and when the sands of Egypt will reveal further discoveries).

Simonides wrote a wide range of choral lyrics with an Ionian flavour and elegiac verses in Doric idioms. He is generally credited with inventing a new type of choral lyric, the encomium, in particular popularizing a form of it, the victory ode. These were extensions of the hymn, which previous generations of poets had dedicated only to gods and heroes:

But it was Simonides who first led the Greeks to feel that such a tribute might be paid to any man who was sufficiently eminent in merit or in station. We must remember that, in the time of Simonides, the man to whom a hymn was addressed would feel that he was receiving a distinction which had hitherto been reserved for gods and heroes.

In one victory ode, celebrating Glaucus of Carystus, a famous boxer, Simonides declares that not even Heracles or Polydeuces could have stood against him—a statement whose impiety seemed notable even to Lucian many generations later.[59]

Simonides was the first to establish the choral dirge as a recognized form of lyric poetry,[60] his aptitude for it being testified, for example, by Quintillian (see quote in the Introduction), Horace("Ceae...munera neniae"),[61] Catullus ("maestius lacrimis Simonideis")[62] and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, where he says:

Observe in Simonides his choice of words and his care in combining them; in addition—and here he is found to be better even than Pindar—observe how he expresses pity not by using the grand style but by appealing to the emotions.[63]

Simonides was adept too at lively compositions suited to dancing (hyporchema), for which he is commended by Plutarch.[64] He was highly successful in dithyrambic competitions according to an anonymous epigram dating from the Hellenistic period, which credited him with 57 victories, possibly in Athens.[65] The dithyramb, a genre of lyrics traditionally sung to Dionysus, was later developed into narratives illustrating heroic myths; Simonides is the earliest poet known to have composed in this enlarged form[66] (the geographer Strabo mentioned a dithyramb, Memnon, in which Simonides located the hero's tomb in Syria, indicating that he didn't compose only on legends of Dionysius.)[67]

Simonides has long been known to have written epitaphs for those who died in the Persian Wars and this has resulted in many pithy verses being mis-attributed to him " wise saws to Confucius or musical anecdotes to Beecham."[68] Modern scholars generally consider only one of the attributed epigrams to be unquestionably authentic (an inscription for the seer Megistius quoted by Herodotus),[69] which places in doubt even some of the most famous examples, such as the one to the Spartans at Thermopylae, quoted in the introduction. He composed longer pieces on a Persian War theme, including Dirge for the Fallen at Thermopylae, Battle at Artemisium and Battle at Salamis but their genres are not clear from the fragmentary remains - the first was labelled by Diodorus Siculus as an encomium but it was probably a hymn[70] and the second was characterized in the Suda as elegiac yet Priscian, in a comment on prosody, indicated that it was composed in lyric meter.[71] Substantial fragments of a recently discovered poem, describing the run-up to the Battle of Plataea and comparing Pausanias to Achilles, show that he actually did compose narrative accounts in elegiac meter.[72] Simonides also wrote Paeans and Prayers/Curses (κατευχαί)[73] and possibly in some genres where no record of his work survives.[74]

Poetic style

Like other lyric poets in late Archaic Greece, Simonides made notable use of compound adjectives and decorative epithets yet he is also remarkable for his restraint and balance. His expression was clear and simple, relying on straightforward statement. An example is found in a quote by Stobaeus[75] paraphrased here to suggest the original Aeolic verse rhythms, predominantly choriambic ( ¯˘˘¯, ¯˘˘¯ ), with some dactylic expansion (¯˘˘¯˘˘¯) and an iambic close (˘¯,˘¯):

Being a man you cannot tell what might befall when tomorrow comes
Nor yet how long one who appears blessed will remain that way,
So soon our fortunes change even the long-winged fly
Turns around less suddenly.

The only decorative word is 'long-winged' (τανυπτέρυγος), used to denote a dragonfly, and it emerges from the generalized meanings of the passage as an 'objective correlative' for the fragility of the human condition.[76] The rhythm evokes the movement of the dragonfly and the mutability of human fortunes.[77]


Simonides championed a tolerant, humanistic outlook that celebrated ordinary goodness, and recognized the immense pressures that life places on human beings.[78] His rival, Pindar, who identified closely with the aristocratic world and its heroic ethic, never composed anything as thoughtful or sympathetic as the following poem of Simonides (fr. 542), quoted in Plato's dialogue, the Protagoras, and reconstructed here according to a recent interpretation, making it the only lyric poem of Simonides that survives intact:[79] [nb 1]

For a man it’s certainly hard to be truly good—perfect in hands, feet, and mind, built without a single flaw; only a god could have that prize; but a mere man, there’s just no way he can help being bad when some overwhelming disaster knocks him down. Any man’s good when life treats him well, and bad when it treats him badly, and the best of us are the ones the gods love most.

But for me that saying of Pittacus doesn’t ring true either (even if he was a smart man): he says “being good is hard.” For me, a man's good enough as long as he's not lawless, and if he has the common sense of right and wrong that does a city good—a decent guy. I certainly won’t find fault with a man like that. After all, there’s an endless supply of stupid fools. The way I see it, if there’s no great shame in it, it's all right.

So I’m not going to throw away my short allotment of life on a futile, silly hope, searching for something there simply cannot be, a completely blameless man—not among us mortals who must win our bread from the broad earth. (Of course, If I do happen to come across one, I’ll be sure to let you know.) So long as he doesn't willfully do wrong, I give my praise and love to any man. But not even the gods can resist necessity.


  1. ^
    ἄνδρ' ἀγαθὸν μὲν ἀλαθέως γενέσθαι                στρ. α
    χαλεπὸν, χερσίν τε καὶ ποσὶ καὶ νόωι
          τετράγωνον, ἄνευ ψόγου τετυγμένον·
    θεὸς ἂν μόνος τοῦτ' ἔχοι γέρας‧ ἄνδρα δ' οὐκ
          ἔστι μὴ οὐ κακὸν ἔμμεναι,
    ὃν ἀμήχανος συμφορὰ καθέληι·
    πράξας γὰρ εὖ πᾶς ἀνὴρ ἀγαθός,
    κακὸς δ' εἰ κακῶς, <οὓς
    δ’ οἱ θεοὶ φιλέωσιν
    πλεῖστον, εἰσ’ ἄριστοι.>
    οὐδ᾽ ἐμοὶ ἐμμελέως τὸ Πιττάκειον                   στρ. β
    νέμεται, καίτοι σοφοῦ παρὰ φωτὸς εἰ-
          ρημένον· χαλεπὸν φάτ' ἐσθλὸν ἔμμεναι.
    <ἐμοὶ ἀρκέει> μητ' <ἐὼν> ἀπάλαμνος εἰ-
          δώς τ' ὀνησίπολιν δίκαν,
    ὑγιὴς ἀνήρ· οὐ<δὲ μή νιν> ἐγώ
    μωμήσομαι· τῶν γὰρ ἠλιθίων
    ἀπείρων γενέθλα.
    πάντα τοι καλά, τοῖσίν
    τ' αἰσχρὰ μὴ μέμεικται.
    τοὔνεκεν οὔ ποτ' ἐγὼ τὸ μὴ γενέσθαι               στρ. γ
    δυνατὸν διζήμενος κενεὰν ἐς ἄ-
          πρακτον ἐλπίδα μοῖραν αἰῶνος βαλέω,
    πανάμωμον ἄνθρωπον, εὐρυεδέος ὅσοι
          καρπὸν αἰνύμεθα χθονός·
    ἐπὶ δ' ὔμμιν εὑρὼν ἀπαγγελέω.
    πάντας δ' ἐπαίνημι καὶ φιλέω,
    ἑκὼν ὅστις ἔρδηι
    μηδὲν αἰσχρόν· ἀνάγκαι
    δ' οὐδὲ θεοὶ μάχονται.
    —PMG 542


  1. ^ a b Charles Segal, Choral lyric in the fifth century, 'The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature' (1985), P.Easterling and B.Knox (eds), page 225
  2. ^ Fr.543, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 437–8
  3. ^ John H. Molyneux, Simonides: A Historical Study, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers (1992), page 3
  4. ^ David A. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982), pages 380-81
  5. ^ Charles Segal, Choral lyric in the fifth century, 'The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature' (1985), P.Easterling and B.Knox (eds), pages 223, 226
  6. ^ Quintilian, Inst.10.1.64, translated by David A. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 359
  7. ^ Callimachus fr. 64. 1-14, cited by D. A. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library, pages 344-6
  8. ^ Suda, Simonides (1st notice), translated by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 331
  9. ^ John H. Molyneux, Simonides: A Historical Study, Balchazy-Caducci Publishers (1992), pages 26, 67-8
  10. ^ Suda, Simonides (4th notice), cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 335
  11. ^ Athenaeus 10.456c-57b.
  12. ^ Jebb, Bacchylides: the poems and fragments, Cambridge University Press (1905), page 5 digitalized by Google
  13. ^ Aristophanes, The Wasps 1411 ff., cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 299
  14. ^ Theocritus, 16.42-47, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 341
  15. ^ Plutarch, aud.poet.15c, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 341
  16. ^ Cicero, de orat. 2.86.351-3, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 375
  17. ^ Quintilian, Inst. 11.2.11-16, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 377
  18. ^ John H. Molyneux, Simonides: A Historical Study, Bolchazy-Caducci Publishers (1992), pages 117-24
  19. ^ John H. Molyneux, Simonides: A Historical Study, Bolchazy-Caducci Publishers (1992), page 147
  20. ^ Vit.Aesch., cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 342-2
  21. ^ a b David Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982), page 378
  22. ^ John H. Molyneux, Simonides: A Historical Study, Bolchazy-Caducci Publishers (1992), page 153
  23. ^ D. Boedeker and D. Sider (eds), The New Simonides:contexts of praise and desire, Oxford University Press (2001)
  24. ^ Plutarch Them.5.6-7, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), pages 339, 353
  25. ^ David Campbell, Greek Lyric IV, Loeb Classical Library (1992), pages 84-97
  26. ^ Scholiast on Pindar, Ol.2.29d, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 345
  27. ^ Geoffrey S. Conway, The Odes of Pindar, John Dent and Sons (1972), pages 10, 88-89
  28. ^ Jebb, Bacchylides: the poems and fragments, Cambridge University Press (1905), pages 12-26
  29. ^ Ian Rutherford, Pindar's Paeans, Oxford University Press (2001), pages 321-2
  30. ^ D. Campbell, Greek Lyric IV:Bacchylides, Corinna and Others, Loeb Classical Library (1992), page 6
  31. ^ Callim. fr.64.1-14, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), pages 345-6
  32. ^ Quintilian, Inst.11.2.11-16, translated by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, page 379
  33. ^ A.P.7.7 and 7.516; Cicero de div.1.27.56; cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, page 589
  34. ^ Francis A. Yates. 'The Art of Memory', University of Chicago Press, 1966, p. 2
  35. ^ Cicero de Fin.2.104, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 351
  36. ^ Suda Σ439, cited, translated and annotated by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, page 330.
  37. ^ D. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982), page 379
  38. ^ Aristophanes, Peace 695 ff., translated by A.H.Sommerstein, Aristophanes: The Birds and Other Plays, Penguin Books (1978), page 121
  39. ^ For scholiast see D. A. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, page 349; for Pindar's ode, see Isthmian 2, antistrophe 1
  40. ^ Athenaeus 14.656de, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 349
  41. ^ Aristotle Rhet.2.16.1391a, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 365
  42. ^ Hibeh Papyrus 17, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 365
  43. ^ Aristotle Rhet.3.2.1405b, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 383
  44. ^ Plutarch an seni768b, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 365
  45. ^ David Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982), page 379, citing Herodotus 7.228.3-4
  46. ^ Hdt. 1.24.1, cited by C. M. Bowra, Pindar, Oxford University Press (reprint 2000), p. 355
  47. ^ Plato Resp. i 331de and 335e, and Prot.316d, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), pages 357, 497
  48. ^ Michael Psellos, On the Working of Demons, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 363
  49. ^ Plutarch, de garr. 514f-515a, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 367
  50. ^ Plutarch, De gloria Atheniensium 3.346f, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 363
  51. ^ Diogenes Laërtius, Lives of the Philosophers, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 465
  52. ^ Plutarch, consol. Apoll. 17, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 501
  53. ^ Cicero, De Natura Deorum Academica with an English translation by H. Rackham, page 59 1.22.60
  54. ^ Stobaeus, Ecl.3.2.41, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 367
  55. ^ Weir Smith, quoted by David A. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982), page 379
  56. ^ see Deborah Boedeker and David Sider (eds.), The New Simonides: Contexts of Praise and Desire (New York and Oxford: OUP-USA, 2001)
  57. ^ fragment 22, cited by Michael W. Haslam, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, reviewing M.L.West's Iambi et Elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati, vol. II, online copy
  58. ^ Jebb, Bacchylides: the poems and fragments, Cambridge University Press (1905), pages 33-4 digitalized by Google
  59. ^ Lucian, pro.imag.19, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 373
  60. ^ Jebb, Bacchylides: the poems and fragments, Cambridge University Press (1905), page 40 digitalized by Google
  61. ^ Horace, Carm.2.1.38, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 359
  62. ^ Catullus, 38.8, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 357
  63. ^ Dionysius of Halicarnasus, Imit.2.420, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 359
  64. ^ Plutarch, Quaest.conviv.ix 15.2, cited by Jebb, Bacchylides: the poems and fragments, Cambridge University Press (1905), page 40
  65. ^ Anonymous epigram, cited by John H. Molyneux, Simonides: A Historical Study, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers (1992), pages 102-3
  66. ^ Jebb, Bacchylides: the poems and fragments, Cambridge University Press (1905), page 39
  67. ^ Strabo 15.3.2, cited by David Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982), page 379
  68. ^ David Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982), page 380
  69. ^ Herodotus, 7.228.3-4, cited by John H. Molyneux, Simonides: A Historical Study, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers (1992), page 19
  70. ^ Diodorus Siculus, 11.11.6, cited by David A. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982), page 383
  71. ^ Suda Σ 439, Priscian de metr.Ter. 24, cited and annotated by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 425
  72. ^ Deborah Boedeker and David Sider (eds.), The New Simonides: Contexts of Praise and Desire (New York and Oxford: OUP-USA, 2001)
  73. ^ Scholiasts on Homer and Plutarch, cited by D. Campbell, Greek Lyric III, Loeb Classical Library (1991), page 429-31
  74. ^ Jebb, Bacchylides: the poems and fragments, Cambridge University Press (1905), page 43
  75. ^ Simonides 521 PMG, Stobaeus 4.41, cited David A. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982), page 90
  76. ^ Charles Segal, 'Choral lyric in the fifth century', P.Easterling and B.Knox (ed.s), The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature, Cambridge University Press (1985), page 226
  77. ^ David A. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry, Bristol Classical Press (1982), page 383
  78. ^ Charles Segal, 'Choral Lyric in the Fifth Century', P.Easterling and B.Knox (ed.s), The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Greek Literature, Cambridge University Press (1985), page 244
  79. ^ ‘Nobody's Perfect: A New Text and Interpretation of Simonides PMG 542’, Classical Philology, Vol. 103, No. 3. (2008), pp. 237-256


  • J. Molyneux, Simonides: A Historical Study (Wauconda, IL, 1992).
  • Deborah Boedeker and David Sider (eds.), The New Simonides: Contexts of Praise and Desire (New York and Oxford: OUP-USA, 2001).

Further reading

  • John H. Molyneux, Simonides: A Historical Study (Wauconda, Ill. 1992).
  • Deborah Boedeker and David Sider (eds.), The New Simonides: Contexts of Praise and Desire (New York and Oxford: OUP-USA, 2001). A collection of essays on the Simonides papyri.
  • Orlando Poltera, Le langage de Simonide. Etude sure la tradition poetique et son renouvellement (Bern, Peter Lang, 1997).
  • Luigi Bravi, Gli epigrammi di Simonide e le vie della tradizione. (Filologia e critica, 94) (Roma: Edizioni dell'Ateneo, 2006).
  • Andrej Petrovic, Kommentar zu den simonideischen Versinschriften. (Mnemosyne, bibliotheca classica Batava. Supplementum, 282) (Leiden: Brill, 2007).
  • Orlando Poltera, Simonides lyricus: Testimonia und Fragmenta. Basel 2008. The remains of his lyric poetry, with a commentary in German.
  • Richard Rawles, Simonides the Poet: Intertextuality and Reception. Cambridge 2018.

Translations in other languages

External links

550s BC

This article concerns the period 559 BC – 550 BC.

556 BC

The year 556 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. In the Roman Empire, it was known as year 198 Ab urbe condita. The denomination 556 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Cranon (Ancient Greek: Κρανών) or Crannon (Κραννών) was a town and polis (city-state) of Pelasgiotis, in ancient Thessaly, situated southwest of Larissa, and at the distance of 100 stadia from Gyrton, according to Strabo. Spelling differs among the sources: Κράννων and ῂ Κράννωνοϛ; Κραννών, Κράννουν, and Κράννουϛ. To the west it bounded with the territory of Atrax and to the east with that of Scotussa. To the south the ridges of the Revenia separated it from the valley of the river Enipeus.Its most ancient name is said to have been Ephyra (Ὲφύρη or Ὲφύρα), so called prior to the arrival of the Thessalians; and Homer, in his account of the wars of the Ephyri and Phlegyae, is supposed by the ancient commentators to have meant the people afterwards called Crannonians and Gyrtonians respectively. Pindar likewise speaks of the Crannonii under the name of Ephyraei.In the Ancient Olympic Games of 648 BCE, Crauxidas the Crannonian (or Craxilas) won the horse race. In the 6th century BCE the most prominent family in the city's political life was the Scopadae, whose numerous flocks and herds grazed in the fertile plain surrounding the city. Diactorides, one of the Scopadae of Crannon, was a suitor for the hand of the daughter of Cleisthenes of Sicyon. Simonides of Ceos resided some time at Crannon, under the patronage of the Scopadae; and there was a celebrated story current in antiquity respecting the mode in which the Dioscuri preserved the poet's life when the Scopadae were crushed by the falling in of the roof of a building.In the first year of the Peloponnesian War (431 BCE) the Crannonians, together with some of the other Thessalians, sent troops to the assistance of the Athenians. In 394 BCE they are mentioned as allies of the Boeotians, who molested Spartan king Agesilaus II in his march through Thessaly on his return from Asia.In 369 BCE the Aleuadae conspired with the inhabitants of Larissa to overthrow the tyrant Alexander of Pherae. They convinced the king of Macedon Alexander II to help them. While the tyrant was busy with the recruitment of troops, Alexander II presented himself with his army in Larissa and seized the city. He then took the acropolis and, afterwards Cranon was won for his cause, and Alexander II presumably established a garrison at Cranon. That garrison was probably withdrawn as was a similar one from Larissa when Pelopidas at the head of the Boeotian forces invited by the Thessalians arrived to liberate their cities and overthrow the tyranny of Alexander of Pherae.After the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BCE), the Phocians fought in Lamia and in the Battle of Crannon against Antipater and his army. This was the decisive battle of the Lamian War between Macedon and Athens with its allies.

In 191 BCE, Crannon was taken by Selecuid king Antiochus III. It is mentioned again in the war with Perseus of Macedon. Catullus speaks of it as a declining place in his time (first century BCE): "Deseritur Scyros: linquunt Phthiotica Tempe, Cranonisque domos, ac moenia Larissaea." Its name occurs in Pliny.In a stele of the first century BCE, an inscription related to a certain Polixenus, son of Minomachus, appears in an act of emancipation at Cranon as a strategos and as a manumitor. As he liberates a slave in this city and the inscription does not specify his ethnicity, Bruno Helly deduces that he was from Cranon, contradicting the opinion of Friedrich Stählin, who claimed that "no strategoi of Thessaly originating in Cranon are found."

Dandes of Argos

Dandes of Argos (Ancient Greek: Δάνδης Ἀργεῖος, transcr. Dandḗs Argeíos, "Dandes [the] Argive") was an ancient Greek athlete listed by Eusebius of Caesarea as a victor in the stadion race of the 77th Olympiad (472 BC). He won two races, but the first was probably in the boys' category, maybe in the 75th Olympiad eight years earlier. He also won once at the Pythian Games and three times at the Nemean Games, according to some sources.; elsewhere, his victories were celebrated by Simonides of Ceos in a poem, which claims that he won fifteen times at Nemea – the discrepancy could again be due to victories in boys' races not recorded elsewhere.

The poem, an epitaph preserved in the Greek Anthology, reads:

Ἀργεῖος Δάνδης σταδιοδρόμος ἐνθάδε κεῖται,νίκαις ἱππόβοτον πατρίδ᾿ ἐπευκλεΐσας, Ὀλυμπίᾳ δίς,

ἐν δὲ Πυθῶνι τρία, δύω δ᾿ ἐν Ἰσθμῷ, πεντεκαίδεκ᾿ ἐν Νεμέᾳ

τὰς δ᾿ ἄλλας νίκας οὐκ εὐμαρές ἐστ᾿ ἀριθμῆσαι

Here lies Dandes of Argos, the stadion racer, who gained honour

by his victories for his fatherland, rich in pasture for horses. Twice did he conquer at Olympia,

thrice at Delphi, twice at the Isthmus, and fifteen times at Nemea,

and it is not easy to count his other victories.

Dandes is notable not only as an athlete, but for the frame of reference his various victories provide to such events as the death of tyrant Theron of Acragas (also an Olympic competitor and victor) and the beginning of the war between Theron's son Thrasydaeus and Hiero I of Syracuse (chariot victor in the 78th Olympiad), events recorded by Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Diodorus Siculus with Dandes's victory as a starting point.That same year in Hellenic calendars — probably the next year in the modern calendar — the Romans were defeated by the Veiians at the Battle of the Cremera, at least according to Diodorus Siculus and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who both reference Dandes stadion victory. On the other hand, some time between the years 479-77 BCE in the modern calendar is commonly accepted on the evidence of Livy, giving the dates of consuls ab urbe condita.Diodorus reports unequivocally only that there was a battle and that the Romans were defeated, using the phrase "ὧν φασί τινες", translated "according to some" three hundred Fabians (Livy says three hundred-and-six) killed there and states the Year 177th Olympiad/472-1 BCE date; thus he seems to disagree not only with the chronology, but also seems to be unwilling to take the legend of the Fabians at face value. Dionysius goes even further, calling one part of the Livian narrative, concerning stories of the survival of one lone Fabian boy who was too young to join the battle "μύθοις γὰρ δὴ ταῦτά γε καὶ πλάσμασιν ἔοικε θεατρικοῖς", "myths and theatrical fabrications". Either the Roman three hundred-or-so were defeated coincidentally just after the famous Three Hundred Spartans, or coincidentally just after a major war erupted in Sicily. This is an interesting problem in synchronicity for modern scholars who have analysed the topic, and also an insight into possible manipulation of historical events by an aristocratic Roman clan for propaganda purposes.


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.


Eualcides (Ancient Greek: Ευαλκιδες) (d. 498 BCE) was a Greek athlete and military commander from Eretria who was killed by the Persians during the Battle of Ephesus.

He competed in the Olympics. The poet Simonides of Ceos composed an ode in celebration of his successes.

Flavius Simonides Agrippa

Titus Flavius Simonides Agrippa, also known as Titus Flavius Agrippa (Greek: Τίτος Φλάβιος Σιμονίδης ό Άγρίππας, flourished in the second half of 1st century & first half of 2nd century, born CE 79), and was an aristocratic, wealthy Roman Jew.

Agrippa was born and raised in Rome. He was the youngest son born to the Roman Jewish Historian Josephus from his fourth wife, a distinguished unnamed Greek Jewish noblewoman from Crete. The parents of Agrippa met in Rome and Josephus describes his mother, as one ‘in character, who excelled many women, as her subsequent life demonstrated’. Agrippa had an older full blooded brother called Justus and an older paternal half-brother called Hyrcanus.His paternal uncle was Matthias, while his paternal grandparents were Matthias and his wife, an unnamed Jewish noblewoman. His paternal grandmother was an aristocratic woman who descended royalty and of the former ruling Hasmonean Dynasty. His paternal grandfather had descended from the priestly order of the Jehoiarib, which was the first of the twenty four-orders of Priests in the Temple in Jerusalem and was a descendant of the High Priest Jonathon. Jonathon may have been Alexander Jannaeus, the High Priest and Hasmonean ruler who governed Judea from 103 BC-76 BC.Agrippa’s Greek cognomen Simonides doesn’t appear on his corpse or among any Jewish inscriptions in Rome. It is unknown why Josephus gave his son a Greek cognomen, he perhaps named his son after Simonides of Ceos, a Greek Poet that flourished in the 6th century BC and 5th century BC. Josephus during his years in Rome dedicated his time in studying Greek Poetry and his literacy contemporaries such as Plutarch and Quintilian remembered the works of Simonides. His second cognomen is a Latin name Agrippa. He was perhaps named after the Herodian Prince and King Agrippa II. Agrippa II was a contemporary King to Josephus and they were very good acquaintances.

Agrippa was a contemporary of the ruling Flavian dynasty and Nerva–Antonine dynasty of the Roman Empire. He was alive when Josephus was compiling his historical writings and when his father died about CE 100. Unfortunately little is known on his remaining life.


Maia ( or ; Greek: Μαῖα; Latin: Maia), in ancient Greek religion, is one of the Pleiades and the mother of Hermes.

Maia is the daughter of Atlas and Pleione the Oceanid, and is the oldest of the seven Pleiades. They were born on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia, and are sometimes called mountain nymphs, oreads; Simonides of Ceos sang of "mountain Maia" (Maiados oureias) "of the lovely black eyes." Because they were daughters of Atlas, they were also called the Atlantides.


In ancient Greece, medism (Greek: μηδισμός, medismos) was the imitation of, sympathizing with, collaboration with, or siding with Persians.

The ethnonym "Mede" was often used by the Greeks of the Persians although, strictly speaking, the Medes were a different Iranian people, subject to the Persians. It was not until the 470s that the Greeks began to refer to "Persians", with Aeschylus' play The Persians in 472 being an early example of this.Medism was considered a faux pas, even a crime, in many ancient Greek city-states. However, it does not seem to have been specifically criminalised. For instance, in Athens suspected Medisers were charged with treason. The evidence suggests that this was true of other Greek city-states too: in Teos, for instance, a law from the classical period provided that anyone who betrayed the city should be punished by death, but failed to distinguish betrayal to the Persians from betrayal to any other group.Themistocles the Athenian was ostracized for medism. Pausanias, the Lacedaemonian hegemon of the Hellenic League in the Battle of Plataea, was accused of medism by other member states, an accusation which allowed Athens to seize control of the league. Herodotus mentions the so-called "state medism" of Aegina, Thessaly, Argos, Thebes, and other Boeotians. Astute politicians in Athens often exploited popular feelings against medism as a means to their own advancement, which once led to a feud between the poets Timocreon of Rhodes and Simonides of Ceos in support of and against Themistocles, respectively.


Megistias (Greek: Μεγιστίας, "the greatest one") or Themisteas (Greek: Θεμιστέας) was a soothsayer from Acarnania who died in the Battle of Thermopylae. He traced his lineage to Melampus. Despite knowing that death was certain, Megistias stayed and fought. An inscription was written by Simonides of Ceos, a personal friend of Megistias, to honor him.

Mnemonic (play)

Mnemonic is a play created by the British theatre company Complicite. It uses several interrelated stories to explore the subject of memory.

Nine Lyric Poets

The Nine Lyric or Melic Poets were a canonical group of ancient Greek poets esteemed by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria as worthy of critical study. In the Palatine Anthology it is said that they established lyric song. They were:

Alcman of Sparta (choral lyric, 7th century BC)

Sappho of Lesbos (monodic lyric, c. 600 BC)

Alcaeus of Mytilene (monodic lyric, c. 600 BC)

Anacreon of Teos (monodic lyric, 6th century BC)

Stesichorus of Metauros (choral lyric, 7th century BC)

Ibycus of Rhegium (choral lyric, 6th century BC)

Simonides of Ceos (choral lyric, 6th century BC)

Bacchylides of Ceos (choral lyric, 5th century BC)

Pindar of Thebes (choral lyric, 5th century BC)In most Greek sources the word melikos (from melos, "song") is used to refer to these poets, but the variant lyrikos (from lyra, "lyre") became the regular form in both Latin (as lyricus) and in modern languages. The ancient scholars defined the genre on the basis of the musical accompaniment, not the content. Thus, some types of poetry which would be included under the label "lyric poetry," in modern criticism are excluded—namely, the elegy and iambus which were performed with flutes.

The Nine Lyric Poets are traditionally divided among those who primarily composed choral verses, and those who composed monodic verses. This division is contested by some modern scholars.Antipater of Thessalonica proposes an alternative canon of nine female poets.

Semonides of Amorgos

For the lyric poet, see Simonides of Ceos.Semonides of Amorgos (; Greek: Σημωνίδης ὁ Ἀμοργῖνος, variantly Σιμωνίδης; fl. 7th century BC) was a Greek iambic and elegiac poet who is believed to have lived during the seventh century BC. Fragments of his poetry survive as quotations in other ancient authors, the most extensive and well known of which is a satiric account of different types of women which is often cited in discussions of misogyny in Archaic Greece. The poem takes the form of a catalogue, with each type of woman represented by an animal whose characteristics—in the poet's scheme—are also characteristic of a large body of the female population. Other fragments belong to the registers of gnomic poetry and wisdom literature in which the Hesiodic Works and Days and the Theognidea are classed, and reflect a similarly pessimistic view of the human experience. There is also evidence that Semonides composed the sort of personal invective found in the work of his near contemporary iambographer Archilochus and the later Hipponax, but no surviving fragment can be securely attributed to such a poem.

Simonides (disambiguation)

Simonides may refer to:

Simonides of Ceos, (c. 556–469 BC), a lyric poet

Simonides the genealogist, author of 3 books called Genealogies and three books called Evrimata (Findings), grandson of Simonides of Ceos the lyric poet

Semonides of Amorgos, (7th century BC) an iambic poet whose name was generally spelled "Simonides" in ancient texts

Flavius Simonides Agrippa, son of Roman Jewish Historian Josephus

Constantine Simonides, 19th-century forger of 'ancient' manuscripts

The Art of Memory

The Art of Memory is a 1966 non-fiction book by British historian Frances A. Yates. The book follows the history of mnemonic systems from the classical period of Simonides of Ceos in Ancient Greece to the Renaissance era of Giordano Bruno, ending with Gottfried Leibniz and the early emergence of the scientific method in the 17th century.

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, its publication was "an important stimulus to the flowering of experimental research on imagery and memory."Modern Library included The Art of Memory on its list of 100 best nonfiction books.

Theron of Acragas

Theron (Greek: Θήρων, gen.: Θήρωνος; died 473 BC), son of Aenesidamus, was a Greek tyrant of the town of Acragas in Sicily from 488 BC. According to Polyaenus, he came to power by using public funds allocated for the hire of private contractors meant to assist with a temple building project, to instead hire a personal group of bodyguards. With this force at his disposal, he was able to seize control of the town's government. He soon became an ally of Gelo, who at that time controlled Gela, and from 485 BC, Syracuse. Gelo later became Theron's son-in-law.

Theron went to war with the city of Selinunte and the tyrant of Himera, Terillus. The latter, expelled from his city, therefore sought an alliance with Carthage through his son-in-law Anaxilas, tyrant of Rhegium. Theron occupied Himera but was then besieged in this city by a Carthaginian army, assisted by Terillus. In 480 BC, Theron, with the support of Gelo, won a great victory outside the walls of Himera against the Carthaginians and their allies. During the reign of Theron, Acragas along with Syracuse and Selinunte formed a kind of "triumvirate" which dominated Greek Sicily at the time. Theron died in 473 BC and was briefly succeeded by his son Thrasydaeus, before he was defeated by Gelo's brother and successor, Hiero I. After that defeat, Acragas came under the control of Syracuse.

Pindar dedicates two Olympian odes, 2 & 3, to Theron, both for the same victory in the chariot race at the Olympic Games of 476 B.C. The poet Simonides of Ceos was also active at Theron's court.

Ut pictura poesis

Ut pictura poesis is a Latin phrase literally meaning "as is painting so is poetry". The statement (often repeated) occurs most famously in Horace's "Ars Poetica", near the end, immediately after another famous quotation, "bonus dormitat Homerus", or "even Homer nods" (an indication that even the most skilled poet can compose inferior verse):

Poetry resembles painting. Some works will captivate you when you stand very close to them and others if you are at a greater distance. This one prefers a darker vantage point, that one wants to be seen in the light since it feels no terror before the penetrating judgment of the critic. This pleases only once, that will give pleasure even if we go back to it ten times over.

Horace meant that poetry (in its widest sense, "imaginative texts") merited the same careful interpretation that was, in Horace's day, reserved for painting.

Some centuries before, Simonides of Keos( c. 556 – 468 BC) had stated, "Poema pictura loquens, pictura poema silens," which translates into, "Poetry is a speaking picture, painting a silent poetry." Yet, as this phrase has traversed history, it has ignited academic arguments over whether or not it is true. Plato, through his own thought process on credible knowledge, found painting and writing to be unreliable sources of understanding, disregarding the concept entirely. The lack of credibility rested on his opinion that both forms of art gave a false simulation of reality. Moving on from Plato's time to the Renaissance, the argument sprung up over which form was superior. It was decided, at this time, that painting took precedence because sight was higher-ranking to people than hearing was.Lessing opens his Laocoön: An Essay on the Limits of Painting and Poetry (1766) by observing that "the first who compared painting with poetry [Simonides of Ceos] was a man of fine feeling," though, Lessing makes it clear, not a critic or philosopher. Lessing argues that painting is a synchronic, visual phenomenon, one of space that is immediately in its entirety understood and appreciated, while poetry (again, in its widest sense) is a diachronic art of the ear, one that depends on time to unfold itself for the reader's appreciation. He recommends that poetry and painting should not be confused, and that they are best practiced and appreciated "as two equitable and friendly neighbors."W. J. T. Mitchell trenchantly observed that "We tend to think that to compare poetry with painting is to make a metaphor, while to differentiate poetry from painting is to state a literal truth."The paragone was another long-running debate, typically rather more competitive, comparing painting and sculpture.

Yuval Yairi

Yuval Yairi (Hebrew: יובל יאירי‎; born 1961 in Tel-Aviv, Israel) is an Israeli artist, using photography and video.

Yairi Studied visual communication at the WIZO College Haifa (1984-1988), was the director of a design studio in Jerusalem (1988-1999), produced and directed short films and documentaries until 2004.

Since 2004 Yairi devotes his work to research and artistic activity, primarily in mediums of photography and video.

The subjects of Yairi's work relate to Places, and his gaze - whether it's a historical place, cultural, personal or political - explores these places in context of memory. A Leper Hospital or a writer's library, an abandoned Arab village, a cheap hotel-room or a museum undergoing renovations - transform through his personal perspective, of deconstructing and recomposing spaces, times and events.

Yairi's works are exhibited in museums, galleries and festivals in Israel and abroad, and are in public and private collections.

Yairi is a recipient of The Ministry of Culture Award for Visual Arts, 2017

Yuval Yairi's series "Forevemore" has been exhibited at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and Andrea Meislin Gallery in NYC in 2005.

Yairi photographs the leper house with a digital video camera in still mode, constructing the image from hundreds (at times thousands) of frames. The pictures are taken in the course of several hours, during which the artist slowly and accurately documents every detail in the space from a single position, like the viewer's observation movement upon entering the space.

He selects details which he then combines into a final unified photographic image containing a wealth of information,

one that no single still photograph can contain. Thus, in fact, Yairi overcomes the temporal and spatial limitations of conventional photography.

from exhibition text, Tel Aviv Museum.Yuval Yairi's "Palaces of Memory" series has been exhibited at Alon Segev Gallery in 2007, and in New York at Andrea Meislin Gallery, 2008.

The Cage and the Bird

"A cage went in search of a bird" wrote Kafka Kafka : a photographic structure went out into the world in search of motifs that would suit it. The result is the heart of this exhibition.

The world can be perceived as "at once," as one, absolute, indivisible thing. But it can also be thought of as the sum of an infinite numbers of parts. So it is with everything, small or large: the world exists both as "one" (the absolute) and as a cumulation of an infinity of units. It is this duality that Yuval Yairi's photographs attempt to capture. They are almost all, at one and the same time, a collection of fractions, and a whole. They represent these two states of being - like water attempting to be vapor and ice at one and the same time.

The "thickening of time" results from the image of the "art of memory," from which Yairi sets out to make his recent series of photographs, following in the path of Simonides of Ceos (556-468 B.C.E), the Greek poet considered to be the father of mnemonics (the art of aiding memory). Simonides' method of remembering is based on the "translation" of abstract concepts into concrete objects and their imaginary placement in a space well known to the memorizer, based on the assumption that concrete images are easier to remember than abstract ideas. Thus, for example, a poem can be translated into a series of mnemonic images that can be installed in the home of the memorizer. The act of remembering involves a stroll through the house, and the gathering of visual "reminders" along a known path.

Dror Burstein

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