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Euphorion


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Of Chalcis in Euboia, Greek poet; b. 275 (Suda), pupil of the philosophers Prytanis and Lacydes and the poet Archebulus of Thera; he profited from the patronage of the wife of Alexander, ruler of Euboea, and was appointed librarian at Antioch by Antiochus III the Great (who ruled 223–187). He was possibly given Athenian citizenship.

Euphorion was a scholar-poet in the tradition of Callimachus: monographs on the Isthmian Games and other historical and mythological subjects are attested; he is also credited with a lexicon to Hippocrates, and two of his epigrams appear in Meleager's anthology (Garland, c.100 bc). He was best known though for his hexameter poetry, of which only tantalizingly small fragments have been preserved; even the more extensive papyrus fragments discovered this century do not permit confident judgements on the nature or merits of his poems, which ancient readers found difficult (cf. Cic. Div. 2. 133, Clem. Al. Strom. 5. 8. 51). The Suda mentions only three works, Hesiod, Mopsopia, and Chiliades, but other sources yield over twenty titles, which however cast little light on the content of the poems. At least three (Thrax, Curses or The Goblet-thief, Chiliades) were curse-poems, recounting obscure mythological stories in abstruse terms (cf. Ovid's Ibis): Chiliades apparently predicted the certain punishment of Euphorion's adversaries by citing oracles which had been fulfilled after a lapse of a thousand years. His interest in recondite lore and aetiology is reminiscent of Callimachus, whose style he closely imitated; his diction is basically Homeric, with learned elaborations.

Frederick John Williams

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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