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Ion

(c. 480—421 bc)


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Aristophanes (c. 448—380 bc) Greek comic dramatist

Sophocles (496—406 bc)

Euripides (c. 485—406 bc) Greek dramatist

satyr-play

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An unusually versatile poet and prose author, seems to have been born in the 480s bc and to have come to Athens about 466. He was dead by 421, when Aristophanes (1) paid a graceful tribute to him at Peace 834–7.

works included the following. (1) Tragedies and satyr-plays (TrGF 12. 95–114). The Suda says that Ion wrote 12 or 30 or 40 plays, the first in 451–448. He was defeated by Euripides in 438, but on another occasion he is said to have won first prize in both tragedy and dithyramb and to have made a present of Chian wine to every Athenian citizen. He was admitted by later critics into a canon of five great tragedians. ‘Longinus’ found his plays faultless and elegant but sadly lacking in the inspired boldness of Sophocles. We have eleven titles and some brief fragments, notably from the satyric Omphale. (2) Lyric poetry (Page, PMG 383–6). This included dithyrambs, encomia, paeans, and hymns. (3) Elegiac poetry (West, IE2 2. 79–82). This mainly consisted of drinking-songs, to judge from the surviving fragments. One song (fr. 27) was apparently written for a symposium (drinking party) given by Archidamus II king of Sparta. (4) Perhaps comedies, but these rest only on one doubtful source. (5) The Triagmos (DK), a philosophical work, in prose, of Pythagorean tendencies, in which Ion ascribed a threefold principle to all things. (6) A Foundation of Chios (FGrH no. 392), probably in prose. (7) Epidemiai or Visits, a book of reminiscences, in prose. This recounted Ion's meetings with, and impressions of, great men of his day, and was perhaps his most original work, and the most interesting to us. Surviving fragments describe meetings with Cimon, Aeschylus, and Sophocles, all of whom Ion admired (the conversation of Sophocles at a symposium on Chios is the subject of a long extract). Also mentioned, but not necessarily known to him in person, were Themistocles, Pericles (whom Ion disliked), the philosopher Archelaus, and Socrates.

(1) Tragedies and satyr-plays (TrGF 12. 95–114). The Suda says that Ion wrote 12 or 30 or 40 plays, the first in 451–448. He was defeated by Euripides in 438, but on another occasion he is said to have won first prize in both tragedy and dithyramb and to have made a present of Chian wine to every Athenian citizen. He was admitted by later critics into a canon of five great tragedians. ‘Longinus’ found his plays faultless and elegant but sadly lacking in the inspired boldness of Sophocles. We have eleven titles and some brief fragments, notably from the satyric Omphale. (2) Lyric poetry (Page, PMG 383–6). This included dithyrambs, encomia, paeans, and hymns. (3) Elegiac poetry (West, IE2 2. 79–82). This mainly consisted of drinking-songs, to judge from the surviving fragments. One song (fr. 27) was apparently written for a symposium (drinking party) given by Archidamus II king of Sparta. (4) Perhaps comedies, but these rest only on one doubtful source. (5) The Triagmos (DK), a philosophical work, in prose, of Pythagorean tendencies, in which Ion ascribed a threefold principle to all things. (6) A Foundation of Chios (FGrH no. 392), probably in prose. (7) Epidemiai or Visits, a book of reminiscences, in prose. This recounted Ion's meetings with, and impressions of, great men of his day, and was perhaps his most original work, and the most interesting to us. Surviving fragments describe meetings with Cimon, Aeschylus, and Sophocles, all of whom Ion admired (the conversation of Sophocles at a symposium on Chios is the subject of a long extract). Also mentioned, but not necessarily known to him in person, were Themistocles, Pericles (whom Ion disliked), the philosopher Archelaus, and Socrates.

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Subjects: Classical Studies.


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