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Philemon

(368—267 bc)


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368/60–267/63 bc,

New Comedy poet (see comedy (greek), new), granted Athenian citizenship before 307/6. In a long life he wrote 97 comedies, of which over 60 titles are known; he won three times at the Lenaea, coming immediately after Menander in the victors' list, while his first victory at the Dionysia is dated to 327.

Most of the titles seem typical of New Comedy; only two sound like mythological burlesques. Contemporary judgement awarded Philemon frequent victories over Menander—a judgement reversed by posterity. Nearly 200 fragments survive, emphasizing the moralizing aspect of Philemon's thought. There are many gnomic lines and couplets (see gnōmē), often lacking Menander's terse precision. Acc. to Apuleius, Philemon's plays contained wit, plots neatly turned, recognitions (or solutions) lucidly arranged, realistic characters, maxims agreeing with life, and few seductions.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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