The Ancient Library

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XVII. There are, besides,not a few epigrams of Simonides, which were intended for the tombstones of individuals; among these we will men­tion only one, which differs from the others in being a sarcasm in the form of an epitaph. It is that on the Rhodian lyric poet and athlete Timocre-on, an opponent of Simonides in his art: " Having eaten much, and drunk much, and said much evil of other men, here I lie, Timocreon the Rho­dian."1

XVIII. With the epitaphs are naturally connected the inscriptions on sacred offerings, especially where both refer to the Persian war; the for­mer being the discharge of a debt to the dead, the latter a thanksgiving of the survivors to the gods. Among the best of these is one referring to the battle of Marathon, which, from the neatness and elegance of the expression, loses its chief beauty in a prose translation. It was inscribed on the statue of Pan, which the Athenians had set up in a grotto under their Acropolis, because the Arcadian god had, according to the popular belief, assisted them at Marathon. " Miltiades set me up, the cloven-footed Pan, the Arcadian, who took part against the Medes, and with the Athenians." The original runs as follows :

Tbv rpayotrovv eyu,e Hava, tov 'ApitaSa, tov Kara M^Swi/, tov 'AOfivatwv, crTtfjcraTO MiAriaS^s.2

XIX. But Simonides sometimes condescended to express sentiments which he could not have shared, as in the inscription on the tripod con­secrated at Delphi, which the Greeks afterward caused to be erased, " Pau-sanias, the commander of the Greeks, having destroyed the army of the Medes, dedicated this memorial to Phoebus." These verses express the arrogance of the Spartan general, which the good sense and moderation of the poet would never have approved. The form of nearly all these epigrams of Simonides is the elegiac. Simonides usually adhered to it, except when a name (on account of a short between two long syllables) could not be adapted to the dactylic metre, as, for instance, 'Apxevavrrjs, tlnTr6viKos: in which cases he employed trochaic measures. The charac­ter of the language, and especially the dialect, also remained, on the whole, true to the elegiac type, except that, in inscriptions for monuments designed for Doric tribes, traces of the Doric dialect sometimes occur.

XX. The term Anthology is peculiarly appropriated to a collection of epigrams. The largest portion of those collected in the Greek Anthology, as it exists at the present day, was written in honor of the dead, intro­ ducing their names and characters, or occupations ; or as tributes to beau­ ty, in gratitude for acceptance, or in complaint on account of rejection; some of them are panegyrics on living and illustrious virtue ; others con­ tain brief records of remarkable events ; others, again, consist of observa­ tions on human life, for the most part in a dark style of coloring. The weariness of old age, the shortness and unsatisfactory tenor of human life, the murmurs of sickness, and the miseries of poverty, are favorite topics. Bacchanalian poetry is mixed up with exhortations to eat and drink, for to­ morrow we die. This prevailing tendency must be ascribed to the vague notions, undefined prospects, and differently sustained hopes respecting 1 Frag. 58. 2 //,, 25.

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