The Ancient Library
 

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ALEXANDRINE PERIOD. 367

, a poem written against certain persons who had defrauded Euphori-on of money which he had intrusted to their care. It probably derived its title from each of its books consisting of a thousand verses. Eupho-rion was an epigrammatist as well as an epic poet. He had a place in the Garland of Meleager, and the Greek Anthology contains two epigrams by him. His epigrams appear to have been mostly erotic, and were imi­tated by Propertius, Tibullus, and Gallus, as also by the Emperor Tiberi­us, with whom he was a favorite writer. He composed, also, many his­torical and grammatical works. Euphorion seems to have carried to excess some of the worst faults of the Alexandrean school. He was particularly distinguished by an obscurity, arising, according to Meineke, from his choice of the most out-of-the-way subjects, from the cumbrous learning with which he overloaded his poems, from the arbitrary changes which he made in the common legends, from his choice of obsolete words, and from his employment of ordinary words with a new meaning of his own. Only some fragments remain of his numerous works, collected by Meineke in his Analecta Alexandrina, Berlin, 1843.

(B.) THE DIDACTIC EPOS.

I. The epic form of verse was not confined to heroic themes, but was often employed in the elucidation of subjects of a scientific nature, as, for example, geography, astronomy, agriculture, and other similar topics. The scientific material was always, of course, regarded as of primary im­portance, but still the writer strove, at the same time, after a pleasing form of poetical expression. And yet, after all, many of these so-called poems deserve rather to be regarded as a species of versified text-books than regular works of art.

II. The didactic epic poets of the Alexandrine period most deserving of notice are Aratus and Nicander.

1. aratus ("Aparos)1 was a native of Soli, afterward Pompeiopolis, in Cilicia, or (according to one authority) of Tarsus, and flourished B.C. 270. He was invited to the court of Antigonus Gonatas, king of Macedonia, where he spent all the latter part of his life. His chief pursuits were physic (which is also said to have been his profession), grammar, and philosophy, in which last he was instructed by the Stoic Dionysius He-racleotes. Several poetical works on various subjects, as well as a num­ber of prose epistles, are attributed to him, but none of them have come down to us except two astronomical poems. These have generally been joined together as if parts of the same work, but they seem to be distinct poems. The first, called <£awfytej/a, consists of 732 verses; the second, entitled Awo^eTa (Prognostica), of 422. Eudoxus, of whom we have al­ready made mention, about a century earlier, had written two prose works, $au>6[jL€j/a and "Evoirrpov, which are both lost; but we are told by the biographers of Aratus that it was the desire of Antigonus to have them turned into verse, which gave rise to the ^cu^uej/a of the latter writer; and it appears, from the fragments of them preserved by Hippar-chus,2 that Aratus has, in fact, versified, or closely imitated, parts of them

1 Stnith, Diet. Biogr., s. v. 2 Petav. Uranolog., p. 173, seqq., ed. Paris, 1630.

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