The Ancient Library

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On this page: Simplicius – Sinis or Sinnis – Sinon – Siparium – Sirens


middle of the 7th century B.C., as a younger contemporary of Archilochus, from whom he is distinguished by the fact that his writing is less personal, and contains more general reflexions on the constant charac­teristics of human nature. He did not direct his attacks against single persons, but against whole classes. Thus, in an extant fragment of 118 lines, a derisive j poem on women, he gives a general de­scription of female characters, deriving the various bad qualities in women from the characteristic qualities of the animals from which he makes them out to be descended. (2) Of CSOs. One of the most celebrated and many-sided of the lyric poets of Greece. Born about b.c. 556 at lulis in Ceos, he went at an early age to Greece proper, where he occupied a high position at Athens under the Pisistratid Hipparchus, and after his death in 514 in Thessaly, at the courts of the ScSpadse and Aleuadae. His fame was highest at the time of the Persian Wars, the heroes and battles of which he celebrated in epigrams, elegies, and melic poems. He was a friend of the most re­markable men of his time; for instance, with ThemistScles and Pausaulas. He is said to have won fifty-six victories in poetic con­tests; thus after the battle of Marathon (490) he defeated the most famous poets, in­cluding jEschylus, in an elegy on the men who had fallen in the conflict. He passed the last ten years of his life with the tyrant Hlero of Syracuse, and died in Sicily, at an advanced age, in 468 b.c. He was a polished and excellently educated man of the world, with great knowledge of it, and on this he drew cleverly for his poems. He was blamed for courting the favour of the •wealthy and the powerful, and he was re­puted to have been the first who accepted payment for his poems; but even if he really did frequently write poetry to order, and for considerable sums of money, yet, with admirable tact, he knew how to keep every appearance of mercenary work far from his creations. To rare fertility of production he added extraordinary poetic gifts, that enabled him to produce remarkable, and indeed perfect, work in the most varied branches of lyric poetry, from the terse simplicity of the epigram to the elaborate structure of an antistrophic composition. His most celebrated works were his epi­grams, of which many have been preserved, his elegies, and his dirges, which were preferred even to those of Pindar. As may be seen from the fragments of his elegies

and choice poems, he sought less to enchant by the grandeur of his ideas, like Pindar, than to touch by the sincerity of his senti­ment ; and accordingly his carefully chosen language shows great smoothness, softness, and grace, and correspondingly melodious rhythms. Besides his other remarkable talents, he possessed a very powerful memory ; he was on this account held to be the inventor of a method of improving the memory known as the mnemonic art. [This is recorded in the Parian Chronicle; cp. Quintilian xi 2 § 11.]

Simpllclus. A Peripatetic philosopher of the 6th century after Christ, and a native of Cillcla. When Justinian in 529 closed the school of philosophy in which he taught at Athens, he and six other philosophers emigrated to the court of the Persian king Chosroes. When he made peace with Justinian in 533, and obtained from him leave for the philosophers to return un­molested, Simplicius went to Alexandria, where he died in 549. We still possess some excellent commentaries of his on several writings of Aristotle (Categories, Physics, De C&to, De Anlma,}, and on the EncheiridlSn of Eplctetus.

SInis, or Sinnis. Sou of Pfiseidon or (according to another account) son of P8ly-pemon; a robber who haunted the Isthmus of Corinth, and was called the pine-bender (PityOcampUs), because he tore travellers to pieces by bending down pines and then suddenly letting them go. He was killed by the youthful Theseus.

SInon. A kinsman of Odysseus, who, on the apparent departure of the Greeks from Troy, volunteered to stay behind, and per­suaded the Trojans to place the wooden horse within their citadel. (Cp. trojan war.)

Siparlum. The smaller curtain on the Roman stage, about half way between the front and the back. [It was drawn up between the scenes.] (See theatre.)

Sirens (Gr. SeirSnls). The virgin daughters of Phorcys, according to later legend of Achelous and one of the Muses. In Homer there are two, in later writers three, called Llgeia, LeukOsta, and Par-thenOpe, or Agldopheml, MolpS, and ThelailSpeia. Homer describes them as dwelling between Circe's isle and Scylla, on an island, where they sit in a flowery meadow, surrounded by the mouldering bones of men, and with their sweet song allure and infatuate those that sail by. Whoever listens to their song and draws

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