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835

SIMON IDES.

sanias himself, was erased by the Lacedaemonians, who substituted for it the names of the states which had taken part in the battle (Thuc. i. 132 ; Paus. iii. 8. § 1). Various stories are told respect­ing the poet's intimacy with Pausanias ; and, among them, that, the king having called upon the poet for some wise saying, Simonides replied, " Remember that thou art a man." Pausanias made light of the warning, until he was shut up in the brazen house, when he was heard to ex­claim, Tn £eVe KeTe, /JisycL tl ctpa XP% (Tou, eyw 5e vtt' dvoias ou5ej> avrov (Plutarch, Consol. ad Apollon. p. 105, a ; Aelian, V. H. ix. 41). The story certainly bears a very suspicious likeness to the well-known tale of Croesus and Solon.

Simonides had completed his eightieth year, when his long poetical career at Athens was crowned by the victory which he gained with the dithy-rambic chorus, in the archonship of Adeimantus, two years later than the battle of Plataeae (01. 75. f, b. c. 477), being the fifty-sixth prize which he had carried oif (Epig. 203, 204).

It must have been shortly after this that he was invited to Syracuse by Hiero, at whose court he lived till his death in b. c. 467. On his way to Sicily he appears to have visited Magna Graecia, and at Tarentum he is said to have been a second time miraculously preserved from destruction as the reward of his piety (Liban. vol. iv. p. 1101, Reiske ; Epig. 183, 184). He served Hiero by his wisdom as well as by his art, for, immediately after his arrival in Sicily, he became the mediator of a peace between Hiero and Theron of Agrigen-tum (Schol. ad Find. OL ii. 29). There are several allusions to the wise discourses of the poet at the court of the tyrant (Plat. Epist. ii.) ; and Xenophon has put his Dialogue on the Evils and Excellencies of Tyranny (the Hiero} into the mouths of Hiero and Simonides. The celebrated evasion of the question respecting the nature of God is ascribed by Cicero (de Nat. Deor. i. 22) to Simonides, as an answer to Hiero. He lived on similar terms of philosophic intercourse with the wife of Hiero.

Of all the poets whom Hiero attracted to his court, among whom were Pindar, Bacchylides, and Aeschylus, Simonides appears to have been his favourite. He provided so munificently for his wants, that the poet, who always displayed a strong taste for substantial rewards, was able to sell a large portion of the daily supplies sent him by the king ; and, upon being reproached, for trading in his patron's bounty, he assigned as his motive the desire to display at once the munifi­cence of Hiero and his own moderation. He still continued, when at Syracuse, to employ his muse occasionally in the service of other Grecian states. Thus, as Cicero remarks (Cat. Maj. 7), he con­tinued his poetical activity to extreme old age ; and Jerome mentions him among those swan-like poets, who sang more sweetly at the approach of death (Epist. 34). His remains were honoured with a splendid funeral, and the following epitaph, probably of his own composition, was inscribed upon his tomb (Tzetz. GUI. i. 24) :

*E£ eTr Kal

Se Eu£t>z/e'roj'

jpap vicas 5' e* Aenre/s, "EAA^crt 5

SIMONIDES.

His sepulchre is said by Suidas (s. v.) to have been ruthlessly destroyed by Phoenix, a general of the Agrigentines, who used its materials for the con­struction of a tower, when he was besieging Syracuse.

Little space is left to describe the personal and poetical character of Simonides, and this has al­ready been done so well by Ottfried Miiller, that it is hardly necessary to say very much. (Hist. Lit. Anc. Greece, vol. i. pp. 208, foil.) Belonging to a people eminent for their orderly and virtuous cha­racter (Plat. Protag. p. 341, e., see Stallbaum's note), Simonides himself became proverbial for that virtue which the Greeks called trco^poowi?, tem­perance, order, and self-command, in one's own conduct, and moderation in one's opinions and desires and views of human life ; and this spirit breathes through all his poetry. (Schn. p. xxxiii.) His reverence for religion is shown in his treat­ment of the ancient myths. His political and moral wisdom has already been referred to ; it often assumed a polemic character ; and he appears to have been especially anxious to emulate the fame of the Seven Wise Men, both for their wisdom itself, and for their brief sententious form of ex­pressing it; and some ancient writers even reckoned him in the number of those sages. (Plat. Protag. p. 343, c.; comp. Schn. p. xxxvi. foil.) The leading principle of his philosophy appears to have been the calm enjoyment of the pleasures of the present life, both intellectual and material, the making as light as possible of its cares, patience in bearing its evils, and moderation in the standard by which human character should be judged. He appears to have taken no pleasure in the higher regions of speculative philosophy. (See especially, Plat. I. c. and foil. ; Schn. pp. xxxiv. xxxv.) Of the nume­rous witty sayings ascribed to him, the following may serve as an example: to a person who pre served a dead silence during a banquet, he said, " My friend, if you are a fool, you are doing a wise thing; but if you are wise, a foolish one." (Plutarch, Conv. iii. Prooem.)

Though he was moderate and indulgent in his views of human life, yet the moral sentiments em­bodied in his poems were so generally sound, that, in his- own age, he obtained the approval of the race of men who fought at Marathon and Salamis, and in the succeeding period of moral and poetical decline his gnomic poetry was extolled by the ad­mirers of that earlier age, in contrast to the licen­tious strains of Gnesippus, and his scolia still conti­nued to be sung at banquets, though the " young generation" affected to despise them. (Aristoph. Nub. 1355—1362 ; Ath. xiv. p. 638, e. ; Schol. ad Aristoph. Vesp. 1217.) Even the philosophers were indebted to Simonides and the other gnomic poets for their most admired conceptions ; thus Prodicus, in his celebrated Choice of Hercules, followed an Epinician Ode of Simonides, which again was a paraphrase of the well-known lines of Hesiod (Op. et Di. 265), rtfs dperfjs ISp&ra, &c. (See Schn. p. xxxix. and Fr. 32.)

Simonides is said to have been the inventor of the mnemonic art and of the long vowels and double letters in the Greek alphabet. The latter statement cannot be accepted literally,.J)ut this is not the place to discuss it.

The other side of the picture may be described almost in one word : Simonides made literature a profession, and sought for its pecuniary rewards in

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