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SOPHRON.

etia, to the Carthaginian alliance, offered him the hand of his daughter in marriage. The beauty and accomplishments of Sophonisba prevailed over the influence of Scipio : Syphax married her (b. c. 206), and from that time became the zealous sup­porter and ally of Carthage. Sophonisba, on her part, was assiduous in her endeavours to secure his adherence to the cause of her countrymen, and it was almost entirely through her influence that Syphax was induced, even after the destruction of his camp by Scipio [syphax], to assemble a new arm}% and to try his fortune once more. But when his final defeat by Masinissa led to the capture of his capital city of Cirta, Sophonisba herself fell into the hands of the conqueror, upon whom, how­ever, her beauty exercised so powerful an influence, that he not only promised to spare her from cap­tivity, but, to prevent her falling into the power of the Romans, determined to marry her himself. Their nuptials were accordingly celebrated without delay, but Scipio (who was apprehensive lest she should exercise the same influence over Masinissa which she had previously done over Syphax) re­fused to ratify this arrangement, and upbraiding Masinissa with his weakness, insisted on the im­mediate surrender of the princess. Unable to resist this command, the Numidian king spared her the humiliation of captivity, by sending her a bowl of poison, which she drank without hesitation, and thus put an end to her own life. (Liv. xxix. 23, xxx. 3, 7, 12—15 ; Polyb. xiv. 1,7 ; Appian. Pun. 10, 27, 28 ; Diod. xxvii. Exc. Vales, p. 571 ; Dion Cass. Fr. 61; Zonar. ix. 11,12,13.) [E.H.B.]

SOPHRON (2w<fr>coj>), of Syracuse, the son of Agathocles and Damnasyllis, was the principal writer, and in one sense the inventor, of that species of composition called the Mime, (|iujuos), which was one of the numerous varieties of the Dorian Comedy. For this reason he is sometimes called a comic poet, a denomination which has led Suidas (s. v.) and, after him, some modern writers, into the mistake of distinguishing two persons of the name, the one a comic poet, and the other the mimographer.

The time at which Sophron flourished is loosely stated by Suidas as " the times of Xerxes and Euripides ;" but we have another evidence for his date in the statement that his son Xenarchus lived at the court of Dionysius I., during the Rhegian War (b. c. 399—387 ; see Clinton, F. H. s. a. 393). All that can be said, therefore, with any certainty, is that Sophron flourished during the middle, and perhaps the latter part of the fifth century b. c., perhaps about b. c. 460—420, rather more than half a century later than Epicharmus.

When Sophron is called the inventor of mimes, the meaning is, as in the case of similar statements respecting the other branches of Dorian Comedy, that he reduced to the form of a literary composition a species of amusement which the Greeks of Sicily, who were pre-eminent for broad humour and merri­ment, had practised from time immemorial at their public festivals, and the nature of which was very similar to the performances of the Spartan Dei-celistae. Such mimetic performances prevailed throughout the Dorian states under various names. Thus the SeuojXurrai of Sparta seem to have been represented by the opx1?0"7"0^ °f Syracuse ; and we meet also with similar exhibitions under the names of fraifyiara, Sea^ara, &c. (Respecting these various terms, see Grysar, de Comoed. Dor. pp. 59, foil.) The religious festivals with which these

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SOPHRON.

amusements were connected seem to have been, at all events chiefly, those of Dionysus ; and nence one species of them was the representation of in­cidents in the life of that divinity, as in the in­teresting specimen which Xenophon has preserved of a Sea/za, in which the marriage of Dionysus and Ariadne was represented (Conviv. 9). But they also embraced^ the actions and incidents of every day life ; thus the common performance of the Deicelistae was the imitation of a foreign physician, or other person, stealing fruit and the remains of meals, and being caught in the act.

Whether the term /lu,uos originally included any kind of imitation ivithout words, or whether it was, like those just spoken of, a distinct species of that general kind of exhibition, we are not sufficiently informed ; but it is clear that the Mimes of Sophron were ethical, that is, they ex­hibited not only incident, but characters. More­over, as is implied in the very fact of their being a literary composition, words were put into the mouths of the actors, though still quite in subordi­nation to their gestures ; and, in proportion as the spoken part of the performance was increased, the mime would approach nearer and nearer to a comedy. Of all such representations instrumental music appears to have formed an essential part. (See Xenoph. /. c.)

One feature of the Mimes of Sophron, which formed a marked distinction between them and comic poetrj% was the nature of their rhythm. There is, however, some difficulty in determining whether they were in mere prose, or in mingled poetry and prose, or in prose with a peculiar rhythmical move­ment but no metrical arrangement. Suidas (s. v.) expressly states that they were in prose (KaraAo-•yaSilv) ; and the existing fragments confirm the general truth of this assertion, for they defy all attempt at scansion. Nevertheless, they frequently fall into a sort of rhythmical cadence, or swing, which is different from the rhythm of ordinary prose, and answers to the description of an ancient scho­liast on Gregory Nazianzen, who says of Sophron, ovros yap /novos iron]T&v j>v6/j.o'is ricrt, Kal ku\ois exptfwro, TroirjTiKrjs dva\oyias KaTCKppovtjcras (Bibl. Coislin. p. 120 ; Hermann, ad Aristot. Poet. i. 8). The short, broken, unconnected sentences, of which the extant passages of Sophron generally consist, containing a large number of short syllables, and mostly ending in trochees like the choliambic verses, produce the effect, described by the scholiast, of a sort of irregular halting rhythm (pvO/jLos /ceoAos). The following is a fair specimen (Fr. 52) : —Vl8e KaXav Koup/8coz/ • ¥8e Ka/jL/jicLpoov • ft>e <£>iAa cos epu-Qpai t' fvrl kol KeioffTpaKiwcrat.

This prosaic structure of the mimes of Sophron has given rise to a doubt whether they were ever intended for public exhibition ; a doubt which appears to us very unreasonable. Not to insist on the fact that Sophron lived at a period when no works, except of history and philosophy, were composed for private reading, we have before us the certainty that the Mime was, in its very nature, a public exhibition, and, in accordance with the analogy of all similar improvements at that period, we must infer that all the efforts of Sophron were directed, not to withdraw it from its appropriate sphere, but to adapt it to the growing requirements of a more refined age, and to make it acceptable to spectators less easily satisfied than those who had welcomed its ruder forms. Moreover, to suppose

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