Scanned text contains errors.
that these mimes were not acted, is to divest them of their essential feature, the exhibition by mimetic gestures, to which the words "were entirely subordinate ; and it is hardly credible that the Greeks of that age, who lived in public, and who could witness the masterpieces of the old Doric and the new Attic drama in their theatres, would be content to sit down and pore over so dull a jest book as the mimes of Sophron must have been when the action was left out. To these arguments from the nature of the case may be added the express statement of Solinus (Polyliist. 5), that in Sicily "cavillatio mimica in scena stetit"
The dialect of Sophron is the old Doric, interspersed with Sicilian peculiarities ; and it appears to have been chiefly as a specimen of the Doric dialect that the ancient grammarians made his works a particular object of study. Apollodorus, for example, wrote commentaries on Sophron, consisting of at least four books, the fragments of which are preserved in Heyne's edition. The fragments of Sophron frequently exhibit anomalous forms, which are evidently imitations of vulgar provincialisms or personal peculiarities of speech (see an example in the Etym. Mag. s.v. vyrfs). There are also many words coined in jest, such as olos oiorzpov (Fr. 96). Further information on the dialect of Sophron will be found in the work of Ahrens, who has collected the Fragments. (Ahrens, de Graecae Linguae Dialectis, lib. ii., de Dialecto Dorica^ vol. ii. pp. 464, &c.)
With regard to the substance of these compositions, their character, so far as it can be ascertained, appears, as we have said above, to have been ethical; that is, the scenes represented were those of ordinary life, and the language employed was intended to bring out more clearly the characters of the persons exhibited in those scenes, not only for the amusement, but also for the instruction of the spectators. There must have been something of sound philosophy in his works to have inspired Plato with that profound admiration for their author which will presently be mentioned ; something, probably, of that same sound practical wisdom which, in Aristophanes, produced the same effect on Plato's mind. Unfortunately, however, we know nothing of the philosophical complexion of Sophron's mimes, except that they abounded in the most pithy proverbs, thrown together often two or three at a time, and worked into the composition with an exuberance of fancy and wit which the ancients compared with the spirit of the Attic Comedy. (Demetr. de Eloc. 156, 127, 128.) In fact, we think it would not be far wrong to speak of the mimes of Sophron as being, among the Dorians, a closely kindred fruit of the same intellectual impulse which, among the Athenians, produced the Old Comedy ; although we do not mean to place the two on any thing like the same footing as to their degrees of excellence.
The serious purpose which was aimed at in the works of Sophron was always, as in the Attic Comedy, clothed under a sportive form ; and it can easily be imagined that sometimes the latter element prevailed, even to the extent of obscenity, as the extant fragments and the parallel of the Attic Comedy combine to prove. Hence the division, which the ancients made of these compositions, into fjitfjLoi ffirovfiaioi and 7eAo?oi, though most of Sophron's works were of the former character (Ulpian. ad Demosth. Ol. p. 30) Plutarch distin-
guishes the mimes which existed in his time into two classes, in a manner which throws an important light both on the character and the form of these compositions. (QuacsL Conviv. vii. 8. § 4.) He calls the two classes of mimes uVofleVets and Traiyvta^ and considers neither species suitable for performance at a banquet; the former on account of their length and the difficulty of commanding the proper scenic apparatus (to dvcrxopfiyri-tov, another proof, by the way, that they were intended for public performance, and not for private reading), the latter on account of their scurrility and obscenity. Although neither here, nor in the description given by Xenophon of a very licentious mime (I. c.),is the name of Sophron mentioned, yet it would be too much to assume that his compositions were all of the better kind. Lastly, Aristotle ranks Sophron as among those who are to be considered poets, on account of their subject and style, in spite of the absence of metre. (Poet. i. 8, and more fully in his Trepl TroirjToJ^, ap. Ath. xi. p. 505, c.)
It has been asserted that Sophron was an imitator of Epicharmus ; but there is no proof of the fact, although it can hardly be doubted that the elder poet had some considerable influence on his later fellow-countryman. It is, however, certain that Sophron was closely imitated by Theocritus, and that the Idyls of the latter were, in many respects, developments of the mimes of the former. (Argum. ad Theocr. Id. ii. xv.)
The admiration of Plato for Sophron has been already referred to. The philosopher is said to have been the first who made the mimes known at Athens, to have been largely indebted to them in his delineations of character, and to have had them so constantly at hand, that he slept with them under his pillow, and actually had his head resting upon them at the moment of his death (Suid. s. v.; Diog. iii. 8 ; Quintil. i. 10. 17.)
The fragments of Sophron have been collected by Blomfield, in the Classical Journal for 1811, No. 8, pp. 380—390, and more fully in the Mu seum Criticum, vol. ii. pp. 340—558, 559, 560, Camb. 1826 ; and by Ahrens, as above quoted. The titles will also be found in Fabricius. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. ii. pp. 493—495 ; Muller, Dorier, bk. iv. c. 7. § 5 ; Hermann and Ritter, ad Aristot. Poet. i. 8 ; Grysar, de Sophrone Mimographo, Colon. 1838 ; Bernhardy, Grundriss d. Griecli. Lit. vol. ii. pp.908—911.) [P. S.]
SOPHRONISCUS (SaQpovifficos), of Athens, the father of the celebrated Socrates, is described by the ancient Greek writers as KiQovpyos, \ido- |(Jos, \LOoy\^(f>os9 €p/j.oy\i!(f)os9 terms which un doubtedly signify a sculptor in marble, and not, as Hemsterhusius and others have supposed, merely a mason. (Diog. Lae'rt. ii. 18 ; Lucian, Somn. 12, vol. i. p. 18 ; comp. Hemsterh. ad loo. ; Schol. ad Aristoph. Nub. 773 ; Val. Max. iii. 4, ext. 1 ; Thiersch, Epoclien, p. 125.) .He must have flou rished about b. c. 470, and have belonged to the old Attic school, which preceded that of Pheidias, and to a family of Athenian artists, for Socrates is frequently represented, both by Xenophon and Plato, as tracing his descent from Daedalus. (Comp. socrates, p. 847, b, p. 856, a; daedalus, p. 928, b.) No works of Sophroniscus are men tioned. [P. S.]
SOPHRONIUS (2co<j>p<Ws). Among the numerous ecclesiastical writers of this name, treated