The Ancient Library

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of Tenth eus, related in a dry rhetorical mariner. Lastly, the twenty-eighth, entitled 'H Act/car a, is an occasional poem, written in a very pleasing style. This great intermixture of the different species oi poetry is quite in accordance with the spirit of the age and of the Alexandrian school, in which the poet was brought up. But, in those of the idyls which are certainly genuine, all these varieties are harmonized by the true poetical genius of Theocritus. But yet, if we carefully examine the collection as a whole, it will be found to contain incongruities of style and subject, and varieties of merit, too great to allow of the belief that all these twenty-nine idyls (for the thirtieth may be certainly ex­cluded) are the genuine productions of Theocritus. The introduction of spurious poems into the col­lection can easily be accounted for. As early as b. c. 200 there existed a collection of the works of the bucolic poets, Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus, as we learn from the following epigram of Artemi-dorus, which is prefixed to the works of Theocritus, and is also contained in the Greek Anthology (Brunck, Anal. vol. i. p. 293 ; Jacobs, A nth. Cfraec. vol. i. p. 194) : —

bov/co At/ecu Motcrai criropdfies ttokxx, vvv 55 apa Tratrcu 'Ei/ri jUias juaySpas, evrl juias aye\as.

Into such a collection, made at a time when critical science was in its infancy, every thing would na­turally be swept together that had the least tradi­tional or other claim to be regarded as the pro­duction of one of these three poets ; and, moreover, whatever was of doubtful authority would naturally be ascribed to Theocritus, as the most celebrated of the three. Of this large collection the idyls that have come down to us are merely samples, se­lected by the grammarians (whence the name of Eclogae, which was afterwards applied to bucolic poetry in general) ; and thus it has happened that, while much of the genuine poetry of Theocritus has been lost, there must be much that is not his in the collection we now possess. To distinguish the genuine from the spurious, we have scarcely any other test than internal evidence ; and here the danger arises, into which some critics appear to have fallen, of making the comparative excellence of the poems the sole test of their genuineness. It is impossible here to enter upon the detailed critical arguments for and against the genuineness of the several poems. The whole subject has been dis­cussed by Eichstadt (de Carm. Theocr. ad sua Ge­nera revocat. <Jfc., Lips. 1794, 4to.), by E. Rein-hold (de Genuinis Theocr. Carm. et Supposititiis, Jen. 1819), by A. Wissowa (Theocritus Tkeocri-teus, Vratislav. 1828, 8vo.), and by Warton, Meineke, and Wusteminn, in their editions of Theocritus. Those idyls, of which the genuineness is the most doubtful, are the 12th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 26th, 27th, 29th, and 30th.

The Metre chiefly employed in these poems is the heroic hexameter, adapted to the purposes of Theocritus by having a more broken movement substituted for the sustained and stately march of the Homeric verse. In a few cases other metres are employed. The dialect of Theocritus has given the grammarians considerable trouble. The ancient critics regarded it as a modification of the Doric dia­lect, which they called via Awpis, and some of the modern editors have carried this notion so far as to try to expunge all the epic, Aeolic, and Ionic forms, which the best MSS. present. The fact,


however, is, that Theocritus purposely employed a mixed or eclectic dialect, in which the new or softened Doric predominates. (Jacobs, Praef ad Antli. Pal. p.xliii.; Wiistemann, Proleg. ad Theocr. p. xxxiv.)

Of the other poems which have come down to us, the Berenice, of which we only possess five liner, and a word, preserved by Athenaeus (vii. p. 284), was an encomium of the celebrated queen, the wife of Ptolemy the son of Lagus, and the mother of Ptolemy Philadelphus. The poem entitled Syrinx, contained in the Greek Anthology, is an exercise of ingenuity, consisting in the composition of twenty verses in such a manner that the length of each pair of verses is less than that of the pair be­fore, and thus the whole resembles the ten pipes of the mouth-organ or Pan-pipes (crvptj^J. Of the epigrams, two (Nos. 1.7, 18, Brunck) are supposed by Jacobs to be the productions of Leonidas of Tarentum, while, on the other hand, the Palatine MS. assigns the 10th epigram of Erycius to Theo­critus. (Brunck, Anal. vol. i. p. 376 ; Jacobs, Anth. Graec. vol. i. p. 194, vol. xiii. p. 958.)

It is unnecessary to say much of the reputation of Theocritus. Both in ancient and in modern times, he has been deservedly placed at the head of the species of poetry which he formed, and in a very high rank among all poets, for the force and truth­fulness of his pictures, the beauty of his language, and the simple good taste of his style. The best discussion of his characteristics is that by Finken-stein, in the Introduction and Appendices to Arc-thusa, oder d. Bukol. Dichter d?.s Alterthums, Bed. 1806—1810. The Eclogues of Virgil are mere imita­tions of the Bucolics of Theocritus, to which they are immeasurably inferior. [ViRGiLius.] The Alex­andrian grammarians gave Theocritus a place in one of their Pleiads, that, namely, of the seven miscel­laneous poets ; and commentaries were written upon him by Amerias, Asclepiades of Myrlen, Theon, Theaetetus, Amarantus, Munatus, and others. The existing Scholia evidently contain a very small, and probably not the most valuable, portion of those commentaries : they consist chiefly of paraphrastic explanations of the text.

The modern literature of Theocritus is much too voluminous to admit of any attempt to give here a list even of the chief editions and illustrative works. The titles of the whole occupy forty-nine columns of Hoifmann's Lexicon Bibliographicum Scriptorum Graecorum. The Editio Princeps, in folio, con­taining the Works and Days of Hesiod and the Idyls of Theocritus, is without place or date, but is believed to have been printed at Milan about 1481. There is another very early edition, in 8vo., without place or date. The next earliest edition is that of Aldus, containing the Idyls, and a vast mass of other matter, Venet. 1495, fol. For a full account of this and the other ancient editions, see Hoifmann. The chief among the more recent editions are those of Reiske. Viennae, 1765, 1766, 2 vols. 4to. ; of Warton, Oxon. 1770, 4to. ; of Brunck, in the Analecta, 1772, 4to. ; of Valcke-naer, 1779—1781, 8vo.; of Schaefer, 1810, fol.; of Heindorf, 1810, 8vo. ; of Gaisford, in his Poctae Minores, Oxon. 1816, 1820, 1823, 8vo. ; of Kiess-!ing, Lips. 1819, 8vo., reprinted, with Bion and Moschus, Notes, Scholia, Indices, and Portus's Lexicon Doricum, Lond. 1829, 2 vols. 8vo. ; of Jacobs, Halae, 1824, 8vo., only vol. i. published ; of Meineke, Lips. 1825, 12mo. ; and, the most useful

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