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Headword: *tele/sths
Adler number: tau,265
Translated headword: Telestes
Vetting Status: high
A comic [poet]. His dramas are Argo and Asclepius, as Athenaeus says in the 14th [book] of the Deipnosophists.
Greek Original:
*tele/sths, kwmiko/s. tou/tou dra/mata/ e)stin *)argw\ kai\ *)asklhpio/s, w(/s fhsin *)aqh/naios e)n tw=| id# tw=n *deipnosofistw=n.
Telestes of Selinus [Myth, Place] (in western Sicily) is listed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (De compositione verborum 19) and Diodorus Siculus (14.46.6) as one of the chief practitioners of the 'new dithyramb' (delta 1029, kappa 2647). He won a victory at Athens in 402/1 (Marmor Parium), was given a public statue in Sicyon, and was read by Alexander the Great (Plutarch, Alexander 8). The noted expert on music Aristoxenus (alpha 3927) wrote a Life of Telestes, according to Apollonius Paradox., Historiae mirabiles 40, where he recounts how women will sometimes get up from dinner, as if someone is calling, and run in ecstasy out of the city. Can we assume they had heard that Telestes or another poet of Dionysiac dithyrambs was coming? The 14th Book of Athenaeus' Deipnosophists (14.7.12-end; 21.13 to end; 40.21-27) and Heraclides Ponticus (fr. 163.48), are the sources from which we derive our surviving fragments of his dithyrambs (Poetae Melici Graeci, ed. D.L. Page, fr.805-12; Campbell 122-33). He was exempt from the savage attacks on other poets of his style by Aristophanes and the other comic playwrights in our surviving plays or fragments. The only comic reference is an inexplicable passing reference to him in a brief fragment of Theopompus' Althaea (fr. 2 Kock, now 3 Kassel-Austin, also preserved in Athenaeus).
There is no other evidence that he ever wrote comedies, and the Suda is probably in error ('kwmiko/s falsum': Adler). Certainly, Argo, Asclepius and Hymenaeus were all dithyrambs. See OCD(4) 1437; RE 5A.391-92 'Telestes [6]'.
Note the place of the tonic accent, distinct from that of the adjective telesth/s, 'one capable of initiating in the mysteries, one so initiated'.
Greek Lyric vol. 5, ed. D.A. Campbell (Loeb edn.) 122-33
M.L. West, Ancient Greek Music (Oxford 1992) 364 n.33
Keywords: biography; comedy; geography; meter and music; mythology; poetry; religion; women
Translated by: Robert Dyer on 9 February 2002@04:36:09.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added keyword; minor expansions in notes) on 10 February 2002@05:38:42.
David Whitehead (augmented bibliography; cosmetics) on 16 June 2002@08:09:44.
David Whitehead (another keyword; tweaks ansd cosmetics) on 8 January 2014@04:10:25.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 2 August 2014@11:19:00.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 26 August 2014@21:13:07.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 1 January 2015@10:27:28.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 22 January 2015@22:56:34.
David Whitehead (coding and other cosmetics) on 27 May 2016@10:06:00.


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