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Headword: Simônidês
Adler number: sigma,440
Translated headword: Simonides
Vetting Status: high
Lyric poet.
This man seems to have been the first to introduce stinginess into song and to write a song.[1] "He also had two small chests,[2] one empty of gifts, the other full."[3] Aristophanes [sc. has something to say] against the lyrics of Simonides. That is, [they are] technically bad and artful.[4]
Simonides, son of Theoprepes,[5] said, "Not even gods fight against necessity."[6]
Greek Original:
Simônidês, lurikos. houtos prôtos dokei mikrologian eisenenkein eis to aisma kai grapsei aisma. eiche de kai b# kibôtia, tên men tôn charitôn kenên, tên de heteran plean. Aristophanês: kata ta Simônidou melê. toutesti kakotechna kai poikila. Simônidês huios Theoprepous eipen: anankêi oude theoi machontai.
See already sigma 439, and again sigma 441. Simonides was consistently criticized for taking large gifts for his poetry. This gave rise to tales such as this one, whose implications we must conjecture.
[1] Adler prints the transmitted gra/yei, i.e. seemingly dative singular of the abstract noun gra/yis; however, the Suda's source, a scholion on Aristophanes, Peace 697 (where S. is mentioned), has the aorist infinitive gra/yai, as translated here.
[2] The word may mean either small rooms or closets, or chests, such as a traveling poet might have with him.
[3] Stobaeus, Florilegium 3.10.38; cf. Plutarch, Moralia 555F.
[4] Aristophanes, Birds 919, with scholion. Note also Aristophanes, Clouds 1362, where S. called "a bad poet" (kako\n pohth/n, "a hack" in the translation at web address 1). It is a judgment that his lyric on the victory of the boxer Krios of Aegina (apparently the man mentioned by Herodotus 5.53 & 70) is out of fashion. Aristophanes puns on the word for 'ram' (krio/s) to call the poem How the Ram got shorn (see epsilon 2112), perhaps because of Simonides' habit of 'fleecing' his clients. The use of poiki/los 'artful' was probably originally literary, but here seems to refer to dubious practices to seduce his clients into paying more (indeed a possible use of the word). Cf. pi 661.
[5] Correctly Leoprepes at sigma 439.
[6] Simonides fr. 542 PMG (Page).29-30; cf. alpha 1828. This poem, apparently defending the right of Scopas to do evil deeds, (see sigma 439) if under necessity, is given by Plato, Protagoras 338E-347A, who assigns to Socrates a perverse interpretation of the message of the poem, perhaps to indicate his habit of wrestling evidence and opponents into agreement with his ideas. See web address 2.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; chronology; comedy; philosophy; poetry
Translated by: Robert Dyer on 15 June 2000@15:24:02.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (Made slight alterations in wording and punctuation; raised status.) on 20 August 2000@01:37:51.
David Whitehead (augmented notes; restorative and other cosmetics) on 12 September 2002@09:05:45.
Catharine Roth (tweaked notes, upgraded links) on 5 November 2013@20:02:07.
David Whitehead (tweaked tr; tweaked and expanded notes) on 6 November 2013@03:30:55.
David Whitehead on 6 November 2013@03:31:20.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 4 February 2015@00:06:11.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 4 February 2015@02:48:39.


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