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Headword: Ἐπίχαρμος
Adler number: epsilon,2766
Translated headword: Epicharmos, Epicharmus
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
Son of Tityros or Cheimaros and Sikis. He came from Syracuse or from the Sican city Krastos. He was the inventor of comedy in Syracuse, together with Phormos.[1] He produced 52 plays, or 35 according to Lykon.[2] Some recorded him as a Koan, one of those who migrated to Sicily with Kadmos; others [call him a] Samian, others [that he came] from Megara in Sicily.[3] He was producing plays in Syracuse six years before the Persian Wars; in Athens [sc. at this time] Euetes and Euxenides and Mylos[4] were exhibiting [their plays].
This man [was] also the inventor of the long vowels eta and omega.[5]
Also [sc. attested in the phrase] "Epicharmian argument", [meaning that] of Epicharmos.[5]
Greek Original:
Ἐπίχαρμος, Τιτύρου ἢ Χειμάρου καὶ Σικίδος, Συρακούσιος ἢ ἐκ πόλεως Κραστοῦ τῶν Σικανῶν: ὃς εὗρε τὴν κωμῳδίαν ἐν Συρακούσαις ἅμα Φόρμῳ. ἐδίδαξε δὲ δράματα νβ#, ὡς δὲ Λύκων φησὶ λε#. τινὲς δὲ αὐτὸν Κῷον ἀνέγραψαν, τῶν μετὰ Κάδμου εἰς Σικελίαν μετοικησάντων, ἄλλοι Σάμιον, ἄλλοι Μεγάρων τῶν ἐν Σικελίᾳ. ἦν δὲ πρὸ τῶν Περσικῶν ἔτη ἕξ, διδάσκων ἐν Συρακούσαις: ἐν δὲ Ἀθήναις Εὐέτης καὶ Εὐξενίδης καὶ Μύλος ἐπεδείκνυντο. οὗτος εὑρετὴς καὶ τῶν μακρῶν στοιχείων η καὶ ω. καὶ Ἐπιχάρμειος λόγος, τοῦ Ἐπιχάρμου.
Notes:
C5 BCE. See generally OCD(3) s.v. (by K.J. Dover) bibliographically updated in OCD(4). This Suda entry = Epicharmus testimonium #1 Kassel-Austin.
[1] See phi 609.
[2] Or Lykophron (Kaibel). But see Lyco 14 White.
[3] According to Diogenes Laertius 8.78, Epicharmos himself recorded that he arrived in Sicilian Megara from Kos when only three months old, and went from there to Syracuse.
[4] Little-known names, though for Myllos (sic) see Kassel-Austin, PCG 7.28.
[5] Not a plausible thing to claim about a writer whose dialect was Sicilian Doric! Other versions have him inventing two of the consonants (theta and chi, pi and psi).
[6] Probably the so-called auxanomenos logos. To quote Pickard-Cambridge (below) 250-251, 'Epicharmus, we are told, used, and in fact invented, the auxanomenos logos.- the "fallacy of the sorites" of later logicians, so called from the use of a heap of corn (soros) as the favourite illustration of it. (How many grains of corn must be taken away before a heap of corn will cease to be a heap? What if that number less one be taken away? And so on.) Epicharmus applied it to personality. How much change will make a man a different person? And he appears to have argued that a debtor who borrowed money yesterday does not owe it today, since he is already a different man from the borrower; and that the man whom you invited yesterday to dinner may be turned away when he arrives today, "for he is another".'
References:
L. Berk, Epicharmus. Groningen: J.B. Wolters, 1964
A.W. Pickard-Cambridge, Dithyramb, Tragedy and Comedy, 2nd ed. Rev. T.B.L. Webster. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1962, pp. 230-290
Keywords: biography; chronology; comedy; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; philosophy; poetry
Translated by: Tony Natoli on 30 March 2000@18:01:10.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (completed translation; augmented bibliography; cosmetics) on 26 March 2001@08:41:16.
David Whitehead (added note; restorative and other cosmetics) on 20 December 2002@04:56:29.
David Whitehead (another note, another keyword; cosmetics) on 13 February 2008@09:06:28.
David Whitehead (another note) on 13 February 2008@10:22:07.
David Mirhady (updated ref) on 2 September 2008@19:13:49.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 22 October 2012@08:34:31.
David Whitehead (expanded primary note) on 21 December 2014@10:11:44.
David Whitehead (expanded n.4) on 24 December 2014@08:45:39.

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