People - Ancient Greece: Choerilus
Ancient Athenian tragic poet.
Choerĭlus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
An Athenian dramatist, one of the oldest Attic tragedians, who appeared as a writer as early as B.C. 520. He was a rival of Pratinas, Phrynichus, and Aeschylus. His favourite line seems to have been the satyric drama, in which he was long a popular writer.
A Greek epic poet, born in Samos about B.C. 470, a friend of Herodotus and afterwards of the Spartan Lysander. He lived first at Athens and afterwards at the court of King Archelaüs of Macedonia, where he was treated with great consideration, and died about B.C. 400. He was the first epic poet who, feeling that the old mythology was exhausted, ventured to treat an historical subject of immediate interest, the Persian wars, in an epic entitled Perseïs. According to one account, the poem was read in the schools with Homer. The few fragments that remain show that it did not lack talent and merit; but little regard was paid to it by posterity. Ed. by Näke (Leipzig, 1817).
Of Iasos in Caria. This Choerilus was also an epic poet, who accompanied Alexander the Great. Alexander promised him a gold-piece for every good verse he wrote in celebration of his achievements, but declared that he would rather be the Thersites of Homer than the Achilles of Choerilus. Cf. Hor. A. P. 357.
Choerilus in Wikipedia
Choerilus was an Athenian tragic poet, who exhibited plays as early as 524 BC. He was said to have competed with Aeschylus, Pratinas and even Sophocles. According to Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker, however, the rival of Sophocles was a son of Choerilus, who bore the same name. The Suidas states that Choerilus wrote 150 tragedies and gained the prize thirteen times. His works are all lost; only Pausanias (i.14) mentions a play by him entitled Alope (a mythological personage who was the subject of dramas by Euripides and Carcinus). His reputation as a writer of satyric dramas is attested in the well-known line:
ἡνίκα μἑν βασιλεὐς ἥν Χοιρίλοε έν Σατύροις.
The Choerilean metre, mentioned by the Latin grammarians, is probably so called because the above line is the oldest extant specimen. Choerilus was also said to have introduced considerable improvements in theatrical masks and costumes.
Choerilus of Iasus
Choerilus of Iasus was an epic poet of Iasus in Caria, who lived in the 4th century BC. He accompanied Alexander the Great on his campaigns as court-poet. He is well known from the passages in Horace (Epistles, ii. 1, 232; Ars Poetica, 357), according to which he received a piece of gold for every good verse he wrote in celebration of the glorious deeds of his master. The quality of his verses may be estimated from the remark attributed to Alexander, that he would rather be the Thersites of Homer than the Achilles of Choerilus. The epitaph on Sardanapalus, said to have been translated from the Chaldean (quoted in Athenaeus, viii. p. 336), is generally supposed to be by Choerilus.
Choerilus of Samos
Choerilus of Samos was an epic poet of Samos, who flourished at the end of the 5th century BC. After the fall of Athens he settled at the court of Archelaus, king of Macedon, where he was the associate of Agathon, Melanippides, and Plato the comic poet. The only work that can with certainty be attributed to him is the Περσηίς (Perseis) or Περσικά (Persika), a history of the struggle of the Greeks against Persia, the central point of which was the Battle of Salamis. His importance consists in his having taken for his theme national and contemporary events in place of the deeds of old-time heroes. For this new departure he apologizes in the introductory verses (preserved in the scholiast on Aristotle, Rhetoric, iii. 14), where he says that the subjects of epic poetry being all exhausted, it was necessary to strike out a new path. The story of his intimacy with Herodotus is probably because he imitated him and had recourse to his history for the incidents of his poem.
The Perseis was at first highly successful and was said to have been read, together with the Homeric poems, at the Panathenaea, but later critics reversed this favorable judgment. Aristotle (Topica, viii. 1) calls Choerilus' comparisons far-fetched and obscure, and the Alexandrians displaced him by Antimachus in the canon of epic poets. The fragments are artificial in tone.
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