People - Ancient Greece: Triphiodorus or Tryphiodorus
Ancient Greek epic poet, who flourished in 3rd or
Tryphiodorus in Wikipedia
Tryphiodorus (correctly but less commonly Triphiodorus), fl. 3rd or 4th century, was an epic poet native to Egypt. His only surviving work is The Taking of Ilios, in 691 verses. Other recorded titles include Marathoniaca and The Story of Hippodamea.
His style is partway between that of Nonnus and Quintus Smyrnaeus.
There is little known about the life of Tryphiodorus other than the notice of him in the Greek lexicon or encyclopedia the Suidas. There are no records of Tryphiodorus' grammatical labours, he is only known as a versifier. The Suidas indicates the he was from Egypt. The Suidas explains that Tryphiodorus is of Egypt and that he was a grammarian and epic poet. It is believed that Tryphiodorus was a Christian based on a phrase on verse 604 of his famous poem The Taking of Ilios. It is thought that Tryphiodorus got his name from the Egyptian goddess Triphis or Thriphis. It has been argued that the correct spelling of his name is Triphiodorus, although on his works the name appears as Tryphiodorus. Although it is not known it is believed that Tryphiodorus lived to around the middle of the 5th century and the reason for this was because he imitated Nonnus who died around the end of the 4th century and was believed to be imitated by Colluthus. Despite the copy of his poem The Taking of Ilios and the knowledge of other works that he has been thought to have written; these other works have been lost and there is no other information about Tryphiodorus' life or background.
The Taking of Ilios
The Taking of Ilios is easily what Tryphiodorus is known for because all of his other works have not lasted the test of time. Despite the similarities The Taking of Ilios is an independent poem and not like Quintus Smyrnaeus' continuation of the Iliad. The Taking of Ilios is an epic poem that is 691 verses long, that details the capturing of troy. The poem begins with the events after the death of Hector and Tryphiodorus begins with the description of the building of the wooden horse. Tryphiodorus lists the heroes that entered the horse. Tryphiodorus focuses on individuals involved in the historic event. Tryphiodorus explains in detail the events inside the wooden horse between Anticlus and Ulysses and that Ulysses had to kill Anticlus in order to save the warriors inside the wooden horse. Tryphiodorus also explains the relationship between Athene and Helen and these events in the poem seem to still hold merit with historians today.
Tryphiodorus ends The Taking of Ilios by describing the sacrifice of Polyxena by Neoptolemus at the tomb of Achilles because they were in love. It is believed that Tryphiodorus' language in The Taking of Ilios is imitated by Nonnus. Although The Taking of Ilios is the only Tryphiodorus work that has lasted the test of time it has been considered an epic poem of importance as it has been translated from Greek to Latin, English, French, and German.
Unfortunately Tryphiodorus only had one piece of work survive over time and that was The Taking of Ilios. Although the epic poem was the only one to survive Tryphiodorus is known to have other works that he had done. The two works that have been lost are Marathoniaca and The Story of Hippodameia. Tryphiodorus was also to have written Odyssey leipogrammatos and this was to be a poem about the labours and myths of Odysseus. In addition to those lost works of Tryphiodorus, he was known to have written a paraphrase of similies of Homer. Tryphiodorus might have written more than the previously listed works, but no one will ever know.
Impact and Contribution
Tryphiodorus impact and historical contribution may not be as large as one might think and this is because only one of his works remains for us to analyze. Tryphiodorus' work did impact Colluthus and this has been seen in his famous poem The Rape of Helen. Tryphiodorus' impact on historical thought expands to questions historians have asked and that is whether Tryphiodorus used the second Aeneid as a source for his epic poem The Taking of Ilios. Tryphiodorus' The Taking of Ilios provides controversy as historians see the differences between Tryphiodorus' text and Virgils's Aeneid which leads historians attempting to explain the differentiation in opinions. Tryphiodorus and Virgil disagree on identity of Sinon; Tryphiodorus described Sinon as a much more primitive figure in his poem then Virgil does in his poem.
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