Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lycophron of Chalcis

In his book on Callimachus, Alan Cameron mentions one of that poet's colleagues at the Museum, Lycophron of Calchis, who was a cataloguer for Philadelphus, and also wrote twenty tragedies, according to the Suda. At least two of his plays dealt with contemporary issues: a tragedy about the city of Cassandreia, founded by Cassander in 315, and seized by Apollodorus sometime around the year 280; the other was a satyr play about his teacher Menedemus of Eretria. But he is best known for a messenger speech of 1474 lines which Cameron describes as "the most obscure surviving Greek poem," containing 518 words that don't appear anywhere else in Greek literature!


Blogger Wm Annis said...

Ah, the Alexandra. Have you seen a copy of it? Several editions can be found in the expired-copyrights section of google books. Frequently the text is only a few lines at the top, with a much larger section for Greek commentators trying to explain it. It's not just his words that are tough.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

Thanks Will!! Cameron didn't give the title or a ref for where I could see it. I'm excited to have a look at it, but I probably won't spend much time trying to read it at this point.

12:47 PM  
Blogger michael said...

reading Paul Auster's account of his encounter with Lycophron ("To speak of the future is to use a language that is forever ahead of itself, consigning things that have not yet happened to the past, to an 'already' that is forever behind itself, and in this space between utterance and act, word after word, a chasm begins to open, and for one to contemplate such emptiness for any length of time is to grow dizzy, to feel oneself falling into the abyss." --"The Invention of Solitude," Collected Prose (pp 107-110)) rekindled an old fascination & so i bought a copy of Royston's translation off the internet. it was well worth reading!

5:15 PM  

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