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three pairs of lovers with space




Kallimachos of Cyrene (ca. 310 BC-ca. 240 BC) was the most influential of all the Hellenistic poets, as well as a prolific scholar. Like many of them, he flourished in Alexandria, where he was active between the eighties and the forties of the 3rd century BC, and where he was employed by the King in its great library. Most of his works are lost, and much of what survives has done so only in fragments.

Kallimachos, engraved by Wachsmann

The missing content of some of the fragmentary material can be reconstructed from a diegesis (prose summary) found in a papyrus of the 1st or 2nd century AD, P.Mil. I 18.

Presented here is everything about Greek love in Kallimachos’s surviving writings, supplemented, where relevant, by the diegesis.

The translation of the Hymns and of Epigram 42, 43 is by A. W. Mair and G. R. Mair in the Loeb Classical Library volume 129 (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1921. The translation of the other Epigrams is by W. R. Paton in The Greek Anthology, Volume IV: Loeb Classical Library volume 85 (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1918). The translation of the Aitia, Iambi, Lyric Poems and Fragments of Uncertain Location, and of the diagesis for all but Iambi 5 is by by C. A. Trypanis, T. Gelzer and Cedric H. Whitman in the Loeb Classical Library volume 421 (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1973). The translation of the diagesis for Iambi 5 is by Benjamin Acosta-Hughes, Polyeideia (University of California Press, 2002) p. 217. The only amendments of any of these translations (and the footnotes to them) are to undo their Latinisation of names in favour of more literal transliteration of the Greek. 



II.  To Apollo: lines 47-54

Phoibos and Nomios we call him, ever since the time when by Amphrysos[1] he tended the yoke-mares, fired with love of young Admetos.[2] Lightly would the herd of cattle wax larger, nor would the she-goats of the flock lack young, whereon as they feed Apollo casts his eye; nor without milk would the ewes be nor barren, but all would have lambs at foot; and she that bare one would soon be the mother of twins.  Φοῖβον καὶ Νόμιον κικλήσκομεν ἐξέτι κείνου, ἐξότ᾿ ἐπ᾿ Ἀμφρυσσῷ ζευγίτιδας ἔτρεφεν ἵππους ἠιθέου ὑπ᾿ ἔρωτι κεκαυμένος Ἀδμήτοιο. ῥεῖά κε βουβόσιον τελέθοι πλέον, οὐδέ κεν αἶγες δεύοιντο βρεφέων ἐπιμηλάδες ᾗσιν Ἀπόλλων βοσκομένῃσ᾿ ὀφθαλμὸν ἐπήγαγεν· οὐδ᾿ ἀγάλακτες οἴιες οὐδ᾿ ἄκυθοι, πᾶσαι δέ κεν εἶεν ὕπαρνοι, ἡ δέ κε μουνοτόκος διδυμητόκος αἶψα γένοιτο. 
The Herdsmen of Admetus by Constance Phillott, 1904



Kallimachos’s epigrams were so admired in antiquity that they formed part of the school curriculum.[3] They were probably originally published together in a lost work. The surviving ones comes from various sources including the Garland of Meleagros, the early 1st century BC anthology of poetry eventually incorporated into The Greek Anthology.



In The Greek Anthology V (Erotic epigrams by various poets) 6.

On Ionis, the courtesan of Kallignotos

Kallignotos swore to Ionis that he would never hold any boy or girl more dear than her. He swore—but it is true what they say, that oaths sworn in love do not sink into the ears of the immortals. Now he burns for a boy, and the poor girl, like the Megarians, is neither reckoned nor ranked.[4]

ες ωνδα ταραν Καλλιγντου

Ὤμοσε Καλλίγνωτος Ἰωνίδι μήποτ᾽
     ἐκείνηςἕξειν μήτε φίλον κρέσσονα μήτε φίλην.
ὤμοσεν· ἀλλὰ λέγουσιν ἀληθέα, τοὺς ἐν ἔρωτι
     ὅρκους μὴ δύνειν οὔατ᾽ ἐς ἀθανάτων.
νῦν δ᾽ ὁ μὲν ἀρσενικῷ θέρεται πυρί, τῆς δὲ ταλαίνης
     νύμφης ὡς Μεγαρέων οὐ λόγος οὐδ᾽ ἀριθμός.



In The Greek Anthology XII (The Boyish Muse) 43.

I detest the poem which belongs to the Serial kind, and do not love a road that carries many this way and that. I hate, too, a beloved who is in circulation, and I do not drink from a fountain. All public things disgust me. Lysianias, yes indeed thou art fair, fair. But before I can say this clearly an echo says, “He is another’s.”[5]   Ἐχθαίρω τὸ ποίημα τὸ κυκλικόν, οὐδὲ κελεύθῳ
     χαίρω τις πολλοὺς ὧδε καὶ ὧδε φέρει·
μισῶ καὶ περίφοιτον ἐρώμενον, οὐδ᾿ ἀπὸ κρήνης
     πίνω· σικχαίνω πάντα τὰ δημόσια.
Λυσανίη, σὺ δὲ ναίχι καλὸς καλός· ἀλλὰ πρὶν εἰπεῖν
     τοῦτο σαφῶς, ἠχὼ φησί τις “Ἄλλος ἔχει.”
A boy chased by both a man and a youth


In The Greek Anthology XII (The Boyish Muse) 51.

To the Cup-bearer

Pour in the wine and again say “To Diokles,” nor does Achelous[6] touch the ladlefuls hallowed to him. Beautiful is the boy, Achelous, passing beautiful; and if any say “Nay”—let me alone know what beauty is.   Ἔγχει, καὶ πάλιν εἰπέ, Διοκλέος· οὐδ᾿ Ἀχελῷος
     κείνου τῶν ἱερῶν αἰσθάνεται κυάθων.
καλὸς ὁ παῖς, Ἀχελῷε, λίην καλός· εἰ δέ τις οὐχὶ
     φησὶν—ἐπισταίμην μοῦνος ἐγὼ τὰ καλά.



In The Greek Anthology XII (The Boyish Muse) 71.

Thessalian Kleonikos, poor wretch, poor wretch! By the piercing sun I did not know you, man. Where have you been? You are nothing but hair and bone. Can it be that my evil spirit besets you, and you have met with a cruel stroke from heaven? I see it; Euxitheus has run away with you. Yes, when you came here, you rascal, you were looking at the beauty with both eyes.   Θεσσαλικὲ Κλεόνικε τάλαν, τάλαν· οὐ μὰ τὸν ὀξὺν
     ἥλιον, οὐκ ἔγνων· σχέτλιε, ποῦ γέγονας;
ὀστέα σοι καὶ μοῦνον ἔτι τρίχες. ἦ ῥά σε δαίμων
     οὑμὸς ἔχει, χαλεπῇ δ᾿ ἤντεο θευμορίῃ;
ἔγνων· Εὐξίθεός σε συνήρπασε· καὶ σὺ γὰρ ἐλθὼν
     τὸν καλόν, ὦ μοχθήρ᾿, ἔβλεπες ἀμφοτέροις.


In The Greek Anthology XII (The Boyish Muse) 102

The huntsman on the hills, Epikydes, tracks every hare and the slot of every hind through the frost and snow. But if one say to him, “Look, here is a beast lying wounded,” he will not take it. And even so is my love; it is wont to pursue the fleeing game,[7] but flies past what lies in its path.[8] Ὡγρευτής, Ἐπίκυδες, ἐν οὔρεσι πάντα λαγωὸν
     διφᾷ, καὶ πάσης ἴχνια δορκαλίδος,
στίβῃ καὶ νιφετῷ κεχρημένος. ἢν δέ τις εἴπῃ,
     “Τῆ, τόδε βέβληται θηρίον,” οὐκ ἔλαβεν.
χοὐμὸς ἔρως τοιόσδε· τὰ μὲν φεύγοντα διώκειν
     οἶδε, τὰ δ᾿ ἐν μέσσῳ κείμενα παρπέταται.


A hunter and his dog: kylix of ca. 550 BC (British Museum)



In The Greek Anthology XII (The Boyish Muse) 148.

I know my hands are empty of wealth, but, by the Graces I beseech thee, Menippos, tell me not my own dream.[9] It hurts me to hear continually these bitter words. Yes, my dear, this is the most unloving thing in all thy bearing to me. Οἶδ᾿ ὅτι μου πλούτου κενεαὶ χέρες· ἀλλά, Μένιππε,
     μὴ λέγε, πρὸς Χαρίτων, τοὐμὸν ὄνειρον ἐμοί.
ἀλγέω τὴν διὰ παντὸς ἔπος τόδε πικρὸν ἀκούων·
     ναί, φίλε, τῶν παρὰ σοῦ τοῦτ᾿ ἀνεραστότατον.



In The Greek Anthology XII (The Boyish Muse) 73.

Half of my soul still lives, but half I know not whether Love or Death hath stolen: only it is vanished. Has it gone again to where the boys are? and yet I forbade them often: “O youths, receive not the runaway!” There help me, some one, to search; for there somewhere of a surety flits that lovesick one, worthy to die by stoning.  Ἡμισύ μεν ψυχῆς ἔτι τὸ πνέον, ἥμισυ δ᾿ οὐκ οἶδ᾿
     εἴτ᾿ Ἔρος εἴτ᾿ Ἀΐδης ἥρπασε· πλὴν ἀφανές.
ἦ ῥά τιν᾿ ἐς παίδων πάλιν ᾤχετο; καὶ μὲν ἀπεῖπον
     πολλάκι· “Τὴν δρῆστιν μὴ ὑποδέχεσθε, νέοι.”
†ουκισυ δίφησον· ἐκεῖσε γὰρ ἡ λιθόλευστος
     κείνη καὶ δύσερως οἶδ᾿ ὅτι που στρέφεται.



In The Greek Anthology XII (The Boyish Muse) 118.

If of my free will, Archinos, I serenaded thee, blame me ten thousand times; but if I came unwillingly, away with rashness! Wine and Love constrained me; whereof the one dragged me, the other allowed me not to away with rashness. And when I came, I did not shout thine or thy father’s name, but kissed the doorpost. If this be wrong, then I have done wrong.[10]   Εἰ μὲν ἑκών, Ἀρχῖν᾿, ἐπεκώμασα, μυρια μεμφου·
     εἰ δ᾿ ἀέκων ἥκω, τὴν προπέτειαν ὅρα·
ἄκρητος καὶ ἔρως μ᾿ ἠνάγκασαν· ὧν ὁ μὲν αὐτῶν
     εἷλκεν, ὁ δ᾿ οὐκ εἴα σώφρονα θυμὸν ἔχειν.
ἐλθὼν δ᾿ οὐκ ἐβόησα, τίς ἢ τίνος, ἀλλ᾿ ἐφίλησα
     τὴν φλιήν· εἰ τοῦτ᾿ ἔστ᾿ ἀδίκημ᾿, ἀδικῶ.
A man wooing a boy, painted by Makron, ca. 485 BC (Attic kylix in the Berlin Antikensammlung)


In The Greek Anthology XII (The Boyish Muse) 139.

There is, I swear it by Pan, yea, by Dionysos, there is some fire hidden here under the embers. I mistrust me. Embrace me not, I entreat thee. Often a tranquil stream secretly eats away a wall at its base. Therefore now too I fear, Menexenos, lest this silent crawler find his way into me and cast me into love.   Ἔστι τι, ναὶ τὸν Πᾶνα, κεκρυμμενον, ἔστι τι ταύτῃ,
     ναὶ μὰ Διώνυσον, πῦρ ὑπὸ τῇ σποδιῇ·
οὐ θαρσέω. μὴ δή με περίπλεκε· πολλάκι λήθει
     τοῖχον ὑποτρώγων ἡσύχιος ποταμός.
τῷ καὶ νῦν δείδοικα, Μενέξενε, μή με παρεισδὺς
     οὗτος ὁ †σειγαρνης εἰς τὸν ἔρωτα βάλῃ.



In The Greek Anthology XII (The Boyish Muse) 149.

“You will be caught, Menekrates, do all you can to escape,” I said on the twentieth of Panemos; and in Loios[11] on what day?—the tenth—the ox came of his own accord under the yoke of the plough. Well done, my Hermes![12] well done, my own! I don’t complain of the twenty days’ delay.   “Ληφθήσῃ, περίφευγε, Μενέκρατες·” εἶπα Πανήμου
     εἰκάδι, καὶ Λώου τῇ—τίνι; τῇ δεκάτῃ
ἦλθεν ὁ βοῦς ὑπ᾿ ἄροτρον ἑκούσιος. εὖγ᾿ ἐμὸς Ἑρμᾶς,
     εὖγ᾿ ἐμός· οὐ παρὰ τὰς εἴκοσι μεμφόμεθα.


Kallimachos, engraved by W. H. Toms



In The Greek Anthology XII (The Boyish Muse) 150.

How capital the charm for one in love that Polyphemos discovered! Yea, by the Earth, he was not unschooled, the Cyclops. The Muses make Love thin, Philippos; of a truth learning is a medicine that cures every ill. This, I think, is the only good that hunger, too, has to set against its evils, that it extirpates the disease of love for boys. I have plenty of cause for saying to Love “Thy wings are being clipped, my little man. I fear thee not a tiny bit.” For at home I have both the charms for the severe wound.   Ὡς ἀγαθὰν Πολύφαμος ἀνεύρατο τὰν ἐπαοιδὰν
     τὠραμένῳ· ναὶ Γᾶν, οὐκ ἀμαθὴς ὁ Κύκλωψ.
αἱ Μοῖσαι τὸν ἔρωτα κατισχναίνοντι, Φίλιππε·
     ἦ πανακὲς πάντων φάρμακον ἁ σοφία.
τοῦτο, δοκέω, χἀ λιμὸς ἔχει μόνον ἐς τὰ πονηρὰ
     τὠγαθόν, ἐκκόπτει τὰν φιλόπαιδα νόσον.
ἔσθ᾿ ἁμῖν †χἀκαστὰς ἀφειδέα πρὸς τὸν Ἔρωτα.
     τοῦτ᾿ εἶπαι “Κείρευ τὰ πτερά, παιδάριον·
οὐδ᾿ ὅσον ἀττάραγόν σε δεδοίκαμες”· αἱ γὰρ ἐπῳδαὶ
     οἴκοι τῶ χαλεπῶ τραύματος ἀμφότεραι.



In The Greek Anthology XII (The Boyish Muse) 230.

If Theokritos, the beautifully brown, hate me, hate thou him, Zeus, four times as much, but if he love me, love him. Yea, by fair-haired Ganymede, celestial Zeus, thou too wert once in love. I say nothing further. Τὸν τὸ καλὸν μελανεῦντα Θεόκριτον, εἰ μὲν ἔμ᾿ ἔχθει,
     τετράκι μισοίης· εἰ δὲ φιλεῖ, φιλέοις·
ναίχι πρὸς εὐχαίτεω Γανυμήδεος, οὐράνιε Ζεῦ,
     καὶ σύ ποτ᾿ ἠράσθης. οὐκέτι μακρὰ λέγω.



So mayst thou sleep, Konopion, as thou makest thy lover lie by this cold porch; so mayst thou sleep, O most unkind, as thou makest thy lover lie; but pity thou hast not met even in a dream. The neighbours pity, but thou not even in a dream. But the grey hair will presently remind thee of all these things.   Οὕτως ὑπνώσαις, Κωνώπιον, ὡς ἐμὲ ποιεῖς
     κοιμᾶσθαι ψυχροῖς τοῖσδε παρὰ προθύροις.
οὕτως ὑπνώσαις, ἀδικωτάτη, ὡς τὸν ἐραστὴν
     κοιμίζεις, ἐλέου δ᾿ οὐδ᾿ ὄναρ ἠντίασας.
γείτονες οἰκτείρουσι, σὺ δ᾿ οὐδ᾿ ὄναρ. ἡ πολιὴ δὲ
     αὐτίκ᾿ ἀναμνήσει ταῦτά σε πάντα κόμη.
1st century AD papyyrus of Kallimachos's Aitia


Aitia means origins or explanations, and each of the elegies in this book describes the origin or cause of something.


 . . . lovers noticed him,[13] when as a youth he went to school or to the bath.   μέμβλετο δ᾿ εἰσπνήλαις ὁππότε κοῦρος ἴοι
φωλεὸν ἠὲ λοετρόν



. . . and many lovers of Akontios, when drinking, tossed from the cup to the ground in his honour the last drops of wine in the Sicilian manner.[14]   πολλοὶ καὶ φιλέοντες Ἀκοντίῳ ἧκαν ἔραζε
οἰνοπόται Σικελὰς ἐκ κυλίκων λάταγας




Iambi are poems in iambic metres.


1.  Diegesis VII 19-24

The Greek text, not reproduced here, is given by Benjamin Acosta-Hughes, Polyeideia (University of California Press, 2002) p. 217.

“O Friend—for advice is something sacred—”
He [Kallimachos] attacks a schoolteacher, by name Apollonios,
but some say a certain Kleon, in iambic fashion
because he does vile things to his own students,
in the guise of good intention, urging him
not to do this, lest he be caught.

A schoolmaster and a boy practise the lyre (on a kylix inscribed "Hippodamas is beautiful" by the painter Douris, ca. 485 BC, Berlin Antikensammlung)

2.  Surviving text.[15]

Listen, friend—for advice is held one of the sacred things[16]—to my heartfelt warning[17] . . . since Fate (has decreed that) you (teach) abc . . . not as the best . . . you would thus be punished. But as long as the fire[18] you kindled has not grown into a great flame, but still lies calm and moves among the ashes, quench it. Hold back from their running the wild horses, and do not race a second time round the course, lest they should shatter your chariot on the turning-post,[19] and you tumble forth headlong. Ah! make me not a laughing-stock. For you I am Bakis,[20] Sibyl,[21] the laurel-tree and the oak.[22] Come, solve the riddle and seek no Pittheus[23] to explain it . . . speech (benefits) both the hearing and the deaf man.  Ὦ ξεῖνε—συμβουλὴ γὰρ ἕν τι τῶν ἱρῶν—
     ἄκουε τἀπὸ καρδ[ίης,
ἐπεὶ σε δαίμων ἄλφα βῆτ[α
     οὐχ ὡς ὀνήιστον. [
. . . . . . . . .
     ὣς δ᾿ ἄν σε θωϊὴ λάβοι·
τὸ πῦρ δὲ τὠνέκαυσας, ἄχρις οὐ πολλῇ
     πρόσω κεχώρηκεν φλογί,
ἀλλ᾿ ἀτρεμίζει κἠπὶ τὴν τέφρην οί[χ]νεῖ,
     κοίμησον. ἴσχε δὲ δρόμου
μαργῶντας ἵππους μηδὲ δευτέρην κάμψῃς,
     μή τοι περὶ νύσσῃ δίφρον
ἄξωσιν, ἐκ δὲ κύμβαχος κυβιστήσῃς.
     ἆ, μή με ποιήσῃς γέ[λω.
ἐγὼ Βάκις τοι καὶ Σίβυλλα καὶ δάφνη
     καὶ φηγός. ἀλλὰ συμβαλεῦ
τᾤνιγμα, καὶ μὴ Πιτθέως ἔχε χρείην·
     ᾄον]τι καὶ κωφεῖ λόγος.



1.  Diegesis VIII 33-40

The lover of a handsome youth called Philetadas saw the ithyphallic statue of a Hermes in a small palaestra, and asked if his condition was not due to Philetadas. But the Hermes answered that he was of Tyrrhenian descent, and that he was ithyphallic because of a mystic story. On the other hand (he said) his questioner loved Philetadas with evil intent.

2.  Surviving text[24]

Long-bearded Hermes, why is your penis (pointing?) to your beard and not to your feet[25] . . .?
Clay ithyphallic Hermes, ca. 6th century BC
Ἑρμᾶ, τί τοι τὸ νεῦρον, ὦ Γενειόλα,
ποττὰν ὑπήναν κοὐ ποτ᾿ ἴχνι[ον;
Marble ithyphallic Hermes, ca. 520 BC


Lyric Poems



1.  Diegesis X 1-5

The Greek text, not reproduced here, can be found in Rudolf Pfeiffer, Callimachus vol. I Fragmenta (Oxford, 1949) p. 216.

(The poet) addresses the beautiful boys. Lemnos, happy of old, became unhappy when the women attacked the men. Therefore, you (plural), too, should have regard to the future.

2.  Surviving text[26]

[To Beautiful Boys[27]]

Lemnos in ancient times,[28] if ever there was a (happy) island, (was happy) . . .



Ἡ Λῆμνος τὸ παλαιόν, εἴ τις ἄλλη




1.  Diegesis X 6-10

The Greek text, not reproduced here, can be found in Rudolf Pfeiffer, Callimachus vol. I Fragmenta (Oxford, 1949) p. 217.

A drinking-song in honour of the Dioskouri. He (i.e. Kallimachos) also celebrates Helen, and asks her to accept the sacrifice. He also exhorts the fellow-drinkers to lie awake.

2.  Surviving text[29]


Apollo is in the choir; I hear the lyre. I also felt the presence of the Erotes; Aphrodite too is here[31] . . . come hither, revellers (?), and he who has kept awake till the height of the festival (?)[32] will take the cake of roasted wheat and honey, and the cottabos prize[33]; and he will kiss whom he wishes of the girls and boys present. O Castor, and you, Polydeukes,[34] (tamers of horses), (protectors of the homeless) and (guides) of the guests .


Ἔνεστ᾿ Ἀπόλλων τῷ χορῷ· τῆς λύρης ἀκούω·
καὶ τῶν Ἐρώτων ᾐσθόμην· ἔστι κἀφροδίτη.
. . . . . . . . .
θυμηδίην [ ] δεῦτε παννυχ[
ὁ δ᾿ ἀγρυπνήσας [ἠνεκὲς] μέχρι τῆς κο[ρώνης
τὸν πυραμοῦντα λήψεται καὶ τὰ κοττάβεια
καὶ τῶν παρουσῶν ἣν θέλει χὢν θέλει φιλήσει.
ὦ Κάστορ [ἵππων δμήτορες] καὶ σὺ Πωλύδ[ευκες
καὶ τῶν ἀ[οίκων ῥύτορες] καὶ ξένω[ν ὁδηγοί

The Dioskouri: Kastor and Pollux, kylix of ca. 470 BC (Ferrara Archaeological Museum)


Fragments of Uncertain Location


. . . would that you, who cast lewd eyes upon boys, might make love to the young in the manner ordained by Erchios.[35]  You would have a city of noble men.   αἴθε γάρ, ὦ κούροισιν ἐπ᾿ ὄθματα λίχνα φέροντες,
     Ἐρχίος ὡς ὑμῖν ὥρισε παιδοφιλεῖν,
ὧδε νέων ἐρόῳτε· πόλιν κ᾿ εὔανδρον ἔχοιτε


[1] River in Thessaly where Apollo tended the flocks of Admetos. Cf. Verg. G. iii. 2 “pastor ab Amphryso.” [Translator’s note]

[2] King of Pherai in Thessaly. [Translator’s note]

[3] Athenaios, The Learned Banqueters XI 669c.

[4] Kallimachus refers to a pronouncement of Apollo’s oracle at Delphi. When the Megarians asked if any Greek city was superior to theirs, the oracle said, “You Megarians are neither third nor fourth—nor twelfth; you are neither reckoned nor ranked.” [Translator’s note]

[5] Echo would of course have answered ἔχει ἄλλος to ναίχι καλός. [Translator’s note]

[6] The river, used for water in general; but I confess to not understanding the reference to Achelous in 1. 3. Perhaps it means “Ye water-drinkers.” [Translator’s note]

[7] Horace, Sat. i. 2, 105 seq. [Translator’s note]

[8] This epigram is paraphrased by Horace. Sat. i. 2. 105 ff. “‘Leporem venator ut alta In nive sectatur, positum sic tangere nolit,’ Cantat et apponit: ‘meus est amor huic similis, nam Transvolat in medio posita et fugientia captat.’” The sentiment is a common one, cf. Ovid, Amor. ii. 9. 9 “Venator sequitur fugientia, capta relinquit Semper et inventis ulteriora petit”; cf. ii. 19. 35; Sappho, frag. 1. 21 καὶ γὰρ αἰ φεύγει ταχέως διώξει. [Note by by A. W. Mair and G. R. Mair to their translation of the same epigram in the Loeb Classical Library volume 129]

[9] i.e. what I know too well; cp. Bk. VI. 310. [Translator’s note]

[10] The language of this epigram is that of the Stoic logic. [Note by the translator, who elaborates with many examples].

[11] The month following Panemus. [Translator’s note]

[12] Hermes was the giver of good luck. [Translator’s note]

[13] Akontios. Perhaps fr. 534 refers to Akontios on his way to the bath. [Translator’s note]

[14] The reference is to the “kottabos,” a game played in a variety of ways with the last drop of wine in the cup at symposia (drinking-parties).

[15] This iambus was written, at least in parts, in an allegorical quasi-oracular style, which provided Choiroboskos and others with an adequate example of ἀλληγορία, i.e. the technique of saying one thing while implying another in matters too delicate to be treated openly in public. It is not known who this Apollonios (or Kleon) was nor is there any indication as to the date of the poem. The dialect is a literary Ionic, and the metre a choliambic trimeter followed by an iambic dimeter. [Translator’s note]

[16] Kallimachos uses here ironically the proverb: ἱερὸν συμβουλή, “advice is a scared thing,” which was said about those who give advice “with a pure heart, and with no fraud.” [Translator’s note]

[17] ἄκουε τἀπὸ καρδίας, “listen to my heartfelt warning,” is a second proverb woven into the beginning of the poem. [Translator’s note]

[18] The fire of love [Translator’s note]

[19] The turning-post in the racecourse was the most dangerous point. [Translator’s note]

[20] A Boiotian prophet. [Translator’s note]

[21] The Sibyl was originally a single prophetic female variously localized, and legends of her wanderings account for her presence at different spots. As early as Heraclides Ponticus (c. 390–310 b.c.) she became pluralized, and the term gradually became generic. [Translator’s note]

[22] The laurel-tree and the oak were the two prophetic trees of antiquity. The one was sacred at the oracle of Apollo in Delphi, the other at the oracle of Zeus at Dodona. [Translator’s note]

[23] The soothsayer and diviner who solved oracular pronouncements. [Translator’s note]

[24]  We do not know who Philetadas was, or whether, […] he was a favourite of Callimachus, in which case the lover of Iambus ix would be the poet himself. The mocking and satirical tone, however, points rather to a rival, or an enemy of the poet. Herodotus (ii. 51) speaks of the Pelasgian origin of the ithyphallic Hermes. Pelasgians were frequently identified with Tyrrhenians in antiquity and even by Callimachus himself.
     The mystic story explaining the origin of the ithyphallic Hermes is unknown. The poem is composed in the form of a dialogue between the lover of Philetadas and the Hermes. This form was used by Callimachus in his epigrams and also in the Aetia (fr. 114. 4 f.).
     The dialect is presumably a literary Doric and the metre a catalectic iambic trimeter. [Translator’s note]

[25] Statues of ithyphallic Hermae stood at the entrances of palaistrai in antiquity. [Translator’s note]

[26] As we can see from the Diegesis, the poem referred to the myth that the women of Lemnos murdered all the men of the island, because they had taken to themselves concubines (or possibly in this version beautiful boys) from Thrace, after Aphrodite had plagued the women with a foul odour, because they had neglected her rites. Hypsipyle, daughter of King Thoas, governed the island, and received the Argonauts, with whom she and her women mated, and thus the island was repopulated. The admonition to the beautiful boys in this poem remains obscure. It can either be “carpite diem,” for bad fortune succeeds happiness, or else beware of neglected women, for they may harm you. The metre is phalaecean, probably stichic. There is no evidence as to the length or the date of the poem. [Translator’s note]

[27] The title, To Beautiful Boys, is by no means certain, but is suggested by [Rudolf] Pfeiffer because of lines 1 f. of the Diegesis [Translator’s note].

[28] i.e. before the women attacked and slew the men. [Translator’s note]

[29] The metre is epodic, described in antiquity as “Fourteen-syllable Euripidean” (Εὐριπίδειον τεσσερεσκαιδεκασύλλαβον). There is no indication as to the length or date of the poem. [Translator’s note].

[30] The title of the poem, Pannychis, means night-festival, or vigil. [Translator’s note]

[31] The epiphany of the gods Apollo, Aphrodite and the Erotes (in the plural, in true Alexandrian manner), gives a realistic touch to the beginning of the poem, reminiscent of Call. Hymn ii. We do not know how many lines are missing between 11. 2 and 4. [Translator’s note]

[32] It is not known what the κορώνη was. The word literally meaning “crow” seems here to be used in the sense of “culmination” or “fulfilment.” The fragment speaks of the kottabos game, which was of Sicilian origin and played with the last of a cup of wine in a drinking-party.

[33] We do not know what the kottabos prizes were in this instance. According to Athenaios (xv. 667 d) eggs, cakes, nuts, raisins, or (xv. 668 d) ribbons and apples and kisses were presented as prizes. Here the cottabos prize seems to be different from the πυραμοῦς, a kind of bread covered with sesame, and the kisses. [Translator’s note]

[34] Kastor and Polydeukes, the Dioskouri, sons of Tyndareus and Leda, brothers of Helen. [Translator’s note]

[35] Erchios is otherwise unknown. [Translator’s note]




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