Online Encyclopedia

QUINTUS SMYRNAEUS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 762 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
QUINTUS SMYRNAEUS, Greek epic poet, probably flourished in the latter part of the 4th century A.D. He is sometimes called Quintus Calaber, because the only MS. of his poem was discovered at Otranto in Calabria by Cardinal Bessarion in 140. According to his own account (xii. 310), he tried his hand at poetry in his early youth, while tending sheep at Smyrna. His epic in fourteen books, known as Ta peO' "Ojn Pov or Posthomerica, takes up the tale of Troy at the point where Homer's Iliad breaks off (the death of Hector), and carries it down to the capture of the city by the Greeks. The first five books, which cover the same ground as the Aethiopis of Arctinus of Miletus, describe the doughty deeds and deaths of Penthesileia the Amazon, of Memnon, son of the Morning, and of Achilles; the funeral games in honour of Achilles, the contest for the arms of Achilles and the death of Ajax. The remaining books relate the exploits of Neoptolemus, Eurypylus and Deiphobus, the deaths of Paris and Oenone, the capture of Troy by means of the wooden horse, the sacrifice of Polyxena at the grave of Achilles, the departure of the Greeks, and their dispersal by the storm. The poet has no originality; in conception and style his work is closely modelled on Homer. His materials are borrowed from the cyclic poems from which Virgil (with whose works he was probably acquainted) also drew, in particular the Aethiopis of Arctinus and the Little Iliad of Lesches. Editio princeps by Aldus Manutius (15o4); Kochly (ed. major with elaborate prolegomena, 185o; ed. minor, 1853); Z. Zimmermann (author of other valuable articles on the poet), (1891); see also Kehinptzov, De Quinti Smyrnaei Fontibus ac Mythopoiia (1889); C. A. Sainte-Beuve, Etude sur . . . Quinte de Smyrne (1857) ; F. A. Paley, Quintus Smyrnaeus and the " Homer " of the tragic Poets (1879) ; G. W. Paschal, A Study of Quintus Smyrnaeus (Chicago, 1904).
End of Article: QUINTUS SMYRNAEUS
[back]
QUINTUS AURELIUS SYMMACHUS (C. 345–410)
[next]
QUIPUS (Khipus, Qippos); the ancient Peruvian name ...

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.