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Phrynĭchus

Φρύνιχος).


1.

A Greek tragic poet of Athens, an older contemporary of Aeschylus. He won his first victory as early as B.C. 511. He rendered a great service to the development of the drama by introducing an actor distinct from the leader of the chorus, and so laying the foundation for the dialogue. But the dialogue was still quite subordinate to the lyrics of the chorus. In this department he won extraordinary celebrity by the grace and melody of his verses, which continued to be sung at Athens long after. Besides mythical subjects, he dealt with events of contemporary history, as the conquest of Miletus (Μίλητου Ἅλωσις) by the Persians. At the representation of that event the audience burst into tears, and the poet was fined 1000 drachmae for recalling the disasters of his country, all further performance of the piece being prohibited (Herod.vi. 21). Again, in his Phoenissae (so named after the chorus of Sidonian women) he dealt with the battle of Salamis. This play, which was put on the stage by Themistocles in 478, was the model of Aeschylus's Persae. Phrynichus, like Aeschylus, is said to have died in Sicily. We possess only the titles of nine of his plays and a few fragments.


2.

A Greek poet of Athens; one of the less important writers of the Old Attic Comedy, and a frequent butt of the other comic poets. In B.C. 405, however, his Musae took the second prize after Aristophanes' Frogs. We have only fragments of about ten plays, ed. by Koch (1880 foll.).


3.

A Greek Sophist, who lived in the second half of the third century A.D. in Bithynia; author of a selection of Attic verbs and nouns (Ἐκλογὴ Π̔ημάτων καὶ Ὀνομάτων Ἀττικῶν), compiled with great strictness in the exclusion of all but the best Attic forms. We have also notable excerpts from a work of his in thirty-seven books, dedicated to the emperor Commodus, and entitled The Sophistic Armoury (Παρασκευή). It was founded on the most comprehensive learning, and designed to supply the orator with everything necessary for good and pure expression. The arrangement is alphabetical, and it includes examples from the best authors, the different styles being carefully distinguished. The first work is edited by Lobeck (Leipzig, 1820); the second by Bekker (Berlin, 1814). See Rutherford's New Phrynichus (1881).

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