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Parthenius

Παρθένιος). A Greek grammarian and poet, of Nicaea in Bithynia, who was brought captive to Rome during the war with Mithridates. After his release, he lived there till the time of Tiberius, esteemed as a scholar and poet, especially as a writer of elegiac verse. He was acquainted with Vergil, whom he taught Greek, and one of his poems is said to have been the model for the Moretum (q. v.); but he was more closely connected with the elegiac poet, Cornelius Gallus. For Gallus he composed the only work of his which has survived, under the title, Erotic Experiences (Περὶ Ἐρωτικῶν Παθημάτων). This is a collection of thirty-six prose stories of unhappy lovers, compiled from ancient poets, especially from those of the Alexandrian school. They are in reality only sketches and were intended to be developed by Gallus into poems of passion. Apart from the light which the work throws on the Alexandrine poets, of whose productions it contains fragments, it has a special interest as a precursor of the Greek novel. Edited by Hirschig in the Didot collection (Paris, 1856). See Novels and Romances.

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