1. Of Ephesus, the carliest Greek elegiac poct, whence either he or Archilochus is usually regarded by the ancients as the inventor of elegiae poetry.
As regards the time at which he lived, we have no definite statement, and the ancients themselves endeavoured to determine it from the historical allusions which they found in his elegies.
It has been fixed by some at about B. C. 634, and by others at about B. C. 680, whereas some are inclined to place Callinus as far back as the ninth century before the Christian aera, and to make him more ancient even than Hesiod.
The main authorities for determining his age are Strabo (xiv. p.647
), Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom.
i. p. 333), and Athenaecus (xii. P. 525).
But the interpretation of these passages is involved in considerable difficulty, since the Cimmerian invasion of Asia Minor, to which they allude, is itself very uncertain; for history records three different inroads of the Cimmerians into Asia Minor. We cannot enter here into a refutation of the opinions of others, but confine ourseíves to our own views of the case. From Strabo it is evident that Callinus, in one of his poems, mentioned Magnesia on the Maeander as still existing, and at war with the Ephesians. Now, we know that Magnesia was destroyed by the Treres, a Cimmerian tribe, in B. C. 727, and consequently the poem referred to by Strabo must have been written previous to that year, perhaps about B. C. 730, or shortly before Archilochus, who in one of his earliest poems mentioned the destruction of Magnesia. Callinus himself, however, appears to have long survived that event; for there is a line of his (Fragm.
2, comp. Fragm.
8, ed. Bergk) which is usually referred to the destruction of Sardis by the Cimmerians, about B. C. 678. If this calculation is correct, Callinus, must have been in the bloom of life at the time of the war between Magnesia and Ephesus, in which he himself perhaps took a part.
We possess only a very few fragments of the elegies of Callinus, but among them there is one of twenty-one lines, which forms part of a war-elegy, and is consequently the most ancient specimen of this species of poetry extant. (Stobaeus, Floril.
In this fragment the poet exhorts his countrymen to courage and perseverance against their enemies, who are usually supposed to be the Magnesians, but the fourth line of the poem seems to render it more probable that Callinus was speaking of the Cimmerians.
This elegy is one of great beauty, and gives us the highest notion of the talent of Callinus.
It is printed in the various collections of the " Poetae Graeci Minores."
All the fragments of Callinus are collected in N. Bach's Callini, Tyrtaei et Asii Fragmenta (Leipzig, 1831, 8vo.)
and Bergk's Poetae Lyrici Graeci, p. 303, &c.
Comp. Francke, Callinus, sive Quaestiones de Origine Carminis Elegiaci,
Altona, 1816, 8vo.; Thiersch, in the Acta Philol. Monacens.
iii. p. 571; Bode, Gesch. der Lyrisch. Dichtkunst,
i. pp. 143-161.