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3. Of Chalcis in Euboea, an eminent grammarian and poet, was the son of Polymnetus, and was born, according to Suidas (s. r.), in the 126th Olympiad, when Pyrrhus was defeated by the Romans, B. C. 274. He became, but at what period of his life is not known, a citizen of Athens. (Hellad. apud Phot. Cod 279, p. 532, Bekker.) He was instructed in philosophy by Lacydes, who flourished about B. C. 241, and Prytanis (comp. Athen. 10.447e), and in poetry by Archebulus of Thera. Though he was sallow, fat, and bandylegged, he was beloved by Nicia (or Nicaea), the wife of Alexander, king of Euboea. His amours are referred to in more than one passage in the Greek Anthology. (Brunck, Anal. vol. ii. pp. 3, 43.) Having amassed great wealth, he went into Syria, to Antiochus the Great (B. C. 221), who made him his librarian. He died in Syria, and was buried at Apameia, or, according to others, at Antioch. (Suid. s. v.) The epigram (Brunck, Anal. vol. ii. p. 43), which places his tomb at the Peiraeeus, must be understood as referring to a cenotaph.


Euphorion wrote numerous works, both in poetry and prose, relating chiefly to mythological history.

Poems in Heroic Verse

The following were poems in heroic verse :--

1. Ἡσίοδος

Ἡσίοδος, the subject of which can only be conjectured from the title. Some suppose it to have been an agricultural poem. Euphorion is mentioned among the agricultural writers by Varro (1.1.9) and Columella (1.1.10). (See Heyne, Excurs. iii. ad Virgil. Bucol. ; Harless, ad Fabric. Bibl. Graec. 1.594.)

2. Μοψοπία

Μοψοπία, so called from an old name of Attica, the legends of which country seem to have been the chief subject of the poem. From the variety of its contents, which Suidas calls συμμιγγεῖρ ἱστορίαρ, it was also called Ἄτακτα, a title which was frequently given to the writings of that period.

3. Χιλιάδες

Χιλιάδες, a poem written against certain persons, who had defrauded Euphorion of money which he had entrusted to their care. It probably derived its title from each of its books consisting of a thousand verses. The fifth book, or χιλίας, was entitled περὶ χρησμῶν, and contained an enumeration of oracles which had been fulfilled; and it is probably of this book in particular that the statement of Suidas concerning the object of the poem should be understood, namely, that the poet taught his defrauders that they would in the end suffer the penalty of their faithlessness. The above seems the best explanation of the passage in Suidas, which is, however, very corrupt, and has been very variously explained. (See especially Heyne and Harless, l.c., and Meineke, Euphor. pp. 20-24.) To these epic poems must be added the following, which are not mentioned by Suidas : --

4. Ἀλέξανδρος

Ἀλέξανδρος, which Meineke conjectures to have been addressed to some friend of that name. (Steph. Byz. s. v. Σύλοι.)

5. Ἄνιος

Ἄνιος, a mythological poem referring to Anius, the son and priest of the Delian Apollo. (Steph. Byz. Fragment. p. 744c., ed. Pined.)

6. Ἀντιγραφαὶ πρὸς Θεωρίδαν

Ἀντιγραφαὶ πρὸς Θεωρίδαν (Clem. Al. Strom. v. p. 243, ed. Sylb.), a work of which nothing further is known, unless we accept the not improbable conjecture of Meursius and Schneider, who read Θεοδωρίδαν for Θεωρίδαν, and suppose that the poem was written in controversy with the grammarian Theodoridas, who afterwards wrote the epitaph on Euphorion, which is extant, with seventeen other epigrams by Theodoridas, in the Greek Anthology. (Brunck, Anal. vol. ii. pp. 41-45.) [THEODORIDAS.]

7. Ἀπολλόδωρος

Ἀπολλόδωρος, which seems to have been a mythological poem addressed to a friend of that name. (Tzetzes, Schol. ad Lycophr. 513; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. 1.1063; Suid. and Harpocrat. s. v. κάτωθεν νόμος; Phot. s. v. κάτωθεν λόγος.)

8. Ἀραὶ ποτηριοκλέπτης

Ἀραὶ ποτηριοκλέπτης (Steph. Byz. s. v. Ἀλύβη ; Schol. ad Theocrit. 2.2), an attack on some person who had stolen a cup from Euphorion, which Callimachus imitated in his Ibis, and both were probably followed by Ovid in his Ibis, and by Cato and Virgil in their Dirae. (Meineke, Euphor. pp. 30, 31.)

9. Ἀρτεμίδωρος

Ἀρτεμίδωρος, probably a poem like the Apollodorus. (Steph. Byz. s. v. Ἀσσωρόν.)

10. Γέρανος

Γέρανος, the subject of which, as well as its genuineness, is very uncertain. (Athen. 3.82a.)

11. Δημοσθένης

Δημοσθένης, the title of which Meineke explains as he does the Alexander, Apollodorus, and Artemidorus, and he conjectures that the person to whom the poem was addressed was Demosthenes of Bithynia. (Choeroboscus, apud Bekker. Anecd. Graec. iii. p. 1383.)

12. Διόνυσος

Διόνυσος, which doubtless contained a full account of the myths relating to Dionysus. (Schol. Φ. ad Odyss. iv. p. 136, ed. Buttmann; Steph. Byz. s. v. Ὠρύχιον, Ἀκτὴ, Λύκαψος; Schol. ad Arat. Phaenom. 172; Tzetzes, Schol. ad Lycophr. 320; Etym.. Mag. p. 687. 26.)

13. Ἐπικήδειος εἰς Πρωταγόραν

Ἐπικήδειος εἰς Πρωταγόραν, an elegy on an astrologer named Protagoras. (D. L. 9.56.) This poem was doubtless in the elegiac, and not in the heroic verse.

14. Θρᾷξ

Θρᾷξ. (Steph. Byz. s. v. Ά̀σβωτος, Ὀγκαῖαι; Parthen. Erot. xiii. p. 35, xxvi. p. 61.)

15. Ἱππομέδων

Ἱππομέδων. (Tzetzes, Schol. ad Lycophr. 451.)

16. Ξένιον

Ξένιον. (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. 2.354.)

17. Πολυχάρης

Πολυχάρης. (Etym. Mag. p. 223. 16; Choeroboscus, apud Bekker. Anecd. Graec. iii. p. 1381.)

18. Ὑάκινθορ

Ὑάκινθορ. (Schol. Theocr. 10.28; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 285.)

19. Φιλοκτήτης

Φιλοκτήτης. (Stobaeus, Serm. lviii., Tit. lix.; Tzetzes, Schol. ad Lycophr. 911.)


Euphorion was an epigrammatist as well as an epic poet. He had a place in the Garland of Meleager (Prooem, 23), and the Greek Anthology contains two epigrams by him. (Brunck, Anal. vol. i. p. 256; Jacobs, Anth. Graec. vol. i. p. 189.) They are both erotic; and that such was the character of most of his epigrams, is clear from the manner in which he is mentioned by Meleager, as well as from the fact that he was among the poets who were imitated by Propertius, Tibullus, and Gallus. (Diomed. iii. p. 482. 3; Probus, ad Virgil. Ecl. 10.50.) It was probably this seductive elegiac poetry of Euphorion, the popularity of which at Rome, to the neglect of Ennius, moved the indignation of Cicero. (Tusc. Disp. 3.19.) It was therefore quite natural that Euphorion should be a great favourite with the emperor Tiberius, who wrote Greek poems in imitation of him (Sueton. Tiber. 70; see Casaubon's note.)

Possible Dramatic Poetry

Some writers have supposed that Euphorion was also a dramatic poet. Ernesti (Clav. Ciceron. s. v.) and C. G. Müller (ad Tzetz. Schol. p. 651) say, that he composed tragedies; but they give no reasons for the assertion, and none are known. Fabricius (Bibl. Graec. vol. ii. p. 304) places him in his list of comic poets, mentioning as his plays the Ἀπολλόδωρος, which was an epic poem (vid. sup.), and the Ἀποδιδοῦσα, respecting which there can be no doubt that for Ευφορίων we should read Εὔφρων in the passage of Athenaieus (xi. p. 503).

Prose Writings

Euphorion's writings in prose were chiefly historical and grammatical. They were :

1. Ἱστορικὰ ὐπομνήματα

Ἱστορικὰ ὐπομνήματα. (Athen. 4.154c., xv. p. 700d.)

2. Περὶ τῶν Ἀλευαδῶν

Περὶ τῶν Ἀλευαδῶν (Clem. Al. Strom. i. p. 389, Sylb.; Schol. Theocr. ad Idyll. 16.34; Quint. Inst. 10.2), which Suidas (s. v. Ἔφορος) attributes to the younger Ephorus. (See Meineke, Euphor. pp. 39, 40.)

3. Περὶ τῶν Ἰσθμίων

Περὶ τῶν Ἰσθμίων. (Athen. 4.182e. et alib.

4. Περὶ Μελοποιϊῶν

Περὶ Μελοποιϊῶν (Athen. 4.184a.)

5. Λέξις Ἱπποκράτους

A grammatical work of great celebrity, which related chiefly to the language of Hippocrates, and appears to have been entitled Λέξις Ἱπποκράτους.


The character of Euphorion as a poet may be pretty clearly understood from the statements of the ancient writers, and from his extant fragments, as well as from the general literary character of his age. He lived at the time when the literature of the Alexandrian school had become thoroughly established, when originality of thought and vigour of expression were all but extinct, and, though the ancient writers were most highly valued, their spirit was lost, and the chief use made of them was to heap together their materials in elaborate compilations and expand them by trivial and fanciful additions, while the noble forms of verse in which they had embodied their thoughts were made the vehicles of a mass of cumbrous learning. Hence the complaints which the best of succeeding writers made of the obscurity, verboseness, and tediousness of Euphorion, Callimachus, Parthenius, Lycophron, and the other chief writers of the long period during which the Alexandrian grammarians ruled the literary world. (Clem. Al. Strom. v. p. 571 ; Cic. de Div. 2.64; Lucian. de Conscrib. Hist. 57, vol. ii. p. 65.) These faults seem to have been carried to excess in Euphorion, who was particularly distinguished by an obscurity, which arose, according to Meineke, from his choice of the most out of the way subjects, from the cumbrous learning with which he overloaded his poems, from the arbitrary changes which he made in the common legends, from his choice of obsolete words, and from his use of ordinary words with a new meaning of his own. The most ancient and one of the most interesting judgments concerning him is in an epigram by Crates of Mallus (Brunck, Anal., vol. ii. p. 3), from which we learn that he was a great admirer of Choerilus [CHOERILUS, vol. i. p. 697b.], notwithstanding which, however, the fragments of his poetry shew that he also imitated Antimachus. Meineke conjectures that the epigram of Crates was written while the contest about receiving Antimachus or Choerilus into the epic canon was at its height, and that some of the Alexandrian grammarians proposed to confer that honour on Euphorion. In the same epigram Euphorion is called Ὁμηρικός, which can only mean that he endeavoured, however unsuccessfully, to imitate Homer, -- a fact which his fragments confirm. (Comp. Cic. de Div. l.c.) That he also imitated Hesiod, may be inferred from the fact of his writing a poem entitled Ἡσίοδος; and there is a certain similarity in the circumstance of each poet making a personal wrong the foundation of an epic poem,--Hesiod in the Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι, and Euphorion in the Χιλιάδες.

As above stated, Euphorion was greatly admired by many of the Romans, and some of his poems were imitated or translated by Cornelius Gallus ; but the arguments by which Heyne and others have attempted to decide what poems of Euphorion were so translated, are quite inconclusive.


Meineke, de Euphorionis Chalcidensis Vita et Scriptis, Gedan. 1823, in which the fragments are collected.

Further Information

Vossius, de Hist. Graec. pp. 142, 143, ed. Westermann ; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. i. p. 594, &c. ; Meineke, de Euphorionis Chalcidensis Vita et Scriptis, Gedan. 1823, in which the fragments are collected ; a new edition of this work forms part of Meineke's Analecta Alexandrina, Berol. 1843 ; Clinton, Fast. Hell. vol. iii. pp. 311, 312.

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