or NEOPHON (Νεόφρων, Νεοφῶν
, Suidas gives both, Diogenes Laertius Νεόφρων
), of Sicyon, a tragic writer of doubtful age.
In the Scholia to the Medeia of Euripides, we have two fragments of a play written by him on the same subject, one of four lines at 5.668, and another of five lines at 5.1354. Besides these we have fifteen lines quoted by Stobaeus, from the same tragedy.
The account given of him by Suidas, as has been shown by Elmsley (ad Eurip. Med.
p. 68), is manifestly inconsistent. Suidas states that he wrote 120 tragedies, that the Medeia of Euripides was sometimes attributed to him, and that he was the first to introduce on the stage the Παιδαγωγός
, and the examination of slaves by torture.
In one particular--that the Medeia of Euripides was sometimes attributed to him-- Suidas is confirmed by Diogenes Laertius. But Suidas goes on to say that he was involved in the fate of Callisthenes, and put to death by Alexander the Great. If the latter account be true, the former cannot but be an error, as Euripides lived long before the days of Alexander the Great, and, in the very play of the Medeia, among others, had introduced the Παιδαγωγός
. Besides, Nearchus, a tragedian, is mentioned by Suidas (s.v. Καλλισθένης
) as the unfortunate friend of Callisthenes who suffered with him. From this reasoning it seems certain that Suidas confounded the two, and that Clinton is right in placing Neophron, as he does, before the age of Euripides.
This is further strengthened by an acute remark of Elmsley's, that men do not quote small plagiarists of great writers, but delight to trace wherever great writers have borrowed their materials.
As far as we can judge from the fragments already mentioned, Euripides may have borrowed his plot and characters from Neophron, but certainly not his style. (Elmsley, l.c.
; Gaisford's Stobaeus,
vol. i. p. 385; Suid. s. v.
; Diog. Laert. ii 134; Clinton, F. H.
vol. ii. p. xxxi.)