1. An Athenian comic poet of the Middle Comedy, of whom little is known. Suidas simply mentions him as a comic poet, and gives the following titles of his plays : Ἄδωνις, Διὸς γοναί, Θημιστοκλῆς, Ὄλυμπος, Πανὸς γοναί, Ἑρμοῦ καὶ Ἀφροδίτης γοναί, Ἀρτέμιδος καὶ Ἀπόλλωνος.
These mythological titles sufficiently prove that Philiscus belonged to the Middle Comedy.
The nativities of the gods, to which most of them relate, formed a very favourite class of subjects with the poets of the Middle Comedy. (Meineke, Hist. Crit. Com. Graec.
pp. 278, &c.) Eudocia omits the title Ἑρμοῦ καὶ Ἀφροδίτης γοναί
, and Lobeck has pointed out the difficulty of seeing how the nativities of Hermes and Aphrodite could be connected in one drama (Aglaoph.
p. 437); a difficulty which Meineke meets by supposing that we ought to read Ἑρμοῦ γοναί, Ἀφροδίτης γοναι
, as two distinct titles (Hist. Crit.
pp. 281, 282). The Themistocles
is, almost without doubt, wrongly ascribed by Suidas to the comie poet Philiscus, instead of the tragic poet of the same name. Another play is cited by Stobaeus (Serm.
73.53), namely the Φιλάργυροι
, or, as Meineke thinks it ought to be, Φιλάργυρος
Philiscus must have flourished about B. C. 400, or a little later, as his portrait was painted by Parrhasius, in a picture which Pliny thus describes (H. N.
35.10. s. 36.5) :--"et Philiscum, et Liberum patrem adstante Virtute,"
from which it seems that the picture was a group, representing the poet supported by the patron deity of his art, and by a personified representation of Arete, to intimate the excellence he had attained in it. Naeke has clearly shown that this statement can only refer to Philiscus the comic poet, and not to any other of the known persons of the same name. (Sched. Crit.
p. 26; Opusc.
vol. i. p. 42).
There are very few fragments of Philiscus preserved. Stobaeus (l.c.
) quotes two verses from the Φιλάργυροι
, and elsewhere (29.40), two from an unknown play. Another verse from an unknown play is quoted by Dicaearchus (Vit. Graec.
p. 30, Buttmann); and another is preserved in the Palatine Anthology (11.441, vol. i. p. 445, ed. Jacobs), which Jacobs wrongly ascribes to the rhetorician of Miletus. (Meineke, Frag. Com. Graec.
vol. i. pp. 423, 424, vol. iii. pp. 579, 580 ; Naeke, l.c.