1. A Greek epic poet, lived in the fifth century before the Christian aera. His name is also written Πανύασσις
but there can be no doubt that Πανύασις
is the correct way.
According to Suidas (s. v.
) he was the son of Polvarchus and a native of Halicarnassus ; and although the historian Duris stated that he was a Samian and the son of Diocles, yet the authority of Suidas is to be preferred, at least as far as respects his birth-place, since both Pausanias (10.8.5
) and Clemens Alexandrinus (6.2.52) likewise call him a native of Halicarnassus. Panyasis belonged to one of the noblest families at Halicarnassus, and was a relation of the historian Herodotus, though the exact relationship in which they stood to one another is uncertain. One account made the poet the first cousin of the historian, Panyasis being the son of Polyarchus, and Herodotus the son of Lyxes, the brother of Polyarchus. Another account made Panyasis the uncle of Herodotus, the latter being the son of Rhoeo or Dryo, who was the sister of the poet (Suidas, s. v.
These conflicting accounts have given rise to much dispute among modern writers, but the latter statement, according to which Panyasis was the uncle of Herodotus, has been usually preferred. Panyasis began to be known about B. C. 489, continued in reputation till B. C. 467, in which year he is placed by Suidas, and was put to death by Lygdamis, the tyrant of Halicarnassus, probably about the same time that Herodotus left his native town, that is about B. C. 457 (Clinton, F. H.
sub annis 489, 457).
Ancient writers mention two poems by Panyasis. Of these the most celebrated was entitled Heracleia
, Athen. xi. pp. 469, d. 498, c.) or Heracleias
, Suidas), which gave a detailed accolnmt of the exploits of Heracles.
It consisted of fourteen books and nine thousand verses; and it appears, as far as we can judge from the references to it in ancient writers, to have passed over briefly the adventures of the hero which had been related by previous poets, and to have dwelt chiefly upon his exploits in Asia, Libya, the Hesperides, &c.
An outline of the contents of the various books, as far as they can be restored, is given by Muller, in an appendix to his work on the Dorians (vol. i. p. 532, Engl. transl. 1st ed.).
The other poem of Panyasis bore the name of Ionica
), and contained 7000 verses; it related the history of Neleus, Codrus, and the Ionic colonies, probably much in the same way as others had described in poetry the κτίσεις
of different states and countries. Suidas relates that this poem was written in pentameters, but it is improbable that at so early a period a poem of such a hength was written simply in pentameters ; still, as no fragments of it have come down to us, we have no certain information on the subject.
We do not know what impression the poems of Panyasis made upon his contemporaries and their immediate descendants, but it was probably not great, as he is not mentioned by any of the great Greek writers.
But in later times his works were extensively read, and much admired; the Alexandrine grammarians ranked him with Homer, Hesiod, Peisander, and Antimachus, as one of the five principal epic poets, and some even went so far as to compare him with Homer (comp. Suidas, s.v. Dionys. de Vet. Script. Cens.
100.2, p. 419, ed. Reiske; Quintil. x. 1.54). Panyasis occupied an intermediate position between the later cyclic poets and the studied efforts of Antimachus, who is stated to have been his pupil (s. v. Ἀντίμαχος
). From two of the longest fragments which have come down to us (Athen. 2.36
; Stobaeus, 18.22), it appears that Panyasis kept close to the old Ionic form of epic poetry, and had imbibed no small portion of the Homeric spirit.
The fragments of the Heracleia
are given in the collections of the Greek poets by Winterton, Brunck, Boissonade, and Gaisford; in Diintzer's Fragments of Greek epic poetry, and in the works of Tzschirner and Funcke, quoted below. (The histories of Greek literature by Bode, Ulrici, and Bernhardy; Tzschirner, De Panyasidis Vita et Carminibus Dissertatio,
Vratisl. 1836, and Fragmenta,
1842; Funcke, De Panyasidis Vita ac Poesi Dissert.
Bonn. 1837; Eckstein, in Ersch and Gruber's Encyklopädie,