1. An Athenian comic poet, of the Old, and also of the Middle Comedy, was the son of Theodectes or Theodorus, or Tisamenus. (Suid. s.v. Aelian. apud Suid. ib.
and s. vv. Παρίας λίθον
), According to Suidas, he was contemporary with Aristophanes ; but the fragments and titles of his plays give evidence that he wrote during the latest period of the Old Comedy, and during the Middle Comedy, as late as B. C. 380. Of his personal history we have no information, except a story, of a fabulous appearance, about his being cured of a disease by Aesculapius, which Suidas (ll. cc.
) copies from Aelian, with a description of a piece of statuary in Parian marble, which was made in commemoration of the cure, and which represented Theopompus lying on a couch, by the side of which the god stood, handing medicine to the poet; there was also a boy standing by the couch.
The number of dramas exhibited by Theopompus is differently stated at seventeen (Anon. de Com.
p. xxiv.) and twenty-four (Suid., Eudoc.). We possess twenty titles, namely, Ἄδμητος
. Three other plays, besides those which are merely variations of the above titles, are erroneously ascribed to Theopompus, namely, Ἐποποιοί
The extant fragments of Theopompus contain examples of the declining purity of the Attic dialect. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. ii. pp. 501-503 ; Meineke, Frag. Com. Graec.
vol. i. pp. 236-244, vol. ii. pp. 792-823; Editio Minor. pp. 441-457 ; Clinton, F. H.
vol. ii. Introd. pp. xlvii., xlviii).