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[4arg] What the poet Menander said to Philemon, by whom he was often undeservedly defeated in contests in comedy; and that Euripides was very often vanquished in tragedy by obscure poets.


IN contests in comedy Menander was often defeated by Philemon, a writer by no means his equal, owing to intrigue, favour, and partisanship. When Menander once happened to meet his rival, he said: “Pray pardon me, Philemon, but really, don't you blush when you defeat me?”

[p. 215] Marcus Varro says 1 that Euripides also, although he wrote seventy-five tragedies, was victor with only five, 2 and was often vanquished by some very poor poets.

Some say that Menander left one hundred and eight comedies, others that the number was a hundred and nine. But we find these words of Apollodorus, a very famous writer, about Menander in his work entitled Chronica: 3

Cephissia's child, by Diopeithes sired,
An hundred plays he left and five besides;
At fifty-two he died.
Yet Apollodorus also writes in the same book that out of all those hundred and five dramas Menander gained the victory only with eight.

1 p. 351, Bipont.

2 Some MSS. of the Greek Life of Euripides give fifteen, which seems a more probable number for so popular a poet. Sophocles won eighteen at the City Dionysia alone.

3 Frag. 77, p. 358, Jacoby.

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