Callias was also the first man who taught the elements of learning by iambics, in a licentious sort of language, described in the following manner— [p. 717]
For I'm in labour, ladies; but from shame,And afterwards, following this example, as any one may suspect, Mæandrius the prose writer, turning away a little from the usual pronunciation in his descriptions, wrote those things which are found in his Precepts, in a less polished style than the above-mentioned Callias. And Euripides appears to have followed the same model when he composed those verses, in his Theseus, in which the elements of writing are described. But the character is an illiterate shepherd, who is showing that the name of Theseus is inscribed in the place in this way—
I will, my dear, in separate lines and letters,
Tell you the name of the child. There is a line
Upright and long; and from the middle of it
There juts forth on each side a little one,
With upward look: and next a circle comes,
On two short feet supported.
For I indeed do nothing know of letters,[So as to make θ η ς ε υ ς.] And Agathon the tragic poet has composed a similar passage, in his Telephus; for there also some illiterate man explains the way of spelling Theseus thus:—
But I will tell you all their shapes, and give
Clear indications by which you may judge.
There is a circle, round as though 't had been
Work'd in a lathe, and in its centre space
It has a visible sign. Then the second
Has first of all two lines, and these are parted
By one which cuts them both across the middle.
The third's a curly figure, wreathed round.
The fourth contains one line which mounts right up,
And in a transverse course three others hang
From its right side. The letter which cones fifth
Admits of no such easy explanation;
For there are two diverging lines above,
Which meet in one united line below.
The letter which comes last is like the third.
The letter which comes first is like a circle,And Theodectes of Phaselus introduces an illiterate clown, who also represents the name of Theseus in his own way— [p. 718]
Divided by a navel in the middle;
Then come two upright lines well-join'd together;
The third is something like a Scythian bow:
Next comes a trident placed upon its side;
And two lines branching from one lower stem:
The last again the same is as the third.
The letter which comes first a circle is,And Sophocles has said something like this, in his Amphiaraus, which is a satyric drama, where he introduces an actor dancing in unison with his explanation of the letters.
With one soft eye; then come two upright lines
Of equal and exact proportions,
United by one middle transverse line;
The third is like a wreathed curl of hair;
The next a trident lying on its side;
The fifth two lines of equal length above,
Which below join together in one base;
The sixth, as I have said before, a curl.