（Cyclĭ Poētae). A name given by the ancient
grammarians to a class of minor poets, who selected, for the subjects of their productions,
events occurring as well during the Trojan War as before and after, and who, in treating of
these subjects, confined themselves within a certain round or cycle (κύκλος
) of fable. In order to understand the
subject more fully, we must observe that there was both a Mythic and a Trojan cycle. The
former of these embraced the whole series of fable, from the genealogies of the gods down to
the time of the Trojan War; the latter comprised the fables that had reference to, or were in
any way connected with, the Trojan War. Of the first class were Theogonies, Cosmogonies,
Titanomachies, and the like; of the second, the poems of Arctinus, Lesches, Agias, Eugammon,
Stasinus, and others. (See Homeric
.) At a later period the term cyclic
was applied, as a
mark of contempt, to two species of poems—one, where the poet confined himself to a
trite and hackneyed round
particulars (cf. Horace, Ars Poet.
132); the other, where, from an ignorance of
the true nature of epic poetry, he indulged in an inordinate and tiresome amount of detail,
going back to the remotest beginnings of a subject. The most celebrated of the Cyclic poems
were the Cypria
(q. v.), the Aethiopis
(q. v.) of Arctinus, the
) of Pausanias,
(q. v.) of Agias, the Telegonia
of Eugammon, the
(q. v.), and the Margites
(q. v.) of Pigres.
All that remains of the Cyclic poets is some sixty lines, which can be found in the appendix
to Welcker's Epischer Cyclus (Bonn, 1835)
, and Düntzer,
Frag. d. Ep. Poësie (Cologne, 1840)
. The chief ancient
authority is the Chrestomatheia
(q.v.). See Mahaffy, Hist. of Class. Gk. Lit.
vol. i. ch. vi.
, and the article Epos
Dictionary. On the meaning of the word κυκλικός
, see D. B.
Munro in the Journal of Hellenic Studies