), of Miletus, is called by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (A. R.
1.68, &c.) the most ancient Greek poet, whence some writers have placed him even before the time of Homer ; but the ancients who assign to him any certain date, agree in placing him about the commencement of the Olympiads. We know from good authority that his father's name was Teles, and that he was a descendant of Nautes. (Suid. s. v. Ἀρκτῖνος
; Tzetzes, Chil.
He is called a disciple of Homer, and from all we know about him, there was scarcely a poet in his time who deserved this title more than Arctinus.
He was the most distinguished among the so-called cyclic poets.
There were in antiquity two epic poems belonging to the cycle, which are unanimously attributed to him. 1. The Aethiopis
), in five books.
It was a kind of continuation of Homer's Iliad, and its chief heroes were Memnon, king of the Ethiopians, and Achilles, who slew him.
The substance of it has been preserved by Proclus. 2. The Destruction of Ilion
), in two books, contained a description of the taking and destruction of Troy, and the subsequent events until the departure of the Greeks.
The substance of this poem has likewise been preserved by Proclus.
A portion of the Little Iliad of Lesches was likewise called Ἰλίου περσίς
, but the account which it gave differed materially from that of Arctinus. [LESCHES.] A third epic poem, called Τιτανομαχία
, that is, the fight of the gods with the Titans, and which was probably the first poem in the epic cycle, was ascribed by some to Eumelus of Corinth, and by others to Arctinus. (Athen. 1.22
, vii. p. 277.)
The fragments of Arctinus have been collected by Diintzer (Die Fragm. der ep. Poes. bis auf Alex.
pp. 2, &c., 16, &c., 21, &c., Nachtrag,
p. 16) and Dübner. (Homeri Carm. et Cycli Epici Reliquiae,
Paris, 1837.) Compare C. W. Müller, De Cyclo Graecorum Epico,
Welcker, Der Epische Cyclus,
p.211, &c.; Bode, Gesch. der Ep. Dichtkunst der Hellen.
pp. 276, &c., 378, &c.