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1. Of CLAROS, a son of Hipparchus, was a Greek epic and elegiac poet. (Cic. Brut. 51; Ov. Tr. 1.6. 1.) He is usually called a Colophonian, probably only because Claros belonged to the dominion of Colophon. He flourished during the latter period of the Peloponnesian war. (Diod. 13.108.) The statement of Suidas that he was a disciple of Panyasis would make him belong to an, earlier date, but the fact that he is mentioned in connexion with Lysander and Plato the philosopher sufficiently indicates the age to which he belonged. (Plut. Lys. 18; Proclus, ad Plat. Tim. i. p.28.) Plutarch relates that at the Lysandria--for thus the Samians called their great festival of the Heraea, to honour Lysander--Antimachus entered upon a poetical contest with one Niceratus of Heracleia. The latter obtained the prize from Lysander himself, and Antimachus, disheartened by his failure, destroyed his own poem. Plato, then a young man, happened to be present, and consoled the unsuccessful poet by saying, that ignorance, like blindness, was a misfortune to those who laboured under it. The meeting between Antimachus and Plato is related differently by Cicero (l.c.), who also places it manifestly at a different time and probably also at a different place; for, according to him, Antimachus once read to a numerous audience his voluminous poem (Thebais), and his hearers were so wearied with it, that all gradually left the place with the exception of Plato, whereupon the poet said, " I shall nevertheless continue to read, for one Plato is worth more than all the thousands of other hearers." Now an anecdote similar to the one related by Cicero is recorded of Antagoras the Rhodian [ANTAGORAS], and this repetition of the same occurrence, together with other improbabilities, have led Welcker (Der Epische Cyclus, p. 105, &c.) to reject the two anecdotes altogether as inventions, made either to show the uninteresting character of those epics, or to insinuate that, although they did not suit the taste of the multitude, they were duly appreciated by men of learning and intelligence.

The only other circumstance of the life of Antimachus that we know is, his love for Lyde, who was either his mistress or his wife. He followed her to Lydia; but she appears to have died soon after, and the poet returned to Colophon and sought consolation in the composition of an elegy called Lyde, which was very celebrated in antiquity. (Athen. 13.598; Brunck, Analect. i. p. 219.) This elegy, which was very long, consisted of accounts of the misfortunes of all the mythical heroes who, like the poet, had become unfortunate through the early death of their beloved. (Plut. Consol. ad Apollon. p. 106b.) It thus contained vast stores of mythical and antiquarian information, and it was chiefly for this and not for any higher or poetical reason, that Agatharchides made an abridgment of it. (Phot. Bibl. p. 171, ed. Bekker.)

The principal work of Antimachus was his epic poem called Thebais (Θηβἀ̈́ς), which Cicero designates as magnum illud volumen. Porphyrius (ad Horat. ad Pison. 146) says, that Antimachus had spun out his poem so much, that in the 24th book (volumen) his Seven Heroes had not yet arrived at Thebes. Now as in the remaining part of the work the poet had not only to describe the war of the Seven, but also probably treated of the war of the Epigoni (Schol. ad Aristoph. Pax. 1268), the length of the poem must have been immense. It was, like the elegy Lyde, full of mythological lore, and all that had any connexion with the subject of the poem was incorporated in it. It was, of course, difficult to control such a mass, and hence we find it stated by Quintilian (10.1.53; comp. Dionys. De verb. Compos. 22), that Antimachus was unsuccessful in his descriptions of passion, that his works were not graceful, and were deficient in arrangement. His style also had not the simple and easy flow of the Homeric poems. He borrowed expressions and phrases from the tragic writers, and frequently introduced Doric forms. (Schol. ad Nicand. Theriac. 3.) Antimachus was thus one of the forerunners of the poets of the Alexandrine school, who wrote more for the learned and a select number of readers than for the public at large. The Alexandrine grammarians assigned to him the second place among the epic poets, and the emperor Hadrian preferred his works even to those of Homer. (Dion. Cass. 69.4; Spartian. Hadrian. 5.) There are some other works which are ascribed to Antimachus, such as a work entitled Ἄρτεμις (Steph. Byz. s. v. Κοτύλαιον), a second called Δέλτα (Athen. 7.300), a third called Ἰαχίνη (Etymol. M. s. v. Ἀβολήτωρ), and perhaps also a Centauromachia (Natal. Com. 7.4); but as in all these cases Antimachus is mentioned without any descriptive epithet, it cannot be ascertained whether he is the Clarian poet, for there are two other poets of the same name. Suidas says that Antimachus of Claros was also a grammarian, and there is a tradition that he made a recension of the text of the Homeric poems ; but respecting these points see F. A. Wolf, Prolegom. pp.clxxvii. and clxxxi., &c. The numerous fragments of Antimachus have been collected by C. A. G. Schellenberg, Halle, 1786, 8vo. Some additional fragments are contained in H. G. Stoll, Animadv. in Antimachi Fragm. Götting. 1841. Those belonging to the Thebais are collected in Düntzer's Die Fragm. der Episch. Poes. der Griech. his auf Alexand. p. 99, &c., comp. with Nachtrag, p. 38, &c. See N. Bach, Philetae, Hermesianactis, &c. reliquiae, &c. Epimnetrlum de Antiumachi Lyda, p. 240; Blomfield in the Classical Journal, iv. p. 231; Welcker, Der Epische Cyclus, p. 102, &c.

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  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 13.108
    • Plutarch, Lysander, 18
    • Ovid, Tristia, 1.6
    • Cicero, Brutus, 51
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