1. A poet of Cameirus, in Rhodes.
The names of his parents were Peison and Aristaechma, and he had a sister called Diocleia; but beyond these barren facts we know nothing of his life or circumstances.
He appears to have flourished about the 33d Olympiad (B. C. 648-645), though, according to some, he was earlier than Hesiod, and was a contemporary and friend of EUMOLPUS. This latter statement, however, is only an instance of the way in which the connection between the great early masters of poetry and their followers in the same line was often represented as an actual personal relation. Peisander was the author of a poem in two books on the exploits of Hercules.
It was called Ἡράκλεια
, and Clement of Alexandria (Clem. Al. Strom. vi. p. 266
, ed. Sylb.) accuses him of having taken it entirely from one Pisinus of Lindus.
In this poem Hercules was for the first time represented as armed with a club, and covered with the lion's skin, instead of the usual armour of the heroic period; and it is not improbable, as Müller suggests, that Peisander was also the first who fixed the number of the hero's labours at twelve (Strab. xv. p.688
; Suid. s. v. Πείσανδρος
; Eratosth. Catust.
12; Ath. xii. p. 512f; Schol. ad Apoll. Rhod.
1.1196; Theocr. Epigr.
xx. ; Miller, Hist. of Gk. Lit.
2.12.1). The Alexandrian grammarians thought so highly of the poem that they received Peisander, as well as Antimachus and Panyasis, into the epic canon together with Homer and Hesiod. Only a few lines of it have been preserved; two are given us by the Scholiast on Aristophanes (Aristoph. Cl. 1034
), and another by Stobaeus (Flor.
12.6). Other poems which were ascribed to Peisander were, as we learn from Suidas, spurious, having been composed chiefly by Aristeas.
In the Greek Anthology (vol. i. p. 49, ed. Jacobs) we find an epigram attributed to Peisander of Rhodes, perhaps the poet of Cameirus; it is an epitaph on one Hippaemon, together with his horse, dog, and attendant.
By some, moreover, it has been thought, but on no sufficient grounds, that the fragments which pass as the 24th and 25th Idyllia of Theocritus, as well as the 4th of Moschus, are portions of the Ἡράκλεια
of Peisander (Paus. 2.37
; Phot. Bibl. 239
; Ath. xi. p. 469d; Strab. xiv. p.655
; Quint. 10.1; Apollod. 1.8
; Hygin. Poet. Astr.
2.24; Schol. ad Pind. Pyth.
9.185; Schol. ad Apoll. Rhod.
4.1396; Steph. Byz. s. v. Κάμιπος
; Heyne, Exc.
i. ad Virg. Aen.
ii.; Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. i. pp. 215, 590; Voss. de Poet. Graec.
3; Bode, Gesch. der Epischen Dichtkunst,
pp. 499, &c). From Theocritus (Epiyr.
xx.) it appears that a statue was erected by the citizens of Cameirus in honour of Peisander.