one of the best of the later Greek elegiac poets. We have no exact information respecting his time, but he seems, from the style of his poetry, to have lived in the same period as Hermesianax, Philetas, and Callimachus, that is, in the time of Philip and Alexander the Great.
The elegiac poetry of that period was occupied for the most part in describing the manners and spirit of old Greek life, under the form of narratiorns chiefly of an amatory character, the personages of which were taken from the old mythology. Phanocles is ealled by Plutarch ἐπωτικὸς ἀνήρ
, a phrase which very well decribes the nature of his poetry (Quaest. Clonviv.
4.5. 3, p. 671b.).
He seems only to have written one poem, which was entitled Ἔρωτες ἢ Καλοί
(Clem. Al. Strom. vi. p. 750
p. 32), or, in Latin, Cupidines
(Lactant. Arquntm. iv. in Ovid. Metam.
The second title, καλοί
, describes the nature of its contents ; it was entirely upon paederstcie ;
but the subject was so treated as to exhibit the retribution which fell upon those who addicted themselves to the practice. We still possess a considerable fragment from the opening of the poem (Stobaemus, Flor.
14.14), which describes the love of Orpheus for Calais, and the vengeance taken upon him by the Thracian women. From other references to the poem we learn that it celebrated the loves of Cycnus for Phaethon (Lactant. l.c. ;
comp. Ovid, *Metam.
2.367-380), of Dionysus for Adonis (Plut. 1. c.), of Tantalus for Ganymede (Euseb. apud Syncell.
p. 161d.; Oros. Hist.
1.12), and of Agamemnon for Argynnus (Clem. Alex. Proterp.
p. 32; comp. Steph. Byz. s. v. Ἀργυννος ;
Ath. xiii. p. 603d.; Plut. Gryll.
7; Propert. 3.7. 21-24); but in every case the vengeance. above referred to, falls upon the lover, either in his seem, in fact, that the poem was a sort of tragic history of the practice, tracing it downwards from its origin among the barbarians of Thrace.
The passage of the poem which still remains is esteemed by Ruhnker and other critics as one of the most perfect and beautiful specimens of elegiac poetry which have come down to us, and as superior even to Hermesianax in the simple beauty of the language and the smoothness of the verse.
The fragments of Phanocles have been edited by Ruhnken, Epist. Crit.
vol. ii. p. 615 Bach, Philetus, Hermesianactis, atque Phanoclis Reliquiae ;
and Schneidewin, Delectus Poes. Graec.
p. 158; the large fragment and another distich are contained in the Greek Anthology. (Brunck, Anal.
vol. i. p. 414; Jacobs, Anth. Graec.
vol. i. p. 204.)
The chief fragment has been translated by Jacobs, Vermischte Schriften,
vol. ii. p. 121, by Weber, die Eleg. Diehter der Hellenen,
p. 289 and by Herzberg, in the Zeitschrift fur Alterthumswissenchaft,
1847 pp. 28, 29. (Bergk, Zeitschrift f. Alterhumswissenschaift,
1841, p. 94 ; Welcker, Sappho,
p. 31; Preller, in Ersch and Gruber's Encyklopädie, s. v.