2. A tiagic poet, contemporary with Aristophanes, who, mentions him only in three passages, but they are rich ones.
In the first (Acharn. 11
) Dicaeopolis mentions, as one of his miseries, that, when he was sitting in the theatre, gaping for a tragedy of Aeschylus, the crier shouted, " Theognis, lead in your chorus :" in another, illustrating the connection between the characters of poets and their works, Aristophanes says (Thesm. 168
ὁ δ᾽ αὒ Θέογνις ψυχρὸς ὤν ψυχρὼς ποιει:`
and in the third, he describes the frigid character of his compositions by the witticism, that once the whole of Thrace was covered with snow, and the rivers were frozen, at the very time when Theognis was exhibiting a tragedy at Athens (Acharn. 138
This joke is no doubt the foundation for the statement of the scholiast that Theognis was so frigid a poet as to obtain the nickname of Χιών
(Schol. ad Acharn. 11 ;
copied by Suidas, s. v.
) It would seem from a passage of Suidas (s. v. Νικόμαχος
) that, on one occasion, Theognis gained the third prize, in competition with Euripides and Nicomachus.
It is stated by the scholiast on Aristophanes, by Harpocration (s. v.
), and by Suidas (s. v.
), on the authority of Xenophon, in the 2d Book of the Hellenics, that Theognis was one of the Thirty Tyrants; and perhaps, therefore, the name Θεογένης
, in the passage of Xenophon referred to (Hell.
2.3.2), should be altered to Θέυγνις
According to these statements Theognis began to exhibit tragedies before the date of the Acharnians, B. C. 425, and continued his poetical career down to the date of the Thesmophoriazusae,
B. C. 411, and was still conspicuous in public life in B. C. 404.
Two lines are referred to by some writers, as quoted from a tragedy of Theognis, entitled Θυέστης
, by Stobaeus (92.5); but a careful examination of the passage shows that it refers to the Thyestes
of Euripides. We have, however, one line from Theognis, quoted by Demetrius (de Eloc. 85
παρατίθεται τὸ τόξον, φόρμιγγ᾽ ἄχορδον.
The metaphor in this line is referred to by Aristotle (Aristot. Rh. 3.11
), in conjunction with an equally bold one from Timotheus which Aristotle mentions also in other passages (Rhet.
21.12) ; whence Tyrwhitt, Hermann, and Ritter (ad Arist. Poet. l.c.
) have fallen into the error of ascribing the former metaphor also to Timotheus, instead of Theognis. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. ii. p. 324 ; Welcker, die Griech. Trag.
pp. 1006, 1007; Kayser, Hist. Crit. Trag. Graec.
pp. 325, 326; Wagner, Frag. Trag. Graec.
pp. 92, 93, in Didot's Bibliotheea Scriptorum Graecorum