16. Surnamed CHALCUS (o( *Xalkou=s), an ancient Attic poet and orator, who derived his surname from his having advised the Athenians to coin brass money for the purpose of facilitating traffic. (Athen. 15.669
.) Of his oratory we know nothing; but his poems, chiefly elegies, are often referred to and quoted. (Plut. Nic. 5
; Aristot. Rh. 3.2
; Athen. xv. pp. 668, 702, x. p. 443, xiii. p. 602.)
The fragments extant refer chiefly to symposiac subjects. Aristotle censures him for his bad metaphors, and in the fragments extant we still perceive a great fondness of raising the importance of common things by means of far-fetched images and allegories.
The time at which he lived is accurately determined by the statement of Plutarch, that Nicias had in. his house a highly accomplished man of the name of Hieron, who gave himself out to be a son of Dionysius Chalcus, the leader of the Attic colony to Thurii in Italy, which was founded in B. C. 444. (Comp. Phot. s. v. Θουριομάντεις
, where we have probably to read χαλῷ
instead of χαλκιδεῖ
It is true, that other writers mention different persons as the leaders of that colony to Thurii, but Dionysius may certainly have been one of them. (Osann, Beiträge z. Griech. u. Röm. Lit.
i. p. 79, &c.; Welcker, in the Rhein. Mus.
for 1836, p. 440, &c.; Bergk, Poet. Lyr. Graec.
p. 432, &c., where the fragments of Dionysius are collected.)