or POSIDIPPUS (*Posei/dippos
, both forms are found in MSS. ; the inscription on the statue in the Vatican gives the former).
1. An Athenian comic poet of the New Comedy, was the son of Cyniscus, and a native of Cassandreia in Macedonia.
He is one of the six who are mentioned by the anonymous writer on Comedy (p. xxx.) as the most celebrated poets of the New Comedy.
In time, he was the last, not only of these six, but of all the poets of the New Comedy.
He began to exhibit dramas in the third year after the death of Menander, that is, in Ol. 122. 3, B. C. 289, so that his time falls just at the era in Greek literary history which is marked by the accession of Ptolemy Philadelphus. (Suid. s.v. Clinton, F. H.
vol. ii. s. a.
and p. ii.)
Of the events of the poet's life nothing is known ; but his portrait is preserved to us in the beautiful sitting statue in the Vatican, which, with the accompanying statue of Menander, is esteemed by Winckelmann and others as among the finest works of Greek sculpture which have come down to us. (Visconti, Mus. Pio-Clem.
vol. iii. pp. 16-21 ; Winckelmann, Vorläufige Abhandlung,
c. 4.126; see also the description by Schlegel, quoted under MENANDER, Vol. II. p. 1031b.)
Athenaeus (xiv. p. 652d.) mentions a letter of the comic poet and grammarian, Lynceus of Samos, to Poseidippus.
In his language, Meineke (p. 484) has detected some new words, and old words in new senses, totally unknown to the best Attic writers.
According to Suidas, he wrote forty plays, of which the following eighteen titles are preserved : Ἀναβλέπων, Ἀποκλειομένη, Γαλάτης, Δήμοται, Ἑρμαφρόδιτος, Ἐπίσταθμος, Ἐφεσία, Κώδων, Δοκρίδες, Μεταφερόμενοι, Μύρμηξ, Ὅμοιοι, Παιδίον, Πορνοδοσκός, Σύντροφοι, Φιλόσοφοι, Φιλοπάτωρ, Χορεύουσαι.
The extant fragments of these plays are not sufficient to enable us to form an accurate judgment of the poet's style; but it seems, from the titles, that some of his plays were of a licentious character. Gellius (2.23
) mentions him among the Greek comedians who were imitated by the Latin poets. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. ii. pp. 489, 490; Meineke, Frag. Com. Graec.
vol. i. pp. 482-484, vol. iv. pp. 513-528, ed. Minor, pp. 1141-1149.)