The poets who are included in this volume, with the probable exception of Corinna, wrote their poetry in the fifth century b.c. The earliest of them were younger contemporaries of Simonides, who lived until 468, and exact contemporaries of Aeschylus (525/4–456) and Pindar (518–438). Two of the most distinguished tragedians, Sophocles and Euripides, are represented by their lyric poems; and Old Comedy developed in the lifetime of Diagoras and Ion, both of whom were mentioned by Aristophanes.


Corinna’s dates are disputed, and it is almost certain that her poetry belongs to the 3rd century b.c. Alexandrian scholars did not know her (unless they simply ignored her). She is not named or referred to by any writer before 50 b.c., perhaps not by any before the Augustan period (since the text of fr. 670, which may ascribe a commentary on her works to Alexander Polyhistor, is insecure): Propertius knows her (test. 5), Ovid is likely to have named his Corinna after her, Antipater of Thessalonica lists