Apollonius of Rhodes, Fragments

LCL 1: 472-473

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The exiguous remains of Apollonius’ other poems, if genuine, attest to a number of elements also found in the Argonautica: city-founding, the aetiology of animals, places, and customs, and the pathos of love and untimely death.

Fragments 1–2 cite three lines from Apollonius’ Canobus, a poem of uncertain length in choliambics that told of the death by snakebite of Canobus, Menelaus’ helmsman, for whom the Egyptian port of Canopus was named. Fragment 3 contains no direct quotation, but alludes to Apollonius’ treatment of the death of Canobus in Egypt.

Fragment 4 from a scholium to Nicander’s Theriaca alludes to Apollonius’ poem on the founding of Alexandria, which contained an aetiology of poisonous snakes from drops of the Gorgon’s blood.

Fragment 5, cited without authorship in Cramer, Anecdota Graeca, is attributed to Apollonius because Tzetzes quotes the fourth verse and says it comes from Apollonius. There has been, however, disagreement about whether to assign it to the founding of Caunus or of Cnidus, and the logical progression of the first three lines is unclear. That



Apollonius treated the stories of Lyrcus and Byblis in his Founding of Caunus is claimed in the titles to Parthenius, Love Stories 1 and 11.

Fragment 6 states that Apollonius’ Founding of Cnidus included an aetiology of the name of a Thracian place called Psykterios.

Fragments 7–9 from Athenaeus concern the love of Apollo for Ocyroe of Samos and the metamorphosis of Pompilus, a fisherman who tries to help Ocyroe escape abduction by the god, into a fish of the same name.

Fragment 10 from Stephanus of Byzantium cites an incomplete sentence from Apollonius’ Founding of Rhodes to illustrate his use of the feminine form of Dotium, and Fragment 11 from a scholium to Pindar’s Olympian 7 alludes to Apollonius’ aetiology of the Rhodian practice of fireless sacrifices that differs from Pindar’s account.

Fragment 12, by far the most extensive and interesting, is cited by Parthenius without author. It has been attributed to Apollonius’ Founding of Lesbos on the basis of content (Peisidice is from Methymna on Lesbos), vocabulary, and style, but it could also be the work of an imitator.

Fragment 13, an epigram attributed in the Palatine Anthology to Apollonius the Grammarian, is probably not by Apollonius Rhodius.

The numbering and text of the fragments are based on J. U. Powell, Collectanea Alexandrina (Oxford 1925) 4–8.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.apollonius_rhodes-fragments.2009