Callias’ career is usually placed in the 440s and 430s, but he could have been active until the mid-410s (see under Men-in-Chains). He is identified at T 3 as one of the rivals of Cratinus (career: 454–423) and very likely won at the Dionysia in 446 (T4). A strong case can be made for identifying Callias as the poet whose works appear on the Roman inscription (T 6). The list, admittedly very fragmentary, records quite a number of plays that finished in third to fifth place. Add in the first- and second-place winners, and we need a poet with a respectable career who was active in the 440s and 430s and whose play produced in 434 begins “Cy–.” The only known comic title to fit this last criterion is Cyclopes by Callias. If T 5 does refer to Callias, then heTestimonia
i Suda κ 213
Καλλίας· Ἀθηναῖος, κωμικός, υἱὸς Λυσιμάχου· ὃς ἐπεκλήθη Σχοινίων διὰ τὸ σχοινοπλόκου εἶναι πατρός. οὗ δράματα Αἰγύπτιος, Ἀταλάντη, Κύκλωπες, Πεδῆται, Βάτραχοι, Σχολάζοντες.
won two victories at the Dionysia. The plural titles suggest a comedy with an active chorus, and of the forty fragments eight make fun of contemporary figures. Some titles (Atalantas, Cyclopes) suggest the burlesque of myth which was popular in the 430s. T 1 and 2 record that Callias was nicknamed “Ropey”; Sonnino argues that Callias himself is the speaker of F 18, speaking perhaps in a parabasis.
More controversial is whether the lengthy fragments of what has been called The Tragedy (or Spectacle) of the Letters belongs to this Callias. For those fragments and the attendant controversy see the entry on Callias II.
Recent bibliography: O. Imperio, in Tessere 189–254; M. Sonnino, Phoenix 53 (1999) 330–31.Testimonia
i Callias: of Athens, comic poet, son of Lysimachus, who was nicknamed “Ropey” because he was the son of a rope maker. His plays are Egyptian, Atalanta, Cyclopes, Men-in-Chains, Frogs, Men at Leisure.