[ΑΙΤΙΩΝ Α΄]1 (In Telchinas)
Οἶδ᾿ ὅτ]ι μοι Τελχῖνες ἐπιτρύζουσιν ἀοιδῇ, νήιδες οἳ Μούσης οὐκ ἐγένοντο φίλοι, εἵνεκεν οὐχ ἓν ἄεισμα διηνεκὲς ἢ βασιλ[η ]ας ἐν πολλαῖς ἤνυσα χιλιάσιν 5ἢ ]ους ἥρωας, ἔπος δ᾿ ἐπὶ τυτθὸν ἑλ[ίσσω παῖς ἅτε, τῶν δ᾿ ἐτέων ἡ δεκὰς οὐκ ὀλίγη. ] καὶ Τελχῖσιν ἐγὼ τόδε· “φῦλον α[ ] τήκειν ἧπαρ ἐπιστάμενον, ]εη [ὀλ]ιγόστιχος ἀλλὰ καθέλκει 10 ] πολὺ τὴν μακρὴν ὄμπνια Θεσμοφόρο[ς·
- 1suppl. Vogliano.
Aetia: Book Il (Against the Telchines)
(I know that) the Telchines,a who are ignorant and no friends of the Muse, grumble at my poetry, because I did not accomplish one continuous poem of many thousands of lines on . . . kings or . . .5heroes, but like a child I roll forth a short tale, though the decades of my years are not few. And I (say) this to the Telchines: “. . . race, who know how to waste away your heart. . . . of few lines, but 10bountiful Demeterb by far outweighs the longc . . .,
- aThe Telchines were described as inhabitants of Crete, Rhodes, Sicyon, Ceos or Cyprus. They were said to be the first workers in metal, but of ill report as spiteful sorcerers. Callimachus calls his literary enemies Telchines, using the word in the sense of “spiteful backbiters.” The Scholia Florentina to this passage (Pfeiff. i, p. 3) give some of their names; among them are those of Asclepiades and Posidippus, the famous Alexandrian poets (mainly known to us through their epigrams in the Palatine Anthology), and of Praxiphanes of Mitylene, a distinguished contemporary grammarian and philosopher, against whom Callimachus wrote (cf. fr. 460*).
- bΘεσμοφόρος=Law-bringing Demeter.
- cAccording to Pfeiffer’s reading of the Scholia Florentina in this mutilated passage (ll. 9 ff.) the short poems of Philetas of Cos (born c. 320 b.c. and in a sense the founder of the Alexandrian school of poetry) and of Mimnermus of Colophon (fl. c. 630 b.c.—he is supposed to have introduced the amatory element into early Greek elegy) are compared with their longer compositions and judged superior. The “bountiful Demeter” could then be Philetas’ narrative elegy Demeter, which recounted the wanderings of the goddess; the name of the long poem, with which it was compared, is lost. The “Large Woman” (1. 12) could be the Nanno, the famous elegy of Mimnermus, named after the Lydian flute-girl he is said to have loved (cf. Asclep. Anth. Pal. ix. 63), or even his historical poem Smyrneis. The κατὰ λεπτὸν [ῥήσιες?] may possibly be the “opera minora” of the poet. Many scholars, however, do not accept this interpretation and believe that the short poems of Philetas and Mimnermus are in this passage compared with long poems of other poets, which cannot be as yet identified. The “Large Woman” may in this case be the Lyde of Antimachus. (See also M. Puelma, “Die Vorbilder der Elegiendichtung in Alexandrien und Rom,” Museum Helveticum, 11 (1954), pp. 101 f.)