Chionides, Testimonia and Fragments

LCL 513: 192-193

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i Suda χ 318

Χιωνίδης· Ἀθηναῖος, κωμικὸς τῆς ἀρχαίας κωμῳδίας, ὃν καὶ λέγουσι πρωταγωνιστὴν γενέσθαι τῆς ἀρχαίας κωμῳδίας, διδάσκειν δὲ ἔτεσιν ὀκτὼ πρὸ τῶν Περσικῶν. τῶν δραμάτων αὐτοῦ ἐστι καὶ ταῦτα· Ἥρως, Πτωχοί, Πέρσαι ἢ Ἀσσύριοι.

ii Aristotle Poetics 1448a33

Ἐπίχαρμος ὁ ποιητὴς πολλῷ πρότερος ὢν Χιωνίδου καὶ Μάγνητος.



T 1 is usually taken to mean that Chionides was the victor at the first competition for comedy at the Dionysia. “Eight years before the Persian Wars” would place the debut of Comedy in 486, assuming that “Persian Wars” refers to the year of the great battles, 480/79. Olson’s close study of the list of victors yields a date between extremes of the mid- 490s and the early 470s for the first comic competition; thus the traditional date is not going to be far out of line. Only three titles are recorded for Chionides, of which the authenticity of Beggars was debated in antiquity. F 4 also seems to belong later in the century. One wonders just how much evidence Aristotle and other ancient scholars had to go on when they came to consider the earliest Greek comic writers.


i Chionides: of Athens, poet of Old Comedy, who they also say was the first competitor of Old Comedy and that he produced eight years before the Persian Wars. These are his plays: Hero, Beggars, Persians or Assyrians.

ii Epicharmus the poet, who was much earlier than Chionides and Magnes.1

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.chionides-testimonia_fragments.2011