Demetrius (Comic Poet), Testimonia and Fragments

LCL 513: 434-435

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The poets of old comedy



i Diogenes Laertius 5.83, 85

γεγόνασι δὲ Δημήτριοι ἀξιόλογοι εἴκοσι . . . ποιηταὶ δὲ πρῶτος ἀρχαίαν κωμῳδίαν πεποιηκώς.

ii P. Oxy. 2659 F 1 col. ii 7

Δημητρ[ίου Διονύσου [ Σικελία




Since F 1 must belong after 404, we have in Demetrius a poet from the last period of Old Comedy. His comedy Sicily seems to have had a strong political theme, while Dionysus’ [………] belongs to the subgenre of the burlesque of myth so popular in the early fourth century. The poet pictured on the Pronomus-Vase as the author of a satyr play is named Demetrius, but the only known dramatist of this period is in fact our comedian. Do we have here that creature, hitherto believed unknown, a poet who wrote both tragedy and comedy?


i There have been twenty noteworthy men named Demetrius . . . of poets the first is the one who wrote Old Comedy.

ii [from a second-century AD papyrus containing a list of comic poets and their plays]

Demetr[ius/Dionysus’ [………]/Sicily.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.demetrius_comic_poet-testimonia_fragments.2011