Diocles (Comic Poet), Testimonia and Fragments

LCL 513: 442-443

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The Poets of Old Comedy



i Suda δ 155

Διοκλῆς, Ἀθηναῖος ἢ Φλιάσιος, ἀρχαῖος κωμικός, σύγχρονος Σαννυρίωνι καὶ Φιλυλλίῳ. δράματα αὐτοῦ Θάλαττα, Μέλιτται, Ὄνειροι, Βάκχαι, Θυέστης β΄. . . τὸ δὲ Θάλαττα ἑταίρας ὄνομά ἐστιν, ὡς Ἀθήναιός φησιν.

ii P. Oxy. 2659 F 1 col. ii. 10

Διοκλέους Θάλατ[τα




The Suda (T 1) puts Diocles chronologically with Sannyrion and Philyllius (late fifth or early fourth century), and gives him five titles. On four occasions Athenaeus attributes a Cyclopes to “Callias or Diocles,” but this play should probably be regarded as the work of Callias. According to Athenaeus (567c) Thalatta was a hetaera comedy, while Thyestes would be a burlesque of myth. The titles Bees, Dreams, and Bacchae suggest comedies with imaginative and active choruses. There are no personal jokes or topical references to assist with dating any of these comedies. Only two of these comedies (Bacchae and Bees) are cited more than once. These were perhaps the only ones known to later scholars.


i Diocles: of Athens or of Phlia, poet of Old Comedy, a contemporary of Sannyrion and Philyllius. His plays are: Thalatta (Sea), Bees, Dreams, Bacchae, and the second Thyestes . . . Thalatta is the name of a hetaera, as Athenaeus says [567c].

ii [Second-century AD papyrus containing a list of poets and plays]

Of Diocles/Thalat[ta.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.diocles_comic_poet-testimonia_fragments.2011