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Euphorion

Introduction

The Suda is our main source for Euphorion’s life. He came from the Euboean city of Chalcis, and was born in the 126th Olympiad, 276–272. He studied in Athens, though the date of Lacydes, one of his philosophical teachers, would seem to put this period puzzlingly late. He first enjoyed the patronage of Alexander, ruler of Euboea, and his wife, Nicaea, and then, having presumably made a name for himself as a scholar and a poet, was invited by Antiochus the Great (succeeded 222) to be head of the library established by the Seleucids in Antioch. He thus offers us a precious insight into literary culture under a rival centre to Alexandria; we should like to be better informed about this library, which the Suda describes as “public”, although the king evidently had the right of appointment of its librarian.1 Our sources disagree over whether Euphorion died in Syria (so Test. 1) or in Athens (so Test. 7), where he is said to have enjoyed honorary citizenship (Test. 3).

Euphorion wrote in hexameters. The Suda lists only hexameter poems, and Athenaeus calls him an epopoios

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.euphorion_chalcis-testimonia.2010