The Poets of Old Comedy


We would like to have more than the twenty fragments and four play titles by Metagenes. His comedy appears to be very much in the Aristophanic spirit, with plural titles that suggest an imaginative use of the chorus, jokes against some of the familiar targets of Old Comedy (F 10, 12, 14), a parabatic address to the spectators with the metaphor of comedy as a banquet (F 15), and some instances of engagement with Homer (F 19). He belongs to the last part of the fifth century. If the betrayal of Naupactus (T 10) refers to


i Suda μ 688

Μεταγένης, Ἀθηναῖος, † δύλου παῖς, κωμικός. τῶν δὲ αὐτοῦ δραμάτων ἐστὶ ταῦτα· Αὖραι <ἢ> Μαμμάκυθος, Θουριοπέρσαι, Φιλοθύτης, Ὅμηρος ἢ Ἀσκηταί.

ii IG ii2 2325.128

Με[ταγέν]ης II




the capture of that city by the Spartans in the last years of the fifth century (Pausanias 4.26.2), then Homer (or Hostage) belongs to 400 or later. The scandal over Callias’ son by Chrysilla (F 14) is also an event of the 400s. On the Lenaean victors’ list (T 2), he appears between Poliochus and Theopompus, who belong to the very end of the century.

Recent bibliography: M. Pellegrino, in Tessere 291–339.


i Metagenes: of Athens, son of . . . ]dylus, a comic poet. His plays are: Breezes <or> Blockhead, Thurio-Persians, Sacrifice-Lover, Homer (or Hostage) or Men-in-Training.

ii [from the list of victors at the Lenaea] Me[tagen]es 2

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.metagenes-testimonia_fragments.2011