Philyllius, Testimonia and Fragments

LCL 515: 18-19

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The Poets of old Comedy


Philyllius was a minor comic poet of the very late fifth and early fourth centuries. F 8 makes fun of Laispodias, a figure of the 410s, but who is mentioned as late as Strattis’ Cinesias (F 19), produced not long after Frogs (L-405). At the other end, his victory at the Lenaea (T 3) belongs to the late 390s. Thus a career from 405 to 390 seems reasonable. We have ten titles, seven of which have fragments surviving. The last two listed by the Suda (T 1), Atalanta and Helen, are out of alphabetical sequence, and as neither possesses any attested fragments, are probably wrongly attributed. Three comedies seem to have been burlesques of myth (Aigeus, Auge, Nausicaa), or possibly parodies of


i Suda φ 457

Φιλύλλιος, Ἀθηναῖος, κωμικὸς τῆς παλαῖας κωμῳδίας. τῶν δραμάτων αὐτοῦ ἐστιν Αἰγεύς, Αὔγη, Ἄντεια (ἑταίρας ὄνομα), Δωδεκάτη, Ἡρακλῆς, Πλύντρια ἢ Ναυσικάα, Πόλις, Φρεωρύχος, Ἀταλάντη, Ἑλένη.




tragedy, since we know of tragedies of all three titles by Sophocles and Euripides. We are told that Anteia was the name of a hetaera, and three other plays appear to have had contemporary settings (Cities, Twelfth Day, Well-Digger).

There was some confusion over the authorship of two Comedies, Anteia and Cities. The first was attributed to Eunicus or Philyllius, and we do have one fragment of an Anteia by Eunicus. Cities was assigned variously to Philyllius, Eunicus, and (surprisingly) Aristophanes. Eunicus and Philyllius may have written comedies with the same title, which were then confused, or one may have acted as the producer for the other.


i Philyllius: of Athens, poet of Old Comedy. His plays are: Aigeus, Auge, Anteia (name of a hetaera), Twelfth Day, Heracles, Washer-Woman or Nausicaa, City, Well-Digger, Atalanta, Helen.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philyllius-testimonia_fragments.2011