Timeline related to Ancient Greek Literature

Michael Lahanas

Αρχαία Ελληνική Λογοτεχνία, Ποίηση

Part 2

Griechische Literatur

323-44 BC Hellenistic Period

around 325 BC

Callisthenes, historian, Achievements of Alexander

322 BC

Death (12.10.322 BC, Calauria Argolis) of Demosthenes

Death of Aristotle

320 BC

Timon of Phlius (c. 320-230 BC), poet, according to Laertius author of sixty tragedies, thirty comedies, as well as epics, satyr plays Silloi (Lampoons) and kinaidoi (obscene poems) , some work refers to the Philosophy of Pyrrho, Indalmoi (Images or Appearances) other works known as titles On the Senses , Against the Physicists

318 BC

First prize for Diphilos (new comedy)

317/6 BC

Menander, Greek playwright, wins Athenian prize with Orge ( his comedy Dyscolos performed at the festival of Lenaea)

Arcesilaus of Pitane (Αρκεσίλαος ο Πιταναίος) (316– c.241) BC, Philosopher

315 -260 BC

Theocritus or Syracuse (Θεόκριτος ο Συρακούσιος), Poet (bucolic poetry) Idylls . (Greek Text) His work influenced other poets such as Bion, Moschus, Vergil and Spenser. Idylls (Oxford World's Classics) , Richard Unter (Introduction), Anthony Verity (Translator) , Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (July, 2003)

Aratus Solensis (Αρατος ο Σολεύς) (c. 315/310 – 250/240 BC) son of Athenadoros and Litophila, (Ἄρατος ὁ ποιητὴς γένει ἦν ἀπὸ Σόλων τῆς Κιλικίας. ἐγένετο πατρὸς μὲν Ἀθηνοδώρου, μητρὸς δὲ Λητοφίλας) poet (and scientist) born in Soli/Cyprus died in Pella, Φαινόμενα και Διοσημεία (The Phaenomena , 1154 hexameters). Probably the first scientific poem. Biography in Greek

Written in the Stars Poetry and Philosophy in the Phaenomena of Aratus

c. 307 BC

Library of Alexandria

305 – 240 BC

Callimachus of Cyrene (Καλλίμαχος ο Κυρηναίος) , poet, authored Aitia that includes Berenike's lock (mainly Latin version survived), Tables of Persons Eminent in Every Branch of Learning – a collection of lists – of lyric poets, writers of comedy and tragedy, orators, philosophers, historians, doctors, et al. – names arranged in alphabetical order with a brief biography and catalog of the man’s writings – first encyclopedia of literature. Actia – a collection of legends

When Ptolemy had married Berenike.. and had set out a few days later to attack Asia, Berenike vowed to cut a lock of her hair if Ptolemy were to return victorious; in accordance with this vow, she placed the dedicated lock in the temple of Aphrodite Arsinoe at Zephyrion and did not find it there the next day; when the king was disturbed by what had happened, Conon the astronomer...eager to curry favour with him, said that the lock appeared to have been stationed among the start; and he pointed out a certain shapeless group of seven start and claimed that they were the lock. (Hyginus Astronomica). Callimachus used this story in the poem Berenike's lock in which the lock describes how it was taken from the temple by divine intervention and was placed in the heavens.

The Poems of Callimachus Frank J. Nisetich,(Translator), Oxford University Press (June , 2001)

Euhemeros of Messene end of 4th - begin of 3rd century BC Hiera anagraphe

Aristobulus or Aristoboulos c. 300 BC, historian. History of the campaigns of Alexander the Great (lost)

3rd Century BC

Hedylos, poet , Alexandria

Anyte of Tegea (Ανύτη η Τεγεάτις) (Peloponnese) , Arcadian poetess, called also the “female Homer”, epigrams (use Unicode browser encoding) and epitaphs (even for animals such as dolphins) Info, (More Info) . A Statue of her was set up in honor of her work.


Sotades of Maronea (The Obscene), inventor of palindromes (Sotadic verses). Sotades attacked many with his sometimes obscene poems but his mistake was that King Ptolemy II was among these persons. After he was put in jail he escaped but Ptolemy's admiral Patroclus caught him, sealed him in a leaden chest and tossed him into the sea. ( The Palindromist Magazine )

c. 300 BC

Nossis (300 BC) a poetess from Locris in South Italy who considered Aphrodite as the source of her poetic inspiration

Moero or Myro of Byzantium, poetess, hexameters of Pleiades who had served baby Zeus.

Apollonius of Rhodes (Απολλώνιος Ρόδιος) (c. 296 BC), he was actually born in Alexandria but went to Rhodes after differences with this teacher Callimachus. Author of Argonautica (first poet to use romantic love as the central theme for an epic poem) “Apollonius ..[a young man from Rhodes with thin legs].., then only eighteen, gave in the Mouseion a public reading of the preliminary draft of his poem. A violent quarrel was the result, Apollonius was expelled E.M. Foster) ” (Another Site) , See also this Site with the Argonautica translation (from 1496 to 2002 more than 1930 publications were written related to Apollonius of Rhodes!)

c. 292-290 BC

Death of Menander

Lycophron (Λυκόφρων ) (fl. 285-247 BC), poet and grammarian in Alexandria, born at Chalcis in Euboea. The phenomenon of anagrams was first discovered by Lycophron in 260 B.C. The study of anagrams has been called the Great Art because the word ANAGRAMS can be transposed to produce ARS MAGNA, i.e. Great Art. An anagram is formed by taking the letters of a word, name or phrase and changing their order to come up with another word or set of words. All letters in the first name must be used in the second, an example LEMON and MELON.

c. 284 BC

Lucius Livius Andronicus (284-204 BC), a Greek, "the father of Roman dramatic and epic poetry".

c. 280 -240 BC

Posidippus of Pella (New Posidippus) a poet with poems discovered in 1992 inside a mummy casing the oldest and largest collection of 112 Greek poems. (Posidippus Industry a large collection of papers published after the discovery!)

Alexander Aetolus, of Pleuron in Aetolia, (fl. 280 BC) tragic poet

Manetho (fl. 280-260 BC), Egyptian historian, History of Egypt in Greek

Berossus or Berosus (Bel-re’ushu) Babylonian scholar, priest of Marduk. Babyloniaka (History of Mesopotamia) in Greek

275 BC

Euphorion (275 BC -187?) born in Chalkis, Mythological Epics, Epigrams, satirical poems, Worked for the Royal Library at Antioch (first Librarian) until his death. His work translated by Romans among others also the emperor Tiberius

270 BC

Asclepiades of Samos (Ασκληπιάδης), lyric poet (erotic epigrams) – Asclepiadean metre

Herondas (or Herodas) of Kos (or Syracuse) (Ηρώνδας), Mimograph , everyday life scetches (Info) Pornovoskos

218 BC

Aristodama a poetess from Smyrna honoured by the Aetolians of Lamia in Thessaly

203 BC

Polybius of Megalopolis the son of Lycortas (203-c. 120 BC), historian, Tactics, Histories (221-146 BC) (Book 1, 2, 3, ,4, 5, 6, 7-9 PDF Files)

c. 2nd Century BC

Bion, bucolic poet from Phlossa, near Smyrna. Fragments of his work (17 short poems) survived. Probably one of his work was The Lament for Adonis,the model for Shelley's Adonais.

Antipater of Sidon, poet, writer, published the list of the Seven Wonders of the World

Agatharchides of Cnidus (Αγαθαρχίδης) Geographer, historian, fragments survived of his work (On Asia, On Africa,On Europe, Journey around the Red Sea)

c. 180 BC

Apollodorus of Athens, student of Aristarchus of Samothrace Chronicle

170 BC

Dionysius of Thrax (170-90 BC) Διονύσιος ὁ Θρᾶιξ

130 BC

Archias ) (Αρχίας) (b. 130 BC Antioch Syria) Greek poet and as Roman citizen known as Aulus Licinius Archias (Palatine Anthology - Archias )

In Rome since 102 BC having developed a reputation as an extemporaneous composer of verse, and was well received among the most influential families at Rome. In 93 Archias visited Sicily with his patron Lucullus, and received the citizenship of Heracleia, which was one of the Roman federated towns indirectly receiving citizenship of Rome. But in 61 he was accused by a certain Gratius of having attained the Roman citizenship illegally, and this speech is Cicero's defense of Archias' citizenship. (http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/Texts/cicero.archias.html )

105 BC

Lucius Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor ( Αλέξανδρος Πολυΐστορας) (105-35 BC), a Greek scholar, author and philosopher, a slave in Rome who became Roman citizen. He was called Polyhistor (many histories) from his 42 books on philosophy (Philosophers’ Successions), geography, and history. He is an important source of Jewish Literature

1st Century BC

Meleager of Gadara (Μελέαγρος), Greek poet from Gadara (Syria). Collection of poems of 50 writers (He compared each writer to a flower) ..from which the word Anthology is derived (Anthos flower).. and Anthology means a collection of flowers.

Dionysios of Halikarnassos (Διονύσιος ο Αλικαρνασσέας), Historian, Romaike Archaiologia (Antiquitates Romanae) [Books 1-9, and parts of 11 and 12 survive. It went up to where Polybios began] Mythical times to 264 BC , although only survives to 441 BC

Diodorus Siculus, historian

Didymus Chalcenterus (c. 63 BC - 10 AD), scholar and grammarian, author of 3500 books (no surprise that he could not remember the titles!)

1st century AD

Chariton of Aphrodisias (Χαρίτων Αφροδίσιος) Χαιρέας και Καλλιρόη (Chaireas and Callirhoe) , Synopsis of the Plot the oldest known novel. Probably 1st century AD (or even 4th century AD?)

40 AD

Dion Chrysostom (Δίων Χρυσόστομος ) ( 40/45 AD Prusa (modern Bursa) in Bithynia – 112/120 AD) orator, writer, philosopher and historian of the Romans. 80 orations on literary, political, and philosophical subjects known. Chrysostomos literally means golden mouthed.

c. 45 – c. 120 AD

Plutarch (Πλούταρχος) (Chaeronea/Boeotia), historian (sometimes not an accurate source), and a priest (Oracle of Delphi), biographies Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, Moralia (influenced the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson). Some parts lost or modified later by others.

Lives ( Alcibiades , Aristeides , Cimon , Lysander , Nicias , Pericles , Solon , Themistocles , Theseus ) See also http://www.bostonleadershipbuilders.com/plutarch/ , A more complete version from Gutenberg

I am disgusted with this age of puny scribblers when I read of great men in my Plutarch. Frederich Schiller, The Robbers. Plutarch's work influenced Bacon, Goethe, Montaigne, Schiller and Shakespeare and Benjamin Franklin knew Plutarch's Lives when he was seven years old. Inscriptions from Delphi and Chaironeia which mention Plutarch

c. 55 - 135 AD

Epictetus (Επίκτητος), Discourses (H. Schenkl, 1916, Greek) , ( G. Long, 1890) , (W. Higginson, 1890) (Perseus), Blackmask (tr. G. Long) Encheiridion (Manual) (H. Schenkl, 1916, Greek) , (G. Long, 1890) , (T.W. Higginson, 1890) (Perseus), Blackmask (G. Long) ther fragments (H. Schenkl, 1916, Greek) , Perseus (tr. G. Long, 1890) , (T.W. Higginson, 1890) (Perseus)

c. 87 - 145 AD

Arrian of Nicomedia, (“The Second Xenophon”) historian and senator of the Roman empire, author of: Diatribes (8 books, teachings of Epictetus; 4 books survive); 12 books Epictetus' conversations (lost); Encheiridion (Epictetus philosophy very popular); Meteorology - (lost, except some fragments); History of Bithynia 8 books (lost); History of the Parthian wars, 17 books(lost); Description of the Black Sea (25 books, parts survive, which contain the oldest reference in Greek to "we Romans"); Order of battle against the Alans, military handbook on the best tactics in a war against nomads (partly surviving); another work on the Alans (lost); book on military tactics (the part on cavalry survives); Biographies of Dion of Syracuse, Timoleon of Corinth and a Bithynian bandit named Tilliborus (all lost); a book on hunting called Cynegeticus; the seven books of the Anabasis: the history of Alexander's march into Asia;

the Indikê (1 book), about the marvels of India and the voyage home of Alexander's admiral Nearchus, Events after Alexander, 10 books known from a Byzantine summary.


95-164 AD

Appian of Alexandria, (Αππιανός) historian, author of a Roman History. The part on the Civil Wars survives

100-200 AD?

(Pseudo) Apollodorus, Library and Epitome (Little Sailing: Greek zipped doc file)

Papyrus manuscript of Homer's Iliad, 100-200 AD.

c. 102-177 AD

Herodes Atticus ( Ηρώδης ο Αττικός), One of the greatest orators of Greece but none of his speeches survived (very rich he contributed to Arts , Theater Herodes Atticus in Athens)

Pausanias (Παυσανίας, )(born c. 115 AD), Description of Greece ( Description of Greece: Book I: Attica (Athens and Megara), Description of Greece: Book II: Corinth )

Aelius Aristides (117-180 AD) (Αίλιος Αριστείδης)

160 AD

Lucian of Samosata (Λουκιανός Σαμοσατεύς) “Science fiction story”, Trips to the Moon,

The Disinherited, Phalaris I & II, Demosthenes, Patriotism, The Fly, Swans and Amber, Dipsas, The Hall, Nigrinus, The Portrait-study, Defence of The Portrait-study, A Trial in the Court of Vowels, Hesiod, The Vision, Pantomime, Anacharsis, Toxaris, Slander, The Way to write History (Πως δεί ιστορίαν συγγράφειν), Hermotimus, The Parasite, The Liar, A Feast of Lapithae, Dialogues of the Hetaerae, Dialogues of the Dead, Dialogues of the Gods (Θεών Διάλογοι ), Dialogues of the Sea-Gods, Menippus, Icaromenippus, Zeus cross-examined, The Cynic, Of Sacrifice, Saturnalia, A True History ( ληθῆ διηγήματα ), A Voyage to the Lower World, Charon, Timon, The Cock, Prometheus on Caucasus, Zeus Tragoedus, The Gods in Council, The Ship, The Life of Peregrine,The Runaways, The double Indictment, The Sale of Creeds, The Fisher, Herodotus, Zeuxis, Harmonides, The Scythian , A literary Prometheus, The Book-fancier, The Purist purized, Lexiphanes, The Rhetorician's Vade-mecum, Demonax, a biography, Alexander The Oracle-Monger (λέξανδρος ἢ Ψευδομάντις), Mourning, Dionysus, Heracles, Apology for 'The dependent Scholar, A Slip of the Tongue, Peri Tes Syries Theoy, (De Dea Syria / Concerning the Syrian Goddess)., Dream ( Somnium Περὶ τοῦ ἐνυπνίου ), On Dancing (Περί Ορχήσεως ). Most of these from Gutenberg in 3 parts: Volume 1 , Volume 2 , Volume 3

Alciphron (Αλκίφρων), rhetorician probably a contemporary of Lucian, author of a collection of more than 100 fictitious letters (επιστολαί)

c. 170 AD

Lucius Flavius Philostratus (Φιλόστρατος Φλάβιος) of Lemnos (ca.170 - 244/249 AD). Roman orator and sophist of Greek origin, Heroikos , The Heroikos Project

2nd Century AD

Apollonius Dyscolus (Απολλώνιος ο Δύσκολος) ”the greatest linguist of the Greek and Roman antiquity” ( Apollonius Dyscolus website)

Artemidorus (Αρτεμίδωρος ο Εφέσιος) Oneirocritica

Dionysios Perihegetes (Διονύσιος ο Περιηγητής) first half of second century AD Oikumenes perihegesis

Xenophon of Ephesus 2nd -3rd century AD ? Ephesian Tale considered as an inspiration for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Achilles Tatius (Αχιλλέας Τάτιος), (maybe later than 2nd c. AD) Leucippe and Clitophon (Λευκίππη και Κλειτοφών ) , Synopsis

Longus Daphne and Chloe Synopsis

c. 200 AD


Athenaios of Naucratis (Αθηναίος) Deipnosophistai (Δειπνοσοφισταί)

3rd Century AD

Iamblichos of Chalkis 240 – 325 AD

Heliodorus of Emesa in Syria (Ηλιόδωρος), son of Theodosius, c. 3rd century AD, Aethiopica, romantic novel. The Aethiopica was discovered in a manuscript from the library of Matthias Corvinus in 1526 Summary of Heliodorus' Ethiopian Story

4th Century AD

Themistios (Θεμίστιος) ca. 317–388 AD

Palladas (Παλλαδάς) 150 epigrams. Poems about a Pagan schoolteacher resigned to life in a Christian city, and bitter about his wife to the point of misogyny

Dexippus (Δέξιππος)

Aphthonios Progymnasmata

Tryphiodoros Epyllion

c. 400 – 460 AD

Eudocia (Info)

4th or 5th century AD

Philogelos (The Laughter Lover) a collection of some 265 jokes (Info and many jokes from Diotima)

c. 536 AD

Agathias of Myrina (Αγαθίας) (536-582 AD), poet (Daphniaca) and historian (5 books)

c. 5th Century AD

Musaeus Grammaticus (Μουσαίος ο Γραμματικός), Hero and Leander and possible the little love-poem Alpheus and Arethusa




Goethe translates Pindar's Olympic Hymn.


Discovery of a manuscript in Cairo that contained pieces of five Menander plays


Discovery of fragments of Sophocles' Ihneutae in Egypt


Discovery of Menander's almost complete play, Dyskolos, in Egypt , Info

1962 Discovery of the Derveni Papyrus , in the region 10 km from Thessaloniki /Greece, in the Tombs of Derveni, . The oldest Papyrus document probably around 420 BC with orphic text. Parts translated were published (Gabor Betegh, The Derveni Papyrus. Cosmology, Theology and Interpretation).


Discovery of parts of the trilogy Achilles of Aeschylus

Dez. 2003

Discovery of a manuscript containing possibly unknown verses of Menander at the Vatican Library ( 400 verses, copied on to a parchment in the ninth century from Menander’s only salvaged play “The Grouch,” or “Dyskolos”. Researchers believe 200 verses could be completely new finds. Over the last century, manuscripts with fragments of his plays have come to light, including an almost complete copy of “The Grouch.”The protagonists of the new verses found at the Vatican Library are an old woman, a newborn child and a girl, according to initial studies, although the details of the plot have yet to unfold.


A fourth poem of Sappho was discovered. Except 3 other poems 264 fragments with 63 complete lines of her work are known today . http://www.dartmouth.edu/~wareh/story.html


Fragments of the Epigonoi of Sophocles extracted from a Papyrus with new optical tecchniques

Decoded at last: the 'classical holy grail' that may rewrite the history of the world


LIBRARIANS at the Great Library of Alexandria

Zenodotus of Ephesus (Ζηνόδοτος) (284-260 BC) probably the first librarian, classification of poetry

Callimachus (Kallimachos) of Cyrene (Καλλίμαχος ο Κυρηναίος) b. 304 BC (260-240 BC) 6 hymns, 60 epigrams and 800 books! Pinakes (Tables) a 120 volumes catalog of the “books” in the Alexandrian library. He influenced the work of the Romans Catullus, Ovid and Propertius

Apollonius of Rhodes (240-235 BC)

Eratosthenes of Cyrene (Ερατοσθένης ο Κυρηναίος) (235-195 BC)

Aristophanes of Byzantium (Αριστοφάνης ο Βυζάντιος) (195-180 BC)

Apollonius Idographus (180-160 BC)

Aristarchus of Samothrace (Αρίσταρχος ο Σαμοθράξ) (160-145 BC)


Lenea (Λήναια ) ( January )

Anthesteria (Ανθεστήρια) ( February )

Great Dionysia (εν άστει Διονύσια) ( March, 11-14 Elaphebolion )

Small Dionysia (εν αγροίς Διονύσια )( end of December )

Until 4th century BC, poetry was mainly transmitted orally (not written) and poetry was sung (sung poetry with composers called melopoioi or melikoi)

Lyric poetry (a term not used before the Hellenistic times) refers to a song accompanied usually by the lyre (and/or the aulos). Forms of Lyric songs sometimes in combination with dance depending on the occasion are:

Dithyramb, choral song (hymns in honor of Dionysus) at the Dionysia festival, improvised early with the chorus dressed like animals (goats) from which the tragedy (Greek word for song of goats) developed (Herodotus)
, praise for some person
, song for victory athletic or military “A poet, along with his trained band of singers and musicians, would stand by the altar to the victor’s god and offer “prayer, praise, and admonition mingling with the fumes of intoxicating poetry
, love songs
, wedding songs “Marriage festivals, for example, used a special kind of lyric poetry called the hymeneal, which was sung during the wedding ceremony. After the wedding, the groom took the bride to his house, accompanied by dancers, instrumentalists, and the singing of another hymenaeum “ (Example from the Iliad )
, praise for a god
, song and dance during sacrifice around an altar
, praise song , traditional hymns to Apollo or Artemis such as described by Homer “These prayers varied in length and were sung both on private occasions, such as dinners or weddings, and on public ones, such as festivals or battles
, songs by chorus of maidens
, liturgic, thanksgiving “these were sung at festivals by groups of men and woman carrying flowers, sacred emblems, and sacrifices to the gods. Often, the processions were formal and showy and might have been accompanied by other dancers and chorus singers. The prosodia was a recognized form of religious poetry for which many poets composed and even received rewards at festivals
, banquet song “along with the accompaniment of a hired lyre player or piper, the guests took turns singing something—a hymn, a commentary, a piece of advice, anything they wished—or continuing what had been sung by the previous singer
funeral song


Elephantis, poetess and author of a known sex manual in antiquity (unfortunately lost)


"no Classical Greek plays on homoerotic themes survive, although we know that they existed, such as Aeschylus’s Myrmidons" (parts were discovered in the 1990s on papyrus inside an Egyptian mummy)

The Trojan War Cylcle

The Theban Cycle

Ancient Greek Humour, Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange

Albin Lesky, History of Greek Literature , Hackett Publishing Company; Reprint edition (November, 1996)

West, M.L. 2003, Greek Epic Fragments (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press). ISBN 0674996054

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