Hermippus

Hermippus

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Hermippus was the one-eyed Athenian writer of the Old Comedy
Old Comedy
Old Comedy is the first period of the ancient Greek comedy, according to the canonical division by the Alexandrian grammarians. The most important Old Comic playwright is Aristophanes, whose works, with their pungent political satire and abundance of sexual and scatological innuendo, effectively...

 who flourished during the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

. He was the son of Lysis, and the brother of the comic poet Myrtilus
Myrtilus
In Greek mythology, Myrtilus was a divine hero, a son of Hermes on Theobule , and charioteer of King Oenomaus of Pisa in Elis, on the northwest coast of the Peloponnesus....

. He was younger than Telecleides
Telecleides
Telecleides was an Athenian Old Comic poet, and dates to the 440s and 430s BCE. Only six titles and a few fragments of his plays survive. One of his plays was The Amphictyons, in which Telecleides presented a Golden Age of impossibly effortless plenty....

 and older than Eupolis
Eupolis
Eupolis was an Athenian poet of the Old Comedy, who flourished during the time of the Peloponnesian War.-Biography:Nothing whatsoever is known of his personal history. There are few sources on when he first appeared on the stage...

 and Aristophanes
Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

. According to the Suda
Suda
The Suda or Souda is a massive 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world, formerly attributed to an author called Suidas. It is an encyclopedic lexicon, written in Greek, with 30,000 entries, many drawing from ancient sources that have since been lost, and often...

, he wrote forty plays, and his chief actor was Simeron, according to the scholiast of Aristophanes. The titles and fragments of nine of his plays are preserved. He was a bitter opponent of Pericles
Pericles
Pericles was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the city's Golden Age—specifically, the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars...

, whom he accused (probably in the Moirai) of being a bully and a coward, and of carousing with his boon companions while the Lacedaemonians were invading Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

. He also accused Aspasia
Aspasia
Aspasia was a Milesian woman who was famous for her involvement with the Athenian statesman Pericles. Very little is known about the details of her life. She spent most of her adult life in Athens, and she may have influenced Pericles and Athenian politics...

 of impiety and offences against morality, and her acquittal was only secured by the tears of Pericles (Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, Pericles, 32). In the "Female Bread-Sellers", he attacked the demagogue Hyperbolus. The "Mat-Carriers" contains many parodies of Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

.

Below is a list of his plays:
  • Athenas Gonai (Offspring of Athena)
  • Artopolides (Female Bread-Sellers)
  • Demotai (Citizens)
  • Europa (Europa
    Europa (mythology)
    In Greek mythology Europa was a Phoenician woman of high lineage, from whom the name of the continent Europe has ultimately been taken. The name Europa occurs in Hesiod's long list of daughters of primordial Oceanus and Tethys...

    )
  • Theoi (Gods)
  • Kerkopes (Cercopes
    Cercopes
    In Greek mythology, the Cercopes kerkos "tail") were mischievous forest creatures who lived in Thermopylae or on Euboea but roamed the world and might turn up anywhere mischief was afoot...

    )
  • Moirai (Fates)
  • Stratiotai (Soldiers)
  • Phormophoroi (Mat-Carriers)


Hermippus also appears to have written scurrilous iambic
Iambus (genre)
Iambus was a genre of ancient Greek poetry that included but was not restricted to the iambic meter and whose origins modern scholars have traced to the cults of Demeter and Dionysus. The genre featured insulting and obscene language...

 poems after the manner of Archilochus
Archilochus
Archilochus, or, Archilochos While these have been the generally accepted dates since Felix Jacoby, "The Date of Archilochus," Classical Quarterly 35 97-109, some scholars disagree; Robin Lane Fox, for instance, in Travelling Heroes: Greeks and Their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer , p...

. Other types of works written by Hermippus cited by ancient writers include trimeter
Trimeter
In poetry, a trimeter is a metre of three metrical feet per line—example:...

s and tetrameter
Tetrameter
Tetrameter: [ti'tramitə]; te·tram·e·ter; a verse of four measuresOrigin: early 17th century : from late Latin tetrametrus, originally neuter from Greek tetrametros 'having four measures,' from tetra- 'four' + metron 'measure'....

s.

Fragments

  • Theodor Kock. Comicorum Atticorum fragmenta, i. (1880).
  • Augustus Meineke
    Augustus Meineke
    Johann Albrecht Friedrich August Meineke , German classical scholar, was born at Soest in Westphalia.After holding educational posts at Jenkau and Danzig , he was director of the Joachimsthal Gymnasium in Berlin from 1826 to 1856. He died at Berlin on 12 December 1870...

    . Potarum Graecorum comicorum fragmenta, (1855).
  • C. Austin and Rudolf Kassel. Poetae Comici Graeci.

Sources