Alexander Aetolus

Alexander Aetolus (Ancient Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Αἰτωλός, Ἀléxandros ὁ Aἰtōlós) was a Greek poet and grammarian, the only known representative of Aetolian poetry.[1]


Alexander was the son of Satyrus (Σάτυρος) and Stratocleia (Στρατόκλεια), and was a native of Pleuron in Aetolia, although he spent the greater part of his life at Alexandria, where he was reckoned one of the seven tragic poets who constituted the Tragic Pleiad.[2][3][4][5][6]

Alexander flourished about 280 BC, in the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus. He had an office in the Library of Alexandria, and was commissioned by Ptolemy to make a collection of all the tragedies and satyric dramas that were extant. He spent some time, together with Antagoras and Aratus, at the court of Antigonus II Gonatas.[7][6]

Notwithstanding the distinction Alexander enjoyed as a tragic poet, he appears to have had greater merit as a writer of epic poems, elegies, epigrams, and cynaedi. Among his epic poems, we possess the titles and some fragments of three pieces: the Fisherman,[8] Kirka or Krika,[9] which, however, is designated by Athenaeus as doubtful, and Helena,[10] Of his elegies, some beautiful fragments are still extant.[11][12][13][14][15] His Cynaedi, or Ionic poems (Ἰωνικὰ ποιήματα), are mentioned by Strabo[16] and Athenaeus.[17] Some anapaestic verses in praise of Euripides are preserved in Gellius.[18]


  1. ^ Schmitz, Leonhard (1867). "Alexander". In William Smith (ed.). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 111. Archived from the original on 2009-03-30.
  2. ^ Suda, s. v.
  3. ^ Eudoc. p. 62
  4. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece ii. 22. § 7
  5. ^ Scholiast, ad Hom Il. xvi. 233
  6. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  7. ^ Aratus, Phaenomena et Diosem. ii. pp. 431, 443, &c. 446, ed. Buhle
  8. ^ ἁλιεὺς, Athenaeus, vii. p. 296
  9. ^ Athenaeus, vii. p. 283
  10. ^ August Immanuel Bekker, Anecdota Graeca p. 96
  11. ^ Athenaeus, iv. p. 170, xi. p. 496, xv. p. 899
  12. ^ Strabo, xii. p. 556, xiv. p. 681
  13. ^ Parthen. Erot. 4
  14. ^ John Tzetzes, ad. Lycophron 266.
  15. ^ Scholiast and Eustathius, ad Il. iii. 314
  16. ^ Strabo, xiv. p. 648
  17. ^ Athenaeus, xiv. p. 620
  18. ^ Aulus Gellius, xv. 20


Further readingEdit

  • J U Powell (ed), Collectanea Alexandrina: reliquiae minores poetarum graecorum aetatis ptolemaicae, 323–146 A.C. (1972)
  • Enrico Magnelli (ed), Alexandri Aetoli Testimonia et Fragmenta. Studi e Testi 15. (1999)