Asclepiades of Samos

Asclepiades of Samos (Sicelidas[1][2]) (Greek: Ἀσκληπιάδης ὁ Σάμιος; born c. 320 BC)[1][3] was an ancient Greek epigrammatist and lyric poet who flourished around 270 BC. He was a friend of Hedylus and possibly of Theocritus.[4] He may have been honoured by the city of Histiaea in about 263 BC.[5]

Asclepiades was the earliest and most important of the convivial and erotic epigrammists. Only a few of his compositions were intended as actual inscriptions, if any.[6] Other poems sing the praises of those poets whom he especially admired, but the majority of his work that has survived is love songs. It is doubtful whether he is the author of all the epigrams (some 40 in number) which bear his name in the Greek Anthology.[7] He has been credited with creating the metre which bears his name, the Asclepiad metre.[8]

The sole source for the known, unlacunaed epigrams of Asclepiades is the Greek Anthology.[9] Most of Asclepiades's epigrams appear in both of the two principal Byzantine epigram collections that constitute the Greek Anthology: the Palatine Anthology and the Planudean Anthology. Epigrams xxxix and xliii appear only in the Planudean Anthology, which is the less complete of the two so far as the epigrams of Asclepiades are concerned, all the rest are in the Palatine Anthology.[9] Some papyri have been recovered that contain portions of known epigrams and portions of otherwise unknown epigrams attributed to Asclepiades.[10]


  • Gow, A. S. F.; Page, Denys, eds. (1965). The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams. Vol. i. pp. 44–56. with commentary in ii pp. 114–151.
  • Sens, Alexander, ed. (2011). Asclepiades of Samos: Epigrams and Fragments. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-925319-7. Translated by Alexander Sens


  1. ^ a b DeMaria, Robert Jr. & Brown, Robert D. (2007). Classical Literature and its Reception: An Anthology. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell. p. 299. ISBN 978-1-4051-1293-2.
  2. ^ Clack, Jerry (1999). "Introduction". Asclepiades of Samos and Leonidas of Tarentum: The Poems. Wauconda, Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. p. 3–4. ISBN 978-0-86516-456-7.
  3. ^ Green, Peter (1993). Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age (second ed.). Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-520-08349-3.
  4. ^ Aside from the clear indication that his work was known to poets like Callimachus and Theocritus who worked at Alexandria, it has never been established with any certainty that Asclepiades visited the city. Recently, A. Cameron has sought to confirm his sojourn there by reference to several epigrams ... Clack 1999, p. 3
  5. ^ Syll.3492, line 17 - English translation.
  6. ^ Sens, Alexander (2011). "Introduction: III. Asclepiades and Inscribed Epigram". In Sens, Alexander (ed.). Asclepiades of Samos: Epigrams and Fragments. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. xxxvii–xlii. ISBN 978-0-19-925319-7. Translated by Alexander Sens
  7. ^   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Asclepiades". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 722.
  8. ^ Wright, F. A. (1921). "Asclepiades of Samos". The Edinburgh Review. 233: 329–342, page 331.
  9. ^ a b Sens 2011, p. c
  10. ^ Sens 2011, pp. c–cii

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