Parthenius of Nicaea (Greek: Παρθένιος ὁ Νικαεύς) or Myrlea (Greek: ὁ Μυρλεανός) in Bithynia was a Greek grammarian and poet. According to the Suda, he was the son of Heraclides and Eudora, or according to Hermippus of Berytus, his mother's name was Tetha.[1] He was taken prisoner by Helvius Cinna in the Mithridatic Wars and carried to Rome in 72 BC.[2] He subsequently visited Neapolis, where he taught Greek to Virgil, according to Macrobius.[3] Parthenius is said to have lived until the accession of Tiberius in 14 AD.

Parthenius was a writer of elegies, especially dirges, and of short epic poems.

He is sometimes called "the last of the Alexandrians".

Erotica Pathemata edit

His only surviving work, the Erotica Pathemata (Ἐρωτικὰ Παθήματα, Of the Sorrows of Love), was set out, the poet says in his preface, "in the shortest possible form" and dedicated to the poet Cornelius Gallus, as "a storehouse from which to draw material". Erotica Pathemata is a collection of thirty-six epitomes of love-stories, all of which have tragic or sentimental endings, taken from histories and historicised fictions as well as poetry.

As Parthenius generally quotes his authorities, these stories are valuable as affording information on the Alexandrian poets and grammarians.

Contents edit

The mythical or legendary characters whose stories are presented in Erotica Pathemata are as follows.

  1. Lyrcus
  2. Polymela
  3. Evippe
  4. Oenone
  5. Leucippus
  6. Pallene
  7. Hipparinus of Heraclea
  8. Herippe
  9. Polycrite
  10. Leucone, wife of Cyanippus
  11. Byblis
  12. Calchus
  13. Harpalyce
  14. Antheus, loved and killed by Cleoboea
  15. Daphne
  16. Laodice
  17. Cratea, mother of Periander
  18. Neaera
  19. Pancrato, daughter of Iphimedeia
  20. Aëro, daughter of Oenopion
  21. Pisidice of Methymna
  22. Nanis
  23. Chilonis
  24. Hipparinus of Syracuse
  25. Phayllus
  26. Apriate (see Trambelus)
  27. Alcinoe
  28. Clite
  29. Daphnis
  30. Celtine
  31. Dimoetes
  32. Anthippe (see Epirus)
  33. Assaon
  34. Corythus
  35. Eulimene
  36. Arganthone

Other works edit

In Parthenius' own time, he was not famous for his prose but his poems. These are listed below:

  • Arete
  • Dirge on Archelais
  • Aphrodite
  • Bias
  • Delos
  • Krinagoras
  • Leucadiai
  • Anthippe
  • Dirge on Auxithemis
  • Idolophanes
  • Herakles
  • Iphiklos
  • Metamorphoses
  • Propemptikon
  • A Greek original of Moretum

The surviving manuscript edit

Parthenius is one of the few ancient writers whose work survives in only one manuscript. The only surviving manuscript of Parthenius was called Palatinus Heidelbergensis graecus 398 (P), probably written in the mid-9th century AD. It contains a diverse mixture of geography, excerpts from Hesychius of Alexandria, paradoxography, epistolography and mythology.[4]

Editions of Parthenius edit

  • 1531: Editio princeps, edited by Janus Cornarius. Basle, Froben.
  • 1675: Historiae poeticae scriptores antiqui, edited by Thomas Gale, Paris.
  • 1798: Legrand and Heyne, Göttingen.
  • 1824: Corpus scriptorum eroticorum Graecorum, Passow, Leipzig.
  • 1843: Analecta alexandrina, Augustus Meineke (ed.), Berolini sumptibus Th. chr. Fr. Enslini.
  • 1843: Mythographoi. Scriptores poetiace historiae graeci, Antonius Westermann (ed.), Brunsvigae sumptum fecit Georgius Westermann, pagg. 152-81.
  • 1856: Didot edition, Erotici scriptores, Hirschig, Paris.
  • 1858: Hercher, Erotici Scriptores Graeci, Leipzig.
  • 1896: Mythographi graeci, Paulus Sakolowski (ed.), vol. II, fasc. I, Lipsiae in aedibus B. G. Teubneri.
  • 1902: Mythographi graeci, Edgar Martini (ed.), vol. II, fasc. I suppl., Lipsiae in aedibus B. G. Teubneri.
  • 1916: S. Gaselee, Longus: Daphnis and Chloe and the love romances of Parthenius and other fragments, with English translation.
  • 2000: J.L. Lightfoot, Parthenius of Nicaea: the poetical fragments and the Erōtika pathēmata. ISBN 0-19-815253-1. Reviewed by Christopher Francese at The Bryn Mawr Classical Review
  • 2008: Michèle Biraud, Dominique Voisin, and Arnaud Zucker (trans. and comm.), Parthénios de Nicée. Passions d'amour. Grenoble: Éditions Jérôme Millon. Reviewed by Simone Viarre at The Bryn Mawr Classical Review

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Suda, Parthenius. Cf. J. L. Lightfoot, (1999), Parthenius of Nicaea: the poetical fragments and the Erotika pathemata, page 9. Oxford University Press
  2. ^ Longus, John Maxwell Edmonds (contributor), Parthenius, (Translated by George Thornley and Stephen Gaselee) (1916). "Daphnis & Chloe" and (dual books under one cover) "The Love Romances Of Parthenius And Other Fragments". Original from Harvard University: G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 251. {{cite book}}: |last= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Macrobius, Sat. v. 18.
  4. ^ J. L. Lightfoot, Parthenius of Nicaea: the poetical fragments and the Erōtika pathēmata, p. 304.

References edit

External links edit