Philemon (poet)

Philemon (Greek: Φιλήμων; c. 362 BC – c. 262 BC) was an Athenian poet and playwright of the New Comedy. He was born either at Soli in Cilicia or at Syracuse in Sicily but moved to Athens some time before 330 BC, when he is known to have been producing plays.

He attained remarkable popularity, for he repeatedly won victories over his younger contemporary and rival Menander, whose delicate wit was apparently less to the taste of the Athenians of the time than Philemon's comedy.

Except for a short sojourn in Egypt with Ptolemy II Philadelphus, he passed his life at Athens. He there died, nearly a hundred years old, but with mental vigour unimpaired, about the year 262 BC, according to the story, at the moment of his being crowned on the stage.[1]

Surviving titles and fragmentsEdit

Of his ninety-seven works, fifty-seven are known to us by titles and fragments. Two of his plays were the basis for two Latin adaptations of Plautus (Mercator being adapted from Emporos, and Trinummus from Thesauros).

  • Adelphoi ("Brothers")
  • Agroikos ("The Country-Dweller")
  • Agyrtes ("The Beggar-Priest")
  • Aitolos ("Aetolus")
  • Anakalypton ("The Man Who Reveals, or Unveils")
  • Ananeoumene ("The Renewed Woman")
  • Androphonos ("The Man-Slayer")
  • Apokarteron ("The Starving Man")
  • Apolis ("One Exiled From the City")
  • Arpazomenos ("The Captured, or Seized, Man")
  • Auletes ("The Flute-Player")
  • Babylonios ("The Babylonian Man")
  • Chera ("The Widow")
  • Ekoikizomenos
  • Emporos ("The Merchant")
  • Encheiridion ("Handbook")
  • Epidikazomenos ("The Claimant")
  • Euripos ("Euripus")
  • Ephebos ("The Adolescent")
  • Ephedritai
  • Gamos ("Marriage")
  • Heroes ("The Heroes")
  • Hypobolimaios ("The Changeling")
  • Iatros ("The Physician")
  • Katapseudomenos ("The False Accuser")
  • Koinonoi ("Companions")
  • Kolax ("The Flatterer")
  • Korinthia ("The Woman From Corinth")
  • Lithoglyphos ("The Stone-Carver," or "Engraver")
  • Metion, or Zomion
  • Moichos ("The Adulterer")
  • Myrmidones ("The Myrmidons")
  • Mystis ("Woman Initiated Into The Mysteries")
  • Neaira ("Neaira")
  • Nemomenoi ("Those Who Share")
  • Nothos ("The Bastard")
  • Nyx ("Night")
  • Paides ("Children")
  • Palamedes ("Palamedes")
  • Panegyris ("The Assembly")
  • Pankratiastes
  • Pareision ("The Gate-Crasher")
  • Phasma ("The Phantom, or Spectre")
  • Philosophoi ("Philosophers")
  • Pittokopumenos ("Pitch-Plastered")
  • Pterygion
  • Ptoche ("The Poor Woman"), or Rhodia ("The Woman From Rhodes")
  • Pyrphoros ("The Fire-Bearer")
  • Pyrrhos ("Pyrrhus")
  • Sardios ("The Man From Sardis", or possibly "Carnelian")
  • Sikelikos ("The Sicilian Man," possibly belongs to Diphilus)
  • Stratiotes ("The Soldier")
  • Synapothneskontes ("Men Dying Together")
  • Synephebos ("Fellow Adolescent")
  • Thebaioi ("Men From Thebes")
  • Thesauros ("The Treasure")
  • Thyroros ("The Door-Keeper")


  1. ^ Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, p. 1229 ("Philemon").
  • William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, v. 3 (1870), p. 261.
  • Text adapted from Harry Thurston Peck (1898). Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York: Harper and Brothers.