The Tomb of Simonides

Fr. 64

      Οὐδ' ἄ]ν τοι Καμάρινα τόσον κακὸν ὁκκόσον ἀ[ν]δρός

           κινη]θεὶς ὁσίου τύμβος ἐπικρεμάσαι·

      καὶ γ]ὰρ ἐμόν κοτε σῆμα, τό μοι πρὸ πόληος ἔχ[ευ]αν

           Ζῆν'] Ἀκραγαντῖνοι Ξείνι[ο]ν ἁζόμενοι,

5    . . . κ]ατ' οὖν ἤρειψεν ἀνὴρ κακός, εἴ τιν' ἀκούει[ς

           Φοίνικ]α πτόλιος σχέτλιον ἡγεμόνα·

      πύργῳ] δ' ἐγκατέλεξεν ἐμὴν λίθον οὐδὲ τὸ γράμμα

           ᾐδέσθη τὸ λέγον τόν [μ]ε Λεωπρέπεος

      κεῖσθαι Κήϊον ἄνδρα τὸν ἱερόν, ὃς τὰ περισσά

10       . .καὶ] μνήμην πρῶτος ὃς ἐφρασάμην,

      οὐδ' ὑμέας, Πολύδευκες, ὑπέτρεσεν, οἵ με μελάθρου

           μέλλοντος πίπτειν ἐκτὸς ἔθεσθέ κοτε

      δαιτυμόνων ἄπο μοῦνον, ὅτε Κραννώνιος αἰαῖ

           ὤλισθεν μεγάλους οἶκος ἐπὶ Σκοπάδας.

15  ὤνακες, ἀλ. .ϊ[. .]. γὰρ ἔτ' ἦν

           ]. . .ωοῦμεδ[. . . . . .].βοσιν[

      . . . .λμοὺσ[. . . . . . .].ϊουνδο.

          . . . . .ηστ.[. . . . . . .]εν ἀνῆγεν

      . . . .[            ].[.].ετ´κ. .[

Fr. 64 Harder (= 64 Pf., = 163 Mass.)
  1-19 P.Oxy. 2211 fr. 1 verso, 10-28 [image], 
    Trismegistos 59407;

  7-9, 11-14 Sud. σ 441 Adler s.v. Σιμονίδης;
  8-9 Lex.Ambr. L s.v. Λεωπρέπης

This tale is narrated by the Cean poet Simonides, who speaks about his tomb in Acragas. The general, Phoenix, demolished it and incorporated it into a defensive wall for the city. The poet prays for revenge and recalls the following incident: apparently Simonides wrote an epinician for one of the Scopadae, who had won a victory in boxing.  As part of the epinician, Simonides praised the boxer Polydeuces. The Scopad refused payment claiming that the poet should seek it from Polydeuces. Subsequently the Dioscuri summoned him out of the banquet hall of the Scopadae just before it collapsed upon those within, killing them. The incident exemplifies the power of the poet, as well as his status, under the protection of deities. The same story is mentioned in Theocritus, id. 17. In addition this aition commemorates Simonides as the inventor of a technique for remembering and recollection. In its present state there is no indication of what the aition might be, though there have been a number of suggestions: an explanation for why there is no tomb, but only an inscription set in a wall or why the poet is buried in Acragas and not Ceos would be the most likely. The inclusion of Simonides fits well with the imitation of Pindar that opened book III and the allusions to Bacchylides in the Acontius and Cydippe episode.

 

Bibliography

Barbantani, Silvia. 2010. Three Burials (Ibycus, Stesichorus, Simonides): Facts and Fiction about Lyric Poets in Magna Graecia in the Epigrams of the Greek Anthology. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso.

Livrea, Enrico. 2006. 'La tomba di Simonide da Callimaco a S. Saba.' Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 156:53-7.

Massimilla, Giulio. 2006. 'Il sepolcro di Simonide (Callimaco, fr. 64 Pf.).' In Callimachea I. Atti della prima giornata di studi su Callimaco (Roma, 14 maggio 2003), edited by Antonio Martina and Anna-Teresa Cozzoli, 33-52. Roma: Herder. 

Fr. 64

Καμαρῖνα, -ας, ἡ: Camarina, a city on Sicily, at the mouth of the river Hipparis.

ὁπόσος -η -ον, Ion. ὁκ(κ)όσος: as much as, as great as

ὅσιος -α -ον: holy, hallowed, sacred; pious, devout

τύμβος -ου, ὁ: tomb, grave

ἐπικρεμάννυμι -κρεμάσω -εκέρασα: hang over, threaten

σῆμα -ατος, τό: a sign, mark; cairn, grave stone

χέω, aor. ἔχεα, Ep. aor. ἔχευα and χεῦα: pour, shed, scatter; throw or heap up as a mound of earth

Ζεύς, gen. Διός, dat. Διί or Ζηνί, acc. Ζῆνα: Zeus

Ἀκραγαντῖνοι, -ων, οἱ: citizens of Acragas, a city in Sicily, modern Agrigento

ἅζομαι: reverence, treat with respect

κατερείπω, aor. κατήρειψα: throw or cast down: throw or tear down 5

πτόλις -ιος, ἡ = πόλις -εως, ἡ

σκέτλιος -α -ον: unwearying, unflinching, merciless, headstrong

πύργος -ου, ὁ: tower, esp. those attached to city walls

ἐγκαταλέγω, fut. -καταλέξω, aor. -κατέλεξα: build in, built into

αἰδέομαι, fut. αἰδέσομαι, aor. Med. ᾐδεσάμην, aor. Pass. ᾐδέσθην: respect, show regard for, reverence

Λεωπρέπης -εος, ὁ: Leoprepes, the father of the lyric poet Simonides. Simonides was credited with adding the letters ξ, φ, χ, and ψ to the Greek alphabet and inventing a system of mnemonics

Κήϊος -α -ον: of Ceos, an island in the Cyclades (Ion. for Κεῖος)

περισσός -ή -όν: beyond the regular number, extraordinary, superfluous, extra

μνήμη -ης, ἡ: a remembrance, memory, record 10

φράζω: point out, show, tell, explain; (mid.) consider, ponder, contrive

ὑποτρέω: to shrink back before, give ground to (+ acc.)

μελάθρον, -ου, τό: roof beam, roof, house

ἐκτός: without, outside

δαιτυμών -όνος, ὁ: an invited guest

ὀλισθάνω: slip, slip and fall, fall

Κραννώνιος -ου, ὁ: of or from Crannon, a town in Thessaly

Σκόπαδαι -ων, οἱ: sons or descendants of Skopas

ὦναξ: poet. contr. of ὦ ἄναξ

Fr. 64

Not even Camarina would threaten so much disaster for you, not as 

much as the tomb of a pious man moved from its place. For

my grave too, which the people of Acragas built outside the town,

fearing Zeus the god of strangers,

was once forcibly torn down by an evil man, if you have heard 5

of a certain Phoenix, the town's merciless leader.

He built my stone into the tower of the city walls and showed no regard

for the inscription which said that I, the son of Leoprepes,

was lying here, the holy man from Ceos, who first contrived

the extra (letters)...and the art of mnemotechnics.10

He did not shrink back from you, Polydeuces, who,

when the house was about to fall down, once set me outside,

the only one from among the guests, when— ah!— the Crannonian 

house fell on the mighty sons of Scopas.

Lords...

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Suggested Citation

Susan Stephens, Callimachus: Aetia. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-947822-07-8.http://dcc.dickinson.edu/callimachus-aetia/book-3/tomb-simonides