The Ancient Library

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On this page: Polyfdus – Polymede – Polymela – Polymestor – Polymnestus – Polymnia – Polyneices – Polypemon – Polyphantas



One of his pieces was entitled "ArAas, and in it he represented Atlas as a Libyan shepherd, whom Perseus turned into stone by showing him the Gorgon's head ; a remarkable example of the total want of ideal art, and of any poetical conception of the early mythology, which characterised the dithy-rambic poets of that period. (Tzetzes, Schol. ad Lycophr. 879, Eoceg. Iliad, p. 132. 18; Etym.Mag. p. 104. 20 ; Meineke, hist. Crit. Com. Graec. p. 239, n.)

There are also two remarkable references in the Poetic (16, 17) of Aristotle to the Iphigeneia of Polyidus, where Aristotle is mentioning examples of dvayvoopifTis. But here it seems from the con­text that a tragic poet is referred to ; besides which it is improbable, Miiller argues, that Aristotle would speak of the celebrated dithyrambic poet, as lie does in the first of these passages, by the name of HoAveiSov tov (rofyiGTov. On the other hand, there is the critical canon, which forbids us to assume an unknown person of the same name as one well known, if any other probable explanation can be suggested. Perhaps, in this case, the best solution of the difficulty is the conjecture of Welcker, that Polyidus was a sophist, who took a pride in cultivating several different branches of art and literature, and who thus was at once a painter, a dithyrambic poet, and a tragedian. There are three iambic trimeter lines in Stobaeus (Serm. xciii.) Avhich appear at first sight to settle the point as to there having been a tragic poet of this name ; but it is easily shown that these lines are a quotation, not from a poet named Poly Vdus, but from the Polyi'dus of Euripides. (Miiller, Gesch. d. Griech. Litt. vol. ii. p. 287, or vol. ii. p. 59, Eng. trans.; Ulrici, Gesch. d. Hell. Dichtk. vol. ii. pp. 610, fol. ; Bode, Gesch. d. Hell. Dichtk. vol. ii. pt. 2. p. 323, vol. iii. pt. 1, p. 562; Schmidt, Diatrib. in Dithyramb, pp. 121

—124 ; Kayser, Hist. Crit. Trag. Graec. pp. 318

—322 ; Welcker, die Griech. Trag. pp. 1043, 1044 ; Bartsch, de Chaeremone, p. 14 ; Bernhardy, Grundriss d. Gesch. d. Griech. LitL vol. ii. pp. 554, 555.) [P.S.]

POLYFDUS, artists. 1. Besides the painter and dithyrambic poet (see above), Vitruvius men-. tions the two following artists of this name, who may, however, very possibly have been one and the same person, since military engineers were often also architects.

2. Of Thessaly, a military engineer, who made improvements in the covered battering-ram (testudo arietaria) during Philip's siege of Byzantium, B. c. 340. His pupils were Diades and Chaereas, who served in the campaigns of Alexander. (Vitruv. x. 19. s. 13. §3, Schneider.)

3. An architect, who wrote on the proportions of the orders (praeoepta symmetriarum, Vitruv. vii. Praef. §14). * [P. S.]

POLYMEDE (noAv/«f$Tj), a daughter of Au- tolycus, was married to Aeson, and by him became the mother of lason. (Apollod. i. 9. § 16 ; Tzetz. ad Lye. 175.) Apollonius Rhodius (i. 233) calls her Alcimede, (Comp. iason.) [L. S.]

POLYMELA (IIoAu/4A7/). 1. A daughter of Peleus, and the wife of Menoetius, by whom she became the mother of Patroclus. (Apollod. iii. 13. ,§ 8.) In some traditions she is called Phi­lomela. [patroclus.]

2. A daughter of Phylas, was married to Echecles, but became by Hermes the mother of Eudorus. (Horn. II. xvi. 180, &c.)


3. A daughter of Aeolus, was beloved by Odys­ seus, but afterwards married her brother Diores. (Parthen. Erot. 2.) [L. S.]



POLYMNESTUS (noT^VwTos), the father of Battus, the founder of Cyrene. [battus, p. 476, a.]


(IToAujUz/rjo-Tos), the son of Meles of Colophon, was an epic, elegiac, and lyric poet, and a musician. He flourished not long after Thaletas, in honour of whom he made a poem at the request of the Spar­ tans (Paus. i. 14. §3), and earlier than Alcman, who mentioned him (Plut. Mus. p. 1133, a). It seems, therefore, that he was in part contemporary with both these poets, and the period during which he flourished may be roughly stated at b. c. 675— 644. He belongs to the school of Dorian music, which flourished at this time at Sparta, where he carried on the improvements of Thaletas. He cul­ tivated the orthian nomes, and invented a new kind of auloedic nome, which was named after him, Tlo\vjj.vri<TTiov (Plut. de Mus. pp.1132—1135; Said. s. v. ; Hesych. s. v. lioKv^vi^ffriov afiziv). The Attic comedians attacked his poems for their erotic character. (Aristoph. Equit. 1287 ; Crati- nus, ap. SchoL ibid.) As an elegiac poet, he may be regarded as the predecessor of his fellow-coun­ tryman, Mimnermus. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. ii. p. 135 ; Bode, Gesch. d. Hellen. Dichtk. vol. ii. pt. 1, passim; Ulrici, Gesch. d. Hell. Dichtk. vol. ii. pp. 291, 292, et alib. ; Clinton, F. H. vol. i. s. a. 665, 657, 644, and p. 365.) [P. S.]

POLYMNESTUS, a statuary, whose name was first made known by the discovery of an in­ scription on a base in the Acropolis at Athens, in 1840, by Ross, who has thus restored it, [njOAT- MNH5TO5 KEN[XPAMJ2] EIIOIH2AN. From the form of the letters, Ross supposes the inscrip­ tion to be of abou- the time of Praxiteles or Lysip- pus. The only reason for the restoration of the name of the second of these artists, is the mention in Pliny (H. N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19. § 27) of a statuary named Cenchramis, among those who made come­ dians and athletes. (Raoul-Rochette, Lettre a M. Schorn, p. 390.) [P. S.]

POLYMNIA or POLYHY'MNIA (HoAuV via\ a daughter of Zeus, and one of the nine Muses. She presided over lyric poetry, and was believed to have invented the lyre. (Hes. TJieog. 78; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. iii. 1.) By Oeagrus she became the mother of Orpheus. (Schol. /. c. i. 23.) In works of art she was usually represented in a pensive attitude. (Hirt, Mythol. Bilderb. p. 209 ; comp. musae.) [L. S.]

POLYNEICES (IIoAwei'/cTjs), the son of Oe­dipus and locaste, and brother of Eteocles and Antigone. (Horn. //. iv. 377 ; adrastus.) [L. S.J

POLYPHANTAS (noAityai/ra*), a general in the service of Philip V. king of Macedonia, during the war against the Romans and Aetolians. In b. c. 208 he was left together with Menippus in the Peloponnese to support the Achaeans with a force of 2500 men ; and the following year (b. c. 207) was sent with a small force to the assistance of the Boeotians and Phocians. (Liv. xxvii. 32, xxviii. 5 ; Polyb. x. 42.) [E. H. B.]

POLYPEMON (noAwnfoiw*'), the name of three mythical personages. (Horn. Od. xxiv. 305 ; Apollod. iii. 16. § 2 ; Paus. i. 38. § 5). [L. S.J

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