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SIMONIDES : EPIGRAMS

The famous epitaphs that Simonides of Ceos wrote for the Greek soldiers who died in the Persian Wars naturally attracted imitators; and it is clear that many of the epigrams attributed to him here cannot have been composed by him. But the core of this collection contains some remarkable poems of the fifth century B.C.

This collection includes all the epigrams that were attributed to him in the Greek Anthology; they are shown in the order that they appear scattered throughout the Anthology. The labels in red at the start of each epigram are their numbers within the Anthology. The labels in green are the numbers assigned to the epigrams in the edition by D.L.Page, Further Greek Epigrams; the later epigrams in Page's edition (with numbers greater than 50) are definitely not by Simonides. To go to a specific epigram in Page's edition, type the number in the box below, and hit [go].
  → (in range 1 - 86):  
 

The translations are taken from the edition by W.R.Paton (1916-18), but have been modified to remove some of the archaic language. The translator's notes are shown in green.   Click on G to go to the Greek text of each epigram.



[5.159]   { P 60 }   G

Boïdiŏn, the flute-player, and Pythias, both most lovable once upon a time, dedicate to you, Cypris, these girdles and pictures. Merchant and skipper, your purse knows whence the girdles and whence the pictures.


[6.2]   { P 19 }   G

This bow, resting from tearful war, hangs here under the roof of Athene's temple. Often mid the roar of battle, in the struggle of men, was it washed in the blood of Persian horsemen.


[6.50]   { P 15 }   G

On the Altar at Plataea commemorating the Battle

This altar of Zeus the Liberator did the Hellenes erect, an ornament for Hellas such as becomes a free land, after that, obeying their brave hearts' impulse, they had driven out the Persians by the might of their hands and by the toil of battle.


[6.52]   { P 61 }   G

Rest, my long lance, thus against the high column and remain sacred to Panomphaean Zeus. For now your point is old, and you are worn by long brandishing in the battle.


[6.197]   { P 17a }   G

I, Pausanias, the leader of the Greeks, dedicated this monument to Phoebus, *   when I destroyed the army of the Medes.

*   The bronze tripod dedicated at Delphi after the defeat of the Persians at the battle of Plataea.


[6.212]   { P 62 }   G

Pray, O Cyton, that the god, the son of Leto, who presides over the market-place, scene of beautiful dances, may take joy in your gifts as great as is the praise that you receive by the crowns given to you, loaded with gratitude from strangers and citizens of Corinth.


[6.213]   { P 27 }   G

Six and fifty bulls and as many tripods you did win, Simonides, before you dedicated this tablet. Even so many times, after teaching your odes to the delightful chorus of men, you mounted the splendid chariot of glorious victory.


[6.214]   { P 34 }   G

I say that Gelon, Hieron, Polyzelus, and Thrasybulus, the sons of Deinomenes, dedicated the tripod *   weighing fifty talents and six hundred litrae of Damaretian gold, a tithe of the tithe.

*   One of the most famous and precious offerings at Delphi, dedicated by the Sicilian princes after their victory over the Carthaginians, which was contemporary with the battle of Salamis. It as offered as a tithe of the tithe which fell to the princes.


[6.215]   { P 13 }   G

These shields, won from their foes the Medes, the sailors of Diodorus dedicated to Leto in memory of the sea-fight. *  

*   The battle of Salamis.


[6.216]   { P 59 }   G

Sosus and Soso dedicated this (tripod) in thanks for being so saved, Sosus because he was so saved and Soso because Sosus was so saved.


[6.217]   { P 69 }   G

The priest of Rhea, when taking shelter from the winter snow-storm he entered the lonely cave, had just wiped the snow off his hair, when following on his steps came a lion, devourer of cattle, into the hollow way. But he with outspread hand beat the great tambourine he held and the whole cave rang with the sound. Nor did that woodland beast dare to endure the holy boom of Cybele, but rushed straight up the forest-clad hill, in dread of the half-girlish servant of the goddess, who has dedicated to her these robes and this his yellow hair.


[6.341]   { P 4 }   G

Mandrocles, having bridged the fishy Bosporus, dedicated to Hera this memorial of the bridge. A crown for himself he gained and glory for Samos by executing the work as Darius the King desired. *

*   From Herodotus, 4.88.


[6.343]   { P 3 }   G

The sons of Athens having subdued in the work of war the peoples of Boeotia and Chalcis, quenched their arrogance in sorrowful iron bondage. These statues of the horses of their foes, they dedicated to Pallas as a tithe of the ransom. *

*   For this inscription which stood in the Acropolis "on the left as you enter the Propylaea " see Herodotus, 5.77.


[7.20]   { P 51 }   G

On Sophocles

Thy light is out, aged Sophocles, flower of poets, crowned with the purple clusters of Bacchus.


[7.24]   { P 66 }   G

On Anacreon

O vine who soothes all, nurse of wine, mother of the grape, you who put forth your web of curling tendrils, flourish green in the fine soil and climb up the pillar of the grave of Teian Anacreon ; that he, the reveller heavy with wine, playing all through the night on his lad-loving lyre, may even as he lies low in earth have the glorious ripe clusters hanging from the branches over his head, and that he may be ever steeped in the dew that scented the old man's tender lips so sweetly.


[7.25]   { P 67 }   G

On the Same

In this tomb of Teos, his home, was Anacreon laid, the singer whom the Muses made deathless, who set to the sweet love of lads tunes breathing of the Graces, breathing of Love. Alone in Acheron he grieves not that he has left the sun and dwells there in the house of Lethe, but that he has left Megisteus, graceful above all the youth, and his passion for Thracian Smerdiēs. Yet never does he desist from song delightful as honey, and even in Hades he has not laid that lute to rest.


[7.77]   { P 85 }   G

On Simonides (?) *  

The saviour of the Ceian Simonides is this man, who even in death requited him who lived.

*   This lemma is wrong. The couplet is said to have been written by Simonides on the tomb of a man whose corpse he found on the shore and buried, and whose ghost appeared and forbade him to sail in a ship which was wrecked on her voyage.


[7.177]   { P 86 }   G

This monument his father erected above Spinther on his death . . .   {the rest is missing).


[7.248]   { P 22a }   G

Four thousand from Peloponnesus once fought here with three millions. *  

*   On the general monument of all the Greeks who fell at Thermopylae, No. 249 being on that of the Spartans.


[7.249]   { P 22b }   G

Stranger, bear this message to the Spartans, that we lie here obedient to their laws.


[7.250]   { P 12 }   G

We lie here, having given our lives to save all Hellas when she stood on a razor's edge. *  

*   On the tomb of the Corinthians who fell at Salamis. The stone has been found.


[7.251]   { P 9 }   G

These men having clothed their dear country in inextinguishable glory, donned the dark cloud of death ; and having died, yet they are not dead, for their valour's renown brings them up from the house of Hades. *  

*   This is probably on the Spartan dead at Plataea, No. 253 being on the Athenian dead.


[7.253]   { P 8 }   G

If to die well be the chief part of virtue, Fortune granted this to us above all others ; for striving to endue Hellas with freedom, we lie here possessed of praise that grows not old.


[7.254]   { P 49 }   G

Hail, ye champions who won great glory in war, ye sons of Athens, excellent horsemen ; who once for your country of fair dancing-floors lost your young lives, fighting against a great number of the Greeks. *

*   This epitaph has been found on an inscription dating from the second half of the 5th century B.C. ( IG 1&179;.1181 ).


[7.254a]   { P 78 }   G

I, Brotachus, a Gortynian of Crete, lie here, where I came not for this purpose, but to trade.


[7.257]   { P 18 }   G

The sons of Athens utterly destroying the army of the Persians repelled sore slavery from their country.


[7.258]   { P 46 }   G

These men once by the Eurymedon *   lost their bright youth, fighting with the front ranks of the Median bowmen, both on foot and from the swift ships ; and dying they left behind them the glorious record of their courage.

*   In this battle Cimon defeated the Persians, B.C. 466.


[7.270]   { P 76a }   G

These men, when bringing the first-fruits from Sparta to Phoebus, one sea, one night, one ship brought to the grave.


[7.296]   { - }   G

Since the sea parted Europe from Asia, since fierce Ares directs the battles of nations, never was a more splendid deed of arms performed by mortals on land and on the sea at once. For these men after slaying many Medes in Cyprus, took a hundred Phoenician ships at sea with their crews. Asia groaned aloud, smitten with both hands by their triumphant might. *  

*   This is the epitaph of those who fell in Cimon's last campaign in Cyprus (B.C. 449).


[7.300]   { P 73 }   G

Here the earth covers Pythonax and his brother, before they saw the prime of their lovely youth. Their father, Megaristus, set up this monument to them dead, an immortal gift to his mortal sons.


[7.301]   { P 7 }   G

O Leonidas, king of spacious Sparta, illustrious are they who died with you and are buried here. They faced in battle with the Medes the force of multitudinous bows and of steeds fleet of foot. *  

*   This, on the Spartans who fell at Thermopylae, is doubtless not Simonides', but a later production.


[7.302]   { P 77 }   G

Every man grieves at the death of those near to him, but his friends and the city regret (?) Nicodicus.


[7.344a]   { P 83 }   G

I am the most valiant of beasts, and most valiant of men is he whom I guard standing on this stone tomb. *  

*   Probably on the tomb of Leonidas, on which stood a lion, alluding to his name.


[7.347]   { P 10 }   G

This is the tomb of that Adeimantus *   through whose counsel Greece put on the crown of freedom.

*   The Corinthian admiral at the battle of Salamis.


[7.348]   { P 37 }   G

Here I lie, Timocreon of Rhodes, after drinking much and eating much and speaking much ill of men.


[7.431]   { P 65 }   G

- Anonymous, some say by SIMONIDES

We the three hundred, O Spartan fatherland, fighting for Thyrea with as many Argives, never turning our necks, died there where we first planted our feet. The shield, covered with the brave blood of Othryadas proclaims "Thyrea, O Zeus, belongs to the Lacedaemonians." But if any Argive escaped death he was of the race of Adrastus. *   For a Spartan to fly, not to die, is death.

*   The only one of the seven Argive leaders who returned from Thebes.


[7.442]   { P 54 }   G

Let us ever remember the men whose tomb this is, who turned not from the battle but fell in arms before their city, defending Tegea rich in flocks, that Greece should never strip from their dead heads the crown of freedom.


[7.443]   { P 47 }   G

Once in the breasts of these men did Ares wash with red rain his long-barbed arrows. Instead of men who stood and faced the shafts this earth covers memorials of the dead, lifeless memorials of their living selves.


[7.496]   { P 68 }   G

Lofty Gerania, evil cliff, would that from the far Scythian land you did look down on the Danube and the long course of the Tanais, and did not dwell near the waves of the Scironian sea and by the ravines of snowy Methurias. *   Now he is in the sea, a cold corpse, and the empty tomb here laments his unhappy voyage.

*   The only Methuriades known are small islands near Troezen.


[7.507a]   { - }   G

You do not see the grave of Croesus, but a poor labourer's tomb is this, yet sufficient for me.


[7.507b]   { P 81 }   G

I, Gorgippus, without having looked on the bridal bed, descended to the chamber that none may escape - the chamber of fair-haired Persephone.


[7.508]   { - }   G

His city Gela buried here Pausanias, son of Anchites, a physician of the race of Asclepius, bearing a name *   expressive of his calling, who turned aside from the chambers of Persephone many men wasted by chilling disease.

*   Stiller of pain.


[7.509]   { P 82 }   G

I am the monument of Theognis of Sinope, erected over him by Glaucus for the sake of their long companionship.


[7.510]   { P 72 }   G

The earth of a strange land lies on your body, Cleisthenes, but the doom of death overtook you wandering on the Euxine sea. You were cheated of sweet, honeyed home-coming, nor did you ever return to sea-girt Chios.


[7.511]   { P 75 }   G

When I look on the tomb of Megacles dead, I pity you, poor Callias, for what you have suffered.


[7.512]   { P 53 }   G

Through the valour of these men the smoke of spacious Tegea in flames never went up to heaven. They resolved to leave to their children their city prospering in freedom and to die themselves in the forefront of the fight.


[7.513]   { P 74 }   G

Protomachus said, when his father was holding him in his arms as he breathed forth his lovely youth, "Timenorides, never shall you cease to regret your dear son's valour and virtue."


[7.514]   { P 71 }   G

Shame of retreat led Cleodemus, too, to mournful death when on the banks of ever-flowing Theaerus he engaged the Thracian troop, and his warrior son made the name of his father, Diphilus, famous.


[7.515]   { P 70 }   G

Alas, cruel sickness, why do you grudge the souls of men their sojourn with lovely youth ? Timarchus, too, in his youth you have robbed of his sweet life before he looked on a wedded wife.


[7.516]   { P 84 }   G

Zeus, Protector of strangers, let them who slew me meet with the same fate, but may they who laid me in earth live and prosper. *  

*   On the grave of one slain by robbers.


[7.647]   { P 76b }   G

- by SIMONIDES or SIMIAS

These were the very last words that Gorgo spoke to her dear mother, in tears throwing her hands round her neck : "Stay here with father and may you bear another daughter, more fortunate than I was, to tend your grey old age."


[7.677]   { P 6 }   G

This is the tomb of famous Megistias *   the prophet, whom the Persians slew after crossing the Spercheius. Though he well knew then the impending fate, he disdained to desert the Spartan leaders.

*   The prophet who was with the Spartans at Thermopylae. Leonidas wished to send him home, but he refused to go.


[9.700]   { P 48 }   G

Polygnotus of Thasos, the son of Aglaophon, painted the sack of the citadel of Troy. *

*   On the Lesche of the Cnidians at Delphi.


[9.757]   { P 32a }   G

Iphion of Corinth *   painted this. There is no fault in his hand, since the achievement far excels the expectation.

*   A painter who is unknown apart from this and one other epigram.


[9.758]   { P 33b }   G

Cimon painted the door on the right, and Dionysius that on the right as you go out.


[10.105]   { P 79 }   G

A certain Theodorus rejoices because I am dead. Another shall rejoice at his death. We ae all owed to death. *

*   cp. Horace's "Debemur morti nos nostraque" (Ars Poetica, 63).


[13.11]   { P 50 }   G

A. Who dedicated this portrait?   B. Dorieus of Thurii. *   A. Was he not a Rhodian by descent ?   B. Yes, before he was exiled from his country. Many deeds of might he had done by his terrible hand.

*   For Dorieus, who lived at the end of the fifth century B.C., see Smith's Biographical Dictionary. The epigram cannot, of course, be by Simonides.


[13.14]   { P 35 }   G

Here lies Dandes of Argos, the stadion racer, who gained honour by his victories for his fatherland, rich in pasture for horses. Twice did he conquer at Olympia, thrice at Delphi, twice at the Isthmus, and fifteen times at Nemea, and it is not easy to count his other victories.


[13.17]   { P 32b }   G

Iphion, whom water from Peirene once fed, *   painted me with his own hand.

*   i.e. a Corinthian.


[13.19]   { P 43 }   G

This statue is the offering of Nicoladas of Corinth, who conquered at Delphi in the foot-race, and at the Panathenaea gained prizes, jars of oil, in five contests one after another ; and in holy Isthmus the shore of the Sea-lord witnessed him win the prize thrice in succession ; and in Nemea he gained three victories, another four in Pellene, and two in the precinct of Zeus Lycaeus ; and likewise in Tegea, and in mighty Epidaurus, and in Thebes, and the land of Megara ; and in Phlius, winning the stadion and pentathlon, he made great Corinth rejoice.


[13.20]   { P 64 }   G

Opis, giving glory to his fatherland, the holy city of Athena, offered this pleasant flute, child of the black earth, *   that he wrought by the help of Hephaestus, to Aphrodite, having been vanquished by love for beautiful Bryson.

*   Presumably made of silver.


[13.26]   { P 36 }   G

I will tell of her ; for it is not meet that she should lie here without a name, the noble wife of Archenautes, Xanthippe, granddaughter of Periander, him who once ruled over the people, holding the lordship of high-towered Corinth.

[13.30]   { - }   G

(Hexameter, becoming a trochaic tetrameter by shifting the words)

Sing me, Muse, the son of fair-ankled Alcmene.


[16.2]   { P 30 }   G

Know Theognetus when you look on him, the boy who conquered at Olympia, the dexterous charioteer of wrestling, *   most lovely to behold, but in combat no way inferior to his beauty. He won a crown for the city of his noble fathers {Aegina}.

*   i.e. he had complete command of the science.


[16.3]   { P 42 }   G

Diophon, the son of Philo, was victor at the Isthmian and Pythian games in jumping, fleetness of foot, throwing the discus, throwing the javelin, and wrestling. *  

*   i.e. in the pentathlon.


[16.23]   { P 31 }   G

A. Say who thou art, whose son, from what country, and in what a victor.   B. Casmylus, son of Euagoras, a Rhodian, victor in boxing at the Pythian games.


[16.24]   { P 25 }   G

This is a beautiful statue of beautiful Milo, who, by the banks of Pisa, *   conquered seven times and never once fell on his knees.

*   a stream at Olympia.


[16.26]   { P 2 }   G

We fell under the fold of Dirphys, and our funeral mound was raised near the Euripus by our country. And not undeservedly : for we lost our delightful youth facing the rugged cloud of battle. *  

*   * On the Athenians who fell in the victory over the Chalcidians in 504 B.C. See Herodotus v.77. Dirphys is a mountain in Euboea.


[16.60]   { P 57 }   G

A. Who is this?   B. A Bacchant.   A. And who carved her ?   B. Scopas.   A. And who made her frenzied, Bacchus or Scopas ?   B. Scopas.


[16.82]   { P 58 }   G

Chares of Lindus made the Colossus of Rhodes, eighty cubits high.

*   This attribution is of course wrong, as the Colossus was erected long after his time.


[16.84]   { P 33a }   G

With no ignorant hand did Cimon paint these things; but no work is without blame, which not even Daedalus of blessed memory escaped.


[16.204]   { P 56 }   G

On the Eros of Praxiteles

Praxiteles perfectly portrayed that Love he suffered, taking the model from his own heart, giving me to Phryne in payment for myself. But I give birth to passion no longer by shooting arrows, but by darting glances.


[16.232]   { P 5 }   G

On the Statue of Pan erected by Miltiades

Miltiades erected me, goat-footed Pan, the Arcadian, the foe of the Medes, the friend of the Athenians.


[ - ]   { P 40 }   G

Quoted by Plut:Cim_7 ; see also Aeschin_3.184-5

Cimon . . . turned over {the territory of Eon} to the Athenians for occupation. Wherefore the people permitted him to dedicate the stone Herms, on the first of which is the inscription:
  Valorous-hearted as well were they who at Eon fighting,
  Facing the sons of the Medes, Strymon's current beside,
  Fiery famine arrayed, and gore-flecked Ares, against them,
  Thus first finding for foes that grim exit, despair;

and on the second:
  Unto their leaders reward by Athenians thus hath been given;
  Benefits won such return, valorous deeds of the brave.
  All the more strong at the sight will the men of the future be eager,
  Fighting for commonwealth, war's dread strife to maintain;

and on the third:
  With the Atreidae of old, from this our city, Menestheus
  Led his men to the plain Trojan called and divine.
  He, once Homer asserted, among well-armoured Achaeans,
  Marshaller was of the fight, best of them all who had come.
  Thus there is naught unseemly in giving that name to Athenians;
  Marshallers they both of war and of the vigour of men.


[ - ]   { P 41 }   G

On an Olympic victor; quoted by Arist:Rhet_1365a

Formerly, with a rough basket on my shoulders, I used to carry fish from Argos to Tegea.


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