A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Ἀλέξανδρος), surnamed LYCHNUS (Λύχνος), a Greek rhetorician and poet. He was a native of Ephesus, whence he is sometimes

called Alexander Ephesius, and must have lived shortly before the time of Strabo (xiv. p.642), who mentions him among the more recent Ephesian authors, and also states, that he took a part in the political affairs of his native city. Strabo ascribes to him a history, and poems of a didactic kind, viz. one on astronomy and another on geography, in which he describes the great continents of the world, treating of each in a separate work or book, which, as we learn from other sources, bore the name of the continent of which it contained an account. What kind of history it was that Strabo alludes to, is uncertain. The so-called Aurelius Victor (de Orig. Gent. Rom. 9) quotes, it is true, the first book of a history of the Marsic war by Alexander the Ephesian; but this authority is more than doubtful. Some writers have supposed that this Alexander is the author of the history of the succession of Greek philosophers (αἱ τῶν φιλοσόφων διαδοχαί), which is so often referred to by Diogenes Laertius (1.116, 2.19, 106, 3.4, 5, 4.62, 7.179, 8.24, 9.61); but this work belonged probably to Alexander Polyhistor. His geographical poem, of which several fragments are still extant, is frequently referred to by Stephanus Byzantius and others. (Steph. Byz. s. vv. Ἀάπηθος, Ταπροβάνη, Δῶρος, Ψ̔ρκανοὶ, Μελιταία, &c.; comp. Eustath. ad Dionys. Perieg. 388, 591.) Of his astronomical poem a fragment is still extant, which has been erroneously attributed by Gale (Addend. ad Parthen. p. 49) and Schneider (ad Vitruv. ii. p. 23, &c.) to Alexander Aetolus. (See Naeke, Schedae Criticae, p. 7, &c.) It is highly probable that Cicero (Cic. Att. 2.20, 22) is speaking of Alexander Lychnus when he says, that Alexander is not a good poet, a careless writer, but yet possesses some information.