4. Of Smyrna, or rather of the small place of Phlossa on the river Meles, near Smyrna. (Suid. s. v. Θεόκριτος.)
All that we know about him is the little that can be inferred from the third Idyl
of Moschus, who laments his untimely death. The time it which he lived can be pretty accurately determined by the fact, that he was older than Moschus, who calls himself the pupil of Bion. (Mosch. 3.96, &c.) His flourishing period must therefore have very nearly coincided with that of Theocritus, and must be fixed at about B. C. 280. Moschus states, that Bion left his native country and spent the last years of his life in Sicily, cultivating bucolic poetry, the natural growth of that island. Whether he also visited Macedonia and Thrace, as Moschus (3.17, &c.) intimates, is uncertain, since it may be that Moschus mentions those countries only because he calls Bion the Doric Orpheus. He died of poison, which had been administered to him by several persons, who afterwards received their well-deserved punishment for the crime. With respect to the relation of master and pupil between Bion and Moschus, we cannot say anything with certainty, except that the resemblance between the productions of the two poets obliges us to suppose, at least, that Moschus imitated Bion; and this may, in fact, be all that is meant when Moschus calls himself a disciple of the latter.