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

(Χιωνίδης and Χιονίδης), an Athenian comic poet of the old comedy, whom Suidas (s. v.) places at the head of the poets of the old comedy (πρωταγωνιστὴν τῆς ἀρΧαίας κωμωδίας), adding that he exhibited eight years before the Persian war, that is, in B. C. 487. (Clinton. sub ann.) On the other hand, according to a passage in the Poetics of Aristotle (100.3), Chionides was long after Epicharmus. [EPICHARMUS.] On the strength of this passage Meineke thinks that Chionides cannot be placed much earlier than B. C. 460; and in confirmation of this date he quotes from Athenaeus (xiv. p. 638a.) a passage from a play of Chionides, the ΠτωΧοί, in which mention is made of Gnesippus, a poet contemporary with Cratinus. But we also learn from Athenaeus (l.c. and iv. p. 137e.), that some of the ancient critics considered the Πτωχοί to be spurious, and with respect to the passage of Aristotle, Ritter has brought forward very strong arguments against its genuineness. (For the discussion of the question see Wolf, Proleg. ad Hom. p. lxix.; Meineke, Hist. Grit. pp. 27, 28; Grysarius, de Com. Doric. pp. 152, 153; Ritter, Comm. in Aristot. Poet. 3.) However this may be, the difference of some twenty years in the date of Chionides is of little consequence compared with the fact, attested by Suidas and implied by Aristotle, that Chionides was the most ancient poet of the Athenian old comedy,--not absolutely in order of time, for Susarion was long before him [SUSARION], and, if the passage of Aristotle be genuine, so were Euetes, Euxenides, and Myllus; but the first who gave the Athenian comedy that form which it retained down to the time of Aristophanes, and of which the old comic lyric songs of Attica and the Megaric buffoonery imported by Susarion were only the rude elements.

We have the following titles of his Comedies: --Ἥρωες (a correction for Ἥρωες), ΠτωΧοί (see above), Πέρσαι η̈, Ἀσσύριοι. Of the last not a fragment remains: whether its title may be taken as an argument for placing Chionides about the time of the Persian war, is of course a mere matter of conjecture. The ΠτωΧοί is quoted by Athenaeus (l.c., and iii. p. 191e.), the Ἥρωες by Pollux (10.43), the Antiatticista (p. 97), and Suidas (s. v. Ἄγνος). The poet's name occurs in Vitruvius. (vi. Praef.)