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

(Κινησίας), a dithyrambic poet of Athens. The Scholiast on Aristophanes (Aristoph. Frogs 153) calls him a Theban, but this account seems to be virtually contradicted by Plutarch (de Glor. Ath. 5), and may perhaps have arisen, as Fabricius suggests (Bibl. Graec. ii. p. 117), from confounding him with another person of the same name, (Comp. Aristot. apud Schol. ad Aristoph. Av. 1379.) Fabricius himself mentions Evagoras as his father, on the authority apparently of a corrupt fragment of Plato, the comic poet, which is quoted by Galen. (See Dalechamp, ad Atthen. xii. p. 551.) In the " Gorgias" of Plato (p. 501e.) he is expressly called the son of Meles. His talents are said to have been of a very inferior order. Plutarch (l.c.) calls him a poet of no high repute or creative genius. The comic writer, Pherecrates (apud Plut, de Mus. 30), accuses him of having introduced sad corruptions into music , and to this Aristophanes perhaps alludes in the ward ᾀσματοκάμπτας. (Nub. 332.) In the Birds (1372-1409), he is introduced as wishing to fly up to Olympus to bring down from the clouds, their proper region, a fresh supply of " rambling odes, air-tost and snowbeaten"

(ἀεροδονήτους καὶ νιφοβόλους ἀναβολάς, comp. Aristot. Rh. 3.9.1). But he presented many salient points, besides the character of his poems, to the attacks of comedy. Athenaeus tells us (xii. p. 551), that he was so tall and thin as to be obliged to wear, for the support of his body, a species of stays made of the wood of the linden tree. Hence Aristophanes (Aristoph. Birds 1378) calls him φιλύρινον: hence, too (Ran. 1433), he makes Euripides propose to fit Cinesias, by way of wings, to a fellow-rogue, Cleocritus; and in a fragment of the Γηρυτάδης (apud Athen. l.c.) he speaks of him as a fit ambassador from the Dithyrambic poets to their shadowy brethren of the craft in Hades. (Comp. Strattis, apud Athen. l.c.; Dalechamp, ad loc., and the authors there referred to.) A more legitimate ground of satire was furnished by his impiety, which was open and excessive, and his very profligate life; and we learn from Lysias, the orator (apud Athen. l.c.), who himself attacked him in two orations,--now lost with the exception of the fragment here referred to,--that not a year passed in which he was not assailed on this score by the comic poets. He had his revenge however; for he succeeded in procuring (probably about B. C. 390) the abolition of the Choragia, as far as regarded comedy, which had indeed been declining ever since the Archonship of Callias in B. C. 406. In consequence of this Strattis attacked him in his play called "Cinesias." (Schol. ad Arist. Ran. 404; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. ii. p. 497; Böckh, Publ. Econ. of Athens, bk. iii. ch. 22; Clinton, sub annis 406, 388, 337.) From Lysias also (apud Athen. l.c.) we learn, that Cinesias abandoned prudently the practice of his art, and betook himself to the trade of an informer, which he found a very profitable one. (Comp. Perizon. ad Ael. V. H. 3.8, 10.6; Schol. ad Aristoph. ll. cc.; Plut. de Superst. 10 Harpocrat. and Suid. s. v. Kinhsi/as.)