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Callimachus



An eminent poet, grammarian, and critic of the Alexandrian period. Callimachus flourished about the middle of the 3rd century BC. He was born of a distinguished family at Cyrene in Libya; taught grammar in Alexandria; and was a favorite of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and his successor, Ptolemy Euergetes; and was made principal librarian of the Alexandrian Library. He is said to have written as many as 800 works on many subjects, but of these only small fragments are extant, only six hymns and 64 epigrams being complete. His elegies were much admired by the Roman poets Catallus, Propertius, and Ovid. The remains we possess are enough to show that art and learning, rather than genius, characterized his poetry. The largest of his lost poems were Aitia (Causes), in four books, on the origin of mythical stories, and an epic Hekale.