Bacchylides
(ca. 520-450 BC)

Lyric poet from Ceos who was the nephew (through his mother) of Simonides.

Bacchylides wrote dithyrambs (narrative poems with mythological subjects, sung by a chorus with one solo singer) and took part in poetry competitions in Athens.

For example, he wrote two imaginary episodes from the life of Theseus and a poem about Croesus. He called himself "the nightingale of Ceos".

Both Bacchylides and his uncle Simonides were rivals to Pindar. They went to Syracusae and together they wrote victory odes for Hieron of Syracusae, amongst other a tribute to Hieron's victory at the horse races in the Olympic Games in 476 BC.

His style was genuine and clear and he had a narrative talent, but is generally considered not to have been a genius. 14 victory odes and 6 dithyrambs of his survive to this day.

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