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APOLLONIUS
the Rhodian. A Greek scholar and epic poet of the Alexandrian age, born at Alexandria about 260 B.C., a pupil of Callimachus, wrote a long epic, The Argonautica, in four books, in which, departing from his master's taste for the learned and artificial, he aimed at all the simplicity of Homer. The party of Callimachus rejected the poem, and Apollonius retired in disgust to Rhodes, where his labours as a rhetorician, and his newly revised poem, won him hearty recognition and even admission to the citizenship. Hence his surname. Afterwards, returning to Alexandria, he recited his poem once more, and this time with universal applause, so that Ptolemy Epiphanes, in B.C. 196, appointed him to succeed Eratosthenes as librarian. He probably died during the tenure of this office. His epic poem, which has survived, has a certain simplicity, though falling far short of the naturalness and beauty of Homer; its uniform mediocrity often makes it positively tedious, though it is constructed with great care, especially in its versification. By the Romans it was much prized, and more than once imitated, as by Varro of Atax and Valerius Flaccus. A valuable collection of scholia upon it testifies the esteem in which it was held by the learned of old.
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