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PHILOXENUS
A famous Greek dithyrambic poet, of Cythera. He came as a prisoner of war into the possession of the Athenian musician Melanippides, by whom he was educated and set free. He lived long at Syracuse, at the court of the tyrant Dionysius I, who threw him into the stone-quarries for outspoken criticism on his bad poems. On his escape from Sicily he revenged himself on the tyrant, who was short-sighted or perhaps blind of one eye, by witty raillery in the most famous of is twenty-four dithyrambs, the Cyclops, which describes the love of the one-eyed Polyphemus for the beautiful Nymph Galatea. He died 380 B.C. at Ephesus, after visiting various places in Greece, Italy, and Asia Minor for the public performance of his compositions. These were celebrated among the ancients for originality of expression and rich variety of melody. We have only some considerable fragments of a lyric poem entitled The Banquet, in which the burlesque subject affords a comic contrast to the dignified Doric rhythm.
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