Who is Callimachus? The Great Feud and Ancient Quotes

Who was able to really get under the skin of Callimachus? In this article, you will learn of a famous feud that the respected poet became a part of and what could possibly have been the real reason he chose to exchange insults and comments with his younger counterpart.

8) Talk about famous feuds”¦do you know what Callimachus fought over? Since he was strongly against the epic, he often butted heads with those who thought otherwise. One of the most infamous arguments involved a young student of Callimachus’ named Apollonius of Rhodes (author of Argonautica), who was in favor of the epic. They engaged in a lengthy feud, where they threw insults and comments and attacks at one another for more than 30 years.

9) To add insult to injury when it comes to Callimachus’ greatest feud, a fragment of papyrus regarding the earliest chief librarians of the Library of Alexandra states that Ptolemy II did not offer the post to Callimachus because he passed him over for his rival, Apollonius Rhodius. Some will say that this is the real reason that the two were constantly at each other’s throats.

10) To get a sense of Callimachus, perhaps the following ancient quotes attributed to him can shed a bit of light on the poet:

“I wept as I remembered how often you and I had tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky.”

“I abhor, too, the roaming lover, nor do I drink from every well; I loathe all things in common”

“A great book is like great evil.”

11) A sample of an epigram penned by Callimachus includes ‘Epigram 55’ , found in the “The Poems of Callimachus”:

I am the work of the Samian who once in his house
entertained the divine bard. My subject is Eurytos,
his agonies, and blond Ioleia. I am ascribed to Homer.

12) Aitia (Causes) is the longest poem that Callimachus has written. It was a narrative elegy spread across four different books that was most likely created in 270. As stated before, others have tried to follow in the footsteps of the poet, heavily using his work. This is seen in one of his poems (‘The Lock of Berenice’), which Catullus adapted into Latin.

13) Callimachus is known for the amount of works associated with his talent. He published works of art that offered his public tragedies, comedies, as well as studies that touched upon an array of subjects. An example of this is seen in his study, which focused on the writings and language of Democritus of Abdera.

14) In his poem titled ‘Hymn to Zeus,’ he wrote:

“He accomplishes by dusk what he thinks of at dawn ,
the monumental by dusk, the minor in a trice ,
While the projects of others drag on for years,
their programs curtailed by your executive order.”

This was his way of showing his respect for one of his royal patrons, Ptolemy Philadelphos.