(547 words)
  • Douglas Gerber (University of Western Ontario)

Bacchylides is often mentioned in conjunction with Pindar, not only because they were contemporaries but more importantly because they composed odes for successful athletes, sometimes for the same victory, as in 476 when both celebrated the Olympic victory of Hieron, tyrant of Syracuse, in the horse race. Bacchylides was born on the island of Ceos, not far from the coast of Attica, some time in the 520s and he presumably died in the 450s, since the last date that can be assigned to any of his poems is 452.

The period from about 550 to 450 was the period during which epinician odes, i.e. choral odes celebrating victories in the various athletic festivals, flourished. Bacchylides' uncle, Simonides, composed similar odes, although …

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Gerber, Douglas. "Bacchylides". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 April 2006
[, accessed 07 July 2015.]