(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 …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Gerber, Douglas. "Bacchylides". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 April 2006
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]