Surprisingly little is known about Apollonius Rhodius, the author of


, the third greatest epic poem from ancient Greece. We have no firm dates for his birth or death. What little information we have about his life comes almost exclusively from four sources: a second-century CE papyrus fragment (

Oxyrhynchus Papyri

1241) containing a list of librarians at the Ptolemaic library; two brief “lives” preserved in manuscripts of the


; and a brief entry in the


, a tenth-century CE Byzantine lexicon. From these meager and often contradictory accounts, we can establish with some probability that Apollonius was originally from Alexandria, that he spent some time in Rhodes, that he was a pupil of Callimachus, and that he was head librarian at the royal library in…

2250 words

Citation: Race, William. "Apollonius of Rhodes". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 March 2009 [, accessed 26 May 2024.]

130 Apollonius of Rhodes 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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