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This article is about the Greek poet. For the priest who spawned a sect, see Colluthians.

According to the Suda, Coluthus (Greek: Κόλουθος), often Colluthus, of Lycopolis in the Egyptian Thebaid, was an epic poet writing in Greek, who flourished during the reign of Anastasius I (491-518).[1]

Calydoniaca and The Rape of Helen[edit]

The Suda adds that he was the author of a Calydoniaca in six books, doubtless an account of the Calydonian boar hunt, Persica, an account of the Persian wars, and Encomia, or laudatory poems.[1]

These are all lost, but his poem in 394 hexameters on The Rape of Helen (Ἁρπαγὴ Ἑλένης) is still extant, having been discovered by Cardinal Bessarion in Calabria. The poem, described in 1911 as "dull and tasteless, devoid of imagination, a poor imitation of Homer, and [having] little to recommend it except its harmonious versification, based upon the technical rules of Nonnus",[1] has been more recently evaluated as a "short and charming miniature epic".[2] It related the history of Paris and Helen from the wedding of Peleus and Thetis down to the elopement and arrival at Troy.[1]

Printed editions[edit]

The first printed edition was by Aldus Manutius, Venice, possibly in 1505.[3]

Early editions by John Daniel van Lennep (1747, the first critical edition, collating six mss.), G.F. Schafer (1825), E. Abel (1880) and W. Weinberger (Teubner, 1896),[1] have been superseded by that of Enrico Livrea (1968).[4]

The best manuscript of this difficult and corrupt text is the so-called Codex Mutinensis (Bibliothèque National suppl. graec. 388) which Hall, Companion to Classical Texts, p. 278, says "was never at Modena but was brought by the French in the Napoleonic wars at the beginning of the 19th century from somewhere in North Italy".


  1. ^ a b c d e Chisholm 1911, p. 748.
  2. ^ Jasper Griffin, 2010, 'Greek Epic' in Catherine Bates, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Epic, p. 28.
  3. ^ Mair 1928, p. [page needed] suggested probably about 1521.
  4. ^ Livrea, Colluto: il Ratto di Elena (Bologna). Critical text, introduction, critical apparatus, Italian translation, commentary and parallels.


  • Griffin, Jasper (2010). "Greek Epic". In Bates, Catherine. The Cambridge Companion to the Epic. Cambridge University Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-521-70736-7. 
  • Mair, A. W. (1928). Oppian, Colluthus and Tryphiodorus, with an English translation. London/New York: William Heinemann/Putnam’s. 

External links[edit]