Alcaeus (comic poet)

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Alcaeus (Ancient Greek: Ἀλκαῖος), the son of Miccus, was an Athenian comic poet who wrote ten plays.[1] His comedies marked the transition between Old Comedy and Middle Comedy. In 388 BC, his play Pasiphae was awarded the fifth (i.e. last) place prize.

Fabricius mentions another Alcaeus, a tragedian.[2] Some scholars thought that they were the same person, and calling Alcaeus "a tragedian" rose from an erroneous reading of his title "comoedo-tragoedia".[3]

Surviving Titles and Fragments[edit]

The titles of eight plays still exist, along with forty fragments altogether, most of which suggest that he worked mainly in mythological subjects.

  • Adephai Moicheuomenai ("The Adulterous Sisters")
  • Callisto
  • Endymion
  • Hieros Gamos ("Holy Marriage")
  • Komadotragodia ("Comedo-Tragedy")
  • Palaistra ("Palaestra")
  • Panymedes
  • Pasiphae (See above)


  1. ^ Suidas α 1274
  2. ^ Fabricius, Johann Albert, Biblioth. Grace, ii. p. 282.
  3. ^ William Smith, ed. (1870). "Alcaeus (7)". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 96. Archived from the original on 2011-01-11.