Epicharmus

Epicharmus is considered to have lived within the hundred year period between c. 540 and c. 450 BC. He was a Greek dramatist and philosopher often credited with being one of the first comic writers, having originated the Doric or Sicilian comedic form. Aristotle (Poetics 5 1449b5 ) writes that he and Phormis invented comic plots (muthos). Most of the information we have about Epicharmus comes from the writings of Athenaeus, Suidas and Diogenes Laertius, but fragments and comments come up in a host of other ancient authors as well. There have also been some papyrus finds of longer sections of text, but these are often so full of holes that it is difficult to make sense of them. Plato mentions Epicharmus in his dialogue Gorgias and in Theaetetus. In the latter, Socrates refers to Epicharmus as "the prince of Comedy", Homer as "the prince of Tragedy", and both as "great masters of either kind of poetry". More references by ancient authors can be found discussed in Pickard-Cambridge's Dithyramb, Tragedy, Comedy and they are collected in Greek in Kassel and Austin's new edition of the fragments in Poetae Comici Graeci, (2001)

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