Simonides was a famous lyric poet from the city of Iulis, in the island of Ceos, off the coast of Attica. He left his native island in his youth and went to Athens, where he spent the largest part of his life. He probably also spent some time at the court of Hieron, the tyrant of Syracuse, where he may have met with Pindar. He was probably the first to write victory odes for winners at the Olympic games, a genre in which Pindar would later become most famous.

In Athens he became famous for celebrating the heroes and battles against the Persians. He is said to have written some of the epigrams that were put on plaques at Thermopyle in memorandum of the great battle between the Greecs and the Persians. One of them said "Here fought once against three million barbarians, four thousand Peloponnesian men."
He also excelled at elegies, his genius was inclined to the pathetic, and none could touch with truer effect the chords of human sympathy.

Little is left of his works, of which only fragments are extant.

Poems by Simonides

Poet of the day

Malay Roy Choudhury (Bengali: মলয় রায়চৌধুরী) is a Bengali poet and novelist who founded the "Hungryalist Movement" in the 1960s. His literary works have been reviewed by sixty critics in HAOWA 49, a quarterly magazine which devoted its January 2001 special issue to Roy Choudhury's life and works. Commemorative issues...
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Poem of the day


À d'autres l'Italie et ses mers azurées,
Et ses villes toujours d'un chaud soleil dorées,
Venise qu'on dirait, avec ses grands palais,
Une flotte échouée au bord de sa lagune,
Où le pêcheur croit prendre, aux clartés de la lune,
Les étoiles dans ses filets...
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