Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology/Antiphanes 3.
ANTI′PHANES (Ἀντιφάνης), a comic poet, the earliest and one of the most celebrated Athenian poets of the middle comedy, was born, according to Suidas (s. v.), in the 93rd Olympiad, and died in the 112th, at the age of 74. But Athenaeus (iv. p. 156, c.) quotes a fragment in which Antiphanes mentions "King Seleucus," and Seleucus was not king till Ol. 118. 2. The true explanation of the difficulty is in all probability that suggested by Clinton, namely, that in this instance, as in others, Antiphanes has been confounded with Alexis, and that the fragment in Athenaeus belongs to the latter poet. (Clinton, in the Philological Museum, p. 607; Meineke, Frag. Com. i. pp. 304–7.) The above dates are given us in Olympiads, without the exact years being specified, but we may safely place the life of Antiphanes between 404 and 330 B. C., and his first exhibition about B. C. 383.
The parentage and birthplace of Antiphanes are doubtful. His father's name was Demophanes, or Stephanus, probably the latter, since he had a son named Stephanus, in accordance with the Athenian custom of naming a child after his grandfather. As his birthplace are mentioned Cios on the Hellespont, Smyrna, Rhodes, and Larissa; but the last statement deserves little credit. (Meineke, i. 308.)
Antiphanes was the most highly esteemed writer of the middle comedy, excepting Alexis, who shared that honour with him. The fragments which remain prove that Athenaeus was right in praising him for the elegance of his language (pp. 27, 156, 168), though he uses some words and phrases which are not found in older writers. (See for examples Meineke, i. p. 309.) He was one of the most fertile dramatic authors that ever lived, for his plays amounted, on the largest computation, to 365, on the least to 260. We still possess the titles of about 130. It is probable, however, that some of the comedies ascribed to him were by other writers, for the grammarians frequently confound him, not only, as remarked above, with Alexis, but also with Antiphon, Apollophanes, Antisthenes, and Aristophanes. Some of his plays were on mythological subjects, others had reference to particular persons, others to characters, personal, professional, and national, while others seem to have been wholly occupied with the intrigues of private life. In these classes of subjects we see, as in all the comedians of the period, the gradual transition of the middle comedy into the new. The fragments of Antiphanes are collected by Clinton (Philol. Mus. l. c.), and more fully by Meineke (Frag. Comic. vol. iii.). He gained the prize 30 times.
Another Antiphanes, of Berge in Thrace, is mentioned by Stephanus Byzantinus as a comic poet (s. v. Βέργη); but this was the writer cited by Strabo (p. 102) and Antonius Diogenes (ap. Phot. Cod. 166, p. 112, Bekker), as the author of marvellous stories respecting distant countries: he is spoken of in the preceding article.
Suidas mentions "another Antiphanes, an Athenian comic poet, later than Panaetius," who is mentioned by no other writer, unless he be the Antiphanes who wrote a work Περὶ Ἑταιρῶν. (Suidas, s. v. Νάνιον; Athen. xiii. p. 586.)
Antiphanes Carystius, who is called by Eudocia (p. 61) a comic poet, was really a tragedian, contemporary with Thespis. (Suidas, s. v.)