Page:Loeb Classical Library, L001 (1912).djvu/14

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INTRODUCTION

passage at the end of the Hymn to Apollo, already mentioned, also probably in some epigrams, but most of all in his Ibis, of which we have an imitation, or perhaps nearly a translation, in Ovid's poem of the same name. On the part of Apollonius there is a passage in the third book of the Argonautica (II. 927-947) which is of a polemical nature and stands out from the context, and the well-known savage epigram upon Callimachus.[1] Various combinations have been attempted by scholars, notably by Couat, in his Poésie Alexandrine, to give a connected account of the quarrel, but we have not data sufficient to determine the order of the attacks, and replies, and counter-attacks. The Ibis has been thought to mark the termination of the feud on the curious ground that it was impossible for abuse to go further. It was an age when literary men were more inclined to comment on writings of the past than to produce original work. Literature was engaged in taking stock of itself. Homer was, of course, professedly admired by all, but more admired than imitated. Epic poetry was out of fashion and we find many epigrams of this period—some by Callimachus—directed against the "cyclic" poets, by whom were meant at that time those who were always dragging in con-

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  1. Anth. Pal. xi. 275.