The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Menander

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MENANDER. The name of two Greek writers, (1) the comic dramatist: b. Athens 342 B.C.; d. there, 290 B.C. He was the pupil of Theophrastus, himself the pupil and successor of Aristotle as head of the Peripatetics, and author of 'Characteres,' a somewhat more literary and popular enlargement of some ruling ideas of the Nicomachæan Ethics; he was by such a teacher well trained for his dramatic vocation. He was moreover, a friend of Epicurus from early life, and may thus have been imbued with that bonhommie which rendered him so genial an interpreter of manners. He wrote a hundred comedies which are distinguished from those of Aristophanes by their refinement, their freedom from personal and political virulence, and their graceful, sometimes beautiful, delineation of feminine character. He was, however, outrivaled in popular favor by his contemporary Philemon, whose ribaldry was irresistible to the Athenian playgoers. Only some fragments of his works survive in the original, the most important of these relics having come to light in Egypt (1898). He was, however, closely imitated by Plautus and Terence, and in the 'Bacchides,' 'Stichus' 'and 'Poenulus' of the former, and the 'Andria,' 'Eunuchus,' 'Heautontimorumenos' and 'Adelphi' of the latter we have very good representatives of the Greek dramatist's method and spirit. A fine antique statue of Menander is to be seen in the Vatican. (2) A Greek rhetorician who flourished in the latter half of the 3d century B.C. He has left the rhetorical treatise 'De Encomiis,' and from his analyses of the orations of Demosthenes, most of the scholia on that orator have been compiled. Consult (on Menander the dramatist), Guizot, 'Ménandre' (1855); Horkel, 'Lebensweisheit des Komikers Menander' (1857); (on Menander the rhetorician), Ritchl, 'Der Rhetor Menander und die Scholien zu Demosthenes' (1883).