SIMONIDESKea or Kos, 556 - 468 B.C.
Famous lyric poet of ancient Greece, who perfected the epigram and the elegy. He was the son of Leoprepus and was born in Kos, in 556 BC and died in 468 in Syracuse. Little is known about his life, but from various traditions we learn that the poet excelled in many parts of Greece, namely in Athens near Hipparchus, in the Court of the Aleudas and Skopadis, in Thessaly, and again later in Athens during the time of the Medes when and wrote his famous epigrams to the fallen at Marathon and Thermopylae.
The last years of his life were spent almost all at the Court of Hiero of Syracuse, together with his nephew Bacchylides. Simonides was accused of selling his poems to athletes and the powerful in exchange for gold and honours. However, the fact that he made poetry a profession does not in any way diminish his value as a lyrical poet on par with Pindar. Simonides' poems consist of elegies, Epinician hymns, dithyrambs, parthenias and especially epigrams and laments, for which he was mainly known and admired. Unfortunately few passages have survived, which the modern world (especially the Germans) presented during the nineteenth century in beautiful editions. Simonides is credited with the addition of an eighth string to the lyre and the invention of the mnemonic art.