Mount Kyllini or Mount Cyllene, is a mountain on the Peloponnese in Greece famous for its association with the god Hermes. It rises to 2,376 m above sea level, it is located near the border between the historic regions of Arcadia and Achaea—in the northeast of Arcadia, within modern Corinthia. It is located west of Corinth, northwest of Stymfalia, north of Tripoli, south of Derveni. Much of the mountain is barren and rocky, although the area below 2,000 metres is forested. There is an observatory at 908 metres, at 37.97 north latitude. From the top a large portion of northeastern Peloponnesus is visible, including the eastern part of Achaia and Chelmos, the Gulf of Corinth and most of Corinthia, the southern part of Corinthia and parts of northeastern Arcadia; the nearest mountain ranges are Oligyrtos to Chelmos/Aroania to the west. Roads pass near the southern and western slopes, but there are not many on the mountain itself, as much of the mountain is part of a park; the municipal boundary of Stymfalia–Feneos–Evrostini and Xylokastro passes through the mountain.
In Greek mythology, Hermes was born in a sacred cave on the mountain, so Cyllenius is a frequent epithet of his. The Homeric Hymn Hymn to Pan recalled that "Hermes... came to Arkadia... There where his sacred place is as god of Kyllene. For there, though a god, he used to tend curly-fleeced sheep." In ancient times there was a temple and statue dedicated to him on the mountain's summit, which by the time of Pausanias had fallen into ruins. Gaius Julius Hyginus records that it was on Cyllene that the seer Tiresias changed sex when he struck two copulating snakes. Cyllene herself was a mountain nymph who had taken for her consort Pelasges in the most ancient times that Greek mythographers could recall. There was a port in Elis in Antiquity named Cyllene near the mouth of the Alfeios, where the traveler Pausanias noted the image of Hermes, "most devoutly worshiped by the inhabitants, is the male member upright on the pedestal." Several modern places are named Kyllini. The Pleiades were born on Mount Kyllini.
Feneos, west Kastania, 1,000 m Kessari, southeast Goura, southwest Mount Ziria: a lair for divine herbs Ζήρια Ζήρια ή Κυλλήνη Greek Mountain Flora
Augury is the practice from ancient Roman religion of interpreting omens from the observed flight of birds. When the individual, known as the augur, interpreted these signs, it is referred to as "taking the auspices".'Auspices' is from the Latin auspicium and auspex "one who looks at birds." Depending upon the birds, the auspices from the gods could be unfavorable. Sometimes bribed or politically motivated augures would fabricate unfavorable auspices in order to delay certain state functions, such as elections. Pliny the Elder attributes the invention of auspicy to Tiresias the seer of Thebes, the generic model of a seer in the Greco-Roman literary culture; this type of omen reading was a millennium old in the time of Classical Greece: in the fourteenth-century BC diplomatic correspondence preserved in Egypt called the "Amarna correspondence", the practice was familiar to the king of Alasia in Cyprus who needed an'eagle diviner' to be sent from Egypt. This earlier, indigenous practice of divining by bird signs, familiar in the figure of Calchas, the bird-diviner to Agamemnon, who led the army, was replaced by sacrifice-divination through inspection of the sacrificial victim's liver—haruspices—during the Orientalizing period of archaic Greek culture.
Plato notes. One of the most famous auspices is the one, connected with the founding of Rome. Once the founders of Rome and Remus, arrived at the Palatine Hill, the two argued over where the exact position of the city should be. Romulus was set on building the city upon the Palatine, but Remus wanted to build the city on the strategic and fortified Aventine Hill; the two agreed to settle their argument by testing their abilities as augures and by the will of the gods. Each took a seat on the ground apart from one another, according to Plutarch, Remus saw six vultures, while Romulus saw twelve. According to unanimous testimony from ancient sources the use of auspices as a means to decipher the will of the gods was more ancient than Rome itself; the use of the word is associated with Latins as well as the earliest Roman citizens. Though some modern historians link the act of observing Auspices to the Etruscans, Cicero accounts in his text De Divinatione several differences between the auspicial of the Romans and the Etruscan system of interpreting the will of the gods.
Cicero mentions several other nations which, like the Romans, paid attention to the patterns of flying birds as signs of the gods' will but never once mentions this practice while discussing the Etruscans. Though auspices were prevalent before the Romans, Romans are linked with auspices because of both their connection to Rome’s foundation and because Romans were the first to take the system and lay out such fixed and fundamental rules for the reading of auspices that it remained an essential part of Roman culture. Stoics, for instance, maintained that if there are gods, they care for men, that if they care for men they must send them signs of their will. In ancient Rome, the appointment and inauguration of any magistrate, decisions made within the people’s assembly and the advancement of any campaign always required a positive auspicium. Unlike in Greece where oracles played the role of messenger of the gods, in Rome it was through birds that Jupiter’s will was interpreted. Auspices showed Romans.
It would be difficult to execute any public act without consulting the auspices. It was believed that if an augur committed an error in the interpretation of the signs or, vitia, it was considered offensive to the gods and was said to have disastrous effects unless corrected. Elections, the passing of laws, initiation of wars were all put on hold until the people were assured the gods agreed with their actions; the men who interpreted these signs, revealing the will of the gods were called augures. Similar to records of court precedents, augures kept books containing records of past signs, the necessary rituals and prayers and other tricks of their trade to help other augures and member of the aristocracy understand the fundamentals of augury; the augures themselves were not the ones with the final say: Though they had the power to interpret the signs, it was the responsibility of the magistrate to execute decisions as to future actions. The magistrates were expected to understand the basic interpretations as they were expected to take the auspices whenever they undertook any public business.
Until 300 BC only patricians could become augures. Plebeian assemblies were forbidden to take augury and hence had no input as to whether a certain law, war or festival should occur. Cicero, an augur himself, accounts how the monopoly of the patricians created a useful barrier to the encroachment of the populares. However, in 300 BC a new law Lex Ogulnia, increased the number of augures from four to nine and required that five of the nine be plebeians, for the first time granting the ability to interpret the will of the gods to lower classes. With this new power it was not only possible for plebeians to determine the gods will in their favor but it was now possible for plebeians to critique unfair interpretations by patricians. There were five different types of auspices. Of these, the last three formed no part of the ancient auspices. Ex caelo This auspice involved the observation of thunder and lightning and was seen as the most important auspice. Whenever an augur reported that Jupiter had sent down thunder and lightning, no comitia could be hel
Greek literature dates from ancient Greek literature, beginning in 800 BC, to the modern Greek literature of today. Ancient Greek literature was written in an Ancient Greek dialect; this literature ranges from the oldest surviving written works until works from the fifth century AD. This time period is divided into the Preclassical, Classical and Roman periods. Preclassical Greek literature revolved around myths and include the works of Homer; the Classical period saw the dawn of history. Three philosophers are notable: Socrates and Aristotle. During the Roman era, significant contributions were made in a variety of subjects, including history and the sciences. Byzantine literature, the literature of the Byzantine Empire, was written in Atticizing and early Modern Greek. Chronicles, distinct from historics, arose in this period. Encyclopedias flourished in this period. Modern Greek literature is written in common Modern Greek; the Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos is one of the most significant works from this time period.
Adamantios Korais and Rigas Feraios are two of the most notable figures. Ancient Greek literature refers to literature written in Ancient Greek dialects; these works range from the oldest surviving written works in the Greek language until works from the fifth century AD. The Greek language arose from the proto-Indo-European language. A number of alphabets and syllabaries had been used to render Greek, but surviving Greek literature was written in a Phoenician-derived alphabet that arose in Greek Ionia and was adopted by Athens by the fifth century BC; the Greeks created poetry before making use of writing for literary purposes. Poems created in the Preclassical period were meant to be recited. Most poems focused on legends that were part folktale and part religion. Tragedies and comedies emerged around 600 BC. At the beginning of Greek literature stand the works of Homer. Though dates of composition vary, these works were fixed after. Another significant figure was the poet Hesiod, his two surviving works are Theogony.
During the classical period, many of the genres of western literature became more prominent. Lyrical poetry, pastorals, epigrams; the two major lyrical poets were Pindar. Of the hundreds of tragedies written and performed during this time period, only a limited number of plays survived; these plays are authored by Aeschylus and Euripides. The comedy arose from a ritual in honor of Dionysus; these plays were full of obscenity and insult. The surviving plays by Aristophanes are a treasure trove of comic presentation. Two influential historians of this age are Thucydides. A third historian, wrote "Hellenica,", considered an extension of Thucydides's work; the greatest prose achievement of the 4th century BC was in philosophy. Greek philosophy flourished during the classical period. Of the philosophers, Socrates and Aristotle are the most famous. By 338 BC many of the key Greek cities had been conquered by Philip II of Macedon. Philip II's son Alexander extended his father's conquests greatly; the Hellenistic age is defined as the time between the death of Alexander the Great and the rise of Roman domination.
After the 3rd century BC, the Greek colony of Alexandria in northern Egypt became the center of Greek culture. Greek poetry flourished with significant contributions from Theocritus and Apollonius of Rhodes. Theocritus, who lived from about 310 to 250 BC, was the creator of pastoral poetry, a type that the Roman Virgil mastered in his Eclogues. Drama was represented by the New Comedy. One of the most valuable contributions of the Hellenistic period was the translation of the Old Testament into Greek; this work was done at Alexandria and completed by the end of the 2nd century BC. Roman literature was written in Latin and contributed significant works to the subjects of poetry, comedy and tragedy. A large proportion of literature from this time period were histories. Significant historians of the period were Timaeus, Diodorus Siculus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Appian of Alexandria and Plutarch; the period of time they cover extended from late in the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD. Eratosthenes of Alexandria wrote on astronomy and geography, but his work is known from summaries.
The physician Galen pioneered developments in various scientific disciplines including anatomy, pathology and neurology. This is the period in which most of the Ancient Greek novels were written; the New Testament, written by various authors in varying qualities of Koine Greek, hails from this period. The Gospels and the Epistles of Saint Paul were written in this time period as well. Byzantine literature refers to literature of the Byzantine Empire written in Atticizing and early Modern Greek. Byzantine literature combined Greek and Christian civilization on the common foundation of the Roman political system; this type of literature was set in the ethnographic atmosphere of the Near East. Byzantine literature possesses four primary cultural elements: Greek, Christian and Oriental. Aside from personal correspondence, literature of this period was written in the Atticizing style; some early literature
In Greek mythology, Tiresias was a blind prophet of Apollo in Thebes, famous for clairvoyance and for being transformed into a woman for seven years. He was the son of the nymph Chariclo. Tiresias participated in seven generations in Thebes, beginning as advisor to Cadmus himself. Eighteen allusions to mythic Tiresias, noted by Luc Brisson, fall into three groups: one, in two episodes, recounts Tiresias' sex-change and his encounter with Zeus and Hera. Like other oracles, how Tiresias obtained his information varied: sometimes, he would receive visions. Pliny the Elder credits Tiresias with the invention of augury. On Mount Cyllene in the Peloponnese, as Tiresias came upon a pair of copulating snakes, he hit the pair with his stick. Hera was displeased, she punished Tiresias by transforming him into a woman; as a woman, Tiresias became a priestess of Hera and had children, including Manto, who possessed the gift of prophecy. After seven years as a woman, Tiresias again found mating snakes; as a result, Tiresias was permitted to regain his masculinity.
This ancient story was recorded in lost lines of Hesiod. In Hellenistic and Roman times Tiresias' sex-change was embellished and expanded into seven episodes, with appropriate amours in each written by the Alexandrian Ptolemaeus Chennus, but attributed by Eustathius to Sostratus of Phanagoria's lost elegiac Tiresias. Tiresias is presented as a complexly liminal figure, mediating between humankind and the gods and female, blind and seeing and future, this world and the Underworld. According to the mythographic compendium Bibliotheke, different stories were told of the cause of his blindness, the most direct being that he was blinded by the gods for revealing their secrets. An alternative story told by the poet Pherecydes was followed in Callimachus' poem "The Bathing of Pallas", his mother, Chariclo, a nymph of Athena, begged Athena to undo her curse. In a separate episode, Tiresias was drawn into an argument between Hera and her husband Zeus, on the theme of who has more pleasure in sex: the man, as Hera claimed.
Tiresias replied, "Of ten parts a man enjoys one only." Hera struck him blind for his impiety. Zeus could do nothing to stop her or reverse her curse, but in recompense he did give Tiresias the gift of foresight and a lifespan of seven lives, he is said to have understood the language of birds and could divine the future from indications in a fire, or smoke. However, it was the communications of the dead he relied on the most, menacing them when they were late to attend him. Tiresias makes a dramatic appearance in the Odyssey, book XI, in which Odysseus calls up the spirits of the dead. "So sentient is Tiresias in death," observes Marina Warner "that he comes up to Odysseus and recognizes him and calls him by name before he has drunk the black blood of the sacrifice. In Greek literature, Tiresias' pronouncements are always given in short maxims which are cryptic, but never wrong; when his name is attached to a mythic prophecy, it is introduced to supply a personality to the generic example of a seer, not by any inherent connection of Tiresias with the myth: thus it is Tiresias who tells Amphytrion of Zeus and Alcmena and warns the mother of Narcissus that the boy will thrive as long as he never knows himself.
This is his emblematic role in tragedy. Like most oracles, he is extremely reluctant to offer the whole of what he sees in his visions. Tiresias appears as the name of a recurring character in several stories and Greek tragedies concerning the legendary history of Thebes. In The Bacchae, by Euripides, Tiresias appears with Cadmus, the founder and first king of Thebes, to warn the current king Pentheus against denouncing Dionysus as a god. Along with Cadmus, he dresses as a worshiper of Dionysus to go up the mountain to honor the new god with the Theban women in their Bacchic revels. In Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, the king of Thebes, calls upon Tiresias to aid in the investigation of the killing of the previous king Laius. At first, Tiresias refuses to give a direct answer and instead hints that the killer is someone Oedipus does not wish to find. However, after being provoked to anger by Oedipus' accusation first that he has no foresight and that Tiresias had a hand in the murder, he reveals that in fact it was Oedipus himself who had committed the crime.
Outraged, Oedipus throws him out of the palace, but afterwards realizes the truth. Tiresias appears in Sophocles' Antigone. Creon, now king of Thebes, refuses to allow Polynices to be buried, his niece, defies the order and is caught. The gods express their disapproval of Creon's decision through Tiresias, who tells Creon'the city is sick thr
The Bacchae is an ancient Greek tragedy, written by the Athenian playwright Euripides during his final years in Macedonia, at the court of Archelaus I of Macedon. It premiered posthumously at the Theatre of Dionysus in 405 BC as part of a tetralogy that included Iphigeneia at Aulis and Alcmaeon in Corinth, which Euripides' son or nephew is assumed to have directed, it won first prize in the City Dionysia festival competition. The tragedy is based on the Greek myth of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother Agave, their punishment by the god Dionysus; the god Dionysus appears at the beginning of the play and proclaims that he has arrived in Thebes to avenge the slander, repeated by his aunts, that he is not the son of Zeus. In response, he intends to introduce Dionysian rites into the city, he intends to demonstrate to the king, to Thebes that he was indeed born a god. At the end of the play, Pentheus is torn apart by the women of Thebes and his mother Agave bears his head on a pike to her father Cadmus.
The Bacchae is considered to be not only one of Euripides's greatest tragedies, but one of the greatest written, modern or ancient. The Bacchae is distinctive for the facts that the chorus is integrated into the plot and the god is not a distant presence, but a character in the play, the protagonist; the Bacchae has been the subject of varying interpretations regarding what the play as a whole means, or indeed whether there is a “moral” to the story. The extraordinary beauty and passion of the poetic choral descriptions indicate that the author knew what attracted those who followed Dionysus, and the vivid gruesomeness of the punishment of Pentheus suggests that he could understand those who were troubled by the religion. At one time the interpretation that prevailed was that the play was an expression of Euripides’ religious devotion, as though after a life of being critical of the Greek gods and their followers, the author repented of his cynicism, wrote a play that honors Dionysus and that carries a dire warning to anyone who doesn’t believe.
At the end of the 19th century the opposite idea began to take hold. The Dionysus in Euripides' tale is a young god, angry that his mortal family, the royal house of Cadmus, has denied him a place of honor as a deity, his mortal mother, was a mistress of Zeus who while pregnant, was killed by Hera, jealous of her husband's affair. When Semele died, her sisters accused her of lying. Most of Semele's family refuse to believe Dionysus is the son of Zeus, the young god is spurned in his home, he has traveled throughout other foreign lands, gathering a cult of female worshipers. At the play's start he has returned, disguised as a stranger, to take revenge on the house of Cadmus, he has driven the women of Thebes, including his aunts, into an ecstatic frenzy, sending them dancing and hunting on Mount Cithaeron, much to the horror of their families. Complicating matters, his cousin, the young king Pentheus, has declared a ban on the worship of Dionysus throughout Thebes; the play begins before the palace at Thebes, with Dionysus telling the story of his birth and his reasons for visiting the city.
Dionysus explains he is the son of a mortal woman, a god, Zeus. Some in Thebes, don't believe this story. In fact, Semele’s sisters—Autonoe and Ino—claim it is a lie intended to cover up the fact that Semele became pregnant by some mortal. Dionysus reveals that he has driven the women of the city mad, including his three aunts, has led them into the mountains to observe his ritual festivities, he has disguised himself as a mortal for the time being, but he plans to vindicate his mother by appearing before all of Thebes as a god, the son of Zeus, establishing his permanent cult of followers. Dionysus exits to the mountains, the chorus enters, they perform a choral ode in praise of Dionysus. Tiresias, the blind and elderly seer, appears, he calls for the founder and former king of Thebes. The two old men start out to join the revelry in the mountains when Cadmus’ petulant young grandson Pentheus, the current king, enters. Disgusted to find the two old men in festival dress, he scolds them and orders his soldiers to arrest anyone engaging in Dionysian worship, including the mysterious "foreigner" who has introduced this worship.
Pentheus intends to have him stoned to death. The guards soon return with Dionysus himself in tow. Pentheus skeptical of and fascinated by the Dionysian rites. Dionysus's answers are cryptic. Infuriated, Pentheus has Dionysus taken chained to an angry bull in the palace stable, but the god now shows his power. He razes the palace with an earthquake and fire. Dionysus and Pentheus are once again at odds when a herdsman arrives from the top of Mount Cithaeron, where he had been herding his grazing cattle, he reports that he found women on the mountain behaving strangely: wandering the forest, suckling animals, twining snakes in their hair, performing miraculous feats. The herdsmen and the shepherds made a plan to capture Pentheus' mother, but when they jumped out of hiding to grab her, the Bacchae pursued the men. The men escaped, but their cattle were not so fortunate, as the women fell upon the animals, ripping them to shreds with their bare hands; the women carried on, plun
Hera is the goddess of women, marriage and childbirth in ancient Greek religion and myth, one of the Twelve Olympians and the sister-wife of Zeus. She is the daughter of the Titans Rhea. Hera rules over Mount Olympus as queen of the gods. A matronly figure, Hera served as both the patroness and protectress of married women, presiding over weddings and blessing marital unions. One of Hera's defining characteristics is her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus' numerous lovers and illegitimate offspring, as well as the mortals who cross her. Hera is seen with the animals she considers sacred including the cow and the peacock. Portrayed as majestic and solemn enthroned, crowned with the polos, Hera may hold a pomegranate in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium poppy. Scholar of Greek mythology Walter Burkert writes in Greek Religion, "Nevertheless, there are memories of an earlier aniconic representation, as a pillar in Argos and as a plank in Samos."Her Roman counterpart is Juno.
The name of Hera has several mutually exclusive etymologies. According to Plutarch, Hera was an anagram of aēr. So begins the section on Hera in Walter Burkert's Greek Religion. In a note, he records other scholars' arguments "for the meaning Mistress as a feminine to Heros, Master." John Chadwick, a decipherer of Linear B, remarks "her name may be connected with hērōs, ἥρως,'hero', but, no help, since it too is etymologically obscure." A. J. van Windekens, offers "young cow, heifer", consonant with Hera's common epithet βοῶπις. R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin, her name is attested in Mycenaean Greek written in the Linear B syllabic script as e-ra, appearing on tablets found in Pylos and Thebes. Hera may have been the first deity to whom the Greeks dedicated an enclosed roofed temple sanctuary, at Samos about 800 BCE, it was replaced by the Heraion of Samos, one of the largest of all Greek temples. There were many temples built on this site so evidence is somewhat confusing and archaeological dates are uncertain.
The temple created by the Rhoecus sculptors and architects was destroyed between 570–560 BCE. This was replaced by the Polycratean temple of 540–530 BCE. In one of these temples we see a forest of 155 columns. There is no evidence of tiles on this temple suggesting either the temple was never finished or that the temple was open to the sky. Earlier sanctuaries, whose dedication to Hera is less certain, were of the Mycenaean type called "house sanctuaries". Samos excavations have revealed votive offerings, many of them late 8th and 7th centuries BCE, which show that Hera at Samos was not a local Greek goddess of the Aegean: the museum there contains figures of gods and suppliants and other votive offerings from Armenia, Iran, Egypt, testimony to the reputation which this sanctuary of Hera enjoyed and to the large influx of pilgrims. Compared to this mighty goddess, who possessed the earliest temple at Olympia and two of the great fifth and sixth century temples of Paestum, the termagant of Homer and the myths is an "almost... comic figure", according to Burkert.
Though greatest and earliest free-standing temple to Hera was the Heraion of Samos, in the Greek mainland Hera was worshipped as "Argive Hera" at her sanctuary that stood between the former Mycenaean city-states of Argos and Mycenae, where the festivals in her honor called Heraia were celebrated. "The three cities I love best," the ox-eyed Queen of Heaven declares in the Iliad, book iv, "are Argos and Mycenae of the broad streets." There were temples to Hera in Olympia, Tiryns and the sacred island of Delos. In Magna Graecia, two Doric temples to Hera were constructed at Paestum, about 550 BCE and about 450 BCE. One of them, long called the Temple of Poseidon was identified in the 1950s as a second temple there of Hera. In Euboea, the festival of the Great Daedala, sacred to Hera, was celebrated on a sixty-year cycle. Hera's importance in the early archaic period is attested by the large building projects undertaken in her honor; the temples of Hera in the two main centers of her cult, the Heraion of Samos and the Heraion of Argos in the Argolis, were the earliest monumental Greek temples constructed, in the 8th century BCE.
According to Walter Burkert, both Hera and Demeter have many characteristic attributes of Pre-Greek Great Goddesses. According to Homeric Hymn III to Delian Apollo, Hera detained Eileithyia to prevent Leto from going into labor with Artemis and Apollo, since the father was Zeus; the other goddesses present at the birthing on Delos sent Iris to bring her. As she stepped upon the island, the divine birth began. In the myth of the birth of Heracles, it is Hera herself who sits at the door, delaying the birth of Heracles until her protégé, had been born first; the Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo makes the monster Typhaon the offspring of archaic Hera in her Minoan form, produced out of herself, like a monstrous version of Hephaestus, whelped in a cave in Cilicia. She gave the creature to Python to raise. In the Temple of Hera, Hera's seated cult figure was older than the warrior figure of Zeus that accompanied it. Homer expressed her relationship with Zeus delicately in the Iliad, in which she declares to Zeus, "I am
Callimachus was a native of the Greek colony of Cyrene, Libya. He was a poet and scholar at the Library of Alexandria and enjoyed the patronage of the Egyptian–Greek Pharaohs Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Ptolemy III Euergetes. Although he was never made chief librarian, he was responsible for producing a bibliographic survey based upon the contents of the Library. This, his Pinakes, 120 volumes long, provided the foundation for work on the history of ancient Greek literature, he is among the most influential scholar-poets of the Hellenistic age. Callimachus was of Libyan Greek origin, he was born c. 310/305 BC and raised in Cyrene, as member of a distinguished family, his parents being Mesatme and Battus, supposed descendant of the first Greek king of Cyrene, Battus I, through whom Callimachus claimed to be a descendant of the Battiad dynasty, the Libyan Greek monarchs that ruled Cyrenaica for eight generations and the first Greek Royal family to have reigned in Africa. He was named after his grandfather, an "elder" Callimachus, regarded by the Cyrenaean citizens and had served as a general.
Callimachus married. However, it is unknown, he had a sister called Megatime but little is known about her: she married a Cyrenaean man called Stasenorus or Stasenor to whom she bore a son, who became a poet, author of "The Island". In years, he was educated in Athens; when he returned to North Africa, he moved to Alexandria. Elitist and erudite, claiming to "abhor all common things," Callimachus is best known for his short poems and epigrams. During the Hellenistic period, a major trend in Greek-language poetry was to reject epics modelled after Homer. Instead, Callimachus urged poets to "drive their wagons on untrodden fields," rather than following in the well worn tracks of Homer, idealizing a form of poetry, brief, yet formed and worded, a style at which he excelled. "Big book, big evil" is another saying attributed to him thought to be attacking long, old-fashioned poetry. Callimachus wrote poems in praise of his royal patrons, a wide variety of other poetic styles, as well as prose and criticism.
Due to Callimachus' strong stance against the epic, he and his younger student Apollonius of Rhodes, who favored epic and wrote the Argonautica, had a long and bitter feud, trading barbed comments and personal attacks for over thirty years. It is now known, through a papyrus fragment from Oxyrhynchus listing the earliest chief librarians of the Library of Alexandria that Ptolemy II never offered the post to Callimachus, but passed him over for Apollonius Rhodius; some classicists, including Peter Green, speculate. According to the current scholarly consensus, the evidence for this putative feud is lacking, it is to be specious. Moreover, without knowing the precise nature of the role, it is impossible to conclude what should be inferred from Callimachus' failure to become chief librarian. Though Callimachus was an opponent of "big books", the Suda puts his number of works at 800, suggesting that he found large quantities of small works more acceptable. Of these, only six hymns, sixty-four epigrams, some fragments are extant.
His Aetia, another rare longer work surviving only in tattered papyrus fragments and quotations in authors, was a collection of elegiac poems in four books, dealing with the foundation of cities, obscure religious ceremonies, unique local traditions chosen for their oddity, other customs, throughout the Hellenic world. In the first three books at least, the formula appears to ask a question of the Muse, of the form, "Why, on Paros, do worshippers of the Charites use neither flutes nor crowns?" "Why, at Argos is a month named for'lambs'?" "Why, at Leucas, does the image of Artemis have a mortar on its head?" A series of questions can be reconstituted from the fragments. One passage of the Aetia, the so-called Coma Berenices, has been reconstructed from papyrus remains and the celebrated Latin adaptation of Catullus; the extant hymns are learned, written in a style that some have criticised as labored and artificial. The epigrams are more respected, several have been incorporated into the Greek Anthology.
According to Quintilian he was the chief of the elegiac poets. Many modern classicists hold Callimachus in high regard for his major influence on Latin poetry. Callimachus' most famous prose work is the Pinakes, a bibliographical survey of authors of the works held in the Library of Alexandria; the Pinakes was one of the first known documents that lists and categorizes a library’s holdings. By consulting the Pinakes, a library patron could find out if the library contained a work by a particular author, how it was categorized, where it might be found, it is important to note that Callimachus did not seem to have any models for his pinakes, invented this system on his own. Pfeiffer, R. Callimachus, vol. I: Fragmenta. ISBN 978-0-19-814115-0. Pfeiffer, R. Callimachus, vol. ii: Hymni