Biography of Theognis
A 6th cenutry BC Greek poet, it has been estimated that Theognis was born around 540 BC and the last date mentioned in his work is 480 BC.
Theognis was an aristocrat who settled in Megara. A didactic poet, he wrote many of his poems for a young man named Cyrnus. Many of his works begin with the Greek for "O Boy" and are passionate in their descriptions of both hate and love.
Another theme of his work was his lament that those he considered 'unrighteous' were gaining power above those aristocrats, such as himself, who he considered deserved it more.
Amongst the ancient Greek poets, Theognis is rare in that much of his work has remained intact. However, of the 1,400 surviving lines attributed to him, it is now believed that some were the work of other writers.
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Fragments - Lines 0173 - 0178
Of all things it is poverty that most subdues a noble man, More even than hoary old age, Kyrnos, or fever; Indeed, to avoid it one should even throw oneself into the sea's Deep gulfs, Kyrnos, or off sheer cliffs.
Fragments - Lines 0213 - 0218
My heart, display toward all your friends a changeful character, Adding into it the disposition that each one has. Adopt the disposition of the octopus, crafty in its convolutions, which takes on The appearance of whatever rock it has dealings with.
Fragments - Lines 1327 - 1334
My boy, as long as your cheeks and chin are smooth, I shall never Cease to praise you, not even if I am fated to die. For you, the giver, it is still honorable, and for me as lover it is not shameful To ask. But I beseech you, in the name of my parents:
Fragments - Lines 1267 - 1270
Fragments - Lines 0019 - 0030
Kyrnos, as I work my craft let a seal be set upon These words of mine, and they will never be stolen unremarked, Nor will anyone change the good that is there to something worse; And this is what everyone will say: 'These are the lines of Theognis,
Fragments - Lines 0219 - 0220
Fragments - Lines 0425 - 0428
Fragments - Lines 0467 - 0496
Of those now here with us, do not detain anyone who is unwilling to remain, Nor show the door to anyone who does not wish to go, Nor wake anyone who is sleeping, Simonides, should one of us, Well fortified by wine, be gripped by gentle slumber;
Fragments - Lines 1341 - 1350
Alas, I am in love with a soft-skinned boy, who to all my friends Reveals that this is true, though he does so against my will. I shall endure without concealment the many outrages done in my despite, For not ill-favored is the boy whose conquest I am shown to be.
Fragments - Lines 0255 - 0256
Fragments - Lines 0429 - 0438
To beget and rear a man is easier than to put good sense Inside him. No one yet has ever contrived a way To make the senseless sensible and good men out of bad. If the sons of Asklepios had this gift from the god,
Fragments - Lines 0005 - 0010
Lord Phoibos, when the goddess, lady Leto, bore you, Clasping a palm tree in her slender hands, You the most beautiful of immortals, beside the wheel-round lake, Then all of boundless Delos was filled
Fragments - Lines 1337 - 1340
Fragments - Lines 0001 - 0004