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Arctinus of Miletus was one of the earliest poets of Greece and contributors to the epic cycle. He flourished probably about 650 BC.

His poems are lost, but an idea of them can be obtained from the Chrestomathy written by Proclus the Neo-Platonist of the 5th century or by a grammarian of the same name who lived in the time of the Antonines.

The Aethiopis (Αιθιοπις), in five books, so called from the Aethiopian Memnon, who became the ally of the Trojans after the death of Hector. According to Proclus, he took up the narrative from the close of the Iliad. It begins with the famous deeds and death of the Amazon Penthesileia, and concludes with the death and burial of Achilles and the dispute between Ajax and Odysseus for his arms.

The title is only applied to part of the poem. The Sack of Troy gives the stories of the Trojan Horse, Sinon, and Laocoon, capture of the city, and the departure of the Greeks under wrath of Athena at the outrage of Ajax on Cassandra. The Little Iliad of Lesches formed the transition between Aethiopis and the Iliupersis which covered the actual sacking.

Trojan War cycle

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

Arctinus of Miletus , Britannica 11


  • Eusebius, Chronicle Olympiad 1.2, 5.1.
  • Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 1.131.6.
  • Suda s.v. Arktinos.

West, M.L. 2003, Greek Epic Fragments (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press). ISBN 0674996054

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