Who is Quintus Smyrnaeus?
The dates of Smyrnaeus's life are controversial, but they are traditionally placed in the latter part of the 4th century. "His date is approximately settled by two passages in the poem, viz. vi. 531 sqq., in which occurs an illustration drawn from the man-and-beast fights of the amphitheatre, which were suppressed by Theodosius I.; and xiii. 335 sqq., which contains a prophecy, the special particularity of which, it is maintained by Tychsen and Koechly, limits its applicability to the middle of the fourth century A.D."
Some scholars suggest an earlier date in the 3rd or even the 2nd century, arguing that his Posthomerica shows an influence from the "Second Sophistic", the school of Greek orators who flourished in the 1st and 2nd centuries. According to his own account, he began composing poetry in his early youth while tending sheep near Smyrna. His epic in fourteen books, known as the Posthomerica, covers the period between the end of Homer's Iliad and the end of the Trojan War. Its primary importance is as the earliest surviving work to cover this period, the archaic works in the Epic Cycle, which he knew and drew upon, having been lost.
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