Lush Diodorus sets the lads on fire,
But now another has him in his net –
Timarion, the boy with wanton eyes . . .
Meleager, AP 12.109
Encompassing four thousand short poems and more, the ramshackle classic we call the Greek Anthology gathers up a millennium of snapshots from ancient daily life. Its influence echoes not merely in the classic tradition of the English epigram (Pope, Dryden) but in Rudyard Kipling, Ezra Pound, Virgina Woolf, T. S. Eliot, H.D., and the poets of the First World War. Its variety is almost infinite. Victorious armies, ruined cities, and Olympic champions share space with lovers’ quarrels and laments for the untimely dead – but also with jokes and riddles, art appreciation, potted biographies of authors, and scenes from country life and the workplace.
This selection of more than 600 epigrams in verse is the first major translation from the Greek Anthology in nearly a century. Each of the Anthology’s books of epigrams is represented here, in manuscript order, and with extensive notes on the history and myth that lie behind them.