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This page is part of the "tools" section of a site, Plato and his dialogues, dedicated to developing a new interpretation of Plato's dialogues. The "tools" section provides historical and geographical context (chronology, maps, entries on characters and locations) for Socrates, Plato and their time. For more information on the structure of entries and links available from them, read the notice at the beginning of the index of persons and locations.
Simonides was a famous lyric poet from the city of Iulis, in the island of
Ceos, off the coast of Attica. He left his native
island in his youth and went to Athens, where
he spent the largest part of his life. He probably also spent some time at the
court of Hieron, the tyrant of Syracuse, where
he may have met with Pindar. He was probably the first
to write victory odes for winners at the Olympic
games, a genre in which Pindar would later become
most famous. He wrote an epitaph for the Spartans dead at the Thermopylæ
with Leonidas (see Herodotus' Histories, ,
VII, 228) that was most famous in antiquity. Little is left of his works,
of which only fragments are extant.
Simonides is the author of the poem commented by Socrates in the Protagoras (Protagoras, 339a-347a) and of the definition of justice suggested by Cephalus and taken over by Polemarchus at the beginning of the Republic (Republic, I, 331d, sq).