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Ion of Chios, Sophocles, and Myth

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Chapter Summary

Ion may have enhanced his own reputation simply by virtue of composing his Epidemiai. In his memoir, as cited by Athenaeus, Ion describes a merry evening spent with Sophocles. Sophocles lived long and was fully active as soldier and citizen; the biographical tradition, ever a creative genre, invests him with a striking and complex personality. Ion may not have lived so long or made such an impact in public life, but his talent and activities are attested. This chapter examines three connections at least, each admittedly not exclusive on its own, with Sophocles: a broader base of operations than merely Athens; innovation in music; and their use of myth. In pursuing the last connection, the chapter compares the handling of certain myths by Sophocles and Ion, and recommends the addition of a possibly wrongly allocated fragment of Sophocles to the fragmentary corpus of Ion.

Keywords: Athenaeus; Epidemiai; fragmentary corpus; Ion of Chios; music; myth; Sophocles



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