Callias (Comic Poet)

Callias (Ancient Greek: Καλλίας), sometimes called by the nickname Schoenion (Ancient Greek: Σχοινίων), was a poet of the Old Comedy, not to be confused with the three Athenian aristocrats named Callias, the last of which, Callias III, appears in Plato's Protagoras.

Callias is best known for a few extant fragments of a comedy, The Letter Tragedy. This comedy featured a 24-piece chorus that consisted of the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet.[1] On this work there has been debate since the early 19th century over the meaning of the play's claim to have influenced Greek tragedy. Many scholars take Callias' claim to have been ironic and a joke.[2] The titles of his other known plays are: Aigyptios (The Egyptian), Atalante, Batrakhoi (Frogs), Kyklopes (The Cyclopes), Pedetai (Men In Shackles), Scholazontes (Men At Leisure), and a fragmentary title ...era Sidera, which has been reconstructed as either Hypera Sidera (Iron Pestles) or Entera Sidera (Iron Guts).

Callias appears to have been given the teasing nickname Schoinion[3] by his rivals, probably because his father was a rope maker.[4] It is also recorded that he lampooned the philosopher Socrates.