Callinus, fl. 7th cent. B.C., Greek poet. He is the earliest of the known elegiac poets. An excerpt from a patriotic exhortation to his fellow Ephesians is the longest of the few fragments of his poetry that survive.
Callinus (also known as Kallinus) was a poet who lived in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus in Asia Minor in the mid-7th century BC. He is the earliest known Greek elegiac poet. Very little is known about his life.

He may have taken part in the war between Ephesus and Magnesia on the Maeander, since he so elequently describes it. This must have happened before 727 BC, since Magnesia was destroyed by the Treres, a Cimmerian tribe.

He also mentions the destruction of Sardis by the Cimmerians in 678 BC

Only a few fragments of the poetry of Callinus have survived. One of the longest such fragments, consisting of 21 lines of verse, is a patriotic elegy to his fellow Ephesians urging them to fight the invading Cimmerians, who were menacing the Greek colonies in Asia Minor: "It is honourable to fight for city and family, death finds everyone." He used his elegiac poetry as a means of propaganda and patriotism.

Such compositions were accompanied by a flute or some other form of musical pipe and would be played on military campaigns or in social contexts.


  • Thomas Gaisford, Poetae Graeci Minores III, Oxford, 1820
  • Theodorus Bergk - Poetae lyrici Graeci (page 303), Lipsiae in Aedibus, 1923 on line
  • Bode, Georg Heinrich - Geschichte der lyrischen Dichtkunst der Hellenen, volume I, pages 143-161; Leipzig,Koehler,1838; ISBN 978-0543840660

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