- Time Period315 BC - 260 BC
Theocritus was an Hellenistic Greek poet. The history of the pastoral begins with him, and in him the form seems to have reached its height.
Theocritus was probably born in an early decade of the third century,
or, according to Couat, about 315 B.C., and was a native of Syracuse,
'the greatest of Greek cities, the fairest of all cities.' So Cicero
calls it. He was the son of Praxagoras and Philinna.
Most of what is known of Theocritus comes from his Idylls. His poetic style is filled with the characters and nature which surrounded him. The existence
he loved best to contemplate, that of southern shepherds, fishermen, rural people, remains what it always has been in Sicily and in the isles of Greece. The habits and the passions of his countryfolk have not altered, the echoes of their old love-songs still sound among the pines, or by the sea-banks, where Theocritus 'watched the visionary flocks.'
Theocritus has been widely imitated by such poets as Vergil and Spenser.