A Greek lyric poet
(c. 570-485 BCE) born in Teos, Ionia
. He was one of the founders of Abdera
along with the others Teans who fled the Persian
threats to subjugate Ionia
, but left it after a few years. He joined the court of Polycrates
. According to some sources he and Polycrates
competed for the love of a Thracian
boy named Smerdies, whose hair Polycrates
cut off in a fit of jealousy. After the murder of Polycrates
by the Persian
s, Anacreon left Samos
, and found patronage with Hipparchus
, one of the two sons of Peisistratus
, who shared the tyranny in the polis
. According to Plato
he became the lover of the nobleman Critias
(grandfather of the famous oligarch politician Critias
). After Hipparchus
' murder he may have gone to Thessaly
. According to legend he died in a very old age (85 is mentioned), choking on a grape.
From the immense corpus of poetry he composed (his works were later collected in Alexandria into a book with six volumes), only a fragmant survived. He wrote in the Ionic dialect, and even in the few writings that reached us his writing seems effortless and is characterized by wittiness, ingenuity, delicacy, irony and self mockery. Most of the material that has survived are wine and love poems (mostly homosexual in nature, but some are heterosexual), but he also produced poisonous abuse in the iambic tradition. His wit and genius inspired a host of immitators during and after the Hellenistic era (the Anacreontea).
He invented the Anacreontic anaclisis in metrics and had it named after himself.