Epicharmus

, an ancient poet and philosopher, who flourished about 440 B. C. was born in the island of Coos, and was carried, as we are told by Laertius, into Sicily when he was but three months old, first to Megara, and afterwards to Syracuse; which may well enough justify Horace and others in calling him. a Sicilian. He had the honour of being taught by Pythagoras himself; and he and Phormus are said to have invented comedy in Syracuse, though others have pretended to that discovery. He wrote fifty -five, or, according to others, thirty-five plays; but | his vrorks have been so long lost, that even their character is scarcely on record. Horace only has preserved the memory of one of his excellences, by commending Plautus for imitaiing it; and that is, the keeping his subject always in view, and following the intrigue very closely: Plautus ad cxemplum Siculi properare Epicharmi, &c.

Besides his numerous comedies, he wrote a great many treatises in philosophy and medicine, but the tyranny of Hiero prevented him from assuming the public profession, of philosophy, and no accurate account of his philosophical tenets remains. Aristotle, as Pliny tells us, thought that Epicharmus added the letters and X to the Greek alphabet, though others ascribe them to Palamedes. He died at the age of ninety, according to Laertius; or ninetyseven, as Luciau asserts. Laertius has preserved four verses, inscribed on one of his statues, which shew the high esteem antiquity had of him. 1