Simonides of Ceos was a Greek lyric poet, born at Ioulis on Kea. The scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria included him in the canonical list of nine lyric poets, along with Bacchylides and Pindar. Both Bacchylides and Pindar benefited from his innovative approach to lyric poetry and he was more involved than either of them in the major events and personalities of their times. His fame owes much to traditional accounts of his colourful life, as one of the wisest of men, as a greedy miser, as an inventor of a system of mnemonics and also of some letters of the Greek alphabet. Such accounts include fanciful elements yet he had a real influence on the sophistic enlightenment of the classical era. His fame as a poet rests largely on his ability to present basic human situations with affecting simplicity. In the words of the Roman rhetorician Quintilian:
He is popularly associated with epitaphs commemorating fallen warriors, as for example the Lacedaemonians at The Battle of Thermopylae:
Translated in the original form of an elegiac couplet:
Today only glimpses of his poetry remain, either in the form of papyrus fragments or quotations by ancient literary figures, yet new fragments continue to be unearthed by archeologists at Oxyrhynchus. His general fame as a wise and colourful personality has led to his inclusion in narratives as diverse as Mary Renault's historical novel The Praise Singer, Plato's Protagoras, and some verses in Callimachus' Aetia.