PHERECRATES, Greek poet of the Old Attic Comedy, was a contemporary of Cratinus, Crates and Aristophanes. At first an actor, he seems to have gained a prize for a play in 438 B.C. The only other ascertained date in his life is 420, when he produced his play The Wild Men. Like Crates, whom he imitated, he abandoned personal satire for more general themes, although in some of the fragments of his plays we find him attacking Alcibiades and others. He was especially famed for his inventive imagination, and the elegance and purity of his diction are attested by the epithet dTTi/cwraros (most Attic) applied to him by Athenaeus and the sophist Phrynichus. He was the inventor of a new metre, called after him Pherecratean, which frequently occurs in the choruses of Greek tragedies and in Horace.
A considerable number of fragments from his 16 (or 13) plays has been preserved, collected in T. Kock, Comicorum Atticorum Fragmenta, i. (1880), and A. Meineke, Poetarum Comicorum Graecorum Fragmenta (1855).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)