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Meleager of Gadara°

MELEAGER OF GADARA° (c. 140–70 B.C.E.) was of Syrian parentage and grew up in Tyre. The Palatine Anthology, which includes 130 of his love epigrams (vii. 419, 7–8), exhibits his knowledge of Eastern languages: "If you are a Syrian, Salam! If you are a Phoenician, Naidius! If you are a Greek, Chaire!" His Menippean satires, Cynic sermons in prose mingled with verse (a Semitic form called "maqāma" by the Arabs) are lost. In one of his epigrams (A.P. 5. 160), Meleager sighs for his sweetheart Demo who is naked in another's arms, and disparagingly concludes: "If thy lover is some Sabbath-keeper, no great wonder! Love burns hot even on cold Sabbaths," an allusion (cf. Rutilius Namatianus) probably to the fact that from a pagan point of view the Sabbath, with its numerous prohibitions, was "cold," i.e., "dull."

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.