Sotades (Greek: Σωτάδης; 3rd century BC) was an Ancient Greek poet.


Sotades was born in Maroneia,[1] either the one in Thrace, or in Crete. He lived in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC). The city was at that time a remarkable center of learning, with a great deal of artistic and literary activity, including epic poetry and the Great Library. Only a few genuine fragments of his work have been preserved; those in Stobaeus are generally considered spurious. Ennius translated some poems of this kind, included in his book of satires under the name of Sola. He had a son named Apollonius.

Sotades was the chief representative of the writers of obscene and even pederastic satirical poems, called "kinaidoi" (Ancient Greek: Κίναιδοι), composed in the Ionic dialect and in the metre named after him. The sotadic metre or sotadic verse, which has been classified by ancient and modern scholars as a form of ionic metre, is one that reads backwards and forwards the same; these verses have also been called palindromic.[dubious ] One of his poems attacked Ptolemy II Philadelphus's marriage to his own sister Arsinoe II, from which came the infamous line: "You're sticking your prick in an unholy hole."[2] For this, Sotades was imprisoned, but he escaped to the island of Caunus, where he was afterwards captured by the admiral Patroclus, shut up in a leaden chest, and thrown into the sea.

British Orientalist and explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821–1890) hypothesised the existence of a "Sotadic zone". He asserted that there exists a geographic zone in which pederasty is prevalent and celebrated among the indigenous inhabitants,[3] and named it after Sotades.


  1. ^ Suda σ 871
  2. ^ Plutarch, On the Education of Children, 11a; Athenaeus, xiv. 621a. Translation from Graham Shipley, The Greek World After Alexander, 323-30 B.C., page 185. Routledge.
  3. ^ Waitt, Gordon; Kevin Markwell (2008). "The Lure of the 'Sotadic Zone'". Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 15 (2).