(born c. 300, Syracuse, Sicilydied 260 BC) Greek poet. Little is known of his life. His surviving poems consist of bucolics and mimes, set in the country, and epics, lyrics, and epigrams, set in towns. The bucolics, his most characteristic and influential works, introduced the pastoral convention into poetry and were the sources of Virgil's Eclogues and much Renaissance poetry and drama. Theocritus's best-known idylls include Thyrsis, a lament for Daphnis, the shepherd poet of mythology, and Thalysia (Harvest Festival), which presents the poet's friends and rivals in the guise of rustics.