"The assignment was a two-page essay, in Greek, on any epigram of Callimachus that we chose."

Callimachus was of a Libyan Greek origin, a writer and scholar best known for his poetry and epigrams. He is thought to have lived around 305–240 BC. In Ancient Greece, after the epic poetry of writers such as Homer, there came about a reactionary trend which emphasised brevity. Epigrams are the result of this trend; short statements that either make a particular point or describe something briefly (the modern idea of epigrams as always consisting of a pithy remark stems more from the Roman adoption of this form.) Callimachus championed the epigram as a poetic form; around 64 of his have survived.