Theocritus is often regarded as the father of pastoral poetry, as expressed in his Idylls. However,the Idylls (especially 1, 3, 4, 6, 10, 15, 17) do not just describe pastoral scenes (typically withshepherds and singing contests), but also personal aspects of a city or rural life. Theocritus, likeCallimachus, is a poet of his day. He, like Callimachus, favors shorter works over longer onesand makes many allusions to the arcane, which are only known to the erudite. As a result, he,too, is reliant on royal sponsorship granted by the Ptolemies for most of his career. TheHellenistic period, also known as the Hellenistic civilization, is the period in Greek andMediterranean history that occurred between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and theemergence of the Roman Empire, as represented by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and thesubsequent conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt in 30 BC. Theocritus was a Greek poet who inventedpastoral poetry. His poetry was dubbed idyllic ("idylls"), a diminutive of eidos, which may imply"little poems." The bucolics are Theocritus' most distinctive and significant composition.