Theocritus (thēŏk´rĬtəs), fl. c.270 BC, Hellenistic Greek poet, b. Syracuse. The history of the pastoral begins with him, and in him the form seems to have reached its height. His poetic style is finished and at times artificial, but the bucolic characters in his idyls seem alive. Theocritus has been widely imitated (e.g., by such poets as Vergil and Spenser).