, 276 - 196
Rhianus, (Rhianos) of Crete. A distinguished Alexandrian poet and grammarian, who flourished in B.C. 222. Some of his epigrams are present in the Greek Anthology. His remains are edited by Saal (Bonn, 1831).
Before I wrote the history of the war and all the sufferings and actions
that heaven prepared in it for both sides, I wished to reach a decision regarding
the age of a certain Messenian. This war was fought between the Lacedaemonians
with their allies and the Messenians with their supporters, but received its name
not from the invaders like the Persian and Peloponnesian wars, but was called
Messenian from their disasters, just as the name Trojan war, rather than Greek,
came to be universally applied to the war at Troy. An account of this war of the
Messenians has been given by Rhianus of Bene in his epic, and
by Myron of Priene. Myron's history is in prose. Neither writer achieved a complete
and continuous account of the whole war from its beginning to the end, but only
of the part which each selected: Myron narrated the capture of Ampheia and subsequent
events down to the death of Aristodemus; Rhianus did not touch this first war
at all. He described the events that in time befell the Messenians after their
revolt from the Lacedaemonians, not indeed the whole of them, but those subsequent
to the battle which they fought at the Great Trench, as it is called. The Messenian,
Aristomenes, on whose account I have made my whole mention of Rhianus and Myron,
was the man who first and foremost raised the name of Messene to renown. He was
introduced by Myron into his history, while to Rhianus in his epic Aristomenes
is as great a man as is the Achilles of the Iliad to Homer. As their statements
differ so widely, it remained for me to adopt one or other of the accounts, but
not both together, and Rhianus appeared to me to have given the more probable
account as to the age of Aristomenes. (Paus. 4.6.1)
Commentary: Rhianus of Bene in Crete was of the third century B.C., a Homeric scholar and the author of various works of a mythological and quasi-historical character. Besides his Messeniaca, largely used by the author in the present account, we hear of his Heracleia, Achaica, Eliaca, and Thessalica.
This extract is from: Pausanias. Description of Greece (ed. W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., & H.A. Ormerod, 1918). Cited Oct 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.Subscribe now!