Biographies MESSINI (Province) MESSINIA - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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Listed 11 sub titles with search on: Biographies  for wider area of: "MESSINI Province MESSINIA" .

Biographies (11)




, , 1914 - 1985

Fighters of the 1821 revolution


, , 1745 - 1838

Historic figures


MESSINI (Ancient city) ITHOMI
Messenian, offers his daughter for sacrifice, slays her, chosen king of Messenia, commands Messenians in war with Lacedaemon.

Aristodemus (Aristodemos), a Messenian, who appears as one of the chief heroes in the first Messenian war. In the sixth year of that war the Messenians sent to Delphi to consult the oracle, and the ambassador Tisis brought back the answer, that the preservation of the Messenian senian state demanded that a maiden of the house of the Aepytids should be sacrificed to the gods of the lower world. When the daughter of Lyciscus was drawn by lot, the seer Epebolus declared that she was a supposititious child, and not a daughter of Lyciscus. Hereupon Lyciscus left his country and went over to the Lacedaemonians. As, however, the oracle had added, that if, for some reason, the maiden chosen by lot could not be sacrificed, another might be chosen in her stead, Aristodemus, a gallant warrior, who likewise belonged to the house of the Aepytids, came forward and offered to sacrifice his own daughter for the deliverance of his country. A young Messenian, however, who loved the maiden, opposed the intention of her father, and declared that he as her betrothed had more power over her than her father. When this reason was not listened to, his love for the maiden drove him to despair, and in order to save her life, he declared that she was with child by him. Aristodemus, enraged at this assertion, murdered his daughter and opened her body to refute the calumny. The seer Epebolus, who was present, now demanded the sacrifice of another maiden, as the daughter of Aristodemus had not been sacrificed to the gods, but murdered by her father. But king Euphaes persuaded the Messenians, who, in their indignation, wanted to kill the lover, who had been the cause of the death of Aristodemus' daughter, that the command of the oracle was fulfilled, and as he was supported by the Aepytids, the people accepted his counsel (Paus. iv. 9.2-6.) When the news of the oracle and the manner of its fulfilment became known at Sparta, the Lacedaemonians were desponding, and for five years they abstained from attacking the Messenians, until at last some favourable signs in the sacrifices encouraged them to undertake a fresh campaign against Ithome. A battle was fought, in which king Euphaes lost his life, and as he left no heir to the throne, Aristodemus was elected king by the Messenians, notwithstanding the opposition of some, who declared him unworthy on account of the murder of his daughter. This happened about B. C. 729. Aristodemus shewed himself worthy of the confidence placed in him: he continued the war against the Lacedaemonians, and in B. C. 724 he gained a great victory over them. The Lacedaemonians now endeavoured to effect by fraud what they had been unable to accomplish in the field, and their success convinced Aristodemus that his country was devoted to destruction. In his despair he put an end to his life on the tomb of his daughter, and a short time after, B. C. 722, the Messenians were obliged to recognize the supremacy of the Lacedaemonians (Paus. iv. 10-13).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



Alcaeus, 3rd-2nd cent. BC

MESSINI (Ancient city) ITHOMI
Messenian poet who wrote songs about the fight for freedom, inspired by the struggles of the Messenians against Phoelippus the Macedonian.

Alcaeus (Alkaios), of Messene, the author of a number of epigrams in the Greek anthology, from some of which his date may be easily fixed. He was contemporary with Philip III., king of Macedonia, and son of Demetrius, against whom several of his epigrams are pointed, apparently from patriotic feelings. One of these epigrams, however, gave even more offence to the Roman general, Flamininus, than to Philip, on account of the author's ascribing the victory of Cynoscephalae to the Aetolians as much as to the Romans. Philip contented himself with writing an epigram in reply to that of Alcaeus, in which he gave the Messenian a very broad hint of the fate he might expect if he fell into his hands. (Plut. Flamin. 9.) This reply has singularly enough led Salmasius to suppose that Alcaeus was actually crucified. In another epigram, in praise of Flamininus, the mention of the Roman general's name, Titus, led Tzetzes (Proleg. in Lycophron) into the error of imagining the existence of an epigrammatist named Alcaeus under the emperor Titus. Those epigrams of Alcaeus which bear internal evidence of their date, were written between the years 219 and U196 B. C.
Of the twenty-two epigrams in the Greek Anthology which bear the name of "Alcaeus", two have the word "Mytilenaeus" added to it; but Jacobs seems to be perfectly right in taking this to be the addition of some ignorant copyist. Others bear the name of "Alcaeus Messenius", and some of Alcaeus alone. But in the last class there are several which must, from internal evidence, have been written by Alcaeus of Messene, and, in fact, there seems no reason to doubt his being the author of the whole twenty-two.
  There are mentioned as contemporaries of Alcaeus, two other persons of the same name, one of them an Epicurean philosopher, who was expelled from Rome by a decree of the senate about 173 or 154 B. C. (Perizon. ad Aelian. V. H. ix. 22; Athen. xii. p. 547, a.; Suidas, s. v. Epikouros): the other is incidentally spoken of by Polybius as being accustomed to ridicule the grammarian Isocrates (Polyb. xxxii. 6; B. C. 160). It is just possible that these two persons, of whom nothing further is known, may have been identical with each other, and with the epigrammatist.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Related to the place


Lyciscus (Lukiskos). A Messenian, descended from Aepytus. In the first Messenian war, the Messenians, having consulted the Delphic oracle, were told that to save their country, they must offer by night, to the gods below, an unstained virgin of the blood of the Aepytidae. The lot fell on the daughter of Lyciscus; but Epebolus, the seer, pronounced her to be unfit for the sacrifice, as being no daughter of Lyciscus at all, but a supposititious child. Meanwhile, Lyciscus, in alarm, took the maiden with him and withdrew to Sparta. Here she died; and several years after, as he was visiting her tomb, to which he often resorted, he was seized by some Arcadian horsemen, carried back to Ithome, and put upon his trial for treason. His defence was, that he had fled, not as being hostile to his country or indifferent to her fate, but in the full belief of what Epebolus had declared. This being unexpectedly confirmed by the priestess of Hera, who confessed that she was herself the mother of the girl, Lyciscus was acquitted. (Paus. iv. 9, 12.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Damophon, 2nd cent.BC

MESSINI (Ancient city) ITHOMI
Messenian sculptor.

Damophon, a sculptor of Messene, was the only Messenian artist of any note. (Paus. iv. 31.8.) His time is doubtful. Heyne and Winckelmann place him a little later than Phidias; Quatremere de Quincy from B. C. 340 to B. C. 300. Sillig (Catal. Art. s. v. Demophon) argues, from the fact that he adorned Messene and Megalopolis with his chief works, that he lived about the time when Messene was restored and Megalopolis was built. (B. C. 372-370.) Pausanias mentions the following works of Damophon: At Aegius in Achaia, a statue of Lucina, of wood, except the face, hands, and toes, which were of Pentelic marble, and were, no doubt, the only parts uncovered: also, statues of Hygeia and Asclepius in the shrine of Eileithyia and Asclepius, bearing the artist's name in an iambic line on the base: at Messene, a statue of the Mother of the Gods, in Parian marble, one of Artemis Laphria, and several marble statues in the temple of Asclepius: at Megalopolis, wooden statues of Hermes and Aphrodite, with faces, hands, and toes of marbie, and a great monolith group of Despoena (i. e. Cora) and Demeter, seated on a throne, which is fully described by Pausanias. He also repaired Phidias's colossal statue of Zeus at Olympia, the ivory plates of which had become loose. (Paus. iv. 31.5, 6, 8, viii. 31.3, 5, 37.2.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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