gtp logo

Location information

Listed 74 sub titles with search on: Biographies  for wider area of: "SIRACUSA Province SICILY" .

Biographies (74)

Ancient comedy playwrites

Epicharmus, 6th-5th cent. BC



Deinolochus, (Deinolochos,) a comic poet of Syracuse or Agrigentum, was, according to some, the son, according to others, the disciple, of Epicharimus. He lived about B. C. 488, and wrote fourteen plays in the Doric dialect, about which we only know, from a few titles, that some of them were on mythological subjects. (Suid. s. v.; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. ii.; Grysar, de Doriens. Com. i.)



   Damoxenus, (Damoxenos). A boxer of Syracuse, excluded from the Nemean Games for killing his opponent in a pugilistic encounter. The name of the latter was Creugas; and the two competitors, after having consumed the entire day in boxing, agreed each to receive from the other a blow without flinching. Creugas first struck Damoxenus on the head, and then Damoxenus, with his fingers unfairly stretched out, struck Creugas on the side; and such, observes Pausanias, was the hardness of his nails and the violence of the blow that his hand pierced the side, seized on the bowels, and, drawing them outward, caused instant death to Creugas. A fine piece of sculpture has come down to us with this for its subject.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



Agatharchus (Agatharchos), a Syracusan, who was placed by the Syracusans over a fleet of twelve ships in B. C. 413, to visit their allies and harass the Athenians. He was afterwards, in the same year, one of the Syracusan commanders in the decisive battle fought in the harbour of Syracuse. (Thuc. vii. 25, 70; Diod. xiii. 13.)


Antander (Antandros), brother of Agathocles, king of Syracuse, was a commander of the troops sent by the Syracusans to the relief of Cro tona when besieged by the Brutii in B. C. 317. During his brother's absence in Africa (B. C. 310), he was left together with Erymnon in command of Syracuse, and wished to surrender it to Hamilcar. He appears, however, to have still retained, or at least regained, the confidence of Agathocles, for he is mentioned afterwards as the instrument of his [p. 183] brother's cruelty. (Diod. xix. 3, xx. 16, 72.) Antander was the author of an historical work, which Diodorus quotes. (Exc. xxi. 12)


Cissidas (Kissidas), a Syracusan, commanded the body of auxiliaries which Dionysius I. sent, for the second time, to the aid of Sparta. (S. C. 367.) He assisted Archidamus in his successful attack on Caryae, and in his expedition against Arcadia in the same year. But during the campaign in Arcadia he left him, as the period fixed for his stay by Dionysius had now expired. On his march towards Laconia he was intercepted by a body of Messenians, and was obliged to send to Archidamus for assistance. The prince having joined him with his forces, they changed their route, but were again intercepted by the combined troops of the Arcadians and Argives. The result was, the defeat of the latter in that which has been called the "Tearless Battle" (Xen. Hell. vii. 1.28-32).


Demarchus, (Demarchos), son of Pidocus, a Syracusan. He was one of the generals sent out to replace Hermocrates and his colleagues in the command of the Syracusan auxiliaries in Greece, when those generals were banished. (Thuc. viii. 85; Xen. Hell. i. 1.30.) After his return he appears to have taken a leading part in public affairs, and became one of the most powerful opponents of the rising power of Dionysius. He was in consequence put to death at the instigation of the latter, at the same time with Daphnaeus, shortly after Dionysius had been appointed general autocrator. (Diod. xiii. 96.)

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


Heracleides. A Syracusan, son of Lysimachus, was one of the three generals appointed by the Syracusans, after the first defeat they suffered from the Athenians on their arrival in Sicily, B. C. 415. His colleagues were Hermocrates and Sicanus, and they were invested with full powers, the late defeat being justly ascribed by Hermocrates to the too great number of the generals, and their want of sufficient control over their troops. (Thuc. vi. 73; Diod. xiii. 4.) They were deposed from their command in the following summer, on account of their failure in preventing the progress of the Athenian works. Of the three generals appointed in their place, one was also named Heracleides. (Thuc. vi. 103.)

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


Hermocrates, (Hermokrates). Son of Hermon, a Syracusan, and one of the most eminent citizens of that state at the time of the Athenian invasion. We have no account of his early life or rise, but his family must have been illustrious, for, according to Timaeus (ap. Longin. iv. 3; comp. also Plut. Nic. 1), it claimed descent from the god Hermes, and it is evident that he was a person of consideration and influence in the state as early as B. C. 424, as he was one of the deputies sent by the Syracusans to the general congress of the Greek cities of Sicily, held at Gela in the summer of that year. Thucydides, who puts a long speech into his mouth on that occasion, ascribes mainly to his influence the resolution adopted by the assembled deputies to terminate the troubles of Sicily by a general peace. (Thuc. iv. 58, 65; Timaeus, ap. Polyb. xii. Frag. Vat. 22.) In 415, when the news of the impending invasion from Athens came to be generally rife, though still discredited by many, Hermocrates again came forward to urge the truth of the rumour, and the necessity of immediate preparations for defence. (Thuc. vi. 32-35.) It does not appear that he at this time held any public situation or command; but in the following winter, after the first defeat of the Syracusans by the Athenians, he represented this disaster as owing to the too great number as well as insufficient authority of their generals, and thus induced them to appoint himself, together with Heracleides and Sicanus, to be commanders-inchief, with full powers. (Thuc. vi. 72, 73; Plut. Nic. 16; Diod. xiii. 4; who, however, places their appointment too early.) He was soon after sent to Camarina, to counteract the influence of the Athenian envoys, and gain the Camarinaeans to the alliance of Syracuse, but he only succeeded in inducing them to remain neutral. (Thuc. vi. 75, 88.) According to Thucydides, Hermocrates had already given proofs of valour and ability in war, before his elevation to the command; but his first proceedings as a general were unsuccessful: his great object was to prevent the Athenians from making themselves masters of the heights of Epipolae, above the town, but they landed suddenly from Catana, carried the Epipolae by surprise, and commenced their lines of circumvallation. The Syracusans next, by the advice of Hermocrates, began to construct a cross wall, to interrupt the Athenian lines; but they were foiled in this project too: the Athenians attacked their counterwork, and destroyed it, while they themselves were repulsed in all their attacks upon the Athenian lines. Dispirited by their ill success, they laid the blame upon their generals, whom they deposed, and appointed three others in their stead. (Thuc. vi. 96-103.) The arrival of Gylippus soon after superseded the new generals, and gave a fresh turn to affairs; but Hermocrates, though now in a private situation, was not less active in the service of his country: we hear of his heading a chosen band of warriors in resisting the great night attack on the Epipolae, immediately after the arrival of Demosthenes (Diod. xiii. 11): he is also mentioned as joining with Gylippus in urging the Syracusans to try their fortune again by sea, as well as by land: and when, after the final defeat and destruction of their fleets, the Athenian generals were preparing to retreat by land, it was Hermocrates who anticipated their purpose, and finding it impossible to induce his countrymen to march forth at once and occupy the passes, nevertheless succeeded, by an ingenious stratagem, in causing the Athenians themselves to defer their departure for two days, a delay which proved fatal to the whole army. (Thuc. vii. 21, 73; Diod. xiii. 18; Plut. Nic. 26.) Thucydides makes no mention of the part taken by Hermocrates in regard to the Athenian prisoners, but both Diodorus and Plutarch represent him as exerting all his influence with his countrymen, though unsuccessfully, to save the lives of Nicias and Demosthenes. According to a statement of Timaeus, preserved by the latter author, when he found all his efforts fruitless, he gave a private intimation to the two generals that they might anticipate the ignominy of a public execution by a voluntary death. (Diod. xiii. 19; Plut. Nic. 28.)
  After the destruction of the Athenian armament in Sicily, Hermocrates employed all his influence with his countrymen to induce them to support with vigour their allies the Lacedaemonians in the war in Greece itself. But he only succeeded in prevailing upon them to send a squadron of twenty triremes (to which the Selinuntians added two more); and with this small force he himself, with two colleagues in the command, joined the Lacedaemonian fleet under Astyochus, before the close of the summer of 412. (Thuc. viii. 26; Diodorus, however, raises the number of the ships to thirty-five, xiii. 34.) But, trifling as this succour appears, the Syracusan squadron bore an important part in many of the subsequent operations, and particularly in the action off Cynossema, in which it formed the right wing of the Lacedaemonian fleet; and though unable to prevent the defeat of its allies, escaped with the loss of only one ship. (Thuc. viii. 104-106; Diod. xiii. 39.) It is probably of this action that Polybius was thinking, when he states (Frag. Vat. xii. 23) that Hermocrates was present at the battle of Aegos Potamoi, which is clearly erroneous. During these services Hermocrates, we are told, conciliated in the highest degree the favour both of the allies and of his own troops; and acquired such popularity with the latter, that when (in 409 B. C.) news arrived that he as well as his colleagues had been sentenced to banishment by a decree of the Syracusan people, and new commanders appointed to replace them, the officers and crews of the squadron not only insisted on their retaining the command until the actual arrival of their successors, but many of them offered their services to Hermocrates to effect his restoration to his country. He however urged the duty of obedience to the laws; and, after handing over the squadron to the new generals, repaired to Lacedaemon to counteract the intrigues of Tissaphernes, to whom he had given personal offence. From thence he returned to Asia, to the court of Pharnabazus, who furnished him with money to build ships and raise mercenary troops, for the purpose of effecting his return to Syracuse. (Xen. Hell. i. 1.27-31; Thuc. viii. 85; Diod. xiii. 63.) With a force of five triremes and 1000 soldiers, he sailed to Messana, and from thence in conjunction with the refugees from Himera, and, with the co-operation of his own party in Syracuse, attempted to bring about a revolution in that city. But failing in that scheme, he hastened to Selinus, at this time still in ruins, after its destruction by tile Carthaginians, rebuilt a part of the city, and collected thither its refugees from all parts of Sicily. He thus converted it into a stroughold, from whence he carried on hostilities against the Carthaginian allies, laid waste the territories of Motya and Panormus, and defeated the Panormitans in a battle. By these means he acquired great fame and popularity, which were still increased when in the following year (B. C. 407) he repaired to Himera, and finding that the bones of the Syracusans who had been slain in battle against the Carthaginians two years before still lay there unburied, caused them to be gathered up, and removed with all due funeral honours to Syracuse. But, though the revulsion of feeling thus excited led to the banishment of Diocles, and other leaders of the opposite party yet the sentence of exile against Hermocrates still remained unreversed. Not long afterwards he appreached Syracuse with a considerable force, and was admitted by some of his friends into the city ; but was followed in the first instance only by a band, which the Syracusans no sooner discovered than they took up arms, and attacked and slew him, together with the greater part of his followers, before his troops could come to their assistance. (Diod. xiii. 63, 75.) The character of Hermocrates is one of the brightest and purest in the history of Syracuse; and the ancient republics present few more striking instances of moderation and wisdom, combined with the most steady patriotism; while his abilities, both as a statesman and a warrior, were such as to earn for him the praise of being ranked in after ages as on a level in these respects with Timoleon and Pyrrhus. (Polyb. Frag. Vat. xii. 22.) We do not learn that Hermocrates left a son; his daughter was married, after his death, to the tyrant Dionysius. (Diod. xiii. 96; Plut. Dion. 3.)

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


Hipparinus, (Hipparinos). A Syracusan, father of Dion. He is mentioned by Aristotle (Pol. v. 6) as a man of large fortune, and one of the chief citizens of Syracuse, who, having squandered his own property in luxury and extravagance, lent his support to Dionysius in obtaining the sovereignty of his native city. According to Plutarch (Dion, 3), he was associated with Dionysius in the command as general autocrator, a statement which is understood by Mitford (Hist. of Greece, ch. xxix. sect. 5), as referring to the time when Dionysius obtained the virtual sovereignty under that title, in the spring of B. C. 405. It is more probable that it relates to the appointment of the ten generals in the preceding year, and that Hipparinus, as well as Dionysius, was one of these. We hear no more of him from this time, but from the tyrant having married his daughter Aristomache, as well as from the position assumed by his son Dion, it is clear that he must have continued to hold a high place in the favour of Dionysius as long as he lived.

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


Athanas or Athanis, 4th c. B.C.


Perseus Encyclopedia

   Philistus, (Philistos). A Greek historian of Syracuse, born about B.C. 435. He encouraged the elder Dionysius, by advice and assistance, in securing and maintaining the position of despot in his native State; but was himself banished by Dionysius in 386, and lived a long while at Adria in Epirus, busied with historical studies. Recalled by Dionysius the younger, he counteracted the salutary influence of Dion and Plato at that tyrant's court, and brought about the banishment of both. As commander of the fleet against Dion and the revolted Syracusans, he lost a naval battle, and in consequence either committed suicide or was cruelly murdered by the angry populace (356). He left an historical work, begun in his exile, called Sicelica (Sikelika), a history of Sicily in thirteen books. Books i.-vii. dealt with the events of the earliest times to the capture of Agrigentum by the Carthaginians in 406; viii.-xi., with the rule of the elder Dionysius; xii. and xiii., with that of the younger. The last portion, which remained incomplete owing to his death, was finished by his countryman Athanas. Only unimportant fragments of this have survived. According to the judgment of the ancients, he imitated Thucydides somewhat unsuccessfully, and betrayed in his work the one-sided attitude natural to his political views.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Antiochus (Antiochos), of Syaracuse, a son of Xenophanes, is called by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Ant. Rom. i. 12) a very ancient historian. He lived about the year B. C. 423, and was thus a contemporary of Thucydides and the Peloponnesian war (Joseph. c. Apion. i. 3). Respecting his life nothing is known, but his historical works were held in very high esteem by the ancients on account of their accuracy (Dionys. i. 73). His two works were:
1. A history of Sicily, in nine books, from the reign of king Cocalus, i. e. from the earliest times down to the year B. C. 424 or 425 (Diod. xii. 71). It is referred to by Pausanias (x. 11.3), Clemens of Alexandria (Protrept.), and Theodoret.
2. A history of Italy, which is very frequently referred to by Strabo, by Dionysius (comp. Steph. Byz. s. v. Brettios; Hesych. s. v. Chonren). The fragments of Antiochus are contained in C. et T. Muller, Fragm. Histor. Graec. Paris, 1841.

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


Callias, of Syracuse, a Greek historian who wrote a great work on the history of Sicily. He lived, as Josephus (c. Apion. i. 3) expresses it, long after Philistus, but earlier than Timaeus. From the nature of his work it is clear that he was a contemporary of Agathocles, whom, however, the historian survived, as he mentioned the death of the tyrant. This work is sometimes called tad teri Agathoklea, or peri Agathoklea historiai, and sometimes also by Roman writers "Historia de Rebus Siculis". (Athen. xii.; Aelian, Hist. An. xvi. 28; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. iii. 41; Macrob. Sat. v. 19; Dionys. i. 42; Fest. s. v. Romam). It embraced the history of Sicily during the reign of Agathocles, from B. C. 317 to 289, and consisted of twenty-two books (Diod. xxi. Exc. 12.). The very few fragments which we possess of the work do not enable us to form an opinion upon it, but Diodorus (xxi. Exc.) states, that Callias was corrupted by Agathocles with rich bribes; that he sacrificed the truth of history to base gain; and that he went even so far in distorting the truth as to convert the crimes and the violation of the laws human and divine, of which Agathocles was guilty, into praiseworthy actions (Comp. Suid. s. v. Kallias).
  There is another Callias of Syracuse, a contemporary of Demosthenes, who occupied himself with oratory, but who is mentioned only by Plutarch. (Dem. 5, Vit. X Orat.)

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



Diocles, (Diokles), a Syracusan, celebrated for his code of laws. No mention of his name occurs in Thucydides, but according to Diodorus he was the proposer of the decree for putting to death the Athenian generals Demosthenes and Nicias. (Diod. xiii. 19.) He is called by Diodorus upon this occasion the most eminent of the demagogues at Syracuse, and appears to have been at this time the leader of the popular or democratic party, in opposition to Hermocrates. The next year (B. C. 412), if the chronology of Diodorus be correct, a democratic revolution took place, and Diocles was appointed with several others to frame and establish a new code of laws. In this he took so prominent a part, that he threw his colleagues quite into the shade, and the code was ever after known as that of Diocles. We know nothing of its details, but it is praised by Diodorus for its conciseness of style, and the care with which it distinguished different offences and assigned to each its peculiar penalty. The best proof of its merit is, that it continued to be followed as a civil code not only at Syracuse, but in many others of the Sicilian cities, until the island was subjected to the Roman law. (Diod. xiii. 35.)
   The banishment of Hermocrates and his party (B. C. 410; see Xen. Hell. i. 1.27) must have left Diocles undisputed leader of the commonwealth. The next year he commanded the forces sent by Syracuse and the other cities of Sicily to the relief of Himera, besieged by Hannibal, the son of Gisco. He was, however, unable to avert its fate, and withdrew from the city, carrying off as many as possible of the inhabitants, but in such haste that he did not stay to bury those of his troops who had fallen in battle. (Diod. xiii. 59-61.) This circumstance probably gave rise to discontent at Syracuse, which was increased when Hermocrates, having returned to Sicily and obtained some successes against the Carthaginians, sent back the bones of those who had perished at Himera with the highest honours. The revulsion of feeling thus excited led to the banishment of Diocles, B. C. 408. (Diod. xiii. 63, 75.) It does not appear whether he was afterwards recalled, and we are at a loss to connect with the subsequent revolutions of Syracuse the strange story told by Diodorus, that he stabbed himself with his own sword, to shew his respect for one of his laws, which he had thoughtlessly infringed by coming armed into the place of assembly. (Diod. xiii. 33.) A story almost precisely similar is, however, told by the same author (xii. 19) of Charondas, which renders it at least very doubtful as regarduig Diocles. Yet it is probable that he must have died about this time, as we find no mention of his name in the civil dissensions which led to the elevation of Dionysius. (Hubmann, Diokles Gesetzgeber der Syrakusier, Amberg, 1842.)

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


Archimedes (287-212 BC)

Archimedes. A remarkable mathematician and inventor, born at Syracuse in B.C. 287. After spending a long time in travel and study he returned to his native city, and there introduced a great number of inventions, among them the endless screw, first used by him in launching large ships; and the so-called Archimedean screw (cochlea), used in draining the fields after the annual inundation of the Nile. During the siege of Syracuse by the Romans (215-212), he invented the catapults which long kept the enemy at bay, being adapted for use at both short and long range. He is said to have set fire to the Roman ships by means of powerful burning-glasses--a story which Buffon in 1777 showed by experiment to be not at all absurd, and which Ball regards as not improbable. He first established the truth that a body plunged in fluid loses as much of its weight as is equal to the weight of an equal volume of the fluid. When Syracuse finally fell, he was slain by the Roman soldiers, who were tempted by the bright metal of his instruments, which they took for gold. Cicero, when quaestor in Sicily (B.C. 75), discovered the tomb of Archimedes.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Archimedes. Born in Syracuse and educated in Alexandria, Archimedes was one of the most important mathematicians and inventors of the ancient world. He is best known for his phrase “eureka” (I have found it).
  The story goes that king Hieron of Syracusae suspected that the crown he had ordered from a goldsmith was not of pure gold. He then asked the genius Archimedes to find a way to measure the crown. The solution came to him when he stepped into his bath and saw the water overflowing. By measuring the water that runs over when an object is put into it, one can measure the objects' weight, he concluded. According to the legend, Archimedes ran naked through the streets shouting the famous phrase.
  Archimedes also invented the method to measure the surface and volume of a globe, and made the final determination of pi. He defined the principle of the lever, and in Egypt he invented the hydraulic screw for raising the water from a lower to a higher level.
  When the Romans conquered Sicily, he gave them many inventions used for the defence of Syracuse, for example the catapult and maybe a system of mirrors focusing the sunrays on boats and igniting them.
  Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier who was offended when the scientist asked him not to disturb the diagrams he was drawing in the sand.
  Surviving works are Floating Bodies, The Sand Reckoner, Measurement of the Circle, Spirals and Sphere and Cylinder.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.

Archimedes, of Syracuse, the most famous of ancient mathematicians, was born B. C. 287, if the statement of Tzetzes, which makes him 75 years old at his death, be correct.
  Of his family little is known. Plutarch calls him a relation of king Hiero; but Cicero (Tusc. Disp. v. 23), contrasting him apparently not with Dionysius (as Torelli suggests in order to avoid the contradiction), but with Plato and Archytas, says, " humilem homunculum a pulvere et radio excitabo". At any rate, his actual condition in life does not seem to have been elevated (Silius Ital. xiv. 343), though he was certainly a friend, if not a kinsman, of Hiero. A modern tradition makes him an ancestor of the Syracusan virgin martyr St. Lucy (Rivaltus, in vit. Archim. Mazzuchelli). In the early part of his life he travelled into Egypt, where he is said, on the authority of Proclus, to have studied under Conon the Samian, a mathematician and astronomer (mentioned by Virg. Eel. iii. 40), who lived under the Ptolemies, Philadelphus and Euergetes, and for whom he testifies his respect and esteem in several places of his works (See the introductions to the Quadratura Paraboles and the De Helicibus). After visiting other countries, he returned to Syracuse (Diod. v. 37). Livy (xxiv. 34) calls him a distinguished astronomer, "unicus spectator coeli siderumque"; a description of which the truth is made sufficiently probable by his treatment of the astronomical questions occurring in the Arenarius (See also Macrob. Somn. Scip. ii. 3). He was popularly best known as the inventor of several ingenious machines; but Plutarch (Marcell. c. 14), who, it should be observed, confounds the application of geometry to mechanics with the solution of geometrical problems by mechanical means, represents him as despising these contrivances, and only condescending to withdraw himself from the abstractions of pure geometry at the request of Hiero. Certain it is, however, that Archimedes did cultivate not only pure geometry, but also the mathematical theory of several branches of physics, in a truly scientific spirit, and with a success which placed him very far in advance of the age in which he lived. His theory of the lever was the foundation of statics till the discovery of the composition of forces in the time of Newton, and no essential addition was made to the principles of the equilibrum of fluids and floating bodies, established by him in his treatise " De Insidentibus", till the publication of Stevin's researches on the pressure of fluids in 1608.
  He constructed for Hiero various engines of war, which, many years afterwards, were so far effectual in the defence of Syracuse against Marcellus, as to convert the siege into a blockade, and delay the taking of the city for a considerable time (Plut. Marcell. 15-18; Liv. xxiv. 34; Polyb. viii. 5-9). The accounts of the performances of these engines are evidently exaggerated; and the story of the burning of the Roman ships by the reflected rays of the sun, though very current in later times, is probably a fiction, since neither Polybius, Livy, nor Plutarch gives the least hint of it. The earliest writers who speak of it are Galen (De Temper. iii. 2) and his contemporary Lucian (Hippias, c. 2), who (in the second century) merely allude to it as a thing well known. Zonaras (about A. D. 1100) mentions it in relating the use of a similar apparatus, contrived by a certain Proclus, when Byzantium was besieged in the reign of Anastasius; and gives Dion as his authority, without referring to the particular passage. The extant works of Dion contain no allusion to it. Tzetzes (about 1150) gives an account of the principal inventions of Archimedes (Chil. ii. 103-156), and amongst them of this burning machine, which, he says, set the Roman ships on fire when they came within a bow-shot of the walls; and consisted of a large hexagonal mirror with smaller ones disposed round it, each of the latter being a polygon of 24 sides. The subject has been a good deal discussed in modern times, particularly by Cavalieri (in cap. 29 of a tract entitled " Del Specchio Ustorio," Bologna, 1650), and by Buffon, who has left an elaborate dissertation upon it in his introduction to the history of minerals (Oeuvres). The latter author actually succeeded in igniting wood at a distance of 150 feet, by means of a combination of 148 plane mirrors. The question is also examined in vol. ii. of Pevrard's Archimedes; and a prize essay upon it by Capelle is translated from the Dutch in Gilbert's " Annalen der Physik". The most probable conclusion seems to be, that Archimedes had on some occasion set fire to a ship or ships by means of a burning mirror, and that later writers falsely connected the circumstance with the siege of Syracuse.
  The following additional instances of Archimedes' skill in the application of science have been collected from various authors by Rivaltus (who edited his works in 1615) and others.
  He detected the mixture of silver in a crown which Hiero had ordered to be made of gold, and determined the proportions of the two metals, by a method suggested to him by the overflowing of the water when he stepped into a bath. When the thought struck him he is said to have been so much pleased that, forgetting to put on his clothes, he ran home shouting heureka, heureka. The particulars of the calculation are not preserved, but it probably depended upon a direct comparison of the weights of certain volumes of silver and gold with the weight and volume of the crown; the volumes being measured, at least in the case of the crown, by the quantity of water displaced when the mass was immersed. It is not likely that Archimedes was at this time acquainted with the theorems demonstrated in his hydrostatical treatise concerning the loss of weight of bodies immersed in water, since he would hardly have evinced such lively gratification at the obvious discovery that they might be applied to the problem of the crown ; his delight must rather have arisen from his now first catching sight of a line of investigation which led immediately to the solution of the problem in question, and ultimately to the important theorems referred to (Vitruv. ix. 3.; Proclus. Comm. in lib. i. Eucl. ii. 3).
  He superintended the building of a ship of extraordinary size for Hiero, of which a description is given in Athenaeus, where he is also said to have moved it to the sea by the help of a screw. According to Proclus, this ship was intended by Hiero as a present to Ptolemy; it may possibly have been the occasion of Archimedes' visit to Egypt.
  He invented a machine called, from its form, Cochlea, and now known as the water-screw of Archimedes, for pumping the water out of the hold of this vessel; it is said to have been also used in Egypt by the inhabitants of the Delta in irrigating their lands (Diod. i. 34; Vitruv. x. 11). An investigation of the mathematical theory of the water screw is given in Ersch and Gruber. The Arabian historian Abulpharagius attributes to Archimedes the raising of the dykes and bridges used as defences against the overflowing of the Nile (Pope-Blount, Censura). Tzetzes and Oribasius (de Mach. xxvi.) speak of his Trispast, a machine for moving large weights; probably a combination of pulleys, or wheels and axles. A hydraulic organ (a musical instrument) is mentioned by Tertullian (de Anima, cap. 14), but Pliny (vii. 37) attributes it to Ctesibius. An apparatus called loculus, apparently somewhat resembling the Chinese puzzle, is also attributed to Archimedes. His most celebrated performance was the construction of a spbere: a kind of orrery, representing the movements of the heavenly bodies, of which we have no particular description. (Claudian, Epigr. xxi. in Sphaeram Archimedis; Cic. Nat. Deor. ii. 35, Tutsc. Disp. i. 25; Sext. Empir. adv. Math. ix. 115 ; Lactant. Div. Inst. ii. 5; Ov. Fast. vi. 277).
  When Syracuse was taken, Archimedes was killed by the Roman soldiers, ignorant or careless who he might be. The accounts of his death vary in some particulars, but mostly agree in describing him as intent upon a mathematical problem at the time. He was deeply regretted by Marcellus, who directed his burial, and befriended his surviving relations (Liv. xxv. 31; Valer. Max. viii. 7. Β§ 7; Plut. Marcell. 19; Cic. de fin. v. 19). Upon his tomb was placed the figure of a sphere inscribed in a cylinder, in accordance with his known wish, and in commemoration of the discovery which he most valued. When Cicero was quaestor in Sicily (B. C. 75) he found this tomb near one of the gates of the city, almost hid amongst briars, and forgotten by the Syracusans (Tusc. Disp. v. 23).
  Of the general character of Archimedes we have no direct account. But his apparently disinterested devotion to his friend and admirer Hiero, in whose service he was ever ready to exercise his ingenuity upon objects which his own taste would not have led him to choose (for there is doubtless some truth in what Plutarch says on this point); the affectionate regret which he expresses for his deceased master Conon, in writing to his surviving friend Dositheus (to whom most of his works are addressed); and the unaffected simplicity with which he announces his own discoveries, seem to afford probable grounds for a favourable estimate of it. That his intellect was of the very highest order is unquestionable. He possessed, in a degree never exceeded unless by Newton, the inventive genius which discovers new provinces of inquiry, and finds new points of view for old and familiar objects; the clearness of conception which is essential to the resolution of complex phaenomena into their constituent elements; and the power and habit of intense and persevering thought, without which other intellectual gifts are comparatively fruitless (See the introd. to the treatise "De Con. et Sphaer"). It maybe noticed that he resembled other great thinkers, in his habit of complete abstraction from outward things, when reflecting on subjects which made considerable demands on his mental powers. At such times he would forget to eat his meals, and require compulsion to take him to the bath. Compare the stories of Newton sitting great part of the day half dressed on his bed, while composing the Principia; and of Socrates standing a whole day and night, thinking, on the same spot (Plat. Symp.). The success of Archimedes in conquering difficulties seems to have made the expression problema Archimedeiun proverbial (See Cic. ad Att. xiii. 28, pro Cluent. 32).
  The following works of Archimedes have come down to us:
A treatise on Equiponderants and Centres of Gravity, in which the theory of the equilibrium of the straight lever is demonstrated, both for commensurable and incommensurable weights; and various properties of the centres of gravity of plane surfaces bounded by three or four straight lines, or by a straight line and a parabola, are established.
  The Quadrature of the Parabola, in which it is proved, that the area cut off from a parabola by any chord is equal to two-thirds of the parallelogram of which one side is the chord in question, and the opposite side a tangent to the parabola. This was the first real example of the quadrature of a curvilinear space; that is, of the discovery of a rectilinear figure equal to an area not bounded entirely by straight lines.
  A treatise on the Sphere and Cylinder, in which various propositions relative to the surfaces and volumes of the sphere, cylinder, and cone, were demonstrated for the first time. Many of them are now familiarly known; for example, those which establish the ratio (2/3) between the volumes, and also between the surfaces, of the sphere and circumscribing cylinder; and the ratio (1/4) between the area of a great circle and the surface of the sphere. They are easily demonstrable by the modern analytical methods, but the original discovery and geometrical proof of them required the genius of Archimedes. Moreover, the legitimacy of the modern applications of analysis to questions concerning curved lines and surfaces, can only be proved by a kind of geometrical reasoning, of which Archimedes gave the first example.
  The book on the Dimension of the Circle consists of three propositions. 1st. Every circle is equal to a right-angled triangle of which the sides containing the right angle are equal respectively to its radius and circumference. 2nd. The ratio of the area of the circle to the square of its diameter is nearly that of 11 to 14. 3rd. The circumference of the circle is greater than three times its diameter by a quantity greater than 10/71 of the diameter but less than 1/7 of the same. The last two propositions are established by comparing the circumference of the circle with the perimeters of the inscribed and circumscribed polygons of 96 sides.
  The treatise on Spirals contains demonstrations of the principal properties of the curve, now known as the Spiral of Archimedes, which is generated by the uniform motion of a point along a straight line revolving uniformly in one plane about one of its extremities. It appears from the introductory epistle to Dositheus that Archimedes had not been able to put these theorems in a satisfactory form without long-continued and repeated trials; and that Conon, to whom he had sent them as problems along with various others, had died without accomplishing their solution.
The book on Conoids and Spheroids relates chiefly to the volumes cut off by planes from the solids so called; those namely which arc generated by the rotation of the Conic Sections about their principal axes. Like the work last described, it was the result of laborious, and at first unsuccessful, attempts.
  The Arenarius (ho Psammites) is a short tract addressed to Gelo, the eldest son of Hiero, in which Archimedes proves, that it is possible to assign a number greater than that of the grains of sand which would fill the sphere of the fixed stars. This singular investigation was suggested by an opinion which some persons had expressed, that the sands on the shores of Sicily were either infinite, or at least would exceed any numbers which could be assigned for them; and the success with which the difficulties caused by the awkward and imperfect notation of the ancient Greek arithmetic are eluded by a device identical in principle with the modern method of logarithms, affords one of the most striking instances of the great mathema tician's genius. Having briefly discussed the opinions of Aristarchus upon the constitution and extent of the Universe [ARISTARCHUS], and described his own method of determilling the apparent diameter of the sun, and the magnitude of the pupil of the eye, he is led to assume that the diameter of the sphere of the fixed stars may be taken as not exceeding 100 million of millions of stadia; and that a sphere, one daktulos in diameter, cannot contain more than 640 millions of grains of sand; then, taking the stadinm, in round numbers, as not greater than 10,000 daktuloi, he shews that the number of grains in question could not be so great as 1000 myriads multiplied by the eighth term of a geometrical progression of which the first term was unity and the common ratio a myriad of myriads; a number which in our notation would be expressed by unity with 63 ciphers annexed.
  The two books On Floating Bodies (Peri ton Ochoumenon) contain demonstrations of the laws which determine the position of bodies immersed in water; and particularly of segments of spheres and parabolic conoids. They are extant only in the Latin version of Commandine, with the exception of a fragment Peri ton Hudati ephistamenon in Ang. Mai's Collection.
  The treatise entitled Lemmata is a collection of 15 propositions in plane geometry. It is derived from an Arabic MS. and its genuineness has been doubted.
  Eutocius of Ascalon, about A. D. 600, wrote a commentary on the Treatises on the Sphere and Cylinder, on the Dimension of the Circle, and on Centres of Gravity. All the works above mentioned, together with tllis Commentary, were found on the taking of Constantinople, and brought first into Italy and then into Germany. They were printed at Basle in 1544, in Greek and Latin, by Hervagius. Of the subsequent editions by far the best is that of Torelli, "Archim. quae supers. omnia, cum Eutocii Ascalonitae commentariis. Ex recens. Joseph. Torelli, Veronensis". Oxon. 1792. It was founded upon the Basle edition, except in the case of the Arenarius, the text of which is taken from that of Dr. Wallis, who published this treatise and the Dimensio Circuli, with a translation and notes, at Oxford, in 1679.
  The Arenarius, having been little meddled with by the ancient commentators, retains the Doric dialect, in which Archimedes, like his countryman Theocritus, wrote (See Wallis, Op. vol. iii. Tzetzes says, elege de kai doristi, phonei Surakousiha, Pa Bo, kai charistioni tan gan kineso pasan). A French translation of the works of Archimedes, with notes, was published by F. Peyrard, Paris, 1808, land an English translation of the Arenarius by G. Anderson, London, 1784.

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

Men in the armed forces


Epicydes. A Syracusan, surnamed Sindon, one of the lieutenants of the preceding, who were left by him in command of Syracuse when he retired to Agrigentum: he was put to death by the Roman party, together with his colleagues. (Liv. xxv. 28.)

Heracleides (1)

Heracleides. A Syracusan, son of Aristogenes, was one of the commanders of the Syracusan squadron sent to co-operate with the Lacedaemonians and their allies. He joined Tissaphernes at Ephesus just in time to take part in the defeat of the Athenians under Thrasyllus, B. C. 409. (Xen. Hell. i. 2. § 8, &c.)

Heracleides (2)

Heracleides. A Syracusan, who held the chief command of the mercenary forces under the younger Dionysius. (Diod. xvi. 6; Plut. Dion, 32.) We have little information as to the causes which led to his exile from Syracuse, but it may be inferred, from an expression of Plutarch (Dion, 12), that he was suspected of conspiring with Dion and others to overthrow the tyrant: and it seems clear that he must have fled from Syracuse either at the same time with Dion and Megacles, or shortly afterwards. Having joined the other exiles in the Peloponnesus, he co-operated with Dion in his prepaations for the overthrow of Dionysius, and the liberation of Syracuse, but did not accompany him when he actually sailed, having remained beind in the Peloponnesus in order to assemble a larger force both of ships and soldiers. According to Diodorus, his departure was for some time retarded by adverse weather; but Plutarch (whose account is throughout unfavourable to Heracleides) ascribes the delay to his jealousy of Dion. It is certain, however, that he eventually joined the latter at Syracuse, with a force of 20 triremes and 1,500 heavy-armed troops. He was received with acclamations by the Syracusans, who immediately proclaimed him commander-in-chief of their naval forces, an appointment which was resented by Dion as an infringement of the supreme authority already entrusted to himself; but the people having revoked their decree, he himself reinstated Heracleides of his own authority. (Diod. xvi. 6, 16; Plut. Dion, 32, 33.) Dionysius was at this time shut up in the island citadel of Ortygia, and mainly dependent for his supplies upon the command of the sea. Philistus now approached to his relief with a fleet of 60 triremes, but he was encountered by Heracleides with a force about equal to his own; and after an obstinate combat, totally defeated. Philistus himself fell into the hands of the Syracusans, by whom he was put to death; and Dionysius, now almost despairing of success, soon after quitted Syracuse, leaving Apollocrates in charge of the citadel (B. C. 356). The distinguished part which Heracleides had borne in these successes led him to contest with Dion thee position of leader in those that remained to be achieved, and his pretensions were supported by a large party among the Syracusans themselves, who are said to have entertained less jealousy of his seeking to possess himself of the sovereign power than they felt in regard to Dion. (Diod. xvi. 17; Plut. Dion, 43.) Unfortunately our knowledge of the subsequent intrigues and dissensions between the two leaders is almost wholly derived from Plutarch; and his manifest partiality to Dion renders his statements concerning his rival liable to much suspicion. Heracleidess a at first triumphant; twenty-five generals, of whom he was one, were appointed to take tile command, and Dion retired in disgust, accompanied by the mercenary troops in his pay, to Leontini. But the mismanagement of the new generals, and the advantages gained by Hypsius, who had arrived in the citadel with a large reinforcement, soon compelled tile Syracusans to have recourse once more to Dion. Heracleides had been disabled by a wound; but he not only joined in sending messages to Dion, imploring his assistance, but inmediately on his arrival placed himself in his power, and sued for forgiveness. This was readily granted by Dion, who was reinstated in his position of general autocrator, on the proposal of Heracleides himself, and in return bestowed upon the latter once more the sole command by sea. Yet the reconciliation was fir from sincere: Heracleides, if we may believe the accounts of his enemies, withdrew, with the fleet under his command, to Messana, and even entered into negotiations with Dionysius: but he was again induced to submit to Dion, who (contrary, it is said, to the advice of all his friends) spared his life, and restored him to favour. But when the departure of Apollocrates had left Dion sole master of Syracase (B. C. 354), he no longer hesitated to remove his rival, whom he justly regarded as the chief obstaele to his ambitios designs; designs; and under pretence that Heraelei des was again intriguing against him, he caused him to be put to death in his own house by a band of armed men. But the popularity of Heracleides was so great, and the grief and indignation of the Syracusans, on learning his death, broke forth with so much violence, that Dion was compelled to honour him with a splendid funeral, and to make a public oration in extenuation of his crime. (Plut. Dion, 35-53; Diod. xvi. 16-20; Corn. Nep. Dion, 5, 6.)

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


Lysias, 5th/4th c. B.C.

Lysias (Lusias). One of the ten Athenian orators. He was born at Athens, B.C. 458 or 459. His father, Cephalus, was a native of Syracuse, who settled at Athens during the time of Pericles. Cephalus was a person of considerable wealth, and lived on intimate terms with Pericles and Socrates; and his house is the supposed scene of the celebrated dialogues related in Plato's Republic. Lysias, at the age of fifteen, went to Thurii in Italy, with his brother Polemarchus, at the first foundation of the colony. Here he remained for thirty-two years; but, in consequence of his supporting the Athenian interests, he was obliged to leave Italy after the failure of the Athenian expedition to Sicily. He returned to Athens, B.C. 411, and carried on, in partnership with his brother Polemarchus, an extensive manufactory of shields, in which they employed as many as 120 slaves. Their wealth excited the cupidity of the Thirty Tyrants; their house was attacked one evening by an armed force while Lysias was entertaining a few friends at supper; their property was seized, and Polemarchus was taken to prison, where he was shortly after executed (B.C. 404). Lysias, by bribing some of the soldiers, escaped to the Piraeus, and sailed thence to Megara. He has given us a graphic account of his escape in his oration against Eratosthenes, who had been one of the Thirty Tyrants. Lysias actively assisted Thrasybulus in his enterprise against the Thirty; he supplied him with a large sum of money from his own resources and those of his friends, and hired a considerable body of soldiers at his own expense. In return for these services Thrasybulus proposed a decree by which the rights of citizenship should be conferred upon Lysias; but, in consequence of some informality, this decree was never carried into effect. He was, however, allowed the peculiar privileges which were sometimes granted to resident aliens (namely, isoteleia). Lysias appears to have died about B.C. 378.
    The author of the Life of Lysias, attributed to Plutarch, mentions 425 orations of his, 230 of which were considered to be genuine. There remain only 34, which are all forensic, and remarkable for the method which reigns in them. The purity, the perspicuity, the grace and simplicity which characterize the orations of Lysias, would have raised him to the highest rank in the art had they been coupled with the force and energy of Demosthenes. His style is elegant without being overornate, and is regarded as a model of the "plain" style. In the art of narration, Dionysius of Halicarnassus considers him superior to all orators in being distinct, probable, and persuasive; but, at the same time, admits that his composition is better adapted to private litigation than to important causes. The text of his harangues, as we now have it, is extremely corrupt. His masterpiece is the funeral oration in honour of those Athenians who, having been sent to the aid of the Corinthians under the command of Iphicrates, perished in battle. Lysias is said to have delivered only one of the orations which he wrote--that against Eratosthenes.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Lysias (Lusias), an Attic orator, was born at Athens in B. C. 458; he was the son of Cephalus, who was a native of Syracuse, and had taken up his abode at Athens, on the invitation of Pericles (Dionys. Lys. 1; Plut. Vit. X. Orat.; Phot. Bibl. Cod. 262; Suid. s. v. Lusias; Lys. c. Eratosth. 4; Cic. Brut. 16). When he was little more than fifteen years old, in B. C. 443, Lysias and his two (some say three) brothers joined the Athenians who went as colonists to Thurii in Italy. He there completed his education under the instruction of two Syracusans, Tisias and Nicias, and afterwards enjoyed great esteem among the Thurians, and even seems to have taken part in the administration of the young republic. From a passage of Aristotle (ap. Cic. Brut. 12), we learn that he devoted some time to the teaching of rhetoric, though it is uncertain whether he entered upon this profession while yet at Thurii, or did not commence till after his return to Athens, where we know that Isaeus was one of his pupils.
  In B. C. 411, when he had attained the age of fortyseven, after the defeat of the Athenians in Sicily, all persons, both in Sicily and in the south of Italy, who were suspected of favouring the cause of the Athenians, were exposed to persecutions; and Lysias, together with 300 others, was expelled by the Spartan party from Thurii, as a partisan of the Athenians. He now returned to Athens; but there too great misfortunes awaited him, for during the rule of the Thirty Tyrants, after the battle of Aegospotami, he was looked upon as an enemy of the government, his large property was confiseated, and he was thrown into prison, with a view to be put to death. But he escaped from Athens, and took refuge at Megara (Plut. Phot. ll.). His attachment to Athens, however, was so great, that when Thrasybulus, at the head of the patriots, marched from Phyle to liberate their country, Lysias joyfully sacrificed all that yet remained of his fortune, for he sent the patriots 2000 drachmas and 200 shields, and engaged a band of 302 mercenaries. Thrasybulus procured him the Athenian franchise, as a reward for his generosity; but Archinus afterwards induced the people to declare it void, because it had been conferred without a probuleuma; and Lysias henceforth lived at Athens as an isoteles, occupying himself, as it appears, solely with writing judicial speeches for others, and died in B. C. 378, at the age of eighty (Dionys. Lys. 12.)
  Lysias was one of the most fertile writers of orations that Athens ever produced, for there were in antiquity no less than 425 orations which were current under his name, though the ancient critics were of opinion that only 230 of them were genuine productions of Lysias (Dionys. Lys. 17; Plut. l; Phot. l; Cic. Brut. 16). Of these orations 35 only are extant, and even among these some are incomplete, and others are probably spurious. Of 53 others we possess only a few fragments. Most of these orations, only one of which (that against Eratosthenes, B. C. 403) he delivered himself in court, were composed after his return from Thurii to Athens. There are, however, some among them which probably belong to an earlier period of his life, when Lysias treated his art more from a theoretical point of view, and they must therefore be regarded as rhetorical exercises. But from the commencement of the speech against Eratosthenes we must conclude that his real career as a writer of orations began about B. C. 403. Among the lost works of Lysias we may mention a manual of rhetoric (techne rhetorike), probably one of his early productions, which, however, is lost.
  How highly the orations of Lysias were valued in antiquity may be inferred from the great number of persons that wrote commentaries upon them, such as Caecilius Calactinus, Zosimus of Gaza, Zeno of Cittium, Harpocration, Paullus Germinus, and others. All the works of these critics have perished. The only criticism of any importance upon Lysias that has come down to us is that of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, in his Peri ton archaion rhetoron hupomnematismoi, the ton archaion krisis, and in his account of Lysias, to which we may add the remarks of Photius. According to the judgment of Dionysius, and the accidental remarks of others, which are borne out by a careful examination of the orations still extant, the diction of Lysias is perfectly pure, and may be looked upon as the best canon of the Attic idiom; his language is natural and simple, but at the same time noble and dignified (Dionys. Lys. 2, 3, Demosth. 13; Cic. Brut. 32; Quintil. xii. 10.21, comp. ix. 4.17); it is always clear and lucid; the copiousness of his style does not injure its precision; nor can his rhetorical embellishments be considered as impairing the charming simplicity of his style (Dionys. Lys. 4). His delineations of character are always striking and true to life (Dionys. Lys. 7; Quintil. iii. 8.51; Phot. l.).
  But what characterises his orations above those of all other ancients, is the indescribable gracefulness and elegance which pervade all of them, without in the least impairing their power and energy; and this gracefulness was considered as so peculiar a feature in all Lysias' productions, that Dionysius thought it a fit criterion by which the genuine works of Lysias might be distinguished from the spurious works that went by his name (Dionys. Lys. 10, 3, Demosth. 13, Dinarch. 7; comp. Cic Brat. 9, 16; Quintil. ix. 4.17, xii. 10.24). The manner in which Lysias treats his subjects is equally deserving of high praise (Dionys. Lys. 15-19; Hermogen. De Form. Orat. ii.). It is, therefore, no matter of surprise to hear that among the many orations he wrote for others, two only are said to have been unsuccessful.
  The extant orations of Lysias are contained in the collections of Aldus, H. Stephens, Reiske, Dukas, Bekker, and Baiter and Sauppe. Among the separate editions, we mention those of J. Taylor (London, 1739, 4to. with a full critical apparatus and emendations by Markland), C. Foertsch (Leipzig, 1829, 8vo.), J. Franz (Munich, 1831, 8vo., in which the orations are arranged in their chronological order); compare J. Franz, Dissertatio de Lysia Oratore Attico Graece script, Norimbergae, 1828, 8vo.; L. Hoelscher, De Lysiae Oratoris Vita et Dictione, Berlin, 1837, 8vo., and De Vita et Scriptis Lysiae Oratoris Commentatio, Berlin, 1837, 8vo.; Westermann, Gesch. der Griecch. Beredtsam-keit, 46, 47, and Beilage, iii. pp. 278--288.

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

Lysias: Life
Lysias a non-citizen born in Athens, perhaps 459 B.C.
  Lysias, though he passed most of his years at Athens, did not possess the citizenship, and, except in the impeachment of Eratosthenes, appears to have had no personal contact with the affairs of the city. Yet, as in literary style he is the representative of Atticism, so in his fortunes he is closely associated with the Athenian democracy. He suffered with it in its two greatest calamities--the overthrow in Sicily and the tyranny of the Thirty; he took part in its restoration; and afterwards, in his speeches for the law-courts, he became perhaps the best, because the soberest, exponent of its spirit--the most graceful and most versatile interpreter of ordinary Athenian life.
  Kephalos, the father of Lysias, was a Syracusan, who settled at Athens as a resident alien on the invitation of Perikles (Lys. in Eratosth.4). Such an invitation would scarcely have carried much weight before Perikles had begun to be a leading citizen, i.e. before about 460 B. C.; and the story which represented Kephalos as having been driven from Syracuse when the democracy was overthrown by Gelon (485 B. C.) is therefore not very probable.
  Lysias was born at Athens after his father had come to live there. The year of his birth cannot be determined. Dionysios assumes the same year as the pseudo-Plutarch 459 B. C.; but admits, what the latter does not, that it is a mere assumption. And the ground upon which the assumption rested is evident. Lysias was known to have gone to Thurii when he was fifteen. Thurii was founded 444 B. C.: it was inferred, then, that Lysias was born in 459 B. C. But there is nothing to prove that Lysias went to Thurii in the year of its foundation. The date 459 B. C. must be regarded, therefore, as a mere guess. It is the guess, however, which had the approval of the ancients; and it is confirmed by this circumstance -that Lysias was reported to have died at about eighty , and that, in fact, his genuine works, so far as they are extant, cease at about 380 B. C.4 In the absence of certainty, then, it seems probable that the date 459 is not far wrong.
  This is not, however, the prevalent modern view. Lysias was said to have gone to Italy after his father's death; and this fact is the criterion for the date of his birth on which C. F. Hermann and Baur rely, as the ancient writers relied on the foundation-year of Thurii. Kephalos is introduced in Plato's Republic, of which the scene is laid (C. F. Hermann thinks) in 430 B. C. Lysias, then, it is agreed, cannot have gone to Thurii before 429, or have been born before 444. Blass justly objects to a dialogue of Plato being used as an authority for a date of this kind; but he himself arrives at the same conclusion on another ground-- viz. because Kephalos cannot have come to Athens earlier than 460, and had lived there (as his son says, Lys. in Eratosth. § 4) thirty years. Again, Lysias was certainly older than Isokrates, who was born in 436. The birth of Lysias must therefore be put (Blass thinks) between 444 and 436.
  This view depends altogether on the statement that Lysias remained at Athens till his father's death -a statement vouched for only by the Plutarchic biographer, who is surely untrustworthy on such a point. Further, it assumes both the date and the literal biographical accuracy of the Republic; or else -what is at least doubtful- that Kephalos could not have come to Athens before 460. Lastly, it makes it difficult to accept the well-accredited account of Lysias having reached, or passed, the age of eighty; since all traces of his industry, hitherto constant, cease when, at this rate, he would have been no more than sixty-six. The question must be left uncertain. But the modern hypothesis that Lysias was born between 444 and 436 B. C. does not seem, at least, more probable than the ancient hypothesis that he was born about 459.
  Besides Lysias, Kephalos had two other sons, Polemarchos and Euthydemos -Polemarchos being the eldest of the three; and a daughter, afterwards married to Brachyllos. The hospitable disposition of Kephalos is marked in the opening of the Republic, of which the scene is laid at the house of his eldest son. He complains that Sokrates does not come often now to see them at the Peiraeus, and begs that in future he will come to them without ceremony, as to intimate friends. It is easy to believe that, in the lifetime of Perikles, the house of the wealthy Sicilian whom his friendship had brought to Athens was an intellectual centre, the scene of many such gatherings as Plato imagined at the house of Polemarchos; and that Lysias really grew up, as Dionysios says, in the society of the most distinguished Athenians.
Lysias at Thurii.
  At the age of fifteen -his father, according to one account, being dead- Lysias went to Thurii, accompanied certainly by his eldest brother Polemarchos; perhaps also by Euthydemos. At Thurii, where he passed his youth and early manhood, he is said to have studied rhetoric under Tisias of Syracuse, himself the pupil of Korax, reputed founder of the art. If, as is likely, Tisias was born about 485 B. C. and did not go to Athens till about 418, there is nothing impossible in this account. At any rate it is probable that Lysias had lessons from some teacher of the Sicilian school, a school the trammels of which his maturer genius so thoroughly shook off. The overthrow of the Athenian arms in Sicily brought into power an anti-Athenian faction at Thurii. Lysias and his brother, with three hundred persons accused of 'Atticising', were driven out, and fled to Athens in 412 B. C. A tradition, idle, indeed, but picturesque, connected the Athenian disaster in Sicily with the last days of Lysias in southern Italy. To him was ascribed a speech, possessed by the ancients, in which the captive general Nikias implored the mercy of his Sicilian conquerors
His life at Athens from 412 to 405 B C.
  The next seven years at Athens -from 412 to 405- seem to have been years of peace and prosperity for the brothers. They were the owners of three houses, one in the town, in which Polemarchos lived; another in the Peiraeus, occupied by Lysias; and, adjoining the latter, a shield-manufactory, employing a hundred and twenty slaves. Informers - who were especially dangerous to rich foreigners- did not vex them; they had many friends; and, in the liberal discharge of public services, were patterns to all resident-aliens. The possession of house property shows that they belonged -as their father Kephalos had doubtless belonged- to that privileged class of resident-aliens who paid no special tax as such, and who, as being on a par in respect of taxes with citizens, were called isoteleis. If Lysias continued his rhetorical studies during this quiet time, he probably had not yet begun to write speeches for the law-courts. A rich man, as he then was, had no motive for taking to a despised drudgery; and the only extant speech ascribed to him which refers to a date earlier than 403 -that for Polystratos- is probably spurious. Cicero, quoting Aristotle, says that Lysias once kept a rhetorical school, but gave it up because Theodoros surpassed him in technical subtlety. If this story is worth anything, there is perhaps one reason for referring it to the years 412-405; it certainly imputes to Lysias the impatience of a wealthy amateur. At any rate the ornamental pieces enumerated in the lists of his works -the encomia, the letters, the show-speeches- may have belonged in part to this period of his life. After 403 he wrote for the lawcourts as a profession, and wrote with an industry which can have left little time for the rhetoric of display.
The Anarchy.
  Soon after the Thirty had taken power in the spring of 404, two of them, Theognis and Peison, proposed that measures should be adopted against the resident-aliens; nominally, because that class was disaffected--really, because it was rich. Ten resident-aliens were chosen out for attack, two poor men being included for the sake of appearances. Lysias and Polemarchos were on the list. When Theognis and Peison, with their attendants, came to the house of Lysias in the Peiraeus, they found him entertaining a party of friends. The guests were driven off, and their host was left in the charge of Peison, while Theognis and his companions went to the shield-manufactory close by to take an inventory of the slaves. Lysias, left alone with Peison, asked if he would take a sum of money to save him. 'Yes', said Peison, 'if it is a large sum'. They agreed on a talent; and Lysias went to bring it from the room where he kept his money-box. Peison, catching sight of the box, called up two servants, and told them to take its whole contents. Thus robbed of more than thrice the amount bargained for, Lysias begged to be left at least enough to take him out of the country. Peison replied that he might consider himself lucky if he got off with his life. They were then going to leave the house, when they met at the door two other emissaries of the Thirty. Finding that Peison was now going to the house of Polemarchos in the town, these men relieved him of Lysias, whom they took to the house of one Damnippos. Theognis was there already with some other prisoners. As Lysias knew Damnippos, he took him aside, and asked him to assist his escape. Damnippos thought that it would be best to speak directly to Theognis, who, he was sure, would do anything for money. While Theognis and Damnippos were talking in the front-hall, Lysias slipped through the door, which chanced to be open, leading from the first court of the house to the second. He had still two doors to pass through -luckily they were both unlocked. He escaped to the house of Archeneos, the master of a merchantship, close by, and sent him up to Athens to learn what had become of Polemarchos. Archeneos came back with the news that Polemarchos had been met in the street by Eratosthenes, one of the Thirty, and taken straight to prison. The same night Lysias took boat to Megara.
Polemarchos received the usual message of the Thirty -to drink the hemlock. Although the property of which the brothers had been despoiled was so valuable -including almost the whole stock of the shield-manufactory, gold and silver plate, furniture, and a large sum of money- the decencies of burial were refused to Polemarchos. He was laid out in the prison on a common stretcher, -one friend gave a cloth to throw over the body, another a cushion for the head, and so forth. A pair of gold earrings were taken from the ears of his widow.
Lysias aids the Exiles.
  During the ten or twelve months of the exile -from the spring of 404 to the spring of 403- Lysias seems to have been active in the democratic cause. According to his biographer -whose facts were probably taken from Lysias himself- he presented the army of the patriots with two hundred shields, and with a sum of two thousand drachmas; gained for it, with the help of one Hermon, upwards of three hundred recruits; and induced his friend Thrasydaeos of Elis to contribute no less than two talents. Immediately upon the return from the Peiraeus to the city in the spring of 403, Thrasybulos proposed that the citizenship should be conferred upon Lysias; and the proposal was carried in the ekklesia. In one respect, however, it was informal. No measure could, in strictness, come before the popular assembly which was not introduced by a preliminary resolution (probouleuma) of the Senate. But at the moment when this decree was passed, the Senate had not yet been reconstituted after the anarchy4 ; and the probouleuma had therefore been wanting. On this ground Archinos, a colleague of Thrasybulos, arraigned the decree (under the Graphe Paranomon) as unconstitutional, and it was annulled. The whole story has been doubted; but it is difficult to reject it when the Plutarchic biographer expressly refers to the speech made by Lysias in connection with the protest of Archinos. Whether this speech was or was not identical with that of Lysias On his own Services cannot be decided; but the latter must at least have been made upon this occasion.
The professional life of Lysias.
  Stripped of a great part of his fortune by the Thirty Tyrants, and further straitened, probably, by his generosity to the exiles, Lysias seems now to have settled down to hard work at Athens. His activity as a writer of speeches for the law-courts falls--as far as we know--between the years 403 and 380 B. C. That it must have been great and constant is shown by the fact that Dionysios speaks of him as having written 'not fewer than two hundred forensic speeches'. No other of the Attic orators was credited with so many as a hundred compositions of all kinds. First in time and first, too, in importance among the extant orations of Lysias is that Against Eratosthenes, in whom he saw not only one of the Thirty Tyrants but the murderer of his brother Polemarchos. It was probably in 403 that Eratosthenes was impeached. The speech of Lysias, memorable as a display of eloquence, valuable, too, as a sufferer's picture of a dreadful time, has this further interest, that it is the only forensic speech known to have been spoken by Lysias himself, and that it marks his only personal contact with the politics of Athens.
  Lysias had probably been a professional speech-writer for about four years when Sokrates was brought to trial in 399. According to the popular account, Lysias wrote a defence for Sokrates to speak in court, but Sokrates declined to use it. In the story itself there is nothing improbable; Kephalos and his son Lysias had been the intimate friends of Sokrates. But it may be suspected that the story arose from a confusion. At some time later than 392 B. C. the sophist Polykrates published an epideictic Accusation of Sokrates, and, in reply to it, Lysias wrote a speech In Defence of Sokrates. This was extant in antiquity; and some one who had heard of it, but who knew nothing of the circumstances under which it was written, probably invented the story that it had been offered to, and declined by, the philosopher. The self-denial of Sokrates would be complete when, after rejecting the aid of money, he had rejected the aid of the best contemporary rhetoric.
  Lysias is named in the ordinary text of his own speech On the Property of Aristophanes as taking part in an embassy to Dionysios the elder of Syracuse, an embassy of which the date cannot be put below 389 B. C. But there can be little doubt as to the correctness of the emendation which removes his name from that passage. There is better reason for believing another story in which the name of Lysias is associated with that of the elder Dionysios. We have good authority for the statement that the Olympiakos, of which a large fragment remains, was spoken by Lysias in person at the Olympic festival of 388 B.C., to which Dionysios had sent a splendid embassy. In that speech Lysias pointed out that two great enemies -the despot of Syracuse in the west, the king of Persia in the east- threatened Greece; and urged union among Greeks with all the eagerness and with more than the sagacity of Isokrates.
Chronological limit of his known work.
As has already been noticed, the indisputably genuine works of Lysias, so far as they are known, cease about 380 B.C. The latest, the speech for Pherenikos of which a fragment remains, belongs to 381 or 380. Of the two speeches for Iphikrates, also represented by fragments only, one belonged to 371, the other to 354; but Dionysios pronounced both spurious, partly on the external ground that Lysias could not then have been living; partly -which, for us, is the important point- on the internal evidence of style. It seems probable that Lysias died in, or soon after, 380 B.C., at the age of about eighty.
Character of Lysias.
  The character, as well as the capacity, of Lysias must be judged from the indirect evidence of his own writings. Circumstances kept him out of political life, in which his versatility and shrewdness would probably have held and improved the position which great powers of speech must soon have won. The part which he took during the troubles under the Thirty proved him a generous friend to Athens, as the Olympiakos shows him to have been a wise citizen of Greece; but his destiny was not that of a man of action. It is not likely that he regretted this much, though he must have felt his exclusion from the Athenian franchise as the refusal of a reward to which he had claims. His real strength -as far as can be judged now- lay in his singular literary tact. A fine perception of character in all sorts of men, and a faculty for dramatising it, aided by a sense of humour always under control; a certain pervading gracefulness and flexibility of mind; rhetorical skill, masterly in a sense hardly dreamed of at that day, since it could conceal itself -these were his most distinctive qualities and powers. His liberal discharge of public services, and his generosity to the exiles in 404, accord with the disposition which is suggested by the fragments of his letters. He was a man of warm nature, impulsive, hospitable, attached to his friends; fond of pleasure, and freely indulging in it; but, like Sophokles at the Chian supper-party described by Ion, carrying into social life the same intellectual quality which marks his best work -the grace and the temperate brightness of a thoroughly Athenian mind.

Lysias: Style
Lysias a literary artist
  An appreciation of Lysias is, in one sense, easy for modern criticism. He was a literary artist, and his work bears the stamp of consummate literary skill. The reader may fail to realise the circumstances under which a particular speech was delivered, the force with which it appeals to emotion or to reason, the degree in which it was likely to prove persuasive or convincing. But he cannot fail to be aware that he is reading admirable prose. The merit of Lysias as a writer is secure of recognition. It is his oratorical power which runs some danger of being too lightly valued, unless attention is paid to the conditions under which it was exerted. The speech Against Eratosthenes, indeed, in which he expresses the passionate feeling of his own mind, would alone suffice to prove him in the modern sense eloquent. But a large majority of his other speeches are so comparatively tame, so poor in the qualities of the higher eloquence, that his oratorical reputation, to be understood, needs to be closely interpreted by the scope of his oratory.
  Although on a few occasions he himself came forward as a speaker, the business of his life was to write for others. All sorts of men were among his clients; all kinds of causes in turn occupied him. Now he lent his services to the impeachment of an official charged with defrauding the Athenian treasury, or to the prosecution of some adherent of the Thirty, accused of having slandered away the lives of Athenian citizens; now he supplied the words in which a pauper begged that his obol a day from the State might not be stopped, or helped one of the parties to a drunken brawl to demand satisfaction for a black eye. The elderly citizen who appeals against the calumny of an informer to his past services as trierarch or choregus; the young man checked on the threshold of public life by some enemy's protest at his dokimasia for his first office,--in turn borrow their eloquence from Lysias. If he had been content to adopt the standard which he found existing in his profession, he would have written in nearly the same style for all these various ages and conditions. He would have treated all these different cases upon a uniform technical system, merely seeking, in every case alike, to obtain the most powerful effect and the highest degree of ornament by applying certain fixed rules. Lysias was a discoverer when he perceived that a purveyor of words for others, if he would serve his customers in the best way, must give the words the air of being their own. He saw that the monotonous intensity of the fashionable rhetoric -often ludicrously unsuited to the mouth into which it was put- was fatal to real impressiveness; and, instead of lending to all speakers the same false brilliancy, he determined to give to each the vigour of nature. It was the desire of treating appropriately every case entrusted to him, and of making each client speak as an intelligent person, without professional aid, might be expected to speak in certain circumstances, which chiefly determined the style of Lysias.
Lysias the representative of the Plain Style.
  This style, imitated by many, but marked in Lysias by an original excellence, made him for antiquity the representative of a class of orators. It was in the latter part of the fourth century B. C. that Greek critics began regularly to distinguish three styles of rhetorical composition, the grand, the plain and the middle. The grand style aims constantly at rising above the common idiom; it seeks ornament of every kind, and rejects nothing as too artificial if it is striking. The plain style may, like the first, employ the utmost efforts of art, but the art is concealed; and, instead of avoiding, it imitates the language of ordinary life. The 'middle' style explains itself by its name. Theophrastos appears to have been the first writer on Rhetoric who attempted such a classification; there is, at least, no hint of it in Aristotle or in the Rhetorica ad Alexandrum. Vague as the classification necessarily is, it was frequently modified according to the taste of individual teachers. The two extremes -the grand and the plain styles -were recognised by all; but some discerned two, some three shades between them; while others thought it needless to distinguish anything intermediate. On the whole, however, the tripartite division kept its ground down to Roman times. It was adopted, with variations of detail, by Cicero, Dionysios and Quintilian. The characteristics of the 'plain' style -with which we are most concerned at present- are only sketched by Dionysios; but they are more precisely given by Cicero. There is a difference, indeed, between the points of view of the two critics. Dionysios treats the three styles historically; Cicero treats them theoretically. The 'middle' style of Cicero differs, therefore, from the 'middle' style of Dionysios in being an ideal. But Cicero's description of the 'plain' style, at least, would probably have been accepted in the main by Dionysios; and it is clear that for Cicero, as for Dionysios, Lysias was the canon of that style. According to Cicero, the chief marks of the 'genus tenue' are these:
1. In regard to composition--a free structure of clauses and sentences, not straining after a rhythmical period.
Originality of Lysias.
  With certain exceptions, which will be noticed in their place, Lysias has these characteristics, and is the best representative of the plain style, whether viewed historically or in the abstract. That style gradually came to be used by almost all writers for the ekklesia or the law-courts; but it was Lysias, says Dionysios, who 'perfected' it, and 'brought it to the summit of the excellence proper to it'. In order that the originality of Lysias may not be underrated, attention must be given to the precise meaning of this statement. It appears to speak of him merely as having succeeded better than others in a style used by nearly all writers of speeches for the law-courts. But what was, in fact, common to him and them was this only -the avoidance of decidedly poetical ornament and the employment of sober prose. This is all that the ?plain? style, as opposed to the 'elaborate', necessarily means. That which he had, and which no other had in the same degree, was the art of so writing this prose that it should be in character with the person who spoke it. Their style was monotonously plain; his was plain too, but it was more, it was variously natural. Dionysios shows elsewhere that he appreciated to the full the originality of Lysias; but he has hardly brought it out with sufficient clearness in the passage which has just been noticed. Lysias may, in a general sense, be regarded as the perfecter of a style already practised by many others; but it is closer to the truth to call him the founder of a new one, and of one in which he was never rivalled.
  It does not, perhaps, strike the modern mind as very remarkable that a man whose business was to write speeches for other people should have conceived the idea of making the speech appropriate to the person. In order to understand why this conception was, at the time, a proof of genius, it is necessary to remember how rhetoric was then viewed. Prose composition in its infancy was a craft, a close profession, just as much as poetry. Beside the sacred band of ?wise? poets stood the small group of experts skilled to fashion artistic prose. When a man wished for help in a law-suit he applied, as a matter of course, if he could afford it, to one of these; and it was equally a matter of course that the speech supplied to him should bear the same stamp as others turned out by the same machine. There was no pretence of its being the work of the speaker, and no expectation, therefore, that it should reflect his nature; a certain rhetorical colour, certain recognized forms of argument and appeal, were alone looked for. The idea of writing for a client so that he should have in court the whole advantage of professional aid, and, in addition to this, the advantage of appearing to have dispensed with it, was not only novel but daring. This is what Lysias first undertook to do, and did admirably.
Had his style been florid before it became plain?
  His dramatic purpose -if it may be so called- decided the special characteristics of his style. But, even without this purpose, an instinctive dislike of exaggeration would of itself have given his style some general characteristics, sufficient to distinguish it from that of any of his contemporaries. On this account we must dissent from a view advanced by K. O. Muller in his History of Greek Literature. Lysias had, he thinks, two distinct styles at two different periods of his life; the earlier, 'forced and artificial'; the later, plain. Muller recognises the former in the speech in the Phaedros, and in the Epitaphios. The turning-point was, he conceives, the impeachment of Eratosthenes, when ?a real feeling of pain and anger? in the mind of Lysias gave 'a more lively and natural flow both to his spirits and to his speech'. 'This occasion' -Muller adds- 'convinced Lysias what style of oratory was both the most suited to his own character and also least likely to fail in producing an effect upon the judges'. Ingenious as the theory is, we have no belief in the fact of any such abrupt transition as it supposes. That temperate mastery with which Lysias cultivated the 'plain' style is doubly a marvel if it was only a sudden practical experience which weaned him from his first love for a forced and artificial rhetoric. Converts are not proverbial for discretion; and the exquisite judgment shown by Lysias after his supposed reformation ought to have prevented its necessity. Like all his contemporaries he must, unquestionably, have had his earliest training in the florid Sicilian school; but there is nothing to show that its precepts ever took a strong hold upon him; and there is overwhelming reason to believe that a genius of the bent of his must very early have thrown off such pedantic trammels. It is true that the speech in the Phaedros- assuming its genuineness- is more stiffly composed than any of his presumably later writings: but, on the other hand, it is, as Muller allows, entirely free from the ornaments of Gorgias. As for the Epitaphios, its spuriousness is now a generally recognised fact.

Special characteristics of his style.
  Plainness and an easy versatility are, then, the general characteristics of Lysias. We propose now to consider in detail his special characteristics; speaking first of his style in the narrower sense, his composition and diction; next of his method of handling subject-matter.
His Composition.
  Cicero, as we have seen, counts among the marks of the 'plain' style a free structure of sentences and clauses, not straining after a rhythmical period (Orator 77, quoted above). Dionysios, speaking of ethopoiia in Lysias, says that he composes 'quite simply and plainly, aware that ethos is best expressed, not in rhythmical periods, but in the lax (or easy) style' (en tei dialelumenei lexei). In another place, however, he praises Lysias for a vigour, essential in contests, ?which packs thoughts closely and brings them out roundly? (strongulos) -that is, in terse periods. Both remarks are just. Nothing more strikingly distinguishes Lysias from his predecessors and from nearly all his successors than the degree in which the structure of his sentences varies according to his subject. His speeches may in this respect be classified under three heads. First, those which are of a distinctly public character; in which the composition is thoroughly rhythmical, and which abound with artistic periods, single or combined. Secondly, those speeches which, from the nature of their subjects, blend the private with the public character; which show not only fewer combinations or groups of periods, but a less careful formation of single periods. Thirdly, the essentially private speeches; which differ from the second class, not in the mould of such periods as occur, but in the larger mixture with these of sentences or clauses not periodic. Further, in each of these three classes, a greater freedom of composition distinguishes the narrative from the argument. The narrative parts of the properly public speeches are usually thrown into what may be called the historical as opposed to the oratorical period; that is, the sentences are more loosely knit and are drawn out to a greater length. According as the speech has more of a private character, these freer periods are more and more relaxed into a simple series (lexis eiromene) of longer or shorter clauses. Yet, while there are so many shades in the composition of Lysias, the colour of the whole is individual. Isokrates develops period out of period in long, luxuriant sequence; Demosthenes intersperses the most finished and most vigorous periods with less formally built sentences which relieve them; Lysias binds his periods, by twos or threes at the most, into groups always moderate in size but often monotonous in form; excelling Isokrates in compactness, but yielding to Demosthenes in life.
His Diction--its purity.
  The diction of Lysias is distinguished in the first place by its purity. This is a quality upon which no modern could have pronounced authoritatively, but for which the ancient Greek critic vouches. In the Augustan age the reaction from florid Asianism to Atticism had set in strongly, and especial attention was paid by Greek grammarians to the marks of a pure Attic style. Dionysios may be taken as a competent judge. He pronounces Lysias to be 'perfectly pure in expression, the best canon of Attic speech, -not of the old used by Plato and Thucydides', but of that which was in vogue in his own time. This may be seen, he adds, by a comparison with the writings of Andokides, Kritias and many others. Two ideas are included under the ?purity? praised here; abstinence from words either obsolete (glossai) or novel, or too decidedly poetical; and abstinence from constructions foreign to the idiom of the day -an excellence defined elsewhere as 'accuracy of dialect'. Lysias is not rigidly pure in these respects. The only instance of an old-fashioned syntax, indeed, which has been noticed in him, is the occasional use of te as a copula; nor does he use such pedantic words as were meant by 'glossae'; but rare or poetical words and phrases occur in many places. The praise of purity must be taken in a general and relative sense. Of those who came after Lysias, Isokrates most nearly approached him in this quality; but Isaeos is also commended for it.
  Next, in contrast with the Sicilian school of rhetoric, Lysias is characterised by a general avoidance of ornamental figures. Such figures as occur are mostly of the kind which men use in daily life without rhetorical consciousness, -hyperbole, metaphor, prosopopoiia and the like. As a rule, he expresses his meaning by ordinary words employed in their normal sense. His panegyrical speeches and his letters are said to have presented a few exceptions to this rule; but all his business-works, as Dionysios calls them -his speeches for the ekklesia and for the law-courts- are stamped with this simplicity. He seems, as his critic says, to speak like the ordinary man, while he is in fact the most consummate of artists, -a prose poet who knows how to give an unobtrusive distinction to common language, and to bring out of it a quiet and peculiar music. Isokrates had the same command of familiar words, but he was not content to seek effect by artistic harmonies of these. His ambition was to be ornate; and hence one of the differences remarked by Dionysios: Isokrates is sometimes vulgar; Lysias never is. There is one kind of ornament, however, which Lysias uses largely, and in respect to which he deserts the character of the plain style. He delights in the artistic parallelism (or opposition) of clauses. This may be effected: (1) by simple correspondence of clauses in length (isokolon); (2) by correspondence of word with word in meaning (antitheton proper); (3) by correspondence of word with word in sound (paromoion). Examples are very numerous both in the public and in the private speeches. This love of antithesis -shown on a larger scale in the terse periodic composition- is the one thing which sometimes blemishes the ethos in Lysias.
Clearness and conciseness.
  Closely connected with this simplicity is his clearness. Lysias is clear in a twofold sense; in thought, and in expression. Figurative language is often a source of confusion of thought; and the habitual avoidance of figures by Lysias is one reason why he not only speaks but thinks clearly. In regard to this clearness of expression Dionysios has an excellent remark. This quality might, he observes, result merely from 'deficiency of power', i.e. poverty of language and of fancy which constrained the speaker to be simple. In the case of Lysias it does, in fact, result from wealth of the right words. He uses only plain words; but he has enough of these to express with propriety the most complex idea. The combination of clearness with conciseness is Conciseness. achieved by Lysias because he has his language thoroughly under command; his words are the disciplined servants of his thoughts. Isokrates is clear; but he is not also concise. In the union of these two excellences, Isaeos perhaps stands next to Lysias. There are, indeed, exceptions to the conciseness of Lysias, as there are exceptions to the purity and the plainness of his diction. Instances occur in which terms nearly synonymous are accumulated, either for the sake of emphasis or merely for the sake of symmetry; but such instances are not frequent.
  Vividness, enargeia -'the power of bringing under the senses what is narrated' -is an attribute of the style of Lysias. The dullest hearer cannot fail to have before his eyes the scene described, and to fancy himself actually in presence of the persons introduced as speaking. Lysias derives this graphic force from two things; -judicious use of detail, and perception of character. A good example of it is his description, in the speech Against Eratosthenes, of his own arrest by Theognis and Peison. Dionysios ascribes vividness, as well as clearness, to Isokrates also; but there is perhaps only one passage in the extant work of Isokrates which strictly justifies this praise. A description may be brilliant without being in the least degree graphic. The former quality depends chiefly on the glow of the describer's imagination; the latter depends on his truthfulness and skill in grouping around the main incident its lesser circumstances. A lifelike picture demands the union of fine colouring and correct drawing. Isokrates was a brilliant colourist; but he was seldom, like Lysias, an accurate draughtsman.


  From this trait we pass naturally to another which has just been mentioned as one of its sources -the faculty of seizing and portraying character. Of all the gifts of Lysias this is the most distinctive, and is the one which had greatest influence upon his style. It is a talent which does not admit of definition or analysis; it can be understood only by studying its results. It is shown, as Dionysios says, in three things -thought, diction, and composition; that is, the ideas, the words, and the style in which the words are put together, always suit the person to whom they are ascribed. There is hardly one of the extant speeches of Lysias upon which this peculiar power has not left its mark. Many of them, otherwise poor in interest, have a permanent artistic value as describing, with a few quiet touches, this or that type of man. For instance, the Defence which is the subject of the Twenty-first Oration is interesting solely because it embodies to the life that proud consciousness of merit with which a citizen who had deserved well of the State might confront a calumny. In the speech on the Sacred Olive, if the nameless accused is not a person for us, he is at least a character -the man who shrinks from public prominence of any kind, but who at the same time has a shy pride in discharging splendidly all his public duties. The injured husband, again, who has taken upon Eratosthenes the extreme vengeance sanctioned by the law, is the subject of an indirect portrait, in which homeliness is combined with the moral dignity of a citizen standing upon his rights (De caed. Eratosth. (Or. I.) §§ 5 ff., 47--50). The steady Athenian householder of the old type, and the adventurous patriot of the new, are sketched in the speech On the Property of Aristophanes. The accuser of Diogeiton, unwilling to prosecute a relative, but resolved to have a shameful wrong redressed; -Diogeiton's mother, pleading with him for her sons; -are pictures all the more effective because they have been produced without apparent effort. But of all such delineations -and, as Dionysios says, no character in Lysias is inartistically drawn or lifeless- perhaps the cleverest and certainly the most attractive is that of Mantitheos, the brilliant young Athenian who is vindicating his past life before the Senate. Nowhere is the ethical art of Lysias more ably shown than in the ingenuous words of apology with which, as by an afterthought, Mantitheos concludes his frank and highspirited defence:
'I have understood, Senators, that some people are annoyed with me for this too -that I presumed, though rather young, to speak in the Assembly. It was about my own affairs that I was first compelled to speak in public; after that, however, I do suspect myself of having been more ambitiously inclined than I need have been -partly through thinking of my family, who have never ceased to be statesmen- partly because I saw that you (to tell the truth) respect none but such men; so that, seeing this to be your opinion, who would not be invited to act and speak in behalf of the State? And besides - why should you be vexed with such men? The judgment upon them rests with none but yourselves'

The 'propriety' and 'charm' of Lysias.
  The 'propriety' which has always been praised in Lysias depends mainly on this discernment of what suits the character of each speaker; but it includes more - it has respect also to the hearers and to the subject, and generally to all the circumstances of the case. The judge, the ekklesiast, the listener in the crowd at a festival are not addressed in the same vein; different excellences of style characterise the opening, the narrative, the argument, the final appeal.
  It   remains to say a few words on the peculiar and crowning excellence of Lysias in the province of expression -his famous but inexplicable 'charm'. It is noticeable that while his Roman critics merely praise his elegance and polish, regarding it as a simple result of his art, the finer sense of his Greek critic apprehends a certain nameless grace or charm, which cannot be directly traced to art,--which cannot be analysed or accounted for: it is something peculiar to him, of which all that can be said is that it is there. What, asks Dionysios, is the freshness of a beautiful face? What is fine harmony in the movements and windings of music? What is rhythm in the measurement of times? As these things baffle definition, so does the charm of Lysias. It cannot be taken to pieces by reasoning; it must be seized by a cultivated instinct. It is the final criterion of his genuine work:
'When I am puzzled about one of the speeches ascribed to him, and when it is hard for me to find the truth by other marks, I have recourse to this excellence, as to the last piece on the board. Then, if the Graces of Speech seem to me to make the writing fair, I count it to be of the soul of Lysias; and I care not to look further into it. But if the stamp of the language has no winningness, no loveliness, I am chagrined, and suspect that after all the speech is not by Lysias; and I do no more violence to my instinct, even though in all else the speech seems to me clever and well-finished; believing that to write well, in special styles other than this, is given to many men; but that to write winningly, gracefully, with loveliness, is the gift of Lysias'.
  A modern reader would be sanguine if he hoped to analyse the distinctive charm of Lysias more closely than Dionysios found himself able to do. He may be content if study by degrees gives him a dim apprehension of something which he believes that he could use, as Dionysios used the qualities detected by his 'instinct', in deciding between the genuine and the false. Evidently the same cause which in great measure disqualifies a modern for estimating the 'purity'? of the language of Lysias also disqualifies him for estimating its charm. This charm may be supposed to have consisted partly in a certain felicity of expression, -Lysias having a knack of using the word which, for some undefinable reason, was felt to be curiously right; partly in a certain essential urbanity, the reflection of a nature at once genial and refined. The first quality is evidently beyond the sure appreciation of a modern ear: the second less so, yet scarcely to be estimated with nicety, since here too shades of expression are concerned. At best a student of Lysias may hope to attain a tolerably true perception of what he could not have written: but hardly the faculty of rejoicing that he wrote just as he did.

His treatment of subject, matter.
  Having now noticed the leading characteristics of Lysias in regard to form of language, we will consider some of his characteristics in the other great department of his art -the treatment of the subject-matter. In this the ancient critics distinguished two chief elements, Invention and Arrangement.
  By 'invention' was meant the faculty of discovering the arguments available in any given circumstances; the art, in short, of making the most of a case. Sokrates, criticising the speech in the Phaedros, is made to express contempt for the inventive power of Lysias. Arguments, however, which would not pass with a dialectician, might do very well for a jury. If Plato found Lysias barren of logical resource, Dionysios emphatically praises his fertile cleverness in discovering every weapon of controversy which the facts of a case could yield to the most penetrating search. The latter part of the speech against Agoratos may be taken as a good example of this exhaustive ingenuity. It is a fault, indeed, that there the speaker attempts to make too many small points in succession; and one, at least, of these is a curious instance of overdone subtlety.
  In regard to arrangement, Lysias is distinguished from all other Greek orators by a uniform simplicity. His speeches consist usually of four parts, which follow each other in a regular order: proem, narrative, proof, epilogue. In some cases, the nature of the subject renders a narrative, in the proper sense, unnecessary; in others, the narrative is at the same time the proof; in a few, the proem is almost or entirely dispensed with. But in no case is there anything more elaborate than this fourfold partition, -and in no case is the sequence of the parts altered. This simple arrangement, contrasting with the manifold subdivisions which Plato notices as used by the rhetoricians of his day, is usually said to have been first made by Isokrates. This may be true in the sense that it was he who first stated it theoretically. In practice, however, it had already been employed by Lysias; and more strictly than by Isokrates himself. The difference between their systems, according to Dionysios, is precisely this: Lysias uses always the same simple framework, never interpolating, subdividing or defining; Isokrates knows how to break the uniformity by transpositions of his own devising, or by novel episodes. The same difference, in a stronger form, separates Lysias here from his imitator in much else, Isaeos. Every kind of artifice is used by Isaeos in shifting, subdividing, recombining the four rudimentary elements of the speech according to the special conditions of the case. It was this versatile tact in disposing his forces -this generalship, as Dionysios in one place calls it- which chiefly procured for Isaeos the reputation of unequalled adroitness in fighting a bad cause. Lysias had consummate literary skill and much acuteness; but his weapons were better than his plan of campaign; he was not a subtle tactician. 'In arranging what he has invented he is commonplace, frank, guileless'; while Isaeos 'plays all manner of ruses upon his adversary', Lysias 'uses no sort of knavery'. Invention and selection are admirable in him: arrangement is best studied in his successors.

This text is cited July 2005 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Lysias: Parts of the oration
  If we turn from his general plan to his execution of its several parts, Lysias will be found to shew very different degrees of merit in proem, narrative, proof and epilogue.
  His proem, or opening, is always excellent, always gracefully and accurately appropriate to the matter in hand. This inexhaustible fertility of resource calls forth the special commendation of Dionysios. 'The power shown in his proems will appear especially marvellous if it is considered that, though he wrote not fewer than 200 forensic speeches, there is not one in which he is found to have used a preface which is not plausible, or which is not closely connected with the case. Indeed, he has not twice hit upon the same syllogisms, or twice drifted into the same thoughts. Yet even those who have written little are found to have had this mischance, -that, I mean, of repeating commonplaces; to say nothing of the fact that nearly all of them borrow the prefatory remarks of others, and think no shame of doing so'. The opening of the speech against Diogeiton may be cited as an example of a difficult case introduced with singular delicacy and tact.
  The same kind of cleverness which never fails to make a good beginning finds a more important scope in the next stage of the speech. In narrative Lysias is masterly. His statements of facts are distinguished by conciseness, clearness and charm, and by a power of producing conviction without apparent effort to convince. If these qualities mark almost equally some of the narratives in the private orations of Demosthenes, it is yet Lysias and not Demosthenes to whom Dionysios points as the canon of excellence in this kind. He goes so far as to say that he believes the rules for narrative given in the current rhetorical treatises to have been derived from study of models supplied by Lysias.
  In the third province -that of proof- this supremacy is not maintained. Rhetorical proofs are of three kinds: (1) direct logical proofs which appeal to the reason; and indirect moral proofs which appeal (2) to the moral sense, and (3) to the feelings.
  In the first sort Lysias is strong both by acuteness in discovering, and by judgment in selecting, arguments. In the second he is effective also; and succeeds, even when he has few facts to go upon, in making characters seem attractive or the reverse by incidental touches. In the third he is comparatively weak; he cannot heighten the force of a plea, represent a wrong, or invoke compassion, with sufficient spirit and intensity.
  Hence in the fourth and last department, the epilogue, he shows, indeed, the neatness which suits recapitulation, but not the power which ought to elevate an appeal. The nature of his progress through a speech is well described by an image which his Greek critic employs. Like a soft southern breeze, his facile inspiration wafts him smoothly through the first and second stages of his voyage; at the third it droops; in the last it dies.

General qualities resulting from character
  The manner in which Lysias handles his subject-matter has now been spoken of so far as concerns its technical aspect. But, besides these characteristics of the artist which may be discovered in particular parts, there are certain general qualities, resulting from the character of the man, which colour the whole; and a word must now be said of these.
The tact of Lysias.
  Foremost among such qualities is tact. One of its special manifestations is quick sympathy with the character of the speaker; another is perception of the style in which a certain subject should be treated or a certain class of hearers addressed. Both these have already been noticed. But, above and beyond these, there is a certain sureness in the whole conduct of a case, a certain remoteness from liability to blunder, which is the most general indication of the tact of Lysias. Among his genuine extant speeches there is only one which perhaps in some degree offers an exception to the rule; -the speech against Evandros. In the case of the speech against Andokides, the conspicuous absence of a fine discretion is one of the most conclusive proofs that Lysias was not the author. In relation to treatment, this tact is precisely what the 'charm' praised by Dionysios is in relation to language; it is that quality, the presence or absence of which is the best general criterion of what Lysias did or did not write.
His humour.
  A quality which the last almost implies is humour; and this Lysias certainly had. The description of an incorrigible borrower, in the fragment of the lost speech against the Sokratic Aeschines, shows this humour tending to broad farce, and illustrates what Demetrius means by the 'somewhat comic graces' of Lysias. But, as a rule, it is seen only in sudden touches, which amuse chiefly because they surprise; as in the speech for Mantitheos, and most of all in that for the Invalid.
  Really powerful sarcasm must come from earnest feeling; and Lysias, though intellectual acuteness gave him command of irony, was weak in sarcasm for the same reason that he was not great in pathos. There is, properly speaking, only one extant speech -that against Nikomachos- in which sarcasm is a principal weapon. Here he is moderately successful, but not in the best way; for, just as in his attack upon Aeschines, vehemence, tending to coarseness, takes the place of moral indignation.

Defects of Lysias as an orator.
  The language, the method, the genius of Lysias have now been considered in reference to their chief positive characteristics. But no attempt to estimate what Lysias was would be true or complete if it failed to point out what he was not. However high the rank which he may claim as a literary artist, he cannot, as an orator, take the highest. The defects which exclude him from it are chiefly two; and these are to a certain extent the defects of his qualities. As he excelled in analysis of character and in elegance, so he was, as a rule, deficient in pathos and in fire.The limits of pathos in Lysias.
  It would be untrue to say that Lysias never appeals to the feelings with effect, and unfair to assume that he lacked the power of appealing to them with force. But the bent of his mind was critical; his artistic instinct shrank from exaggeration of every sort; and, instead of giving fervent expression to his own sense of what was pitiable or terrible in any set of circumstances, it was his manner merely to draw a suggestive picture of the circumstances themselves. This self-restraint will be best understood by comparing a passage of Lysias with a similar passage of Andokides. The speech On the Mysteries describes the scene in the prison when mothers, sisters, wives came to visit the victims of the informer Diokleides. A like scene is described in the speech Against Agoratos, when the persons whom he had denounced took farewell in prison of their kinswomen. But the two orators take different means of producing a tragic effect. 'There were cries and lamentations', says Andokides, 'weeping and wailing for the miseries of the hour'. Lysias simply remarks that the wife who came to see her husband had already put on mourning. For hearers of a certain class the pathos of facts is more eloquent than an express appeal; but the speaker who is content to rely upon it renounces the hope of being found pathetic by the multitude. It was only now and then that, without going beyond the limits which his own taste imposed, Lysias could expect to stir general sympathy. In the defence which he wrote for the nephews of Nikias, the last survivors of a house made desolate by violent deaths and now threatened with spoliation, he found such an opportunity. He used it well, because, though declamation would have been easy, he abstained from everything rhetorical and hollow. The few words in which the defendant speaks of his claim to the protection of the court are plain and dignified:
'Judges, I have no one to put up to plead for us; for of our kinsmen some have died in war, after showing themselves brave men, in the effort to make Athens great; some, in the cause of the democracy and of your freedom, have died by the hemlock of the Thirty; and so the merits of our kinsmen, and the misfortunes of the State, have become the causes of our friendlessness. It befits you to think of these things and to help us with good will, considering that under a democracy those deserve to be welltreated at your hands who, under an oligarchy, had their share of the troubles'.

The eloquence of Lysias rarely passionate.
  After inquiring how far Lysias fails in pathos, it remains to speak of the other principal defect noticed above. How far, and in what sense, does he want fire? By ?fire? is meant here the passion of a speaker stirred with great ideas. Dionysios says (in effect) that, besides pathos, Lysias wants two other things, grandeur and spirit. He has not -we are told- the intensity or the force of Demosthenes; he touches, but does not pierce, the heart; he charms, but fails to astonish or to appal. This is true; but it should be remembered that in a great majority of the causes with which he had to deal the attempt at sublimity would have been ridiculous. It may be granted that, had Lysias been called upon to plead for Olynthos or to denounce Philip, he would not have approached even distantly the lofty vehemence of Demosthenes. The absence of passion cannot properly be regarded as a defect in his extant speeches; but they at least suggest that under no circumstances could he have excelled in passionate eloquence. They indicate a power which sufficed to elaborate them, rather than a power which gave them their special qualities out of an affluence of resource. Two speeches, however, must be named, one of which shows (in what remains of it) the inspiration of a great idea, the other, the inspiration of an ardent feeling. These are the Olympiakos and the speech Against Eratosthenes. If in each of these Lysias has shown himself worthy of his subject, the inference in his favour should be strengthened by the fact that, so far as we know, these are the noblest subjects which he treated.
  In the Olympiakos he is enforcing the necessity of union among Greeks and calling upon Sparta to take the lead:
'It befits us, then, to desist from war among ourselves and to cleave, with a single purpose, to the public weal, ashamed for the past and apprehensive for the future; it befits us to imitate our forefathers, who, when the barbarians coveted the land of others, inflicted upon them the loss of their own; and who, after driving out the tyrants, established liberty for all men alike. But I wonder most of all at the Lacedaemonians, and at the policy which can induce them to view passively the conflagration of Greece. They are the leaders of the Greeks, as they deserve to be, both for their inborn gallantry and for their warlike science; they alone dwell exempt from ravage, though unsheltered by walls; unvexed by faction; strangers to defeat; with usages which never vary; thus warranting the hope that the freedom which they have achieved is immortal, and that, having proved themselves in past perils the deliverers of Greece, they are now thoughtful for her future'.
In the speech Against Eratosthenes, he concludes the impeachment with an appeal to the two parties who had alike suffered from the Thirty Tyrants; -the Townsmen, or those who had remained at Athens under the oligarchy; and the democratic exiles who had held the Peiraeus:
'I wish, before I go down, to recall a few things to the recollection of both parties, the party of the Town and the party of the Peiraeus; in order that, in passing sentence, you may have before you as warnings the calamities which have come upon you through these men.
'And you, first, of the Town -reflect that under their iron rule you were forced to wage with brothers, with sons, with citizens a war of such a sort that, having been vanquished, you are the equals of the conquerors, whereas, had you conquered, you would have been the slaves of the Tyrants. They would have gained wealth for their own houses from the administration; you have impoverished yours in the war with one another; for they did not deign that you should thrive along with them, though they forced you to become odious in their company; such being their consummate arrogance that, instead of seeking to win your loyalty by giving you partnership in their prizes, they fancied themselves friendly if they allowed you a share of their dishonours. Now, therefore, that you are in security, take vengeance to the utmost of your power both for yourselves and for the men of the Peiraeus; reflecting that these men, villains that they are, were your masters, but that now good men are your fellow-citizens, -your fellow-soldiers against the enemy, your fellow-counsellors in the interest of the State; remembering, too, those allies whom these men posted on the acropolis as sentinels over their despotism and your servitude. To you -though much more might be said- I say thus much only.
'But you of the Peiraeus -think, in the first place, of your arms- think how, after fighting many a battle on foreign soil, you were stripped of those arms, not by the enemy, but by these men in time of peace; think, next, how you were warned by public criers from the city bequeathed to you by your fathers, and how your surrender was demanded of the cities in which you were exiles. Resent these things as you resented them in banishment; and recollect, at the same time, the other evils that you have suffered at their hands; -how some were snatched out of the marketplace or from temples and put to a violent death; how others were torn from children, parents, or wife, and forced to become their own murderers, nor allowed the common decencies of burial, by men who believed their own empire to be surer than the vengeance from on high.
'And you, the remnant who escaped death, after perils in many places, after wanderings to many cities and expulsion from all, beggared of the necessaries of life, parted from children, left in a fatherland which was hostile or in the land of strangers, came through many obstacles to the Peiraeus. Dangers many and great confronted you; but you proved yourselves brave men; you freed some, you restored others to their country.
'Had you been unfortunate and missed those aims, you yourselves would now be exiles, in fear of suffering what you suffered before. Owing to the character of these men, neither temples nor altars, which even in the sight of evil-doers have a protecting virtue, would have availed you against wrong; - while those of your children who are here would have been enduring the outrages of these men, and those who are in a foreign land, in the absence of all succour, would, for the smallest debt, have been enslaved.
'I do not wish, however, to speak of what might have been, seeing that what these men have done is beyond my power to tell; and indeed it is a task not for one accuser, or for two, but for a host.
'Yet is my indignation perfect for the temples which these men bartered away or defiled by entering them; for the city which they humbled; for the arsenals which they dismantled; for the dead, whom you, since you could not rescue them alive, must vindicate in their death. And I think that they are listening to us, and will be aware of you when you give your verdict, deeming that such as absolve these men have passed sentence upon them, and that such as exact retribution from these have taken vengeance in their names.
'I will cease accusing. You have heard -seen- suffered: you have them: judge'.

Place of Lysias in the history of Rhetoric.

  On reviewing the general position of Lysias among the Attic orators, it will be seen to result mainly from his discovery, made at a time when Rhetoric had not yet outlived the crudest taste for finery, that the most complete art is that which hides itself. Aided not only by a delicate mastery of language but by a peculiar gift for reading and expressing character, he created a style of which the chief mark was various naturalness. It was long before the art of speaking reached, in general practice, that sober maturity which his precocious tact had given to it in a limited field; it was long before his successors freed themselves to any great extent -few wholly freed themselves- from the well-worn allurements which he had decisively rejected when they were freshest. But at least no one of those who came after dared to neglect the lesson taught by Lysias; the attempt to be natural, however artificially or rarely, was henceforward a new element in the task which professors of eloquence conceived to be set before them. Lysias remains, for all aftertimes, the master of the plain style.
  This supremacy in a definite province is allowed to him by the general voice of antiquity through the centuries in which its culture was finest; the praise becoming, however, less discriminating as the instinct which directed it became less sure.
Plato's satire upon Lysias -for not having seen that the writing of love-letters is a branch of Dialectic- is joined to a notice of the clearness, compactness, finished polish of his language; and it would perhaps be unfair to Plato to assume that in the one place where he seems at all just to Lysias he meant to be altogether ironical. Isaeos was a careful student of Lysias. If Aristotle seldom quoted him, if Theophrastos appears to have missed and Demetrics to have underrated his peculiar merits, one of the first orators of their generation, Deinarchos, often took him for a model. When the taste for Attic simplicity, lost during two centuries in the schools of Asia, revived at Rome, Lysias was recognised as its truest representative. Though most of his Roman imitators appear to have become feeble in seeking to be plain, one of them, Licinius Calvus, is allowed at least the praise of elegance. Cicero's criticism of Lysias is not close; it does not analyse with any exactness the special qualities of his style; but the general appreciation which it shows is just. For Cicero, Lysias is the model, not of a plain style merely, but of Attic refinement; he has also the highest degree of vigour; and though grandeur was seldom possible in the treatment of such subjects as he chose, some passages of his speeches have elevation. Yet, while Demosthenes could use the simplicity of Lysias, it is doubtful (Cicero thinks) whether Lysias could ever have risen to the height of Demosthenes; Lysias is 'almost' a second Demosthenes, or, what is the same thing, 'almost' a perfect orator; but his mastery is limited to a province. The Augustan age produced by far the best and fullest of known ancient criticisms upon Lysias, that of Dionysios. The verdict of Caecilius has perished with his work on the Ten Orators; but the remark preserved from it, that Lysias was abler in the invention than in the arrangement of arguments, shows discernment. This quality marks in a less degree the judgments of subsequent writers. Quintilian only commends Lysias in general terms for plain elegance of language and mastery of clear exposition; Hermogenes especially praises, not his winningness, but his hidden force, classing him, with Isaeos and Hypereides, next to Demosthenes in political eloquence. Photios goes wide of the mark; he praises Lysias for those things in which he was relatively weak, pathos and sublime intensity; and disputes the just observation of Caecilius that Lysias excelled in invention rather than in arrangement.

Lysias and his Successors.
  A few words will be enough to mark the broad differences between Lysias and those three of his successors who may best be compared with him, - Isaeos, Isokrates and Demosthenes. Isokrates, like Lysias, has purity of diction and accuracy of idiom; command of plain language (though he is seldom content with it); power of describing, though not of dramatizing, character; propriety and persuasiveness. But while Lysias hides his art in order to be more winning, Isokrates aims openly at the highest artificial ornament, and escapes being frivolous or frigid only by the greatness of most of his subjects and the earnestness with which he treats them. Isaeos, a direct student of Lysias, resembles him most in his diction, which is not only, like that of Isokrates, clear and pure, but concise also; further, he strives, like his master, to conceal his art, but never quite succeeds in this. The excellence of Demosthenes comprises that of Lysias, since, while the latter is natural by art, the former is so by the necessary sincerity of genius; but Demosthenes is not, like Lysias, plain; nor has he the same delicate charm; grandeur and irresistible power take its place.
Lastly, it should be remembered that it is not only as an orator but also, and even more, as a writer that Lysias is important; that, great as were his services to the theory and practice of eloquence, he did greater service still to the Greek language. He brought the everyday idiom into a closer relation than it had ever before had with the literary idiom, and set the first example of perfect elegance joined to plainness; deserving the praise that, as in fineness of ethical portraiture he is the Sophokles, in delicate control of thoroughly idiomatic speech he is the Euripides of Attic prose.

Lysias: Epideictic and deliberative speeches
Extant and lost works

Epideictic Speeches
Oratory at the Panhellenic festivals.
The Olympiakos.
The Olympiakos compared with the Panegyrikos.
The Epitaphios.
Character and authorship of the Epitaphios.

Deliberative Speech
Oration XXXIV, a Plea for the Constitution.

Lysias: Forensic Speeches in Public Causes
Principle of distinction between 'public' and 'private' law-speeches.
    A. Speeches in public causes.
    B. Speeches in private causes.

Causes relating to offences directly against the state
1. For Polystratos, Orration XX
2. Defence on a Charge of Taking Bribes, Oration XXI
3. Against Ergokles, Oration XXVIII
4. Against Epikrates, Oration XXVII
5. Against Nikomachos, Oration XXX
6. Against the Corndealers, Oration XXII

Indictment for proposing an unconstitutional measure
On the Confiscation of the Property of the Brother of Nikias, Oration XVIII

Claims for moneys withheld from the state.
1. For the Soldier, Oration IX
2. On the Property of Aristophanes, Oration XIX
3. Against Philokrates, Oration XXIX

Causes relating to a scrutiny (dokimasia) before the senate; especially of officials designate.

1. Against Evandros, Oration XXVI
2. For Mantitheos, Oration XVI
3. Against Philon, Oration XXXI
4. Defence on a Charge of seeking to abolish the Democracy, Oration XXV
5. For the Invalid, Oration XXIV

Causes relating to military offences (lipotaxiou--astrateias)
1. Against Alkibiades, on a Charge of Desertion, Oration XIV
2. Against Alkibiades, on a Charge of Failure to Serve, Oration XV

Causes relating to murder or intent to murder
1. Against Eratosthenes, Oration XII
2. Against Agoratos, Oration XIII
3. On the Death of Eratosthenes, Oration I
4. Defence Against Simon, Oration III
5. On Wounding with Intent, Oration IV

Causes relating to impiety (graphai asebeias, hierosulias k.t.l.).
1. Against Andokides, Oration VI
2. For Kallias, Oration V
3. On the Sacred Olive, Oration VII

Lysias: Forensic Speeches in Private Causes; Miscellaneous Writings; Fragments
1. Action for defamation (dike kakegorias), Against Theomnestos, Oration X & Oration XI
2. Action by a ward against a guardian (dike epitropes), Against Diogeiton, Oration XXXII
3. Trial of a claim to property (diadikasia), On the Property of Eraton, Oration XVII
4. Answer to a special plea (pros paragraphen), Against Pankleon, Oration XXIII

Miscellaneous Writings.

To his Companions: a Complaint of Slanders. Oration VIII
The Erotikos in the Phaedros.

1. Against Kinesias.
2. Against Tisis.
3. For Pherenikos.
4. Against the Sons of Hippokrates.
5. Against Archebiades.
6. Against Aeschines.

This text is cited July 2005 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Editor's Information
The e-texts of the works by Lysias are found in Greece (ancient country) under the category Ancient Greek Writings.



Corax (Korax), a Sicilian, who, after the expulsion of Thrasybulus from Syracuse (B. C. 467), by his oratorical powers acquired so much influence over the citizens, that for a considerable time he was the leading man in the commonwealth. The great increase of litigation consequent on the confusion produced by the expulsion of the tyrants and the claims of those whom they had deprived of their property, gave a new impulse to the practice of forensic eloquence. Corax applied himself to the study of its principles, opened a school of rhetoric, and wrote a treatise (entitled Techne) embodying such rules of the art as he had discovered. He is commonly mentioned, with his pupil Tisias, as the founder of the art of rhetoric; he was at any rate the earliest writer on the subject. His work has entirely perished. It has been conjectured (by Garnier, Mem. de l'Institut. de France, Classe d'Histoire), though upon very slight and insufficient grounds, that the treatise entitled Rhetorica ad Alexandrum, found amongst the works of Aristotle, is the supposed lost work of Corax (Cic. Brut. 12, de Orat. i. 20, iii. 21; Aristot. Rhet. ii. 24; Quintil. iii. 1)

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


Gorgias, 5th c. B.C.

LEONTINI (Ancient city) SICILY
, , 485 - 380
Son of Charmantides, a Leontinian, famous rhetorician, his statue at Olympia, his statue at Delphi.

Gorgias, of Leontini, a Chalcidian colony in Sicily, was somewhat older than the orator Antiphon (born in B. C. 480 or 479), and lived to such an advanced age (some say 105, and others 109 years), that he survived Socrates, though probably only a short time. (Quintil. iii.9; comp. Xenoph. Anab. ii. 6.16; H. Ed. Foss, de Gorgia Leontino, Halle, 1828; J. Geel, Histor. Crit. Sophistarum, in the Nova Acta Literaria Societatis Rheno-Trajeetinae, ii.) The accounts which we have of personal collisions between Gorgias and Plato, and of the opinion which Gorgias is said to have expressed respecting Plato's dialogue Gorgias (Athen. xi.), are doubtful. We have no particular information respecting the early life and circumstances of Gorgias, but we are told that at an advanced age, in B. C. 427, he was sent by his fellow-citizens as ambassador to Athens, for the purpose of soliciting its protection against the threatening power of Syracuse. (Diod. xii. 53; Plat. Hipp. Maj.; Timaeus, ap. Dionys. Hal. Jud. Lys. 3.) He seems to have returned to Leontini only for a short time, and to have spent the remaining years of his vigorous old age in the towns of Greece Proper, especially at Athens and the Thessalian Larissa, enjoying honour everywhere as an orator and teacher of rhetoric. (Diod. l. c.; Plut. de Socrat. Daem. 8 ; Dionys. l. c.; Plut. Hipp. Maj., Gorg., Meno, Protag.; comp. Foss) Suvern (Ueber Aristoph. Vogel, in the Memoirs of the Royal Acad. of Berlin) endeavored to prove that Gorgias and his brother Herodicus, a physician of some note, settled at Athens, but there is not sufficient evidence for this opinion. As Gorgias did not go as ambassador to Athens till after the death of Pericles, and as we have no trace of an earlier journey, we must reiect the statement that the great Athenian statesman and the historian Thucydides were among his disciples. (Philostr. Vit. Soph., Epist. 13; comp. Dionys. Hal. Epist. ad Pomp. 2, Jud. de Thuc. 24.) But his Sicilian oratory, in which he is said to have excelled Tisias, who was at Athens at the same time with him, perhaps as ambassador from Syracuse (Paus. vi. 7.8; Plat. Phaedr.), must have exercised a considerable influence even upon eminent men of the time, such as Agathon, the tragic poet, and the rhetorician Isocrates. (Plat. Symp.; Dionys. Hal. de Isocrat. 1, de Compos. Verb. 23; Isocrat. Panath. i., ed. Lange.) Besides Polus, who is described in such lively colours in the Gorgias of Plato, Alcibiades, Critias, Alcidamas, Aeschines, and Antisthenes, are called either pupils or imitators of Gorgias. (Philostr.; Dionys. de Isaeo, 19; Diog. Laert. ii. 63, vi. 1.)
  In his earlier years Gorgias was attracted, though not convinced, by the conclusions to which the Eleatics had come: but he neither attempted to refute them, nor did he endeavour to reconcile the reality of the various and varying phaenomena of the world with the supposition of a simple, eternal, and unchangeable existence, as Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and the atomists had done. On the contrary, he made use of the conclusions of the Eleatics, for the purpose of proving that there was nothing which had any existence or reality; and in doing this he paid so much attention to externals, and kept so evidently appearance alone in view, instead of truth, that he was justly reckoned among the sophists. His work, On Nature, or On that which is not, in which he developed his views, and which is said to have been written in B. C. 444 (Olympiod. in Plat. Gorg., ed. Routh.), seems to have been lost at an early time (it is doubtful whether Galen, who quotes it, Opera, vol. i., ed. Gesner, actually read it); but we possess sufficient extracts from it, to form a definite idea of its nature. The work de Xenoph. Gorgia et Melisso, ascribed to Aristotle or Theophrastus, contains a faithful and accurate account of it, though the text is unfortunately very corrupt: Sextus Empiricus (adv. Math. vii. 65, &c.) is more superficial, but clearer. The book of Gorgias was divided into three sections: in the first he endeavoured to show that nothing had any real existence ; in the second, that if there was a real existence, it was beyond man's power to ascertain it; and in the third, that existence could not be communicated, even supposing that it was real and ascertainable. The first section, of which we have a much more precise and accurate account in the Aristotelian work than in Sextus Empiricus, shows on the one hand that things neither are nor are not, because otherwise being and not being would be identical; and on the other hand, that if there were existence, it could neither have come to be nor not come to be, and neither be one nor many. The first of these inferences arises from an ambiguity in the use of the term of existence; the second from the fact of Gorgias adopting the conclusion of Melissus, which is manifestly wrong, and according to which existence not having come to be is infinite, and--applying Zeno's argument against the reality of space--as an infinite has no existence. Gorgias further makes bad use of another argument of Zeno, inasmuch as he conceives the unit as having no magnitude, and hence as incorporeal, that is, according to the materialistic views, as not existing at all, although with regard to variety, he observes that it presupposes the existence of units. The second section concludes that, if existence were ascertainable or cognizable, everything which is ascertained or thought must be real ; but, he continues, things which are ascertainable through the medium of our senses do not exist, because they are conceived, but exist even when they are not conceived. The third section urges the fact, that it is not existence which is communicated, butt only words, and that words are intelligible only by their reference to corresponding perceptions ; but even then intelligible only approximatively, since no two persons ever perfectly agreed in their perceptions or sentiments, nay, not even one and the same person agreed with himself at different times. (Comp. Foss)
  However little such a mode of arguing might stand the test of a sound dialectical examination, yet it could not but direct attention to the insufficiency of the abstractions of the Eleatics, and call forth more careful investigations concerning the nature and forms of our knowledge and cognition, and thus contribute towards the removal of the later scepticism, the germs of which were contained in the views entertained by Gorgias himself. He himself seems soon to have renounced this sophistical schematism, and to have turned his attention entirely to rhetorical and practical pursuits. Plato at least notices only one of those argumentations, and does not even speak of that one in the animated description which he gives of the peculiarities of Gorgias in the dialogue bearing his name, but in the Eathydemus. Isocrates (Helen. Laudat.), however, mentions the book itself.
  Gorgias, as described by Plato, avoids general definitions, even of virtue and morality, and confines himself to enumerating and characterising the particular modes in which they appear, according to the differences of age, sex, &c., and that not without a due appreciation of real facts, as is clear from an expression of Aristotle, in which he recognises this merit. (Plat. Meno; comp. Aristot. Polit. i. 9.13.) Gorgias further expressly declared, that he did not profess to impart virtue--as Protagoras and other sophists did--but only the power of speaking or eloquence (Plat. Meno, Gorg., Phileb.), and he preferred the name of a rhetorician to that of a sophist (Plat. Gorg.); but on the supposition that oratory comprehended and was the master of all our other powers and faculties. The ancients themselves were uncertain whether they should call him an orator or a sophist. (Cic. de Invent, i. 5; Lucian, Macrob. 23.)
  In his explanations of the phaenomena of nature, though without attaching any importance to physics, Gorgias seems to have followed in the footsteps of Empedocles, whose disciple he is called, though in all probability not correctly. (Diog. Laert. viii. 58; Plat. Meno, Gorg.; comp. Dionys. de Isocrat. 1.)
  The eloquence of Gorgias, and probably that of his Sicilian contemporary Tisias also, was chiefly calculated to tickle the ear by antitheses, by combinations of words of similar sound, by the Symmetry of its parts and similar artifices (Diod. xii. 53; Cic. Orat. 49, 52; Dionys. Hal. passim), and to dazzle by metaphors, hypallagae, allegories, repetitions, apostrophes, and the like (Suidas; Dionys. Hal. passim); by novel images, poetical circumlocutions, and high-sounding expressions, and sometimes also by a strain of irony. (Aristot. Rhet. iii. 17, 8; Xenoph. Symp. 2; Aristot. Rhet. iii. 1, 3, 14; Philostr.; Dionys. de Lys. 3.) He lastly tried to charm his hearers by a symmetrical arrangement of his periods. (Demetr. de Elocut. 15.) But as these artifices, in the application of which he is said to have often shown real grandeur, earnestness, and elegance (megaluprepeian kai semnoteta kai kallilogian, Dionys. de Admir. vi Demosth. 4), were made use of too profusely, and, for the purpose of giving undue prominence to poor thoughts, his orations did not excite the feelings of his hearers (Aristot. Rhet. iii. 3, 17; Longin. de Sublim. iii. 12; Hermog. de Ideis, i. 6, ii. 9; Dionys. passim), and at all events could produce only a momentary impression. This was the case with his oration addressed to the assembled Greeks at Olympia, exhorting them to union against their common enemy (Aristot. Rhlet. iii. 14; Philostr.), and with the funeral oration which he wrote at Athens, though he probably did not deliver it in public. (Philostr.; and the fragment preserved by the Schol. on Hermogenes, in Geel and Foss) Besides these and similar show-speeches of which we know no more than the titles, Gorgias wrote loci communes probably as rhetorical exercises, to show how subjects might be looked at from opposite points of view. (Cic. Brut. 12.) The same work seems to be referred to under the title Onomasticon. (Pollux,ix. 1.) We have besides mention of a work on dissimilar and homogeneous words (Dionys. de Comp. Verb., ed. Reiske), and another on rhetoric (Apollod. ap. Diog. Laert. viii. 58, Cic. Brut. 12; Quintil. iii. 1.3; Suidas), unless one of the beforementioned works is to be understood by this title.
  Respecting the genuineness of the two declamations which have come down to us under the name of Gorgias, viz. the Apology of Palamedes, and the Encomium on Helena, which is maintained by Reiske, Geel, and Schonborn (Dissertat. de Authentia Declamationum, quae Gorgiae Leontini nomine extant, Breslau, 1826), and doubted by Foss and others, it is difficult to give any decisive opinion, since the characteristic peculiarities of the oratory of Gorgias, which appear in these declamations, especially in the former, might very well have been imitated by a skilful rhetorician of later times.
   The works of Gorgias did not even contain the elements of a scientific theory of oratory, any more than his oral instructions; he confined himself to teaching his pupils a variety of rhetorical artifices, and made them learn by heart certain formulas relative to them (Aristot. Elench. Soph. ii. 9), although there is no doubt that his lectures here and there contained remarks which were very much to the point. (Aristot. Rhet. iii. 18; comp. Cic. de Orat. ii. 59.)

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

Gorgias. Rhetorician and Sophist from Leontini, Sicily, Gorgias was ambassador in Athens for a short period of time, and later settled in Athens to teach rhetorics.
  He played an important part in the development of the Attic prose, and Plato used him in his dialogue by the name Gorgias. Socrates there says that Gorgias beautiful speaking only is flattery, but treated him with respect nevertheless. Gorgias introduced cadence into prose and uses commonplaces in arguments. Plato uses him as title character in Gorgias.
  Gorgias was a nihilist and expressed his philosophy in the following way: nothing exists, if anything does exists it cannot be known, if anything exists and can be known, it cannot be communicated.
  He was very productive, but only part of a funerary speech has survived to this day. He wrote The Encomium of Helen and The Apology of Palamedes.
  He died in Thessaly at the age of 105.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.


Diophantus. Of Syracuse, a Pythagorean philosopher, who seems to have been an author, for his opinion on the origin of the world is adduced by Theodoretus. (Therap. iv.)


Hicetas, (Hiketas), one of the earlier Pythagoreans, and a native of Syracuse. Cicero, on the authority of Theophrastus (A.Quaest. ii. 39), tells us that he conceived the heavenly bodies to be stationary, while the earth was the only moving body in the universe, revolving round an axis with great swiftness. Diogenes Laertius also (viii. 85) says that some ascribed this doctrine to him, while others attributed it to Philolaus. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. i.)


Achaeus, tragic poet

He was probably a descendant of Achaeus of Eretria.

Boetus, 3rd c. B.C.

Antiphon, tragic poet, 5th/4th c. B.C.

Antiphon. A tragic poet, whom Plutarch (Vit. X. Orat.), Philostratus (Vit. Soph. i. 15.3), and others, confound with the Attic orator Antiphon, who was put to death at Athens in B. C. 411. Now Antiphon the tragic poet lived at Syracuse, at the court of the elder Dionysius, who did not assume the tyranny till the year B. C. 406, that is, five years after the death of the Attic orator. The poet Antiphon is said to have written dramas in conjunction with the tyrant, who is not known to have shewn his passion for writing poetry until the latter period of his life. These circumstances alone, if there were not many others, would shew that the orator and the poet were two different persons, and that the latter must have survived the former many years. The poet was put to death by the tyrant, according to some accounts, for having used a sarcastic expression in regard to tyranny, or, according to others, for having imprudently censured the tyrant's compositions (Plut., Philostr. ll. cc.; Aristot. Rhet. ii. 6). We still know the titles of five of Antiphon's tragedies: viz. Meleager, Andromache, Medeia, Jason, and Philoctetes.

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

Archimelus, 3rd c. B.C.

Archimelus (Archimelos), the author of an epigram on the great ship of Hiero, which appears to have been built about 220 B. C. (Athen. v.). To this epigram Brunck (Analect. ii. p. 64) added another, on an imitator of Euripides, the title of which, however, in the Vatican MS. is Archimedous, which there is no good reason for altering, although we have no other mention of a poet named Archimedes.

Citerius, Sidonius

Citerius, Sidonius, the author of an epigram on three shepherds, which has no poetical merits, and is only remarkable for its quaintness. It is printed in Wernsdorff's Poetae Latini Minores, and in the Anthologia Latina. Its author appears to be the same as the Citerius, one of the professors at Bourdeaux, and the friend of Ausonius, commemorated in a poem of the latter (Prof Burdig. xiii.). We learn from Ausonius that Citerius was born at Syracuse, in Sicily, and was a grammarian and a poet. In his hyperbolical panegyric, Ausonius compares him to Aristarchus and Zenodotus, and says that his poems, written at an early age, were superior to those of Simonides. Citerius afterwards settled at Bourdeaux, married a rich and noble wife, but died without leaving any children.

Theocritus (Theokritos), bucolic poet

, , 325 - 267
Theocritus (Theokritos). The most famous of the Greek bucolic poets was a native of Syracuse, the son of Praxagoras and Philinna. He visited Alexandria towards the end of the reign of Ptolemy Soter, where he received the instruction of Philetas and Asclepiades, and began to distinguish himself as a poet. Other accounts make him a native of Cos, which would bring him more directly into connection with Philetas (Suidas, s. v. Theokritos). His first efforts obtained for him the patronage of Ptolemy Philadelphus, who was associated in the kingdom with his father, Ptolemy Soter, in B.C. 285, and in whose praise, therefore, the poet wrote the fourteenth, fifteenth, and seventeenth Idyls. At Alexandria he became acquainted with the poet Aratus, to whom he addressed his sixth Idyl. Theocritus afterwards returned to Syracuse, and lived there under Hiero II. It appears from the sixteenth Idyl that Theocritus was dissatisfied, both with the want of liberality on the part of Hiero in rewarding him for his poems, and with the political state of his native country. It may therefore be supposed that he devoted the latter part of his life almost entirely to the contemplation of those scenes of nature and of country life on his representations of which his fame chiefly rests.
Theocritus was the creator of bucolic poetry in Greek, and, through imitators, such as Vergil, in Roman literature. The bucolic Idyls of Theocritus are of a dramatic and mimetic character. They are pictures of the ordinary life of the common people of Sicily; whence their name eide, eidullia. The pastoral poems and romances of later times are a totally different sort of composition from the bucolics of Theocritus, who knows nothing of the affected sentiment which has been ascribed to the imaginary shepherds of a fictitious Arcadia. He merely exhibits simple and faithful pictures of the common life of the Sicilian people, in a thoroughly objective, although truly poetical, spirit. Dramatic simplicity and truth are impressed upon the scenes exhibited in his poems, into the colouring of which he has thrown much of the natural comedy which is always seen in the common life of a free people. In his dramatic dialogue he is influenced by the mimes of Sophron, as may be seen especially in the fifteenth Idyl (Adoniazusae). The poems of Theocritus of this class may be compared with those of Herondas, who belonged, like Theocritus, to the literary school of Philetas of Cos. In genius, however, Theocritus was greatly the superior. The collection which has come down to us under the name of Theocritus consists of thirty poems, called by the general title of Idyls, a fragment of a few lines from a poem entitled Berenice, and twentytwo epigrams in the Greek Anthology. But these Idyls are not all bucolic, and were not all written by Theocritus. Those of which the genuineness is the most doubtful are the twelfth, twenty-third, twenty-sixth, twenty-seventh, and twenty-ninth; and Idyls xiii., xvi., xvii., xxii., xxiv., and xxvi. are in Epic style, and have more of Epic dialect, especially Idyl xvi. It is likely that these poems on Epic subjects were written early in the poet's life, and, as court poems, had some of the artificial and imitative character of the Alexandrians. In general the dialect of Theocritus is Doric, but two of the Idyls are in the Aeolic.
There are numerous manuscripts of Theocritus, especially in the Laurentian Library at Florence, in the Vatican, and at Paris; but none antedate the thirteenth century.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited August 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

A Hellenistic Bibliography: Theocritus

This file forms part of A Hellenistic Bibliography, a bibliography on post-classical Greek poetry and its influence, accessible through the website of the department of Classics of the University of Leiden.
The file contains the titles of 145 publications on Theocritus from the period 1998-2003, listed by year/author. Prof. Kohnken is now publishing a comprehensive Theocritus bibliography for 1950-1998 in Lustrum. His bibliography lists titles by Idyll (presently 1-27) and by subject (editions, translations, commentaries, textual criticism, reception, etc.), and provides helpful comments on the contents and merit of each title. See: Kohnken, Adolf (unter Mitarbeit von Robert Kirstein).’Theokrit 1950-1994 (1996): 1. Teil.’ Lustrum 37, 1995 [1998], 203-307. Kohnken, Adolf (Unter mitarbeit von Anja Bettenworth & Robert Kirstein). ‘Theokrit 1950-1998: 2. Teil.’ Lustrum 41, 1999, 9-63 & 197-204. ‘Addenda zu Theokrit 1. Teil.’ Lustrum 41, 1999, 65-73. Compiled and maintained by Martijn Cuypers
Additions and corrections will be gratefully received.
Last updated: April 23, 2003

Moschus, 2nd cent. BC

nbsp;  (Moschos). A Greek bucolic poet, who lived in Syracuse about B.C. 150. Four longer and four shorter poems have been handed down as [p. 1056] his; they show the greatest elegance of expression without the truth to nature and the dramatic power of his model, Theocritus. His lament for Bion is marked by melody and genuine pathos.

A Hellenistic Bibliography: Moschus

This file forms part of A Hellenistic Bibliography, a bibliography on post-classical Greek poetry and its influence, accessible through the website of the department of Classics of the University of Leiden.
The file contains ca. 45 titles on Moschus, arranged by year of publication.

Compiled and maintained by Martijn Cuypers
Additions and corrections will be gratefully received.
Last updated: 3 july 2002



Daphnaeus, (Daphnaios), a Syracusan, one of the leaders of the popular party in that city after the death of Diocles. He was appointed to command the troops sent by the Syracuans, together with their Sicilian and Italian allies, to the relief of Agrigentum, when it was besieged by the Carthaginians, B. C. 406. He at first defeated the force despatched by Himilco to oppose his advance, but was unable to avert the fall of Agrigentum, and consequently shared in the unpopularity caused by that event, and was deposed, together with the other generals, on the motion of Dionysins. As soon as the latter had established himself in the supreme command, he summoned an assembly of the people, and procured the execution of Daphnaeus together with his late colleague, Demarchus. According to Aristotle, the great wealth of Daphnaeus had made him an object of jealousy with the lower populace. (Diod. xiii. 86, 87, 92, 96; Arist. Pol. v. 5.)

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


Damippus, (Damippos). A Lacedaemonian, who lived at the court of Hieronymus of Syracuse. When the young and undecided king, on his accession, was beset on all sides by men who advised him to give up his connexion with the Romans and form an alliance with Carthage against them, Damippus was one of the few in the king's council who advised him to uphold the alliance with Rome. A short time afterwards he was sent by the Syracusans to king Philip of Macedonia, but was made prisoner by the Roman fleet under Marcellus. Epicydes was anxious to ransom him, and as Marcellus himself wanted to form connexions with the Aetolians, the allies of the Lacedaemonians, he restored Damippus to freedom. (Polyb. vii. 5; Liv. xxv. 23.)

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

Democopus Myrilla

Democopus Myrilla, was the architect of the theatre at Syracuse, about B. C. 420. (Eustath. ad Hom. Od. iii. 68.)


Gregorius, a pretender to the purple in the time of the emperor Leo III., the Isaurian. Intelligence of the siege of Constantinople by the Saracens, soon after Leo's accession, having reached Sicily, Sergius, general of the Byzantine forces in that island, revolted, and appointed Gregory, who had been one either of his servants or his soldiers, emperor, changing his name to Tiberius (A. D. 718). Theophanes and Cedrenus call this puppet emperor not Gregory, but Basil the son of Gregory Onomagulus, and state that he was a native of Constantinople; but Zonaras calls him Gregory, though he agrees with the other historians as to his taking the name of Tiberius. When the intelligence of these transactions reached Constantinople, Leo, who was already relieved from the pressure of the Saracens, sent one of his officers, Paul, who had held the office of "Chartularius," to put down the revolt. Paul landed at Syracuse with the intelligence of the deliverance of Constantinople, and with letters to the troops, who immediately returned to their allegiance, and seizing Gregory and those whom under Sergius's direction he had appointed to office, delivered them up in bonds to Paulus. Sergius himself fled to the Lombards on the borders of Calabria. Paul put Gregory to death, and sent his head to the emperor, and punished his supporters in various ways. (Theophanes, Chronog. vol. i.; Cedren. vol. i.; Zonar. xv. 2.)

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



LEONTINI (Ancient city) SICILY
Tyrant of Leontini.


Heracleides. Tyrant or ruler of Leontini at the time when Pyrrhus landed in Sicily, B. C. 278. He was one of the first to offer submission to that monarch. (Diod. Exc. Hoeschel. xxii. p. 296.)

Dionysius the Elder (c.430-367)

Dionysius, (Dionusios) the Elder, tyrant of Syracuse, must have been born in B. C. 431 or 430, as we are told that he was twenty-five years old when he first obtained the sovereignty of Syracuse. (Cic. Tusc. v. 20.) We know nothing of his family, but that his father's name was Hermocrates, and that he was born in a private but not low station, so that he received an excellent education, and began life in the capacity of a clerk in a public office. (Cic. Tusc. v. 20, 22; Diod. xiii. 91, 96, xiv. 66; Isocr. Philip.; Dem. c. Lept.; Polyaen. Strateg. v. 2.2.) He appears to have early taken part in the political dissensions which agitated Syracuse after the destruction of the great Athenian armament, and having joined in the attempt of Hermocrates, the leader of the aristocratical party, to effect by force his restoration from exile, was so severely wounded as to be left for dead upon the spot. (Diod. xiii. 75.) We next hear of him as serving with distinction in the great war against the Carthaginians, who had invaded Sicily under Hannibal, the son of Gisco, and successively reduced and destroyed Selinus, Himera, and Agrigentum. These disasters, and especially the failure of the Syracusan general, Daphnaeus, to relieve Agrigentum, had created a general spirit of discontent and alarm, both at Syracuse and among the allies, of which Dionysius skilfully availed himself. He came forward in the popular assembly as the accuser of the unsuccessful commanders, and, being supported by Philistus, the historian, and Hipparinus, men of wealth and influence, he succeeded in procuring a decree for deposing the existing generals, and appointing others in their stead, among whom was Dionysius himself. (Diod. xiii. 91, 92; Aristot. Ploit. v. 5, 6.) His efforts seem from this time to have been directed towards supplanting his new colleagues and obtaining the sole direction of affairs. He persuaded the Syracusans to recall the exiles, most of whom were probably partizans of Hermocrates, and would readily admit him as their leader, and secretly accused his colleagues in the command of holding intelligence with the enemy. Being soon after sent to Gela with the separate command of a body of auxiliaries, he there carried on similar intrigues, and when he thought that he had sufficiently secured to himself the favour both of the people of Gela and of his own troops, he returned abruptly to Syracuse, and brought before the assembled people distinct charges of corruption and treachery against his brother generals. These found ready belief, and it was determined to depose all the others and appoint Dionysius sole general, with full powers. (Diod. xiii. 92-94.) This was in the spring of the year B. C. 405, the first appointment of Dionysius as one of the generals having been in Dec. 406. Comp. Clinton, F. H. ii. ; Diod. l.c.; Dionys. vii. 1.) According to Plutarch, indeed, Hipparinus, who is represented by Aristotle (Polit. v. 6) as lending his aid to procure the elevation of Dionysius, was at first appointed his colleague in the chief command (Plut. Dion, 3); but, if this be not a mistake, his authority could have been little more than nominal, as he plays no part in the subsequent transactions.
  The position of general autocrator by no means implied in itself the exercise of sovereign power, but the measures of Dionysius soon rendered it such; and we may date from this period the commencement of his reign, or tyranny, which continued without interruption for 38 years. His first step was to procure, on the ground of an attempt on his life, whether real or pretended, the appointment of a body-guard, which he speedily increased to the number of 1000 men: at the same time he induced the Syracusans to double the pay of all the troops, and took every means to ingratiate himself with the mercenaries, taking care to replace those officers who were unfavourable to him by creatures of his own. By his marriage with the daughter of Hermocrates he secured to himself the support of all the remaining partizans of that leader, and he now found himself strong enough to procure the condemnation and execution of Daphnaeus and Demarchus, the heads of the opposite party. (Diod. xiii. 95, 96.)
  His first operations in the war against the Carthaginians were, however, unsuccessful. Having advanced with a large army to the relief of Gela, then besieged by Himilco, he was defeated, and deemed it prudent to retire, taking with him the inhabitants both of Gela itself and the neighbouring Camarina. This reverse gave a severe shock to his popularity, of which his enemies at Syracuse availed themselves to attempt to overthrow his power. For a moment they were masters of the city, but Dionysius disconcerted their plans by the suddenness of his return, and compelled them to quit the city, though not until his unfortunate wife had fallen a victim to their cruelty. (Diod. xiii. 108-113, xiv. 44; Plut. Dion, 3.) He soon afterwards gladly accepted the overtures of the Carthaginian general Himilco, whose army had suffered greatly from a pestilence, and concluded peace with Carthage B. C. 405. (Diod. xiii. 114.)
  He was now able to devote his whole attention to strengthening and consolidating his power at home. He converted the island of Ortygia into a strong fortress, in which he took up his own residence, and allowed no one but his own immediate dependents to dwell; and while he courted the favour of the populace by assigning them lands and houses, he augmented their numbers by admitting many aliens and newly-freed slaves to the rights of citizenship. These measures naturally gave umbrage to the higher class of citizens who formed the heavy-armed infantry, and they took advantage of an expedition on which he led them against the Sicelians to break out into open revolt. They were instantly joined by the exiles who had established themselves at Aetna, and Dionysius was compelled to take refuge in the island which he had so recently fortified. From this danger, however, he managed to extricate himself by the aid of a body of Campanian mercenaries, seconded by the dissensions which broke out among his enemies. Some of these submitted to him on favourable terms; the rest retired to Aetna. (Diod. xiv. 7-9.) From this time his authority at Syracuse appears to have been undisputed. He soon after took advantage of the harvest time to disarm those citizens whom he had still cause to fear, and reduced the fortress of Aetna, which had been the stronghold of the exiles disaffected to his government. (Ib. cc. 10, 14.)
  His arms were next directed against the Chalcidian cities of Sicily. Naxos, Catana, and Leontini, successively fell into his power, either by force or treachery. The inhabitants were either sold as slaves or compelled to migrate to Syracuse. Naxos was utterly destroyed, and Catana occupied by a colony of Campanian mercenaries, B. C. 403. (Diod. xiv. 14, 15.) For several years after this he appears to have been occupied in strengthening his tower and in preparations for renewing the war with Carthage. Among these may be reckoned the great works which he at this time erected,-- the docks adapted for the reception of several hundred ships, and the wall of 30 stadia in length, enclosing the whole extent of the Epipolae, the magnihcence of which is attested by its existing remains at the present day. (Diod. xiv. 18, 42; Smith's Sicily.)
  It was not till B. C. 397 that Dionysius considered himself sufficiently strong, or his preparations enough advanced, to declare war against Carthage. He had in the mean time assembled a large army of auxiliary and mercenary troops, and a fleet of two hundred ships, remarkable for the number of quadriremes and quinqueremes which were seen in it for the first time. The Carthaginians had been greatly weakened by the ravages of a pestilence in Africa, and were unprepared for war. Dionysius was immediately joined not only by the Greeks of Gela, Agrigentum, Himera, and Scinus, which had become tributary to Carthage by the late treaty of 405, but by the Sicelians of the interior, and even the Sicanians, in general the firm allies of Carthage. He thus advanced without opposition from one end of Sicily to the other, and laid siege to Motya, one of the chief strongholds of the Carthaginians, which fell into his power after a long and desperate resistance, prolonged till near the close of the summer. Segesta, however, successfully resisted his efforts, and the next year (B. C. 396) the arrival of a great Carthaginian armament under Himilco changed the face of affairs. Motya was quickly recovered; the Sicanians and Sicelians abandoned the Syracusan alliance for that of the enemy, and Himilco advanced unopposed as far as Messana, which he carried by assault, and utterly destroyed. The Syracasan fleet under Leptines, the brother of Dionysius, was totally defeated; and the latter, not daring to risk a battle, withdrew with his land forces, and shut himself up within the walls of Syracuse. Abandoned by the other Sicilian Greeks, and besieged by the Carthaginians both by sea and land, his situation appeared to be desperate. It is even said that he was on the point of giving up all for lost, and making his escape, but was deterred by one of his friends observing, "that sovereign power was an honourable winding sheet." (Isocrat. Archidam.; Aelian. V. H. iv. 8; but compare Diod. xiv. 8.) A pestilence shortly after broke out in the Carthaginian camp, which a second time proved the salvation of Syracuse. Dionysius ably availed himself of the state of weakness to which the enemy was thus reduced, and by a sudden attack both by sea and land, defeated the Carthaginian army, and burnt great part of their fleet. Still he was glad to consent to a secret capitulation, by which the Carthaginians themselves were allowed to depart unmolested, abandoning both their allies and foreign mercenaries, who, thus left without a leader, were quickly dispersed. (Diod. xiv. 41-76.)
  No peace was concluded with Carthage upon this occasion; but the effects of their late disastrous expedition, and the revolt of their subjects in Africa, prevented the Carthaginians from renewing hostilities against Syracuse until the summer of 393, when Mago, who had succeeded Himilco in the command, having renewed the alliance with the Sicelians, advanced towards Messana, but was defeated by Dionysius near Abacaenum. The next year (B. C. 392) he marched against the Syracusan territory with a much greater force; but Dionysius having secured the alliance of Agyris, tyrant of Agyrium, was enabled to cut off the supplies of the enemy, and thus reduced them to such distress, that Mago was compelled to treat for peace. The Syracusans also were weary of the war, and a treaty was concluded, by which the Carthaginians abandoned their Sicelian allies, and Dionysius became master of Tauromenium: in other respects, both parties remained nearly as before. (Diod. xiv. 90, 95, 96.)
  This treaty left Dionysius at leisure to continue the ambitious projects in which he had previously engaged against the Greek cities in Italy. Already, before the Carthaginian war, he had secured the alliance of the Locrians by marrying Doris, the daughter of one of their principal citizens. Rhegium, on the contrary, had been uniformly hostile to him, and was the chief place of refuge of the Syracusan exiles. (Diod. xiv. 40.) Hence Dionysius established at Messana, after its destruetion by Himilco, a colony of citizens from Locri and its kindred city of Medama, to be a stronghold against Rhegium. (xiv. 78.) His designs in this quarter attracted so much attention, that the principal Greek cities in Italy, which were at the same time hard pressed by the Lneanians of the interior, concluded a league for their common defence at once against the barbarians and Dionysius. The latter retaliated by entering into alliance with the Lucanians, and sending a fleet to their assistance under his brother Leptines, B. C. 390. (xiv. 91, 100-102.) The next year he gained a decisive victory over the combined forces of the Italian Greeks at the river Helorus; and this success was followed by the reduction of Caulonia, Hipponium, and finally, after a siege protracted for nearly eleven months, of Rhegium itself, B. C. 387. (xiv. 103-108, 111.) The inhabitants of the conquered cities were for the most part removed to Syracuse, and their territory given up to the Locrians.
  Dionysius was now at the summit of his greatness, and during the twenty years that elapsed from this period to his death, possessed an amount of power and influence far exceeding those enjoyed by any other Greek before the time of Alexander. In Sicily he held undisputed rule over the eastern half of the island, while the principal cities of the interior and those along the north coast, as far as Cephaloedium, were either subject to him, or held by his close and dependent allies. (xiv. 78, 96.) In Italy it is difficult to estimate the precise extent of his influence: direct dominion he had apparently none. But his allies, the Locrians, were masters of the whole southern extremity of the peninsula, and his powerful fleets gave him the command both of the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic seas. In the former he repressed the piracies of the Etruscans, and, under pretence of retaliation, led a fleet of 60 triremes against them, with which he took the town of Pyrgi, the port of Caere, and plundered its wealthy temple of Matuta. (Diod xv. 14; Strab. v.; Pseud.-Aristot. Oeconom. ii. 2.) On this occasion he is also said to have assailed Corsica (Strab. l. c.), but probably did not form any permanent establishment there. The sovereignty of the Adriatic seems to have been a favourite object of his ambition. He endeavoured to secure it by establishing a colony on the island of Lissa, or, according to other accounts, at Lissus in Epeirus (comp. Scymn. Chius, 1. 412; Diod. xv. 13, 14), where he kept up a considerable naval force, and another at Adria in Picenum. (Etym. Magn. s. v., Adrias.) Ancona too was probably founded by him at the same time. (Plin. H. N. iii. 13; Strab. v.; Arnold's Rome, vol. i.) With the same view he sent a squadron to assist the Lacedaemonians in preventing the Athenians from establishing themselves at Corcyra, B. C. 373. (Xen. Hell. vi. 2.4, 33.) The extent of his commercial relations may be inferred from his importing horses for his chariots from the Venetian tribes at the head of the Adriatic. (Strab. v.) As early as B. C. 402 he is mentioned as sending large supplies of corn to relieve a scarcity at Rome. (Liv. iv. 52; Niebuhr, Rom. Hist. ii.) At the same time he took every opportunity of extending his relations with foreign powers, and strengthening himself by alliances. Thus we find him assisting the Illyrians against their neighlours the Molossians (Diod. xiv. 13), and concluding a treaty with the Gauls, who had lately made their appearance in Italy, and who continued from this time to furnish a considerable part of his mercenary troops. (Justin, xx. 5; Xen. Hell. vii. 1.20,31.) In Greece itself he cultivated the friendship of the Lacedaemonians, to whose support he had been greatly indebted in the earlier days of his rule (Diod. xiv. 10, 70); and among the last acts of his reign was the sending an auxiliary force in two successive years to support them against the increasing power of the Thebans. (Xen. Hell. vii. 1.20, 28; Diod. xv. 70.) He also conciliated, but by what means we know not, the favour of the Athenians, so that they bestowed upon him the freedom of their city. (Epist. Philipp. ap. Dem., ed. Bekk.)
  The peace with Carthage did not remain uninterrupted during the whole of this period, but the wars were not of any great importance, and are not known to us in detail. In B. C. 383 the intrigues of Dionysius with the subject allies of Carthage led to a renewal of hostilities. Two great battles, the sites of both of which are uncertain, decided the fortune of the war. In the first Dionysius was completely victorious, and Mago, the Carthaginian general, fell; but in the second the Syracusans were defeated with great slaughter. Peace was concluded soon after, by which the river Halycus was fixed as the boundary of the two powers. (Diod. xv. 15-17.) Dionysius seems to have been again the aggressor in a fresh war which broke out in B. C. 368, and in which he a second time advanced with his army to the extreme western point of Sicily, and laid siege to Lilybaeum. Hostilities were however suspended on the approach of winter, and before they could be resumed Dionysius died at Syracuse, B. C. 367. His last illness is said to have been brought on by excessive feasting; but according to some accounts, his death was hastened by his medical attendants, in order to secure the succession for his son. (Diod. xv. 74; Plut.Dion, 6; Corn. Nep. Dion, 2.) After the death of his first wife, Dionysius had married almost exactly at the same time-- some said even on the same day--Doris, a Locrian of distinguished birth, and Aristomache, a Syracusan, the daughter of his old patron and supporter Hipparinus. (Diod. xiv. 44; Plut. Dion, 3.) By the former he had three children, of which the eldest was his successor, Dionysius. Aristomache bore him two sons, Hipparinus and Nyssus, and two daughters, Sophrosyne and Arete. (Plut. Dion, 6 ; Corn. Nep. Dion, 1; Athen. x.)
  The character of Dionysius has been drawn in the blackest colours by many ancient writers; he appears indeed to have become a sort of type of a tyrant, in its worst sense, and it is probable that many of the anecdotes of him related by Cicero, Aelian, Polyaenus, and other later writers, are grossly exaggerated; but the very circumstance that he was so regarded in opposition to Gelon and others of the older tyrants (see Plut. Dion, 5) is in itself a proof that the opprobrium was not altogether undeserved. He was undoubtedly a man of great energy and activity of mind, as well as great personal courage; but he was altogether unscrupulous in the means which he employed to attain his ends, and had no thought beyond his own personal aggrandizement. Thus while he boasted that he left to his son an empire held together with bonds of iron (Plut. Dion, 7), he exhausted his subjects by excessive taxation, and was obliged to have recourse to every kind of expedient to amass money. (Aristot. Pol. v. 11; Pseud.-Aristot. Oeconom. ii. 2. The statements of the latter must be received with caution, but they are conclusive as to the general fact.) Diodorus tells us that, when his power became firmly established, he abated much of his former severity (xiv. 45), and he gave a signal instance of clemency in his treatment of the Italian Greeks who had fallen into his power at the battle of the Helorus. (Diod. xiv. 105.) But it is probable that the long possession of absolute power had an injurious effect upon his character, and much apparent inconsisteency may be accounted for in this manner. In his latter years he became extremely suspicious, and apprehensive of treachery even from his nearest friends, and is said to have adopted the most excessive precautions to guard against it. Manly of these stories have however an air of great exaggeration. (Cic. Tusc. v. 20; Plut. Dion. 9.)
  Though his government was oppressive in a financial point of view, Dionyius seems to have contributed much to the greatness of Syracuse itself, both by increasing the population with the inhabitants removed from many conquered cities, and by adorning it with splendid temples and other public edifices, so as to render it unquestionably the greatest of all Greek cities. (Diod. xv. 13; Isocrat. Panegyr.) At the same time he displayed his magnificence by sending splendid deputations to the Olympic games, and rich presents both to Olympia and Delphi. (Diod. xiv. 109, xvi. 57.) Nor was he without literary ambition. In the midst of his political and military cares he devoted himself assiduously to poetry, and not only caused his poems to be publicly recited at the Olympic games, but repeatedly contended for the prize of tragedy at Athens. Here he several times obtained the second and third prizes; and, finally, just before his death, bore away the first prize at the Lenaea, with a play called "The Ransom of Hector." These honours seem to prove that his poetry could not have been altogether so contemptible as it is represented by later writers; but only the titles of some of his dramas and a few detached lines are preserved to us. He is especially blamed for the use of far-fetched and unusual expressions. (Diod. xiv. 109; xv. 74; Tzetz. Chil. v. 178-185; Cic. Tusc. v. 22; Lucian, adv. Indoctum; Helladius, ap. Photitum., ed. Bekk.) Some fragments of his tragedies will be found in Stobaeus (Florileg. 38, 2; 38, 6; 49, 9; 98, 30; 105, 2; 125, 8; Eclogae, i. 4, 19) and in Athenaeus. (ix.)
  In accordance with the same spirit we find him seeking the society of men distinguished in literature and philosophy, entertaining the poet Philoxenus at his table, patronizing the Pythagorean philosophers, who were at this time numerous in Italy and Sicily, and inviting Plato to Syracuse. He however soon after sent the latter away from Sicily in disgrace; and though the story of his having caused him to be sold as a slave, as well as that of his having sent Philoxenus to the stone quarries for ridiculing his bad verses, are probably gross exaggerations, they may well have been so far founded in fact, that his intercourse with these persons was interrupted by some sudden burst of capricious violence. (Diod. xv. 6, 7; Plut. Dion, 5; Lucian, adv. Indoct.; Tzetz. Chil. v. 152, &c.; but compare Athen. i.) He is also said to have avenged himself upon Plato in a more legitimate manner by writing a play against him. (Tzetz. Chil. v. 182-185.)
  The history of Dionysius was written by his friend and contemporary Philistus, as well as by Ephorus and Timaeus; but none of these authors are now extant. Diodorus is our chief, indeed almost our sole, authority for the events of his reign. An excellent review of his government and character is given in Arnold's History of Rome. (Vol. i. c. 21.) Mitford's elaborate account of his reign is rather an apology than a history, and is very inaccurate as well as partial.

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

Dionysius. The Elder, a celebrated tyrant of Syracuse, raised to that high rank from the station of a simple citizen, was born in that city, B.C. 430. He was son-in-law to Hermocrates, who, having been banished by an adverse party, attempted to return by force of arms and was killed in the action. Dionysius was dangerously wounded, but he recovered and was afterwards recalled. In time he caused himself to be nominated one of the generals, and, under pretence of raising a force sufficient to resist the Carthaginians, obtained a decree for recalling all the exiles, to whom he gave arms. Being sent to the relief of Gela, then besieged by the Carthaginians, he effected nothing against the enemy, pretending that he was not seconded by the other commanders; and his friends suggested that, in order to save the State, the supreme power ought to be confided to one man, reminding the people of the times of Gelon, who had defeated the Carthaginians. The General Assembly therefore proclaimed Dionysius supreme chief of the Republic about B.C. 405, when he was twenty-five years of age. He increased the pay of the soldiers, enlisted new ones, and, under pretence of a conspiracy against his person, formed a guard of mercenaries. He then proceeded to the relief of Gela, but failed in the attack on the Carthaginian camp; he, however, penetrated into the town, the inhabitants of which he advised to leave it quietly in the night under the escort of his troops. On his retreat he persuaded those of Camarina to do the same. This raised suspicion among his troops, and a party of horsemen, riding on before the rest, raised, on their arrival at Syracuse, an insurrection against Dionysius, plundered his house, and treated his wife so cruelly that she died in consequence. Dionysius, with a chosen body, followed close after, set fire to the gate of Acradina, forced his way into the city, put to death the leaders of the revolt, and remained undisputed possessor of the supreme power. The Carthaginians, being afflicted by a pestilence, made proposals of peace, which were accepted by Dionysius, and he then applied himself to fortifying Syracuse, and especially the island of Ortygia, which he made his stronghold, and which he peopled entirely with his trusty partisans and mercenaries, by the aid of whom he put down several revolts. After reducing the towns of Leontini, Catana, and Naxus, he engaged in a new war with Carthage, in which he met with the most brilliant success, making himself master of numerous towns in Sicily, and becoming eventually feared both in Italy and Sicily. In order to raise money, he allied himself with the Illyrians, and proposed to them the joint plunder of the temple of Delphi; the enterprise, however, failed. He then plundered several temples, such as that of Persephone at Locri; and as he sailed back with the plunder, with a fair wind, he, being a humourist in his way, observed to his friends, "You see how the immortal gods favour sacrilege." Having carried off a golden mantle from a statue of Zeus, consecrated by Gelon out of the spoils of the Carthaginians, he replaced it by a woollen garment, saying that this was better suited to the vicissitudes of the seasons. He also took away a golden beard from Aesculapius, observing that it was not becoming for the son of a beardless father (Apollo) to make a display of his own beard. He likewise appropriated to himself the silver tables and golden vases and crowns in the temples, saying that he would make use of the bounty of the gods. He made a descent with a fleet on the coast of Etruria, and plundered the temple at Caere or Agylla of 1000 talents. With these resources he was preparing himself for a new expedition to Italy, when a fresh Carthaginian armament landed in Sicily, B.C. 383, and defeated Dionysius, whose brother Leptines fell in the battle. A peace followed, of which Carthage dictated the conditions.
    This peace lasted fourteen years, during which Dionysius remained the undisturbed ruler of Syracuse and one half of Sicily, with part of southern Italy. He sent colonies to the coasts of the Adriatic, and his fleets navigated both seas. Twice he sent assistance to his old ally, Sparta: once against the Athenians, B.C. 374, and again in 369 after the battle of Leuctra, when the Spartans were hard pressed by Epaminondas. Meantime the court of Dionysius was frequented by many distinguished men, philosophers and poets. Plato is said to have been among the former, being invited by Dion, the brother-in-law of Dionysius; but the philosopher's declamations against tyranny led to his being sent away from Syracuse. The poets fared little better, as Dionysius himself aspired to poetical fame, for which, however, he was not so well qualified as for political success. Those who did not praise his verses were in danger of being led to prison. Dionysius twice sent some of his poems to be recited at the Olympic Games, but they were hissed by the assembly. He was more successful at Athens. A tragedy of his obtained the prize, and the news of his success almost turned his brain. He had just concluded a fresh truce with the Carthaginians, after having made an unsuccessful attack on Lilybaeum, at the expiration of the fourteen years' peace; and he now gave himself up to rejoicings and feastings for his poetical triumph. In a debauch with his friends he ate and drank so intemperately that he fell senseless, and soon after died, B.C. 367, in the sixty-third year of his age, having been tyrant of Syracuse for thirtyeight years. Dionysius, his elder son by Doris, succeeded him in the sovereignty.
    Dionysius was a clever statesman and generally successful in his undertakings. He did much to strengthen and extend the power of Syracuse, and it was probably owing to him that all Sicily did not fall into the hands of the Carthaginians. He was unscrupulous, rapacious, and vindictive; but several of the stories related of his cruelty and suspicious temper appear improbable, or at least exaggerated. An account of the famous prison, or "Ear of Dionysius," will be found under the title Lautumiae.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Dionysius the Elder. Originally a government clerc in Syracusae, Sicily, Dionysius the Elder sized power and became tyrant, described as the very archetype of the cruel and foolish kind.
  Using mercenaries, he tried to expel the Carthaginians from Sicily. To finance the expedition he plundered temples and took the golden mantle from a statue of Zeus, replacing it with a woolen one with the words that gold was too cold for the god in wintertime. He also took the golden beard of the god Aescleipus saying it was not suitable that the beardless god Apollo should have a bearded father. At first successful, making Syracusae the strongest power in Greek Italy, the tyrant was to be defeated by the Carthaginians later.
  Dionysius the Elder punished crime severely except burglars, since he thought the people of Syracusae lived too luxuriously. He also taxed the people so heavily, that the people complained. He then taxed them even more heavily, until he one day heard the people making jokes and laughing in the streets, which to him meant they no longer had anything to worry about, and so lowered the taxes.
  The tyrants' fear of being assassinated is very famous. His bed-room had deep ditches and in order to go to bed he had to walk over a plank, which he then pulled in. He also had a cave built from where he could hear everything that was said in the neighbourhood. He would arrest people and have them imprisoned in the cave, where he eavesdropped on them.
  One of the most famous people he had arrested was the poet Philoxenos. One day, the tyrant had the poet fetched, and in front of his court he read a new poem he had written. The people applauded, but when Dionysius asked the poet of his opinion Philoxenos replied “take me back to the prison”.
  Perhaps the best known anecdote, though, is the one about the persons at court, Damocles. Damocles wanted to flatter the tyrant, and called him the most fortunate man on Earth. Dionysus then invited him to take his place for a day, and had him sit in his seat at a magnificent dinner. At first overwhelmed by the riches, Damocles was then horrified to see a sword hanging over his seat in just a piece of hair.
  Apart from being a tyrant, Dionysius the Elder was also a play-wright, competing in the dramatic festivals in Athens.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.

Dionysius the Younger

Dionysius, (Dionusios), the Younger, tyrant of Syracuse, son of the preceding, succeeded his father in the possession of supreme power at Syracuse, B. C. 367. Something like the form of a popular election, or at least the confirmation of his power by the people, appears to have been thought necessary; but it could have been merely nominal, as the amount of his mercenary force and the fortifications of the citadel secured him the virtual sovereignty. (Diod. xv. 74.) Dionysius was at this time under thirty years of age: he had been brought up at his father's court in idleness and luxury, and studiously precluded from taking any part in public affairs. (Plut. Dion, 9.) The consequences of this education were quickly manifested as soon as he ascended the throne: the ascendancy which Dion, and through his means Plato, obtained for a time over his mind was undermined by flatterers and the companions of his pleasures, who persuaded him to give himself up to the most unbounded dissipation. Of the public events of his reign, which lasted between eleven and twelve years (Diod. xv. 73; Clinton, F. H. ii.), we have very little information : he seems to have succeeded to his father's influence in the south of Italy as well as to his dominion in Sicily, and to have followed up his views in regard to the Adriatic, for which end he founded two cities in Apulia. We also find him sending a third auxiliary force to the assistance of the Lacedaemonians, (Xen. Hell. vii. 4.12.) But his character was peaceful and indolent; he hastened to conclude by a treaty the war with the Carthaginians, in which he found himself engaged on his accession; and the only other war that he undertook was one against the Lucanians, probably in defence of his Italian allies, which he also quickly brought to a close. (Diod. xvi. 5.) Philistus, the historian, who, after having been one of his father's chief supporters, had been subsequently banished by him, enjoyed the highest place in the confidence of the younger Dionysius, and appears to have been charged with the conduct of all his military enterprises. Notwithstanding his advanced age, he is represented as rather encouraging than repressing the excesses of Dionysius, and joining with the party who sought to overthrow the power of Dion, and ultimately succeeded in driving him into exile. The banishment of Dion contributed to render Dionysius unpopular among the Syracusans, who began also to despise him for his indolent and dissolute life, as well as for his habitual drunkenness. Yet his court seems to have been at this time a great place of resort for philosophers and men of letters : besides Plato, whom he induced by the most urgent entreaties to pay him a second visit, Aristippus of Cyrene, Eudoxus of Cnidus, Speusippus, and others, are stated to have spent some time with him at Syracuse; and he cultivated a friendly intercourse with Archytas and the Pythagoreans of Magna Graecia. (Plut. Dion, 18-20; Diog. Laert. iii. 21, 23; Aelian, V. H. iv. 18, vii. 17; Pseud.-Plat. Epist. 6.) Much doubt indeed attaches to all the stories related by Plutarch and other late writers concerning the intercourse of Plato with Dionysius, but they can hardly have been altogether destitute of foundation.
  Dionysius was absent from Syracuse at the time that Dion landed in Sicily : the news of that event and of the sudden defection of the Svracusans reached him at Caulonia, and he instantly returned to Syracuse, where the citadel still held out for him. But his attempts at negotiation having proved abortive, the sallies of his troops having been repulsed, and the fleet which Philistus had brought to his succour having been defeated, he despaired of success, and sailed away to Italy with his most valuable property, leaving the citadel of Syracuse in charge of his son, Apollocrates, B. C. 356. (Diod. xvi. 11-13, 16, 17; Plut. Dion, 26-37.)
  Dionysius now repaired to Locri, the native city of his mother, Doris, where he was received in the most friendly manner by the inhabitants--a confidence of which he availed himself to occupy the citadel with an armed force, and thus to establish himself as tyrant of the city. This position he continued to hold for several years, during which period he is said to have treated the inhabitants with the utmost cruelty, at the same time that he indulged in the most extravagant licentiousness. (Justin, xxi. 2, 3; Clearch. ap. Athen. xii.; Strab. vi.; Aristot. Pol. v. 7.) Meanwhile the revolutions which had taken place at Syracuse seem to have prepared the way for his return. The history of these is very imperfectly known to us : but, after the death of Dion, one tyrant followed another with great rapidity. Callippus, the murderer of Dion, was in his turn driven from the city by Ilipparinus (son of the elder Dionysius by Aristomache, and therefore nephew of Dion), who reigned but two years: another of Dion's nephews, Nysaeus, subsequently obtained the supreme power, and was in possession of it when Dionysius presented himself before Syracuse with a fleet, and became master of the city by treachery. According to Plutarch, this took place in the tenth year after his expulsion, B. C. 346. (Diod. xvi. 31, 36; Justin, xxi. 3; Athen. xi.; Plut. Timol. 1.) The Locrians meanwhile took advantage of his absence to revolt against him : they drove out the garrison which he had left, and wreaked their vengeance in the most cruel manner on his wife and daughters. (Strab. vi.; Clearch. ap. Athen. xii.) Dionysius was not however able to reestablish himself firmly in his former power. Most of the other cities of Sicily had shaken off the yoke of Syracuse, and were governed severally by petty tyrants: one of these, Hicetas, who had established himself at Leontini, afforded a rallying point to the disaffected Syracusans, with whom he joined in making war on Dionysius, and succeeded in gaining possession of the greater part of the city, and blockading the tyrant anew in the fortress on the island. It was in this state of things that Timoleon arrived in Sicily. His arms were not indeed directed in the first instance against Dionysius, but against Hicetas and his Carthaginian allies; but his rapid successes and the general respect entertained for his character induced Dionysius, who was still blockaded in the citadel, and appears to have abandoned all hope of ultimate success, to treat with him rather than the opposite party. He accordingly surrendered the fortress of Ortygia into the hands of Timoleon, on condition of being allowed to depart in safety to Corinth, B. C. 343. (Diod. xvi. 65-70; Plut. Timole. 8-13.) Here he spent the remainder of his life in a private condition, and is said to have frequented low company, and sunk gradually into a very degraded and abject state. According to some writers, he was reduced to support himself by keeping a school; others say, that he became one of the attendants on the rites of Cybele, a set of mendicant priests of the lowest class. His weak and voluptuous character render these stories by no means improbable, although it seems certain that he was in the first instance allowed to take with him a considerable portion of his wealth, and must have occupied an honourable position, as we find him admitted to familiar intercourse with Philip of Macedon. Some anecdotes are preserved of him that indicate a ready wit and considerable shrewdness of observation. (Plnt. Timol. 14, 15 ; Justin, xxi. 5; Clearch. up. Athen. xii.; Aelian, V. H. vi. 12; Cic. Tusc. iii. 12.)
  There are no authentic coins of either of the two Dionysii: probably the republican forms were still so far retained, notwithstanding their virtual despotism, that all coins struck under their rule bore the name of the city only. According to Muller (Arcaol. d. Kunst.), the splendid silver coins, of the weight of ten drachms, commonly known as Syracusan medallions, belong for the most part to the period of their two reigns. Certain Punic coins, one of which is represented in the annexed cut, are commonly ascribed to the younger Dionysius, but only on the authority of Goltzius (a noted falsifier of coins and their inscriptions), who has published a similar coin with the name Dionusiou.

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

, 430 - 367


, , 360 - 289
Agathocles (Agathokles), a Sicilian of such remarkable ability and energy, that he raised himself from the station of a potter to that of tyrant of Syracuse and king of Sicily. He flourished in the latter part of the fourth and the beginning of the third century, B. C., so that the period of his dominion is contemporary with that of the second and third Samnite wars, during which time his power must have been to Rome a cause of painful interest; yet so entire is the loss of all Roman history of that epoch, that he is not once mentioned in the 9th and 10th books of Livy, though we know that he had Samnites and Etruscans in his service, that assistance was asked from him by the Tarentines (Strab. vi.), and that he actually landed in Italy. The events of his life are detailed by Diodorus and Justin. Of these the first has taken his account from Timaeus of Tauromenium, a historian whom Agathocles banished from Sicily, and whose love for censuring others was so great, that he was nicknamed Epitimaeus (fault-finder) (Athen. vi.). His natural propensity was not likely to be softened when he was describing the author of his exile; and Diodorus himself does not hesitate to accuse him of having calumniated Agathocles very grossly. Polybins too charges him with wilfully perverting the truth (xi. 15), so that the account which he has left must be received with much suspicion. Marvellous stories are related of the early years of Agathocles. Born at Thermae, a town of Sicily subject to Carthage, he is said to have been exposed when an infant, by his father, Carcinus of Rhegium, in consequence of a succession of troublesome dreams, portending that he would be a source of much evil to Sicily. His mother, however, secretly preserved his life, and at seven years old he was restored to his father, who had long repented of his conduct to the child. By him he was taken to Syracuse and brought up as a potter. In his youth he led a life of extravagance and debauchery, but was remarkable for strength and personal beauty, qualities which recommended him to Damas, a noble Syracusan, under whose auspices he was made first a soldier, then a chiliarch, and afterwards a military tribune. On the death of Damas, he married his rich widow, and so became one of the wealthiest citizens in Syracuse. His ambitious schemes then developed themselves, and he was driven into exile. After several changes of fortune, he collected an army which overawed both the Syracusans and Carthaginians, and was restored under an oath that he would not interfere with the democracy, which oath he kept by murdering 4000 and banishing 6000 citizens. He was immediately declared sovereign of Syracuse, under the title of Autocrator. But Hamilcar, the Carthaginian general in Sicily, kept the field successfully against him, after the whole of Sicily, which was not under the dominion of Carthage, had submitted to him. In the battle of Himera, the army of Agathocles was defeated with great slaughter, and immediately after, Syracuse itself was closely besieged. At this juncture, he formed the bold design of averting the ruin which threatened him, by carrying the war into Africa. To obtain money for this purpose, he offered to let those who dreaded the miseries of a protracted siege depart from Syracuse, and then sent a body of armed men to plunder and murder those who accepted his offer. He kept his design a profound secret, cluded the Carthaginian fleet, which was blockading the harbour, and though closely pursued by them for six days and nights, landed his men in safety on the shores of Africa. Advancing then into the midst of his army, arrayed in a splendid role, and with a crown on his head, he announced that he had vowed, as a thank-offering for his escape, to sacrifice his ships to Demeter and the Kora, goddesses of Sicily. Thereupon, he burnt them all, and so left his soldiers no hope of safety except in conquest.
  His successes were most brilliant and rapid. Of the two Suffetes of Carthage, the one, Bomilcar, aimed at the tyranny, and opposed the invaders with little vigour; while the other, Hanno, fell in battle. He constantly defeated the troops of Carthage, and had almost encamped under its walls, when the detection and crucifixion of Bomilcar infuised new life into the war. Agathocles too was summoned from Africa by the affairs of Sicily, where the Agrigentines had suddenly invited their fellow-countrymen to shake off his yoke, and left his army under his son Archagathus, who was unable to prevent a mutiny. Agathocles returned, but was defeated; and, fearing a new outbreak on the part of his troops, fled from his camp with Archagathus, who, however, lost his way and was taken. Agathocles escaped; but in revenge for this desertion, the soldiers murdered his sons, and then made peace with Carthage. New troubles awaited him in Sicily, where Deinocrates, a Syracusan exile, was at the head of a large army against him. But he made a treaty with the Carthaginians, defeated the exiles, received Deinocrates into favour, and then had no difficulty in reducing the revolted cities of Sicily, of which island he had some time before assumed the title of king. He afterwards crossed the Ionian sea, and defended Corcyra against Cassander. He plundered the Lipari isles, and also carried his arms into Italy, in order to attack the Bruttii.
  But his designs were interrupted by severe illness accompanied by great anxiety of mind, in consequence of family distresses. His grandson Archagathus murdered his son Agathocles, for the sake of succeeding to the crown, and the old king feared that the rest of his family would share his fate. Accordingly, he resolved to send his wife Texeina and her two children to Egypt, her native country; they wept at the thoughts of his dying thus uncared for and alone, and he at seeing them depart as exiles from the dominion which he had won for them. They left him, and his death followed almost immediately. For this touching narrative, Timaeus and Diodorus after him substituted a monstrous and incredible story of his being poisoned by Maeno, an associate of Archagathus. The poison, we are told, was concealed in the quill with which he cleaned his teeth, and reduced him to so frightful a condition, that he was placed on the funeral pile and burnt while yet living, being unable to give any signs that he was not dead.
There is no doubt that Agathocles was a mail who did not hesitate to plunge into any excesses of cruelty and treachery to further his own purposes. He persuaded Ophellas, king of Cyrene, to enter into an alliance with him against Carthage, and then murdered him at a banquet, and seized the command of his army. He invited the principal Syracusans to a festival, plied them with wine, mixed freely with them, discovered their secret feelings, and killed 500 who seemed opposed to his views. So that while we reject the fictionis of Timaeus, we can as little understand the statement of Polybius, that though he used bloody means to acquire his power, he afterwards became most mild and gentle. To his great abilities we have the testimony of Scipio Africanus, who when asked what men were in his opinion at once the boldest warriors and wisest statesmen, replied, Agathocles and Dionysius (Polyb. xv. 35). He appears also to have possessed remarkable powers of wit and repartee, to have been a most agreeable companion, and to have lived in Syracuse in a security generally unknown to the Greek tyrants, unattended in public by guards, and trusting entirely either to the popularity or terror of his name.
As to the chronology of his life, his landing in Africa was in the archonship of Hieromnemon at Athens, and accompanied by an eclipse of the sun, i.e. Aug. 15, B. C. 310. He quitted it at the end of B. C. 307, died B. C. 289, after a reign of 28 years, aged 72 according to Diodorus, though Lucian (Macrob. 10), gives his age 95. Wesseling and Clinton prefer the statement of Diodorus. The Italian mercenaries whom Agathocles left, were the Mamertini who after his death seized Messana, and occasioned the first Punic war.

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

   Agathocles, (Agathokles). A Sicilian adventurer, born at Thermae, and brought up as a potter at Syracuse. His strength and personal beauty recommended him to Damas, a noble Syracusan, who drew him from obscurity, and on whose death he married his rich widow, and so became one of the wealthiest citizens in Syracuse. His ambitious schemes then developed themselves, and he was driven into exile. After several changes of fortune he collected an army, and was declared sovereign of Syracuse, B.C. 317. In the course of a few years the whole of Sicily which was not under the dominion of Carthage submitted to him. In 310 he was defeated at Himera by the Carthaginians, under Hamilcar, who straightway laid siege to Syracuse, whereupon he formed the bold design of averting the ruin which threatened him by carrying the war into Africa. His successes were most brilliant and rapid. He constantly defeated the troops of Carthage, but was at length summoned from Africa by the affairs of Sicily, where many cities had revolted from him, B.C. 307. These he reduced, after making a treaty with the Carthaginians. He had previously assumed the title of King of Sicily. He afterwards plundered the Lipari Isles, and also carried his arms into Italy, in order to attack the Bruttii. But his last days were embittered by family misfortunes. His grandson Archagathus murdered his son Agathocles, for the sake of succeeding to the crown, and the old king feared that the rest of his family would share his fate. He accordingly sent his wife and her two children to Egypt; and his own death followed almost immediately, in 289, after a reign of twentyeight years, and in the seventy-second year of his age. Some authors relate an incredible story of his being poisoned by Maeno, an associate of Archagathus. The poison, we are told, was concealed in the quill with which he cleaned his teeth, and reduced him to so frightful a condition that he was placed on the funeral pile and burned while yet living, being unable to give any signs that he was not dead.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Dion, a Syracusan, son of Hipparinus (Plutarch, Dion; Corn. Nep. Dion). His father had been from the first a constant friend and supporter of the elder Dionysius, who had subsequently married his daughter Aristomache. These circumstances naturally brought Dion into friendly relations with Dionysius, and the latter having conceived a high opinion of his character and abilities, treated him with the greatest distinction, and employed him in many services of the utmost trust and confidence. Among others he sent him on an embassy to the Carthaginians, by whom he was received with the greatest distinction. Dion also married, during the lifetime of her father, Arete, the daughter of Dionysius by Aristomache. Of this close connexion and favour with the tyrant he seems to have availed himself to amass great wealth, so that on the death of Dionysius he offered to equip and maintain 50 triremes at his own cost to assist in the war against Carthage. He made no opposition to the succession of the younger Dionysius to all his father's power, but his near relationship to the sons of the latter by his wife Aristomache, as well as his dangerous pre-eminence in wealth and influence, rendered him an object of suspicion and jealousy to the youthful tyrant, to whom he also made himself personally disagreeable by the austerity of his manners. Dion appears to have been naturally a man of a proud and stern character, and having become an ardent disciple of Plato when that philosopher visited Syracuse in the reign of the elder Dionysius, he carried to excess the austerity of a philosopher, and viewed with undisguised contempt the debaucheries and dissolute pleasures of his nephew. From these he endeavoured to withdraw him by persuading him to invite Plato a second time to Syracuse; but the philosopher, though received at first with the utmost distinction, filed in obtaining a permanent hold on the mind of Dionysius; and the intrigues of the opposite party, headed by Philistus, were successful in procuring the banishment of Dion. (Diod. xvi. 6). The circumstances attending this are variously reported, but it seems to have been at first merely an honourable exile, and he was allowed to receive the produce of his vast wealth. According to Plutarch, he retired to Athens, where he lived in habitual intercourse with Plato and his disciples, at times also visiting the other cities of Greece, and displaying his magnificence on all public occasions. But Plato having failed in procuring his recall (for which purpose he had a third time visited Syracuse), and Dionysius having at length confiscated his property and compelled his wife to marry another person, he finally determined on attempting the expulsion of the tyrant by force. (Pseud.-Plat. Epist.6;compare Diod. xvi. 6).
  His knowledge of the general unpopularity of Dionysius and the disaffection of his subjects encouraged him to undertake this with forces apparently very insufficient. Very few of the numerous Syracusan exiles then in Greece could be induced to join him, and he sailed from Zacynthus with only two merchant ships and less than 1000 mercenary troops. The absence of Dionysius and of his chief supporter Philistus, who were both in Italy at the time, favoured his enterprise; he landed at Minoa in the Carthaginian territory, and being speedily joined by volunteers from all parts, advanced without opposition to Syracuse, which he entered in triumph, the whole city being abandoned by the forces of Dionysius, except the citadel on the island (Diod. xvi. 9, 10). Dion and his brother Megacles were now appointed by the Syracusans generals-in-chief, and they proceeded to invest the citadel. Dionysius meanwhile returned, but having failed in a sally from the island, his overtures for peace being rejected, and Philistus, on whom he mainly depended, having been defeated and slain in a seafight, he determined to quit the city, and sailed away to Italy, leaving his son Apollocrates with a mercenary force in charge of the citadel (B. C. 356). But dissensions now broke out among the besiegers : Heracleides, who had lately arrived from tile Peloponnese with a reinforcement of triremes, and had been appointed commander of the Syracusan fleet, sought to undermine the power of Dion; and the latter, whose mercenary troops were discontented for want of pay, withdrew with them to Leontini. The disasters of the Syracusans, however, arising from the incapacity of their new leaders, soon led to the recall of Dion, who was appointed sole general autocrator. Not long after, Apollocrates was compelled by famine to surrender the citadel (Diod. xvi. 11-13, 16-20).
  Dion was now sole master of Syracuse: whether he intended, as he was accused by his enemies, to retain the sovereign power in his own hands, or to establish an oligarchy with the assistance of the Corinthians, as asserted by Plutarch, we have no means of judging; but his government seems to have been virtually despotic enough. He caused his chief opponent, Heracleides, to be put to death, and confiscated the property of his adversaries ; but these measures only aggravated the discontent, which seems to have spread even to his own immediate followers. One of them, Callippus, an Athenian who had accompanied him from Greece, was induced by his increasing unpopularity to form a conspiracy against him, and having gained over some of his Zacynthian guards, caused him to be assassinated in his own house, B. C. 353 (Diod. xvi. 31). According to Cornelius Nepos, he was about 55 years old at the time of his death.
  There can be no doubt that the character of Dion has been immoderately praised by some ancient writers, especially by Plutarch. It is admitted even by his admirers that he was a man of a harsh and unyielding disposition, qualities which would easily degenerate into despotism when he found himself at the head of affairs. Even if he was sincere in the first instance in his intention of restoring liberty to Syracuse, he seems to have afterwards abandoned the idea, and there can be little doubt that the complaints of the people, that they had only exchanged one tyrant for another, were well founded. (Plutarch, Dion; Corn. Nep. Dion; comp. Timol.c. P. Aemil. 2; Athen. xi.)

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

Gelon, son of Hieron II.

, , 266 - 215
Gelon. Son of Hieron II., king of Syracuse, who died before his father, at the age of more than 50 years. Very little is known concerning him, but he appears to have inherited the quiet and prudent character of Hieron himself; and it is justly recorded to his praise, by Polybius, that he sacrificed all objects of personal ambition to the duty of obedience and reverence to his parents (Polyb. vii. 8). It seems clear, however, that he was associated by Hieron with himself in the govern ment, and that he even received the title of king. Livy asserts that after the battle of Cannae, Gelon was preparing to abandon the alliance of Rome for that of Carthage. and that he was only prevented from doing so by his sudden death; but this seems quite at variance with the statement of Polybius of his uniform submission to his father's views, and may very likely deserve as little credit as the insinuation with which Livy immediately follows it--that his death occurred so opportunely, as to cast suspicion upon Hieron himself (Liv. xxiii. 30). Gelon was married to Nereis, daughter of Pyrrhus, by whom he left a son, Hieronymus, and a daughter, marmonia, married to a Syracusan named Themistus (Polyb. vii. 4; Justin. xxviii. 3; Paus. vi. 12.3). Archimedes dedicated to him his treatise called Arenarius, in which it may be observed that he addresses him by the title of king.

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

Gelon, son of Deinomenes

, , 540 - 478
Gelon. Son of Deinomenes tyrant of Gela, and afterwards of Syracuse. He was descended from one of the most illustrious families in his native city, his ancestors having been among the original founders of Gela, and having subsequently held an important hereditary priesthood. (Herod. vii. 153.) Gelon himself is first mentioned as one of the body-guards in the service of Hippocrates, at that time tyrant of Gela, and distinguished himself greatly in the wars carried on by that monarch, so as to be promoted to the chief command of his cavalry. On the death of Hippocrates, the people of Gela rose in revolt against his sons, and attempted to throw off their yoke. Gelon espoused the cause of the young princes, and defeated the insurgents; but took advantage of his victory to set aside the sons of Hippocrates, and retain the chief power for himself, B. C. 491. (Herod. vii. 154, 155; Schol. ad Pind. Nem. ix. 95.) He appears to have held undisturbed rule over Gela for some ears, until the internal dissensions of Syracuse afforded him an opportunity to interfere in the concerns of that city. The oligarchical party (called the Geomori, or Gamori) had been expelled from Syracuse by the populace, and taken refuge at Casmenae. Gelon espoused their cause, and proceeded to restore them by force of arms. On his approach the popular party opened the gates to him, and submitted without opposition to his power (B. C. 485). From this time he neglected Gela, and bent all his efforts to the aggrandisement of his new sovereignty; he even destroyed Camarina (which had been rebuilt by Hippocrates not long before), in order to remove the inhabitants to Syracuse, whither he also transferred above half of those of Gela. In like manner, having taken the cities of Euboea and the Hyblaean Megara, he settled all the wealthier citizens of them at Syracuse, while he sold the lower classes into slavery. (Herod. vii. 155, 156; Thuc. vi. 4, 5.) By these means Syracuse was raised to an unexampled height of wealth and prosperity, and Gelon found himself possessed of such power as no Greek had previously held, when his assistance was requested by the Lacedaemonians and Athenians against the impending danger from the invasion of Xerxes. He offered to support them with a fleet of 200 triremes, and a land force of 28,000 men, on condition of being entrusted with the chief command of the allied forces, or at least with that of their fleet. But both these proposals being rejected, he dismissed the envoys with the remark, that the Greeks had lost the spring out of their year. (Herod. vii. 157-162; Timaeus, Frag. 87, ed. Paris, 1841.)
  There is some uncertainty with regard to the conduct that he actually pulsued. According to Herodotus, he sent Cadmus of Cos with a sum of money to await at Delphi the issue of the approaching contest, and should it prove unfavourable to the Greeks, to make offers of submission to the Persian monarch. But the same historian adds, that the Sicilian Greeks asserted him to have been actually preparing to join the allied armament when he was prevented by the news of the Carthaginian invasion of Sicily (Herod. vii. 163-165), and this appears to have been also the account of the matter given by Ephorus (ap. Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. i. 146). The expedition of the Carthaginians is attributed by the lastmentioned historian (l. c.), as well as by Diodorus (xi. 1, 20), to an alliance concluded by them with Xerxes : Herodotus, with more probability, represents them as called in by Terillus, tyrant of Himera, who had been expelled from that city by Theron of Agrigentum. The circumstances of their expedition are variously related, and may be suspected of much exaggeration (see Niebuhr, Lect. on Rom. Hist. vol. i., ed. Schmitz), but the leading facts are unquestionable. The Carthaginian general Hamilcar arrived at Panormus with an army, as it is said, of 300,000 men, and advancing without opposition as far as Himera, laid siege to that place, which was, however, vigorously defended by Theron of Agrigentum. Gelon had previously formed an alliance and matrimonial connection with Theron, having married his daughter Demarete (Schol. ad Pind. Ol. ii. 1, 29) : no sooner, therefore, did he hear of his danger than he advanced to his succour at the head of a force of 50,000 foot and 5000 horse. In the battle that ensued the Carthaginians were totally defeated, with a loss, as it is pretended, of 150,000 men, while nearly the whole of the remainder fell into the hands of the enemy as prisoners. Hamilcar himself was among the slain, and a few ships, which had made their escape with a number of fugitives on board, perished in a storm, so that scarcely a messenger returned to bear the disastrous news to Carthage. (Herod. vii. 165, 166 ; Diod. xi. 20-24; xiii. 59; Ephorus, ap. Schol. Pind. Pyth. i. 146; Polyaen. i. 27.2.) This victory was gained, according to the accounts reported by Herodotus, on the very same day as that of Salamis, while Diodorus asserts it to have been the same day with Thermopylae : the exact synchronism may in either case be erroneous, but the existence of such a belief so early as the time of Herodotus must be admitted as conclusive evidence of the expedition of the Carthaginians having been contemporary with that of Xerxes; hence the battle of Himera must have been fought in the autumn of 480 B. C. (Comp. Aristot. Poet. 23.3.)
  So great a victory naturally raised Gelon to the highest pitch of power and reputation : his friendship was courted even by those states of Sicily which had been before opposed to him, and, if we may believe the accounts transmitted to us, a solemn treaty of peace was concluded between him and the Carthaginians, by which the latter repaid him the expenses of the war. (Diod. xi. 26; Timaeus, ap. School. Pind. Pyth. ii. 3.) A stipulation is said by some writers to have been inserted that the Carthaginians should refrain for the future from human sacrifices, but there can be little doubt that this is a mere fiction of latertimes. (Theophrast. ap Schol. Pind. l. c. ; Plut. Apophth., de ser. Num. vind.) Gelon applied the large sums thus received, as well as the spoils taken in the war, to the erection of several splendid temples to adorn his favoured city, at the same time that he sent magnificent offerings to Delphi, and the other sanctuaries in Greece itself. (Diod. xi. 26 ; Paus. vi. 19.7; Athen. vi.) He seems to have now thought himself sufficiently secure of his power to make a show of resigning it, and accordingly presented himself unarmed and thinly clad before the assembled army and populace of Syracuse. He then entered into an elaborate review of his past conduct, and concluded with offering to surrender his power into the hands of the people--a proposal which was of course rejected, and he was hailed by the acclamations of the multitude as their preserver and sovereign. (Diod. xi. 26; Polyaen. i. 27.1; Ael. V. H. vi. 11.) He did not, however, long survive to enjoy his honours, having been carried off by a dropsy in B. C. 478, only two years after his victory at Himera, and seven from the commencement of his reign over Syracuse, (Diod. xi. 38; Arist. Pol. v. 9 ; Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. i. 89; Plnt. de Pyth. Orac.) It appears from Aristotle (Pol. v. 10; see also Schol. ad Pind. Nem. ix. 95) that he left an infant son, notwithstanding which, according to Diodorus, he on his deathbed appointed his brother Hieron to be his successor.
  We know very little of the internal administration or personal character of Gelon : it is not unlikely that his brilliant success at Himera shed a lustre over his name which was extended to the rest of his conduct also. But he is represented by late writers as a man of singular leniency and moderation, and as seeking in every way to promote the welfare of his subjects; and his name even appears to have become almost proverbial as an instance of a good monarch. (Diod. xi. 38, 67, xiii. 22, xiv. 66; Plut. Dion. 5, de ser. Num. vind. p. 551.) He was, however, altogether illiterate (Ael. V. H. iv. 15); and perhaps this circumstance may account for the silence of Pindar concerning his alleged virtues, which would otherwise appear somewhat suspicious. But even if his good qualities as a ruler have been exaggerated, his popularity at the time of his death is attested by the splendid tomb erected to him by the Syracusans at the public expense, and by the heroic honours decreed to his memory. (Diod. xi. 38.) Nearly a century and a half afterwards, when Timoleon sought to extirpate as far as possible all records of the tyrants that had ruled in Sicily, the statue of Gelon alone was spared. (Plut. Timol. 23.)
  Concerning the chronology of the reign of Gelon see Clinton (F. H. vol. ii.), Pausanias (vi. 9.4, 5, viii. 42.8), Dionysius (vii. 1),and Niebuhr (Rom. Hist. vol. ii., note 201). The last writer adopts the date of the Parian chronicle, which he supposes to be taken from Timaeus, according to which Gelon did not begin to reign at Syracuse until B. C. 478; but it seems incredible that Herodotus should have been mistaken in a matter of such public notoriety as the contemporaneity of the battle of Himera with the expedition of Xerxes.

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

Hieron I

Hieron I, tyrant of Syracuse, was son of Deinomenes and brother of Gelon, whom lie succeeded in the sovereignty, B. C. 478. We know scarcely any thing of his personal history previous to his accession, except that he supported his brother in his various wars, and appears to Have taken an active part in the great victory of Himera, as his share in the glory of that day was commemorated by Gelon himself in the inscription at Delphi which recorded his triumph. (Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. i. 155, ii. 115.) It is stated by Diodorus (xi. 38) that Hieron was appointed by Gelon as his successor, though it appears from other authorities that that prince left an infant son ; hence it may well be suspected that he assumed the government in the first instance only in his nephew's name, and subsequently took possession of it for himself. In either case it is clear that he was virtually sovereign of Syracuse from the time of Gelon?s death, but his rule was soon distinguished from that of his brother by its greater severity and more tyrannical character. Its tranquillity was early disturbed by his jealousy of his brother Polyzelus, to whom Gelon had left the command of the army and the hand of his widow Demarete. This connection secured to Polyzelus the powerful support of Theron of Agrigentum (the father of Demarete), and, united with his great popularity, sufficed to render him an object of suspicion to Hieron. The latter is said to have emeloyed him in a military expedition against the Sybarites in Italy, or, according to another account, in Sicily itself, in hopes that he might perish in the war. The failure of this design led to an open rupture between the two brothers, and Polyzelus took refuge with Theron, who is said to have been preparing to support him by arms, when a reconciliation was effected, and a treaty of peace concluded between him and Hieron, which is attributed by some accounts to the intervention of the poet Simonides. (Schol. ad Pind. Ol. ii. 29, 37.) According to Diodorus (xi. 48), on the contrary, it was owing to the conduct of Hieron himself, who, instead of listening to the overtures of the citizens of Himera, and espousing their cause against Theron, gave him information of their designs; in gratitude for which, Theron abandoned his hostile intentions. By the treaty thus concluded, Polyzelus was restored to his former position at Syracuse, while Hieron himself married a sister of the Agrigentine ruler. (Schol. ad Pind. l. c.)
  Our information concerning the events of the of Hieron is very imperfect, but the detached and fragmentary notices which alone remain to us attest the great power and influence that he must have possessed. In Sicily he made himself master of the powerful cities of Naxos and Catana, the inhabitants of which, according to a favourite policy of the Sicilian tyrants, he removed from native seats, and established them at Leontini, , while he repeopled Catana with Syracusans, and other colonists of Dorian origin; and having changed its name to Aetna, caused himself to be proclaimed the founder of the new city. (Diod. xi. 49; Schol. ad Pind. Ol. i. 35, Pyth. i. 1, 120.) At a very early period of his reign also we find him interposing in the affairs of the Greek cities in the south of Italy, and preventing the destruction of Locri by Anaxilas of Rhegium, which he appears to have effected by the mere apprehension of his without having actually recourse to arms. (Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. i. 98, ii. 34.) Some years later he again interfered on behalf of the sons of the same Anaxilas, and by urging them to put forward ward their claim to the sovereign power, succeeded in effecting the expulsion of Micythus from Rhegium (Diod. xi. 66.) The death of Theron in B. C. 472, and the violence of his son Thrasydaeus, involved Hieron in hostilities with Agrigentum, but he defeated Thrasydaeus in a great battle, which contributed essentially to the downfal of that tyrant; and after his expulsion Hieron was readily induced to grant peace to the Agrigentines. (Diod. xi. 53.) But by far the most important event of his reign was the great victory which he obtained over the Etruscan fleet near Cumae (B. C. 474), and which appears to have effectually broken the naval power of that nation. The Etruscans had attacked Cumae and the neighbouring Greek settlement in Campania with a powerful fleet, and the Cumaeans invoked the assistance of Hieron, who, though suffering at the time from illness, appears to have commanded in person the fleet which he destined to their support. (Pind. Pyth. i. 137 ; and Schol. ad loc. ; Diod. xi. 51.) Of the victory he there obtained, and which was celebrated by Pindar, an interesting memorial has been preserved to our own days, in a bronze helmet found at Olympia in 1817, and now in the British Museum, which appears from the inscription it bears to have formed part of the spoils consecrated by Hieron on this occasion to the Olympian Zeus. (Rose, Inser. Graec. Vetust.; Boeckh's Pindar, vol. iii.) It was probably after this victory that he sent the colony to Pithecusa or Ischia, mentioned by Strabo (v.)
  How far the internal prosperity of Syracuse, under the rule of Hieron, corresponded with this external show of power we have no means of judging, but all accounts agree in representing his government as much more despotic than that of Gelon. He fortified his power by the maintenance of a large guard of mercenary troops, and evinced the suspicious character of a tyrant by the employment of numerous spies and informers. (Arist. Pol. v. 11; Diod. xi. 48, 67; but comp. Plut. dc Ser. Num. Vied.) In one respect, ever has superior to his brother--in the liberal and enlightened patronage that he extended to men of letters, which has contributed very much to cast a lustre over his name. His court became the resort of the most distinguished poets and philosophers of the day. Aeschylus, Pindar, and Bacchylides are recorded as having taken up their abode with him, and we find him associating in friendly intercourse with Xenophanes, Epicharmus, and Simonides. (Aclian. V. H. iv. 15; Paus. i. 2.3; Schol. atd Pind. Plyh. ii. 131, 167; Athen. iii., xiv.; Plut. Apophth.) His intimacy with the latter was particularly celebrated (Pseud. Plat. Epist. 2), and has been made the subject by Xenophon of an imaginary dialogue entitled the Hieron (Xen. Opp. tom. v. ed. Schneider), but, from the advice there put into the mouth of the philosopher, as well as from the hints interspersed by Pindar, in the midst of his praises and flatteries, we may gather that there was much to disapprove of in the conduct of Hieron towards his subjects and dependants. (See Boeckh, ad Pind. Pyth. i. 81-88.) His love of magnificence was especially displayed, as was the custom of the day, in the great contests of the Grecian games, and his victories at Olympia and Delphi have been immortalised by Pindar. He also sent, in imitation of his brother Gelon, splendid offerings to the sanctuary at Delphi. (Paus. vi. 12.1; Athen. vi.)
  We are told that Hieron was afflicted during the latter years of his life by the stone, and that painful malady was probably the cause of his death, which took place at Catana, in the twelfth year of his reign, B. C. 467. (Schol. ad Pind. Ol. i. 1, Pyth. i. 89, iii. 1; Plut. de Pyth. Orac. 19; Diod. xi. 38, 66.) Aristotle, indeed, says that he reigned only ten years (Pol. v. 12), but the dates of Diodorus, which are consistent with one another, are confirmed by the scholiast on Pindar, and have been justly preferred by Clinton (F. H. vol. ii.). He was interred with much pomp at Catana, and obtained heroic honours as the new founder of that city, but his tomb was subsequently destroyed by the old inhabitants, when they returned thither, after the expulsion of the Aetnaean colonists. (Diod. xi. 66; Strab. vi. p. 268.) He had one son, Deinomenes, by his first wife, a daughter of Nicocles, a Syracusan : by his subsequent marriage with the sister of Theron already mentioned he left no issue. (Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. i. 112.) The scholiast here calls her the cousin (anepsia) of Theron, but she is elsewhere repeatedly termed his sister (ad Ol. ii. 29, 37).

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

Hiero, (Hieron). A Sicilian who succeeded his brother Gelon as tyrant of Syracuse, B.C. 478. He committed many acts of violence, encouraged spies, and kept a mercenary guard around his person. He was ambitious of extending his dominion, and his attempts proved successful. After the death of Theron of Agrigentum, Hiero defeated his son Thrasydaeus, who was soon afterwards expelled by his countrymen. He took Naxus and Catana, and, having driven away the inhabitants from both towns, replaced them by Syracusan and Peloponnesian colonists. He changed the name of Catana to Aetna, and he himself assumed the title of Aetnaeus (Aitnaios). Having joined his fleet to that of the people of Cumae, he succeeded in clearing the Tyrrhenian Sea of the Etruscan and other pirates who infested it. His chariots repeatedly won the prize at the Olympic Games, and his success on those occasions formed the theme of several of the odes of Pindar, who was his guest and friend. Aeschylus, Simonides, Bacchylides, and Epicharmus were also well received at the court of Hiero, who was fond of the society of learned men. His intimacy with Simonides is the subject of Xenophon's dialogue entitled Hieron. Hiero died at Catana, B.C. 467, and was succeeded by his brother Thrasybulus, who had all his faults without any of his good qualities, and was at last driven away by the Syracusans, who restored the government to the commonwealth.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Hieron II

Hieron II, king of Syracuse, was the son of Hierocles, a Syracusan of illustrious birth, who claimed descent from the great Gelon, the victor at IIimera. He was however illegitimate, being the offspring of a female servant, in consequence of which it is said that he was exposed as an infant, but that some omens prophetic of his future greatness caused his father to relent, and bring him up with care and attention. (Justin. xxiii. 4; Zonar. viii. 6.) The year of his birth cannot be fixed with certainty, but it must have taken place before B. C. 306; hence he was at least thirty years old when the departure of Pyrrhus from Sicily (B. C. 275) left the Syracusans without a leader. Hieron had already distinguished himself in the wars of that monarch, and had acquired so much favour with the soldiery, that the Syracusan army, on occasion of some dispute with the people of the city, appointed him, together with Artemidorus, to be their general; and he had the skill and address to procure the ratification of his command from the people, and conciliate the affections of the multitude as effectually as he had those of the soldiers. But his ambition did not stop here. By his marriage with the daughter of Leptines, at that time unquestionably the most distinguished and influential citizen at Syracuse, he secured for himself the most powerful support in the councils of the republic. But he felt that he could not rely on the army of mercenaries, which, though they had been the first to raise him to power, he well knew to be fickle and treachecus; he therfore took an opportunity during the war with the Mamertines (who, after the departure of Pyrrhus, had attacked the Syracusans), to abandon these troops to the enemy, by whom they were almost all cut to pieces, while IIieron, with the Syracusan citizens, who had kept aloof from the combat, effected in safety his retreat to Syracuse. Here he immediately proceeded to levy a new army, and as soon as he had organised these troops, marched forth to chastise the Mamertines, who were naturally elated with their victory. He soon drove them out of all the territory they had conquered, took the cities of Mylae and Alaesa, while those of Tyndaris, Abacaenum, and Tauromenium, declared in his favour. The Mamertines, thus hemmed in in a corner of the island, ventured on a pitched battle at the river Longanus, but were totally defeated, their leader, Cios, taken prisoner, and Messana itself would have probably fallen into the hands of Hieron, had not the intervention of the Carthaginians prevailed on him to grant a peace to his humbled enemies. On his return from this glorious expedition, Hieron was saluted by his fellowcitizens with the title of king, B. C. 270. (Polyb. i. 8, 9; Diod. Exc. Hoesch. xxii.)
  The chronology of these events is not very clear (see Paus. vi. 12.2; Clinton, F. H. vol. ii.; and Droysen, Hellenism. vol. ii. p. 268, not.), but if the date above assigned for the commencement of the reign of Hieron be correct, it was in the year preceding his elevation to the royal dignity (B. C. 272), that he assisted the Romans during the siege of Rhegium with supplies of corn, as well as with an auxiliary force. (Zonar. viii. 6.) We know nothing more of his proceedings from this time until the year 264, nor can we clearly discover the relations in which he stood, either towards Carthage or Rome; it is said indeed that the assistance furnished by him to the latter had given umbrage to the Carthaginians (Dion Cass. Frag. Vat. 57; Zonar. viii. 6), and rendered them unfavorable to Hieron, but this disposition did not break out into actual hostilities. His great object seems still to have been the complete expulsion of the Mamertines from Sicily; and when, in 264, the Romans for the first time interposed in favour of that people, his indignation at their interference led him to throw himself at once into the arms of the Carthaginians, with whom lie concluded an alliance, and united his forces with those of Hanno, who had just arrived in Sicily, at the head of a large army. With their combined forces they proceeded to lay siege to Messana both by sea and land, but they failed in preventing the Roman consul, Appius Claudius, from crossing the straits with his army. He landed near the Syracusan camp, and Hieron gave him battle the next day, but met with a partial defeat ; and, alarmed at the aspect of affairs, and mistrusting the faith of his allies, suddenly withdrew with all his forces to Syracuse. Thither, after some interval, Claudius followed him, and ravaged the open country up to the very walls, but was unable to effect any thing against the city itself, and was compelled by the breaking out of a pestilential disorder in his army to retreat. The next year (B. C. 263) hostilities were renewed by the Romans, and the consuls, Otacilius and Valerius, not only laid waste the Syracusan territory, but took many of their smaller and dependent towns; and Hieron, finding himself unable to cope single-handed with the Roman power, and seeing little hope of assistance from Carthage, concluded a peace with Rome. The terms of the treaty were on the whole sufficiently favourable; Hieron retained possession of the whole south-east of Sicily. and the eastern side of the island as far as Tauromenium, advantages which were cheaply purchased by the surrender of his prisoners and the payment of a large sum of money. (Polyb. i. 11, 12, 15, 16; Diod. Exe. Hoesch. xxiii. 2, 4, 5; Zonar. viii. 9; Oros. iv. 7.)
  From this time till his death, a period of little less than half a century, Hieron continued the steadfast friend and ally of the Romans, a policy of which his subjects as well as himself reaped the benefits, in the enjoyment of a state of tranquillity and prosperity such as they had never before known for so long a period. But such an interval of peace and quiet naturally affords few materials for history, and our knowledge of the remainder of Hlieron's long life is almost confined to the interchange of good offices between him and the Romans, which cemented and confirmed their friendship. During the first Punic war he was frequently called upon to render important services to his new allies; in B. C. 262, by the zeal and energy which he displayed in furnishing supplies to the Roman consuls before Agrigentum, he enabled them to continue the siege, and ultimately effect the reduction of that important fortress. (Polyb. i. 18; Zonar. viii. 10.) On a subsequent occasion we find him sending them the military engines and artillery, by means of which they took Camarina (Diod. Exe. Hoesch. xxiii. 9), and in 255 displaying the utmost solicitude in relieving the wants of the Roman mariners and soldiers after the dreadful shipwreck of their fleet off Camarina. (Id. ibid. 13.) Again in 252 he is mentioned as furnishing the consul Aurelius Cotta with ships (Zonar. viii. 14), and as relieving the spirits of the Roman army by an opportune supply of corn, when almost disheartened, during the long protracted siege of Lilybaeum, B. C. 249. (Diod. Exc. Hoesch. xxiv. 1.) For these faithful services he was rewarded by being included under the protection of the treaty of peace concluded between Rome and Carthage in B. C. 241 (Polyb. i. 62.8), and by a renewal of the treaty between him and the Romans, which was now changed into a perpetual alliance, the payment of all tribute being henceforth remitted. (Zonar. viii. 16; Appian, Sic. 2.)
  During the interval of peace between the two Punic wars, Hieron visited Rome in person, where he appears to have been received with the highest honours, and gave a proof at once of his wealth and liberality, by distributing a vast quantity of corn to the people at the secular games. (Eutrop. iii. 1.) In B. C. 222, after the great victory of Marcellus over the Gauls, a portion of the spoils taken on that occasion was sent to him by the senate as a friendly offering. (Plut. Marc. 8 ; Liv. xxiv. 21.) The beginning of the second Punic war now came, to put his fidelity to the highest test ; but he was not found wanting to his allies in the hour of their danger. He not only fitted out a fleet to co-operate with that of the consul Sempronius (of which, notwithstanding his advanced age, he appears to have taken the command in person), but offered to supply the Roman legions and naval forces in Sicily with provisions and clothing at his own expense. Tile next year (217), on receiving the tidings uf the fatal battle of Thrasymene, he hastened to send to Rome a large supply of corn, as well as a body of light-armed auxiliaries, and a golden statue of Victory, which was consecrated by the Romans in the capitol. (Liv. xxi. 49-51, xxii. 37; Zonar. viii. 26; Val. Max. iv. 8.) The still heavier disaster of Cannae in the following year (B. C. 216) appears to have produced as little change in his disposition towards the contending powers; and one of the last acts of his life was the sending a large supply of money and corn to the propraetor T. Otacilius. (Liv. xxiii. 21.) The date of his death is nowhere expressly mentioned, but it seems clear that it must have occurred before the end of the year 216. According to Lucian (Macrob. 10), he had attained the age of ninety-two : both Polybius and Livy speak of him as not less than ninety. (Polyb. vii. 8; Liv. xxiv. 4.) Pausanias, who asserts that he was murdered by Deinomenes (vi. 12.4), has evidently confounded him with his grandson Hieronymus.
  It was not towards the Romans alone that Hieron displayed his wealth and munificence in so liberal a manner. His eyes were ever turned towards Greece itself, and he sought to attract the attention and conciliate the favour of the Greek nation not only by costly offerings at Olympia and other places of national resort, but by coming forward readily to the assistance of all who needed it. A striking instance of this is recorded in the magnificent presents which lie sent to the Rhodians when their city had suffered from an earthquake. (Polyb. v. 88, vii. 8; Paus. vi. 12.2, 15.6.) Nor did his steady attachment to the Romans prevent him from furnishing supplies to the Carthaginians when the very existence of their state was endangered by the war of the mercenaries. (Polyb. i. 83.) His internal administration appears to have been singularly mild and equitable : though he did not refuse the title of king, he avoided all external display of the insignia of royalty, and appeared in public unattended by guards, and in the garb of a private citizen. By retaining the senate of the republic, and taking care to consult them upon all important occasions, he preserved the forms of a constitutional government; and we are even told that he was sincerely desirous to lay aside the sovereign power, and was only prevented from doing so by the unanimous voice of his subjects. (Polyb. vii. 8; Liv. xxiv. 4, 5, 22). The care he bestowed upon the financial department of his administration is sufficiently attested by the laws regulating the tithes of corn and other agricultural produce, which, under the name of Leges Hieronicae, are repeatedly referred to by Cicero in his orations against Verres; and which, in consequence of their equitable and precise adjustment, were retained by the Romans when they reduced Sicily to a province. (Cic. Veer. ii. 13, iii. 8, 51) At the same time he adorned the city of Syracuse with many public works of great magnificence as well as of real utility, among which are mentioned temples, gymnasia, porticoes, and public altars (Athenae. v. 40; Diod. xvi. 83); that his care in this respect was not confined to Syracuse alone is proved by the occurrence of his name on the remarkable edifices which have been brought to light of late years at Acrae, now Palazzolo. Among other modes in which he displayed his magnificence was the construction of a ship of enormous size, far exceeding all previously constructed, which, when completed, he sent laden with corn as a present to Ptolemy king of Egypt. A detailed account of this wonderful vessel has been preserved to us by Athenaeus (v. 40-44). But while he secured to his subjects the blessings of peace, Hieron did not neglect to prepare for war, and not only kept up a large and well-appointed fleet, but employed his friend and kinsman Archimedes in the construction of powerful engines both for attack and defence, which afterwards played so important a part in the siege of Syracuse by Marcellus. (Liv. xxiv. 34; Plut. Marc. 14.) The power and magnificence of Hieron were celebrated by Theocritus in his sixteenth Idyll, but the poet's panegyric adds hardly any thing to our historical knowledge.
  Hieron had only one son, Gelon, who died shortly before his father; but he left two daughters, Demarata and Heraclea, who were married respectively to Andranodorus and Zoippns, two of the principal citizens of Syracuse. He was succeeded by his grandson. Hieronymus.
  Numerous coins are extant, which bear the name of Hieron, and some of these have been referred by the earlier numismatists to the elder Hieron; but it is quite certain, from the style of work of the coins themselves, and the characters of the inscription, that they must all have been struck in the reign of Hieron II. Eckhel (vol. i.) and Visconti (Iconographie Grecque, vol. ii.) are, however, of opinion that the head upon them, which bears the diadem, is that of the elder Hieron, and that we cannot suppose Hieron I. to have adopted the diadem on his coins when he never wore it in public. There does not seem much weight in this objection, and it is probable, on the whole, that the portrait which we find on these coins is that of Hieron II. himself.

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

   Hiero, (Hieron).The second of the name, son of Hierocles, a wealthy citizen of Syracuse, and a descendant of Gelon, distinguished himself in early life by his brilliant qualities, and served with distinction also under Pyrrhus in his Sicilian campaigns. After Pyrrhus had suddenly abandoned Sicily, the Syracusans found themselves threatened on one side by the Carthaginians and on the other by the Mamertines, a band of Campanian mercenaries, who had treacherously taken possession of Messana. The Syracusan troops, being in want of a trusty leader, chose Hiero by acclamation, and the Senate and citizens, after some demur, ratified the choice, B.C. 275. After various successful operations against the Mamertines, Hiero returned to Syracuse, where, through the influence of Leptines, his father-in-law, a leading man among the aristocratic party, he was proclaimed king, B.C. 270. Shortly afterwards the Mamertines at Messana quarrelled with the Carthaginians, who had managed to introduce a garrison into the citadel, and drove them out, upon which the Carthaginians invited Hiero to join his forces to theirs, in order to drive the Mamertines out of Sicily. Hiero having assented, encamped under the walls of Messana on one side, and the Carthaginians fixed their camp on the other, while their squadron guarded the strait. The Mamertines, meanwhile, had applied to the Romans for assistance, claiming a common origin with them, as being descended from Mars, called Mamers in the Oscan language; and Rome eagerly seized this opportunity of obtaining a footing in Sicily. The consul Appius Claudius marched to Rhegium, and, having contrived to pass the strait in the night unobserved by the Carthaginian cruisers, he surprised Hiero's camp, routed the soldiers, and obliged the monarch himself to seek safety in flight. The consul next attacked the Carthaginian camp with the same success, and this was the beginning of the First Punic War, B.C. 265. In the following year the Romans took Tauromenium and Catana and advanced to the walls of Syracuse, when Hiero sued for peace, which he obtained on condition of paying 100 talents of silver and supplying the Roman army with provisions. He punctually fulfilled his engagements, remaining faithful to Rome during the whole of the war, and by his supplies was of great service to the Roman armies, especially during the long sieges of Agrigentum and Lilybaeum. Hiero was included in the peace between Rome and Carthage, by which his territories were secured to him, and he remained in friendship with both States. He even assisted Carthage at a very critical moment by sending her supplies of provisions during the war which she had to sustain against her mercenaries. The period of peace which elapsed between the end of the First and the beginning of the Second Punic Wars, from B.C. 241 to 218, was most glorious for Hiero and most prosperous for Syracuse. Commerce and agriculture flourished, and wealth and population increased to an extraordinary degree. Hiero paid particular attention to the administration of the finances, and made wise regulations for the collection of the tithe or tax on land, which remained in force throughout Sicily long after his time, and are mentioned with praise by Cicero as the lex Hieronica. Hiero introduced the custom of farming out the tax every year by auction. He embellished and strengthened Syracuse, and built large ships. Archimedes lived under Hiero's reign. When the Second Punic War broke out, Hiero continued true to his Roman alliance, and, after the Trasimenian defeat, he sent a fleet to Ostia with provisions and other gifts, and a body of light troops to the assistance of Rome. He lived to see the battle of Cannae, after which his son Gelon embraced the part of the Carthaginians. Gelon, however, died, not without suspicion of violence, and Hiero himself, being past ninety years of age, ended his days soon afterwards (B.C. 216), leaving the crown to his grandson, Hieronymus.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Hicetas. Tyrant of Syracuse, during the interval between the reign of Agathocles and that of Pyrrhus. After the death of Agathocles (B. C. 289), his supposed assassin, Maenon, put to death Archagathus, the grandson of tile tyrant; and assuming tile command of the army with which the latter was besieging Aetna, directed his arms against Syracuse. Hereupon Hicetas was sent against him by the Syracusans, with a considerable army : but after the war had continued for some time, without any decisive result, Maenon, by calling in the aid of the Carthaginians, obtained the superiority, and the Syracusans were compelled to conclude an ignominious peace. Soon after ensued the revolution which led to the expulsion of the Campanian muercenaries, afterwards known as the Mamertines : and it must have been shortly after this that Hicetas established himself in the supreme power, as we are told by Diodorus that he ruled nine years. The only events of his government that are recorded are a war with Phintias, tyrant of Agrigentum, in which he obtained a considerable victory, and one with the Carthaginians, by whom he was defeated at the river Terias. He was at length expelled from Syracuse by Thynion, an event which took place not long before the arrival of Pyrrhus in Sicily, and must therefore be referred either to 279 or 278 B. C., either of which dates is consistent enough with the period of nine years allotted to his reign by Diodorus. (Diod. Exc. Hoesch. xxi. 12, 13, xxii. 2, 6.)
   There are extant gold coins struck at Syracuse bearing the name of Hicetas : from the inscription on these EIII IKETA, it is clear that he never assumed the title of king, like his contemporary Phintias, at Agrigentum.

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


Hieronymus, (Hieronumos), king of Syracuse, succeeded his grandfather, Hieron II., in B. C. 216. He was at this time only fifteen years old, and he ascended the throne at a crisis full of peril, for the battle of Cannae had given a shock to the Roman power, the influence of which had been felt in Sicily; and though it had not shaken the fidelity of the aged Hieron, yet a large party at Syracuse was already disposed to abandon the alliance of Rome for that of Carthage. The young prince had already given indications of weakness, if not depravity of disposition, which had alarmed his grandfather, and caused him to confide the guardianship of Hieronymus to a council of fifteen persons, among whom were his two sons-in-law, Andranodorus and Zoippus. But the objects of this arrangement were quickly frustrated by the ambition of Andranodorus, who, in order to get rid of the interference of his colleagues, persuaded the young king to assume the reins of government, and himself set the example of resigning his office, which was followed by the other guardians. Hieronymus now became a mere tool in the hands of his two uncles, both of whom were favourable to the Carthaginian alliance : and Thrason, the only one of his counsellors who retained any influence over his mind, and who was a staunch friend of the Romans, was soon got rid of by a charge of conspiracy. The young king now sent ambassadors to Hannibal, and the envoys of that general, Hippocrates and Epicydes, were welcomed at Syracuse with the highest honours. On the other hand, the deputies sent by Appius Claudius, the Roman praetor in Sicily, were treated with the utmost contempt ; and it was evident that Hieronymus was preparing for immediate hostilities. He sent ambassadors to Carthage, to conclude a treaty with that power, by the terms of which the river Himera was to be the boundary between the Carthaginians and Syracusans in Sicily : but he quickly raised his demands, and, by a second embassy, laid claim to the whole island for himself. The Carthaginians readily promised every thing, in order to secure his alliance for the moment : and he assembled an army of fifteen thousand men, with which he was preparing to take the field, having previously dispatched Hippocrates and Epicydes to sound the disposition of the cities subject to Rome, when his schemes were suddenly brought to a close. A band of conspirators, at the head of whom was Deinomenes, fell upon him in the streets of Leontini, and dispatched him with numerous wounds. before his guards could come to his succour, B. C. 215. (Liv. xxiv. 4-7; Polyb. vii. 2-6.)
  The short reign of Hieronymus, which had lasted only 13 months, had presented the most striking contrast to that of his grandfather. Brought up in the midst of all the enervating and corrupting influences of a court, his naturally bad disposition, at once weak and violent, felt them all in their full force; and he exhibited to the Greeks the first instance of a childish tyrant. From the moment of his accession he gave himself up to the influence of flatterers, who urged him to the vilest excesses : lie assumed at once all the external pomp of royalty which Hieron had so studiously avoided; and while he plunged in the most shameless manner into every species of luxury and debauchery, he displayed the most unrelenting cruelty towards all those who became objects of his suspicion. Polybius indeed appears inclined to doubt the statements on this subject; and it is not improbable that they may have been exaggerated by the writers to whom lie refers : but there is certainly nothing in the nature of the case to justify his scepticism; and the example, in later days, of Elagabalus, to whose character that of Hieronymus appears to have borne much resemblance, is sufficient to show how little any excesses that are reported of the latter can be called incredible. Among other instances of his wanton contempt of public decency, he is said to have married a common prostitute, on whom he bestowed the title and honours of a queen. (Polyb. vii. 7; Liv. xxiv. 5 ; Diod. Exc. Vales. xxvi., 569; Athen. vi., xiii.; Val. Max. iii. 3. Ext. § 5.)
  The coins of Htieronymus are more abundant than might have been expected from the shortness of his reign : they all bear his portrait on the obverse, and a thunderbolt on the reverse.

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


Hipparinus. A son of the elder Dionysius by Aristomache, daughter of No. 1, who succeeded Callippus in the government or tyranny of Syracuse, B. C. 352. According to Diodorus, he attacked the city with a fleet and army, and having defeated Callippus, compelled him to fly from Syracuse, of which he immediately took possession (Diod. xvi. 36). The account given by Polyaenus is somewhat different: according to his version, Hipparinus was at Leontini (at this time the head-quarters of the disaffected and exiled Syracusans), when he learnt that Callippus had quitted Syracuse with the great body of his forces on an expedition elsewhere, and contrived to surprise the gates and make himself master of the city before his return. (Polyaen. v. 4.) This statement is also in part confirmed by Plutarch (Dion, 58), who relates that Callippus lost Syracuse while attempting to make himself master of Catana, though he does not mention Hipparinus. He held the supreme power for only two years, during which he appears to have excited the contempt of his subjects by his drunkenness, as well as their hatred by his tyranny, and he fell a victim to assassination. (Diod. xvi. 36; Theopompus, ap. Athen. x.; Ael. V. H. ii. 41.)

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



Hellanicus. Of Syracuse, a contemporary of Dion. (Plut. Dion. 42.) He is perhaps the same as the one who is mentioned in Bekker's Anecdota (p. 351) and Suidas (s. v. anarrichasthai) as an author who wrote in the Doric dialect.

You are able to search for more information in greater and/or surrounding areas by choosing one of the titles below and clicking on "more".

GTP Headlines

Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.

Subscribe now!
Greek Travel Pages: A bible for Tourism professionals. Buy online

Ferry Departures