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Biographies (53)

Seven Sages


, , 624 - 547

   (Thales). An Ionian, the founder of Greek philosophy. He was a contemporary of Solon and Croesus, and one of the Seven Sages, and was born at Miletus about B.C. 636, and died about 546, at the age of ninety, though the exact dates of his birth and death are not known. He is said to have predicted the eclipse of the sun which happened in the reign of the Lydian king Alyattes; to have diverted the course of the Halys in the time of Croesus; and later, in order to unite the Ionians when threatened by the Persians, to have instituted a federal council in Teos. Aristotle preserves a story of his knowledge of meteorology which was turned to a practical use. In the lists of the Seven Sages his name seems to have stood at the head, and he displayed his wisdom both by political sagacity and by prudence in acquiring wealth. In mathematics we find attributed to him only proofs of propositions which belong to the first elements of geometry, and which could not possibly have enabled him to calculate the eclipses of the sun and the course of the heavenly bodies. He may, however, have obtained a knowledge of the higher branches of mathematics from Egypt, which country he is said to have visited. In the annals of Greek philosophy he was probably the first who looked for a physical origin of the world instead of resting upon mythology. Thales maintained that water is the origin (arche) of things, meaning thereby that it is water out of which everything arises and into which everything resolves itself, and that the earth floated upon the water. Thales left no works behind him.

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


Hippodamus, 5th c. B.C.

   A Greek architect, born at Miletus in the second half of the fifth century B.C. He was the first inventor of a system of laying out towns on geometrical principles, carried out, under his direction, in the laying out of the Piraeus, the harbour-town of Athens, and also at the building of Thurii (B.C. 443) and of Rhodes (408); it was also used in subsequent times in the foundation of new towns.

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

Hippodamus, (Hippodamos: the etymological origin of the name is no doubt the same as that of the Homeric word hippodamos, which so frequently occurs as an epithet, and once as a proper name, Il. xi. 335; Aristophanes, however, Equit. 327, uses it with the a, as if it were a Doric form from lppos and demos; but this must be by way of some joke, for we cannot suppose such an absurd compound to have existed as a proper name.) Hippodamus was a most distinguished Greek architect. a native of Miletus, and the son of Euryphon or Eurycoon. His fame rests on his construction, not of single buildings, but of whole cities. His first great work was the town of Peiraeeus, which Themistocles had made a tolerably secure port for Athens, but which was first formed into a regularly-planned town by Hippodamus, under the auspices of Pericles. It has been clearly shown by Miiller (Attika, in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopadie, vol. vi., and Dorier, vol. ii., 2nd edit.) that this work must be referred to the age of Pericles, not to that of Themistocles. The change which Hippodamus introduced was the substitution of broad straight streets, crossing each other at right angles, for the crooked narrow streets, with angular crossings, which had before prevailed throughout the greater part, if not the whole, of Greece. When the Athenians founded their colony of Thurii, on the site of the ancient Sybaris (B. C. 443), Hippodamus went out with the colonists, and was the architect of the new city. Hence he is often called a Thuother rian. He afterwards built Rhodes (B. C. 408-7). How he came to be connected with a Dorian state, and one so hostile to Athens, we do not know ; but much light would be thrown on this subject, and on the whole of the life of Hippodamus, if we could determine whether the scholiast on Aristophanes (Equit. 327) is right or wrong in identifying him with the father of the Athenian politician and opponent of Cleon, Archeptolemus. This question is admirably discussed by Hermann, but no certain conclusion can be attained. We learn from Aristotle that Hippodamus devoted great attention to the political, as well as the architectural ordering of cities, and that he wished to have the character of knowing all physical science. This circumstance, with a considerable degree of personal affectation, caused him to be ranked among the sophists, and it is very probable that much of the wit of Aristophanes, in his Birds, is aimed at Hippodamus. (Aristot. Polit. ii. 5,and Schneider's note; Hesych. s. v. Hippodamou nemesis; Phot. s. v. Hippodamou nemesis; Harpocr. s. v. Ippodameia ; Diod. xii. 10; Strab. xiv.; C. F. Hermann, Disputatio de Hippodamo Milesio, Marburg. 1841, 4to.)

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


Isidorus of Miletus, the elder and younger, were eminent architects in the reign of Justinian. The elder of them was associated with Anthemius of Tralles, in the rebuilding of the great church of St. Sophia, at Constantinople, before A. D. 537. The younger Isidorus rebuilt the dome of St. Sophia, after it had been destroyed by an earthquake, A. D. 554, and made some additions to the interior of the church. (Procop. i. 1; Agathias, v. 9; Malalas, p. 81; Muller, Archeool. d. Kunst, Β§ 194, n. 4 ; Kugler, Kunstgeschichte, p. 360, &c.)


Timotheus, 5th-4th cent. B.C.

   Timotheus, (Timotheos). A celebrated musician and poet of the later Athenian dithyramb. He was a native of Miletus, and the son of Thersander. He was born B.C. 446, and died in 357, in the ninetieth year of his age. He was at first unfortunate in his professional efforts. Even the Athenians, fond as they were of novelty, were offended at the bold innovations of Timotheus, and hissed his performance. On this occasion it is said that Euripides encouraged Timotheus by the prediction that he would soon have the theatres at his feet. This prediction appears to have been accomplished in the vast popularity which Timotheus afterwards enjoyed. He delighted in the most artificial and intricate forms of musical expression, and he used instrumental music, without a vocal accompaniment, to a greater extent than any previous composer. Perhaps the most important of his innovations, as the means of introducing all the others, was his addition to the number of the strings of the cithara, which he seems to have increased to eleven.

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

Timotheus : Perseus Encyclopedia

Phocylides, 6th cent. BC

   An Ionian poet of Miletus, born B.C. 560. His poetry was chiefly gnomic, and only a few fragments of it survive, 18 in number. A poem in 217 hexameters, entitled Poiema Nouthetikon, which has come down under his name, is a later forgery.

Arctinus, epic poet, 8th/7th cent. B.C.

Arctinus (Arktinos), of Miletus, is called by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (A. R. i. 68, &c.) the most ancient Greek poet, whence some writers have placed him even before the time of Homer; but the ancients who assign to him any certain date, agree in placing him about the commencement of the Olympiads. We know from good authority that his father's name was Teles, and that he was a descendant of Nautes (Suid. s. v. Arktinos; Tzetzes, Chil. xiii. 64..) He is called a disciple of Homer, and from all we know about him, there was scarcely a poet in his time who deserved this title more than Arctinus. He was the most distinguished among the so-called cyclic poets. There were in antiquity two epic poems belonging to the cycle, which are unanimously attributed to him. 1. The Aethiopis (Aithiopis), in five books. It was a kind of continuation of Homer's Iliad, and its chief heroes were Memnon, king of the Ethiopians, and Achilles, who slew him. The substance of it has been preserved by Proclus. 2. The Destruction of Ilion (Iliou persis), in two books, contained a description of the taking and destruction of Troy, and the subsequent events until the departure of the Greeks. The substance of this poem has likewise been preserved by Proclus. A portion of the Little Iliad of Lesches was likewise called Iliou persis, but the account which it gave differed materially from that of Arctinus. A third epic poem, called Titanomachia, that is, the fight of the gods with the Titans, and which was probably the first poem in the epic cycle, was ascribed by some to Eumelus of Corinth, and by others to Arctinus (Athen. i., vii.).


Cercops, of Miletus, the contemporary and rival of Hesiod, is said by some to have been the author of an epic poem called " Aegimius," which is also ascribed to Hesiod. (Diog. Laert. ii. 46; Athen. xi.; Apollod. ii. 1.3)


Lamynthius Lamunthios), of Miletus, a Greek poet of uncertain age, who celebrated in a lyric poem the praises of his mistress Lyde. (Athen. xiii.)



, , 610 - 547
Anaximander, (Anaximandros). A Greek philosopher of Miletus, born B.C. 611, and hence a younger contemporary of Thales and Pherecydes. He lived at the court of Polycrates of Samos, and died B.C. 547. In his philosophy the primal essence, which he was the first to call arche, was the immortal, imperishable, all-including infinite, a kind of chaos (apeiron), out of which all things proceed, and into which they return. He composed, in the Ionic dialect, a brief and somewhat poetical treatise on his doctrine, which may be regarded as the earliest prose work on philosophy; but only a few sentences out of it are preserved. The advances he had made in physics and astronomy are evidenced by his invention of the sundial, his construction of a celestial globe, and his first attempt at a geographical map.

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

Anaximander (Anaximandros) of Miletus, the son of Praxiades, born B. C. 610 (Apollod. ap. Diog. Laert. ii. 1, 2), was one of the earliest philosophers of the Ionian school, and is commonly said to have been instructed by his friend and countryman Thales, its first founder (Cic. Acad. ii. 37; Simplic. in Aristot. Phys. lib. i.).
  He was the first author of a philosophical treatise in Greek prose, unless Pherecydes of Syros be an exception (Themist. Orat. xxvi.). His work consisted, according to Diogenes, of summary statements of his opinions (pepoietai kephalaiode ten ekthesin), and was accidentally found by Apollodorus. Suidas gives the titles of several treatises supposed to have been written by him ; but they are evidently either invented, or derived from a misunderstanding of the expressions of earlier writers.
  The early Ionian philosophy did not advance beyond the contemplation of the sensible world. But it was not in any proper sense experimental ; nor did it retain under the successors of Thales the mathematical character which seems to have belonged to him individually, and which so remarkably distinguished the contemporary Italian or Pythagorean school. The physiology of Anaximander consisted chiefly of speculations concerning the generation of the existing universe. He first used the word arche to denote the origin of things, or rather the material out of which they were formed: he held that this arche was the infinite (to apeiron), everlasting, and divine (Arist. Phys. iii. 4), though not attributing to it a spiritual or intelligent nature ; and that it was the substance into which all things were resolved on their dissolution.
  We have several more particular accounts of his opinions on this point, but they differ materially from each other.
  According to some, the apeiron was a single determinate substance, having a middle nature between water and air; so that Anaximander's theory would hold a middle place between those of Thales and Anaximenes, who deduced everything from the two latter elements respectively; and the three systems would exhibit a gradual progress from the contemplation of the sensible towards that of the intelligible (compare the doctrine of Anaximenes concerning air, Plut. de Pluc. Phil. i. 3), the last step of which was afterwards to be taken by Anaxagoras in the introduction of nous. But this opinion cannot be distinctly traced in any author earlier than Alexander of Aphrodisias (ap. Simpl. Phys. fol. 32, a.), though Aristotle seems to allude to it (de Coel. iii. 5). Other accounts represent Anaximander as leaving the nature of the apeiron indeterminate (Diog. Laert.; Simplic. Phys. fol. 6, a; Plut. Plac. Ph. i. 3). But Aristotle in another place (Metaph. xi. 2), and Theophrastus (ap. Simpl. Phys. fol. 6, b, 33, a), who speaks very definitely and seems to refer to Anaximander's own words, describe him as resembling Anaxagoras in making the apeiron consist of a mixture of simple unchangeable elements (the homoiomere of Anaxagoras). Out of this material all things were organized, not by any change in its nature, but by the concurrence of homogeneous particles already existing in it; a process which, according to Anaxagoras, was effected by the agency of intelligence (nous), whilst Anaximander referred it to the conflict between heat and cold, and to the affinities of the particles (Plut. ap, Euseb. Praep. Evang. i. 8). Thus the doctrines of both philosophers would resemble the atomic theory, and so be opposed to the opinions of Thales, Anaximenes, and Diogenes of Apollonia, who derived all substances from a single but changeable principle. And as the elemental water of Thales corresponded to the ocean, from which Homer makes all things to have sprung, so the apeiron of Anaximander, including all in a confused unorganized state, would be the philosophical expression of the Chaos of Hesiod.
  In developing the consequences of his fundamental hypothesis, whatever that may really have been, Anaximander did not escape the extravagances into which a merely speculative system of physics is sure to fall. He held, that the earth was of a cylindrical form, suspended in the middle of the universe, and surrounded by water, air, and fire, like the coats of an onion; but that the exterior stratum of fire was broken up and collected into masses; whence the sun, moon, and stars ; which, moreover, were carried round by the three spheres in which they were respectively fixed (Euseb. l. c. ; Plut. de Plac. ii. 15, 16; Arist. de Coel. ii. 13).
  According to Diogenes, he thought that the moon borrowed its light from the sun, and that the latter body consisted of pure fire and was not less than the earth; but the statements of Plutarch (de Plac. ii. 20, 25) and Stobaeus (Ecl. i. 26, 27) are more worthy of credit; namely, that he made the moon 19 and the sun 28 times as large as the earth, and thought that the light of the sun issued through an orifice as large as the earth; that the moon possessed an intrinsic splendour, and that its phases were caused by a motion of rotation.
  For his theory of the original production of animals, including man, in water, and their gradual progress to the condition of land animals, see Plut. de Plac. v. 19; Euseb. l. c.; Plut. Sympos. viii. 8; Orig. Phil. c. 6; and compare Diod. i. 7. He held a plurality of worlds, and of gods; but in what sense is not clear. (Cic. de Nat. Deor. i. 10; Plut. de Plac. i. 7)
  The use of the Gnomon was first introduce into Greece by Anaximander or his contemporaries (Favorin. ap. Diog. l. c.; Plin. ii. 8; Herod. ii. 109). The assertion of Diogenes that he invented this instrument, and also geographical maps, cannot be taken to prove more than the extent of his reputation. It probably consisted of a style on a horizontal plane, and its first use would be to determine the time of noon and the position of the meridian by its shortest shadow during the day; the time of the solstices, by its shortest and longest meridian shadows; and of the equinoxes, by the rectilinear motion of the extremity of its shadow: to the latter two purposes Anaximander is said to have applied it; but since there is little evidence that the ecliptic and equinoctial circles were known in Greece at this period, it must be doubted whether the equinox was determined otherwise than by a rough observation of the equality of day and night. Anaximander flourished in the time of Polycrates of Samos, and died soon after the completion of his 64th year, in Ol. lviii. 2 (B. C. 547), according to Apollodorus. But since Polycrates began to reign B. C. 532, there must be some mistake in the time of Anaximander's death, unless the elder Polycrates (mentioned by Suidas, s. v. Ibukos) be meant.

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


, , 585 - 525
Anaximenes. A Greek philosopher of Miletus, a younger contemporary and pupil of Anaximander, who died about B.C. 502. He supposed air to be the fundamental principle, out of which everything arose by rarefaction and condensation. This doctrine he expounded in a work, now lost, written in the Ionic dialect.

Anaximenes, who is usually placed third in the series of Ionian philosophers, was born at Miletus, like Thales and Anaximander, with both of whom he had personal intercourse: for besides the common tradition which makes him a disciple of the latter, Diogenes Laertius quotes at length two letters said to have been written to Pythagoras by Anaximenes; in one of which he gives an account of the death of Thales, speaking of him with reverence, as the first of philosophers, and as having been his own teacher. In the other, he congratulates Pythagoras on his removal to Crotona from Samos, while he was himself at the mercy of the tyrants of Miletus, and was looking forward with fear to the approaching war with the Persians, in which he foresaw that the Ionians must be subdued (Diog. Laert. ii. 3, &c.).
  There is no safe testimony as to the exact periods of the birth and death of Anaximenes: but since there is sufficient evidence that he was the teacher of Anaxagoras, B. C. 480, and he was in repute in B. C. 544, he must have lived to a great age (Strab. xiv.; Cic. de Nat. Deor. i. 11).
  Like the other early Greek philosophers, he employed himself in speculating upon the origin, and accounting for the phenomena, of the universe: and as Thales held water to be the material cause out of which the world was made, so Anaximenes considered air to be the first cause of all things, the primary form, as it were, of matter, into which the other elements of the universe were resolvable (Aristot. Metaph. i. 3). For both philosophers seem to have thought it possible to simplify physical science by tracing all material things up to a single element: while Anaximander, on the contrary, regarded the substance out of which the universe was formed as a mixture of all elements and qualities. The process by which, according to Anaximenes, finite things were formed from the infinite air, was that of compression and rarefaction produced by motion which had existed from all eternity: thus the earth was created out of air made dense, and from the earth the sun and the other heavenly bodies (Plut. ap. Euseb. Praep. Evang. i. 8). According to the same theory, heat and cold were produced by different degrees of density of the primal element: the clouds were formed by the thickening of the air; and the earth was kept in its place by the support of the air beneath it and by the flatness of its shape (Plut. de Pr. Frig. 7, de Plac. Ph. iii. 4; Aristot. Metaph. ii. 13).
  Hence it appears that Anaximenes, like his predecessors, held the eternity of matter : nor indeed does he seem to have believed in the existence of anything immaterial; for even the human soul, according to his theory, is, like the body, formed of air (Plut. de Plac. Ph. i. 3); and he saw no necessity for supposing an Agent in the work of creation, since he held that motion was a natural and necessary law of the universe. It is therefore not unreasonable in Plutarch to blame him, as well as Anaximander, for assigning only the material, and no efficient, cause of the world in his philosophical system.

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. Of Miletus, a sophist of the time of the emperor Hadrian. He was a pupil of Isaeus the Assyrian, and distinguished for the elegance of his orations. He was greatly honoured by the cities of Asia, and more especially by the emperor Hadrian, who made him praefect of a considerable province, raised him to the rank of a Roman eques, and assigned to him a place in the museum of Alexandria. Notwithstanding these distinctions, Dionysius remained a modest and unassuming person. At one time of his life he taught rhetoric at Lesbos, but he died at Ephesus at an advanced age, and was buried in the marketplace of Ephesus, where a monument was erected to him. Philostratus has preserved a few specimens of his oratory. (Vit. Soph. i. 20.2, c. 22; Dion Cass. lxix. 3; Eudoc.; Suidas.)

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


Eubulides (Euboulides). A native of Miletus and successor of Euclid in the Megaric school. He was a strong opponent of Aristotle, and seized every opportunity of censuring his writings and calumniating his character. He introduced new subtleties into the art of disputation, several of which, though often mentioned as proof of great ingenuity, deserve only to be remembered as examples of egregious trifling. Of these sophistical modes of reasoning, called by Aristotle "Eristic syllogisms," a few examples may suffice. (1) The Lying. If, when you speak the truth, you say, you lie, you lie: but you say you lie when you speak the truth; therefore, in speaking the truth, you lie. (2) The Occult. Do you know your father? Yes. Do you know this man who is veiled? No. Then you do not know your father, for it is your father who is veiled. (3) Electra. Electra, the daughter of Agamemnon, knew her brother and did not know him; she knew Orestes to be her brother, but she did not know that person to be her brother who was conversing with her. (4) Sorites. Is one grain a heap? No. Two grains? No. Three grains? No. Go on, adding one by one; and if one grain be not a heap, it will be impossible to say what number of grains make a heap. (5) The Horned. You have what you have not lost: you have not lost horns; therefore you have horns. In such high repute were these quibbles that Chrysippus wrote six books on the first of them; and Philetas of Cos died of consumption which he contracted in the close study which he bestowed upon them.

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

Eubulides (Euboulides), of Miletus, a philosopher who belonged to the Megaric school. It is not stated whether he was the immediate or a later successor of Eucleides (Diog. Laert. ii. 108); nor is it said whether he was an elder or younger contemporary of Aristotle, against against whom he wrote with great bitterness (Diog. Laert. ii. 109; Athen. vii.; Aristot. ap. Euseb. Praep. Ev. xv. 2.). The statement that Demosthenes availed himself of his dialectic instruction (Plut. Vit. X Orat.; Apul. Orat. de Mag.; Phot. Bibl. Cod. 265) is alluded to also in a fragment of an anonymous comic poet (ap. Diog. Laert. ii. 108). There is no mention of his having written any works, but he is said to have invented the forms of several of the most celebrated false and captious syllogisms (Diog. Laert. l. e.), some of which, however, such as the dialanthanion and the keratines, were ascribed by others to the later Diodorus Cronus (Diog. Laert. i. 111), and several of them are alluded to by Aristotle and even by Plato. Thus the enkekalummenos, dialanthanon or Elektra, which are different names for one and the same form of syllogism, as well as the pseudomenos and keratines, occur in Aristotle (El. Soph. 24, 25, 22), and partially also in Plato (Euthyd.). We cannot indeed ascertain what motives Eubulides and other Megarics had in forming such syllogisms, nor in what form they were dressed up, on account of the scantiness of our information upon this portion of the history of Greek philosophy; but we may suppose, with the highest degree of probability, that they were directed especially against the sensualistic and hypothetical proceedings of the Stoics, and partly also against the definitions of Aristotle and the Platonists, and that they were intended to establish the Megaric doctrine of the simplicity of existence, which could be arrived at only by direct thought. Apollonius Cronus, the teacher of Diodorus Cronus, and the historian Euphantus, are mentioned as pupils of Eubulides.

This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Leucippus, 5th c. B.C.

Leucippus. Presocratic philosopher and atomist. His views were more fully developed and expressed by Democritus and Epicurus.
Editor's information: All information about Leucippus at Ancient Abdera, the seat of the Atomist school.


Anaximander, 5-4th c. B.C.


Logographi (logographoi) is a name applied by the Greeks to two distinct classes of persons.
1. To the earlier Greek historians previous to Herodotus, though Thucydides (i. 21) applies the name logographer to all historians previous to himself, and thus includes Herodotus among the number. The Ionians were the first of the Greeks who cultivated history; and the first logographer, who lived about Olympiad 60, was Cadmus, a native of Miletus, who wrote a history of the foundation of his native city. The characteristic feature of all the logographers previous to Herodotus is, that they seem to have aimed more at amusing their hearers or readers than at imparting accurate historical knowledge. They wrote in the unperiodic style called lexis eiromene. They described in prose the mythological subjects and traditions which had previously been treated of by the epic and especially by the cyclic poets. The omissions in the narratives of their predecessors were probably filled up by traditions derived from other quarters, in order to produce, at least in form, a connected history. In many cases they were mere collections of local and genealogical traditions.
2. To persons who wrote judicial speeches or pleadings and sold them to those who were in want of them. These persons were called logopoioi as well as logographoi. Antiphon, the orator, was the first who practised this ... (see ancient Ramnous)

This extract is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Logographi (logographoi, i. e. writers in prose). The name given to the oldest Greek historians, who by their first attempts at disquisitions in prose marked the transition from narrative poetry to prose history ( Thuc.i. 21). As in the case of epic poetry, so these earliest historical writings emanated from Ionia, where the first attempts at an exposition of philosophic reflections in prose were made at about the same time by Pherecydes, Anaximander, and Anaximenes; and, in both cases alike, it was the Ionic dialect that was used. This class of writing long preserved in its language the poetic character which it inherited from its origin in the epic narrative. It was only by degrees that it approached the tone of true prose. It confined itself absolutely to the simple telling of its story, which was largely made up of family and local traditions. It never classified its materials from a more elevated point of view, or scrutinized them with critical acumen. The logographers flourished from about B.C. 550 down to the Persian Wars. Their latest representatives extend, however, down to the time of the Peloponnesian War. When true history arose with Herodotus, they soon lapsed into oblivion, whence they were rescued in Alexandrian days. Many of the works ascribed to them were, however, believed to be spurious, or at least interpolated. There remain fragments only of a few. The larger number of the historic writers who are described as logographers were Asiatic Greeks, e. g. Cadmus of Miletus, author of a history of the founding of Miletus and the colonization of Ionia (he lived about B.C. 540, and was considered the first writer of historic prose); further, Dionysus of Miletus, a writer of Persian history; Hecataeus of Miletus (550-476); Xanthus of Sardis (about 496), a writer of Lydian history; Hellanicus of Lesbos (about 480-400); Charon of Lampsacus (about 456), a compiler of Persian history and annals of his native town; Pherecydes of the Carian island Leros (died about B.C. 400), who lived at Athens, and in his great collection of myths in ten books treated chiefly of the early days of Attica. Some belonged to the colonies in the West--e. g. Hippys of Rhegium, at the time of the Persian War the oldest writer on Sicily and Italy. The only representative from Greece itself is Acusilaus of Argos in Boeotia, the author of a genealogical work.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Hecataeus the Miletian, 6th cent. BC

Hecataeus. A Greek chronicler, born of a noble family at Miletus, about B.C. 550. In his youth he travelled widely in Europe and Asia, as well as in Egypt. At the time of the Ionian revolt he was in his native city, and gave his countrymen the wisest counsels, but in vain. After the suppression of the rising, he succeeded by his tact and management in obtaining some alleviation of the hard measures adopted by the Persians. He died about 476. The ancient critics assigned him a high place among the Greek historians who preceded Herodotus, though pronouncing him inferior to the latter. His two works, of which only fragments remain, were: (a) A description of the earth (Periodos Ges or Periegesis), which was much consulted by Herodotus, and was apparently used to correct the chart of Anaximander. It was in two parts, one relating to Europe and the other to Asia, Egypt, and Libya. (b) A treatise on Greek fables, entitled Genealogiai, or Genealogies, and also Historiai, in four books, on the poetical traditions of the Greeks. The fragments of Hecataeus have been edited by Klausen (Berlin, 1831) and C. and Th. Muller (Paris, 1841).

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

Hecataeus, (Hekataios). Of Miletus, one of the earliest and most distinguished Greek historians (logographers) and geographers. He was the son of Hegesander, and belonged to a very ancient and illustrious family (Herod. ii. 143). According to Suidas, he was a contemporary of Dionysius of Miletus, and lived about the 65th olympiad, i. e. B. C. 520. Hence Larcher and others conclude that he was born about 550, so that in B. C. 500, the time at which he acted a prominent part among the Ionians, he would have been about fifty years old. As Hecataeus further (Suidas, s. v. Hellanikos) survived the Persian war for a short time, he seems to have died about B. C. 476, shortly after the battles of Plataeae and Mycale. Suidas tells us that Hecataeus was a pupil of Protagoras, which is utterly impossible for chronological reasons, just as it is impossible that Hecataeus should have been a friend of Xenocrates, as Strabo says (xii.) Hecataeus must have been possessed of considerable wealth, for, like many other eminent men of that age, he satisfied his desire for knowledge by travelling into distant countries, and seeing with his own eyes that which others learnt from books. We know from Herodotus that Hecataeus visited Egypt, and from the manner in which later writers speak of his geographical knowledge, there can be no doubt that he visited many other countries also. (Agathem. i. 1; Agatharch. De Rubr. Mari) The fragments of his geographical work, which have come down to us, lead us to suppose that, besides the provinces of the Persian empire, he visited the coasts of the Euxine, Thrace, the whole of Greece, Oenotria, and even Liguria, Spain, and Libya, though of the last-mentioned countries he may have seen little more than the coasts. The time during which he was engaged in these travels cannot be accurately determined, though it must have been previous to the revolt of the lonians, that is, previous to B. C. 500, for after that event the war between the Greeks and Persians, as well as the advanced age of Hecataeus, would have thrown too many difficulties in his way; and it further appears that he was well acquainted with the extent and resources of the Persian empire at the time when his countrymen contemplated the revolt from Persia. (Herod. v. 36.) His geographical work, moreover, must have been written after the year B. C. 524, since in one of the extant fragments 140,ed. Muller) lie speaks of Boryza in Thrace asa Persian town, which it did not become till that year.
  The only events in the life of Hecataeus of which we have any definite knowledge, are the part he took in the insurrection of the Ionians against the Persians. When Aristagoras was planning the revolt of the Ionians, and all those whom he consulted agreed with him, Hecataeus was the only one who dissuaded his countrymen from such a rash undertaking, explaining to them the extent of the enemy's empire and his power. When this advice was disregarded, he exhorted them at least to provide themselves with a naval force, and for this purpose to make use of the treasures amassed in the temple at Branchidae. But this opinion also was overruled by the sanguine Ionians (Herod. v. 36), and the Ionians revolted without being prepared to meet the enemy or to protect themselves. Subsequently, when Artaphernes and Otanes had invaded Ionia and Aeolis, and taken the towns of Clazomenae and Cuma, Aristagoras, who had brought about the misfortunes without the courage to endure them, meditated upon flight either to Sardinia or to Myrcinus. Hecataeus advised him to do neither, but to take up a fortified position in the neighboring island of Leros, and there to watch the issue of the events. (Herod. v. 124, 125.) This advice was rejected again, but the conduct of H ecataeus had been throughout that of a wise and experienced man. Even after the fall of Ionia under the strokes of the Persians, he did not desert his countrymen ; for we are told that he was sent as ambassador to Artaphernes, and prevailed upon the satrap to win the confidence of the lonians by a mild treatment. (Diod. Fragm. Vat., ed. Dindorf.) After this we hear no more of Hecataeus, but the little we know of him is enough to justify the high praise which some of the ancients bestow upon him in mentioning him along with the greatest men. (Eratosth. ap. Strab. i., xiv. ; Aelian, V. H. xiii. 20; Hermog. De Gen. dicend. ii. 12.)
  Hecataeus deposited the results of his travels and studies in two great works; one geographical, entitled Periodos ges, or Peregesis, and the other historical, entitled Genealogiai, or Historiai. (Suid. s. v. Hellanikos, where the heading of the article is a mistake for Hekataios). The passage of Suidas compared with one of Strabo (i.) clearly shows that Hecataeus wrote only two works, and that the other names or titles we meet with refer to subdivisions of the geographical work. The latter consisted of two parts, one of which contained a description of Europe, and the other of Asia, Egypt, and Libya. Both parts appear to have been subdivided into smaller sections; thus we find one section belonging to the first part referred to under the name of Hellespontus (Steph. Byz. s. v. Tenedos), and others belonging to the second part, under the titles of Aiolika, Periegeris Aiguptou, and Periegesis Libues. (Steph. Byz. s. vv. Amazoneion, Diebris, Eleneios). It is not easy to determine the order in which Hecataeus described the different countries, and consequently also the order in which the fragments still extant should be arranged. The mode in which he treated his subjects may still be seen from some of the longer fragments : he first mentioned the name of the people, then the towns they inhabited, and sometimes he gave an account of their foundation and of any thing that was remarkable in them. The distances of the places from one another seem to have been carefully marked. Hecataeus was the first historical writer who exercised his own judgment on the matters which he had to record, and used historical criticism in rejecting what appeared to him fabulous, or endeavouring to find out the historical truth which formed the groundwork of a mythical tradition (Paus. iii. 25.5; Arrian, Anab. ii. 16); still he is nevertheless very dependent on Homer and other early poets, whereby he is led to mix up fables with truth; but wherever he gives the results of his own observations, he is a correct and trustworthy guide. Eratosthenes (ap. Strab. i.) seems to deny that Hecataeus made geographical maps; but if we compare the statement of Agathemerus (i. 1) with Herodotus (v. 49), it is clear, on the one hand, that Hecataeus corrected and improved the map of the earth drawn up by Anaximander, and it is probable, on the other, that the map which Aristagoras carried to Sparta for the purpose of persuading Cleomenes to engage in a war against Persia was either the work of Hecataeus, or had been drawn up according to his views of the physical structure of the earth. Callimachus (ap. Athen. ii., comp. ix.), whose opinion seems to be followed by Arrian (Anab. v. 6), regarded the Periegesis tes asias, ascribed to Hecataeus, and belonging to the second part of his geographical work, as spurious, and assigned it to a nesiotes (an islander). It is not impossible that he may have found in the library of Alexandria a periegesis of Asia ascribed to the celebrated Hecataeus, but which was in reality a forgery, and had nothing in common with the genuine work but the name of the author; for such forged title-pages were not uncommon in the time of the Ptolemies, and literary impostors made a lucrative traffic of them. (Hippocrat. vol. xv., ed. Kuhn.) At any rate, even if we admit that Callimachus really found a spurious periegesis, it does not follow that the genuine work did not exist.
  The second work of Hecataeus, the Histories or Genealogies, was a prose account, in the form of genealogies, of the poetical foibles and traditions of the Greeks. From the fragments which are quoted from it, we see that it must have consisted of at least four sections. The first contained the traditions about Deucalion and his descendants; the second, the stories of Heracles and the Heracleidae ; the third, apparently the Peloponnesian traditions ; and the fourth, those of Asia Minor. The value of this, as well as his other, work cannot be diminished in our eyes by the fact of Herodotus controverting several of his opinions (vi. 137, comp. i. 146, 202, ii. 3, 15, 21, 23, 143, iv. 8, 36); but, on the contrary, it is evident that Herodotus looked upon him as a rival, whom it was worth whileendeavouring to refute and excel, and that he actually did excel him, does not require to be proved in this place. Herodotus knew the works of Hecataeus well, and undoubtedly availed himself of them ; but the charge of Porphyrius (ap. Euseb. Praep. Evang. x.), that Herodotus literally transcribed whole passages from Hecataeus is wholly without foundation. (Comp. Hermog. De Form. Orat. ii. 12; Dionys. Jud. de Thuc. 5; Diod. i. 37; Strab. i. ; Suidas.) Respecting the style of Hecataeus, Strabo says, that though prose, it approached very nearly to poetry, and Hermogenes (l. c.) praises it for its simplicity, purity, clearness, and sweetness, and adds that the language was the pure and unmixed Ionic dialect.
  The fragments of the Genealogies are collected in Creuzer's Histor. Grace Anitiquissimorum Fragmenta, Heidelberg, 1806, 8vo.; and the fragments of both the Periegesis and the Genealogies by R. H. Klausen, Hecataci Milcsii Fragmenta, Berlin, 1831, 8vo., and by C. and Th. Muller, Fragm. Hist. Graec., Paris, 1841. Each of these collections is preceded by a dissertation on the life and writings of Hecataeus. (Comp. Dahlmann, Herodot.; Ukert, Untersuchungen uber die Geographie des Hecataeus u. Damastes, Weimar, 1814.)

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

Hecataeus (ca. 550-490 BC). Geographer and travel writer from Miletus (today's Turkey).
  He wrote “Trip around the world” (Periodos Ges), where he described local customs, anecdotes etc. in two volumes, one on Europe and one on Asia. The work has only survived in fragments, and included a map as well.
  Hecataeus traveled in Egypt, Persia and Scythia. His father was a wealthy land owner and there are indications the family was involved with trade.
  He also wrote “Genealogies”, a treatise on noble families and heir relations with mythical heroes. When he described the histories and myths, he liked the stories to be reasonable, and so concluded that the Danaids were 20 and not 50 etc.

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


Cadmus. A native of Miletus, who flourished about B.C. 520. Pliny calls him the most ancient of the logographi. In another passage he makes him to have been the first prosewriter, though elsewhere he attributes this to Pherecydes. According to a remark of Isocrates (in his discourse Peri Antidoseos), Cadmus was the first that bore the title of sophistes, by which appellation was then meant an eloquent man. He wrote on the antiquities of his native city. His work was abridged by Bion of Proconnesus.

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

Cadmus of Miletus, a son of Pandion, and in all probability the earliest Greek historian or logographer. He lived, according to the vague statement of Josephus (c. Apion. i. 2; comp. Clem. Alex. Strom. vi.), very shortly before the Persian invasion of Greece; and Suidas makes the singular statement, that Cadmus was only a little younger than the mythical poet Orpheus, which arises from the thorough confusion of the mythical Cadmus of Phoenicia and the historian Cadmus. But there is every probability that Cadmus lived about B. C. 540. Strabo (i.) places Cadmus first among the three authors whom he calls the earliest prose writers among the Greeks: viz. Cadmus, Pherecydes, and Hecataeus; and from this circumstance we may infer, that Cadmus was the most ancient of the three--an inference which is also confirmed by the statement of Pliny (H. N. v. 31), who calls Cadmus the first that ever wrote (Greek) prose. When, therefore, in another passage (vii. 56) Pliny calls Pherecydes the most ancient prose writer, and Cadmus of Miletus simply the earliest historian, we have probably to regard this as one of those numerous inconsistencies into which Pliny fell by following different authorities at different times, and forgetting what he had said on former occasions. All, therefore, we can infer from his contradicting himself in this case is, that there were some ancient authorities who made Pherecydes the earliest Greek prose writer, and not Cadmus; but that the latter was the earliest Greek historian, seems to be an undisputed fact. Cadmus wrote a work on the foundation of Miletus and the earliest history of Ionia generally, in four books (Ktidis Miletou kai tes holes Ionias). This work appears to have been lost at a very early period, for Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Jud. de Thuc. 23) expressly mentions, that the work known in his time under the name of Cadmus was considered a forgery. When Suidas and others, call Cadmus of Miletus the inventor of the alphabet, this statement must be regarded as the result of a confusion between the mythical Cadmus, who emigrated from Phoenicia into Greece; and Suidas is, in fact, obviously guilty of this confusion, since he says, that Cadmus of Miletus introduced into Greece the alphabet which the Phoenicians had invented.

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

Cadmus the Younger

Cadmus of Miletus, the Younger, is mentioned only by Suidas, according to whom he was a son of Archelaus, and a Greek historian, concerning whose time nothing is said. Suidas ascribes to him two works, one on the history of Attica, in sixteen books, and the second on the deliverance from the sufferings of love, in fourteen books.


Clytus (Klutos), a Milesian and a disciple of Aristotle, was the author of a work on the history of his native city. The two passages of Athenaeus (xii., xiv.), in which this work is quoted, must be assimilated to one another either by reading Klutos in the first or Kleitos in the second, for it is clear that reference is made in both to the same author and the same treatise. In the passage of Diogenes Laeirtius (i. 25) -kai autos de phesin, hos Herakleides historei, k. t. l.- Menagius proposes, with much show of probability, the substitution of Klutos for autos, as a notice of Thales would naturally find a place in an account of Miletus. It does not appear what ground there is for the assertion of Vossius, that Clytus accompanied Alexander on his expedition. The passage in Valerius Maximus to which he refers (ix. 3, extern.1), speaks only of the Cleitus who was murdered by the king.


Hesychius. Of Miletus, is called by almost all the ancients who mention him ho Illoustrios, which is commonly understood as an indication of rank (Illustris), derived from some office which he held, though by some construed as a cognomen " Illustrius." He was a native of Miletus, son of Hesychius, a dikegoros, or pleader, and his wife Sophia (Sophia), as she is called in Suidas and in the older editions of Photius, but, according to Bekker's Photius, Philosophia (Thilosophia). He lived in the time of the emperors Anastasius I., Justin I., and Justinian I.; but nothing is known of his history, except that he had a son Joannes, whose loss prevented his continuing his account of Justinian's reign. He is known as the author of the following works: 1. Peri ton en paideiai lampsanton sophon , De his qui Eruditionis Fama claruere. The word sophon in the above title is rejected by some critics as spurious. The notice of Hesychius in the present copies of Suidas, which is probably corrupt,--at any rate it is obscure, --is understood by some to affirm that Hesychius wrote two works, one entitled Pinax ton en paideai onomaston, the other called Onomatologos, an epitome of the Pinax. Meursius, who contends that the passage is corrupt, proposes a conjectural emendation, according to which the two titles belong to one and the same work, Onomatologos e Pinax, k. t. l., which he supposes Suidas to have described as an epitome of Diogenes Laertius, De Vitis Philosophorum. The work is in its general character similar to that of Diogenes ; and though a good deal shorter, comprehends much of the same matter. But the differences are too great to allow one to be regarded as the epitome of the other. As the ecclesiastical writers are avowedly omitted by Hesychius, the opinion has been entertained that he was a pagan; but his belief in Christianity has been satisfactorily shown by several writers, especially by Thorschmidius in a dissertation on the subject, reprinted by Orellius in his Hesychii Opuscula. The work of Hesychius was first published with a Latin version by Hadrianus Junius, 8vo. Antwerp, 1572, and has been reprinted several times. For a long time the standard edition was that of Meursius, in his Hesychii Opuscula, 8vo. Leyden, 1613, reprinted in the seventh vol. of the Opera Meursii, fol. Florence. 1741, &c. A late edition of the Opuscula Hesychii, that of Joan. Conrad. Orellius of Zurich, 8vo. Leipzig, 1820, contains much valuable illustrative matter, especially the dissertation of Thorschmidius above mentioned. 2. Patria Konstinoupoleos, Res Patriae Constantinopolitanae. It is probable that this work is a fragment of that next mentioned. A considerable part of it is incorporated, word for word, in the Peri ton Patrion Konstantinoupoleos,, De Originibus Constantinopolitanis of Codinus, which was first printed in A. D. 1596, by George Dousa; but the work (or fragment) of Hesychius with the author's name, was first published by Meursius in his Hesychii Opuscula, noticed above, and was reprinted in the Florentine edition of the works of Meursius, and in the Opuscula Hesychii of Orellius. 3. A work described by Photius as Biblion historikon hos en sunopsei kosmikes historias, a synoptical view of universal history, and by Suidas as Chronike tis Historia, and by Constantine Porphyrogenitus as Chronika. It is described by Photius as divided into six parts (tmemata), or, as the writer himself called them, diastemata, by which term they were commonly quoted, e. g. en toi e? (sive s?) diastemati tes historias . (See Charles Labbe's Veteres Glossae Verborum Juris quae passim in Basilicis reperiuntur, s. vv. Palmatiois ekouois (Palmatiis equis), Tholis.) The whole history comprehended a period of 1920 years, and extended from the reign of Belus, the reputed founder of the Assyrian empire, to the death of the Byzantine emperor, Anastasius I., A. D. 518: according to Photius, it was thus distributed among the six parts:-- (1) Before the Trojan war. (2) From the taking of Troy to the foundation of Rome. (3) From the foundation of Rome to the abolition of kingly power and the establishment of the consulship in the 68th Olympiad. (4) From the establishment of the consulship in the 68th, to the sole power (monarchia) of Julius Caesar in the 182d Olympiad. (5) From the sole power of Julius Caesar till Byzantium (Constantinople) was raised to greatness, in the 277th Olympiad. (6) From the settlement of Constantine at Byzantium to the death of Anastasius in the 11th year of the indiction. The Patria Konstantinoupoleos, published by Meursius, appears to be the earlier part of the sixth book. 4. A book recording the transactions of the reign of Justin I. (A. D. 518--527), and the earlier years of Justinian I., who reigned A. D. 527-566. This work, which was discontinued through domestic affliction, is lost. It was apparently intended as a continuation of the foregoing, and as the work of a contemporary whose high office (for the title "Illustris" was given to the highest officers, the praefecti praetorio, praefecti urbi, &c.) must have implied political knowledge, and have procured access to the best sources of information, it was probably the most valuable part. Photius characterizes the historical style of Hesychius as concise, his language well chosen and expressive, his sentences well constructed and arranged, and his figures as striking and appropriate. Hesychius of Miletus has sometimes been confounded with Hesychius of Alexandria, the author of the Lexicon. (Phot. Bibl. Codd. 69 ; Constant. Porphyrog. De Themat. lib. i. th. 2, lib. ii. th. 8; Suidas, s. v. Heouchios milesios; Tzetzes, Chil. iii. 877; the notes of Meursius in his Hesychii Opuscula ; Cave, Historic Litt. vol. i. p. 518; Fabric. Bibl. Gr. vol. vii.; Thorschmidius, De Hesychio Milesio Illustri Christiano Commentatio, ap. Orellium, Hesychii Opera.)

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

Hesychius. A Milesian, called Illustris, who lived about A.D. 540, and wrote an Onomasticon or biography of illustrious men (ed. by Orelli, 1820), and a Chronicon or synopsis of universal history, in six parts, beginning with Belus, the alleged founder of the Assyrian State, and ending with the death of the Byzantine emperor, Anastasius I. (A.D. 518). The latter work is lost. See Krumbacher, Grundriss der byzantinischen Literatur (in I. Muller's Handbuch, vol. ix.), pp. 110 foll.

Dionysius 6th/5th cent. B.C.

Dionysius. Of Miletus, one of the earliest Greek historians, and according to Suidas (s. v. Hekataios), a contemporary of Hecataeus, that is, he lived about B. C. 520; he must, however, to judge from the titles of his works, have survived B. C. 485, the year in which Dareius died. Dionysius of Miletus wrote a history of Dareius Hystaspis in five books. Suidas further attributes to him a work entitled ta meta Dareion in five hooks, and also a work Persika, in the Ionic dialect. Whether they were actually three distinct works, or whether the two last were the same, and only a continuation of the first, cannot be ascertained on account of the inextricable confusion which prevails in the articles Dionusios of Suidas, in consequence of which our Dionysius has often been confounded with Dionysius of Mytilene. Suidas ascribes to the Milesian, " Troica," in three books, "Mythica," an "Historical Cycle," in seven books, and a " Periegesis of the whole world," all of which, however, probably belong to different authors. (Nitzsch, Hist. Homeri, i.; Bernhardy, in his edition of Dionys. Perieg., and ad Suidam, i.; Lobeck, Aglaoph. ii.; Welcker, Der Epische Cyclus.)

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


Evanthes. Of Miletus, is mentioned as an author by Diogenes Laertius (i. 29), and seems to have been an historian, but is otherwise unknown.

Leander or Leandrius

Leander or Leandrius (Leansdros or Leandrios), of Miletus, seems to have been the author of a work on the history of his native city. A few quotations from it are still extant, but we have no means of determining the age at which Leander lived. (Diog. Laert. i. 28, 41; Clem. Alex. Protrept., Strom. i., vi.; Euseb. Praep. Ev. ii.; Theodoret. Therap. i., viii.; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. ii. 706.)


Maeandrius (Maiandrios), an historian (sungrapheus), who wrote a work in which mention was made of the Heneti (Strab. xii.). He was also the author of a work entitled parangelma, which is quoted by Athenaeus (x.), and which appears to have been a kind of A B C book (comp. Welcker, in Rheinisches Museum for 1833, p. 146). Maeandrius is also referred to by Macrobius (Sat. i. 17). We learn from an inscription, which Boeckh places between Olymp. 140 and 155, that this writer was a native of Miletus. It has been conjectured with considerable probability, that this Maeandrius may be the same as the Leandrius or Leander of Miletus, who was also an historian, and who is mentioned by several ancient writers.

Fable writers

Aristeides, 2nd-1st c. B.C.

Aristides. The author of a licentious romance, in prose, entitled Milesiaca, having Miletus for its scene. It was translated into Latin by L. Cornelius Sisenna, a contemporary of Sulla, and became popular with the Romans. The title of his work gave rise to the term "Milesian" as applied to works of fiction.

Aristeides, the author of a work entitled Milesiaca (Milesiaka or Milesiakoi logoi), which was probably a romance, having Miletus for its scene. It was written in prose, and was of a licentious character. It extended to six books at the least (Harpocrat. s.. v. dermestes). It was translated into Latin by L. Cornelius Sisenna, a contemporary of Sulla, and it seems to have become popular with the Romans (Plut. Crass. 32; Ovid. Trist. ii. 413, 414, 443, 444; Lucian, Amor. 1). Aristeides is reckoned as the inventor of the Greek romance, and the title of his work is supposed to have given rise to the term Milesian, as applied to works of fiction. Some writers think that his work was imitated by Appuleius in his Metamorphoses, and by Lucian in his Lucius. The age and country of Aristeides are unknown, but the title of his work is thought to favour the conjecture that he was a native of Miletus. Vossius supposes, that he was the same person as the Aristeides of Miletus, whose works on Sicilian, Italian, and Persian history (Sikelika, Italika, Persika) are several times quoted by Plutarch (Parall.), and that the author of the historical work peri Knidou was also the same person (Schol. Pind. Pyth. iii. 14).

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

Novels and Romances. Fiction in its origin is with difficulty separated from myth--myth, however, being unconscious and due to a desire to give concrete form to various beliefs that spring up in the primitive mind; while fiction, as a literary motive, originates in a desire to amuse and occasionally to instruct. Hence, the earliest form of fiction is the Beast Fable, which is found in every quarter of the earth and at every period of history. A papyrus dating from B.C. 1200 gives an Egyptian version of the Aesopic fable of the Lion and Mouse; the inscribed Babylonian bricks afford examples of the same thing, and the Hindus probably originated most of the fables which Aesop, Babrius, and Phaedrus made popular in Europe. Akin to conscious fiction and at the same time allied to myth are the folk-tales of nymphs, satyrs, ghosts, fairies, demons, and vampires which Greeks and Romans alike propagated, but which have nearly all been lost to us because they seemed to the ancients unworthy of preservation in formal literature; so that we have now only here and there tantalizing half-glimpses and vanishing suggestions of the curious and fascinating legends told by the common people. Such bits as remain, however, are quite sufficient to prove the existence of a great unwritten literature, and examples of these may still be found, though no longer preserved in their original simplicity, in the stories of the love of Echo for Narcissus, the legend of Hylas and the Naiads, of Cupid and Psyche, and in the various allusions to the monsters known as the Lamiae, Mormolyce, Incubus, and Empusa, the spectre with the brazen leg and the ass's hoof. Ghosts figure in Greek literature as early as Homer, and are introduced with striking effect in the Odyssey, as also by the Romans Attius and Vergil, and in the famous story preserved by Pliny the Younger. To this informal fiction belong also the tales of the Lares and the Larvae.
  The earliest form of literary prose fiction, however, is to be found in the short stories collected by Herodotus, most of which have their origin in the East, the home of storytelling. Such are the famous anecdotes of Candaules (i. 8-12), of Arion and the Dolphin (i. 24), of Rhampsinitus and the Robber (ii. 121), and of Polycrates and the Ring (iii. 39), all being admirable instances of the short story in its earliest form--brief, simple, and embodying a single incident.
  Of a <b>more formal type are the so-called Milesian Tales (Milesiaka), a generic term for the short anecdotes which were produced in great numbers in the luxurious cities of Asia Minor prior to the second century B.C., and first ascribed to one Aristides,</b> who is said to have written six books of them. No actual examples are known to exist, though their nature may be judged of by the short stories found in later writers, especially Petronius, from which it would appear that they were very much like the stories told in the Decameron of Boccaccio and the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles of Louis XI. of France--brief, witty, and indecent. The choice of subjects in these early novelettes is seen in the existing collection of Parthenius of Nicaea, who taught Vergil Greek. From him have come down thirty-six skeleton stories, or rather hints for stories gathered by Parthenius for the use of Cornelius Gallus, and intended to be treated by him poetically. They can be found in both Greek and Latin versions in the Didot Collection (Paris, 1856). Other stories of this sort, written in other cities than Miletus, were produced by a host of storywriters who gave to their collections the titles Ephesian, Babylonian, Cyprian, Egyptian, Sybaritic, Naxian, Lydian, Trojan, and Bithynian Tales, though these do not seem to have differed, except in name, from those of Miletus. Some of them are preserved in epitome by Photius (q.v.). One of the most important writers of them after Aristides was Conon , from whom Cervantes borrowed an episode in his Don Quixote. While the short story was reaching its full development, it was used philosophically by Plato in the story of Er, and by Prodicus in his epilogue on the Choice of Heracles.
  At about this time fiction underwent a further development as a result of the contact of the Greeks with the East at the time of the Persian Wars and of the spirit of adventure resulting from the conquests of Alexander. We now have instances of the historical romance in the Atlantis of Plato and the Cyropaedia of Xenophon, which find their echo in modern times in the Utopia of Sir Thomas More and the New Atlantis of Francis Bacon. The Cyropaedia contains the first romantic love-story in Greek fiction. These works, however, are partly political, and are of less literary consequence than the romance of adventure which was afterwards introduced, and which finds an illustration in the novel entitled Ta Huper Thoulen Apista (Marvels Beyond Thule), by one Antonius Diogenes, the Munchausen of antiquity. It relates to the love-adventures of an Arcadian youth, Dinias, [p. 1107] with a Tyrian girl, Dercyllis, and abounds with most extraordinary incidents. It is, in reality, nothing more than a collection of short stories or episodes strung together by a very slender plot. More homogeneous and artistic are the later romances of Lucius of Patrae of uncertain date called Metamorphoses, drawn upon by Lucian and Apuleius; of Iamblichus of Syria, who wrote Babulonika, the adventures of a married pair, Sinonis and Rhodanes, with a double plot; of Xenophon of Ephesus, author of Ephesiaka, the loves of Abrocomas and Anthia, the ultimate source of Romeo and Juliet; and especially of Heliodorus of Emesa, in the fourth century A.D., whose Aithiopika is still in existence, and is regarded as the best of the novels of adventure produced by the Greeks. It is in ten books, and relates the adventures of two lovers, Theagenes and Chariclea. It has some quite interesting episodes, is regularly developed, and contains one curious passage on the influence of pre-natal conditions upon the unborn child. It was much read in its day, and again in the seventeenth century, when it was the favourite novel of the French poet, Racine. See Heliodorus.
  Other instances of the romantic novel are those of Achilles Tatius of Alexandria, entitled Ta kata Leukippen kai Kleitophonta (The Loves of Leucippe and Clitophon) in eight books; the Chaereas and Callirrhoe of Chariton of Aphrodisias; and the novelette called Apollonius Tyrius, of unknown authorship, preserved only in a Latin version, in which it was much read in the Middle Ages, and suggested a part of Gower's Confessio Amantis (iii. 284 foll.), and probably Shakespeare's Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Of very late origin are the trashy Greek novels by Theodorus Prodromus of Constantinople, and the imitation of this by Nicetas Eugenianus (both in doggerel verse), and last of all the eleven books on the adventures of Hysmine and Hysminias, perhaps the original source of the story of Don Juan.
  Early in the Christian era, fiction was written in the form of letters by Alciphron, a Greek sophist, of whose imaginary epistles 118 are still preserved and give valuable pictures of low life in Athens during the second century A.D. They are very lively and entertaining, and are the best character sketches that Greek fiction can show us. Other writers of the same class are Aristaenetus of Nicaea (?), the author of two books of erotic letters written in a cynical spirit; and Theophilus of Simocatta (A.D. 610), from whom we have 85 letters, rhetorical and epigrammatic, but of no literary merit.
  The prose pastoral was created by Longus (perhaps not the author's name), whose romance Poimenika ta kata Daphnin kai Chloen, usually called Daphnis and Chloe, is one of the most original and pleasing things in ancient literature. Its theme is the growth of the sexual instinct in two children, a boy and a girl, who have been brought up together in a state of perfect innocence. Its physico-psychological motive makes it unique in the history of early fiction, and the warmth and beauty of its descriptions of nature are also very striking. It has been many times translated into all the modern languages, and is the original of Bernardin de St. Pierre's Paul et Virginie, of Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd, and of many other less important works.
  The Romans have left us only two specimens of true prose fiction--the Satiricon of Petronius Arbiter and the Metamorphoses of Apuleius; but these are in many ways superior to anything of their kind in Greek. The Satiricon, in fact, though incomplete, is one of the first great novels of our time, and is remarkable for its modern tone, its subtle touches of character, its wit, its vivid pictures of life in the Roman provincial towns, and for the grace and elegance of its style. It also gives us some of the best existing specimens of the sermo plebeius, the colloquial Latinity of uneducated men. (See Petronius; Sermo Plebeius.) The Metamorphoses of Apuleius is based upon the Metamorphoses of Lucius of Patrae, and possibly upon the Loukios e Onos of Lucian, the contemporary of Apuleius; but it is more likely that both Apuleius and Lucian drew independently from the earlier writer. The novel of Apuleius, which is in eleven books, tells the story of one Lucius, who, by a mistake, swallowed a magic potion which turned him into an ass, in which form he passed through a maze of curious and amusing adventures, until at last he regained his natural shape. The novel is highly diverting and is told with much cleverness, though often with a disregard for even an elemental sense of propriety. Among its episodes is the very famous one giving the story of Cupid and Psyche, one of the most exquisite things in literature and one that has inspired innumerable works of art. See Apuleius; Psyche.
  In the Middle Ages, when the knowledge of ancient literature and history became lost to Western Europe, confused recollections of them still existed in the minds of men, and, together with many Teutonic folk-tales, became blended into a curious collection of stories known as the Gesta Romanorum, which were told and retold in many forms by the medi?vals. They mingle together the characters of antiquity in a most remarkable way, having no chronological or historical accuracy, but reproducing the legends of the past in a sort of literary mirage. Vergil, Homer, Alexander the Great, the Roman emperors, and Hercules, Romulus, and Remus, appear and reappear side by side with knights and wizards and dragons; but the tales have a certain value in literary history as forming the connecting link between the fiction of Greece and Rome and the fiction of modern times, which took its early themes largely from those monkish legends.
  The ancient novel is far inferior to the modern, because
(1) it was developed only after literature had entered upon its decline;
(2) because of the difference in the social spirit of antiquity which made impossible the modern romantic treatment of the relations of men and women; and
(3) because the true fiction of the Greeks was to be found, not in prose, but in the great epics which more perfectly represented the highest manifestation of the Hellenic imagination.
Bibliography.--For the general subject of the origin of pure fiction, see Clauston's Popular Tales and Fictions (London, 1887); Rutherford's introduction to his edition of Babrius (1883); Rhys-Davids, Buddhist Birth-Stories (1880); Benfey's introduction to the Panchatantra (1859); Bedier, Les Fabliaux (1893); and Lang, Custom and Myth (1885). On the Greek and Roman novels, see Dunlop, History of the Novel (last ed. London, 1887); Salverte, Le Roman dans la Grece Ancienne (Paris, 1893); Chauvin, Les Romanciers Grecs et Latins (Paris, 1862); Chassang, Histoire du Roman dans l'Antiquite Grecque et Latine (Paris, 1862); Rohde, Der Griechische Roman (Leipzig, 1876); Warren, History of the Novel (N. Y. 1895). The principal Greek romances are printed in the Erotici Graeci of the Didot Collection (Paris, 1856); and the epistolographers in the Epistolographi Graeci of the same collection. For special texts, translations, etc., see the separate articles in this Dictionary on the writers named above. The Gesta Romanorum will be found edited by Oesterley (Berlin, 1872); and translated into English by Swan, revised by Hooper (London, 1877).

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Artemon, 1st c. A.D.

Artemon, of Miletus, wrote a work on the interpretation of dreams (oneirokritika), in twenty-two books, which is now lost. (Artemid. Oneir. ii. 49 ; Eustath. ad Hom. Il. xvi. Tertull. de Anim. 46; Fulgent. i. 13)



Aspasia. A celebrated woman, a native of Miletus. She came as an adventuress to Athens, in the time of Pericles, and, by the combined charms of her person, manners, and conversation, completely won the affection and esteem of that distinguished statesman. Her station had freed her from the restraints which custom laid on the education of the Athenian matron, and she had enriched her mind with accomplishments which were rare even among men. Her acquaintance with Pericles seems to have begun while he was still united to a lady of high birth, and we can hardly doubt that it was Aspasia who first disturbed this union, although it is said to have been dissolved by mutual consent. But after parting from his wife, who had borne him two sons, Pericles attached himself to Aspasia by the most intimate relation which the laws permitted him to contract with a foreign woman; and she acquired an ascendency over him which soon became notorious, and furnished the comic poets with an inexhaustible fund of ridicule and his enemies with a ground for serious charges. The Samian War was ascribed to her interposition on behalf of her birthplace, and rumours were set afloat which represented her as ministering to the vices of Pericles by the most odious and degrading of offices. There was, perhaps, as little foundation for this report as for a similar one in which Phidias was implicated ; though among all the imputations brought against Pericles, this is that which it is the most difficult clearly to refute. But we are inclined to believe that it may have arisen from the peculiar nature of Aspasia's private circles, which, with a bold neglect of established usage, were composed not only of the most intelligent and accomplished men to be found at Athens, but also of matrons, who, it is said, were brought by their husbands to listen to her conversation. This must have been highly instructive as well as brilliant, since Plato did not hesitate to describe her as the preceptress of Socrates, and to assert in the Menexenus that she both formed the rhetoric of Pericles and composed one of his most admired harangues, the celebrated funeral oration. The innovation, which drew women of free birth and good standing into her company for such a purpose, must, even where the truth was understood, have surprised and offended many, and it was liable to the grossest misconstruction. And if her female friends were sometimes seen watching the progress of the works of Phidias, it was easy, through his intimacy with Pericles, to connect this fact with a calumny of the same kind.
  There was another rumour still more dangerous, which grew out of the character of the persons who were admitted to the society of Pericles and Aspasia. No persons were more welcome at the house of Pericles than such as were distinguished by philosophical studies, and especially by the profession of new philosophical tenets. The mere presence of Anaxagoras, Zeno, Protagoras, and other celebrated men, who were known to hold doctrines very remote from the religious conceptions of the vulgar, was sufficient to make a circle in which they were familiar pass for a school of impiety. Such were the materials out of which the comic poet Hermippus formed a criminal prosecution against Aspasia. His indictment included two heads: an offence against religion, and that of corrupting Athenian women to gratify the passions of Pericles. The danger was averted; but it seems that Pericles, who pleaded her cause, found need of his most strenuous exertions to save Aspasia, and that he even descended, in her behalf, to tears and entreaties, which no similar emergency of his own could ever draw from him.
  After the death of Pericles, Aspasia attached herself to a young man of obscure birth, named Lysicles, who rose through her influence in moulding his character to some of the highest employments in the Republic. (See Plut. Pericl.; Xen. Mem.ii. 6.)

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

Aspasia. The celebrated Milesian, daughter of Axiochus, came to reside at Athens, and there gained and fixed the affections of Pericles, not more by her beauty than by her high mental accomplishments. With his wife. who was a lady of rank, and by whom he had two sons, he seems to have lived unhappily; and, having parted from her by mutual consent, he attached himself to Aspasia during the rest of his life as closely as was allowed by the law, which forbade marriage with a foreign woman under severe penalties (Plut. Peric. 24; Demosth. c. Neaer.). Nor can there be any doubt that she acquired over him a great ascendancy; though this perhaps comes before us in an exaggerated shape in the statements which ascribe to her influence the war with Samos on behalf of Miletus in B. C. 440, as well as the Peloponnesian war itself (Plut. Peric. l. c.; Aristoph. Acharn. 497; Schol. ad loc.; comp. Aristoph. Pax, 587; Thuc. i. 115). The connexion, indeed, of Pericles with Aspasia appears to have been a favourite subject of attack in Athenian comedy (Aristoph. Acharn. l. c.; Plut. Peric. 24; Schol. ad Plat. Menex.), as also with certain writers of philosophical dialogues, between whom and the comic poets, in respect of their abusive propensities, Athenaeus remarks a strong family likeness (Athen. v. p. 220; Casaub. ad loc.). Nor was their bitterness satisfied with the vent of satire; for it was Hermippus, the comic poet, who brought against Aspasia the double charge of impiety and of infamously pandering to the vices of Pericles; and it required all the personal influence of the latter with the people, and his most earnest entreaties and tears, to procure her acquittal (Plut. Peric. 32; Athen. xiii). The house of Aspasia was the great centre of the highest literary and philosophical society of Athens, nor was the seclusion of the Athenian matrons so strictly preserved, but that many even of them resorted thither with their husbands for the pleasure and improvement of her conversation (Plut. Peric. 24); so that the intellectual influence which she ex ercised was undoubtedly considerable, even though we reject the story of her being the preceptress of Socrates, on the probable ground of the irony of those passages in which such statement is made (Plat. Menex.; Xen. Occon. iii. 14, Memor. ii. 6.36); for Plato certainly was no approver of the administration of Pericles (Gorg), and thought perhaps that the refinement introduced by Aspasia had only added a new temptation to the licentiousness from which it was not disconnected (Athen. xiii). On the death of Pericles, Aspasia is said to have attached herself to one Lysicles, a dealer in cattle, and to have made him by her instructions a first-rate orator (Aesch. ap. Plut. Peric. 24). For an amusing account of a sophistical argument ascribed to her by Aeschines the philosopher, see Cic. de Inxent. i. 31; Quintil. Inst. Orat. v. 11. The son of Pericles by Aspasia was legitimated by a special decree of the people, and took his father's name (Plut. Peric. 37). He was one of the six generals who were put to death after the victory at Arginusae.

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

  Aspasia was the mistress of Pericles, the leader of Athens during the Classical Age. She was a hetaira, a trained and paid companion who accompanied upper-class men to the symposiums. According to some ancient sources she was skilled in rhetoric and took part in the intellectual discussions of the leading men in Athens, including Socrates. As the mistress of Pericles, she suffered attacks from his political enemies. Aspasia and Pericles had one son, who was later legitimized. After the death of Pericles she married Lysicles a man of humble birth who became a successful politician in Athens through her assistance. Factual information about Aspasia is difficult to locate in the ancient sources. Playwrights, biographers and other ancient authors use Aspasia to illustrate their views on philosophy, rhetoric and Pericles.
  Modern scholars agree that the basic facts of Aspasia's life as recorded by Diodoros the Athenian (FGrHist 372 F 40 ), Plutarch (Plut. Per. 24.3 ) and the lexicographers are correct. She was born in the city of Miletus between 460-455 B.C., the daughter of Axiochus. Miletus, part of the Athenian empire, was one of the leading cities in Ionia, an area of Greek settlement located along the coast of Asia Minor.
  It was probably in Ionia, before she left for Athens, that Aspasia was educated. Women in that part of the Greek world were generally given more of an education than women in Athens. As a hetaira she would have been trained in the art of conversation and of musical entertainment including singing, dancing and playing instruments.
  Arriving in Athens as a free immigrant around 445 B.C., Aspasia worked as a hetaira. In fact Aspasia, which meant "Gladly Welcomed", was probably her professional name. Hetairai were much more than just high-class prostitutes. According to ancient literary sources and scenes from vase paintings, many hetairai were intelligent, beautiful, well-dressed and had fewer restrictions on their lives than the respectable, married women in Athens (Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 583f. ). This description would also apply to Aspasia. As a hetaira, however, she would not have had financial security or any legal or family protection.
  As the paid companion of aristocratic men Aspasia attended symposiums, drinking parties combined with political and philosophical discourse. At the symposiums she met the most influential and powerful men in Athens, including Pericles. Sometime around 445 B.C. Aspasia began to live with Pericles, who at that time was the leader of Athens. He had been divorced from his wife for five years, with whom he had two sons. According to Plutarch, it was an amiable divorce because the marriage was not a happy one (Plut. Per. 24.5).
  Plutarch relates more information about Aspasia than any other ancient author. Unfortunately, Plutarch's Lives are full of distortions and historical inaccuracies. His purpose in the Lives was to exemplify the virtues and vices of great men, not to write history. In respect to Aspasia and Pericles he states that Pericles valued Aspasia's intelligence and political insight, but he emphasizes that Pericles' feelings for her were primarily erotic. This may be an attempt on Plutarch's part to remove the stigma from Pericles of having been overly influenced by a woman.
  Plutarch describes the relationship between Aspasia and Pericles as a very happy one. He states that she was so loved by Pericles that he kissed her everyday when he left the house and again when he returned (Plut. Per. 24). Plutarch portrays Aspasia as the influential courtesan. He writes that Aspasia was trying to emulate Thargelia, a famous Milesian courtesan whose lovers were the most powerful men in Greece. Using her influence over these men Thargelia helped win Thessaly over to the Persians at the time of Xerxes' invasion.
  Plutarch blames Aspasia for Pericles' decision to start the war against Samos, a wealthy and powerful member of the empire. The Milesians and the Samians were involved in a border dispute. The Samians refused to submit the conflict to Athenian arbitration. Supposedly, Aspasia pressured Pericles to take military action against Samos (Plut. Per. 25.1). Although it would have been natural for Aspasia to take the side of her native city, she and Pericles both must have realized that the loss of Samos to the empire would have meant the rapid end of Athenian domination of the Aegean.
  The exact status of Aspasia's relationship with Pericles and her position in Pericles' household is disputed. While some say that she was his a pallake (concubine ), Plutarch (Plut. Per. 24) seems to imply, and Diodorus the Athenian (FGrHist 372 F 40) says, that she was his akoitis. She and Pericles had one son also named Pericles. As the mistress of Pericles' household and hostess to his friends and supporters, Aspasia participated in discussions revolving around politics and philosophy with the leading men of the Athenian empire. According to several ancient authors, Socrates respected her opinions (Plut. Per. 24.3; Xen. Ec. 3.15; Cicero, De Inventione 31.51). As a pallake she would have been outside of the legal, traditional role of an Athenian wife. Freed from the social restraints that tied married women to their homes and restricted their behavior, Aspasia was able to participate more freely in public life.
  Strong evidence that Aspasia's role in Athens went beyond that of mistress to Pericles is given by Plato in the Menexenus. In this dialogue Plato has Socrates recite a funeral oration composed by Aspasia that glorifies the Athenians and their history. The Menexenus is a humorous vehicle for Plato to make a serious, but negative comment on rhetoric and popular opinion in Athens. Everything in Aspasia's speech is selected, arranged and stated by Plato in order to produce the greatest possible irony. By satirizing a speech "written" by Aspasia, Plato acknowledges her role as a leader of rhetoric in the Greek Classical Age.
  In Cicero's book on rhetoric he uses as an example of the Socratic method a dialogue attributed to Aspasia by Aeschines a student of Socrates. In this dialogue Aspasia skillfully proves to a husband and wife that neither one of them will ever be truly happy with the other because they each desire the ideal spouse. Aeschines and another student of Socrates, Antisthenes, both wrote dialogues titled Aspasia. Unfortunately, only fragments of these works survive (Diogenes Laertius, Antisthenes 6.16).
  Several ancient authors state that Aspasia herself operated a house of courtesans and trained young women in the necessary skills (Plut. Per. 24.3). Aristophanes and others refer to "Aspasia's whores" (Aristoph. Ach. 527). Although as Pericles' pallake she was taken care of financially, Aspasia may have been preparing for her future after the death of Pericles. According to Plutarch, she was known in Athens as a teacher of rhetoric. Perhaps these women were her pupils (Plut. Per. 34). Aspasia's hetairai would have had as patrons the elite men of Athens, especially the supporters of Pericles.
  Around 438 B.C. Pericles' political enemies began attacking those close to him in court and eventually brought charges against Pericles himself. Soon Aspasia became a target. She was brought to trial on charges of impiety and of procuring free women. She was acquitted thanks to a passionate and tearful defense by Pericles (Plut. Per. 32.1-3). Although her political wisdom was valuable to Pericles, not having an Athenian citizen as a legal wife, but rather living with a foreign hetaira in an unofficial marriage may have been a political liability for him.
  In the contemporary comedy The Acharnians, Aristophanes parodies the imputations that Aspasia had undue influence on Pericles' political decisions. One of his characters blames the start of the Peloponnesian War in 431 B.C. on the abduction of two of Aspasia's hetairai (Aristoph. Ach. 527-530). The joke worked because the audience knew that Aspasia had some influence on Pericles, but not enough to start a war.
The plague in Athens in 430 B.C. killed both of Pericles' sons by his first wife. This led him to ask for an exemption from the citizenship law, which he himself had enacted, for his illegimate son by Aspasia. The citizenship law decreed that only persons whose father and mother were both Athenians could be legal citizens. The people of Athens agreed to Pericles' request. His son was legitimized and made a citizen of Athens. He later became a general, but was executed in 406 B.C.
  In 429 B.C. Pericles died from the plague. A year later Aspasia became involved with a sheep seller named Lysicles in another unofficial marriage. He was an uneducated man of humble birth who rose to prominence thanks to her guidance. She taught him how to speak in public and gave him the benefit of her valuable insights and personal contacts in Athenian politics (Plut. Per. 24.6; Scholia to Plato, Menexenus 235E). He was one of the new type of political leaders who came to prominence after the death of Pericles. This was probably the same group who had led the earlier attacks against Pericles and his friends, including Aspasia herself. Questions remain regarding Aspasia's decision to marry so quickly after Pericles' death. She might have been in need of a protector from Pericles' enemies. The selection of another politician as her husband might also suggest a desire to remain involved in the politics of Athens.
  There is no information about Aspasia's life after this point. Although the actual extent of her influence on Athenian politics and society during Athens' most glorious period will never be certain, she did become one of the few women in the ancient Greek world to be noted and remembered. She became so famous that Cyrus, a prince of Persia, Athens' most hated enemy, gave the name Aspasia to his favorite concubine. Through the succeeding centuries ancient authors, including playwrights and biographers, used Aspasia as a well-known historical figure to illustrate their views on philosophy, politics, rhetoric, Pericles and Socrates.
  The primary sources give little information about Aspasia. Plutarch relates more than the other ancient authors, but he seems almost wholly dependent on Athenian comedy and stories from the Socratic circle for his information, all of which is difficult to verify. The secondary sources tend to discuss Aspasia in relation to Pericles or Athenian politics and society.

Elizabeth Lynne Beavers, ed.
This text is cited June 2005 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks



A close friend of Corintian Periander son of Cypselus


Histiaeus, (Histiaios), tyrant of Miletus, commanded his contingent of Ionians in the service of Dareius in the invasion of Scythia by the Persians (B. C. 513), when he was left with his countrymen to guard the bridge of boats by which the army had crossed the Danube. Sixty days had been assigned by the Persian king as the period of his absence, marked by as many knots tied in a rope, one of which was to be untied daily. When the time had passed, and the Persians did not appear, being still engaged in a vain pursuit of the Scythians, the Ionians took counsel about their return. The proposal of Miltiades, the Athenian, to destroy the bridge, and leave the Persians to their fate, would have occasioned the certain destruction of Dareius and his army, had not Histiaeus persuaded his countrymen, the rulers of the Greek cities on the Hellespont and in Ionia, not to take a step which would lead to their own ruin, depending as they did upon the Persians for support against the democratic parties in their respective cities. Deceiving the Scythians by professing to fall in with their wishes, and to be anxious for the destruction of Dareius, the wily Greek persuaded them to depart in search of him, making a show of destroying the bridge by removing the part of it next Scythia. When the Persians, retreating from their unsuccessful march, returned to the Danube, where they happened to arrive after nightfall, they were naturally alarmed lest the Greeks should have deserted them, until an Egyptian, noted in the army for his loud voice, was ordered to shout out the name of Histiaeus of Miletus, who, hearing the call, made all speed to transport them to the safe side of the river.
  Dareius never forgot this signal service. On his return to Sardis Histiaeus was rewarded with the rule of Mytilene. Histiaeus, already in possession of Miletus, asked and obtained a district on the Strymon, in Thrace, where, leaving Miletus under the charge of his kinsman, Aristagoras, he built a town called Myrcinus. apparently with a view of establishing an independent kingdom. The spot was well chosen, as the neighbouring country was rich in tin ore and silver mines: but he was not allowed to carry his designs into execution. Megabazus, a Persian officer, whom Dareius had left in Europe to complete the conquest of Thrace, advised the king to recal his promise, and not to allow an able and crafty man, like Histiaeus, to raise a formidable power within the empire. Histiaeus followed Dareius reluctantly to Susa, where he was detained for thirteen years, till the outbreak of the Ionian revolt, kindly treated, but prohibited from returning.
  On the news of the burning of Sardis by the Athenians (B. C. 499), whom Aristagoras had induced to send help to their kinsmen of Ionia, Dareius charged Histiaeus with being a party to the revolt. His suspicions were correct: Histiaeus had encouraged Aristagoras in his design, employing a singular expedient to escape detection. He had shaved the head of one of his slaves, branded his message on the skin, and sent him to Aristagoras, after the hair had grown, with the direction to shave it off again. A revolution in Ionia might lead, he hoped, to his release : and his design succeeded. It is unaccountable that Dareius should have been so easily deceived : yet he suffered Histiaeus to depart, on his engaging to reduce Ionia, and to make Sardinia, which he described as an important island, tributary to the Persians.
  On his arrival at Sardis he found that the revolt had not succeeded: the Athenians had declined to send fresh succour, and the Ionian cities were being reduced again. Artaphernes, satrap of Sardis, showed himself less credulous than Dareius: " It was you that stitched the shoe," he said to Histiaeus, " which Aristagoras did but wear." Histiaeus, in alarm, had recourse to the Chians, whom he with difficulty persuaded to receive him: then, imposing upon the Ionians, who regarded him with distrust, by a crafty story that Dareius meant to remove them to Phoenicia, after the fashion of Eastern conquerors, he began to intrigue with some Persians in Sardis, who were willing to listen to his proposals. Artaphernes discovered the plot, and put the Persians to death : upon which Histiaeus, after in vain trying to persuade the inhabitants of Miletus to receive him back again, succeeded at length in raising a small force in Lesbos, with which he proceeded to Byzantium, still in revolt, and seized all vessels sailing from the Euxine that refused to acknowledge him as their master. On the reduction of Miletus (B. C. 494), the most important step in the second conquest of Ionia, Histiaeus made a bold attempt to establish himself in the islands of the Aegean, and actually succeeded in taking possession of Chios after some resistance, the inhabitants having lost nearly all their forces at the battle of Lade. Thasos might have fallen under him also, when the news that the Phoenician fleet, having assisted in conquering Miletus, was sailing northwards to complete the conquest of Ionia and Aeolis, induced him to return to Lesbos. Hence he made a descent on the opposite coast, to ravage the plain of the Caicus and Atarnea, but was defeated and taken prisoner by a troop of Persian cavalry under Harpagus. He would have been slain in the pursuit had he not called out in Persian that he was Histiaeus of Miletus, hoping that his life would be spared. If he had fallen into Dareius's hands, it would have been so : but Harpagus and Artaphernes caused him to be put to death by impalement, and sent his head to the king. Dareius received it with sorrow, and buried it honourably, blaming the haste of his officers : no injury could make him forget that he had once owed to Histiaeus his army, his kingdom, and his life. The adventurous history of Histiaeus does not show any signs of his having possessed great or noble qualities of mind. Attachment to his country is the only pleasing trait in his character; and even this is mixed up with motives of a lower kind. Personal ambition is the only reason given for his saving the army of Dareius; and afterwards it was selfish motives, not true patriotism, that led both Aristagoras and himself to bring down the vengeance of the Persians upon his country. In policy and dissimulation he was undoubtedly well skilled, and not deficient in daring. The attachment of Dareius to him is more striking than any qualities in his own character. (Herod. iv. 137, 138, 141, v. 11, 23, 24, 30, 35, 105-107, vi. 1-5, 26-30; Polyaen. i. 24; Tzetz. Chil. iii. 512. ix. 228; Gell. xvii. 9.)

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


Aristagoras. A native of Miletus, brother-in-law of Histiaeus, and left by the latter during his stay at the Persian court in charge of the government of Miletus. Having failed in an attempt upon Naxos (B.C. 501), which he had promised to subdue for the Persians, and fearing the consequences of his failure, he induced the Ionian cities to revolt from Persia. He applied for assistance to the Spartans and Athenians: the former refused, but the latter sent him twenty ships and [p. 126] some troops. In 499 his army captured and burned Sardis, but was finally chased back to the coast. The Athenians now departed; the Persians conquered most of the Ionian cities; and Aristagoras in despair fled to Thrace, where he was slain by the Edonians in 497.

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

Aristagoras, of Miletus, brother-in-law and cousin of Histiaeus, was left by him, on his occupation of Myrcinus and during his stay at the Persian court, in charge of the government of Miletus. His misconduct in this situation caused the first interruption of an interval of universal peace, and commenced the chain of events which raised Greece to the level of Persia. In 501 B. C., tempted by the prospect of making Naxos his dependency, he obtained a force for its reduction from the neighbouring satrap, Artaphernes. While leading it he quarrelled with its commander ; the Persian in revenge sent warning to Naxos, and the project failed. Aristagoras finding his treasure wasted, and himself embarrassed through the failure of his promises to Artaphernes, began to meditate a general revolt of Ionia. A message from Histiaeus determined him. His first step was to seize the several tyrants who were still with the armament, deliver them up to their subjects, and proclaim democracy; himself too, professedly, surrendering his power. IIe then set sail for Greece, and applied for succours, first at Sparta; but after using every engine in his power to win Cleomenes, the king, he was ordered to depart: at Athens he was better received; and with the troops from twenty galleys which he there obtained, and five added by the Eretrians, he sent, in 499, an army up the country, which captured and burnt Sardis, but was finally chased back to the coast. These allies now departed; the Persian commanders were reducing the maritime towns; Aristagoras, in trepidation and despondency, proposed to his friends to migrate to Sardinia or Myrcinus. This course he was bent upon himself; and leaving the Asiatic Greeks to allay as they could, the storm he had raised, he fled with all who would join him to Myrcinus. Shortly after, probably in 497, while attacking a town of the neighbouring Edonians, he was cut off with his forces by a sally of the besieged. He seems to have been a supple and eloquent man, ready to venture on the boldest steps, as means for mere personal ends, but utterly lacking in address to use them at the right moment ; and generally weak, inefficient, and cowardly, (Herod. v. 30-38, 49-51, 97-100, 124-126; Thuc. iv. 102.)

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


Timotheus of Miletus (c. 446 BC-357 BC)

  Greek musician and dithyrambic poet. He added one or more strings to the lyre, whereby he incurred the displeasure of the Spartans and Athenians. He was in fact condemned by the Lacedaemonians for adding four new strings to lute.
  He composed musical works of a mythological and historical character.

This text is cited July 2003 from the Malaspina Great Books URL below.

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