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Fable writers

Aesop, Aesopus

, , 650 - 560

   Aesopus, (Aisopos). A famous writer of fables, the first author who created an independent class of stories about animals, so that in a few generations his name and person had become typical of that entire class of literature. In course of time, thanks to his plain, popular manner, the story of his own life was enveloped in an almost inextricable tissue of tales and traditions, which represent him as an ugly hunchback and buffoon. In the Middle Ages these were woven into a kind of romance. A Phrygian by birth, and living in the time of the Seven Sages, about B.C. 600, he is said to have been at first a slave to several masters, till Iadmon of Samos set him free. That he next lived at the court of Croesus, and being sent by him on an embassy to Delphi, was murdered by the priests there, is pure fiction. Under his name were propagated in all parts of Greece, at first only by tradition in the mouth of the people, a multitude of prose tales teaching the lessons of life under the guise of fables about animals. We know how Socrates, during his last days in prison, was engaged in turning the fables of Aesop into verse. The first written collection appears to have been made by Demetrius of Phalerum, B.C. 300. The collections of Aesop's Fables that have come down to us are, in part, late prose renderings of the version in choliambics by Babrius, which still retain here and there a scrap of verse; partly products of the rhetorical schools, and therefore of very different periods and degrees of merit.

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

   Babrius (Babrios) or Babrias (Babrias). The compiler of a comprehensive collection of Aesop's fables in choliambic metre. The book is probably to be assigned to the beginning of the first century B.C. Until 1842 nothing was known of Babrius but fragments and paraphrases, bearing the name of Aesopus. But in that year a Greek, Minoides Minas, discovered 123 of the original fables in the monastery on Mt. Athos. In 1857, he brought out 95 more, the genuineness of which was disputed by Cobet and other scholars...

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

  Aesop (from the Greek Aisopos), famous for his Fables, is supposed to have lived from about 620 to 560 B.C. The place of his birth is uncertain--Thrace, Phrygia, Aethiopia, Samos, Athens and Sardis all claiming the honour.
  We possess little trustworthy information concerning his life, except that he was the slave of Iadmon of Samos and met with a violent death at the hands of the inhabitants of Delphi. Aesop must have received his freedom from Iadmon, or he could not have conducted the public defence of a certain Samian demagogue. According to the story, he subsequently lived at the court of Croesus, where he met Solon, and dined in the company of the Seven Sages of Greece with Periander at Corinth. During the reign of Peisistratus he is said to have visited Athens, on which occasion he related the fable of The Frogs asking for a King, to dissuade the citizens from attempting to exchange Peisistratus for another ruler.
  The popular stories current regarding him are derived from a life, or rather romance, prefixed to a book of fables, purporting to be his, collected by Maximus Planudes, a monk of the 14th century. In this he is described as a monster of ugliness and deformity, as he is also represented in a well-known marble figure in the Villa Albani at Rome. That this life, however, was in existence a century before Planudes, appears from a 13th-century manuscript of it found at Florence. In Plutarch's Symposium of the Seven Sages, at which Aesop is a guest, there are many jests on his original servile condition, but nothing derogatory is said about his personal appearance. We are further told that the Athenians erected in his honour a noble statue by the famous sculptor Lysippus, which furnishes a strong argument against the fiction of his deformity. Lastly, the obscurity in which the history of Aesop is involved has induced some scholars to deny his existence altogether.
  It is probable that Aesop did not commit his fables to writing. Demetrius of Phalerum (345-283 B.C.) made a collection in ten books, probably in prose for the use of orators, which has been lost. Next appeared an edition in elegiac verse, often cited by Suidas, but the author's name is unknown. Babrius, according to Crusius, a Roman and tutor to the son of Alexander Severus, turned the fables into choliambics in the earlier part of the 3rd century A.D. The most celebrated of the Latin adapters is Phaedrus, a freedman of Augustus. Avianus (of uncertain date, perhaps the 4th century) translated 42 of the fables into Latin elegiacs. The collections which we possess under the name of Aesop's Fables are late renderings of Babrius's Version or Progymnasmata, rhetorical exercises of varying age and merit. Syntipas translated Babrius into Syriac, and Andreopulos put the Syriac back again into Greek. Ignatius Diaconus, in the 9th century, made a version of 55 fables in choliambic tetrameters. Stories from Oriental sources were added, and from these collections Maximus Planudes made and edited the collection which has come down to us under the name of Aesop, and from which the popular fables of modern Europe have been derived.

This extract is cited June 2003 from the Malspina Great Books URL below, which contains image.

Aesop's anecdote defending demagogue: Aesop, when defending at Samos a demagogue who was being tried for his life, related the following anecdote. "A fox, while crossing a river, was driven into a ravine. Being unable to get out, she was for a long time in sore distress, and a number of dog-fleas clung to her skin. A hedgehog, wandering about, saw her and, moved with compassion, asked her if he should remove the fleas. The fox refused and when the hedgehog asked the reason, she answered: They are already full of me and draw little blood; but if you take them away, others will come that are hungry and will drain what remains to me.’ You in like manner, O Samians, will suffer no more harm from this man, for he is wealthy; but if you put him to death".


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



, , 575 - 500

   A celebrated Greek philosopher, a native of Samos, and the son of Mnesarchus, who was either a merchant, or, according to others, an engraver of signets. The date of his birth is uncertain; but all authorities agree that he flourished in the times of Polycrates and Tarquinius Superbus (B.C. 540-510). He studied in his own country under Creophilus, Pherecydes of Syros, and others, and is said to have visited Egypt and many countries of the East for the purpose of acquiring knowledge. We have not much trustworthy evidence, either as to the kind and amount of knowledge which he acquired, or as to his definite philosophical views. It is certain, however, that he believed in the transmigration of souls; and he is said to have pretended that he had been Euphorbus, the son of Panthous, in the Trojan War, as well as various other characters. He is further said to have discovered the propositions that the triangle inscribed in a semicircle is right-angled; that the square on the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the sides. There is a celebrated story of his having discovered the arithmetical relations of the musical scale by observing accidentally the various sounds produced by hammers of different weights striking upon an anvil, and suspending by strings weights equal to those of the different hammers. The retailers of the story of course never took the trouble to verify the experiment, or they would have discovered that different hammers do not produce different sounds from the same anvil, any more than different clappers do from the same bell. Discoveries in astronomy are also attributed to Pythagoras. There can be little doubt that he paid great attention to arithmetic, and its application to weights, measures, and the theory of music. Apart from all direct testimony, however, it may safely be affirmed that the very remarkable influence exerted by Pythagoras, and even the fact that he was made the hero of so many marvellous stories, proves him to have been a man both of singular capabilities and of great acquirements. It may also be affirmed with safety that the religious element was the predominant one in the character of Pythagoras, and that religious ascendancy in connection with a certain mystic religious system was the object which he chiefly laboured to secure. It was this religious element which made the profoundest impression upon his contemporaries. They regarded him as standing in a peculiarly close connection with the gods. The Crotoniats even identified him with the Hyperborean Apollo. And, without viewing him as an impostor, we may easily believe that he himself, to some extent, shared the same views. He pretended to divination and prophecy; and he appears as the revealer of a mode of life calculated to raise his disciples above the level of mankind, and to recommend them to the favour of the gods. No certainty can be arrived at as to the length of time spent by Pythagoras in Egypt or the East, or as to his residence and efforts in Samos or other Grecian cities, before he settled at Crotona in Italy. He probably removed to Crotona because he found it impossible to realize his schemes in his native country while under the tyranny of Polycrates. The reason why he selected Crotona as the sphere of his operations it is impossible to ascertain; but soon after his arrival in that city he attained extensive influence, and gained over great numhers to enter into his views. His adherents were chiefly of the noble and wealthy classes. Three hundred of these were formed into a select brotherhood or club, bound by a sort of vow to Pythagoras and each other, for the purpose of cultivating the religious and ascetic observances enjoined by their master, and of studying his religious and philosophical theories. Everything that was done and taught among the members was kept a profound secret from all without its pale. It was an old Pythagorean maxim, that everything was not to be told to everybody. There were also gradations among the members themselves, as in the distinction of akousmatikoi or "hearers" as contrasted with mathematikoi or esoteric students. In the admission of candidates Pythagoras is said to have placed great reliance on his physiognomical discernment. If admitted, they had to pass through a period of probation, in which their powers of maintaining silence were especially tested, as well as their general temper, disposition, and mental capacity. As regards the nature of the esoteric instruction to which only the most approved members of the fraternity were admitted, some have supposed that it had reference to the political views of Pythagoras. Others have maintained, with greater probability, that it related mainly to the orgies, or secret religious doctrines and usages, which undoubtedly formed a prominent feature in the Pythagorean system, and were peculiarly connected with the worship of Apollo. There were some outward peculiarities of an ascetic kind in the mode of life to which the members of the brotherhood were subjected. Some represent him as forbidding all animal food; but all the members cannot have been subjected to this prohibition, since the athletic Milo, for instance, could not possibly have dispensed with animal food. According to some ancient authorities, he allowed the use of all kinds of animal food except the flesh of oxen used for ploughing, and rams. There is a similar discrepancy as to the prohibition of fish and beans. But temperance of all kinds seems to have been strictly enjoined. It is also stated that they had common meals, resembling the Spartan syssitia, at which they met in companies of ten. Considerable importance seems to have been attached to music and gymnastics in the daily exercises of the disciples. Their whole discipline is represented as tending to produce a lofty serenity and self-possession, regarding the exhibition of which various anecdotes were current in antiquity. Among the best ascertained features of the brotherhood are the devoted attachment of the members to each other, and their sovereign contempt for those who did not belong to their ranks. It appears that they had some secret conventional symbols, by which members of the fraternity could recognize each other, even if they had never met before. Clubs similar to that at Crotona were established at Sybaris, Metapontum, Tarentum, and other cities of Magna Graecia. The institutions of Pythagoras were certainly not intended to withdraw those who adopted them from active exertion, that they might devote themselves exclusively to religious and philosophical contemplations. He rather aimed at the production of a calm bearing and elevated tone of character, through which those trained in the discipline of the Pythagorean life should exhibit in their personal and social capacities a reflection of the order and harmony of the universe. Whether he had any distinct political designs in the foundation of his brotherhood is doubtful; but it was perfectly natural, even without any express design on his part, that a club such as the Three Hundred of Crotona should gradually come to mingle political with other objects, and, by the facilities afforded by their secret and compact organization, should speedily gain extensive political influence. That this influence should be decisively on the side of aristocracy or oligarchy resulted naturally both from the nature of the Pythagorean institutions, and from the rank and social position of the members of the brotherhood. Through them, of course, Pythagoras himself exercised a large amount of indirect influence over the affairs both of Crotona and of other Italian cities. This Pythagorean brotherhood or order resembled in many respects the one founded by Loyola. It is easy to understand how this aristocratical and exclusive club would excite the jealousy and hostility not only of the democratical party in Crotona, but also of a considerable number of the opposite faction. The hatred which they had excited speedily led to their destruction. The populace of Crotona rose against them; and an attack was made upon them while assembled either in the house of Milo, or in some other place of meeting. The building was set on fire, and many of the assembled members perished; only the more active escaped. Similar commotions ensued in the other cities of Magna Graecia in which Pythagorean clubs had been formed. As an active and organized brotherhood, the Pythagorean Order was everywhere suppressed; but the Pythagoreans still continued to exist as a sect, the members of which kept up among themselves their religious observances and scientific pursuits, while individuals, as in the case of Archytas, acquired now and then great political influence.
    Respecting the fate of Pythagoras himself, the accounts varied. Some say that he perished in the temple with his disciples, others that he fled first to Tarentum, and that, being driven thence, he escaped to Metapontum, and there starved himself to death. His tomb was shown at Metapontum in the time of Cicero. According to some accounts, Pythagoras married Theano, a lady of Crotona, and had a daughter Damo, and a son Telauges, or, according to others, two daughters, Damo and Myia; while other notices seem to imply that he had a wife and a daughter grown up when he came to Crotona. When we come to inquire what were the philosophical or religious opinions held by Pythagoras himself, we are met at the outset by the difficulty that even the authors from whom we have to draw possessed no authentic records bearing upon the age of Pythagoras himself. If Pythagoras ever wrote anything, his writings perished with him, or not long after. The probability is that he wrote nothing. Everything current under his name in antiquity is spurious. It is all but certain that Philolaus was the first who published the Pythagorean doctrines, at any rate in a written form. Still there was so marked a peculiarity running through the Pythagorean philosophy that there can be little question as to the germs of the system, at any rate, having been derived from Pythagoras himself. Pythagoras resembled the philosophers of the Ionic school, who undertook to solve, by means of a single primordial principle, the vague problem of the origin and constitution of the universe as a whole. His predilection for mathematical studies led him to trace the origin of all things to number, his theory being suggested, or at all events confirmed, by the observation of various numerical relations, or analogies to them, in the phenomena of the universe. Musical principles likewise played almost as important a part in the Pythagorean system as mathematical or numerical ideas. We find running through the entire system the idea that order, or harmony of relation, is the regulating principle of the whole universe. The intervals between the heavenly bodies were supposed to be determined according to the laws and relations of musical harmony. Hence arose the celebrated doctrine of the harmony of the spheres; for the heavenly bodies, in their motion, could not but occasion a certain sound or note, depending on their distances and velocities; and as these were determined by the laws of harmonical intervals, the notes altogether formed a regular musical scale or harmony. This harmony, however, we do not hear, either because we have been accustomed to it from the first, and have never had an opportunity of contrasting it with stillness, or because the sound is so powerful as to exceed our capacities for hearing. The ethics of the Pythagoreans consisted more in ascetic practice, and maxims for the restraint of the passions, especially of anger, and the cultivation of the power of endurance, than in scientific theory. What of the latter they had was, as might be expected, intimately connected with their numbertheory. Happiness consisted in the science of the perfection of the virtues of the soul, or in the perfect science of numbers. Likeness to the Deity was to be the object of all our endeavours, man becoming better as he approaches the gods, who are the guardians and guides of men. Great importance was attached to the influence of music in controlling the force of the passions. Self-examination was strongly insisted on. The transmigration of souls was viewed apparently in the light of a process of purification. Souls under the dominion of sensuality either passed into the bodies of animals, or, if incurable, were thrust down into Tartarus to meet with expiation or condign punishment. The pure were exalted to higher modes of life, and at last attained to incorporeal existence. As regards the fruits of this system of training or belief, it is interesting to remark, that wherever we have notices of distinguished Pythagoreans, we usually hear of them as men of great uprightness, conscientiousness, and self-restraint, and as capable of devoted and enduring friendship. Existing works that bear the name of Pythagoras are spurious.

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

   Damo: A daughter of Pythagoras and Theano , to whom Pythagoras intrusted his writings, and forbade her to give them to any one. This command she strictly observed, although she was in extreme poverty and received many requests to sell them
   Myia: A daughter of Pythagoras and Theano , and wife of the great athlete Milo of Crotona.

Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, Fragments and Commentary: Hanover Historical Texts Project, Hanover College Department of History

Dynamism is a general name for a group of philosophical views concerning the nature of matter. However different they may be in other respects, all these views agree in making matter consist essentially of simple and indivisible units, substances, or forces. Dynamism is sometimes used to denote systems that admit not only matter and extension, but also determinations, tendencies, and forces intrinsic and essential to matter. More properly, however, it means exclusive systems that do away with the dualism of matter and force by reducing the former to the latter. Here we shall limit ourselves to this strict form of dynamism, first, indicating its chief advocates and its characteristic presentations, secondly, comparing these in order to see the points of agreement and of difference.

I. We have but a vague and incomplete knowledge of the doctrines held by the Pythagorean School, but it seems that they may rightly be considered as at least the forerunners of modem dynamism. From Aristotle's "Metaphysics" we gather that the Pythagoreans, imbued with a mathematical spirit and accustomed to mathematical methods, came to look upon the principles (archai) of numbers as the principles of things themselves, to assert that the elements (stoicheia) of numbers were also the elements of reality, and that the whole heaven was a harmony and a number. Various geometrical figures are but different combinations of numbers, the unit being a point; from points are formed lines, from lines, surfaces, and from surfaces, solids; and geometrical figures are the very substance of things. Hence, finally, "physical bodies are composed of numbers". Among the Arabian philosophers, the Mutacallimun were atomists. The atom is the only substance and all atoms are perfectly identical in nature. The identity, however, is not of a positive, but of a merely negative character, for these primitive elements of matter are simple substances and nothing else. They have no determinations whatever, no weight, no shape, no quantity, no extension. The atom is an indivisible and simple substantial point, the necessary subject of all accidents or determinations, and incapable of existing without them.
  Leibniz's doctrine is a reaction against both the material mechanicism of Descartes and the substantial monism of Spinoza. The essence of matter cannot be extension. The laws of mechanics cannot themselves be understood without using the notion of force. Moreover, "a substance is a being capable of action", and "what does not act does not deserve the name of substance". Hence substance implies unity and individuality, and the real substance cannot be the "mate" atom (atome de matiere). Having extension, such an atom is composed of parts and divisible without limit; it has no real unity. The elements which compose material substances are "formal" or "substantial" atoms (atomes de substance), simple and without parts. They are called monads. Bodies are "multitudes" and "aggregates", and the simple substances are units and elements. As they have no parts, monads have "neither extension, nor shape, nor possible divisibility. They are the true atoms of nature, and, in a word, the elements of things." Since it is impossible for two beings to be perfectly alike, every monad is different from every other. Monads have no external, but only an internal, activity, which is twofold: perception and appetition. All monads are, in various degrees, representations of the whole universe, but this representation or perception becomes clearly conscious (apperception), and is accompanied with attention, memory, and reflection, only in higher monads. Appetition is the activity of the internal principle by which the passage from one perception to another is effected. The relative perfection of the monads depends on the degree of clearness of their perceptions. Some unite to form an organism whose centre of unity is a higher monad or soul. This system is completed by the supposition of a pre-established harmony. The order and harmony of the world are the result not of an interaction between monads, but of a pre-arranged plan of the Creator who has endowed them with their power of internal evolution. In the main, Christian Wolff reproduced and systematized Leibniz's theory.
  According to Boscovich "the first elements of matter are points absolutely indivisible and without any extension. They are spread throughout an immense vacuum in such a way as to be always at some distance from one another. The distance may increase or decrease indefinitely, but can never disappear completely without a compenetration of the points themselves, for contact between them is impossible" (Theoria Philosophiae Naturals, no. 7). Hence there can be no continuous extension. The elements are all homogeneous, and, by their numbers, distances, arrangements, activities, and relations produce the diversity of material substances. They have no perception and no appetition. According to their distances, they have a determination to diminish or to increase the interval that separates them. This very determination Boscovich calls force, attractive in the former case, repulsive in the latter. The law of these forces is the following: if the distance between them is infinitesimal, they are repulsive, and the more so in proportion as the distance is smaller; if the distance, although remaining always very small, is increased a little, the repulsive force becomes first less intense, then null, and at a still larger distance is changed into an attractive force. This attraction again, with the increase of distance, goes on augmenting, then diminishing, till it becomes again null, and changes into a repulsion, which, in turn, by the same gradual process becomes attraction. Such changes may be repeated several times, but only while the distance, though increasing, remains infinitesimal. At greater distances the force is exclusively attractive. To explain the interaction of the points, Boscovich had to admit an actio in distans; yet he also admits the possibility of a Divinely pre-established harmony and even of occasionalism.
  In his pre-critical period, Kant admitted physical monads, that is, simple and indivisible substances. His later views may be summed up as follows: matter is divisible without limit, but not actually divided into separate atoms. Matter is what fills up a space, and to fill up a space is to defend it against any mobile which should try to penetrate it. Hence matter is essentially resistance and force. It is not impenetrable, in the absolute or mathematical sense of the Cartesians, but in a relative sense and in varying degrees; it may be compressed and condensed. There are two distinct forces, repulsion and attraction. The former is the primary constituent of matter, since by it other things are excluded from the space it occupies. It produces extension, and, without it, matter would be reduced to a geometrical point. However, attraction is also essential to the occupancy of an assignable space, for otherwise matter would be scattered without limit. Repulsion can act only by contact; attraction may also act at a distance. From these two forces Kant derives all the properties of matter. It must be remembered that this theory is an explanation of the phenomenon only, the noumenon being inaccessible to our mind. This idealistic feature was carried still further by the German Transcendentalists; among them Schelling proposes a view the main lines of which agree with that of Kant. In more recent times, Herbart, Lotze, von Hartmann, Renouvier, to mention only a few names among many, also hold dynamic theories modified by their special points of view and philosophical systems. To these may be added some Catholic philosophers, e. g. the Sulpician Branchereau, and the Jesuits Carbonnelle and Palmieri. Among scientists, Ampere, Cauchy, Faraday, and others are also in favour of dynamism. Faraday's theory is substantially the same as that of Boscovich. That theory, namely, that "atoms . . . are mere centres of forces or powers, not particles of matter in which the powers themselves reside", has "a great advantage over the more usual notion". "A mind just entering on the subject may consider it difficult to think of the powers of matter independent of a separate something to be called the matter, but it is certainly far more difficult, and indeed impossible, to think of or imagine that matter independent of the powers. Now the powers we know and recognize in every phenomenon of the creation, the abstract matter in none; why, then, assume the existence of that of which we are ignorant, which we cannot conceive, and for which there is no philosophical necessity?" (A Speculation touching Electric Conduction and the Nature of Matter, pp. 290, 291).
  Today there is a tendency to substitute the concept of energy for that of force. Hence Professor Ostwald's "energetic theory". Matter is to be looked upon as a complex of energies arranged together in space. The concept of matter resolves itself into that of energy, since the manifestations of energy are all we know of the external world. Energy is the common substance, for it is that which exists in space and time; it is also the differentiating principle of whatever exists in space and time. Recent scientific discoveries, especially those in the field of radio-activity, seem to strengthen philosophical reason and lead to a more specific dynamism. The atom (q. v.) can no longer be considered as being what its name implies, namely indivisible. Atoms of different chemical elements are spheres of positive electrification enclosing a number of corpuscles, all homogeneous, having identical properties, and negatively electrified. Some physicists still attribute to these corpuscles a real, though infinitesimal, extension; they admit a nucleus or carrier of the electric charge, and this nucleus alone is what we call matter. But this is denied by others for whom the corpuscle contains nothing material in the sense in which we commonly use that term. It is all electricity and nothing but electricity. Indeed the only reason for admitting anything else would be the necessity of explaining the mass and inertia of the corpuscle. But electricity itself possesses mass and inertia; or rather the mechanical inertia of matter is identical with the self-induction of the electric current, and the mass results from the velocity of the current. It has been calculated that the whole mass and inertia of the corpuscle are accounted for by its electrical charge alone and its velocity. Hence the name "electron" given to the corpuscle; it is the ultimate unit of so-called matter. This is known as the electronic theory of matter.

II. The preceding outline shows that the term dynamism, like all other general names of philosophical systems, is very vague, and applies to a number of widely different views originating from different considerations and supported by different arguments, namely:
Extension being essentially divisible, the ultimate unit must lack extension, otherwise it would be itself composed of parts, divisible and not one.
Matter is essentially active; to reduce it to mere extension is to ignore one of its fundamental aspects.
Even extension manifests itself exclusively through forces, and
matter as such is unknowable and unthinkable.
Scientific facts lead to an electronic theory.
Matter is, therefore, to say the least, absolutely useless, and dynamism, being a simpler, yet adequate, explanation, is preferable.
  Without entering into a discussion of the system, we may note briefly that the extension which is infinitely divisible is abstract, not concrete, mathematical, not physical, extension. For Aristotle and the Scholastics, physical matter is composed of two essential and inseparable principles, primary matter and substantial form, the latter being the principle of unity and activity. Moreover, to admit the essential activity of matter does not necessarily imply that matter is nothing but activity. And if matter does not manifest itself to the senses except through forces and energies, it does not follow that it is not the necessary subject and carrier of these forces. In order to establish dynamism, it is not sufficient to overthrow materialism. If there is no matter, it is difficult to understand the forces themselves; for then, what is attracted? what moves, rotates, vibrates, etc.? Do not forces require a subject? It is clear that simple elements cannot give real extension. Can they even explain the phenomenon itself of extension, when not only physical bodies but the organism itself and the sense-organs are denied real extension? The facts and nature of radio-activity are not as yet sufficiently explored to furnish a safe basis for a definite theory of matter. Further, the necessity of admitting an actio in distans is also considered as an objection against some forms at least of dynamism.
  Dynamism is opposed to the objective dualism of matter and energy, and also to mechanical materialism, according to which, matter, endowed with extension, is of itself an inert and indifferent vehicle of motion. It is not opposed to atomism in general, but only to some forms of it. Some dynamists, like Kant, admit the continuity of the forces constituting matter, but the majority admit centres or atoms of forces acting on one another. Atomism, therefore, is either material or dynamic, and dynamism may admit atomism or continuity. How far even dynamism is irreconcilable with hylomorphism in its most general meaning, it is difficult to determine. Leibniz speaks of primary matter and of substantial form, or entelechy. And the common elements of all things must be conceived as being only in potentia with regard to the actual diverse substances which they constitute. Again, the dynamic elements may be purely physical, or, as with Leibniz, they may have, in various degrees, a psychical nature, thus implying a sort of panpsychism. Leibniz also considers them as essentially different; commonly they are considered as identical in nature. Dynamism in general may be adapted to and modified by such philosophical systems as determinism or freedom, substantialism or phenomenalism, idealism or realism, monism or theism, etc. In itself, it is not inconsistent with any essential Catholic doctrine.
  In conclusion, it may be interesting to note the contrast between the modern and the Aristotelean terminology. Aristotle's dynamis and energeia (see ACTUS ET POTENTIA) are essentially opposed. Today, they have come to be almost synonymous, and energetism is one of the dynamic views of matter.

C.A. Dubray, ed.
Transcribed by: Douglas J. Potter
This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Theano, 5th ce. BC

Theano, a celebrated female philosopher of the Pythagorean School, appears to have been the wife of Pythagoras, and the mother by him of Telauges, Mnesarchus, Myia , and Arignote; but the accounts respecting her were various. Letters ascribed to her, but not genuine, exist, and are edited by Hercher (1873).

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

Theano. The most celebrated of the female philosophers of the Pythagorean school, appears to have been the wife of Pythagoras, and the mother by him of Telauges, Mnesarchus, Myia, and Arignote; but the accounts respecting her were various. Some made her a daughter of Pythonax of Crete, others of Brontinus of Croton, while, according to others, she was the wife of Brontinus, and the disciple of Pythagoras. Her traditional fame for wisdom and virtue was of the highest order, and some interesting sayings are ascribed to her by Diogenes Laertius, and by Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom. iv.). Diogenes also informs us that she left some writings, but he does not mention their titles. Suidas ascribes to her hupomnemata philosopha kai apophthegmata kai poiema ti di epon. Several interesting letters are still extant under her name; and though it is now universally admitted that they cannot be genuine, they are valuable remains of a period of considerable antiquity.
  They were first edited in the Aldine collection of Greek Epistles, Venet. 1499; then in the similar collection of Cujacius, Aurel. Allob. 1606; then in Gale's Opuscula Mythologica, Cantab. 1671, Amst. 1688; then, far more accurately in Wolf's Mulierum Graecarum Fragmenta, 1739; and lastly in Io. Conrad Orelli's Socratis et Socraticorum, Pythagorae et Pythagoreorum, quae feruntur Epistolae, Lips. 1815; the Greek text is also printed with Wieland's admirable translation of the letters, Leipz. 1791. Wieland's translation is reprinted at the end of Orelli's work. (Diog. Laert. viii. 42; Suid. s. v.)
  Suidas mentions another Theano, of Metapontum or Thurium, also a Pythagorean, the wife of Carystus or Croton or Brontinus; who wrote works on Pythagoras, on Virtue addressed to Hippodamus of Thurium, paraineseis gunaikeias, and apophthegmata Puthagoreion. It is pretty clear, however, that this is only another account, somewhat more confused, of the celebrated Theano.

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


Eubule (Euboule), a well-informed Pythagorean lady, to whom one of the letters of Theano is addressed.

Zamolxis, Salmoxis

   Zamolxis (Zalmoxis, Salmoxis). Said to have been so called from the bear's skin (zalmos) in which he was clothed as soon as he was born. He was, according to the story current among the Greeks on the Hellespont, a Getan, who had been a slave to Pythagoras in Samos, but was manumitted, and acquired not only great wealth, but large stores of knowledge from Pythagoras, and from the Egyptians, whom he visited in the course of his travels. He returned among the Getae, introducing the civilization and the religious ideas which he had gained, especially regarding the immortality of the soul. Herodotus, however, suspects that he was an indigenous Getan divinity.

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

Hippon of Samos, 5th cent. BC

, , 470 - 400

He concerned himself with the liquids and supported the theory that drinkable water comes from the sea. For this reason Aristoteles characterizes him as "botherer and of less intellect".
He studied the development of animal and human sperm.
He developed the theory of Thales, according to which "water is the beginning of everything". He wrote a familiar book of which excerpts remain.

Hippon, of Rhegium, a philosopher, whom Aristotle (Metaphys. i. 3) considers as belonging to the Ionian school, but thinks unworthy to be reckoned among its members, on account of the poverty of his intellect. Fabricius (Bibl. Graec. vol. ii.) considers him the same as Hippon of Metapontum, who is called a Pythagorean, while some assign Samos as his birthplace. He was accused of Atheism, and so got the surname of the Melian, as agreeing in sentiment with Diagoras. As his works have perished, we cannot judge of the truth of this accusation, which Brucker thinks may have arisen from his holding the theory (easily deducible from the views of Pythagoras) that the gods were great men, who had been invested with immortality by the admiration and traditions of the vulgar. He is said to have written an epitaph to be placed on his own tomb after his death, expressing his belief that he had become a divinity. Some of his philosophical principles are preserved by Sextus Empiricus, Simplicius, Clemens Alexandrinus, and others. He held water and fire to be the principles of all things, the latter springing from the former, and then developing itself by generating the universe. He considered nothing exempt from the necessity of ultimate destruction. (Brucker, Hist. Crit. Phil. i. 1103 ; Brandis, Gesch. d. Phil. i. 121.)

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

Melissus of Samos

  A Greek philosopher, of the Eleatic School, b. at Samos about 470 B C. It is probable that he was a disciple of Parmenides, and that he is identical with the Melissus who, according to Plutarch, commanded the Samian fleet which defeated the Athenians off the coast of Samos in 442.
  He wrote a work which is variously entitled peri tou ontos, peri physeos, etc., and of which only a few fragments have come down to us. In attempting to combine the doctrines of Parmenides with those of the earliest philosophers of Greece, Melissus, through he fell into many contradictions, forestalled, in a sense, Aristotle's more successful effort to define the infinite and the incorporeal.
  Like Parmenides, he depreciated sense-knowledge, and held that change, motion, and multiplicity are illusions. At the same time, he was influenced by the Ionians, especially by Heraclitus, to attach value to the question of origins. He definitely predicates infinity of being, and assets that reality “has no body”. By the infinite he understands “that which has neither beginning nor end”, and in his conception of “that which has no body”, he does not attain a correct understanding of the immaterial.
  The physical doctrines ascribed to Melissus by Philoponus, Stoboeus, Epiphanius,, and others do not seem to have been held by him. There is, however, a possibility that, as Diogenes Laertius informs us, Melissus avoided all mention of the gods because we can know nothing about them. Like Plato, Aristotle, and some of the other Greek philosophers, he probably thought it wisest to take refuge in a profession of ignorance regarding the gods, so as to avoid the imputation of hostility to the popular mythology.

William Turner, ed.
Transcribed by: Dennis P. Knight
This extract is cited June 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

  Melissus, (Melissos). A Samian philosopher of Eleatic tendencies. He is probably not the person who commanded the fleet opposed to Pericles in B.C. 440, but of earlier date. Only fragments of his work remain.


A disciple of Plato whose lectures Epicurus attended (in Samos) as a young man .


Aristeides of Samos, 1st cent. BC

Astronomer, historian, geographer. He lived in Miletos and Alexandria.

Aristeides of Samos, a writer mentioned by Varro in his work entitled " Hebdomades," as an authority for the opinion, that the moon completed her circuit in twenty-eight days exactly. (Aul. Gell. N. A. iii. 10.)

Arignote of Samos, 5th cent. BC

Arignote of Samos,a female Pythagorean philosopher, is sometimes described as a daughter, at other times merely as a disciple of Pythagoras and Theano. She wrote epigrams and several works upon the worship and mysteries of Dionysus. (Suidas, s. v. Arignote, Theano, Puthag.; Clem. Alex. Strom. iv.; Harpocrat. s. v. Euoi.)

Conon of Samos, 3rd cent. BC

, , 280 - 220

Conon: A native of Samos, distinguished as an astronomer and geometrician. None of his works have reached us; he is mentioned, however, by Archimedes, Vergil, Seneca, and others. Conon lived between about 300 and 260 years before our era. Apollonius, in the fourth book of his Conic Sections, thinks that many of Conon 's demonstrations might be rendered more concise. He is mentioned as an astronomer by one of the commentators on Ptolemy, and Seneca informs us that he had made out a list of the eclipses of the sun that had been visible in Egypt. He is mentioned also by Vergil, and by Catullus in his translation of the Greek poem of Callimachus, on the tresses of Berenice.

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


Conon (Konon), of Samos, a mathematician and astronomer, lived in the time of the Ptolemies Philadelphus and Euergetes (B. C. 283-222), and was the friend and probably the teacher of Archimedes, who survived him. None of his works are preserved. His observations are referred to by Ptolemy in his phadeis aplanon, and in the historical notice appended to that work they are said to have been made in Italy (Petav. Uranolog.), in which country he seems to have been celebrated (See Virgil's mention of him, Ecl. iii. 40). According to Seneca (Nat. Quaest. vii. 3), he made a collection of the observations of solar eclipses preserved by the Egyptians. Apollonius Pergaeus (Conic. lib. iv. praef.) mentions his attempt to demonstrate some propositions concerning the number of points in which two conic sections can cut one another. Conon was the inventor of the curve called the spiral of Archimedes; but he seems to have contented himself with proposing the investigation of its properties as a problem to other geometers (Pappus, Math. Coll. iv. Prop. 18). He is said to have given the name (Coma Berenices to the constellation so called, on the authority of an ode of Callimachus translated by Catullus (lxvii. de Coma Berenices); a fragment of the original is preserved by Theon in his Scholia on Aratus (Phaenom. 146; see also Hyginus, Poet. Astron. ii. 24). But it is doubtful whether the constellation was really adopted by the Alexandrian astronomers. The strongest evidence which remains to us of Conon's mathematical genius consists in the admiration with which he is mentioned by Archimedes. See his prefaces to the treatises on the Quadrature of the Parabola and on Spirals.

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


Choerilus of Samos (Choerilos, Choirilos)

Choerilus. A Greek epic poet, born in Samos about B.C. 470, a friend of Herodotus and afterwards of the Spartan Lysander. He lived first at Athens and afterwards at the court of King Archelaus of Macedonia, where he was treated with great consideration, and died about B.C. 400. He was the first epic poet who, feeling that the old mythology was exhausted, ventured to treat an historical subject of immediate interest, the Persian wars, in an epic entitled Perseis. According to one account, the poem was read in the schools with Homer. The few fragments that remain show that it did not lack talent and merit; but little regard was paid to it by posterity.

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

Choerilus of Samos, the author of an epic poem on the wars of the Greeks with Xerxes and Dareius. Suidas (s. v.) says, that he was a contemporary of Panyasis and a young man (neaniskon) at the time of the Persian war, in the 75th Olympiad. But this is next to impossible, for Plutarch (Lys. 18) tells us that, when Lysander was at Samos (B. C. 404), Choerilus was residing there, and was highly honoured by Lysander, who hoped that the poet would celebrate his exploits. This was 75 years later than the 75th Olympiad: and therefore, if this date has anythlig to do with Choerilus, it must be the date of his birth (B. C. 479); and this agrees with another statement of Suidas, which implies that Choerilus was younger than Herodotus (houtinos auton kai paridika psepso nenai phasin). We have here perhaps the explanation of the error of Suidas, who, from the connexion of both Panyasis and Choerilus with Herodotus, and from the fact that both were epic poets, may have confounded them, and have said of Choerilus that which can very well be true of Panyasis. Perhaps Choerilus was even younger. Suidas also says, that Choerilus was a slave at Samos, and was distingaished for his beauty; that he ran away and resided with Herodotus, from whom he acquired a taste for literature; and that he turned his attention to poetry: afterwards he went to the court of Archelaus, king of Macedonia, where he died. His death must therefore have been not later than B. C. 399, which was the last year of Archelaus. Athenaeus (viii.) states, that Choerilus received from Archelaus four minae a-day, and spent it all upon good living (opsophagian). There are other statements of Suidas, which evidently refer to a later poet (see ancient Iasos), who was contemporary with Alexander There is some doubt whether the accounts which made him a native either of Iasos or of Halicarnassus belong to this class. Either of them is perfectly consistent with the statement that he was a slave at Samos (Conpare Steph. Byz. s. v. Iassos; Hesych. Miles.; Phot. Lex. s. v. Samiakon tropon.)
  His great work was on the Persian wars, but its exact title is not known: it may have been Persika. It is remarkable as the earliest attempt to celebrate in epic poetry events which were nearly contemporary with the poet's life. Of its character we may form some conjecture from the connexion between the poet and Herodotus. There are also fragments preserved by Aristotle from the Prooemium (Rhet. iii. 14, and Schol.); by Ephorus from the description of Dareius's bridge of boats, in which the Scythians are mentioned (Strab. vii.); by Josephus from the catalogue of the nations in the army of Xerxes, among whom were the Jews (c. Apion. i. 22. vol. ii., iii.; compare Euseb. Praup. Evang. ix. 9); and other fragments, the place of which is uncertain. The chief action of the poem appears to have been the battle of Salamis. The high estimation in which Choerilus was held is proved by his reception into the epic canon (Suid. s. v.), from which, however, he was again expelled by the Alexandrian grammarians, and Antimachus was substituted in his place, on account of a statement, which was made on the authority of Heracleides Ponticus, that Plato very much preferred Antimachus to Choerilus (Proclus, Comm. in Plat. Tim.).The great inferiority of Choerilus to Homer in his similes is noticed by Aristotle (Topic. viii. 1.24).

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

Persona (prosopon and prosopeion). A mask; an artificial covering for the face worn among many peoples in all ages of history and for different purposes, but more frequently in Greece and Italy
(1) for covering the faces of the dead and
(2) by actors in theatrical performances.
  Death-masks of gold have been found in tombs at Mycenae and elsewhere; at Carthage masks of clay were also similarly used. In Egypt they were placed upon the case containing the mummy. See also Imagines.
  For theatrical purposes, masks were made of linen, of bark, of leather, and sometimes of wood. Their introduction in dramatic performances is ascribed to Choerilus of Samos about B.C. 500, and to Aeschylus; but their use really goes back to the mummery in honour of Dionysus, at whose festivals in early Greece the face was painted with the lees of wine or covered with leaves. The opening for the eyes was not larger than the pupil of the actor's eyes behind the mask. The masks themselves sometimes merely covered the face, like masks in modern times; but sometimes, also, they covered the whole head down to the shoulders. The wig worn by the tragic actors was usually if not always a part of the mask. Phrynichus is said by Suidas to have first made comic masks. The varieties of masks were very numerous, representing every possible sort of character, age, sex, and condition. Pollux (iv. 133, etc.) enumerates twenty-eight typical kinds of mask, six for old men, eight for young men, eleven for women, and three for slaves. Gellius thinks that the mouth of the mask was arranged so as to intensify the sound of the actor's voice (v. 7); but this is doubtful.
  At Rome masks were not used in early times, but only wigs. They were probably first introduced in B.C. 110 by Roscius, who was homely and had a squint. When the audiences hissed an actor he was obliged to remove his mask, except when acting in the Atellanae fabulae (Macrob. Sat.ii. 7). See the articles Drama and Satyrica Fabula.

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

Asius of Samos, 7-6th ce. BC

Son of Amphiptolemus, Samian epic poet, 6th century BC.

Asius (Asios), one of the earliest Greek poets, who lived, in all probability, about B. C. 700, though some critics would place him at an earlier and others at a later period. He was a native of Samos, and Athenaeus (iii.) calls him the old Samian poet. According to Pausanias (vii. 4.2), his father's name was Amphiptolemus. Asius wrote epic and elegiac poems. The subject or subjects of his epic poetry are not known; and the few fragments which we now possess, consist of genealogical statements or remarks about the Samians, whose luxurious habits he describes with great naivete and humour. The fragments are preserved in Athenaeus, Pausanias, Strabo, Apollodorus, and a few others. His elegies were written in the regular elegiac metre, but all have perished with the exception of a very brief one which is preserved in Athenaeus.

Simonides of Amorgos

   Of Amorgos, the second, both in time and in reputation, of the three principal iambic poets of the early period of Greek literature--namely, Archilochus, Simonides, and Hipponax. He was a native of Samos, whence he led a colony to the neighbouring island of Amorgos, where he founded three cities--Minoa, Aegialus, and Arcesine--in the first of which he fixed his own abode. He flourished about B.C. 664. Simonides was most celebrated for his iambic poems, which were of two species, gnomic and satirical. The most important of his extant fragments is a satire upon women, in which he derives the various, though generally bad, qualities of women from the variety of their origin: thus, the uncleanly woman is formed from the swine; the cunning woman, from the fox; the talkative woman, from the dog, and so on.

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

Aeschrion of Samos, 4th ce. BC

Aeschrion (Aischrion), an iambic poet, a native of Samos. He is mentioned by Athenacus (vii. p. 296, f. viii. p. 335, c.), who has preserved some choliambic verses of his, in which he defends the Samian Philaenis against Polycrates, the Athenian rhetorician and sophist. Some of his verses are also quoted by Tzetzes (ad Lycophr. 638). There was an epic poet of the same name, who was a native of Mitylene and a pupil of Aristotle, and who is said to have accompanied Alexander on some of his expeditions. He is mentioned by Suidas (s. v.) and Tzetzes (Chil. viii. 406). As he was also a writer of iambics and choliambies, many scholars have supposed him to be identical with the Samian Aeschrion, and to have been called a Mitylenaean in coasequence of having resided for some time in that city.

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


A Greek poet, a native of Samos, and a younger contemporary of Theocritus. He was the author of thirty-nine epigrams, mostly erotic, in the Greek Anthology. The well-known Asclepiadean metre was perhaps named after him.

Cleophylus the Samian

Cleophylus. One of the earliest epic poets, and said to have been the friend or son-in-law of Homer. An epic poem has been ascribed to him, entitled Oichalias halosis or Oichalia, relating the contest of Heracles with Eurytus for the sake of Iole, and the capture of Oechalia.


Hedylus, (Hedulos), the son of Melicertus, was a native of Samos or of Athens, and an epigrammatic poet. According to Athenaeus, he killed himself for love of a certain Glaucus. His epigrams were included in the Garland of Meleager. (Prooem. 45.) Eleven of them are in the Greek Anthology (Brunck, Anal. vol. i. , vol. ii.; Jacobs, Anth. Graec. vol. i. ), but the genuineness of two of these (ix. and x.) is very doubtful. Most of his epigrams are in praise of wine, and all of them are sportive. In some he describes the dedicatory offerings in the temple of Arsinoe, among which he mentions the hydraulic organ of Ctesibius. Besides this indication of his time, we know that he was the contemporary and rival of Callimachus. He lived therefore in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, about the middle of the third century of our era, and is to be classed with the Alexandrian school of poets. (Athen. vii., viii.; Casaub. ad Athen. xi.; Pierson, ad Moerid.; Etym. Mag. s. v. alutarches; Callim. Epig. xxxi. in Anthol. Graec. ; Strab. xiv.; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. iv.; Jacobs, Anth. Graec. vol. xiii.)

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


Duris of Samos (Douris), 4th cent. BC

, , 340 - 270

A Samian writer of history who flourished about B.C. 350. He was a descendant of Alcibiades, and at one time was tyrant of Samos. Only fragments now remain of his historical writings

Duris, (Douris), of Samos, a descendant of Alcibiades (Plut. Alcib. 32), and brother of Lynceus, lived in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus. The early part of his life fell in the period when the Athenians sent 2000 cleruchi to Samos, by whom the inhabitants of the island were expelled, B. C. 352. During the absence from his native country, Duris, when yet a boy, gained a victory at Olympia in boxing, for which a statue was erected to him there with an inscription. (Paus. vi. 13.3) The year of that victory is unknown, but it took place previous to the return of the Samians to their island, in B. C. 324. He must have been staying for some time at Athens, as he and his brother Lynceus are mentioned among the pupils of Theophrastus. (Athen. iv.) After his return to Samos, he obtained the tyranny, though it is unknown by what means and how long he maintained himself in that position. He must, however, have survived the year B. C. 281, as in one of his works (ap. Plin. H. N. viii. 40) he mentioned an occurrence which belongs to that year.
  Duris was the author of a considerable number of works, most of which were of an historical nature, but none of them has come down to us, and all we possess of his productions consists of a number of scattered fragments. His principal work was--1. A history of Greece, he ton Hellenikon historia (Diod. xv. 60), or, as others simply call it, isturiai. It commenced with the death of the three princes, Amyntas, the father of Philip of Macedonia, Agesipolis of Sparta, and Jason of Pherae, that is, with the year B. C. 370, and carried the history down at least to B. C. 281, so that it embraced a period of at least 89 years. The number of books of which it consisted is not known, though their number seems to have amounted to about 28. Some ancient writers speak of a work of Duris entitled Makedonika, and the question as to whether this was a distinct work, or merely a part of or identical with the historiai, has been much discussed in modern times. Grauert (Histor. Analect.) and Clinton maintain, that it was a separate work, whereas Vossius and Droysen (Gesch. d. Nachfolg. Alex.) have proved by the strongest evidence, that the Macedonica is the same work as the historiai. 2. Peri Agathoklea historiai in several books, the fourth of which is quoted by Suidas. 3. Samion oroi, that is, Annals of the history of Samos, is frequently referred to by the ancients, and consisted of at least twelve books. 4. Peri Euripidou kai Sophokleous (Athen. iv.), seems to be the same as peri tragoidiass. (Athen. xiv. p. 636.) 5. peri no/mwn. (Etym. M.) 6. Peri agonon. (Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 613; Photius, s. v. Selinou stephanos.) 7. Peri zographias. (Diog. Laert. i. 38, ii. 19.) 8. Peri torentikes (Plin. Elench. lib. 33, 34), may, however, have been the same as the preceding work. 9. Aibuka. (Phot. s. v. Damia; Schol. ad Aristoph. Vesp. 1030.) Duris as an historian does not appear to have enjoyed any very great reputation among the ancients. Cicero (ad Alt. vi. 1) says of him merely homo in historia satis diligens, and Dionysius (de Compos. Verb. 4) reckons him among those historians who bestowed no care upon the form of their compositions. His historical veracity also is questioned by Plutarch (Pericl. 28; comp. Demosth. 19, Alcib. 32, Eum. 1), but he does not give any reasons for it, and it may be that Plutarch was merely struck at finding in Duris things which no other writer had mentioned, and was thus led to doubt the credibility of his statements. The fragments of Duris have been collected by J. G. Hulleman, " Duridis Samii quae supersunt," Traject. ad Rhen. 1841, 8vo.

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

Agatharchides of Samos

He wrote history of Persia

Aethlius of Samos (Aethlios) 6th century BC.

Aethlius (Aethlios), the author of a work entitled "Samian Annals" (Horoi Samioi), the fifth book of which is quoted by Athenaeus, although he expresses a doubt about the genuineness of the work. (xiv. p. 650, d. 653, f.) Aethlius is also referred to by Clemens Alexandrinus (Protr. p. 30, a), Eustathius (ad Od. vii. 120, p. 1573), and in the Etymologicum Magnum (s. v. nenotai), where the name is written Athlius.

Olympichus (Olympichus) of Samos

4th ce. BC, he wrote Samian History

Alexis of Samos

Alexis. A Samian, the author of an historical work called Samioi Horoi or Horoi Samiakoi (Samian Annals), which Athenaeus quotes. (xiii., xii.)

Evanthes of Samos

Evanthes. Of Samos, a Greek historian, who is mentioned only by Plutarch. (Sol. 11.) There are several passages in which authors of the name of Evanthes are referred to; but, their native countries not being stated, it is uncertain whether those passages refer to any of the three Evanthes here specified, or to other persons of the same name. Thus Pliny (H. N. viii. 22) quotes one Evanthes whom he calls inter auctores Graeciae son spretus, and from whose work he gives a statement respecting some religious rite observed in Areadia. One might therefore be inclined to think him the same as the Evanthes who is quoted by the Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius (i. 1063, 1065) as the author of muthika. Athenaeus (vii.) speaks of an epic poet Evanthes, of whose productions he mentions a hymn to Glaucus.

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


Eugeon, (or Eugaion), of Samos, one of the earliest Greek historians mentioned by Dionysius of Halicarnassus. (Jud. de Thueyd. 5; comp. Suid. s.v.)


Aristarchus of Samos

, , 320 - 250

Aristarchus of Samos, often referred to as the Copernicus of antiquity, laid the foundation for much scientific examination of the heavens. According to his contemporary, Archimedes, Aristarchus was the first to propose not only a heliocentric universe, but one larger than any of the geocentric universes proposed by his predecessors.
  Copernicus himself originally gave credit to Aristarchus in his own heliocentric treatise, De revolutionibus caelestibus , where he had written, ”Philolaus believed in the mobility of the earth, and some even say that Aristarchus of Samos was of that opinion.” Interestingly, this passage was crossed out shortly before publication, maybe because Copernicus decided his treatise would stand on its own merit.
  Plutarch in his De facie in orbe lunae gives reference not only to Aristarchus's theory, but to the way it was received by contemporaries. The general opinion of the time appeared to be that of Dercyllides, who “says that we must suppose the earth, the Hearth of the House of the Gods according to Plato, to remain fixed, and the planets with the whole embracing heaven to move, and rejects with abhorrence the view of those who have brought to rest the things which move and set in motion the things which by their nature and position are unmoved, such a supposition being contrary to the hypotheses of mathematics.” As we can imagine, this did not look good for Aristarchus, and was probably one of the main reasons the heliocentric hypothesis did not re-emerge until the mid 15th century with the Copernican revolution.
  Though some of his reasoning was a bit out of place in his time, Aristarchus nevertheless was able to adapt to the conventions of society and use the methods of known geometry to explain other phenomena. His treatise On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon , written from a geocentric point of view, was a breakthrough in finding distances to objects in the universe, and his methods were used by later astronomers and mathematicians through the time of Hipparchus and Ptolemy.
  Aristarchus introduced six hypotheses, from which he determined first the relative distances of the sun and the moon, then their relative sizes:
  1) The moon receives its light from the sun.
  2) The earth is positioned as a point in the center of the sphere in which the moon moves.
  3) When the moon appears to us halved, the great circle which divides the dark and bright portions of the moon is in the direction of our eye.
  4) When the moon appears to us halved, its [angular] distance from the sun is then less than a quadrant by one-thirtieth part of a quadrant. (One quadrant = 90 degrees, which means its angular distance is less than 90 by 1/30th of 90, or 3 degrees, and is therefore equal to 87 degrees.) (This assigned value was based on Aristarchus' observations.)
  5) The breadth of the earth's shadow is that of two moons.
  6) The moon subtends one fifteenth part of a sign of the Zodiac. (The 360 degrees of the celestial sphere are divided into twelve signs of the Zodiac each encompassing 30 degrees, so the moon, therefore, has an angular diameter of 2 degrees.)
  Although he proved many propositions (eighteen to be exact), the three most well-known are the following:
  1) The distance of the sun from the earth is greater than eighteen times, but less than twenty times, the distance of the moon from the earth.
  2) The diameter of the sun has the same ratio (greater than eighteen but less than twenty) to the diameter of the moon.
  3) the diameter of the sun has to the diameter of the earth a ratio greater than 19 to 3, but less than 43 to 6. In his determination of these three factors, Aristarchus developed the Lunar Dichotomy method and the Eclipse Diagram, the latter of which became a much-used method of determining celestial distances up until the seventeenth century.

Method of Lunar Dichotomy
  When the moon appears to us in its phase of First Quarter or Last Quarter, it is “dichotomized”, or half illuminated. At the moment when the dividing line between light and dark exactly bisects the moon's circle, the angle from Earth to Moon to Sun is exactly 90 degrees. Aristarchus determined that at this precise moment the angular separation between the moon and the sun, that is, the angle from Moon to Earth to Sun, is equal to 87 degrees, as he stated in his fourth hypothesis. Using these angles, he determined (without using trigonometric tables or formulae--they weren't invented yet) that the ratio of the distance ES to EM was greater than 18 to 1, but less than 20 to 1.
  In order to determine the actual values for the sizes of the sun and moon, Aristarchus used two observations: first, that the disk of the moon just covers the sun during a solar eclipse--although this is not always true, for the sun appears larger during an annular eclipse.
  Second, that during a lunar eclipse the shadow of the earth appears to be twice as large as the moon at the moon's distance. (See hypothesis 5.) With this data he constructed the Eclipse Diagram, which he used to show that the earth is approximately three times larger than the moon, and that the radius of the sun is more than six times larger than the radius of the earth.
  Although his geometry was perfect, Aristarchus' methods of measurement were extremely inaccurate. His basic value for the angle from Sun to Earth to Moon was off by a few degrees (the actual value is 89 degrees, 50 minutes), and the width of the earth's shadow cone at the moon is actually three rather than two moon diameters. Using improved values, we can show that the sun is about 400 times farther from the earth than the moon, and its diameter is approximately 109 times greater than that of earth.
  In terms of heliocentricity or the movement of the earth, the only person to follow Aristarchus' philosophy was Seleucus, who in 150 BC attributed the ocean tides to the stirring of air caused by the rotation of the earth and its interaction with the revolution of the moon. Later, in the first century BC, Seneca mentioned the possibility of a rotating earth, but did not necessarily believe that it was possible.
  Overall, Aristarchus was a pioneer both in his depiction of the universe and his geometric approach to the measurement of the heavenly bodies. He contributed a great deal to both geometry and astronomy, and his methods, as adapted by Hipparchus and others, were used well into the 17th century.
by Kristen Riley

Aristarchus (Aristarchos), of Samos, one of the earliest astronomers of the Alexandrian school. We know little of his history, except that he was living between B. C. 280 and 264. The first of these dates is inferred from a passage in the megale suntaxis of Ptolemy (iii. 2), in which Hipparchus is said to have referred, in his treatise on the length of the year, to an observation of the summer solstice made by Aristarchus in the 50th year of the st Calippic period: the second from the mention of him in Plutarch (de Facie in Orbe Lunae), which makes him contemporary with Cleanthes the Stoic, the successor of Zeno.
  It seems that he employed himself in the determination of some of the most important elements of astronomy; but none of his works remain, except a treatise on the magnitudes and distances of the sun and moon (peri megethon kai apostematon heliou kai selenes). We do not know whether the method employed in this work was invented by Aristarchus (Suidas, s. v. philosophos, mentions a treatise on the same subject by a disciple of Plato); it is, however, very ingenious, and correct in principle. It is founded on the consideration that at the instant when the enlightened part of the moon is apparently bounded by a straight line, the plane of the circle which separates the dark and light portions passes through the eye of the spectator, and is also perpendicular to the line joining the centres of the sun and moon; so that the distances of the sun and moon from the eye are at that instant respectively the hypothenuse and side of a right-angled triangle. The angle at the eye (which is the angular distance between the sun and moon) can be observed, and then it is an easy problem to find the ratio between the sides containing it. But this process could not, unless by accident, lead to a true result; for it would be impossible, even with a telescope, to determine with much accuracy the instant at which the phaenomenon in question takes place; and in the time of Aristarchus there were no means of measuring angular distances with sufficient exactness. In fact, he takes the angle at the eye to be 83 degrees whereas its real value is less than a right angle by about half a minute only; and hence he infers that the distance of the sun is between eighteen and twenty times greater than that of the moon, whereas the true ratio is about twenty times as great, the distances being to one another nearly as 400 to 1. The ratio of the true diameters of the sun and moon would follow immediately from that of their distances, if their apparent (angular) diameters were known. Aristarchus assumes that their apparent diameters are equal, which is nearly true; but estimates their common value at two degrees, which is nearly four times too great. The theory of parallax was as yet unknown, and hence, in order to compare the diameter of the earth with the magnitudes already mentioned, he compares the diameter of the moon with that of the earth's shadow in its neighbourhood, and assumes the latter to be twice as great as the former (Its mean value is about 84?). Of course all the numerical results deduced from these assumptions are, like the one first mentioned, very erroneous. The geometrical processes employed shew that nothing like trigonometry was known. No attempt is made to assign the absolute values of the magnitudes whose ratios are investigated; in fact, this could not be done without an actual measurement of the earth--an operation which seems to have been first attempted on scientific principles in the next generation. Aristarchus does not explain his method of determining the apparent diameters of the sun and of the earth's shadow; but the latter must have been deduced from observations of lunar eclipses, and the former may probably have been observed by means of the skaphium by a method described by Macrobius (Somn. Scip. i. 20). This instrument is said to have been invented by Aristarchus (Vitruv. ix. 9): it consisted of an improved gnomon, the shadow being received not upon a horizontal plane, but upon a concave hemispherical surface having the extremity of the style at its centre, so that angles might be measured directly by arcsinstead of by their tangents. The gross error in the value attributed to the sun's apparent diameter is remarkable; it appears, however, that Aristarchus must afterwards have adopted a much more correct estimate, since Archimedes in the Psammites refers to a treatise in which he made it only half a degree. Pappus, whose commentary on the book peri megethon, &c. is extant, does not notice this emendation, whence it has been conjectured, that the other works of Aristarchus did not exist in his time, having perhaps perished with the Alexandrian library.
  It has been the common opinion, at least in modern times, that Aristarchus agreed with Philolaus and other astronomers of the Pythagorean school in considering the sun to be fixed, and attributing a motion to the earth. Plutarch (de fac. in orb. lun.) says, that Cleanthes thought that Aristarthus ought to be accused of impiety for supposing (hupotithemenos), that the heavens were at rest, and that the earth moved in an oblique circle, and also about its own axis (the true reading is evidently Kleanthes oieto dein Aristarchon, k. t. l.); and Diogenes Laertius, in his list of the works of Cleanthes mentions one pros Aristarchon (See also Sext. Empir. adv. Math.; Stobaeus, i. 26). Archimedes, in the psammites, refers to the same theory (hupotithetai gar, k. t. l.). But the treatise peri megethon contains not a word upon the subject, nor does Ptolemy allude to it when he maintains the immobility of the earth. It seems therefore probable, that Aristarchus adopted it rather as a hypothesis for particular purposes than as a statement of the actual system of the universe. In fact, Plutarch, in another place (Plat. Quest.) expressly says, that Aristarchus taught it only hypothetically. It appears from the passage in the psammites alluded to above, that Aristarchus had much juster views than his predecessors concerning the extent of the universe. He maintained, namely, that the sphere of the fixed stars was so large, that it bore to the orbit of the earth the relation of a sphere to its centre. What he meant by the expression, is not clear : it may be interpreted as an anticipation of modern discoveries, but in this sense it could express only a conjecture which the observations of the age were not accurate enough either to confirm or refute -a remark which is equally applicable to the theory of the earth's motion. Whatever may be the truth on these points, it is probable that even the opinion, that the sun was nearly twenty times as distant as the moon, indicates a great step in advance of the popular doctrines.
  Censorinus (de Die Natali, c. 18) attributes to Aristarchus the invention of the magnus annus of 2484 years.
  A Latin translation of the treatise peri megethon was published by Geor. Valla, Venet. 1498, and another by Commandine, Pisauri, 1572. The Greek text, with a Latin translation and the commentary of Pappus, was edited by Wallis, Oxon. 1688, and reprinted in vol. iii. of his works. There is also a French translation, and an edition of the text, Paris, 1810.

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

Aristyllus of Samos, 3rd cent. BC

He lived in Alexandria at the time of the Kings Ptolemaios, Soter and Philadelphos. Aristyllos and Timocharis were the only astronomers who made astronomical observations before Hipparchos. His observations on the constellation of Capricorn and three stars of the Great Bear are extremely important.
Plutarch mentions him "as a writer of astronomical works".
A moon crater at the NE is called Aristyllos to his honor.


Agathon of Samos

During Hellenistic hera. He wrote "Circumnavigation of the Black Sea" (Contains valuable information on Geography, flora and fauna of the regions around the Black Sea. He mentions a "wonderful" plant that flourishes at Tanais and another one near the Inachas river. He also describes a mountain close to the city of Trapezous), "Scythian" , "On rivers" .

Diodorus of Samos, 1st cent. BC

He wrote: "Indica" He describes his journey which started at the city Limyra of Lycia and ended at the Indian peninsula. He gives valuable geographical information. He mentions the constellations of Taurus and the Pleiades which he observed. Two islands of the Arabian Gulf were named after him (today's name: Perim islands). Some excerpts of his books remain through the writings of other geographers.


Rhoikos, Telekles & Theodoros of Samos

The first men to melt bronze and to cast images were the Samians Rhoecus the son of Philaeus and Theodorus the son of Telecles. Theodorus also made the emerald signet, which Polycrates, the tyrant of Samos, constantly wore, being exceedingly proud of it. (Paus. 8.14.8)

  The surviving ancient accounts of these three sculptors' achievements are the product of two quite different Greek historical traditions, whose contradictions are sometimes misunderstood as evidence for two Theodoroi, not one. Writing around 450, Herodotos knew of Rhoikos (son of Philes) only as "first" architect of the great temple of Hera on Samos, and describes Theodoros (son of Telekles) as the maker of the tyrant Polykrates' famous ring, of two massive silver kraters dedicated by Croesus at Delphi, and of a golden vine for the Lydian Pythios, which he later gave to Darius (Hdt. 1.51; Hdt. 3.41; Hdt. 3.60; Hdt. 7.27); the temple was begun ca. 560, while Polykrates ruled from ca. 533 to 522, and Croesus from ca. 560-547/6. Six hundred years later, Herodotos' admirer Pausanias accepted this testimony, adding that Theodoros also built the "Skias" (an assembly-place) in Sparta and that:
Pausanias 10.38.6-7 These two Samians were the first to discover the art of founding the bronze to perfection, and the first to cast it in a mold. I have found no surviving work of Theodoros, at least in bronze.
  In addition, Vitruvius records a book by Theodoros on the "Doric" (sic) Heraion, while Pliny lists Smilis, Rhoikos, and him (in that order) as architects of the "Lemnian Labyrinth" (see T 14) with its lathe-turned columns, describes the two Samians as inventors of clay modelling (!), and Theodoros alone as inventor of certain tools, the lathe included. In fact, the columns of the mid sixth-century Heraion were indeed lathe-turned, apparently a 'first' in Greek architecture. Finally, Diogenes Laertius credits Theodoros with designing the foundations for the Ephesian Artemision (begun by 547/6), but remarks that he was Rhoikos' son. All this information clearly derives from a common source, perhaps a Hellenistic writer who had Theodoros' original text. Along with Diogenes' variant geneology, this brings us to the second historical tradition, which is both more problematic and in some ways more interesting. The crucial witness here is Diodoros:
Diodoros 1.98 The most distinguished of the ancient sculptors, namely Telekles and Theodoros, the sons of Rhoikos, spent time in Egypt. They made the xoanon of Pythian Apollo for the Samians, and it is said that one half of it was carved by Telekles in Samos, the other half by his brother Theodoros in Ephesos; and when the parts were brought together, they fitted so well that the whole statue seemed to have been made by one man. This sort of technique is practised nowhere among the Greeks, but it is especially common among the Egyptians. For with them the commensurability (symmetria) of statues is not calculated according to the appearance (phantasia) presented to the eye, as among the Greeks, but when they have laid out the stones and divided them up, they begin work on them by taking the proportions from the smallest parts to the largest; for, dividing the layout of the whole body into twenty-one parts and an additional quarter, they produce the entire symmetria of the figure. Consequently, as soon as the artisans have agreed upon the size of the figure, they split up and make the parts to the agreed size so accurately as to cause amazement at this peculiar system of theirs. The xoanon in Samos, in accordance with the Egyptian technique, is divided into two parts from the crown of the head through the middle to the groin, each part exactly matching the other at every point. And they say that for the most part this statue is rather like those of the Egyptians, having the arms suspended at the sides and the legs separated in a stride.
  Now most of Diodoros' first book was lifted wholesale from an early Alexandrian historian, Hekataios of Abdera, whose declared aims were to discredit Greek writers on Egypt, particularly Herodotos (cf. Diod. Sic. 1.69.7) in favor of Egyptian priestly traditions, and to show that everything worthwhile in Greek culture came from Egypt. Hence the different family tree, which surely reflects the received opinion that Theodoros was somehow a "junior partner" to Rhoikos on the Heraion, and the author's clear preference for the absolute perfection of Egyptian sculpture over the subjectivity or phantasia of the Greek.
  In fact, Egyptologists have long recognized that Hekataios is describing -- and misunderstanding -- the traditional Egyptian workshop practice of having apprentices make canonical trial pieces (chiefly heads, hands, and feet) as a part of their training; the grid he describes is the revised one current from the seventh century. As Lippold 1950, 59 suggests, a double signature of Rhoikos and Theodoros may have prompted the whole fantastic anecdote (for another explanation, Davaras 1972, 22-3). For since East Greek sculptors normally cut inscriptions into the legs of their kouroi, the two perhaps signed one leg each. Of course, none of this disqualifies them from possessing the firsthand knowledge of Egyptian methods that Hekataios attributes to them: the Egyptian canon was used on the New York kouros around 600-580 (New York 32.11.1), Samos had close artistic, commercial, and political ties with Egypt, and an early sixth-century cup dedicated by one Rhoikos (a rare name) to Aphrodite was even found at Naukratis in the 1880s.
Finally, Theodoros' self-portrait, for which Pliny is the only source:
Pliny, N.H. 34.83 Theodorus, who made the Labyrinth at Samos, cast a portrait of himself in bronze. Besides its remarkable fame as a likeness, it is celebrated for its great finesse; the right hand holds a file, and the three fingers of the left a little chariot and four, but this has been taken away to the Praeneste as a marvel of miniaturization: if it were reproduced in a drawing, together with its charioteer, the fly which Theodorus made at the same time would cover it with its wings.
  On the likely extent of this "realism" see Metzler 1971, 175-9, with comments on the growing self-assertiveness of the artist and the use of realism as a differentiating device (though to see it in Marxist terms, as a working-class riposte to the aristocratic beauty of the kouroi, is surely anachronistic). Pliny's use of similitudo or "likeness" here links Theodoros with Demetrios of Alopeke and Lysistratos, brother of Lysippos; Pollitt 1974, 430-34 discusses the Hellenistic background to all this, including the neo-classic distaste for "likeness" as opposed to "beauty".
  If one is to credit the sources, then, Theodoros was a kind of archaic Cellini, inventive and versatile as none other, and particularly expert in metalwork; one only wishes that something had survived to confirm his stellar reputation.

This extract is from: Andrew Stewart, One Hundred Greek Sculptors: Their Careers and Extant Works. Cited Jan 2004 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains extracts from the ancient literature, bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Rhoecus of Samos, 6th cent. BC

The son of Phileas or Philaeus, of Samos, an architect and statuary, who flourished about B.C. 640. He is said to have invented the art of casting statues in bronze and iron, and was the architect of the beautiful temple of Here in his native island. It is known, however, that the casting of bronze had been known to the Phoenicians before his time, so that he merely introduced the art into Greece.

Theodorus of Samos, son of Rhoecus

    In conjunction with his father, he erected the labyrinth of Lemnos, and advised the laying down of a layer of charcoal as part of the foundation of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. He is said to have lived for a long time in Egypt, where he and his brother Telecles learned the Egyptian canon of proportion for the human figure. He was considered by the Greeks as one of the inventors of the art of casting in bronze . He wrote a work on the Temple of Here at Samos, which was begun by his father.

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

Pythagoras of Samos or Rhegium

Pliny places Pythagoras fourth in his selection of five bronze-casters, after Pheidias, Polykleitos, and Myron, and before Lysippos.
Assembling all the evidence, his recorded works, all bronzes, are as follows:
Victor statues
- The wrestler Leontiskos of Messana, at Olympia
- The runner Astylos of Kroton, at Olympia
- The boxer Euthynos of Italian Locri, at Olympia
- The pankratiast Dromeus of Mantinea, at Olympia
- The hoplite runner Mnaseas of Kyrene, nicknamed Libys, at Olympia
- The charioteer Kratisthenes of Kyrene, his chariot, and Nike, at Olympia
- The boy-boxer Protolaos of Mantinea, at Olympia
- A pankratiast, at Delphi
- The kithara-player Kleon, at Thebes
Gods and heroes
- Apollo shooting the dragon, perhaps at Kroton
- A wounded man, at Syracuse
- Seven nudes and an old man, later at Rome
- Eteokles and Polyneikes
- Perseus
- Europa on the Bull, at Taras

This extract is from: Andrew Stewart, One Hundred Greek Sculptors: Their Careers and Extant Works. Cited Jan 2004 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains extracts from the ancient literature, bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Harpalus of Samos, 6-5th cent. BC

Engineer, astronomer. His work: Bridge on the Hellespont (481-480 BC).
This was a floating bridge which consisted of boats connected to each other, between Sestos-Madytos (european coast) and Abydos (asiatic coast). The bridge was constructed and commissioned by the King Xerxes in order to facilitate the passage of the persian army to the european coast.
Herodotos describes the construction: Width of the strait: 5280 feet (1580 m). The first try was made by Phoenician, then by Egyptian engineers, who announced to Xerxes the completion of the work. Winter had already began and strong winds broke the bridge in two. Xerxes was very angry and ordered the decapitation of the engineers, to whip the waters with 300 strokes and throw a pair of chains to the sea in order to captivate the Hellespont. The stress with which the chief engineer Harpalos and his collaborators worked is self-evident. The Greeks constructed two bridges at right angles to the Hellespont. Every bridge consisted of triremes and quinquiremes alternately connected to each other. In order to confront the stream and the wind, the bow was at the Aegean side and the stern was at the Black Sea. The bridge at the Black Sea side consisted of 360 boats, the other one (to the Aegean side) consisted of 314. In both rows openings had been provided in order to enable small commercial ships to pass through. The hanging bridges were connected to the coasts by 6 colossal ropes. The ropes were tied to wooden "onos" ("donkeys", special machines for the rising of heavy bodies). So they succeeded to connect the boats to each other and construct a road up on them. 2 of the ropes on every bridge consisted of canvas and 4 of papyrus. Through this combination the safety factor was increased. Harpalos' report after finishing the construction showed that the Phoenicians had used only canvas and the Egyptians only papyrus. The Greeks put trunks, cut to the same size on the ropes on shore at the anchoring area. On the trunks they placed a second layer of ropes etc. The footings of the bridges were completed with the heap up of earth and wood, probably by compression, in order to receive the reactions at the supports. Finally they constructed on both sides earth dams, probably combined with ramps, so that the passing animals could not see the sea and be alarmed.
Two months after the end of the construction and, probably after some endurance tests, Xerxes arrived at Abydos and the running through started. The army used the bridge to the Black Sea side. For animals and supplies the bridge to the Aegean side was used. According to Herodot's estimation passed safely through both bridges 1.700.000 infantry soldiers, belonging to 46 nations, 80.000 riders with the respective horses and 20.000 camels with the respective camel riders.

Mandrocles of Samos, 6th cent. BC

Mandrocles was the technical consultant of Dareios 1st, King of the Persians. He followed him in the campaign against the Skyths (513-512 BCE). The bridging of the Bosporos was a great achievement in antiquity, considered the big opening to the sea streams and the depth of the sea. It is the first engineer work of this kind in world history. Herodot mentions it. Mandrocles ordered a painting showing Dareios' Army passing over the bridge and Dareios watching. A description of this work accompanied the paper. He dedicated it to the Heraion of Samos. The bridge was probably constructed at the narrowest point of the Bosporos, 660 m width (today Rumeli Hissar). The depth at this point is 120 m and the anchoring of the ships was very difficult because of the very strong streams.
Work: "Floating bridge", connecting both coasts of the Bosporos northly of Chalkedon, probably at the mouth of the Areta river.

Ancient comedy playwrites


Lynceus (Lunkeus), of Samos, the disciple of Theophrastus, and the brother of the historian Duris, was a contemporary of Menander, and his rival in comic poetry. He survived Menander, upon whom he wrote a book. He seems to have been more distinguished as a grammarian and historian than as a comic poet; for, while only one of his comedies is mentioned (the Kentauros), we have the titles of the following works of his: -- Aiguptiaka, Apomnemoneumata, Apophsegmara, Epistolai deipnetikai, techne opsonetike. (Suid. s. v.; Athen. viii.; Plut. Demetr. 27)

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


Agatharchus (Agatharchos)

Agatharchus (Agatharchos), a Athenian artist, said by Vitruvius (Praef. ad lib. vii.) to have invented scene-painting, and to have painted a scene for a tragedy which Aeschylus exhibited. As this appears to contradict Aristotle's assertion (Poet. 4.16), that scene-painting was introduced by Sophocles, some scholars understand Vitruvius to mean merely, that Agatharchus constructed a stage (Compare Hor. Ep ad. Pis. 279: et modicis instraxit pulpita tignis). But the context shews clearly that perspective painting must be meant, for Vitruvius goes on to say, that Democritus and Anaxagoras, carrying out the principles laid down in the treatise of Agatharchus, wrote on the same subject, shewing how, in drawing, the lines ought to be made to correspond, according to a natural proportion, to the figure which would be traced out on an imaginary intervening plane by a pencil of rays proceeding from the eye, as a fixed point of sight, to the several points of the object viewed.
There was another Greek painter of the name of Agatharchus, who was a native of the island of Samos, and the son of Eudemus. lie was a contemporary of Alcibiades and Zeuxis. We have no definite accounts respecting his performances, but he does not appear to have been an artist of much merit : he prided himself chiefly on the ease and rapidity with which he finished his works (Plut. Perid. 13). Plutarch (Alcib. 16) and Andocides at greater length (in Alcib.) tell an anecdote of Alcibiades having inveigled Agatharchus to his house and kept him there for more than three months in striet durance, compelling him to adorn it with his pencil. The speech of Andocides above referred to seems to have been delivered after the destruction of Melos (B. C. 416) and before the expedition to Sicily (B. C. 415); so that from the above data the age of Agatharchus may be accurately fixed. Some scholars (as Bentley, Bottiger, and Meyer) have supposed him to be the same as the contemporary of Aeschylus, who, however, must have preceded him by a good half century.

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



A Samian flute-player, his grave made by Cleopatra.



  Tyrant on Samos in the 6th century BC. He took power together with his brothers in 538 BC, but became lone ruler in 532 BC.
  Polycrates was a very strong ruler, and was to make many changes in his time at various levels. With his fleet, he conquered several cities on the coast of Asia Minor, as well as many islands in the Aegean Sea. On Samos he had several buildings made, including a 1km water-tunnel, temples and wave breakers.
  Around him he gathered learned scholars, but Pythagoras disagreed with his rule and left the island.
  According to Herodotus Polycrates' friend Amasis, king of Egypt, worried about the tyrant's success. He feared the gods, and begged his friend to throw away his most precious belonging. Polycrates then took off his most valuable ring and threw it in the sea. Three days later, a fisherman came to his court to present him with a huge fish he had caught as a gift. When the fish was cut open, the ring was in its stomach. Amasis then thought it best to leave.
  Polycrates was killed by the Persian governor Oroites, who had his corpse crucified when he conquered Samos.

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


Banished by his brother Polycrates from Samos: Hdt. 3.39, his gift to Darius and its reward: Hdt. 3.139-141, his restoration to the government of Samos (Elsewhere a patronymic): Hdt. 3.144-149


Aeaces. The son of Syloson, and the grandson of the preceding, was tyrant of Samos, but was deprived of his tyranny by Aristagoras, when the Ionians revolted from the Persians, B. C. 500. He then fled to the Persians, and induced the Samians to abandon the other Ionians in the sea-fight between the Persians and Ionians. After this battle, in which the latter were defeated, he was restored to the tyranny of Samos by the Persians, B. C. 494. (Herod. iv. 138, vi. 13, 14, 25.)

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


Son of Androdamas, his services to the Persians at Salamis, despot of Samos.

Maeandrius, Maiandrios

Secretary to Polycrates of Samos: Hdt. 3.124, Polycrates' deputy: Hdt. 3.142, his death: Hdt. 3.143


Charilaus (Charilaos), brother of Maeandrius, tyrant of Samos. When the Persians invaded the island, towards the commencement of the reign of Dareius Hystaspis, for the purpose of establishing Syloson, the brother of Polycrates, in the tyranny, Maeandrius submitted to them, and agreed to abdicate; but Charilaus, who was somewhat crazy, obtained leave from his brother to fall with a body of soldiers on a party of the most distinguished Persians, who were sitting in front of the acropolis, and waiting for the ratification of the treaty. The consequence of this treacherous murder was a wholesale massacre of the Samians by order of the Persian general, Otanes. (Herod. iii. 144-149)



Related to the place

Epicurus, The Philosopher

. . . born in the year B.C. 341, in the island of Samos, whither his father had gone from Athens, in the year B.C. 352, among 2000 colonists then sent out by the Athenians. Yet he was an Athenian by right, belonging to the deme Gargettus and to the tribe Aegeis.


Herodotus (of Halicarnassus ) retired for a season to the island of Samos, where he is said to have cultivated the Ionic dialect of the Greek, which was the language there prevalent.


Anacreon of Teos , the poet, lived at Polycrates court.


Anaximander, philosopher of Miletus , lived at the court of Polycrates of Samos, and died B.C. 547.


Ibycus, poet of Rhegium , lived at Polycrates court.


Eupalinus, engineer from Megara , builder of the Samian aqueduct.


Ameinocles, shipwright from Corinth , making four ships for the Samians.


Plutarch blames Aspasia for Pericles' decision to start the war against Samos, a wealthy and powerful member of the empire.


Arcesilaus (of Cyrene ), son of the lame Battus and Pheretime, would not abide by the ordinances of Demonax, but demanded back the prerogatives of his forefathers, and made himself head of a faction; but he was defeated and banished to Samos, and his mother fled to Salamis in Cyprus. (Herodotus 4.162.2)
Meanwhile Arcesilaus was in Samos, collecting all the men that he could and promising them a new division of land; and while a great army was thus gathering, he made a journey to Delphi, to ask the oracle about his return.(Herodotus 4.163.1)(br> The alliance of Arcesilaus and Samos is commemorated in the types of a Cyrenaic tetradrachm, with the lion's head (of Samos) as well as the silphium


Thracian slave of Iadmon

Antonius & Cleopatra at Samos


. . . Archias son of Samius, and grandson of the Archias mentioned above, who honored the Samians more than any other of his guest-friends, and told me that his father had borne the name Samius because he was the son of that Archias who was killed fighting bravely at Samos.


A Spartan, son of Archias, so called in commemoration of his father's honours won in Samos.

Men in the armed forces


A Samian, son of Aristagoras, envoy to the Greeks before Mycale

Hegesistratus. A Samian, was among those who were sent from Samos to Leotychides, the Spartan king, in command of the Greek fleet at Delos, to urge him to him to come to the aid of the Ionians against the Persians. Leotychides accepted the name Hegesistratus (conductor of the army) as a good omen, and complied with the request. The result was the battle of Mycale, B. C. 479. (Herod. ix. 90-92.)



A Samian wrestler who had been born dumb. Seeing some unlawful measures pursued in a contest, which would deprive him of the prize, his indignation gave him on a sudden the powers of utterance, which had hitherto been denied him, and from this time he spoke with ease.

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Ferry Departures

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