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Biographies (42)


Xanthoudidis Stefanos

, , 1864 - 1928


Chersiphron of Cnosus, 6th cent. BC

KNOSSOS (Minoan settlement) CRETE
Chersiphron, or, as the name is written in Vitruvius and one passage of Pliny, Ctesiphon, an architect of Cnossus in Crete, in conjunction with his son Metagenes, built or commenced building the great temple of Artemis at Ephesus. The worship of Artemis was most probably established at Ephesus before the time of the Ionian colonization; and it would seem, that there was already at that distant period some temple to the goddess. (Paus. vii. 2. Β§ 4.) We are not told what had become of this temple, when, about the beginning of the 6th century B. C., the Ionian Greeks undertook the erection of a new temple, which was intended for the centre of their national worship, like the temple of Hera at Samos, which was built about the same time by the Dorian colonies. The preparation of the foundations was commenced about B. C. 600. To guard against earthquakes, a marsh was chosen for the site of the temple, and the ground was made firm by layers of charcoal rammed down, over which were laid fleeces of wool. This contrivance was suggested by Theodorus of Samos. The work proceeded very slowly. The erection of the columns did not take place till about 40 years later (B. C. 560). This date is fixed by the statement of Herodotus (i. 92), that most of the pillars were presented by Croesus. This therefore is the date of Chersiphron, since it is to him and to his son Metagenes that the ancient writers attribute the erection of the pillars and the architrave. Of course the plan could not be extended after the erection of the pillars; and therefore, when Strabo (xiv.) says, that the temple was enlarged by another architect, he probably refers to the building of the courts round it. It was finally completed by Demetrius and Paeonius of Ephesus, about 220 years after the foundations were laid ; but it was shortly afterwards burnt down by Herostratus on the same night in which Alexander the Great was born, B. C. 356. It was rebuilt with greater magnificence by the contributions of all the states of Asia Minor. It is said, that Alexander the Great offered to pay the cost of the restoration on the condition that his name should be inscribed on the temple, but that the Ephesians evaded the offer by replying, that it was not right for a god to make offerings to gods. The architect of the new temple was Deinocrates. The edifice has now entirely disappeared, except some remnants of its foundations. Though Pliny (like others of the ancient writers) has evidently confounded the two buildings, yet his description is valuable, since the restored temple was probably built on the same foundations and after the same general plan as the old one. We have also descriptions of it by Vitruvius, who took his statements from a work on the temple, which was said to have been written by the architects themselves, Chersiphron and Metagenes (vii. Praef.12). There are also medals on which the elevation of the chief portico is represented. The temple was Octastyle, Dipteral, Diastyle, and Hypaethral. It was raised on a basement of 10 steps. Its dimensions were 425 X 220 feet. The columns were 127 in number, 60 feet high, and made of white marble, a quarry of which was discovered at a distance of only eight miles from the temple, by a shepherd named Pixodarus. Thirty-six of the columns were sculptured (perhaps Caryatides within the cella), one of them by the great sculptor Scopas (Plin. xxxvi. 14. s. 21: but many critics think the reading doubtful). They were of the Ionic order of architecture, which was now first invented (Plin. xxxvi. 23. s. 56, and especially Vitruv. iv. 1.7, 8). Of the blocks of marble which composed the architrave some were as much as 30 feet long. In order to convey these and the columns to their places, Chersiphron and Metagenes invented some ingenious mechanical contrivances (Vitruv. x. 6, 7, or x. 2.11, 12, ed. Schneider; Plin. xxxvi. 14. s. 21). The temple was reckoned one of the seven wonders of the world, and is celebrated in several epigrams in the Greek Anthology, especially in two by Antipater of Sidon.
  From this account it is manifest that Chersiphron and Metagenes were among the most distinguished of ancient architects, both as artists and mechanicians.
(Plin. H. N. vii. 25. s. 38, xvi. 37. s. 79, xxxvi. 14. s. 21; Vitruv. iii. 2.7, vii. Praef.16; Strab. xiv.; Liv. i. 45; Diog. Laert. ii. 9; Philo Byzant. de VII Orb. Mirac.)

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

Metagenes of Cnosus, 6th cent. BC

Son of Chersiphron of Cnosus

Fighters of the 1821 revolution

Kourmoulis Dimitrios

, , 1765 - 1824

Kourmoulis Michalis

, , 1765 - 1824

Korakas Michalis

POBIA (Small town) MIRES
, , 1797 - 1882


Katechakis Georgios

, , 1881 - 1938


Cihumnus, Georgius

HERAKLION (Ancient city) CRETE
Cihumnus, Georgius, a native of Candace or Chandace, in the island of Crete, lived most probably during the later period of the Greek empire. He wrote a history in verse, beginning with the creation of the world and going down to the reign of David and Solomon, kings of Judaea, which is extant in MS. in the imperial library at Vienna, and was formerly in the library of John Suzzo (Susius) at Constantinople.

Men in the armed forces

Zelys of Gortyna

GORTYS (Ancient city) HERAKLIO
The mercenaries from Greece amounting to five thousand were led by Hippolochus of Thessaly. Antiochus had also fifteen hundred Cretans who came with Eurylochus, and a thousand Neo-Cretans commanded by Zelys of Gortyna; with whom were five hundred javelin-men of Lydia


Afraid of the Gortynians, because they had narrowly escaped losing their city in the previous year by an attack led by Nothocrates, the Cydonians sent envoys to Eumenes demanding his assistance in virtue of their alliance with him. The king selected Leon and some soldiers, and sent them in haste to Crete; and on their arrival the Cydonians delivered the keys of their city to Leon, and put the town entirely in his hands. . . .


Borboudakis Minas

  Minas Borboudakis was born οn the l9th April 1974 in Heraklio, Crete. At the age of four he took his first music lessons at the "Αροllο" School of Music. Ιn 1985 he continued his piano studies and his advanced theory studies in Mr. G. Kaloutsis class. After his graduate exams in piano (excellent unanimously - 1st class award) and in Advanced Harmony (excellent unanimously) in July 1992, he started taking lessons of composing music with Mr. W. Hiller and piano lessons with Mr. O. Dressler at the Special Academy of Munich "Richard - Stauss Konservatorium". Ιn June 1997 he took his diploma exams in piano, gaining the highest marking of the academic year. From September of the same year he followed postgraduate studies in the class of Mrs. U. Mitrenga. In July 1998 he graduated from the composing class of W. Hiller.
  He has performed in numerous concerts not only as α pianist but also as α composer in Germany, Austria, Serbia, Russia, France, Japan and Greece. Οn the programme of the 4th Biennale of Music his "Cretan Dance" was included for brass and percussion orchestra, which was performed in the Philarmonie of Munich. Also, after the order of Abonnentenorchester der Munchener Philharmoniker the "Three Spanish Dances" for great orchestra and dancers was presented in the above hall in July 1995. During the 46th Festival of young people in Bayreuth, his stage cantata "Samson and Dalida" was performed and recorded for the first time (CD Feidman in Bayreuth "Lilith") with soloist the world famous clarinist Giora Feidman.
  Ηis works have been recorded by the bayenscer Rundfunk (Prayer for peace, Cretan Dance, Echoes ΙΙ, and many others), by the ERT (Greek Broadcasting Television) (suite for flute, cello and piano), by the Serbian Broadcasting and Television Company (Thesis - Antithesis for string orchestra) and have been presented by many different music groups, among whom are The Belgrad Sinfonietta., RSK Kammeochester, Forum 21 and others.
  Ιn the summer 1994, he took part in the seminar οf modern chamber music with George Crumb in Prague. Ιn November of the same year he took part in a piano seminar with the Russian pianist Α. Nasedkin and in the summer 1995 he also took part as α composer in the 45th festival of young people in Bayreuth. In October 1997 he participated in Meisterklasskurs of the Russian pianist R. Kehre. In July 1998 he took part in a composition seminar with L. Berio. In the summer 1995 the "Richard - Strauss Stipendium" scholarship of the city Munich was awarded to him.
Works (Selection):
- Silence in the stone garden for soprano, flute, percussion 4.10.95 Gasteig
- Echoes of Ancient Times VI for ensemble 5.96 Kaiserslautern
- Aulodia for recorders 18.6.96 Karajan Zentrum Wien
- Erotikon for large orchestra 7.12.96 Herkulessaal Munchen
- Echoes III for alto flute and piano 4.9.97 Sapporo Japan
- Chorochronos I for 2 percussionists and 2 pianos 19.1.98 Gasteig
- Krousis for 2 orchestras 2.10.99 Philharmonie Gasteig

This text is cited Mar 2003 from the Friends of Music Society "Lilian Voudouri" URL below, which contains image.


Kondylakis Ioannis

, , 1862 - 1920

Kazantzaki Galatia

, , 1881 - 1962


Domenikos Theotokopoulos, El Greco

Domenico Theotocopuli (El Greco). One of the most remarkable Spanish artists, b. in Crete, between 1545 and 1550; d. at Toledo, 7 April, 1614. On 15 Nov., 1570, the miniature-painter Giulio Clovio wrote to Cardinal N. Farnese, recommending El Greco to his patron, describing him as a Cretan, who was then in Rome and had been a pupil of Titian. El Greco, however, derived very little influence from his master, for his works, beyond a certain influence of Bassano, Baroccio, Veronese, or Tintoretto, are individual and distinct. El Greco came to Spain in 1577. He signed his name in Greek characters, using the Latin form of his Christian name, and repeatedly declaring himself as a native of Crete. He appeared before the tribunal of the Inquisition at Toledo in 1582, as interpreter for one of his compatriots who was accused of being a Moor; he then definitely announced that he had settled in Toledo. Nothing is known of his parentage or early history, nor why he went to Spain; but in time he became typically Spanish, and his paintings exhibit all the characteristics of the people amongst whom he resided. From very early days he struck out a definite line for himself, glorying in cold tones with blue, in the use of grey and many varied tones of white, and in impressionistic work which foreshadowed ideas in art that were introduced one hundred and fifty years later. His first authenticated portrait is that of his patron and fellow-countryman, Clovio, now at Naples; his last, that of a cardinal, in the National Gallery. His first important commission in Spain was to paint the reredos of the Church of Santo Domingo of Diego at Toledo. He may have been drawn to Spain in connexion with the work in the Escorial, but he made Toledo his home. The house where he lived is now a museum of his works, saved to Spain by one of her nobles.
  His earliest important work is "El Espolio", which adorns the high altar in Toledo, but by far his greatest painting is the famous "Burial of the Count of Orgaz" in the Church of Santo Tome. The line of portraits in the rear of the burial scene represents with infinite skill almost every phase of the Spanish character, while one or two of the faces in the immediate background have seldom, if ever, been equalled in beauty. It is one of the masterpieces of the world. The influence of El Greco in the world of art was for a long time lost sight of, but it was very real, and very far-reaching. Velasquez owed much to him, and, in modern days, Sargent attributes his skill as an arist to a profound study of El Greco's works. El Greco's separate portraits are marvels of discernment; few men have exhibited the complexities of mental emotion with equal success. The largest collection of his works outside of Spain belongs to the King of Rumania, some of the paintings being at Sinaia, others in Bukarest. In the National Gallery of London, in the collections of Sir John Sterling-Maxwell, the Countess of Yarborough, and Sir Frederick Cook, in the galleries of Dresden, Parma, and Naples, and in the possession of several eminent French collectors are fine examples of his work. But to study El Greco's work to perfection one must visit Toledo, Illescas, Madrid, the Escorial, and many of the private collections of Spain, and his extraordinary work will be found worthy of the closest study. He was a man of eccentric habits and ideas, of tremendous determination, extraordinary reticence, and extreme devoutness. He was a constant attendant at the sacraments, made complete arrangements for his funeral before he died, and was buried in the Church of Santo Tome.
Transcribed by WGKofron
With thanks to Fr. John Hilkert, Akron, Ohio

This text is cited Nov 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Damaskinos Michalis

, , 1530 - 1592
Michael Damaskinos became famous at his time (referred 1570-1591). He developed the ability to work in different styles and to create excellent icons in the whole array, from impeccable byzantine to downright italian. Besides, he worked in Venice for the paintings of the church of St. George of the Greeks. He showed a new way to a blending of the traditional orthodox with the contemporary western art, and had many imitators.

Nikos Koundouros


Diogenes Apolloniates, (Diogenes ho Apolloniates), an eminent natural philosopher, who lived in the fifth century B. C. He was a native of Apollonia in Crete, his father's name was Apollothemis, and he was a pupil of Anaximenes. Nothing is known of the events of his life, except that he was once at Athens, and there got into trouble from some unknown cause, which is conjectured to have been the supposition that his philosophical opinions were dangerous to the religion of the state. (Diog. Laert. ix.57.) He wrote a work in the Ionic dialect, entitled Peri Phuseos, " On Nature," which consisted of at least two hooks, and in which he appears to have treated of physical science in the largest sense of the words. Of this work only a few short fragments remain, preserved by Aristotle, Diogenes Laertius, and Simplicius. The longest of these is that which is inserted by Aristotle in the third book of his History of Animals, and which contains an interesting description of the origin and distribution of the veins. The following is the account of his philosophical opinions given by Diogenes Lartius :--" He maintained that air was the primal element of all things; that there was an infinite number of worlds, and an infinite void; that air, densified and rarified, produced the different members of the universe; that nothing was produced from nothing, or was reduced to nothing; that the earth was round, supported in the middle, and had received its shape from the whirling round of the warm vapours, and its concretion and hardening from cold." The last paragraph, which is extremely obscure in the original, has been translated according to Panzerbeiter's explanation, not as being entirely satisfactory, but as being the best that has hitherto been proposed. Diogenes also imputed to air an intellectual energy, though without recognizing any distinction between mind and matter. The fragments of Diogenes have been collected and published, with those of Anaxagoras, by Schorn, Bonn, 1829, 8vo; and alone by Panzerbeiter, Lips. 1830, 8vo, with a copious dissertation on his philosophy.

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

Aenesidemus, 1st c. B.C.

KNOSSOS (Minoan settlement) CRETE
Aenesidemus (Ainesidemos), a celebrated sceptic, born at Cnossus, in Crete, according to Diogenes Laertius (ix. 116), but at Aegae, according to Photius (Cod. 212), probably lived a little later than Cicero. He was a pupil of Heracleides and received from him the chair of philosophy, which had been handed down for above three hundred years from Pyrrhon, the founder of the sect. For a full account of the sceptical system see Pyrrhon. As Aenesidemus differed on many points from the ordinary sceptic, it will be convenient before proceeding to his particular opinions, to give a short account of the system itself.
  The sceptic began and ended in universal doubt. He was equally removed from the academic who denied, as from the dogmatic philosopher who affirmed; indeed, he attempted to confound both in one, and refute them by the same arguments (Sext. Emp. i. 1). Truth, he said, was not to be desired for its own sake, but for the sake of a certain repose of mind (ataraxia) which followed on it, an end which the septic best attained in another way, by suspending his judgment (epoche), and allowing himself literally to rest in doubt (i. 4). With this view he must travel over the whole range of moral, metaphysical, and physical science. His method is the comparison of opposites, and his sole aim to prove that nothing call be proved, or what he termed, the isostheneia, of things. In common life he may act upon Phainomena with the rest of men : nature, law, and custom are allowed to have their influence; only when impelled to any vehemlent effort we are to remember that, here too, there is much to be said on both sides, and are not to lose our peace of mind by grasping at a shadow.
  The famous deka tropoi of the sceptics were a number of heads of argument intended to overthrow truth in whatever form it might appear. The opposite appearances of the moral and natural world (Sext. Emp. i. 14), the fallibility of intellect and sense, and the illusions produced upon them by intervals of time and space and by very change of position, were the first arguments by which they assailed the reality of things. We cannot explain what man is, we cannot explain what the senses are: still less do we know the way in which they are acted upon by the mind (ii. 4-7): beginning with ouden horizo, we must end with ouden mallon We are not certain whether material objects are anything but ideas in the mind: at any rate the different qualities which we perceive in them may be wholly dependent on the percipient being; or, supposing them to contain quality as well as substance, it may be one quality varying with the perceptive power of the different senses (ii. 14). Having thus confounded the world without and the world within, it was a natural transition for the sceptic to confound physical and metaphysical argluments. The reasonings of natural philosophy were overthrown by metaphysical subtleties, and metaphysics made to look absurd by illustrations only applicable to material things. The acknowledged imperfection of language was also pressed into the service; words, they said, were ever varying in their signification, so that the ideas of which they were the signs must be alike variable. The leading idea of the whole system was, that all truth involved either a vicious circle or a petitio principii, for, even in the simplest truths, something must be assumed to make the reasoning applicable. The truth of the senses was known to us from the intellect, but the intellect operated through the senses, so that our knowledge of the nature of either depends upon the other. There was, however, a deeper side to this philosophy. Everything we know, confessedly, runs up into something we do not know: of the true nature of cause and effect we are ignorant, and hence to the favourite method, apo tou eis apeiron ekballein, or arguing backward fiom cause to cause, the very imperfection of human faculties prevents our giving an answer. We must know what we believe; and how can we be sure of secondary causes, if the first cause be wholly beyond us? To judge, however, from the sketch of Sextus Empiricus (Pyrrh. Hyp.), it was not this side of their system which the sceptics chiefly urged: for the most part, it must be confessed, that they contented themselves with dialectic subtleties, which were at once too absurd for refutation, and impossible to refute.
  The causes of scepticism are more fully given under the article Pyrrhon. One of the most remarkable of its features was its connexion with the later philosophy of the Ionian school. From the failure of their attempts to explain the phenomena of the visible world, the Ionian philosophers were insensibly led on to deny the order and harmony of creation: they saw nothing but a perpetual and ever-changing chaos, acted upon, or rather self-acting, by an inherent power of motion, of which the nature was only known by its effects. This was the doctrine of Heracleitus, that "the world was a fire ever kindling and going out, which made all things and was all things." It was this link of connexion between the sceptical and Ionian schools which Aenesidemus attempted to restore. The doctrine of Heracleitus, although it spoke of a subtle fire, really meant nothing more than a principle of change; and although it might seem absurd to a strict sceptic like Sextus Empiricus to affirm even a principle of change, it involved no real inconsistency with the sceptical system. We are left to conjecture as to the way in which Aenesidemus arrived at his conclusions : the following account of them seems probable. It will be seen, from what has been said, that the sceptical system had destroyed everything but sensation. But sensation is the effect of change, the principle of motion working internally. It was very natural then that the sceptic, proceeding from the only arche, which remained to him, should suggest an explanation of the outward world, derived from that of which alone he was certain, his own internal sensations. The mere suggestion of a probable cause might seem inconsistent with the distinction which the sceptics drew between their own absolute uncertainty and the probability spoken of by the Academics indeed, it was inconsistent with their metaphysical paradoxes to draw conclusions at all : if so, we must be content to allow that Aenesidemus (as Sextus Empiricus implies) got a little beyond the dark region of scepticism into the light of probability.
  Other scattered opinions of Aenesidemus have been preserved to us, some of which seem to lead to the same conclusion. Time, he said, was to on and to proton soma (Pyr. Hyp. iii. 17), probably in allusion to the doctrine of the Stoics, that all really existing substances were somata: in other words, he meant to say that time was a really existing thing, and not merely a condition of thought. This was connected with the principle of change, which was inseparable from a notion of time : if the one had a real existence (and upon its existence the whole system depended), the other must likewise have a real existence. In another place, adapting his language to that of Heracleitus, he said that "time was air" (Sext. Emp. adv. Logicos, iv. 233), probably meaning to illustrate it by the imperceptible nature of air, in the same way that the motion of the world was said to work by a subtle and invisible tire. All things, according to his doctrine, were but Phainomena which were brought out and adapted to our perceptions by their mutual opposition: metaphorically they might be said to shine forth in the light of Heracieitus's fire. He did not, indeed, explain how this union of opposites made them sensible to the faculties of man : probably he would rather have supported his view by the impossibility of the mind conceiving of anything otherwise than in a state of motion, or, as he would have expressed it, in a state of mutual opposition. But Phainomena are of two kinds, ioia and koina (Sext. Emp. adv. Log. ii. 8), the perceptions of individuals, and those common to mankind. Here again Aenesidemus seems to lose sight of the sceptical system. which (in speculation at least) admitted no degrees of truth, doubt, or probability. The same remark applies to his distinction of kinesis into metabatike and metabletike, simple motion and change. He seems also to have opposed the perplexity which the sceptics endeavoured to bring about between matter and mind; for he asserted that thought was independent of the body, and "that the sentient power looked out through the crannies of the senses" (Adv. Log. i. 349). Lastly, his vigorous mind was above the paltry confusion of physical and metaphysical distinctions; for he declared, after Heracleitus, "that a part was the same with the whole and yet different from it". The grand peculiarity of his system was the attempt to unite scepticism with the earlier philosophy, to raise a positive foundation for it by accounting from the nature of things for the never-ceasing changes both in the material and spiritual world.
  Sextus Empiricus has preserved his argument against our knowledge of causes, as well as a table of eight methods by which all a priori reasoning may be confuted, as all arguments whatever may be by the deka tropoi. I. Either the cause given is unseen, and not proven by things seen, as if a person were to explain the motions of the planets by the music of the spheres. II. Or if the cause be seen, it cannot be shewn to exclude other hypotheses: we must not only prove the cause, but dispose of every other cause. III. A regular effect may be attributed to an irregular cause ; as if one were to explain the motions of the heavenly bodies by a sudden impulse. IV. Men argue from things seen to things unseen, assuming that they are governed by the same laws. V. Causes only mean opinions of causes, which are inconsistent with phenomena and with other opinions. VI. Equally probable causes are accepted or rejected as they agree with this or that preconceived notion. VII. These causes are at variance with phenomena as well as with abstract principles. VIII. Principles must be uncertain, because the facts from which they proceed are uncertain.
  It is to be regretted that nothing is known of the personal history of Aenesidemus. A list of his works and a sketch of their contents have been preserved by Photius (Cod. 212). He was the author of three books of Purrhoneiai Hupotuposeis, and is mentioned as a recent teacher of philosophy by Aristocles (Apud Euscb. Praeparat. Exang. xiv. 18). It is to Aenesidemus that Sextus Empiricus was indebted for a considerable part of his work.

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



Thales or Thaletas

GORTYS (Ancient city) HERAKLIO
Thales or Thaletas, the celebrated musician and lyric poet. The two forms of the name are mere varieties of the same word: but Thales seems to be the more genuine ancient form; for it not only has the authority of Aristotle, Strabo, and Plutarch, but it is also used by Pausanias (i. 14. Β§ 4) in quoting the verses composed in honour of the musician by his contemporary Polymnestns. Nevertheless, it is more convenient to follow the prevailing custom among modern writers, and call him Thaletas.
  The position of Thaletas is one of the most interesting, and at the same time most difficult points, in that most interesting and difficult subject, the early history of Greek music and lyric poetry. The most certain fact known of him is, fortunately, that which is also the most important; namely, that he introduced from Crete into Sparta certain principles or elements of music and rhythm, which did not exist in Terpander's system, and thereby founded the second of the musical schools which flourished at Sparta (Plut. de Mus. 9, p. 1135, b. ).
  He was a native of Crete, and, according to the best writers, of the city of Gortyna. (Polymnestus, ap. Paus. l. c. ; Plut. de Mus. l. c.) Suidas has preserved other traditions, which assigned him to Cnossus or to Elyrus (Suid. s. v., for the articles Thaletas Kres and Thaletas Knossios refer without doubt to the same individual, and in the former article the words e Illurios ought to be Elurios : comp. Meursius, Cret. i. 9; KΌster, ad loc. ; MΌller, Hist. Lit. of Greece, vol. i. p. 159).
  In compliance, according to tradition, with an invitation which the Spartans sent to him in obedience to an oracle, he removed to Sparta, where, by the sacred character of his paeans, and the humanizing influence of his music, he appeased the wrath of Apollo, who had visited the city with a plague, and composed the factions of the citizens, who were at enmity with each other (Paus. l. c. ; Plut. Lycurg. 4 ; Ephorus, ap. Strab. x. pp. 480, 482; Sext. Empir. adv. Rhet. ii. p. 292, Fabric. ; Aelian. V. H. xii. 50.). At Sparta he became the head of a new school (katastasis) of music, which appears never afterwards to have been supplanted, and the influence of which was maintained also by Xenodamus of Cythera, Xenocritus of Locris, Polymnestus of Colophon, and Sacadas of Argos (Plut. de Mus. l. c.). These matters will be examined more fully presently; but the brief outline just given is necessary for the understanding of the chronological investigation which follows.
  In studying the early history of Greek lyric poetry, nothing would be more desirable, if it were possible, than to fix the precise dates of the musicians and poets who contributed to its development ; that so we might trace the steps of its progress, in relation to the time they occupied, the social state of the people amongst whom they were made, and the order in which they followed from one another. It must, however, be confessed that, after all the labour which scholars have bestowed on the subject, there is an uncertainty, generally to the extent of half a century, and in some cases more, respecting the dates of the earliest poets, while the more important point of their relative order of succession and their distance from each other in time is beset with great difficulties. These remarks apply most strongly to Thaletas, the various dates assigned to whom, by ancient and modern writers, range over a period from before the time of Homer down to the year B. C. 620.
  How uncertain, and even fabulous, were the traditions followed by the generality of the ancient writers respecting the date of Thaletas, is manifest from the statements of Suidas, that he lived before the time of Homer, of Demetrius Magnes (ap. Diog. i. 38), that he was " very ancient, about the time of Hesiod and Homer and Lycurgus," and of the many other writers, who make him contemporary with Lycurgus, and even an elder contemporary. In nearly all the accounts, above referred to, of the removal of Thaletas to Sparta, he is said to have gone thither at the invitation of Lycurgus, who used his influence to prepare the minds of the people for his own laws ; while some even speak of him as if he were a legislator, from whom Lycurgus derived some of his laws (Sext. Empir. l. c. ; Arist. Pol. ii. 9. Β§ 5, ii. 12.). These accounts, which Aristotle condemns as anachronisms, can easily be explained. The influence of music upon character and manners was in the opinion of the ancients so great, that it was quite natural to speak of Terpander and Thaletas as fellow-workers with the great legislator of the Spartans in forming the character of the people; and then such statements were interpreted by later writers in a chronological sense; for similar traditions are recorded of Terpander as well as of Thaletas. Moreover, in the case of Thaletas, the supposed connection with Lycurgus would assume a more probable appearance on account of his coming from Crete, from whence also Lycurgus was supposed to have derived so many of his institutions; and this is, in fact, the specific form which the tradition assumed (Ephor. ap. Strab. x. p. 482; Plut. Lycurg. 4), namely, that Lycurgus, arriving at Crete in the course of his travels, there met with Thaletas, who was one of the men renowned in the island for wisdom and political abilities (hena ton nomizomenon ekei sophon kai politikon), and who, while professing to be a lyric poet, used his art as a pretext, but in fact devoted himself to political science in the same way as the ablest of legislators (poieten men dokounta lupikon melon kai proschema ten technen tauten pepoiemenon, erloi de haper hoi kratistoi ton nomotheton diaprattomenon). Add to this the great probability that later writers mistook the sense of the word nomoi in the ancient accounts of Thaletas; and his association with Lycurgus is explained. It is not worth while to discuss the statement of Jerome (Chron. s. a. 1266, B. C. 750), who says that Thales of Miletus (probably meaning Thales of Crete, for the philosopher's age is well known) lived in the reign of Romulus. Perhaps this may only be another form of the tradition which made him contemporary with Lycurgus.
  The strictly historical evidence respecting the date of Thaletas is contained in three testimonies. First, the statement of Glaucus, one of the highest authorities on the subject, that he was later than Archilochus (Plut. de Mus. 10, p. 1134, d. e.). Secondly, the fact recorded by Pausanias (i. 14. Β§ 4), that Polymnestus composed verses in his praise for the Lacedaemonians, whence it is probable that he was an elder contemporary of Polymnestus, and therefore older than Alcman, by whom Polymnestus was mentioned (Plut. de Mus. 5, p. 1133, a.). Thirdly, in his account of the second school or system (katastasis) of music at Sparta, Plutarch tells us (de Mus. 9, p. 1134, c.) that the first system was established by Terpander; but of the second the following had the best claim to be considered as the leaders (malista aitian echousin hegemones genesthai), Thaletas, Xenodamus, Xenocritus, Polymnestus, and Sacadas; and that to them was ascribed the origin of the Gymnopaedia in Lacedaemon, of the Apodeixeis in Arcadia, and of the Endymatia in Argos. This important testimony is very probably derived from the work of Glaucus. Lastly, Plutarch (de Mus. 10, p. 1134, e.) mentions a vague tradition, which is on the face of it improbable, and which is quite unworthy to be placed by the side of the other three, that Thaletas derived the rhythm called Maron and the Cretic rhythm from the music of the Phrygian flute-player Olympus (ek gar tes Olumpou auleseos Thaletan phasin exeirgasthai tauta: the context shows that Plutarch here deserts his guide, Glaucus, and sets up against him the traditions of other writers, we know not whom).
  Now, from these testimonies we obtain the results, that Thaletas was younger than Archilochus and Terpander, but older than Polymnestus and Alcman, that he was the first of the poets of the second Spartan school of music, by whose influence the great Dorian festivals which have been mentioned were either established, or, what is the more probable meaning, were systematically arranged in respect of the choruses which were performed at them.
  These conditions would all be satisfied by supposing that Thaletas began to flourish early in the seventh century B. C., provided that we accept the argument for an earlier date of Terpander than that usually assigned to him. To escape from the difficulty as Clinton does (F. H. vol. i. s. a. 644), by making Terpander later than Thaletas, is altogether inadmissible; for, if we reject Plutarch's account of the two musical schools at Sparta, the first founded by Terpander, and the second by Thaletas, the whole matter is thrown into hopeless confusion. Such a mistake, made by so eminent a chronologer, through following implicitly Eusebius and the Parian marble, is an excellent example of the danger of trusting to the positive statements of the chronographers in opposition to a connected chain of inference from more detailed testimonies. On the other hand, MΌller, while pointing out Clinton's error, appears to us to place Thaletas much too low, in consequence of accepting the tradition recorded by Plutarch respecting Olympus, whom also he places later than Terpander (Hist. Lit. vol. i. pp. 158, 159). The fact is that we have no sufficient data for the time of Olympus; and even if we had, the tradition recorded by Plutarch is much too doubtful to be set up against the evidence derived from the relations of Thaletas to Archilochus and Alcman. When MΌller says that Clinton " does not allow sufficient weight to the far more artificial character of the music and rhythms of Thaletas " (i. e. than those of Terpander), he seems to imply that a long time must necessarily have intervened between the two. Not only is there no ground for this idea, but it is opposed to analogy. There is no ground for it; for it is clear from all accounts that the second system of music was not gradually developed out of the first, by successive improvements, but was formed by the addition of new elements derived from other quarters, of which the first and chief were those introduced by Thaletas from Crete. It is also opposed to analogy, which teaches us that the period of most rapid improvement in any art is that in which it is first brought under the dominion of definite laws, by some great genius, whose first efforts are the signal for the appearance of a host of rivals, imitators, and pupils. Moreover, if there be any truth in the tradition, it would seem probable that Terpander and Thaletas were led to Sparta by very similar causes at no very distant period; and it seems most improbable that, after music had attained the degree of developement to which Terpander brought it at Sparta, the important additional elements, which existed in the Cretan system, should not have been introduced for a period of forty years, which is the interval placed by MΌller, between Terpander and Thaletas. MΌller's mode of computing backwards the date of Thaletas from that of Sacadas (B. C. 590) is altogether arbitrary; but if such a method he allowable at all, surely thirty years is far too short a time to assign as the period during which the second school of Spartan music chiefly flourished. On the whole, decidedly as Clinton is wrong as to Terpander, he is probably near the mark in fixing the period of Thaletas at B. C. 690--660 ; though it might be better to say that he deems to have flourished about B. C. 670 or 660, and how much before or after those dates cannot be determined. It appears not unlikely that he was already distinguished in Crete, while Terpander flourished at Sparta.
  The improvement effected in music by Thaletas appears to have consisted in the introduction into Sparta of that species of music and poetry which was associated with the religious rites of his native country; in which the calm and solemn worship of Apollo prevailed side by side with the more animated songs and dances of the Curetes, which resembled the Phrygian worship of the Magna Mater (MΌller, p. 160). His chief compositions were paeans and hyporchemes, which belonged respectively to these two kinds of worship. In connection with the paean he introduced the rhythm of the Cretic foot, with its resolutions in the Paeons; and the Pyrrhic dance, with its several variations of rhythm, is also ascribed to him. He seems to have used both the lyre and the flute (See MΌller, pp. 160, 161). Plutarch and other writers speak of him as a lyric poct, and Suidas mentions, as his works, mele and poiemata tina muthika, and it is pretty certain that the musical compositions of his age and school were often combined with suitable original poems, though sometimes, as we are expressly told of many of the nomes of Terpander, they were adapted to the verses of Homer and others of the older poets. Be this as it may, we have now no remains of the poetry of Thaletas. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. i. pp. 295--297; MΌller, Hist. of the Lit. of Anc. Greece, vol. i. pp. 159--161; Ulrici, Gesch. d. Hellen. Dichtkunst, vol. ii. pp. 212, foll., a very valuable account of Thaletas; Bernhardy, Geschichte der Griech. Lit. vol. i. pp. 267, 270, vol. ii. pp. 420, 421, 427.)

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


Kyrikos Leonidas

, , 1924
A politician of the left-wing party.

Related to the place

Philopoemen of Megalopolis

GORTYS (Ancient city) HERAKLIO



KNOSSOS (Minoan settlement) CRETE
Sculptor, father of sculptor Amphion.

Acestor (Akestor), a sculptor mentioned by Pausanias (vi. 17.2) as having executed a statue of Alexibius, a native of Heraea in Arcadia, who had gained a victory in the pentathlon at the Olympic games. He was born at Cnossus, or at any rate exercised his profession there for some tine. (Paus. x. 15.4.) He had a son named Amphion, who was also a sculptor, and had studied under Ptolichus of Corcyra (Paus. vi. 3.2); so that Acestor must have been a contemporary of the latter, who flourished about Ol. 82. (B. C. 452.)


Amphion. A sculptor, son of Acestor, pupil of Ptolichus of Corcyra, and teacher of Piso of Calaureia, was a native of Cnossus, and flourished about B. C. 428 or 424. He executed a group in which Battus, the colonizer of Cyrene, was represented in a chariot, with Libya crowning him, and Cyrene as the charioteer. This group was dedicated at Delphi by the people of Cyrene. (Paus. vi. 3. 2, x. 15.4)



Iophon the Cnossian, a guide, produced responses in hexameter verse, saying that Amphiaraus gave them to the Argives who were sent against Thebes. These verses unrestrainedly appealed to popular taste. Except those whom they say Apollo inspired of old none of the seers uttered oracles, but they were good at explaining dreams and interpreting the flights of birds and the entrails of victims.

Seven Sages


FESTOS (Minoan settlement) HERAKLIO
Epimenides. A Cretan, contemporary with Solon, and born perhaps in B.C. 659, at Phaestus, in the island of Crete, according to some accounts, or at Cnosus according to others. Many marvellous tales are related of him. It is said that, going by his father's order in search of a sheep, he laid himself down in a cave, where he fell asleep and slept for fifty years, on which legend Goethe has written a poem. He then made his appearance among his fellow-citizens with long hair and a flowing beard, and with a knowledge of medicine and natural history which then appeared more than human. Another story told of this Cretan was that he had the power of sending his soul out of his body and recalling it at pleasure; that he had familiar intercourse with the gods, and possessed the power of prophecy. The event of his life by which he is best known was his visit to Athens at the request of the inhabitants, in order to pave the way for the legislation of Solon by purifications and propitiatory sacrifices. These rites were intended, according to the spirit of the age, to allay the feuds and party dissensions which prevailed there; and, although what he enjoined was mostly of a religious nature (for instance, the sacrifice of a human victim, the consecration of a temple to the Eumenides, and of two altars to Hybris and Anaidea, the two evil powers which were exerting their influence on the Athenians), there can be little doubt that his object was political, and that Solon's constitution would hardly have been accepted had it not been recommended and sanctioned by some person who, like Epimenides, claimed from men little less than the veneration due to a superior being.
  The Athenians wished to reward Epimenides with wealth and public honours, but he refused to accept any remuneration, and demanded only a branch of the sacred olive-tree and a decree of perpetual friendship between Athens and his native city. Epimenides is said to have lived, after his return to Crete, to the age of 157 years. Other accounts give his age as nearly 230 years. Divine honours were paid him by the Cretans after his death. Epimenides composed a theogony and other poems concerning religious mysteries. He wrote also a poem on the Argonautic Expedition, and other works, which are entirely lost. His treatise on oracles and responses, mentioned by St. Jerome, is said to have been the work from which St. Paul quotes in the epistle to Titus.

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

Epimenides, 7th cent. BC

KNOSSOS (Minoan settlement) CRETE
Epimenides. A poet and prophet of Crete. His father's name was Dosiades or Agesarces. We have an account of him in Diogenes Laertius (i. c. 10), which, however, is a very uncritical mixture of heterogeneous traditions, so that it is difficult, if not altogether imposible, to discover its real historical substance. The mythical character of the traditions of Epimenides is sufficiently indicated by the fact of his being called the son of a nynmph, and of his being reckoned among the Curetes. It seems, however, pretty clear, that he was a native of Phaestus in Crete (Diog. Laert. i. 109; Plut. Sol. 12; de, Defect. Orac. 1), and that he spent the greater part of his life at Cnossus, whence he is sometimes called a Cnossian.
  There is a story that when yet a boy, he was sent out by his father to fetch a sheep, and that seeking shelter from the heat of the midday sun, he went into a cave. He there fell into a sleep in which lie remained for fifty-seven years. On waking he sought for the sheep, not knowing how long he had been sleeping, and was astonished to find everything around him altered. When lie returned home, he found to his great amazement, that his younger brother had in the meantime grown an old man.
  The time at which Epimenides lived, is determined by his invitation to Athens when he had already arrived at an advanced age. He was looked upon by the Greeks as a great sage and as the favourite of the gods. The Athenians who were visited by a plague in consequence of the crime of Cylon, consulted the Delphic oracle about the means of their delivery. The god commanded them to get their city purified, and the Athenians sent out Nicias with a ship to Crete to invite Epimenides to come and undertake the purification. Epimenides accordingly came to Athens, about B. C. 596 or Olymp. 46, and performed the desired task by certain mysterious rites and sacrifices, in consequence of which the plague ceased. The grateful Athenians decreed to reward him with a talent and the vessel which was to carry him back to his native island. But Epimenides refused the money, and only desired that a friendship should be established between Athens and Cnossus.   Whether Epimenides died in Crete or at Sparta, which in later times boasted of possessing his tomb (Diog. Laert. i. 115), is uncertain, but he is said to have attained the age of 154, 157, or even of 299 years. Such statements, however, are as fabulous as the story about his fifty-seven years' sleep.
  According to some accounts, Epimenides was reckoned among the seven wise men of Greece (Diog. Laert. Prooem. § 13; Plut. Sol. 12); but all that tradition has handed down about him suggests a very different character from that of those seven, and he must rather be ranked in the class of priestly bards and sages who are generally comprised under the name of the Orphici; for everything we hear of him, is of a priestly or religious nature: he was a purifying priest of superhuman knowledge and wisdom, a seer and a prophet, and acquainted with the healing powers of plants. These notions about Epimenides were propagated throughout antiquity, and it was probably owing to the great charm attached to his name, that a series of works, both in prose and in verse, were attributed to him, though few, if any, can be considered to have been genuine productions of Epimenides, the age at which he he lived was certainly notan age of prose composition in Greece.
  Diogenes Laertius (i. 112) notices as prose works, one on sacrifices, and another on the Political Constitution of Crete. There was also a Letter on the Constitution which Minos had given to Crete; it was said to have been addressed by Epimenides to Solon; it was written in the modern Attic dialect, and was proved to be spurious by Demetrius of Magnesia. Diogenes himself has preserved another letter, which is likewise addressed to Solon; it is written in the Doric dialect, but is no more genuine than the former. The reputation of Epimenides as a poet may have rested on a somewhat surer foundation; it is at any rate more likely that he should have composed such poetry as Chresmo and Katharmoi than any other (Suidas, s. v. Epimenides; Strab. x ; Paus. i. 14.4). It is, however, very doubtful whether he wrote the Genesis kai Theogonia of the Curetes and Corybantes in 5000 verses, the epic on Jason and the Argonauts in 6500, and the epic on Minos and Rhadamanthys in 4000 verses; all of which works are mentioned by Diogenes. There cannot, however, be any doubt but that there existed in antiquity certain old-fashioned poems written upon skins; and the expression, Epimenideion derma was used by the ancients to designate anything old-fshioned, obsolete, and curious.
  An allusion to Epimenides seems to be made in St. Paul's Epistle to Titus (i. 12). Comp. Fabric. Bibl. Grace. vol. i. pp. 30, &c., 844; Hockh, Kreta, vol. iii. p. 246, &c.; Bode, Gesch. der Hellen. Dichtk. vol. i. p. 463, &c., and more especially C. F. Heinrich, Epimenides aus Creta, Leipzig, 1801, 8vo.

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


Dikteos Aris

, , 1919 - 1983
He was a poet, essayist and translator.

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