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Biographies (81)

Seven Sages

Acusilaus of Argos

Acusilaus (Akousilaos), of Argos, one of the earlier Greek logographers (Dict. of Ant. p. 575, a.), who probably lived in the latter half of the sixth century B. C. He is called the son of Cabras or Scabras, and is reckoned by some among the Seven Wise Men. Suidas (s. v.) says, that he wrote Genealogies from bronze tal lets, which his father was said to have dug up in his own house. Three books of his Genealogies are quoted, which were for the most part only a translation of Hesiod into prose (Clem. Strom. vi. p. 629, a). Like most of the other logographers, he wrote in the Ionic dialect. Plato is the earliest writer by whom he is mentioned (Symp. p. 178, b). The works which bore the name of Acusilaus in a later age, were spurious (s. v. Hekataios Milesios, Historesai, Sungrapho). The fragments of Acusilaus have been published by Sturtz, Gerae, 1787; 2nd ed. Lips. 1824; and in the " Museum Criticum," i. p. 216, &c. Camb. 1826.



Editor’s Information:
Biography, reports and essays on Homer can be found at his birthplace the island of Ios, one of the places that claim the honour of his origin and where is his tomb. There are also other places among the claimants, which are mentioned in an epigram (Gell. III, 11), including the island of Ios: the island of Chios, Smyrna, Rhodes, Colophon, Salamis in Cyprus, Argos, Athens, Cyme in Aeolis, Pylos and Ithaca.

Telesilla, 6-5th century BC

Telesilla of Argos, a celebrated lyric poetess and heroine, of the number of those who were called the Nine Lyric Muses (Antip. Thess. in Anth. Pal. ix. 26), flourished about Ol. 67, B.C. 510, in the times of Cleomenes I. and Demnaratus, kings of Sparta. Plutarch relates the tradition that she was of noble birth, but was afflicted with a disease, concerning the cure of which she consulted an oracle, and received an answer directing her to serve the Muses. In obedience to the divine command, she applied herself to poetry and music; and was soon rewarded by restoration to health, and by the admiration which the Argive women bestowed upon her poetry. In the war of Argos against Sparta, she obtained the highest renown, not only by her poetry, but her personal valour; for, not content with encouraging her countrymen by her lyre and song, she took up arms at the bead of a band of her countrywomen, and greatly contributed to the victory which they gained over the Spartans. (Plut. de Mul. Virt. d. e; Paus. ii. 20.7; Max. Tyr. Diss. xxxxii. 5; Diss. xxi; Said. s. v.; comp. Herod. vi. 77). In memory of this exploit, her statue was erected in the temple of Aphrodite at Argos, with the emblems of a poetess and a heroine (Paus. I. c.; Tatian. ad Graec. 52); and Ares was worshipped in that city as a patron deity of women (Lucian. Amor. 30, vol. ii); and the prowess of her female associates was commemorated by the annual festival called Hubristika, in which the women and the men appeared respectively in the attire of the other sex : this festival appears to be the same as the Endnmatia (Plut. de Mul. Virt. l. c.; de Mus. 9, c.; Clem. Alex. Strom. iv; Polyaen. Strat. viii. 33). Muller, however, regards this whole story as having a decidedly fabulous complexion: he explains the so-called statue of Telesilla, in the temple of Aphrodite, as being a statue of the goddess, of that well-known type, in which she was represented in the act of arming herself; and he ascribes quite a different origin to the festival of the Hybristica.
  Our information respecting the poetry of Telesilla is very scanty. Athenlaeus (xiv. p. 619, b.) states that she composed an ode to Apollo, called Philelias, which Bode explains as the Argive name of the Paean, derived from the first words of the strain, exerch. (or exech) o phil helie (Pollux, ix. 123). Pausanias also quotes from her poems in honour of Apollo and Artemis (iii. 35.2, ii. 28.2), and the statement respecting the children of Niobe, quoted from her by Apollodorus (Bibl. iii. 5.6), must have been derived from a similar source. A scholiast on Homer (Od. xiii. 289) mentions her representation of Virtue as being similar to that of Xenophon in the celebrated fable of Prodicus ; and there are two or three grammatical references to single words used by her (Ath. xi. p. 467, f.; Eustath. p. 1207. 14; Poll. ii. 23; Hesych. s. v. Beltiotas). The only complete verses of her poetry which remain are the following two, which seem to come from a Parthenion, composed for a chorus of Argive virgins, on the subject of the love of the river Alpheus for Artemis:

Ha d Hartemis, o korai,
pheugoisa ton Alpheon.

The metre is an Ionic a Majore Dimeter Catalectic, the terminal metre being Trochaic, or, as Hephaestion, who quotes the passage, calls it, an Ionic Hephthemimeral, and it confirms the statement of the writer on music, appended to Censorinus (c. 9), that Telesilla went further than Alcman in breaking up the strophes into short verses.

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

...before the image (of Aphrodite) is a slab with a representation wrought on it in relief of Telesilla, the lyric poetess. Her books lie scattered at her feet, and she herself holds in her hand an helmet, which she is looking at and is about to place on her head. Telesilla was a distinguished woman who was especially renowned for her poetry. It happened that the Argives had suffered an awful defeat at the hands of Cleomenes, the son of Anaxandrides, and the Lacedaemonians. Some fell in the actual fighting; others, who had fled to the grove of Argus, also perished. At first they left sanctuary under an agreement, which was treacherously broken, and the survivors, when they realized this, were burnt to death in the grove. So when Cleomenes led his troops to Argos there were no men to defend it.
  But Telesilla mounted on the wall all the slaves and such as were incapable of bearing arms through youth or old age, and she herself, collecting the arms in the sanctuaries and those that were left in the houses, armed the women of vigorous age, and then posted them where she knew the enemy would attack. When the Lacedaemonians came on, the women were not dismayed at their battle-cry, but stood their ground and fought valiantly. Then the Lacedaemonians, realizing that to destroy the women would be an invidious success while defeat would mean a shameful disaster, gave way before the women.
  This fight had been foretold by the Pythian priestess in the oracle quoted by Herodotus, who perhaps understood to what it referred and perhaps did not:
   But when the time shall come that the female conquers in battle,
   Driving away the male, and wins great glory in Argos,
   Many an Argive woman will tear both cheeks in her sorrow.
Such are the words of the oracle referring to the exploit of the women. (Paus. 2.20.8-10)

Agis, epic poet, 4th c. B.C.

Agis, a Greek poet, a native of Argos, and a contemporary of Alexander the Great, whom he accompanied on his Asiatic expedition. Curtius (viii. 5) as well as Arrian (Anab. iv. 9) and Plutarch (De adulat. et amic. discrim. p. 60) describe him as one of the basest flatterers of the king. Curtius calls him " pessimorum carminum post Choerilum conditor," which probably refers rather to their flattering character than to their worth as poetry. The Greek Anthology (vi. 152) contains an epigram, which is probably the work of this flatterer (Jacobs, Anihol. iii. p. 836; Zimmermann, Zeitschrift fur die Alterth. 1841, p. 164).
Athenacus (xii. p. 516) mentions one Agis as the author of a work on the art of cooking (opsartutika).

Leonteus of Argos

Leonteus of Argos, was a tragic poet and the slave of Juba, king of Mauritania, who ridiculed his Hypsipyle in an epigram preserved by Athenaeus (viii. p. 343, e. f.).


Athenion. A tragic poet, the instructor of Leonteus the Argive. (Athen. viii.)

Callias of Argos

Callias of Argos, a Greek poet, the author of an epigram upon Polycritus. (Anth. Grace. xi. 232; Brunck, Anal. ii. p. 3.)


Antonius (Antonios), of Argos, a Greek poet, one of whose epigrams is still extant in the Greek Anthology. (ix. 102; comp. Jacobs, ad Anthol. vol. xiii. p. 852.)



Sacadas (Sakadas,) of Argos, one of the most eminent of the ancient Greek musicians, is mentioned by Plutarch (de Mus. 9) as one of the masters who established at Sparta the second great school or style (katastasis) of music, of which Thaletas was the founder, as Terpander had been of the first. His age is marked and his eminence is attested by the statement of Pausanias (x. 7.3), that he gained the prize for fluteplaying at the first of the musical contests which the Amphictyons established in connection with the Pythian games (01. 47. 3, B. C. 590), and also at the next two festivals in succession (01. 48. 3, 49. 3, B. C. 586, 582). From the manner, however, in which his name is connected with those of Polymnestus and Alcman, in several passages, and perhaps too from the cessation of his Pythian victories, we may infer that these victories were among the latest events of his life.
  Pausanias elsewhere (ii. 22.9) speaks of these Pythian victories as having appeased the anger against the music of the flute, which Apollo had conceived on account of his contest with Silenus (comp. Marsyas). Plutarch, relating the same fact, adds that Sacadas was the author of a new nome, in which the three modes of music were combined; the first strophe sung by the chorus being in the Dorian mode, the second in the Phrygian, and the third in the Lydian, whence the nome was called the tripartite (trimeres); but that another authority ascribed its invention to Clonas (Plut. de Mus. 8). Pollux (iv. 79) speaks expressly of a Pythian nome as the composition of Sacadas. Plutarch also informs us that, in his rhythms, Sacadas, like Polymnestus, adhered to the pure and beautiful style which had been introduced by Terpander (Plut. Ib. 12).
  In the time of Sacadas most of the musicians were poets also, though the connection between the two arts had not become so close as it was afterwards. The kind of poetry which these masters cultivated was chiefly, if not exclusively, the elegy. Accordingly we find Sacadas mentioned as a good poet, and a composer of elegies (Plut. l. c).
  It was, however, in the music of the flute alone, unaccompanied by the voice, that he gained his Pythian victories. At the same games there was another and a different prize for elegies sung to the music of the flute; and this was gained by Echembrotus of Arcadia. The music of Sacadas was auletic, that of Echembrotus aulodic. Pausanias names the contest in which Sacadas gained his victories, aulena to puthikon (ii. 22.9).
  From the same passage we learn that a monument was erected to Sacadas in his native city. His statue also had a place among those of the poets and musicians on Mount Helicon; and, from a statement made by Pausanias in connection with this statue, we learn that Pindar composed a prom in praise of Sacadas and his flute-playing (Paus. ix. 30.2). Plutarch (de Mus. 8, a.) also refers to the mention of him by Pindar. Athenaeus (xiii. c.) ascribes to Sacadas a poem on the taking of Troy (Iliou persis), at least if the emendation of Schweighauser on the various corrupt forms of the name in that passage be correct, which is not universally admitted. If Sacadas really composed such a poem, it must have resembled the epico-lyric poems of Stesichorus ; but the account given of it by Athenaeus can hardly be understood as applying to the work of a flute-player and elegiac poet. (Muller, Gesch. d. Griech. Lit. vol. i. pp. 291, 292; Ulrici, Gesch d. Helen. Dichtk. vol. ii. pp. 431--433)

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

Aristonicus, citharoedus, 8th/7th c. B.C.

Ariston, piper, 6th/5th c. B.C.


Arpocration, platonic philosoper, 2nd c. A.D.

Harpocration (Harpokration), of Argos, a Platonic philosopher and a friend of J. Caesar. He wrote a Commentary on Plate in twenty-four, and a Lexicon to Plato in two, books. (Suidas.) He seems to be the same as the Harpocration who is mentioned by Athenaeus (xiv. p. 648) along with Chrysippus, and by Stobaeus (Ecloy. Phys. i. 2. pp. 896, 912. ed. Heeren.)

Aristoteles of Argos

Aristoteles of Argos, a megaric or dialectic philosopher (Plut. Arat. 3, 44; Diog. Laert. ii. 113). He belonged to the party at Argos which was hostile to Cleomenes of Sparta, and after Cleomenes had taken possession of the town, Aristoteles contrived to get it again into the hands of the Achaeans (Polyb. ii. 53; Plut. Clcom. 20).



Caecilius (Kaikilios) of Argos, is mentioned by Athenaeus (i. p. 13) among the writers on the art of fishing; but nothing further is known about him.


Socrates of Argos

Socrates of Argos, an historical writer, whose time is unknown. He wrote a periegesis Argous. (Diog. Laert. ii. 47, and Menag. ad loc. ; Schol. ad Pind. var. loc. ; Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 45; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. ii. p. 689; Vossius, de Hist. Graec. p. 499, ed. Westermann.)

Jason of Argos

Jason of Argos, an historian, who was, according to Suidas, younger than Plutarch. He therefore lived under Hadrian. He wrote a work on Greece in four books, containing the early history (archaiologia) of Greece, and the history from the Persian wars to the death of Alexander and the taking of Athens by Antipater, the father of Cassander. His book Peri Knidou (Schol. ad Theocrit. xvii. 69), and that Peri Hpodou, seem to have been parts of this work, and so was probably the book Peri ton Alexandrou hieron. (Ath. xiv. p. 620, d ; comp. Steph. Byz. s. vv. Alexandreia, Telos; Vossius, de Hist. Graec., p. 264, ed. Westermann ; Fabric. Bibl. Grace. vol. vi. p. 370.) Suidas also calls him a grammarian; and a grammarian Jason is quoted in the Etymologicum Magnum (p. 184, 27).

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

Dionysius of Argos

Dionysius of Argos, seems to have been an historian, as he is quoted by Clemens of Alexandria (Strom. i. p. 139) respecting the time at which Troy was taken. (Comp. Schol. ad Pind. Nem. ii. 1.)



Greek Sculpture - Archaic Schools (2600-400 B.C.)

At Argos, Chrysothemis and Eutelidas, who made athlete statues about 520 B.C., assert in an in scription that they belong to a regular school. But the best known early Argive artist was Ageladas, famous as the master of Phidias, Polycleitus, and Myron. He made statues of gods as well as of athletes: his artistic activity was prolonged, over an extensive period, from the end of the sixth to the middle of the fifth century or even later; but his style we can only infer from his influence on others. The Argive type was transmitted to and perfected by Polycleitus; but Phidias seems to have added under this influence a Doric earnestness to the Ionic grace of Attic sculpture, and Myron to have developed a different athletic ideal. Other Argive artists are Glaucus and Dionysius, who made some great groups at Olympia, including an allegorical one of the founder of the games amidst a group of deities and personifications.

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

Glaucus & Dionysius

Glaucus of Argos, was the statuary who, in conjunction with Dionysius, made the works which Smicythus dedicated at Olympia. Glaucus made the statues of Iphitus crowned by Ececheiria (the goddess of truces), of Amphitrite, of Poseidon, and of Vesta, which Pausanias calls "the greater offerings of Smicythus." Dionysius made "the lesser offerings." (Paus. v. 26.2--6)

Dionysius of Argos, a statuary, who was employed together with Glaucus in making the works which Smicythus dedicated at Olympia. This fixes the artist's time; for Smicythus succeeded Anaxilas as tyrant of Rhegium in B. C. 476. The works executed by Dionysius were statues of Contest (Agon) carrying halteres, of Dionysius, of Orpheus, and of Zeus without a beard. (Paus. v. 26.3-6). He also made a horse and charioteer in bronze, which were among the works dedicated at Olympia by Phormis of Maenalus, the contemporary of Gelon and Hiero. (Paus. v. 27.1)

Aristodamos of Argos (590 - 570 BC)

A Greek bronze worker in the early 500s B.C. in the city of Argos, Aristodamos is known from a signature on a bronze shield strap in the Getty Museum. This complete inscription, "Aristodamos of Argos made it," has helped scholars identify other works by the artist. Before the discovery of this inscription, scholars had assumed that the name Aristodamos appearing alone on several shield straps found at the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia was meant to label one of the figures depicted on these bands. The Getty Museum's piece makes it clear that these are abbreviated signatures of a maker.

Ageladas (born about 540 BC)

Ageladas, a native of Argos (Pausan. vi. 8.4, vii. 24.2, x. 10.3), preeminently distinguished as a statuary. His fame is enhanced by his having been the instructor of the three great masters, Phidias (Suidas, s. v. ; Schol. ad Aristoph. Ran. 504; Tzetzes, Chiliad. vii. 154, viii. 191--for the names Eladou and Geladou are unquestionably merely corruptions of Ageladou, as was first observed by Meursius, with whom Winckelmann, Thiersch, and Muller agree), Myron, and Polycletus (Plin. H. N. xxxiv. 8, s. 19).
  The determination of the period when Ageladas flourished, has given rise to a great deal of discussion, owing to the apparently contradictory statements in the writers who mention the name. Pausanias (vi. 10.2) tells us that Ageladas cast a statue of Cleosthenes (who gained a victory in the chariot-race in the GGth Olympiad) with the chariot, horses, and charioteer, which was set up at Olympia. There were also at Olympia statues by him of Timasitheus of Delphi and Anochus of Tarentum. Now Timasitheus was put to death by the Athenians, for his participation in the attempt of Isagoras in Ol. lxviii. 2 (B. C. 507); and Anochus (as we learn from Eusebius) was a victor in the games of the 65th Ol. So far everything is clear; and if we suppose Ageladas to have been born about B. C. 540, he may very well have been the instructor of Phidias. On the other hand Pliny (l. c.) says that Ageladas, with Polycletus, Phradmon, and Myron, flourished in the 87th Ol. This agrees with the statement of the scholiast on Aristophanes, that at Melite there was a statue of Herakles alexikakos, the work of Ageladas the Argive, which was set up during the great pestilence (Ol. lxxxvii. 3.4). To these authorities must be added a passage of Pausanias (iv. 33.3), where he speaks of a statue of Zeus made by Ageladas for the Messenians of Naupactus. This must have been after the year B. C. 55, when the Messenians were allowed by the Athenians to settle at Naupactus. In order to reconcile these conflicting statements, some suppose that Pliny's date is wrong, and that the statue of Hercules had been made by Ageladas long before it was set up at Melite: others (as Meyer and Siebelis) that Pliny's date is correct, but that Ageladas did not make the statues of the Olympic victors mentioned by Pausanias till many years after their victories; which in the case of three persons, the dates of whose victories are so nearly the same, would be a very extraordinary coincidence.   The most probable solution of the difficulty is that of Thiersch, who thinks that there were two artists of this name; one an Argive, the instructor of Phidias, born about B. C. 540, the other a native of Sicyon, who flourished at the date assigned by Pliny, and was confounded by the scholiast on Aristophanes with his more illustrious namesake of Argos. Thiersch supports this hypothesis by an able criticism on a passage of Pausanias (v. 24.1). Sillig assumes that there were two artists of the name of Ageladas, but both Argives. Ageladas the Argive executed one of a group of three Muses, representing respectively the presiding geniuses of the diatonic, chromatic and enharmonic styles of Greek music. Canachus and Aristocles of Sicyon made the other two. (Antipater, Auth. Pal. Plan. 220; Thiersch, Epoch. d. bild. Kunst. pp. 158--164.)

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

Hageladas of Argos. Before Hageladas, the only known Argive sculptor is [Aga]medes, who signed the twins at Delphi ca. 580 (Delphi, Kleobis and Biton; Stewart 1990, figs. 56-57). Hageladas himself is dated to 432-29 by Pliny, but see commentary on Pliny, N.H. 35.49-52 . More helpful is Pausanias' mention of his bronzes of victors in the Olympics of 520 and 516 (1, 2 below: Paus. 6.10.6, Paus. 6.14.11), and of another killed at Athens in 507 (3 below, cf. 6.8.6 and Hdt. 5.72). His known works, probably all bronzes, are:

The runner Anochos of Tarentum, at Olympia
Kleosthenes of Epidamnos, in his chariot, at Olympia
The pankratiast Timasitheos of Delphi, at Olympia
Zeus Ithomatas, on Mt. Ithome in Messenia
Zeus and Herakles as children, at Aigion.
Herakles Alexikakos ("Averter of Evil") at Athens
A Muse, with two others by Kanachos and Aristokles
Captive Messapian women and horses, dedicated by the Tarentines at Delphi; in bronze:

Pausanias 10.10.6: The bronze horses and captive women were offered by the Tarentines from spoils taken from the Messapians, barbarian neighbors of the Tarentines, and are works of Hageladas of Argos.

  The two statues of Zeus may be those reproduced on later Messenian and Achaean coins, which strongly recall the Zeus of Ugento (Stewart 1990, figs. 184-85), while the Herakles was apparently rededicated during the plague of 430-427; for the Tarentine monument, dedicated before 473, see esp. G. Schalles 1981 and Beschi 1982; for its location, Stewart 1990, fig. 186. Hageladas was obviously a vigorous and versatile sculptor, and through his sons and pupils (among whom a late -- and untrustworthy -- source numbers Pheidias) was clearly the founder of the Argive school of bronzeworking, which reached its acme with Polykleitos and continued to flourish, in association with Sikyon, through the fourth century.

This extract is from: Andrew Stewart, One Hundred Greek Sculptors: Their Careers and Extant Works. Cited April 2005 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains extracts from the ancient literature, bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Chrysothemis & Eutelidas (520 BC)

Chrysothemis & Eutelidas, statuaries of Argos, made in bronze the statues of Damaretus and his son Theopompus, who were each twice victorious in the Olympic games. The victories of Demaretus were in the 65th and 66;th Olympiads, and the artists of course lived at the same time (B. C. 520 and onwards). Pausanias describes one of the statues, and quotes the inscription, which contained the names of the artists, and which described them as Technan eidotes ek protepon, which appears to mean that, like the early artists in general, they each belonged to a family in which art was hereditary. (x. 6.2)

Asopodorus, coppersmith, 6th/5th c. B.C.

Asopodorus, a statuary, possibly a native of Argos (Thiersch, Epoch. d. bild. Kunst. p. 275, Anm.), was a pupil of Polycletus. (Plin. xxxiv. 8. s. 19.)

Greek Sculpture - Fifth Century (480 B.C-400 B.C.)

Greek Fifth Century. (480 B.C--400 B.C.). From this period onward it is less necessary to give any connected account, because the style and works of individual artists are far more prominent and better known; and for all such matters the articles in the Dict. of Biog. and Myth. must be consulted. Here will be found only such facts of this kind as serve to indicate relation or connexion of different artists and schools, and such notices of extant works as concern more than the individual artists to whom they are assigned.
  During the previous period we found all styles of sculpture nearing the perfection of technical development; and we also found that all the artistic centres of Greece had already adopted their own speciality. Hence, in the fifth century, though Aegina disappears in art as in history, Argos and Sicyon remain, as before, noted for athlete statues in bronze, Athens for the variety of its artists and for the use of marble. It was now possible for great artists to express their ideas without the subordination to the difficulties of technical execution, or the constant struggling with those difficulties, that had hitherto been visible even in the highest attainments of sculpture. The attainment of a complete mastery over material difficulties prepared the way for the highest attainments of Greek art. Among the works of this period we meet for the first time with statues that are spoken of with unqualified admiration by classical writers, as of the highest excellence, and not merely interesting for their ancient period or the advance they show on previous attempts. This rapid advance in sculpture corresponds with a similar advance in literature and in thought and feeling, which leads up to the great century of Greece. The expeditions and defeat of the Persians had completely altered the relation of the Greeks to neighbouring peoples. For the ancient nations of the East, vaguely heard of as of unknown power, skill, and wisdom, were substituted the Persians, whom the Greeks hated and could conquer. Hence the feeling of Panhellenic unity, and of the conscious superiority of the Greeks as a race above all other people known to them. The numerous monuments erected from the spoils of the Persians or in commemoration of their defeat gave a new stimulus to all the arts, and the contest itself afforded subjects for both historical and allegorical representation. And in Athens, at least, the constitution was peculiarly favourable for the production of the greatest works; the democratic form of government encouraged that idealisation of the people without which its exploits could not be worthy of the highest artistic commemoration, while the actual predominance of such men as Cimon and Pericles gave the originality, greatness, and continuity of design which a purely popular government could not attain. Moreover, the combination of the Greeks in common dedications, and the successive supremacy of various cities, made larger sums available for artistic expenditure than could have been afforded by isolated states or individuals...
....Athens was at this time the chief centre of artistic work, and the beautifying of the city, first by Cimon and afterwards by Pericles, attracted foreign artists and encouraged native ones. The delicacy and grace of the Attic-Ionic style was carried to its highest point by Calamis; but Myron and Phidias both studied under Ageladas of Argos, and we find the influence of the Doric schools working strongly in Athens; e. g. in a marble head of an athlete and in one of a girl, both on the Acropolis at Athens. It has been suggested that Polygnotus of Thasos, who made many paintings in Athens, may have renewed the N. Ionic influence....
...Though the Attic school had so wide-spread and so varied an influence, that of the Argive Polycleitus was also of the utmost importance; and the narrower and more definite nature of his attainments made them more open to the imitation of subsequent artists than the lofty ideals of Phidias. Many extant works have been recognised as copies of known works of Polycleitus, the Diadumenus, the Dosryphorus, the wounded Amazon, & c. It is characteristic of the definite nature of his attainments that he fixed a canon of bodily proportions, which he also embodied in a statue, probably the doryphorus; and this canon was accepted by the athlete sculptors of the schools of Argos and Sicyon as fixing a type, till afterwards Doryphorus, after Polycleitus. modified by Euphranor and Lysippus. In details of execution, and especially in the treatment of bronze, his favourite material, Polycleitus is said to have excelled even Phidias; but there was a certain monotony in the conception and even the pose of his works. Though his athletic statues and his canon are his best known works, and most important for their influence on later art, it must not be forgotten that Polycleitus fixed the type of Hera by his chryselephantine statue in the Heraeum at Argos, just as Phidias did those of Zeus and Athena. His school, in Argos and also in Sicyon, numbered many important artists, who seemed to have followed their master closely, and to have held to their traditions with more tenacity than any other school in Greece....

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

Polycleitus, Polyclitus

Polykleitos of Argos
  Polykleitos both signs as an Argive and is named as such by all except Pliny; here he is placed second (after Pheidias and before Myron) in the "Xenokratic" catalogue of leading bronze workers:

1. Pliny, N.H. 34.55-6: Polyclitus of Sicyon, a pupil of Hageladas, made a "Diadoumenus", a supple youth, famous for having cost 100 talents, and a "Doryphorus", a virile-looking boy. He also made a statue that artists call the "Canon", and from which they derive the principles of their art, as if from a law of some kind, and he alone of men is deemed to have rendered art itself in a work of art. He also made a man scraping himself with a strigil, a nude stepping on a knucklebone, and two boys, also nude, playing with knuckle-bones; these are called the astragalizontes and are in the emperor Titus's atrium -- a work which, some claim, has no rivals in perfection. He also made a Mercury that was once at Lysimachea, a Hercules now in Rome, a commander taking up arms, and Artemon, called the Man in the Litter. He is deemed to have perfected this science and to have refined the art of metalwork, just as Phidias had revealed its possibilities. It was strictly his invention to have his statues throw their weight onto one leg, though Varro says that they are foursquare and all virtually stereotyped.

  The change of ethnic looks like a clear case of pro-Sikyonian bias from a time when Sikyon had largely usurped Argos's leading role in Peloponnesian bronze work, and in turn helps to confirm Xenokrates, an adherent of the Sikyonian school, as the ultimate source for Pliny's account, which culminates with Lysippos' own work in Pliny, N.H. 34.61-5
  Close reading reveals more inconsistencies. Supposedly (with Myron and Pheidias) a pupil of Hageladas, he nevertheless seems to have worked almost to the century's end, if he really made the Argive Hera (2-3 & Paus. 6.6.2) as antiquity unanimously believed: the old temple burned in 423 (Thuc. 4.133), the new was completed ca. 400. Noting that Pliny ignores this statue entirely while elsewhere recording a floruit (420-417: Pliny, N.H. 35.49-52) that neatly coincides with its presumed date, Ridgway (1981a, 201) and others have preferred to attribute this statue to Polykleitos II, apparently active ca. 405-350. Yet in (6.6.2) Pausanias emphatically distinguishes the Hera's author from the younger Polykleitos, "pupil of Naukydes", and the whole problem vanishes if one accepts that Pliny drew Pliny, N.H. 35.49-52 and (1) from different sources, and that Xenokrates was not interested in chryselephantine but bronze.
  If the Hera, his only venture outside bronze, marks the climax of Polykleitos' work, his early career remains extremely problematic. Though Paus. 6.4.11 attributes a statue of the boy-boxer Kyniskos at Olympia to him, its base (datable epigraphically to ca. 470-450) is unsigned; Kyniskos triumphed either in 464 or 460 (Moretti 1957, no. 265, cf. 256), so if the attribution holds, this must be a very early work. The "Westmacott boy" in London (London 1754; Stewart 1990, figs. 386-87) seems to match the footprints on this base and could -- just -- be this early, though most now prefer to place it in the 420s or later; see also Berger 1978 for a completely different identification. Of the statues Pliny mentions, the Doryphoros (Naples, Museo Nazionale Archaeologico 6146) and Diadoumenos (Athens, NM 1826; Stewart 1990, figs. 378-85) are usually dated to the 440s and 420s, respectively, the Amazon (Rome, Museo Capitolino 651; Pliny, N.H. 34.53; Stewart 1990, fig. 388) to ca. 430.
  All in all, a career lasting from the 450s to ca. 410 seems not incredible; he was probably dead or retired by 405, when Lysander commissioned his pupils to make his great victory monument at Delphi (Pausanias 10.9.7 ). One of them, Antiphanes, already belonged to the school's second generation (Paus. 5.17.3-4). Plato's note that his sons -- both nonentities! -- were youths in 433 and contemporaries of Perikles' children (Protagoras 328C; cf. Guthrie 1975, 214-15) may point the same way; the latter were apparently born before 450. At any rate, Donnay's decisively lower chronology (1965, 462: birth of Polykleitos ca. 460, activity ca. 435-395) seems untenable.

Excluding works attributable to his later namesake, Polykleitos' attested output (all bronzes except no. 1) is as follows:
Gods and heroes
Hera in the Argive Heraion, in chryselephantine (2-3 & Paus. 6.6.2)
Hermes, later in Lysimacheia (1)
Herakles, later in Rome (1)
Herakles and the Hydra
Amazon at Ephesos (Pliny, N.H. 34.53)
Doryphoros (Achilles?) (1)
Diadoumenos (1)
Apoxyomenos (1)
The boy-boxer Kyniskos of Mantinea, at Olympia
The pentathlete Pythokles of Elis, at Olympia, later in Rome
Nude youth stepping on a knucklebone (Kairos?) (1)
Two nude youths playing knucklebones (1)
Commander taking up arms (Theseus?) (1)
Two basket-bearers, stolen in Sicily by Verres in 73-70
Artemon (1)
Pausanias describes the Heraion at length, while Strabo compares the Hera with Pheidias' chryselephantine work:

2. Pausanias 2.17:   They say the architect was Eupolemos, an Argive; concerning the sculptures carved above the columns, some refer to the birth of Zeus and the battle of the gods and giants, others to the Trojan War and the sack of Troy .... The statue of Hera sits on a throne and is huge; made of gold and ivory, it is the work of Polykleitos. She wears a crown with Graces and Seasons worked in relief, and in one hand carries a pomegranate, in the other a scepter. About the pomegranate I must say nothing, for its story may not be told, but concerning the cuckoo that sits on the scepter they say that Zeus, when he was in love with the virgin Hera, turned himself into this bird, and she caught it to be her pet. This and other similar tales about the gods I relate without believing them, but relate them nevertheless. By Hera's side stands what is said to be an image of Hebe, by Naukydes, of ivory and gold also, and by its side is an ancient image of Hera on a column. This, the oldest image of her, is made of wild pear-wood, and was dedicated at Tiryns by Peirasos son of Argos, but when the Argives destroyed Tiryns they carried it off to the Heraion; I saw it myself, a small, seated image.

3. Strabo 8.372: In this temple are xoana made by Polykleitos, in execution the most beautiful in the world, but in costliness and size inferior to those of Pheidias.

  Indeed, unlike the Zeus, the Hera has left no secure copies at all. Though Dionysios of Halikarnassos (Laterculi Alexandrini 7.3-9) praises Pheidias and Polykleitos equally, that the judgment of (3)   was generally accepted in antiquity is shown by Quintilian's more sophisticated version of it in Quintilian 12.7-9, and by the vastly greater attention paid to the Zeus by Greek and Latin authors generally.
  In fact, Polykleitos' statues of gods or agalmata were apparently as neglected by the copyists as were Pheidias' statues of mortals (andrianta; the special case of the Amazon apart), though this did not prevent occasional attempts to furnish his figures with divine attributes: cf. Fleischer 1978; Wrede 1981, 30, 276, 279. Clearly, in Roman eyes Pheidias the agalmatopoios and Polykleitos the andriantopoios (Isokrates 3) were each supreme in their own specialty, and that was that. The germ of this judgment is even recognizable in Aristotle:

4. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 6.7, 1141a9-13:   The term sophia is employed in the crafts to denote those men who are the most perfect masters of their craft, like Pheidias in stone-carving and Polykleitos in making statues of men (andriantopoia).

  As for his other works, copies have been recognized of (3), (5)-(9), and (13), with varying degrees of plausibility; once again, Roman adaptations, lost attributes, and the stereotypical tendencies of the canon itself (1) confuse the issue for all but the Doryphoros (Naples, Museo Nazionale Archaeologico 6146) and Diadoumenos (Athens, NM 1826; Stewart 1990, figs. 378-85), though even their exact identities remain uncertain. Casts of the (Sosikles) Amazon, the Westmacott Boy (cf. 9), and perhaps the Doryphoros have been identified among the finds at Baiae: Landwehr 1985, 70-76, 94-100, 177; Stewart 1990, fig. 387. As for the rest, (11) and (12) are problematic, not least because Pliny's meaning is unclear (cf. Berger 1978), while (13) may be Theseus finding the tokens or gnorismata left under a rock at Troezen. No. 14 looks suspiciously like law-court hyperbole (Cicero, In Verrem 4.3.5; in the same local private collection with works supposedly by Myron and Praxiteles!); perhaps all three were high-class copies. Finally, (15) may be Perikles' engineer Artemon; decidedly alien to the rest of Polykleitos' oeuvre, it too remains a puzzle.
  The canon itself -- surely identical with the Doryphoros (cf. esp. Linfert 1982, 60 n. 22) -- has inspired many attempts at reconstruction, some of which are critiqued in Stewart 1978b. Ironically, the most original and (to my mind) convincing attempt is still unpublished (Leftwich 1987), so is almost completely unknown to the scholarly community at large. Adducing nine hitherto-overlooked citations of the canon in Galen, Leftwich shows both that it was probably based upon recent advances in medicine and science: the contemporary Hippokratic principle of isonomia or 'equilibrium', and the ratios established by Pythagoras for the perfect intervals of the musical scale (so Stewart 1978b, 130-31), namely, 1:2 (octave), 2:3 (fifth), and 3:4 (fourth).

The following are the major texts:

5. Philo Mechanicus 4.1, 49.20: Many, though, have begun the construction of weapons of the same size, and have made use of the same system of rules, the same types of wood, and the same amounts of iron, and have kept to the same weight, yet of these some have made machines that throw their missiles far and with great force, while those made by others have lagged behind their specifications. When asked why this happened, the latter have been at a loss for an answer. So it is appropriate to warn the prospective engineer of the saying of Polykleitos the sculptor: perfection, he said, comes about little by little [para mikron] through many numbers. And in the same way, as far as concerns our science, it happens that in many of the items that go to make up the machine a tiny deviation is made each time, resulting in a large cumulative error.

6. Plutarch, Moralia 86A, 636B-C
  But those who are making progress, of whose life already, as of some temple or regal palace, "the golden foundation has been wrought," do not indiscriminately accept any action, but using reason to guide them they bring each one into place and fit it where it belongs. And we may well conceive that Polykleitos had this in mind when he said that the task is hardest for those whose clay has come to the fingernail.
(636B-C): And in the arts, formless and shapeless parts are fashioned first, then afterwards all details in the figures are correctly articulated; it is for this reason that the sculptor Polykleitos said that the work is hardest, when the clay is at [or on] the fingernail.

7. Galen
De Temperamentis (p. 566.14 Kuhn)
: Modellers and painters and sculptors, indeed image-makers in general paint or model the most beautiful figures, such as the most comely man, horse, ox, or lion, by observing in each case what is the mean within each genus. And one might commend a certain statue, the one called the "Canon" of Polykleitos, which got its name because it had a precise commensurability (symmetria) of all the parts to one another.
De Placitis Hippocratis et Platonis 5 (p. 3.16 Kuhn): Beauty, Chrysippos believes, inheres not in the commensurability (symmetria) of the constituent elements of the body, but in the commensurability of the parts, such as that of finger to finger, and all these to the palm and wrist, and of these to the forearm, and of the forearm to the upper arm, and of everything to everything else, just as it is written in the "Canon" of Polykleitos. For having taught us in that treatise all the commensurate proportions of the body, Polykleitos made a work to support his account; he made a statue according to the tenets of his writing, and called it, like the treatise, the "Canon".

8. Quintilian 5.12.21: When the most renowned sculptors and painters wanted to carve or paint figures that were the most beautiful possible, they never fell into the error of taking some [fat eunuch like] Bagoas or Megabyzus as a model, but rightly selected the well-known Doryphorus, suitable both for war or athletics ...

  The translation of para mikron in Philo Mechanicus 4.1, 49.20, which has provoked much controversy, is secured by a hitherto unnoticed parallel in Diogenes Laertius 7.26. Because of its striking similarity to these texts, the following passage has also been plausibly associated with the Canon:

9. Plutarch, Moralia 45C: Now in every piece of work, beauty is brought to perfection through many numbers that come to a congruence (kairos), so to speak, guided by some system of commensurability (symmetria) and harmony, whereas ugliness is immediately ready to spring into being if only a single chance element be omitted or added out of place; so it is with listening to lectures...

The range of (5-9), encompassing six centuries, five literary genres, and two cultures, is revealing: like that of Pheidias, Polykleitos's achievement swiftly entered the consciousness of both the literary elite and its wider audience, becoming a handy simile, even a cliche, to be deployed as appropriate. And also like Pheidias, he appears constantly in ancient discussions of the artist's status, from (4) to Lucian's Dream. For as Pliny aptly noted, "he alone of men is deemed to have rendered art itself in a work of art" (1).

This extract is from: Andrew Stewart, One Hundred Greek Sculptors: Their Careers and Extant Works. Cited April 2005 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains extracts from the ancient literature, bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

The Polykleitan School
Pliny, N.H. 34.50 and Paus. 5.17.4 and 6.13.7  name nine direct pupils of Polykleitos, and though Pliny, N.H. 35.49-52 gives a floruit of 396-393 for several of them, it is clear that the school was already active during the Peloponnesian War: Antiphanes of Argos, a second-generation member (Paus.5.17.3-4) both made a Trojan Horse for the Argives shortly after 414, and collaborated with at least five fellow-disciples and several outsiders on the school's first major commission, Lysander's great monument at Delphi for his naval victory at Aigospotamoi in 405:

1. Pausanias 10.9.7:   Opposite [the Tegean dedication] are the Spartan offerings from the spoils of their victory over the Athenians: the Dioskouroi, Zeus, Apollo, Artemis, and beside these Poseidon, Lysander son of Aristokritos (who is being crowned by Poseidon), Agias, who was Lysander's soothsayer at the time, and Hermon the pilot of Lysander's ship. This statue of Hermon was made, as one might expect, by Thekosmas of Megara because Hermon had been enrolled as citizen of that city. The Dioskouroi were made by Antiphanes of Argos, the soothsayer by Pison from Kalaureia, which belongs to Troezen. As for Athenodoros and Dameas, the latter made the Poseidon, Artemis, and Lysander, while Athenodoros made the Apollo and Zeus. These two were Arkadians from Kleitor.

  Behind the works just described are statues of those who, whether Spartans or Spartan allies, assisted Lysander at Aigospotamoi [405]. These are Arakos and Erianthes, the first a Spartan, Erianthes a Boiotian . . . [lacuna] . . . above Mimas, whence came Astykrates; Kephisokles, Hermophantos, and Hikesios of Chios, Timarchos and Diagoras of Rhodes, Theodamos of Knidos, Kimmerios of Ephesos, and Aiantides of Miletos. Tisander made these, but the next were made by Alypos of Sikyon: Theopompos of Myndos, Kleomedes of Samos, the two Euboians Aristokles of Karystos and Antonomos of Eretria, Aristophantos of Corinth, Apollodoros of Troezen, and Dion from Epidauros in the Argolid. Next to these come Axionikos, an Achaian from Pellene, Theares from Hermione, Phyrrias of Phokia, Komon of Megara, Agasimenes of Sikyon, Telykrates of Leukas, Pythodotos of Corinth, and Euantidas of Ambrakia; last come the Spartans Epikydidas and Eteonikos. They say that these are the works of Patrokles and Kanachos.
  The Athenians refuse to admit that they were fairly beaten at Aigospotamoi . . ..
  Some of the bases of these statues are extant. Another dedication, of tripods with statues beneath, was put up at Amyklai; this joined earlier votives from the Messenian wars, the work of Gitiadas of Sparta (commentary to Paus. 3.17.2-3), another by Kalon of Aegina, and Bathykles' throne:

2. Pausanias 3.18.8:   The older tripods are said to be a tithe of the Messenian War. Under the first stood an image of Aphrodite, and under the second an Artemis; these and the reliefs [on the tripods] are by Gitiadas, but the third is by Kallon of Aigina; Kore, daughter of Demeter, stands under it. Aristandros of Paros and Polykleitos of Argos made, respectively, the woman with the lyre, supposedly Sparta, and the Aphrodite "beside the Amyklaian." These tripods are larger than the others, and were dedicated from the spoils of the victory at Aigospotamoi.

  Aristandros was probably Skopas' father (see Pliny N.H. 36.25-6, Paus. 8.45-47, Kallistratos, Descriptions 2.1-4, Laterculi Alexandrini 7.3-9), and Polykleitos is probably not the school's founder but his younger namesake (cf. 3), who was still active around 350, making victor-statues and cult images (for Megalopolis, founded in 369: Paus. 8.31.4), and perhaps also designing the tholos and theater at Epidauros (Paus. 2.27.5). This Polykleitos apparently belonged to a semi-independent branch of the School, whose filial and master-pupil relationships are extremely complicated: cf. Arnold 1969, 6-17; Linfert, in Beck 1990, 240-43. Aside from him, the other important names are his two brothers Naukydes and Daidalos, and Antiphanes' pupil Kleon of Sikyon (Paus. 5.17.3-4), all of whose careers extended at least into the second quarter of the fourth century, and Kleon's perhaps beyond that. A list of Naukydes' known works gives some idea of their output, which was heavily biased toward Olympic victor-statues, and almost exclusively in bronze:

Hebe in the Argive Heraion, in chryselephantine (Paus. 2.17)
Hekate at Argos
Phrixos sacrificing the ram, on the Akropolis
The poetess Erinna of Lesbos, later taken to Rome (Tatian, Contra Graecos 33)
The wrestler Cheimon of Argos, at Olympia
The same, at Argos, later taken to Rome
The wrestler Baukis of Troezen, at Olympia
The boxer Eukles of Rhodes, at Olympia (3)
A diskobolos

  Though a bronze statuette in Malibu and the Capitoline diskobolos type have been linked with (4) and (10), we in fact know almost nothing about any of these works beyond their bare subject-matter; for the School was all but ignored by the ancient critics, leaving only Pausanias' laconic descriptions and Pliny's even briefer lists to enlighten us. The following is a typical citation:

3. Pausanias 6.6.2 Next [at Olympia] comes a statue of Eukles, son of Kallianax, a Rhodian of the house of the Diagoridai. For he was the son of Diagoras' daughter, and won an Olympic victory in the boxing-match for men [400]. His statue is by Naukydes, while Polykleitos of Argos, not the man who made the image of Hera but a pupil of Naukydes, made the statue of the boy wrestler Agenor of Thebes. This was dedicated by the Phokian Commonwealth, for Theopompos, Agenor's father, was honorary consul for their nation.

  Yet whereas attributions to individuals seem all but hopeless, a number of types may be plausibly ascribed to the School as such; some are comparatively small, roughly equaling the normal height of classical males (1.70m). Suggestively in this context, Olympic rules apparently forbade "heroic" scale victor-statues in the Altis. The main types, listed in their approximate chronological order (cf. Arnold 1969; Linfert, in Beck 1990, 243-92) are as follows: the "Pan", Dresden youth, "Narkissos", Berlin-Pitti Hermes, Capitoline Diskobolos, Capelli-Kyrene youth, Conservatori runner, Vatican oil pourer, armed ("Epidauros") Aphrodite, Richelieu Hermes, "Centocelle" Apollo, and Barberini Hermes. There are also a few small bronzes (including the Getty Phrixos, above), and one original statue from around 350, the Antikythera Perseus (Athens, NM Br. 13396; Stewart 1990, fig. 550). The well-known Idolino, long considered to be another original, most probably belongs among that array of neo-Polykleitan types invented in Roman times to serve as lamp-holders and the like: cf. Zanker 1974; Wunsche 1972; and Hallett 1983.

This extract is from: Andrew Stewart, One Hundred Greek Sculptors: Their Careers and Extant Works. Cited April 2005 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains extracts from the ancient literature, bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Polycleitus (Polukleitos, in Latin writers, Polycletus and Polyclitus), artists. Some difficulty has arisen from the mention of two statuaries of this name, whom Pausanias expressly distinguishes from one another, who seem both to have lived about the same period, and who are both said to have been of Argos (Paus. vi. 6.1). Moreover, Pliny speaks of the great Polycleitus as a Sicyonian, though several other writers as well as Pausanias, call him an Argive (H.N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19.2). The question which thus arises, as to the number of artists of this name, is very fully discussed by Thiersch, but with more ingenuity than sound judgment (Epochen, pp. 150, 203, &c.). He distinguishes three statuaries of the name (besides a fourth, of Thasos); namely, first, Polycleitus of Sicyon, the pupil of Ageladas, an artist of the beginning of the period of the perfection of art, and whose works partook much of the old occasion conventional style; secondly, Polycleitus the elder, of Argos, maker of the celebrated statue in the Heraeum at Argos; and, thirdly, Polycleitus, the younger, of Argos, the pupil of Naucydes. But the common opinion of other writers is both simpler and sounder, namely that, on account of the close connection between the schools of Argos and Sicyon, the elder Polycleitus might easily have been assigned to both, and, if a more precise distinction explanation be required, that he was a native of Sicyon, and was made a citizen of Argos, to which Sicyon was then subject, probably as an honour well earned by his statue in the Heraeum. We know the same thing to have happened with other artists; and we think that Thiersch himself could hardly have failed to accept this explanation, but for his perverse theory respecting the early date of Pheidias, which imposed upon him the necessity of placing that artist's chief contemporaries also higher than their true dates. The questions which arise, respecting the assignment of particular works to either of the two Polycleiti of Argos, will be considered in their proper places.

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

Deinomenes, disciple of Polycleitus

Deinomenes, a statuary, whose statues of Io, the daughter of Inachus, and Callisto, the daughter of Lycaon, stood in the Acropolis at Athens in the time of Pausanias (Paus. i. 25.1). Pliny (xxxiv. 8. s. 19) mentions him among the artists who flourished in the 95th Olympiad, B. C. 400, and adds, that he made statues of Protesilaus and Pythodemus the wrestler. Tler (Ib. § 15). Tatian mentions a statue by him of Besantis, queen of the Paeonians. (Orat. ad Graec. 53) His name appears on a base, the statue belonging to which is lost.

Phradmon, 5th c. BC

Phradmon, of Argos, a statuary, whom Pliny places, as the contemporary of Polycleitus, Myron, Pythagoras, Scopas, and Perelius, at 01. 90, B. C. 420 (H. N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19, according to the reading of the Bamberg MS.; the common text places all these artists at Ol. 87). He was one of those distinguished artists who entered into the celebrated competition mentioned by Pliny, each making an Amazon for the temple of Artemis at Ephesus: the fifth place was assigned to the work of Phradmon, who seems to have been younger than either of the four who were preferred to him. Pausanias mentions his statue of the Olympic victor Amertas (vi. 8.1); and there is an epigram by Theodoridas, in the Greek Anthology, on a group of twelve bronze cows, made by Phradmon, and dedicated to Athena Itonia, that is, Athena, as worshipped at Iton in Thessaly (Anth. Pal. ix. 743; comp. Steph. Byz. s. v. Iton). Phradmon is also mentioned by Columella (R. R. x. 30). Respecting the true form of the name, which is sometimes corrupted into Phragmon and Phradmon, and also respecting the reading of the passage in Pliny, see Sillig. (Cat. Art. s. v. and Var. Lect. ad Plin. vol. v. p. 75.)

Periclytus, c. 420 BC

Periclytus (Periklutos), a sculptor, who belonged to the best period and to one of the best schools of Grecian art, but of whom scarcely anything is known. He is only mentioned in a single passage of Pausanias (v. 17. § 4), from which we learn that he was the disciple of Polycleitus of Argos, and the teacher of Antiphanes, who was the teacher of Cleon of Sicyon. Since Polycleitus flourished about B. C. 440, and Antiphanes about B. C. 400, the date of Periclytus may be fixed at about B. C. 420. In some editions of Pausanias his name occurs in another passage (ii. 22.8), but the true reading is Polukleitou, not Perikleitou or Periklutou.

Greek Sculpture - Fourth Century (400 - 320 B.C.)

During this period we find that much more depends on the individual character and predilections of the various artists; there is a tendency, both in choice of subject and in execution, rather to give free scope to the imagination and skill of the artist than to employ him to embody in his works any national ideals or aspirations. The artist was thus more free from any considerations or influences not purely artistic; but already in the fifth century art had risen above the trammels of priestcraft, even in the case of religious sculpture; and it was not an unmixed advantage for the sculptor to be free to work from his own imagination, rather than from those ideals which belonged to the race or the city. Thus in the place of great works like the Olympian Zeus, the Athena Parthenos, or the Hera of Argos, we meet in the fourth century with subtly distinguished impersonations such as the Eros, Pothos, and Himeros of Scopas, or the half-human beings of the cycle of Dionysus. Even groups of subordinate divinities before represented, like the Graces, as embodying some attributes of Zeus or other great divinities, are changed to attendants of the cycle of Aphrodite, and treated accordingly. Again, instead of truly sculpturesque representations of permanent character (ethos), we notice renderings of more transient passions or excitements (pathe), as in the raving Maenad of Scopas--subjects obviously not so well adapted to sculpture, though perhaps exhibiting more the skill of the artist.
As might be expected from the freedom and importance of individual artists, we find less limit than before in the number of the schools where artists were trained, and of the centres of their activity. Athens and Argos or Sicyon still remain important, but there are many notable artists who belong to neither; and the statues produced alre scattered all over the Hellenic world…

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

Antiphanes of Argos, c. 400 BC

Antiphanes. A statuary of Argos, the pupil of Pericletus, one of those who had studied under Polycletus. He flourished about B.C. 400. Several works of this artist are mentioned by Pausanias. He formed statues of the Dioscuri and other heroes; and he made also a brazen horse, in imitation of the horse said to have been constructed by the Greeks before Troy. The inhabitants of Argos sent it as a present to Delphi.

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

Antiphanes of Argos, a second-generation member of The Polykleitan School

Antiphanes, of Argos, a sculptor, the disciple of Pericleitus, and teacher of Cleon. Since Cleon flourished B. C. 380, Antiphanes may be placed at 400 B. C. Pausanias mentions several of his works, which were at Delphi, especially a horse in bronze. (Pausan. v. 17, x. 9.)

Argius, c. 388 BC

Argius, a sculptor, was the disciple of Polycletus, and therefore flourished about 388 B. C. (Plin. xxxiv. 19.) Thiersch (Epochen, p. 275) supposes that Pliny, in the words "Argius, Asopodorus," mis-translated his Greek authority, which had Argeios Asopodoros, " Asopodorus the Argive." But Argius is found as a Greek proper name in both the forms, Argios and Argeios. (Apollod. ii. 1.5; Aristoph. Eccles. 201.)

Aristomedon of Argos

Aristomedon, an Argive statuary, who lived shortly before the Persian wars, made some statues dedicated by the Phocians at Delphi, to commemorate their victory over the Thes salians. (Paus. x. 1. §§ 3--10.)

Andreas of Argos

Andreas of Argos, a sculptor, whose time is not known. He made a statue of Lysippus, the Elean, victor in the boys'-wrestling. (Paus. vi. 16.5)


Naucydes (Naukudes), an Argive statuary, the son of Mothon, and the brother and teacher of Polycleitus II. of Argos, made a gold and ivory statue of Hebe, which stood by the celebrated statue of Hera by Polycleitus I. in the Heraeum near Mycenae; a bronze statue of Hecate at Argos; and several statues of athletes. (Paus. ii. 17.5, 22.8, vi. 6.1, 8.3, 9.1). Tatian mentions his statue of Erinna the poetess. (Adv. Graec. 51, p. 113, Worth.) Pliny, who places him at 01. 90, B. C. 420 (H. N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19), mentions his Mercury, Discobolus, and a man sacrificing a ram (Ibid. § 19). Besides his brother Polycleitus, Alypus of Sicyon was bis disciple. (Paus. vi. 1. 7; comp. Thiersch, Epochen, pp. 143, 150, 282, 283, and Sillig, Catal. Artif.)

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

Polycleitus the younger of Argos

Polycleitus. Of the younger Polycleitus of Argos very little is known, doubtless because his fame was eclipsed by that of his more celebrated namesake, and, in part, contemporary. The chief testimony respecting him is a passage of Pausanias, who says that the statue of Agenor of Thebes, an Olympic victor in the boys' wrestling, was made by "Polycleitus of Argos, not the one who made the statue of Hera, but the pupil of Naucydes" (Pans. vi. 6.1. s. 2). Now Naucydes flourished between B. C. 420 and 400; so that Polycleitus must be placed about B. C. 400. With this agrees the statement of Pausanias, that Polycleitus made the bronze tripod and statue of Aphrodite, at Amyclae, which the Lacedaemonians dedicated out of the spoils of the victory of Aegospotami (Paus. iii. 18.5. s. 8); for the age of the elder Polycleitus cannot be brought down so low as this. Mention has been made above of the statue of Zeus Philis, at Megalopolis, among the works of the elder Polycleitus. Some, however, refer it to the younger, and take it as a proof that he was still alive after the building of Megalopolis, in B. C. 370; but this argument is in no way decisive, for it is natural to suppose that many of the statues which adorned Megalopolis were carried thither by the first settlers. To this artist also we should probably refer the passage of Pausanias (ii. 22.8), in which mention is made of a bronze statue of Hecate by him at Argos, and from which we learn too that Polycleitus was the brother of his instructor Naucydes. He also was probably the maker of the mutilated statue of Alcibiades, mentioned by Dio Chrysostom (Orat. 37, vol. ii. p. 122, Reiske). It would seem from the passage of Pausanias first quoted (vi. 6.1), that the younger Polycleitus was famous for his statues of Olympic victors; and, therefore, it is exceedingly probable that some, if not all, of the statues of this class, mentioned above under the name of the elder Polycleitus, ought to be referred to him. Whatever else was once known of him is now hopelessly merged in the statements respecting the elder artist.
  Thiersch makes still a third (according to him, a fourth) statuary or sculptor of this name, Polycleitus of Thasos, on the authority of an epigram of Geminus (Auth, Plan. iii. 30; Brunck, Anal. vol. ii. p. 279) :

Cheir me Polukleitou Thasiou kamen, eimi d' ekeinos
Salmoneus, brontais, hos Dios antemanen, k.t.l.

where Grotius proposed to read Polugnotou for Polukleitou, an emendation which is almost certainly correct, notwithstanding Heyne's objection, that the phrase cheir kamen is more appropriate to a sculpture than a painting. There is no other mention of a Thasian Polycleitus; but it is well known that Polygnotus was a Thasian. The error is just one of a class often met with, and of which we have a precisely parallel example in another epigram, which ascribes to Polycleitus a painting of Polyxena (Anth. Plan. iv. 150; Brunck, Anal vol. ii. p. 440). It is not, however, certain that Polugnotoio is the right reading in this second case; the blunder is very probably that of the author of the epigram. (Jacobs, Animadu. in Anth. Graec. ad loc.)
  Lastly, there are gems bearing the name of Polycleitus, respecting which it is doubtful whether the engraver was the same person as the great Argive statuary; but it is more probable that he was a different person. (Bracci, tab. 96; Stosch, de Gemm. 76; Lewezow, uber den Raub des Palladium, pp. 31, &c.; Sillig, Catal. Artif. s. v.)

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

Polyclitus the Younger, a pupil of the Argive sculptor Naucydes. Among his works was a statue of the athlete Agenor (Pausan. vi. 6. 2), and of Zeus Philios at Megalopolis, in which the god was represented with some of the attributes of Dionysus (id. viii. 31. 4). The statues of Zeus Meilichios at Argos (id. ii. 20. 1), and those of Apollo, Leto, and Artemis on Mount Lycone near Argos (ib. 24. 5), may possibly be assigned to the elder Polyclitus (Overbeck, Schriftquellen. 941-943).

Straton & Xenophilus

Straton, a sculptor, who, with Xenophilus, made, for the temple of Asclepius at Argos, the white marble statues of the god, and of his attendant Hygieia; near which were placed the statues of the artists themselves. (Paus. ii. 23.4)

Polymedes of Argos

Perseus Sculpture Catalog: Delphi, Kleobis and Biton. An inscription on the base of Statue A, stating it was made by the sculptor [Poly]medes of Argos

Phileas & Zeuxippus

Phileas, an Argive sculptor, of unknown date, whose name is found, with that of his son Zeuxippus, in an inscription on a statuebase found at Hermione, in Argolis.


Theodorus. An Argive sculptor, the son of Poros, made a statue of Nicis, the son of Andromidas, which was dedicated by the people of Hermione, as we learn from an extant inscription, the character of which as well as the nature of the work, an honorifie statue of a private individual, lead to the conclusion that the artist lived at a comparatively late period.


Aristeides. A sculptor, who was celebrated for his statues of four-horsed and two-horsed chariots. Since he was the disciple of Polycletus, he must have flourished about 388 B. C. (Plin. xxxiv. 19.1). Perhaps he was the same person as the Aristeides who made some improvements in the goals of the Olympic stadium. (Paus. vi. 20.7)



Eupolemus (Eupolemos), an Argive architect, who built the great Heraeun at Mycenae, after its destruction by fire in B. C. 423. The entablature was ornamented with sculptures representing the wars of the gods and giants, and the Trojan war. A full description of the other works of art connected with this temple is given by Pausanias. (Paus. ii. 17.3; Thuc. iv. 133.)



Tyrannus or tyrannos (turannos). The word turannos has not yet been satisfactorily explained by a Greek etymology, and Boeckh's conjecture that it was a foreign word and came to the Greeks from Lydia or Phrygia, where it is found frequently in inscriptions, is extremely probable (Boeckh, Comment. ad C. I. G. n. 3438). The meaning the word conveyed to a Greek mind was that of a man who wielded absolute power, and a power not sanctioned by the ordinances of the state in which it was exercised. This is all that is essential to the notion; yet the later philosophic thought of Greece, combined with actual historical experience, developed an addition to the conception,--namely, that the rule of the turannos was exercised not in the interests of the subjects, but in that of the ruler. This was a natural consequence of the conception that the rule of the tyrant was always outside the pale of law (Eur. Suppl. 445), although it was a deduction not always justified by facts. Aristotle embraces every side of the idea when he defined tyranny proper as that arbitrary power of an individual which is responsible to no one, and governs all alike, whether equals or betters, with a view to its own advantage, not to that of its subjects, and therefore against their will (Arist. Pol. iv. 10, 4 = p. 1295). The main point of separation between turannis and basileia was the self-interested nature of the former government (Arist. Pol. iii. 7, 5 = p. 1279; Eth. viii. 10, 2), although the early kingships of Greece differed additionally from tyranny in having their privileges and their powers determined by custom (Thuc. i. 13, 1); and thus a king who, like Pheidon of Argos, overstepped the limits of his hereditary power, was accounted a tyrant (Arist. Pol. v. 10, 6 = p. 1310). It may be further noticed, in this definition of Aristotle and in the Greek conception generally, that tyranny proper implies individual rule.
  Tyranny, while always answering in some degree to this general conception, yet had the particular form in which it manifested itself determined by the circumstances of the times and the stage of political development in Greece. We may distinguish two main periods of despotism, that of the 7th and 6th centuries on the one hand, and that of the 4th century on the other; the difference between the earlier and the later of these periods is the difference between symptoms of growth and symptoms of decay in the same nation: and while the former was a result of the natural course of internal development in the states and prepared the way for the free constitutions, the latter was a consequence of the downfall of the free governments and of the external causes which in the 4th century acted on Greek politics as a whole.
  The early tyrannies grew for the most part out of the oligarchical governments which succeeded the downfall of the monarchies. In Corinth and Thebes the monarchy fell about the middle of the 8th century: in Sparta, at a still earlier period, it had been saved by a limitation of its powers: in Athens it dwindled down to the limited functions of the archonship. Everywhere its power had been replaced by the rule of a nobility, whose special claims to honour were the exclusive possession of the sacrifices and higher religious rites of the state, the exclusive knowledge of its laws, and the sole possession of that political arete which resulted from higher birth and from inherited wealth and culture.
  But in the 7th century B.C. other classes were growing to power by the side of the old nobility,--the classes, namely, which had acquired wealth through commerce, and which were not only excluded from all participation in public affairs, but found their properties exposed to danger from the dynasties that ruled their towns. These formed the largest part of the discontented elements that fostered the despot, as in Corinth, where the revolution took the form of a reaction against the Bacchiadae, who had grossly misused their power and unscrupulously appropriated the profits of commerce (Ael. Var. Hist. i. 19; Strabo, p. 325): and the assertion of Thucydides that it was the growing wealth of Greece which gave rise to despotism (Thuc. i. 13) is illustrated both by this instance of Corinth and by that of the neighbouring town of Sicyon, which was renowned only next to Corinth for trade and manufacture (Strabo, p. 382).
  The tyrannies that developed out of oligarchies in Sicily and southern Italy, at Leontini, Gela, and Rhegium, during the close of the 6th century B.C. (Arist. Pol. v. 12, 13 = p. 1316), were probably due to the same assertion of their claims by the rich and unprivileged classes; in other states it was the poorest class, such as the Diacrii of Athens, on the championship of which the despot based his claim to power (Arist. Pol. v. 5, 9 = p. 1305; Herod. i. 59); while at other times the element of race entered into the struggle, as at Sicyon, where both the tyrant and his supporters belonged to the Ionian Aegialeis, and the revolution took the form of a reaction against an oppressive Dorian nationality (Herod. v. 68).
  Throughout Greece we see a period of transition, during which pressing difficulties, national or social, called for settlement; and the adjustment that ensued took the form either of a constitutional dictatorship or of an unconstitutional monarchy. In the former case the contending factions combined in appointing an individual for the settlement of their difficulties who bore the title of aisumnetes.
  Such an office was held by Pittacus in Mitylene, Zaleucus in Locri, and Solon in Athens; it was the only constitutional form of despotism in the Greek world, and Aristotle describes it as an elective tyranny (Arist. Pol. iii. 14, 8 = p. 1285), and as combining the characteristics of basileia and turannis (ib. iv. 10, 3 = p. 1295). The aesymnetes was given a body-guard of sufficient force to enable him to carry out his work of renovation (ib. iii. 15, 16), and held office either for life or for a term of years or until certain duties had been performed (ib. iii. 14, 9). In the later period of tyranny we find an aesymnete, Iphiades of Abydos, who made himself despot (ib. v. 5, 9 = p. 1305; Plaes, Die Tyrannis, ii. p. 89); and in some states, such as Teos, Cyme, Naxos, and Megara, the aesymnesia developed into a standing magistracy [Aesymnetes].
  But such a legitimised despotism was rare in the Greek world. More frequently the reins of government were seized by a man who constituted himself the champion of a section of the people. The demagogue who united military prowess with zeal for the popular welfare was the most ordinary type of despot; this character is found chiefly exemplified by the pretenders who in the 7th and 6th centuries rose to the throne through opposition to the ruling oligarchies, such as Orthagoras at Sicyon, Cypselus at Corinth, Theagenes at Megara, Pisistratus at Athens (Arist. Pol. v. 5 and 10; Herod. i. 59); but this type perpetuated itself even in the 4th century: Dionysius of Syracuse was one of the great historic instances of the demagogue-despot (Arist. Pot. v. 5, 10), and both Plato and Aristotle affirm this championship of popular causes to be the most settled element in the growth of tyrannies (Plat. Rep. viii. 565 D, turannos ek prostatikes rhizes kai ouk allothen ekblastanei: cf. Arist. Pol. v. 10, 4 = p. 1310).
  But it was in the earlier tyrannies that this phenomenon was of most importance, as inaugurating a new and necessary phase of political life; they effected, as no other power could have done, the unity of the nations which they governed, and in many cases, as at Athens, their rule first created a national spirit (Herod. v. 66); they were thus the precursors of the democracy, and even where democratic [p. 916] institutions did not follow their overthrow, yet a juster and more equable rule replaced, as at Corinth, the dynastic government of the older oligarchies. The demagogues who made their way to the throne were sometimes sprung from the oppressed classes whom they championed, as Orthagoras of Sicyon, who belonged to the weaker Ionian element of the state, and is said to have been a cook (Diod. viii. 24); in other cases they were members of the oligarchies they overthrew, and made the great powers which they possessed as, magistrates a stepping-stone to the crown. It was thus that Phalaris rose to be tyrant of Agrigentum (Arist. Pot. v. 10, 6); Lygdamis of Naxos belonged to the old nobility (ib. v. 6, 1); at Miletus a tyranny arose out of the office of prytanis (ib. v. 5, 8), and according to one account Cypselus of Corinth rose to power by the mode in which he exercised the office of polemarchos (Nicol. Damasc. Frag. 58). When once he had risen to power, the despot was sometimes enabled to retain his position through popular support; thus Cypselus of Corinth was a popular man who during the whole time of his rule never had a body-guard (Arist. Pol. v. 12, 4); and men like Gelo, who based their power on a victory over the national foes, could dispense with the support of armed force (Diod. xi. 23, 26, 48); but as a rule the band of epikouroi, for the support of which the subjects were taxed, was the invariable accompaniment of tyrannis (Arist. Pol. iii. 14, 7); this body-guard was usually composed of foreign mercenaries (ib. v. 10, 10), such as the Argive soldiers of Pisistratus (Herod. i. 61). Even when the first steps to power were due to popular support, the rise to the tyranny was often effected by a coup d?etat, as in the case of Pisistratus.
  Sometimes, even in the older tyrannies, the despotic rule was wholly acquired by the use of armed force. It was thus that Polycrates and afterwards Syloson gained the throne in Samos (Herod. iii. 120; Polyaen. vi. 45), that Aristodemus gained the throne in Cumae (Dionys. vii. 2 to 11), and that Cylon attempted to make himself tyrant of Athens (Herod. v. 71; Thuc. i. 126).
  The first exercise of the despot's power was usually the banishment of the more powerful members of the faction, which it had been his declared object to resist. Thus the Bacchiadae were expelled from Corinth by Cypselus (Dionys. iii. 46; Strabo, p. 325; Herod. v. 92), and even Pisistratus of Athens, in spite of his otherwise mild rule, found it necessary to banish some of the nobles (Herod. vi. 103; cf. Arist. Pol. v. 10, 12). But by the wiser despots no violent change was made in the machinery of government. The Orthagoridae and Pisistratus ruled in accordance with the existing laws (Herod. i. 59; Thuc. vi. 54, 6; Arist. Pol. v. 12, 1), the latter taking the precaution of having the great offices in the state filled by members of his own family (Thuc. l.c.). When radical changes were introduced, these had more of a social than a political character, and were calculated either to raise the position of one class of the population at the expense of others, or to unite the peoples by means of common festivals, or to give an impulse to democracy by substituting the universal, and, popular cults for the aristocratic and exclusive worship of the nobles. The first of these changes we find brought about in Sicyon, where the struggles which raised the Orthagoridae to power had an ethnic significance; the hatred of Cleisthenes to the memory of Adrastus, his suppression of the Homeric recitals and his alteration in the tribenames, were all intended to elevate the Ionic element in the state at the expense of the Dorian (Herod. v. 67 and 68).
  The aim of uniting the people by festivals may be illustrated by Pisistratus' cultivation of the Panathenaea (Schol. Arist. p. 323); and that of superseding the aristocratic worship by the encouragement given by Cleisthenes of Sicyon and by Periander of Corinth to the popular cult of Dionysus (Herod. i. 23, v. 67). A further object of the despots' policy was to strengthen their position by adding a lustre to their courts. To effect this they patronised arts and letters, as was done by Periander, Pisistratus, and Hiero, and some, like Polycrates of Samos, maintained an almost Oriental splendour (Sayce on Herod. iii. 39); they raised great buildings, such as the temple of Olympian Zeus originated by the Pisistratidae, and the great monuments at Samos built by Polycrates (Arist. Pot. v. 11, 9=p. 1313; Herod. iii. 60), and sent rich offerings to the religious centres of Greece, such as those dedicated by Cypselus and Periander of Corinth, and by Myron of Sicyon at Olympia (Plut. Sept. Sap. Conv. 21; Paus. v. 17 to 19, vi. 19, 2). Aristotle attributes these buildings and offerings of the despots to the desire to impoverish their subjects and give them no time to hatch conspiracies (Arist. Pol. l. c.); but the more probable object was the desire of personal distinction in their own states and in Greece: and even amongst the later despots we find the revival of this cultivation of Greek art and letters by. Maussolus of Halicarnassus and Evagoras of Cyprus (Plin. H. N. xxxv. § 49; Isocr. in Evag. 20 and 21).
  The necessities of internal administration showed the true evils of tyrannis. Aristotle characterises the maxims which the despot must employ to preserve his power as being, to create a slavish feeling in the subjects, to create mistrust amongst them, and to allow no prominent men in the state (Arist. Pol. v. 11; cf. Herod. v. 92); while the inevitable influence of flatterers and parasites and the system of espionage were other evils that accompanied their rule (Arist. l. c.). But there was probably no positive oppression of the general mass of the citizens. Some despots, like Dionysius of Syracuse, might have taxed their subjects heavily (Arist. Pol. v. 11, 10); but the Pisistratidae, we are told, only collected one-twentieth of the products of the soil. The artisans, who were not landowners, would thus have been wholly untaxed, and it was to the interest of the despot to provide the lower classes with material for work, and so keep them contented and employed (Ael. Var. Hist. ix. 25; Nicol. Damasc. Frag. 60).
  The external policy pursued by the early despots was at once vigorous and prudent. Thucydides, indeed, says that, with the exception of the tyrants of Sicily, the policy of those of Greece generally was characterised by a regard for selfish interests and by an absence of any great foreign activity (Thuc. i. 17); but this judgment is scarcely applicable to despots like Cypselus, who founded some of the most important colonies of Corinth (Strabo, pp. 270, [p. 917] 388), or Periander, who, besides founding Potidaea (Nicol. Damasc. Frag. 60), holding Corcyra and capturing Epidaurus (Herod. iii. 50 and 53), is also credited with the institution of the Isthmian games (Duncker, Hist. of Greece, ii. p. 371, n. 2), and certainly raised Corinth to a greater height of power than she attained before or after him. Pisistratus of Athens, too, subdued Naxos, purified Delos (Herod. i. 64; Thuc. iii. 104), and pushed his arms as far as Sigeum in the Troad (Herod. v. 94); while Polycrates of Samos founded a maritime empire, and mingled in the politics of Egypt and Persia (Herod. iii. 39 and 44). More manifest, however, was the greatness of the life and works of the early despots of Sicily--of Gelo and Hiero in particular. The power of Gelo of Syracuse was almost commensurate with his aims. These were a union of all the Sicilian Greeks against the barbarian, which he so far effected as to be himself described by the historian as despot of Sicily (Sikelies turannos, Herod. vii. 163, cf. c. 157).
  But, however powerful the individual tyrant might make himself, it was not in the nature of the tyrannies to last long. They marked a period of transition in Greek politics, and, when their work of destruction and preparation had been effected, there was no further reason for their continuance; they were rarely inherited, and, even when transmitted, fell rapidly through the degeneracy of the holders, who sought to maintain their power by force, and sometimes through quarrels in the ruling house, such as proved the ruin of the earlier and later despotisms at Syracuse (Arist. Pol. v. 10, 31). The Orthagoridae ruled at Sicyon for a hundred years, the Cypselidae at Corinth for seventy-three years, the Pisistratidae at Athens, exclusive of the period during which Pisistratus was banished, for thirty-five; and Gelo, Hiero, and Thrasybulus at Syracuse for eighteen years (Arist. Pol. v. 12; Herod. i. 60; Eratosth. ap. Schol. Aristoph. Vesp. 502), but these periods of duration were exceptional (Arist. l. c.).
  The actual overthrow of a tyranny was sometimes due to a general rising of the people, such as that which deposed Thrasybulus of Syracuse (Diod. xi. 67 sq.), sometimes to conspiracies inspired by private revenge (Arist. Pol. v. 10), but was not unfrequently effected by external force. Thus the Lacedaemonians drove out the Pisistratidae and are credited with having put down other tyrannies (Thuc. i. 18; Herod. v. 92; Arist. Pol. v. 10, 30); and similarly the Syracusans, after the death of Thrasybulus and after that of the younger Dionysius, put down despotisms in the other Sicilian states (Arist. l. c.; Diod. xi. 68, xvi. 82; Plut. Tim. 34).
  The earlier despotisms in Greece proper, belonging to a dim period of history, became at an early period obscured by legend and coloured by the later Greek conceptions of tyranny. From these legends was developed the idea of a normal type of despot, which was usually embodied in the person of Periander. He was the standing illustration of the mode in which the true despot preserved and exercised his power (Arist. Pol. v. 11), while the events of his life were modelled after that conception of the internal state of the despot, which was such a favourite subject of Greek speculation (Herod. v. 92; cf. Plat. Rep. ix. p. 580; Xen. Hiero, passim). The so-called tyrants of the Greek cities in Asia Minor in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C.--such as Daphnis of Abydos, Aeaces of Samos, Aristagoras of Cumae, and others (Herod. iv. 138)--cannot be classed with the despots of the early period in Greece proper, Italy, and Sicily. They were merely native princes who governed the Greek dependencies of Persia, and who were kept in their position by Persian support; and in their dependence on external aid they bear a greater resemblance to the later despot of the 4th century.
  This later despotism differed essentially from the earlier, in that it was not a natural growth and did not arise from internal changes in the Greek communities, but was a product of the general degeneration and of the ever-growing influence of mercenaries. The causes which raised these despots to power were sometimes the influence of the political clubs, but more often the ease of raising mercenaries or of seeking the protection of some strong foreign master (Plaes, Die Tyrannis, ii. pp. 38-40). The exceptions to the general rule were the later despotism of Sicily and the government of the Tagi of Thessaly. Dionysius of Syracuse was, like the earlier despots, a demagogue; and with the rule of Jason of Pherae Thessaly began a new life, became a united nation, and took her place among the powers of Greece. But on the whole these despotisms were not the sign of a healthier phase of political life. Many of them were due to the power of Macedon, which sought, like Persia, to rule its dependent states through despots; and most of them were a sign of the impossibility of the continuance of free civic life in Greece.

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

...It remains to speak of monarchy, the causes that destroy it and the natural means of its preservation
  And the things that happen about royal governments and tyrannies are almost similar to those that have been narrated about constitutional governments. For royal government corresponds with aristocracy, while tyranny is a combination of the last form of oligarchy and of democracy; and for that very reason it is most harmful to its subjects, inasmuch as it is a combination of two bad things, and is liable to the deviations and errors that spring from both forms of constitution. And these two different sorts of monarchy have their origins from directly opposite sources; royalty has come into existence for the assistance of the distinguished against the people, and a king is appointed from those distinguished by superiority in virtue or the actions that spring from virtue, or by superiority in coming from a family of that character, while a tyrant is set up from among the people and the multitude to oppose the notables, in order that the people may suffer no injustice from them. And this is manifest from the facts of history. For almost the greatest number of tyrants have risen, it may be said, from being demagogues, having won the people's confidence by slandering the notables. For some tyrannies were set up in this manner when the states had already grown great, but others that came before them arose from kings departing from the ancestral customs and aiming at a more despotic rule, and others from the men elected to fill the supreme magistracies (for in old times the peoples used to appoint the popular officials and the sacred embassies for long terms of office), and others from oligarchies electing some one supreme official for the greatest magistracies. For in all these methods they had it in their power to effect their purpose easily, if only they wished, because they already possessed the power of royal rule in the one set of cases and of their honorable office in the other, for example Phidon in Argos and others became tyrants when they possessed royal power already, while the Ionian tyrants and Phalaris arose from offices of honor, and Panaetius at Leontini and Cypselus at Corinth and Pisistratus at Athens and Dionysius at Syracuse and others in the same manner from the position of demagogue. Therefore, as we said, royalty is ranged in correspondence with aristocracy, for it goes by merit, either by private virtue or by family or by services or by a combination of these things and ability. For in every instance this honor fell to men after they had conferred benefit or because they had the ability to confer benefit on their cities or their nations, some having prevented their enslavement in war, for instance Codrus, others having set them free, for instance Cyrus, or having settled or acquired territory, for instance the kings of Sparta and Macedon and the Molossians. And a king wishes to be a guardian to protect the owners of estates from suffering injustice and the people from suffering insult, but tyranny, as has repeatedly been said, pays regard to no common interest unless for the sake of its private benefit; and the aim of tyranny is what is pleasant, that of royalty what is noble. Hence even in their requisitions money is the aim of tyrants but rather marks of honor that of kings; and a king's body-guard consists of citizens, a tyrant's of foreign mercenaries. And it is manifest that tyranny has the evils of both democracy and oligarchy; it copies oligarchy in making wealth its object (for inevitably that is the only way in which the tyrant's body-guard and his luxury can be kept up) and in putting no trust in the multitude (which is why they resort to the measure of stripping the people of arms, and why ill-treatment of the mob and its expulsion from the city and settlement in scattered places is common to both forms of government, both oligarchy and tyranny), while it copies democracy in making war on the notables and destroying them secretly and openly and banishing them as plotting against it and obstructive to its rule. For it is from them that counter-movements actually spring, some of them wishing themselves to rule, and others not to be slaves. Hence comes the advice of Periander to Thrasybulus, his docking of the prominent cornstalks, meaning that the prominent citizens must always be made away with. Therefore, as was virtually stated, the causes of revolutions in constitutional and in royal governments must be deemed to be the same; for subjects in many cases attack monarchies because of unjust treatment and fear and contempt, and among the forms of unjust treatment most of all because of insolence, and sometimes the cause is the seizure of private property. Also the objects aimed at by the revolutionaries in the case both of tyrannies and of royal governments are the same as in revolts against constitutional government; for monarchs possess great wealth and great honor, which are desired by all men. And in some cases the attack is aimed at the person of the rulers, in others at their office. Risings provoked by insolence are aimed against the person; and though insolence has many varieties, each of them gives rise to anger, and when men are angry they mostly attack for the sake of revenge, not of ambition. For example the attack on the Pisistratidae took place because they outraged Harmodius's sister and treated Harmodius with contumely (for Harmodius attacked them because of his sister and Aristogiton because of Harmodius, and also the plot was laid against Periander the tyrant in Ambracia because when drinking with his favorite he asked him if he was yet with child by him),and the attack on Philip by Pausanias was because he allowed him to be insulted by Attalus and his friends, and that on Amyntas the Little by Derdas because he mocked at his youth, and the attack of the eunuch on Evagoras of Cyprus was for revenge, for he murdered him as being insulted, because Evagoras's son had taken away his wife. And many risings have also occurred because of shameful personal indignities committed by certain monarchs...

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


Pheidon. Son of Aristodamidas, and king of Argos, was the tenth, according to Ephorus, but, according to Theopompus, the sixth in lineal descent from Temenus, Temenus himself being reckoned as the fifth from Hercules. Having broken through the limits which had been placed on the authority of his predecessors, Pheidon changed the government of Argos to a despotism. He then restored her supremacy over Cleonae, Phlius, Sicyon, Epidaurus, Troezen, and Aegina, the cities of her confederacy, "which had before been so nearly dissolved as to leave all the members practically independent." And this, as Mr. Grote observes, is the meaning of what Ephorus tells us in mythical language, that Pheidon recovered "the whole lot of Temenus" (ten lexin holen ten Temenou), after it had been torn asunder into several parts. He appears next to have attacked Corinth, and to have succeeded in reducing it under his dominion. Not content however with this, and wishing to render his power there more secure, he sent to require of the Corinthians, for military service, 1000 of their most warlike citizens, intending to make away with them; but Abron, one of Pheidon's friends, frustrated the design by revealing it to Dexander, who had been appointed to command the body of men in question.
  We hear further, that Pheidon, putting forward the title of his legendary descent, aimed at the extension of his supremacy over all the cities which Hercules had ever taken,--a claim that reached to the greater part of the Peloponnesus. It seems to have been partly as the holder of such supremacy, and partly as the representative of Hercules by lineal descent, that the Pisans invited him, in the 8th Olympiad, to aid them in excluding the Eleians from their usurped presidency at the Olympic games, and to celebrate them jointly with themselves. The invitation quite fell in with the ambitious pretensions of Pheidon, who succeeded in dispossessing the Eleians; but the latter, not long after, defeated him, with the aid of Sparta, and recovered their privilege.
  Thus apparently fell the power of Pheidon; but as to the details of the struggle we have no information. He did not fall, however, without leaving some very striking and permanent traces of his influence upon Greece. It may have been, as bishop Thirlwall suggests, in prosecution of his vast plans, that he furnished his brother Caranus with the means of founding a little kingdom, which became the core of the Macedonian monarchy.   And a more undoubted and memorable act of his was his introduction of copper and silver coinage, and of a new scale of weights and measures, which, through his influence, became prevalent in the Peloponnesus, and ultimately throughout the greater portion of Greece. The scale in question was known by the name of the Aeginetan, and it is usually supposed, according to the statement of Ephorus, that the coinage of Pheidon was struck in Aegina; but there seems good reason for believing, with Mr. Grote, that what Pheidon did was done in Argos, and nowhere else,--that "Pheidonian measures" probably did not come to bear the specific name of Aeginetan until there was another scale in vogue, the Euboic, from which to distinguish them,--and that both the epithets were probably derived, not from the place where the scale first originated, but from the people whose commercial activity tended to make them most generally known,--in the one case the Aeginetans, in the other case the inhabitants of Chalcis and Eretria.
  With respect to the date of Pheidon there is some considerable discrepancy of statement. Pausanias mentions the 8th Olympiad, or B. C. 748, as the period at which he presided at the Olympic games; but the Parian marble, representing him as the eleventh from Hercules, places him in B. C. 895. Hence Larcher and others would understand Pausanias to be reckoning the Olympiads, not from Coroebus, but from Iphitus : but Pausanias and Ephorus tell us that the Olympiad which Pheidon celebrated was omitted in the Eleian register, and we know that there was no register of the Olympiads at all before the Olympiad of Coroebus in B. C. 776. On the other hand, Herodotus, according to the common reading of the passage (vi. 127), calls Pheidon the father of Leocedes, one of the suitors of Agarista, the daughter of Cleisthenes of Sicyon; and, as this would bring down the Argive tyrant to a period at least a hundred years later than the one assigned him by Pausanias, some critics have suspected a mutilation of the text of Herodotus, while others would alter that of Pausanias from the 8th to the 28th Olympiad, and others again suppose two kings of Argos of the name of Pheidon, and imagine Herodotus to have confounded the later with the earlier. Of these views, that which ascribes incorrectness to the received reading of the passage in Herodotus is by far the most tenable. At any rate, the date of Pheidon is fixed on very valid grounds, which may be found in Clinton, to about the middle of the eighth century B. C.

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

   Phidon (Pheidon). The son of Aristodamidas, and king of Argos. He restored the supremacy of Argos over Cleonae, Phlius, Sicyon, Epidaurus, Troezen, and Aegina, and aimed at extending his dominions over the greater part of the Peloponnesus. The Pisans invited him (B.C. 748) to aid them in excluding the Eleans from their usurped presidency at the Olympic Games, and to celebrate them jointly with themselves. The invitation quite fell in with the ambitious pretensions of Phidon, who succeeded in dispossessing the Eleans and celebrating the games along with the Pisans; but the Eleans not long after defeated him, with the aid of Sparta, and recovered their privilege. Thus apparently fell the power of Phidon; but as to the details of the struggle we have no information. The most memorable act of Phidon was his introduction of copper and silver coinage, and a new scale of weights and measures, which, through his influence, became prevalent in the Peloponnesus, and ultimately throughout the greater portion of Greece. The scale in question was known by the name of the Aeginetan, and it is usually supposed that the coinage of Phidon was struck in Aegina; but there seems good reason for believing that what Phidon did was done in Argos, and nowhere else--that "Phidonian measures" probably did not come to bear the specific name of Aeginetan until there was another scale in vogue, the Euboic, from which to distinguish them--and that both the epithets were derived, not from the place where the scale first originated, but from the people whose commercial activity tended to make them most generally known--in the one case the Aeginetans, in the other case the inhabitants of Chalcis and Eretria.

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

Pheidonos. The date here assigned to Pheidon, viz. the age of Cleisthenes (circ. 600-570), though accepted by Beloch (i. 282; Rh. Mus. xlv. 595) and Trieber, and supported by the statement that he expelled the Elean Agonothetae, apparently after 572 B. C. (cf. Busolt, i. 604 and 612), can hardly be maintained. If, indeed, Pheidon first coined money (Ephorus in Strabo 358, Marm. Par.) in Greece proper, he would belong to the seventh century according to the numismatists, but the statement is an unhistorical amplification of H. (ta metra) and inconsistent with the dates explicitly or implicitly assigned to Pheidon by Ephorus and the Parian marble.
  On the other hand, Ephorus making Pheidon the tenth descendant of Temenus (Strab. l. c.; cf. Paus. ii. 19. 2) would appear to place him circ. 800-770 B. C. (Busolt, i. 613), or a generation later (Abbott, Exc. vi to Bk. VI). The yet earlier dates for Pheidon seem due to his connexion with the royal line of Macedon. Caranus, the founder of the dynasty (unknown till the fourth century), is declared to be brother of Pheidon, and seventh in descent from Temenus (Theopomp. Fr. 30, F. H. G. i. 283), and eleventh from Heracles. This made the Macedonian dynasty older than the Median, then believed to have succeeded the Assyrian in 884 (Ctesias), and placed Pheidon in the same generation as Lycurgus, circ. 900-870 (Marm. Par. 894 B. C.). Finally, when Lycurgus, on account of the disk of Iphitus, was brought down to the first Olympiad (776 B. C.), Caranus and Pheidon too were moved down. Pheidon's accession was fixed in 798 (Jerome; cf. Eusebius and Syncellus), and his Olympiad (the 8th) fifty years later, as the crown and consummation of a long and prosperous reign (748 B. C.) (Paus. vi. 22. 2). This date is accepted by Grote (ii. 315), Duncker (ii. 67), Holm (i. 215), and Abbott (l. c.).
  Pausanias, however, makes Pheidon celebrate the Olympia in conjunction with the men of Pisa. Now Strabo (355) distinctly places the presidency of the Pisatans after the 26th Olympiad, though quite aware of Ephorus' views on Pheidon. Africanus also knows no break in the official (Elean) list of Olympiads till the 28th, which was held by the Pisatans. Hence Falconer and Weissenborn would emend the text of Pausanias (28th for 8th), and so date Pheidon in 668 B. C. Whether the emendation be justifiable or not, the date is most suitable (Curtius, Busolt, l. c., Macan, Bury, p. 860). Pheidon would thus be placed between the two Messenian wars at the time of the great Argive victory over the Spartans at Hysiae (Paus. ii. 24. 7). This date would also make it possible for him to have spread abroad the use of the Pheidoneia metra (used at Athens before Solon, Ath. Pol. ch. 10), or rather perhaps of the Aeginetan system of weights and measures. Lastly, the anachronism here is more intelligible if the 28th Olympiad be accepted. In a legend Solon and Croesus may well meet, but hardly Croesus and Lycurgus. Wells (op. cit. pp. 54-62) argues strongly for placing Pheidon in the eighth century B. C. rather than in the seventh, and P. Gardner (op. cit. pp. 111-13) inclines to the earlier date.
  In any case the anti-Dorian and anti-Argive policy of Cleisthenes (cf. v. 67) makes the presence of a son or descendant of the Dorian despot of Argos among the suitors of Agariste improbable. It is noticeable that the list of suitors contains no representative of the Samos, Chalcis, Croton, Corinth league, for which cf. v. 99 n.

In the days of the Trojan war Agamemnon had a widely extended suzerainty, and Argos claimed to succeed to the hegemony held by the Mycenaean king. Further, when the three sons of the Heraclid Aristomachus cast lots for the lands of the Peloponnese, Argos fell to the eldest son Temenus. For similar claims founded on legendary history cf. v. 43, 94, and above all the dispute between Athens and Tegea, ix. 26f. Pheidon (cf. vi. 127. 3n.) had revived the ancient claim of Argos to hegemony. The hope of reasserting it still lived at Argos in the Peloponnesian war (Thuc. v. 27, 28), and made the Argives constantly ready to ally themselves with the enemies of Sparta, e. g. Athens in 461 and 420 B. C. (Thuc. i. 102, v. 44-7).

This extract is from: A Commentary on Herodotus (ed. W. W. How, J. Wells). Cited May 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks.

Perdikkes. Did Alexander himself emphasize the founder's name by giving it to his own son and successor (c. 454 B.C.)? Is the legend, in its Herodotean form, older than the accession of Perdikkas II. (c. 454 B.C.)? In any case Hdt. was hardly the first author to reduce it to writing, or even to prose: that had surely been done already at the Makedomian Court. Thucydides in 2. 99. 3 asserts the Argive and Temenid descent, in 2. 100. 2 gives the same number of kings (without the names), adding Perdikkas and Archelaos his own contemporaries; and in 5. 80 supphes a practical illustration of the force of the Argive claim (alliance in 417 B.C.).
  Another and perhaps later saga made Karanos (Karanos), son or brother of Pheidon of Argos, found the dynasty, to be succeeded by Koinos, Turimmas, Perdikkas. This version was first given vogue by Theopompos; cp Vell. Pat. 1. 6. 5 Circa quod tempus (sc. Carthag. cond.) Caranus, vir generis regii, sextus decimus ab Hercule (?), profectus Argis, regnum Macedoniae occupavit a quo magnus Alexander quum fuerit septimus decimus, iure materni generis Achille auctore, paterni Hercule gloriatus est. Pompeius Trogus 7. 1. 7 ff., Theopompus Frag. 29, 30 (Mueller i. 283).
  A third variant was supplied by Euripides' Archelaos, cp. Nauck1 p. 339, Hyginus Fab. 219 (quoted in full by Nauck and by Stein). This story was more romantic. Archelaos, a son of Temenos, exiled by his brethren, took refuge in Makedonia, and having won a victory for the king, demanded his promised reward (regnum et filiam): the king, however, sought his benefactor's life: the plot was betrayed: Archelaos took his would-be slayer in the pit prepared for him: inde profugit ex responso Apollinis in Macedoniam capra duce oppidumque ex nomine caprae Aegas constituit. As this story was obviously adopted by Euripides in compliment to the reigning Archelaos, so the version in Hdt. is probably a compliment to Perdikkas, devised on his accession (the precise circumstances of which are obscure; cp. Busolt, III. i. 558, ii. 792).

Pheidon of Argos, the founder of the Olympic Games

The great national centres of religion, with their cults, oracles, and festivals--Olympia, Delphi, Dodona (perhaps Delos), Eleusis--must be chiefly in the speaker's (or writer's) mind: the theology is not expressly mentioned, but may be assumed. Perhaps nothing would more clearly show the genetic or non-primitive character of the Hellenic national communion than the history of Hellenic religion. The Hellenic and pan-Hellenic significance of Olympia and of Delphi (to take the most conspicuous examples) was comparatively recent. The panHellenic Agon of Delphi has the year 585 B.C. as its epoch, and it was established by Kleisthenes of Sikyon and Solon of Athens (cp. J. B. Bury, The Nemean Odes of Pindar, 1890, Appendix D). The Olympian Agon was dated conventionally two centuries earlier (776 B.C.), but this is a 'prochronism'; the founder of the Olympian Agon was Pheidon of Argos, and the date of the foundation was probably 668 B.C. (Ol. 28; cp. Hdt. IV.-VI. i. 383, note to 6. 127). Delphi gave up to mankind what was intended for Hellenes; but the Hellenic character of the Olympian Agon is attested by two striking facts: (a) the title of the stewards, Hellanodikai, which must be associated with the establishment by Pheidon (the same title was used at Nemea). The adoption of this title presupposes the extensive recognition of 'Hellenes', and 'Hellas'. (b) The inclusion of all Hellenes (2. 160) and the exclusion of 'barbarians' (5. 22) in the competition, which give it a truly 'national' character. But the common theology (theoi koinoi 9. 90 infra, theoi hoi Hellenioi 5. 49) carries back further than the great festivals. There is apparent in Greece, even in the historic period, a wondrous variety of local cults and of local myths; but there is also apparent a large community of belief and worship: of this community the Homero-Hesiodic ?theology? (including the Hymns) may be taken as typical. This theology is, indeed, comparatively late (cp. Hdt. 2. 53), but its middle and latest ages imply a long past, a long process, a genesis; and the systematization, the general reception of the Homeric Pantheon, imply a large common stock of ideas and of practices, original or acquired, which in turn implies a long history, a long occnpation of the area, over which this religious complex is recognizable.

Ephorus says that Aetolus, after he had been driven by Salmoneus, the king of the Epeians and the Pisatans, out of Eleia into Aetolia, named the country after himself and also united the cities there under one metropolis; and Oxylus, a descendant of Aetolus and a friend of Temenus and the Heracleidae who accompanied him, acted as their guide on their way back to the Peloponnesus, and apportioned among them that part of the country which was hostile to them, and in general made suggestions regarding the conquest of the country; and in return for all this he received as a favor the permission to return to Eleia, his ancestral land; and he collected an army and returned from Aetolia to attack the Epeians who were in possession of Elis; but when the Epeians met them with arms,161 and it was found that the two forces were evenly matched, Pyraechmes the Aetolian and Degmenus the Epeian, in accordance with an ancient custom of the Greeks, advanced to single combat. Degmenus was lightly armed with a bow, thinking that he would easily overcome a heavy-armed opponent at long range, but Pyraechmes armed himself with a sling and a bag of stones, after he had noticed his opponent's ruse (as it happened, the sling had only recently been invented by the Aetolians); and since the sling had longer range, Degmenus fell, and the Aetolians drove out the Epeians and took possession of the land; and they also assumed the superintendence, then in the hands of the Achaeans, of the temple at Olympia; and because of the friendship of Oxylus with the Heracleidae, a sworn agreement was promptly made by all that Eleia should be sacred to Zeus, and that whoever invaded that country with arms should he under a curse, and that whoever did not defend it to the extent of his power should be likewise under a curse; consequently those who later founded the city of the Eleians left it without a wall, and those who go through the country itself with an army give up their arms and then get them back again after they have passed out of its borders; and Iphitus celebrated the Olympian Games, the Eleians now being a sacred people; for these reasons the people flourished, for whereas the other peoples were always at war with one another, the Eleians alone had profound peace, not only they, but their alien residents as well, and so for this reason their country became the most populous of all; but Pheidon the Argive, who was the tenth in descent from Temenus and surpassed all men of his time in ability (whereby he not only recovered the whole inheritance of Temenus, which had been broken up into several parts, but also invented the measures called "Pheidonian," and weights, and coinage struck from silver and other metals)--Pheidon, I say, in addition to all this, also attacked the cities that had been captured previously by Heracles, and claimed for himself the right to celebrate all the games that Heracles had instituted. And he said that the Olympian Games were among these; and so he invaded Eleia and celebrated the games himself, the Eleians, because of the Peace, having no arms wherewith to resist him, and all the others being under his domination; however, the Eleians did not record this celebration in their public register, but because of his action they also procured arms and began to defend themselves; and the Lacedaemonians cooperated with them, either because they envied them the prosperity which they had enjoyed on account of the peace, or because they thought that they would have them as allies in destroying the power of Pheidon, for he had deprived them of the hegemony over the Peloponnesus which they had formerly held; and the Eleians did help them to destroy the power of Pheidon, and the Lacedaemonians helped the Eleians to bring both Pisatis and Triphylia under their's way.

This extract is from: The Geography of Strabo (ed. H. L. Jones, 1924), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited May 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.

Pheidon of Argos regulated weights & measures

Mensura (metron =measures).The simplest and probably most primitive measures are those derived from the various parts of the human body. Such was the view of the ancients themselves (cf. Heron Alexandr. Tab., ta metra exeurentai ex anthropinon melon egoun daktulou kondulou palaistou spithames pecheos bematos orguias kai loipon; Vitruv. iii. 1, 5, mensurarum rationes . . . ex corporis membris collegerunt, uti digitum palmum pedem cubitum ). Among primitive and unmixed races, where all live under the same conditions, idiosyncrasies of stature are rare, and consequently the average sized foot will give a standard sufficiently accurate for all their purposes. When, however, peoples of different stocks come into contact, and different modes of life may cause differences in stature among the various classes of a single community, many variations of the foot or cubit will naturally be found.
  The growth of the arts of civilisation will require greater accuracy in measurements of various kinds: accordingly the interrelations of various standards will be carefully ascertained by the use of some small natural object of uniform size, such as the barleycorn of the English system. Finally, with the advance of science, efforts will be made to get some more general units fixed with great accuracy, and probably to bring those into relation with the measures of capacity and standards of weight.
  Measures of capacity are probably first obtained from natural products of a uniform size. The Hebrews and ancient Irish employed the hen's egg as their unit; at Zanzibar a small gourd is now employed as a general unit; and the Chinese use the joints of the bamboo in a similar fashion. The Roman cochlear (from cochlea, a mussel ), their smallest measure of capacity, and possibly the kuathos of the Greeks (which perhaps originally meant a gourd ), indicate a like origin for standards of capacity. It is natural to expect many local variations in such measures, and it is only a strong centralised government which can introduce some universal standards, such as those established in this country by the Act of 1824.
  Of such regulation of standards in ancient times we have examples in the case of Pheidon of Argos, who, according to Herodotus, fixed the standard measures used by the Peloponnesians (tou ta metra poiesantos Peloponnesioisi, vi. 127); in Solon, who fixed the standards of weights and measures at Athens (Decret. ap. Andocid. 11, 25, nomois chresthai tois Solonos kai metrois kai stathmois), and in Augustus at Rome. It is possible that at such a time an effort may be made to fix cartain relations between the standards of length, capacity, and weight.
  The Tables at the end of the volume give a general view of the various systems of measures of the ancients, setting forth as accurately as possible their value, according to modern standards. The following pages give a more detailed account of the different systems. A large mass of valuable information has reached us from the ancient metrologists, whose fragments have been collected by Hultsch (Metrologicorum Scriptorum reliquiae, Leipzig, 1864-6). The tables named after Heron, an Alexandrine mathematician, are of especial value, although they are probably of various dates; whilst the excerpts from the ancient lexicographers, such as Pollux, afford much important information.
  The German metrologists have assumed that the Greeks and Romans, who derived theirs from the Greeks, borrowed their standards from the East: one school, that of Brandis and Hultsch, deriving them from the Chaldaeans, whilst that of Lepsius derives not merely the Greek, but also the Chaldaean from Egypt, although both alike admit the ultimate origin to be the parts of the human body. It is therefore a question worth considering how far like conditions of development may not have produced the close general approximation between the various systems.
  Whilst admitting that measures of length were based on the parts of the human body, the German metrologists have sought outside Greece for the standards there in use. One school--that of Brandis and Hultsch--consider the standards of measures and weights to have been invented by the Chaldaeans: the other school--that of Lepsius (Langenmasse der Alten)--makes the Greeks to have borrowed their systems from the Egyptians. The latter had two cubits, one based on the average length of the fore-arm of a full-grown man, from the point of the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. This was fixed at 0.450 metre. Beside it was another cubit, evidently of later construction, which was about one-sixth larger than the natural cubit. The fact that it varies so much from nature shows that it is later in point of time. It may be fixed at 0.525 metre. This cubit is found not only in Egypt and in Palestine, but also in the regions of the Euphrates and Persia, although in the latter cases somewhat raised, as it may be fixed at about 0.532 metre. In both Egypt and Mesopotamia it is called the royal cubit, as we learn in the one case from the inscriptions on the measuring-rods, which have survived; in the other from the testimony of Herodotus (i. 178).
  Whilst the natural cubit was used for the general purposes of life, according to Lepsius the royal cubit was exclusively used in building. It would seem, however, that our data are not yet sufficient to enable us to decide whether the Egyptians borrowed the royal cubit from the peoples of the Euphrates, or whether the latter borrowed it from the Egyptians. If the Egyptians came from Asia into the Nile Valley (as supposed by the best modern authorities), there is no reason why they should not have brought the royal ell with them from their early home. The Egyptian cubit was subdivided into six palms, each containing four fingers. But at Babylon the sexagesimal system influenced the subdivision of the cubit. The Chaldaeans made the cubit consist of six hands, each of which contained five fingers. The royal cubit thus contained thirty fingers, according to Lepsius. But there can be little doubt that Lepsius is wrong. Dorpfeld (Mittheil. 1883, p. 36) has shown from Herod. i. 178, vii. 117, that the metrios pechus there mentioned is the common Greek cubit: but, as Herodotus says that the royal cubit is three fingers longer than the metrios (ho de basileios pechus tou metriou esti pecheos meizon trisi daktuloisi), the royal cubit therefore = 27 daktuloi.
  In Greece proper at least three different foot-standards were employed,--Attic, Olympic, and Aeginetan. Dorpfeld has shown from the measurements of the cella of the Parthenon, called the Hekatompodon, that the Attic foot was 295.7 mill. The measurement of the stadion at Olympia has proved the Olympic foot to be 320.5 mill. Tradition said that this was the size of Hercules' foot (Aul. Gell. i.1). The mythical connexion of Hercules with Olympia may indicate Oriental influence. The Aeginetan foot, according to the temple measurements, 333 mill. Other measures mentioned by the ancient writers are the Philetaerean foot (pous philetaireios), which was probably so called from Philetaerus, king of Pergamus, shown by Dorpfeld to = 330 mill.; the Samian cubit, which Herodotus (ii. 168) regarded as the same size as the Egyptian.
  In Western Europe we find three foot-standards: the Italian, proved from the writings of the Gromatici (Surveyors) and from buildings to be about 275 mill.; the Roman, known to us from actual measures to be 296 mill.; and the pes Drusianus, used by the Surveyors in Gaul and Germany = 333 mill.
  It will be seen that the Attic and Roman standards are practically identical; that so also the pes Drusianus, the pous Piletaireios, the Aeginetan foot, and Ionian foot are almost identical; whilst the Italian foot is almost identical with the Phrygian foot of 277.5 mill.

  It is of course of the greatest importance that in metrological investigations a strictly scientific method should be followed. From the nature of the case it is necessary that we should obtain by means of actual measures, if they still survive, at least one of the units of measure mentioned by the ancient writers. As the tables of Heron and other writings give the comparative values of various units and standards, it follows that if we can obtain with accuracy one such unit, we can deduce from it all the rest. Linear units are of course the most important, as from them we can deduce the itinerary and superficial measures, and the most important of these is the Roman foot.

The Roman Foot.
  There are five different ways of determining the length of the Roman foot. These are: (1) from ancient measures still in existence, including feet laid down on sepulchral monuments, and foot-rules found in the ruins of various cities of the Roman empire; (2) from measurements of known distances along roads, both between milestones and between places; (3) from measurements of buildings and obelisks; (4) from contents of certain measures of capacity; and (5) from measurements of a degree on the earth's surface.
(1) It might appear at first thought that ancient measures in actual existence would at once give the required information. But these measures are found to differ among themselves. They are of two kinds,--foot measures cut upon grave-stones, and brass or iron measures intended in all probability for actual use. From the nature of the case the latter would probably be more exact than the former, and in fact the measures on the gravestones are rudely cut, and their subdivisions are of unequal length, so that they have no pretensions to perfect accuracy, but on the other hand it would be absurd to suppose that they would have been made very far wrong. We may safely conclude that they would have about as much accuracy as a measure hastily cut on a stone by a mason from a foot-rule used by him in working. Three such measures are preserved in the Capitol at Roman, and one in the Capponi collection. They are called the Statilian, the Cossutian, the Aebutian, the Capponian feet. They have been repeatedly measured, but unfortunately the different measurements gave different results. Besides these, we have two models of feet cut on the rocks at Terracina. The bronze and iron foot-rules, of which several have been found at Pompeii, do not precisely agree in length. There was anciently a standard foot measure kept in the Capitol, called the pes monetalis, which was probably lost at the burning of the Capitol under Vitellius or Titus.
(2) The itinerary measurements are of two kinds, according as they are obtained by measuring the distance from one place to another, or the distance from one milestone to another on a Roman road. Both methods have the advantage of the diminution of error which always results from determining a lesser magnitude from a greater, but both are subject to uncertainties from turnings in the road, and from the improbability of the milestones being laid down with minute accuracy; and two other serious objections apply to the former mode, namely, the difficulty of determining the points where the measurement began and ended, and the changes which may have taken place in the direction of the road. Both methods have been tried: the former by Cassini, who measured the distance from Nimes to Narbonne, and Riccioli and Grimaldi, who measured that between Modena and Bologna; and the latter by Cassini, between Aix and Arles.
(3) The measurement of buildings is rather a verification of the value of the foot as obtained from other sources than an independent evidence. (The method was first employed by Raper in his Enquiry into the Measure of the Roman Foot, Philosoph. Transact. 1760, who obtained a foot = 295.7 mill.) It is very seldom that we know the number of ancient feet contained in the building measured. We have one such example in the Parthenon, the cella of which was called the Hecatompodon, the hundred-footed (Plut. Pericl. 13; Cato, 5), but even in this case we could not have told exactly, till we knew something of the length of the Greek foot, to what part of the edifice this measurement applied. Furthermore, the measurement of the stadion at Olympia laid bare by the German excavations has enabled us to ascertain with accuracy the length of the Olympian foot; but in this case likewise, it would have been impossible to arrive at an accurate result had we not known already that this stadion was 600 feet long. Again, there are the obelisk in the Piazza del Popolo at Rome, and the Flaminian obelisk, the heights of which are given by Pliny (H. N. xxxvi. § 71). But the actual heights of these obelisks as compared with Pliny would give a value for the foot altogether different from that obtained from other sources. Indeed, the numbers in Pliny are undoubtedly corrupt, and as they stand it is only the difference of height between the two that can be of any service, and even this gives a result by no means satisfactory. An ingenious emendation from Stuart would remove the difficulty, but it is obvious that a passage which requires a conjectural emendation cannot be taken as an independent authority. There is another mode of deducing the value of the foot from buildings of the dimensions of which we have no information. The building is measured, and the lengths thus obtained are divided by the supposed value of the ancient foot (as derived from other evidence), and if a remainder be left the value of the foot is corrected so that there may be no remainder. It is assumed in this process that no fractions were allowed in the dimensions of the building, and also that the plans were worked out with minute exactness, both of which assumptions are not very probable. In fact these measurements have given different values for the foot. Thus some metrologists have found by this method that two separate foot standards were employed in the temple at Aegina, a supposition which can scarcely be credited. Modern architects do not allow that such calculations could be depended on in modern buildings for determining the true length of the measures by which they were planned. Nor are the dimensions of the parts of mediaeval buildings in our own country, as churches and cathedrals, found to agree exactly, so as to give whole numbers of the standard measure. On the other hand these measurements, like those on roads, have the advantage of involving in all probability very small errors, and of the diminution of the error by division. It must however be borne in mind that buildings, like temples, were liable to have their dimensions conditioned by the nature of the site, and also that those which remain to us have been built on the foundations of older and smaller ones.
  The results of these various methods are as follows: (1) The Roman foot as obtained from the measures varies between 295.6 and 296 mill. (2) The foot obtained from itinerary measures is 295.85 mill.; and (3) that obtained from the measurements of buildings at Pompeii by Nissen is 296 mill.
From these results we cannot be far from the truth in setting the Roman foot at 296 mill., or a little less than the English foot (301 mill.).
(4) Some have attempted to deduce the length of the Roman foot from the solid content of the congius of Vespasian. Since the congius was 1/8 amphora, and the content of the amphora was a cubic foot [QUADRANTAL], the process is to multiply the content of the congius by 8, and to extract the cube root of the product. But this method is very uncertain. Hultsch, for instance, will not allow that the measures of capacity were obtained from the linear unit, but rather from a certain weight of water or wine. Further, there is a doubt about the actual content of the congius; and even granting that the congius had been adapted to the foot with tolerable accuracy, there is a risk of error in reversing the process.
(5) Some French geographers have supposed that the ancient astronomers were acquainted with the dimensions of a great circle of the earth, and that they founded their whole system of measures on the subdivisions of such a circle. But we have no evidence of any sort to show that the ancients were acquainted with any such method.

The Greek Foot.
  We have no ancient foot-rules surviving, so therefore we fix the Greek (Attic) foot from the testimony of ancient writers that it was about the same as the Roman, confirming this by the measurements of buildings, such as the Parthenon, from which Dorpfeld has shown the foot to be 295.7 mill. The Olympian foot is derived similarly from the testimony of ancient writers comparing it with other feet, and from the actual measurement of the stadium.

Greek Measures of Length.
  In Homer the following measures are mentioned: doron (=the later palaiste), pous (in compound hekatompodos), pugon (in adjective pugousios), orguia, plethron (in form pelethron). Thepugon is a short cubit, being the distance from the point of the elbow to the knuckles (ei sunkampseias tous daktulous, ap' ankonos ep' autous pugon to metron, ei de sunkleiseias, pugme). It is to be noted that the pechus does not occur as the name of a measure in the poems. Homer makes mention also of a long measure, called simply metrou (host' amph' ouroisi du' anere deriaasthon metr' en chersin echontes, Il. xii. 422). It is impossible for us to say what was the length of this measuring-rod-whether it was the length of an orguia, or of the kalamos or kalamos of later date. Of course there are no data for fixing the length of the Homeric pous orguia, and pelethron.

Superficial Measure.
  The unit of superficial measure in Homer is the gues (found only in the compounds pentekontoguos and tetraguos), which probably meant the space traversed by the plough in one day's work. It probably derived its name from the ancient form of the plough (called autoguon by Hesiod), and was thus somewhat analogous to the English ploughgate. The term was applied to the patches of ground in the common field (epixunoi en arourei, Il. xii. 422), which were separated from each other by land-marks (oura) made of stones (Il. xii. 421; xxi. 405), corresponding to Latin limes, balk. In such common fields or early communities the furrow was always of a customary length, hence our fur-long (furrow-long), which doubtless depended on the distance which a yoke of oxen could drag, and a man could steer, the plough without a rest. The breadth of the gues was the distance between the oura, which bounded each side. The Scholiast sets it at about 10 fathoms = 60 feet. But we know from Homer (Il. x. 351; Od. viii. 124) that the distance between the oura of mules--that is, the breadth of the patch ploughed by mules--was greater than that between those of oxen. Consequently the breadth (plhethron) varied. Now the old name for the stadion was aulos, and its double was called diaulos, from which it is probable that the stadion represented the furrow-long (aulos being an old form of aulex). The stadion being 600 feet, is therefore ten times the breadth of the gues, a ratio found to exist in similar land systems elsewhere.

Measures of Capacity.
  Homer has but the word metron to express the unit of both Dry and Liquid measure. Telemachus (Od. ii. 355) takes 20 metra of barley-meal as provision for his crew. Some have identified the metron both in liquid and dry measure with the Hebrew saton, but it is more probable that in the metron of barley-meal we have the medimnos of later times. It is almost certain that the metron used for liquids differed from that used for dry measure. The metron of barley-meal is evidently a considerable amount, from the passage quoted above. But as the capacity of the various vessels offered as prizes by Achilles is given in metra, it is not probable that the metron by which their capacity is expressed is the same as that used for the barley-meal. On the other hand, it seems not improbable that the metron used for wine was the same as the depas or cup of Od. ix. 208-10: ton d'hote pinoien meliedea hoinon eruthron, hen depas emplesas, hudatos ana heikosi metra cheue.
To suppose that the proportion was one cup of wine to twenty medimnoi of water is absurd; whereas the proportion of one cup of wine to twenty cups of water is sufficiently marvellous to show the strength of the wine without falling into grotesque exaggeration. The word kotule occurs occasionally in Homer (only in the Odyssey) in the sense of cup. It probably is the same as depas, and thus connects the Homeric depas with the kotule of later times.

Greek and Roman Linear Measure.
- The finger--breadth (daktulos, digitus) was the. smallest measure employed in both systems, and was regarded as the unit (monas). Later writers, e. g. Isidorus, mention the use of the barleycorn as the unit, 5 barleycorns making a finger, 7 making a thumb (pollex).
- The kondulos, the middle joint of the finger, = 2 fingers.
- The palaiste (later palaistes, in strict Attic palaste), doron (Homer and Hesiod), or dochme (according to some writers), palmus, handbreadth = 4 fingers. This measure was in very common use with both Greeks and Romans.
- The dichas = 2 hands = 8 fingers, usually called hemipodion.
- The lichas, the space between the thumb (anticheir) and forefinger (lichanos), = 10 fingers.
- Orthodoron, space from the base of the hand to the finger-tips, = 11 fingers.
- Spithame, span = 3 handbreadths = 12 fingers = 1/2 cubit. This measure, much used by the Greeks, was not employed by the Romans, who used instead the dodrans = 3/4 pes.
- Pous, pes, foot = 16 fingers. The Romans also used their national uncial system in dividing the pes, thus giving it 12 parts, which in later times passed into general use.
- Pugon (Homer, Herod. ii. 175, and some other isolated passages), the distance from the elbow [p. 162] to the first joint of the fingers, = 20 fingers. The Romans employed as its equivalent the palmipes = palmus + pes.
- Pechus, cubitus, cubit or ell, distance from the point of elbow to the point of the middle finger, = 24 fingers. Roman writers employ cubitus when following Greek sources; the native Roman term is sesquipes.
- Bema, gradus, pace, = 2 1/2 feet.
- Passus, double pace or stride, = 5 feet. The later Greeks employed the ampelos as its equivalent.
- Oregma (Heraclean Tables) = 4 feet (or, according to others, 5 feet).
- Orguia, fathom, the space which a man can stretch with both arms, = 6 feet. The Romans had no corresponding term (although tensum is used in Low Latin), but occasionally used ulna to express it, although usually employing this term for the cubit.
- Akaina (in late writers akena) = 10 feet. It probably means the goad used in driving the plough oxen, which was finally fixed at 10 feet and employed as the special land measure. To it corresponds the Roman pertica, or decempeda (ten-foot rod), the square of which formed the basis of all land measures. Hence the Roman agrimensores were sometimes called decempedatores.
- Plethron (pelethron, Homer) probably was originally the breadth of the gues or acre-strip, the space lying between the oura or boundary stones, which form the longer sides of the patch. It = 100 feet; and its square became the regular limit of land measure with the Greeks of historical times. To it corresponds in size the vorsus, used by the Oscans and Umbrians, which properly means the turning place or headland (cf. hai strophai sc. ton boon, Hesych.).
- The Roman actus, = 120 feet, properly meant the headland (called actus minimus, 4 feet broad). It then came in later times to mean the distance which oxen can draw the plough at a single draught ( sulcum autem ducere longiorem quam pedum centum viginti contrarium pecori est, quoniam plus aequo fatigatur ubi hunc modum excessit, Colum. ii. 2, 27).

Itinerary Measures.
  For the higher measures of length, although the continuity of the system was preserved by making them exact multiples of a foot, it is obvious that convenience would demand higher denominations, one of which would be regarded as a new unit. Nay, these higher measures may be viewed with respect to their origin, as in a certain sense independent of those smaller measures with which they were afterwards made to agree. For just as we have seen that the smaller measures of length are taken from natural objects, so we shall find that at an early period the larger measures were not derived artificially from the smaller, but from distances which occur in nature and in ordinary life.
  Thus Homer expresses distances by the cast of a stone (II. iii. 12, hoson t' epi laan hiesi), and so even too in later times (Thuc. v. 65; Polybius, v. 6); of a quoit (Il. xxiii. 431, hossate diskou oura . . . pelontai); of a spear (Il. xv. 358, douros eroe); by the distance which a man can reach with a spear (II. x. 357, dourenekes); and by the still more indefinite expression, as far as a man makes himself heard distinctly when he shouts (Od. v. 400, vi. 294 et alib., hosson te gegone boesas); and again by standards derived from agriculture (It. x. 352, hosson t' epi oura pelontai hemionon), which from what we have seen above represents the breadth of the acre piece or gues, the amount ploughed in one day: as mules are superior to oxen, the breadth ploughed in one day of a piece of ground of a fixed length would be greater than the breadth (plethron) ploughed in the same time by a yoke oxen. (See Ridgeway's article in Journal of Hellenic Studies, 1885.)
  Of the longest distances time was made the measure, as in the case of the German Stunden: the journey of a day by an active traveller (euzonos aner), or of a day and a night, or on horseback, or with a merchant ship (naus strongule, slkas), a method too frequently employed now as well as in ancient times to need illustration. (Comp. Ukert, Geograp. d. Griech. u. Ron. vol. i. pt. 2, pp. 54-5.) The system of measuring by stations or posts [MANSIO] should probably be referred to this head, as it is most likely that such distances would be fixed with reference to the powers of endurance of man and horse, before the trouble was taken actually to measure them out. Another plan was that which Herodotus several times adopts, and which is also familiar to all ages, the description of one distance by comparing it with another which is well known. It is true that in many cases the method is only general and indefinite, as when Herodotus describes the length of the Nile as equal to that of the Danube, but there are other cases in which the method was definite, and especially one case, in which it actually formed the foundation of the common system of itinerary measures in use among the Greeks. We refer of course to the stadion.
- Stadion (spadion, Doric), stadium = 600 feet. The Doric spadion (from spao) indicates that it was the distance traversed in a single draught by the plough. It thus was probably the length of the gues strip, just as the plethron was its breadth. It always contained 100 orgyiae or 600 feet, no matter what the size of the foot might be. The Homeric gues (vide supra) was in breadth 10 orgyiae: the stadion is thus ten times the breadth of the gues. A similar proportion is found between the length (furlong) and breadth of English and Irish acre strips. The Germans regard the, stadion as of Babylonian origin. Brandis (Munz-, Mass-, und Gewichtswesen, p. 20) holds that the Babylonians determined the length of an hour of equinoctial time by the water-clock: in one hour the sun traversed a portion of the sky thirty times his own diameter; therefore every two minutes a portion equal to his apparent diameter. With this they equated the distance which an active walker can traverse on the earth in the same time: the stadion therefore is the distance traversed by an active walker in two minutes. As the Greeks had provided themselves with all the other measures by purely empirical means, it is not likely that they went to the East to borrow the stadion, but derived it from their own system of agriculture, which was not borrowed from the East. The Romans only employed the stadium in later times, and that only for distances by sea, where they simply followed the Greeks. The stadion in historical times was the distance of the racecourse, and was the regular unit of road measure, and was in later times the unit used by the astronomers and geographers.
- Diaulos (or distadion), so named from aulos, the old name of the stadion, probably meant originally double furrow, and then came to mean a course up and down the stadion.
- Hippikon, the course for the horse-race, = 4 stades, as they ran twice up and down the stadion.
- Milion, miliarum. The Romans measured all long distances by milia passuum, or shortly milia. Strabo is the first Greek to use the borrowed milion, and that only when speaking of distances which he had derived from the chorography of Agrippa. Miliarium is only a late word, as the good writers use lapis or lapis miliarius.
- Parasanges, a Persian road measure, used by Greek authors writing about Asia Minor, as Herodotus and Xenophon. It contained 30 stades, or 4 Roman miles. Modern metrologists assign it an origin similar to that of the stadion given above, regarding it as the distance traversed by an active walker in an hour of equinoctial time. It may have been so adjusted in a later and scientific age, but it is more probable that it had its origin long before the beginnings of scientific metrology.

Land Measures.
  We have seen that a distinct source of some of the greater measures of length (e. g. the plethron andstadion) arose out of the measures of surface, which must of necessity be employed from a very early period in every civilized community for determining the boundaries of land. Herodotus (ii. 109) mentions a tradition which assigns the invention of geometry to such a necessity which arose in Egypt in the reign of Sesostris. This tradition is of course now only referred to as an illustration, not as an expression of an historical fact. As in the other cases, the origin of the system lies far back beyond the reach of history, and all that can be done is to trace with some probability its successive steps as indicated by the names of the measures and by the statements of ancient writers. Here too, as in the itinerary distance, the original unit of the system was probably not a specific number of feet, but some natural quantity which was afterwards brought into accordance with the standard of the smaller measures. Also it is to be observed that these measures are from the nature of the case measures of surface, although in practice often used (as the stadium and plethrum) as measures of length.
  The precise fact seems to be that the first natural measure of the sort was a strip of ground of considerable length and moderate breadth, being the amount which could be ploughed in one day's work by a yoke of oxen. (See Homeric gues, supra.) This is borne out by what we know of the Roman system. The Roman settlers in Further Spain called the actus quadratus by the name acnua, an old Latin term; the same people gave the name porca to a strip of land = 180 X 30 feet. They had evidently brought this customary unit from Italy, which was 60 feet longer than the actus as finally fixed by the land-surveyors. Now we know that the actus was originally the headland, where the plough was turned, and along which the cattle were driven; this was called by Varro (L. L. v. 3, 10, § 22) actus minimus, being only 4 feet wide. It is not then unreasonable to suppose that the length of the original furrow, that is, of the patch ploughed in one day, was shortened until the furrow became equal to the breadth of the strip, that is, to the headland or actus of 120 feet. This patch, the square of the headland, became the basis of the Roman land measure.
  The Gallic arepennis (French arpent), which according to Columella corresponded in size to the Roman actus, certainly meant originally the headland. We may not unreasonably assume a similar development for the Greek unit of 100 feet square, the plethrum, and also for the Oscan versus; namely, that it arose from a land unit of larger extent and oblong in shape, the breadth of which may have been originally about 60 feet, corresponding to the measure called clima (half of an actus) mentioned by Columella, and the breadth of the Homeric gues.
- The unit employed by the Greeks was the square of the plethron, which=10,000 square feet. The Italians used similarly the square of the vorsus, which was of like size.
- The gues (or gue) was the unit employed in Homer (supra).
- On the Heraclean Tables (found at Heraclea in Lucania) the gues probably represents a piece of land 100 feet broad and 5000 feet long that is, 50 plethra.
- The schoinos is another Heraclean measure = 120 feet square, corresponding to the actus. Each schoinos was divided into 30 oregmata of 4 feet each.
- Medimnos: in two parts of Hellas we find a system which was common in many parts of the ancient and mediaeval world. The medimnos at Cyrene and in Sicily means as much land as can be sown by a medimnus of seed. In Sicily this was equal to the Roman jugerum (Cic. Verr. ii. 3, 112).
- The Roman system of the agrimensores represents a later stage of development. The square foot (pes constratus or quadratus) was the unit of the system ( modus omnis areae pedali mensura comprehenditur, Colum. v. 1). The system is partly decimal, partly duodecimal.
- The scripulum = 1 decewpeda quadrata (square rod) = 100 sq. feet.
- The clima = 36 sq. rods.
- The actus quadratus = 144 sq. rods.
- The jugerum = 288 sq. rods, being an oblong piece of ground, consisting of two actus. It means the amount ploughed by a yoke of oxen in one day ( jugerum vocabatur quod uno jugo boum in uno die exarari posset, Plin. xviii. 9).
- The heredium = 2 jugera. So called (according to Varro) from two jugera being the birthright of every Roman citizen.
- The centuria = 200 jugera generally, but varied, at times containing 50, 210, 240, or 400 jugera. From its name it is not improbable that it originally contained 100 jugera ( centuria primo a centum jugeribus dicta est, post duplicata retinuit nomen, Varro, R. R. v. 34).
- The saltus = 800 jugera.
- The term jugum was used in Spain to denote a day's work of a yoke of oxen (Varro, R. R. i. 10).
- Acnua was the Latin name for the Roman actus quadratus (Varro, R. R. i. 10), likewise used by the farmers of the province of Baetica in Spain (Colum. v. 1, 5). [p. 164]
- Porca was the name given in Baetica to a piece of ground 180 X 30 feet.
- Arepennis was a Gaulish unit of land measure, corresponding in size, according to Columella (v. 1), to the Roman actus quadratus. Hence French arpent.
  The Romans likewise applied the system of the as to land measure; regarding the juyerum as the as or unit, they carried out its subdivision on the rigid duodecimal system (vide Tables at the end of the volume).

Measures of Capacity.
  The most important products of ancient agriculture are, on the one hand, wine and oil, on the other various kinds of corn. Hence naturally arose two kinds of measures, liquid and dry. The smaller units are common to both systems (ride Tables).

Liquid and Dry.
  The kuathos, cyathus (according to some connected with kulix, and possibly originally meaning a kind of gourd), was the unit in common use. It contained about 4 centilitres = 0.08 English pint. A smaller measure = 1/4 cyathus, called ligula (spoon) or cochlear (mussel-shell), was sometimes employed.
- Oxubaphon, acetabulum, vinegar bottle, = 1 1/2 cyathi.
- Quartarius, so called from being 1/4 sextarius, = 3 cyathi, has no Greek equivalent.
- Kotule, at Athens, was a kind of bowl, called trublion in other parts of Greece, and the same as the Sicilian hemina (the half mina = hemimnaion), which, borrowed by the Romans, = 1/2 sextarius = 6 cyathi.
- Xestes, sextarius = 12 cyathi. Xestes is a loan word from the Roman sextarius, so named as the 1/2 of congius.

So far the measures are common to both systems, but they now diverge as follows:
- Chous, congius (derived from konche) = 12 kotulai. Its half, the hemichous (plur. hemichoa), also is found: hemiamphoron (or hemikadion), urna.
- Amphoreus, amphora (amphiphoreus, Homer), the large wine jar with handles on both sides, as it was used for the storing of wine, was used as the chief unit of liquid measure. It was also called kados, cadus. The Roman amphora = 8 congii = 48 sextarii = 576 cyathi.
- Metretes is commonly used as equivalent of amphoreus, but strictly was larger.
Culleus, tun, = 20 amphorae.

The Greek (distinctively) dry measure starts from the kotule, the Roman from the sextarius.
- Choinix (mentioned in Homer, Od. xix. 28), a day's allowance for a man at Athens, = 4 kotulai.
- Hemiekton, semodius, the half of the following, = 4 choinikes.
- Hekteus, or modios, modius. The first name is the Old Attic, but the second is already used by Deinarchus. The former indicates that it is 1/6 of the chief unit, the medimnus.
- Medimnos at Athens = 8 modii. The Romans did not employ this measure, but only modius or its compounds, such as trimodium.

To above we may add certain measures in use in Egypt under Ptolemaic and Roman rule, for which see also Tables.
- Xulon = 3 royal cubits = 72 fingers.
- Schoinos, an itinerary measure, usually counted equal to the Persian Parasang (= 30 stades), but actually containing 32 stades of the common Greek standard. It was probably also in use among the Hebrews.
- Amma = 10 fathoms = 60 feet. Its square was used as a land measure.
- Schoinion was another name (probably the Greek one) of the (Egyptian) amma just described.
- Sokarion, with the addition of dekaorguion, was another name applied to the square amma, being a name derived from the amount of seed required to sow that amount of land.
- Aroura was a piece of ground 100 cubits square, and which formed the regular Egyptian land unit from early times. (Herod. ii. 168, he de aroupa hekaton pecheon esti Aiguption pantei).

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

  In the time of Solon the standard used at Athens for weighing both merchandise and the precious metals was the Aeginetan. Whether actual coins were minted then at Athens is uncertain; at all events, none survive to our day. It is probable that Athens was still trading with bars of silver of Aeginetan weight, or adopting the rude coins issued in quantities by Aegina and copied in all parts of Greece. Solon, as we are told by Plutarch (Solon, 15), introducing his laws for the relief of debtors, the celebrated seisachtheia, ordered that the standard of the drachm should be lowered to 73/100 of what it had previously been; that is to say, that the weight of the drachm should be lowered from 95 grains to 68, but that debts contracted in the old currency might be discharged in the new, the debtors thus gaining 27 per cent. The Aeginetan mina was still retained as a weight for merchandise, as we know both from several surviving specimens of Athenian weights, and from the testimony of a popular decree of later time (Boeckh, C. I. 123), which reckons the commercial mina at 138 silver drachmas. Further, Priscian states the larger Attic (commercial) talent, which was of course equal to 60 of its own minae, to be equivalent to 83 1/3 of the ordinary minae. These three testimonies agree then accurately as to the relations of the pre-Solonic and the Solonic weights of Attica; and as the coins of Athens of the Solonic standard survive in great quantities, there is nothing in the above account which admits of any doubt. It may indeed excite surprise that Solon should have lighted on so strange a proportion as 27/100 for the reduction of the coin. Most recent writers have supposed that his motive was to assimilate the new standard to the Euboic, which it only slightly exceeds in weight; but there is here room for doubt. For it does not appear why, if such were his intention, he should not have at once adopted a depreciation of 33 per cent. If he had issued the new coin of two-thirds the weight of the old coins or bars, he would have given greater ease to debtors, have lighted on an easy and simple proportion, and almost exactly adopted the existing Euboic weight. Attention is due to an ingenious suggestion put forth by Mr. Poole (Dict. of the Bible, art. Weights and Measures ) that the new Solonic standard is more likely to have been borrowed from Egypt than fiom Asia Minor. We have already seen that the Egyptian unit of weight, the kat, weighed about 9 grammes or 140 grains, and the Solonic drachms of Athens are thus nearly of the weight of half a kat. The intercourse between Egypt and Attica was in Solon's time very close; and it is far from improbable that in departing from the national standard of the Greeks he should adopt that of Egypt.
  The weights of the units of the Solonic standard, henceforward known as the Attic, are as follows:--                 Grammes.    Grains.
Talent           26,400   405,000
Mina                   440        6,750
Drachm             4.40          67.5
Obol .                    73        11.25
The ordinary coin was the tetradrachm of about 270 grains.
  The only remaining standard early used in Greece proper was the Corinthian. This has the same unit of value as the Euboic; namely, a stater of 130 grains, the weight of which rises under Athenian influence to 135 grains. But in the subdivisions of this stater the Corinthian mint took a line peculiar to itself. With it the drachm was not half but a third of this unit, and the obol again a sixth part of that:
     Grammes. Grains.
Stater     8.80       135
Drachm  2.93         45
Obol .         49        7.5
  As many of the Corinthian coins bear marks of value, this fact cannot be disputed. Also Thucydides (i. 27) mentions the Corinthian drachm as a thing apart. The reason of this method of division has been disputed. Mommsen (p. 61) is inclined to see in it a reminiscence of the Asiatic origin of the weight. But it is not improbable that the Corinthian drachms of 45 grains were intended to pass as Aeginetan hemidrachms, of which the weight was about the same. The money of Aegina and Athens would naturally meet in the market of Corinth; and the Corinthian coin seems to have been specially adapted to mediate between the two.
We must now follow the course of the invention of money westwards to Italy and Sicily. It is almost certain that when the people of Phocaea migrated to Velia in Italy, about B.C. 543, they took with them the art of coinage. But at about this period the Achaean cities of Southern Italy--Sybaris and Poseidonia, Rhegium and Caulonia, with Croton, Tarentum, and other towns--were already issuing money much of which still remains in our Museums, and is remarkable for bearing the same type on both sides; on one side in relief, on the other in intaglio. This money is apparently struck on the Euboic standard which the people of Chalcis and Corinth had already introduced in these regions. At some cities the drachm is half the stater, as in Euboea; in some a third of it, as at Corinth. Its date is certain, for we have specimens minted at Sybaris and Siris, which were destroyed not later than B.C. 510. At about the latter date Syracuse as well as Zancle, Naxos, and other Chalcidian colonies in Sicily began to issue coin. The Chalcidian cities, for some unexplained reason, began by issuing pieces weighing about 90 grains, which must therefore either be drachms of the Aeginetan, or, more probably, didrachms of the Corinthian standard. but they soon adopted--as Syracuse, Gela, and Leontini did from the first--the Attic standard, and struck coins as follows:
Tetradrachm     270 grains.
Didrachm          135 grains.
Drachm            67.5 grains.
Hemidrachm 33.75 grains.
Obol               11.25 grains.
  But, in addition to the obol, we find at Syracuse a litra weighing about 13 1/2 grains. In order to explain its relation to the other coins, it is necessary to give some account of the systems of weighing and the monetary systems of Italy and Sicily. Among the purely Greek cities of these regions we do not find, until a comparatively late period, any standards in use for money except the Euboic and the Attic.

Monetary Standards of Greece at the time of the Peloponnesian War.
  If we attempt a general survey of the standards employed by the Greeks for money, say at about the year B.C. 420, we must confine ourselves carefully to generalities. The monetary history of each city is a study, sometimes an intricate one, and we might often fail to find reasons for the adoption of this or that standard in turn. But a more general survey is not impossible. In Sicily, as has already been stated, the Attic standard was universal; the ordinary coin was the tetradrachm; didrachms, hemidrachms, and obols were in use, and decadrachms occasionally struck. In Italy, that is, the Greek colonies of S. Italy, the Euboic standard, appreciably lower than the Attic, was in general use; but the standard coin was not the tetradrachm, but the didrachm, which is said at Tarentum to have been called noummos. In Hellas proper, including Epirus and Thessaly, the Aeginetan standard was almost universal. The exceptions were Athens, where the Attic standard prevailed; and Corinth, together with the Corinthian colonies in Acarnania, which minted as was natural on the Corinthian standard. The iron money of Laconia was of Aeginetan standard, the pelanor being of the weight of an Aeginetan mina. Crete and the islands near the European coast also used the Aeginetan weights. In Macedonia several standards were in use. The kings of Macedon in the fifth century used the Persian silver standard for their coins; but the cities of Chalcidice mostly used the standard of their Euboean mother-city, somewhat raised, in fact raised nearly to the Attic level; and the rude tribes of Mount Pangaeum, who coined very largely, used a somewhat degraded form of the Persian or Babylonian silver standard, their staters not weighing more than 160 grains.
  On the shores of the Black Sea the Persian standard was almost universally in use; Sinope, Amisus, and other cities issuing large numbers of coins of the weight of the Persian siglus,--that is, of about 86 grains. Probably three of these prices went in exchange for an Attic tetradrachm. In other parts of Asia Minor, in some of the Ionian cities, as Colophon, in Lycia and Cyprus, the same Persian standard was in use; but in the southern district the double siglus of 170 grains or thereabouts was more usual than the single one. Some of the great cities of the west coast retained the Phoenician silver standard, which, however, varied somewhat from place to place. At Ephesus the stater sometimes exceeded 230 grains; at Samos it seldom weighed more than 205 grains. The Samian standard ruled in the African colony of Cyrene. The cities of Phoenicia about this time began to strike coins on their original standard. At this time no gold coin except the Persian Darics was anywhere current. But electrum coin was issued in great quantities by the city of Cyzicus. The standard used by that city was the Phocaic of 260-250 grains, and the denominations issued were the stater and the hecte or sixth. Lampsacus also issued electrum coin
History of Coinage in the Levant after B.C. 420.
  In 408 B.C. the city of Rhodes was founded. The origin of this city coinciding so nearly with the humiliation of Athens by Lysander, the commerce of Rhodes spread rapidly over all seas. The Rhodians adopted from the first a standard of their own, which seems to have been a variety of the Phoenician. Their tetradrachm weighed at first 240 grains, though in the course of a century it sank to 220 grains. This standard made its way in the fourth century rapidly among Greek states. King Mausolus of Caria adopted it. And even the distant Olynthus, head of the Chalcidian league, struck money on the same standard: thence it was adopted by Philip of Macedon for his silver coin.
  The early years of the fourth century saw a copper or rather bronze coinage spring up in most cities of Greece proper and the Greek colonies in Italy and Sicily. Hitherto for small change the Greeks had used minute pieces of silver. Pieces of the weight of two grains troy, representing two chalci or the fourth part of an obol, were commonly used at Athens, and survive to our day. Copper money was at first scouted, as we see from the language of Aristophanes (Eccles. 818), but it gradually made its way by its superior convenience. At about the same time gold was first minted by Greeks. Small pieces first make their appearance in Sicily; but before the middle of the fourth century gold staters struck on the Attic standard were issued in considerable numbers by Olynthus, Panticapaeum, Athens, Lampsacus, Cius, Rhodes, and other cities, eventually driving out of circulation the electrum money of Cyzicus and Lampsacus.
When Philip of Macedon acquired the gold mines of Thrace, he began issuing large quantities of gold coins with his own types. And as in the case of his issues in silver, so in those in gold, he adopted the standard already current in Chalcidice, the wealthiest and most civilised part of his dominions. That is to say, he minted gold didrachms of the Attic standard, those didrachms which soon became notorious all over the world. They opened to Philip the gates of many a Greek city, they constituted the greater part of the wealth of the capitalists in Greece and Italy, and they were copied by the barbarous nations on the northern frontiers of Greece and even by the remote tribes of Gaul and Britain.
  But, as in other departments of Greek activity, so in the coinage, the greatest of epochs is furnished by the life of Alexander the Great. Alexander adopted throughout his vast dominions the Attic standard of weight for both silver coins and gold. We must pause for a moment to consider his objects in taking this measure. Hitherto almost all cities which issued both gold and silver, Athens excepted, had used a different standard for the two metals. The ratio of value between gold and silver being, as we have above seen, as 13 1/3 to 1, it was necessary that the standards should be different in order that a round number of silver staters should exchange for one gold stater. In Asia the Euboic standard was in use for gold, and either the Babylonic silver standard or the Phoenician for silver. Gold was seldom minted in Europe; but the states, such as the Olynthian league and Macedon, which did issue gold coin, minted it of Attic weight, at the same time that they adopted for their silver one of the Asiatic standards. This procedure was obviously desirable so long as the old relation of value between gold and silver was maintained. But in the time of Philip of Macedon, consequently on the active use made by that king of the rich gold mines of Thrace, the value of gold in proportion to that of silver fell. Alexander seems to have perceived that in consequence it

(see Greek coinage)

was impossible to maintain a double standard and to secure that a certain number of silver staters should always pass for a gold one. He therefore minted both metals on one standard, in order that when the ratio of value of silver to gold was 1:12 a gold didrachm should exchange for six silver tetradrachms, when the ratio was 1:10 a gold didrachm should exchange for 5 tetradrachms, and so forth. It was no doubt stated or else implied in all promises of payment whether gold or silver was to be the metal employed.
  Gold continued to be minted in the name and with the types of Alexander in many cities of Asia for many years after his death, and silver for more than a century longer.
  The successors of Alexander coined in their various cities immense quantities of money in gold and silver. The Ptolemies of Egypt used the Phoenician standard for both gold and silver, but the Attic standard was the one in general use by the kings of Macedon, Syria, Pergamus, Bithynia, Bactria, and India, as well as by the Parthians. But it would be a mistake to suppose that all issues except regal ones came to an end, either in Asia or Europe. In Asia we find cities like Ephesus, Miletus, Colophon, and Rhodes, continuing their old coinages, with types and even standards unchanged. In European Greece some cities, such as Athens, Corinth, and Elis, continue their issues as of old, altering the style of their coins to suit the taste of the age. But a new feature is presented by the federal coinages of the new political leagues. The cities of the Achaean league issue a uniform series of coins, only bearing at each city a different monogram or mint-mark. Their silver coins are Aeginetan hemidrachms, or, which is the same thing, Corinthian drachms. The Acarnanian and Aetolian leagues follow the Aeginetan standard.
  The only great innovation which takes place after this in the coinage of Asia Minor is the introduction of the coins called Cistophori, on account of their type, which is the cista mystica of Dionysiac worship. These coins were first struck in the times of the later kings of Pergamus, and were peculiar to the West and Interior of Asia Minor. They follow the Aeginetan standard, with the variety that what was called a didrachm in the case of the Aeginetan coins was usually called a tetradrachm in the case of the Cistophori. The Cistophoric drachm was therefore equivalent to an Aeginetan hemidrachm, or a Corinthian drachm. How this standard originated is not known, but the coins struck on it formed the main part, together with the drachms of Rhodes, of the currency of Asia Minor during the first century B.C., and pieces of the same class were issued even under the earlier Roman emperors. And by this time the drachms of Rhodes had sunk to the weight of the quarter of a Cistophoric tetradrachm.
  When the Romans conquered Asia, they introduced a tariff according to which the various coins in circulation exchanged against the denarius.
  The first set of the preceding tables gives the approximate weights of the Greek coins in general use; the others give the values of those coins, roughly, in English money; reckoning gold at the value of 2d. a grain Troy, silver at 5s. an ounce Troy, and electrum at 1 1/2 d. a grain: for although as a matter of fact electrum seldom contains 3/4 of gold, yet it is supposed that the ancients valued it on that basis.
  In this way we get the metal equivalents of the ancient coins. Their equivalents in purchasing power cannot be determined. We can only say quite roughly that in many respects a silver drachm in Greece would go almost as far as a sovereign with us. The daily pay of a mercenary in later Greece was four Attic obols, equal in weight to a sixpence. The younger Cyrus gave his soldiers a daric (£1 1s. 6d.) a month. Probably these mercenaries were able after a few years' service to retire on a competency. Any attempt at closer comparison between ancient and modern prices can only serve to mislead.

Greek Systems of Weight for Commodities.
  The history of the weights used by the various states of Greece can thus be established by induction. From the testimony of a few coins we can easily discover the weight of the talent and mina according to which they were minted. And as a rule the talents and minae used for coins were those used for other goods. But to this rule the exceptions were very numerous. There is no reason to think that peculiar monetary standards, such as those of Rhodes and of Samos, were ever applied to the weighing of merchandise. And there are reasons for supposing that whereas the standard used for coins had at all times a tendency to fall, the standard used for merchandise had often a tendency to rise. So even if originally at any place money and merchandise were governed by the same weights, a process of differentiation would soon set in.
  There is indeed, for determining the weights in use in the Greek markets, a mass of material available in the shape of extant Greek weights of lead or bronze. But hitherto this material has not been used in a sufficiently methodical manner. And there are very great difficulties inherent in its use. Firstly, weights of lead, unlike gold and silver coins, lose weight in the course of ages by decay or gain weight by oxidation or accretion, so that the original weight of any extant specimen is very hard to determine. Secondly, very few existing weights have inscriptions sufficiently exact to determine their date, locality, and denomination. And, thirdly, we have reason to believe that the standards which prevailed in any city or district were not carefully adhered to by the shopkeepers, who used considerable licence.
  The statements of ancient writers on metrology are useful to us in the case of two cities, Athens and Alexandria. But they are of little authority unless we can verify them by an appeal to extant monuments, since the authority of these writers is small, and numbers are notoriously liable to alteration and corruption in the MSS,
  Under these circumstances we shall venture to do little beyond giving a sketch of the metrological systems of Athens and Alexandria. Lists of extant weights will be found in the papers of Schillbach (Annali dell' Instituto, 1865), Murray (Numismatic Chronicle, 1868), Longperier (Annali dell' Inst., 1847), R. S. Poole (Dict. of the Bible, art. Weights ), and elsewhere.

  In the case of this city we know from existing inscriptions and extant weights what standards were used for weighing various articles.
First, there was the usual Attic or Solonic standard, corresponding in use to our Troy weight. This is the standard on which all the coins of Athens from first to last were struck. It was also used for weighing all precious articles of gold and silver. This we know from the lists of the treasure stored in the Parthenon, which ale still preserved. The same standard was used for their drugs, not only by the physicians of Attica, but by those of Alexandria and other cities. In the writings of Galen, for example, the weights are given according to the Solonic standard. Of the extant leaden weights of Athens, many conform to this standard.
Others among the existing weights of Athens are regulated according to a standard just double the weight of the Solonic. One of them marked Trite weighs 4,440 grains, one marked Tetart 3,218 grains, and one marked Hemitetart 1770 grains. These are clearly fractions of a weight equal to two minae of Attic standard, but used as a unit for certain purposes (12,800 to 14,200 grains). The excess in case of the heavier specimens need not trouble us; it is extremely common to find Greek weights somewhat above the standard; and an inscription quoted below may partially explain the fact. What is important at present is the use at Athens of a standard of double weight. Probably it was used for certain specified kinds of goods only. It is not mentioned by writers or in inscriptions.
  The third standard in use at Athens was the Commercial or Emporic. This also is followed in many extant weights. It was identical with the Aeginetan standard for coins of which we have already spoken, with a mina of about 9,700 grains (628.5 grammes). It corresponded in use to our weight avoirdupois, being the ordinary weight in use in the market. There is a very important Athenian inscription (C. I. G. 123) which throws much light on the use of the Solonic and the Emporic standards at Athens, as well as on other matters connected with weights. It runs thus:--The Emporic mina (mna emporike) shall weigh 132 drachms of the Stephanephoros, according to the weights preserved at the mint, and there shall be added (thrown in) twelve drachms of the Stephanephoros; and all bargains shall be regulated by this mina, except in cases where silver-weight is specially mentioned, the scales being balanced so that the rod is level, against a weight of 150 drachms of the Stephanephoros. The inscription goes on to say that in every Emporic pentamnoun (5 minae) one Emporic mina shall be thrown in, and in every Emporic talent five minae.
  From this inscription, the date of which is somewhat doubtful, but must be as late as the third century B.C., and is probably not later than the first, we learn (1) that the Solonic mina and drachm were called tou Stephanephorou. The Stephanephoros was an Attic hero or daemon in whose temple the mint was in early times placed; thus the drachms called after him were drachms of money: on the weights the Solonic mina is called mna demosia: (2) that the proportion between the Aeginetan or Attic commercial mina and that of the mint remained at 138:100 (just as it had been fixed by Solon) throughout Athenian history: but (3) that Greek weights were sometimes arbitrarily raised by authority, at least in democracies. In this case it is acknowledged that the commercial mina does not exceed 138 drachms; yet all sellers are ordered to act as if it weighed 150 drachms. This will account in part for the curious fact that ancient weights so often exceed their nominal standard. The rhope, or weight thrown in, is less in proportion in the higher denominations. In the case of the pentamnoun 20 per cent. is to be added; in the case of the talent, only 8 per cent. The democratic origin and intention of this distinction are obvious.
  That the Emporic mina was also called the mina of the Agoranomi is shown from the inscription of a weight found at Athens which weighs 335 grammes, EmiI Aorano (Ann. dell' Inst., 1865, p. 199).
  A fourth talent of quite a different character was in use at Athens in later times. It is mentioned by the poet Philemon, who writes (Etym. M. s. v. talanton), Du' ei laboi talanta, chrusous hex echon apoisetai. From which it appears that this talent was made up of three Attic gold staters or didrachms. Six drachms of gold may very well have been equivalent to a talent of copper of 6,000 drachms.
  In Greece proper it is very probable that the Attic and Aeginetan standards were in general use from early times to late. Indeed the Aeginetan was for most classes of goods probably almost universal. But as we have few or no weights bearing marks of value which we can with certainty attribute to cities of Hellas, we are unable to establish this by the satisfactory method of induction.

  The only city of the Levant besides Athens in which we can fully trace the systems of weight in use is Alexandria. In this case our guides are less existing weights than the statements of late writers. As these generally use for their standard the weight of the Roman denarius, which is certain, their meaning can usually be fixed with. accuracy. By comparing the table which bears the name of Cleopatra, but really belongs to a later date (Hultsch, Metrolog. Script. Reliqq. p. 109), with that of Galen, the eminent physician (Hultsch, p. 79), and with others, we reach the following results:
(1) The standard in most general use at Alexandria seems to have been based on the Attic mina. In the prescriptions of doctors this was universal until a late time. The table of Cleopatra calls it ps mna par excellence. Its weight was 16 Roman ounces or 6,800 grains.
(2) For money and perhaps other things the standard usually employed was the Ptolemaic. The Ptolemaic mina contained the weight of 100 Ptolemaic drachms, which, as we have seen, were struck on Phoenician weight. After the time of Nero this mina was sometimes called the Attic, because it contained 100 of the denarii of Nero, which were commonly considered as Attic drachms. Its weight was that of 12 1/2 Roman ounces or 5,500 grains. Besides these two minae and the Roman libra, three other systems of weight were in use.
(3) That also called Ptolemaic, which was, as Hultsch points out, an Egyptian weight of great antiquity. Its mina contained 18 Roman ounces, 7,650 grains, and it is apparently nothing but the old native Egyptian standard.
(4) That called Alexandrian. Its mina contained 20 ounces (8,500 grains), and it is identical with the [Babylonian or] Persian silver standard.
(5) Talanton xulikon, used for wood only, and said to be 1/2 heavier than the Ptolemaic standard. It was a local weight, talanton epichopion. It was very nearly equivalent to the Attic weight.
  The following table gives the values of the weights thus in ordinary use in Greece and in Egypt during the age of their autonomy:

(see the table)

  When we pass from Athens and Alexandria to Asia Minor, Syria, and other parts of the Levant, we find insurmountable difficulties in the way of ascertaining the standards of weight in general use. The number of published weights coming from those regions and bearing inscriptions, sufficiently clear and satisfactory to enable them to be used as the basis of induction, is very small. And even of these it is very difficult to determine how far the actual weight has been diminished or increased by burial in the ground and consequent chemical action. It is probable that in obscure collections and museums in Europe and the Levant there may be many unpublished weights which would help us to reach a securer standing ground. But this is of course mere matter of conjecture. At present we can quote little more than the weights mentioned by M. de Longperier (Ann. dell' Inst. for 1847), by Brandis (pp. 154-6), and by Schillbach (Beitrage zur Gewichtskunde). All of these appear to belong to the period subsequent to the expedition of Alexander. We add a table of the most important specimens.

(see the table)

  It will be at once seen that these weights fall into different categories and belong to various systems. Nos. 3 and 4 give very clear and decisive evidence as to the market weights in use at the Syrian Antioch at the period when they were cast. They give a mna demosia of about 1070 grammes, or 16,520 English grains. All the other weights, except No. 11, coming from several parts of Asia Minor and Syria, appear to belong to the same system. The mina of this system would appear to have weighed some 540-560 grammes, and therefore to have been as nearly as may be half as heavy as that according to which 3 and 4 were regulated. On referring to the table of Babylonian weights (p. 446), we shall see that in the Babylonian system for weighing silver the two minas, according to heavy and light standard, respectively are 1122 and 561 grammes. These two weights are certainly strikingly like those which we have just reached. Induced by this correspondence, Brandis (p. 155) suggests that the mina of our weights is that of the Babylonian silver standard. This standard was adopted by the Persian kings for their silver money, as has already been mentioned. After the conquest of Persia by Alexander it ceased, except in some outlying parts of the Empire, such as the Euxine Sea and India, to be used for money, but Brandis supposes that it still persisted as a weight for goods. As in many parts of the Persian Empire it was somewhat lowered, a mina of 1070 grammes might very well belong to this standard. But in this case the term Demosios would still remain to be explained; as things changed very slowly in the East, it is scarcely likely that the Persian silver standard which belonged in an especial degree to silver coin or bars should so have superseded the original Babylonian weights which were used for the weighing of goods other than silver in Mesopotamia and Syria, as to become the usual or normal standard.
  Referring again to our table, we shall see that of this ordinary Babylonian system for general weighing the minas weighed respectively 1010 and 505 grammes. It is a priori far more probable that a mina called demosia should belong to this standard than to another. And further it is to be observed that although weights used for coin have a strong tendency to fall, yet weights used for other purposes do not experience this tendency in anything like the same force. Indeed, the instance above quoted from the laws of Athens shows that the interest of the purchaser tended sometimes successfully to raise weights in market use. And further, weights of lead which have been long buried vary decidedly from their normal strength. It is then best, on the whole, to leave it undecided whether the public mina of Antioch was derived from the Babylonian system for weighing silver or that used for other articles.
  Weight No. 11 in the Museum of Smyrna was probably in use not far from that city, and appears to follow the Phoenician standard.
  We learn from an anonymous Alexandrian writer (Hultsch, Metrologici, i. p. 301) that wood was at Antioch weighed on a system of its own, by a xulikon talanton, which appears from its equivalent of 375 Roman librae to have been considerably heavier than any of the [p. 455] talents above mentioned. Hultsch reckons it at 128,400 grammes (Metrologie, p. 591). The existence of this weight is interesting, as showing that in ancient times bulky articles were sometimes weighed on a different scale from lighter goods: and in fact this custom has held in most countries.
  In late Imperial times most of the weights in use in the Levant gave way to the Roman libra, inscribed specimens of which are found in Asia Minor and Syria.
  It is thus clear that the cities of Syria, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia did not, in adopting the Attic system for their coinage, as they did mostly in or soon after the time of Alexander, adopt the same system for weighing goods, but adhered to their ancient standards. For a general review of the systems of weighing actually in use, materials entirely fail.

Italian Systems of Weight.
  The Roman libra or pound was from the earliest times used alike for money and for other commodities. It remained unchanged in standard to a very late period. At first pieces of copper were cast in all Roman parts of Italy of the weight of a pound, and of the various fractions of a pound. Soon, as we have seen (under As), the standard of the coins fell rapidly. But the weight continued unchanged. When, at a far later period, the coinages of silver and gold were introduced at Rome, the gold and silver pieces were struck so many to the pound. Even to the time of Diocletian and Constantine the Roman libra as a weight remained undiminished; and the late metrologists of Alexandria appeal to it as an unchangeable standard, testing by reference to it the weight of the various Greek talents and minas.
  The dominion then of the libra as a weight is as durable and extensive as the dominion of Rome herself. Of the libra of money we have spoken under As. The weight of the Roman libra has been investigated by Boeckh, Mommsen, and Hultsch. The materials for ascertaining it are threefold: (1) existing weights, (2) copper coinage, (3) gold and silver coinage. It is the latter alone which gives consistent and satisfactory results; for the weights vary unaccountably, and the copper coinage very soon sank in weight to a lower level. Letronne made a calculation of weight on the basis of gold coin; and his results with slight modification are accepted by the three metrologists above named. We may safely accept their results. They fix on 327.453 grammes, about 5050 grains, as the true or normal standard. The weights of the fractions of the as, with their signs in Roman notation, are as follows:

(see the table)

  The only modification which ever took place in this system occurred in connexion with the weighing of drugs in Imperial times. As we have seen, at Alexandria and in the Levant generally, drugs were regulated by Attic weight. But under Roman influence the denarius was regarded as the equivalent in weight of the Attic drachm. The denarius, as we have shown under As, weighed 1/84 of a pound from the time of the Punic wars to those of Nero, and 1/96 of a pound after that. The Greek divisions of the drachm were applied to the denarius as a weight. We thus obtain two systems of weight for drugs.

(see the table)

  It is a remarkable fact that, although at Rome the as was probably never minted of the full weight of a pound of twelve ounces, yet in some of the Roman colonies, such as Ariminum and Hatria, it was issued of the weight of 14 ounces (5,900 grains). It is doubtful how this change may be accounted for. But it is noteworthy that this heavier weight comes near the standard (5,750 grains; see above, p. 446) of the silver talent of Phoenicia. We are inclined to think, then, that the Roman pound, which, as Hultsch has shown, was not in its origin in any way connected with the Roman measures of length, was derived from the Phoenician mina, as was probably the national or Aeginetan standard in Greece. In both cases a considerable reduction took place, before the weight was fixed for all future time in Greece by Pheidon of Argos, and at Rome by the Decemviri.
  Of the Roman librae which have come down to us, many are considerably above standard. One in the Museum of Smyrna, for instance, weighs 374 grammes; others as much as 390 grammes. After what has been above observed as to the tendency of weights to rise in use, this need not surprise us.
It must not be supposed, however, that either in earlier or later times the Roman libra possessed anything like a monopoly in the markets of Italy. There, as in Greece and Asia, local customs largely prevailed. The Greek colonies in South Italy used, until they were absorbed by Rome, the weights which they had brought with them from Greece, the standards of Phocaea, of Athens, and of Corinth. At a later time we find proof of the use of various Italian minae (Hultsch, Metrologie, p. 672):--A mina of 16 Roman ounces, 436.6 grammes, which seems to govern the extant weights of Pompeii and Herculaneum. A mina of 18 Roman ounces, 491.2 grammes, called in an ancient metrological table Italike mna. A mina of 20 Roman ounces, 545.8 grains, the existence of which is proved by a Roman inscribed weight found in the Danube. A mina equal to two Roman pounds, mentioned by Vitruvius, x. 21. Compared, however, with the libra, these minae had but little historical importance.

Sicilian Weights.
  In Sicily the pound of copper was the unit of value in very early times, and was adopted to some extent by the Greek colonies. These, however, as we have above seen, adopted late in the sixth century B.C. the Attic standard for coinage, and struck silver on it of the denomination of tetradrachm, didrachm, drachm, hemidrachm, and obol. Into this system by a peculiar process they incorporated the litra or pound of copper. The weight of this litra is not known from direct testimony. But we have means of fixing the weight of its equivalent in silver. The silver litra was a coin in use at Syracuse and other Sicilian cities; and its weight was a tenth part of that of the Corinthian stater (135 grs.), which was called dekalitros stater (Pollux, iv. 174), and a fiftieth part of that of the Damareteion. Hence it is safe to assume that the weight of the silver litra was 13.5 grains. Multiplying this amount by 250, which represents the proportion in ltaly and Sicily between silver and copper, we reach a sum of 3,387 grains. This is just half the weight of the Attic silver mina. Mommsen (p. 80) concludes on this basis that the weight of the Sicilian litra was 3,387 grains or 217.5 grammes, nearly the weight of 8 Roman ounces. And since he wrote, the researches of Deecke (Etruskische Forschungen, Part II.) have made it probable that the same system of the litra in silver and copper passed in the fifth century from Syracuse into Etruria, and is the base of the whole of the later Etruscan coinage. The Etruscan silver pieces which bear marks of value, are all multiples of a litra of the Sicilian weight (13.5 grains), and the Etruscan aes grave is of the standard of eight Roman ounces, 3,366 grains. This latter fact seems of sufficient importance to finally establish the theory of Mommsen as to the litra. The Athenian origin of the latter is more than probable. It was divided, like the Roman libra, into twelve parts; but the names of the parts were different, a fact which must have caused some confusion in the minds of the Italians. The names of these parts are given by Aristotle as quoted by Pollux, iv. 174.

(see the table)

  Thus the tetras corresponds to the Latin triens, and the trias to the Latin quadrans; a most confusing correspondence. The talent, if equal to the Athenian, contained 120 litrae originally. But we are able to trace its rapid degradation. For Aristotle (Pollux, ix. 87) speaks of the older Sicilian talent (to men archaion) as equivalent to 24 nummi, and the later as equal to 12. The nummus here stands for the litra. By the time of Aristotle, then, there had been two reductions in the weight of the litra as applied to money, and it had fallen to a tenth of its early value. But analogy bids us suppose that this reduction did not affect the litra except as money.

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

Aristippus (272 BC)

Aristippus, an Argive, who obtained the supreme power at Argos through the aid of Antigonus Gonatas, about B. C. 272. (Plut. Pyrrh. 30.)


Aristomachus (Aristomachos). Tyrant of Argos, in the reign and under the patronage of Antigonus Gonatas. He kept the citizens of Argos in a defenceless condition, but a conspiracy was formed against him, and arms were secretly introduced into the town by a contrivance of Aratus, who wished to gain Argos for the Achaean league. The plot was discovered, and the persons concerned in it took to flight. But Aristomachus was soon after assassinated by slaves, and was succeeded by Aristippus II. (Plut. Arat. 25.)

Execution of Aristomachus
  Again Phylarchus says that Aristomachus the Argive, a man of a most distinguished family, who had been despot of Argos, as his fathers had been before him, upon falling into the hands of Antigonus and the league "was hurried off to Cenchreae and there racked to death,--an unparalleled instance of injustice and cruelty." But in this matter also our author preserves his peculiar method. He makes up a story about certain cries of this man, when he was on the rack, being heard through the night by the neighbours: "some of whom," he says, "rushed to the house in their horror, or incredulity, or indignation at the outrage." As for the sensational story, let it pass; I have said enough on that point. But I must express my opinion that, even if Aristomachus had committed no crime against the Achaeans besides, yet his whole life and his treason to his own country deserved the heaviest possible punishment. And in order, forsooth, to enhance this man's reputation, and move his reader's sympathies for his sufferings, our historian remarks that he had not only been a tyrant himself, but that his fathers had been so before him. It would not be easy to bring a graver or more bitter charge against a man than this: for the mere word "tyrant" involves the idea of everything that is wickedest, and includes every injustice and crime possible to mankind. And if Aristomachus endured the most terrible tortures, as Phylarchus says, he yet would not have been sufficiently punished for the crime of one day, in which, when Aratus had effected an entrance into Argos with the Achaean soldiers,--and after supporting the most severe struggles and dangers for the freedom of its citizens, had eventually been driven out, because the party within who were in league with him had not ventured to stir, for fear of the tyrant,--Aristomachus availed himself of the pretext of their complicity with the irruption of the Achaeans to put to the rack and execute eighty of the leading citizens, who were perfectly innocent, in the presence of their relations. I pass by the history of his whole life and the crimes of his ancestors; for that would be too long a story.

Crimes of Aristomachus
 But this shows that we ought not to be indignant if a man reaps as he has sown; but rather if he is allowed to end his days in peace, without experiencing such retribution at all. Nor ought we to accuse Antigonus or Aratus of crime, for having racked and put to death a tyrant whom they had captured in war: to have killed and wreaked vengeance on whom, even in time of peace, would have brought praise and honour to the doers from all right-minded persons.
But when, in addition to these crimes, he was guilty also of treachery to the league, what shall we say that he deserved? The facts of the case are these. He abdicated his sovereignty of Argos shortly before, finding himself in difficulties, owing to the state of affairs brought on by the death of Demetrius. He was, however, protected by the clemency and generosity of the league; and, much to his own surprise, was left unmolested. For the Achaean government not only secured him an indemnity for all crimes committed by him while despot, but admitted him as a member of the league, and invested him with the highest office in it,--that, namely, of Commander-in-Chief and Strategus. All these favours he immediately forgot, as soon as his hopes were a little raised by the Cleomenic war; and at a crisis of the utmost importance he withdrew his native city, as well as his own personal adhesion, from the league, and attached them to its enemies. For such an act of treason what he deserved was not to be racked under cover of night at Cenchreae, and then put to death, as Phylarchus says: he ought to have been taken from city to city in the Peloponnese, and to have ended his life only after exemplary torture in each of them. And yet the only severity that this guilty wretch had to endure was to be drowned in the sea by order of the officers at Cenchreae.(Plb.2.59-60)

This extract is from: Histories. Polybius. Evelyn S. Shuckburgh (1889). Cited May 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.

Aristippus II

Aristippus, an Argive, a different person from the preceding, who also became tyrant of Argos after the murder of Aristomachus I., in the time of Aratus. He is described by Plutarch as a perfect tyrant in our sense of the word. Aratus made many attempts to deprive him of the tyranny, but at first without success; but Aristippus at length fell in a battle against Aratus, and was succeeded in the tyranny by Aristomachus II. (Plut. Arat. 25)

Aristomachus II (240-230 BC)

Aristomachus. Succeeded Aristippus II in the tyranny of Argos, apparently towards the end of the reign of Demetrius (B. C. 240--230). He seems to have been related to some of his predecessors in the tyranny of Argos (Polyb. ii. 59). After the death of Demetrius, B. C. 229, he resigned his power, as Lydiades had done before, and several others did now, for the influence of Macedonia in Peloponnesus had nearly ceased, and the Aetolians were allied with the Achaeans. Aristomachus had been persuaded to this step by Aratus, who gave him fifty talents that he might be able to pay off and dismiss his mercenaries. Argos now joined the Achaean league, and Aristomachus was chosen strategus of the Achaeans for the year B. C. 227 (Plut. Arat. 35; Polyb. ii. 44; Paus. ii. 8.5 ; Plut. Cleom. 4) In this capacity he undertook the command in the war against Cleomenes of Sparta, but he seems to have been checked by the jealousy of Aratus, in consequence of which he afterwards deserted the cause of the Achaeans and went over to Cleomenes, who with his assistance took possession of Argos. Aristomachus now again assumed the tyranny at Argos. Aratus tried in vain to recover that city for the Achaean league, and the consequence only was, that the tyrant ordered 80 distinguished Argives to be put to death, as they were suspected of being favourable towards the Achaeans. Not long afterwards, however, Argos was taken by Antigonus Doson, whose assistance Aratus had called in. Aristomachus fell into the hands of the Achaeans, who strangled him and threw him into the sea at Cenchreae (Polyb. ii. 59, 60; Plut. Arat. 44; Schorn, Geschichte Griechenl. p. 118, note 1.)

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

Execution of Aristomachus
  Again Phylarchus says that Aristomachus the Argive, Aristomachus. a man of a most distinguished family, who had been despot of Argos, as his fathers had been before him, upon falling into the hands of Antigonus and the league "was hurried off to Cenchreae and there racked to death,--an unparalleled instance of injustice and cruelty." But in this matter also our author preserves his peculiar method. He makes up a story about certain cries of this man, when he was on the rack, being heard through the night by the neighbours: "some of whom," he says, "rushed to the house in their horror, or incredulity, or indignation at the outrage." As for the sensational story, let it pass; I have said enough on that point. But I must express my opinion that, even if Aristomachus had committed no crime against the Achaeans besides, yet his whole life and his treason to his own country deserved the heaviest possible punishment. And in order, forsooth, to enhance this man's reputation, and move his reader's sympathies for his sufferings, our historian remarks that he had not only been a tyrant himself, but that his fathers had been so before him. It would not be easy to bring a graver or more bitter charge against a man than this: for the mere word "tyrant" involves the idea of everything that is wickedest, and includes every injustice and crime possible to mankind. And if Aristomachus endured the most terrible tortures, as Phylarchus says, he yet would not have been sufficiently punished for the crime of one day, in which, when Aratus had effected an entrance into Argos with the Achaean soldiers,--and after supporting the most severe struggles and dangers for the freedom of its citizens, had eventually been driven out, because the party within who were in league with him had not ventured to stir, for fear of the tyrant,--Aristomachus availed himself of the pretext of their complicity with the irruption of the Achaeans to put to the rack and execute eighty of the leading citizens, who were perfectly innocent, in the presence of their relations. I pass by the history of his whole life and the crimes of his ancestors; for that would be too long a story. (Plb. 2.59)

Crimes of Aristomachus
  But this shows that we ought not to be indignant if a man reaps as he has sown; but rather if he is allowed to end his days in peace, without experiencing such retribution at all. Nor ought we to accuse Antigonus or Aratus of crime, for having racked and put to death a tyrant whom they had captured in war: to have killed and wreaked vengeance on whom, even in time of peace, would have brought praise and honour to the doers from all right-minded persons.
  But when, in addition to these crimes, he was guilty also of treachery to the league, what shall we say that he deserved? The facts of the case are these. He abdicated his sovereignty of Argos shortly before, finding himself in difficulties, owing to the state of affairs brought on by the death of Demetrius. He was, however, protected by the clemency and generosity of the league; and, much to his own surprise, was left unmolested. For the Achaean government not only secured him an indemnity for all crimes committed by him while despot, but [p. 156] admitted him as a member of the league, and invested him with the highest office in it,--that, namely, of Commander-in-Chief and Strategus.1 All these favours he immediately forgot, as soon as his hopes were a little raised by the Cleomenic war; and at a crisis of the utmost importance he withdrew his native city, as well as his own personal adhesion, from the league, and attached them to its enemies. For such an act of treason what he deserved was not to be racked under cover of night at Cenchreae, and then put to death, as Phylarchus says: he ought to have been taken from city to city in the Peloponnese, and to have ended his life only after exemplary torture in each of them. And yet the only severity that this guilty wretch had to endure was to be drowned in the sea by order of the officers at Cenchreae. (Plb. 2.60)

This extract is from: Histories. Polybius. Evelyn S. Shuckburgh (1889). Cited April 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Apollonides or Apollonidas. Governor of Argos, who was raised to this office by Cassander. In the year B. C. 315, he invaded Arcadia. and got possession of the town of Stymphalus. The majority of the Argives were hostile towards Cassander, and while Apollonides was engaged in Arcadia, they invited Alexander, the son of Polysperchon, and promised to surrender their town to him. But Alexander was not quick enough in his movements, and Apollonides, who seems to have been informed of the plan, suddenly returned to Argos. About 500 senators were at the time assembled in the prytaneum : Apollonides had all the doors of the house well guarded, that none of them might escape, and then set fire to it, so that all perished in the flames. The other Argives who had taken part in the conspiracy were partly exiled and partly put to death. (Died. xix. 63.)



Stategus (strategos) was the title applied to the chief military commanders in inmost of the constitutional governments of Greece; as a rule they had the direction of foreign affairs as well as the leadership in war: and, as the control of external relations was the most important part of administration in a Greek state, the strategia was practically the chief magistracy in the communities in which it is found.
Strategi were set up in the Ionian states of Asia Minor after the despotisms had been overthrown in 504 B.C. (Herod. v. 38); at Argos we find hoi pente strategoi who commanded the five Argive lochi (Thuc. v. 59, 72): similar magistrates are also met with at Syracuse (Thuc. vi. 72), in later times in Boeotia, and in Amorgus. They are also found frequently at the head of leagues; after the founding of Megalopolis we find a strategos at the head of to koinon Arkadon (Xen. Hell. vii. 3, 1), and in the third century strategoi at the head of the koinon ton Akarnanon (Polyb. v. 6; Liv. xxxvi. 11) and the koinon ton Apeiroton. They were also the chief military officers of the Achaean and Aetolian leagues; and after the reconstruction of the Thessalian alliance in 196 B.C., a strategus appointed yearly is found at the head of this confederacy. In Egypt, under the Ptolemies and under Roman rule, the strategoi were the governors of the nomes; over these were the epistrategoi, the governors of the three great districts of the Delta, Heptanomis, and Thebais: both these classes of officers being under the authority of the Praefectus Aegypti.
  The strategia at Athens, according to the unanimous verdict of ancient writers, was the highest political office in the state. Its importance was due to the great extent of the duties of administration which it involved, and to the special power of initiative in legislation with which its holder was invested; while the continuity in the office, due to the possibility of indefinite re-election, rendered possible a continuity of policy on the part of its holder. That this power of permanent administration was actually realised in the history of Athens, there can be no doubt; whether it was definitely contemplated in the theory of the constitution will depend on the view that is taken as to the mode in which the functions of this office were distributed; but in any case it may be asserted that in the strategia we have the central point of Athenian administration, and any opinion as to the position of the strategus must inevitably affect our views as to the whole system of executive government at Athens. The strategi formed a college of ten, based on the ten tribes of the Cleisthenean constitution: and the number seems to have continued unaltered, as long as the collegiate principle was observed; it was not until a late period, falling between the years 52 and 42 B.C., that the college of generals was replaced, probably through an act of the dictator Caesar's, by a single magistrate bearing the title ho strategos, ho strategos epi ta hopla or epi tous hoplitas.
  Among the powers of the strategi, the most distinctive was that of summoning the assembly. The debate in the assemblies thus specially convened (sunkletoi) seems to have been limited strictly to the proposal put before them by the general; and such assemblies took precedence of all other meetings of the ekklesia, allo de prochrematisai touton mede, ean meti hoi strategoi deontai); yet it seems that in convening them the generals could not omit the formality of consulting the prutaneis, and that their motions, though standing first on the orders of the day, could only be introduced through the regular standing committee of the boule (Thuc. iv. 118, ekklesian de poiesantas tous strategous kai tous prutaneis, k.t.l.). An important power, which resulted from this right of convening the assembly on matters of foreign administration, would have been the setting forth of the estimates of the military budget for the year, together with proposals for raising the requisite supplies. Foreign administration and finance must necessarily have gone closely together during the greater part of the history of Athens, and have been united in the same person; but the power of the generals was not limited to initiating measures for such grants; they had the control of the details of expenditure: the moneys voted from the treasuries of Athens for military purposes were placed in their hands and there were other extraordinary sources of revenue, such as those from booty (Lys. c. Ergocl. 5), from the payments made by merchant-ships convoyed in time of war (para ton naukleron kai emporon, Id. de Bon. Aristoph. 50) and from fines imposed at their own discretion, over which they would probably have had entire control. As minister of finance for foreign affairs, it was the strategus who nominated to the trierarchy, in the 4th and probably in the 5th century (Dem. adv. Boeot. 8), and who had the hegemonia dikasteriou in suits arising from it (Suid. s. v. hegem. dikast.), as well as a similar presidency in the court constituted for the settlement of disputes arising from the eisphora (Suid. l. c.). Amongst the special military duties that devolved on the strategi at home were the distribution and command of the home forces, including the peripoloi, and the control of the home defences (phulakai kata gen kai kata thalassan, Thuc. ii. 24); duties which, after different functions were distributed amongst different members of the college, devolved on the general who bore the title strategos epi tes choras (Plut. Phoc. 32). In the case of certain levies the generals exercised the right of personal selection (Philostr. Vit. Soph. i. 23, 1; Lys. c. Alcib. i. 6). They also had jurisdiction in military matters; the appeals against the levy were made to them (Lys. de Mil. 4), and they had the hegemonia dikasteriou in the case of the military charges known as the graphai astrateias, lipotaxiou and deilias (Lys. c. Alcib. i. 21), which they either undertook in person or remitted to the taxiarchoi (Dem. adv. Boeot.17). Besides this jurisdiction at home, the general seems to have had the power to punish with death the most serious offences, such as treasonable negotiations with the enemy, and to confer military honours for bravery in the field (Lys. c. Alcib. i. 22; Plut. Alcib. 7); while the public funeral for citizens who had fallen in battle (demosios taphos) was proposed by him (Aristoph. Aves, 395 ). The initiative in cases of treason seems also to have been amongst his duties (Plut.- Vit. Antiph. 23); and one of his chief responsibilities was the corn-supply of Athens. The duties of the generals as regards foreign administration must have involved the introduction of most of such business to the assembly; questions arising from treaties or the details of foreign policy must have been usually brought forward by them; while we find that they were responsible for the execution of a treaty, saw that the oath was taken, and that the proper sacrifices were offered on the occasion. The existence of the Athenian Empire also added to the sphere of the general's powers; they must have been the commanders-in-chief of the phrourarchoi and the phrourai, which we find in the subject states, as in Erythrae. They saw to the exaction of the tribute when it was in arrears, by commanding the argurologoi nees; and probably had the levying of contingents from the allies in ships and men.
  It will be seen from this enumeration of their functions that the generals at Athens were at once leaders in war, ministers of war, foreign ministers, and to a great extent ministers of finance. It is difficult to see how such powers could have been exercised collectively by a college. Distributed they must have been, even in the 5th century B.C., where we as yet meet no trace of the subsequent differentiation of functions; but it is not easy to say how this distribution was effected, whether by agreement amongst the members of the college, or by lot, of the use of which some traces are found (Thuc. vi. 42, 62; viii. 30), or finally by the presidency of one of the members of the college who assigned the duties of the others. It is not until the close of the 4th century, about the year 325 B.C., that we find the practice arising of assigning different spheres of action to the generals on election. As late as the year 306-305 B.C. we find several generals elected for the performance of the same function (strategoi hoi epi ten tou polemou paraskeuen kecheirotonemenoi); but as early as 349 B.C. a mention is traced of a general with a special competence, the supervision of the eisphora (Dem. Olynth. ii.), and at a later period we find the functions assigned to the several generals distinctly expressed in the titles borne by each. Such titles are (ho strategos) ho epi ten Mounuchian kai ta neoria: ho epi ton Peiraia: ho epi ten choran: ho epi ten choran ten paralian: ho epi Eleusinos: ho epi tas summorias: ho epi ten paraskeuen: ho epi tous xenous: ho epi to nautikon: ho epi ta hopla or ho epi tous hoplitas, this last title being borne by the general who stood at the head of the college and was elected to the first place by the people (cheirotonetheis epi ta hopla protos hupo tou demou).
  The only known insignia of the general were the chlamys or military cloak (Ael. V. H. xiv. 10; Plut. Quaest. Conviv. i. 4, 2) and the stephanos which was worn by all Athenian magistrates. They had specially reserved seats in the theatre (Theophr. Char. 21), and conducted the military processions at the; Panathenaea (Dem. Phil. i. 26). Their place of business was the strategion (Plut. Nic. 5, 15; Per. 37; Phoc. 8), where they dined at the public cost (Dem. de fals. Leg. 90). Special honours were sometimes conferred on successful generals, which took the form of statues (Adoc - c. Alcib. 31), of public dinners in the Prytaneum (Aristoph. Eq. 709), or of proedria (ib. 575, 702). There is some evidence that the generals received payment on foreign service, and it has been concluded from a passage in Aristophanes (Acharn. 602) that the rate was three drachmae a day, which was perhaps given as a siteresion rather than as a misthos.
  There are some difficulties connected with the date at which the generals were elected; but there is almost a consensus of opinion in favour of the view that during the greater part of the 5th century and onwards they were elected towards the close of Mlunychion, at the beginning of the ninth prytany, and entered office on the first of Hecatombaeon, the beginning of the Attic year. They would thus have been elected in April or May, and entered office in July, the interval between the two acts being employed no doubt for the purpose of the dokimasia. But in time of war a general's command might be prolonged beyond his term of office, even though he were not re-elected; thus Laches, who was strategos during 427-426, was first replaced by Pythodorus, strategos for 426-425 in the winter of that year (Thuc. iii. 86, 115). The generals gave in their names before the nine archons (Poll. viii. 87), and the elections were conducted by them on the Pnyx (Hesych. s. v. Pnux): election seems to have been preceded by canvassing (Plut. Phoc. 8), and was, in the 4th century, not unfrequently tainted by bribery. The generals took an oath on coming into office, a special clause in which was tous astrateutous katalexein (Lys. de Mil. 15). Besides the ordinary qualifications required for Athenian magistrates, the special qualifications required for the generals were that they should be married and have children, and possess property within the bounds of Attica (Dinarch. in Demosth. 71). There was apparently no qualification of age, but the (strategia was not usually held before the age of forty. Re-election to the office in successive years was frequent; Pericles was general for fifteen years and Phocion forty-five times (Plut. Per. 15; Phoc. 8). A general might be deposed from office in the 4th century at the epicheirotonia held at the beginning of each prytany, and at the close of his office was subject to the usual audit (euthunai), which in his case was conducted before a heliastic jury under guidance of the thesmothetae (Poll. viii. 88). This was mainly concerned with the account of the moneys which had passed through his hands; it was probably on a charge of malversation of funds that Pericles was convicted and fined (Thuc. ii. 65; Plut. Per. 23 and 35), but a special graphe klopes might be preferred against him, either at the euthune or after the apocheirotonia, together with other charges, such as the graphe prodosias or graphe doron.
  The question as to what was the precise process of election to the strategia is at once the most important of those connected with the office and the most difficult to answer. It is equally doubtful who the electors were, and from what body the elected were chosen; and according to our decision on these points must depend to a large extent our estimate of the position of the strategos in the state. In the early period of Athenian history the ten generals bore a close relation to the ten tribes; at Marathon each general commanded a tribe (Plut. Arist. 5), and Plutarch's language in this passage and in another, where he describes the employment of Cimon and his nine colleagues as judges in the theatre, tends strongly to the view that the general belonged to the tribe which he commanded (Plut. Cim. 8, apo phules mias hekaston). This was, however, certainly not the case at a later period: Pollux tells us that the generals were chosen out of all the citizens (ex hapanton, Poll. viii. 86); several instances are found of two generals in the same year belonging to the same tribe; and, as Gilbert says, It would have violated all considerations of political expediency if the Athenians, through the condition that a general must be taken from each tribe, had robbed themselves of the possibility of employing two gifted and experienced men, because they happened to belong to the same tribe. Yet it is known at the close of the 5th century the generals offered themselves as representatives of special tribes (Xen. Mem. iii. 4, 1); and, as they were chosen out of all Athenian citizens, two modes of election have been suggested: either that the generals were elected out of all the Athenian people by the special tribes and for the special tribes, or the view which is held by Droysen, that they were elected for each tribe from all the Athenians by the whole people (Hermes, ix. p. 8). The first, though in accordance with modern ideas of representation, is thought to be inconsistent with ancient ideas on the subject, while the second is contrary to all the analogies of tribal election in Athens. A modified view has been put forward by Beloch, which, while it gives a theory of election, contains a definite suggestion as to the distribution of powers within the college. He holds that the college consisted, not of ten equal members, but of a prutanis and sunarchontes, on the analogy of the treasurers of Athens and of the Hellenotamiae: the expression ho deina kai sunarchontes being found applied to the strategia in an inscription. This president, he considers, was elected by all and out of all, but his nine colleagues each by his own tribe and from his own tribe, one of the ten tribes each year giving up its right to election. Consequently in nine cases out of ten a general must have belonged to a phyle that was already represented, or conversely, when two generals are found to belong to the same phyle, one of them must be the prytanis. This seems confirmed by the fact that between the years 441-0 and 356-5 there are nine certain instances of two generals, but no certain instance of more than two, belonging to the same tribe in the same year: this occurs twice when Pericles, once when Laches is general, and one of the names is usually of sufficient eminence for us to consider its bearer a possible president of the college. The prutaneia of the college he also thinks to be signified by the expression strategos tegos dekatos autos, which is twice used in reference to Pericles (Thuc. i. 116; ii. 13). Gilbert had thought that the additions pemptos, tetartos autos to a general's name signified some superiority of power possessed by that general over his colleagues, and that this power is the same as that expressed in the words strategos tegos autokrator: thus ho deina pemptos autos would mean that the general possessed authority over his four colleagues who went on the expedition with him; ho deina dekatos autos would signify, not necessarily that the general's nine colleagues went with him on an expedition, but that he possessed the power of an autokrator over the whole college. It is certain that a general was appointed autokrator, not at the elections, but with reference to a definite service, although it is possible that, in the face of a pressing danger, a general might be elected with autocratic powers at the archaeresia (Plut. Arist. 8, cheirotonetheis autokrator). Only the most general instructions were given to such a that commander: he was freed from the necessity of consulting the boule and the ekklesia on the details of administration, could raise supplies at his own discretion (Thuc. vi, 26), and had perhaps authority over his other colleagues; three generals were so appointed for the Sicilian expedition (Thuc. l. c.: hoi Athenaioi epsephisanto euthus autokratoras einai kai peri stratias plethous kai peri tou pantos plou tous strategous prassein he an autois dokei arista einai Athenaiois: cf. Plut. Arist. 8 and 11), and Alcibiades in 408 B.C. was hapanton hegemon autokrator (Xen. Hell. i. 5, 20). Beloch's theory, on the other hand, is that the prutanis differed from the autokrator in that a general was appointed prutanis at the archairesiai, [p. 720] autokrator with reference to a definite service; that the one had a standing, the other only a temporary superiority over his colleagues; and that the two expressions would have coincided only when one strategos autokrator was appointed, in which case the president of the college would undoubtedly have been selected as the general on whom these special exemptions were conferred. If Beloch's theory is valid, this president of the college was the first minister of Athens; and it is no anachronism to speak of party government in the sense of ministerial government, when we are dealing with Athenian politics.
  That this ministerial power was realised in later times is shown by an inscription of a strategos epi ta hopla, who records that peristanton tei polei kairon duskolon diephulazen ten eirenen tei chorai apophainomenos aiei ta kratista--kai ten polin eleutheran kai demokratoumenen autonouon paredoken kai tas nomes kurious tois meth' heauton. For the earlier period of Athenian history, it is difficult to establish a constitutional basis for this power: yet that it existed cannot be doubted. It is shown by the language in which Pericles' position is described (Thuc. ii. 65, strategon heilonto kai panta ta pragmata epetrepsan: cf. Diod. xiii. 42): he was alone responsible for the conduct of affairs, and had the power to prevent the ekklesia from assembling (Thuc. ii. 23, 2). It is true that the expression ho deina kai sunarchontes may only denote a changing presidency; and the expressions tritos, tetartos, and even dekatos autos may be explained of specially conferred powers, yet something more seems to be demanded for a position such as that of Themistocles at Salamis (Plut. Arist. 8), of Pericles during the last fifteen years of his life, and of Nicias in 425 B.C. (Thuc. iv. 28): in these cases a definite leadership of the college seems to be implied, however vague and conjectural may be the powers which we are enabled to attribute to such a presidency.

(Appendix). Ath. pol., c. 4, speaks of strategoi in the time of Draco, mentioning the qualification that they must be married, and adding that they must have children over ten years of age. As the text stands we are told of a property qualification of 100 minae; but, since the qualification of an archon (at that time a more important office) was only ten minae. this is unlikely, and hekaston e (implying a qualification of eight minae) may be a truer reading than e hekaton.
  The election of one strategus from each tribe in the time of Cleisthenes is mentioned in c. 57: we learn also that after the reforms of Cleisthenes they were still of lower rank than the archons and subordinate in military rule to the Polemarch (c. 22, tes d hapases stratias hegemon en ho Polemarchos). This bears out the account of Herod. vi. 109, 111, placing the growth of their importance later.
  From c. 61 we learn that, instead of one being elected as in older times from each tribe, the ten were now chosen by cheirotonia from the whole body of citizens (ex apanton), which obviously gave a greater freedom for choosing the best men. It is not, however, stated when this change was made.
  The assignment of the five first strategi to special duties is mentioned as fixed and definite:
1. the commander of hoplites on service out of the country:
2. over the local defence and general-in-chief in case of invasion:
3. over Munychia:
4. over the shore (= the chora paralia)
3 & 4 are reckoned together as epi ton Peiraiea:
5. epi tas summorias, the duties specified being to make out the register of the trierarchs, to carry out the antidoseis and to preside at legal proceedings connected with the trierarchy (cf. p. 892 a). The other five strategi were employed as occasion demanded (tous d allous pros ta paronta pragmata ekpempousin). It is added that the strategus could imprison and fine (epibolen epiballein) anyone guilty of breach of discipline on service, but that the fine was rarely resorted to. It will be seen from the above that the treatise gives a clearer view of the question of election (discussed on pp. 719, 720), and a definite apportionment of their functions in more regular order (cf. p. 718 a). In this point the supposed date of the treatise will bear out Gilbert's deduction from inscriptions, that the special office of strategos epi summorias began sometime between 334 and 324 B.C.; and agrees also with the fact, which he notices, that a further apportionment of offices, not here mentioned, such as epi to nautikon, epi tous xenous, &c. (presumably taking up the other five strategi), is traceable first in reference to an event shortly before 315 B.C. (i. e. later than the date assigned to Ath. pol.).


Thrasyllus or Thrasylus (Thrasullos, Thrasulos). An Argive, was one of the five generals of the commonwealth when Argolis was invaded by the Lacedaemonians under Agis II., in B. C. 418. Agis succeeded in placing a division of his army between the Argive forces and Argos, thus cutting them off from their city, while their flank and rear were threatened by his two other divisions. Thrasyllus perceived the danger of this position, and, together with Aleiphron (one [p. 1110] of his fellow-citizens and a proxenus of Lacedaemon), obtained an interview with Agis, and induced him by the hope of a permanent peace to grant them a truce for four months. Thrasyllus and Alciphron, however, had taken this step without being authorized; and the Argives, who imagined that they had been on the point of gaining an easy victory over the Lacedaemonians. shut in as the latter were between them and the city, were highly exasperated, and began to stone Thrasyllus in the military court which was always held just outside the walls of Argos after an expedition. He saved his life only by taking refuge at an altar, and he was punished by the confiscation of his property. (Thuc. v. 59, 60.)

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


Peisias. An Argive general. In B. C. 366, when Epaminondas was preparing to invade Achaia, Peisias, at his instigation, occupied a commanding height of Mount Oneium, near Cenchreae, and thus enabled the Thebans to make their way through the isthmus, guarded though it was by Lacedaemonian and Athenian troops. (Xen. Hell. vii. 1.41; Diod. xv. 75.)

Related to the place


Birth of Pindar at Kynoskephalai in Boeotia 522, death in Argos after 446


In B. C. 471 he was ostracised from Athens, and retired to Argos.


Laespodias (Laispodias), was one of three Athenian commanders, who, with a force of 30 ships, joined the Argives in ravaging the Lacedaemonian coast, B. C. 414; and thus, at the moment when Gylippus was sailing for Syracuse, gave the Spartan government justification for open hostilities. He is named again, B. C. 411, as one of three ambassadors who were sent by the Four Hundred to treat with Sparta, but were, when their ship, the Paralus, was off Argos, seized and given in custody to the Argives by the sailors, who proceeded to join the fleet at Samos (Thuc. vi. 105, viii. 86). He had something the matter with the shin or calf of his leg, and arranged his dress to conceal it.
Ti, o kakodaimon Laispodias, ei ten phusin ; says Poseidon, when scolding the uncouth Triballus for letting his garment hang about his legs (Aristoph. Av 1568). And the Scholiast gives a variety of references (see also Plut. Symp. vii. 8), which show that his misfortune made him a standing joke with the comedians.


Attalus (Attalos), an Athenian statuary, the son of Andragathus. Pausanias (ii. 19. § 3) mentions a statue of Apollo Lykeios, in the temple of that god at Argos, which was made by him. His name has been found on a statue discovered on the site of the theatre at Argos (Bockh, Corp. Ins. No. 1146), and on a bust. (Welcker, Kunsblatt, 1827, No. 82.)

Demetrius the Poliorcetes

... With the spring of 303 he hastened to resume the work of the liberation of Greece. Sicyon, Corinth, Argos, and all the smaller towns of Arcadia and Achaia, which were held by garrisons for Ptolemy or Cassander, successively fell into his hands; and it seems probable that he even extended his expeditions as far as Leucadia and Corcyra. The liberty of all the separate states was proclaimed; but, at a general assembly held at Corinth, Demetrius received the title of commander-in-chief of all Greece (egemon tes Ellados), the same which had been formerly bestowed upon Philip and Alexander. At Argos, where he made a considerable stay, he married a third wife -Deidameia, sister of Pyrrhus, king of Epeirus- though both Phila and Eurydice were still living.

Men in the armed forces


Nicostratus. An Argive, who, according to Diodorus (xvi. 44 ), was not only possessed of uncommon strength and courage, but was equally distinguished for his prudence and discretion both in the council and in the field. In battle he wore a lion's skin and carried a club in imitation of llercules. He conducted a body of 3000 Argives to the assistance of the Persian king, Ochus, for his expedition against Egypt; the king having specially requested that the Argives would send him at the head of such troops as they could furnish. Nicostratus seems to have taken a conspicuous part in the military operations of the king. (Diod. xvi. 48.) Plutarch (Apophth., de Vit. Pud.) records a saving of his in reply to Archidamus, king of Sparta, who promised him a large sum of money and any Spartan woman whom he might choose as a wife to induce him to deliver up to him a fortress of which he had the command.

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

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