Pamphila (Pamphile), a female historian of considerable reputation, who lived
in the reign of Nero. According to Suidas she was an Epidaurian (s. v. Pamphile),
but Photius (Cod. 175) describes her as an Egyptian by birth or descent: the two
statements, however, may be reconciled by supposing that she was a native of Epidaurus,
and that her family came from Egypt. She related in the preface to her work, for
an account of which we are indebted to Photius (I.c.), that, during the thirteen
years she had lived with her husband, from whom she was never absent for a single
hour, she was constantly at work upon her book, and that she diligently wrote
down whatever she heard from her husband and from the many other learned men who
frequented their house, as well as whatsoever she herself read in books. Hence
we can account for the statement of Suidas, that some authorities ascribed her
work to her husband. The name of her husband is differently stated. In one passage
Suidas (s.v. Pamphile), speaks of her as the daughter of Soteridas and the wife
of Socratidas, but in another passage he describes her (s. v. Soteridas) as the
wife of Soteridas. The passage in Photius (cod. 161), where we read ek ton Soterida
Pamphiles epitomon,leaves the question undecided, as Soteridas may there indicate
either the father or the husband.
The principal work of Pamphila is cited by various names; sometimes
simply as hupomnemata, and at other times as hupomnemata historika, but its fill
title seems to have been the one which is preserved by Photius, namely, summikton
historikon hupomnematon logoi. The latter title gives a general idea of the nature
of its contents, which are still further characterized by Photius. The work was
not arranged according to subjects or according to any settled plan, but it was
more like a commonplace book, in which each piece of information was set down
as it fell under the notice of the writer, who stated that she believed this variety
would give greater pleasure to the reader. Photius considers the work as one of
great use, and supplying important information on many points in history and literature.
The estimation in which it was held in antiquity is shown, not only by the judgment
of Pliotius, but also by the references to it in the works of A. Gellius and Diogenes
Laertius, who appear to have availed themselves of it to a considerable extent.
Modern scholars are best acquainted with the name of Pamphila, from a statement
in her work, preserved by A. Gellius (xv. 23), by which is ascertained the year
of the birth of Hellanicus, Herodotus, and Thucydides respectively.But this account,
though received by most scholars, is rejected by Kriiger, in his life of Thucydides
(p. 7), on account of the little confidence that can be placed in Pamphila's authority.
The history of Pamphila was divided into many books. Photius speaks only of eight,
but Suidas says that it consisted of thirty-three. The latter must be correct,
since we find A. Gellius quoting the eleventh (xv. 23) and twenty-ninth (xv. 17),
and Diogenes Laertius the twenty-fifth (iii. 23) and thirty-second (v. 36). Perhaps
no more than eight hooks were extant in the time of Photius. The work is likewise
referred to by Diogenes Laertius in other passages (i. 24, 68, 76, 90, 98, ii.
Besides the history already mentioned, Pamphila wrote several other
works, the titles of which are given by Suidas. 1. An Epitome of Ctesias, in three
books. 2. Epitomes of histories and of other works, epitomai historion te kai
heteron biblion, from which world Sopater appears to have drawn his materials
(Phot. cod. 161). It is, however, not impossible that this work is the same as
the hupomnemata, and that Suidas has confounded the two. 3. Peri amphisbeteseon.
4. Peri aphrodision.
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
- A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology (ed. William Smith)