Five Guys Named Thales

As I have written before, I like the Classics thought game of trading some extant piece of literature for something we have allegedly lost (of roughly the same length, importance, or genre). Playing this game well, of course, requires knowing what is lost. Sometimes, I read Diogenes Laertius just for the names of the lost works. There is an elegant beauty in them. I suppose the work mentioned in this passage would probably be boring, but I would still read it.

Vita Philosophorum: Thales 1.38

“There were other people named Thales, as Demetrius the Magnesian writes in his On People with the Same Name, five of them: the orator from Kallatia, who had a difficult style; a painter from Sikyon who was quite talented. The third was really old, from around the time of Hesiod and Homer. Duris mentions the fourth in his On Painting. The fifth was more recent and not well known, but he is mentioned by Dionysus in his Criticisms.

Γεγόνασι δὲ καὶ ἄλλοι Θαλαῖ, καθά φησι Δημήτριος ὁ Μάγνης ἐν τοῖς Ὁμωνύμοις, πέντε· ῥήτωρ Καλλατιανός, κακόζηλος·ζωγράφος Σικυώνιος, μεγαλοφυής·τρίτος ἀρχαῖος πάνυ, κατὰ Ἡσίοδον καὶ Ὅμηρον καὶ Λυκοῦργον· τέταρτος οὗ μέμνηται Δοῦρις ἐν τῷ Περὶζωγραφίας· πέμπτος νεώτερος, ἄδοξος, οὗ μνημονεύει Διονύσιος ἐν Κριτικοῖς.


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Lol-lianos: He’s In It For the Words.

Suda, lambda 670

Lollianos: From Ephesus. A sophist. A student of Isaios the Assyrian. He was born during the time of the emperor Hadrian. He wrote many things.

Λολλιανός, ᾿Εφέσιος, σοφιστής, μαθητὴς ᾿Ισαίου τοῦ ᾿Ασσυρίουγεγονὼς ἐπὶ ᾿Αδριανοῦ τοῦ Καίσαρος. ἔγραψε πολλά.

Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists, 526

“Lollianos the Ephesian was the first Chair of Rhetoric at Athens and he also stood as governor of the Athenian people as the general of the hoplites. This office in early years was meant for the gathering of supplies and preparations for war; but in those days it was concerned with provisions and the food in the market. When there was a serious protest in the bread-sellers district, and the Athenians were on the verge of stoning Lollianos, Pankrates the Cynic, who in later years studied Philosophy at the Isthmus, stepped forward and said: “Lollianos isn’t a bread-seller, he’s a purveyor of words!” He distracted the Athenians enough that they put down the rocks that were in their hands.

Another time when the grain shipment came from Thessaly and there were no public funds, Lollianos assigned the payment to his students and a heap of money was collected. This seems to be the mark of a clever man and one wise at politics, but his next move shows him just and wise: for he refunded all those who contributed money the amount he charged for his lectures.”

κγ′. Λολλιανὸς δὲ ὁ ᾿Εφέσιος προὔστη μὲν τοῦ ᾿Αθήνησι θρόνου πρῶτος, προὔστη δὲ καὶ τοῦ ᾿Αθηναίων δήμου στρατηγήσας αὐτοῖς τὴν ἐπὶ τῶν ὅπλων, ἡ δὲ ἀρχὴ αὕτη πάλαι μὲν κατέλεγέ τε καὶ ἐξῆγεν ἐς τὰ πολέμια, νυνὶ δὲ τροφῶν ἐπιμελεῖται καὶ σίτου ἀγορᾶς. θορύβου δὲ καθεστηκότος παρὰ τὰ ἀρτοπώλια καὶ τῶν ᾿Αθηναίων βάλλειν αὐτὸν ὡρμηκότων Παγκράτης ὁ κύων ὁ μετὰ ταῦτα ἐν ᾿Ισθμῷ φιλοσοφήσας παρελθὼν ἐς τοὺς ᾿Αθηναίους καὶ εἰπὼν „Λολλιανὸς οὐκ ἔστιν ἀρτοπώλης, ἀλλὰ λογοπώλης” διέχεεν οὕτω τοὺς ᾿Αθηναίους, ὡς μεθεῖναι τοὺς λίθους διὰ χειρὸς αὐτοῖς ὄντας. σίτου δὲ ἐκ Θετταλίας ἐσπεπλευκότος καὶ χρημάτων δημοσίᾳ οὐκ ὄντων ἐπέτρεψεν ὁ Λολλιανὸς ἔρανον τοῖς αὐτοῦ γνωρίμοις, καὶ χρήματα συχνὰ ἠθροίσθη. καὶ τοῦτο μὲν ἀνδρὸς εὐμηχάνου δόξει καὶ σοφοῦ τὰ πολιτικά, ἐκεῖνο δὲ δικαίου τε καὶ εὐγνώμονος· τὰ γὰρ χρήματα ταῦτα τοῖς ξυμβαλομένοις ἀπέδωκεν ἐπανεὶς τὸν μισθὸν τῆς ἀκροάσεως.

Lovely Lollianos? Also known as Publius Hordeonius Lollianus, a rhetorician during the time of Hadrian.


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Education and Easy Burials: Two Socratic Anecdotes

Both of these anecdotes appear in Stobaeus where they are attributed to Aelian

Stob. 4.55.10

When Socrates was about to drink the hemlock, and those accompanying Crito asked him how he wished to be buried, he answered “however is easiest for you.”

ὁ Σωκράτης ἐπεὶ τὸ κώνειον ἔμελλε πίεσθαι, τῶν ἀμφὶ τὸν Κρίτωνα ἐρομένων αὐτὸν τίνα τρόπον ταφῆναι θέλει, “ὅπως ἂν ὑμῖν” ἀπεκρίνατο “ᾖ ῥᾷστον.”

Stob. 2.31.38

“Noble Socrates reproached fathers who did not teach their sons and then, when they were destitute, took their sons to court and sued them as ungrateful because they did not support their parents. He said that the fathers were expecting something impossible: those who have not learned just actions are incapable of performing them”

Σωκράτης ὁ γενναῖος ᾐτιᾶτο τῶν πατέρων ἐκείνους, ὅσοι <μὴ> παιδεύσαντες αὑτῶν τοὺς υἱεῖς, εἶτα ἀπορούμενοι ἦγον ἐπὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς τοὺς νεανίσκους καὶ ἔκρινον αὐτοὺς ἀχαριστίας, ὅτι οὐ τρέφονται ὑπ᾿ αὐτῶν. εἶπε γὰρ ἀδύνατον ἀξιοῦν τοὺς πατέρας· μὴ γὰρ οἵους τε εἶναι τοὺς μὴ μαθόντας τὰ δίκαια ποιεῖν αὐτά.


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Diagoras’ Journey From god-fearing to god-hating

Two Stories about the god-hating Diagoras

Sext. Emp. Against the Scientists 9. 53

“People say that Diagoras the Melian poet of Dithyramb was early on as god-fearing as any other person, since he began his own poem in this way: “everything happens thanks to god and chance.” But when he was harmed by someone who made a false oath and his assailant suffered nothing because of this, he began to say that “there is no god”.

Schol. in Ael. Arist. Rhet= ii 80 Dindorf

“The Diagoras in question was a philosopher. Once, when he was invited to a dinner-party by another philosopher, while his host was boiling lentil and was outside for some reason, the lentils could not be completely boiled because there was no fuel for the fire underneath them. So, Diagoras searched around and, once he found a statue of Herakles nearby, he broke it and tossed it in the fire, intoning “in addition to his twelve labors, divine Herakles now completes this thirteenth.”

Sext. Emp. Against the Scientists 9. 53

Διαγόρας δὲ ὁ Μήλιος διθυραμβοποιὸς ὥς φασι τὸ πρῶτον γενόμενος ὡς εἴ τις καὶ ἄλλος δεισιδαίμων, ὅς γε καὶ τῆς ποιήσεως ἑαυτοῦ κατήρξατο τὸν τρόπον τοῦτον· κατὰ δαίμονα καὶ τύχην πάντα τελεῖται· ἀδικηθεὶς δὲ ὑπό τινος ἐπιορκήσαντος καὶ μηδὲν ἕνεκα τούτου παθόντος μεθηρμόσατο εἰς τὸ λέγειν μὴ εἶναι θεόν.

Schol. in Ael. Arist. Rhet= ii 80 Dindorf

Διαγόρας οὗτος φιλόσοφος ἦν. κληθεὶς δέ ποτε εἰς ἑστιάσιν ὑφ᾿ ἑτέρου φιλοσόφου, ἕψοντος ἐκείνου φακῆν καὶ κατά τινα χρείαν ἔξω 〚ἐκείνου〛 χωρήσαντος, τῆς φακῆς μὴ τελέως ἑψηθῆναι δυναμένης διὰ τὸ μὴ ὑπέκκαυμα ἔχειν τὸ ὑποκείμενον πῦρ, αὐτός τε περιστραφεὶς ὧδε κἀκεῖσε καὶ τὸ τοῦ Ἡρακλέους ἄγαλμα προχείρως εὑρὼν καὶ συντρίψας ἐνίησι τῷ πυρὶ ἐπειπὼν ἐπ᾿ αὐτό· δώδεκα τοῖσιν ἄθλοις τρισκαιδέκατον τόνδ᾿ ἐτέλεσεν Ἡρακλῆς δῖος.

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Ridiculous Poet, Grumpy Critic: Some Homeric Critiques from Zoilos the Zealot

Iliad 5.4

“A tireless fire burned from his helmet and shield…”

δαῖέ οἱ ἐκ κόρυθός τε καὶ ἀσπίδος ἀκάματον πῦρ

Schol. D ad Il. 5.4

“Zoilus the Ephesian criticizes this passage and he blames the poet because he composed this in too ridiculous a fashion, fire burning from Diomedes’ shoulders. For the hero runs the risk of burning up in flames! Therefore some say that it needs to be taken as it is, according to the habit of the fire. Others struggle about the fire—that it is the image of fire, not really fire.

Τρωσίν. ᾿Ακάματον. Πολύ. Ζωΐλος δὲ
ὁ ᾿Εφέσιος κατηγορεῖ τοῦ τόπου τού-
του, καὶ μέμφεται τὸν Ποιητὴν, ὅτι λίαν
γελοίως πεποίηκεν ἐκ τῶν ὤμων τοῦ Διο-
μήδους καιόμενον πῦρ. ἐκινδύνευε γὰρ κα-
ταφλεχθῆναι ὁ ἥρως. ῎Ενιοι μὲν οὖν πα-
ρειλῆφθαί φασι τὸ ὡς, κατὰ συνήθειαν
τῷ Ποιητῇ. ὡς καὶ ἐν ἑτέροις. ῞Ως οἱ
μὲν μάρναντο δέμας πυρός. ὡς πυρὸς
φαντασίαν, οὐκ εἰδικῶς πῦρ.

Zoilos is most often said to be from Amphipolos and appears in Aelian’s Varia Historia 11.10

Zôilos of Amphipolos, who wrote against Homer, Plato and others, was in attendance at a speech of Polycrates. Polycrates wrote a diatribe against Socrates. Zôilos himself used to be called the rhetorical Dog, and he was this kind of man: he had a beard though he shaved his head and he wore a coat above his knee. He loved to carp in public and he spent his time picking fights with many men: he was a complaining, mean-spirited man. When some educated man asked him why he spoke poorly of everyone, he said: “I cannot do them harm when I want to.”

Ζωίλος ὁ ᾿Αμφιπολίτης ὁ καὶ ἐς ῞Ομηρον γράψας καὶ ἐς Πλάτωνα καὶ ἐς ἄλλους, Πολυκράτους μὲν ἀκουστὴς ἐγένετο· οὗτος δὲ ὁ Πολυκράτης καὶ τὴν κατηγορίαν ἔγραψε τὴν κατὰ Σωκράτους. ἐκαλεῖτο δ’ ὁ Ζωίλος οὗτος Κύων ῥητορικός. ἦν δὲ τοιοῦτος. τὸ μὲν γένειον αὐτῷ καθεῖτο, κέκαρτο δὲ ἐν χρῷ τὴν κεφαλήν, καὶ θοιμάτιον ὑπὲρ τὸ γόνυ ἦν. ἤρα δὲ ἀγορεύειν κακῶς, καὶ ἀπεχθάνεσθαι πολλοῖς σχολὴν εἶχε, καὶ ψογερὸς ἦν ὁ κακοδαίμων. ἤρετο οὖν αὐτόν τις τῶν πεπαιδευμένων διὰ τί κακῶς λέγει πάντας· ὃ δὲ ‘ποιῆσαι γὰρ κακῶς βουλόμενος οὐ δύναμαι.’

Schol ad. Il. 10.274b

“Zoilos was called the scourge of Homer and was from Amphipolis. He was the teacher of Isocrates and he wrote Against Homer as an exercise since the sophists where in the custom of writing exercises on the poets. He criticized Homer for many other things….

Ζωίλος ὁ κληθεὶς ῾Ομηρομάστιξ γένει μὲν ἦτ ᾽Αμφιπολίτης, τοῦ δὲ ᾽Ισοκρατικοῦ διδασκαλείου, ὃς ἔγραψε τὰ καθ᾽ ῾Ομήρου γυμνασίας ἕνεκα, εἰωθότων καὶ τῶν ῥητόρων ἐν τοῖς ποιηταῖς γυμνάζεσθαι. οὗτος ἄλλα τε πολλὰ ῾Ομήρου κατηγόρει…

Schol. D. ad Il. 5.20

“Zoilos also criticized this passage. For, he says, the poet composed this too ridiculously, that Idaios fled, abandoning his horses and chariot in order to flee. For he was more capable of fleeing upon the horses. But it must be said, that he leaps upon the chariot to guard his brother. After he faced war in this way, he rushed into flight.”

Κατηγορεῖ καὶ τούτου τοῦ τόπου Ζωΐλος.
ὅτι λίαν, φησὶ, γελοίως πεποίηκεν ὁ Ποι-
ητὴς τὸν ᾿Ιδαῖον, ἀπολιπόντα τοὺς ἵπ-
πους καὶ τὸ ἅρμα, φεύγειν. ᾿Εδύνατο
γὰρ μᾶλλον ἐπὶ τοῖς ἵπποις φυγεῖν. ᾿Αλ-
λὰ ῥητέον, ὅτι κατέθορε μὲν τοῦ ἅρματος,
ὡς ὑπερασπίσων τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ. Εὐλαβη-
θεὶς δὲ τὸν πόλεμον, εἰς φυγὴν ὥρμησεν.


“Zoilos of Amphipolis was called the “Scourge of Homer” because he mocked Homer. For this reason, those who live near Olympia chased him and threw him from the Skironian cliffs.”

Ζωίλος, ᾽Αμφιπολίτης· … ὃς ἐπεκλήθη ῾Ομηρομάστιξ, ὅτι ἐπέσκωπτεν ῞Ομηρον. διὸ αὐτὸν διώξαντες οἱ ἐν τῆι ᾽Ολυμπίαι κατὰ τῶν Σκιρωνίδων πετρῶν ἔρριψαν.

Schol. ad Il. 21.256

“He fled behind the flows…” Zoilos carps that, even though he has immortal horses, he does not use them at an opportune time.”

φεῦγ’ ὄπισθε ῥέων] Ζωΐλος αἰτιᾶται ὅτι ἀθανάτους ἵππους
ἔχων ἐν τῷ ἀντικειμένῳ καιρῷ οὐ χρᾶται.

Schol. ad Il. 21.447

“wide and very fine”: Zoilos writes [instead] “both wide and very large.

εὐρύ τε καὶ μάλα καλόν] Ζωΐλος γράφει· «εὐρύ τε καὶ μάλα

Schol. Il. 18.22-5

“Zoilos writes that it is strange to see Achilles now. For he knew previously that it was necessary that the dangers of war are shared, and that it was not right that he consider death so terrible, and to grieve so much in a womanly fashion. Thus, not even a barbarian would behave. And, certainly, Hekabê is nothing of this sort in her mourning over Hektor.”

τι πεπονθότων (cf. ib. 387 d 5). Ζωΐλος (fr. 31 Friedl. = FGrHist
71,11) δέ φησιν ἄτοπον νῦν εἰδέναι τὸν ᾿Αχιλλέα· προειδέναι τε γὰρ
ἐχρῆν ὅτι κοινοὶ οἱ πολεμικοὶ κίνδυνοι, τόν τε θάνατον οὐκ ἐχρῆν δει-
νὸν ὑπολαμβάνειν, τό τε οὕτως ὑπερπενθεῖν γυναικῶδες. οὕτως οὔτ’
ἂν βάρβαρος τι<τ>θὴ ἐποίησεν· καί τοι ῾Εκάβης ἐπὶ τῷ συρμῷ ῞Ε-
κτορος οὐδὲν τοιοῦτόν ἐστιν (cf. Χ 405—7).

What It Takes to Understand Vergil

Macrobius, Saturnalia 5.14-15

“Has it been proved to you that Vergil cannot be understood by someone who is ignorant of the sound of Latin and is equally distant to one who has not drunk Greek learning deep with the fullest thirst?

If I did not fear making you antsy, I could fill huge volumes with the material he translated from the most obscure Greek teachings. But these assertions are enough to support the thesis I have proposed.”

probatumne vobis est Vergilium, ut ab eo intellegi non potest qui sonum Latinae vocis ignorat, ita nec ab eo posse qui Graecam non hauserit extrema satietate doctrinam?

nam si fastidium facere non timerem, ingentia poteram volumina de his quae a penitissima Graecorum doctrina transtulisset implere: sed ad fidem rei propositae relata sufficient.’


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Some Less Famous Sayings of Famous Men

From the Gnomologicum Vaticanum


“When Euripides was asked why he hated both wicked and noble men he said “I hate the wicked men because of their corruption and the good men because they don’t hate the evil.”

῾Ο αὐτὸς ἐρωτηθεὶς διὰ τί [αὐτὸς] τούς τε πονηροὺς καὶ ἀγαθοὺς μισεῖ ἔφη· „τοὺς μὲν πονηροὺς διὰ τὴν μοχθηρίαν, τοὺς δὲ ἀγαθοὺς ὅτι τοὺς κακοὺς οὐ μισοῦσιν”.


“When Oinopides saw a youth who had many books he said “don’t put them in a chest but in your heart.”

Οἰνοπίδης ὁρῶν μειράκιον πολλὰ βιβλία κτώμενον ἔφη· „μὴ τῇ κιβωτῷ, ἀλλὰ τῷ στήθει.”


“Plato used to say “It is not fine for an educated man to converse with the uneducated, just as it is for a sober man to talk with the drunk”

Πλάτων ἔφη· „οὐ καλὸν πεπαιδευμένον ἐν ἀπαιδεύτοις διαλέγεσθαι, ὥσπερ οὐδὲ νήφοντα ἐν μεθύουσιν.”



“Herodotus the historiographer when asked by someone how people can be of good spirit, said “if they don’t do [too] many things.”

῾Ηρόδοτος ὁ ἱστοριογράφος ἐρωτηθεὶς ὑπό τινος πῶς ἂν δύναιντο <οἱ> ἄνθρωποι εὐθυμεῖν εἶπεν· „ἐὰν μὴ πολλὰ πρήσσωσιν.”



“When [Aristotle] was asked what man has equal to god he said “to do good deeds” ‘

῾Ο αὐτὸς ἐρωτηθεὶς ὑπό τινος, τί ἄνθρωπος ἶσον ἔχει θεῷ, εἶπε· „τὸ εὐεργετεῖν”.



“When Philip was asked who blinded his eye, he said “Love for Greece.”

Φίλιππος ἐρωτηθεὶς τίς αὐτῷ τὸν ὀφθαλμὸν ἐξέκοψεν, εἶπεν· „ὁ τῆς ῾Ελλάδος ἔρως.”


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