The Ancient Library

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On this page: Lysicrates, Monument of – Lysippus


B.C. 445. He was a son of the rich Syracusan Cephalus, who had been invited by Pericles to settle at Athens. At the age of fifteen he went with his two brothers to Thurii, in South Italy, and there studied under the Syracusan rhetorician Tislas. He returned to Athens in 412, and lived in the Piraeus in comfortable circumstances, being joint possessor, with his eldest brother Polemar-chus, of several houses and a manufactory of shields, where 120 slaves were employed. Under the rule of the Thirty Tyrants, how­ever, the brothers were accused in 404 of be­ing enemies to the existing government; their property was confiscated and Polemarchus executed, while Lysias with the greatest diffi­culty managed to escape to Megara. After the fall of the Thirty, in which he had eagerly co-operated, he returned to Athens, and gave his time to the lucrative occupation of writing legal speeches for others, after obtaining high repute as an orator, in 403, by his accusation of Eratosthenes, the murderer of his brother. He died in his eighty-third year, esteemed by all.

Of the 425 speeches to which the ancients assigned his name, but of which the greater number (233) were regarded as not genuine, there remain—besides numerous and some­times considerable fragments—thirty-one, though they are not all quite complete; and of these five must be looked upon as certainly not genuine, and four others are open to grave suspicion. Only one of these speeches, that against Eratosthenes, men­tioned above, was delivered by Lysias in person. He is the first really classical orator of the Greeks, and a model of the plain style, which avoids grandiloquence and seeks to obtain its effect by a sober and clear representation of the case. The ancient critics justly praised the purity and simplicity of his language, the skill shown in always adapting style to subject, the combination of terseness with graphic lucidity of description, particularly notice­able in narrative, and, lastly, his power of painting character.

Lyslcrates, Monument of, at Athens. One of the most graceful relics of Greek an­tiquity, raised in memory of a victory in the dramatic contests won by Lysicrates when he was chdrggus (see chorus) in b.c. 334. From a slender square basement, [12 feet high by 9 feet wide] rises a small but elegant round temple; six engaged Corinthian columns surround its circular wall and support the entablature, on the frieze of which there is n, delicate and


life-like representation of a scene in the legend of Dionysus (the changing of the Tyrrhenian pirates into dolphins, for having by mistake laid hands on the god). Over the entablature is a flat dome made of a single block of marble, and from the centre of the roof rises a finial of acanthus leaves, formerly crowned by the tripod which was the prize of vic­tory. The monu-men t is thirty-five feet high, and the diameter of the inside is about six feet. The reliefs of the frieze are of great value, as they belong to the new Attic school of Scfipas and Praxiteles. According to a tradition (which is without founda­tion) that Demos­thenes used to study here, the monument used to be called the Lantern of Demos­thenes. [This name was familiar to Michael Akominatos, in the second half of the 12th century; Gregorovius, Mirabilien der Stadt Athen, p. 357. The true name was first restored by Transfeldt about 1674, id. Athen Im Mittelalter, ii 357.]

Lysippus, of Sicyon. One of the most famous Greek artists, a contemporary of Alexander the Great; was originally a worker in metal, and taught himself the art of the sculptor by studying nature and the canon of Polyclltus (q.v.). His works, which were said to amount to 1,500, were all statues in bronze, and were remarkable for their lifelike characterization and their careful and accurate execution, shown par­ticularly in the treatment of the hair. He aimed at representing the beauty and har­mony more especially of the male human body; and substituted for the proportions of Polyclitus a new ideal, which kept in view the effect produced, by giving the body a more slender and elegant shape, and by making the head smaller in comparison with the trunk, than is the ease with the actual average man. The most famous

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