The Ancient Library

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On this page: Phasis – Phegeus – Pherecrates – Pherecydes – Phiale – Phidias – Phiditia – Philemon



was still standing, in great part, about 1300 a.d. In later times all lighthouses were called after it, and large numbers of these were built by the Romans round Italy, and on all the coasts of the empire. The tower at Ravenna approached the Alex­andrian in magnificence. Light-ships were also used by the ancients.

Phasls. The term in Attic law for an information against secret crimes, such as contravention of regulations relating to customs, trade, or mining, illegal occupa­tion of common rights, felling of the olive trees sacred to Athene, dishonest adminis­tration of wards' estates and sycSphantia. The informer received a portion of the fine as rewajxi.

Phegeus. King of Psophls in Arcadia, son of Alpheus, and brother of Phoroneus. After inducing his sons, Agenor and Pronous (or Arion and Temenus) to kill Alcmason, the first husband of his daughter Arsinoe or Alphesiboaa (q.v.), he and they were all murdered by the sons of Alcmseon. (See acarnan.)

Pherfcrates. After Cratinus, Eupolis, and Aristophanes, of whom he was an older contemporary, the most eminent writer of the Old Attic comedy. He was famed among the ancients for his wealth of inven­tion and for the purity of his Attic Greek. We have the titles of fifteen of his comedies, and a few fragments of his plays.

Pherecydes. (1) Greek philosopher, of the isle of Syros, about 600-550 b.c. ; said to have been the first writer of prose. He wrote in the Ionic dialect of the origin of the world and the gods (cosmiigOnla and thcSgSnla). The poetic element seems to have held a predominant place in his prose. He is also said to have been the first to main­tain the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, which his pupil Pythagoras borrowed from him.

(2) See logooraphi.

Phlale. The flat drinking-cup of the Greeks. (See vessels.)

Phidias (Gr. Pheidias). The famous Greek artist, born about 500 b.c. at Athens, pupil of Ageladas, and eminent as architect, bronze founder, sculptor, and painter. His great powers were displayed in the build­ings erected under the administration of his intimate friend Pericles on the Acr5pSlis at Athens, and at Olympia, where he was commissioned to execute the statue of Zeus for the temple there.

Returning to Athens in 432, he was accused, by intriguers against Pericles, of

misappropriating the gold supplied him for the drapery of Athene's statue in the Par­thenon From this he could readily clear himself, having so contrived the drapery that it could easily be taken off and weighed [Plut., Pericles 31]. But being afterwards accused of impiety, on the ground that he

* Figure traditionally identified as phidias.

{Strangford Shield, British Museum.) "Phidias was oppressed with envy by reason of the renown of his works, and chiefly because, in the battle of the Amazons, which was represented on the shield of the goddess, he had introduced a likeness of himself as a bald old man holding up a great stone with both hands."— Plut., Pericles 31.

had introduced portraits of himself and Pericles on the goddess' shield, he was thrown into prison, where he died of an ill­ness in the same year (ib.). Among all his works, the foremost rank was taken, accord­ing to the testimony of antiquity, by the statue of Zeus at Olympia, and three statues of Athene on the Acropolis at Athens; viz. the statue in the Parthenon constructed, like the Zeus, of ivory and gold, and' two others, Athene Promachus and the " Lem-nian Athene," of bronze.

These works (for which see athene and zeus) have perished; but of the marble sculptures of the Parthenon (q-v.), which were probably constructed from his designs, and certainly under his direction, the greater part still remains. Most of them are in the British Museum. They fully substan­tiate the judgment of antiquity, which looked on him as the representative of artistic perfection, as the one man who in his art combined perfect sublimity with perfect beauty. It was said of him that he alone had seen the exact image of the gods and revealed it to men. He fixed for ever the ideal types of Zeus and of Athene, the gods who, in the spiritual dignity of their attributes, are foremost of all the divinities of Greece.

Phidltli (Gr. Pheiditid). See syssitia.

Philemon. A Greek poet of the New Attic comedy, of Soli in Cilicia, or of Syracuse, born about 362 b.c. He came early to Athens, and first appeared as an author in 330. He must have enjoyed remarkable

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.