The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Alexis


.Athenian citizen, and enrolled in the deme belonging to the tribe Leontis. (Steph. Byz. s. v.) He was the uncle and instructor of Menander. (Suidas s. v. ^AAelis; Proleg. Aristoph. p. xxx.) When he was born we are not expressly told, but he lived to the age of 106 (Plut. Defect Orac. p. 420, e.), and was living at least as late as B. c. 288. Now the town of Thurii was de­stroyed by the Lucanians about B. c. 390. It is therefore not at all unlikely that the parents of Alexis, in order to escape from the threatened de­struction of their city, removed shortly before with their little son to Athens. Perhaps therefore we may assign about b. c. 394 as the date of the birth of Alexis. He had a son Stephanus, who also wrote comedies. (Suidas /. c.) He appears to have been rather addicted to the pleasures of the table. (Athen. viii. p. 344.) According to Plutarch (Da Senis Administ. Reipull. p. 785, b.), he expired upon the stage while being crowned as victor. By the old grammarians he is commonly called a writer of the middle comedy, and frag­ments and the titles of many of his plays confirm this statement. Still, for more than 30 years he was contemporary with Philippides, Philemon, Me­nander, and Diphilus, and several fragments shew that he also wrote pieces which would be classed with those of the new comedy. He was a re­markably prolific writer. Suidas says he wrote 245 plays, and the titles of 113 have come down to us. The Mepoirfr, 'A7/cuAiW, 'OAUyiiTncftwpos, and Uapdcriros, in which he ridiculed Plato, were probably exhibited as early as the 104th Olym­piad. The 'A^ftJm, in which he ridiculed Mis-golas, was no doubt written while he was alive, and Aeschines (c. Timarch. pp. 6—8) in b.c. 345, speaks of him as then living. The 'A8e\<£of and 2roarlanys, in which he satirized Demosthenes, were acted shortly after b. c. 343. The "ittttos, in which he alluded to the decree of Sophocles against the philosophers, in B. c. 316. The Tlvpavvos in b. c. 312. The ^ap/xaKomoAr; and 'TogoAijuaTos in b. c. 306. As might have been expected in a person who wrote so much, the same passage frequently occurred in several plays ; nor did he scruple sometimes to borrow from other poets, as, for example, from Eubulus. (Athen. i. p. 25, f.) Garystius of Pergamus (ap. Athen. vi. p. 235, e.) says he was the first who invented the part of the parasite. This is not quite correct, as it had been introduced before him by Epicharmus; but he appears to have been the first who gave it the form in which it afterwards appeared upon the stage, and to have been very happy in his exhibi­tion of it. His wit and elegance are praised by Athenaeus (ii. p. 59, f.), whose testimony is con­firmed by the extant fragments. A considerable list of peculiar words and forms used by him is given by Meineke. His plays were frequently translated by the Roman comic writers. (Gell. ii. 23.) The fragments we possess of his plays have been preserved chiefly by Athenaeus and Stobaeus. (Meineke, Fragm. Com. vol. i. pp. 374—403; Clinton, Fasti Hcllenici, under the years above given ; Fabricius, DibL Gr. vol. ii. p. 406, &c.)

2. A writer mentioned by Athenaeus (x. p. 418) as the author of a treatise irepi AvrapKeius.

3. A Samian, the author of an historical work called ^dfjuoi^Cipoi oi'Tfi,poi ^afjuaicol (Samian An­ nals], \\rhich Athenaeus quotes. (xiiL p. 572, f., di. p. 540, d.) [C. P. M.j


ALEXIS (''AAe^ts), a sculptor and statuary, mentioned by Pliny (xxxiv. 8. s. 19) as one of the pupils of Polycletus. Pausanias (vi. 3. § 3) mentions an artist of the same name, a native of Sicyon, and father of the sculptor Cantharus. It cannot be satisfactorily settled whether these are the same, or different persons. Pliny's account implies that he had the elder Polycletus in view, in which case Alexis could not have flourished later than 01. 95 (b. c. 400), whereas Eutychides, under whom Cantharus studied, flourished about 01. 120, b. c. 300. (Pliny, //. N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19.) If the two were identical, as Thiersch (Epochen der lild. Kimst. p. 276) thinks, we must suppose either that Pliny made a mistake, and that Alexis studied under the younger Polycletus, or else that the Eutychides, whose date is given by Pliny, was not the artist under whom Cantharus studied. [C. P. M.]

ALEXIS or ALF/XIUS I. COMNE'NUS C'AAei-is , or 5AAe|ios KojUi/Tji/os), emperor of Con­stantinople, was most probably born in A. D. 1048. He was the son of John Comnenus, and the nephew of the emperor Isaac Comnenus, and re­ceived a careful education from his mother Anna. He accompanied the emperor Romanus Diogenes in the war against Alp-Arslan, sultan of the Ttirks-Seljuks, and was present at the battle of Malaz-kerd, where this emperor was made a prisoner by the sultan. After the deposition of Romanus Dio­genes in 1071, Alexis Comnenus and his elder brother Isaac joined the party of the new emperor, Michael VII. Ducas, who employed Alexis against the rebels who had produced great disturbances in Asia Minor. In this war Alexis distinguished him­self as a successful general, and shewed that extra­ordinary shrewdness which afterwards became the principal feature of his character. He defended Michael VII. against the rebel Nicephorus Bota-niates, but the cause of Michael having become hope­less, he readily joined the victorious rebel, who be­came emperor under the title of Nicephorus III. in 1077. The authority of Nicephorus II I. was disobc}^ ed by several rebels, among whom Nicephorus Bryennius in Epeirus was the most dangerous ; but Alexis defeated them one after the other, and th« grateful emperor conferred upon him the title of " Sebastos." Alexis was then considered as the first general of the Byzantine empire, but his military re­nown made him suspected in the eyes of the emperor, who kept him at Constantinople and tried to g~et rid of him by base intrigues. But Alexis opposed in­trigues to intrigues, and as he was not only the most gallant, but also the most artful among his shrewd countrymen, he outdid the emperor, who at last gave orders, that his eyes should be put out. Alexis now fled to the army on the Danube, and was proclaimed emperor by the troops. Assisted by his brother Isaac, who acted with great gene­rosity, Alexis marched to Constantinople, obtained possession of the city by a stratagem, deposed the emperor, and ascended the throne in 1081.

The Byzantine empire was then at the point of ruin. While Alexis carried on the war against the rebel Nicephorus Bryennius, and afterwards during his forced sojourn at Constantinople, and the time of his differences with Nicephorus III., Melek-Shah, the son of Alp-Arslan, and the greatest prince of the Seljuks, had conquered the Byzantine part of Asia Minor, which he ceded to his cousin Soliman. The Bulgarians threatened to


About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of