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On this page: Parmensis – Parmys – Parnassus – Parnethius – Parnopius – Paroreus – Parrhasius



PARMENSIS, CA'SSIUS. [cassius par-men sis.]

PARMYS (Tlap/xus), daughter of Smerdis, the son of Cyrus. She became the wife of Dareius Hystaspis, and was the mother of Ariomardos. (Herod, iii. 88, vii. 78.) [C. P. M.]

PARNASSUS (napvavaos), a son of Cleo-pompus or Poseidon and the nymph Cleodora, is said to have been the founder of Delphi, the in­ventor of the art of foretelling the future from the flight of birds, and to have given his name to Mount Parnassus. (Paus. x. 6. § 1.) [L. S.]

PARNETHIUS (napj/rj'0ios), a surname of Zeus, derived from Mount Parnes in Attica, on which there was a bronze statue of the god. (Paus. i. 32. § 2.) ' [L. S.]

PARNOPIUS (Uapv6irios\ i. e. the expeller of locusts (7ra/>vft>4/), a surname of Apollo, under which he had a statue on the acropolis at Athens. (Paus. i. 24. § 8.) [L. S.]

PAROREUS (riapcopeus), a son of Tricolonus, and the reputed founder of the town of Paroria in Arcadia. (Paus. viii. 35. § 6.) [L. S.]

PARRHASIUS (Ila^ao-tos). LA surname of Apollo, who had a sanctuary on Mount Lyceius, where an annual festival was celebrated to him as the epicurius, that is, the helper. (Paus. viii. 38. §§2, 6.J

2. A son of Lycaon, from whom Parrhasia in Arcadia was believed to have derived its name. (Steph. Byz. s. v.) Some call him a son of Zeus, and father of Areas and Parus, from whom the island of Paros derived its name. (Serv. ad Aen. xi. 31 ; Steph. Byz. s. v. Udpos.) [L. S.]

PARRHASIUS (IlappaVtos), one of the most celebrated Greek painters, was a native of Ephesus, the son and pupil of Evenor (Paus. i. 28. § 2; Strab. xiv. p. 642 ; Harpocr. s. v.) He belonged, therefore, to the Ionic school; but he practised his art chiefly at Athens: and by some writers he is called an Athenian, probably because the Athe­nians, who, as Plutarch informs him, held him in high honour, had bestowed upon him the right of citizenship (Senec. Controv. v. 10 ; Aero, Horat. Carm. iv. 8 ; Plut. Thes. 4 ; Junius, Catal. Artif. s. v.}. With respect to the time at which he flourished, there has been some doubt, arising from a story told by Seneca (L c.), which, if true, would bring down his time as late as the taking of Olynthus by Philip, in 01. 108, 2, or b.c. 347. But this tale has quite the air of a fiction ; and it is rejected, as unworthy of attention, by all the authorities except Sillig and Meyer, the latter of whom makes the extraordinary mistake of bringing down the life of Parrhasius as late as the time of Alexander the Great. On the other hand, the statement of Pausanias (i. 28. § 2), that he drew the outlines of the chasing on the shield of Phei-dias's statue of Athena Promachus, would place him as early as 01. 84, or b. c. 444, unless we ac­cept the somewhat improbable conjecture of Miil-ler, that the chasing on the shield was executed several years later than the statue. (Comp. mys, and Sillig, Catal. Artif. s. v. Mys.} Now this date is probably too early, for Pliny places Parrha-sius's father, Evenor, at the 90th Olympiad, b.c. 420 (H. N. xxxv. 9. s. 36. § 1). According to this date Parrhasius himself must have flourished about the 95th Olympiad, b.c. 400, which agrees with all the certain indications which we have of his time, such as his conversation with Socrates


(Xen. Mem. iii. 10), and his being a younger contemporary of Zeuxis : the date just given must, however, be taken as referring rather to a late than to an early period of his artistic career; for he had evidently obtained a high reputation before the death of Socrates in b. c. 399.

Parrhasius belongs to that period of the history of Greek painting, in which the art may be said to have reached perfection in all its essential ele­ments, though there was still room left for the display of higher excellence than any individual painter had yet attained, by the genius of an Apelles. The peculiar merits of Parrhasius con­sisted, according to Pliny, in accuracy of drawing, truth of proportion, and power of expression. "He first (or above all) gave to painting true proportion (symmetriam), the minute details of the counte­nance, the elegance of the hair, the beauty of the face, and by the confession of artists themselves ob­tained the palm in his drawing of the extremities." (Plin. //. N. xxxv. 9. s. 36. § 5.) His outlines, according to the same writer, were so perfect, as to indicate those parts of the figure which they did not express. The intermediate parts of his figures seemed inferior, but only when compared with his own perfect execution of the extremities.

Parrhasius did for painting, at least in pictures of gods and heroes, what had been done for sculp­ture by Pheidias in divine subjects, and by Poly-cleitus in the human figure: he established a canon of proportion, which was followed by all the artists that came after him. Hence Quintilian (xii. 10) calls him the legislator of his art; and it is no doubt to this that Pliny refers in the words of the above quotation (primus tymmetriam picturae de-dit). Several interesting observations on the prin­ciples of art which he followed are made in the dialogue in the Memorabilia^ already referred to.

The character of Parrhasius was marked in the highest degree by that arrogance which often ac­companies the consciousness of pre-eminent ability : " Quo nemo insolentius sit usus gloria arlis" says Pliny. In epigrams inscribed on his works he not only made a boast of his luxurious habits, calling himself 'AgpoSiaiTos, but he also claimed the honour of having assigned with his own hand the precise limits of the art, and fixed a boundary which was

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never to be transgressed. (See the Epigrams in Ath. xii. p. 543, d.) He claimed a divine origin and divine communications, calling himself the de­scendant of Apollo, and professing to have painted his Hercules, which was preserved at Lindus, from the form of the god, as often seen by him in sleep. When conquered by Timanthes in a trial of skill, in which the subject was the contest for the arms of Achilles, he observed that for himself he thought little of it, but that he sympathised with Ajax, who was a second time overcome by the less worthy. (Plin. I.c.; Ath./. c. ; Aelian. V.H. ix. 11; Eustath. ad Horn. Od. xi. 545.) Further details of his arrogance and luxury will be found in the above passages and in Ath. xv. p. 687, b. c. Re­specting the story of his contest with Zeuxis, see zeuxis. The numerous encomiums upon his works in the writings of the ancients are collected by Junius and Sillig.

Of the works of Parrhasius mentioned by Pliny, the most celebrated seems to have been his picture of the Athenian People, respecting which the com­mentators have been sorely puzzled to imagine how he could have exhibited all the qualities enu«

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