The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Phalanthus – Phalaris



nans the town of lalysus in Rhodes, being en­ couraged by an oracle, which had declared that he should not be driven from the land till white crows should appear and fishes be found in bowls. Iphi- clus, the Greek leader, having heard this, some­ what clumsily fulfilled the conditions of the pro­ phecy by whitening some crows with chalk and introducing a few small fish into the bowl which held Phalanthus's wine. The latter accordingly was terrified into surrender, and evacuated the island after a futile attempt, wherein he was out­ witted by Iphiclus, to carry off a quantity of trea­ sure with him. (Ergias, ap. Ath. viii. pp. 360, e, f, 361, a, b.) [E. E.]

PHALANTHUS ($a\c«/00s), a Lacedaemo­nian, son of Aracus, was the founder of Tarentum about b. c. 708. The legend, as collected from Justin, and from Antiochus and Ephorus in Strabo, is as follows. When the Lacedaemonians set forth on their first Messenian war, they bound them­selves by an oath not to return home till they had brought the contest to a successful issue. But nine years passed away, and in the tenth their wives sent to complain of their state of widowhood, and to point out, as its consequence, that their country would have no new generation of citizens to defend it. By the advice therefore of Aracus, the young men, who had grown up since the be­ginning of the war, and had never taken the oath, were sent home to become fathers of children by the Spartan virgins ; and those who were thus born were called HapOeviai (sons of the maidens). According to Theopompus (ap. Ath. vi. p. 271, c, d; comp. Casaub. ad loc.}, the widows of those who had fallen in the Messenian war were given as wives to Helots ; and, though this statement more probably refers to the second war, it seems likely that the Partheniae were the offspring of some marriages of disparagement, which the necessity of the period had induced the Spartans to permit. The notion of Manso, that the name was given in derision to those who had declined the expedition, shrinking from war like maidens, seems less de­serving of notice. As they grew up, they were looked down upon by their fellow-citizens, and were excluded from certain privileges. Indignant at this, they formed a conspiracy under Phalan-thus, one of their number, against the government, and when their design was detected, they were allowed to go forth and found a colony under his guidance and with the sanction of the Delphic god. Pausanias tells us that Phalanthus, when setting out on this expedition, was told by an oracle from Delphi, that he would find a territory and a city in that place where rain should fall on him under a clear sky (alQpa). On his arrival in Italy, he conquered the barbarians in battle, but was unable to take any of their cities or their land. Wearied out with his fruitless efforts, and cast down under the belief that the oracle had meant to express an impossibility, he was lying one day with his head on his wife's lap, as she strove to comfort him, when suddenly, feeling her tears dropping on him, it flashed upon his mind that, as her name was Aethra (A?0pa), the m}Tsterious prediction Avas at length fulfilled. On the succeeding night he cap­tured Tarentum, one of the largest and most flourishing towns on the coast. The mass of the inhabitants took refuge, according to Justin, in Brundusium, and hither Phalanthus himself fled afterwards, when he was driven out from his own


colony by a sedition. He ended his days in exile, but, when he was at the point of death, he desired the Brundusians to reduce his remains to dust and sprinkle it in the agora of Tarentum ; by which means, he told them, Apollo had predicted that they might recover their country. The oracle, however, had named this as the method of securing Tarentum to the Partheniae for ever. (Strab. vi. pp. 278—280, 282 ; Just. iii. 4, xx. 1 ; Paus. x. 10 ; Arist. Pol. v. 7, ed. Bekk.; Diod. xv. 66 ; Dion. Hal. Fragm. xvii. 1, 2 ; Hor. Carm. ii. 6 ; Serv. ad Virg. Aen. iii. 551 ; Heyne, Eoccurs. xiv. ad Virg. 1. c. ; Glint. F. H. vol. i. p. 174, vol. ii. p. 410, note u ; ThirlwalPs Greece^ vol. i. p. 352, &c.; Mull. Dor. i. 6. § 12, 7. §10, iii. 5. §7, 6. §10.) [E. E.]

PHALARIS («f»aAa/Ns), ruler of Agrigentum in Sicily, has obtained a proverbial celebrity as a cruel and inhuman tyrant. But far from the noto­riety thus given to his name having contributed to our real knowledge of his life and history, it has only served to envelope every thing connected with him in a cloud of fable, through which it is scarcely possible to catch a glimpse of truth. The period at which he lived has been the subject of much dis­pute, and his reign has been carried back by some writers as far as the 31st Olympiad (b. c. 656), but there seems little doubt that the statement of Suidas, who represents him as reigning in the 52d Olympiad, is in the main correct. Eusebius in one passage gives the older date, but in another assigns the commencement of his reign to the third year of the 52d Olympiad (b. c. 570) ; and this is con­firmed by statements which represent him as con­temporary with Stesichorus and Croesus. (Suid. s. v. &d\apis ; Euseb. Chron. an. 1365, 1393, 1446 ; Syncell. p. 213, d. ed. Paris ; Oros. i. 20 ; Plin. H. N. vii. 56 ; Arist. Met. ii. 20 ; Diod. Ease. Vat. pp. 25, 26 ; Bentley, Dissertation on tlie Epistles of Phalaris; Clinton, F. H. vol. i. p. 236, vol. ii. p. 4.) There seems no doubt that he was a native of Agrigentum, though the author of the spurious epistles ascribed to him represents him as born in the island of Astypalaea, and first arriving in Sicily as an exile. Concerning the steps by which he rose to power we are almost wholly in the dark. Polyaenus indeed tells us that he was a farmer of the public revenue, and that under pretence of constructing a temple on a height which com­manded the city, he contrived to erect a temporary citadel, which he occupied with an armed force, and thus made himself master of the sovereignty. But this story has much the air of a fable, and it is clearly implied by Aristotle (Pol. v. 10) that he was raised by his fellow-citizens to some high office in the state, of which he afterwards availed himself to assume a despotic authority. Of the events of his reign, which lasted according to Euse­bius sixteen years, we can hardly be said to know anything ; but a few anecdotes preserved to us by Polyaenus (v. 1.), the authority of which it is diffi-:ult to estimate, represent him as engaged in fre­quent wars with his neighbours, and extending his power and dominion on all sides, though more frequently by stratagem than open force. It would appear from Aristotle (Rhet. ii. 20), if there be no mistake in the story there told, that he was at one time master of Himera as well as Agrigentum ; but there certainly is no authority for the state­ment of Suidas (s. v. 4>aAapts), that his power ex­tended over the whole of Sicily. The story told

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