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On this page: Philomachus – Philomela – Philomeleides – Philomelus


different cities of Italy something like their old organization. The statements that Philolaus was the instructor of Gorgias, and a disciple of Lysis, for the purpose of paying sepulchral honours to whom he came to Thebes (Olympiodorus ad Plat. PJiaed. ap. Wyttenbach ad Phaed. p. 130, who mentions him instead of Theanor), are of no authority. Ac­cording to Diogenes Laertius (viii. 46), Phanton of Phlius, Xenophilus, Echecrates, Diocles, and Polymnestus of Phlius were disciples of Philolaus. Bockh (I.e. p. 15) places no reliance whatever on the story that Philolaus was put to death at Cro-toria on account of being suspected of aiming at the tyranny ; a story which Diogenes Laertius has even taken the trouble to put into verse (Diog. Lae'rt. viii. 84 ; Suid. s. v. virovoia., OiAoActos).

Pythagoras and his earliest successors do not appear to have committed any of their doctrines to writing. According to Porphyrius (Vit. Pytli. p. 40) Lysis and Archippus collected in a written form some of the principal Pythagorean doctrines, which were handed down as heir-looms in their families, under strict injunctions that they should not be made public. But amid the different and inconsistent accounts of the matter, the first public­ation of the Pythagorean doctrines is pretty uni­formly attributed to Philolaus. He composed a work on the Pythagorean philosophy in three books, which Plato is said to have procured at the c >st of 100 minae through Dion of Syracuse, who purchased it from Pliilolaus, who was at the time in deep poverty. Other versions of the story re­present Plato as purchasing it himself from Philo­laus or his relatives when in Sicily. (Diog. Lae'rt. viii. 15, 55j 84, 85, iii. 9 ; A. Gellius, N.A. iii. 17 ; lamblichus, Vit. Pyih. 31. p. 172 ; Tzetzels, Chiliad, x. 792, &c. xi. 38, &c.) Out of the materials which he derived from these books Plato is said to have composed his Timaeus. But in the age of Plato the leading features of the Pythagorean doctrines had long ceased to be a secret; and if Philolaus taught the Pythagorean doctrines at Thebes, he was hardly likely to feel much reluctance in pub­lishing them ; and amid the conflicting and impro­bable accounts preserved in the authorities above referred to, little more can be regarded as trust­worthy, except that Philolaus was the first who published a book on the Pythagorean doctrines, and that Plato read and made use of it. (Bockh, /. c. p. 22.) Although in the Pkaedon and the Gorgias Plato expresses himself as if he had derived his knowledge of the doctrines of Philolaus from hearsay, yet, besides that such a representation would be the more natural and appropriate as put in the mouth of Socrates, who was not a great reader, the minuteness and exactitude with which the doctrines of Philolaus are referred to, and the obvious allusions to the style in which they were expressed, show clearly enough that Plato derived his acquaintance with them from writings ; and the accordance of the extant fragments of Philolaus with what is found in Plato points to the same result.

In one passage (viii. 85) Diogenes Laertius speaks of the work of Philolaus as one book (fii€\iov e'j>). Elsewhere (iii. 9, viii. 15) he speaks of three books, as do A. Gellius and lamblichus. In all probability, what Philolaus had written was comprised in one treatise, divided into three books, though this division was doubtless made not b}T the author, but by the copyists. The first book of




the work is quoted by Nicomachus (TIarmon. i. p. 17,) as to TrpwTov 3>vffiK6v, and the passage quoted by him is said by Stobaeus (Ed. i. 22. § 7. p. 454) to be e/c tov $i\oAaov irepi KGff/j.ou. It appears, in fact, from this, as well as from the ex­tant fragments, that the first book of the work contained a general account of the origin and ar­rangement of the universe. The second book ap­pears to have borne the title Tlepl (pvvtws, and to have been an exposition of the nature of numbers, which in the Pythagorean theory are the essence and source of all things (Bockh, /. c. p. 27, &c.). It is no doubt from the third book that a passage is quoted by Stobaeus (Ed. i. 21. § 2. p. 418) as being £v t<£ Trept vj/uxfis ; and from other sources it appears that the third division of the treatise did, in reality, treat of the soul.

There is no satisfactory evidence that any other writings of Philolaus were known except this work. More than one author mentions a work by Philo­laus, entitled the Bct/cxc". But from the nature of the references to it, it appears all but certain that this is only another name for the above-mentioned work in three books, and to have been a collective name of the whole. The name was very likely given, not by Philolaus himself, but by some ad­mirer of him, who regarded his treatise as the fruit of a sort of mystic inspiration, and possibly in imitation of the way in which the books of Herodotus were named. (Bockh, I. c. p. 34, &c.)

Several important extracts from the work of Philolaus have come down to us. These have been carefully and ably examined by Bockh ( PMlolaos des Pyihagoreers Lekren, nebst den BrucJistudcen seines Werfces, Berlin, 1819). As the doctrines of Philolaus, generally speaking, coincided with those that were regarded as genuine doctrines of the Pythagorean school, and our knowledge of many features in the latter consists only of what we know of the former, an account of the doctrines of Philolaus will more fitly come in a general examination of the Pytha­gorean philosophy. The reader is accordingly re­ferred on this subject to pythagoras. (Fabric. Bill. Grace, vol. i. p. 862, vol. iii. p. 61). [C.P.M.]

PHILOMACHUS, artist. [phyromachus].

PHILOMELA (*i\onfad). 1. A daughter of king Pandion in Attica, who, being dishonoured by her brother-in-law Tereus, was metamorphosed into a nightingale or swallow. (Apollod. iii. 14. § 8 ; comp. tereus.)

,2. The mother of Patroclus (Hygin. Fab. 97), though it should be observed that she is commonly called Polymele. (Schol. ad Horn. Od. iv. 343, xvii. 134.)

3. A daughter of Actor, and the 'wife of Peleus, by whom she is said to have been the mother of Achilles. (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 558 ; comp. peleus.)

4. One of the daughters of Priam. (Hygin. Fab. 90.) [L. S.]

PHILOMELEIDES (*iAo/«j\6f87js), a king in Lesbos who compelled his guests to engage with him in a contest of wrestling, and was conquered by Odysseus (Horn. Od. iv. 343, xvii. 134). Some commentators take this name to be a metronymic, derived from Philomela, No. 2. .[L. S.]

PHILOMELUS ($<Ao>?Aos), a son of lasion and Demeter, and brother of Plutos, is said to have invented the chariot when Bootes was placed among the stars by his mother. (Hygin. Poet. Astr. ii. 4.) [L. S.]


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