User Tools

Site Tools


Sidebar

Demonax

Hellenic Library

BETA

There was a certain Polybius, completely uneducated and ill-spoken, who said, “The emperor has honored me with Roman citizenship.” To which Demonax responded, “If only he'd made you a Greek rather than a Roman.”:
Lucian of Samosata, Life of Demonax

Home Page
Show All Texts
Contact Me

hellenistic:hellenistic-period:hellenistic_period_page

Hellenistic Period

Anaxarchus of Abdera

Greek philosopher of the school of Democritus. Together with Pyrrho, he accompanied Alexander the Great into Asia. The reports of his philosophical views suggest that he was a forerunner of the Greek skeptics.

Anaxarchus of Abdera Page

Apollonius Rhodius

Floruit first half of 3rd century BCE, is best known as the author of the Argonautica, an epic poem about Jason and the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. The poem is one of the few extant examples of the epic genre and it was both innovative and influential, providing Ptolemaic Egypt with a “cultural mnemonic” or national “archive of images”, and offering the Latin poets Virgil and Gaius Valerius Flaccus a model for their own epics. His other poems, which survive only in small fragments, concerned the beginnings or foundations of cities, such as Alexandria and Cnidus – places of interest to the Ptolemies, whom he served as a scholar and librarian at the Library of Alexandria. A literary dispute with Callimachus, another Alexandrian librarian/poet, is a topic much discussed by modern scholars since it is thought to give some insight into their poetry, although there is very little evidence that there ever was such a dispute between the two men. In fact almost nothing at all is known about Apollonius and even his connection with Rhodes is a matter for speculation. Once considered a mere imitator of Homer, and therefore a failure as a poet, his reputation has been enhanced by recent studies, with an emphasis on the special characteristics of Hellenistic poets as scholarly heirs of a long literary tradition writing at a unique time in history.

Apollonius Rhodius Page

Archimedes

Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Among his advances in physics are the foundations of hydrostatics, statics and an explanation of the principle of the lever. He is credited with designing innovative machines, including siege engines and the screw pump that bears his name. Modern experiments have tested claims that Archimedes designed machines capable of lifting attacking ships out of the water and setting ships on fire using an array of mirrors. Archimedes is generally considered to be the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time. He used the method of exhaustion to calculate the area under the arc of a parabola with the summation of an infinite series, and gave a remarkably accurate approximation of pi. He also defined the spiral bearing his name, formulae for the volumes of solids of revolution, and an ingenious system for expressing very large numbers.

Archimedes Page

Crates of Thebes

Cynic philosopher. Crates gave away his money to live a life of poverty on the streets of Athens. He married Hipparchia of Maroneia who lived in the same manner that he did. Respected by the people of Athens, he is remembered for being the teacher of Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism. Various fragments of Crates' teachings survive, including his description of the ideal Cynic state.

Crates of Thebes Page

Epicurus

Ancient Greek philosopher as well as the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism. Only a few fragments and letters of Epicurus's 300 written works remain. Much of what is known about Epicurean philosophy derives from later followers and commentators. For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by ataraxia—peace and freedom from fear—and aponia—the absence of pain—and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are the measures of what is good and evil; death is the end of both body and soul and should therefore not be feared; the gods do not reward or punish humans; the universe is infinite and eternal; and events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space.

Epicurus Page

Hecataeus of Abdera

Greek historian and sceptic philosopher who flourished in the 4th century BC.

Hecataeus of Abdera Page

Lycophron of Chalcis

Hellenistic Greek tragic poet, grammarian, and commentator on comedy, to whom the poem Alexandra is attributed (perhaps falsely).

Lycophron of Chalcis Page

Manetho

Egyptian historian and priest from Sebennytos (ancient Egyptian: Tjebnutjer) who lived during the Ptolemaic era, approximately during the 3rd century BC. Manetho wrote the Aegyptiaca (History of Egypt). His work is of great interest to Egyptologists, and is often used as evidence for the chronology of the reigns of pharaohs. The earliest and only surviving reference to Manetho's Aegyptiaca is that of the Jewish historian Josephus in his work “Against Apion”.

Manetho Page

Menander

Greek dramatist and the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy. He was the author of more than a hundred comedies, and took the prize at the Lenaia festival eight times. His record at the City Dionysia is unknown but may well have been similarly spectacular. One of the most popular writers of antiquity, his work was lost in the Middle Ages and is known in modernity in highly fragmentary form, much of which was discovered in the 20th century. Only one play, Dyskolos, has survived almost entirely.

Menander Page

Nausiphanes of Teos

Attached to the philosophy of Democritus, and was a pupil of Pyrrho. He had a large number of pupils, and was particularly famous as a rhetorician. Epicurus was at one time one of his hearers, but was unsatisfied with him, and apparently abused him in his writings. He also argued that the study of natural philosophy (physics) was the best foundation for studying rhetoric or politics. There is a polemic in Philodemus' On Rhetoric against Nausiphanes' view that the natural philosopher is the best orator. Epicurus may also have derived his three criteria of truth in his Canon from the Tripod of Nausiphanes.

Nausiphanes of Teos Page

Polybius

Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 264–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece. Polybius is also renowned for his ideas concerning the separation of powers in government, later used in Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws and in the drafting of the United States Constitution. Polybius was born in Arcadia around 200 BC. He was the son of Lycortas, a Greek politician who became Cavalry Commander of the Achaean League. His father's opposition to Roman control of Macedonia resulted in his imprisonment. Polybius was then deported to Rome, where Lucius Aemilius Paulus employed him to tutor his two sons. Polybius had the opportunity to return to Macedonia in 152 BC; he elected to stay, however, in Rome, as by that time he had placed his allegiance in the Roman Republic. He became a close friend of the Roman military commander Scipio Aemilianus, accompanying the general to Hispania and Africa. Polybius's The Histories provides a detailed account of Rome's ascent to empire and included his eyewitness account of the Sack of Carthage in 146 BC. Polybius held that historians should only chronicle events whose participants the historian was able to interview, and was among the first to champion the notion of having factual integrity in historical writing, while avoiding bias.

Polybius Page

Theocritus

Creator of ancient Greek bucolic poetry, flourished in the 3rd century BC. (A pastoral lifestyle is that of shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasturage. It lends its name to a genre of literature, art and music that depicts such life in an idealized manner, typically for urban audiences. A pastoral is a work of this genre. An alternative word for pastoral as a genre, both in adjectival and noun form, is bucolic, from the Greek βουκόλος, meaning a cowherd.) Little is known of Theocritus beyond what can be inferred from his writings. We must, however, handle these with some caution, since some of the poems (Idylls) commonly attributed to him have little claim to authenticity. It is clear that at a very early date two collections were made: one consisting of poems whose authorship was doubtful yet formed a corpus of bucolic poetry, the other a strict collection of those works considered to have been composed by Theocritus himself. Theocritus was from Sicily, as he refers to Polyphemus, the cyclops in the Odyssey, as his “countryman.” He also probably lived in Alexandria for a while, where he wrote about everyday life, notably Pharmakeutria. It is also speculated that Theocritus was born in Syracuse, lived on the island of Kos, and lived in Egypt during the time of Ptolemy II.

Theocritus Page

Theocritus of Chios

hellenistic/hellenistic-period/hellenistic_period_page.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/15 12:01 (external edit)