481-494 of 494 Results  for:

  • Greek History and Historiography x
Clear all



Chester G. Starr and P. J. Rhodes

The word trierarchos means ‘*trireme-commander’, but at Athens in the 5th and 4th cents. bce the trierarchy was a *liturgy, which the richest citizens could be called on to perform for a year. The state provided the ship and its basic equipment, and normally paid for the crew, but the trierarch had not only to command the ship but also to bear the costs of maintenance and repair, which could amount to as much as one talent. After 411 it became common for two men to share responsibility for a ship, and contractors could be found who would relieve the trierarchs of their personal involvement; reforms in 357 and later involved the organization of those liable in *symmoriai (‘partnerships’). The liturgy was abolished by *Demetrius(3) of Phalerum in 317–307.The institution is found in some other states (*Rhodes, Arist.Pol. 5. 1304b; *Teos and Lebedus, Syll.



Tyrannicides, killers of tyrants (see tyranny) generally (see e.g. servilius ahala, c.) but specially used of

(a) the killers of *Hipparchus(1) of Athens (see aristogiton; also critius for a famous statue group) and

(b) the killers of *Caesar (see esp. cassius longinus (1), c.



Victor Ehrenberg and P. J. Rhodes

Tyranny is the name given to the form of monarchy set up by usurpers in many Greek states in the 7th and 6th cents. bce. The earliest occurrence of the term is in *Archilochus (tyrannis, fr. 19. 3 West). Tyranny was not a special form of constitution, or necessarily a reign of terror; the tyrant might either rule directly or retain the existing political institutions but exercise a preponderant influence over their working, and his rule might be benevolent or malevolent. Tyranny was given a bad sense especially by *Plato(1) and *Aristotle, for whom it was the worst possible form of constitution.Among the best known of the early tyrants were *Pheidon of Argos, *Cypselus and *Periander of Corinth, *Cleisthenes(1) of Sicyon, *Pisistratus and his sons *Hippias(1) and *Hipparchus(1) in Athens, and *Polycrates(1) of Samos.


war, art of, Greek  

John F. Lazenby

War, art of, Greek, Before the second half of the 5th cent. bce, when some of the *sophists are said to have studied the art of war, the Greeks seem to have made no attempt to systematize military theory. The only such works to have survived are *Xenophon(1)'s essay on the duties of a cavalry officer, his fictional account of Cyrus' organization of his army in the Cyropaedia, and the treatise on siege-craft by *Aeneas Tacticus. We are thus largely left to deduce the Greek art of war from the warfare itself.

Early wars, *Thucydides(2) says (1. 15. 3–5), were between neighbours, and even the exception he mentions—the 8th-cent. bce Lelantine War—seems just to have been a series of such conflicts; see greece (prehistory and history), Archaic age. They were also clearly fought for territory, involving a relatively straightforward strategy, and this remained true even when the object was no longer territorial aggrandizement but hegemony, for ravaging could usually compel confrontation, and, if the invaders won, the acceptance of a more or less subordinate relationship.


warfare, attitudes to, Greek and Hellenistic  

Michel Austin

Homer'sIliad, a poem about war, does not glorify war: it celebrates martial prowess but also portrays the sufferings caused by war, and *Ares, god of war, is rebuked by Zeus as the most hateful of all the gods, to whom strife, wars, and slaughter are forever dear (Il. 5. 890 f.). The same ambivalence pervades Greek attitudes to warfare. War in Greece was a recurring phenomenon, and conflicts multiplied in numbers and scale as larger power blocks emerged. Greek history divides according to major conflicts: the *Persian Wars, the *Peloponnesian War and its sequels, the rise of *Macedonia, *Alexander(3) the Great's conquest of Asia and the wars of the successor kingdoms (see diadochi; ptolemy(1); seleucids). These provide the subject-matter of much of Greek historical writing. There were also innumerable local wars, less prominent in the record. ‘War is the father of all things’ (Heraclitus, DK 22 B 53). It shaped the institutions, society, and economy of the Greek world. Military function and social and political *status were closely related (Arist.


West, Western Greeks  

Modern expressions for the Greeks of Italy and Sicily, cf. magna graecia. (But ‘western Greece’ can mean the western part of Greece proper.).


Xanthippus (1), father of Pericles (1), early 5th cent. BCE  

Piero Treves and P. J. Rhodes

Xanthippus (1), husband of *Cleisthenes(2)'s niece Agariste and father of *Pericles(1). He prosecuted *Miltiades after his unsuccessful attack on *Paros in 490–489 bce; he was ostracized (see ostracism) in 484, perhaps in a three-cornered rivalry involving *Themistocles and *Aristides(1), but was recalled with the other victims of ostracism before *Xerxes' invasion. As a general in 479 (see persian wars) he commanded the Athenian contingent at Mycale; after the Spartans had returned home, he led some of the Greeks in an attack on *Sestus, which was captured from the Persians after a winter siege. He was presumably dead by 472, when Pericles acted as chorēgos (see chorēgia) for *Aeschylus.


Xanthippus (2), Spartan mercenary commander, 3rd cent. BCE  

John Briscoe

Xanthippus (2) was a Spartan mercenary commander who fought for *Carthage against M. *Atilius Regulus in 255 bce (see punic wars). He reorganized the Carthaginian army and annihilated the Roman expeditionary force, making brilliant use of the Carthaginian *elephants and cavalry to outflank and mow down the Romans. After his victory he left Carthage. He may be identical with the Xanthippus whom *Ptolemy (1) III appointed to govern the lands he claimed to control across the river *Euphrates.


Xanthus (2), Lydian historian  

Klaus Meister

Xanthus (2), Hellenized Lydian from *Sardis, older contemporary of *Herodotus(1), author of Lydiaca in 4 books on the origin and history of the Lydian people, maybe down to the capture of Sardis by *Cyrus(1) the Great in 547/6. According to *Ephorus (FGrH 70 F 180 = Xanthus T 5) he was used by Herodotus, but the fragments do not admit of definite conclusions. Xanthus lived to the time of *Thucydides(2) (Dion. Hal. De Thuc. 5 = T 4). The fragments show a desire to support partly mythical native traditions with geological, linguistic (F 16), rationalistic and scientific (F 12, 13) arguments: this is Xanthus' chief contribution to historical methodology. It is certain that he was used by *Nicolaus of Damascus, but in what way and to what extent has been much discussed, resulting in various reconstructions of the Lydiaca: cf.


Xenagoras, 3rd or 2nd cent. BCE  

Kenneth S. Sacks and Simon Hornblower

Xenagoras (3rd or 2nd cent. bce), a Greek, perhaps from *Rhodes, wrote Χρόνοι (Chronologies) of the Greek world, with special interest in *Sicily and the west, and Περὶ νήσων (On islands). He is mainly known from citations in the Lindian Chronicle (see lindus; timachidas).


Xenion, Hellenistic historian  

Simon Hornblower

Hellenistic historian, probably from *Crete; a source of Cretan material for *Stephanus of Byzantium (and perhaps also for *Polybius(1), if we read his name at 6. 45. 1).


Xenophon (1), Greek historian  

Christopher J. Tuplin

Xenophon (c. 430–c. 353 bce) came from a wealthy Athenian background and in his youth associated with Socrates. Participation in Cyrus’s unsuccessful rebellion in 401 and mercenary service with Spartan armies in Anatolia in 399–394 bce was followed by exile and prolonged residence near Olympia. Although there was a reconciliation with the Athenian state after 371, he may never have returned to live there permanently. In exile Xenophon became a writer, producing historical narratives, Socratic literature, technical treatises, an encomium of Agesilaus, a dialogue on tyranny, an analysis of Spartan success and failure, and a pamphlet on Athenian political economy. Many of these are the earliest (surviving) examples of particular genres or unusual variants on existing genres. Common to this extraordinarily diverse range of works are a didactic inclination, an intimate relationship with the author’s personal experiences combined with a variable authorial persona, use of the past as a way of talking about the present, a belief that purely practical pursuits have a moral component because they have social implications, and a style of exposition designed for engaged and informed readers who will ask questions of an apparently straightforward text while being prepared to be unsettled or wryly amused by the answers. The topic most persistently addressed by Xenophon’s oeuvre is leadership, broadly conceived—a task that demands special personal qualities, requires persistent careful effort, and, thanks to the unpredictability of events and of human behaviour, can rarely be pursued with prolonged and continuous success.


Zeno (4), of Rhodes, politician, early 2nd cent. BCE  

Kenneth S. Sacks

Zeno (4) was a politician who wrote a history of Rhodes from the beginnings to his own times. *Polybius (1) used it (along with the work of *Antisthenes(2)), although he criticized its patriotic exaggeration (Polyb. 16. 14); Zeno's tradition may also appear in *Diodorus (3).


Zeuxis(1), of Heraclea (1) in Lucania, painter, 397 BCE  

Karim Arafat

Zeuxis (1), painter, of *Heraclea(1) in Lucania, pupil of Neseus of Thasos or Damophilus of Himera. *Pliny(1) dates him 397 bce, rejecting 424. *Quintilian dates both him and *Parrhasius to the *Peloponnesian War. In *Plato(1)'s Protagoras (dramatic date about 430) he is young and a newcomer to Athens. His rose-wreathed *Eros is mentioned in Ar. Ach.991–2 (425). He painted Alcmena for Acragas before 406, and *Archelaus (2)'s palace between 413 and 399. He ‘entered the door opened by Apollodorus and stole his art’; he added the use of highlights to shading, and *Lucian praises in the *Centaur family (an instance of the unusual subjects which Zeuxis preferred) the subtle gradation of colour from the human to the animal body of the female Centaur; his paintings of grapes were said to have deceived birds; he said that if he had painted the boy carrying the grapes better, the birds would have been frightened off. His figures lacked the ethos (character) of *Polygnotus, although his Penelope was morality itself, and his Helen (for Croton or Acragas) an ideal picture compiled from several models; pathos (emotion) rather than ethos distinguished the Autoboreas with *Titan look and wild hair, and the *Menelaus (1) drenched in tears.