People - Ancient Greece: Phaedo of Elis
Ancient Greek philosopher from the 4th century BC.
Phaedo of Elis in Wikipedia
Phaedo of Elis (or Phaedon; Greek: Φαίδων, gen.: Φαίδωνος; 4th century BC) was a Greek philosopher. A native of Elis, he was captured in war and sold into slavery. He subsequently came into contact with Socrates at Athens who warmly received him and had him freed. He was present at the death of Socrates, and Plato named one of his dialogues Phaedo. He returned to Elis, and founded the Elean School of philosophy. Almost nothing is known of his doctrines; his school was subsequently transferred to Eretria by his pupil Menedemus, where it became the Eretrian school.
Born in the last years of the 5th century BC, Phaedo was a native of Elis and of high birth. He was taken prisoner in his youth, and passed into the hands of an Athenian slave dealer; and being of considerable personal beauty was compelled to prostitute himself. The occasion on which he was taken prisoner was no doubt the war between Sparta and Elis, 402-1 BC, in which the Spartans were joined by the Athenians in 401 BC.
Two years would have been available for Phaedo's acquaintance with Socrates, to whom he attached himself. According to Diogenes Laėrtius he was ransomed by one of the friends of Socrates. The Suda says that he was accidentally present at a conversation with Socrates, and pleaded with him to effect his liberation. Various accounts mention Alcibiades, Crito, or Cebes, as the person who ransomed him. Cebes is stated to have become friends with Phaedo, and to have instructed him in philosophy. Phaedo was present at the death of Socrates in 399 BC, and was young enough for Socrates to stroke his hair which was worn long in the Spartan style.
That Phaedo was friends with Plato seems likely from the way in which he is introduced in Plato's dialogue Phaedo which takes its name from him. Athenaeus, though, relates that Phaedo and Plato were enemies, and that Phaedo resolutely denied any of the views which Plato ascribed to him.
Phaedo appears to have lived in Athens for a short time after the death of Socrates. He then returned to Elis, where he became the founder of a school of philosophy. His disciples included Anchipylus, Moschus and Pleistanus, who succeeded him. Subsequently Menedemus and Asclepiades transferred the school to Eretria, where it was known as the Eretrian school and is frequently identified (e.g. by Cicero) with the Megarian school.
The doctrines of Phaedo are not known, nor is it possible to infer them from the Platonic dialogue of which he is the namesake. His writings, none of which are preserved, were in the form of dialogues. As to their authenticity, nothing is known, in spite of an attempt at verification by Panaetius, who maintained that the Zopyrus and the Simon were genuine. Besides these Diogenes Laėrtius mentions as of doubtful authenticity the Nicias, Medius, Antimachus or Elder, and Scythian Discourse. The Suda also mentions the Simmias, Alcibiades, and Critolaus. Seneca has preserved one of his dicta, concerning the results of frequenting the company of good (or bad) people:
Phaedo says: "Certain tiny animals do not leave any pain when they sting us; so subtle is their power, so deceptive for purposes of harm. The bite is disclosed by a swelling, and even in the swelling there is no visible wound." That will also be your experience when dealing with wise people, you will not discover how or when the benefit comes to you, but you will discover that you have received it.
Phaedon in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
（Φαίδων). A Greek philosopher, was a native of Elis, and of high birth, but was taken prisoner, probably about B.C. 400, and was brought to Athens. It is said that he ran away from his master to Socrates, and was ransomed by one of the friends of the latter. Phaedon was present at the death of Socrates, while he was still quite a youth. He appears to have lived in Athens some time after the death of Socrates, and then returned to Elis, where he became the founder of a school of philosophy. He was succeeded by Plistanus, after whom the Elean School was merged in the Eretrian (Gell. ii. 18). The dialogue of Plato, which contains an account of the death of Socrates, bears the name of Phaedon. See Socrates.
Phalaris in Wikipedia
Phalaris (Greek: Φάλαρις) was the tyrant of Acragas (Agrigentum) in Sicily, from approximately 570 to 554 BC.
He was entrusted with the building of the temple of Zeus Atabyrius in the citadel, and took advantage of his position to make himself despot . Under his rule Agrigentum seems to have attained considerable prosperity. He supplied the city with water, adorned it with fine buildings, and strengthened it with walls. On the northern coast of the island the people of Himera elected him general with absolute power, in spite of the warnings of the poet Stesichorus . According to the Suda he succeeded in making himself master of the whole of the island. He was at last overthrown in a general uprising headed by Telemachus, the ancestor of Theron (tyrant c. 488-472 BC), and burned in his brazen bull.
Phalaris was renowned for his excessive cruelty. Among his alleged atrocities is cannibalism: he was said to have eaten suckling babies.
In his brazen bull, invented, it is said, by Perillus of Athens, the tyrant's victims were shut up and, a fire being kindled beneath, were roasted alive while their shrieks represented the bellowing of the bull. Some scholars of the early 20th century proposed a connection between Phalaris's bull and the bull-images of Phoenician cults (cf. the Biblical golden calf), and hypothesized a continuation of Eastern human sacrifice practices. This idea has subsequently fallen out of favor, however, although the original arguments have not been refuted.
The story of the bull cannot be dismissed as pure invention. Pindar, who lived less than a century afterwards, expressly associates this instrument of torture with the name of the tyrant. There was certainly a brazen bull at Agrigentum that was carried off by the Carthaginians to Carthage, when it was again taken by Scipio a.k.a. Scipio - the Elder, and restored to Agrigentum circa 200 BC. However, it is more likely that Scipio Aemilianus Africanus, a.k.a. Scipio - the Younger, returned this bull and other stolen works of art to the original Sicilian cities, after his total destruction of Carthage circa 146 BC, which ended the Third Punic War.
Some four centuries later, however, a new tradition prevailed that Phalaris was a naturally humane man and a patron of philosophy and literature. He is so described in the declamations ascribed to Lucian (who was himself of Phoenician or Syrian heritage), and in the letters which bear his own name (but which Richard Bentley proved to have been written centuries later, around this time of Phalaris' rehabilitation, possibly by Adrianus of Tyre who was secretary to the infamous Commodus around 190 AD). Plutarch, writing around 100 AD amidst this change of tradition, though he takes the unfavourable view, yet mentions that the Sicilians referred to Phalaris' severity as "justice" and "hatred of crime".
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