Lycurgus of Athens

Lycurgus (/laɪˈkɜːrɡəs/; Greek: Λυκοῦργος Lykourgos; c. 390 – 324 BC) was a logographer in Ancient Greece. He was one of the ten Attic orators included in the "Alexandrian Canon" compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace in the third century BC.

Lycurgus was born at Athens about 390 BC, and was the son of Lycophron, who belonged to the noble family of the Eteobutadae.[1] He should not be confused with the quasi-mythological Spartan lawgiver of the same name.


In his early life he devoted himself to the study of philosophy in the school of Plato, but afterwards became one of the disciples of Isocrates, and entered upon public life at a comparatively early age. He was appointed three successive times to the office of manager of the public revenue, and held his office each time for four years, beginning with 337 BC. The conscientiousness with which he discharged the duties of this office enabled him to raise the public revenue to the sum of 1200 talents.

This, as well as the unwearied activity with which he laboured both for increasing the security and splendour of the city of Athens, gained for him the universal confidence of the people to such a degree, that when Alexander the Great demanded, in 335 BC, among the other opponents of the Macedonian interest, the surrender of Lycurgus also, who had, in conjunction with Demosthenes, exerted himself against the intrigues of Macedonia even as early as the reign of Philip, the people of Athens clung to him, and boldly refused to deliver him up.[2]

He was further entrusted with the superintendence (φυλακή) of the city and the keeping of public discipline; and the severity with which he watched over the conduct of the citizens became almost proverbial.[3]

He had a noble taste for every thing that was beautiful and grand, as he showed by the buildings he erected or completed, both for the use of the citizens and the ornament of the city. His integrity was so great, that even private persons deposited with him large sums of money, which they wished to be kept in safety. He was also the author of several legislative enactments, of which he enforced the strictest observance. One of his laws forbade women to ride in chariots at the celebration of the mysteries; and when his own wife transgressed this law, she was fined;[4] another ordained that bronze statues should be erected to Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, that copies of their tragedies should be made and preserved in the public archives.

The Lives of the Ten Orators erroneously ascribed to Plutarch[5] are full of anecdotes and characteristic features of Lycurgus, from which we must infer that he was reputed one of the noblest specimens of old Attic virtue, and a worthy contemporary of Demosthenes. He often appeared as a successful accuser in the Athenian courts, but he himself was as often accused by others, though he always, and even in the last days of his life, succeeded in silencing his enemies.

Thus we know that he was attacked by Philinus,[6] Dinarchus,[7] Aristogeiton, Menesaechmus, and others. He died while holding the office of director (ἐπιστάτης) of the theatre of Dionysus, in 324 BC. A fragment of an inscription, containing the account which he rendered to the state of his administration of the finances, is still extant. At his death he left behind three sons, including one named Abron or Habron,[8] by his wife Callisto, who were severely persecuted by Menesaechmus and Thrasycles, but were defended by Hypereides and Democles.[9] Among the honours which were conferred upon him, we may mention, that the orator Stratocles, during the archonship of Anaxicrates in 307/6, ordered a bronze statue to be erected to him in the Ceramicus, and that he and his eldest son should be entertained in the prytaneum at the public expense.

The ancients mention fifteen orations of Lycurgus as extant in their days,[10] but we know the titles of at least twenty. With the exception, however, of one entire oration against Leocrates, and some fragments of others, all the rest are lost, so that our knowledge of his skill and style as an orator is very incomplete. Dionysius and other ancient critics draw particular attention to the ethical tendency of his orations, but they censure the harshness of his metaphors, the inaccuracy in the arrangement of his subject, and his frequent digressions.

His style was said to be noble and grand, but neither elegant nor pleasing.[11] His works seem to have been commented upon by Didymus of Alexandria.[12] Theon[13] mentions two declamations, Encomium of Helen and Deploration of Eurybatus, as the works of Lycurgus; but this Lycurgus, if the name be correct, must be a different personage from the Attic orator. The oration Against Leocrates, which was delivered in 330 BC,[14] was first printed by Aldus Manutius in his edition of the Attic orators.


  1. ^ Pseudo-Plutarch, Moralia, "Lives of the Ten Orators", p. 841; Suda, s.v. "Lykourgos"; Photius, Bibliotheca, cod. 268
  2. ^ Pseudo-Plutarch, ibid.; Photius, ibid.
  3. ^ Cicero, Epistulae, "Ad Atticum", i. 13; Plutarch, Parallel Lives, "Flaminus", 12; Ammianus Marcellinus, Res gestae, xxii. 9, xxx. 8
  4. ^ Aelian, Varia Historia, xiii. 24
  5. ^ Pseudo-Plutarch, p. 842
  6. ^ Harpocration, Lexicon of the Ten Orators, s.v. "theorika".
  7. ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Dinarchus, 10.
  8. ^ Smith, William (1867), "Abron", in Smith, William (ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 1, Boston, MA, p. 3
  9. ^ Pseudo-Plutarch, ibid.
  10. ^ Pseudo-Plutarch, p. 843; Photius, ibid.
  11. ^ Dionysius, On the ancient orators, v. 3; Hermogenes of Tarsus, De Formis Oratoriis, v; Dio Chrysostom, Or. 18.11
  12. ^ Harpocration, s.vv. "pelanos", "prokovia", "stroter".
  13. ^ Theon, Progymnasmata
  14. ^ Aeschines, Speeches, "Against Ctesiphon", 93


External links

Alexicles (general)

Alexicles (Ancient Greek: Ἀλεξικλῆς) was an Athenian general who belonged to the oligarchial or Lacedaemonian party at Athens. After the revolution of 411 BC, he and several of his friends left the city and went to their friends at Decelea. But he was afterwards made prisoner in Piraeus, and sentenced to death for his participation in the guilt of Phrynichus.


Basileus (Greek: βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. In the English-speaking world it is perhaps most widely understood to mean "king" or "emperor". The title was used by sovereigns and other persons of authority in ancient Greece, the Byzantine emperors, and the kings of modern Greece.

The feminine forms are basileia (βασίλεια), basilis (βασιλίς), basilissa (βασίλισσα), or the archaic basilinna (βασιλίννα), meaning "queen" or "empress".

Classical Literature of Greece

This is a list of most influential Greek authors of antiquity (by alphabetic order):

From c.VII B.C- c.VII A.D


Aeschylus - Tragedy

Aesop - Fables

Alcaeus of Mytilene-Lyric Poetry

Alcman-Lyric Poetry

Anacreon-Lyric Poetry


Anaximander-Philosophy, Mathematics

Anaximenes-Philosophy, Mathematics


Anthony the Great-Theology


Apollodorus of Carystus-Comedy

Aristophanes - Comedy

Archimedes - Mathematics, Geometry

Aristotle - Philosophy, Physics, Biology

Aratus - Poetry, Astronomy

Arrian - History

Athanasius of Alexandria-Theology

Bacchylides-Lyric Poetry



Claudius Ptolemy -Geography, Astronomy

Clement of Alexandria-Theology, Philosophy

Democritus - Philosophy, Chemistry

Demosthenes - Rhetorics, Politics



Diodorus - History

Diogenes Laërtius - History of Philosophy

Duris of Samos-History


Epimenides of Knossos - Philosophy, Philosophical poetry

Eubulus (poet)-Comedy

Euclid of Megara - Mathematics, Geometry

Euripides - Tragedy

Evagrius Ponticus-Theology

Gorgias - Philosophy

Hegemon of Thasos-Comedy


Herodotus of Halicarnassus - History

Hesiod - Epic Poetry

Hippocrates of Cos - Medicine

Homer - Epic Poetry



Ibycus of Rhegium-Lyric Poetry

Irenaeus-Theology, Philosophy

Isaeus-Rhetorics, Logography


Justin the Martyr-Theology, Philosophy

Leucippus-Philosophy, Atomism

Luke the Evangelist-Theology, Medicine, History

Lycurgus of Athens-Rhetorics

Lysias-Logography, Rhetorics

Maximus the Confessor-Theology, Philosophy

Menander - Comedy

Melissus of Samos-Philosophy

Nicomachus of Gerasa-Mathematics

Origen-Theology, Philosophy

Papias of Hierapolis-Theology


Pherecydes of Leros-Mythography, Logography

Philo of Alexandria-Theology, Philosophy

Pindar - Lyrical Poetry

Plato - Philosophy

Plutarch - History, Biography, Philosophy

Posidippus (comic poet)-Comedy

Protagoras - Philosophy

Pythagoras of Samos-Philosophy, Mathematics, Religion (No works)

Sappho of Lesbos-Lyric Poetry

Simonides-Lyric Poetry

Socrates-Philosophy (No Works)

Solon - Politics, Philosophy

Stesichorus-Lyric Poetry


Thales of Miletus-Philosophy, Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics

Theocritus - Bucolic poetry


Thucydides - History

Xenarchus of Seleucia-Philosophy, Philology

Xenophanes- Philosophy, Theology

Xenophon - History

Zeno of Citium-Philosophy

Zeno of Elea-Philosophy


Codrus (Greek: Κόδρος, Kódros) was the last of the semi-mythical Kings of Athens (r. ca 1089–1068 BC). He was an ancient exemplar of patriotism and self-sacrifice. He was succeeded by his son Medon, who it is claimed ruled not as king but as the first Archon of Athens.

Aristotle, however, in the Constitution of the Athenians states an alternative view that Medon was also King of Athens rather than first Archon.The earliest version of the story of Codrus comes from the 4th oration Against Leocrates by Lycurgus of Athens. During the time of the Dorian Invasion of Peloponnesus (c. 1068 BC), the Dorians under Aletes, son of Hippotes had consulted the Delphic Oracle, who prophesied that their invasion would succeed as long as the king was not harmed. The news of this prophecy, that only the death of an Athenian king would ensure the safety of Athens, quickly found its way to the ears of Codrus. In devotion to his people, Codrus disguised himself as a peasant and made it to the vicinity of the Dorian encampment across the river, where he provoked a group of Dorian soldiers. He was put to death in the quarrel, and the Dorians, realizing Codrus had been slain, decided to retreat in fear of their prophesied defeat. In the aftermath of these events, it was claimed that no one thought himself worthy to succeed Codrus and so the title of king was abolished, and that of archon substituted for it.

Aristotle presented an alternative view that Codrus was succeeded as king by his sons Medon, and then Acastus.


Eupatridae (literally "good fathered", i.e. "offspring of noble fathers" or "the well-born") refers to the ancient nobility of the Greek region of Attica.


Euripides (; Greek: Εὐριπίδης Eurīpídēs, pronounced [eu̯.riː.pí.dɛːs]; c. 480 – c. 406 BC) was a tragedian of classical Athens. Along with Aeschylus and Sophocles, he is one of the three ancient Greek tragedians for whom a significant number of plays have survived. Some ancient scholars attributed 95 plays to him but, according to the Suda, it was 92 at most. Of these, 18 or 19 have survived more or less complete (there has been debate about his authorship of Rhesus, largely on stylistic grounds) and there are also fragments, some substantial, of most of the other plays. More of his plays have survived intact than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together, partly because his popularity grew as theirs declined—he became, in the Hellenistic Age, a cornerstone of ancient literary education, along with Homer, Demosthenes, and Menander.Euripides is identified with theatrical innovations that have profoundly influenced drama down to modern times, especially in the representation of traditional, mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. This new approach led him to pioneer developments that later writers adapted to comedy, some of which are characteristic of romance. Yet he also became "the most tragic of poets", focusing on the inner lives and motives of his characters in a way previously unknown. He was "the creator of...that cage which is the theatre of Shakespeare's Othello, Racine's Phèdre, of Ibsen and Strindberg," in which "...imprisoned men and women destroy each other by the intensity of their loves and hates", and yet he was also the literary ancestor of comic dramatists as diverse as Menander and George Bernard Shaw.Unique among writers of Ancient Athens, Euripides demonstrated sympathy towards the underrepresented members of society. His male contemporaries were frequently shocked by the 'heresies' he put into the mouths of characters, such as these words of his heroine Medea:

His contemporaries associated him with Socrates as a leader of a decadent intellectualism, both of them being frequently lampooned by comic poets such as Aristophanes. Whereas Socrates was eventually put on trial and executed as a corrupting influence, Euripides chose a voluntary exile in old age, dying in Macedonia. Recent scholarship casts doubt on ancient biographies of Euripides. For example, it is possible that he never visited Macedonia at all, or, if he did, he might have been drawn there by King Archelaus with incentives that were also offered to other artists.

Hyacinthus the Lacedaemonian

In Greek mythology, Hyacinthus (Ancient Greek: Ὑάκινθος) was a Lacedaemonian who is said to have moved to Athens, and in compliance with an oracle, to have caused his four daughters to be sacrificed on the tomb of the Cyclops Geraestus, for the purpose of delivering the city from famine and the plague, under which it was suffering during the war with Minos over the death of the latter's son Androgeos. His daughters, who were sacrificed either to Athena or Persephone, were known in the Attic legends by the name of the Hyacinthides, which they derived from their father.The names and numbers of the Hyacinthides differ in the different writers. The author of the Bibliotheca mentions four (Antheis, Aegleis, Orthaea, and Lytaea), while Hyginus only mentions Antheis. One account represents them as married, although they were sacrificed as maidens, whence they are sometimes called simply αἱ παρθένοι. Stephanus of Byzantium calls one of them Lousia, eponym of a demos, Lousia, of the phyle Oineis. Some traditions conflate them with the daughters of Erechtheus and relate that they received their name from the village of Hyacinthus, where they were sacrificed at the time when Athens was attacked by the Eleusinians and Thracians, or Thebans. Some of these traditions further confound them with Agraulos, Herse, and Pandrosus, or with the Hyades. The story of Leos and his daughters is also comparable to that of Hyacinthus and the Hyacinthides.

List of ancient Greeks

This an alphabetical list of ancient Greeks. These include ethnic Greeks and Greek language speakers from Greece and the Mediterranean world up to about 200 AD.


Traditionally an oath (from Anglo-Saxon āð, also called plight) is either a statement of fact or a promise with wording relating to something considered sacred as a sign of verity. A common legal substitute for those who conscientiously object to making sacred oaths is to give an affirmation instead. Nowadays, even when there is no notion of sanctity involved, certain promises said out loud in ceremonial or juridical purpose are referred to as oaths. "To swear" is a verb used to describe the taking of an oath, to making a solemn vow.


An orator, or oratist, is a public speaker, especially one who is eloquent or skilled.

Philippides of Paiania

Philippides, son of Philomelos, of Paiania was an Athenian aristocratic oligarch.

He is identified with the Philippides prosecuted by Hypereides in 336/5 B.C. who proposed honours for Macedonians after the Battle of Chaeronea, among them Alexander the Great. The trial speech by Hypereides against Philippides lasted just over thirty minutes and is taken from the papyrus where epilogue is preserved in its entirety. It states that Philippides campaigned with King Philip ll of Macedon which was his most serious offense and did everything in the service of the Macedonians which Hypereides detested. Philippides was known as saying " We must honor Alexander for all those that died at his hand ". Hypereides attacks

Philip and Alexander during the first half of the speech, the second half he turns his attack on Philippides. A reference suggest that Philip was alive at the time of the trial. Philippides was also involved in embassies to King Cassander.In 294/3 B.C. Stratocles moved a decree in honour of Philippides, who had been active under the late government. In Olympiodoros' second year as eponymous archon, the archon basileus was Philippides of Paiania, a wealthy elder statesman of nobility. He took part in the established Athenian coalition government with military leader Olympiodoros and pro-Macedonian democrat Stratocles. Philippides of Paiania was one of the richest Athenians in the age of Lycurgus of Athens. In 293/2 B.C. IG II3 1 857, Philippides was honoured with a gold crown for his excellence in the interests of the People; and as king.


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