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PHILOCHORUS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 413 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PHILOCHORUS, of Athens, Greek historian during the 3rd century B.C., was a member of a priestly family. He was a seer and interpreter of signs, and a man of considerable influence. He was strongly anti-Macedonian in politics, and a bitter opponent of Demetrius Poliorcetes. When Antigonus Gonatas, the son of the latter, besieged and captured Athens (261), Philochorus was put to death for having supported Ptolemy Philadelphus, who had encouraged the Athenians in their resistance to Macedonia. His investigations into the usages and customs of his native Attica were embodied in an Atthis, in seventeen books, a history of Athens from the earliest times to 262 B.C. Considerable fragments are preserved in the lexicographers, scholiasts, Athenaeus, and elsewhere. The work was epitomized by the author himself, and later by Asinius Pollio of Tralles (perhaps a freedman of the famous Gains Asinius Pollio). Philochorus also wrote on oracles, divination and sacrifices; the mythology and religious observances of the tetrapolis of Attica; the myths of Sophocles; the lives of Euripides and Pythagoras; the foundation of Salamis. He compiled chronological lists of the archons and Olympiads, and made a collection of Attic inscriptions, the first of its kind in Greece. Fragments and life in C. W. Muller, Fragmenta historicorum graecorum, vol. i. (1841); A. Bockh, Gesammelte kleine Schriften, vol. v. (1871), on the plan of the work; J. Strenge, Quaestiones philochoreae (Gottingen, 1868) ; C. Wachsmuth, Einleitung in das Stadium der alten Geschichte (1895).
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