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PHRYNE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 545 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PHRYNE, Greek courtesan, lived in the 4th century n.c. Her eal name was Mnesarete, but owing to her complexion she was called Phryne (toad), a name given to other courtesans. She was born at Thespiae in Boeotia, but seems to have lived at Athens. She acquired so much wealth by her extraordinary beauty that she offered to rebuild the walls of Thebes, which had been destroyed by Alexander the Great (336), on condition that the words " Destroyed by Alexander, restored by Phryne the courtesan," were inscribed upon them. On the occasion of a festival of Poseidon at Eleusis she laid aside her garments, let down her hair, and stepped into the sea in the sight of the people, thus suggesting to the painter Apelles his great picture of Aphrodite Anadyomene, for which Phryne sat as model. She was also (according to some) the model for the statue of the Cnidian Aphrodite by Praxiteles. When accused of profaning the Eleusinian mysteries, she was defended by the orator Hypereides, one of her lovers. When it seemed, as if the verdict would be unfavourable, he rent her robe and displayed her lovely bosom, which .so moved her judges that they acquitted her. According to others, she herself thus displayed her charms. She is said to have made an attempt on the virtue of the philosopher Xenocrates. A statue of Phryne, the work of Praxiteles, was placed in a temple at Thespiae by the side of a statue of Aphrodite by the same artist. See Athenaeus, pp. 558, 567, 583, 585, 590, 591; Aelian, Var. Hist. ix. 32 ; Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxxiv. 71. PHRYNICHUS-1. Son of Polyphradmon and pupil of Thespis, one of the earliest of the Greek tragedians. Some of the ancients, indeed, regarded him as the real founder of tragedy. He gained his first poetical victory in 51I B.C. His famous play, the Capture of Miletus, was probably composed shortly after the conquest of that city by the Persians. The audience was moved to tears, the poet was fined for reminding the Athenians of their misfortunes, and it was decreed that no play on the subject should be produced again. In 476 Phrynichus was successful with the Phoenissae, so called from the Phoenician women who formed the chorus, which celebrated the defeat of Xerxes at Salamis (48o). Themistocles acted as choragus, and one of the objects of the play was to remind the Athenians of his great deeds. The Persians of Aeschylus (472) was an imitation of the Phoenissae. Phrynichus is said to have died in Sicily. Some of the titles of his plays, Danaides, Actaeon, Alcestis, Tantalus, show that he treated mythological as well as con-temporary subjects. He introduced a separate actor as distinct from the leader of the chorus, and thus laid the foundation of dialogue. But in his plays, as in the early tragedies generally, the dramatic element was subordinate to the lyric element as represented by the chorus and the dance. According to Suidas, Phrynichus first introduced female characters on the stage (played by men in masks), and made special use of the trochaic tetrameter. Fragments in A. Nauck, Tragicorum graecor+_sm fragmenta (1887). 2. A poet of the Old Attic comedy and a contemporary of Aristophanes. His first comedy was exhibited in 429 B.C. He Fragments in T. Kock, Comicorum atticorum fragmenta (188o). 3. PHRYNICIIUS ARABIUS, a grammarian of Bithynia, lived in the 2nd century A.D. According to Suidas he was the author of (I) an Atticist, or On Attic Words, in two books; (2) Ti.BEµtpwv ovveyay77, a collection of subjects for discussion; (3) Eo/ivr1.lt0j irapavKevi7, or Sophistical Equipment, in forty-seven (or seventy-four) books.' As models of Attic. style Phrynichus assigned the highest place to Plato, Demosthenes and Aeschines the Socratic. The work was learned, but prolix and garrulous. A fragment contained in a Paris MS. was published by B. de Montfaucon, and by I. Bekker in his Anecdota graeca (1814). Another work of Phrynichus, not mentioned by Photius, but perhaps identical with the Atticist mentioned by Suldas, the Selection ('EicXo'y,) of Attic Words and Phrases, is extant. It is dedicated to Cornelianus, a man of literary tastes, and one of the imperial secretaries, who had invited the author to undertake the work. It is a collection of current words and forms which deviated from the Old Attic standard, the true Attic equivalents being given side by side. The work is thus a lexicon antibarbarum, and is interesting as illustrating the changes through which the Greek language had passed between the 4th century B.C. and the 2nd century A.D. Editions of the 'Rani, with valuable notes, have been published by C. A, Lobeck (182o) and W. G. Rutherford (1881) ; Lobeck devotes his attention chiefly to the later, Rutherford to the earlier usages noticed by Phrynichus. See also J. Brenous, De Phrynicho Atticista (1895). 4. An Athenian general in the Peloponnesian War. He took a leading part in establishing the oligarchy of the Four Hundred at Athens in 411 B.C., and was assassinated in the same year (Thucydides viii.).
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