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THEODECTES (c. 380–340 B.C.)

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Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 763 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THEODECTES (c. 380–340 B.C.), Greek rhetorician and tragic poet, of Phaselis in Lycia, pupil of Isocrates and Plato, and an intimate friend of Aristotle. He at first wrote speeches for the law courts, but subsequently composed tragedies with success. He spent most of his life at Athens, and was buried on the sacred road to Eleusis. The inhabitants of Phaselis honoured him with a statue, which was decorated with garlands by Alexander the Great on his way to the East. In the contests arranged by Artemisia, queen of Caria, at the funeral of Mausolus, Theodectes gained the prize with his tragedy Mausolus (extant in the 2nd century A.D.), but was defeated by Theopompus in oratory. According to the inscription on his tomb, he was 4 I. 30, Odle, a2sX4'&v TE/4evoS, O $aeiXsbs xpWTOS. 5 Oxyrhynchus Papyri, iv. p. 139. 5 C. Wessely in Berliner Philologische Wochenschrift (1906), p. 831. 7 OEa,p is TIt I17ro,.,pheEL OEOKptrav, Etym. on i. 39: OEws b 'P_prEµL- Swpou, ib. on iv. 5. Cf. Ahrens, ii. p. xxvii. eight times victorious in thirteen dramatic contests. Of his tragedies (fifty in number) thirteen titles and some fragments remain (A. Nauck, Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, 1887). His treatise on the art of rhetoric (according to Suidas written in verse) and his speeches are lost. The names of two of the latter—Socrates and Nomos (referring to a law proposed by Theodectes for the reform of the mercenary service)—are pre-served by Aristotle (Rhetoric, ii. 23, 13, 17). The Theodectea (Aristotle, Rhet. iii. 9, 9) was probably not by Theodectes, but an earlier work of Aristotle, which was superseded by the extant Rhetorica. See monograph by C. F. Marcker (Breslau, 1835). There is a lengthy article on Theodectes in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, in which the connexion of the tragedy with the Artemisian contest is disputed.
End of Article: THEODECTES (c. 380–340 B.C.)

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