Chapter 9. MYSON (c. 600 B.C.)
Myson was the son of Strymon, according to
Sosicrates, who quotes Hermippus as his authority,
and a native of Chen, a village in the district of
Oeta or Laconia; and he is reckoned one of the
Seven Sages. They say that his father was a tyrant.
We are told by some one that, when Anacharsis
inquired if there were anyone wiser than himself,
the Pythian priestess gave the response which has
already been quoted in the Life of Thales as her reply
to a question by Chilon1
Myson of Chen in Oeta; this is he
Who for wiseheartedness surpasseth thee.
His curiosity aroused, Anacharsis went to the village in
summer time and found him fitting a share to a plough
and said, "Myson, this is not the season for the
plough." "It is just the time to repair it," was the
Others cite the first line of the oracle differently, "Myson of Chen in Etis," and inquire what
"Myson of Etis" means. Parmenides indeed explains that Etis is a district in Laconia to which
Myson belonged. Sosicrates in his
makes him belong to Etis on the father's
side and to Chen on the mother's. Euthyphro, the
son of Heraclides of Pontus, declares that he was a
Cretan, Eteia being a town in Crete. Anaxilaus
makes him an Arcadian.
Myson is mentioned by Hipponax, the words
And Myson, whom Apollo's self proclaimed
Wisest of all men.
Aristoxenus in his
not unlike Timon and Apemantus, for he was a
At any rate he was seen in Lacedaemon laughing to himself in a lonely spot; and
when some one suddenly appeared and asked him
why he laughed when no one was near, he replied,
"That is just the reason." And Aristoxenus says
that the reason why he remained obscure was that
he belonged to no city but to a village and that an
unimportant one. Hence because he was unknown,
some writers, but not Plato the philosopher, attributed to Pisistratus the tyrant what properly belonged
to Myson. For Plato mentions him in the
reckoning him as one of the Seven instead of
He used to say we should not investigate facts by
the light of arguments, but arguments by the light
of facts; for the facts were not put together to fit
the arguments, but the arguments to fit the facts.
He died at the age of ninety-seven.