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Democe'des

Δημοκήδης), the son of Calliphon, a celebrated physician of Crotona, in Magna Graecia, who lived in the sixth century B. C. He left his native country and went to Aegina, where he received from the public treasury the sum of one talent per annum for his medical services, i. e. (if we reckon, with Hussey, Ancient Weights and Money, §c., the Aeginetan drachma to be worth one shilling and a penny three farthings) not quite 344l. The next year he went to Athens, where he was paid one hundred minae, i. e. rather more than 406l.; and the year following he removed to the island of Samos in the Aegean sea, and received from Polycrates, the tyrant, the increased salary of two talents, i. e. (if the Attic standard be meant) 487l. 10s. (Hdt. 3.131.) He accompanied Polycrates when he was seized and put to death by Oroetes, the Persian governor of Sardis (B. C. 522), by whom he was himself seized and carried prisoner to Susa to the court of Dareius, the son of Hystaspes. Here he acquired great riches and reputation by curing the king's foot, and the breast of the queen Atossa. (Ibid. 100.133.) It is added by Dion Chrysostom (Dissert. i. De Invid. p. 652, sq.), that Dareius ordered the physicians who had been unable to cure him to be put to death, and that they were saved at the intercession of Democedes. Notwithstanding his honours at the Persian court, he was always desirous of returning to his native country. In order to effect this, he pretended to enter into the views and interests of the Persians, and procured by means of Atossa that he should be sent with some nobles to explore the coast of Greece, and ascertain in what parts it might be most successfully attacked. When they arrived at Tarentum, the king, Aristophilides, out of kindness to Democedes, seized the Persians as spies, which afforded the physician an opportunity of escaping to Crotona. Here he finally settled, and married the daughter of the famous wrestler, Milo; the Persians having followed him to Crotona, and in vain demanded that he should be restored. (Hdt. 3.137.) According to Suidas (s. v.) he wrote a work on Medicine. He is mentioned also by Aelian (Ael. VH 8.17) and John Tzetzes (Hist. 9.3); and Dio Cassius names him with Hippocrates (38.18) as two of the most celebrated physicians of antiquity. By Dion Chrysostom he is called by mistake Denmodocus.

[W.A.G]

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522 BC (1)
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