: the etymological origin of the name is no doubt the same as that of the Homeric word ἱππόδαμος
, which so frequently occurs as an epithet, and once as a proper name, Il. 11.335
; Aristophanes, however, Equit.
327, uses it with the ᾶ
, as if it were a Doric form from λ̔́ππος
; but this must be by way of some joke, for we cannot suppose such an absurd compound to have existed as a proper name.) Hippodamus was a most distinguished Greek architect. a native of Miletus, and the son of Euryphon or Eurycoön. His fame rests on his construction, not of single buildings, but of whole cities. His first great work was the town of Peiraeeus, which Themistocles had made a tolerably secure port for Athens, but which was first formed into a regularly-planned town by Hippodamus, under the auspices of Pericles.
It has been clearly shown by Müller (Attika,
in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopädie,
vol. vi. p. 222, and Dorier,
vol. ii. p. 251, 2nd edit.) that this work must be referred to the age of Pericles, not to that of Themistocles.
The change which Hippodamus introduced was the substitution of broad straight streets, crossing each other at right angles, for the crooked narrow streets, with angular crossings, which had before prevailed throughout the greater part, if not the whole, of Greece. When the Athenians founded their colony of Thurii, on the site of the ancient Sybaris (B. C. 443), Hippodamus went out with the colonists, and was the architect of the new city. Hence he is often called a Thurian.
He afterwards built Rhodes (B. C. 408-7). How he came to be connected with a Dorian state, and one so hostile to Athens, we do not know ; but much light would be thrown on this subject, and on the whole of the life of Hippodamus, if we could determine whether the scholiast on Aristophanes (Aristoph. Kn. 327
) is right or wrong in identifying him with the father of the Athenian politician and opponent of Cleon, Archeptolemus.
This question is admirably discussed by Hermann (see below), but no certain conclusion can be attained. We learn from Aristotle that Hippodamus devoted great attention to the political, as well as the architectural ordering of cities, and that he wished to have the character of knowing all physical science.
This circumstance, with a considerable degree of personal affectation, caused him to be ranked among the sophists, and it is very probable that much of the wit of Aristophanes, in his Birds,
is aimed at Hippodamus.
Aristot. Pol. 2.5
, and Schneider's note; Hesych. s. v. Ἱπποδάμου νέμεσις
; Phot. s. v. Ἱπποδάμου νέμεσις
; Harpocr. s. v. Ἰπποδάμεια
; Diod. 12.10
; Strab. xiv. p.654
; C. F. Hermann, Disputatio de Hippodamo Milesio,
Marburg. 1841, 4to.)