Philo'chorus（*Filo/xoros), a celebrated Athenian writer, chiefly known by his Atthis, or work on the legends, antiquities, and history of Attica. According to Suidas (s. v.) Philochorus was an Athenian, the son of Cycnus, a seer and a diviner (μάντις καὶ ἱεροσκόπος); his wife was Archestrate ; he was a contemporary of Eratosthenes, but the latter was an old man, when Philochorus was still young; he was put to death at the instigation of Antigonus, because he was accused of being favourable to Ptolemy. But this statement of Suidas is not correct, so far as it relates to the date of Philochorus, as has been shown by several modern writers. Antigonus Doson died B. C. 220; while Eratosthenes, who died about B. C. 196 at the age of eighty, was only fifty-six at the death of the above-mentioned king : it therefore follows, if we place credit in Suidas, that Philochorus must have been put to death, when he was still a young man, a fact which is excessively improbable, as well on account of the very numerous works which he composed, as of the important office which he held in his native city. We are not, however, left to mere probability, in order to refute Suidas; for Philochorus himself relates that he held the office of ἱεροσκόπος at Athens in B. C. 306, in which year he interpreted a portent that appeared in the Acropolis (Dionys. Deiuarch. 100.3); and he must consequently have been of mature age as early as that year. It would therefore appear that Suidas, with his usual carelessness, reversed the respective ages of Philochorus and Eratosthenes. The latter part of the account of Suidas, namely that Philochorus was put to death by Antigonus, there is no reason to question. Suidas says that the Atthis of Philochorus came down to Antiochus Theos, who began to reign B. C. 261. Now it was about this time that Antigonus Gonatas took possession of Athens, which had been abetted in its opposition to the Macedonian king by Ptolemy Philadelphus; and it would, therefore, appear that Philochorus, who had been in favour of Philadelphus, was killed shortly afterwards, at the instigation of Gonatas. We may accordingly safely place the active life of Philochorus from B. C. 306 to B. C. 260. These few facts are all that we know of the life of Philochorus, but they are sufficient to show that he was a person of some importance at Athens. He seems to have been anxious to maintain the independence of Athens against the Macedonian kings, but fell a victim in the attempt.
WorksThe following is a list of Philochorus' numerous works, many of which are mentioned only by Suidas.
1. ἈτθίςἈτθίς, also called Ἀτθίδες and Ἰστορίαι, consisted of seventeen books, and related the history of Attica, from the earliest times to the reign of Antiochus Theos. The first two books treated of the mythical period, and gave a very minute account of all matters relating to the worship of the gods. The real history of the country is given in the last fifteen books, of which the first four (iii.--vi.) comprised the period down to his own time, while the remaining eleven (vii.--xvii.) gave a minute account of the times in which he lived (B. C. 319-261). Böckh conjectures, with much probability, that the first six books originally formed a distinct work, and appeared before the remaining eleven. Philochorus seems to have been a diligent and accurate writer, and is frequently referred to by the scholiasts, lexicographers, as well as other later authors. The industry of modern scholars has collected from these sources one hundred and fifty-five distinct fragments of his work, many of them of considerable length, and supplying sufficient information to enable us to make out with tolerable certainty the subjects contained in each book. These fragments are given in the works referred to at the close of this article. Philochorus paid particular attention to chronology. From the time that archons succeeded to kings at Athens, he commenced the history of every year with the name of the archon, and then narrated the events of that year, so that his work was in the form of annals. It appears from those passages in which his own words are preserved, that his style was clear and simple.
Ἐπιτομὴ τῆς ἰδίας Ἀτθίδος. We likewise learn from Suidas that an epitome of the larger work was also made by Asinius Pollio Trallianus, a contemporary of Pompeius Magnus (Suid. s. v. Πωλίων). Vossius has conjectured (De Histor. Graecis, p. 197, ed. Westermann)., with some probability, that the epitome which Philochorus was said to have made, was really the work of Pollio, as we can hardly imagine that the latter would have drawn up an abridgement, when one was already in existence, compiled by the author himself; but to this it has been replied that Pollio's epitome was intended for the Romans, while the one made by Philochorus himself was, of course, designed for the Greeks.
Πρὸς τὴν Δήμωνος Ἀτθίδα or ἡ πρὸς Δήμωνα ἀντιγραφή (comp. Harpocrat. s.v. Ἠετιωνία). It is stated by Vossius (ibid. p. 155), and repeated by subsequent writers, that Philochorus wrote his Atthis against Demon's; but this is hardly warranted by the words either of Suidas or Harpocration. It would appear only that Philochorus wrote a separate treatise, under the title given above, to point out the errors of Demon.
Περὶ τῶν Ἀθήνησι ἀρξάντων ἀπὸ Σωκρατίδου μέχρι Ἀπολλοδώρου. Socratides was archon B. C. 374; there are two archons of the name of Apollodorus, one B. C. 350, the other B. C. 319; of these the latter is probably the one intended, because, from the year B. C. 319 began the contemporary portion of his history. This work appears to have been intended to remove difficulties in the way of the chronology of that period, and was thus preparatory to his history.
5. Ὀλυμπιάδες ἐν βιβλίοις β#.Ὀλυμπιάδες ἐν βιβλίοις β#. Philochorus, in his Atthis, did not use the Olympiads as a reckoning of time; but, as he paid particular attention to chronology, he drew up this work, probably influenced by the example of Timaeus.
6. Περὶ τῆς τετραπόλεωςΠερὶ τῆς τετραπόλεως, that is, the towns of Oenoe, Marathon, Probalinthus, and Tricorythus. (Athen. 6.235d.; Suid. s.v. Τιτανίδα γῆν ; Schol. ad Soph. Oed. Col. 1102.)
Ἐπιγράμματα Ἀττικά, that is, a collection of Attic inscriptions, and no doubt chiefly such as served to elucidate the history of Attica. (Comp. Böckh, Corp. Inscr. vol. i. p. viii.)
8. ἩπειρωτικάἩπειρωτικά, omitted by Suidas in his list of the works of Philochorus, but mentioned by the lexicographer in another passage (s. v. Βούχετα ; comp. Strab. vii. p.379).
Δηλιακά, βιβλία β#. (Clem. Alex. Admon. ad Gent. pp. 18, d. 30, d. ed. Sylb.)
Περὶ τῶν Ἀθήνησι ἀγῶνων βιβλία ιζ#. (Comp. Krause, Olympia, p. xi.)
Περὶ ἑορτῶν omitted by Suidas, but quoted by Harpocration (s. vv. Ἁλῶα, Χύτροι).
Περὶ ἡμερῶν, also omitted by Suidas. It gave an account of the sacred days, and explained the reason of their sanctity. (Proclus, ad Hes. Op. 770.)
Περὶ θυσιῶν α#, a book of a similar nature to the preceding, giving an account of sacrifices.
Περὶ μαντικῆς δ#. In this work Philochorus made a collection of the ancient oracles, and explained the various modes of Divinatio (Clem. Alex. Strom. i. p. 334d. Sylb.; Athen. 14.648d.). The mentioned by Suidas as a separate work, was probably only part of the Περὶ μαντικῆς, since σύμβολα are only a species of divinatio.
Περὶ καθαρμῶν, probably contained a collection of the καθαρμοί, purifications or expiations, which Musaeus and Orpheus are said to have invented.
Περὶ μυστηρίων τῶν Ἀθήνησι.
Περὶ τῶν Σοφοκλέους μύθων βιβλία ε#.
Περὶ Εὐριπίδου, gave an account of the life of Euripides, vindicated him from the attacks which had been made against him, and explained the principles on which his tragedies were constructed. (Suidas, s. v. Εὐριπίδης ; D. L. 2.44, 9.55; Gel. 15.20.)
Συναγωγὴ ἡρωΐδων, ἤτοι Πυθαγορείων γυναικῶν, probably gave an account of the lives of the illustrious Pythagorean women, such as Theano, Melissa, &c.
?η πρὸς Ἄλυτον ἐπιστολή, seems to have related to some points connected with the worship of the gods. (Phot. Lex. s. v. Τροπηλίς.)
Ἐπιτομὴ τῆς Διονυσίου πραγματείας περὶ ἱερᾶν. It is uncertain who this Dionysius was.