4. The son of Dexiphanes, of Cnidus, was one of the great architects who flourished during and after the life of Alexander the Great.
He built for Ptolemy I., the son of Lagus, at the expense of 800 talents, the celebrated Pharos of Alexandria, in connection with which we have one of the numerous examples recorded of the contrivances to which artists have resorted to obtain their share of the posthumous fame which their patrons desired to monopolize.
It is related that Sostratus, not being allowed by Ptolemy to inscribe his own name upon his work, resorted to the artifice of secretly carving his name in deep letters in a stone of the building, which he then covered with a softer material, on which he inscribed the name of the king.
In this case, however, the story appears to be an invention; for Pliny expressly mentions it as an instance of the magnanimity of Ptolemy, that he permitted the name of the architect to be inscribed upon the building. (Plin. Nat. 36.12. s. 18
; Strab. xvii. p.791
; Suid. and Steph. Byz. s. v. Φάρος
; Lucian. de Conscrib. Hist. 62,
vol. ii. p. 69).
The architect also embellished his native city, Cnidus, with a work which was one of the wonders of ancient architecture, namely, a portico, or colonnade, supporting a terrace, which served as a promenade, and which Pliny (l.c.
) calls pensilis ambulatio.
This phrase, taken in connection with Lucian's mention of the work in the plural number (στοάς
), suggests the idea that the edifice of Sostratus was a continuous series of porticoes surrounding an enclosed space, perhaps the Agora of the city. Pliny further informs us that Sostratus was the first who erected a building of this kind. (Plin. l.c. ;
11, vol. ii. p. 408 ; Orelli, ad Philon. Byz. de Sept. Mirac.
l, p. 73 ; Hirt, Gesch. d. Baukunst
, vol. ii. p. 160; R. Rochette chette, Lettre à M. Schorn,
p. 406, 2d ed.)