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Ἀναξιμένης) of LAMPSACUS, son of Aristocles, and pupil of Zoilus and Diogenes the Cynic. He was a contemporary of Alexander the Great, whom he is said to have instructed, and whom he accompanied on his Asiatic expedition. (Suidas, s.v. Eudoc. p. 51; comp. D. L. 5.10; Diod. 15.76.) A pretty anecdote is related by Pausanias (6.18.2) and Suidas, about the manner in which he saved his native town from the wrath of Alexander for having espoused the cause of the Persians. His grateful fellow-citizens rewarded him with a statue at Olympia.


Anaximenes wrote three historical works:

1. History of Philip of Macedon

A history of Philip of Macedonia, which consisted at least of eight books. (Harpocrat. s. v. Καβύλη, Ἁλόννησος; Eustratius. ad Aristot. Eth. 3.8.)

2. A history of Alexander the Great.

D. L. 2.3; Harpocrat. s. v. Ἀλκίμαχος, who quotes the 2nd book of it.

3. A history of Greece

A history of Greece, which Pausanias (6.18.2) calls τὰ ἐν Ἕλλησιν ἀρχαῖα, which, however, is more commonly called πρῶται ἱστορίαι or πρώτη ἱστορία. (Athen. 6.231; Diod. 15.89.) It comprised in twelve books the history of Greece from the earliest mythical ages down to the battle of Mantineia and the death of Epaminondas. He was a very skilful rhetorician, and wrote a work calumniating the three great cities of Greece, Sparta, Athens, and Thebes, which he published under the name of Theopompus, his personal enemy, and in which he imitated the style of the latter so perfectly, that every one thought it to be really his work. This production Anaximenes sent to those cities, and thus created exasperation against his enemy in all Greece. (Paus. 6.8.3, Suid. l.c.) The histories of Anaximenes, of which only very few fragments are now extant, are censured by Plutarch (Praec. Pol. 6) for the numerous prolix and rhetorical speeches he introduced in them. (Comp. Dionys. De Isaco, 19; De adm. ri dic. Demosth. 8.) The fact that we possess so little of his histories, shews that the ancients did not think highly of them, and that they were more of a rhetorical than an historical character. He enjoyed some reputation as a teacher of rhetoric and as an orator, both in the assembly of the people and in the courts of justice (Dionys. l.c. ; Paus. l.c.), and also wrote speeches for others, such as the one which Euthias delivered against Phryne. (Athen. 13.591; comp. Harpocr. s. v. Εὐθίας.)


There have been critics, such as Casaubon (ad Diog. Laert. 2.3), who thought that the rhetorician and the historian Anaximenes were two distinct persons; but their identity has been proved by very satisfactory arguments. What renders him a person of the highest importance in the history of Greek literature, is the following fact, which has been firmly established by the critical investigations of our own age. He is the only rhetorician previous to the time of Aristotle whose scientific treatise on rhetoric is now extant. This is the so-called Ῥητορικὴ πρὸς Ἀλέξανδρον, which is usually printed among the works of Aristotle, to whom, however, it cannot belong, as all crities agree. The opinion that it is a work of Anaximenes was first expressed by P. Victorius in his preface to Aristotle's Rhetoric, and has been firmly established as a fact by Spengel in his Συναγωγὴ τεχνῶν, "Sive Artium Scriptores ab initiis usque ad editos Aristotelis de rhetorica libros," Stuttgard, 1828, p. 182. &c. (Comp. Quint. Inst. 3.4.9 with the notes of Gesner and Spalding.) This Rhetoric is preceded by a letter which is manifestly of later origin, and was probably intended as an introduction to the study of the Rhetoric of Aristotle. The work itself is much interpolated, but it is at any rate clear that Anaximenes extended his subject beyond the limits adopted by his predecessors, with whose works he was well acquainted. He divides eloquence into forensic and deliberative, but also suggests that a third kind, the epideictic, should be separated from them. As regards the plan and construction of the work, it is evident that its author was not a philosopher : the whole is a series of practical suggestions how this or that subject should be treated under various circumstances, as far as argumentation, expression, and the arrangement of the parts of a speech are concerned.

Further Information

Vossius, de Histor. Graec. p. 92, &c., ed. Westermann; Ruhnken, Hist. Crit. Orat. Graec. p. 86; Westermann, Gesch. der Griech. Beredtsamkeit, § 69.


hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.76
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.89
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6.8.3
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6.18.2
    • Diogenes Laertius, Vitae philosophorum, 2.3
    • Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, Book 3, 4.9
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