2. Of ATHENS, was one of the most celebrated of the early logographers. Suidas speaks of a Pherecydes of Leros, who was likewise an historian or logographer; but Vossius (De Hist. Graecis,
p. 24, ed. Westermann) has shown that this Pherecydes is the same as the Athenian.
He is called a Lerian from having been born in the island of Leros, and an Athenian from having spent the greater part of his life at Athens; and it may be added that, except in Suidas, we find mention of only one historical writer of this name. (Comp. D. L. 1.119
; Strab. x. p.487
b.) Suidas also makes a mistake in calling him older than his namesake of Syros; but the exact time at which he lived is differently stated. Suidas places him before the 75th Olympiad, B. C. 480 ; but Eusebius and the Chronicon Paschale in the 81st Olympiad, B. C. 456, and Isidorus (Orig.
1.41) in the 80th Olympiad.
There can be no doubt that he lived in the former half of the fifth century B. C., and was a contemporary of Hellanicus and Herodotus.
He is mentioned by Lucian as one of the instances of longevity, and is said to have attained the age of 85 years. (Lucian, de Macrob.
22, where he is erroneously called ὁ Σύριος
instead of ὁ Λέριος.
Works known from Suidas
Suidas ascribes several works to the Athenian or Lerian Pherecydes.
This lexicographer relates that some looked upon Pherecydes as the collector of the Orphic writings; but this statement has reference to the philosopher.
He also mentiona a work of his entitled Παραινέσεις δι᾽ ἐπῶν
, which, however, does not belong to the Athenian.
The other works spoken of by Suidas, Περὶ Λέρου
, Περὶ Ἰφιγενείας
, Περὶ τῶν Διονύσου ἑορτῶν
, may have been written by the historian, but not a fragment of them has been preserved.
His great work, which is frequently referred to by the Scholiasts and Apollodorus, was a mythological history in ten books, which is quoted by various titles, in consequence of the diversified nature of its contents.
It is sometimes called Ἱστορίαι
; at other times Αὐτόχθονες
, and sometimes Ἀρχαιολογίαι ;
and from the numerous extracts which are made from it, we are enabled to make out pretty well the subject of each book.
It began with a theogony, and then proceeded to give an account of the heroic age and of the great families of that time, with which the pride and religious feeling of the later Greeks so closely identified themselves.
The fragments of Pherecydes have been collected by Sturtz, Pherecydis Fragmenta, Lips. 1824, 2nd ed.
; and by Car. and Theod. Müller in Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, p. xxxiv., &c., p. 70, &c.