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For Pittacus, the αἰσυμνήτης of Mitylene, cf. Arist. Pol. iii. 14. 9, 1285 A (with Newman's notes, iii. 267 seq.), and his life in Diog. Laert. i. c. 4. He really belonged to the generation before Croesus, i. e. 600-570 B. C., as he was a contemporary of Alcaeus; Diog. Laert. i. 4. 79 says that he died in 570, having been tyrant ten years and having survived his tyranny ten years more. For the chronological weakness of H. on the sixth century cf. App. XIV. 6. Winckler (A. F. i. 511 f.) finds the name of Pittacus on an inscription of Nebuchadnezzar, as an ally of Amasis, and thinks that P. anticipated the Eastern policy of Polycrates (cf. iii. 39 nn.). This would agree with the fact that one of the Lesbian exiles, brother of Alcaeus, Antimenides, an enemy of Pittacus, is found serving as a mercenary at Babylon (Strabo, 617). Pittacus and Bias were both reckoned among ‘the Seven Sages’ whose sayings form one of the ‘sources’ of H. Cf. cc. 29, 74 nn.; for them cf. Holm, i. 344-6, and Meyer, ii. 441. For Bias cf. Diog. Laert. i. 5. 82-8; his wisdom was proverbial, Hipponax, fr. 79. He is said to have composed a poem of 2,000 verses, showing how Ionia ‘could prosper’ (cf. 170. 2 n., where H. tells us he advised the Ionians to emigrate in a body to Sardinia). He was of Priene, and arbitrated between his city and Samos in the quarrel which was constantly renewed from the sixth to the second century (cf. Hicks1, 152, l. 22 for his name in the famous inscription as to this quarrel, now in the Ashmolean). H.'s story here is unhistorical; it is a piece of Gk. proverbial philosophy, which was fathered on any sage, just as Oxford stories are attributed to successive holders of an office. Croesus had good reason for inaction in the west, when affairs on his east frontier were so threatening (cf. i. 75. 1).
αἲ γάρ (only here in H.) is Homeric. ‘Sons of the Lydians’ is also poetic (cf. iii. 21. 3).
ἀρώμενοι is unnecessary, but added epexegetically after the parenthesis ἐπείτε ... νέας: it is made (by an anacoluthon) to agree with the subject of this parenthesis.
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