previous next

Ἀλκαῖος. Beloch (Gr. G. i. 330) holds to his peculiar opinion (Rhein. Mus. xlv. 465 ff.) that this synchronism between Alcaeus and Pisistratus is historical, and that there was no earlier war between Athens and Mitylene. Toepffer, on the other hand, follows Valckenaer in contending that H. here is recapitulating episodically the earlier history of the quarrel, and is quite aware there were two wars (Toepffer, Beitrage, p. 63, 240 f.); but E. Meyer (ii, § 402) rightly follows Grote in arguing that H. has unconsciously confused (1) the struggles of the time of Alcaeus, (2) the award of Periander, (3) the renewed wars in the times of Pisistratus and his sons. H.'s chronology of the sixth century, frequently confused and inaccurate (Appendix XV, § 6; Abbott, Exc. xi), is in this case self-contradictory. Periander's award cannot be later than 585 B. C., as he died about that time, and Hegesistratus was born after Pisistratus had become tyrant at Athens, circ. 560-555 (Ath. Pol. 17). We must then suppose that there was an earlier war in which (circ. 600 B. C.) Alcaeus lost his shield, and Pittacus of Mitylene, by the arts of the retiarius, vanquished the Athenian Phrynon in single combat (Strabo 599, 600), a fact whose omission Plutarch (Moralia 858 B) ascribes to the malevolence of H. This war was ended by the well-attested mediation of Periander (Ar. Rhet. i. 15; Diog. Laert. i. 74) before 590 B. C., and left the Athenians in possession of Sigeum. A memorial of their dominion there is the Attic inscription on the stele of Phanodikos the Proconnesian found there (Roehl, I. G. A. 492; Hicks, No. 8), which must be as early as the first quarter of the sixth century (Roberts, No. 42; Greek Epigraphy, p. 334). At some later time Athens lost possession of Sigeum, but regained it during the last tyranny of Pisistratus (circ. 535 B. C.).

The attempt of the Athenians to get a foothold on the Hellespont before they were secure even of Salamis may be explained by the great value of the Pontic corn-trade to an impoverished Attica (Ath. Pol. 2), and a desire to deprive Megara of this source of wealth. For the expansion of Athenian power under Pisistratus cf. Appendix XVI, § 8; for arbitration, v. 28 n.

ἐπιτιθεῖ, ‘sends.’ Cf. iii. 42 ad fin. A corrupt fragment of the poem is given by Strabo (600). Archilochus (fr. 6), Anacreon (fr. 28), and Horace (Odes ii. 7. 9) record similar misfortunes.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 17
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 2
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: