or CHILON (Χείλων
1. Of Lacedaemon, son of Damagetus, and one of the Seven Sages, flourished towards the commencement of the 6th century B. C. Herodotus (1.59
) speaks of him as contemporary with Hippocrates, the father of Peisistratus, and Diogenes Laertius tells us, that he was an old mall in the 52nd Olympiad (B. C. 572), and held the office of Ephor Eponymus in Ol. 56. (B. C. 556.)
In the same author there is a passage which appears to ascribe to Cheilon the institution of the Ephoralty, but this contradicts the other well known and more authentic traditions. On the authority also of Alcidamas the rhetorician (apud Arist. Rhet.
2.23.11) we learn, that he was a member of the Spartan senate.
It is said that he died of joy when his son gained the prize for boxing at the Olympic games, and that his funeral was attended by all the Greeks assembled at the festival. Such a token of respect seems to have been due not more to his wisdom than to the purity of his life, which, according to Diodorus, was not inconsistent with his doctrine. (Comp. Gel. 1.3
.) Diogenes Laertius mentions him as a writer of Elegiac poems, and records many sayings of his which shew that even at Sparta he may well have been remarkable for his sententious brevity, and several of which breathe also in other respects a truly Spartan spirit. Witness especially his denunciation of the use of gesture in speaking,--λέγοντα μὴ κινεῖν τὴν χεῖρα: μανικὸν γάρ
The distinguishing excellence of man he considered to be sagacity of judgment in divining the future,--a quality which he himself remarkably exemplified in his foreboding, afterwards realized, of the evils to which Sparta might at any time be exposed from Cythera. (D. L. 1.68
; Menag. ad loc.;
p. 343; Plut. de Εἰ ap. Delph.
3; Ael. VH 3.17
; Perizon. ad loc.; Plin. Nat. 7.32
; Diod. Exc. de Virt. et Vit.
p. 552, ed. Wess ; Arist. Rhet.
2.12.14; Hdt. 7.235
; comp. Thuc. 4.53
; Arnold, ad loc.