Phylarchus（*Fu/larxos), a Greek historical writer, was a contemporary of Aratus. The name is sometimes written Philarchs, but there is no reason to adopt the supposition of Wyttenbach (ad Plut. de Is. et Osir. p. 211), that there were two different writers, one named Phylarchus and the other Philarchus. His birthplace is doubtful. We learn from Suidas (s. v.) that three different cities are mentioned as his native place, Athens, Naucratis in Egypt, or Sicyon; but as Athenaeus calls him (ii. p. 58c) an Athenian or Naucratian, we may leave the claims of Sicyon out of the question. We may therefore conclude that he was born either at Athens or Naucratis; and it is probable that the latter was his native town, and that he afterwards removed to Athens, where he spent the greater part of his life. Respecting the date of Phylarchus there is less uncertainty. We learn from Polybius (2.56) that Phylarchus was a contemporary of Aratus, and gave an account of same events as the latter did in his history. Aratus died B. C. 213, and his work ended at B. C. 220; we may therefore place Phylarchus at about B. C. 215. The credit of Phylarchus as an historian is vehemently attacked by Polybius (2.56, &c.), who charges him with falsifying history through his partiality to Cleomenes, and his hatred against Aratus and the Achaeans. The accusation is probably not unfounded, but it might be retorted with equal justice upon Polybius, who has fallen into the opposite error of exaggerating the merits of Aratus and his party, and depreciating Cleomenes, whom he has certainly both misrepresented and misunderstood. (Comp. Niebuhr, Kleine Schriften, vol. i. p. 270, note.) The accusation of Polybius is repeated by Plutarch (Plut. Arat. 38), but it comes with rather a bad grace from the latter writer, since there can be little doubt, as Lucht has shown, that his lives of Agis and Cleomenes are taken almost entirely from Phylarchus, to whom he is likewise indebted for the latter part of his life of Pyrrhus. The vivid and graphic style of Phylarchus, of which we shall say a few words below, was well suited to Plutarch's purpose. It has likewise been remarked by Heeren (Comment. Societ. Gotting. vol. xv. pp. 185, &c.), that Trogus Pompeius took from Phylarchus larchus that portion of his work which treated of the same times as were contained in the history of Phylarchus. That Plutarch and Trogus borrowed almost the very words of Phylarchus, appears from a comparison of Justin, 28.4, with Plutarch, Uleom. 29. The style of Phylarchus is also strongly censured by Polybius (l.c.), who blames him for writing history for the purpose of effect, and for seeking to harrow up the feelings of his readers by the narrative of deeds of violence and horror. This charge is to some extent supported by the fragments of his work which have come down to us; but whether he deserves all the reprehension which Polybius has bestowed upon him may well be questioned, since the unpoetical character of this great historian's mind would not enable him to feel much sympathy with a writer like Phylarchus, who seems to have possessed no small share of imagination and fancy. It would appear that the style of Phylarchus was too ambitious ; it was oratorical, and perhaps declamatory; but at the same time it was lively and attractive, and brought the events of the history vividly before the reader's mind. He was, however, very negligent ligent in the arrangement of his words, as Dionysius sius has remarked. (Dionys. De Compos. Verb. c. 4.)
WorksThe following six works are attributed to Phylarchus by Suidas : --
1. ἹστορίαιἹστορίαι, in 28 books, of which we have already spoken, and which were by far the most important of his writings. This work is thus described by Suidas :--"The expedition of Pyrrlus the Epeirot against Peloponnesus in 28 books; and it comes down to Ptolemaeus who was called Euergetes, and to the end of Berenice, and as far as Cleomenes the Lacedaemonian, against whom Antigonus made war." When Suidas entitles it "the expedition of Pyrrhus, &c." he merely describes the first event in the work. The expedition of Pyrrhus into Peloponnesus was in B. C. 272; the death of Cleomenes in B. C. 220 : the work therefore embraced a period of fifty-two years. From some of the fragments of the work which have been preserved (e. g. Athen. 8.334a, xii. p. 539b), it has been conjectured by some modern writers that Phylarchus commenced at an earlier period, perhaps as early as the death of Alexander the Great ; but since digressions on earlier events might easily have been introduced by Phylarchus, we are not warranted in rejecting the express testimony of Suidas. As far as we can judge from the fragments, the work gave the history not only of Greece and Macedonia, but likewise of Aegypt, Cyrene, and the other states of the time; and in narrating the history of Greece, Phylarchus paid particular attention to that of Cleomenes and the Lacedaemonians. The fragments are given in the works of Lucht, Brückner, and Müller cited below.
Τὰ κατὰ τὸν Ἀντίοχον καὶ τὸν Περγαμηνὸν Εὐμένη, was probably a portion of the preceding work, since the war between Eumenes I. and Antiochus Soter was hardly of sufficient importance to give rise to a separate history, and that between Eumenes II. and Antiochus the Great was subsequent to the time of Phylarchus.
Ἐπιτομὴ μυθικὴ περὶ τῆς τοῦ Διὸς ἐπιφανείας, was one work, although cited by Suidas as two : the general title was Ἐπιτομὴ μυθική, and that of the first part Περὶ τῆς τοῦ Διὸς ἐπιφανείας.
Περὶ εὐρημάτων, on which subject Ephorus and Philochorus also wrote.