or HERMIAS (Ἑρμείας
: see concerning the mode of writing this name, Stahr, Aristotelia,
vol. i. p. 75).
1. Tyrant or dynast of the cities of Atarneus and Assos, in Mysia, celebrated as the friend and patron of Aristotle.
He is said to have been an eunuch, and to have begun life as a slave, but whether he obtained his liberty or not, he appears to have early risen to a confidential position with Eubulus, the ruler of Atarneus and Assos. If, however, Strabo's statement, that he repaired to Athens, and there attended the lectures of both Plato and Aristotle, be correct, we cannot doubt that he had at that time obtained his freedom, though he remained attached to the service of Eubulus, who had raised himself from the situation of a banker to the undisputed government of the two cities already mentioned.
In this position Eubulus maintained himself till his death, in defiance, it would appear, of the authority of Persia (see Arist. Pol.
2.4), and on that event Hermias seems to have succeeded to his authority without opposition.
The exact period of his accession is unknown, and we know not how long he had held the sovereign power when he invited Aristotle and Xenocrates to his little court, about the year B. C. 347.
The long sojourn of Aristotle with him, and the warm attachment which that philosopher formed towards him, are strong arguments in favour of the character of Hermias: yet the relations between them did not escape the most injurious suspicions, for which there was doubtless as little reason as for the obloquy with which Aristotle was loaded when, after the death of Hermias, he married Pythias, the niece, or, according to other accounts, the adopted daughter of his friend and benefactor. (Strab. xiii. p.610
; Pseud. Ammon. vit. Aristot.;
Aristocles ap. Euseb. Praep. Ev. 15.2
; D. L. 5.3
Of other occurrences under the rule of Hermias we know nothing; but he appears to have maintained himself in the undisputed sovereignty of his little state, and in avowed independence of Persia, until the year 345, when the Greek general, Mentor, who was sent down by the Persian king to take the command in Asia Minor, decoyed him, by a promise of safe conduct, to a personal interview, at which, in defiance of his pledge, he seized and detained him as a prisoner.
After making use of his signet to enforce the submission of the governors left in the cities subject to his rule, Mentor sent him as a captive to the court of Artaxerxes, where he was soon after put to death. (Diod. 16.52
; Strab. xiii. p.610
; D. L. 5.6
Aristotle testified his reverence for the memory of his friend, not only by erecting a statue to him at Delphi, but by celebrating his praises in an ode or hymn, addressed to Virtue, which has fortunately been preserved to the present day. (Athen. 15.696
; D. L. 5.6
.) Concerning the relations of the philosopher with Hermias, and the injurious imputations to which they gave rise, see the article ARISTOTLE [vol. i. p. 318], and Blakesley's Life of Aristotle, p. 35-44.