1. Son of Periander, a native of Pella, in Macedonia, was a contemporary of Alexander, with whom, according to Suidas, he was educated.
The same author calls him a brother of Antigonus, who was afterwards king of Asia, by which an uterine brother alone can be meant, as the father of Antigonus was named Philip. Both these statements point to his being of noble birth, and appear strangely at variance with the assertion that he was a mere professional grammarian (Γραμματοδιδάσκαλος
), a statement which Geier conjectures plausibly enough to refer in fact to the younger Marsyas [No. 2]. Suidas, indeed, seems in many points to have confounded the two.
The only other fact transmitted to us concerning the life of Marsyas, is that he was appointed by Demetrius to command one division of his fleet in the great sea-fight of Salamis, B. C. 306. (Diod. 20.50
But this circumstance is alone sufficient to show that he was a person who himself took an active part in public affairs, not a mere man of letters.
It is probable that he followed the fortunes of his step-brother Antigonus.
His principal work was a history of Macedonia, in ten books, commencing from the earliest times, and coming down to the wars of Alexander
in Asia, when it terminated abruptly with the return of that monarch into Syria, after the conquest of Egypt and the foundation of Alexandria. (Suid. l.c.
) It is repeatedly cited by Athenaeus, Plutarch, Harpocration, and other writers. Whether the Τὰ περὶ Ἀλέχανδρον
which are twice quoted by Harpocration (s. v. Ἀριστίων, Μαργίτης
) formed merely a part of the same work, or were altogether distinct, is uncertain, but the former hypothesis seems the more probable. Some authors, however, assign these fragments to the younger Marsyas.
Suidas also speaks of a history of the education of Alexander
(αὐτοῦ τοῦ Ἀλεχάνδρου ἀγωγήν
) as a separate work, and ascribes, moreover, to the elder Marsyas a treatise on the history or antiquities of Athens (Ἀττικά
), in twelve books, which Bernhardy and Geier consider as being the same with the ἀρχαιολογία
, the work of the younger historian of this name.