Philochorus: Atthis (fragments)

Several ancient Greek authors wrote an "Atthis" - a local history of Attica and Athens - but by far the most famous was the Atthis of Philochorus. The large number of references to it in other ancient authors show how influential it was.

Philochorus covered the whole of Athenian history, from the earliest legendary times down to the capture of Athens in 261 B.C., which happened shortly before Philochorus died. Unfortunately the full text of the Atthis, which extended to 17 books, has now been lost, but the surviving fragments (mostly from the first seven books) give a good idea of its format, with the narrative divided into years, identified by the name of the annual Athenian archon. The equivalent year B.C. for each archon is shown here in orange.

This translation has been made from the Greek text in Jacoby's Fragmente der Griechischen Historiker (FGrH_328), but it excludes the first two books, which dealt with the myths and legends of Attica. All the fragments have recently been translated by Philip Harding in "The story of Athens: the fragments of the local chronicles of Attika" (2008).

See key to translations for an explanation of the format of this translation. Some of the quotations by other authors are already available on the web, in which case there are links to where a translation can be found. The Greek text of the fragments, in the older edition by C.Müller, can be found in DFHG.

Fragments with no book number (114-224) →

[T1]   A short biography of Philochorus in the Suda (10th century A.D.) says that "he wrote seventeen books of Atthis; it contains the deeds of the Athenians plus kings and archons down to the last Antiochus, the one surnamed Theos. It is in response to {the Atthis of} Demon".

Book 3

[20]   (a) SCHOL.DIONYS.AREOP.  The Areopagites used to sit in judgement on almost all crimes and infringements of the law, as is related in full by Androtion in the first book of his Atthis and Philochorus in the second and third books of his Atthis.
(b) SCHOL.DIONYS.AREOP.  The Areopagite judges were {originally} formed from the nine archons who held office at Athens, as Androtion says in the second book of his Atthis. Later the council of the Areopagus included a wider group of men, in fact fifty-one of the eminent citizens - except the eupatridae, as we have said - who were distinguished for their wealth and sober life-style, as Philochorus relates in the third book of his Atthis.
(c) ENCOM.DIONYS.AREOP.  {Dionysius} was one of the judges on the Areopagus . . . whose illustrious lineage and glorious reputation is related at length by Androtion and Philochorus, the writers of Atthides.

[21]   SUDA, "stone"  Demosthenes, in Against Conon { 54'26 }: "So they took those who were there on our behalf one by one to the stone, and made them swear an oath." It seems that the Athenians took their oaths by a stone, as is indicated by Aristotle in the Constitution of the Athenians { 7'1 }, and Philochorus in book 3.

[22]   (a) HARPOCRATION   Tricephalus {"three-headed"}: Isaeus in Against Eucleides says, "A little above the Tricephalus, along the Hestia way." The full form would be: "the Tricephalus Hermes". Philochorus in book 3 says that (?) Eucleides erected this at Ancyle.
(b) SUDA, "Tricephalus"  A {statue of} Hermes, which indicated the roads and had an inscription, telling where one road led, and where the other led. Perhaps it had one face for each road. According to Philochorus, the Tricephalus Hermes was erected by Procleides, the lover of Hipparchus.

[23]   Athen_15.637'f   Lysander of Sicyon, a famous harp-player.

[24]   HARPOCRATION   Alopecē: A deme of the Antiochis {tribe} . . . the derivation of the name is explained by Philochorus in book 3.

[25]   HARPOCRATION   Cerameis: A deme of the Acamantis tribe, according to Diodorus. Philochorus in book 3 says that it received this name from the pottery {ceramic} trade, and from the sacrifices {that were made there} to a hero called Ceramus.

[26]   HARPOCRATION   Colonetae: Hypereides in Against Apellaeus, about the treasury. They called the hired servants colonetae, because they stood by Colonus, which is near the agora, where the temple of Hephaestus and the shrine of Eurysaces are sited. This was called "Colonus of the agora". There was another Colonus next to the temple of Poseidon, as is mentioned by Hypereides in Against Autocles; this would be the one that was called "Colonus of the horses". Pherecrates in his Petale says: "Where are you coming from? - I am heading towards Colonus, that is not of the agora, but of the horses" . . . Diodorus Periegetes and Philochorus in book 3 of his Atthis explain about the {two} places called Colonus.

[27]   HARPOCRATION   Melite: A deme of the Cecropis {tribe}. Philochorus in book 3 says that the deme was named from Melite, who according to Hesiodus was the daughter of Myrmex, but according to Musaeus she was the daughter of Dius the son of Apollo.

[28]   SUDA, "from Oiē"  . . . Oiē is a deme of the Pandionis {tribe}, according to Diodorus . . . but Philochorus in book 3 says that Oiē was the daughter of Cephalus, and wife of Charops.

[29]   HARPOCRATION   Oeüm: There are two demes in Attica, both with the neuter name Oeüm. Philochorus in his third book says that they were given this name because their territory had never been inhabited, but had been left deserted - for the ancients used the word oeüm to mean "deserted", according to Diodorus. Oeüm Cerameicum belongs to the tribe of Leontis, and Oeüm Deceleicum belongs to the tribe of Hippothontis. The citizens of both demes are called "men from Oeüm".

[30]   LEX. CANTAB.  A kind of ostracism: Philochorus describes ostracism in his third book, in these words: "Ostracism takes place as follows. Before the eighth prytany, the people vote on whether it is necessary to hold an ostracism. If it is necessary, the agora is fenced in with boards, leaving ten entrances, through which the people enter in their tribes, and deposit their shards {ostraca} with the writing facing downwards. The nine archons and the council oversee the process. When the shards have been counted to determine who has the most votes (which must be not less than 6,000), then this person must, after settling his personal commitments, leave the city within ten days, for a period of ten years (this was later reduced to five years). He is allowed to receive income from his possessions, but he must not come nearer {to Athens} than Geraestum, the headland on {the coast of} Euboea." . . . Hyperbolus was the only one of the common citizens to be ostracised, because of his worthless character, not because he was suspected of aiming at tyranny. After this, the custom lapsed into disuse. It started when Cleisthenes passed a law, after he had deposed the tyrants, to enable him to expel the friends of the tyrants.

[31]   HESYCHIUS   Hermes of the agora: {A statue} was given this name, and was set up when Cebris was archon, as Philochorus says in his third book.

[32]   (a) STEPHANUS BYZ.   Aethaea: One of the 100 cities of Laconia - Philochorus in book 3 of his Atthis. The ethnic {adjective} is Aethaeus - Thucydides in book 1 { 1.101 }.
(b) STEPHANUS BYZ.   (?) Thea: A city in Laconia - Philochorus in book 3. {The citizens} are called (?) Theeis, according to Thucydides.

[33]   HARPOCRATION   Theoric fund: Demosthenes in the Philippics { 3'11 }. The theoric fund was public money collected from the city's revenues. In earlier times, it was kept to pay for the cost of wars, and it was called the military fund. Later it was put aside for public equipment and for distribution among the citizens, which was first proposed by Agyrrhius the demagogue. Philochorus says in book 3 of his Atthis: "The theoric fund was at first reckoned as the drachma for a thea {theatre seat}, which is the origin of the name . . ." and so on.

Book 4

[34]   (a) SCHOL.AR.,AV.556  The Sacred War was fought between the Athenians and the Boeotians, when the Boeotians wanted to take the oracle {of Delphi} away from the Phocians. The Athenians were victorious, and gave {the oracle} back to the Phocians, as Philochorus records in book 4. There were two Sacred Wars, this one and the other when the Lacedaemonians attacked the Phocians,
(b) SCHOL.AR.,AV.556  Some of the commentaries say . . . that he is referring to the Sacred War, in which the Athenians fought against the Phocians about the temple at Delphi. But they are merely guessing; the Athenians did not fight against the Phocians about the temple, but they fought in defence of the Phocians because of their hatred of the Lacedaemonians. There were two Sacred Wars. In the first, the Lacedaemonians fought for Delphi against the Phocians, and after capturing the temple the Lacedaemonians received from the Delphians the right to consult the oracle first. Later, three years (?) after the first war, the Athenians fought against the Lacedaemonians on behalf of the Phocians; and {the Athenians} gave the temple back to the Phocians, as Philochorus says in book 4. It was called a Sacred War, because it was fought for control of the temple at Delphi. The story of the war is told by Thucydides { 1.112'5 } and by Eratosthenes in book 9 and by Theopompus in book 25.

[35]   (a) Suda_O'511   (b) Suda_G'147   Ritual associations and clansmen: orgeones and gennetae within the Athenian phratries.

[36]   HARPOCRATION   This Propylaea: . . . Philochorus in book 4 and others have recorded that the Athenians began to build the Propylaea when Euthymenes was archon {437/6}, with Mnesicles as the architect. Heliodorus, in book 1 of his treatise On the Acropolis at Athens, says this amongst other things: "It was completely finished within five years, and the total cost was 2,012 talents. They created five gates, through which people enter into the Acropolis."

[37]   Suda_L'802   The establishment of the Lyceium, in the time of Pericles.

[38]   HARPOCRATION   Military service in the eponymous {list}: Aeschines in On the Embassy { 2'168 }. The meaning of "military service in the eponymous {list}" is made clear by Aristotle in his Constitution of the Athenians { 53'4 }, where he says: "There are ten eponymous {heroes} of the tribes and forty-two {eponymous heroes} of the age-groups. The names of ephebes were previously inscribed on whitened tablets when they were enrolled, along with the names of the archon, in whose year they were enrolled, and the eponymous {hero} who presided over the previous year; but now {their names} are inscribed in the council-house." And shortly afterwards he continues { 53'7 }: "They also use the eponymous {lists} for military service, and when they send out certain age-groups, they announce from which years, identified by the archon and eponymous {hero}, the men will be required to serve." Philochorus in book 4 of his Atthis also talks about these {eponymous lists}.

[39]   HESYCHIUS   Knights: {Aristophanes says} in The Knights { 225 }: "But the knights are a thousand good men." They were a body of one thousand warriors, maintaining horses. Philochorus in his fourth book explains when the thousand were established; because the Athenians had different groups of knights at different times.

Book 5

[40]   (a) Suda_P'2815   (b) Suda_E'3039   A statue of Hermes "by the gate", dedicated when the Peiraeus was fortified.

[41]   Suda_S'1386   The symmories - collecting contributions from wealthy Athenians.

[42]   LEX.DEM.  Philochorus in book 5 of his Atthis makes it clear that {Miltocythes} rebelled against Cotys.

[43]   HARPOCRATION   Strymē: Demosthenes, in On the command of the trireme { 50'20-23 } . . . it is a trading-post of the Thasians. Philochorus in book 5 mentions a dispute between the Thasians and the Maroneians about Strymē, and cites Archilochus as evidence.

[44]   HARPOCRATION   Datus: a very prosperous city in Thrace, which gave rise to a proverb, "a Datus of blessings". The word applies to {the city} itself and to the surrounding district, sometimes in the neuter form Datum, and sometimes in the feminine form Datus, as Ephorus always calls it in book 4. Theopompus mentions it once in the masculine form Datus, in book 3 of the Philippica. The city of Datus was renamed Philippi, after Philippus the king of the Macedonians captured it, according to Ephorus and Philochorus in book 5.

Book 6

[45]   HARPOCRATION   Twelve Hundred: Isaeus in Against Isomachus . . . the twelve hundred were the wealthiest Athenians, who performed public duties. They are mentioned by other orators, and by Philochorus in book 6.

[46]   HARPOCRATION   The valuation of Athens was 6,000 talents: Demosthenes in On the symmories says as follows { 14'30 }: "The valuation of our country's resources will be said to be 8,000 talents." So either the scribe has made an error in the text, or perhaps the orator is exaggerating to make it appear that the city had greater resources at its disposal for the war against the king. {Demosthenes} himself shows that the valuation of Attica was 6,000 talents in the subsequent parts of the speech, where he gives a detailed reckoning of {the resources}, and this is confirmed by Philochorus in book 6 of his Atthis.

[47]   HARPOCRATION   Sacred trireme: Demosthenes in the Fourth Philippic { 4'34 }: "And he left the country, taking away the sacred trireme." He means the Paralus, as can be deduced from Philochorus and from Androtion, both in book 6.

[48]   LEX.CANTAB.  Paralus and Salaminia: they always kept these triremes for necessary tasks, and appointed stewards for them. They used them if they had to summon a general to trial, as they did to Alcibiades. Paralus took its name from a local hero. Thucydides mentions Paralus and Salaminia in his third book { 3.33'2 }, and Aristophanes mentions them in The Birds { 1204 }. Aristotle { 61'7 } refers to Ammonias and Paralus, as does Deinarchus in {his speech} Against Timocrates. Philochorus refers to four of them in his sixth book: the first two were Ammonias and Paralus, and then Demetrias and Antigonis were added.

[49]   DIONYSIUS, AMM.9 - translated by W.R.Roberts Thus does {Aristotle} himself clearly prove that he wrote the Rhetoric after the Olynthian War. Now that war took place in the archonship of Callimachus {349/8}, as Philochorus shows in the sixth Book of his Atthis, where his words (exactly given) are: "Callimachus of the deme Pergase. In his time the Olynthians, attacked by Philippus, sent ambassadors to Athens. The Athenians made an alliance with them and sent to their aid two thousand peltasts, and thirty triremes under the command of Chares, as well as eight others which they put into commission for the occasion". [50]   Next, after describing the few intervening events, he proceeds : "About the same time the Chalcidians of the Thracian sea-board were harassed by the war and sent an embassy to Athens. The Athenians dispatched to their assistance Charidemus, who held command in the Hellespont. Charidemus brought with him eighteen triremes and four thousand peltasts and a hundred and fifty horsemen. Supported by the Olynthians, he advanced into Pallene and Bottiaea, and ravaged the country." [51]   Later on he writes thus on the subject of the third alliance : "The Olynthians sent a fresh embassy to the Athenians, begging them not to see them irretrievably ruined, but to send out, in addition to the troops already there, a force consisting not of mercenaries but of Athenian citizens. Thereupon the Athenian people sent them other seventeen triremes, together with two thousand hoplites and three hundred horsemen conveyed in transports, the whole force being composed of citizens. The entire expedition was under the command of Chares."

[52]   HARPOCRATION   Voting by ballot: Full accounts of voting by ballot, and how it occurred when Archias was archon {346/5}, are given by Androtion in his Atthis and by Philochorus in book 6 of his Atthis.

[53]   DIONYSIUS, AMM.11 - translated by W.R.Roberts  Now the date at which Philippus called upon the Thebans to grant him a passage into Attica reminding them of his help in the Phocian War, is clear from known facts. The circumstances were as follows. In the archonship of Themistocles {347/6}, after the capture of Olynthus, Philippus made a treaty of friendship and alliance with the Athenians. This covenant lasted seven years, till the year of Nicomachus {341/40}. It was brought to an end under the archon Theophrastus {340/39}, who succeeded Nicomachus. The Athenians accused Philippus of beginning the war, while Philippus blamed the Athenians. The reasons for which the two parties, each of which claimed to be in the right, engaged in the war, and the date at which they violated the peace, are precisely indicated by Philochorus in the sixth Book of his Atthis, from which I will quote simply the essential particulars: [54]   "Theophrastus of the deme Halae. Under his archonship Philippus, first of all, attacked Perinthus by sea. Failing here, he next laid siege to Byzantium and brought engines of war against it." [55]   (a) Afterwards he recounts the allegations which Philippus made against the Athenians in his letter, and adds these words which I quote as they stand : "The people, after listening to the letter and to the exhortations of Demosthenes, who advocated war and framed the necessary resolutions, passed a resolution to demolish the column erected to record the treaty of peace and alliance with Philippus, and further to man a fleet and in every other way to prosecute the war energetically."
(b) DIDYMUS, IN DEM. Col.1  That the column was demolished in the year of Theophrastus {340/39}, who was archon after Nicomachus, is clearly shown by Philochorus in book 6, where he writes as follows . . .

[56]   (a) DIONYSIUS, AMM.11 - translated by W.R.Roberts  After assigning these events to the archonship of Theophrastus {340/39}, he describes the occurrences of the succeeding year when Lysimachides was archon {339/8}, after the violation of the peace. Here again I will quote only the most essential particulars. "Lysimachides of the deme Acharnae. Under this archon the Athenians, in consequence of the war against Philippus, deferred the construction of the docks and the arsenal. They resolved, on the motion of Demosthenes, that all the funds should be devoted to the campaign. But Philippus seized Elateia and Cytinium, and sent to Thebes representatives of the Thessalians, Aenianians, Aetolians, Dolopians, Phthiotians. An embassy, headed by Demosthenes, was at the same time despatched by the Athenians, with whom the Thebans resolved to enter into alliance."
(b) DIDYMUS, IN DEM. Col.11  That Philippus ordered the Thebans to give back Nicaea to the Locrians, is confirmed by Philochorus in his sixth book, as follows: "When Philippus had captured Elateia and Cytinium, he sent to Thebes representatives of the Thessalians, Aenianians, Aetolians, Dolopians and Phthiotians, who requested the Thebans to hand over Nicaea to the Locrians, in (?) accordance with the decree of the Amphictyons. Philippus had a garrison in Nicaea, but while he was away in the land of the Scythians, the Thebans drove out his troops and took possession of the place themselves. {The Thebans} replied to them that they would send an embassy, to discuss all these matters with Philippus."

[57]   SCHOL.AR.,RAN.218  The Pots {Chytroi} is an Athenian festival . . . During the festival, the so-called Games of the Pots were held, according to Philochorus in the sixth book of his Atthis.

[58]   Suda_K'826   The scarp of the rock (katatomē).

[59]   PHILODEMUS, ACAD.  . . . that is what Dicaearchus wrote, but Philochorus in the sixth book of his Atthis fell into . . . and they erected a statue of Isocrates . . . and inscribed on the base, "The work of Butes . . ." Many names were inscribed on it . . .

[60]   HARPOCRATION   Theoris: Demosthenes, in Against Aristogeiton { 25'79 } (if it is genuine). Theoris was a seer, and was put to death after she was convicted of impiety, according to Philochorus in his sixth book.

[61]   SCHOL.AR.,LYS.835  There is a temple of Demeter Chloē on the acropolis, in which the Athenian sacrifice during the month of Thargelion, according to Philochorus in book 6.

Book 7

[62]   Suda_Ph'838   Phyle, a fort in Attica.

[63]   HARPOCRATION   apostoleis: those appointed to fit out the triremes. Demosthenes in For Ctesiphon { 18'107 } and Philochorus in book 7. apostoloi are naval expeditions, as the same {Demosthenes} shows in the first Philippic { 4'35 }.

[64]   (a) HARPOCRATION   nomophylakes {"guardians of the law"}: this is the name of some officers at Athens, who are different from the thesmothetes. Deinarchus in Against Himeraeus and Against Pytheas. Philochorus in book 7 says that, amongst other things, they force the magistrates to abide by the laws.
(b) LEX.CANTAB.  nomophylakes: they are different from the thesmothetes, according to Philochorus in his sixth book. {The thesmothetes} wore crowns when they went up to the Areopagus, but the nomophylakes wore white head-bands, and at shows they sat opposite {the nine} archons, and they led the procession to Pallas. They used to force the magistrates to obey the laws; in the assembly and in the council, they sat amongst the presidents, and prevented {anyone} from acting in a way that was harmful to the city. They were seven in number and, according to Philochorus, they were set up when Ephialtes stripped the Areopagus council of all its power, except judging in cases about the death sentence.

[65]   Athen_6.245'c   The gynaeconomi, superintendents of banquets.

Book 9

[66]   DIONYSIUS, DIN.3 - translated by S.Usher  Philochorus, writing in his Atthis about the exile of the men who overthrew the democracy and their return, gives the following additional information: "At the beginning of the year when Anaxicrates was archon {307/6}, the city of the Megarians was captured; and King Demetrius, on returning from Megara, began his military preparations against Munychia and, having razed its walls to the ground, restored it to the democratic government. But later many of the citizens were impeached, and Demetrius of Phalerum was one of these. And of the men impeached, those who did not await the verdict of a trial they condemned to death by a decree, but those who submitted they set free." This is from the eighth book.  [67] In the ninth book he says: "When the year had ended and the next was beginning, this portent occurred on the Acropolis: a bitch came into the temple of Athena Polias, entered the Pandroseion, climbed up onto the altar of Zeus Herceius beneath the olive tree, and lay down. It is an ancestral custom of the Athenians that no dog is allowed to go up to the Acropolis. And also around the same time, during daylight when the sun was out and the air was clear, a star was plainly visible for a time in the sky. And we, on being questioned as to the meaning of the portent and the apparition, said that both foretold a return of exiles, and that this would happen not as a result of revolution but under the existing government; and it came about that this interpretation was fulfilled."

[68]   ATHENAEUS,5.189  And at Athens there are some sacred places called aulones {"hollows"}, which are mentioned by Philochorus in his ninth book.

Book 10

[69]   HARPOCRATION   Those admitted to be full initiates: those who have been initiated at Eleusis in a second mystery are said to be full initiates, as is clear from the (?) speech of Demosthenes and from the tenth book of Philochorus.

[70]   Suda_A'2303   Demetrius Poliorcetes is immediately given full initiation into the mysteries.

Book 16

[71]   HARPOCRATION   Horse-partners (ἅμιπποι): Isaeus in the Temenicon - those soldiers who fight together with horses. Some writers say that two swift horses are yoked together, and their rider leads one of them, while sitting on the other; and these men are called horse-partners. This is the same as appears in Homer { Il_15'684 }: ". . . leaping from one to the other."  The horse-partners are foot-soldiers, as is clear in Thucydides { 5.57'2 } and the seventh book of Xenophon's Hellenica { 7.5'23-24 }. And perhaps those who are stationed with the cavalry are the advance guard; Philochorus in his sixteenth book says ". . . and the advance guard."

Fragments with no book number (114-224) →

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