Testimonia Vitae Atque Artis
1 Str. 13. 2. 3 (iii 65s. Kramer)
ἄνδρας δ᾿ ἔσχεν (sc. Μυτιλήνη) ἐνδόξους τὸ παλαιὸν μὲν Πιττακόν, ἕνα τῶν ἑπτὰ σοφῶν, καὶ τὸν ποιητὴν Ἀλκαῖον καὶ τὸν ἀδελφὸν Ἀντιμενίδαν, ὅν φησιν Ἀλκαῖος Βαβυλωνίοις συμμαχοῦντα τελέσαι μέγαν ἆθλον . . . συνήκμασε δὲ τούτοις καὶ ἡ Σαπφώ . . . ἐτυραννήθη δὲ ἡ πόλις κατὰ τοὺς χρόνους τούτους ὑπὸ πλειόνων διὰ τὰς διχοστασίας, καὶ τὰ Στασιωτικὰ καλούμενα τοῦ Ἀλκαίου ποιήματα περὶ τούτων ἐστίν· ἐν δὲ τοῖς τυράννοις καὶ ὁ Πιττακὸς ἐγένετο. Ἀλκαῖος μὲν οὖν ὁμοίως ἐλοιδορεῖτο καὶ τούτῳ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις, Μυρσίλῳ καὶ Μελάγχρῳ καὶ 1 τοῖς Κλεανακτίδαις καὶ ἄλλοις τισίν, οὐδ᾿ αὐτὸς καθαρεύων τῶν τοιούτων νεωτερισμῶν. Πιττακὸς δὲ εἰς μὲν τὴν τῶν δυναστειῶν κατάλυσιν ἐχρήσατο τῇ μοναρχίᾳ καὶ αὐτός, καταλύσας δὲ ἀπέδωκε τὴν αὐτονομίαν τῇ πόλει.
1 Strabo, Geography
Mytilene produced famous men: in olden times 1 Pittacus, one of the seven sages, and the poet Alcaeus 2 and his brother Antimenidas, 3 who, says Alcaeus, ‘while fighting as ally of the Babylonians 4 performed a great feat . . .’ (fr. 350). At the same time as these flourished Sappho 5 . . . Because of dissensions the city was ruled in those days by various tyrants, and the so-called ‘stasiotic’ poems 6 of Alcaeus were written about them. Pittacus was one of the tyrants. 7 Alcaeus abused him and the rest alike, Myrsilus and Melanchrus and the Cleanactids 8 and others, although he himself was not innocent of such revolutionary attempts. 9 But Pittacus used his ‘monarchy’ for the overthrow of the powerful factions, and when he had overthrown them he restored the city’s autonomy.
- 4(cf. fr. 48); the city’s fall is dated to 604 b.c. (Jerome D. Quinn, BASO 164, 1961, 19–20). Prob. in the campaign of Nebuchadrezzar against Ascalon
- 5Continued as Sa. test. 7.
- 6Cf. Page, S. & A. 149–243.
- 7From 590 to 580 (S. & A. 151).
- 8Some editors delete ‘and’ after Melanchrus: schol. fr. 112. 23 explains ‘Cleanactidas’ as ‘Myrsilus’, but there is no evidence that Melanchrus also belonged to this family.
- 9Cf. testt. 6, 7.
- 1For the chronology see Sa. test. 2 n. 3, test. 6 and Introd.
- 2Cf. Ael. Aristid. Or. 12. 85; Himerius, Or. 27 says that A. praises Lesbos and is always bringing Mytilene into his poems (e.g. frr. 129, 130, 152). Richter, Portraits of the Greeks i 69 mentions a statue base from Pergamon inscribed Ἀλκαίος Μητιλην[αῖος, ‘A. of Mytilene’, and a 2nd c. a.d. coin, similarly inscribed, with the head of Pittacus on the obverse.
- 3Textual emendation at Plut. Μor. 155f provides another reference to ‘the brother of A.’ He also had a brother called Cicis (fr. 414: cf. test. 2): J. Labarbe suggested that this was also his father’s name (Ant. Class. 37, 1968, 456–60).