Salvatore La Rosa


We don't know anything for sure about the life of Timaeus the philosopher, and the few information we have are taken directly from the texts in which the philosopher is mentioned. He probably lived in the IV century b.C. and died at a good old age after having been in charge of high government offices in the polis of Locri Epizephyrii for a long time. It is, also, supposed that he has been the author of many books of science and philosophy; texts that, unfortunately, have all been lost over the centuries.

Except for one of the theories, developed by the philosopher, which has been handed down by the historical tradition in a pseudepigraph work entitled "Περὶ φύσιος κόσμω καὶ ψυχᾶς" ("On the nature of the world and the soul"); a text that is nothing but a sort of summary of what Timaeus argues in the dialogue "Τίμαιος" ("Timaeus") to him dedicated by Plato.

In the same dialogue, Socrates, speaking about the Locrian philosopher, says:

Τίμαιός τε γὰρ ὅδε, εὐνομωτάτης ὢν πόλεως τῆς
ἐν Ἰταλίᾳ Λοκρίδος, οὐσίᾳ καὶ γένει οὐδενὸς ὕστερος
ὢν τῶν ἐκεῖ, τὰς μεγίστας μὲν ἀρχάς τε καὶ τιμὰς
τῶν ἐν τῇ πόλει μετακεχείρισται, φιλοσοφίας
δ' αὖ κατ' ἐμὴν δόξαν ἐπ' ἄκρον ἁπάσης ἐλήλυθεν·

"Our friend Timaeus is a native of a most well-governed State,
Italian Locris, where he is inferior to none of its citizens
either in property or in rank; and not only he has occupied
the highest law offices of his State, but he has also attained,
in my opinion, the highest eminence in all branches of philosophy.

(Plato, Timaeus, II)

Also Dante, the Great poet, mentions Timaeus speaking about his theory on the soul, in the IV canto of the Paradiso:

"Quel che Timeo dell'anime argomenta
non è simile a ciò che qua si vede
però che, come si dice, par che senta".

"That which Timaeus argues of the soul
do not resemble that which here is seen
because it seems that, as it's said, he thinks".

(Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy - Paradiso, canto IV, 49-51)

It is also supposed that, thanks to Timaeus, Locri developed a thriving philosophical school that instructed many capable philosophers, legislators and also doctors such as, for instance, Philistion.



Euthymus is the first of a long series of Locrians athletes (such as Hagesidamus, of whom it's speak later on, Euthycles and Keton, of whom we have very few information) who, for a long period, took the lead in the Olympic games.

Euthymus, son of Astikles, won the Olympic games for three times in a row in boxing competition, the first time in 484 b.C.; he enjoyed an exceptional reputation not only in his native land, and his undoubted bravery was recognized by many ancient writers such as Elianus, Pliny, Pausania and Strabo. Of the last one, Strabo, we reproduce here his words which remember the legend that tells how Euthymus defeated the monster of Temesa, freeing the town from the yearly tribute of a girl, chosen amongst the most beautiful, which the town had to pay to the monster to avoid his rage:

Λοκρῶν δὲ τῶν Ἐπιζεφυρίων ἑλόντων τὴν πόλιν,
Εὔθυμον μυθεύουσι τὸν πύκτην καταβάντα ἐπ' αὐτὸν
κρατῆσαι τῇ μάκῃ, καί βιὰσασθαι παραλῦσαι
τοῦ δασμοῦ τοὺς ἐπιχωρίους.

(It is said that), when the Epizephyrian Locrians captured the city,
Euthymus the pugilist faced the monster, defeated him in the fight
and forced him to release the natives from the tribute.

(Strabo, Geography VI, 5)

Quite apart from the legends which grew themselves around his name, the fame and the bravery of Euthymus are confirmed by the tradition which handed down that, after his death, occurred in tragic circumstances, he was mourned not only in his own homeland, Locri Epizephyrii, but in the whole Greek world.



Exactly as Euthymus, Hagesidamus, son of Archestratus, took his fame from the victory in the Olympic games (476 b.C.) in boxing competition. But, unlike Euthymus, his exploits were handed down by Pindar who dedicated to Hagesidamus two of his Olympian Odes, of which here you can read some fragments:

Τὸν Ὀλυμπιονίκαν ἀνάγνωτέ μοι
Ἀρχεστράτου παῖδα, πόθι φρενὸς
ἐμᾶς γέγραπται· γλυκὺ γὰρ αὐτῷ
μέλος ὀφείλων ἐπιλέλαθ'·

Read me the name of the Olympic victor,
the son of Archestratus, where it has been written
in my mind; for I owed him a sweet song,
and I have forgotten.

(Pindar, Olympian Odes X, 1-4)

Νέμει γὰρ Ἀτρέκεια πόλιν
Λοκρῶν Ζεφυρίων,
μέλει τέ σφισι Καλλιόπα καὶ χάλκεος Ἄρης.
Τράπε δὲ Κύκνεια μάχα καὶ ὑπερβιον
Ἡρακλέα· πύκτας δ' ἐν Ὀλυμπιάδι νικῶν
Ἴλᾳ φερέτω χάριν Ἁγησίδαμος, ὡς Ἀχιλεῖ Πάτροκλος.

The highest Law rules
Locri Epizephyrii...
and Calliope and bronze-armored Ares are honored there.
The superior strength of Heracles even won the battle with Cycnus;
let Hagesidamus, in boxing victorious at Olympia,
offer thanks to Ilas, just as Patroclus did to Achilles

(Pindar, Olympian Odes X, 17-23)

[...] Τὶν δ' αδυεπής τε λύρα
γλυκύς τ' αὐλὸς ἀναπάσσει χάριν·
τρέφοντι δ' εὐρὺ κλέος
κόραι Πιερίδες Διός.
Ἐγὼ δὲ συνεφαπτόμενος σπουδᾷ, κλυτὸν ἔθνος
Λοκρῶν ἀμφέπεσον μέλιτι
εὐάνορα πόλιν καταβρέχων·
παῖδ' ἐρατὸν [δ'] Ἀρχεστράτου
αἴνησα, τὸν εἶδον κρατέοντα χερὸς ἀλκᾷ
βομὸν παρ' Ὀλύμπιον,
κεῖνον κατὰ χρόνον
ἰδέᾳ τε καλὸν
ὥρᾳ τε κεκραμένον, ἅ ποτε
ἀναιδέα Γανυμήδει μόρον ἄλαλκε σὺν Κυπρογενεῖ.

But on you (Hagesidamus)
the soft-singing lyre and the sweet flute
scatter grace and the Pierian
daughters of Zeus nurture your wide fame.
While I, earnestly lending my hand, have embraced
the noble ancestry of the Locrians,
showering with honey the city of the strong;
and I praised the lovely son of Archestratus,
whom I saw at that time
beside the Olympic altar,
winning victory with the valour of his hands beautiful in form,
and blended with that youthful bloom which once
kept Ganymede from shameless death, with the help of Cyprian

(Pindar, Olympian Odes X, 113-125)

[...] Ὅμως ὧν, ἴσθι νῦν, Ἀρχεστράτου
παῖ, τεᾶς, Ἁγησίδαμε, πυγμαχίας ἕνεκεν
κόσμον ἐπὶ στεφάνῳ χρυσέας ἐλαίας
ἁδυμελῆ κελαδήσω.
Ζεφυρίων. Λοκρῶν γενεὰν ἀλέγων.
Ἔνθα συγκωμάξατ'· ἐγγυάσομαι
ὔμμιν, ὦ Μοῖσαι φυγόξενον στρατὸν
μηδ' ἀπείρατον καλῶν,
ἀκρόσοφον δὲ καὶ αἰχματὰν ἀφίξεσθαι.

And now know, Hagesidamus son of Archestratus,
for the sake of your boxing victory, that
I shall loudly sing, on your garland of golden olive,
a sweet song, adorned by
the honouring of the race of the Western Locrians.
(All) go There! And to the Muses
I shall pledge my word that they will find there a race
that does not repel the stranger, or is inexperienced in fine deeds,
but one that is wise and warlike too.

(Pindar, Olympian Odes XI, 10-19)

Thanks to the Odes (from which these fragments are taken) written by Pindar, the name and the exploits of Hagesidamus reached our age.



We have few and fragmentary information about Senocrito, musico and lyric poet of the ancient Locri who probably lived in the second half of the seventh century b.C.; his art was exalted in the De Musica, where he is placed amongst the greatest musici of ancient Greece and reckoned as one of the main representatives (along with the likes of Thaletas of Crete) of the musical school of Sparta, the most flourishing of antiquity (Pseudo-Plutarch, De Musica 9-10, 1134b-e).

Back in Locri, Senocrito founded a school of music and poetry (which was attended by the likes of the poet Teano, Erasippo and Mnaseas) in which he introduced the Spartan novelties, and in particular, those concerning the introduction of Dionysian elements in choral chants.

This school had to be very successful and made Locri Epizephyrii one of the main centres of antiquity regarding the art of music and hymnody and Senocrito one of the most popular musici of his age; in fact Callimachus (Uncertain Fragmenta, 161 [541] ), referring to Senocrito, recalls him as:

Ὃς Ἰταλὴν ἐφράσαθ' ἁρμονίην.

"the one who invented the Italic harmony"

And even Pindar showed an extraordinary admiration for him, professing himself his imitator and follower, as in this fragment (of which this part is the more readable) taken from one of the Papyri of Oxyrhynchus (Fr. 140b Snell-Maehler):

[...] Ἐγὼ μ[ὰν κλύων]
παῦρα μελ[ι]ζομέν[ου, τέχναν]
[γλώ]σσαργον ἀμφέπων
[ἐρεθίζ]ομαι πρὸς ἀοιδάν
[ἁλίο]υ δελφῖνος ὑπ[όχρισιν],
τὸν ἀκύμονος ἐν πόντου πελάγει
αὐλῶν ἐκινησ' ἐρατὸν μέλος.

[...] and I hearing
a little of the sweet melody
was egged on the singing, on the reply,
like the dolphin, when he is restless
due to the sweetest sound of the flutes
in the vastness of the great sea.

(Pindar, Uncertain Fragmenta, Oxyrhynchus Papyri Fr. 140b Snell-Maehler)

In the less readable part, Pindar mentions that this singing and this sweet melody were due "to someone of Locri, thriving city near the Zephyrium in the far Ausonia".



Amongst the renowned historical figures which Locri had in the ancient ages, there was a cithara-bard, Eunomus, who enjoyed a lot of fame.

And in Locri Epizephyrii, in that age, there was a statue which depicted Eunomus with, in his hand, a cithara on which were seated a cicada. Of this statue speaks Strabo who, mentioning as source Timaeus, describes us the reason of the presence of the cicada on the cithara of Eunomus' statue:

[...] ἐδείκνυτο δ' ἀνδριὰς ἐν Λοκροῖς Εὐνόμου τοῦ κιθαρῳδοῦ τέττιγα ἐπὶ τὴν κιθάραν καθήμενον ἔχων. φησὶ δὲ Τίμαιος Πυθίοις ποτὲ ἀγωνιζομένους τοῦτόν τε καὶ Ἀρίστωνα Ῥηγῖνον ἐρίσαι περὶ τοῦ κλήρου· [...] ὅμως εὐδοκιμεῖν μηδὲν ἧττον τὸν Ἀρίστωνα καὶ ἐν ἐλπίδι τὴν νίκην ἔχειν, νικῆσαι μέντοι τὸν Εὔνομον καὶ ἀναθεῖναι τὴν λεχθεῖσαν εἰκόνα ἐν τῇ πατρίδι, ἐπειδὴ κατὰ τὸν ἀγῶνα μιᾶς τῶν χορδῶν ῥαγείσης ἐπιστὰς τέττιξ ἐκπληρώσειε τὸν φθόγγον.

[…] Some time ago it was showed off in Locri a statue of the cithara-bard Eunomus with a cicada seated on the cithara. Timaeus affirms that Eunomus and Ariston of Rhegium were once contesting with each other at the Pythian games to gain the victory. […] Ariston was none the less held in favour and hoped for the victory, and yet Eunomus gained the victory and set up the aforesaid statue in (his) native land, because during the contest, when one of the chords broke, a cicada lit on his cithara and supplied the missing sound.

(Strabo, Geography VI, 9)

And so that's the reason for which on the statue dedicated to Eunomus there was a cicada seated on the cithara-bard's cithara.



If we know very few things about the other renowned historical figures of the ancient Locri Epizephyrii, of Teano we know even less.

Teano was a lyric poetess, probably contemporary of Stesichor (second half of the seventh century b.C.). The tradition handed down very few information about her; she was instructed by Senocrito himself and attended the thriving Locrian school of music and poetry. According to scholars, her lyrics had as primary subjects the narration and the glorification of the peculiarities and of the vicissitudes of her own homeland, of her own city.

Her name is recorded in the Suda with a brief note that allows to distinguish her from Teano, Pythagorean philosopher:

Θεανώ, Λοκρίς, λυρική· ᾄσματα λυρικὰ ἢ Λοκρικὰ καὶ μέλε.

Teano of Locri, lyric poetess; (she composed) odes and lyric chants of Locrian style.

(Suda, Adler: theta.85)

That's all we know about Teano and, nowadays, what we can do here is, at least, to remember her name because, unfortunately, nothing of her works was handed down by the historical tradition.



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