Duris - Encyclopedia




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DURIS, of Samos, Greek historian, according to his own account a descendant of Alcibiades, was born about 340 B.C. He must have been born and passed his early years in exile, since from 352 to 324 Samos was occupied by Athenian cleruchs, who had expelled the original inhabitants. He was a pupil of Theophrastus of Eresus, whom he met at Athens. When quite young, he obtained a prize for boxing at the Olympic games; a statue by Hippias was set up in commemoration of his victory (Pausanias vi. 13.5). He was for some time despot of his native island. Duris was the author of a comprehensive historical work (`16ropiat) on Hellenico-Macedonian history, from the battle of Leuctra (371) down to the death of Lysimachus (281), which was largely used by Diodorus Siculus. Other works by him included a life of Agathocles of Syracuse, the annals (copot) of Samos chronologically arranged according to the lists of the priests of Hera, and a number of treatises on literary and artistic subjects. Ancient authorities do not appear to have held a very high opinion of his merits as a historian. Plutarch (Pericles, 28) expresses doubt as to his trustworthiness, Dionysius of Halicarnassus (De compos. verborum, 4) speaks disparagingly of his style, and Photius (cod. 176) regards the arrangement of his work as altogether faulty. Cicero (ad Att. vi. 1) accords him qualified praise as an industrious writer.

Fragments in C. W. Muller, Frag. Hist. Graec. ii. 446, where the passage of Pausanias referred to above and the date of Duris's victory at Olympia are discussed.

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