Neanthes of Cyzicus

Neanthes of Cyzicus

Neanthes (; Greek: Νεάνθης) is apparently the name of two writers whose works have largely been lost. The elder Neanthes of Cyzicus was a disciple of Philiscus of Miletus ("who is reasonably certain to have died before 300 BC"[1]), who himself had been a pupil of Isocrates. An honorary decree of 287 BC in which the people Delphi award him the proxeny (Fouilles de Delphes 1.429 = FGrHist 84 T 2) is the earliest of "only five decrees from the third century honoring historians, teachers of grammar or literature, or philosophers for their educational activities in the cities' gymnasia."[2]

He was a voluminous writer, principally of history, but very little has reached us to form any judgement of his merits. The various authors that quote him seem, with rare exceptions, to place great reliance on his accuracy and judgement. He is frequently referred to by Diogenes Laërtius,[3] Athenaeus,[4] and by several of the early Christian writers, as well as by others. Among the writings of Neanthes there were:

  1. Memoirs of king Attalus
  2. Hellenica
  3. Lives of illustrious men
  4. Pythagorica
  5. Τὰ κατὰ πόλιν μυθικά
  6. On Purification
  7. Annals

He probably wrote an account of Cyzicus, as we can infer from a passage in Strabo. He may also have written many panegyrical orations and a work Περὶ κακοζηλίας ῥητορικῆς or Περὶ ζηλοτυπίας against the Asiatic style of rhetoric.[5] This latter work, as well as the history of Attalus I (who ruled 241-197), are irreconcilable with the dates of the Delphian decree and of Philiscus of Miletus; therefore, it is supposed that they are the work of a later Neanthes of the second century BC.[1]


  1. ^ a b Michael Weißenberger, "Neanthes," Brill's New Pauly, 2011
  2. ^ Peter Scholz, "Peripatetic Philosophers as Wandering Scholars: Some Remarks on the Socio-Political Conditions of Philosophizing in the Third Century BCE," in W. W. Fortenbaugh and Stephen A. White (eds.), Lyco of Troas and Hieronymus of Rhodes, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 2004, p. 331 n. 51
  3. ^ Diogenes Laërtius, i. 99; iii. 3, 4, 25; vi. 13; viii. 55, 58, 72; ix. 4
  4. ^ Athenaeus, ii. 25, 297, 525; iii. 399; iv. 203; vi. 93, 113, 247; vii. 249
  5. ^ Leonard Whibley, A Companion to Greek Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1905, p. 88