1. The dating of Pheidon in antiquity

  • Mait Kõiv University of Tartu, Tallinn University
Keywords: ancient Greek history, chronology, Greece, Argos


The date of the Argive tyrant Pheidon has been generally discussed without asking about what was the reason of different ancients datings. The failure to understand it has led to rather voluntary selection among the dates as well as unwarranted constructions. The present paper is an attempt to give a complex explanation of all the dates put forward by the ancients, except the statement of Herodotos that placed Pheidon to the early 6th century BC. It is suggested that all other dates were based on two synchronisations. First, Pheidon was considered roughly as a contemporary of the end of Corinthian kingship, the foundation of Syracuse, the outbreak of the first Messenian war and the epic poet Eumelos. This synchronisation was based on the story about the death of Corinthian Aktaion and on the account of Ephoros, who had dated some of these instances, including Pheidon, to the 10th generation from the Herakleid invasion. It was the reason of the date in Pausanias (Ol. 8 in 748 BC). And second, Pheidon was synchronised with Spartan lawgiver Lykourgos. On this assumption were based the datings in Theopompos, Marmor Parium, Eusebios and Isidorus.


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