Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ephorus of Cyme

Ephorus (400 BC – 320 BC) was a major historian of the 4th century BC who came from Cyme in Aeolis (Asia Minor).

Though born in the Anatolian city of Cyme, he studied at Athens under Isocrates and in fact the surviving fragments and that part of the text of Diodorus Siculus that is based on Ephorus own works are all preserve an unmistakable Isocratean flavor.

Ephorus also seems to share Isocrates’ pro-Athenian bias and his yearning for unity among the Greek cities.

His principle work was the Histories completed with a 30th book added by his son Demophilus, who edited the entire work. It began with the return of the Heracleidae to Peloponnesus and ended with siege of Perinthus (340) by Philip II of Macedonia, with a further extension in the 30th book that centered on the Second Sacred War of 335-46.

He also wrote a local history of Cyme, a book on style and a book on discoveries. Ephorus was highly regarded in antiquity and his account became the standard account for many historical periods. All his works are lost, but the Histories was an important source for other historians, notably Diodorus Siculus.

Ephorus was the first historian to divide his work into books, to each of which he wrote a preface and he treated his material under subject headings rather than chronologically. He died in the 320 BC.
Ephorus of Cyme

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