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Headword: Timaios
Adler number: tau,600
Translated headword: Timaios, Timaeus
Vetting Status: high
The historian [of that name].[1] This man has made a very severe attack on Ephorus,[2] though he is himself guilty of two faults: that he bitterly accuses others for things of which he is himself guilty, and that he shows an utterly depraved mind by putting out such statements in his works and [sc. thereby] engendering such opinions in his readers. If we are to lay it down that Callisthenes deserved his death,[3] what ought to happen to Timaeus? Surely there is much more reason for Providence to be wroth with him than with Callisthenes. The latter wished to deify Alexander [sc. the Great]; but Timaeus exalts Timoleon above the most venerable gods.[4] Callisthenes' hero, again, was a man by universal consent of a superhuman elevation of spirit; while Timoleon, far from having accomplished any action of first-rate importance, never even undertook one. The one expedition which he achieved in the course of his life took him no farther than from Corinth to Syracuse; and how paltry is such a distance when compared with the extent of the world! I presume that Timaeus believed that if Timoleon, by gaining glory in such a mere saucer of a place as Sicily, should be thought comparable to the most illustrious heroes, he too himself, as the historian of only Italy and Sicily, might properly be considered on a par with the writers of universal history.
He wrote Concerning Syria and its Cities and Kings in 3 books.[5]
Greek Original:
Timaios, ho historikos. houtos kata tou Ephorou pleistên pepoiêtai katadromên, autos ôn dusin hamartêmasin enochos, tôi men hoti pikrôs katêgorei tôn pelas epi toutois, hois autos enochos esti, tôi de dioti katholou diephthartai têi psuchêi, toiautas apophaseis ektithemenos en tois hupomnêmasi kai toiautas entiktôn doxas tois entunchanousi. plên ei ton Kallisthenên theteon eikotôs kolasthenta metallaxai ton bion, ti chrê paschein Timaion; polu gar an dikaioteron toutôi nemesêsai to daimonion ê Kallisthenei. ekeinos men oun apotheoun Alexandron eboulêthê, Timaios de meizô poiein Timoleonta tôn epiphanestatôn theôn, kai Kallisthenês men andra toiouton, hon pantes megalophuesteron ê kat' anthrôpon gegonenai têi psuchêi sunchôrousin, houtos de Timoleonta ton ouch hoion doxanta ti peprachenai megaleion, all' oud' epiballomenon, mian de tôi biôi grammên dianusanta, kai tautên oude spoudaian tropon tina pros to megethos tês oikoumenês, legô dê ek tês patridos es Surakousas. alla moi dokei peisthênai Timaios, hôs an Timoleôn, pephilodoxêkôs en autêi Sikeliai, kathaper en oxubaphôi, sunkritos phanênai tois epiphanestatois tôn hêrôôn, kan autos huper Italias monon kai Sikelias pragmateuomenos eikotôs parabolês axiôthênai tois huper tês oikoumenês tôn katholou praxeôn pepoiêmenois tas suntaxeis. egrapse Peri Surias kai tôn en autêi poleôn kai basileôn biblia g#.
[1] Of Tauromenium (present-day Taormina) in Sicily; c.350-c.260 BCE. See also tau 602. The bulk of the present entry derives from Polybius 12.23.1-7 (cf. epsilon 1403), at the beginning of a long critique of Timaeus (and following one on Callisthenes, for whom see n. 3 below).
For T. see generally OCD(4) s.v. Timaeus(2). Driven out of Sicily by Agathocles in c.315, he moved to Athens, where he studied rhetoric under Philiscus of Miletus (phi 360) and lived for fifty years. During the reign of Hiero II, it seems, he returned to Sicily (probably to Syracuse), where he died. While at Athens he completed his principal historical work, The (Sicilian) Histories, probably in 38 books. This work was divided into unequal sections, containing the history of Greece from its earliest days until the First Punic War (though the coverage from 289/8 onwards may have been separate). Timaeus devoted much attention to chronology, and introduced the system of reckoning by Olympiads. This system, although not adopted in everyday life, was afterwards generally used by Greek historians.
For the surviving remains of T. see FGrH 566.
[2] Of Cyme; c.400-330 BCE. See epsilon 3930, epsilon 3953. Polybius himself (12.25f), while crediting Ephorus with a knowledge of the conditions of naval warfare, ridicules his description of the battles of Leuctra and Mantineia as showing ignorance of the nature of land operations.
[3] Of Olynthos; d. 327 BCE. See kappa 240. Alexander the Great invited Callisthenes to join his expeditions to the East as his official historian, which he gladly accepted. As the king conquered new territories, Callisthenes wrote his praise, comparing him to Zeus and Achilles. But when Alexander required his subjects to prostrate themselves before him (proskynesis), Callisthenes refused; he was then accused of taking part in a conspiracy against the king, and was executed (in 327) as a traitor.
[4] For Timoleon of Corinth, the hero of Timaeus' account of Sicily in the 340s and 330s, see epsilon 95 (and mu 812), and generally OCD(4) s.v.
[5] As Adler notes, there is doubt as whether this addendum concerns Timaeus; perhaps, instead, Timagenes (tau 588) or Timochares.
C.A. Baron, Timaeus of Tauromenium and Hellenistic Historiography (C.U.P. 2013); reviewed BMCR 2013.12.23
BNJ 848
Keywords: biography; chronology; epic; ethics; geography; historiography; history; imagery; military affairs; religion
Translated by: Andrea Consogno on 12 July 2005@08:06:33.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (tweaked translation; augmented headword and notes, streamlining sopme of the latter; cosmetics) on 13 July 2005@04:23:21.
David Whitehead (added bibliography) on 13 December 2013@06:16:36.
David Whitehead (more keywords; raised status) on 13 January 2014@06:38:41.
David Whitehead (tweaked tr; another note) on 26 March 2014@07:46:17.
David Whitehead (updated 2 refs) on 5 August 2014@08:03:56.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 11 July 2015@23:42:34.
Fred Jenkins (updated references) on 19 January 2017@20:55:39.


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