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Headword: Πιττακός
Adler number: pi,1659
Translated headword: Pittakos, Pittacus
Vetting Status: high
Of Mytilene;[1] son of Kaikos or Hyrradios from Thrace, and a mother from Lesbos. This man was born in the 32nd Olympiad,[2] and he was one of the Seven Sages. He wrote laws, and in the 42nd Olympiad[3] he overthrew Melanchros, the tyrant of Mytilene. He also killed Phrynon, an Athenian general who was fighting for Sigeion, in single combat, by surrounding him with a net. As an old man, when he was forced to be a general, he said that "how difficult [it is] to be good."[4]
His maxim [was]: "know the moment."[5] He also wrote an elegiac poem of 600 lines, and a prose work on laws.
Greek Original:
Πιττακός, Μιτυληναῖος, υἱὸς Καϊκοῦ ἢ Ὑρραδίου Θρᾳκός, μη- τρὸς δὲ Λεσβίας. οὗτος γέγονε κατὰ τὴν λβ# ὀλυμπιάδα, εἷς καὶ αὐτὸς τῶν ζ# σοφῶν. ἔγραψε νόμους καὶ τῇ μβ# ὀλυμπιάδι Μέλαγχρον τὸν τύραννον Μιτυλήνης ἀνεῖλε καὶ Φρύνωνα στρατηγὸν Ἀθηναίων πολεμοῦντα ὑπὲρ τοῦ Σιγείου μονομαχῶν ἀπέκτεινε, δικτύῳ περιβαλὼν αὐτόν. γηραιὸς δὲ ἀναγκαζόμενος στρατηγεῖν ἔφη: ὡς χαλεπὸν ἐσθλὸν ἔμμεναι. τούτου ἀπόφθεγμα, καιρὸν γνῶθι. ἐποίησε δὲ καὶ ἐλεγεῖα ἔπη χ#, καὶ ὑπὲρ νόμων καταλογάδην.
[1] The principal city on the island of Lesbos.
[2] 652-649 BCE.
[3] 612-609 BCE.
[4] Already under pi 1658.
[5] Alternatively, know/understand due measure -- but see generally Tosi [cited under alpha 378] no.1632, for the many Greek and Latin variants of omnia tempus habent.
Pittacus (c.650-570 BCE) was elected "temporary dictator" (aisymnetes) of Mytilene after the factional strife which followed upon the overthrow of Melanchros. See (e.g.) Diogenes Laertius 1.74-81, from which this is largely excerpted; Plato, Protagoras 339C and 343A-345D.
Look under Seven Sages (DK10) in Diels and Kranz, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, vol. 1 for a list of proverbs; see also OCD4 under 'Pittacus' and 'Seven Sages'; Antony Andrewes, The Greek Tyrants chap.8.
Keywords: biography; chronology; constitution; daily life; ethics; geography; history; law; military affairs; philosophy; poetry; politics; proverbs; women
Translated by: Susan Shapiro on 9 July 1999@14:27:34.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 21 October 2001@11:27:26.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 11 November 2005@08:27:52.
David Whitehead (augmented n.5; tweaking) on 17 August 2012@05:01:32.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks; raised status) on 4 October 2013@06:17:58.
David Whitehead on 10 August 2014@05:34:36.
David Whitehead (my typo) on 10 September 2016@06:46:40.


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