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Headword: Λέων
Adler number: lambda,265
Translated headword: Leon
Vetting Status: high
Son of Leon; of Byzantium, Peripatetic philosopher and sophist. A pupil of Plato or, as some [say], of Aristotle. He wrote about the reign of Philip and Byzantium in 7 books; Teuthranticus;[1] On Besaeus;[2] The Sacred War;[3] On Issues;[4] a history of Alexander.
This man was very fat. And on an embassy to Athens he provoked laughter -- and achieved the embassy's aim -- when he was seen drinking, with an over-sized belly. He was not disturbed by the laughter, and said, 'Why are you laughing, Athenians? Because I am so fat? I have a wife who is much fatter, and when we are at one our bed is large enough for us, but when we argue our whole house is not.' The Athenian people came to an accord, brought to good order by Leon's clever and timely improvisation.[5]
This Leon, when he was trying to keep Philip away from Byzantium, was slandered by Philip in a letter to the people of Byzantium that went like this: 'if I had given Leon all the money he asked me for, I would have taken Byzantium at the first attempt.' The people, on hearing this, gathered to attack Leon's house; fearing that he would be stoned by them, he strangled himself; the wretched man gained no advantage from his intelligence and eloquence.[6]
Greek Original:
Λέων, Λέοντος, Βυζάντιος, φιλόσοφος Περιπατητικὸς καὶ σοφιστής, μαθητὴς Πλάτωνος ἢ ὥς τινες Ἀριστοτέλους. ἔγραψε τὰ κατὰ Φίλιππον καὶ τὸ Βυζάντιον βιβλίοις ζ#, Τευθραντικόν, Περὶ Βησαίου, Τὸν ἱερὸν πόλεμον, Περὶ στάσεων, Τὰ κατ' Ἀλέξανδρον. οὗτος ἦν σφόδρα παχύς. καὶ πρεσβεύσας πρὸς Ἀθηναίους γέλωτά τε ἐκίνησε καὶ τῆς πρεσβείας ἐκράτησεν, ἐπειδὴ πίων ἐφαίνετο καὶ περιττὸς τὴν γαστέρα. ταραχθεὶς δὲ οὐδὲν ἀπὸ τοῦ γέλωτος, τί, ἔφη, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι γελᾶτε; ἢ ὅτι παχὺς ἐγὼ καὶ τοσοῦτος; ἔστι μοι καὶ γυνὴ πολλῷ παχυτέρα, καὶ ὁμονοοῦντας μὲν ἡμᾶς χωρεῖ ἡ κλίνη, διαφερομένους δὲ οὐδὲ ἡ οἰκία. καὶ εἰς ἓν ἦλθεν ὁ τῶν Ἀθηναίων δῆμος, ἁρμοσθεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ Λέοντος, σαφῶς ἐπισχεδιάσαντος τῷ καιρῷ. οὗτος ὁ Λέων ἀποκρουόμενος τὸν Φίλιππον ἀπὸ τοῦ Βυζαντίου διεβλήθη παρὰ Φιλίππου πρὸς τοὺς Βυζαντίους δι' ἐπιστολῆς, ἐχούσης οὕτως: εἰ τοσαῦτα χρήματα παρεῖχον Λέοντι, ὁπόσα με ᾐτεῖτο, ἐκ πρώτης ἂν ἔλαβον τὸ Βυζάντιον. ταῦτα ἀκούσαντος τοῦ δήμου καὶ ἐπισυστάντος τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ Λέοντος, φοβηθεὶς μή πως λιθόλευστος παρ' αὐτῶν γένηται, ἑαυτὸν ἦγξε, μηδὲν ἀπὸ τῆς σοφίας καὶ τῶν λόγων κερδάνας ὁ δείλαιος.
C4 BC. See generally RE 12.2 cols. 2008-2012 s.v. Leon 23, 24 (Bux); FGrH 132; Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists 1.2; OCD4 Leon(1) (C.J. Tuplin).
[1] Teuthrania was a city in Mysia.
[2] Perhaps Berisades, king of the Odrysians, mentioned throughout Demosthenes 23): so Bernhardy.
[3] See under lambda 266.
[4] Stasis, a rhetorical term for the basis on which one argues a case. Consult the index to G. Kennedy, The art of persuasion in Greece, Princeton UP, 1963. The treatise On Issues is more plausibly attributed to [lambda 266] Leon of Alabanda.
[5] In Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 12.550F (12.74 Kaibel) this anecdote is told of Leon's fellow-citizen Python (pi 3139), and merely attributed to Leon. Python and Leon are also conflated in Philostratus (see initial note above).
[6] The story of Philip's letter and Leon's suicide has been doubted, for Leon could not have written a history of Alexander if he died during the reign of Philip. See A. Woerle, Die politische Taetigkeit der Schueler Platons (Darmstadt 1981) 126-127.
A.D. Schaefer, Demosthenes und seine Zeit, vol.2 (Leipzig: Teubner, 1886) p. 510 n.1
N.G.L. Hammond and G.T. Griffith, A History of Macedonia, vol.2 (Oxford 1979) pp. 574 n.1, 716 n.2
Keywords: biography; chronology; economics; ethics; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; philosophy; politics; religion; rhetoric; women
Translated by: Malcolm Heath on 25 February 2000@16:03:47.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics; raised status) on 11 January 2001@09:05:06.
Tony Natoli (Added to notes and bibliography. Cosmetics.) on 15 May 2001@18:44:03.
David Whitehead (added note; augmented keywords; restorative and other cosmetics) on 9 February 2003@10:34:06.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 29 August 2003@07:09:48.
Mehmet Fatih Yavuz on 24 September 2008@23:01:46.
Mehmet Fatih Yavuz (augmented biblography) on 28 September 2008@06:00:02.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 4 April 2013@09:42:47.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 5 August 2014@03:19:44.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 2 January 2015@23:42:41.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 15 January 2015@18:21:56.


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