BY RICHARD BENTLEY, D. D. Chaplain in Ordinary and Library-keeper to His MAJESTY.

LONDON, Printed by I. Leake, for Peter Buck, at the Sign of the Temple, near the Inner-Temple-Gate, in Fleet-Street, MDCXCVII.

Sir William Temple's Essay upon Ancient and Modern Learning, pag. 58.

IT may perhaps be further affirmed, in favour of the Ancients; That the oldest Books we have, are still in their kind the best. The two most Ancient that I know of in Prose, among those we call Profane Au­thors, are Aesop's Fables, and Phalaris's Epistles, both living near the same time, which was that of Cyrus and Pythagoras. As the first has been agreed by all Ages since for the greatest Master in his kind; and all others of that sort have been but Imita­tions of his Original: so I think the Epistles of Phalaris to have more Race, more Spirit, more Force of Wit and Genius, than any others I have ever seen either Ancient or Modern. I know, several Learned Men (or that usually pass for such, under the Name of Critics) have not esteemed them Genuine; and Politian, with some others, have attributed them to Lucian: but I think he must have little Skill in Painting, that cannot find out this to be an Original. Such Diversity of Passions, upon such Variety of Actions and Passages of Life and Govern­ment; such Freedom of Thought, such Bold­ness [Page 4] of Expression; such Bounty to his Friends, such Scorn of his Enemies; such Honour of Learned Men, such Esteem of Good; such Knowledge of Life, such Contempt of Death; with such Fierceness of Nature, and Cruelty of Revenge, could never be represented but by him that possessed them. And I esteem Lucian to have been no more capable of Writing, than of Acting what Phalaris did. In all One writ, you find the Scholar or the Sophist; and all, the Other, the Tyrant and the Commander.

To Mr. Wotton.


I Remember, that discoursing with you upon this Passage of Sir W. T. (which I have here set down,) I happen'd to say, That with all De­ference to so great an Authority, and under a just Awe of so sharp a Censure, I believed it might be even demonstrated, that the Epistles of Phalaris are Spurious, [Page 6] and that we have nothing now extant of Aesop's own Composing. This casual De­claration of my Opinion, by the power of that long Friendship that has been be­tween us, you improved into a Promise, That I would send you my Reasons in Writing, to be added to the New Edition of your Book: believing it, as I suppose, a considerable Point in the Controversie you are engaged in. For if it once be made out, that those Writings your Ad­versary so extolls, are Supposititious, and of no very long Standing; you have then His and his Parties own Confession, That some of the Later Pens have out­done the Old ones in their kinds: And to others, that have but a mean Esteem of the Wit and Stile of those Books, it will be a double Prejudice against him, in your favour, That he could neither discover the true Time, nor the true Value of his Authors.

These, I imagine, were your Thoughts; when you engaged me to this, that I am now doing. But I must take the freedom to profess, that I write without any view or regard to your Controversie; which I do not make my own, nor presume to interpose in it. 'Tis a Subject so nice and delicate, and of such a mixed and difsused nature, that I am content to make the [Page 7] best Use I can of both Ancients and Mo­derns, without venturing with you, upon the hazard of a wrong Comparison, or the envy of a true one.

That some of the Oldest Books are the best in their kinds, the same Person having the double Glory of Invention and Per­fection; is a thing observed even by some of the Ancients Dion. Chrysost. Orat. 33. P. 397.. But then the Authors they gave this Honour to, are Homer and Archilochus, one the Father of Heroic Poem, and the other of Epode and Trochaic. But the choice of Phalaris and Aesop, as they are now extant, for the two great inimitable Originals, is a piece of Cri­ticism of a peculiar Complexion, and must proceed from a Singularity of Palate and Judgment.

To pass a Censure upon all kinds of Writings, to shew their several Excel­lencies and Defects, and especially to as­sign each of them to their proper Au­thors, was the chief Province and the greatest Commendation of the Ancient Critics. And it appears from those Remains of Antiquity that are left us, that they never wanted Employment. For to forge and counterfeit Books, and father them upon Great Names, has been a Practice almost as old as Letters. But it was then most of all in fashion, when [Page 8] the Galen. in Hippoc. de Natura Hominis, Comm. 2. p. 17. Ed. Basil. Kings of Pergamus and Alexandria, rivalling one another in the Magnificence and Copiousness of their Libraries, gave great rates for any Treatises that carried the names of celebrated Authors. Which was an Invitation to the Scribes and Copyers of those Times, to enhance the Price of their Wares by ascribing them to Men of Fame and Reputation; and to suppress the true Names, that would have yielded less Money. And now and then even an Author, that wrote for Bread, and made a Traffic of his Labours, would purposely conceal himself, and personate some old Writer of eminent Note; giving the Title and Credit of his Works to the Dead, that himself might the better live by them. But what was then done chiefly for Lucre, was afterwards done out of Glory and Affectation, as an Exercise of Stile, and an Ostentation of Wit. In this the Tribe of the Sophists are principally concerned; in whose Schools it was the ordinary task to compose [...], to make Speeches and write Letters in the Name and Character of some Heroe, or great Commander or Philosopher; [...], What would Achilles, Medea, or Alexander say in such or such Circum­stances? Thus Ovid, we see, who was bred up in that way, writ Love Letters [Page 9] in the Names of Penelope and the rest. 'Tis true, they came abroad under his own Name; because they were written in Latin and in Verse, and so had no colour or pretence to be the Originals of the Graecian Ladies. But some of the Greek Sophists had the Success and Satisfaction to see their Essays in that kind pass with some Readers for the genuine Works of those they endeavoured to express. This, no doubt, was great Content and Joy to them; being as full a Testimony of their Skill in Imitation; as the Birds gave to the Painter, when they peck'd at his Grapes. One of them [...] Praef. Epist. Bruti. indeed, has dealt ingenuously, and confess'd that he feign'd the Answers to Brutus, only as a Trial of Skill: but most of them took the other way, and concealing their own Names, put off their Copies for Originals; prefer­ring that silent Pride and fraudulent Plea­sure, though it was to die with them, before an honest Commendation from Po­sterity for being good Imitators. And to speak freely, the greatest part of Mankind are so easily imposed on in this way, that there is too great Invitation to put the trick upon them. What clumsie Cheats, those Sibylline Oracles now extant, and Aristeas's Story of the Septuagint, passed without controul even among very learned Men. [Page 10] And even some Modern Attempts of this kind have met with Success not altoge­ther discouraging. For though Annius of Viterbo, after a Reputation of some Years, and Inghiramius immediately, were shamed out of all Credit: yet Sigonius's Essay de Consolatione, as coming from a skilful Hand, may perhaps pass for Cicero's with some, as long as Cicero himself shall last. Which I cannot presage of that bungling Supplement to Petronius (I mean not that from Traw, but the pretended one from Buda) that Scandal to all Forgeries: though, I hear, 'tis at present admired as a genuine Piece by some that think them­selves no ordinary Judges.


THat Sophist, whoever he was, that wrote a small Book of Letters in the Name and Character of Phalaris, (give me leave to say this now, which I shall prove by and by) had not so bad a hand at Humouring and Personating, but that several believed, it was the Tyrant himself that talked so big, and could not discover the Ass under the Skin of that Lion. For we find Stobaeus Stob. Tit. vii., quoting the 38, and 67, and 72, of those Epistles, under the Title of Phalaris. And Suidas, in the Account he gives of him, says he has wrote most admirable Letters, [...], meaning those that we are speaking of. And Iohannes Tzetzes, a Man of much rambling Learning, has many and large Extracts out of them, in his Chiliads; ascribing them all to the Tyrant whose Livery they wear. These three, I think, are the only Men among the Ancients, that make any mention of them: but since they give not the least hint of any Doubts concerning their Au­thor; we may conclude, that all the [Page 12] Scholars of those Ages received them as true Originals; so that they have the general Warrant and Certificate for this last Thousand Years before the Restora­tion of Learning. As for the Moderns; besides the Approbation of those smaller Critics, that have been concerned in the Editions of them, and cry them up of course; some very Learned Men have espoused and maintained them, such as Thomas Fazellus Histo­ria Sicula, p. 118., and Iacobus Cappellus Histo­ria Sacra & Exotica, p. 249.. Even Mr. Selden himself Marm. Arundel. p. 106. draws an Ar­gument in Chronology from them, with­out discovering any Suspicion or Jealousie of a Cheat. To whom I may add their latest and greatest Advocate; who has honoured them with that most high Character, prefixt to this Treatise.

Others, indeed, have shewn their Distrust of Phalaris's Title to them; but are content to declare their Sentiment without assigning their Reasons. Pha­laris, or some body else, [says Caelius Rhod. lib. iii. c. 7.] The Epistles that go under the Name of Phalaris, [Menagius ad Laert. p. 35.] Some name the very Person, at whose door they lay the Forgery. Lucian, whom they commonly mistake for Phalaris, [says Ang. Politianus, Epist. 1.] The Epistles of Phalaris, if they are truly his, and not rather Lucians, [Lilius Greg. Gyraldus, Poet. [Page 13] Hist. p. 88.] who, in another place, [p. 332.] informs us, that Politian's Opinion had generally obtained among the Learned of that Age: The Epistles, says he, of Pha­laris, which most People attribute to Lucian. How judiciously they ascribe them to Lucian, we shall see better anon; after I have examin'd the Case of Phalaris, who has the Plea and Right of Possession. And I shall not go to dispossess him, as those have done before me, by an Arbitrary Sentence in his own Tyrannical Way; but proceed with him upon lawful Evidence, and a fair, impartial Trial. And I am very much mistaken in the Nature and Force of my Proofs, if ever any Man hereafter, that reads them, persist in his old Opinion of making Phalaris an Au­thor.

The Censures that are made from Stile and Language alone, are commonly nice and uncertain, and depend upon slender Notices. Some very sagacious and learned Men have been deceived in those Con­jectures, even to ridicule. The great Sca­liger published a few Iambics, as a choice Fragment of an old Tragedian, given him by Muretus; who soon after confess'd the Jest, that they were made by himself. Box­hornius writ a Commentary upon a small Poem De Lite, supposed by him to be some [Page 14] ancient Author's; but it was soon discover'd to be Michael Hospitalius's, a late Chancellor of France. So that if I had no other Argu­ment, but the Stile, to detect the Spurious­ness of Phalaris's Epistles; I my self, indeed, should be satisfied with that alone, but I durst not hope to convince every body else. I shall begin therefore with another sort of Proofs, that will affect the most slow Judgments, and assure the most timid or incredulous.

The Time of Phalaris's Tyranny can­not be precisely determined, so various and defective are the Accounts of those that write of him. Eusebius sets the Be­ginning of it Olymp. XXXI, 2. Phalaris apud Agrigentinos tyrannidem exercet; and the End of it Olymp. XXXVII, 2. Phala­ridis tyrannis destructa. By which Reckon­ing he governed XXVIII Years. But St. Hierom, out of some unknown Chro­nologer (for that Note is not extant in the Greek of Eusebius) gives a different Time of his Reign, above LXXX Years later than the other; Olymp. LIII, 3. or as other Copies read it, LII, 2. Phalaris tyrannidem exercuit annos XVI. Which is agreeable to Suidas, who places him, [...], about the LII O­lympiad. If the former Account be ad­mitted, the Cheat is manifest at first [Page 15] sight: for those Letters of Phalaris to Stesichorus and Pythagoras must of necessity be false. Because Stesichorus was but VI Years old at that supposed time of Phalaris's Death; and Pythagoras was not taken notice of in Greece till LXXX Years after it. But for the sake of Aristotle and Iamblichus, who make these Three to be Contemporaries, and that I may prevent all possible Cavils and Exceptions; I am willing to allow the latter Account, the more favourable to the pretended Let­ters; his Government commencing O­lymp. LIII, 3. and expiring after XVI Years, Olymp. LVII, 3.

I. In the last Epistle, to those of Enna, a City of Sicily; Phalaris says, the Hy­blenses and Phintienses had promised to lend him Money at Interest; [...]. The Sophist was careful to mention such Cities as he knew were in Sicily. For so Ptolemee places [...] there; and Antoninus, Phintis; and Pliny, Phintienses. But it is ill luck for this Forger of Letters, that a Frag­ment of Diod. p. 867. Diodorus, a Sicilian, and well acquainted with the History of his Coun­trey, was preserved to be a Witness against him. That excellent Writer informs us, that Phintias, Tyrant of Agrigentum, (the very Place where Phalaris was be­fore [Page 16] him) first built Phintia, calling it by his own Name; [...] and that this was done, while the Romans were at War with King Pyrrhus, that is, Olymp. CXXV; which is above CCLXX Years after Pha­laris's Death, taking even the later Ac­count of St. Hierom. A pretty Slip this of our Sophist, who, like the rest of his Profession, was more vers'd in the Books of Orators than Historians, to introduce his Tyrant borrowing Money of a City, almost CCC Years before it was named or built.

II. In the XCII Epistle, he threatens Stesichorus the Poet, for raising Money and Soldiers against him at Aluntium and Alaesa, [...]: and that perhaps he might be snapt, before he got home again from Alaesa to Himera, [...]. What a pity 'tis again, that the Sophist had not read Dio­dorus: for he would have told him, that this Alaesa was not in being in Phalaris's days. Diod. p. 246. It was first built by Archonides, a Sicilian, Olymp. XCIV, 2. or, as others say, by the Carthaginians, about Two Years before. So that here are above CXX Years slipt, since the latest period of Pha­laris. And we must add above a dozen more to the reckoning, upon the Sophist's [Page 17] own score: For this Letter is supposed to bear date before Stesichorus and Phalaris were made Friends; which was a dozen Years, as he tells his Tale Epist. 103., before Stesichorus died; and Phalaris he makes to survive him. I am aware, that the same Author says, Diod. ibid. that there were other Cities in Sicily, called Alaesa: But it is evident from the situation, that this Alaesa of Archonides is meant in the Epistles; for this lies on the same Coast with Himera and Aluntium, (to which two the Sophist here joins it,) and is at a small distance from them. And indeed there was no other Town of that name in the days of the Sophist, the rest being ruin'd long before.

III. The LXX Epistle gives an account of several rich Presents to Polyclitus the Messenian Physician, for doing a great cure upon Phalaris. Among the rest, he names [...], ten couple of Thericlean cups. But there is another thing, besides a pretty Invention, very useful to a Lyar; and that is, a good Memory. For we will suppose our Author to have once known something of these Cups, the time and the reason they were first called so; but that he had unhappily forgot it, when he writ this Epistle. They were large Drinking-Cups, of a peculiar [Page 18] shape, so called from the first Contriver of them, one Thericles a Corinthian Potter. Pliny, by mistaking his Author Theo­phrastus, makes him a Turner, [lib. XVI. cap. 40.] Celebratur & Thericles nomine, calices ex terebintho solitus facere torno. The words of Theophrastus are these, [Hist. Plant. I. V. cap. 4.] [...]; That the Turners make Thericlean Cups of the Turpentine tree, which cannot be distinguished from those made by the Potters. Here can nothing be gathered hence, to make The­ricles himself a Turner; for after he had first invented them, they were called Theri­clean, from their shape, whatsoever Ar­tificer made them, and whether of Earth, or of Wood, or of Metal. But as I said, by the general consent of Writers, we must call him a Potter. Hesychius, [...]. Lucian [in Lexiphanes, pag. 960.] [...]. Etymo­logicon M. [...]. The words of Eubulus, whom he cites, are extant in Athenaeus, [lib. XI. p. 471.]


[Page 19]And again;


Now the next thing to be enquired, is the Age of this Thericles; and we learn that from Athenaeus; one Witness indeed, but as good as a multitude in a matter of this nature, [pag. 470.] [...]; This Cup, says he, was invented by Thericles the Corinthian Potter, who was contemporary with Aristo­phanes the Comaedian. And in all proba­bility, he had this indication from some Fable of that Poet's, now lost; where that Corinthian was mention'd, as one then alive. But all the Plays that we have left of his, are known to have been written and acted between the LXXXIIX and XCVII O­lympiads, which is an interval of XXXVI years. Take now the very first year of that number; and Thericles, with the Cups that had their appellation from him, come above CXX years after Phalaris's death.

But I must remove one Objection that may be made against the force of this Ar­gument: for some ancient Grammarians give a quite different account, why such [Page 20] Cups were called Thericlean. Some de­rive the word, [...], from the skins of Beasts that were figured upon them: and Pamphilus the Alexan­drian Athe­naeus, pag. 471. would have them called so, [...], because Beasts were scared and frightned, when, in Sacrifices, Wine was poured upon them out of those Cups. So I interpret the words of Pamphilus; [...]. For what is more ordinary in old Authors, than the memory of that custom of pour­ing wine on the heads of the Victims?

Ipsa tenens dextra pateram pulcherrima Dido Candentis vaccae media inter cornua fudit.

Nor are wild Beasts only called [...], but tame too, such as Bulls and Cows; as the Epigrammatist calls the Minotaure, [...]. I cannot therefore comprehend why the most learned Is. Ca­saubon will read [...] in this passage, and not [...]. For I own, I see little or no sense in it, according to his Lection. And as for the Authority of the ancient Epitomizer of Athenaeus, who, he says, reads it [...]; one may be certain, 'twas a fault only in that Copy of him that Casaubon used. For Eustathius, who ap­pears never to have seen the true Athenaeus, [Page 21] but only that Epitome, read it in his Book [...], and took it in the same sence that I now interpret it, [p. 1209. Iliad.] H [...]. And now for those two derivations of the word [...]; was ever any thing so forced, so frigid, so unworthy of refutation? Does not common Analogy plainly shew, that as from [...] comes [...], from [...], and many such like; so [...] must be from [...]? besides so many express Authorities for it, which I have cited before. To which I may add that of Iulius Pollux, [l. VI. c. 16.] [...]: and Plutarch in P. Aemilius, [pag. 273.] [...]. And Clemens Alexand. [II. Paed. p. 69.] [...]. For one may justly inferr, that both Plutarch and Clemens believed [...] to be from [...]; because they join them with those other Cups, all which had their names from Men that either invented or used them. And so says a Manuscript note upon that passage of Clemens; [...]. So that upon the whole, let Pamphilus and those other Grammarians [Page 22] help him as they can, our Sophist stands fully convicted, upon this Indictment, of forgery and imposture.

I must here beg leave of the late learned Editors of our Mock Phalaris, with whom I must by and by have some further expo­stulation, to dissent from their new ver­sion of this passage; whereby this argu­ment from Thericles would vanish into nothing. For instead of ten couple of The­riclean Cups, as the former Interpreters honestly translate it, they present us, as an emendation, with the like number of GLASSES, Poculorum Vitreorum, leaving us not the least footstep of our Corinthian Potter. But methinks these Glasses come in but odly and stingily among those other things named there of great value, [...], &c. Vessels of Gold and Silver, beautiful Slaves, fifty thousand Drachmae, and a liberal yearly Pension for Life. If Agathocles the Tyrant had made this Present of a score of Glasses, it might have passed for a mark of favour: because he was a Potter in his youth, and we might suppose them of his own making. And as I remember, Diodorus tells such a story of him. But why Pha­laris should make so cheap and brittle a Complement, I cannot conjecture. 'Tis true, Suidas translates it a Glass, [...] [Page 23] [...]: and Etymolog. Mag. [...]. But we know the old Lexicons chiefly consist of Excerpta out of Scholiasts and Glossaries upon particular Authors; one of which, in one single place, might expound it a Glass. But that it must universally mean so, or particularly in this passage before us, neither the use of the Language, nor good Sense will allow. For besides Earth, which was the first Material; some were made of Wood, as Theophrastus says in the place already cited; others of Silver or Gold, as Plutarch in P. Aemi­lius; [...]. And Athenaeus, [lib. v. p. 199.] [...]. And I conceive, it were more agreeable to the Generosity of Phalaris, which is the sub­ject of so many Letters, to suppose these Thericlean Cups to be Silver at least, if not a more precious Metal.

IV. In the LXXXV Epistle, he boasts of a great Victory obtained over the Zan­cleans; [...] ▪ But the very preceding Letter, and the XXI, are directed to the Messenians, [...], and the City is there called [...][Page 24] and in the First Epist. he speaks of [...]. Here we see we have mention made of Zancleans and Messenians; as if Zancle and Messana were two diffe­rent Towns. Certainly the true Phalaris could not write thus; and it is a piece of ignorance inexcusable in our Sophist, not to know that both those names belong'd to one and the same City, at different times. Strabo, [lib. VI. p. 268.] [...]; Messana, which was before called Zancle. See also Herodotus, [lib. VII.] and Diodorus, [lib. IV.] and others. Per­haps it may be suspected, in behalf of these Epistles, that this change of Name was made, during those XVI years of Pha­laris's Tyranny; and then supposing the LXXXV Letter to be written before the change, and the other Three after it, this argument will be evaded. But Thu­cydides will not suffer this suspicion to pass, who relates, Lib. vi. P. 414. that at the time of Xerxes's expedition into Greece (which was Olymp. LXXIII.) Anaxilaus King of Rhegium besieged Zancle, and took it, and called it Messana, from the Peloponnesian City of that name, the place of his nati­vity. The same says Lib. vi. cap. 23. Herodotus: and agreeably to this narrative, Lib. xi. P. 37. Diodorus sets down the death of this Anaxilaus Olymp. LXXVI, I. when he had reigned [Page 25] XVIII years. Take now the latest ac­counts of Phalaris's death, according to to St. Hierom; and above LX years inter­vene between that, and the new naming of Zancle. So that unless we dare ascribe to that Tyrant a Spirit of Vaticination, we cannot acquit the Author of the Let­ters of so manifest a cheat.

But I love to deal ingenuously, and will not conceal one testimony in his favour, which is that of Messen. P. 134. Pausanias, who tells the story very differently from Herodotus and Thucydides, placing this same Anaxilaus of Rhegium about a CLXXX years higher than they do; That he as­sisted the Refugees of Messana in Pelopon­nesus, after the second war with the Spar­tans, to take Zancle in Sicily; which thereupon was called Messana, Olymp. XXIX: [...]. Now if this be true, we must needs put-in one word for our Sophist; that Phalaris might name the Messenians, without pretending to the gift of Prophecy. Sicil. Antiq. P. 85. Cluverius indeed would spoil all again; for he makes it a fault in our Copies of Pausanias, and for [...] the XXIX Olymp. reads [...] the LXIX; which is too great a number, to do our Author any service. But we will [Page 26] not take an advantage against him, from a mistake of Cluverius; for without que­stion, the true Lection is [...] the XXIX; because the time of the Messenian War agrees with that computation, and not with the other: and the ancient Euseb. Scalig. P. 39. Cata­logue of the Olympionicae puts Chionis's Victory at that very year. [...]. So that if Pau­sanias's Credit is able to bear him out, our Author, as to this present point, may still come off with reputation. But alas! what can Pausanias do for Him, or for him­self, against Herodotus, and Thucydides, that liv'd so near the time they speak of; against those other unknown Authors that Diodorus transcribed; against the whole tenor of History, confirm'd by so many Synchronisms and Concurrences that even demonstrate Anaxilaus to have lived in the days of Xerxes, and his Father; when Theron, and not Phalaris, was Hero­dot. lib. vii. P. 438 [...], Monarch of Agrigentum. Nay, though we should be so obliging, so par­tial to our Sophist, as for his sake to cre­dit Pausanias against so much greater Au­thority; yet still the botch is incurable; 'tis running in debt with one man, to pay off another. For, how then comes it to pass, that the Messenians in another Letter, [Page 27] are in this called Zancleans? which, by that reckoning of Pausanias, had been an obsolete forgotten word, an hundred years before the date of this pretended Epistle.

V. That same XCII Letter, which has furnish'd us already with one detection of the Imposture, will, if strictly examin'd, make a second confession, from these words, [...]; 'tis a threat of Phalaris to the Himeraeans, That he would extirpate them like a Pine­tree. Now here again am I concerned for our Sophist, that he is thus taken tripping. For the Original of this Saying is thus related by Lib. vi. cap. 37. Herodotus: When the Lampsaceni in Asia had taken captive Miltiades the Athenian, Craesus King of Lydia sent them a Message; That if they did not set him free, he would come and extirpate them like a Pine; [...]. The men of Lampsacus understood not the meaning of that expression, like a Pine; till one of the eldest of them hit upon it, and told them, That of all trees, the Pine, when once it is cut down, never grows again, but utterly perishes. We see the phrase was then so new and unheard of, that it puzled a whole City. But now if Craesus was upon that occasion the first Author of this [Page 28] Saying, what becomes of this Epistle? For this, as I observed before, being pre­tended to be written above a dozen years before Phalaris's death, carries date at least half a dozen before Croesus began his reign.

Nay, there is good ground of suspicion, that Herodotus himself, who wrote an Hundred Years after Phalaris was kill'd, was the first broacher of this expression. For 'tis known, those first Historians make every body's Speeches for them. So that the blunder of our Sophist is so much the more shameful. The Third Chapter of the VIII Book of A. Gellius, which is now lost, carried this Title; Quod Herodotus parum vere dixerit, unam so­lamque pinum arborum omnium caesam nun­quam denuo ex iisdem radicibus pullulare; ‘That Herodotus is in the wrong, in say­ing, that of all trees, a Pine only, if lopt, never grows again.’ I suppose, Gellius, in that Chapter told us, Hist. Pl. lib. iv. c. 19. Caus. Pl. l. v. c. 24. Plin. l. xvii. c. 24. out of Theo­phrastus, of some other trees, beside the Pine, that perish by lopping; the Pitch­tree, the Firr, the Palm, the Cedar, and the Cypress. But I would have it ob­served, that he attributes the Saying, and the Mistake about it, not to Croesus, but to Herodotus: after whom, it became a Proverb, which denotes an utter de­struction, [Page 29] without any possibility of flou­rishing again. See [...] in Ze­nobius, Diogenianus, and Suidas. And 'tis remarkable, that our Letter-monger has Herodotus's very words, [...] and [...]; when all those three other Writers have [...] for [...], and [...] instead of [...]: which shews he had in his eye and memory this very place of Herodotus. A strange piece of stupidity, or else con­tempt of his Readers, to pretend to assume the garb and person of Phalaris, and yet knowingly to put words in his mouth, not heard of till a whole Century after him.

But here again our late Editors, as if they had been bribed for the Sophist, have lopt off and destroyed this branch of our Evidence, as far as lay in their power: for they have made bold to execute this Proverb upon it self, and have quite extir­pated the Pine-tree out of their new Ver­sion: [...]; that is, qui eos in arundinis morem conteret, ‘who will bruise them like a Reed,’ (say our critical Interpreters.) It seems, the Translation in the former Editions, Qui eos exscindam instar pinus, was too easie and vulgar. In H. Scripture, indeed, there is mention, by a very elegant Meta­phor, of bruised and broken Reeds. But [Page 30] why Reeds must be transplanted hither, and the innocent Pine rooted up, I confess to be above my small understanding in Gardening.

VI. In the LXXXV Epistle, we have al­ready taken notice of our Mock-Tyrant's triumph; [...], That he had utterly routed the Tauromenites and the Zancleans. But there's an old and true Saying, [...], Many new and strange things happen in War. For we have just now seen those same routed Zancleans rise up again, after a Thousand Years, to give him a worse defeat. And now the others too are taking their turn to revenge their old losses. For These, though they are called Tauromenites, both here, and in the XV, XXXI, and XXXIII Epistles, make protestation against the name; and de­clare they were called Naxians, in the days of the true Phalaris. Taurominium, quae antea Naxos, says Pliny, [lib. III. c. VIII.] Taurominium, quam prisci Naxon vocabant, says Solinus, [cap. XI.] Whence it is, that Herodotus and Thucydides, because they writ before the change of the name, never speak of Taurominium, but of Naxos, and the Naxians. A full account of the time, and the reason, and the manner of the change, is thus given by Lib. xiv p. 282, & 305. Diodorus. [Page 31] Some Sicilians planted themselves O­lymp. XCVI, 1. upon a Hill called Taurus, near the ruines of Naxus, and built a new town there, which they called Tauro­menion, [...], from their settlement upon Taurus. About Forty Years after this, Olymp. CV. 3. Lib. XV. p. 411. one Andromachus a Tauromenite gathered all the remnant of the old Naxians that were dispersed through Sicily, and persuaded them to fix there. This is such a plain and punctual testimony, that neither the power and stratagems of the Tyrant, nor the rhetoric of the Sophist, are able to evade it. Where are those then, that cry up Phalaris for the florid Author of the Letters? who was burnt in his own Bull, above CL Years before Taurominium was ever thought on.

But I shall not omit one thing in defense of the Epistles; which though it will not do the work, let it go, however, as far as it can. We have allowed, that Pythagoras was contemporary with Phalaris; and yet in the History of that Philosopher, we are told of his conversation and ex­ploits at Taurominium. Porphyry says, Vita Pythag. p. 169. He deliver'd Croton and Himera, [...], and Taurominium, from Tyrants: and, P. 192, & 193▪ That in one and the same day he was at Metapontium in Italy, and [Page 32] Taurominium in Sicily. The same story is told by Iambl. p. 128. Iamblichus; who supplies us too with another, P. 109. That a young man of Taurominium being got drunk, [...], Pythagoras played him sober by a few tunes of grave Spondees. These several passages seem to concurr with, and confirm the credit of the Let­ters, that Taurominium had a Name and Being in the time of Pythagoras and Pha­laris. All this would be very plausible, and our Sophist might come off with a whole skin, but for a cross figure in his own Art, Rhetoric, called Prolepsis or An­ticipation, viz. when Poets or Historians call any place by a name, which was not yet known in the times they write of. As when Virgil says of Aeneas, ‘—Lavinaque venit Littora: and of Daedalus, ‘Chalcidicá (que) levis tandem superadstitit arce:’ he is excused by Prolepsis; though those places were not yet called so in the times of Daedalus and Aeneas. So when Por­phyry and Iamblichus name Taurominium in the story of Pythagoras; meaning Naxos, which was afterwards called so; the same figure acquits Them. For 'tis no more, than when I say, Julius Caesar conquered [Page 33] France, and made an expedition into Eng­land: though I know that Gaul and Bri­tain were the names in that age. But when Phalaris mentions Taurominium so many generations before it was heard of, he cannot have the benefit of that same Prolepsis. For this is not a Poetical, but a Prophetical Anticipation. And he must either have had the Praescience and Divination of the Sibyls, or his Epistles are as false and commentitious as our Sibyl­line Oracles.

VII. The XXXV Letter to Polygnotus presents us with a Sentence of Moral, [...], That wise men take Words for the shadow of Things; that is, as the Shadow is not alone without the presence of the Body, so Words are accompanied with the Action. 'Tis a very notable Saying, and we are obliged to the Author of it; and if Phalaris had not modestly hinted, that others had said it before him, we might have taken it for his own. But then there was either a strange jumping of good Wits, or Democritus was a sorry Plagiary; for He laid claim to the first Invention of it, as Vita Democrit. Diogenes Laertius says, [...]: and De Edu­cat. Puer. Plutarch, [...]. What shall we say to this [Page 34] matter? Democritus had the character of a man of Probity and Wit; who had neither inclination, nor need, to filch the Sayings of others. Besides, here are Plu­tarch and Diogenes, two witnesses that would scorn to flatter, and to ascribe it to Democritus, had they ever read it in others before him. This bears hard indeed upon the Author of the Letters: but how can we help it? He should have minded his hits better, when he was minded to act the Tyrant. For Democritus, the first Author of the Sentence, was too young to know even Pythagoras, [...], says Vita Democ. Diogenes; and yet Pythagoras survived Phalaris, nay, deposed him, if we will believe his Scholars. We may allow Forty Years space for Demo­critus's writing; from the LXXXIV Olymp. to the XCIV, in which he died. Now the earliest of this is above an Hundred Years after the last period of Phalaris.

I am sensible that De Daem. Michael Psellus re­fers this Saying to Simonides; and Epist▪ 252, & 259. Isi­dorus Peleus. to the Lacedaemonians. But these two are of little authority, in a case of this nature, against Plutarch and Dio­genes. Neither would the matter be mended, should we accept of their te­stimony. For Simonides was but Seven Years old, or, as others say, yet unborn, [Page 35] when Phalaris was kill'd. And were it a Lacedaemonian Apophthegm, though the date be undetermined, it might fair­ly be presumed to be more recent than He.

VIII. In the LI Epistle to Eteonicus there is another Moral Sentence; [...]; Mortal Men ought not to enter­tain Immortal Anger. But I am afraid he will have no better success with this, than the former. For Lib. ii. cap. 21. Aristotle, in his Rhetoric, among some other sententious Verses, cites this Iambic, as commonly known;


This, though the Author of it be not named, was, probably, like most of those Proverbial Gnomae, borrow'd from the Stage; and consequently, must be later than Phalaris, let it belong to what Poet you please, Tragic or Comic.

But because it may be suspected, that the Poet himself might take the Thought from common usage, and only give it the turn and measure of a Verse; let us see if we can discover some plainer foot-steps of Imitation, and detect the lurking Sophist under the mask of the

[Page 36]Tyrant. Tit. XX. [...]. Stobaeus gives us these Verses out of Euripides's Philoctetes;


Now to him that compares these with the words of the Epistle, 'twill be evident, that the Author had this very passage be­fore his Pen; there is [...] and [...]; not only a sameness of sense, but even of words, and those not necessary to the Sentence: which could not fall out by accident. And where has he now a Friend at a pinch, to support his sinking credit? for Euripides was not born in Phalaris's time. Nay, to come nearer to our mark; from Argu­ment. Me­deae Eurip. Aristophanes the famous Gram­marian, (who, after Aristotle, Callimachus, and others, writ the [...], A Ca­talogue and Chronology of all the Plays of the Poets; a Work, were it now extant, most useful to ancient History,) we know that this very Fable, Philoctetes, was written Olymp. LXXXVII; which is CXX Years after the Tyrant's Destruction.

IX. The XII Epistle exhibits Phalaris making this complement to his Friends; [...]; That while they continued in prosperity, his joy [Page 37] for that, though himself should fall under misfortunes, would still make him happy. But methinks those words, [...], the Other God, or Genius, that is, the Bad one, have a quaintness in them some­thing Poetical, and I am mistaken if they be not borrowed from some Retainer to the Muses. And now I call it to mind, they are Pyth. 3. Pindar's,


or Callimachus's; for this Scazon of his is there cited by the Scholiast,


Whether of these our Author made bold with, I cannot determine. Pindar I should encline to guess, but that I find him fa­miliar with Callimachus upon another oc­casion; Epist. CXXII. speaking of Perillus's invention of the Brazen Bull; [...]. Where he has taken that expression, [...], from these Verses of Schol▪ Pind. Pyth. 1. Cal­limachus that concern the same business;


But be it either of them as you will, I suppose the Ages of both those Poets are [Page 38] well enough known; so that without any computation of Years, one may pronounce these fine Epistles not to belong to Pha­laris himself, but to his Secretary the Sophist.

X. The XXIII Epistle is directed to Pythagoras; and there he gives to his Do­ctrine and Institution the name of Phi­losophy; [...]. And so again in the LVI. he gives him the title of Philosopher, [...]. I could shew now, from a whole crowd of Authors, that Py­thagoras was the first man that invented that word; but I shall content my self with two, Diogenes Laertius, and Cicero. The former says, P. 3. &. 26. [...]; Pythagoras first named Philosophy, and called himself Phi­losopher, in conversation with Leon the Tyrant of Sicyon, or, as some say, of Phlius. The latter tells us, Tu [...]cul. Quaest. l. V. That when Pytha­goras had discoursed before Leon, the Ty­rant much taken with his wit and eloquence, asked him what Art or Trade he profest. Art, says Pythagoras, I profess none, but I am a PHILOSOPHER. Leon, in ad­miration at the newness of the name, enquires [Page 39] what those Philosophers were, and wherein they differed from other men; ‘Quinam essent Philosophi, & quid inter eos & reliquos interesset.’ What a difference is here between the two Tyrants? The one knows not what Philosopher means; the other seems to account it as thread­bare a word, as the name of Wise Men of Greece; and that too, before ever he had spoken with Pythagoras. We cannot tell, at this distance of time, which Conversa­tion was first, that with Phalaris, or that with Leon. But allowing Leon's to be the first, yet it could not be long before the other. And 'tis very hard to believe, that the fame of so small a business could so soon reach Phalaris's ear in his Castle, through his Guard of Blue-coats, and the loud bellowings of his Bull. Nay, could we suppose him to have heard of it; yet sure­ly when he had written to Pythagoras, he would have usher'd the Word in with some kind of introduction, That Science which you call Philosophy; and not speak of it as familiarly, as if it had been the language of his Nurse.

XI. In the LXIII Epistle, he is in great wrath with one Aristolochus, a Tragic Poet that no body ever heard of, for writing Tragedies against him, [...]: and in the XCVII. he threatens [Page 40] Lysinus, another Poet of the same stamp with the former, for writing against him both Tragedies and Hexameters, [...]. Now to for­give him that silly expression, of writing Tragedies against Him, for he could not be the Argument of Tragedy, while he was living; I must take the boldness to tell him, who am out of his reach, that he lays a false crime to their charge. For there was no such Thing nor Word as Tragedy, while he tyranniz'd at Agrigentum. That we may slight that obscure story about Epi­genes the Sicyonian, Thespis, we know, was the first Inventor of it;

Ignotum Tragicae genus invenisse camaenae
Dicitur, & plaustris vexisse poemata Thespis.

Neither was the Name of Tragedy more ancient than the Thing; as sometimes it happens, when an old Word is borrowed and applied to a new Notion; but both were born together: the Name being taken from [...], the Goat that was the Prize to the best Poet and Actor. But Alcestis, the first Tragedy of Thespis, was acted about Marm. Arund. Sui­das [...]. the LXI Olymp. which is more than twelve Years after Phalaris's death.

XII. Had all other ways fail'd us of detecting this Impostor, yet his very [Page 41] Speech had betray'd him. For his Lan­guage is Attic, the beloved Dialect of the Sophists, in which all their [...], or Exercises, were composed; in which they affected to excell each other, even to Pe­dantry and Solecism. But he had forgot that the Scene of these Epistles was not Athens, but Sicily, where the Doric tongue was generally spoken and written; as besides the testimonies of others, the very Thing speaks it self in the Remains of Sicilian Authors, Sophron, Epicharmus, Stesichorus, Theocritus, Moschus, and others. How comes it to pass then, that our Tyrant transacts every thing in Attic, not only foreign Affairs of State, but domestic Mat­ters with Sicilian Friends, but the very Accounts of his Houshold? Pray, how came that Idiom to be the Court Lan­guage at Agrigentum? 'Tis very strange, that a Tyrant, and such a Tyrant as He, should so doat on the Dialect of a De­mocraty, which was so eminently [...], the Hater of Tyrants; which, in his very days, had driven out Pisi­stratus, though a generous and easie Go­vernour. Especially, since in those early times, before Stage-Poetry and Philo­sophy and History had made it famous over Greece, that Dialect was no more valued than any of the rest.

[Page 42]I would not be here mistaken; as if I affirmed, that the Doric was absolutely universal, or original in Sicily. I know, that the old Sicani, the Natives of the Isle, had a peculiar Language of their own; and that the Greek Tongue there, like the Punic, was only a foreigner, being intro­duced by those Colonies that planted themselves there. Most of which coming from Corinth, Crete, Rhodes, &c. where all spoke the Doric Dialect; thence it was that the same Idiom so commonly ob­tained almost all over Sicily; as it ap­pears to have done, to omit other testi­monies, from the ancient Medals of that Island, [...]; all which words, inscribed up­on their Money, demonstrate the Doric Dialect to have been then the language of those Cities. 'Tis true, there came some Colonies to Sicily, from Euboea, and Samos, and other places; which, in those Parts where they settled, might speak, for a while, the Ionic or the Attic; and after­wards, being mixed with the Dorians, might make a new sort of Dialect, a com­pound of both: as Lib. vi. p. 414. Thucydides ob­serves of Himera, that the language of that City was at first a medly of Doric and Chalcidi [...]. But that is no more than what [Page 43] happen'd even in Greece it self, where there were many Ventus Auctor [...]. [...], local sub-Divisions of every Dialect, one Country having always some singularity of Speech, not used by any other. But those little peculiarities do not hinder us from saying in general, that the Sicilians spoke Doric. For the other Dialects were swallowed up and extinguished by those two powerful Cities of Dorian Original, Syracuse, and Agrigentum, that shared the whole Island between them. Syracuse was a Corinthian Colony, and spoke Theo­crit. Id. xv. the Dialect of her Mother City. Agrigentum was first built by the Geloans of Sicily, who had been themselves a Plantation of the Cretans and Rhodians, both of which were Dorian Nations. So that upon the whole, though in some other Towns, and for a time, there might be a few foot­steps of the Ionic and Attic; yet our So­phist is inexcusable, in making a Tyrant of Agrigentum, a City of Doric Language and Original, write Epistles in such a Dialect, as if he had gone to School at Athens.

But there is a Vid. Eurip. E­dit. Cantab. p. 523. learned Greek Pro­fessor (whose Pardon I must ask, that I forgot to name him above, among the Patrons of Phalaris,) who, after he has asserted the credit of Euripides's Letters, [Page 44] gratuitously undertakes to apologize for These too, about this matter of the Dia­lect. First, says he, Is e­nim Asty­pala natus erat, una ex Cycla­dibus ubi Athenien­sium erat Colonia. because Phalaris was born at Astypala, an Island of the Cy­clades, where was an Athenian Colony, that is one reason for his speaking Attic. It were easie to overthrow this first argu­ment at once; by refuting our spurious Epistles, and by shewing, from much bet­ter Authority, that Phalaris was a Sicilian born. But I may speak, perhaps of that by and by; and I will have every Proof I bring stand by it self, without the support of another. Let us allow then, that Phalaris came from Astypalaea, (for so it is to be called;) not that Isle of the Cyclades, according to v. [...]. Stephanus; but of the Sporades, mention'd by Lib. x. p. 488. Strabo and Lib. iv. cap. 12. Pliny: for this latter was nearest to Crete, whither Phalaris's Wife and Son are supposed to have fled, Epist. LXIX. 'Tis true, our late industrious Editors have discovered a new place of his birth, Vid. Vitam Phalar. & Indi­cem. Edic. O [...]n. Astypalaea, a City of Crete, never men­tion'd before by any Geographer, situate in the 370th. deg. of Longit. bearing South and by North off of Utopia. And I am wholly of their opinion, that he was born in that, or in none of them. But because Tradition is rather for the Island, we will beg their good leave to suppose it [Page 45] to be so: and There, as it seems, was formerly a Plantation of Athenians; and Phalaris being one of their Posterity, must needs, for that reason, have a twang of their Dialect. Now, what a pity 'tis, that Phalaris himself, or his Secre­tary, did not know of this Plantation, when he writ the CXX Letter to the Athe­nians, [...]! What a fine complement would he have made upon that subject of their Kindred! If any one know an express testimony, that there was an Athenian Colony at that Astypalaea, he can teach me more than I now remember. This I know in general, from Lib. 1. p. 10. [...]. Thucydides and others, that the Athenians sent Colonies to most of the Islands; and so That may come in among the rest. But what then? must the Lan­guage for ever afterwards be Attic, where­ever the Athenians once had footing? Thucydides says in the same passage, That they planted Ionia. They had Colonies at Miletus, at Ephesus, and most of the Maritime Towns of Asia Minor. Nay, the Ionians and the Attics were anciently one People, and the Language the same: and when Homer says, Strab [...], lib. viii. p. 333. & lib. ix. p. 392. [...], by the latter he is known to mean the Athenians. And yet we see, that in process of time, the Colonies had a diffe­rent [Page 46] Dialect from that of the Mother Nation. Why then must Astypalaea needs be Attic? and that so tenaciously, that twenty Years living in Sicily could not at all alter it in one of her Islanders? He was part of that time a Polyae­nus Stra­tag. Publican, or Collector of Taxes and Customs: Could not that perpetual negoce and converse with Dorians bring his mouth, by de­grees, to speak a little broader? Would not He that Ibid. aim'd at Monarchy, and for that design studied to be popular, have quitted his old Dialect for that of the place; and not by every word he spoke make the invidious discovery of his being a Stranger? But what if, after all, even the Astypalaeans themselves should be found to speak Doric? If we make a conjecture from their neighbourhood, and the com­pany they are put in, we can scarce que­stion but they were Dorians. Lib. x. p. 488. Strabo says, the Island lies between Cos, and Rhodes, and Crete, [...]. And that all these three used the Doric Dialect, is too well known, to need any proof.

But let us hear the Second Apology for the Atticism of Phalaris. Sed nec ipse Diodo­rus Siculus nec Empedocles Agrigentinus, nec Ocellus Lucanus Dorice sed Attice fere scripserunt. He defends him by the like practice of others; that [Page 47] being Dorians born, repudiated their ver­nacular Idiom for that of the Athenians; as Diodorus of Agyrium, Empedocles of Agri­gentum, and Ocellus of Lucania. So that, though Phalaris be supposed to be a Na­tive of Sicily, yet here is an excuse for him, for quitting the Language. But I conceive, with submission, that this Ar­gument is built partly upon a vulgar Mistake, and partly upon such Instances as are quite different and aliene from the case of our Epistles.

Ocellus Lucanus, the Pythagorean Phi­losopher, writ a small Treatise Of the Na­ture of the Universe; which has been seve­ral times printed, and is [...], in the common and ordinary Greek. But, if I may expect thanks for the discovery, I dare engage to make out; that the Au­thor compos'd it, not in the dress that it now wears, but in Doric, his own Country fashion. For I find, it was agreed and covenanted among all the Scholars of that Italian Sect, Iam­blichus Vit. Pythagor▪ 202. [...], to use their own Mother-Tongue: this was the injunction of Pythagoras; this was the tessera of the whole Party; and those that know any thing of their story, will be­lieve they would have lost their Lives, rather than have broken it. 'Tis most certain, if one had publish'd a Book against [Page 48] that Injunction, he would have been banish'd the Society. Besides, when Iambli­chus tells us of this Compact of theirs, he makes not one Exception to it; which he could not have miss'd, neither from igno­rance nor forgetfulness, if so common a Tract as this of Ocellus had been writ in the Attic. Nay, we are assured, that other Pieces of this Author were made in the Doric; as one Of Law, [...], cited by Eclog. Phys. c. 16. Stobaeus: the fragment begins thus; [...]. But, which is plain demonstra­tion, four citations are brought by the Ibid. c. 24. same Writer out of this very Book, [...], About the Nature of the Universe; all which are in Doric, and not, as they are now extant, in the ordinary Dialect. The first of them be­gins thus, [...]: which is thus extant in the vulgar Edit. Cantab. Ocellus, p. 16. [...]. The second, thus beginning, [...], extant p. 17. The third, [...], &c. thus extant, p. 21. [...]. The fourth [...] [Page 49] [...]; extant in ordinary Greek, p. 31. [...]. From which passages these two points are manifestly evinced; That Ocellus composed his Writings in Doric, and so is falsely brought in for an Excuse to our Phalaris: and, which is much more considerable, That this Tract of his now extant, is to be acknowledged for a genuine Work; which hitherto Learned Men have doubted of, from this very busi­ness of the Dialect. For we now see by these Fragments, that every word of the true Book is faithfully preserved; the Doric only being changed into the ordi­nary Language, at the fancy of some Copyer since the days of Stobaeus.

As for Empedocles and Diodorus, a Poet and an Historian, their case is widely re­mote from that of our Tyrant. The former, being to write an Epic Poem, show'd an excellent judgment in laying aside his Country Dialect for that of the Ionians; which Homer and his followers had used before him, and had given it, as it were, the dominion of all Heroic Poetry. For the Doric Idiom had not Grace and Majesty enough for the Subject he was engaged in; being proper indeed for Mimes, Comedies, and Pastorals, where Men of ordinary rank are represented; or for [Page 50] Epigrams, a Poem of a low vein; or for Lyrics, and the Chorus of Tragedy, upon the account of the Doric Music; but not to be used in Heroic, without great dis­advantage. And the Historian likewise, with the rest of that and other Dorian Na­tions, Philistus, Timaeus, Ephorus, Hero­dotus, Dionysius Halic. &c. had great reason to decline the use of their verna­cular Tongue, as improper for History; which, besides the affectation of Elo­quence, aims at Easiness and Perspicuity, and is designed for general use. But the Doric is course and rustic, and always clouded with an obscurity; [...], says Vita Pythag. p. 205. Por­phyry; who attributes the decay of the Pythagorean Sect to their writing in that Dialect. And we have just now seen an instance of it; since some body thought it worth his labour, to transcribe Ocellus into another Idiom. And now, what affinity is there between Phalaris's case, and that of Historians, or Heroic Poets? What mighty motives can be here for assuming a foreign Dialect? The Letters are dated in the middle of Sicily, mostly directed to the next Towns, or to some of his own Domestics, about private affairs, or even the expences of his family, and never de­signed for the public view. If any will [Page 51] still excuse the Tyrant for Atticizing in those circumstances, 'tis hard to deny them the glory of being the faithfullest of his Vassals.

XIII. But since Tyrants will not be confined by Laws; let us suppose, if you will, that our Phalaris might make use of the Attic, for no reason at all, but his own arbitrary humour and plea­sure: yet we have still another Indictment against the credit of the Epistles. For even the Attic of the true Phalaris's age is not there represented; but a more recent Idiom and Stile, that by the whole thread and colour of it betrays it self to be a thousand years younger than He. Every living Language, like the perspiring Bo­dies of living Creatures, is in perpetual motion and alteration; some words go off, and become obsolete; others are taken in, and by degrees grow into com­mon use; or the same word is inverted to a new sense and notion; which in tract of time makes as observable a change in the air and features of a Language, as Age makes in the lines and mien of a Face. All are sensible of this in their own native Tongues, where continual Use makes every man a Critic. For what English­man does not think himself able, from the very turn and fashion of the Stile, to di­stinguish [Page 52] a fresh English composition from another a hundred years old? Now there are as real and sensible differences in the several ages of Greek; were there as many that could discern them. But very few are so versed and practised in that Lan­guage, as ever to arrive at that subtilty of Tast. And yet as few will be content to relish or dislike a thing, not by their own Sense, but by another man's Palate. So that should I affirm, That I know the novity of these Epistles from the whole body and form of the work; none, per­haps, would be convinced by it, but those that without my indication could discover it by themselves. I shall let that alone then, and point only at a few par­ticular marks and moles in the Letters, which every one that pleases may know them by. In the very first Epistle; [...], which you accuse me of, is an innovation in language; for which the Ancients used [...]. In the XVII. [...], having given before, never used by the Ancients in that sense, but always for having betrayed. In the LI. [...], desirous to follow me, where he speaks of his Wife that would accompany him in his exile: but [...] anciently sig­nified, to pursue; when that which fled, fear'd and shun'd the Pursuer. In the [Page 53] CXLII, among other Presents to a Bride, he sends [...]; which would anciently have signified Daughters: but he here means it of Virgins or Maidens; as Fille and Figlia signifie in French and Italian; which is a most manifest token of a later Greek. Even Chiliad. p. 196. Tzetzes, when he tells the story out of this Epistle, interprets it Maids, [...]. In the LXXVII, [...], many that are fond of their children; for that is his sense of the words; which, of old, would have been taken for a flagitious love of Boys; as if he had said, [...]. They that will make the search, may find more of this sort; but I suppose these are sufficient to unmask the recent Sophist under the person of the old Tyrant.

XIV. But should we connive at his using the Attic Dialect, and say not a word of those flaws and innovations in his Stile; yet there is one thing still, that, I fear, will more difficultly be forgiven him; that is, a very slippery way in tel­ling of Money. This is a tender point, and will make every body shy and cau­tious of entertaining him. In the LXXXV Epistle he talks of a Hundred Talents, [...]; of Fifteen more, in the CXVIII; Eight, in the CXXXVII; Seven, in [Page 54] the CIV; Five, in the CXLIII; and Three, in the XCV. These affairs being transacted in the middle of Sicily, and all the persons concerned being natives and inhabitants there; who would not be ready to con­clude, that he meant the Talent of the Country? since he gives not the least hint of his meaning a foreign Summ. If a bargain were made in England, to pay so many Pounds or Marks; and the party should pretend at last, that he meant Scots Marks, or French Livres: few, I sup­pose, would care to have Dealings with him. Now this is the very case in so many of these Letters. In the LXX, indeed, he is more punctual with Polyclitus his Phy­sician; for he speaks expresly of Attic Money, [...]. But this is so far from excusing him, that it is a plain condemnation out of his own mouth. For if it was necessary to tell Polyclitus, that he meant the Attic Money, and not the Sicilian; why had he not the same caution and ingenuity towards all the rest? We are to know, That in Si­cily, as in most other Countries, the Name and Value of their Coins, and the way of reckoning by Summs, was peculiar. The Summ Talent, in the Sicilian Accompt, contained no more in Specie than Three Attic Drachms, or Roman Denares; as [Page 55] plainly appears from Pollux▪ lib. ix. c. 6. Aristotle, in his now lost Treatise of the Sicilian Govern­ment. And the words of Festus are most express; Talentorum non unum genus: At­ticum est sex millium denarium, Syracusanum trium denariûm. What an immense diffe­rence! One Attic Talent had the real value of Two Thousand Sicilian Talents. Now, in all these Epistles the very Circum­stances assure us, that by the word Talent simply named, the Attic Talent is under­stood. But should not our wise Sophist have known, that a Talent, in that Country where he had laid the Scene of his Letters, was quite another thing? Without question, if the true Phalaris had penn'd them, he would have reckoned these Summs by the Sicilian Talents, encreasing only the Number: Or should he have made use of the Attic Accompt, he would always have given express notice of it; never saying [...] alone, without the addition of [...].

XV. But to let pass all further argu­ments from Words and Language; to me the very Matter and Business of the Let­ters sufficiently discovers them to be an Imposture. What force of Wit and Spirit in the Stile, what lively painting of Hu­mour, some fansie they discern there; I will not examine nor dispute. But me­thinks [Page 56] little Sense and Judgment is shown in the Ground-work and Subject of them. What an improbable and absurd story is that of the LIV? Stesichorus was born at Himera; but he chanced to die at Ca­tana, a hundred miles distance from home, quite across the Island. Suidas [...]. & [...]. There he was buried, and a noble Monument made for him. Thus far the Sophist had read in good Authors. Now upon this he intro­duces the Himerenses, so enraged at the others for having Stesichorus's Ashes, that nothing less will serve them, than de­nouncing of War, and sacking their City. And presently an Embassy is sent to Pha­laris, to desire his assistance: who, like a generous Allye, promises them what Arms and Men and Money they would: but withal, sprinkles a little dust among the Bees, advising them to milder coun­sels, and proposing this expedient, That Catana should have Stesichorus's Tomb, and Himera should build a Temple to him. Now, was ever any Declamator's Theme so extravagantly put? What? to go to War upon so slight an occasion? and to call in too the assistance of the Tyrant? Had they so soon forgot Ste­sichorus's own counsel? Aristot. Rhet. l. ii. who, when upon another occasion they would have asked succour of Phalaris, dissuaded them [Page 57] by the Fable of the Horse and his Rider. Our Sophist had heard, that Seven Cities contended about Homer; and so Two might go to Blows about another Poet. But there's a difference between that Con­tention, and this Fighting in Earnest. He is as extravagant too in the Honours he would raise to his Poet's Memory; no­thing less than a Temple and Deification. Cicero tells us, that in his days, there was his Statue still extant at Himera (then called Thermae,) which, one would think, was Honour enough. But a Sophist can build Temples in the Air, as cheaply and easily as some others do Castles.

What an inconsistency is there between the LI and LXIX Epistles? In the former he declares his immortal hatred to one Python, who, after Phalaris's flight from Astypalaea, would have persuaded his Wife Erythia to a second marriage with him­self; but seeing her resolved to follow her Husband, he poison'd her. Now this could be no long time after his banish­ment; for then she could not have wanted Opportunities of following him. But in the LXIX Epist. we have her alive again, long after that Phalaris had been Tyrant of Agrigentum; for he mentions his grow­ing old there. And we must not imagine, but that several years had passed, before [Page 58] he could seize the Government of so po­pulous a City, that had Diod. Sicul. p. 205. 200,000 Souls in it, or, as others Diog. Laert. in Empedoc. say, 800,000. For he came an indigent Stranger thither, according to the Letters; and by degrees rising from one employment to another, at last had opportunity and power to effect that design. Besides, in the LXIX Letter, she is at Crete with her Son; and in the LI, she is poison'd (I suppose) at Astypalaea: for there her Poisoner dwelt; and 'tis expresly said, she design'd, but could not follow her Husband. Which seems an intimation, that the So­phist believed Astypalaea to be a City in Crete. 'Tis certain, our diligent Editors by comparing these two passages together, made that discovery Vita Phalar. & Index. in Geography: for it could not be learnt any where else; and 'tis an admirable token, both that the Epistles are old and genuine, and that the Commentators are not inferior to, nor unworthy of their Author.

What a scene of putid and senseless for­mality are the LXXIIX, LXXIX, and CXLIV Epistles? Nicocles a Syracusian, a Man of the highest rank and quality, sends his own Brother an hundred miles with a re­quest to Phalaris, That He would send to Stesichorus another hundred miles, and beg the favour of a Copy of Verses upon Clearista his Wife, who was lately [Page 59] dead. Phalaris accordingly sends to Himera with mighty application and address, and soon after writes a second Letter of Thanks for so singular a Kindness. Upon the fame of this, one Ep. lxv. Pelopidas entreats him, That he would procure the like favour for a friend of His; but meets with a repulse. Now, whether there was any Poem upon Clearista among the Works of Stesichorus, whence our Sophist might take the Plot and Ground-work of this story; or whe­ther all is entirely his own invention and manufacture; I will not pretend to guess. But let those believe that can, that such stuff as this busied the head of the Tyrant: at least they must confess then, though the Letters would represent him as a great admirer and judge too of Poetry, that he was a mere Asinus ad Lyram. For, in the LXXIX Epist. he calls this Poem upon Clea­rista [...] and [...], which must here (as it almost ever does) signifie a Lyric Ode, since it is spoken of Stesichorus a Melic or Lyric Poet. But in the CXLIV he calls it an Elegy, [...]; which is as different from [...], as Theognis is from Pindar, or Tibullus from Horace. What? the same Copy of Verses both an Ode and an Elegy? Could not some years acquain­tance with Stesichorus teach him the very Names? But to forgive Him, or rather [Page 60] the Sophist, such an egregious piece of Dulness; why, forsooth, so much adoe, why such a vast way about, to obtain a few Verses? Could not they have writ directly to Stesichorus, and at the price of some Present have met with easie success? Do not we know, that all of that String, Bacchylides, Simonides, Pindar, got their livelyhood by the Muses? So that to use Phalaris's intercession; besides the delay, and an unnecessary trouble to both, was to defraud the Poet of his Fee.

Nay certainly, they might have em­ployed any hand, rather than Phalaris's. For, begging pardon of the Epistles, I suspect all to be a Cheat, about Stesichorus's friendship with him. For the Poet, out of common gratitude, must needs have celebrated it in some of his Works. But that he did not, the Letters themselves are, in this point, a sufficient witness. For, in the LXXIX, Phalaris is feigned to entreat him, not once to mention his Name in his Books. This was a sly fetch of our Sophist, to prevent so shrewd an objection from Stesichorus's silence as to any friendship at all with him. But that cunning shall not serve his turn. For what if Phalaris had really wished him to de­cline mentioning his Name? Stesichorus knew the World well enough, that those [Page 61] sort of requests are but a modest simula­tion; and a disobedience would have been easily pardoned. In the LXXIV Letter, he proclaims and glories to his enemy Orsi­lochus, that Pythagoras had stay'd five Months with him: why should he then seek to conceal from Posterity the twelve Years familiarity with Stesichorus? Pindar, exhorting Hiero the Tyrant of Syracuse to be kind to Poets and Men of letters, tells him how Craesus had immortal praise for his friendship and bounty to them, but the Pyth. 1. [...]. memory of that cruel and inhospitable Phalaris was hated and cursed every where. How could Pindar have said this, had he heard of his extraordinary dearness with Stesichorus? For their acquaintance, according to the Letters, was as memorable and as glorious, as that of Craesus with Aesop and Solon. So that Pindar, had he known it, for that sole kindness to his fellow Poet, would have forborn so vile a character. Plato, in his Second Epistle, recounts to Dionysius some celebrated friendships of learned Men with Tyrants and Magistrates; Simonides's with Hiero and Pausanias, Thales's with Pe­riander, Anaxagoras's with Pericles, Solon's and others with Craesus. Now, how could he have missed, had he ever heard of it, this of Stesichorus with Phalaris? being transacted in Sicily, and so a most [Page 62] proper and domestic Example. If you say, the infamy of Phalaris made him decline that odious instance: in that very word you pronounce our Epistles to be spurious. For if They had been known to Plato, even Phalaris would have ap­peared as moderate a Tyrant as Dionysius himself. In Pha­lar. prior. Lucian, that feigns an Em­bassy from Phalaris to Delphi for the de­dication of the Brazen Bull, makes an Oration in his Praise, as Isocrates does of Busiris; where, without doubt, he has gathered all the stories he knew for Topics of his commendation: but he has not one word of his friendship with Stesichorus. Nor, indeed, has any body else. And do not you yet begin to suspect the credit of the Letters?

It would be endless to prosecute this part, and shew all the silliness and im­pertinency in the Matter of the Epistles. For, take them in the whole bulk; if a Great Person would give me leave, I should say, they are a fardle of Com­mon Places, without any life or spirit from Action and Circumstance. Do but cast your eye upon Cicero's Letters, or any States-man's, as Phalaris was: what lively characters of Men there! what descriptions of Place! what notifications of Time! what particularity of [Page 63] Circumstances! what multiplicity of De­signs and Events! When you return to these again, you feel, by the emptiness and deadness of them, that you converse with some dreaming Pedant with his elbow on his desk; not with an active, ambitious Tyrant, with his Hand on his Sword, commanding a Million of Subjects. All that takes or affects you, is, a stiffness and stateliness and operoseness of Stile: but as that is improper and unbecoming in all Epistles, so especially it is quite aliene from the character of Phalaris, a man of business and dispatch.

XVI. It must needs be a great wonder to those that think the Letters genuine; how or where they were conceal'd, in what secret Cave, or unknown Corner of the World; so that no body ever heard of them for a thousand years together. Some trusty Servant of the Tyrant must have buried them under ground; and it was well that he did so. For if the Agri­gentines had met with them, they had certainly gone to pot. They that burnt alive both Him, and his Relations, and his Friends; would never have spared such monuments of him, to survive Them and their City. And without doubt it was immortal Vellum, and stoln from the [...]. Parchments of Iove; that could [Page 64] last for ten Ages, though untouch'd and unstirr'd; in spight of all damp and moisture, that moulders other mortal skins. For had our Letters been used or transcribed during that thousand years; some body would surely have spoken of them. Especially since so many of the Ancients had occasion to do so: so that their silence is a direct argument that they never had heard of them. I have just now cited some passages of Pindar, Plato, and Lucian; which are a plain indication, that they were unknown to those Three. Nay, the last of these, besides the proof above-named from his silence and praeter­mission, does as good as declare expressly, that he never saw our Epistles. For, not to mention other differences of less mo­ment, he makes both Pha­lar. 1. ' [...]. & ibid. [...]. Phalaris, and his Smith Perilaus, to be born at Agri­gentum; but the Letters bring one of them from Astypalaea, and the other from Athens. Lucian then knew nothing of them; or at least knew them, as I do, to be spurious, and below his notice. Much less could he be the Author of them, as Politian and his followers believe; for he would neither have been guilty of such flat Contradictions; nor have so forfeited all Learning and Wit, by those gross blun­ders in Chronology, and that wretched [Page 65] pedantry in the Matter. And whosoever those Authors were, that Lucian followed, in his Narrative of Phalaris; They too are so many Witnesses against the Epistles. One can hardly believe, indeed, that the Sophist should venture to fetch his Ty­rant from Astypalaea, without the warrant of some old Writer. But yet Lucian and his Authors compell us to think so. And we find him as fool-hardy on other occasions. De Po­lit. [...]. Heraclides of Pontus, that lived within two Centuries of Phalaris's Age, says, the Agrigentines, when they recovered their Liberty, burnt Him and his Mother: but our Sophist makes him an Orphan, Epist. xlix. [...]; which if any one shall con­tend to mean the loss of his Father only, yet still He and Heraclides will not set horses together. For if Phalaris fled alone from Astypalaea, neither Wife nor Child nor any Relation following him, according to the Letters; how came the Old Woman to be roasted at Agrigentum? Vita Pythag. p. 183. Iam­blichus brings in Abaris the Hyperborean in company with Pythagoras, to Phalaris's Court: But our Sophist has writ a Epist. lvii. Let­ter for him, wherein he refuses to come. So little regard had he, to fit his stories to true History: and I have had too much re­gard to him, in giving him the Honour and Patience of so long an Examination.

[Page 66]I MUST now beg the favour of one word with our late Editors of this Author. They have told the world, in their Preface, That (among other Specimens of their Di­ligence) they collated the King's MS. as far as the XL Epistle; and would have done so throughout, but that the Library Keeper, Praef. Phalar. Edit. Oxon. Manuscripto in Bi­bliotheca Regia, cujus mihi copiam ulteriorem Biblio­thecarius pro singulari sua humanitate negavit. out of his singular Humanity, denied them the further use of it. This was meant as a Lash for Me, who had the Honour then and since to serve His Majesty in that Office. I must own, 'twas very very resolv'd of them, to make the Preface and the Book all of a piece; for they have acted in this Calumny both the injustice of the Tyrant, and the forgery of the Sophist. For my own part, I should never have honour'd it with a Refu­tation in Print, but have given it the Neg­lect that is due to Weak Detraction; had I not been engaged to my Friend, to write this Censure upon Phalaris; where to omit to take notice of that Slander, would be tacitly to own it. The true story is thus: A Bookseller came to me, in the name of the Editors, to beg the use of the Manuscript. It was not then in my custody: but as soon as I had the power [Page 67] of it, I went voluntarily and offer'd it him; bidding him tell the Collator not to lose any time; for I was shortly to go out of Town for two Months. 'Twas de­liver'd, used, and return'd. Not a word said by the Bearer, nor the least suspicion in me, that they had not finish'd the col­lation. For, I speak from experiment, they had more Days to compare it in, than they needed to have Hours. 'Tis a very little Book, and the Writing as legible as Print. Well, the Collation, it seems, was sent defective to Oxen; and the blame, I suppose, laid upon Me. I re­turn'd again to the Library, some months before the Edition was finish'd: No appli­cation was made for further use of the Manuscript. Thence I went for a whole fortnight to Oxon, where the Book was then printing; conversed in the very College where the Editors resided. Not the least whisper there of the Manuscript. After a few weeks, out comes the new Edition, with this Sting in the Mouth of it. 'Twas a surprize, indeed, to read there, that our Manuscript was not perused. Could not they have ask'd for it again, then, after my return? 'Twas neither singular, nor common Humanity, not to enquire into the truth of the thing; before th [...] [...] ­tur'd to Print, which is a Sword in the [Page 68] Hand of a Child. But there is a reason for every thing; and the mystery was soon revealed. As for the King's Manuscript, they had no want nor desire of it; for, as I shall shew by and by, they had neither industry nor skill to use either That or their Own. And for my part; I, it seems, had the hard hap, in some private conver­sation, to say the Epistles were a spurious Piece, and unworthy of a new Edition. Hinc illae lachrimae. This was a thing deep­ly resented; and to have spoken to me about the Manuscript, had been to lose a plausible occasion of taking revenge.

Pro singulari sua humanitate! I could produce several Letters from learned Profes­sors abroad, whose Books our Editors may in time be fit to read; wherein these very same words are said of me candidly and seriously. For I endeavour to oblige even Foreigners by all Courtesie and Humanity; much more would I encourage and assist any useful Designs at home. And I hearti­ly wish, that I could do any service to that young Gentleman of great Hopes, whose Name is set to the Edition. I can do him no greater at present, than to remove some blemishes from the Book that is ascri­bed to him: which I desire may be taken aright; to be no disparagement to himself, but a reproof only to his Teachers.

[Page 69]It is counted an ill Omen to stumble at the Threshold. In the very First Epistle to Alcibous, we have these words, [...]: that is, For a disease of the Soul, the only Physician is Death: do you therefore expect a most pain­ful one for those many and great injustices, not involuntary ones, such as you accuse Me of, but voluntary ones that your self have committed. Let us see now, how our new Editors have managed this passage. First, they interpret [...], nulli gravem: meaning, I suppose, that Alcibous's death would be grievous to no body. Which not only produces a flat and far­fetcht sense, but is contrary to the rules of good Language. For the Greek is in the Superlative degree: let them put it then nulli gravissimam; and it will shew them the errror of their Version. It will be evident to such as know propriety of Speech, that [...], since no Dative Case follows it, must be referred to Alcibous, and to no body else. I do not expect from our Editors much sagacity in way of Critic: but though they could not of themselves find out the true Read­ing; yet methinks they might have em­braced [Page 70] it, when they saw it in the Manu­script; which reads it, [...], a most grievous and cruel death; meaning that in the Brazen Bull; which he calls, in the CXXII Epist. [...], an epithet of the same root and significa­tion. [...] in this place, is an expletive particle, [...], as the Gram­marians call it; which being a rare and quaint usage, was the cause of corrupting the Text.

The next words in the same passage, [...], our elegant Inter­preters render scelera, non invita. And this we are to receive for one of their many Praef. p. 3. improvements after the former Translators. Those Old ones, good honest Men, put us off with plain country Latin, Scelera, non praeter voluntatem pa­trata, and other such Periphrases. For, as it was in their days believed, [...] sig­nified unwilling, and was always meant of the Agent: [...] was involuntary, and generally meant of the Action. And this latter, when it signifies the Action, can­not be expressed in Latin by one single word. For Involuntarius was not in use: and Invitus is the same with [...], and is always spoken of the Person, never of the Thing. So that if any body else had said scelera invita, unwilling Crimes; some [Page 71] bold Readers would be apt to take it for Barbarism and Nonsense: but coming from those great Genius's, with whom Learn­ing, that is a leaving the world, has taken her last residence, they receive this as a new discovery in Language; like Sup. p. 44. ano­ther of theirs in Geography.

In the very next words to these, [...]; let us see if they make any better work there. Invita, ad quae me hortaris; Involuntary Crimes, to which you exhort me, says the version of our late Editors. Admirably well done again! Pray, how can this Alcibous, a Messenian, be said to exhort him to those Cruelties, who so much abhorred Him and Them, (as it is in this very Letter,) that he had the Physician his Townsman tried for his own Life, for saving the Tyrant's? It would puzzle a common Wit to re­concile this; but here's a Note upon this passage, that will set every thing aright. Ann [...]t. ad Phalar. p. 145. Ad quae me hortaris;] i. e. Mo­ribus tuis nequissimis provocas. Commend me to these Annotators for a help at a dead lift. To provoke a Man, we see, with the basest tricks, is, in their language, to exhort him. So that when They, by a vile aspersion, instead of thanks for a kindness receiv'd, have given me just provocation to answer them as they de­serve; [Page 72] it is only, in their manner, to ex­hort me to do it. It is my singular Hu­manity, that I do not follow their Exhorta­tion. But I am apt to believe, that even the Sophist himself, as illiterate as he was, would disdain to own such a version to be the Echo of his meaning. Had he had in his thoughts so ridiculous a sense as they father upon him; he would have said then, [...], or, [...]. For that is the Syntax of [...], when it sig­nifies to exhort. Whereas [...] (the [...] in the Text is for [...]) is, in that sense, as absurd and incongruous in Greek; as Quae mihi hortaris, or, Quae mihi provocas would be in Latin. I think I have shewn already, that [...] is here [...], exprobrare, to accuse and reproach: Those involuntary wrongs, that you lay to my charge. 'Tis true, the word is not used in this ac­ceptation by any ancient Authors. I have mention'd it therefore above, as a token of a more recent Writer. But without doubt it was of known use in the age of the Sophist; and the innovation was not at all improper. For as the Ancients, both in Poetry and Prose, used [...] to denote this meaning; [...].’ [Page 73] so by a like metaphor and analogy, we may use [...] to express the same notion: just as the Latins say, vitio VERTERE. All this, I suppose, was known to the Translator of Phalaris, who is commonly, but, I believe, falsly supposed to be Cu­jacius; for he interprets it very well, Cujusmodi mihi objicis. But that Edition, and another of Aldus, tho' the two prin­cipal of all, and both of them in the public Library at Oxon, had yet the odd fortune to lie all the while con­ceal'd Praef. p. 3., from our late Editors that lived there.

I was, but just now, in the mind to oblige them, by going through their whole Book, and correcting for them all the Faults, that give offence to the best Readers. But now, that I cast my eye backwards, it makes me look as blank, at the prospect of all that's to come; as Her­cules did, when, after he had made a bargain unseen, he saw the Stables of Augeas. For if the very First Epistle, of nine Lines only, has taken me up four Pages in scouring; what a sweet piece of work should I have of it, to cleanse all the rest for them? I must beg their Excuse therefore for the present; and shall only, to keep my Promise, give one Touch of their industry and skill, in making use of the Manuscript.

[Page 74]They have confessed to us, they col­lated the Manuscript to the Praef. p. 4. XL Epistle. But, it seems, they could make no use of its various Lections, but in one single place, Epist. XXVI. It is writ to one Ari­phrades, to caution his Son to leave off plotting against Phalaris; [...]; lest, when punishment overtakes him for persisting in his present courses, he pretend he had not fair warning. But what now do our new Editors make of this? [...], they translate, suam expendens conditionem. This puts me in mind of the old Greek Proverb, That Leucon carries one thing, and his Ass quite another. For here's no affinity at all between the Text and the Version; which would every whit as well agree to any other words in the Book. Even our Editors themselves seem sen­sible of this; for they give us this Note upon it, [...] alium sen­sum hic vix admi [...]tit. in eodem tamen usurpatum nullibi invenio. Melius itaque in MS. Regio [...], ob ea quae jam agit. Annotat. pag. 146. That [...] cannot admit here of any other meaning: and yet they find it no where else used in this sense. I dare pass my word for the truth of this latter part: to the former I shall say more anon. So that, say they, the bet­ter Reading is in the King's Manuscript, [Page 75] [...], i. e. for those things which he now does. In the King's Manu­script, which I have now by me, it was written at first, [...]: but another Hand has rased out the [...], as appears by the void space, and made it [...]. This Corrector, whoever he was, though we know him from hence to be a sorry Critic; yet he was a degree above our new Editors. For he made his [...] an Enclitic; but they theirs an Interroga­tive, as we see by their Accent. Which in this place is directly against either common Grammar, or common Sense; chuse whether they please. But the ge­nuine lection and meaning is, as I rendred it above; [...], persisting and proceeding in his present ways. So in the XXXIX Epist. [...], continuing in the present station. 'Tis true, our Editors will not find [...] thus rendred in their Dictionaries: but they may please to en­large them then from this very place. For, is not [...] exactly the same as the Latin PERTENDO? And is not Per­tendo, to persist and persevere?

Ter. Eunuch. 1, 1.
Verum si incipies, neque pertendes naviter.

Even the Version ascribed to Cujacius has here the true interpretation, Persistens in proposito: which I would advise our Edi­tors [Page 76] to consult, when they design to oblige the world by another Edition.

This is all the use they have made of the King's Manuscript: let us see if they have been more diligent in their own. In the XXXIV Epist. the Tyrant tells one Pollux, who wonder'd he was grown so recluse, and difficult of access; [...]: Nay, says he, I avoid company less than I ought to do; for I have found no faith either among strangers or friends. Our new Interpreters have given us here a cast of their Critic; for Legen­dum forsan [...], quam enim inter­preta [...]ionem [...] hic admit­tat, non vi­deo. instead of [...] they venture to read [...], ego jam sedulo omnes fugio: as for the former Lection, they confess they know not what to make on't. Here are your Work-men to mend an Au­thor; as bungling Tinkers do old Kettles: there was but one hole in the Text before they medled with it, but they leave it with two. For the fault is not in [...], but in [...]; which is to be corrected [...]: [...], minus quam par est, minus quam oportet. This is so very easie an Emendation, that a small dose of sa­gacity might have found it out, by con­jecture. But what will the Men of Let­ters think of our Editors? will they com­mend their skill or their industry most▪ when I assure them, that all the Three Ma­nuscripts [Page 77] which they pretend to have col­lated, have it plainly and fairly [...]. Which fault will the Editors plead to? to make a public boast of collating Three Manuscripts, and yet neglect every one of them? or, to have observed in the Manuscripts so certain a Correction, with­out either knowledge to make use on't themselves, or ingenuity to communicate it to the world? 'Tis a bad business on either side; and yet it receives a great aggravation from this other which fol­lows. Epist. LXVIII. Phalaris, to en­courage his Son's Bounty; I do not think, says he, you spend me too much money, [...]; but I rather think I allow you too sparingly, for so generous a Son. Here is [...] comes again. Now, every one of the Manuscripts have it here too [...]: Two of which, they pretend, in their Preface, to have throughly col­lated. And yet they take not the least notice of this plain Emendation, [...], parcius aequo, parcius quam opor­tet; but blunder on with the vulgar Reading, and translate it, Ego m [...] pauperiore [...] invenio, quâm [...] filii benig­nitati su [...] ­ficere p [...] ­sim But I find my self too poor to supply your Liberality. Which, besides that it does not answer the words of the Greek, (which would then have been, [...]) makes mere [Page 78] nonsense of the Context. For in the very next sentence, he tells his Son; You shall sooner want friends to give it to, than I want money to give. Ingenious Tran­slators! to make him complain of Poverty, and in the same breath to declare that he has Riches without end.

Let this serve for a short Specimen of their Care and Skill in using of Manu­scripts. I have many more instances ready at hand; but their Humanity, I hope, will pardon me, if I don't produce them now; nor now proceed, as I once thought, to weed all their Book for them. My Time does not lie upon my hands; and this Tract must be only a short Appendix to the Book of my Friend: but it's likely hereafter, if, in their way of speaking, they mightily exhort me to it; I may be at their service; if not in this, yet in another Language: to carry the fame and glory of our Editors, whither such Edi­tions as theirs seldom go, to foreign Uni­versities.



I Presume I have been as good as my word, in detecting the cheat of Pha­laris's Epistles: the other part of my Pro­mise was a Censure of Aesop's Fables. But before I meddle with those, I am willing, now that my Hand's in, to examine some other Impostures of this sort, out of the same Schools of the Sophists. It will be no unpleasant labour to me, nor, I hope, unprofitable to others, to pull off the disguise from those little Pedants, that have stalked about so long in the apparel of Hero's.

The Epistles of Themistocles were prin­ted first at Rome, in MDCXXVI, out of a Manuscript in the Vatican. The Editor, a Greek Bishop, believed them genuine; but there were some that suspected a Forgery, as De Script. So­crat. p. 78. Leo Allatius informs us: who himself leaves the matter in doubt; but withal observes in their favour, that no body had ever said a word in print, to prove them to be spurious. V. [...]. Suidas [Page 80] is an Evidence in their behalf; for, speak­ing of their reputed Author, he says, he has writ Letters full of Spirit, [...]. He, I think, is the only old Writer that makes any men­tion of them. Which alone, as before in Phalaris's case, is a shrewd prejudice against their Credit and Reputation. Lib. 1. p. 90. Thucydides and Charon Lampsacenus say that Themistocles, when he fled into Asia, made his address to Artaxerxes, who was newly come to the Throne; wherein they are followed by Vita Themistoc. Cornelius Nepos and Plutarch; against the common tradition of Ephorus, Heraclides, and most others, that make Xerxes the Father to be then alive. Some Plu­tarch, Dio­dor. Athe­naeus, &c. Writers relate, that he had five Cities given him by the Persian; others, but three. Now, if the Letters had been known to any of those Authors, both these Disputes had been soon at an end, or rather never had been raised. For he himself expresly says, Ep. XX. it was Xerxes he went to, and that he gave him but three Cities. Now, where could these Epistles lie, unknown and invisible from Themistocles's time to Suidas? We must needs say, that the Letters had a worse Exostracism than their Author: since he was banisht but for five Years, but they for a Thousand.

[Page 81]II. 'Tis observable, That every one of the Letters bear date after his banishment; and contain a compleat Narrative of all his Story afterwards, without the least gap or interruption. Now 'tis hard to say, whether is the more strange of the two; That not one single Letter of his, before that time, should be preserved; or not one, afterwards, lost, though writ­ten from so distant places, Argos, Corcyra, Epirus, Ephesus, Magnesia, from whence there was no very sure conveyance to Athens. What a cross vicissitude of For­tune! while the Author is in Prosperity, all his Letters are unlucky; and not one of them is missing, after he himself miscar­ried. But the Sophist can easily account for this, though Themistocles cannot: for here are no Letters before his Exile; be­cause the latter part of his Life was the whole Tour and Compass that the Sophist designed to write of: and not a Letter afterwards perished; because being forged in a Sophist's Closet, they run no hazard at all of being lost in the carriage.

III. Themistocles was an Eloquent Man; but here are some touches in his Letters of such an elevated strain, that if he did not go to School to Gorgias Leontinus the Sophist of that time, I can hardly believe he writ them. The Historians tell us mo­derately, [Page 82] That after he was driven from home, he was made much on at Argos: but He himself is all melting, when he talks on that Subject. Ep. i. He was met, he says, on the road by two Argivans of his acquaintance; who, when he told them the news of his Banishment, rail'd bitterly at the Athenians: but when they heard he was going to Delphi, rather than to Their town; in a kind quarrel they tell him, That [...]. the Athenians had justly punished him; since he so much wronged the City of Argos, to think of any San­ctuary but that. Well, he goes with them to Argos; and there the whole City [...]. teazes him by mere force to take the Go­vernment upon him; taking it as the grea­test injury, that he offer'd to decline it. These, you'll say, are choice flowers both of Courtesy and of Rhetoric: but there's another clearly beyond them; where he tells us, Ep. xiv. That he is so resolved of going to the Persian Court, though it was a desperate risque; that neither the Advice of his Friends, nor his Father Neocles's Ghost, nor his Uncle Themisto­cles's, nor Augury, nor Omen, nor Apollo's Oracle it self, should be able to dissuade him. Here's a bold resolute Blade for you here's your Stoical [...]! 'Tis almost impossible for a Sophist not to betray [Page 83] himself. Nothing will relish and go down with them, that is ordinary and natural. Then they applaud themselves most, when they have said a forced, extravagant thing. If one speaks of any Civility; the Com­plement must be strain'd beyond all De­corum. If he makes a Resolution; he must needs swagger and swear, and be as willful as a Mad man.

IV. The Subject of many of the Letters is Common place; mere Chat, and telling a Tale, without any Business; an Errand not worth sending to the next Town, much less to be brought from remote Countries some hundreds of Leagues. The XV and XVIII Letters are written to Enemies; his Friends, I suppose, failing in their Correspondence: and contain no­thing but a little Scolding; which was scarce worth the long carriage from Ephe­sus to Athens.

V. In the XX Epistle we have this Story: When Themistocles was at Corcyra, he de­sign'd for Sicily, to Gelo the Syracusian Tyrant. But just as he was going a Ship­board, the news came that Gelo was dead, and his Brother Hiero succeeded him. Now, if we make it appear, that Hiero was come to the Crown some years before Themistocles's Banishment, and this Voyage to Corcyra; what becomes of the [Page 84] Credit of our Epistles? 'Tis true, the Chronology of this part of History is not so [...]. Plut. Them. p. 227. settled and agreed, as to amount to a Demonstration against the Letters; but however, when joined with the Argu­ments preceeding, at least it will come up to a high Probability. [...] apud Plut. Them. p. 225. Theophrastus, in his Treatise of Monarchy, relates, That when Hiero had sent Race-horses, and a most sumptuous Tent, to the Olympian Games; Themistocles advised the Greeks to plunder the Tyrant's Tent, [...], and not to let his Horses run. 'Tis evi­dent then, if Theophrastus speak properly, that Hiero was Monarch of Syracuse, when Themistocles was at Olympia; but it's most certain he never came thither after his Exile.

But, to deal fairly, it must be confessed, that Aelian, in telling this story, varies from Theophrastus; for he says, Var. Hist. ix, 5. Hiero himself came to the Games. But that he would go thither in Person, after he got the Government, is wholly improbable, So that, if Aelian be believed, this busi­ness must have been done, before Hiero came to the Throne. For even in Gelo's life-time, who left him the Monarchy, he kept Horses for the Race; and won at the Pythian Games, Pind, Schol▪ Pyth▪ 1, & 3. Pythiad the XXVI, which answers to Olymp. LXXIV. 3. But [Page 85] besides that Theophrastus is of much greater authority, the other refutes him­self in the very next words. For he says, Themistocles hindred Hiero upon this pre­tence; That he that had not shared in the common Danger, ought not to share in the common Festival: where it's certain, by the common Danger, he means Xerxes's Expedition; when Herod. vii. c. 163. Diod. xi. p. 21. Gelo either refused or delayed to give the Greeks his assistance. This affront then was put upon Hiero, after that Expedition. But the very next Diod. xi. p. 29. Olympiad after, Hiero was in the Monarchy. It cannot be true then, that his first accession to the Throne, was, ac­cording to the Letters, while Themistocles stay'd at Corcyra.

Besides these Inferences and Deductions, we have the express Verdict and Decla­ration of most of the Scho­li. Pind. Pyth. 1. Diod. xi. p. 29, 41. Euseb. in Chron. Chronologers, who place the beginning of Hiero's Reign Olymp. LXXV, 3. and Themistocles's Banish­ment seven years after, Olymp. LXXVII, 2. The Arundelian Marble, indeed, differs from all these, in the periods of Gelo and Hiero: which would quite confound all this argumentation from notes of Time. But either that Chronologer is quite out, or we can safely believe nothing in History. For he makes Gelo first invade the Govern­ment, two years after Xerxes's Expedition. [Page 86] But Lib. vii. Herodotus spends half a dozen pages in the Account of an Embassy to Gelo from Sparta and Athens, to desire his assistance against the Persian. And 'tis agreed among all, Herodot. ibid. & Diod. l. xi. That Gelo's Victory over the Carthaginians in Sicily was got the very same day with the Battle at Salamis.

VI. The whole Volume of Themistocles's Letters consists of XXI only; and Three of these are taken up in the story of Pausanias. The Second is writ to Pausanias himself, be­fore that Spartan's Conspiracy with the Per­sian was discovered. There he exhorts him to moderation in his Prosperity; lest some very great turn of Fortune should speedily befall him. Can you desire now a surer indication of a Sophist? Without doubt, he that penn'd this Epistle, knew before­hand what happen'd to Pausanias: who was soon after recall'd home by the Ma­gistrates, and put to death for Treason. The XIX is to Pausanias again; but after his Conspiracy was detected. Here he tells the Particulars of that Plot as exactly, as if he had been one of the Ephori, that over-heard it. Nay, he foretells him, that the Lacedaemonians would take away his life. Now besides that Themistocles would scorn to insult so, and rail to no purpose, as this Letter does; he would surely have [Page 87] had more wit, than knowingly to write to the Dead. For at the same time he heard those Particulars of Pausanias's Treason, he must needs hear of his Execution; since those things were not known till after his Death, and the rifling of his Papers. The VI Epistle is a long Narrative of the whole business of Pausanias: for that was a Subject worthy of Eloquence, and there­fore was to receive ornament from the Pen of the Sophist. But it was scarce worthy of Themistocles, to send such a long News-Letter to Athens; where, in all likely­hood, the Story was common, before he heard of it himself.

But how shall we reconcile this Affair of Pausanias according to the Letters, with what Diodorus has left us upon the same Subject? The Letters, we see, make The­mistocles to be banisht, Ep. ii. before Pausanias was suspected; and make the one reside at Argos, Ep. xix. vi. while the other was convicted and put to death. But Diodorus, who has brought all his History into the method of Annals, places the Death of Pausanias Lib. xi. p. 36. Olymp. LXXV, 4; and the Exile of Themi­stocles, Lib. xi. p. 41. six years after, Olymp. LXXVII, 2. Now, I would fain know of our Sophist, how he came to dispose and suit his mat­ters so negligently; to bring Pausanias upon the stage again, when he had been [Page 88] six years in his Grave? I imagine he will referr me to Lib. i. p. 88. Thucydides, who makes an immediate transition from one story to the other; ‘That the Spartans accused The­mistocles, who was then banisht from home, of conspiring with Pausanias.'’ This, indeed, might draw the Sophist and some others into a mistake. But it may be taken two ways: either that it was done presently, upon the Death of Pausanias; or a few years after, when Themistocles's Exile gave the Spartans, that hated and fear'd him, an opportunity to ruine him. In The­mist. p. 224. Plutarch follows the first way; for he makes Themi­stocles, after his Banishment, to have pri­vate dealings with Pausanias: in which opinion he favours the Author of these Letters. But the second will rather ap­pear to be the sense of Thucydides: if we consider, that he places the matter of Pau­sanias p. 63. just after the flight of Xerxes; but when Themistocles went into Asia, he makes p. 90. Artaxerxes to be in the Throne: which was a considerable while after. Be­sides that Diodorus, whose design was to referr all Occurrences to Years, and not to follow the thread of Story beyond the annual Period, is of more credit in a point of Chronology; than Plutarch or any other, that write Lives by the Lump.


THE Epistles of Socrates, and his Scholars, Xenophon, Aristippus, &c. were publish'd out of the Vatican Library by the Learned Leo Allatius; and printed at Paris, MDCXXXVII. He was so fully per­suaded himself, and so concerned to have others think, that they are the legitimate Off-spring of those Authors they are laid to; that he has guarded and protected them, in a Dialogue of LVII Pages in quarto, against all the Objections that He or his Friends could raise. And no body since, that ever I heard of, has brought the matter into controversie. But I am en­clined to believe, that by that time I have done with them, it will be no more a Controversie, but that they are spurious. I shall make use of nothing that Allatius has brought, except one Objection only; and that I shall both manage in a new way, and defend it against all his Excep­tions.

I. The First Letter is Socrates's to some King, 'tis supposed to Archelaus King of Macedonia; in which he refuses to go to [Page 90] him, though invited in the most kind and obliging manner. That he really denied his company to Archelaus and others, we are assured from very good hands: which was the ground for our Falsary to forge this Epistle. But I believe, none of those that mention it, make so tall a Comple­ment to Socrates, as he does here to him­self. For he says, [...]. The King offer'd him part of his Kingdom; and, that he should not come thither to be commanded, but to command both his Subjects and Himself▪ Can you desire a better token of a Sophist, than this? 'Tis a fine offer, indeed, to a poor old Man, that had nothing but his Staff and one Coat to his back. But a Sophist abhorrs mediocrity; he must al­ways say the greatest thing; and make a Tide and a Flood, though it be but in a Bason of Water.

II. Well; our Philosopher goes on, and give a reasons of his refusal; That his Daemon forbid him to go: and then he falls into the long story of what happen'd to him in the Battle at Delium; which was a tale of twenty years standing at the date of this Letter. But the Sophist had read it in Plato; and he would not miss the opportunity of an eloquent Narration. I will not here insist upon the testimony of Lib. v. p. 21 [...]. Athenaeus; That the whole business [Page 91] is a mere fiction of Plato's: let that be left in the middle. But we may safely inferr thus much from it; That even Athenaeus himself, whose curiosity nothing escaped, never met with these Epistles. Which alone creates a just suspicion, that they were forged since his days; espe­cially when the universal silence of all An­tiquity gives a general consent to it.

There's a passage, indeed, in Analo­gia Socrat. Libanius, which, in Allatius's judgment, seems plain­ly to declare, that he had seen this very Epistle. For after he had mention'd So­crates's refusal to go to Scopas, and Eury­lochus, and Archelaus; he adds; [...]. Now should we concede, what Allatius would have; this is all that can be inferred from thence in their fa­vour; That they are older than Libanius; which I am willing to believe: and, That He believed them true; which I matter not at all. For so we have seen Stobaeus, Suidas and others, cry up Phalaris for a genuine Book; and yet I fansie none of my Readers are now of their opinion. But with Allatius's good leave, I would draw the words of Libanius to a quite con­trary purpose. After he had said, that many Princes had sollicited Socrates, by Letter, to come and live in their Courts; [Page 92] and he answer'd them all with a denial: But (says he) I want the Letters them­selves; in which you might perfectly see the Spirit of the Man. This, to me, is an indication, that the Letters he means were not extant. For if he had them in his hand, according to Allatius, how could he want them? And 'tis plain, he speaks here of several Letters, being Replies to several Messages; but in this Collection here's but a single one. I wish (says he) the Letters were to be had; in those you might read his Character. If this be the sense of those words, as probably it is; Libanius is so far from being Patron to our Epistles, that he is a positive Witness against them.

III. The VII Letter is writ by Socrates to one of those that had fled to Thebes from the violence of the XXX Tyrants: in which he gives him an account of the state of Athens since their departure; That him­self was now hated by the Tyrants, because he would have no hand in the condemnation of Leon the Salaminian: and then he tells the story at large. Now, here's a manifest discovery that the Letters are supposititious. For the business of Leon was quite over, before those Fugitives left the Town. For Leon was murder'd Xe­noph. Hist. lib. ii. p. 467, 470. Diod. l. xix▪ before Theramenes was: and Theramenes was murder'd, be­fore [Page 93] Thrasybulus and his Party fled to Thebes. And that Socrates means them in this Letter, 'tis evident from hence; That he speaks here of their Conspiracy, to resort privately towards Athens and set up­on the Tyrants: which afterwards came to pass.

IV. The VIII, IX, XII, and XIII, are Let­ters of Jest and Railery between Antisthenes and Aristippus and Simon the Shoo-maker. 'Tis an affront to the memory of those Men, to believe they would fool and trifle in that manner; especially send such im­pertinent stuff as far as from Sicily to Athens, which could not decently be spoken even in merriment at a Table.

V. In the XIII Epistle, among the acquain­tance of Simon he names Phaedrus, the same that gives the Title to the Dialogue of Plato: and the XXV is writ by Phaedrus himself to Plato: and both these are dated after Socrates's death. I will appeal now to Athenaeus, if these two Letters can be genuine. He, among other Errors in Chronology for which he chastises Plato, brings this in for one; Lib. xi. pag. 505▪ [...]. That he intro­duces Phaedrus discoursing with Socrates; who must certainly be dead before the days of the Philosopher. How comes he then to survive him, in these Epistles; and discourse so passionately of his Death? [Page 94] 'Tis true; for want of ancient History, we cannot back this Authority with any other Testimony. But I am sure, all those that have a just esteem for Athenaeus, can have no slight one of this Argument against the credit of the Letters.

VI. The XIV Epistle gives Xenophon a long Narrative of Socrates's Tryal and Death; being writ presently after by one of his Scholars that was present at both. Among other particulars, he tells him, [...]. That the Oration or Charge against Socrates was drawn up by Polycrates the Sophist. But I doubt this will turn to a Charge against another Sophist, for counterfeiting Let­ters. For, I think, I can plainly prove, That at the date of this Letter there was no such report ever mention'd, that Po­lycrates had any hand in it; and, that this false Tradition, which afterwards obtained in the World, and gave occasion to our Writer to say it in his Letter, did not be­gin till some years after Socrates's con­demnation.

Diogenes Laertius brings Hermippus's testimony, That Polycrates made the Vita Socrat. Charge. [...]. But, in opposition to this, he presently subjoins; ‘That Favorinus, in the First [Page 95] Book of his Commentaries, says, That Polycrates's Oration against Socrates is not true and real: because he men­tions in it the Walls, built by Conon six years after Socrates's death.’ To which Laertius subscribes his own assent, [...], And so it is. I may freely say, that this passage of Favorinus has not been yet rightly understood. It is generally interpreted, as if he denied the Oration that is attributed to Polycrates to be really his. But this is very far from being his opinion. For then he would be flatly confuted by Isocrates, a Witness un­answerable; who, in a Discourse which he addresses to this very Polycrates, tells him; [...] Isoc. Busir. I perceive you value your self most upon two Orations, The Apology of Busiris, and Accusation of Socrates. But Favorinus's meaning was; That Polycrates did not make that Oration for a true Charge to be spoke at the Tryal of So­crates; but writ it several years after, for no other Trial than that of his own Wit. The words in the Greek can admit of no other sense; [...], &c. Ob­serve, that he says [...], Polycrates mentions: if he had denied him to be the Author, he would have said in the Passive, [Page 96] There is mention'd. Besides he expressly calls it [...], only denies it to be [...]. But if he had denied it to be His, he would have said, [...]: as Laertius speaks in other places; In Xe­noph. [...]. In Aes­chine. [...]. This, I think, is sufficiently clear. Now we are to know, it was the custom of the old Sophists to make an ostentation of their Art, upon some diffi­cult Subjects and Paradoxes, such as other people could speak nothing to: as the commendation of a Fever or the Gout. Polycrates therefore, to shew his Rhetoric in this way, writ an Apology of Busiris, that kill'd and eat his Guests; Quin­til. lib. ii. cap. 18. and of Clytemnestra, that murder'd her Husband: and to give a proof of his skill, as well in accusing Vertue, as in excusing Vice, he writ an Indictment against Socrates; not [...], the true one, as Favorinus truly says, but only a Scholastic Exercise; such as Plato, Xenophon, Libanius and others writ in his Defense. So that we are no more forced to believe, that His Oration was the true Charge that was spoken at Socrates's Tryal; than, that he really pleaded for Clytemnestra, when Orestes was going to [Page 97] kill her. Nay, it appears to me, from Isocrates himself, that it was but a Scho­lastic Exercise, and after Socrates's death. For he blames Polycrates, for reckoning Alcibiades among Socrates's Disciples: since, besides that no body else ever coun­ted him his Scholar; had he really been so, he had been a commendation to his Master; and not a disparagement, which was the aim of the Sophist. [...] Isoc. Busir. So that (says he) if the dead could have knowledge of your Writings, Socrates would thank you. Is not this a clear indi­cation, that Socrates was dead, before the Oration was made? and that this was not the true Charge? For then he would have heard it at his Tryal: and there had been no occasion to say, if the dead could have knowledge of it. In the close of all, he advises him to leave off shewing his parts upon such villainous Themes, [...]; lest he do public mischief by putting false colours upon things. Here again we are plainly told, that his Action against Socrates, like those for Busiris and Clytemnestra, was but a Declamation, a Theme and Exercise in the School, and not a real Indictment in the Areopagus at Athens. To all which let me add, That neither Plato nor Xenophon nor any body [Page 98] contemporary with Socrates, ever once mention Polycrates for the Author of the Charge: which, had the thing been true, they would certainly have thrown in his teeth, considering the perpetual quarrel between Sophists and Philosophers. And 'tis well known; that the Athenians, in a penitential mood, either banisht or put to death all those that had any hand in Socrates's accusation. If Polycrates then were so eminently guilty, as to draw up the Impeachment; how could he escape untoucht, when all the rest suffer'd?

But when the Accusation of Socrates, though only a Sophistical Exercise, came abroad in the world; it was natural enough, in some process of time, that those that heard of it only, or but perfunctorily read it, should believe it to be the real Charge. We have seen already, that Her­mippus was in that mistake, who lived an hundred years after; and with him Quin­tilian, Themistius, and others innumerable. Favorinus, it seems, alone had the sagacity, by a notice from Chronology, to find it of a more recent date than Socrates's Tryal. And even that very passage of Favorinus has lain hitherto in the dark: so that my Reader may forgive me this prolixity and niceness; since he learns by it a piece of News. As for Hermippus, [Page 99] lest the Authority of so celebrated an Author should deterr one from so plain a truth; I will shew another slip of his, and a worse than this, in the story of Socrates. When Gryllus the Son of Xeno­phon was slain in the same battle that Epa­minondas was; most of the Wits of that Age writ Elegies and Encomium's on him, in complement and consolation to his Fa­ther. Among the rest, Laert. in Xenoph. Hermippus says, Socrates was one. Which is a blunder of no less than XXXVII years, the interval between Socrates's death and the battle of Mantinea.

Socrates was put to death Olymp. XCV, 1. when Laches was Magistrate. This is universally See Diodorus, Fa­vorinus, Diog. Laertius, Aristides, Marmor. Arund. Euseb. Argumentum Isoc [...]. Busir. &c. acknowledged; and to go about to prove it, were to add Light to the Sun. And six years after this, Olymp. XCVI, 3. Diodor. xiv. p. 303. Favorin. Diog. Laert. in Eubu­lides's Magistracy, Conon re­pair'd the Walls. Which gave the hint to Favorinus, and after him to Diogenes, to discover the common mistake about Polycrates's Oration. But Leo Al­latius, to avoid the force of their Argu­ment, undertakes an impossible thing; to prolong Socrates's life above twenty years beyond Laches: so that He might see Conon's Walls, and Polycrates's Decla­mation [Page 100] be the true Charge at his Tryal. Which he would make out by comparing together some Scraps of different Au­thors, and some Synchronisms of other Men's Lives with Socrates's. As if those things which are only mistakes and un­wary slips of the Writers, could have any force or credit against so many express Authorities. By the same way that he proceeds, I will shew the quite contrary; that Socrates died twenty years before Laches's Government. For we have it from good Hands, Diog. Laert. in Socrat▪ Ar­gum. Isoc. Busir. That Euripides, in a Play of his call'd Palamedes, using these words, [...], &c. designed to lash the Athenians for Socrates's murder: and the whole Theatre per­ceiving it, burst into tears. Socrates there­fore died before Euripides. But 'tis well known, that the latter died six years be­fore Laches was Archon. Nay, Socrates must needs be dead, before Palamedes was acted. But that was acted Olymp. XCI, I. Aelian. Var. Hist. ii, 1. Schol. Aristoph. [...]. p. 401., which is sixteen years before Laches. Have I not proved now exactly the quite contrary to Allatius? But still, I hope, I have more judgment, than to credit such an oblique Argument against so many direct Testimonies. If Allatius had looked round about him, he would not have committed so great a blunder; [Page 101] while he defends his Epistles at one Post, to expose them to worse Assaults. If So­crates died in Laches's Magistracy, one Epistle must be spurious, that mentions Polycrates. This Breach Allatius would secure; and therefore he will needs make him live several years longer. But then, say I, if we concede this to Allatius; not one Epistle only, but the whole bundle of them are spurious. For most of them plainly suppose, that Socrates died under Laches. Even this very Epistle complains Ep. xiv. that Xenophon was abroad when So­crates suffer'd; and that the Expedition of Cyrus hindred him from being pre­sent then at Athens: and a second Letter,xviii. to name no more, dated after Socrates's death, makes Xenophon to have newly escaped the dangers of his long March through Enemies Countries. Now, all the world knows, Ma [...]m▪ Arund. Laert. Dic­dor. &c. that Cyrus's Expe­dition and Xenophon's March was in Laches's time, and the year before him. So that up­on the whole; there is no escape, no eva­sion from this Argument; but our Epistles must be convicted of a manifest Cheat.

VII. In the XVII Letter, one of Socrates's Scholars, supposed to be present at Athens when the things he speaks of were acted, says, the Athenians [...] put to death both Anytus and Melitus, the Prosecutors of [Page 102] Socrates: which being contrary to known matter of fact, proves the Epistle to be a forgery. Melitus, indeed, was kill'd; but Anytus was only banisht; and Laert. in Socrat. & in An­tisth. Themist. Orat. ii. Augustin. de Civ. Dei, viii, 3. se­veral Writers speak of him afterwards at Heraclea in Pontus.

VIII. The XVIII is a Letter of Xenophon's, inviting some Friends to come to see him, at his Plantation near Olympia. He says, Aristippus and Phaedo had made him a Visit: and that he recited to them his [...]. Memoirs of Socrates; which both of them [...]. approved of. This alone is suffi­cient to blast the reputation of our fa­mous Epistles. For, how is it likely, that Aristippus would go so far to see Xenophon, who [...]. Laert. in Aristippo. was always his Enemy? Much less would he have given his approbation to a Book, that was a Satyr against him­self. For the Book is yet in being; and in it he introduces Socrates, in a long Lecture, reprehending Aristippus Xenoph. Memorab. lib. ii. in princip. for his Intemperance and Lust. Even Laer­tius takes notice, That he brought in Aristippus's name upon that scandalous occasion, out of the enmity he bare him.

IX. We have already seen Xenophon wri­ting Socrates's Memoirs at Scillus, near Olym­pia. But in the XXII, to Cebes and Simmias, he is writing them at Megara; for there [Page 103] the Letter is dated. And in the XXI, to Xanthippe, he invites her to come to him to Megara. One would think, there was more Sophists than one had a finger in this Volume of Letters: or if he was but one Author, Nature gave him a short Memory without the blessing of a great Wit. 'Tis true, upon Socrates's Execu­tion, his Scholars left Athens for fear, Laert. in Euclid. and retired to Megara, to the house of Euclides: which occasion'd our Sophist to bring Xenophon thither too. But he should have remembred, that while They were scared out of Athens for fear of their own Lives, He was safe at a great distance in the retinue of Agesilaus; from whose company he went to Scillus, without ever residing at Megara. Nay, the Sophist is so indiscreet, as to bring in Xenophon in forma pauperis, to beg and receive relief from Cebes and Simmias: whereas every body knows, that he got great riches in the War, Laert. in Xenoph. Xenoph. Exp. Cyrt, l. v. p. 35 [...] and lived in very great splendor and hospitality at Scillus.

X. In the XXIV Epistle, Plato says, he is quite weary of a City Life; and had therefore retired into the Country, [...], which Allatius translates, non longe ab Ephestiadibus. He ought to have said, ab Hephaestiadis. For the true word in the Greek, is [...]. [Page 104] Plato had some Estate there, which he disposed of in his Will: [...], as 'tis in Vita Platon. Laertius. Hesychius; [...]. Stephanus Byz. [...], &c. In the Roman Manuscript of Laertius, 'tis writ [...]: which man­ner of spelling is found also in Hesychius, [...]. If the Rea­der does believe, that our Letter-monger, like Hesychius, spelt the word wrong; he will be satisfied of the forgery: For surely, Plato himself knew the true name of his own Estate. But if he encline to absolve the Author, and lay the blame upon the Copyers; he may please to ac­cept of this, only as an Emendation.

XI. The XXVII Epistle is Aristippus's to his Daughter Arete: which, perhaps, is the very same that is mention'd by Laer­tius; who, among the Writings of this Philosopher, names [...]. Allatius, indeed, is ready to vouch it: but I am not so easie of be­lief. For here are IX. & XI. two other Letters of his in this Parcel, and both of them writ in the Doric Dialect, though directed to Athens: because, forsooth, he was a Cyre­naean, and the Doric his native Tongue. Pray, what was the matter then, that in this he uses the Attic; though he writ from [Page 105] Sicily a Dorian Country, to his own Daughter at Cyrene? One would suspect, as I observed before, that a couple of So­phists clubb'd to this Collection. 'Tis true, we know, from Laertius; that of XXV Dialogues publisht by Aristippus, some were in the Doric Idiom, and some in the Attic. But that, I suppose, was done because of the variety of his Persons. In some Dialogues the Speakers were Sici­lians, and those were writ in the Doric; and where the Athenians were introduced, the Attic was proper. But now, in this Letter to his Daughter, both Parties are Dorians; and so this Epistle should rather be Doric, than either of the other two.

XII. In the same Letter he mentions her Estate in Bernice, [...]. There is no question but he means [...]; per­haps that City not far from Cyrene. But there was nothing then in all Afric called by that name: for [...] is the Macedonian idiom for [...], the Victorious. In that Coun­trey, φ was generally changed into β: as Etym. Magn. &c. instead of [...] they said [...]; for [...]; for [...]; and so in others. So that [...] was unknown in Afric, till the Mace­donians came thither: and indeed, they had their names from the Wives of the Ptolemees, [Page 106] whole century of years after the date of this Letter.

XIII. He goes on, and tells his Daughter, That if he should die, he would have her go to Athens, and live with Myrto and Xanthippe the two Wives of Socrates. It was a common Tradition among the Wri­ters of Philosophic History, that Socrates had these two Wives at once; and from thence our Sophist made them the comple­ment of a place in this Epistle. Laert. in Socrat. Plutarch. Aristid. A­then. xiii. p. 556. There are cited as Authors of this story, Cal­listhenes, Demetrius Phalereus, Satyrus, and Aristoxenus, who all took it from Ari­stotle in his Book Of Nobility, [...]. But Polygamy being against the Law of that Commonwealth, and the story therefore improbable; Hieronymus Rhodius produces a temporary Statute made in So­crates's days, That by reason of the scarcity of People, a Man might marry two Wives at a time. But notwithstand­ing such a flush of Authorities, Athe­naeus, Plu­tarch. ib. Panaetius the Stoic, a very great Man, writ expresly against all those named above; and, in the opinion of Plutarch, [...]. sufficiently confuted the Tradition of the Two Wives. For my own part, I dare pin my belief upon two such excellent Judgments, as Plutarch's and Panaetius's; and upon their credit alone, pronounce this Letter to be an Im­posture. [Page 107] What grounds they proceeded on I cannot now tell; but I think there is apparent reason for rejecting the story, even laying aside their testimony. For none of Socrates's acquaintance, not Plato, not Xenophon, say one word of this Myrto. Aristotle, we see, was the first that mention'd her: but Ibid. Plutarch suspects that Book to be spurious. So that all this Tradition rose at first from a Falsary, that counterfeited Aristotle's name. Besides, they do not agree in telling their tale; one says, that he had both Wives together: another, that Myrto was his first Wife, and the second came after her death: another, that Xanthippe was the first. Let either of them come first, and our Epistles are false; for here we have Both surviving him, and living together. Ibid. One says, this Myrto was Aristides's Daughter; another his Grand-daughter; and another, his Grandson's Daughter. Whatsoever she was; if she outliv'd her Husband, according to the Letters, pray where was her Ladyship at the time of his suffering? Plato Apolog. Xanthippe, like a loving Wife, attended him in the Prison; but the other ne'er came near him. 'Tis a mistake, sure, that has past upon the world, that Xanthippe was the Scold: it should seem, that Myrto had the better [Page 108] title to that honourable name. But what shall we say to Hieronymus, who brings you the very Statute, that gave allowance of two Wives at once? Panaetius, you see, believed it not: and why may not a Statute be forged, as easily as these Epistles? If there was such an Act, there appears no great wisdom in it. It is cer­tain, there is near an equality in the births of Males and Females. So that if some Men had two Wives for their share, others must go without: and what remedy would that be against the scarcity of People? Besides that by such a Law the Rich only would be accommodated, who were able to maintain a couple: the poorer sort, who are always the most fruitful, would be in worse circumstances than before. And without doubt, a very strong interest would have been made against the passing of such a Bill; A. Gel­lius, li. 1. c. 23. as we know what the Roman Matrons did, when Papirius Praetextatus made a like story to his Mother. 'Tis very odd too, that no body but Hieronymus should ever hear of this Statute; and He too a suspected Witness, because he brings it to serve a turn, and to help at a hard pinch. But certainly such a Political Occurrence, had it been true, could never have lain hid from the whole tribe of Historians. It [Page 109] had very well deserved not only a men­tion, but a remark. But how could it possibly escape the fancy and spleen of all the Comaedians of that Age? how could they miss so pleasant an argument of jest and ridicule? Those that are acquainted with the condition of those times, will look upon this as next to a Demonstration. But let us grant, if you will, half a dozen Wives to Socrates; yet nevertheless our Epistles will be still in the mire. For here our So­phist makes the two Women live ami­cably together: which is pretty hard to believe: for (as Ari­stoxenus a­pud Theo­doret, Serm. xii. ad Graecos. those that make them Two, tell the story of them) while their Husband was alive, they were perpetually fighting. But, which is worse yet, there are other Letters in the bundle, that plain­ly suppose Socrates to have had but one Wife. Ep. iv. He himself, writing to some body, tells him this domestic news, That Xanthippe and the Children are well: but says not a word of my Lady Myrto. Ep. xxi. Xenophon sends a Letter top full of kindness and commendation to Xanthippe and the Little ones; but it was very un­civil in him, to take no notice of the other; since, according to the story, she brought her Husband the more Children. Nay, if we allow this Letter of Xeno­phon's to be genuine, he play'd a false and [Page 110] dirty trick, much against his character. For at the date of this Epistle, if we be­lieve the very next Ep. xxii. to it, he was wri­ting Socrates's Memoirs. So that while he here in his Letter wheedles the poor Woman, and makes her little Presents, and commends her for her love to her Husband, and for many good qualities; in his Book Xenoph. Conviv. p. 876. he traduces her to that present Age, and to all Posterity, for the most curst and devilish Shrew, that ever was or ever would be. Nay, which makes it the baser, he was the only Man that said this of her; for neither Plato nor any of the old Socratics writ a word about her Scolding. Which made Lib. v. p. 219. Athenaeus suspect it was a Calumny: especially since Aristophanes and his Brethren of the Stage, in all their Raillery and Satyr upon So­crates, never once twitted him about his Wife. Well, let that be as it will: but what shall we say to Xenophon's double dealing? For my part, rather than I'll harbour such a thought of that great Man, I'll quit a whole Cart-load of such Letters as these.

XIV. Xenophon, in the XV Letter, tells this story of Plato, to whom he bore a grudge; That he should say, None of his Writings were to be ascribed to himself, but to Socrates young and handsom; [...] [Page 111] [...]. Now, this sentence is taken out of Plato's Second Epistle to Dionysius the Younger: [...]. Here's a blunder with a witness, from the Sophist's igno­rance in Chronology. For his forged Letter of Xenophon bears date immediately after Socrates's death: but the true one of Plato, which Xenophon here alludes to, is recenter by a vast while. For Dionysius came but to the Crown Olymp. CIII, I. which is XXXII years after the Tryal of Socrates.

I must observe one thing more, that by no means should be omitted. There were formerly more Epistles of Xenophon extant, than appear in this Collection. A large fragment is cited in Serm. 81. Stobaeus, out of his Letter to Crito; Serm. 120, 123. two frag­ments out of a Letter to Sotira; Serm. 5. and two more out of one to Lamprocles: none of which are found here in Allatius's Parcel. Theodoret produces a passage out of a Let­ter of his to Aeschines; wherein he jerks Plato [...]. for his Ambition and Voluptuous­ness; to gratifie which, he went to Sicily, to Dionysius's Court. Praep. Evang. xiv. 12. Eusebius has this passage and more out of the same Epistle: and the whole is extant in Serm. 78. Stobaeus. What [Page 112] shall we say? that the true Letters of Xenophon were extant in those days? or that those too were a Cheat, and belong'd to the same Volume whence these of Al­latius were taken? And so, as I observ'd before, they will be older than Libanius's time. I am afraid it will be thought ill manners to question the judgment of Eusebius and Theodoret. But we know, See Dissert. up­on Io. Ma­lal. they have made other mistakes of a like nature: and the very Letter which they cite, betrays it self to be a counter­feit. Xenophon, we see, reproaches Plato, in a Letter to Aeschines. If this were true, it was a most rude affront to the Person he writ to, whose friendship he courts so much in the rest of his Letter. For Aeschines himself was guilty of the very same fault, and is wounded through Plato's side. 'Tis well known, that He too, as well as Plato and Aristippus and others, made a Voyage to Sicily, and struck in with Dionysius; Laert. & Suidas in Aesch. Plut. de Adulat. and that purely for Money and the Table. In Pa­rasito. Lu­cian says, He was Parasite to the Tyrant; and Poly­critus apud Laert. another tells us, he liked his Enter­tainment so well, that he did not stir from him, till he was deposed. I would ask any Man now, if he can still believe it a genuine Letter; let him have what veneration he can for the Learning of Eusebius.

[Page 113]In the beginning of this Discourse, I have said, That I heard of none, that, since the first publication of these Letters, called them into question. But I was shewn to day (after mine was in the Press) in Bi­shop Pearson's Vindiciae Epp. Sancti Ignatii, a Par. II. p. 12, 13. Digression made on purpose against Socrates's Epistles. I must confess, with some shame, I had either never read that Chapter, or utterly forgot it. But I am glad now to find that imcomparable Man both to think it worth going out of his way to discover this Imposture, and to confirm me in my judgment by the ac­cession of his great Authority. There is nothing there disagreeing with what I had said; but that his Lordship allows the Epistle to Aeschines, cited by Eusebius, to be genuine: which I had endeavoured to convict of a forgery. I referr it to those that please to read both; whether they think I have just reason to change my opinion: especially when I shall tell them, That not Aeschines only, but even Xenophon himself made a Visit to Diony­sius. I have Lib. x. p. 427. Athenaeus for my Autho­rity, a Witness beyond all exception. [...], &c. Xenophon (says he) the Son of Gryllus, when at Dionysius the Sicilian's Table the Cup-bearer forced the company to drink; [Page 114] Pray, says he, Dionysius (speaking aloud to the Tyrant,) if your Butler forces Wine upon us against our wills, why may not your Cook as well compell us to eat? So that if we suppose the Letter genuine, the absurdity will double it self; both Parties being guilty of the very same thing, that is charged upon Plato.


'TIS a bold and dangerous venture, to attack Euripides's Letters; since a very Learned Greek Professor has so pas­sionately espoused them; that he declares it to be Persri­ctae frontis & judicii imminuti. Eurip. E­dit. Can­tab. par. ii. p. 523. great Impudence and want of all Iudgment to question the Truth of them. I do not care to meddle with Controversie upon such high Wagers as those: but if I may have leave to give my opinion, without staking such valuable things as Modesty and good Sense upon it, I am very ready to speak my mind candidly and freely.

I. There are only five Epistles now ex­tant, ascribed to Euripides: but with­out doubt there were formerly more of [Page 115] them; as we have seen just before, that we have not now the whole Sett of Xenophon's Letters. Neither can we suppose a Sophist of so barren an Invention, as to have his Fan­cy quite crampt and jaded with poor Five. We have here a peculiar happiness, which we wanted in the rest; to know whom we are obliged to for the great blessing of these Epistles. Apollonides, that writ a Treatise [...], About falsified History, says, one [...]. Sa­birius Pollo forged them, the same Man that counterfeited the Letters of Aratus. This we are told by the Writer of Ara­tus's Life, no unlearned Author: who does not contradict him about these of Euripides; but for Aratus's, he says, that, bating this Apollonides, every body else believed them to be genuine. I cannot pass any judgment of what I never saw; for Aratus's Letters are not now to be had: but if they were no better than these of our Tragedian, I should, in spite of the com­mon vogue, be of Apollonides's mind; and I wish that Book of his were now extant. One may know, by the manner of the Name, that this Sabirius Pollo was a Roman: but I do not find such a Family as the Sa­birii, nor such a Sirname as Pollo. What if we read Sabinius, or Sabidius Pollio?

Non amo te, Sabidi; nec possum dicere quare.

[Page 116]If that Sabidius in Martial was the forger of our Epistles; though the Poet could give none, yet I can give a very good reason, why I do not love him.

But the Learned Advocate for the Let­ters makes several Exceptions against the Testimony of Apollonides. As first, That we may fairly inferr from it, that a great many others believed them to be true. Alas! How many more, both Ancients and Moderns, believed Phalaris's to be true? If that argument would have done the work, I might have spared this Dissertation. But prove, that these Let­ters now extant are the same that were forged by Sabirius. Commend to me an Argu­ment, that, like a Flail, there's no fence against it. Why, had we been told too, that he made Phalaris's Epistles: yet how could we prove, unless some passages were cited out of them, that they were the same that we have now? But though I cannot demonstrate that these are Sa­birius's; yet I'll demonstrate them by and by to be an Imposture; and I hope then it will be no injustice to lay them at his door. But 'tis an evidence, that the true Epistles of Euripides were once ex­tant; because some body thought it not im­proper to father false ones upon him. Now, I should think the very contrary; that [Page 117] the Cuckow does not lay her Egg, where the Nest is already full. At least, I am resolved I'll never go a book-hunting after the genuine Epistles of Phalaris; though some body has cheated the World with a parcel of false ones.

II. It might easily have happen'd, tho' we suppose the Letters spurious, that in so small a number as Five, there could be nothing found to convict them by. But so well has the Writer managed his Busi­ness; that every one of them has matter enough to their own Detection. The last and principal of them is dated from Macedonia, in answer to some reproaches, that were cast upon him at Athens for his going to Archelaus. As for what you write from Athens; says he, pray know, that I value no more, [...], what Agatho or Mesatus now say; than I formerly did, what Aristophanes babbled. Here we have the Poet Agatho, (for without doubt he means the Poet, since he has join'd him with Aristophanes) residing at Athens, and blaming Euripides for living with Archelaus. Now, could any thing be more unfortunate for our Sabirius Pollo, than the naming of this Man? For even this Agatho himself was then with Archelaus in Aelian▪ II, 21. & XIII, 4. Plut. in A­poph. Sch [...]i. Aristoph. [...]. Euripides's company: besides that they were always [Page 118] good friends and acquaintance, not there only, but before at Athens.

But perhaps some may suspect, it was another Agatho a Vita Eurip. p. 29. Ed. Cant. Comic Poet, that was meant in the Letter, and not the famous Agatho the Tragedian. This I find to be the Opinion of the Learned Person above­named. But I will make bold to expunge this Comic Agatho out of the Catalogue of Mankind. For he sprung but up, like a Mushroom, out of a rotten passage in Suidas; who, after he has spoken of Agatho the Tragic Poet, has these words; [...]: which his Interpre­ters (Wolfius and Portus) thus translate, Fuit & alius Agatho Comoediarum Scriptor. But there's nothing like Fuit & alius in the Original; but the same Agatho is here meant, that was mentioned before. This they might have known from the follow­ing words, [...], he was libelled for his Effeminateness. For whom can that belong to, but to Agatho the Tragoedian; whom [...]. Rhet. Praec. Lucian ranks with Cinyras and Sardanapalus? Do but read Aristophanes's Thesmophoriazusae; and you'll see him ri­diculed upon that score for some pages together. The Scholiast upon [...] [Page 119] of the same Poet; [...] (says he) [...]. Here you see, it is expressly said, P. 133. Agatho the Tragoedian was traduced as Effeminate. It follows presently in the same Scholiast; [...]; where we have the very words of Suidas applied to the Tragoedian: [...], this same Agatho was a Comaedian, Socrates being his Master: not another, as the Translators of Suidas interpolate the Text. But is it true then, that our spruce Agatho writ Comedies too? Nothing like it; though the learned Dialog­de Poet. Gregorius Gyraldus affirms it from this very passage. 'Tis a mere oscitation of our Scholiast, and of Suidas that gaped after him: the occasion and ground of the story being nothing but this. Plato's Convivium was in the House of this Agatho: in the P. 336. [...]. conclusion of which, Socrates is introduced proving to Agatho and Aristo­phanes; That it belonged to the same Man, and required the same Parts, to write both Comedy and Tragedy; and that he that was a skilful Tragoedian, was also a Comoe­dian. Hence have our wise Gramma­rians dress'd up a fine story, That Agatho was a Comaedian, and of Socrates's teach­ing. And now, I hope, I have evident­ly proved the thing that I proposed; [Page 120] to the utter disgrace of our admired Epistles.

III. Euripides, we have seen, did not value one farthing, what either Agatho or [...]. Mesatus said of him. I would gladly be better acquainted with this same Me­satus; for I never once met with him but here in this Letter. He must be a Bro­ther of the Stage too, by the company he is placed in: But what was the mat­ter? Was he so hiss'd and exploded, that he durst never shew his head since? I have a fancy, he was of the same family with Epist. lxiii, & xcvii. Phalaris's two Fairy Tragoedians, Ari­stolochus and Lysinus: and that these Let­ters too are a kin to those of the Tyrant. But, perhaps, you'll say, this Mesatus is but a fault in the Copies. It may be so: and I could help you to another Tragoedian of those times, not altogether unlike him; one Melitus, the same that afterwards ac­cused Socrates; who was likely enough to hate Euripides, that was the Philoso­pher's friend. Or I could invent some other medicine for the place: but let those look to that, that believe the Epistles true, or think them worth the curing.

The very Learned Defender of the Epistles, one of a singular Industry and a most diffuse Reading, has proposed [Page 121] some Objections against the Letters, com­municated to him by a private Hand. That private Person, at the request of the Editor, imparted his opinion to him in a very short Letter: to which he had no Answer returned; till he found it, with some surprize, brought upon the stage in Eurip. Edit. Cant. p. 27, & 523. print; and his Reasons routed and triumph'd. But let us see if we can rally them again: perhaps they may keep their ground in a second Engagement.

IV. Our friend Sabirius Pollo, to make the whole Work throughout worthy of himself, has directed this same Letter to Cephisophon, who was Euripides's Actor for his Plays. For he had often heard of Cephisophon; and so he would not let him pass without a share in his Epistles. But he should have minded Time and History a little better, if he hoped to put himself upon Us for the Author he mimic's. 'Tis true, Cephisophon and our Poet were once mighty dear acquaintance: but there fell out a foul accident, that broke off the friendship. For Euripides caught him Acting for him, not upon the Stage, but in private with his Wife. Which business taking wind abroad, and making a per­petual Jest, was one of the main reasons why he left Athens and went to Macedonia. And is it likely, after all this, that our [Page 122] Poet should write a Letter to him, as soon as he got thither? that he should use him as his most intimate Friend, nearer to him than his own Children? I know, there are some so fond of our Epistles, that they value all this as nothing. Cephi­sophon is so much in their Books; that whatsoever is said against him, must be calumny and detraction. Give me an Advocate, that will stick close and hang upon a Cause. By being their Editor, he is retain'd for the Letters; and therefore he must not desert his Client. But why shall no Testimony be allowed, that touches Cephisophon? Are not P. 167, 184. Ari­stophanes and his Commentator, and Sui­das and In Vi­ta Eurip. Thomas Magister all lawful and good Evidence? And is there one single Witness against them in his be­half? Not a Writer is now extant, that mentions his name, but what tells the story of him: and if we must not be­lieve them; we shall want new Evidence to prove, there ever was such a Man.

V. In a Disquisition of this nature, an inconsistency in Time and Place is an ar­gument that reaches every body. All will cry out, that Phalaris, &c. are spu­rious, when they see such breaches upon Chronology. But I must profess, I should as fully have believed them so; [Page 123] though the Writers had escaped all mi­stakes of that kind. For as they were commonly men of small endowments, that affected to make these Forgeries; a great Man disdaining so base and ignoble a work: so they did their business accordingly; and expressed rather themselves, than those they acted. For they knew not how to observe Decorum, in a Quality so diffe­rent from their own: like the silly Player, that would represent Hercules; tall indeed, but slender, without bulk and substance. Let us see the conduct of this Author: In the first Letter, Archelaus sends Euri­pides some Money; and our Poet, as if his Profession were like a Monastic Vow of Poverty, utterly refuses it. And why, forsooth, does he refuse it? Why, it was too great a Summ for his condition. Yes, to be sure; when a Sophist makes a Present, the greatest Summ costs no more than the least. But it was difficult to be kept, and the fingers of Thieves would itch at it. Alas for him; with the expence of one Bag, out of many, he might have provided a Strong Box, and new Doors and Locks to his House. But why could he not accept a Little of it? Even Laer­tius, in So­crat & Xenoc. So­crates himself and Xenocrates took a mo­dicum out of Presents, and return'd the rest again. And is a Poet more self­denying, [Page 124] than the most mortified of the Philosophers? But the best of all, is, That Clito the King's chief Minister threatned to be angry with him, if he refused it. What, could Clito expect before-hand, that the Present would be refused? The most sagacious States-man, sure, that ever Mo­narch was blest with. Alexander could not fore-see such a thing; but was mightily surprized, when Xenocrates would not receive some Money that he sent him: Plut. Apoph. What, says he, has Xenocrates no Friends to give it to, if he need it not himself?’ As for our Poet, he had Friends, I assure you; but all of his own kidney, men of Contentment, that would not finger a penny of it, [...]. What would one give to purchase a Sett of such acquaintance? And yet, I know not how, in the Fifth Letter, their appetites were come to 'em; For in that, Euripides himself, from Ar­chelaus's Court, shared some Presents among them; and we hear not one word, but that all was well taken.

VI. The rest of this Letter is employed in begging pardon [...]. for the two Sons of a Pellaean old fellow, who had done something to deserve Imprisonment. And the Third and Fourth are Common Places of Thanks for granting this request. Now, besides [Page 125] that the whole Business has the Air and Visage of Sophistry; for this same is a mighty Topic too in Phalaris's Epistles: 'tis a plain violation of good Sense, to petition for a Man without telling his Name: as if Pella the royal City had no Old Man in it but one. How can such an Address be real? But to this they give a double Answer; That a Sophist, if this was one, could not be at a loss for a Name: he might easily have put one here; as hereafter he names Amphias▪ Lapretes and others. But the point is not, what he might have done, but what he has done. He might have named some other Poet at Athens, and not Agatho that was then in Macedonia. All those mi­stakes and blunders of Phalaris and the rest might easily have been avoided, had the Writers had more History and Di­scretion. [...]. But he had writ a Letter before this about the same business; and there we must suppose he had mention'd his name. This indeed would be something, if it would carry water. But though the Sophist has told you so; do not rashly believe him. For it is plain, that pre­tended Letter must have been sent to Ar­chelaus, before this vast Present came from him. Why then did not the same Messenger that brought the Money, bring [Page 126] the Grant too of his Petition? Would the King, that did him this mighty Ho­nour and Kindness, deny him at the same time that small and just Request? For the crime of those Prisoners was surely no hainous business. Had it been a design to assassinate the King, he would never have interceded for them. The Charge against them was a venial fault: or were it the blackest accusation, their Innocence at least would clear them: for our Poet himself tells us, [...]. They had done no body any wrong.

VII. The Second Epistle is to Sophocles, whom he makes to be shipwrack'd at the Island Chios; the Vessel and Goods being lost, but all the Men saved. That Sophocles was at Chios, we are informed by Athen. XIII, 603. Ion Chius the Tragoedian; who relates a long conversation of his there. If our Author here means the same Voyage, as probably he does; he is convicted of a cheat. For(u) Ibid. & Thucyd. I, 75. (t) then Sophocles was Commander of a Fleet with Pericles in the Samian War; and went to Chios, and thence to Lesbos, for auxiliary Forces. But our Mock-Euripides never thinks of his publick Employment; but advises him to return home at his leisure; as if it had been a Voyage for Diversion. Yes, says his Ad­vocate; but why might he not be at Chios [Page 127] another time, though no body speak of it, about private Affairs? Yes; why not, indeed? For Sophocles was so Ion Chius, ib. Aristoph. Ranis. cour­teous and good-natur'd a Man, that, to do our Letter-monger a kindness, he would have gone to every Island in the Archipe­lago. But 'tis hard though, that a good Ship must be lost, and our Poet swim for't, to oblige the little Sophist. For I fear the Vessel was cast away, purely to bring in [...]. the great loss of Sophocles's Plays. Alas! alas! Could he not go over the water, but he must needs take his Plays with him? And must Euripides, of all men, lament the loss of them; whose own Plays must, probably, have truckled to them at the next Feast of Bacchus? Must Euripides, his Rival, his Antagonist, tell him, [...]. That his Orders about family affairs were executed: as if He had been employ'd by him, as Steward of his Houshold?

VIII. The Fifth Letter is a long Apology for his going to Macedonia. ‘Can they think, says he, that I came hither for love of Money? I should have come then, when I was younger; and not now, to lay [...]. my bones in a barbarous Countrey, and make Archelaus richer by my Death.’ I observed it, as no small mark of a Sophist, That our Author [Page 128] foretells, he was to die in Macedonia; where, we know, he was worried to death by a pack of Dogs. But what wonder, say they, if an Old Man of Seventy predict his own death? I do not question, but our Poet might presage himself to be Mortal. But 'twas an odd guess to hit upon the time and place, when and where he was to die. For, what ground was there to be so positive? The Letter, we see, carries date just after his arrival at Court? He had, as yet, had very short trial, whether all things would continue to his liking. And we have no reason to suppose, that he came thither for good and all; never to see Athens again. Might he not, by some accident, or supplanted by some rival, lose the King's favour? Or, was he sure His life would last as long as his own? 'Twas a violent death, and not mere Age and Craziness, that took our Poet away at last: and he knew Sophocles to be then alive and hearty and making of Plays still; that was Fourteen years older than himself. In these circum­stances to be so positive about his dying there, was a Prophecy as bold as any of the Pythian Oracle. But, say they, he gives a hint too, that Archelaus might be deposed: which a Sophist would not say, be­cause it never came to pass. That was true [Page 129] and came to pass every day, that he might be deposed: and he does not sug­gest, that it actually would be so; for he expresly says, [...]. God would always stand by the King, and support him. But indeed, as they interpret a passage there; it looks as if he had foreboded real Mischief; [...]. Which last words they translate, ubi jam destitutus fueris & abdicatus, ‘when you are de­serted and deposed.’ But with all due submission, I will assume the freedom of changing the version. For [...] and [...] belong to the word [...], and not to Archelaus: and the distinction is to be put thus; [...]; Tempus ad exercendam benignitatem con­cessum; ‘You will not grieve, that the time is gone past recalling, which was granted you by God to do good to Mankind in.’ This, I suppose, is now clear enough; and Archelaus is in no danger of being deposed by this sentence. But let us examine our Author's next words; [...]. To make Archelaus richer by my death. A very good Thought indeed, and worthy of Euripides. But pray what could the King get by his death? Would the Poet be compell'd to make him his [Page 130] Heir; as some were forced by the Roman Emperors? Or, would the King seize upon his Estate, and defraud the true In­heritor? If the Poet had such suspicions as these, he would never have gone to him. But though he had left all to him at his death; what would the King have been richer for him? For surely Euri­pides, having setled affairs at home, carried no great Stock with him to Macedonia; unless he thought Archelaus would make him pay for his Board. He might well expect to be maintain'd by the King's Liberality; (c) as he found it in the(d) Ep. v. Event. The King therefore, were he his sole Heir, would only have received again, what himself had given before. Nay, even a great part of that had been lost beyond recovery. For our Poet, by the very first Messenger, had packt more away to Athens, that Archelaus had given him, than all that he carried with him could amount to; perhaps, than all he was worth before.

IX. But he has more still to say to those, that blamed him for leaving Athens. ‘If Riches (says he) could draw me to Macedonia; why did I refuse [...]. these very same Riches; when I was [...]. young, or middle-aged; and while my Mother was alive; for whose sake alone, if [Page 131] at all, I should have desired to be rich?’ He alludes here to the First Letter, (and perhaps to others now lost,) where he refuses an ample Summ of Money sent him by Archelaus. Alas, poor Sophist! 'twas ill luck he took none of the Money, to Fee his Advocates lustily: for this is like to be a hard brush. For how could the Poet, while young, or middle­aged, refuse Presents from Archelaus? since, according Diod. Sicul. & alii apud Athen. l. v. p. 217. to most Chronologers, he was about Seventy; and, by the most fa­vourable account, above Sixty; when Ar­chelaus came to the Crown.

X. But what a dutiful Child had Mother Clito the Herb-woman? For her sake alone, her Son Euripides could wish to be Rich; to buy her Oil to her Sallads. But what had the Old Gentleman the Father done, that he wishes nothing for His sake? And how had his Suidas▪ Tho. Magi­ster, &c. three Sons offended him, that They have no share in his good wishes? 'Tis a fine piece of conduct, that our Sophist has shewn. He had read something of our Poet's Mother; for she was famous in old Comedy for her Lettuce and Cabbage: but having heard nothing of his Sons; he represents him through all his Letters, as if he had no Children. As here, the only motive to desire Wealth, is his care of the Old Woman: and when [Page 132] she is supposed to be dead, all his concern is only for his Friends. In the First Let­ter, [...]. He and his Friends are such con­tented men, that they refuse the royal Gift. Not a word of the three young Sparks; who, 'tis hard to think, were so self-denying. In the Fifth, he keeps none of the King's Presents by him, but sends all away to Athens, to be shared among his [...]. Friends and Companions. How, again, would the young Gentlemen look, to be forgot thus by their own Father? If it be suspected, in favour of the Letters, that the Sons might be all dead before; I can soon put a stop to that, from a good Evidence, Aristophanes; who, in a Play made [...], p. 184. Edit. Basil. the very Year of our Poet's death, mentions the Sons as then alive.

XI. The Romans may brag as much as they please of Mecoenas and others: but of all Patrons of Learning, Archelaus of Macedonia shall have My commendations. Within two or three days after Euripides's arrival, he makes him a Present of Ep. v. Forty Talents. Which was a greater Summ of Money than our Poet could ever have raised be­fore; though all that he had should have been sold four times over. The Great Themistocles Plut. Themist. was not worth Three Talents, before he meddled with Public Affairs: and Terent. Heaut. Two Talents was thought [Page 133] a good Portion for a substantial Man's Daughter. Alexander the Great, when he was Lord of the World, sent Xenocrates the Philosopher a Present of Thirty Ta­lents, or, as others say, Fifty; which Cicero, Tusc. v. Pecunia temporibus illis, Athe­nis praefer­tim, maxi­ma. Cicero calls a vast Summ, especially for those times. But Alexander's natural Munificence was stimulated and exalted to that extraordinary Act of Bounty, out of a peak Laert. in A [...]ist. he had to Aristotle. How ge­nerous then, nay, how profuse was Ar­chelaus; that out of his little and scanty Revenue could give as much, as his great Successor in the midst of the Persian Trea­sures? But all this is spoil'd again; when we consider, 'tis a Sophist's Present: who is liberal, indeed, of his Paper Notes, but never makes solid Payment.

And now, I suppose, it will be thought no great matter, whether Sabirius Pollo, as Apollonides affirms, or any other un­known Sophist, have the Honour of the Epistles. I will take my leave of Him and Them; after I have done the same kindness to Apollonides, that I did to Sa­birius. For as I read the name of the one, [...], instead of [...]: so, for [...], I dare make bold to substitute [...]. The former was never heard of but here. This latter is men­tion'd [Page 134] by Laertius, Harpocration and others. He writ several Books, and dedi­cated one of them Laert. in Timone. to Tiberius. The time therefore agrees exactly with this emendation; for living in that Emperor's days, he might well cite a Roman Author Sabidius Pollio. But to take away all manner of scruple; this very Book About Falsified History is ascribed to Apollonides Nicenus by v. [...]. De Differ. Vocab. Ammonius; [...], says he, [...]; just as the Writer of Aratus's Life says; [...].


I Could easily go on, and discover to you many more Impostures of this kind, The Epistles of Anacharsis, Hera­clitus, Democritus, Hippocrates, Diogenes, Crates, and others. But perhaps I may be exhorted hereafter to put this Disser­tation into Latin, with large Additions: till which time I will adjourn the further Discourse upon those several Authors; and proceed now to the last thing proposed, The Fables of Aesop.

[Page 135]And here I am glad to find a good part of the Work done ready to my hand. For Monsieur Bachet S. de Meziriac, has writ The Life of Aesop, in French: which Book, though I could never meet with it, I can guess from the great Learning of the Au­thor, known to me by his other Works, to have in a manner exhausted the Sub­ject. Vavasor too, De Ludicra Dictione, ascribes the present Fables to Maximus Pla­nudes, and not to Aesop himself. See also a great deal upon this Head in the late Histo­rical Dictionary of Mr. Baile. All which make me look upon Sir W. T.'s mighty Commendation of the Aesopean Fables now extant, which is the occasion of this Treatise, to be an unhappy Paradox; neither worthy of the great Author, nor agreeable to the rest of his excellent Book. For if I do not much deceive my self, I shall soon make it appear, That of all the Compositions of the Aesopic Fables, these that we have now left us, are both the Last and the Worst. Though I do not intend a set Discourse; but only a few loose things, that I fansie may have escaped the Observation of Others.

I. 'Tis very uncertain, if Aesop himself left any Fables behind him in writing: the Old Man in In Ves­pis, p. 357. Aristophanes learn'd [Page 136] his Fables in Conversation, and not out of a Book:


There's another In Avi­bus, p. 387. passage in the same Poet, [...]; which [...]. Suidas, and from him Erasmus, Sca­liger, &c. affirm to be used proverbially; You have not read so much as Aesop, (spoken of Ideots and Illiterates.) From whence one might conclude, that Aesop wrote his own Fables, which were in every bodies hands. But it plainly appears from the Poet himself, that it is not a Proverbial Saying: For when One had said, He never heard before, that Birds were older than the Earth: the Other tells him, He is unlearned, and unacquainted with Aesop; who said, ‘That the Lark was the first of Things; and she, when her Father died (after he had laid five days unburied, because the Earth was not yet in being) at last buried him in her own Head.’ Now, what is there here like a Proverb? But pray take notice, that this Fable is not ex­tant in our present Collection; a good testimony, that Ours are not of the Phry­gian's own Composing.

[Page 137]I will mention another place of our Poet; that I may, on this occasion, cor­rect a gross Error of the Scholiast. 'Tis extant in Vespis, p. 330.


Where he interprets [...]; of one Aesop a ridiculous Actor of Tragedy. But our Scholiast himself is more ridicu­lous: if it was He that writ this; and not some trifler, that foisted it in among the other's Annotations. For there was no Aesop a Greek Actor in the days of Ari­stophanes: he mistakes him for the famous Aesop in Cicero's time, an Actor of Tragedy on the Roman Stage; and far from being ridiculous:

Quae gravis Aesopus, quae doctus Roscius egit.

But the Aesop meant by our Poet is the Phrygian himself, whose Fables were cal­led Iests, [...]: so in the other passage, already cited, [...]. Hesy­chius, [...]. Orat. lxxii. p. 631. Dion Chrysostom, speak­ing of our Aesop, [...], says he, [...]. Avienus, in his Preface; Aesopus, responso Delphici Apollinis monitus, RIDICULA orsus est.

[Page 138]II. The first, that we know of, who essayed to put the Aesopic Fables into Verse, was Plato in Phaedone. Plutarch. de Aud. Poet. Laert. in Socrat. Socrates the Philosopher. Laertius seems to hint, that he did but one Fable; and that with no great suc­cess; the beginning of it was this:


'Tis observable again, that Socrates does not say, he made use of a Book of Fables: but, I wrote, says he, [...], those that I knew, and that I could first call to mind. And this Fable too does not appear in our present Collection; if we may gather so much, from his naming the Corinthians.

III. After Socrates's time, Laert. in Demet. Demetrius Phalereus made [...], Collections of Aesopean Fables: which, per­haps, were the first in their kind, com­mitted to writing; I mean, in form of a Book. These seem to have been in Prose: and some, perhaps, may imagine, that they are the same that are now extant. I wish they were; for then they would have been well writ, with some Genius and Spirit. But I shall demonstrate Ours to be of a Modern Date; and the Com­position it self speaks too loud, that it is not Demetrius's.

[Page 139]IV. After him, there was some body, whose name is now lost, that made a new Edition of the Fables in Elegiac Verse; I find no mention of them, but in Suidas; who cites them often under the name of [...], or [...]. I will set down a few Fragments of them; both to shew that they belong to the Aesopic Fables, which has not yet been observed, that I know of; and to enable you to judge, whether, if we could change our modern Collection for these, we should not get by the bargain.

Suidas in [...]. [...].

This belongs to the Fable about the Two Bags that every Man carries; one before, where he puts other men's faults; ano­ther behind him, where he puts his own. This is mention'd by Catullus, Horace, Phaedrus, Galen, Themistius, Stobaeus, &c. and it is a Blot upon our Modern Sett, that there it is wanting.

Id. in [...].
vulgo [...].




Id. in [...].

[Page 140]And,

Id. [...].

Some of them, it seems, were all Hexameters:

Id. [...]. & Schol. Ari­stoph. p. 220.

'Tis an easie matter to find what Fables these pieces relate to; and I think they are all extant in the present Collection.

V. This, you see by this Specimen, was no contemptible Author: and after him came one Babrius, that Suidas in [...]. gave a new Turn of the Fables into Choliambics. No body, that I know of, mention him; but Suidas, Avienus, and Io. Tzetzes. There's one Gabrias, indeed, yet extant, that has comprized each Fable in four sorry Iambics. But our Babrius is a Wri­ter of another Size and Quality; and were his Book now extant, it might justly be opposed, if not preferred, to the Latin of Phaedrus. There's a whole Fable of his yet preserved at the end of Gabrias, of the Swallow and the Nightingale. Sui­das brings many Citations out of him; all which shew him an excellent Poet: as this of the Sick Lion,

Suidas in [...].

[Page 141]And that of the Bore,

Suidas. in [...].

And a great many others.

VI. I need not mention the Latin Wri­ters of the Aesopean Fables; Phaedrus, Auso­nius, Ep. xvi. Iulius Titianus, and Avienus; the two first in Iambic, the last in Elegiac: but I shall proceed to examine those Greek ones now extant, that assume the name of Aesop himself. There are two parcels of the present Fables; the one, which are the more ancient, CXXXVI in number, were first publisht out of the Heidelberg Li­brary, by Neveletus, A. D. MDCX. The Editor himself well observed; That they were falsly ascribed to Aesop, because they [...], Fab. 152. mention holy Monks. To which I will add another remark; That there is a sentence out of Iob, See Fab. 288. Iob i. 21. [...]; Naked we all came, and naked shall we re­turn. But because these two passages are in the Epimythion, and belong not to the Fable it self; they may justly be supposed to be Additions only, and Interpolations of the true Book. I shall therefore give some better Reasons, to prove they are a re [...] Work. That they cannot be Aesop's ow [...] the CLXXXI Fable is a demonstrative [Page 142] proof. For that is a story of Demades the Rhetor, who lived above CC years after our Phrygian's time. The CXCIII is, about Momus's Carping at the Works of the Gods. There he finds this fault in the Bull; That his Eyes were not placed in his Horns, so as he might see where he pusht. But In Ni­grino. Lucian (speaking of the same Fable) has it thus; That his Horns were not placed right before his Eyes. And De Part. A­nim. l. iii. p. 54. Aristotle has it a third way; That his Horns were not placed about his Shoulders, where he might make the strongest push; but in the tenderest part, his Head. Again, Momus blames this in the Man; That his [...] did not hang on the out-side of him, so as his Thoughts might be seen: but in In Her­motimo. Lucian, the fault is; That he had not a Window in his Breast. I think it pro­bable from hence, that Aesop did not write a Book of his Fables: for then there would not have been such a difference in the telling. Or, at least, if these that are now extant were Aesop's; I should guess from this specimen, that Lucian had the better on't, and beat him at his own play.

VII. But that they are recenter than even Babrius, who is himself one of the latest Age of good Writers, I discove­red by this means. I observed in 'em se­veral passages, that were not of a piece [Page 143] with the rest; but had a turn and com­position plainly Poetical: as in the CCLXIII Fable, which begins thus; [...]. This, I saw, was a Choliambic Verse; and I presently sus­pected, that the Writer had taken it out of Babrius. And I was soon confirmed in my judgment by this Suidas in [...]. fragment of his, that belongs to the same Fable:


For in the Fable in Prose there are these words; [...]. Whence it evidently appears, that the Author of that Parcel, which was published by Neveletus, did nothing else but epitomize Babrius, and put him into Prose. But I will give you some further proofs of it. The CCLXI begins thus; [...]. Which, at the first reading, one perceives to be part of a Scazon: and thus it is in a Suidas in [...]. fragment of Babrius:


In the CLVI, about the Fox with the Fire­brand; [...] [Page 144] [...]. Who does not discover here a Scazon of Babrius?


The CCXLIII is a manifest turning out of Choliambics into Prose; for the whole is made up either of Pieces or entire Verses:








In the CCXCIII, there are these remnants of Babrius:






[Page 145]The CLXV begins thus; [...]: which I suppose to have been in Babrius thus:


Or, [...]:’

In all these passages here are most visible footsteps by which we may trace our Imitator: but generally he has so dis­guised the Fables, that no body can find they ever belong'd to Babrius. In the CCXLV, about the Priests of Cybele, there's nothing but a short dry Story, and no reliques of a Verse. But there's a noble fragment of Babrius belonging to the same Fable, which I will here set down, both to correct it, (for he that has given it us, Natal. Com. l. ix. c. 5. has printed it false,) and to shew you how much we have lost:


[Page 146]VIII. Thus I have proved one Half of the Fables now extant, that carry the name of Aesop, to be above a Thousand Years more recent than He. And the other Half, that were public before Neveletus, will be found to be yet more modern, and the latest of all. That they are not from Aesop's own Hand, we may know from the LXX, Of the Serpent and the Crab-fish: which is taken from a Scolion or Catch, much older than Aesop, that is extant in Lib. xv. c. 15. Athenaeus, and must be corrected thus:


And there is great reason to believe, that they were drawn up by Planudes, one of the Later Greeks, that translated into his native Tongue Ovid's Metamor­phoses, Cato's Distich's, Caesar's Commenta­ries, and Macrobius. For there is no Ma­nuscript any where, above CCC years old, that has the Fables according to that Copy. Besides that there are several passages, that betray a modern Writer; as in the LXXVII, [...], a Bird; and XXXIX, [...], a Beast; both unknown to all ancient Au­thors: and in the CXXIX, [...], Crying in his heart, a manifest Hebraism, in imitation of Eccles. xi. I. [Page 147] [...]. The LXXV, about the Aethiopian, is taken almost word for word out of the VI of Apthonius the Rhetorician; who made an Essay upon some Aesopic Fables, that is yet extant. The IV, as appears from the last sentence of it, is a Paraphrase on the CCLXXXIV of Neveletus's Parcel; which Parcel, as I have proved above, are a Traduction of Ba­brius: and particularly in this very Fable there are footsteps of his Verses;




This Collection therefore is more recent than that Other; and coming first abroad with Aesop's Life, writ by Planudes, 'tis justly believed to be owing to the same Writer.

IX. That Idiot of a Monk has given us a Book, which he calls The Life of Aesop, that, perhaps, cannot be match'd in any Language, for Ignorance and Nonsense. He had pick'd up two or three true stories, That Aesop was Slave to one Xanthus, Eu­stath. in X Odyss. p. 785. carried a Burthen of Bread, conversed with Craesus, and was put to death at Delphi: but the Circumstances of these, and all his other Tales, are pure Invention. [Page 148] He makes Xanthus, an ordinary Lydian or Samian, to be a (t) Philosopher: which(o) [...]. word was not heard of in those days, but invented afterwards by Pythagoras. He makes him attended too, like Plato and Aristotle, by a Company of Scholars, whom he calls [...]: tho' the word was not yet used in that sense, even in Aristotle's time. 'Twas the Plu­tarch. in Conviv. King of Aethiopia's Problem to Amasis King of Aegypt, To drink up the Sea: but Planudes makes it a Wager of Xanthus with one of his Scholars. To say nothing of his Chronological Errors, Mi­stakes of a Hundred or Two Hundred years: Who can read, with any patience, that silly Discourse between Xanthus and his Man Aesop; not a bit better than our Penny-Merriments, printed at London-Bridge?

X. But of all his injuries to Aesop, that which can least be forgiven him, is, the making such a Monster of him for Ugliness: an Abuse, that has found credit so universal­ly; that all the modern Painters, since the time of Planudes, have drawn him in the worst Shapes and Features, that Fancy could invent. 'Twas an Suidas in [...]. & [...]. Schol. Aristoph. p. 357, & 387. old Tradition among the Greeks, That Aesop revived again, and lived a second life. Should he revive once more, and see the Picture be­fore the Book that carries his Name; could he think it drawn for Himself? or for the [Page 149] Monkey, or some strange Beast introduced in the Fables? But what Revelation had this Monk about Aesop's Deformity? For he must learn it by Dream and Vision, and not by ordinary methods of Knowledge. He lived A. D. MCCCLXX▪ about Two Thousand Years after him: and in all that tract of time, there's not one single Author that has given the least hint, that Aesop was ugly. What credit then can be given to an ignorant Monk, that broaches a new Story after so many Ages? In Plutarch's Convivium our Aesop is one of the Guests with Solon and the other Sages of Greece: there is abun­dance of Jest and Raillery there among them: and particularly upon Aesop: but no body drolls upon his ugly Face; which could hardly have escaped, had he had such a bad one. Perhaps you'll say, it had been rude and indecent, to touch upon a natural Imperfection. Not at all, if it had been done softly and jocosely. In Plato's Feast, they are very merry upon Socrates's Face, that resembled old Silenus: and in this, they twit Aesop for having been a Slave: which was no more his Fault, than Deformity would have been. Philostratus has given us, in Two Books, a Description of a Gallery of Pictures; P. 735. one of which is Aesop with a Chorus of Animals about him. There he is [Page 150] represented smiling and looking towards the ground, in a posture of Thought; but not a word of his Deformity; which, were it true, must needs have been touch'd on, in an account of a Picture. The Athe­nians set up a noble Statue to his Ho­nour and Memory:

Phae­drus, l. xi. ult.
Aesopo ingentem Statuam posuere Attici,
Servúmque collocarunt aeterna in basi;
Patere honoris scirent ut cuncti viam,
Nec generi tribui, sed virtuti gloriam.

But had he been such a Monster, as Pla­nudes has made of him; a Statue had been no better than a Monument of his Ugliness: it had been kinder to his Me­mory, to have let that alone. But the famous Lysippus was the Statuary that made it. And must so great a Hand be employed to dress up a Lump of Defor­mity? Agathias the Poet has left us an Anthol. lib. iv. [...]. Epigram upon that Statue:

[...], &c.

How could He too have omitted to speak of it, had his Ugliness been so notorious? The Greeks have several Proverbs about Persons deformed; [...], [Page 151] [...], &c. Our Aesop, if so very ugly, had been in the first rank of them; especially when his Statue had stood there, to put every body in mind of it. He was a great Favourite of Craesus King of Lydia; who employ'd him, as his Em­bassador to Corinth and Delphi. But would such a Monster, as Planudes has set out, be a fit Companion for a Prince? or a proper Embassador; to be hooted at by all the Boys, where-ever he came? Plutarch represents him as a polite and elegant Courtier; rebuking Solon for his gruff and clownish behaviour with Craesus; telling him, he must converse with Princes, Pln [...] in Solone. [...], either agreeably, or not at all. Now, could either such a Station, or such a Discourse befit Aesop; if he was truly that Scare-crow, as he is now commonly painted? But I wish I could do that justice to the Memory of our Phrygian; to oblige the Painters to change their Pencil. For 'tis certain, he was no Deformed Person; and 'tis proba­ble, he was very Handsom. For whether he was a Phrygian, or, as others say, a Thracian; he must have been sold into Samos by a Trader in Slaves. And 'tis well known, that that sort of People com­monly bought up the most Beautiful they could light on; because they would yield [Page 152] the most Profit. And there is mention of two Slaves, Fellow-Servants together, Aesop and Rhodopis a Woman; and if we may guess him by his Companion and (b) Contubernalis, we must needs believe him a Comely Person. For Pliny xxxvi, 12. that Rho­dopis (d) Herodo­tus. Suidas▪ Strabo. was the greatest Beauty of all her Age: and even a Proverb arose in Me­mory of it;



PAge 48. l. 17. r. [...]; p. 66. l. 14. r. very well resolv'd; p. 80. l. ult. r. Ten years; p. 90. l. 22. r. gives a reason; p. 93. l. 29. r. of that Philosopher; p. 124. marg. r. [...]; p. 127. marg. r. [...].

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