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III.—THE IEPEIAI OF HELLANICUS AND THE BURNING
OF THE ARGIVE HERAEUM."
The testimony of Pamphila in Aulus Gellius, XV 23, to the relative ages of Hellanicus, Herodotus, and Thucydides, even though based on Apollodorus, the pupil of Aristarchus and Panaetius, may be, and probably is, factitious in its exact figures. It may have been a mnemonic device of some helpfulness to have Hellanicus sixty-five, Herodotus fifty-three, and Thucydides forty years of age at the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war, giving those who stop to reckon the problem out the years 496, 484, and 471 respectively as the natal years of the three great historians ; but the mnemonic device must not be made to serve, and probably was never intended to serve, as an exact chronological canon, especially when authentic literary remains of the historians (such, for instance, as those preserved for us in the Scholia on Aristophanes, Ranae, 694 and 720) give distinct and clear chronological evidence which is at least difficult, though not impossible, to bring into harmony with the exact figures of the canon. There can be no reasonable doubt that Hellanicus described with considerable detail the events of the year 407/6 B. C., when Antigenes was Archon Eponymous at Athens, and that he did this in his Atthis. If we cling to the date 496 as that of his birth, then we must be prepared to allow that he was productive as a historian when past his ninetieth year. This, to be sure, is no more incredible than that Isocrates should finish his Panathenaicus in his ninety-seventh year, and is by no means a fatal demand upon
1 LITERATURE.—Mueller, Fragmenta Hist. Graec. I, pp. xxiii-xxxiii, 45–69.
1876: Diels, Chronologische Untersuchungen über Apollodors Chronika, Rhein. Mus. XXXI, pp. 48-54.
1876: Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, in criticism of the above, Hermes, XI, pp. 291-4.
1888: Niese, Die Chronik des Hellanikos, Hermes, XXIII, pp. 81 ff. 1892: Eduard Meyer, Forschungen zur alten Geschichte, I, pp. 117-21. 1893: Gutschmid, Kleine Schriften, IV, pp. 316–26.
1893: Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Aristoteles und Athen, 1, pp. 260–90; II, Pp. 19 f.
1893: Busolt, Griechische Geschichte, 14, pp. 151 ff. 1895: Wachsmuth, Alte Geschichte, pp. 510 f., 555 f.
our credulity. But it is not at all necessary to fix upon the year 496 as the exact year of his birth. The testimony of Pamphila may be not exactly, but generally true; in the words of Aulus Gellius, “Hellanicus, Herodotus, Thucydides, historiae scriptores, in isdem temporibus laude ingenti floruerunt et non nimis longe distantibus fuerunt aetatibus."
Grant to Hellanicus, then, a length of days much less than that of Isocrates, and he may have been a slightly older contemporary of Herodotus, a much older contemporary of Thucydides, and may have survived even the latter, as he undoubtedly did the former. Dionysius of Halicarnassus (ad Pomp. 3; de Thuc. iud. 5), whom Diels calls “ der genaueste Kenner der Logographie,” and Plutarch (de mal. Herod. 36; Theseus 26) thought of him as preceding Herodotus; Wilamowitz-Moellendorff insists on ranking him after Herodotus. Both views may be in a measure right. Such a work as the Persica of Hellanicus may well have been composed before Herodotus had published his history; the Atthis of Hellanicus must have been published, at least in its ultimate form, long after the death of Herodotus. Thucydides certainly, and Herodotus probably, drew much material from prior works of Hellanicus, though both looked down upon his methods as far inferior to their own.
The multiplicity of the works of Hellanicus, even after subtitles have been merged as far as possible under main titles, bespeaks a literary career of extraordinary length; so does the great variety in form and method employed by this historian. He never attained the art of throwing mythical and historical material into progressive and climactic epic form, as Herodotus did; or into progressive and climactic dramatic and rhetorical form, as Thucydides did. But it is clear from the fragments of his works now before us that he passed through the horographical, chorographical, and genealogical methods of composing sectional history, up to the method of the general Hellenic chronicle and annal. Beyond the last method, in spite of the Lrilliant example of Herodotus, he never advanced.
The horographical Lesbiaca naturally precedes and merges into the chorographical Aeolica, and this into the chorographical and genealogical Troica. Of the ten larger works that are with certainty to be attributed to Hellanicus, none is wholly exclusive of the others either in method or material. It is clear that he worked over again much of his material as he passed from one predominating method of composition to another, or
from a complex to a more simple method. Thus, the story of Electra, the daughter of Atlas and mother of Dardanus, is told in the chorographical and genealogical Troica, and also in the purely genealogical Atlantis. So the story of Niobe is told in the genealogical Atlantis, and also in the chronological Hiereiai. The cupbearer whose accidental murder by Heracles caused that hero's banishment from Calydon and brought in its train the final catastrophe on Mount Oeta, is named Cherias in the genealogical Phoronis, but Archias in what Athenaeus (IX, p. 419 F) calls "the histories," probably the Hiereiai, or the Atthis, or both. This is not surprising on the theory of an advance from lower to higher methods of composition.
It is surprising, however, to find that the two great chronological works of Hellanicus, the works most deserving of the name of histories, the Hiereiai and the Atthis, cover much the same ground, and follow the same method. Both chronicles began with a mythical and legendary period, where the chronology was reckoned by generations, an arbitrary unit of forty years; both had next a period covering events from about the time of the Trojan war down through the Persian wars and the Pentekontaëtie, where the earlier chronology was reckoned either by generations or by mythical lines of kings; and both, finally, a period covering more or less of the Peloponnesian war, where, as well as in the later parts of the previous period, the chronology was reckoned on the basis of archive lists of public officials. In the case of the Hiereiai, the official was the priestess of Hera at the Argive Heraeum ; in that of the Atthis, it was the annual archon at Athens.
While both works included more recent events of the Peloponnesian war, we notice this striking difference between them. The Hiereiai gives us no fragment (i. e. is not cited by later writers) for any event later than the opening years of the war (Frag. 49= Thuc. I I3 = 447 B, C.; and Frag. 52 = Thuc. II 8I, 4 = 429 B. c.), but the Atthis gives us fragments describing much later events, such as the affair of the Hermae at the beginning of the Sicilian expedition (Frag. 78; cf. Thuc. VI 60, 2; Andocides, de myst. 48; Plutarch, Alcibiades, 21) in 415 B. C. and the battle of Arginusae (Frag. 80) in 406 B. C.
To all appearances, then, on the evidence before us, the Hiereiai was discontinued, and superseded by the Atthis. With due consideration of the great freedom of excursus which Hellanicus, in common with all the “logographers," allowed him
self, even in his more strictly chorographical works, and also of the increasingly imperial relations of Athens, it is not necessary to assume any more local and narrow scope for the Atthis than for the Hiereiai. Here we must not be misled by the narrower patriotism of the later antiquarian writers of Atthides, like Philochorus above all, with whom Hellanicus is sometimes ranked, much more because he wrote a work which he called 'Atthis' than because his Atthis was like that of Philochorus. When Hellanicus wrote his Atthis the Athenians were still making history. The reigning literary spirit was creative and imperialistic, not antiquarian and particularistic. Both the Hiereiai and the Atthis of Hellanicus were national Hellenic chronicles. Therefore the mystery of their community of form and matter becomes all the deeper, and tempts to explanation.
The catastrophic burning of the Argive Heraeum in November of 423 B. c. furnishes a reasonable explanation. Thucydides describes the disaster with remarkable detail (IV 133, 2, 3): “During the same summer the temple of Hera at Argos was burnt down; Chrysis the priestess had put a light too near the sacred garlands, and had then gone to sleep, so that the whole place took fire and was consumed. In her fear of the people Chrysis fled that very night to Phlius; and the Argives, as the law provided, appointed another priestess named Phaeinis. Chrysis had been priestess during eight years of the war and half of the ninth when she fled.” There is no good reason to doubt that Thucydides, when he thus wrote, knew the Hiereiai of Hellanicus and had drawn material from it. His words take on added significance if he realized, as he doubtless did, that the chronological basis of a notable rival's history was thus forever and irremediably swept away. There was no immediate prospect, certainly, that it could become imperially current. How Thucy. dides felt towards this system of chronology which his rival had adopted may, I think, be seen from his words in V 20, 2, where the translation of Jowett is changed slightly, but fairly, as any one would grant: “I would have a person reckon the actual periods of time, and not rely upon lists of archons or other officials whose names may be used in different places to mark the dates of past events. For whether an event occurred in the beginning, or in the middle, or whatever might be the exact point, of these officials' term of office is left uncertain by such a mode of reckoning." And acquaintance, at least, with the system of Hellanicus in the Hiereiai may fairly be inferred from the words of Thucy
dides in II 2, 1, where he attempts to fix the date of the opening of the Peloponnesian war by all the received systems of chronology: "For fourteen years the thirty-years peace which was concluded after the recovery of Euboea remained unbroken. But in the fifteenth year, when Chrysis the high-priestess of Argos was in the forty-eighth year of her priesthood, Ainesias being Ephor at Sparta, and at Athens Pythodorus having two months of his archonship to run, in the sixth month after the engagement at Potidaea, and at the beginning of spring, about the first watch of the night, an armed force of somewhat more than three hundred Thebans entered Plataea, a city of Boeotia, which was an ally of Athens." Here speaks a historian conscious of a method of chronology far superior to that of any rival. The consciousness vents itself in controversy in the passage cited above from book V.
The destruction of the Argive Heraeum certainly made it natural for Hellanicus to abandon the chronological thread for his Hellenic history which had been supplied but could be supplied no longer by the archive lists of temple priestesses. Furthermore, the boundless prestige of Athens during the years between her great triumph over Sparta at Sphacteria (425) and the Peace of Nicias (421) made it equally natural for him to select, as a new chronological thread on which to rearrange the old material of the Hiereiai and arrange the new material brought by the advancing years, the archive lists of annual archons at Athens. No basis of chronology bade fair to have more national currency than this.
In the chronological passages already cited from Thucydides we may, on this explanation, see veiled reference to both the Hiereiai and the Atthis of Hellanicus. The passage which he wrote later, I 97, 2, is more familiar to all : "I have gone out of my way to speak of this period (the Pentekontaëtie) because the writers who have preceded me treat either of Hellenic affairs previous to the Persian invasion or of that invasion itself; the intervening portion of history has been omitted by all of them, with the exception of Hellanicus; and he, where he has touched upon it in his Attic history (év Tū 'ATTUKİ Guyypaon), is very brief, and inaccurate in his chronology." Here the reference is clearly to the Atthis alone, which was now recognized as the final form of the great national chronicle. For neither Atthis nor Hiereiai has Thucydides a kindly word.