Northern peoples: Antonios Diogenes’ “Wonders Beyond Thule” and ethnographic fiction (second century CE / ninth century CE)

Citation with stable link: Philip A. Harland, 'Northern peoples: Antonios Diogenes’ “Wonders Beyond Thule” and ethnographic fiction (second century CE / ninth century CE),' Ethnic Relations and Migration in the Ancient World, last modified May 11, 2024,

Ancient author: Antonios Diogenes, Wonders Beyond Thule, or Unbelievable Things Beyond Thule as summarized by Photios (or: Photius), Bibliotheke, or Collection of Books, codex 166 (Greek text of Photios at the bottom of this post).

Comments: The present work illustrates well the blurry lines between ethnographic writing and fiction. This novelistic story attributed to Antonios Diogenes (likely second century CE but preserved in summary by the bishop Photios, who writes in the ninth century) shows how ethnographic discourses and encounters between different peoples could be fully integrated within fictional narratives. (This narrative has some affinities with Lucian of Samosata’s True Story which is somewhat more ironic, however, on which go to this link [coming soon]). There are also affinities between the voyage or circumnavigation narratives (periploi), on which see many other posts on this site (link), and narratives like this one.

Although we only have Photios’ summary of the story, Photios is as usual quite detailed in his analysis, so that we begin to see how often the protagonists are portrayed encountering “unbelievable” phenomena and peoples in their journeys. And so we find the protagonists encountering Tyrrhenians, Kimmerians, and other peoples of the north, including Iberians, Celts, Artabrians and Astyrians. As with much ethnographic writing, Diogenes is concerned to focus on or invent the unusual customs of the peoples he describes, as with the Artabrians where gender roles are reversed compared to what a Greek audience would expect (this is supposed to be astonishing!). One would expect some ethnographic details about Thulians (extreme northerners) themselves, but Photios points out how little there is about Thule itself (perhaps a mythicized Iceland) in the narrative. Also noteworthy is that the main villain of the story is expressly an Egyptian, an Egyptian priest to be precise, which may be seen as an extension of the denigration of Egyptians within Greek ethnic hierarchies.

The fact that wanderings and travels (often with loved ones forcefully separated from one another) became the organizing principle of most ancient Greek novels and other fiction (including those that Photios compares with this one at the end of his summary) means that such narratives were an optimal place to integrate adapted ethnographic material from other sources in order to add danger and excitement. Photios’ description of Diogenes own explanation of what he was doing shows that Diogenes was ostensibly making use of other ethnographic sources regarding “real” peoples for the basis of these fictional portrayals.

Beyond Photios’ summary, two small fragments of the narrative have been discovered: Papiri greci e latini X 1177, verso (early third century CE; link) and POxy XLII 3012 (second-third centuries; link). Porphyry knew and used the work (Life of Pythagoras 10, 32), on which go to this link. What is interesting about Porphyry’s citations is that they confirm that Diogenes was sometimes incorporating what an ancient would consider “accurate” information, since Porphyry cites the novel as reliable information about Pythagoras.


[Introduction of the journeys of the protagonists]

(Bekker, page 109a) Read The Unbelievable Things (or: Wonders) Beyond Thule by Antonius Diogenes, in twenty-four books. The books are dramatic (dramatikon) [i.e. fictional like a dramatic play]. The style is clear and so pure that the clarity is never lacking even in the digressions. It is very agreeable in the thoughts expressed because, although it is very close to the mythical and unbelievable, it presents the material of the tales in a fashion and arrangement which is very plausible.

So the story starts with a man called Deinias who, during a voyage of exploration, is led astray with his son Demochares, far from his homeland. They cross the Pontos [Black Sea], pass by the edges of the Kaspian or Hyrkanian sea [Caspian Sea], and arrive at the Riphaian mountains [likely fictional] and the sources of the Tanais [Don] river. Then, because of the extreme cold, they make [grammatical use of historical present] a half-turn towards the Scythian sea [Black Sea (?)] and travel towards the east where the sun rises. From there, they make a circuit around the exterior sea spending much time and often wandering. Carmanes, Meniskos and Azoulis join then in wandering.

[Arrival of Deinias and companions at Thule and connection with Derkyllis]

They arrive at the island of Thule (Thoulē) which they consider at the time a resting place during their wandering. On this island of Thule, Deinias has sexual relations with a woman named Derkyllis, who was a Tyrian by descent group (genos) and was from a noble family of the city. She lived with her brother named Mantinias. In his relations with her, Deinias learns about the wanderings of the brother and the sister [Derkyllis and Mantinias] and all their misfortunes caused by Paapis, an Egyptian priest. After his homeland had been plundered, Paapis had emigrated to Tyre and was received as a guest by the parents of the brother and sister, Derkyllis and Mantinias.

[Abduction of Derkyllis and Mantinias and travels among Cretans, Tyrrhenians, and Kimmerians]

Initially, Paapis appeared to have good will towards his benefactors and their whole household. Afterwards, he did many bad things to the household, both the children and their parents. After this offence against the household, the girl [Derkyllis] was abducted away to Rhodes along with her brother [Mantinias]. From there, she went away to wander in Crete, then to the land of the Tyrrhenians, and from there to those called Kimmerians (or: Cimmerians). (109b) There, she saw Hades [the underworld] and learned much about it, making use of Myrto, her own female servant, who was long dead and returned from death to provide instruction for her mistress.

[Adventures among Iberians, Celts, Artabrians and Astyrians]

After these things, Deinias begins to give an account to a certain Kymbas, from the Arkadian homeland. The Arkadian League had sent Kymbas to Tyre to ask Deinias to return with him to his homeland. But, since the effects of age prevented Deinias from doing this [later we learn he lived to the age of one hundred and twenty five], he relates instead all he has witnessed himself in his wandering, what he has heard from other witnesses, and what he knows from the account of Derkyllis while in Thule: namely. what he heard about Derkyllis’ wandering mentioned already and how she had arrived with them at the tomb of the Siren after her ascent from Hades with Keryllos and Astraeus, which was after she was already separated from her brother; what Derkyllis herself heard from Astraeus about Pythagoras and Mnesarchos (which Astraeus himself heard from Philotis) and about the legendary spectacle regarding his eyes; what he heard from Derkyllis’ account after returning from her own wandering, and how she by chance arrived in a town in Iberia [Spain] whose inhabitants could see at night but were blind each day; what he heard about Astraeus’ actions against the enemies of those people while playing the flute; what he heard about how, leaving there with good wishes, they encountered the Celts, a cruel and stupid people (ethnos), and escaped by horse; what he heard about the adventures which happened to them when the horses changed colour. Then they came to Aquitainia [now southwestern France], and Deinias reports the honours which were given to Derkyllis and Keryllos, but especially to Astraeus. These honours were because of Astraeus’ eyes which, dilating and narrowing, announced the phases of the moon and because he put an end to the quarrel of the two kings over leadership. There were two kings and they followed one another mutually according to the phases of the moon [i.e. Astraeus’ special dilating eyes determined when each should rule]. This is why the people rejoiced due to Astraeus and his friends.

Then a fabulous account is added of the rest of what Derkyllis saw and endured. She lived among the Artabrians (Artabroi), a people where the women engage in war but the men stay at home and take care of womans’ duties. After these things it deals with what sort of things happened to her and Keryllos among the people of the Astyrians (Astyroi) and the things that happened to Astraeus specifically. It deals with how, beyond any hope, Keryllos together with Derkyllis escaped many dangers among the Astyrians and with how Astraeus suffered and did not avoid the punishment which was owed him for an old crime. (110a) Yet beyond every expectation, Astraeus was nevertheless saved from dangers, and then suddenly butchered.

[Journeys in Italy and Sicily and among the Leontinians]

After these things comes what she witnessed in her wandering in Italy and Sicily. Coming into Eryx, the chief city of Sicily, she was seized and carried off to Ainesidemos (this man was then ruling among the Leontinians). In that city she again encountered that extremely offensive Paapis [the Egyptian priest] who was living with the ruler and she discovered an unanticipated consolation from the unexpected misfortune: her brother Mantinias. Mantinias had wandered a lot and had seen many very unbelievable spectacles concerning men and other animals and concerning the sun itself and the moon and concerning the planets and the islands especially. Mantinias explained these things to Derkyllis, in this way providing her with plenty of tales which she will later report to Deinias. Stringing these tales together, Deinias passes them on, describing them in detail to the Arkadian Kymbas.

[Among Thracians, Getians, and Massagetians]

Then, as they were leaving the Leontinians, Mantinias and Derkyllis took from Paapis a leather bag, books which it contained, and a box of herbs. They sailed to Rhegion [Reggio Calabria, Italy] and from there to Metapontion [Metaponto, Italy], where Astraeus found them and told them that Paapis was following them closely. They went away together to the Thracians and Massagetians (Massagetai) with Astraeus, who returned to his friend Zamolxis. The story relates what was witnessed during this voyage, how Astraeus met Zamolxis among the Getians (Getai), who today considered Zamolxis as a god, and what Derkyllis and Mantinias asked Astraeus to say and to obtain on their behalf.

There, an oracle declared to them that they were destined to go to Thule and that they would see their homeland again later. But first they would face troubles and, to make right their most impious act (even if an involuntary offence) towards their parents, their daily experience would be divided between life and death, living during the night, but being corpses every day. When they had received these oracles, they went away, leaving behind Astraeus together with Zamolxis, who was honoured by the Getians. The story reports all the strange things they saw and heard in the north.

[Paapis harms the protagonists]

Deinias heard all these things described by Derkyllis while on Thule. Now the story introduces the reports by the Arkadian Kymbas. In addition to these things it reports that Paapis, pursuing the trail of the companions of Derkyllis, opposed them on the island with a magical technique to cause them the torment of dying during the day and coming to life again at night. (110b) He put this torment on them by publicly spitting on their faces. Throuskanos, an inhabitant of Thule, who was an enthusiastic admirer of Derkyllis, was very angry when he saw Derkyllis ruined by the torment inflicted by Paapis, because Throuskanos loved her warmly and felt her pain. Immediately attacking, Throuskanos suddenly strikes Paapis with a sword and kills him. This barely brought to an end to the countless problems. Since Derkyllis seemed dead, Throuskanos kills himself over her body.

[Deinias’ retelling of everything to Kymbas]

Deinias is now presented in the process of retelling (having learned them from Derkyllis) to the Arkadian Kymbas all these things and many others which are like them: their burial and return from the grave, the love-affairs of Mantinias and what followed from them, and other similar things which happened on the island of Thule. This is how the twenty-third book of Antonius Diogenes on the Unbelievable Things Beyond Thule finishes without the work offering anything about Thule except the little information supplied at the beginning.

[Journeys near the moon]

The twenty-fourth book brings in Azoulis as a narrator and Deinias tying together the stories of Azoulis with the tales recounted above to Kymbas. It relates how Azoulis discovered the kind of knowledge about howling chants (goēteia) by which Paapis had chanted to make Derkyllis and Mantinias live during the night and be corpses during the day and how Azoulis delivered them from the torment after having discovered what type of retribution it was and what the remedy was in Paapis’ own bag, which Mantinias and Derkyllis brought with them. Not only this, but he also discovers how Derkyllis and Mantinias delivered their parents from a terrible evil. On the advice of Paapis, who pretended it would be beneficial to them, Derkyllis and Mantinias had harmed their parents by getting them to lie down like corpses for a long time. Then Derkyllis together with Mantinias hurry from there to their homeland to raise and save their parents. Deinias with Karmane and Meniskos (Azoulis separates from them) prolonged their wanderings to the regions beyond Thule. It is during this wandering to the regions beyond Thule that they witness unbelievable things which are now explained to Kymbas. Deinias says he has seen what advocates of observing the stars teach, such as that it is possible that some people live in the arctic, where a night lasts a month (sometimes less and sometimes more) or where a night lasts six months or, what is most extraordinary, where a night lasts a year. (111a) He has seen that it is not only the night that lasts so long but the day also.

Deinias also reports that he has seen other similar things and he tells marvellous stories about how he has seen men and other things which, he says, nobody else has seen or heard. Nor has anyone described such fantastic things. But what is most unbelievable is that, in travelling toward the north, they came near the moon which resembled a cleared land and that, coming close, they saw what must normally be seen by a man who imagines such exaggerated fictions.

Then he says that the Sibyl [prophetess] performed a divination with Karmanes. After these things, he says how each of them prayed individual prayers and how each of the others saw their dreams come true. When he woke up after his prayer, Deinias was discovered at Tyre in the temple of Herakles [likely referring to Melqart, the patron deity of Tyre] and, after he got up, he found Derkyllis and Mantinias. They had happily been successful and had delivered their parents from their long sleep (which was more like death) and the rest were doing well.

Deinias said these things to Kymbas. He presented Kymbas with tablets of cypress and asked the companion of Kymbas, Erasinides of Athens, to write the stories on them because he was an expert in writing. Deinias also showed them to Derkyllis. For, in fact, she brought the tablets. Deinias ordered Kymbas to have the story written in two copies, one to keep and the other for Derkyllis to place in a box and deposit in his tomb.

[Photios’ final evaluation of the work and its complicated layers of fictionality and claims to authority by Diogenes]

Anyways, Diogenes (who is also called Antonios) presents Deinias recounting all these marvellous things to Kymbas. At the same time Diogenes writes to Faustinus that he is composing a work on unbelievable things found beyond Thule and that he is dedicating the account of dramatic (dramata) events to his sister Isidora, who loves learning. However, Diogenes himself says that he is an author of an ancient play (kōmōdia) and that, even if he may be inventing these unbelievable and untrue stories, he has the authority of older writers for the stories, writers from whom he has compiled his collection with much labour. He even cites at the beginning of each book what authors gave an account of such things so that the unbelievable things do not seem to lack authority.

[Belagros’ letter regarding Alexander’s discovery of the tablets with the stories]

At the beginning of the book, Diogenes addresses a letter to his sister Isidora. (111b) Even though the dedication of the writing appears to be to her, he then brings in Balagros writing to his wife named Phila, daughter of Antipater. Balagros is writing that, when Tyre was close to being captured by Alexander the king of the Macedonians and much of it was destroyed by fire, a soldier came to Alexander to reveal to him, Balagros says, some strange paradox visible in the town. The king brought along with him Hephaistion and Parmenion. They followed the soldier and discovered underground coffins made of stone. One had inscribed on it “Lysilla lived thirty-five years.” Another had “Mnason, son of Mantinias, lived sixty-six years, then seventy-one.” Another had: “Aristion, son of Philokles, lived forty-seven years, then fifty-two.” Another had: “Mantinias, son of Mnason, lived forty-two years and seven hundred and six nights.” Another had: “Derkyllis, daughter of Mnason, lived thrity-one years and seven hundred and sixty nights.” The sixth coffin had: “Deinias the Arkadian lived one hundred and twenty-five years.” While they were confused by these inscriptions, except the one on the first coffin (for that one was clear), they encountered near a wall a small box of cypress wood with the inscription: “Oh Stranger, whoever you are, open in order to learn what amazes you.” When those around Alexander opened the box, they discovered the cypress tablets which, it seems, Derkyllis had put there according to the direction of Deinias. This is what Balagros relates in writing to his wife, as well as that he transcribed what was written on the cypress tablets to send them to her.

In the remaining part, the account moves on to the the reading and writing of the tablets of cypress, and Deinias appears to recount to Kymbas what was already reported. In this way, therefore, see the way in which the fiction of dramatic events on these matters by Antonios Diogenes has taken form.

Now it seems that this work is earlier in time than others who have put effort into inventions (diaplasai) of this kind, such as Lucian, Lucius, Iamblikos, Achilles Tatius, Heliodoros and Damaskios. In fact this story seems to have been the source and root of Lucian’s True Story and Lucius’ Metamorphoses. Not only that, but also Derkyllis, Keryllos, Throuskanos, and Deinias seem to be the model for those stories about Sinonis and Rhodanes, Leukippe and Kleitophon, and Charikleia and Theagenes with respect to the fictions (plasmata) concerning them in their wandering, their loves, their departures, and their dangers.

(112b) Now concerning the time during which Diogenes Antonios, the father of fictions of that age, was active, I can say nothing more certain, except that it may be deduced that he is not far from the times of king Alexander. This man cites a certain Antiphanes from an earlier time who, he says, also spent his time on marvellous tales (teratologēmata) of the same kind.

It is in these tales in particular, as in fabulous fictions as well as stories, that there are two very useful things to notice: First is that such tales show that a person who engages in unjust behaviours, even if he may seem to escape countless times, always faces punishment; second is that such tales show many innocent people closely encountering grave danger yet often being saved against all expectations.


Greek text of Photius, Bibliothekē 166 (Antonios Diogenes, Wonders Beyond Thule)

[Bekker page 109a] Ἀνεγνώσθη Ἀντωνίου Διογένους τῶν ὑπὲρ Θούλην ἀπίστων λόγοι κδʹ. Δραματικὸν οἱ λόγοι, σαφὴς ἡ φράσις καὶ οὕτω καθαρὰ ὡς ἐπ’ ἔλαττον εὐκρινείας δεῖσθαι, καὶ τότε κατὰ τὰς ἐκτροπὰς τῶν (10) διηǀǀγημάτων. Ταῖς δὲ διανοίαις πλεῖστον ἔχει τοῦ ἡδέος, ἅτε μύθων ἐγγὺς καὶ ἀπίστων ἐν πιθανωτάτῃ πλάσει καὶ διασκευῇ ὕλην ἑαυτῇ διηγημάτων ποιουμένη. Εἰσάγεται τοίνυν ὄνομα Δεινίας κατὰ ζήτησιν ἱστορίας ἅμα τῷ παιδὶ Δημοχάρῃ ἀποπλανηθεὶς τῆς (15) παǀǀτρίδος, καὶ διὰ τοῦ Πόντου καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς κατὰ Κασπίαν καὶ Ὑρκανίαν θαλάσσης πρὸς τὰ Ῥιπαῖα καλούμενα ὄρη καὶ τοῦ Τανάϊδος ποταμοῦ τὰς ἐκβολὰς ἀφιγμένοι, εἶτα διὰ τὸ πολὺ τοῦ ψύχους ἐπὶ τὸν Σκυθικὸν ἐπιστραφέντες ὠκεανόν, καὶ δὴ καὶ εἰς τὸν ἑῷον ἐμβαλόντες (20) καὶ πρὸς ταῖς τοῦ ἡλίου ἀνατολαῖς γεγονότες, ἐντεῦθέν τε κύκλῳ τὴν ἐκτὸς περιελθόντες θάλασσαν ἐν χρόνοις μακροῖς καὶ ποικίλαις πλάναις· οἷς συνεφάπτονται τῆς πλάνης Καρμάνης καὶ Μήνισκος καὶ Ἄζουλις. Γίνονται δὲ καὶ ἐν Θούλῃ τῇ νήσῳ ἐνταῦθα τέως καὶ σταθμὸν (25) ὥσπερ τῆς πλάνης τινὰ ποιούμενοι. Ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ Θούλῃ Δεινίας κατ’ ἔρωτος νόμον ὁμιλεῖ Δερκυλλίδι τινὶ καλουμένῃ ἥτις γένει μὲν ὑπῆρχε Τυρία τῶν κατὰ τὴν πόλιν εὐπατριδῶν, ἀδελφῷ δὲ συνῆν ὄνομα Μαντινίᾳ. Ταύτῃ Δεινίας ὁμιλῶν ἀναμανθάνει τήν τε τῶν (30) ἀδελǀǀφῶν πλάνην, καὶ ὅσα Παάπις τις ἱερεὺς αἰγύπτιος, τῆς πατρίδος αὐτοῦ λεηλατηθείσης καὶ παροικήσας Τύρον καὶ φιλοξενηθεὶς ὑπὸ τῶν τεκόντων τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς Δερκυλλίδα καὶ Μαντινίαν, καὶ δόξας τὰ πρῶτα εὔνους εἶναι τοῖς εὐεργέταις καὶ ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ, μετὰ (35) ταῦτα ὅσα κακὰ τόν τε οἶκον καὶ αὐτοὺς καὶ αὐτῶν γονέας εἰργάσατο· ὅπως εἰς Ῥόδον ἀπὸ τῆς κατὰ τὸν οἶκον συμφορᾶς σὺν τῷ ἀδελφῷ ἀπήχθη, κἀκεῖθεν εἰς Κρήτην ἐπλανήθη, εἶτα εἰς Τυρρηνούς, κἀντεῦθεν εἰς Κιμμερίους οὕτω καλουμένους· καὶ ὡς τὰ ἐν Ἅιδου (40) παρ’ αὐτοῖς ἴδοι καὶ πολλὰ τῶν ἐκεῖσε μάθοι, διδασκάλῳ χρωμένη Μύρτῳ θεραπαινίδι οἰκείᾳ, πάλαι τὸν [109b] βίον ἀπολιπούσῃ καὶ ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν τὴν δέσποιναν ἀναδιδασκούσῃ. Ταῦτα τοίνυν ἀπάρχεται Δεινίας διηγεῖσθαι Κύμβᾳ τινὶ ὀνόματι ἐξ Ἀρκαδίας πατρίδος, ὃν στείλειε τὸ (5) κοιǀǀνὸν τῶν Ἀρκάδων ἐς Τύρον, αἰτούμενοι Δεινίαν πρὸς αὐτούς τε καὶ πατρίδα ἐπαναζεῦξαι. Ἐπεὶ δὲ αὐτὸν τὸ βάρος τοῦ γήρως ἐκώλυεν, εἰσάγεται διηγούμενος ἅπερ τε αὐτὸς κατὰ τὴν πλάνην θεάσοιτο ἢ καὶ ἄλλων θεασαμένων ἀκήκοε, καὶ ἃ Δερκυλλίδος ἐν Θούλῃ διηγουμένης (10) ἀνέμαθε, λέγω δὴ τήν τε προειρημένην πλάνην αὐτῆς, καὶ ὅπως μετὰ τὴν ἐξ Ἅιδου αὐτῆς ἀναχώρησιν σὺν Κηρύλλῳ καὶ Ἀστραίῳ, ἤδη τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ διασπασθεῖσα, ἐπὶ τὸν Σειρήνης ἀφίκοντο τάφον· καὶ ὅσα πάλιν αὐτὴ ἐξ Ἀστραίου λέγοντος ἤκουσε, περί τε Πυθαγόρου φημὶ (15) καὶ Μνησάρχου· οἷά τε Φιλώτιδος αὐτὸς Ἀστραῖος ἤκουσε, καὶ τὸ κατὰ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ μυθῶδες θέαμα, καὶ ὅσα αὖθις Δερκυλλὶς ἐπὶ τὴν οἰκείαν ἐπανιοῦσα πλάνην ἀπήγγελλεν, ὡς περιπέσοι ἀνθρώπων πόλει κατὰ τὴν Ἰβηρίαν, οἳ ἑώρων μὲν ἐν νυκτί, (20) τυǀǀφλοὶ δὲ ὑπὸ ἡμέρᾳ ἑκάστῃ ἐτύγχανον, καὶ ὅσα ἐκεῖ Ἀστραῖος αὐλῶν τοῖς πολεμίοις ἐκείνων εἰργάσατο. Καὶ ὡς ἀφεθέντες εὐμενῶς ἐκεῖθεν περιπεπτώκασι τοῖς Κελτοῖς, ἔθνει ὠμῷ καὶ ἠλιθίῳ, ἵπποις τε αὐτοὺς ἐξέφυγον, καὶ ὅσα αὐτοῖς περὶ τῆς κατὰ τὴν χρόαν τῶν (25) ἵππων ἐναλλαγῆς ἐγεγόνει. Ὅπως τε κατὰ τοὺς Ἀκυτανοὺς ἐγένοντο, καὶ οἵας ἐκεῖ τιμῆς ἀπήλαυσαν Δερκυλλίς τε καὶ Κήρυλλος, καὶ ἔτι μᾶλλον Ἀστραῖος τῇ περὶ τοὺς οἰκείους ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐξομειώσει τὰς σεληνιακὰς σημαίνων αὐξομειώσεις, καὶ λύων ἔριδος τοὺς (30) ἐκεῖσε περὶ τῆς ἀρχῆς βασιλεῖς, οἳ δύο ὄντες κατὰ τὰ τοιαῦτα τῆς σελήνης πάθη ἀλλήλων ἀντικαθίσταντο διάδοχοι· δι’ ἃ καὶ ὁ ἐκεῖσε δῆμος τοῖς περὶ Ἀστραῖον ἔχαιρον. Ἐντεῦθεν ἐπιμυθεύεται ὅπως τά τε ἄλλα (35) Δερκυλǀǀλὶς εἶδέ τε καὶ ὑπήνεγκε, καὶ ὡς ἐν Ἀρτάβροις ἤχθη, οὗ γυναῖκες μὲν πολεμοῦσιν, ἄνδρες δὲ οἰκουροῦσι καὶ τὰ γυναικῶν ἐπιμελοῦνται. Ἐπὶ τούτοις οἷα κατὰ τοὺς Ἀστύρους τὸ ἔθνος αὐτῇ τε καὶ Κηρύλλῳ συνεκύρησε, καὶ ἔτι ὅσα ἰδίως Ἀστραίῳ συνηνέχθη, καὶ ὡς παρ’ (40) ἐλǀǀπίδας πάσας τοὺς ἐν Ἀστύροις συχνοὺς κινδύνους ἐκπεφευγότες Κήρυλλος σὺν Δερκυλλίδι τὴν δίκην ὅμως, [110a] ἣν ἀδικήματος παλαιοῦ ὠφληκὼς ἐτύγχανεν, οὐκ ἀπέφυγεν, ἀλλὰ παρὰ δόξαν πᾶσαν ὡς ἐσώθη τῶν κινδύνων, οὕτω καὶ ἐκρεουργήθη. Μετὰ ταῦτα οἷα κατὰ τὴν Ἰταλίαν καὶ Σικελίαν πλανωμένη ἐθεάσατο, καὶ (5) ὡς ἐν Ἔρυκι γενομένη πόλει Σικελίας συλλαμβάνεται καὶ πρὸς Αἰνησίδημον (ἐτυράννει δὲ τότε Λεοντίνων οὗτος) ἀπάγεται. Ἐν ᾧ πάλιν Παάπιδι τῷ τρισαλιτηρίῳ περιπίπτει τῷ τυραννοῦντι συνόντι, καὶ τῆς ἀπροσδοκήτου συμφορᾶς ἀνέλπιστον εὑρίσκει παραμυθίαν τὸν (10) ἀδελφὸν Μαντινίαν, ὃς πολλὰ πλανηθείς, καὶ πολλῶν ἀπιστοτάτων θεαμάτων περί τε ἀνθρώπους καὶ ἕτερα ζῷα περί τε αὐτὸν ἥλιον καὶ σελήνην καὶ φυτὰ καὶ νήσους μάλιστα ἐξηγητὴς αὐτῇ καταστάς, ὕλην ἄφθονον παρέσχε μυθοποιΐας ἀπαγγέλλειν ὕστερον τῷ (15) Δειǀǀνίᾳ· ἅπερ αὐτὸς συνείρων εἰσάγεται διηγούμενος τῷ Ἀρκάδι Κύμβᾳ. Ἔπειτα ὡς λαβόντες Μαντινίας καὶ Δερκυλλὶς ἐκ Λεοντίνων τὸ Παάπιδος πηρίδιον μετὰ τῶν ἐν αὐτῷ βιβλίων καὶ τῶν βοτανῶν τὸ κιβώτιον, (20) ἀπαίρουσιν εἰς Ῥήγιον κἀκεῖθεν εἰς Μεταπόντιον, ἐν ᾧ αὐτοὺς Ἀστραῖος ἐπικαταλαβὼν μηνύει κατὰ πόδας διώκειν Παάπιν. Καὶ ὡς συναπαίρουσιν αὐτῷ ἐπὶ Θρᾷκας καὶ Μασσαγέτας, πρὸς Ζάμολξιν τὸν ἑταῖρον αὐτοῦ ἀπιόντι, ὅσα τε κατὰ ταύτην τὴν ὁδοιπορίαν ἴδοιεν, (25) καὶ ὅπως ἐντύχοι Ἀστραῖος Ζαμόλξιδι παρὰ Γέταις ἤδη θεῷ νομιζομένῳ· καὶ ὅσα εἰπεῖν αὐτῷ καὶ δεηθῆναι Δερκυλλίς τε καὶ Μαντινίας Ἀστραῖον ὑπὲρ αὑτῶν ἠξίωσαν. Καὶ ὡς χρησμὸς αὐτοῖς ἐκεῖθεν ἐξέπεσεν ἐπὶ Θούλην εἶναι πεπρωμένον ἐλθεῖν, καὶ ὡς ἐς (30) ὕστερον καὶ πατρίδα ὄψονται, πρότερον ἄλλα τε ἐνταλαιπωροῦντες, καὶ δίκην τῆς ἐς τοὺς τοκέας ἀνοσιότητος (εἰ καὶ ἄκοντες ἥμαρτον) τιννύντες τῷ τὸν βίον αὐτοῖς εἰς ζωὴν καὶ θάνατον διαμερισθῆναι, καὶ ζῆν μὲν ἐν νυκτί, νεκροῖς δὲ ἐν ἑκάστῃ εἶναι ἡμέρᾳ. Εἶτα (35) ὡς τοιούτους χρησμοὺς λαβόντες ἀπαίρουσιν ἐκεῖθεν τὸν Ἀστραῖον σὺν Ζαμόλξιδι λείποντες ὑπὸ Γετῶν δοξαζόμενον. Καὶ ὅσα περὶ Βορρᾶν αὐτοῖς τεράστια ἰδεῖν καὶ ἀκοῦσαι συνηνέχθη. Ταῦτα πάντα Δεινίας κατὰ Θούλην ἀκούσας (40) διηǀǀγουμένης Δερκυλλίδος εἰσάγεται νῦν ἀπαγγέλλων τῷ Ἀρκάδι Κύμβᾳ. Ἐπὶ τούτοις καὶ ὡς Παάπις διώκων μετ’ ἴχνια τοὺς περὶ Δερκυλλίδα ἐπέστη αὐτοῖς ἐν τῇ [110b] νήσῳ, καὶ τὸ πάθος ἐκεῖνο τέχνῃ μαγικῇ ἐπέθηκε θνήσκειν μὲν ἡμέρας, ἀναβιώσκειν δὲ νυκτὸς ἐπιγινομένης. Καὶ τὸ πάθος αὐτοῖς ἐνέθηκεν ἐμπτύσας αὐτῶν κατὰ τὸ ἐμφανὲς τοῖν προσώποιν. Καὶ ὡς (5) Θρουǀǀσκανός τις Θουλίτης, ἐραστὴς διάπυρος Δερκυλλίδος, ἰδὼν πεσοῦσαν τῷ ἐκ Παάπιδος πάθει τὴν ἐρωμένην καὶ ὑπεραλγήσας, ἀθρόον τε ἐπιστάς, παίει ξίφει ἐκ τοῦ αἰφνιδίου τὸν Παάπιν καὶ ἀναιρεῖ, τοῦτο μόλις τῶν μυρίων κακῶν τέλος εὑράμενον. Καὶ ὡς Θρουσκανός, ἐπεὶ (10) Δερǀǀκυλλὶς ἔκειτο δοκοῦσα νεκρά, ἑαυτὸν ἐπικατασφάττει. Ταῦτα πάντα καὶ τούτων ἕτερα πολλὰ παραπλήσια, τήν τε ταφὴν αὐτῶν καὶ τὴν ἐκεῖθεν ὑπαναχώρησιν καὶ τοὺς ἔρωτας Μαντινίου, καὶ ὅσα διὰ τοῦτο συνέβη, καὶ ἕτερα ὅμοια κατὰ Θούλην τὴν νῆσον, Δεινίας (15) μαǀǀθὼν μυθολογούσης Δερκυλλίδος εἰσάγεται νῦν συνυφαίνων τῷ Ἀρκάδι Κύμβᾳ. Καὶ συμπληροῦται Ἀντωνίῳ Διογένει ὁ εἰκοστὸς τρίτος λόγος τῶν ὑπὲρ Θούλην ἐπιγραφομένων ἀπίστων, καίτοι μηδὲν ἢ βραχέα κατ’ ἀρχὰς περὶ Θούλης τῆς συγγραφῆς ὑποδηλωσάσης. (20) Ὁ δὲ εἰκοστὸς τέταρτος λόγος εἰσάγει Ἄζουλιν διηγούμενον, κἀκεῖθεν Δεινίαν τοῖς ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῷ μυθολογηθεῖσι πρὸς Κύμβαν συνείροντα τὰ Ἀζούλιδος, ὡς κατανοήσοι τῆς γοητείας τὸν τρόπον, καθ’ ὃν Παάπις ἐγοήτευσε Δερκυλλίδα καὶ Μαντινίαν νυκτὶ (25) μὲν ζῶντας ἐν ἡμέρᾳ δὲ νεκροὺς εἶναι, καὶ ὡς ἀπήλλαξεν αὐτοὺς τοῦ πάθους, τόν τε τρόπον τῆς τιμωρίας ταύτης καὶ δὴ καὶ τῆς ἰάσεως ἐκ τοῦ πηριδίου ἀνευρὼν τοῦ Παάπιδος, ὃ συνεπεφέροντο Μαντινίας καὶ Δερκυλλίς. Οὐ μόνον δὲ ἀλλ’ εὗρε καὶ ὅπως Δερκυλλὶς καὶ (30) Μανǀǀτινίας ἀπαλλάξειαν μεγάλου κακοῦ τοὺς τοκέας κειμένους, οὓς ὑποθήκαις Παάπιδος, ὡς ἂν ἐπὶ τῷ ἐκείνων συμφέροντι, αὐτοὶ ἐλυμήναντο, ἶσα κεῖσθαι νεκροῖς μακρὸν χρόνον κατεργασάμενοι. Εἶτα ὡς ἐκεῖθεν Δερκυλλὶς ἅμα Μαντινίᾳ ἐπὶ τὴν πατρίδα ἔσπευδον ἐπὶ (35) τῇ τῶν τεκόντων ἀναβιώσει καὶ σωτηρίᾳ. Δεινίας δὲ ἅμα Καρμάνῃ καὶ Μηνίσκῳ, ἀποχωρισθέντος αὐτοῖς Ἀζούλιδος, πρὸς τὰ ὑπὲρ τὴν Θούλην τὴν πλάνην ἐξέτεινον· καθ’ ἣν πλάνην τὰ ὑπὲρ τὴν Θούλην ἄπιστα θεάσασθαι νῦν ἀπαγγέλλων εἰσάγεται Κύμβᾳ, ἐκεῖνα λέγων (40) ἰδεῖν ἃ καὶ οἱ τῆς ἀστροθεάμονος τέχνης σπουδασταὶ ὑποτίθενται, οἷον ὥς ἐστιν ἐνίοις δυνατὸν κατὰ κορυφὴν τὴν ἄρκτον εἶναι, καὶ τὴν νύκτα μηνίαιαν, καὶ ἔλαττον [111a] δὲ καὶ πλέον, καὶ ἑξαμηνιαίαν δέ, καὶ τὸ ἔσχατον ἐνιαυσιαίαν· οὐ μόνον δὲ τὴν νύκτα ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον παρατείνεσθαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν ἡμέραν ταύταις συμβαίνειν ἀνάλογον. Καὶ ἕτερα δὲ ἀπαγγέλλει ἰδεῖν ὅμοια, καὶ (5) ἀνǀǀθρώπους δὲ ἰδεῖν καὶ ἕτερα τινὰ τερατεύεται, ἃ μηδεὶς μήτε ἰδεῖν ἔφη μήτε ἀκοῦσαι, ἀλλὰ μηδὲ φαντασίαις ἀνετυπώσατο. Καὶ τὸ πάντων ἀπιστότατον, ὅτι πορευόμενοι πρὸς Βορρᾶν ἐπὶ σελήνην, ὡς ἐπί τινα γῆν καθαρωτάτην, πλησίον ἐγένοντο, ἐκεῖ τε γενόμενοι ἴδοιεν (10) ἃ εἰκὸς ἦν ἰδεῖν τὸν τοιαύτην ὑπερβολὴν πλασμάτων προαναπλάσαντα. Εἶτα καὶ ὡς ἡ Σίβυλλα τὴν μαντικὴν ἀπὸ Καρμάνου ἀνέλαβε. Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα ὅτι εὐχὰς ἰδίας ἕκαστος ηὔξατο, καὶ τοῖς μὲν ἄλλοις ἑκάστῳ συνέπεσεν ὥσπερ ηὔξατο, αὑτὸν δέ φησιν ἐκεῖθεν ἀφυπνώσαντα (15) ἐς Τύρον ἐς τὸν τοῦ Ἡρακλέος νεὼν εὑρεθῆναι, ἐκεῖθέν τε ἀναστάντα τήν τε Δερκυλλίδα καὶ τὸν Μαντινίαν ἀνευρεῖν εὖ πεπραχότας καὶ τούς τε γονεῖς τοῦ μακροῦ ἀπαλλάξαντας ὕπνου, μᾶλλον δὲ ὀλέθρου, καὶ τἆλλα εὐδαιμονοῦντας. (20) Ταῦτα Κύμβᾳ Δεινίας διεμυθολόγησε, καὶ κυπαριττίνας δέλτους προενεγκών, ἐγγράψαι ταύταις τὸν Ἐρασινίδην Ἀθηναῖον συνεπόμενον τῷ Κύμβᾳ (ἦν γὰρ τεχνίτης λόγων) παρεκελεύσατο. Ὑπέδειξε δὲ αὐτοῖς καὶ τὴν Δερκυλλίδα· αὕτη γὰρ καὶ τὰς κυπαριττίνας δέλτους (25) ἤνεγκε. Προσέταξέ τε τῷ Κύμβᾳ δίχα ταῦτα τὰ διαμυθολογηθέντα ἀναγράψασθαι, καὶ θατέραν μὲν τῶν δέλτων αὐτὸν ἔχειν, τὴν ἑτέραν δέ, καθ’ ὃν ἀποβιώη καιρόν, τὴν Δερκυλλίδα πλησίον τοῦ τάφου κιβωτίῳ ἐμβαλοῦσαν καθεῖναι. (30) Ὁ γοῦν Διογένης, ὁ καὶ Ἀντώνιος, ταῦτα πάντα Δεινίαν εἰσαγαγὼν πρὸς Κύμβαν τερατευσάμενον, ὅμως γράφει Φαυστίνῳ ὅτι τε συντάττει περὶ τῶν ὑπὲρ Θούλην ἀπίστων, καὶ ὅτι τῇ ἀδελφῇ Ἰσιδώρᾳ φιλομαθῶς ἐχούσῃ τὰ δράματα προσφωνεῖ. Λέγει δὲ ἑαυτὸν ὅτι (35) ποιητής ἐστι κωμῳδίας παλαιᾶς, καὶ ὅτι εἰ καὶ ἄπιστα καὶ ψευδῆ πλάττοι, ἀλλ’ οὖν ἔχει περὶ τῶν πλείστων αὐτῷ μυθολογηθέντων ἀρχαιοτέρων μαρτυρίας, ἐξ ὧν σὺν καμάτῳ ταῦτα συναθροίσειε· προτάττει δὲ καὶ ἑκάστου βιβλίου τοὺς ἄνδρας οἳ τὰ τοιαῦτα (40) προαπεφήǀǀναντο, ὡς μὴ δοκεῖν μαρτυρίας χηρεύειν τὰ ἄπιστα. Ἐπιστολὴν μὲν οὖν κατ’ ἀρχὰς τοῦ βιβλίου γράφει πρὸς τὴν ἀδελφὴν Ἰσίδωραν, δι’ ἧς εἰ καὶ τὴν προσφώνησιν [111b] αὐτῇ τῶν συγγραμμάτων δείκνυται πεποιημένος, ἀλλ’ οὖν εἰσάγει Βάλαγρον πρὸς τὴν οἰκείαν γυναῖκα Φίλαν τοὔνομα, γράφοντα (θυγάτηρ δὲ ἦν Ἀντιπάτρου αὕτη) ὅτι τῆς Τύρου ὑπὸ Ἀλεξάνδρου τοῦ βασιλέως (5) Μακεǀǀδόνων εἰς ἅλωσιν ἐλθούσης καὶ πυρὶ τὰ πλεῖστα δαπανηθείσης, στρατιώτης ἧκε πρὸς Ἀλέξανδρον ξένον τι καὶ παράδοξον λέγων μηνύειν, εἶναι δὲ τὸ θέαμα τῆς πόλεως ἔξω. Ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς Ἡφαιστίωνα καὶ Παρμενίωνα συμπαραλαβὼν εἵποντο τῷ στρατιώτῃ, καὶ (10) καǀǀταλαμβάνουσιν ὑπογείους λιθίνους σορούς, ὧν ἡ μὲν ἐπε γέγραπτο· «Λυσίλλα ἐβίω ἔτη πέντε καὶ τριήκοντα», ἡ δέ· «Μνάσων Μαντινίου ἐβίω ἔτη ϛʹ καὶ ξʹ ἀπὸ ἑνὸς καὶ οʹ», ἡ δέ· «Ἀριστίων Φιλοκλέους ἐβίω ἔτη ζʹ καὶ μʹ ἀπὸ βʹ καὶ νʹ», ἄλλη δέ· «Μαντινίας Μνάσωνος ἔτη (15) ἐβίω βʹ καὶ μʹ καὶ νύκτας ζʹ καὶ ψʹ», ἑτέρα δέ· «Δερκυλλὶς Μνάσωνος ἐβίω ἔτη θʹ καὶ λʹ καὶ νύκτας ξʹ καὶ ψʹ», ἡ δὲ ἕκτη σορός· «Δεινίας Ἀρκὰς ἐβίω ἔτη εʹ καὶ κʹ καὶ ρʹ». Τούτοις διαποροῦντες πλὴν τῆς πρώτης σοροῦ (σαφὲς γὰρ τὸ ἐκείνης ἐπίγραμμα) ἐντυγχάνουσι (20) παρὰ τοίχῳ κιβωτίῳ μικρῷ κυπαρίττου πεποιημένῳ ᾧ ἐνεγέγραπτο· «Ὦ ξένε, ὅστις εἶ, ἄνοιξον, ἵνα μάθῃς ἃ θαυμάζεις». Ἀνοίξαντες οὖν οἱ περὶ Ἀλέξανδρον τὸ κιβώτιον, εὑρίσκουσι τὰς κυπαριττίνους δέλτους, ἅς (ὡς ἔοικε) κατέθηκε Δερκυλλὶς κατὰ τὰς ἐντολὰς Δεινίου. (25) Ταῦτα Βάλαγρον εἰσάγει τῇ γυναικὶ γράφοντα, καὶ ὅτι τὰς κυπαριττίνους δέλτους μεταγραψάμενος διαπέμψειε τῇ γυναικί. Καὶ λοιπὸν εἰσβάλλει ἐντεῦθεν ὁ λόγος εἰς τὴν τῶν κυπαριττίνων δέλτων ἀνάγνωσιν καὶ γραφήν, καὶ πάρεστι Δεινίας Κύμβᾳ διηγούμενος ἅπερ (30) προείǀǀρηται. Οὕτω μὲν οὖν καὶ ἐπὶ τούτοις ἡ τῶν δραμάτων πλάσις τῷ Ἀντωνίῳ Διογένει ἐσχημάτισται. Ἔστι δ’, ὡς ἔοικεν, οὗτος χρόνῳ πρεσβύτερος τῶν τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐσπουδακότων διαπλάσαι, οἷον Λουκιανοῦ, Λουκίου, Ἰαμβλίχου, Ἀχιλλέως Τατίου, Ἡλιοδώρου τε καὶ (35) Δαμασκίου. Καὶ γὰρ τοῦ περὶ ἀληθῶν διηγημάτων Λουκιανοῦ καὶ τοῦ περὶ μεταμορφώσεων Λουκίου πηγὴ καὶ ῥίζα ἔοικεν εἶναι τοῦτο· οὐ μόνον δὲ ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν περὶ Σινωνίδα καὶ Ῥοδάνην, Λευκίππην τε καὶ Κλειτοφῶντα, καὶ Χαρίκλειαν καὶ Θεαγένην, τῶν τε περὶ αὐτοὺς (40) πλασǀǀμάτων καὶ τῆς πλάνης ἐρώτων τε καὶ ἁρπαγῆς καὶ κινδύνων ἡ Δερκυλλὶς καὶ Κήρυλλος καὶ Θρουσκανὸς καὶ Δεινίας ἐοίκασι παράδειγμα γεγονέναι. Τὸν χρόνον [112a] δέ, καθ’ ὃν ἤκμασεν ὁ τῶν τηλικούτων πλασμάτων πατὴρ Διογένης ὁ Ἀντώνιος, οὔπω τι σαφὲς ἔχομεν λέγειν, πλὴν ἔστιν ὑπολογίσασθαι ὡς οὐ λίαν πόρρω τῶν χρόνων τοῦ βασιλέως Ἀλεξάνδρου. Μνημονεύει δ’ οὗτος (5) ἀρχαιοτέρου τινὸς Ἀντιφάνους, ὅν φησι περὶ τοιαῦτά τινα τερατολογήματα κατεσχολακέναι. Ἔστι δὲ ἐν αὐτοῖς καὶ μάλιστα, ὡς ἐν τηλικούτοις πλάσμασί τε καὶ μυθεύμασι, δύο τινὰ θηράσαι χρησιμώτατα· ἓν μὲν ὅτι τὸν ἀδικήσαντά τι, κἂν μυριάκις ἐκφυγεῖν δόξῃ, εἰσάγει (10) πάντως δίκην δεδωκέναι, καὶ δεύτερον ὅτι πολλοὺς ἀναιτίους ἐγγὺς μεγάλου γεγονότας κινδύνου, παρ’ ἐλπίδας δείκνυσι πολλάκις διασωθέντας.


Source of the translation: Translation by Harland.

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