Ancient History Competition 53

Which 4th cent. BC tyrant had the same name as a philosopher of the same era?

Economic historian and numismatic consultant


  1. Maybe Dionysos of Heraclea, tyrant of Heraclea Pontica ?… same name as the philosopher Dionysos (also from Heraclea), known as “Metathemenos” (Diogenes Laërtius, VII. 166)

    • This is one I have not thought of. You are, of course, absolutely right! Dionysius the tyrant and Dionysius the philosopher were both in action in the fourth century BC. Both of them from Heraclea.

      Evidently, there is another famous pair. Can anyone contribute to the discussion?

      • I think that Heraclea is again the key… The tyrant Klearchos (or Clearchos if you prefer) has the same name with the philosopher Klearchos from Soloi of Cyprus, who was active also in the 4rth century… Please if you have something else in mind post it. I can not make any other valid correlation in my mind. And I don’t think that this pair is famous.

        • At this point I should probably give you a clue. They both come from the eastern Mediterranean (in the wider sense) but not from the same city.

  2. And were both active in the fourth century??? Now i am curious!!! Sicily and Italy are out of the question, I suppose. That leaves only names from Asia Minor and Greece proper. From the third and second centuries tyrants many names appear, but I think you don’t have them in mind. The only two pairs known to me at least, are Dionysii and Klearchi. I waiting for the answer.

  3. Dion of Syracuse?

  4. Well, there is Agathokles – both a tyrant of Syracuse and (according to Plato, Protagoras 316e2) a sophist.

  5. We need two different persons, one tyrant, one philosopher. Any more ideas?

    • Hmmm … Agathokles obviously isn’t the answer you’re after, but it is the name of two different men, one a tyrant, the other (at least according to Plato) a sophist.

  6. She is thinking eastern mediterranean. The west obviously is out of the picture. Fourth century is my problem. I remain curious…

  7. How about Lykophron of Pherai and Lykophron the sophist?

  8. It looks like we can write an article on tyrants and philosophers who share the same name. What I ad in mind was Diogenes the Cynic from Sinope and diogenes the tyrant of Mytilene.

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