The Glory That Was Greece

Hipparchus had a hobby of collecting oracles, and had commissioned Onomacritus to edit a famous collection of poetical prophecies by Musæus, a half-mythical bard. Onomacritus was detected inserting some of his own compositions, and very properly expelled for a forger. If all the historical forgers of this period had been detected the modern historian’s lot would be a happier one.

One monument of this period is of especial interest, the stēlē or gravestone of Aristion. It is a bas-relief, once adorned with colour, of a warrior in armour with a long spear in his hand. It is not likely that any attempt was made at a portrait of the deceased. As the stēlē was found at Peisistratus’ birthplace it has been suggested that this may be that very Aristion who proposed the decree which gave the tyrant his bodyguard. It certainly belongs to the right period of art, but Aristion was a common name; and is it likely that a record of such a man would have been permitted to survive?

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