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Table of Contents > 2.3 Phanias of Eresus

2.3: Phanias of Eresus, Fr. 16 FHG

Phanias was a pupil of Aristotle who wrote historical treatises on tyrants in the late fourth century BCE. There is no other record of a tyranny at Heraclea, but the events described here must be subsequent to 433, when the city was founded.

In Heraclea in Italy there was a beautiful boy called Hipparinus, who came from a very good family. His lover, Antileon, tried everything, but was wholly unable to win him round. He would often dash up to the boy, who was a regular at the gymnasia, declaring that he wanted him so much that he would endure any hardship, that whatever the boy told him to do, he would fail in nothing. Now the boy asked him ironically to fetch the bell12 from a certain rocky place that was kept under especially close guard by the Heraclean tyrant, convinced that Antileon would never manage this feat. But Antileon secretly approached the fort, lay in wait for the man who was guarding the bell, and killed him. And when he came back to the boy, the mission accomplished, the boy became very fond of him and from that time onwards they loved each other dearly. When the tyrant began to lust after the young man's beauty and was on the point of using force to abduct him, Antileon was outraged. He told the boy not to incur risks by refusal; but he himself, when the tyrant was leaving his house, rushed up and assassinated him. This done, he fled and would have escaped had he not fallen in with a flock of sheep all tied together and been captured. So once the city had returned to its original constitution the Heracleotes erected bronze statues to both men,13 and a law was enacted that no one in the future was to drive bound sheep.
This website makes available to the public the first two chapters of Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents, edited by Thomas K. Hubbard and published by University of California Press in April 2003. The index also lists the rest of the sourcebook's contents; the book may be ordered at www.ucpress.edu, list price $34.95 paperback. In addition, a file of close to 200 pertinent artistic images is assembled, including those published in the sourcebook and many others. Acknowledgement is made to University of California Press for permission to reproduce this material, as well as to the various museums that have granted permission to use their photographic images. Comments may be directed to Prof. Hubbard at tkh@mail.utexas.edu.