1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pherecydes of Leros

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PHERECYDES OF LEROS, Greek mythographer, fl. c. 454 B.C. He is probably identical with Pherecydes of Athens, although the two are distinguished by Suidas (also by T. Lipsius, Quaestiones logographicae, 1886). He seems to have been born in the island of Leros, and to have been called an Athenian because he spent the greater part of his life and wrote his great work there. Of his treatises, On Leros, On Iphigeneia, On the Festivals of Dionysus, nothing remains; but numerous fragments of his genealogies of the gods and heroes, variously called Ἱστορίαι, Γενεαλογίαι, Αὐτοχθόνες, in ten books, written in the Ionic dialect, have been preserved (see C. W. Müller’s Frag. hist. graec., vol. i. pp. xxxiv., 70). He modified the legends, not with a view to rationalizing them, but rather to adjust them to popular beliefs. He cannot, therefore, be classed with Hecataeus, whose method was far more scientific.

See C. Lütke, Pherecydea (diss. Göttingen, 1893); W. Christ, Geschichte der griechischen Litteratur (1898); and specially H. Bertsch, Pherekydeische Studien (1898).