The Murderers of Kotys the Thracian

From Demosthenes to Diogenes Laertios

in Mnemosyne
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Abstract

In 360/359 BC, Kotys, king of the Odrysian Thracians, was killed by two brothers of Ainos. Confusion, however, soon arose around their identity. The aim of this article is to reconstruct and analyze the various traditions that spread in Antiquity about their identification. Demosthenes was the first to call the murderers Python and Herakleides of Ainos. His version of the facts was later followed by Philodemos, Plutarchos, and Philostratos. Aristoteles, however, called them Πύρρων (or Πάρρων) and Herakleides of Ainos. Diokles of Magnesia, probably following the same tradition as Aristoteles, confused Pyrrhon of Ainos with Pyrrhon of Elis. Similarly, Demetrios of Magnesia confused Herakleides of Ainos with Herakleides Pontikos. Finally, the figures of Kotys, Herakleides, and Python were perhaps reused by the author of the spurious Letters of Chion of Herakleia and recontextualized as symbols of the conflict between philosophy and tyranny.

The Murderers of Kotys the Thracian

From Demosthenes to Diogenes Laertios

in Mnemosyne

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