Archias of Thurii

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Archias (Ancient Greek: Ἀρχίας) of Thurii was an actor turned military agent of the Macedonian general Antipater in the 4th century BCE in ancient Greece. He was nicknamed "the hunter of the exiles" (φυγαδοθήρας).

Archias was originally trained as a rhetor under Anaximenes of Lampsacus and Lacritus before becoming an actor.[1][2] In his career as a tragic actor, he was said to have achieved some renown,[3] performing in Athens and elsewhere.[4] Plutarch mentions him as having been the mentor of the great actor Polus of Aegina,[5] as well as having once won the Lenaia around 330, despite being, as far as Athens was concerned, a "foreigner".[4][6]

Archias is more known to history as a servant of the Macedonian statesman Antipater, probably for money. He was not an Athenian, but neither was he a Macedonian, and seemed to have no affiliation with any political parties, so later historians have assumed his motivations to have been mercenary in nature. Archias was sent in 322, after the Battle of Crannon, to apprehend the anti-Macedonian orators whom Antipater had demanded of the Athenians,[7] and who had fled from Athens. Archias seized Hypereides, Aristonicos, and Himeraeus, and had them dragged from the sanctuary of Aeacus in Aegina, and transported to Cleonae in Argolis, where they were executed - quite gruesomely in the case of Hypereides.

Archias also apprehended the renowned Greek statesman and orator Demosthenes in the temple of Poseidon in Calaureia, leading to Demosthenes's suicide after a memorable exchange recorded by Plutarch.[2]

An otherwise unknown "Archias" is mentioned by Arrian as having escorted Antipater's daughter Nicaea of Macedon to Asia around 322, whom some scholars (such as Karl Julius Beloch) identify with Archias of Thurii.[8]

Archias's fortunes at some point afterward took a downward turn. He eventually died of hunger, ending his life in great poverty and disgrace.[2][9][10]


  1. ^ Plutarch (2016). Hellenistic Lives: including Alexander the Great. Translated by Waterfield, Robin. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191641206. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  2. ^ a b c Heckel, Waldemar (2008). "Archias (2)". Who's Who in the Age of Alexander the Great: Prosopography of Alexander's Empire. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781405154697. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  3. ^ Stewart, Edmund (2017). Greek Tragedy on the Move: The Birth of a Panhellenic Art Form C. 500-300 BC. Oxford University Press. pp. 75, 215. ISBN 9780198747260. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  4. ^ a b Csapo, Eric (2010). Actors and Icons of the Ancient Theater. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 86, 98. ISBN 9781444318043. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  5. ^ Easterling, Pat (2002). "Actor as Icon". In Easterling, Pat; Hall, Edith. Greek and Roman Actors: Aspects of an Ancient Profession. Cambridge University Press. pp. 336–337. ISBN 9780521651400. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  6. ^ Mikalson, Jon D. (1998). Religion in Hellenistic Athens. Hellenistic Culture and Society. 29. University of California Press. pp. 50, 118. ISBN 9780520919679. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  7. ^ Millis, Benjamin; Olson, Douglas, eds. (2012). Inscriptional Records for the Dramatic Festivals in Athens: IG II2 2318–2325 and Related Texts. Brill Studies In Greek and Roman Epigraphy. Brill Publishers. p. 219. ISBN 9789004229129. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  8. ^ Justin (2011). Heckel, Waldemar, ed. Justin: Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus: Volume II: Books 13-15: The Successors to Alexander the Great. Clarendon Ancient History Series. 2. Translated by Yardley, J. C. Clarendon Press. p. 140. ISBN 9780199277599. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  9. ^ Plutarch, Dem. 28, 29, Vit. X. Orat. p. 849
  10. ^ Arrian, apud Phot. p. 69b. 41, ed. Bekker

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William (1870). "Archias". In Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. p. 265-266.