Is there an online version of his history? I am actually trying to assemble some information about a slave rebellion led by one Drimakos and Nymphodorus is one of the ancient writers who mentioned him.

UPDATE: As choster has explained Nymphodorus's works have not survived. By the bit that I am interested is has been preserved Athenaeus and can be read here. A quote:

Nymphodorus of Syracuse, at any rate, records the following narrative about them in his Voyage in Asia:29 'The slaves of the Chians ran away from them, and gathering in great numbers started for the mountains (since the island is rough and wooded), inflicting injury on the country-houses of their masters. A little before our time, a certain slave, as the Chians themselves tell the story, ran away and made his abode in the mountains. Being a brave man and successful in warfare, he led the fugitive slaves as a king leads an army. The Chians often sent expeditions to attack him, but were quite unable to effect anything. EWhen Drimacus (for that was the fugitive's name) saw that they were throwing their lives away without result, p195he said to them: "Chians and masters! The trouble you are in because of your slaves will never stop. Why should it, when it happens according to an oracle given by the god? If, however, you will make a treaty with me and let us alone in peace and quiet, I will initiate many blessings for you." So the Chians made a treaty and an armistice with him for a certain period, and he devised measures, weights, and a special seal. Showing the seal to the Chians he said: "Whatever I take from any one of you, I will take according to these measures and weights, and after taking what I require I will seal up your storehouses with this seal and leave them unharmed. Those of your slaves who run away I will examine to find out the reason, and if in my judgement entreaty have run away because they have suffered something irreparable, I will keep them with me, but if they can urge no justification, I will send them back to their masters." The other slaves, therefore, seeing that the Chians willingly accepted this condition, were much less inclined to run away, because they dreaded the trial before him; while the runaways in his band feared him far more than their own masters, and did everything that he required, obeying him as they would a military officer. For he not only punished the disobedient, but he also would allow none to plunder a field or commit any other act of injury whatever without his consent. On festival days he would sally forth and take from the fields wine and unblemished victims, except what was voluntarily given him by the masters; and if he p197discovered that anyone was plotting against him or laying an ambush he took vengeance on him. Now the State had proclaimed that it would give a large reward to the man who took him alive or brought in his head, and finally, when this Drimacus had grown old, he summoned his favourite boy to a certain place and said: "I have loved you more than anyone else in the world; you are my favourite, my son, everything that I have. But I have lived long enough, whereas you are young and in the flower of life. What, then, remains? You must become a good and noble man.30 Since, now, the Chian State offers a large sum to the man who kills me, and promises him freedom, you must cut off my head and carry it to Chios; then you shall receive the money from the State and live in wealth." The lad remonstrated, but was finally persuaded; cutting off the head of Drimacus he received from the Chians the reward that had been proclaimed, and after burying the body of the runaway he removed to his own country. And once more the Chians suffered injuries at the hands of their slaves, and when they were plundered they remembered the probity of the dead runaway, and founded a shrine in his country, giving it the name of the Kindly Hero. In his honour, to this very day, fugitive slaves render the first-fruits of everything that they purloin. They say also that he appears to many Chians in their sleep and warns them of plots among their slaves; and those persons to whom he appears go to the place where his shrine is and make offerings to him.' This, then, is the story told by Nymphodorus.

  • 3
    Word to the wise: be very careful when searching for this name on the internet. ;-)
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 19:35
  • @T.E.D.: I guess I am not wise enough to figure out what you meant.... Can you enlighten me? Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 20:15
  • There is no harm in trying...
    – grayQuant
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 21:07
  • @FelixGoldberg - Linguistics 101. See what the root of the name is. Now guess which other words with the same root Google will confuse it with. In full fairness, my Google attempt refuted TED's prediction - I only got relevant hits on first page.
    – DVK
    Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 3:04
  • @DVK: I figure this out but since google indeed works better than that, I thought ted meant something else... Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


There are no surviving works by Nymphodorus Syracusanus. Some fragments were included in C. Müller's Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, vol. ii (page 375 and onward).

We know of him and of his writing about Drimakos' slave revolt on Chios through an extended quote in Athenaeus; his name is also mentioned by Vitruvius. Müller argues that he may the same person as Nymphodorus of Amphipolis.

  • 1
    Müller’s old compilation has of course been superseded by Jacobi’s FGrHist.
    – fdb
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 11:26

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