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Hermias of Atarneus was a tyrant of Atarneus and Assus in Minor Asia. He studied in Athens philosophy in the Academy of Plato and he was friend of Aristotle.

After Aristotle left Athens, probably dissapointed that not he but Speusippus, the nephew of Plato, was appointed as the next director of the Academy after the death of Plato, he went to the court of Hermias in Asia Minor.

There he worked in the period 347-345 BC until the death of Hermias who was killed by the Persians (Artaxerxes III).

Aristotle married Pythias, the niece or adopted daughter of Hermias.

Aristotle honoured his friend Hermias with a statue in Delphi and a hymn described by Diogenes Laertius.

Diogenes Laertios: And the hymn in honour of Hermias is as follows:

O Virtue, won by earnest strife,
And holding out the noblest prize
That ever gilded earthly life,
Or drew it on to seek the skies;
For thee what son of Greece would not
Deem it an enviable lot,
To live the life, to die the death
That fears no weary hour, shrinks from no fiery breath?

Such fruit hast thou of heavenly bloom,
A lure more rich than golden heap,
More tempting than the joys of home,
More bland than spell of soft-eyed sleep.
For thee Alcides, son of Jove,
And the twin boys of Leda strove,
With patient toil and sinewy might,
Thy glorious prize to grasp, to reach thy lofty height.

Achilles, Ajax, for thy love
Descended to the realms of night;
Atarneus' King thy vision drove,
To quit for aye the glad sun-light,
Therefore, to memory's daughters dear,
His deathless name, his pure career,
Live shrined in song, and link'd with awe,
The awe of Xenian Jove, and faithful friendship's law

Peter Green, 'Politics, Philosophy and Propaganda: Hermias of Atarneus and his Friendship with Aristotle', in: Crossroads of History: The Age of Alexander. Ed. W. Heckel & L.A. Tritle (Claremont, CA 2003) .

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