DURIS of Samos (Gk. Doûris), Greek historiographer of the early Hellenistic period (b. ca. 340 B.C.E., d. ca. 270 B.C.E. or at least after 281 B.C.E.). Duris attended the lectures of Theophrastus of Eresus and was said to have been tyrant of his native town, perhaps as heir to his father, Scaeus (Athenaeus 4.128a, 8.337d).

Under the influence of the Peripatetics he wrote a variety of books on literature, art, and music; his main contribution, however, was historiographic, and he was noted for introducing the new “tragic” style in the writing of history, a style characterized by emphasis on pathos and emotion and especially a straining after effect. Only fragments of all these writings are known , from casual quotations, mainly by Athenaeus and Plutarch; they have been collected by Felix Jacoby (Fragmente IIA, pp. 1136-58 [text], IIC, pp. 115-31 [commentary]). The most important are from the historical work Makedoniká (sometimes also Historíai), which Duris may have written in his old age. It originally consisted of twenty-six or more books and dealt with the history of Macedonia from 370 B.C.E. to the war between Seleucus and Lysimachus and the latter’s death (in 281) or perhaps later (Jacoby, Fragmente IIA, frag. 55). In connection with the campaigns of Alexander and others Persia was mentioned explicitly in a quotation from book VII (IIA, frag. 5, apud Athenaeus 10.434ef), in which Duris apparently dealt with Persian customs and a feast in honor of the god Mithra; in another fragment (IIA, frag. 54, apud Strabo 1.3.19, without mention of the title or book) a Greek etymology for the name of the townRhágai (< OPers. RagƒÅ) is given.


Bibliography: (For cited works not found in this bibliography and abbreviations found here, see “Short References.”)

[E.] Schwartz, “Duris. 3,” in Pauly-Wissowa, V/2, cols. 1853-56.



Originally Published: December 15, 1996

Last Updated: December 2, 2011

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Vol. VII, Fasc. 6, pp. 596-597