Polemon of Athens


Polemon of Athens (Greek: Πολέμων ὁ Ἀθηναῖος, fl. 2nd century BC) was an ancient Greek Stoic philosopher and geographer. Of Athenian citizenship, he was most widely known as Polemon of Athens, but he was born either in Ilium, Samos, or Sicyon, and was also known as Polemon of Ilium and Polemon Periegetes. He traveled throughout Greece and wrote about the places he visited. He also compiled a collection of the epigrams he saw on the monuments and votive offerings. None of these works survive, but many later writers quote from them.


Polemon was the son of Euegetes, and he was a contemporary of Aristophanes of Byzantium and Ptolemy Epiphanes.[1] He was a follower of the Stoic philosopher Panaetius. He made extensive journeys throughout Greece to collect materials for his geographical works, in the course of which he paid particular attention to the inscriptions on votive offerings and on columns, whence he obtained the surname of Stelokopas.[2]


In his travels, Polemon collected the epigrams he found into a work On the inscriptions to be found in cities (Greek: Περὶ τω̂ν κατὰ πόλεις ἐπιγραμμάτων).[3] In addition, other works of his are mentioned, upon the votive offerings and monuments in the Acropolis of Athens, at Lacedaemon, at Delphi, and elsewhere, which no doubt contained copies of numerous epigrams. His works may have been a chief source of the Garland of Meleager. Athenaeus, Sextus Julius Africanus[4] and other writers make very numerous quotations from his works. They were chiefly descriptions of different parts of Greece; some are on paintings preserved in various places, and several are controversial, among which is one against Eratosthenes.

Sir James Frazer considered him the most learned of all Greek antiquaries. "His acquaintance both with the monuments and with the literature seems to have been extensive and profound. The attention which he bestowed on inscriptions earned for him the nickname of the 'monument-tapper.'"[5]

  • The fragments of Polemon have been published by Preller in the work entitled Polemonis Periegetae Fragmenta, collegit, digessit, notis auxit L. Preller, Lips., 1838.[6]


  1. ^ Suda, Polemon, Athenaeus, vi. 234
  2. ^ Athenaeus, vi. 234
  3. ^ Athenaeus, x. 436d, 442e
  4. ^ Grotius, Hugo; John CLARKE (Dean of Salisbury.) (1809). The Truth of the Christian Religion ... Corrected and illustrated with notes by Mr. Le Clerc. To which is added, a seventh book, concerning this question, What Christian church we ought to join ourselves to? By the said Mr. Le Clerc. The ninth edition, with additions. Particularly one whole book of Mr. Le Clerc's against indifference of what religion a man is of. Done into English by John Clarke. p. 64. Polemon, &c.] He seems to have lived in the Time of Ptolemy Epiphanes; concerning which, see that very useful Book of the famous Gerrard Vossius, of the Greek Historians. Africanus says, the Greek Histories were wrote by him; which is the same Book Athenæus calls, ???. His Words are these: "In the Reign of Apis the Son of Phoroneus, Part of the Egyptian Army went out of Egypt, and dwelt in Syria called Palestine, not far from Arabia." As Africanus preserved the Place of Polemon, so Eusebius in his Chronology preserved that of Africanus. (p. 64 at Google Books) {{cite book}}: External link in |quote= (help)
  5. ^ Frazer, James (1917). Macmillan and Company, Ltd. (ed.). Studies in Greek Scenery, Legend and History. London. pp. 134–5.
  6. ^ Polemon Periegetes (1838). Polemonis Periegetae Fragmenta collegit: digessit, notis auxit L. Preller. sumtibus Guilielmi Engelmanni. p. 1. p. 1 at Google Books {{cite book}}: External link in |quote= (help)


  • David Engels: Polemon von Ilion. Antiquarische Periegese und hellenistische Identitätssuche, in: K. Freitag/Chr. Michels (eds.), Athen und / oder Alexandreia? Aspekte von Identität und Ethnizität im hellenistischen Griechenland, Köln / Weimar / Wien 2014, p. 65-98.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. {{cite encyclopedia}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)