, called one of the wise men of Greece, was born at Priene, a small town of Caria, abqut 570 B. C. He was in great repute in Greece, under the reigns of Halyattes and Croesus, kings of Lydia. Though born to great riches, he lived without splendour, expending his fortune in relieving the needy, and although esteemed the most eloquent orator of his time, he desired to reap no other advantage from this talent, than that of glory to his country. In his pleadings he shewed such discrimination, as never to undertake any cause which he did not think just. It was usual to say of a good cause that it was one which Bias would have undertaken, yet we are not told by what means he knew that a cause was good before it was tried. On one occasion, certain pirates brought several young women to sell as slaves at Priene. Bias purchased them, and maintained them, until he had an opportunity to return them to their friends. This generous action could not fail to increase his popularity, and made him be styled “the prince of the wise men.

When Halyattes laid siege to Priene, Bias, who wasthen chief magistrate, made a vigorous resistance for a long time, and when, owing to a scarcity of provisions, the city was in danger of being surrendered, Bias caused two beautiful mules to be fattened, and to be driven towards the enemy’s camp, as if they had escaped from the inhabitants of Priene. Halyattes, seeing these animals in so good plight, was afraid the town was in no danger of starving, but, in order to be certain, contrived to send a spy into the city. Bias, suspecting his design, caused great heaps of sand to be covered with wheat, and the messenger having reported this abundance, Halyattes made an alliance with the inhabitants of Priene, and left them in peace.

Bias is said to have composed above two thousand verses, | containing prudential maxims, many of which may be found in Stanley, and other writers on the lives of the philosophers. The following have been selected by BruckerIt is a proof of a weak and disordered mind to desire impossibilities. The greatest infelicity is, not to be able to endure misfortunes patiently. Great minds alone can support a sudden reverse of fortune. The most pleasant state is, to be always gaining. Be not unmindful of the miseries of others. II you are handsome, do handsome things if deformed, supply the defects of nature by your virtues. Be slow in undertaking, but resolute in executing. Praise hot a worthless man for the sake of his wealth. Whatever good you do, ascribe it to the gods. Lay in wisdom as the store for your journey from youth to old age, for it is the most certain possession. Many men are dishonest; therefore love your friend with caution, for he may hereafter become your enemy.” This last, however, would have better become a Rochefoucault, or a Chesterfield. Bias happened to be at Priene, when it was taken and sacked, and when asked, why he did not, like the rest, think of saving something, answered, “So I do, for I carry my all with me.” The action by which his days were terminated was no less illustrious than those of h s former life. He caused himself to be carried into the senate, where he zealously defended the interest of one of his friends, but being now very old, it fatigued him much. He leaned his head on the breast of one of his daughter’s sons, who had accompanied him. When the orator, who pleaded for his opponent, had finished his discourse, the judges pronounced in favour of Bias, who immediately expired in the arms of his grandson. 1


Stanley’s History of Philosophy. Brucker. Fenekm, translated by Cormack.