Pamphile of Epidaurus

Pamphile or Pamphila of Epidaurus (Greek: Παμφίλη, Pamphílē; Latin: Pamphila; fl. AD 1st century) was a historian who lived in the reign of Nero. According to the Suda she was an Epidaurian;[1] Photius describes her as an Egyptian by birth or descent,[2] which may be reconciled by supposing that she was a native of Epidaurus, and that her family came from Egypt. Photius summarizes the preface to her work, in which we learn that during the thirteen years she had lived with her husband, from whom she was never absent for a single hour, she was constantly at work upon her book, and that she diligently wrote down whatever she heard from her husband and from the many other learned people who frequented their house, as well as whatever she herself read in books. Hence we can account for the statement in the Suda that some people ascribed her work to her husband. The name of her husband is differently stated. In one passage the Suda speaks of her as the daughter of Soteridas and the wife of Socratidas,[1] but in another passage she is described as the wife of Soteridas.[3]

The principal work of Pamphile was the Historical Commentaries, a history of Greece comprising thirty-three books. Photius gives a general idea of the nature of its contents. The work was not arranged according to subjects or according to any settled plan, but it was more like a commonplace book, in which each piece of information was set down as it fell under the notice of the writer, who stated that she believed this variety would give greater pleasure to the reader. Photius considers the work as one of great use, and supplying important information on many points in history and literature. The estimation in which it was held in antiquity is shown not only by the judgment of Photius, but also by the references to it in the works of Aulus Gellius and Diogenes Laërtius, who appear to have availed themselves of it to a considerable extent. Photius speaks only of eight books but the Suda says that it consisted of thirty-three. The latter must be correct, since we find Gellius quoting the eleventh[4] and twenty-ninth,[5] and Diogenes Laertius the twenty-fifth[6] and thirty-second.[7] Perhaps no more than eight books were extant in the time of Photius. The work is also referred to by Diogenes Laërtius in other passages.[8]

Besides the history already mentioned, the Suda says she also wrote an Epitome of Ctesias in 3 books; a very large number of epitomes of histories and other books; On Disputes; On Sex; and many other works.


  1. ^ a b Suda, Pamphile
  2. ^ Photius, Cod. 175
  3. ^ Suda, Soteridas, σ875
  4. ^ Aulus Gellius, xv. 23
  5. ^ Aulus Gellius, xv. 17
  6. ^ Diogenes Laërtius, iii. 23
  7. ^ Diogenes Laërtius, v. 36
  8. ^ Diogenes Laërtius, i. 24, 68, 76, 90, 98, ii. 24


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