Duris of Samos (Greek Δοῦρις); probably born around 350 BC; died after 281 BC) was a Greek historian and was at some period tyrant of Samos.
Personal and political life
Duris claimed to be a descendant of Alcibiades, and was the brother of Lynceus of Samos. He had a son, Scaeus, who won the boys' boxing at the Olympian Games "while the Samians were in exile", that is, before 324 BC; from 352 to 324 Samos was occupied by Athenian cleruchs who had expelled the native Samians. Duris therefore may well have been born at some date close to 350 BC, and, since his main historical work ended with the death of Lysimachus in 281 BC, died at an unknown date after that.
Many 20th century works state that Duris was a pupil of Theophrastus at Athens. There is no evidence for this claim other than a conjectural emendation (by Adamantios Korais) of the text of the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus. The manuscript text says not that Duris studied under Theophrastus, but that his brother Lynceus and Lynceus's correspondent Hippolochus did so.
The only recorded fact about Duris's public life is that he was "tyrant" or sole ruler of Samos. How he attained this position, for how long he held it, and what events took place under his rule, are unknown.
Duris was the author of a narrative history of events in Greece and Macedonia from the battle of Leuctra (371 BC) down to the death of Lysimachus. This work, like all his others, is lost; over thirty fragments are known through quotations by other authors, including Plutarch. It was continued in the Histories of Phylarchus. Other works by Duris included a life of Agathocles of Syracuse, which was a source for books 19-21 of the Historical Library of Diodorus Siculus. Duris also wrote historical annals of Samos arranged according to the lists of the priests of Hera; and a number of treatises on literary and artistic subjects.
List of Works
For the surviving fragments see the editions by Müller and Jacoby.
* Histories (also listed as Macedonica and Hellenica; 33 fragments)
* On Agathocles (also listed as Libyca; 13 fragments)
* Annals of Samos (22 fragments)
* On Laws (2 fragments)
* On Games (4 fragments)
* On Tragedy (and perhaps On Euripides and Sophocles; 2 fragments)
* On Painters (2 fragments)
* On Sculpture (1 fragment)
Of those later authors who knew Duris's work, few praise it. Cicero accords him qualified praise as an industrious writer. Plutarch used his work but repeatedly expresses doubt as to his trustworthiness. Dionysius of Halicarnassus speaks disparagingly of his style. Photius regards the arrangement of his work as altogether faulty. By contrast with recent predecessors such as Ephorus, Duris served as the exemplar of a new fashion for "tragic history" which gave entertainment and excitement greater importance than factual reporting. In Plutarch's "Life of Pericles" a telling example is Duris's elaborate (and, according to Plutarch, exaggerated) description of cruelty and extensive destruction at Samos when Athenian forces, led by Pericles, subdued the island.
Recent critics, believing that Duris was a pupil of Theophrastus, attempted either to demonstrate that "tragic history" agreed with teachings of the Peripatetic school or to analyse Duris's motives for taking a different line from his supposed teachers. The debate was inevitably inconclusive.
（Δοῦρις). A Samian writer of history who flourished about B.C. 350. He was a descendant of Alcibiades, and at one time was tyrant of Samos. Only fragments now remain of his historical writings, which were as follows:
A history of Greece (Ἡ τῶν Ἑλληνικῶν Ἱστορία), from B.C. 370 to B.C. 281;
Περὶ Ἀγαθοκλέα Ἱστορίαι;
Περὶ Εὐριπίδου καὶ Σοφοκλέους;
Λιρυκά. The fragments were collected by Hulleman (Utrecht, 1841).