Timon of Athens (person)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
This is about the figure who inspired Shakespeare's Timon of Athens. For the Greek philosopher see Timon of Phlius.

Timon of Athens was a citizen of Athens whose reputation for misanthropy grew to legendary status. According to the historian Plutarch, Timon lived during the era of the Peloponnesian War (431 BC–404 BC).



According to Lucian, Timon was the wealthy son of Echecratides who lavished his money on flattering friends. When funds ran out, friends deserted and Timon was reduced to working in the fields. One day, he found a pot of gold and soon his fairweather friends were back. This time, he drove them away with dirt clods.

Both Aristophanes and Plato Comicus mention Timon as an angry despiser of mankind who held Alcibiades in high regard because he correctly believed Alcibiades would someday harm Athens.

Cultural references

  • In Lysistrata, the chorus of old women claim that although Timon hated men, he was friendly and courteous towards women.
  • After his defeat at Actium (2 September 31 BC), Mark Antony built a temple in Alexandria which he named the Timonium, after Timon of Athens, as Antony considered himself to be, like Timon, in the wilderness after being wronged and mistreated by his friends.
  • According to local history, much of the area of present-day Timonium, Maryland was once part of a large plantation. Upon the early death of its owner, his widow went into mourning and renamed the estate "Timonium".
  • Jonathan Swift claims to maintain a different sort of misanthropy than Timon in a letter to Alexander Pope.

See also


  • A. Macc. Armstrong. Timon of Athens - A Legendary Figure? Greece & Rome, 2nd Ser., Vol. 34, No. 1 (April 1987), pp. 7–11

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Timon of Athens (person)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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