ANACHARSIS, a Scythian philosopher, who lived about 600 B.C. He was the son of Gnurus, chief of a nomadic tribe of the Euxine shores, and a Greek woman. Instructed in the Greek language by his mother, he prevailed upon the king to entrust him with an embassy to Athens about 589 B.C. He became acquainted with Solon, from whom he rapidly acquired a knowledge of the wisdom and learning of Greece, and by whose influence he was introduced to the principal persons in Athens. He was the first stranger who received the privileges of citizenship. He was reckoned one of the Seven Sages, and it is said that he was initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries. After he had resided several years at Athens, he travelled through different countries in quest of knowledge, and returned home filled with the desire of instructing his countrymen in the laws and the religion of the Greeks. According to Herodotus he was killed by his brother Saulius while he was performing sacrifice to the goddess Cybele. It was he who compared laws to spiders’ webs, which catch small flies and allow bigger ones to escape. His simple and forcible mode of expressing himself gave birth to the proverbial expression “Scythian eloquence,” but his epigrams are as unauthentic as the letters which are often attributed to him. According to Strabo he was the first to invent an anchor with two flukes. Barthélémy borrows his name as the title for his Anacharsis en Grèce.
Herodotus iv. 76; Lucian, Scytha; Cicero, Tusc. Disp. v. 32; Diog. Laert. i. 101.