Plagiarism detection tricks

Heraclides amazingly proposed (back then) that earth has a 24 hour cycle of revolution on its axis.  However  he wasn’t as perceptive in other matters:

“Dionysios had written a tragedy which he called Parthenopaeus.  As a practical joke, he put Sophocles as the author when it was written .   When Heraclides quoted as if it really was by Sophocles in one of his works.  Then Dionysius told him it was a joke but of course Heraclides didn’t believe him at all.  Then Dionysius told to look at at thethe opening eight lines.  The first letter spelled the name of his lover, Pancalus.  Then Heraclides said that this may have been coincidence.

Then Dionysius told him that he could also find an acrostic which said “Old monkeys do not fall into traps.  Well, they do in fact but it takes a long time.”  He had also hidden in the manuscript as an acrostic the phrase “Heraclides is not ashamed that he doesn’t understand writing.”

Lives of the Philosophers – Diogenes Laertius



Make books, not war

When Athens was captured by barbarians, all the books were gathered from the city in one place so they could be burnt.   But one of the barbarians changed the minds of his fellows by saying that it would be best if the Athenians read all day as they liked, so they didn’t fight.  It would be easier in this way to hold the city.



Tragedy saves lives

After the disastrous events in Sicily, many Athenians were saved thanks to Euripides.  The Greeks that lived far from Athens yearned for his poetry.  Sicilians were no exception.  Even a small sample of his poetry recited by a traveler pleased them a lot.  They memorised it and passed it on with great pleasure.  Many of the people on the failed expedition to Sicily embraced Euripides on their return with much affection.  They told him that they had been released from slavery because they taught the people that had them everything they could of Euripides’ poetry.  Some had even been given drink or food after the battle as they wandered around simply for singing a choral passage from one of his plays.

Life of Nicias – Plutarch