Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 December 2021
In his Life of the honey-voiced sophist Hadrianus of Tyre (VS 2.10) Philostratus tells his readers about an institution created by Herodes Atticus to give his teaching an edge on that of his rivals – and no doubt to entitle him to charge his pupils higher fees. It is an institution about which Philostratus was silent in his Life of Herodes himself, doubtless because he already had copious material for that Life and much less for that of Hadrianus. The institution was called the Κλεψύδριον, ‘Little Water-clock’:
τὸ δὲ Κλεψύδριον ὧδε εἶχεν· τῶν τοῦ Ἡρώδου ἀκροατῶν δέκα οἱ ἀρετῆς ἀξιούμενοι ἐπεσιτίζοντο τῇ ἐς πάντας ἀκροάσει κλεψύδραν < ? > ξυμμεμετρημένην ἐς ἑκατὸν ἔπη, ἃ διήιει ἀποτάδην ὁ Ἡρώδης, παρηιτημένος τὸν ἐκ τῶν ἀκροατῶν ἔπαινον καὶ μόνου γεγονὼς τοῦ λέγειν.
The ‘little water-clock’ took this form: ten of Herodes’ pupils distinguished for their excellence would continue dining, after the lecture that was open to all, for the period of a water-clock that had been set for a hundred verses, which Herodes would go through exhaustively, declining any praise by his audience and entirely absorbed in what he was saying.1Philostratus VS 2.10.585