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Bias, one of the seven sages of Greece, and in the opinion of some writers, the Prince of Learned Men, was a native of Priene, a city of Caria, and flourished about the year 608 before Jesus Christ. Some,pirates, in one of their cruizes in the neighbourhood of Messina, carried away several females of the city, and exposed them for sale at Priene. These were purchased by Bias,. who loaded them with presents, and sent them back to their parents. A little time after, some fishermen of Messina found in the body of a Large fish a golden vase, upon which these words were engraved, To the most wise. They deliberated a while to whom they should send it; when the females who had been tieated by Bias with so much generosity presented themselves, with their parents, and engaged the public voice in his favour; but he refused the offer, by saying, that this title solely belonged to Apollo. His refusal proved him the more worthy of the title.
It is likewise related, at the siege of Priene by Haliattes, king of Lydia, that Bias, who filled the office of chief magistrate, made a most vigorous resistance. Nevertheless, provisions became scarce; and at this moment, to deceive the besiegers, he fattened two mules, and sent them into the enemy's camp. Deceived by this artifice, the king of Lydia raised the siege, and made peace with the Prieneans. Bias could not, however, prevent the city from being, in the end, taken by storm, and delivered up to pillage. During the disorder that prevailed, and while each was endeavouring to carry away as much of his property as possible, they were surprised to see Bias leave the city without striving to preserve his effects. He said, "Omnia mea mecum porto." It was this philosopher who, being at sea in a storm with some impious persons, and hearing them invoke the assistance of the gods, said, "Be quiet, lest they perceive you are in peril." He was a great admirer of poetry, and composed some verses containing the precepts of his morality, and rules for the conduct of life. It was one of his maxims, that those who knew what friendship was, would much rather hear a brilliant than a solid remark—a sally, than an axiom; and was accustomed to say, "Love your friends, as if they might one day become your enemies." He cultivated oratory with success, and made the same use of his talents as of his fortune; that is to say, by directing it to the assistance of the necessitous. He died at an advanced age, in the midst of his noble occupations. Pleading one day the cause of one of his friends, and having apparently exhausted the little strength that remained, he reclined his head upon the bosom of one of his grand-children, who accompanied him, and expired. His countrymen, in testimony of his worth; raised a temple to his memory.