The most famous if not the first 1 is Phalaris of Acragas (Agrigentum), whose exact date is uncertain, whose letters are now cast aside, arid whose brazen bull has been called in question, but who clearly rose to power very soon after the foundation of Acragas.
The textual criticism of the classical literatures made way before the textual criticism of the Old Testament: Bentley's Phalaris (1699) preceded any thorough or systematic application of Higher Criticism to any part of the Old Testament; Niebuhr's History of Rome (181i) preceded Ewald's History of Israel (1843-1859).
After ages have held up Phalaris to infamy for his excessive cruelty.
Pottier, who does not dispute the historical personality of Minos, in view of the story of Phalaris considers it probable that in Crete (where a bull-cult may have existed by the side of that of the double axe) victims were tortured by being shut up in the belly of a red-hot brazen bull.
The letters bearing the name of Phalaris (148 in number) are now chiefly remembered for the crushing exposure they received at the hands of Richard Bentley in his controversy with the Hon.