saec. VI in.
Dares Phrygius is the fictional name used by the late-antique author who wrote a prose work entitled De excidio Troiae historia. In this context, the adjective Phrygian means 'Trojan'. Homer (Iliad 5.9) mentions an otherwise unknown Dares, a Trojan priest of the God Hephestus. The anonymous author of the Historia might have taken the name Dares from this passage when he created a fictional identity for the narrator of theDe excidio Troiae historia. Scholars are unanimous in ruling out that the author meant the fictional narrator to be identified with the Dares mentioned by Virgil in the fifth book of the Aeneid. In Virgil, Dares fights a boxing match with Entellus during the funeral games of Anchises, and is killed by Turnus in the twelfth book; more importantly, he is a companion of Aeneas, whereas the Dares who narrates the story of De excidio Troiae claims to be a companion of Antenor (see chapter 44).
Scholars have long disputed whether this short Latin text was a translation of a lost Greek original or not. It is therefore also uncertain whether a Greek author called Dares existed or not. Jacoby (FGrHist 51) has assembled all the scanty pieces of information available to modern scholars. The data may be classed into two groups: data taken from the Latin version of the work, and data taken from Aelian, Photius, and Eustatius. The preface to the historia is a (clearly fictional) letter written by Cornelius Nepos to Sallust (page 1 Meister = FGrHist 51 T 1). It states that Dares the Phrygian was an eyewitnessof and a warrior in the Trojan war (per id ipsum tempus uixit et militauit), and that he wrote a story of it in his own hand. Moreover, in the course of the work, Dares claims to have fought until the fall of Troy (see chapter 12 = FGrHist 51 T 3). He fought under Antenor, as mentioned above (chapter 44 =FGrHist 51 T 4). Aelian (V.H. 11.2 = FGrHist 51 T 6) states that, in his own time, an Ilias by Dares was still extant. Photius (Bibl. 190 = FGrHist 51 T 5) and Eustatius (ad Od. 11.521 = FGrHist 51 T 5) refer to Dares' work, but the episodes they mention are absent from the Latin version as we know it.
Some scholars (Beschorner 1992) are sceptical of these references, arguing that they do not form a cogent proof of the existence of a Greek original taken as a model by our Latin version. Isidorus' testimony (Origg. 1.42.1 = FGrHist 51 T 2) is of no relevance to the question of Dares' identity: it is a late statement, simply attesting Isidorus' acquaintance with the Latin version of the work. [G. Bessi; trad. L. Battezzato]