E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Amyris plays the fool,
i.e. a person assumes a false character with an ulterior object, like Junius Brutus. Amyris was a Sybarite (3 syl.) sent to Delphi to consult the Oracle, who informed him of the approaching destruction of his nation. Amyris fled to Peloponnesus and his countrymen called him a fool; but, like the madness of David, his folly was true wisdom, for thereby he saved his life.