Anaximander,1 the son of Praxiades, was a native of Miletus. He laid down as his principle and element that which is unlimited without defining it as air or water or anything else. He held that the parts undergo change, but the whole is unchangeable; that the earth, which is of spherical shape, lies in the midst, occupying the place of a centre; that the moon, shining with borrowed light, derives its illumination from the sun; further, that the sun is as large as the earth and consists of the purest fire.2
He was the first inventor of the gnomon and set it up for a sundial in Lacedaemon,3 as is stated by Favorinus in his Miscellaneous History, in order to mark the solstices and the equinoxes; he also constructed clocks to tell the time. He was the first to draw on a map the outline of land and sea, and he constructed a globe as well.
His exposition of his doctrines took the form of a summary which no doubt came into the hands, among others, of Apollodorus of Athens. He says in his Chronology that in the second year of the 58th Olympiad4 Anaximander was sixty-four, and that he died not long afterwards. Thus he flourished almost at the same time as Polycrates the tyrant of Samos.5 There is a story that the boys laughed at his singing, and that, when he heard of it, he rejoined, “Then to please the boys I must improve my singing.”
There is another Anaximander, also of Miletus, a historian who wrote in the Ionic dialect.
1 With this Life Diels (Dox. Gr. p. 133) compares Hippolytus (Ref. Haer. i. 6), Plutarch (Strom. 2), Aëtius, i. 3. 3; iii. 11. 1; iii. 10. 2; ii. 11. 5; ii. 20. 1; ii. 24. 2; ii. 29. 1; ii. 21. 1; iii. 15. 6; v. 19. 4, which go back to Theophrastus, Phys. Opin. Fr. 2.
2 These astronomical discoveries belong properly to Anaxagoras.
3 But see Herodotus ii. 109, who makes the Babylonians the inventors.
4 547-546 B.C.
5 There is a chronological difficulty in this statement of Diogenes, for Polycrates of Samos died in 522. The difficulty, however, disappears if the statement be taken to refer not to Anaximander but to Pythagoras.
Anaximenes,6 the son of Eurystratus, a native of Miletus, was a pupil of Anaximander. According to some, he was also a pupil of Parmenides. He took for his first principle air or that which is unlimited. He held that the stars move round the earth but do not go under it. He writes simply and unaffectedly in the Ionic dialect.
According to Apollodorus he was contemporary with the taking of Sardis and died in the 63rd Olympiad.7
There have been two other men named Anaximenes, both of Lampsacus, the one a rhetorician who wrote on the achievements of Alexander, the other, the nephew of the rhetorician, who was a historian.
Anaximenes the philosopher wrote the following letters:
Anaximenes to Pythagoras
“Thales, the son of Examyas, has met an unkind fate in his old age. He went out from the court of his house at night, as was his custom, with his maidservant to view the stars, and, forgetting where he was, as he gazed, he got to the edge of a steep slope and fell over. In such wise have the Milesians lost their astronomer. Let us who were his pupils cherish his memory, and let it be cherished by our children and pupils; and let us not cease to entertain one another with his words. Let all our discourse begin with a reference to Thales.”
Anaximenes to Pythagoras
“You were better advised than the rest of us when you left Samos for Croton, where you live in peace. For the sons of Aeaces work incessant mischief, and Miletus is never without tyrants. The king of the Medes is another terror to us, not indeed so long as we are willing to pay tribute; but the Ionians are on the point of going to war with the Medes to secure their common freedom, and once we are at war we have no more hope of safety. How then can Anaximenes any longer think of studying the heavens when threatened with destruction or slavery? Meanwhile you find favour with the people of Croton and with the other Greeks in Italy; and pupils come to you even from Sicily.”
Anaxagoras,8 the son of Hegesibulus or Eubulus, was a native of Clazomenae. He was a pupil of Anaximenes, and was the first who set mind above matter, for at the beginning of his treatise, which is composed in attractive and dignified language, he says, “All things were together; then came Mind and set them in order.” This earned for Anaxagoras himself the nickname of Nous or Mind, and Timon in his Silli says of him:9
Then, I ween, there is Anaxagoras, a doughty champion, whom they call Mind, because forsooth his was the mind which suddenly woke up and fitted closely together all that had formerly been in a medley of confusion.
He was eminent for wealth and noble birth, and furthermore for magnanimity, in that he gave up his patrimony to his relations. For, when they accused him of neglecting it, he replied, “Why then do you not look after it?” And at last he went into retirement and engaged in physical investigation without troubling himself about public affairs. When some one inquired, “Have you no concern in your native land?” “Gently,” he replied, “I am greatly concerned with my fatherland,” and pointed to the sky.
He is said to have been twenty years old at the invasion of Xerxes and to have lived seventy-two years. Apollodorus in his Chronology says that he was born in the 70th Olympiad,10 and died in the first year of the 88th Olympiad.11 He began to study philosophy at Athens in the archonship of Callias12 when he was twenty; Demetrius of Phalerum states this in his list of archons; and at Athens they say he remained for thirty years.
He declared the sun to be a mass of red-hot metal and to be larger than the Peloponnesus, though others ascribe this view to Tantalus; he declared that there were dwellings on the moon, and moreover hills and ravines. He took as his principles the homoeomeries or homogeneous molecules; for just as gold consists of fine particles which are called gold-dust, so he held the whole universe to be compounded of minute bodies having parts homogeneous to themselves. His moving principle was Mind; of bodies, he said, some, like earth, were heavy, occupying the region below, others, light like fire, held the region above, while water and air were intermediate in position. For in this way over the earth, which is flat, the sea sinks down after the moisture has been evaporated by the sun. In the beginning the stars moved in the sky as in a revolving dome, so that the celestial pole which is always visible was vertically overhead; but subsequently the pole took its inclined position. He held the Milky Way to be a reflection of the light of stars which are not shone upon by the sun; comets to be a conjunction of planets which emit flames; shooting-stars to be a sort of sparks thrown off by the air. He held that winds arise when the air is rarefied by the sun’s heat; that thunder is a clashing together of the clouds, lightning their violent friction; an earthquake a subsidence of air into the earth.
Animals were produced from moisture, heat, and an earthy substance; later the species were propagated by generation from one another, males from the right side, females from the left.
There is a story that he predicted the fall of the meteoric stone at Aegospotami, which he said would fall from the sun.13 Hence Euripides, who was his pupil, in the Phathon calls the sun itself a “golden clod.”14 Furthermore, when he went to Olympia, he sat down wrapped in a sheep-skin cloak as if it were going to rain; and the rain came. When some one asked him if the hills at Lampsacus would ever become sea, he replied, “Yes, it only needs time.” Being asked to what end he had been born, he replied, “To study sun and moon and heavens.” To one who inquired, “You miss the society of the Athenians?” his reply was, “Not I, but they miss mine.” When he saw the tomb of Mausolus, he said, “A costly tomb is an image of an estate turned into stone.”15 To one who complained that he was dying in a foreign land, his answer was, “The descent to Hades is much the same from whatever place we start.”
Favorinus in his Miscellaneous History says Anaxagoras was the first to maintain that Homer in his poems treats of virtue and justice, and that this thesis was defended at greater length by his friend Metrodorus of Lampsacus, who was the first to busy himself with Homer’s physical doctrine. Anaxagoras was also the first to publish a book with diagrams.16 Silenus17 in the first book of his History gives the archonship of Demylus18 as the date when the meteoric stone fell, and says that Anaxagoras declared the whole firmament to be made of stones; that the rapidity of rotation caused it to cohere; and that if this were relaxed it would fall.19
Of the trial of Anaxagoras different accounts are given. Sotion in his Succession of the Philosophers says that he was indicted by Cleon on a charge of impiety, because he declared the sun to be a mass of red-hot metal; that his pupil Pericles defended him, and he was fined five talents and banished. Satyrus in his Lives says that the prosecutor was Thucydides, the opponent of Pericles, and the charge one of treasonable correspondence with Persia as well as of impiety; and that sentence of death was passed on Anaxagoras by default. When news was brought him that he was condemned and his sons were dead, his comment on the sentence was, “Long ago nature condemned both my judges and myself to death”; and on his sons, “I knew that my children were born to die.” Some, however, tell this story of Solon, and others of Xenophon. That he buried his sons with his own hands is asserted by Demetrius of Phalerum in his work On Old Age. Hermippus in his Lives says that he was confined in the prison pending his execution; that Pericles came forward and asked the people whether they had any fault to find with him in his own public career; to which they replied that they had not. “Well,” he continued, “I am a pupil of Anaxagoras; do not then be carried away by slanders and put him to death. Let me prevail upon you to release him.” So he was released; but he could not brook the indignity he had suffered and committed suicide. Hieronymus in the second book of his Scattered Notes states that Pericles brought him into court so weak and wasted from illness that he owed his acquittal not so much to the merits of his case as to the sympathy of the judges. So much then on the subject of his trial.
He was supposed to have borne Democritus a grudge because he had failed to get into communication with him.20 At length he retired to Lampsacus and there died. And when the magistrates of the city asked if there was anything he would like done for him, he replied that he would like them to grant an annual holiday to the boys in the month in which he died; and the custom is kept up to this day. So, when he died, the people of Lampsacus gave him honourable burial and placed over his grave the following inscription:21
Here Anaxagoras, who in his quest
Of truth scaled heaven itself, is laid to rest.
I also have written an epigram upon him:22
The sun’s a molten mass,
This is his crime, his life must pay the price.
Pericles from that fate
Rescued his friend too late;
His spirit crushed, by his own hand he dies.
There have been three other men who bore the name of Anaxagoras [of whom no other writer gives a complete list]. The first was a rhetorician of the school of Isocrates; the second a sculptor, mentioned by Antigonus; the third a grammarian, pupil of Zenodotus.
8 Diels (Dox. Gr. p. 137) compares Hippolytus, Ref. Haer. i. 8. 1-11; Aëtius, i. 3. 5; iv. 1. 3; ii. 20. 6; ii. 21. 3; ii. 28. 5; ii. 29. 7; ii. 23. 2; ii. 25. 9; iii. 1. 5; iii. 2. 2; iii. 2. 9; iii. 3. 4; iii. 15. 14; v. 7. 4, and Theophrastus, Phys. Opin. Fr. 4. For Anaxagoras as astronomer see Sir T. L. Heath, Aristarchus of Samos, pp. 78-85.
9 Fr. 24 d.
10 500-497 B.C.
11 428 B.C.
12 i.e. 456 B.C.; but possibly the year 480 is meant, when Calliades was archon.
13 This version agrees with Pliny, Nat. Hist. ii. 149 ”celebrant Graeci Anaxagoram Clazomenium Olympiadis septuagesimae octavae secundo anno praedixisse caelestium litterarum scientia quibus diebus saxum casurum esset e sole. ”
14 Nauck, T.G.F. ², Eur. 783.
15 Anaxagoras, whose death falls in the fifth century, circa 428-425 B.C., could not possibly have seen the famous Mausoleum erected by Artemisia, the widow of Mausolus, not earlier than 350 B.C. Mausolus ruled over Caria, according to Diodorus, from 377 to 353. The apophthegm is therefore either wrongly attributed to Anaxagoras or, if genuine, must have been uttered on some other occasion.
16 From Plutarch’s Life of Nicias, c. 23, and Clement of Alexandria (Strom. i. 78, p. 364 P.), διὰ γραφῆς (for which Diels conjectures μετὰ διαγραφῆς᾿ ἐκδοῦναι βιβλίον ἱστοροῦσιν, the inference seems to be that Anaxagoras was credited with diagrams as well as text, διδασκαλία καὶ γραφή. Laertius, if the text is sound, is much too vague; and some translate “was the first to bring out a book written by himself.”
17 Silenus of Calatia, who served in the Hannibalic war, wrote a History quoted by Cicero, Livy and Pliny; also a work on Sicily, F.H.G. iii. 100.
18 We know no archon Demylus. Various dates are suggested by critics; the years of (1) Demotion, archon 470, (2) Lysistratus, 467, (3) Diphilus, 442 B.C. The letters - μυλου may not be part of the archon’s name but a distinct word, calling the meteor a “millstone,” i.e. in size.
19 This version of the story agrees with that of Plutarch in his Life of Lysander, § 12 λέγεται δὲ.. . τοῦ παντός.
20 In ix. 34, 35 the statement that Democritus was hostile to Anaxagoras and criticized his doctrines is ascribed to Favorinus, and, as the motive alleged is similar, Favorinus may also be the source of the statement of ii. 14.
21 Anth. Pal. vii. 94.
22 Anth. Pal. vii. 95.
Archelaus,23 the son of Apollodorus, or as some say of Midon, was a citizen of Athens or of Miletus; he was a pupil of Anaxagoras, who24 first brought natural philosophy from Ionia to Athens. Archelaus was the teacher of Socrates. He was called the physicist inasmuch as with him natural philosophy came to an end, as soon as Socrates had introduced ethics. It would seem that Archelaus himself also treated of ethics, for he has discussed laws and goodness and justice; Socrates took the subject from him and, having improved it to the utmost, was regarded as its inventor. Archelaus laid down that there were two causes of growth or becoming, heat and cold; that living things were produced from slime; and that what is just and what is base depends not upon nature but upon convention.
His theory is to this effect. Water is melted by heat and produces on the one hand earth in so far as by the action of fire it sinks and coheres, while on the other hand it generates air in so far as it overflows on all sides. Hence the earth is confined by the air, and the air by the circumambient fire. Living things, he holds, are generated from the earth when it is heated and throws off slime of the consistency of milk to serve as a sort of nourishment, and in this same way the earth produced man. He was the first who explained the production of sound as being the concussion of the air, and the formation of the sea in hollow places as due to its filtering through the earth. He declared the sun to be the largest of the heavenly bodies and the universe to be unlimited.
There have been three other men who bore the name of Archelaus: the topographer who described the countries traversed by Alexander; the author of a treatise on Natural Curiosities; and lastly a rhetorician who wrote a handbook on his art.
23 Diels (Dox. Gr. p. 139) compares Hippolytus, Ref. Haer. i. 9. 1-5; Aëtius, i. 3. 6; Theophrastus, Phys. Opin. Fr. 4.
24 οὗτος. This statement is not really applicable to Archelaus. Clement of Alexandria in Strom. i. 63 understood it of Anaxagoras: μεθ᾽ οὗ [Anaximenes] Ἀναξαγόρας Ἡγησιβούλου Κλαζομένιος. οὗτος μετήγαγεν ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰωνίας Ἁθήναζε τὴν διατριβήν.
Socrates was the son of Sophroniscus, a sculptor, and of Phaenarete, a midwife, as we read in the Theaetetus of Plato; he was a citizen of Athens and belonged to the deme Alopece. It was thought that he helped Euripides to make his plays; hence Mnesimachus25 writes:
This new play of Euripides is The Phrygians; and Socrates provides the wood for frying.26
And again he calls Euripides “an engine riveted by Socrates.” And Callias in The Captives:27
a. Pray why so solemn, why this lofty air?
b. I’ve every right; I’m helped by Socrates.
Aristophanes28 in The Clouds:
’Tis he composes for Euripides
Those clever plays, much sound and little sense.
According to some authors he was a pupil of Anaxagoras, and also of Damon, as Alexander states in his Successions of Philosophers. When Anaxagoras was condemned, he became a pupil of Archelaus the physicist; Aristoxenus asserts that Archelaus was very fond of him. Duris makes him out to have been a slave and to have been employed on stonework, and the draped figures of the Graces on the Acropolis have by some been attributed to him. Hence the passage in Timon’s Silli:29
From these diverged the sculptor, a prater about laws, the enchanter of Greece, inventor of subtle arguments, the sneerer who mocked at fine speeches, half-Attic in his mock humility.
He was formidable in public speaking, according to Idomeneus; moreover, as Xenophon tells us, the Thirty forbade him to teach the art of words. And Aristophanes attacks him in his plays for making the worse appear the better reason. For Favorinus in his Miscellaneous History says Socrates and his pupil Aeschines were the first to teach rhetoric; and this is confirmed by Idomeneus in his work on the Socratic circle.30 Again, he was the first who discoursed on the conduct of life, and the first philosopher who was tried and put to death. Aristoxenus, the son of Spintharus, says of him that he made money; he would at all events invest sums, collect the interest accruing, and then, when this was expended, put out the principal again.
Demetrius of Byzantium relates that Crito removed him from his workshop and educated him, being struck by his beauty of soul; that he discussed moral questions in the workshops and the market-place, being convinced that the study of nature is no concern of ours; and that he claimed that his inquiries embraced
Whatso’er is good or evil in an house;31
that frequently, owing to his vehemence in argument, men set upon him with their fists or tore his hair out; and that for the most part he was despised and laughed at, yet bore all this ill-usage patiently. So much so that, when he had been kicked, and some one expressed surprise at his taking it so quietly, Socrates rejoined, “Should I have taken the law of a donkey, supposing that he had kicked me?” Thus far Demetrius.
Unlike most philosophers, he had no need to travel, except when required to go on an expedition. The rest of his life he stayed at home and engaged all the more keenly in argument with anyone who would converse with him, his aim being not to alter his opinion but to get at the truth. They relate that Euripides gave him the treatise of Heraclitus and asked his opinion upon it, and that his reply was, “The part I understand is excellent, and so too is, I dare say, the part I do not understand; but it needs a Delian diver to get to the bottom of it.”
He took care to exercise his body and kept in good condition. At all events he served on the expedition to Amphipolis; and when in the battle of Delium Xenophon had fallen from his horse, he stepped in and saved his life. For in the general flight of the Athenians he personally retired at his ease, quietly turning round from time to time and ready to defend himself in case he were attacked. Again, he served at Potidaea, whither he had gone by sea, as land communications were interrupted by the war;32 and while there he is said to have remained a whole night without changing his position, and to have won the prize of valour. But he resigned it to Alcibiades, for whom he cherished the tenderest affection, according to Aristippus in the fourth book of his treatise On the Luxury of the Ancients. Ion of Chios relates that in his youth he visited Samos in the company of Archelaus; and Aristotle that he went to Delphi; he went also to the Isthmus, according to Favorinus in the first book of his Memorabilia.
His strength of will and attachment to the democracy are evident from his refusal to yield to Critias and his colleagues when they ordered him to bring the wealthy Leon of Salamis before them for execution, and further from the fact that he alone voted for the acquittal of the ten generals; and again from the facts that when he had the opportunity to escape from the prison he declined to do so, and that he rebuked his friends for weeping over his fate, and addressed to them his most memorable discourses in the prison.
He was a man of great independence and dignity of character. Pamphila in the seventh book of her Commentaries tells how Alcibiades once offered him a large site on which to build a house; but he replied, “Suppose, then, I wanted shoes and you offered me a whole hide to make a pair with, would it not be ridiculous in me to take it?” Often when he looked at the multitude of wares exposed for sale, he would say to himself, “How many things I can do without!” And he would continually recite the lines:
The purple robe and silver’s shine
More fits an actor’s need than mine.33
He showed his contempt for Archelaus of Macedon and Scopas of Cranon and Eurylochus of Larissa by refusing to accept their presents or to go to their court. He was so orderly in his way of life that on several occasions when pestilence broke out in Athens he was the only man who escaped infection.
Aristotle says that he married two wives: his first wife was Xanthippe, by whom he had a son, Lamprocles; his second wife was Myrto, the daughter of Aristides the Just, whom he took without a dowry. By her he had Sophroniscus and Menexenus. Others make Myrto his first wife; while some writers, including Satyrus and Hieronymus of Rhodes, affirm that they were both his wives at the same time. For they say that the Athenians were short of men and, wishing to increase the population, passed a decree permitting a citizen to marry one Athenian woman and have children by another; and that Socrates accordingly did so.
He could afford to despise those who scoffed at him. He prided himself on his plain living, and never asked a fee from anyone. He used to say that he most enjoyed the food which was least in need of condiment, and the drink which made him feel the least hankering for some other drink; and that he was nearest to the gods in that he had the fewest wants. This may be seen from the Comic poets, who in the act of ridiculing him give him high praise. Thus Aristophanes:34
O man that justly desirest great wisdom, how blessed will be thy life amongst Athenians and Greeks, retentive of memory and thinker that thou art, with endurance of toil for thy character; never art thou weary whether standing or walking, never numb with cold, never hungry for breakfast; from wine and from gross feeding and all other frivolities thou dost turn away.
Ameipsias too, when he puts him on the stage wearing a cloak, says:35
a. You come to join us, Socrates, worthiest of a small band and emptiest by far! You are a robust fellow. Where can we get you a proper coat?
b. Your sorry plight is an insult to the cobblers.
a. And yet, hungry as he is, this man has never stooped to flatter.
This disdainful, lofty spirit of his is also noticed by Aristophanes when he says:36
Because you stalk along the streets, rolling your eyes, and endure, barefoot, many a hardship, and gaze up at us [the clouds].
And yet at times he would even put on fine clothes to suit the occasion, as in Plato’s Symposium,37 where he is on his way to Agathon’s house.
He showed equal ability in both directions, in persuading and dissuading men; thus, after conversing with Theaetetus about knowledge, he sent him away, as Plato says, fired with a divine impulse; but when Euthyphro had indicted his father for manslaughter, Socrates, after some conversation with him upon piety, diverted him from his purpose. Lysis, again, he turned, by exhortation, into a most virtuous character. For he had the skill to draw his arguments from facts. And when his son Lamprocles was violently angry with his mother, Socrates made him feel ashamed of himself, as I believe Xenophon has told us. When Plato’s brother Glaucon was desirous of entering upon politics, Socrates dissuaded him, as Xenophon relates, because of his want of experience; but on the contrary he encouraged Charmides to take up politics because he had a gift that way.38
He roused Iphicrates the general to a martial spirit by showing him how the fighting cocks of Midias the barber flapped their wings in defiance of those of Callias. Glauconides demanded that he should be acquired for the state as if he were some pheasant or peacock.
He used to say it was strange that, if you asked a man how many sheep he had, he could easily tell you the precise number; whereas he could not name his friends or say how many he had, so slight was the value he set upon them. Seeing Euclides keenly interested in eristic arguments, he said to him: “You will be able to get on with sophists, Euclides, but with men not at all.” For he thought there was no use in this sort of hair-splitting, as Plato shows us in the Euthydemus.
Again, when Charmides offered him some slaves in order that he might derive an income from them, he declined the offer; and according to some he scorned the beauty of Alcibiades. He would extol leisure as the best of possessions, according to Xenophon in the Symposium. There is, he said, only one good, that is, knowledge, and only one evil, that is, ignorance; wealth and good birth bring their possessor no dignity, but on the contrary evil. At all events, when some one told him that Antisthenes’ mother was a Thracian, he replied, “Nay, did you expect a man so noble to have been born of two Athenian parents?” He made Crito ransom Phaedo who, having been taken prisoner in the war, was kept in degrading slavery, and so won him for philosophy.
Moreover, in his old age he learnt to play the lyre, declaring that he saw no absurdity in learning a new accomplishment. As Xenophon relates in the Symposium, it was his regular habit to dance, thinking that such exercise helped to keep the body in good condition. He used to say that his supernatural sign warned him beforehand of the future; that to make a good start was no trifling advantage, but a trifle turned the scale; and that he knew nothing except just the fact of his ignorance. He said that, when people paid a high price for fruit which had ripened early, they must despair of seeing the fruit ripen at the proper season. And, being once asked in what consisted the virtue of a young man, he said, “In doing nothing to excess.” He held that geometry should be studied to the point at which a man is able to measure the land which he acquires or parts with.
On hearing the line of Euripides’ play Auge where the poet says of virtue:
’Tis best to let her roam at will,39
he got up and left the theatre. For he said it was absurd to make a hue and cry about a slave who could not be found, and to allow virtue to perish in this way. Some one asked him whether he should marry or not, and received the reply, “Whichever you do you will repent it.” He used to express his astonishment that the sculptors of marble statues should take pains to make the block of marble into a perfect likeness of a man, and should take no pains about themselves lest they should turn out mere blocks, not men. He recommended to the young the constant use of the mirror, to the end that handsome men might acquire a corresponding behaviour, and ugly men conceal their defects by education.
He had invited some rich men and, when Xanthippe said she felt ashamed of the dinner, “Never mind,” said he, “for if they are reasonable they will put up with it, and if they are good for nothing, we shall not trouble ourselves about them.” He would say that the rest of the world lived to eat, while he himself ate to live. Of the mass of men who do not count he said it was as if some one should object to a single tetradrachm as counterfeit and at the same time let a whole heap made up of just such pieces pass as genuine. Aeschines said to him, “I am a poor man and have nothing else to give, but I offer you myself,” and Socrates answered, “Nay, do you not see that you are offering me the greatest gift of all?” To one who complained that he was overlooked when the Thirty rose to power, he said, “You are not sorry for that, are you?” To one who said, “You are condemned by the Athenians to die,” he made answer, “So are they, by nature.” But some ascribe this to Anaxagoras. When his wife said, “You suffer unjustly,” he retorted, “Why, would you have me suffer justly?” He had a dream that some one said to him:40
On the third day thou shalt come to the fertile fields of Phthia;
and he told Aeschines, “On the third day I shall die.”41 When he was about to drink the hemlock, Apollodorus offered him a beautiful garment to die in: “What,” said he, “is my own good enough to live in but not to die in?” When he was told that So-and-so spoke ill of him, he replied, “True, for he has never learnt to speak well.” When Antisthenes turned his cloak so that the tear in it came into view, “I see,” said he, “your vanity through your cloak.” To one who said, “Don’t you find so-and-so very offensive?” his reply was, “No, for it takes two to make a quarrel.” We ought not to object, he used to say, to be subjects for the Comic poets, for if they satirize our faults they will do us good, and if not they do not touch us. When Xanthippe first scolded him and then drenched him with water, his rejoinder was, “Did I not say that Xanthippe’s thunder would end in rain?” When Alcibiades declared that the scolding of Xanthippe was intolerable, “Nay, I have got used to it,” said he, “as to the continued rattle of a windlass. And you do not mind the cackle of geese.” “No,” replied Alcibiades, “but they furnish me with eggs and goslings.” “And Xanthippe,” said Socrates, “is the mother of my children.” When she tore his coat off his back in the market-place and his acquaintances advised him to hit back, “Yes, by Zeus,” said he, “in order that while we are sparring each of you may join in with ‘Go it, Socrates!’ ‘Well done, Xanthippe!’ “ He said he lived with a shrew, as horsemen are fond of spirited horses, “but just as, when they have mastered these, they can easily cope with the rest, so I in the society of Xanthippe shall learn to adapt myself to the rest of the world.”
These and the like were his words and deeds, to which the Pythian priestess bore testimony when she gave Chaerephon the famous response:
Of all men living Socrates most wise.
For this he was most envied; and especially because he would take to task those who thought highly of themselves, proving them to be fools, as to be sure he treated Anytus, according to Plato’s Meno .42 For Anytus could not endure to be ridiculed by Socrates, and so in the first place stirred up against him Aristophanes and his friends; then afterwards he helped to persuade Meletus to indict him on a charge of impiety and corrupting the youth.
The indictment was brought by Meletus, and the speech was delivered by Polyeuctus, according to Favorinus in his Miscellaneous History. The speech was written by Polycrates the sophist, according to Hermippus; but some say that it was by Anytus. Lycon the demagogue had made all the needful preparations.43
Antisthenes in his Successions of Philosophers, and Plato in his Apology, say that there were three accusers, Anytus, Lycon and Meletus; that Anytus was roused to anger on behalf of the craftsmen and politicians, Lycon on behalf of the rhetoricians, Meletus of the poets, all three of which classes had felt the lash of Socrates. Favorinus in the first book of his Memorabilia declares that the speech of Polycrates against Socrates is not authentic; for he mentions the rebuilding of the walls by Conon, which did not take place till six years after the death of Socrates. And this is the case.
The affidavit in the case, which is still preserved, says Favorinus, in the Metron, ran as follows: “This indictment and affidavit is sworn by Meletus, the son of Meletus of Pitthos, against Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus of Alopece: Socrates is guilty of refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state, and of introducing other new divinities. He is also guilty of corrupting the youth. The penalty demanded is death.” The philosopher then, after Lysias had written a defence for him, read it through and said: “A fine speech, Lysias; it is not, however, suitable to me.” For it was plainly more forensic than philosophical. Lysias said, “If it is a fine speech, how can it fail to suit you?” “Well,” he replied, “would not fine raiment and fine shoes be just as unsuitable to me?”
Justus of Tiberias in his book entitled The Wreath says that in the course of the trial Plato mounted the platform and began: “Though I am the youngest, men of Athens, of all who ever rose to address you” – whereupon the judges shouted out, “Get down! Get down!” When therefore he was condemned by 281 votes more than those given for acquittal, and when the judges were assessing what he should suffer or what fine he should pay, he proposed to pay 25 drachmae. Eubulides indeed says he offered 100. When this caused an uproar among the judges, he said, “Considering my services, I assess the penalty at maintenance in the Prytaneum at the public expense.”
Sentence of death was passed, with an accession of eighty fresh votes. He was put in prison, and a few days afterwards drank the hemlock, after much noble discourse which Plato records in the Phaedo. Further, according to some, he composed a paean beginning:
All hail, Apollo, Delos’ lord!
Hail Artemis, ye noble pair!
Dionysodorus denies that he wrote the paean. He also composed a fable of Aesop, not very skilfully, beginning:44
“Judge not, ye men of Corinth,” Aesop cried,
“Of virtue as the jury-courts decide.”
So he was taken from among men; and not long afterwards the Athenians felt such remorse that they shut up the training grounds and gymnasia. They banished the other accusers but put Meletus to death; they honoured Socrates with a bronze statue, the work of Lysippus, which they placed in the hall of processions. And no sooner did Anytus visit Heraclea than the people of that town expelled him on that very day. Not only in the case of Socrates but in very many others the Athenians repented in this way. For they fined Homer (so says Heraclides45 ) 50 drachmae for a madman, and said Tyrtaeus was beside himself, and they honoured Astydamas before Aeschylus and his brother poets with a bronze statue. Euripides upbraids them thus in his Palamedes: “Ye have slain, have slain, the all-wise, the innocent, the Muses’ nightingale.”46 This is one account; but Philochorus asserts that Euripides died before Socrates.
He was born, according to Apollodorus in his Chronology, in the archonship of Apsephion, in the fourth year of the 77th Olympiad,47 on the 6th day of the month of Thargelion, when the Athenians purify their city, which according to the Delians is the birthday of Artemis. He died in the first year of the 95th Olympiad48 at the age of seventy. With this Demetrius of Phalerum agrees; but some say he was sixty when he died.
Both were pupils of Anaxagoras, I mean Socrates and Euripides, who was born in the first year of the 75th Olympiad in the archonship of Calliades.49
In my opinion Socrates discoursed on physics as well as on ethics, since he holds some conversations about providence, even according to Xenophon, who, however, declares that he only discussed ethics. But Plato, after mentioning Anaxagoras and certain other physicists in the Apology,50 treats for his own part themes which Socrates disowned, although he puts everything into the mouth of Socrates.
Aristotle relates that a magician came from Syria to Athens and, among other evils with which he threatened Socrates, predicted that he would come to a violent end.
I have written verses about him too, as follows:51
Drink then, being in Zeus’s palace, O Socrates; for truly did the god pronounce thee wise, being wisdom himself; for when thou didst frankly take the hemlock at the hands of the Athenians, they themselves drained it as it passed thy lips.
He was sharply criticized, according to Aristotle in his third book On Poetry, by a certain Antilochus of Lemnos, and by Antiphon the soothsayer, just as Pythagoras was by Cylon of Croton, or as Homer was assailed in his lifetime by Syagrus, and after his death by Xenophanes of Colophon. So too Hesiod was criticized in his lifetime by Cercops, and after his death by the aforesaid Xenophanes; Pindar by Amphimenes of Cos; thales by Pherecydes; Bias by Salarus of Priene; Pittacus by Antimenidas and Alcaeus; Anaxagoras by Sosibius; and Simonides by Timocreon.
Of those who succeeded him and were called Socratics52 the chief were Plato, Xenophon, Antisthenes, and of ten names on the traditional list the most distinguished are Aeschines, Phaedo, Euclides, Aristippus. I must first speak of Xenophon; Antisthenes will come afterwards among the Cynics; after Xenophon I shall take the Socratics proper, and so pass on to Plato. With Plato the ten schools begin: he was himself the founder of the First Academy. This then is the order which I shall follow.
Of those who bear the name of Socrates there is one, a historian, who wrote a geographical work upon Argos; another, a Peripatetic philosopher of Bithynia; a third, a poet who wrote epigrams; lastly, Socrates of Cos, who wrote on the names of the gods.
25 So Cobet for vulgate Mnesilochus, retained by Meineke, C.G.F. ii. 371.
26 There is a pun in Φρύγες and φρύγανα (=firewood).
27 Meineke, C.G.F. ii. 739.
28 A mistake for Teleclides: see Meineke, Comicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, ii. p. 371 sq. Dindorf conjectured that τὰς σωκρατογόμφους belongs to the same passage of Teleclides’ Clouds and might well follow σοφάς.
29 Fr. 25 d.
30 Possibly the reference is to the same citation as in 19 which Diogenes Laertius may have found independently in two of his authorities. Diogenes himself notices the agreement between Favorinus and Idomeneus of Lampsacus, a much earlier author, for he was a disciple of Epicurus, whom he knew from 310 to 270 B.C.
31 Hom. Od. iv. 392.
32 The reason assigned for an expedition to Potidaea by sea will not hold. Communications between Athens and Thrace were, as a rule, made by sea. Moreover, the siege of Potidaea began in 432 B.C., the year before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war. It has been suggested that the words διὰ θαλάττης . . . κωλύοντος should properly follow Ἰσθμόν eight lines lower down. If any Athenian wished to attend the Isthmian games during the early part of the Peloponnesian war, it was probably safer not to risk the land journey owing to the bitter hostility of the Megarians.
33 Stobaeus, Florilegium, lvi. 15, attributes these and three preceding lines to Philemon, the well-known poet of the New Comedy. If Philemon wrote them, Socrates cannot have recited them, however well they express his temper.
34 Clouds, 412-417.
35 Sc. in the Connus, Meineke, C.G.F. i. 201 sq., ii. 703.
36 Clouds, 362.
37 174 a.
38 Mem. iii. 7.
39 This line, now found in Eur. Electra, 379, may have come into our text from the lost play Auge: cf. Nauck, T.G.F. ², p. 437, s.v. ΑΥΓΗ.
40 Hom. Il. ix. 363.
41 The proposal that Socrates should escape from prison was attributed to Aeschines as well as to Crito (see below, 60). The Homeric citation occurs in Plato’s Crito, 44 b.
42 95 a.
43 The confusion in the last sentence of 38 is due to the insertion in the wrong place of two extracts, one from Favorinus and the other from Hermippus. When these are removed, the parts assigned to the three accusers, Meletus, Anytus and Lycon, become clear: ἀπηνέγκατο μὲν οὖν τὴν γραφὴν ὁ Μέλητος, εἶπε δὲ τὴν δίκην Ἄνυτος, προητοίμασε δὲ πάντα Λύκων ὁ δημαγωγός.
44 Anth. Plan. iv. 16.
45 Most probably Heraclides of Pontus. This remarkable assertion may have occurred in one of his dialogues, and was perhaps not meant to be taken seriously.
46 Nauck, T.G.F. ², Eur. 588.
47 469-468 B.C.
48 400-399 B.C.
49 480-479 B.C.
50 26 d.
51 Anth. Pal. vii. 96.
52 The text would perhaps be clearer if we transposed thus: τῶν δὲ διαδεξαμένων αὐτὸν οἱ κορυφαιότατοι μὲν Πλάτων, Ξενοφῶν, Ἀντισθένης. τῶν δὲ λεγομένων Σωκρατικῶν οἱ διασημότατοι τέσσαρες, Αἰσχίνης, Φαίδων, Εὐκλείδης, Ἀρίστιππος κτλ . . . εἶθ᾽ οὔτω περὶ Πλάτωνος: ἐπεὶ κατάρχει τῶν φερομένων δέκα αἱρέσεων. The division of moral philosophers into ten schools was mentioned above, i. 18.
Xenophon, the son of Gryllus, was a citizen of Athens and belonged to the deme Erchia; he was a man of rare modesty and extremely handsome. The story goes that Socrates met him in a narrow passage, and that he stretched out his stick to bar the way, while he inquired where every kind of food was sold. Upon receiving a reply, he put another question, “And where do men become good and honourable?” Xenophon was fairly puzzled; “Then follow me,” said Socrates, “and learn.” From that time onward he was a pupil of Socrates. He was the first to take notes of, and to give to the world, the conversation of Socrates, under the title of Memorabilia. Moreover, he was the first to write a history of philosophers.
Aristippus, in the fourth book of his work On the Luxury of the Ancients, declares that he was enamoured of Clinias, and said in reference to him, “It is sweeter for me to gaze on Clinias than on all the fair sights in the world. I would be content to be blind to everything else if I could but gaze on him alone. I am vexed with the night and with sleep because I cannot see Clinias, and most grateful to the day and the sun for showing him to me.”
He gained the friendship of Cyrus in the following way. He had an intimate friend named Proxenus, a Boeotian, a pupil of Gorgias of Leontini and a friend of Cyrus. Proxenus, while living in Sardis at the court of Cyrus, wrote a letter to Xenophon at Athens, inviting him to come and seek the friendship of Cyrus. Xenophon showed this letter to Socrates and asked his advice, which was that he should go to Delphi and consult the oracle. Xenophon complied and came into the presence of the god. He inquired, not whether he should go and seek service with Cyrus, but in what way he should do so. For this Socrates blamed him, yet at the same time he advised him to go. On his arrival at the court of Cyrus he became as warmly attached to him as Proxenus himself. We have his own sufficient narrative of all that happened on the expedition and on the return home. He was, however, at enmity with Meno of Pharsalus, the mercenary general, throughout the expedition, and, by way of abuse, charges him with having a favourite older than himself. Again, he reproaches one Apollonides with having had his ears bored.53
After the expedition and the misfortunes which overtook it in Pontus and the treacheries of Seuthes, the king of the Odrysians, he returned to Asia, having enlisted the troops of Cyrus as mercenaries in the service of Agesilaus, the Spartan king, to whom he was devoted beyond measure. About this time he was banished by the Athenians for siding with Sparta. When he was in Ephesus and had a sum of money, he entrusted one half of it to Megabyzus, the priest of Artemis, to keep until his return, or if he should never return, to apply to the erection of a statue in honour of the goddess. But the other half he sent in votive offerings to Delphi. Next he came to Greece with Agesilaus, who had been recalled to carry on the war against Thebes. And the Lacedaemonians conferred on him a privileged position.
He then left Agesilaus and made his way to Scillus, a place in the territory of Elis not far from the city. According to Demetrius of Magnesia he was accompanied by his wife Philesia, and, in a speech written for the freedman whom Xenophon prosecuted for neglect of duty, Dinarchus mentions that his two sons Gryllus and Diodorus, the Dioscuri as they were called, also went with him. Megabyzus having arrived to attend the festival, Xenophon received from him the deposit of money and bought and dedicated to the goddess an estate with a river running through, which bears the same name Selinus as the river at Ephesus. And from that time onward he hunted, entertained his friends, and worked at his histories without interruption. Dinarchus, however, asserts that it was the Lacedaemonians who gave him a house and land.
At the same time we are told that Phylopidas the Spartan sent to him at Scillus a present of captive slaves from Dardanus, and that he disposed of them as he thought fit, and that the Elians marched against Scillus, and owing to the slowness of the Spartans captured the place, whereupon his sons retired to Lepreum with a few of the servants, while Xenophon himself, who had previously gone to Elis, went next to Lepreum to join his sons, and then made his escape with them from Lepreum to Corinth and took up his abode there. Meanwhile the Athenians passed a decree to assist Sparta, and Xenophon sent his sons to Athens to serve in the army in defence of Sparta. According to Diocles in his Lives of the Philosophers, they had been trained in Sparta itself. Diodorus came safe out of the battle without performing any distinguished service, and he had a son of the same name (Gryllus) as his brother. Gryllus was posted with the cavalry and, in the battle which took place about Mantinea, fought stoutly and fell, as Ephorus relates in his twenty-fifth book, Cephisodorus being in command of the cavalry and Hegesilaus commander-in-chief. In this battle Epaminondas also fell. On this occasion Xenophon is said to have been sacrificing, with a chaplet on his head, which he removed when his son’s death was announced. But afterwards, upon learning that he had fallen gloriously, he replaced the chaplet on his head. Some say that he did not even shed tears, but exclaimed, “I knew my son was mortal.” Aristotle mentions that there were innumerable authors of epitaphs and eulogies upon Gryllus, who wrote, in part at least, to gratify his father. Hermippus too, in his Life of Theophrastus, affirms that even Isocrates wrote an encomium on Gryllus. Timon, however, jeers at Xenophon in the lines:54
A feeble pair or triad of works, or even a greater number, such as would come from Xenophon or the might of Aeschines, that not unpersuasive writer.
Such was his life. He flourished in the fourth year of the 94th Olympiad,55 and he took part in the expedition of Cyrus in the archonship of Xenaenetus in the year before the death of Socrates.
He died, according to Ctesiclides56 of Athens in his list of archons and Olympic victors, in the first year of the 105th Olympiad, in the archonship of Callidemides,57 the year in which Philip, the son of Amyntas, came to the throne of Macedon. He died at Corinth, as is stated by Demetrius of Magnesia, obviously at an advanced age. He was a worthy man in general, particularly fond of horses and hunting, an able tactician as is clear from his writings, pious, fond of sacrificing, and an expert in augury from the victims; and he made Socrates his exact model.
He wrote some forty books in all, though the division into books is not always the same, namely:
Demetrius of Magnesia denies that the last of these works is by Xenophon. There is a tradition that he made Thucydides famous by publishing his history, which was unknown, and which he might have appropriated to his own use. By the sweetness of his narrative he earned the name of the Attic Muse. Hence he and Plato were jealous of each other, as will be stated in the chapter on Plato.
There is an epigram of mine on him also:58
Up the steep path to fame toiled Xenophon
In that long march of glorious memories;
In deeds of Greece, how bright his lesson shone!
How fair was wisdom seen in Socrates!59
There is another on the circumstances of his death:60
Albeit the countrymen of Cranaus and Cecrops condemned thee, Xenophon, to exile on account of thy friendship for Cyrus, yet hospitable Corinth welcomed thee, so well content with the delights of that city wast thou, and there didst resolve to take up thy rest.
In other authorities I find the statement that he flourished, along with the other Socratics, in the 89th Olympiad,61 and Istrus affirms that he was banished by a decree of Eubulus and recalled by a decree of the same man.
There have been seven Xenophons: the first our subject himself; the second an Athenian, brother of Pythostratus, who wrote the Theseid, and himself the author, amongst other works, of a biography of Epaminondas and Pelopidas; the third a physician of Cos; the fourth the author of a history of Hannibal; the fifth an authority on legendary marvels; the sixth a sculptor, of Paros; the seventh a poet of the Old Comedy.
53 Anab. iii. 1. 26-31.
54 Fr. 26 D.
55 401-400 B.C.
56 Ctesiclides is known to us from Athenaeus, who cites his Chronology, vi. 272 c, x. 445 d. it may seem rash to intrude him here; but cf. iv. 5, where a similar error is certain.
57 360-359 B.C.
58 Anth. Pal. vii. 97.
59 Or in plain prose: “Not only for Cyrus’s sake did Xenophon go up to Persia, but because he sought the path which leads to the abode of Zeus. For, having shown that the great deeds of Greece are the outcome of his training, he recalled what a beautiful thing was the wisdom of Socrates.”
60 Anth. Pal. vii. 98.
61 This would be 424-420 B.C., a date obviously absurd as the floruit for either Xenophon or Plato.
Aeschines was the son of Charinus the sausagemaker, but others make his father’s name Lysanias. He was a citizen of Athens, industrious from his birth up. For this reason he never quitted Socrates; hence Socrates’ remark, “Only the sausage-maker’s son knows how to honour me.” Idomeneus declared that it was Aeschines, not Crito, who advised Socrates in the prison about making his escape,62 but that Plato put the words into the mouth of Crito because Aeschines was more attached to Aristippus than to himself. It was said maliciously – by Menedemus of Eretria in particular – that most of the dialogues which Aeschines passed off as his own were really dialogues of Socrates obtained by him from Xanthippe. Those of them which are said to have no beginning (ἀκέφαλοι) are very slovenly and show none of the vigour of Socrates; Pisistratus of Ephesus even denied that they were written by Aeschines. Persaeus indeed attributes the majority of the seven to Pasiphon of the school of Eretria, who inserted them among the dialogues of Aeschines. Moreover, Aeschines made use of the Little Cyrus, the Lesser Heracles and the Alcibiades of Antisthenes as well as dialogues by other authors. However that may be, of the writings of Aeschines those stamped with a Socratic character are seven, namely Miltiades, which for that reason is somewhat weak; then Callias, Axiochus, Aspasia, Alcibiades, Telauges, and Rhinon.
They say that want drove him to Sicily to the court of Dionysius, and that Plato took no notice of him, but he was introduced to Dionysius by Aristippus, and on presenting certain dialogues received gifts from him. Afterwards on his return to Athens he did not venture to lecture owing to the popularity of Plato and Aristippus. But he took fees from pupils, and subsequently composed forensic speeches for aggrieved clients. This is the point of Timon’s reference to him as “the might of Aeschines, that not unconvincing writer.” They say that Socrates, seeing how he was pinched by poverty, advised him to borrow from himself by reducing his rations. Aristippus among others had suspicions of the genuineness of his dialogues. At all events, as he was reading one at Megara, Aristippus rallied him by asking, “Where did you get that, you thief?”
Polycritus of Mende, in the first book of his History of Dionysius, says that he lived with the tyrant until his expulsion from Syracuse, and survived until the return of Dion, and that with him was Carcinus the tragic poet. There is also extant an epistle of Aeschines to Dionysius. That he had received a good rhetorical training is clear from his defence of the father of Phaeax the general, and from his defence of Dion. He is a close imitator of Gorgias of Leontini. Moreover, Lysias attacked him in a speech which he entitled “On dishonesty.” And from this too it is clear that he was a rhetorician. A single disciple of his is mentioned, Aristotle, whose nickname was “Story.”
Panaetius thinks that, of all the Socratic dialogues, those by Plato, Xenophon, Antisthenes and Aeschines are genuine; he is in doubt about those ascribed to Phaedo and Euclides; but he rejects the others one and all.
There are eight men who have borne the name of Aeschines: (1) our subject himself; (2) the author of handbooks of rhetoric; (3) the orator who opposed Demosthenes; (4) an Arcadian, a pupil of Isocrates; (5) a Mitylenean whom they used to call the “scourge of rhetoricians”; (6) a Neapolitan, an Academic philosopher, a pupil and favourite of Melanthius of Rhodes; (7) a Milesian who wrote upon politics; (8) a sculptor.
62 Idomeneus, it may be conjectured, relied on some Socratic dialogue in which the part assigned by Plato to Crito was given to Aeschines.
Aristippus was by birth a citizen of Cyrene and, as Aeschines informs us, was drawn to Athens by the fame of Socrates. Having come forward as a lecturer or sophist, as Phanias of Eresus, the Peripatetic, informs us, he was the first of the followers of Socrates to charge fees and to send money to his master. And on one occasion the sum of twenty minae which he had sent was returned to him, Socrates declaring that the supernatural sign would not let him take it; the very offer, in fact, annoyed him. Xenophon was no friend to Aristippus; and for this reason he has made Socrates direct against Aristippus the discourse in which he denounces pleasure.63 Not but what Theodorus in his work On Sects abuses him, and so does Plato in the dialogue On the Soul,64 as has been shown elsewhere.
He was capable of adapting himself to place, time and person, and of playing his part appropriately under whatever circumstances. Hence he found more favour than anybody else with Dionysius, because he could always turn the situation to good account. He derived pleasure from what was present, and did not toil to procure the enjoyment of something not present Hence Diogenes called him the king’s poodle65 Timon, too, sneered at him for luxury in these words:66
Such was the delicate nature of Aristippus, who groped after error by touch.67
He is said to have ordered a partridge to be bought at a cost of fifty drachmae, and, when someone censured him, he inquired, “Would not you have given an obol for it?” and, being answered in the affirmative, rejoined, “Fifty drachmae are no more to me.” And when Dionysius gave him his choice of three courtesans, he carried off all three, saying, “Paris paid dearly for giving the preference to one out of three.” And when he had brought them as far as the porch, he let them go. To such lengths did he go both in choosing and in disdaining. Hence the remark of Strato, or by some accounts of Plato, “You alone are endowed with the gift to flaunt in robes or go in rags.” He bore with Dionysius when he spat on him, and to one who took him to task he replied, “If the fishermen let themselves be drenched with sea-water in order to catch a gudgeon, ought I not to endure to be wetted with negus in order to take a blenny?”
Diogenes, washing the dirt from his vegetables, saw him passing and jeered at him in these terms, “If you had learnt to make these your diet, you would not have paid court to kings,” to which his rejoinder was, “And if you knew how to associate with men, you would not be washing vegetables.” Being asked what he had gained from philosophy, he replied, “The ability to feel at ease in any society.” Being reproached for his extravagance, he said, “If it were wrong to be extravagant, it would not be in vogue at the festivals of the gods.”
Being once asked what advantage philosophers have, he replied, “Should all laws be repealed, we shall go on living as we do now.” When Dionysius inquired what was the reason that philosophers go to rich men’s houses, while rich men no longer visit philosophers, his reply was that “the one know what they need while the other do not.” When he was reproached by Plato for his extravagance, he inquired, “Do you think Dionysius a good man?” and the reply being in the affirmative, “And yet,” said he, “he lives more extravagantly than I do. So that there is nothing to hinder a man living extravagantly and well.” To the question how the educated differ from the uneducated, he replied, “Exactly as horses that have been trained differ from untrained horses.” One day, as he entered the house of a courtesan, one of the lads with him blushed, whereupon he remarked, “It is not going in that is dangerous, but being unable to go out.”
Some one brought him a knotty problem with the request that he would untie the knot. “Why, you simpleton,” said he, “do you want it untied, seeing that it causes trouble enough as it is?” “It is better,” he said, “to be a beggar than to be uneducated; the one needs money, the others need to be humanized.” One day that he was reviled, he tried to slip away; the other pursued him, asking, “Why do you run away?” “Because,” said he, “as it is your privilege to use foul language, so it is my privilege not to listen.” In answer to one who remarked that he always saw philosophers at rich men’s doors, he said, “So, too, physicians are in attendance on those who are sick, but no one for that reason would prefer being sick to being a physician.”
It happened once that he set sail for Corinth and, being overtaken by a storm, he was in great consternation. Some one said, “We plain men are not alarmed, and are you philosophers turned cowards?” To this he replied, “The lives at stake in the two cases are not comparable.” When some one gave himself airs for his wide learning, this is what he said: “As those who eat most and take the most exercise are not better in health than those who restrict themselves to what they require, so too it is not wide reading but useful reading that tends to excellence.” An advocate, having pleaded for him and won the case, thereupon put the question, “What good did Socrates do you?” “Thus much,” was the reply, “that what you said of me in your speech was true.”
He gave his daughter Arete the very best advice, training her up to despise excess. He was asked by some one in what way his son would be the better for being educated. He replied, “If nothing more than this, at all events, when in the theatre he will not sit down like a stone upon stone.” When some one brought his son as a pupil, he asked a fee of 500 drachmae. The father objected, “For that sum I can buy a slave.” “Then do so,” was the reply, “and you will have two.” He said that he did not take money from his friends for his own use, but to teach them upon what objects their money should be spent. When he was reproached for employing a rhetorician to conduct his case, he made reply, “Well, if I give a dinner, I hire a cook.”
Being once compelled by Dionysius to enunciate some doctrine of philosophy, “It would be ludicrous,” he said, “that you should learn from me what to say, and yet instruct me when to say it.” At this, they say, Dionysius was offended and made him recline at the end of the table. And Aristippus said, “You must have wished to confer distinction on the last place.” To some one who boasted of his diving, “Are you not ashamed,” said he, “to brag of that which a dolphin can do?” Being asked on one occasion what is the difference between the wise man and the unwise, “Strip them both,” said he, “and send them among strangers and you will know.” To one who boasted that he could drink a great deal without getting drunk, his rejoinder was, “And so can a mule.”
To one who accused him of living with a courtesan, he put the question, “Why, is there any difference between taking a house in which many people have lived before and taking one in which nobody has ever lived?” The answer being “No,” he continued, “Or again, between sailing in a ship in which ten thousand persons have sailed before and in one in which nobody has ever sailed?” “There is no difference.” “Then it makes no difference,” said he, “whether the woman you live with has lived with many or with nobody.” To the accusation that, although he was a pupil of Socrates, he took fees, his rejoinder was, “Most certainly I do, for Socrates, too, when certain people sent him corn and wine, used to take a little and return all the rest; and he had the foremost men in Athens for his stewards, whereas mine is my slave Eutychides.” He enjoyed the favours of Laïs, as Sotion states in the second book of his Successions of Philosophers . To those who censured him his defence was, “I have Lais, not she me; and it is not abstinence from pleasures that is best, but mastery over them without ever being worsted.” to one who reproached him with extravagance in catering, he replied, “Wouldn’t you have bought this if you could have got it for three obols?” The answer being in the affirmative, “Very well, then,” said Aristippus, “I am no longer a lover of pleasure, it is you who are a lover of money.” One day Simus, the steward of Dionysius, a Phrygian by birth and a rascally fellow, was showing him costly houses with tesselated pavements, when Aristippus coughed up phlegm and spat in his face. And on his resenting this he replied, “I could not find any place more suitable.”
When Charondas (or, as others say, Phaedo) inquired, “Who is this who reeks with unguents?” he replied, “It is I, unlucky wight, and the still more unlucky Persian king. But, as none of the other animals are at any disadvantage on that account, consider whether it be not the same with man. Confound the effeminates who spoil for us the use of good perfume.” Being asked how Socrates died, he answered, “As I would wish to die myself.” Polyxenus the sophist once paid him a visit and, after having seen ladies present and expensive entertainment, reproached him with it later. After an interval Aristippus asked him, “Can you join us today?” On the other accepting the invitation, Aristippus inquired, “Why, then, did you find fault? For you appear to blame the cost and not the entertainment.” When his servant was carrying money and found the load too heavy – the story is told by Bion in his Lectures – Aristippus cried, “Pour away the greater part, and carry no more than you can manage.” Being once on a voyage, as soon as he discovered the vessel to be manned by pirates, he took out his money and began to count it, and then, as if by inadvertence, he let the money fall into the sea, and naturally broke out into lamentation. Another version of the story attributes to him the further remark that it was better for the money to perish on account of Aristippus than for Aristippus to perish on account of the money. Dionysius once asked him what he was come for, and he said it was to impart what he had and obtain what he had not. But some make his answer to have been, “When I needed wisdom, I went to Socrates; now that I am in need of money, I come to you.” He used to complain of mankind that in purchasing earthenware they made trial whether it rang true, but had no regular standard by which to judge life. Others attribute this remark to Diogenes. One day Dionysius over the wine commanded everybody to put on purple and dance. Plato declined, quoting the line:68
I could not stoop to put on women’s robes.
Aristippus, however, put on the dress and, as he was about to dance, was ready with the repartee:
Even amid the Bacchic revelry
True modesty will not be put to shame.69
He made a request to Dionysius on behalf of a friend and, failing to obtain it, fell down at his feet. And when some one jeered at him, he made reply, “It is not I who am to blame, but Dionysius who has his ears in his feet.” He was once staying in Asia and was taken prisoner by Artaphernes, the satrap. “Can you be cheerful under these circumstances?” some one asked. “Yes, you simpleton,” was the reply, “for when should I be more cheerful than now that I am about to converse with Artaphernes?” Those who went through the ordinary curriculum, but in their studies stopped short at philosophy, he used to compare to the suitors of Penelope. For the suitors won Melantho, Polydora and the rest of the handmaidens, but were anything but successful in their wooing of the mistress. A similar remark is ascribed to Ariston. For, he said, when Odysseus went down into the under-world, he saw nearly all the dead and made their acquaintance, but he never set eyes upon their queen herself.
Again, when Aristippus was asked what are the subjects which handsome boys ought to learn, his reply was, “Those which will be useful to them when they are grown up.” To the critic who censured him for leaving Socrates to go to Dionysius, his rejoinder was, “Yes, but I came to Socrates for education and to Dionysius for recreation.” When he had made some money by teaching, Socrates asked him, “Where did you get so much?” to which he replied, “Where you got so little.”
A courtesan having told him that she was with child by him, he replied, “You are no more sure of this than if, after running through coarse rushes, you were to say you had been pricked by one in particular.” Someone accused him of exposing his son as if it was not his offspring Whereupon he replied, “Phlegm, too, and vermin we know to be of our own begetting, but for all that, because they are useless, we cast them as far from us as possible.” He received a sum of money from Dionysius at the same time that Plato carried off a book and, when he was twitted with this, his reply was,, “Well, I want money, Plato wants books.” Some one asked him why he let himself be refuted by Dionysius. “For the same reason,” said he, “as the others refute him.”
Dionysius met a request of his for money with the words, “Nay, but you told me that the wise man would never be in want.” To which he retorted, “Pay! Pay! and then let us discuss the question;” and when he was paid, “Now you see, do you not,” said he, “that I was not found wanting?” Dionysius having repeated to him the lines:
Whoso betakes him to a prince’s court
Becomes his slave, albeit of free birth,70
If a free man he come, no slave is he.71
This is stated by Diocles in his work On the Lives of Philosophers; other writers refer the anecdotes to Plato. After getting in a rage with Aeschines, he presently addressed him thus: “Are we not to make it up and desist from vapouring, or will you wait for some one to reconcile us over the wine-bowl?” To which he replied, “Agreed.” “Then remember,” Aristippus went on, “that, though I am your senior, I made the first approaches.” Thereupon Aeschines said, “Well done, by Hera, you are quite right; you are a much better man than I am. For the quarrel was of my beginning, you make the first move to friendship.” Such are the repartees which are attributed to him.
There have been four men called Aristippus, (1) our present subject, (2) the author of a book about Arcadia, (3) the grandchild by a daughter of the first Aristippus, who was known as his mother’s pupil, (4) a philosopher of the New Academy.
The following books by the Cyrenaic philosopher are in circulation: a history of Libya in three Books, sent to Dionysius; one work containing twenty-five dialogues, some written in Attic, some in Doric, as follows:
Some also maintain that he wrote six Books of Essays; others, and among them Sosicrates of Rhodes, that he wrote none at all.
According to Sotion in his second book, and Panaetius, the following treatises are his:
He laid down as the end the smooth motion resulting in sensation.
Having written his life, let me now proceed to pass in review the philosophers of the Cyrenaic school which sprang from him, although some call themselves followers of Hegesias, others followers of Anniceris, others again of Theodorus.72 Not but what we shall notice further the pupils of Phaedo, the chief of whom were called the school of Eretria. The case stands thus. The disciples of Aristippus were his daughter Arete, Aethiops of Ptolemais,73 and Antipater of Cyrene. The pupil of Arete was Aristippus, who went by the name of mother-taught, and his pupil was Theodorus, known as the atheist, subsequently as “god.” Antipater’s pupil was Epitimides of Cyrene, his was Paraebates, and he had as pupils Hegesias, the advocate of suicide, and Anniceris, who ransomed Plato.
Those then who adhered to the teaching of Aristippus and were known as Cyrenaics held the following opinions. They laid down that there are two states, pleasure and pain, the former a smooth, the latter a rough motion, and that pleasure does not differ from pleasure nor is one pleasure more pleasant than another. The one state is agreeable and the other repellent to all living things. However, the bodily pleasure which is the end is, according to Panaetius in his work On the Sects, not the settled pleasure following the removal of pains, or the sort of freedom from discomfort which Epicurus accepts and maintains to be the end. They also hold that there is a difference between “end” and “happiness.” Our end is particular pleasure, whereas happiness is the sum total of all particular pleasures, in which are included both past and future pleasures.
Particular pleasure is desirable for its own sake, whereas happiness is desirable not for its own sake but for the sake of particular pleasures. That pleasure is the end is proved by the fact that from our youth up we are instinctively attracted to it, and, when we obtain it, seek for nothing more, and shun nothing so much as its opposite, pain. Pleasure is good even if it proceed from the most unseemly conduct, as Hippobotus says in his work On the Sects. For even if the action be irregular, still, at any rate, the resultant pleasure is desirable for its own sake and is good. The removal of pain, however, which is put forward in Epicurus, seems to them not to be pleasure at all, any more than the absence of pleasure is pain. For both pleasure and pain they hold to consist in motion, whereas absence of pleasure like absence of pain is not motion, since painlessness is the condition of one who is, as it were, asleep. They assert that some people may fail to choose pleasure because their minds are perverted; not all mental pleasures and pains, however, are derived from bodily counterparts. For instance, we take disinterested delight in the prosperity of our country which is as real as our delight in our own prosperity. Nor again do they admit that pleasure is derived from the memory or expectation of good, which was a doctrine of Epicurus. For they assert that the movement affecting the mind is exhausted in course of time. Again they hold that pleasure is not derived from sight or from hearing alone. At all events, we listen with pleasure to imitation of mourning, while the reality causes pain. They gave the names of absence of pleasure and absence of pain to the intermediate conditions. However, they insist that bodily pleasures are far better than mental pleasures, and bodily pains far worse than mental pains, and that this is the reason why offenders are punished with the former. For they assumed pain to be more repellent, pleasure more congenial. For these reasons they paid more attention to the body than to the mind. Hence, although pleasure is in itself desirable, yet they hold that the things which are productive of certain pleasures are often of a painful nature, the very opposite of pleasure; so that to accumulate the pleasures which are productive of happiness appears to them a most irksome business.
They do not accept the doctrine that every wise man lives pleasantly and every fool painfully, but regard it as true for the most part only. It is sufficient even if we enjoy but each single pleasure as it comes. They say that prudence is a good, though desirable not in itself but on account of its consequences; that we make friends from interested motives, just as we cherish any part of the body so long as we have it; that some of the virtues are found even in the foolish; that bodily training contributes to the acquisition of virtue; that the sage will not give way to envy or love or superstition, since these weaknesses are due to mere empty opinion; he will, however, feel pain and fear, these being natural affections; and that wealth too is productive of pleasure, though not desirable for its own sake.
They affirm that mental affections can be known, but not the objects from which they come; and they abandoned the study of nature because of its apparent uncertainty, but fastened on logical inquiries because of their utility. But Meleager in his second book On Philosophical Opinions, and Clitomachus in his first book On the Sects, affirm that they maintain Dialectic as well as Physics to be useless, since, when one has learnt the theory of good and evil, it is possible to speak with propriety, to be free from superstition, and to escape the fear of death. They also held that nothing is just or honourable or base by nature, but only by convention and custom. Nevertheless the good man will be deterred from wrong-doing by the penalties imposed and the prejudices that it would arouse. Further that the wise man really exists. They allow progress to be attainable in philosophy as well as in other matters. They maintain that the pain of one man exceeds that of another, and that the senses are not always true and trustworthy.
The school of Hegesias, as it is called, adopted the same ends, namely pleasure and pain. In their view there is no such thing as gratitude or friendship or beneficence, because it is not for themselves that we choose to do these things but simply from motives of interest, apart from which such conduct is nowhere found. They denied the possibility of happiness, for the body is infected with much suffering, while the soul shares in the sufferings of the body and is a prey to disturbance, and fortune often disappoints. From all this it follows that happiness cannot be realized. Moreover, life and death are each desirable in turn. But that there is anything naturally pleasant or unpleasant they deny; when some men are pleased and others pained by the same objects, this is owing to the lack or rarity or surfeit of such objects. Poverty and riches have no relevance to pleasure; for neither the rich nor the poor as such have any special share in pleasure. Slavery and freedom, nobility and low birth, honour and dishonour, are alike indifferent in a calculation of pleasure. To the fool life is advantageous, while to the wise it is a matter of indifference. The wise man will be guided in all he does by his own interests, for there is none other whom he regards as equally deserving. For supposing him to reap the greatest advantages from another, they would not be equal to what he contributes himself. They also disallow the claims of the senses, because they do not lead to accurate knowledge. Whatever appears rational should be done. They affirmed that allowance should be made for errors, for no man errs voluntarily, but under constraint of some suffering; that we should not hate men, but rather teach them better. The wise man will not have so much advantage over others in the choice of goods as in the avoidance of evils, making it his end to live without pain of body or mind. This then, they say, is the advantage accruing to those who make no distinction between any of the objects which produce pleasure.
The school of Anniceris in other respects agreed with them, but admitted that friendship and gratitude and respect for parents do exist in real life, and that a good man will sometimes act out of patriotic motives. Hence, if the wise man receive annoyance, he will be none the less happy even if few pleasures accrue to him. The happiness of a friend is not in itself desirable, for it is not felt by his neighbour. Instruction is not sufficient in itself to inspire us with confidence and to make us rise superior to the opinion of the multitude. Habits must be formed because of the bad disposition which has grown up in us from the first. A friend should be cherished not merely for his utility – for, if that fails, we should then no longer associate with him – but for the good feeling for the sake of which we shall even endure hardships. Nay, though we make pleasure the end and are annoyed when deprived of it, we shall nevertheless cheerfully endure this because of our love to our friend.
The Theodoreans derived their name from Theodorus, who has already been mentioned, and adopted his doctrines. Theodorus was a man who utterly rejected the current belief in the gods. And I have come across a book of his entitled Of the Gods which is not contemptible. From that book, they say, Epicurus borrowed most of what he wrote on the subject.
Theodorus was also a pupil of Anniceris and of Dionysius the dialectician, as Antisthenes mentions in his Successions of Philosophers. He considered joy and grief to be the supreme good and evil, the one brought about by wisdom, the other by folly. Wisdom and justice he called goods, and their opposites evils, pleasure and pain being intermediate to good and evil. Friendship he rejected because it did not exist between the unwise nor between the wise; with the former, when the want is removed, the friendship disappears, whereas the wise are selfsufficient and have no need of friends. It was reasonable, as he thought, for the good man not to risk his life in the defence of his country, for he would never throw wisdom away to benefit the unwise.
He said the world was his country. Theft, adultery, and sacrilege would be allowable upon occasion, since none of these acts is by nature base, if once you have removed the prejudice against them, which is kept up in order to hold the foolish multitude together. The wise man would indulge his passions openly without the least regard to circumstances. Hence he would use such arguments as this. “Is a woman who is skilled in grammar useful in so far as she is skilled in grammar?” “Yes.” “And is a boy or a youth skilled in grammar useful in so far as he is skilled in grammar?” “Yes.” “Again, is a woman who is beautiful useful in so far as she is beautiful? And the use of beauty is to be enjoyed?” “Yes.” When this was admitted, he would press the argument to the conclusion, namely, that he who uses anything for the purpose for which it is useful does no wrong. And by some such interrogatories he would carry his point.
He appears to have been called θεός (god) in consequence of the following argument addressed to him by Stilpo. “Are you, Theodorus, what you declare yourself to be?” To this he assented, and Stilpo continued, “And do you say you are god?” To this he agreed. “Then it follows that you are god.” Theodorus accepted this, and Stilpo said with a smile, “But, you rascal, at this rate you would allow yourself to be a jackdaw and ten thousand other things.”
However, Theodorus, sitting on one occasion beside Euryclides, the hierophant, began, “Tell me, Euryclides, who they are who violate the mysteries?” Euryclides replied, “Those who disclose them to the uninitiated.” “Then you violate them,” said Theodorus, “when you explain them to the uninitiated.” Yet he would hardly have escaped from being brought before the Areopagus if Demetrius of Phalerum had not rescued him. And Amphicrates in his book Upon Illustrious Men says he was condemned to drink the hemlock.
For a while he stayed at the court of Ptolemy the son of Lagus, and was once sent by him as ambassador to Lysimachus. And on this occasion his language was so bold that Lysimachus said, “Tell me, are you not the Theodorus who was banished from Athens?” To which he replied, “Your information is correct, for, when Athens could not bear me any more than Semele could Dionysus, she cast me out.” And upon Lysimachus adding, “Take care you do not come here again,” “I never will,” said he, “unless Ptolemy sends me.” Mithras, the king’s minister, standing by and saying, “It seems that you can ignore not only gods but kings as well,” Theodorus replied, “How can you say that I ignore the gods when I regard you as hateful to the gods?” He is said on one occasion in Corinth to have walked abroad with a numerous train of pupils, and Metrocles the Cynic, who was washing chervil, remarked, “You, sophist that you are, would not have wanted all these pupils if you had washed vegetables.” Thereupon Theodorus retorted, “And you, if you had known how to associate with men, would have had no use for these vegetables.” A similar anecdote is told of Diogenes and Aristippus, as mentioned above.74
Such was the character of Theodorus and his surroundings. At last he retired to Cyrene, where he lived with Magas and continued to be held in high honour. The first time that he was expelled from Cyrene he is credited with a witty remark: “Many thanks,75 men of Cyrene,” said he, “for driving me from Libya into Greece.”
Some twenty persons have borne the name of Theodorus: (1) a Samian, the son of Rhoecus. He it was who advised laying charcoal embers under the foundations of the temple in Ephesus; for, as the ground was very damp, the ashes, being free from woody fibre, would retain a solidity which is actually proof against moisture. (2) A Cyrenaean geometer, whose lectures Plato attended. (3) The philosopher above referred to. (4) The author of a fine work on practising the voice. (5) An authority upon musical composers from Terpander onwards. (6) A Stoic. (7) A writer upon the Romans. (8) A Syracusan who wrote upon Tactics. (9) A Byzantine, famous for his political speeches. (10) Another, equally famous, mentioned by Aristotle in his Epitome of Orators. (11) A Theban sculptor. (12) A painter, mentioned by Polemo. (13) An Athenian painter, of whom Menodotus writes. (14) An Ephesian painter, who is mentioned by Theophanes in his work upon painting. (15) A poet who wrote epigrams. (16) A writer on poets. (17) A physician, pupil of Athenaeus. (18) A Stoic philosopher of Chios. (19) A Milesian, also a Stoic philosopher (20) A tragic poet.
63 Mem. ii. 1.
64 In the Introduction to the Phaedo, 59 c, Aristippus is said to have been in Aegina on the day when Socrates drank the hemlock. How little this justifies the use of the terms ἐκάκισεν and διαβάλλων may be seen from the previous statement in the Phaedo that Plato himself is said to have been absent through illness on that occasion. Notice that Diogenes Laertius refers to the Life of Plato as already written; see iii. 36.
65 Or “royal cynic.” It is impossible to preserve the double entendre here, for κύων, dog, also means “cynic”; in fact the very name of that sect proclaims that they gloried in their dog-like attributes, especially in snarling and biting.
66 Fr. 27 D.
67 This alludes to his doctrine of sensation, sometimes called “internal touch.” Compare infra §92, and more fully Sext. Emp. Adv. mathem. vii. 191. It has been paraphrased thus: “quae potuit tactu a falso discernere verum.”
68 Eur. Bacch. 836.
69 ib. 317.
70 Nauck, T.G.F., Soph. 789.
71 From a lost play of Sophocles: Plutarch, De audiendis poetis, 12, p. 33 d, Vita Pomp. 78, p. 661 s.f.
72 This sentence is a sort of preface to the valuable summary of Hedonistic tenets which occupies 86-99 under four heads, Aristippus (86-93), Hegesias (93-96), Anniceris (96, 97), and Theodorus (97-99). Cf. note on i. 19 and Epiphanius (Diels, Dox. Gr. 591). It seems as if the sentence τέλος δὲ . . . ἀναδιδομένην ought to follow, not to precede, this preface. But before the doctrines comes a list of disciples, including Hegesias, Anniceris, and Theodorus, whose divergencies from Aristippus are noted below. The intrusion of Phaedo and the Eretrians at this stage is certainly strange: it looks as if Diogenes Laertius jotted down a direction for his own future guidance.
73 If the city was so named after a Ptolemy, it is impossible that one of its citizens could have been contemporary with the first Aristippus, the companion of Socrates. Even if Aristippus II. was the teacher of Aethiops the difficulty is not removed.
74 See §68.
75 Or, if κακῶς is the right reading, “It is unkind of you.” καλῶς is Stephanus’s conjecture.
Phaedo was a native of Elis, of noble family, who on the fall of that city was taken captive and forcibly consigned to a house of ill-fame. But he would close the door and so contrive to join Socrates’ circle, and in the end Socrates induced Alcibiades or Crito with their friends to ransom him; from that time onwards he studied philosophy as became a free man. Hieronymus in his work On Suspense of Judgement attacks him and calls him a slave. Of the dialogues which bear his name the Zopyrus and Simon are genuine; the Nicias is doubtful; the Medius is said by some to be the work of Aeschines, while others ascribe it to Polyaenus; the Antimachus or The Elders is also doubted; the Cobblers’ Tales are also by some attributed to Aeschines.
He was succeeded by Plistanus of Elis, and a generation later by Menedemus of Eretria and Asclepiades of Phlius, who came over from Stilpo’s school. Till then the school was known as that of Elis, but from Menedemus onward it was called the Eretrian school. Of Menedemus we shall have to speak hereafter, because he too started a new school.
Euclides was a native of Megara on the Isthmus,76 or according to some of Gela, as Alexander states in his Successions of Philosophers. He applied himself to the writings of Parmenides, and his followers were called Megarians after him, then Eristics, and at a later date Dialecticians, that name having first been given to them by Dionysius of Chalcedon because they put their arguments into the form of question and answer. Hermodorus tells us that, after the death of Socrates, Plato and the rest of the philosophers came to him, being alarmed at the cruelty of the tyrants. He held the supreme good to be really one, though called by many names, sometimes wisdom, sometimes God, and again Mind, and so forth. But all that is contradictory of the good he used to reject, declaring that it had no existence.
When he impugned a demonstration, it was not the premisses but the conclusion that he attacked. He rejected the argument from analogy, declaring that it must be taken either from similars or from dissimilars. If it were drawn from similars, it is with these and not with their analogies that their arguments should deal; if from dissimilars, it is gratuitous to set them side by side. Hence Timon says of him, with a side hit at the other Socratics as well:77
But I care not for these babblers, nor for anyone besides, not for Phaedo whoever he be, nor wrangling Euclides, who inspired the Megarians with a frenzied love of controversy.
He wrote six dialogues, entitled Lamprias, Aeschines, Phoenix, Crito, Alcibiades, and a Discourse on Love. To the school of Euclides belongs Eubulides of Miletus, the author of many dialectical arguments in an interrogatory form, namely, The Liar, The Disguised, Electra, The Veiled Figure, The Sorites, The Horned One, and The Bald Head. Of him it is said by one of the Comic poets:78
Eubulides the Eristic, who propounded his quibbles about horns and confounded the orators with falsely pretentious arguments, is gone with all the braggadocio of a Demosthenes.
Demosthenes was probably his pupil and thereby improved his faulty pronunciation of the letter R. Eubulides kept up a controversy with Aristotle and said much to discredit him.
Among other members the school of Eubulides included Alexinus of Elis, a man very fond of controversy, for which reason he was called Elenxinus. In particular he kept up a controversy with Zeno. Hermippus says of him that he left Elis and removed to Olympia, where he studied philosophy. His pupils inquired why he took up his abode here, and were told that it was his intention to found a school which should be called the Olympian school. But as their provisions ran short and they found the place unhealthy, they left it, and for the rest of his days Alexinus lived in solitude with a single servant. And some time afterwards, as he was swimming in the Alpheus, the point of a reed ran into him, and of this injury he died.
I have composed the following lines upon him:79
It was not then a vain tale that once an unfortunate man, while diving, pierced his foot somehow with a nail; since that great man Alexinus, before he could cross the Alpheus, was pricked by a reed and met his death.
He has written not only a reply to Zeno but other works, including one against Ephorus the historian.
To the school of Eubulides also belonged Euphantus of Olynthus, who wrote a history of his own times. He was besides a poet and wrote several tragedies, with which he made a great reputation at the festivals. He taught King Antigonus80 and dedicated to him a work On Kingship which was very popular. He died of old age.
There are also other pupils of Eubulides, amongst them Apollonius surnamed Cronus. He had a pupil Diodorus, the son of Ameinias of Iasus, who was also nicknamed Cronus.81 Callimachus in his Epigrams says of him:
Momus himself chalked up on the walls “Cronus is wise.”
He too was a dialectician and was supposed to have been the first who discovered the arguments known as the “Veiled Figure” and the “Horned One.” When he was staying with Ptolemy Soter, he had certain dialectical questions addressed to him by Stilpo, and, not being able to solve them on the spot, he was reproached by the king and, among other slights, the nickname Cronus was applied to him by way of derision. He left the banquet and, after writing a pamphlet upon the logical problem, ended his days in despondency. Upon him too I have written lines:82
Diodorus Cronus, what sad fate Buried you in despair,
So that you hastened to the shades below, Perplexed by Stilpo’s quibbles?
You would deserve your name of Cronus better If C and R were gone.83
The successors of Euclides include Ichthyas, the son of Metallus, an excellent man, to whom Diogenes the Cynic has addressed one of his dialogues; Clinomachus of Thurii, who was the first to write about propositions, predications and the like; and Stilpo of Megara, a most distinguished philosopher, of whom we have now to treat.
76 So called to distinguish it from Megara Hyblaea, in Sicily.
77 Fr. 28 D.
78 Meineke. C.G F. iv. 618.
79 Anth. Plan. iii. 129.
80 i.e. Antigonus Doson, born 262 B.C. Cf. F.H.G. iii. 20.
81 See Strabo xiv. 658, who says the nickname was transferred from the teacher to the more celebrated pupil.
82 Anth. Plan. vii. 19.
83 Leaving ὄνος=“ass.”
Stilpo, a citizen of Megara in Greece, was a pupil of some of the followers of Euclides, although others make him a pupil of Euclides himself, and furthermore of Thrasymachus of Corinth, who was the friend of Ichthyas, according to Heraclides. And so far did he excel all the rest in inventiveness and sophistry that nearly the whole of Greece was attracted to him and joined the school of Megara. On this let me cite the exact words of Philippus the Megarian philosopher: “for from Theophrastus he drew away the theorist Metrodorus and Timagoras of Gela, from Aristotle the Cyrenaic philosopher, Clitarchus, and Simmias; and as for the dialecticians themselves, he gained over Paeonius from Aristides; Diphilus of Bosphorus, the son of Euphantus, and Myrmex, the son of Exaenetus, who had both come to refute him, he made his devoted adherents.” And besides these he won over Phrasidemus the Peripatetic, an accomplished physicist, and Alcimus the rhetorician, the first orator in all Greece; Crates, too, and many others he got into his toils, and, what is more, along with these, he carried off Zeno the Phoenician.
He was also an authority on politics.
He married a wife, and had a mistress named Nicarete, as Onetor has somewhere stated. He had a profligate daughter, who was married to his friend Simmias of Syracuse. And, as she would not live by rule, some one told Stilpo that she was a disgrace to him. To this he replied, “Not so, any more than I am an honour to her.”
Ptolemy Soter, they say, made much of him, and when he had got possession of Megara, offered him a sum of money and invited him to return with him to Egypt. But Stilpo would only accept a very moderate sum, and he declined the proposed journey, and removed to Aegina until Ptolemy set sail. Again, when Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, had taken Megara, he took measures that Stilpo’s house should be preserved and all his plundered property restored to him. But when he requested that a schedule of the lost property should be drawn up, Stilpo denied that he had lost anything which really belonged to him, for no one had taken away his learning, while he still had his eloquence and knowledge.
And conversing upon the duty of doing good to men he made such an impression on the king that he became eager to hear him. There is a story that he once used the following argument concerning the Athena of Phidias: “Is it not Athena the daughter of Zeus who is a goddess?” And when the other said “Yes,” he went on, “But this at least is not by Zeus but by Phidias,” and, this being granted, he concluded, “This then is not a god.” For this he was summoned before the Areopagus; he did not deny the charge, but contended that the reasoning was correct, for that Athena was no god but a goddess; it was the male divinities who were gods. However, the story goes that the Areopagites ordered him to quit the city, and that thereupon Theodorus, whose nickname was Θεός, said in derision, “Whence did Stilpo learn this? and how could he tell whether she was a god or a goddess?” But in truth Theodorus was most impudent, and Stilpo most ingenious.
When Crates asked him whether the gods take delight in prayers and adorations, he is said to have replied, “Don’t put such a question in the street, simpleton, but when we are alone!” It is said that Bion, when he was asked the same question whether there are gods, replied:
Will you not scatter the crowd from me, O much-enduring elder?
In character Stilpo was simple and unaffected, and he could readily adapt himself to the plain man. For instance, when Crates the Cynic did not answer the question put to him and only insulted the questioner, “I knew,” said Stilpo, “that you would utter anything rather than what you ought.” And once when Crates held out a fig to him when putting a question, he took the fig and ate it. Upon which the other exclaimed, “O Heracles, I have lost the fig,” and Stilpo remarked, “Not only that but your question as well, for which the fig was payment in advance.” Again, on seeing Crates shrivelled with cold in the winter, he said, “You seem to me, Crates, to want a new coat,” i.e. to be wanting in sense as well.84 And the other being annoyed replied with the following burlesque:85
And Stilpo I saw enduring toilsome woes in Megara, where men say that the bed of Typhos is. There he would ever be wrangling, and many comrades about him, wasting time in the verbal pursuit of virtue.
It is said that at Athens he so attracted the public that people would run together from the workshops to look at him. And when some one said, “Stilpo, they stare at you as if you were some strange creature.” “No, indeed,” said he, “but as if I were a genuine man.” And, being a consummate master of controversy, he used to demolish even the ideas, and say that he who asserted the existence of Man meant no individual; he did not mean this man or that. For why should he mean the one more than the other? Therefore neither does he mean this individual man. Again, “vegetable” is not what is shown to me, for vegetable existed ten thousand years ago. Therefore this is not vegetable. The story goes that while in the middle of an argument with Crates he hurried off to buy fish, and, when Crates tried to detain him and urged that he was leaving the argument, his answer was, “Not I. I keep the argument though I am leaving you; for the argument will remain, but the fish will soon be sold.”
Nine dialogues of his are extant written in frigid style, Moschus, Aristippus or Callias, Ptolemy, Chaerecrates, Metrocles, Anaximenes, Epigenes, To his Daughter, Aristotle. Heraclides relates that Zeno, the founder of the Stoic school, was one of Stilpo’s pupils;86 Hermippus that Stilpo died at a great age after taking wine to hasten his end.
I have written an epitaph on him also:87
Surely you know Stilpo the Megarian; old age and then disease laid him low, a formidable pair. But he found in wine a charioteer too strong for that evil team; he quaffed it eagerly and was borne along.
He was also ridiculed by Sophilus the Comic poet in his drama The Wedding:88
What Charinus says is just Stilpo’s stoppers.
Crito was a citizen of Athens. He was most affectionate in his disposition towards Socrates, and took such care of him that none of his wants were left unsupplied. Further, his sons Critobulus, Hermogenes, Epigenes and Ctesippus were pupils of Socrates. Crito too wrote seventeen dialogues which are extant in a single volume under the titles:
That men are not made good by instruction.
Simon was a citizen of Athens and a cobbler. When Socrates came to his workshop and began to converse, he used to make notes of all that he could remember. And this is why people apply the term “leathern” to his dialogues. These dialogues are thirty-three in number, extant in a single volume:
He was the first, so we are told, who introduced the Socratic dialogues as a form of conversation. When Pericles promised to support him and urged him to come to him, his reply was, “I will not part with my free speech for money.”
There was another Simon, who wrote treatises On Rhetoric; another, a physician, in the time of Seleucus Nicanor; and a third who was a sculptor.
Glaucon was a citizen of Athens. Nine dialogues of his are extant in a single volume:
There are also extant thirty-two others, which are considered spurious.
Simmias was a citizen of Thebes. Twenty-three dialogues of his are extant in a single volume:
Cebes was a citizen of Thebes. Three dialogues of his are extant:
Menedemus belonged to Phaedo’s school; he was the son of Clisthenes, a member of the clan called the Theopropidae, of good family, though a builder and a poor man; others say that he was a scenepainter and that Menedemus learnt both trades. Hence, when he had proposed a decree, a certain Alexinius attacked him, declaring that the philosopher was not a proper person to design either a scene or a decree. When Menedemus was dispatched by the Eretrians to Megara on garrison duty, he paid a visit to Plato at the Academy and was so captivated that he abandoned the service of arms. Asclepiades of Phlius drew him away, and he lived at Megara with Stilpo, whose lectures they both attended.
Thence they sailed to Elis, where they joined Anchipylus and Moschus of the school of Phaedo. Down to their time, as was stated in the Life of Phaedo, the school was called the Elian school. Afterwards it was called the Eretrian school, from the city to which my subject belonged.
It would appear that Menedemus was somewhat pompous. Hence Crates burlesques him thus:89
Asclepiades the sage of Phlius and the Eretrian bull;
and Timon as follows:90
A puffing, supercilious purveyor of humbug.
He was a man of such dignity that, when Eurylochus of Casandrea was invited by Antigonus to court along with Cleïppides, a youth of Cyzicus, he declined the invitation, being afraid that Menedemus would hear of it, so caustic and outspoken was he. When a young gallant would have taken liberties with him, he said not a word but picked up a twig and drew an insulting picture on the ground, until all eyes were attracted and the young man, perceiving the insult, made off. When Hierocles, who was in command of the Piraeus, walked up and down along with him in the shrine of Amphiaraus, and talked much of the capture of Eretria, he made no other reply beyond asking him what Antigonus’s object was in treating him as he did.
To an adulterer who was giving himself airs he said, “Do you not know that, if cabbage has a good flavour, so for that matter has radish?” Hearing a youth who was very noisy, he said, “See what there is behind you.” When Antigonus consulted him as to whether he should go to a rout, he sent a message to say no more than this, that he was the son of a king. When a stupid fellow related something to him with no apparent object, he inquired if he had a farm. And hearing that he had, and that there was a large stock of cattle on it, he said, “Then go and look after them, lest it should happen that they are ruined and a clever farmer thrown away.” To one who inquired if the good man ever married, he replied, “Do you think me good or not?” The reply being in the affirmative, he said, “Well, I am married.” Of one who affirmed that there were many good things, he inquired how many, and whether he thought there were more than a hundred. Not being able to curb the extravagance of some one who had invited him to dinner, he said nothing when he was invited, but rebuked his host tacitly by confining himself to olives. However, on account of this freedom of speech he was in great peril in Cyprus with his friend Asclepiades when staying at the court of Nicocreon. For when the king held the usual monthly feast and invited these two along with the other philosophers, we are told that Menedemus said that, if the gathering of such men was a good thing, the feast ought to have been held every day; if not, then it was superfluous even on the present occasion. The tyrant having replied to this by saying that on this day he had the leisure to hear philosophers, he pressed the point still more stubbornly, declaring, while the feast was going on, that any and every occasion should be employed in listening to philosophers. The consequence was that, if a certain flute-player had not got them away, they would have been put to death. Hence when they were in a storm in the boat Asclepiades is reported to have said that the fluteplayer through good playing had proved their salvation when the free speech of Menedemus had been their undoing.
He shirked work, it is said, and was indifferent to the fortunes of his school. At least no order could be seen in his classes, and no circle of benches; but each man would listen where he happened to be, walking or sitting, Menedemus himself behaving in the same way. In other respects he is said to have been nervous and careful of his reputation; so much so that, when Menedemus himself and Asclepiades were helping a man who had formerly been a builder to build a house, whereas Asclepiades appeared stripped on the roof passing the mortar, Menedemus would try to hide himself as often as he saw anyone coming. After he took part in public affairs, he was so nervous that, when offering the frankincense, he would actually miss the censer. And once, when Crates stood about him and attacked him for meddling in politics, he ordered certain men to have Crates locked up. But Crates none the less watched him as he went by and, standing on tiptoe, called him a pocket Agamemnon and Hegesipolis.
He was also in a way rather superstitious. At all events once, when he was at an inn with Asclepiades and had inadvertently eaten some meat which had been thrown away, he turned sick and pale when he learnt the fact, until Asclepiades rebuked him, saying that it was not the meat which disturbed him but merely his suspicion of it. In all other respects he was magnanimous and liberal. In his habit of body, even in old age, he was as firm and sunburnt in appearance as any athlete, being stout and always in the pink of condition; in stature he was wellproportioned, as may be seen from the statuette in the ancient Stadium at Eretria. For it represents him, intentionally no doubt, almost naked, and displays the greater part of his body.
He was fond of entertaining and used to collect numerous parties about him because Eretria was unhealthy; amongst these there would be parties of poets and musicians. He welcomed Aratus also and Lycophron the tragic poet, and Antagoras of Rhodes, but, above all, he applied himself to the study of Homer and, next, the Lyric poets; then to Sophocles, and also to Achaeus, to whom he assigned the second place as a writer of satiric dramas, giving Aeschylus the first. Hence he quoted against his political opponents the following lines:91
Ere long the swift is overtaken by the feeble,
And the eagle by the tortoise,
which are from the Omphale, a satiric drama of Achaeus. Therefore it is a mistake to say that he had read nothing except the Medea of Euripides, which some have asserted to be the work of Neophron of Sicyon.
He despised the teachers of the school of Plato and Xenocrates as well as the Cyrenaic philosopher Paraebates. He had a great admiration for Stilpo; and on one occasion, when he was questioned about him, he made no other answer than that he was a gentleman. Menedemus was difficult to see through, and in making a bargain it was difficult to get the better of him. He would twist and turn in every direction, and he excelled in inventing objections. He was a great controversialist, according to Antisthenes in his Successions of Philosophers. In particular he was fond of using the following argument: “Is the one of two things different from the other?” “Yes.” “And is conferring benefits different from the good?” “Yes.” “Then to confer benefits is not good.”
It is said that he disallowed negative propositions, converting them into affirmatives, and of these he admitted simple propositions only, rejecting those which are not simple, I mean hypothetical and complex propositions. Heraclides declares that, although in his doctrines he was a Platonist, yet he made sport of dialectic. So that, when Alexinus once inquired if he had left off beating his father, his answer was, “Why, I was not beating him and have not left off”; and upon Alexinus insisting that he ought to have cleared up the ambiguity by a plain “Yes” or “No,” “It would be absurd,” he said, “for me to conform to your rules when I can stop you on the threshold.” And when Bion persistently ran down the soothsayers, Menedemus said he was slaying the slain.
On hearing some one say that the greatest good was to get all you want, he rejoined, “To want the right things is a far greater good.” Antigonus of Carystus asserts that he never wrote or composed anything, and so never held firmly by any doctrine. He adds that in discussing questions he was so pugnacious that he would only retire after he had been badly mauled. And yet, though he was so violent in debate, he was as mild as possible in his conduct. For instance, though he made sport of Alexinus and bantered him cruelly, he was nevertheless very kind to him, for, when his wife was afraid that on her journey she might be set upon and robbed, he gave her an escort from Delphi to Chalcis.
He was a very warm friend, as is shown by his affection for Asclepiades, which was hardly inferior to the devotion shown by Pylades. But, Asclepiades being the elder, it was said that he was the playwright and Menedemus the actor. They say that once, when Archipolis had given them a cheque for half a talent, they stickled so long over the point as to whose claim came second that neither of them got the money. It is said that they married a mother and her daughter; Asclepiades married the daughter and Menedemus the mother. But after the death of his own wife, Asclepiades took the wife of Menedemus; and afterwards the latter, when he became head of the state, married a rich woman as his second wife. Nevertheless, as they kept one household, Menedemus entrusted his former wife with the care of his establishment. However, Asclepiades died first at a great age at Eretria, having lived with Menedemus economically, though they had ample means. Some time afterwards a favourite of Asclepiades, having come to a party and being refused admittance by the pupils, Menedemus ordered them to admit him, saying that even now, when under the earth, Asclepiades opened the door for him. It was Hipponicus the Macedonian and Agetor of Lamia who were their chief supporters; the one gave each of the two thirty minae, while Hipponicus furnished Menedemus with two thousand drachmae with which to portion his daughters. There were three of them according to Heraclides, his children by a wife who was a native of Oropus.
He used to give his parties in this fashion: he would breakfast beforehand with two or three friends and stay until it was late in the day. And in the next place some one would summon the guests who had arrived and who had themselves already dined, so that, if anyone came too soon, he would walk up and down and inquire from those who came out of the house what was on the table and what o’clock it was. If then it was only vegetables or salt fish, they would depart; but if there was meat, they would enter the house. In the summer time a rush mat was put upon each couch, in winter time a sheepskin. The guest brought his own cushion. The loving-cup which was passed round was no larger than a pint cup. The dessert consisted of lupins or beans, sometimes of ripe fruit such as pears, pomegranates, a kind of pulse, or even dried figs. All of these facts are mentioned by Lycophron in his satiric drama entitled Menedemus, which was composed as a tribute to him. Here is a specimen of it:92
And after a temperate feast the modest cup was passed round with discretion, and their dessert was temperate discourse for such as cared to listen.
At first he was despised, being called a cynic and a humbug by the Eretrians. But afterwards he was greatly admired, so much so that they entrusted him with the government of the state. He was sent as envoy to Ptolemy and to Lysimachus, being honoured wherever he went. He was, moreover, envoy to Demetrius, and he caused the yearly tribute of two hundred talents which the city used to pay Demetrius to be reduced by fifty talents. And when he was accused to Demetrius of intriguing to hand over the city to Ptolemy, he defended himself in a letter which commences thus: “Menedemus to King Demetrius, greeting. I hear that a report has reached you concerning me.” There is a tradition that one Aeschylus who belonged to the opposite party had made these charges against him. He seems to have behaved with the utmost dignity in the embassy to Demetrius on the subject of Oropus, as Euphantus relates in his Histories. Antigonus too was much attached to him and used to proclaim himself his pupil. And when he vanquished the barbarians near the town of Lysimachia, Menedemus moved a decree in his honour in simple terms and free from flattery, beginning thus: “On the motion of the generals and the councillors – Whereas King Antigonus is returning to his own country after vanquishing the barbarians in battle, and whereas in all his undertakings he prospers according to his will, the senate and the people have decreed . . . ”
On these grounds, then, and from his friendship for him in other matters, he was suspected of betraying the city to Antigonus, and, being denounced by Aristodemus, withdrew from Eretria and stayed awhile in Oropus in the temple of Amphiaraus. And, because some golden goblets were missing from the temple, he was ordered to depart by a general vote of the Boeotians, as is stated by Hermippus; and thereupon in despair, after a secret visit to his native city, he took with him his wife and daughters and came to the court of Antigonus, where he died of a broken heart.
Heraclides tells quite another story, that he was made councillor of the Eretrians and more than once saved the city from a tyranny by calling in Demetrius – so then he would not be likely to betray the city to Antigonus, but was made the victim of a false charge; that he betook himself to Antigonus and was anxious to regain freedom for his country; that, as Antigonus would not give way, in despair he put an end to his life by abstaining from food for seven days. The account of Antigonus of Carystus is similar.93 With Persaeus alone he carried on open warfare, for it was thought that, when Antigonus was willing for Menedemus’s sake to restore to the Eretrians their democracy, Persaeus prevented him. Hence on one occasion over the wine Menedemus refuted Persaeus in argument and said, amongst other things, “Such he is as a philosopher but, as a man, the worst of all that are alive or to be born hereafter.”
According to the statement of Heraclides he died in his seventy-fourth year. I have written the following epigram upon him:94
I heard of your fate, Menedemus, how, of your own free will, you expired by starving yourself for seven days, a deed right worthy of an Eretrian, but unworthy of a man; but despair was your leader and urged you on.
These then are the disciples of Socrates or their immediate successors. We must now pass to Plato, the founder of the Academy, and his successors, so far as they were men of reputation.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:07