Aristotle, son of Nicomachus and Phaestis, was a native of Stagira. His father, Nicomachus, as Hermippus relates in his book On Aristotle, traced his descent from Nicomachus who was the son of Machaon and grandson of Asclepius; and he resided with Amyntas, the king of Macedon, in the capacity of physician and friend. Aristotle was Plato’s most genuine disciple; he spoke with a lisp, as we learn from Timotheus the Athenian in his book On Lives; further, his calves were slender (so they say), his eyes small, and he was conspicuous by his attire, his rings, and the cut of his hair. According to Timaeus, he had a son by Herpyllis, his concubine, who was also called Nicomachus.
He seceded from the Academy while Plato was still alive. Hence the remark attributed to the latter: “Aristotle spurns me, as colts kick out at the mother who bore them.”1 Hermippus in his Lives mentions that he was absent as Athenian envoy at the court of Philip when Xenocrates became head of the Academy, and that on his return, when he saw the school under a new head, he made choice of a public walk in the Lyceum where he would walk up and down discussing philosophy with his pupils until it was time to rub themselves with oil. Hence the name “Peripatetic.” But others say that it was given to him because, when Alexander was recovering from an illness and taking daily walks, Aristotle joined him and talked with him on certain matters.
In time the circle about him grew larger; he then sat down to lecture, remarking:2
It were base to keep silence and let Xenocrates3 speak.
He also taught his pupils to discourse upon a set theme, besides practising them in oratory. Afterwards, however, he departed to Hermias the eunuch, who was tyrant of Atarneus, and there is one story that he was on very affectionate terms with Hermias; according to another, Hermias bound him by ties of kinship, giving him his daughter or his niece in marriage, and so Demetrius of Magnesia narrates in his work on Poets and Writers of the Same Name. The same author tells us that Hermias had been the slave of Eubulus, and that he was of Bithynian origin and had murdered his master. Aristippus in his first book On the Luxury of the Ancients says that Aristotle fell in love with a concubine of Hermias, and married her with his consent, and in an excess of delight sacrificed to a weak woman as the Athenians did to Demeter of Eleusis;4 and that he composed a paean in honour of Hermias, which is given below; next that he stayed in Macedonia at Philip’s court and received from him his son Alexander as his pupil; that he petitioned Alexander to restore his native city which had been destroyed by Philip and obtained his request; and that he also drew up a code of laws for the inhabitants. We learn further that, following the example of Xenocrates, he made it a rule in his school that every ten days a new president should be appointed. When he thought that he had stayed long enough with Alexander, he departed to Athens, having first presented to Alexander his kinsman Callisthenes of Olynthus. But when Callisthenes talked with too much freedom to the king and disregarded his own advice, Aristotle is said to have rebuked him by citing the line:5
Short-lived, I ween, wilt thou be, my child, by what thou sayest.
And so indeed it fell out. For he, being suspected of complicity in the plot of Hermolaus against the life of Alexander, was confined in an iron cage and carried about until he became infested with vermin through lack of proper attention; and finally he was thrown to a lion and so met his end.
To return to Aristotle: he came to Athens, was head of his school for thirteen years, and then withdrew to Chalcis because he was indicted for impiety by Eurymedon the hierophant, or, according to Favorinus6 in his Miscellaneous History, by Demophilus, the ground of the charge being the hymn he composed to the aforesaid Hermias, as well as the following inscription for his statue at Delphi:7
This man in violation of the hallowed law of the immortals was unrighteously slain by the king of the bow-bearing Persians, who overcame him, not openly with a spear in murderous combat, but by treachery with the aid of one in whom he trusted.
At Chalcis he died, according to Eumelus in the fifth book of his Histories, by drinking aconite, at the age of seventy. The same authority makes him thirty years old when he came to Plato; but here he is mistaken. For Aristotle lived to be sixty-three, and he was seventeen when he became Plato’s pupil.
The hymn in question runs as follows:
O virtue, toilsome for the generation of mortals to achieve, the fairest prize that life can win, for thy beauty, O virgin, it were a doom glorious in Hellas even to die and to endure fierce, untiring labours. Such courage dost thou implant in the mind, imperishable, better than gold, dearer than parents or soft-eyed sleep. For thy sake Heracles, son of Zeus, and the sons of Leda endured much in the tasks whereby they pursued thy might. And yearning after thee came Achilles and Ajax to the house of Hades, and for the sake of thy dear form the nursling of Atarneus too was bereft of the light of the sun. Therefore shall his deeds be sung, and the Muses, the daughters of Memory, shall make him immortal, exalting the majesty of Zeus, guardian of strangers, and the grace of lasting friendship.
There is, too, something of my own upon the philosopher which I will quote:8
Eurymedon, the priest of Deo’s mysteries, was once about to indict Aristotle for impiety, but he, by a draught of poison, escaped prosecution. This then was an easy way of vanquishing unjust calumnies.
Favorinus in his Miscellaneous History affirms that Aristotle was the first to compose a forensic speech in his own defence written for this very suit; and he cites him as saying that at Athens9
Pear upon pear grows old and fig upon fig.10
According to Apollodorus in his Chronology he was born in the first year of the 99th Olympiad.11 He attached himself to Plato and resided with him twenty years, having become his pupil at the age of seventeen. He went to Mitylene in the archonship of Eubulus in the fourth year of the 108th Olympiad.12 When Plato died in the first year of that Olympiad,13 during the archonship of Theophilus, he went to Hermias and stayed with him three years. In the archonship of Pythodotus, in the second year of the 109th Olympiad,14 he went to the court of Philip, Alexander being then in his fifteenth year. His arrival at Athens was in the second year of the 111th Olympiad,15 and he lectured in the Lyceum for thirteen years; then he retired to Chalcis in the third year of the 114th Olympiad16 and died a natural death, at the age of about sixty-three, in the archonship of Philocles, in the same year in which Demosthenes died at Calauria. It is said that he incurred the king’s displeasure because he had introduced Callisthenes to him, and that Alexander, in order to cause him annoyance, honoured Anaximenes17 and sent presents to Xenocrates.
Theocritus of Chios, according to Ambryon in his book On Theocritus, ridiculed him in an epigram which runs as follows:18
To Hermias the eunuch, the slave withal of Eubulus, an empty monument was raised by empty-witted Aristotle, who by constraint of a lawless appetite chose to dwell at the mouth of the Borborus [muddy stream] rather than in the Academy.
Timon again attacked him in the line:19
No, nor yet Aristotle’s painful futility.20
Such then was the life of the philosopher. I have also come across his will, which is worded thus:
“All will be well; but, in case anything should happen, Aristotle has made these dispositions. Antipater is to be executor in all matters and in general; but, until Nicanor shall arrive, Aristomenes, Timarchus, Hipparchus, Dioteles and (if he consent and if circumstances permit him) Theophrastus shall take charge as well of Herpyllis and the children as of the property. And when the girl shall be grown up she shall be given in marriage to Nicanor; but if anything happen to the girl (which heaven forbid and no such thing will happen) before her marriage, or when she is married but before there are children, Nicanor shall have full powers, both with regard to the child and with regard to everything else, to administer in a manner worthy both of himself and of us. Nicanor shall take charge of the girl and of the boy Nicomachus as he shall think fit in all that concerns them as if he were father and brother. And if anything should happen to Nicanor (which heaven forbid!) either before he marries the girl, or when he has married her but before there are children, any arrangements that he may make shall be valid. And if Theophrastus is willing to live with her, he shall have the same rights as Nicanor. Otherwise the executors in consultation with Antipater shall administer as regards the daughter and the boy as seems to them to be best. The executors and Nicanor, in memory of me and of the steady affection which Herpyllis has borne towards me, shall take care of her in every other respect and, if she desires to be married, shall see that she be given to one not unworthy; and besides what she has already received they shall give her a talent of silver out of the estate and three handmaids whomsoever she shall choose besides the maid she has at present and the man-servant Pyrrhaeus; and if she chooses to remain at Chalcis, the lodge by the garden, if in Stagira, my father’s house. Whichever of these two houses she chooses, the executors shall furnish with such furniture as they think proper and as Herpyllis herself may approve. Nicanor shall take charge of the boy Myrmex, that he be taken to his own friends in a manner worthy of me with the property of his which we received. Ambracis shall be given her freedom, and on my daughter’s marriage shall receive 500 drachmas and the maid whom she now has. And to Thale shall be given, in addition to the maid whom she has and who was bought, a thousand drachmas and a maid. And Simon, in addition to the money before paid to him towards another servant, shall either have a servant purchased for him or receive a further sum of money. And Tycho, Philo, Olympius and his child shall have their freedom when my daughter is married. None of the servants who waited upon me shall be sold but they shall continue to be employed; and when they arrive at the proper age they shall have their freedom if they deserve it. My executors shall see to it, when the images which Gryllion has been commissioned to execute are finished, that they be set up, namely that of Nicanor, that of Proxenus, which it was my intention to have executed, and that of Nicanor’s mother; also they shall set up the bust which has been executed of Arimnestus, to be a memorial of him seeing that he died childless, and shall dedicate my mother’s statue to Demeter at Nemea or wherever they think best. And wherever they bury me, there the bones of Pythias shall be laid, in accordance with her own instructions. And to commemorate Nicanor’s safe return, as I vowed on his behalf, they shall set up in Stagira stone statues of life size to Zeus and Athena the Saviours.”21
Such is the tenor of Aristotle’s will. It is said that a very large number of dishes belonging to him were found, and that Lyco mentioned his bathing in a bath of warm oil and then selling the oil. Some relate that he placed a skin of warm oil on his stomach, and that, when he went to sleep, a bronze ball was placed in his hand with a vessel under it, in order that, when the ball dropped from his hand into the vessel, he might be waked up by the sound.22
Some exceedingly happy sayings are attributed to him, which I proceed to quote. To the question, “What do people gain by telling lies?” his answer was, “Just this, that when they speak the truth they are not believed.” Being once reproached for giving alms to a bad man, he rejoined, “It was the man and not his character that I pitied.”23 He used constantly to say to his friends and pupils, whenever or wherever he happened to be lecturing, “As sight takes in light from the surrounding air, so does the soul from mathematics.” Frequently and at some length he would say that the Athenians were the discoverers of wheat and of laws; but, though they used wheat, they had no use for laws.
“The roots of education,” he said, “are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” Being asked, “What is it that soon grows old?” he answered, “Gratitude.” He was asked to define hope, and he replied, “It is a waking dream.” When Diogenes offered him dried figs, he saw that he had prepared something caustic to say if he did not take them; so he took them and said Diogenes had lost his figs and his jest into the bargain. And on another occasion he took them when they were offered, lifted them up aloft, as you do babies, and returned them with the exclamation, “Great is Diogenes.” Three things he declared to be indispensable for education: natural endowment, study, and constant practice. On hearing that some one abused him, he rejoined, “He may even scourge me so it be in my absence.” Beauty he declared to be a greater recommendation than any letter of introduction. Others attribute this definition to Diogenes; Aristotle, they say, defined good looks as the gift of god, Socrates as a short-lived reign, Plato as natural superiority, Theophrastus as a mute deception, Theocritus as an evil in an ivory setting, Carneades as a monarchy that needs no bodyguard. Being asked how the educated differ from the uneducated, “As much,” he said, “as the living from the dead.”24 He used to declare education to be an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. Teachers who educated children deserved, he said, more honour than parents who merely gave them birth; for bare life is furnished by the one, the other ensures a good life. To one who boasted that he belonged to a great city his reply was, “That is not the point to consider, but who it is that is worthy of a great country.” To the query, “What is a friend?” his reply was, “A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” Mankind, he used to say, were divided into those who were as thrifty as if they would live for ever, and those who were as extravagant as if they were going to die the next day. When some one inquired why we spend much time with the beautiful, “That,” he said, “is a blind man’s question.” When asked what advantage he had ever gained from philosophy, he replied, “This, that I do without being ordered what some are constrained to do by their fear of the law.”25 The question being put, how can students make progress, he replied, “By pressing hard on those in front and not waiting for those behind.” To the chatterbox who poured out a flood of talk upon him and then inquired, “Have I bored you to death with my chatter?” he replied, “No, indeed; for I was not attending to you.” When some one accused him of having given a subscription to a dishonest man – for the story is also told in this form26 – “It was not the man,” said he, “that I assisted, but humanity.” To the question how we should behave to friends, he answered, “As we should wish them to behave to us.” Justice he defined as a virtue of soul which distributes according to merit. Education he declared to be the best provision for old age. Favorinus in the second book of his Memorabilia mentions as one of his habitual sayings that “He who has friends can have no true friend.” Further, this is found in the seventh book of the Ethics. 27 These then are the sayings attributed to him.
His writings are very numerous and, considering the man’s all-round excellence, I deemed it incumbent on me to catalogue them:28
In all 445,270 lines.
Such is the number of the works written by him. And in them he puts forward the following views. There are two divisions of philosophy, the practical and the theoretical. The practical part includes ethics and politics, and in the latter not only the doctrine of the state but also that of the household is sketched. The theoretical part includes physics and logic, although logic is not an independent science, but is elaborated as an instrument to the rest of science. And he clearly laid down that it has a twofold aim, probability and truth. For each of these he employed two faculties, dialectic and rhetoric where probability is aimed at, analytic and philosophy where the end is truth; he neglects nothing which makes either for discovery or for judgement or for utility. As making for discovery he left in the Topics and Methodics a number of propositions, whereby the student can be well supplied with probable arguments for the solution of problems. As an aid to judgement he left the Prior and Posterior Analytics. By the Prior Analytics the premisses are judged, by the Posterior the process of inference is tested. For practical use there are the precepts on controversy and the works dealing with question and answer, with sophistical fallacies, syllogisms and the like. The test of truth which he put forward was sensation in the sphere of objects actually presented, but in the sphere of morals dealing with the state, the household and the laws, it was reason.
The one ethical end he held to be the exercise of virtue in a completed life. And happiness he maintained to be made up of goods of three sorts: goods of the soul, which indeed he designates as of the highest value; in the second place bodily goods, health and strength, beauty and the like; and thirdly external goods, such as wealth, good birth, reputation and the like. And he regarded virtue as not of itself sufficient to ensure happiness; bodily goods and external goods were also necessary, for the wise man would be miserable if he lived in the midst of pains, poverty, and similar circumstances. Vice, however, is sufficient in itself to secure misery, even if it be ever so abundantly furnished with corporeal and external goods. He held that the virtues are not mutually interdependent. For a man might be prudent, or again just, and at the same time profligate and unable to control his passions. He said too that the wise man was not exempt from all passions, but indulged them in moderation.
He defined friendship as an equality of reciprocal good-will, including under the term as one species the friendship of kinsmen, as another that of lovers, and as a third that of host and guest.30 The end of love was not merely intercourse but also philosophy. According to him the wise man would fall in love and take part in politics; furthermore he would marry and reside at a king’s court. Of three kinds of life, the contemplative, the practical, and the pleasure-loving life, he gave the preference to the contemplative. He held that the studies which make up the ordinary education are of service for the attainment of virtue.
In the sphere of natural science he surpassed all other philosophers in the investigation of causes, so that even the most insignificant phenomena were explained by him. Hence the unusual number of scientific notebooks which he compiled. Like Plato he held that God was incorporeal; that his providence extended to the heavenly bodies, that he is unmoved, and that earthly events are regulated by their affinity with them (the heavenly bodies). Besides the four elements he held that there is a fifth, of which the celestial bodies are composed. Its motion is of a different kind from that of the other elements, being circular. Further, he maintained the soul to be incorporeal, defining it as the first entelechy [i.e. realization] of a natural organic body potentially possessed of life.31 By the term realization he means that which has an incorporeal form. This realization, according to him, is twofold.
Either it is potential, as that of Hermes in the wax, provided the wax be adapted to receive the proper mouldings, or as that of the statue implicit in the bronze; or again it is determinate, which is the case with the completed figure of Hermes or the finished statue. The soul is the realization “of a natural body,” since bodies may be divided into (a) artificial bodies made by the hands of craftsmen, as a tower or a ship, and (b) natural bodies which are the work of nature, such as plants and the bodies of animals. And when he said “organic” he meant constructed as means to an end, as sight is adapted for seeing and the ear for hearing. Of a body “potentially possessed of life,” that is, in itself.
There are two senses of “potential,” one answering to a formed state and the other to its exercise in act. In the latter sense of the term he who is awake is said to have soul, in the former he who is asleep. It was then in order to include the sleeper that Aristotle added the word “potential.”
He held many other opinions on a variety of subjects which it would be tedious to enumerate. For altogether his industry and invention were remarkable, as is shown by the catalogue of his writings given above, which come to nearly 400 in number, i.e. counting those only the genuineness of which is not disputed. For many other written works and pointed oral sayings are attributed to him.
There were in all eight Aristotles: (1) our philosopher himself; (2) an Athenian statesman,32 the author of graceful forensic speeches; (3) a scholar who commented on the Iliad; (4) a Sicilian rhetorician, who wrote a reply to the Panegyric of Isocrates; (5) a disciple of Aeschines the Socratic philosopher, surnamed Myth; (6) a native of Cyrene, who wrote upon the art of poetry; (7) a trainer of boys, mentioned by Aristoxenus in his Life of Plato; (8) an obscure grammarian, whose handbook On Redundancy is still extant.
Aristotle of Stagira had many disciples; the most distinguished was Theophrastus, of whom we have next to speak.
1 Cf. Aelian, V. H. iv. 9.
2 Eur. Philoct. Frag. 785 Dind., 796 Nauck².
3 Most authorities put Isocrates here in place of Xenocrates.
4 This story comes ultimately from Lyco the Pythagorean; cf. Aristocles. Cf. Euseb. Praep. Ev. xv. 2 § 5 φησὶ γὰρ θύειν Ἀριστοτέλην θυσίαν τετελευτηκυίᾳ τῇ γυναικὶ τοιαύτην ὁποίαν Ἀθηναῖοι τῇ Δήμητρι. This version is irreconcilable with ὑπερχαίρων in D. L.
5 Hom. Il. xviii. 95.
6 As in ii. 78, iii. 19 and v. 77, Favorinus is curious to state the names of the accusers of philosophers put upon trial.
7 Anth. Plan. iii. 48.
8 Anth. Pal. vii. 107.
9 Hom. Od. vii. 120.
10 There must have been a chapter in Favorinus dealing with “inventions.”
11 384-383 B.C.
12 345-344 B.C.
13 347-346 B.C.
14 342-341 B.C.
15 335-334 B.C.
16 322-321 B.C.
17 No doubt Anaximenes of Lampsacus (cf. supra, ii. § 3), to whom is attributed the Rhetorica ad Alexandrum, which has come down to us in the Aristotelian Corpus.
18 Anth. Plan. ii. 46.
19 Frag. 36 D.
20 Cf. Hom. Il. xxiii. 701.
21 The last clause was curiously misunderstood by three eminent authorities on Aristotle, namely Grant, Grote and Zeller, who took ζῷα τετραπήχη to mean “four animal figures,” instead of “figures four cubits high”; see Journ. of Phil. vol. xxxii. 303. The article “Verify your quotations,” although modestly followed by two asterisks, was written, I believe, by the late Ingram Bywater, then one of the editors of the journal. This concession by Aristotle to the popular faith (for the statues from their size seem those of deities) some critics regard with suspicion, because they see in it a resemblance to the last words of Socrates (Plato, Phaedo, 118). Accordingly they are disposed to doubt the genuineness of the will. But see C. G. Bruns, Kl. Schrift. ii. 192 sqq.; H. Diels, Philos. Aufsätze, 231 sqq.; B. Laum, Stiftungen in der griech. u. röm. Antike.
22 Next come (a) the sayings of Aristotle (§§ 17-21); (b) the catalogue of his writings (§§ 21-27); (c) his tenets (§§ 28-34).
23 Cf. infra,§ 21.
24 Cf. supra, i. § 69, ii. § 69.
25 Cicero ascribed a similar reply to Xenocrates: “ut id sua sponte facerent, quod cogerentur facere legibus” (Cic. De rep. i. § 3).
26 Cf. supra, § 17.
27 E. E. vii. 12, 1245 b 20; N. E. ix. 10. 6, 1171 a 15-17.
28 This is one of three catalogues which we have of the Aristotelian writings. Hesychius furnishes one, appended to his Life of Aristotle; see V. Rose’s edition of the Fragments, p. 9 seq. Another by Ptolemy the philosopher, of which the Greek original has perished, is preserved in Arabic; see V. Rose, Frag. p. 18 seq.
29 Περὶ μεγέθους, between two books on Enthymemes, must be on Degree, the topic of μᾶλλον καὶ ἧττον (§ 60). “Degree” is Cope’s term (see his Introduction to Aristotle’s Rhetoric, p. 129, where he cites Aristotle’s own distinctions in Rhetoric, ii. cc. 18, 19).
30 Cf. supra, iii. 81. and Aristotle, Rhet. ii. 4 § 28, 1381 b 33
31 De anima, ii. 1, 412 a 27.
32 Probably this is the Aristotle who appears in Plato’s dialogue Parmenides.
Theophrastus was a native of Eresus, the son of Melantes, a fuller, as stated by Athenodorus in the eighth book of his Walks. He first heard his countryman Alcippus lecture in his native town and afterwards he heard Plato, whom he left for Aristotle. And when the latter withdrew to Chalcis he took over the school himself in the 114th Olympiad.33 A slave of his named Pompylus is also said to have been a philosopher, according to Myronianus of Amastris in the first book of his Historical Parallels. Theophrastus was a man of remarkable intelligence and industry and, as Pamphila says in the thirtysecond book of her Memorabilia, he taught Menander the comic poet. Furthermore, he was ever ready to do a kindness and fond of discussion. Casander certainly granted him audience and Ptolemy made overtures to him. And so highly was he valued at Athens that, when Agnonides ventured to prosecute him for impiety, the prosecutor himself narrowly escaped punishment. About 2000 pupils used to attend his lectures. In a letter to Phanias the Peripatetic, among other topics, he speaks of a tribunal as follows:34 “To get a public or even a select circle such as one desires is not easy. If an author reads his work, he must re-write it. Always to shirk revision and ignore criticism is a course which the present generation of pupils will no longer tolerate.” And in this letter he has called some one “pedant.”
Although his reputation stood so high, nevertheless for a short time he had to leave the country with all the other philosophers, when Sophocles the son of Amphiclides proposed a law that no philosopher should preside over a school except by permission of the Senate and the people, under penalty of death. The next year, however, the philosophers returned, as Philo had prosecuted Sophocles for making an illegal proposal. Whereupon the Athenians repealed the law, fined Sophocles five talents, and voted the recall of the philosophers, in order that Theophrastus also might return and live there as before. He bore the name of Tyrtamus, and it was Aristotle who re-named him Theophrastus on account of his graceful style. And Aristippus, in his fourth book On the Luxury of the Ancients, asserts that he was enamoured of Aristotle’s son Nicomachus, although he was his teacher. It is said that Aristotle applied to him and Callisthenes what Plato had said of Xenocrates and himself (as already related), namely, that the one needed a bridle and the other a goad; for Theophrastus interpreted all his meaning with an excess of cleverness, whereas the other was naturally backward. He is said to have become the owner of a garden of his own after Aristotle’s death, through the intervention of his friend Demetrius of Phalerum. There are pithy sayings of his in circulation as follows: “An unbridled horse,” he said, “ought to be trusted sooner than a badly-arranged discourse.” To some one who never opened his lips at a banquet he remarked: “Yours is a wise course for an ignoramus, but in an educated man it is sheer folly.” He used constantly to say that in our expenditure the item that costs most is time.
He died at the age of eighty-five, not long after he had relinquished his labours. My verses upon him are these:35
Not in vain was the word spoken to one of human kind, “Slacken the bow of wisdom and it breaks.” Of a truth, so long as Theophrastus laboured he was sound of limb, but when released from toil his limbs failed him and he died.
It is said that his disciples asked him if he had any last message for them, to which he replied: “Nothing else but this, that many of the pleasures which life boasts are but in the seeming. For when we are just beginning to live, lo! we die. Nothing then is so unprofitable as the love of glory. Farewell, and may you be happy. Either drop my doctrine, which involves a world of labour, or stand forth its worthy champions, for you will win great glory. Life holds more disappointment than advantage. But, as I can no longer discuss what we ought to do, do you go on with the inquiry into right conduct.”
With these words, they say, he breathed his last. And according to the story all the Athenians, out of respect for the man, escorted his bier on foot. And Favorinus tells that he had in his old age to be carried about in a litter;36 and this he says on the authority of Hermippus, whose account is taken from a remark of Arcesilaus of Pitane to Lacydes of Cyrene.
He too has left a very large number of writings. I think it right to catalogue them also because they abound in excellence of every kind. They are as follows:
In all 232,808 lines. So much for his writings.
I have also come across his will, couched in the following terms:
“All will be well; but in case anything should happen, I make these dispositions. I give and bequeath all my property at home37 to Melantes and Pancreon, the sons of Leon. It is my wish that out of the trust funds at the disposal of Hipparchus38 the following appropriations should be made. First, they should be applied to finish the rebuilding of the Museum with the statues of the goddesses, and to add any improvements which seem practicable to beautify them.39 Secondly, to replace in the temple the bust of Aristotle with the rest of the dedicated offerings which formerly were in the temple. Next, to rebuild the small cloister adjoining the Museum at least as handsomely as before, and to replace in the lower cloister the tablets containing maps of the countries traversed by explorers. Further, to repair the altar so that it may be perfect and elegant. It is also my wish that the statue of Nicomachus should be completed of life size. The price agreed upon for the making of the statue itself has been paid to Praxiteles, but the rest of the cost should be defrayed from the source above mentioned. The statue should be set up in whatever place seems desirable to the executors entrusted with carrying out my other testamentary dispositions. Let all that concerns the temple and the offerings set up be arranged in this manner. The estate at Stagira belonging to me I give and bequeath to Callinus. The whole of my library I give to Neleus. The garden and the walk and the houses adjoining the garden, all and sundry, I give and bequeath to such of my friends hereinafter named as may wish to study literature and philosophy there in common,40 since it is not possible for all men to be always in residence, on condition that no one alienates the property or devotes it to his private use, but so that they hold it like a temple in joint possession and live, as is right and proper, on terms of familiarity and friendship. Let the community consist of Hipparchus, Neleus, Strato, Callinus, Demotimus, Demaratus, Callisthenes, Melantes, Pancreon, Nicippus. Aristotle, the son of Metrodorus and Pythias, shall also have the right to study and associate with them if he so desire. And the oldest of them shall pay every attention to him, in order to ensure for him the utmost proficiency in philosophy. Let me be buried in any spot in the garden which seems most suitable, without unnecessary outlay upon my funeral or upon my monument. And according to previous agreement let the charge of attending, after my decease, to the temple and the monument and the garden and the walk be shared by Pompylus in person, living close by as he does, and exercising the same supervision over all other matters as before; and those who hold the property shall watch over his interests. Pompylus and Threpta have long been emancipated and have done me much service; and I think that 2000 drachmas certainly ought to belong to them from previous payments made to them by me, from their own earnings, and my present bequest to them to be paid by Hipparchus, as I stated many times in conversation with Melantes and Pancreon themselves, who agreed with me. I give and bequeath to them the maidservant Somatale. And of my slaves I at once emancipate Molon and Timon and Parmeno; to Manes and Callias I give their freedom on condition that they stay four years in the garden and work there together and that their conduct is free from blame. Of my household furniture let so much as the executors think right be given to Pompylus and let the rest be sold. I also devise Carion to Demotimus, and Donax to Neleus. But Euboeus must be sold. Let Hipparchus pay to Callinus 3000 drachmas. And if I had not seen that Hipparchus had done great service to Melantes and Pancreon and formerly to me, and that now in his private affairs he has made shipwreck, I would have appointed him jointly with Melantes and Pancreon to carry out my wishes. But, since I saw that it was not easy for them to share the management with him, and I thought it more advantageous for them to receive a fixed sum from Hipparchus, let Hipparchus pay Melantes and Pancreon one talent each and let Hipparchus provide funds for the executors to defray the expenses set down in the will, as each disbursement falls due. And when Hipparchus shall have carried out all these injunctions, he shall be released in full from his liabilities to me. And any advance that he has made in Chalcis in my name belongs to him alone. Let Hipparchus, Neleus, Strato, Callinus, Demotimus, Callisthenes and Ctesarchus be executors to carry out the terms of the will. One copy of the will, sealed with the signet-ring of Theophrastus, is deposited with Hegesias, the son of Hipparchus, the witnesses being Callippus of Pallene, Philomelus of Euonymaea, Lysander of Hyba, and Philo of Alopece. Olympiodorus has another copy, the witnesses being the same. The third copy was received by Adeimantus, the bearer being Androsthenes junior; and the witnesses are Arimnestus the son of Cleobulus, Lysistratus the son of Pheidon of Thasos, Strato the son of Arcesilaus of Lampsacus, Thesippus the son of Thesippus of Cerameis, and Dioscurides the son of Dionysius of Epicephisia.”
Such is the tenor of his will.
There are some who say that Erasistratus the physician was also a pupil of his, and it is not improbable.
33 323 B.C.
34 In the extract from the letter Theophrastus seems to be considering the best means of preparing for publication what he has to say, possibly in lecture, before the large class which, as we have just been informed, sometimes numbered 2000. It is difficult to see how this topic can have been worked into a letter on the law courts as such, and there is much to be said for Mr. Wyse’s emendation διδασκαλίου. If this be accepted, the whole letter would be about means or subjects of instruction in lecture.
35 Anth. Pal. vii. 110.
36 Cf. a similar statement about Bion, also attributed to Favorinus.
37 i.e. at Eresus.
38 Mentioned below, §§ 53, 54, 55, 66. We infer that he had been acting as trustee not only for Theophrastus but for the School, which in the eye of the law was a religious foundation.
39 Evidently the Museum had suffered in some recent political troubles, perhaps the second siege of Athens by Demetrius Poliorcetes, 296-294 B.C. Plut. Demetr. 33, 34; Paus. i. 25. 8. There was, however, a serious disturbance when Athens revolted from Macedon, 289-287, for which see Plut. Demetr. 46, and Paus. i. 25. 2; 26. 1 f. This latter event is nearer to the death of Theophrastus in Ol. 123.
40 Cf. iv. § 70.
His successor in the school was Strato, the son of Arcesilaus, a native of Lampsacus, whom he mentioned in his will; a distinguished man who is generally known as “the physicist,” because more than anyone else he devoted himself to the most careful study of nature. Moreover, he taught Ptolemy Philadelphus and received, it is said, 80 talents from him. According to Apollodorus in his Chronology he became head of the school in the 123rd Olympiad,41 and continued to preside over it for eighteen years.
There are extant of his works:
Strato is said to have grown so thin that he felt nothing when his end came. And I have written some lines upon him as follows:42
A thin, spare man in body, take my word for it, owing to his use of unguents,43 was this Strato, I at least affirm, to whom Lampsacus gave birth. For ever wrestling with diseases, he died unawares or ever he felt the hand of death.
There have been eight men who bore the name of Strato: (1) a pupil of Isocrates; (2) our subject; (3) a physician, a disciple, or, as some say, a fosterchild, of Erasistratus; (4) a historian, who treated of the struggle of Philip and Perseus against the Romans; (5) * *; (6) a poet who wrote epigrams; (7) a physician who lived in ancient times, mentioned by Aristotle; (8) a Peripatetic philosopher who lived in Alexandria.
But to return to Strato the physicist. His will is also extant and it runs as follows:
“In case anything should happen to me I make these dispositions. All the goods in my house I give and bequeath to Lampyrio and Arcesilaus. From the money belonging to me in Athens, in the first place my executors shall provide for my funeral and for all that custom requires to be done after the funeral, without extravagance on the one hand or meanness on the other. The executors of this my will shall be Olympichus, Aristides, Mnesigenes, Hippocrates, Epicrates, Gorgylus, Diocles, Lyco, Athanes. I leave the school to Lyco, since of the rest some are too old and others too busy. But it would be well if the others would co-operate with him. I also give and bequeath to him all my books, except those of which I am the author, and all the furniture in the dining-hall, the cushions and the drinking-cups. The trustees shall give Epicrates 500 drachmas and one of the servants whom Arcesilaus shall approve. And in the first place Lampyrio and Arcesilaus shall cancel the agreement which Daïppus made on behalf of Iraeus. And he shall not owe anything either to Lampyrio or to Lampyrio’s heirs, but shall have a full discharge from the whole transaction. Next, the executors shall give him 500 drachmas in money and one of the servants whom Arcesilaus shall approve, so that, in return for all the toil he has shared with me and all the services he has rendered me, he may have the means to maintain himself respectably. Further, I emancipate Diophantus, Diocles and Abus; and Simias I make over to Arcesilaus. I also emancipate Dromo. As soon as Arcesilaus has arrived, Iraeus shall, with Olympichus, Epicrates, and the other executors, prepare an account of the money expended upon the funeral and the other customary charges. Whatever money remains over, Arcesilaus shall take over from Olympichus, without however pressing him as to times and seasons. Arcesilaus shall also cancel the agreement made by Strato with Olympichus and Ameinias and deposited with Philocrates the son of Tisamenus. With regard to my monument they shall make it as Arcesilaus, Olympichus and Lyco shall approve.”
Such are the terms of his extant will, according to the Collection of Ariston of Ceos. Strato himself, however, was, as stated above, a man entitled to full approbation,44 since he excelled in every branch of learning, and most of all in that which is styled “physics,” a branch of philosophy more ancient and important than the others.
41 288-284 B.C.
42 Anth. Pal. vii. 111.
43 Or “if you attend to me, I am content,” according to the alternative reading.
44 πολλῆς τῆς ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος. This phrase might be taken as Diogenes Laertius’s defence for his inclusion of the Life of Strato. According to the scheme of i. 14, 15, the Peripatetics ended with Theophrastus, whose successors were often held to be vastly inferior, and unworthy to rank beside him; see Cicero, De Fin. v. §§ 12, 13; Strabo xiii. 609. The latter alleges as the reason for this decline the well-known story that the school was deprived of Aristotle’s library, which had been carried away to Scepsis.
Strato’s successor was Lyco, the son of Astyanax of Troas, a master of expression and of the foremost rank in the education of boys. For he used to say that modesty and love of honour were as necessary an equipment for boys as spur and bridle for horses. His eloquence and sonorousness of diction appear from the following fact; he speaks of a penniless maiden as follows: “A grievous burden to a father is a girl, when for lack of a dowry she runs past the flower of her age.” Hence the remark which Antigonus is said to have made about him, that it was not possible to transfer elsewhere the fragrance and charm of the apple, but each separate expression must be contemplated in the speaker himself as every single apple is on the tree. This was because Lyco’s voice was exceedingly sweet, so that some persons altered his name to Glyco, by prefixing a G. But in writing he fell off sadly. For instance, those who regretted their neglect to learn when they had the opportunity and wished they had done so he would hit off neatly as follows, remarking that “they were their own accusers, betraying, by vain regret, repentance for an incorrigible laziness.” Those who deliberated wrongly he used to say were out in their calculations, as if they had used a crooked rule to test something straight, or looked at the reflection of a face in troubled water or a distorting mirror. Again, “Many go in search of the garland of the market-place; few or none seek the crown at Olympia.” He often gave the Athenians advice on various subjects and thus conferred on them the greatest benefits.
In his dress he was most immaculate, so that the clothes he wore were unsurpassed for the softness of the material, according to Hermippus. Furthermore, he was well practised in gymnastics and kept himself in condition, displaying all an athlete’s habit of body, with battered ears and skin begrimed with oil, so we are told by Antigonus of Carystus. Hence it is said that he not only wrestled but played the game of ball common in his birthplace of Ilium. He was esteemed beyond all other philosophers by Eumenes and Attalus, who also did him very great service. Antiochus too tried to get hold of him, but without success. He was so hostile to Hieronymus the Peripatetic that he alone declined to meet him on the anniversary which we have mentioned in the Life of Arcesilaus.45
He presided over the school forty-four years after Strato had bequeathed it to him by his will in the 127th Olympiad.46 Not but what he also attended the lectures of the logician Panthoides. He died at the age of seventy-four after severe sufferings from gout. This is my epitaph upon him:47
Nor, I swear! will I pass over Lyco either, for all that he died of the gout. But this it is which amazes me the most, if he who formerly could walk only with the feet of others, did in a single night traverse the long, long road to Hades.
Other men have borne the name of Lyco: (1) a Pythagorean, (2) our present subject, (3) an epic poet, (4) a poet who wrote epigrams.
I have also come across this philosopher’s will. It is this:
“These are my dispositions concerning my property, in case I should be unable to sustain my present ailment. All the goods in my house I give to my brothers Astyanax and Lyco, and from this source should, I think, be paid all the money I have laid out at Athens, whether by borrowing or by purchase, as well as all the cost of my funeral and the other customary charges. But my property in town and at Aegina I give to Lyco because he bears the same name with me, and has resided for a long time with me to my entire satisfaction, as became one whom I treated as my son. I leave the Peripatus to such of my friends as choose to make use of it, to Bulo, Callinus, Ariston, Amphion, Lyco, Pytho, Aristomachus, Heracleus, Lycomedes, and my nephew Lyco. They shall put over it any such person as in their opinion will persevere in the work of the school and will be most capable of extending it. And all my other friends should co-operate for love of me and of the spot. Bulo and Callinus, together with their colleagues, shall provide for my funeral and cremation, so as to avoid meanness on the one hand and extravagance on the other. After my decease Lyco shall make over, for the use of the young men, the oil from the olive-trees belonging to me in Aegina for the due commemoration – so long as they use it – of myself and the benefactor who did me honour. He shall also set up my statue, and shall choose a convenient site where it shall be erected, with the assistance of Diophantus and Heraclides the son of Demetrius. From my property in town Lyco shall repay all from whom I have borrowed anything after his departure. Bulo and Callinus shall provide the sums expended upon my funeral and other customary charges. These sums they shall recover from the moneys in the house bequeathed by me to them both in common. They shall also remunerate the physicians Pasithemis and Medias who for their attention to me and their skill deserve far higher reward. I bequeath to the child of Callinus a pair of Thericlean cups, and to his wife a pair of Rhodian vessels, a smooth carpet, a rug with nap on both sides, a sofa cover and two cushions the best that are left, that, so far as I have the means of recompensing them, I may prove not ungrateful. With regard to the servants who have waited upon me, my wishes are as follows. To Demetrius I remit the purchase-money for the freedom which he has long enjoyed, and bequeath to him five minas and a suit of clothes to ensure him a decent maintenance, in return for all the toil he has borne with me. To Crito of Chalcedon I also remit the purchasemoney for his freedom and bequeath to him four minas. And Micrus I emancipate; and Lyco shall keep him and educate him for the next six years. And Chares I emancipate, and Lyco shall maintain him, and I bequeath him two minas and my published writings, while those which have not been given to the world I entrust to Callinus, that he may carefully edit them. To Syrus who has been set free I give four minas and Menodora, and I remit to him any debt he owes me. And to Hilara I give five minas and a double-napped rug, two cushions, a sofa-cover and a bed, whichever she prefers. I also set free the mother of Micrus as well as Noëmon, Dion, Theon, Euphranor and Hermias. Agathon should be set free after two years, and the litter-bearers Ophelio and Posidonius after four years’ further service. To Demetrius, to Crito and to Syrus I give a bed apiece and such bed-furniture out of my estate as Lyco shall think proper. These shall be given them for properly performing their appointed tasks. As regards my burial, let Lyco bury me here if he chooses, or if he prefers to bury me at home let him do so, for I am persuaded that his regard for propriety is not less than my own. When he has managed all these things, he can dispose of the property there, and such disposition shall be binding. Witnesses are Callinus of Hermione, Ariston of Ceos, Euphronius of Paeania.”
Thus while his shrewdness is seen in all his actions, in his teaching and in all his studies, in some ways his will is no less remarkable for carefulness and wise management, so that in this respect also he is to be admired
Demetrius, the son of Phanostratus, was a native of Phalerum. He was a pupil of Theophrastus, but by his speeches in the Athenian assembly he held the chief power in the State for ten years and was decreed 360 bronze statues, most of them representing him either on horseback or else driving a chariot or a pair of horses. And these statues were completed in less than 300 days, so much was he esteemed. He entered politics, says Demetrius of Magnesia in his work on Men of the Same Name, when Harpalus, fleeing from Alexander,48 came to Athens. As a statesman he rendered his country many splendid services. For he enriched the city with revenues and buildings, though he was not of noble birth. For he was one of Conon’s household servants,49 according to Favorinus in the first book of his Memorabilia; yet Lamia, with whom he lived, was a citizen of noble family, as Favorinus also states in his first book. Further, in his second book Favorinus alleges that he suffered violence from Cleon, while Didymus in his Table-talk relates how a certain courtesan nicknamed him Charito-Blepharos (“having the eyelids of the Graces”), and Lampito (“of shining eyes”). He is said to have lost his sight when in Alexandria and to have recovered it by the gift of Sarapis; whereupon he composed the paeans which are sung to this day.
For all his popularity with the Athenians he nevertheless suffered eclipse through all-devouring envy. Having been indicted by some persons on a capital charge, he let judgement go by default; and, when his accusers could not get hold of his person, they disgorged their venom on the bronze of his statues. These they tore down from their pedestals; some were sold, some cast into the sea, and others were even, it is said, broken up to make bedroom-utensils. Only one is preserved in the Acropolis. In his Miscellaneous History Favorinus tells us that the Athenians did this at the bidding of King Demetrius.
And in the official list the year in which he was archon was styled “the year of lawlessness,” according to this same Favorinus.
Hermippus tells us that upon the death of Casander, being in fear of Antigonus, he fled to Ptolemy Soter. There he spent a considerable time and advised Ptolemy, among other things, to invest with sovereign power his children by Eurydice. To this Ptolemy would not agree, but bestowed the diadem on his son by Berenice, who, after Ptolemy’s death, thought fit to detain Demetrius as a prisoner in the country until some decision should be taken concerning him. There he lived in great dejection, and somehow, in his sleep, received an asp-bite on the hand which proved fatal. He is buried in the district of Busiris near Diospolis.
Here are my lines upon him:50
A venomous asp was the death of the wise Demetrius, an asp withal of sticky venom, darting, not light from its eyes, but black death.
Heraclides in his epitome of Sotion’s Successions of Philosophers says that Ptolemy himself wished to transmit the kingdom to Philadelphus, but that Demetrius tried to dissuade him, saying, “If you give it to another, you will not have it yourself.” At the time when he was being continually attacked in Athens, Menander, the Comic poet, as I have also learnt, was very nearly brought to trial for no other cause than that he was a friend of Demetrius. However, Telesphorus, the nephew of Demetrius, begged him off.
In the number of his works and their total length in lines he has surpassed almost all contemporary Peripatetics. For in learning and versatility he has no equal. Some of these works are historical and others political; there are some dealing with poets, others with rhetoric. Then there are public speeches and reports of embassies, besides collections of Aesop’s fables and much else. He wrote:
And the following works, each in one book:
His style is philosophical, with an admixture of rhetorical vigour and force. When he heard that the Athenians had destroyed his statues, “That they may do,” said he, “but the merits which caused them to be erected they cannot destroy.” He used to say that the eyebrows formed but a small part of the face, and yet they can darken the whole of life by the scorn they express. Again, he said that not only was Plutus blind, but his guide, Fortune, as well; that all that steel could achieve in war was won in politics by eloquence. On seeing a young dandy, “There,” quoth he, “is a four-square Hermes for you, with trailing robe, belly, beard and all.”52 When men are haughty and arrogant, he declared we should cut down their tall stature and leave them their spirit unimpaired. Children should honour their parents at home, out-of-doors everyone they meet, and in solitude themselves. In prosperity friends do not leave you unless desired, whereas in adversity they stay away of their own accord. All these sayings seem to be set down to his credit.
There have been twenty noteworthy men called Demetrius: (1) a rhetorician of Chalcedon, older than Thrasymachus; (2) the subject of this notice; (3) a Peripatetic of Byzantium; (4) one called the graphic writer, clear in narrative; he was also a painter; (5) a native of Aspendus, a pupil of Apollonius of Soli; (6) a native of Callatis, who wrote a geography of Asia and Europe in twenty books; (7) a Byzantine, who wrote a history of the migration of the Gauls from Europe into Asia in thirteen books, and another work in eight books dealing with Antiochus and Ptolemy and their settlement of Libya; (8) the sophist who lived at Alexandria, author of handbooks of rhetoric; (9) a grammarian of Adramyttium, surnamed Ixion because he was thought to be unjust to Hera; (10) a grammarian of Cyrene, surnamed Wine-jar, an eminent man; (11) a native of Scepsis, a man of wealth and good birth, ardently devoted to learning; he was also the means of bringing his countryman Metrodorus into prominence; (12) a grammarian of Erythrae enrolled as a citizen of Mnos; (13) a Bithynian, son of Diphilus the Stoic and pupil of Panaetius of Rhodes; (14) a rhetorician of Smyrna. The foregoing were prose authors. Of poets bearing this name the first belonged to the Old Comedy; the second was an epic poet whose lines to the envious alone survive:
While he lives they scorn the man whom they regret when he is gone; yet, some day, for the honour of his tomb and lifeless image, contention seizes cities and the people set up strife;
the third of Tarsus, writer of satires; the fourth, a writer of lampoons, in a bitter style; the fifth, a sculptor mentioned by Polemo; the sixth, of Erythrae, a versatile man, who also wrote historical and rhetorical works.
48 324 B.C.
49 The first sentence is paralleled by Aelian, Var. Hist. xii. 43 Δημήτριον δὲ τὸν Φαληρέα οἰκότριβα γενέσθαι λέγουσιν ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας τῆς Τιμοθέου καὶ Κόνωνος. The insertion of this reference to the family of Conon has had the effect of separating two clauses which ought to be closely joined: καίπερ οὐκ εὐγενὴς ὤν (the last words of § 75) and ἀστῇ καὶ εὐγενεῖ (in § 76). Hesychius in Suidas emphasizes the beauty of Demetrius. In a modern book the statement that, according to Favorinus, Demetrius was in Conon’s family would find a more suitable place in a footnote.
50 Anth. Pal. vii. 113.
51 “Of the Beam in the Sky.” Some render this “Of Opinion,” but the word used in this sense is δόκησις: cf. Schäf. Schol. Par. Ap. Rh. ii. 1088.
52 Since Herms at Athens show neither drapery nor belly, but archaic hair, this saying would seem either to be incorrectly reported or to need a fresh interpretation. It has been suggested that a long lock pendent over the shoulder may lurk under σύομα (cf. Anth. Pal. v. 12. 2; σύρμα μένει πλοκάμων, and Ael. Var. Hist. xii. 14 τὴν μὲν γὰρ κόμην ἀνασεσύρθαι), or that a Herm might sometimes have been made by cutting down a larger, draped, statue; or perhaps on festal days Herms were decked with robes. In Stobaeus, Flor. iv. 68, Philip is credited with a sneer to the same effect on Athenians at large.
Heraclides, son of Euthyphro, born at Heraclea in the Pontus, was a wealthy man. At Athens he first attached himself to Speusippus. He also attended the lectures of the Pythagoreans and admired the writings of Plato. Last of all he became a pupil of Aristotle, as Sotion says in his Successions of Philosophers. 53 He wore fine soft clothes, and he was extremely corpulent, which made the Athenians call him Pompicus rather than Ponticus. He was mild and dignified of aspect. Works by him survive of great beauty and excellence. There are ethical dialogues:
Some of these works are in the style of comedy, for instance the tracts On Pleasure and On Temperance; others in the style of tragedy, as the books entitled Of those in Hades, Of Piety, and Of Authority.
Again, he has a sort of intermediate style of conversation which he employs when philosophers, generals and statesmen converse with each other. Furthermore, he wrote geometrical and dialectical works, and is, besides, everywhere versatile and lofty in diction, and a great adept at charming the reader’s mind.
It seems that he delivered his native city from oppressions by assassinating its ruler, as is stated in his work on Men of the Same Name by Demetrius of Magnesia, who also tells the following story about him: “As a boy, and when he grew up, he kept a pet snake, and, being at the point of death, he ordered a trusted attendant to conceal the corpse but to place the snake on his bier, that he might seem to have departed to the gods. All this was done. But while the citizens were in the very midst of the procession and were loud in his praise, the snake, hearing the uproar, popped up out of the shroud, creating widespread confusion. Subsequently, however, all was revealed, and they saw Heraclides, not as he appeared, but as he really was.”
I have written of him as follows:54
You wished, Heraclides, to leave to all mankind a reputation that after death you lived as a snake.55 But you were deceived, you sophist, for the snake was really a brute beast, and you were detected as more of a beast than a sage.
Hippobotus too has this tale.
Hermippus relates that, when their territory was visited by famine, the people of Heraclea besought the Pythian priestess for relief, but Heraclides bribed the sacred envoys as well as the aforesaid priestess to reply that they would be rid of the calamity if Heraclides, the son of Euthyphro, were crowned with a crown of gold in his lifetime and after his death received heroic honours. The pretended oracle was brought home, but its forgers got nothing by it. For directly Heraclides was crowned in the theatre, he was seized with apoplexy, whereupon the envoys to the oracle were stoned to death. Moreover, at the very same time the Pythian priestess, after she had gone down to the shrine and taken her seat, was bitten by one of the snakes and died instantly. Such are the tales told about his death.
Aristoxenus the musician asserts that Heraclides also composed tragedies, inscribing upon them the name of Thespis. Chamaeleon complains that Heraclides’ treatise on the works of Homer and Hesiod was plagiarized from his own. Furthermore, Autodorus the Epicurean criticizes him in a polemic against his tract Of Justice. Again, Dionysius the Renegade, or, as some people call him, the “Spark,” when he wrote the Parthenopaeus, entitled it a play of Sophocles; and Heraclides, such was his credulity, in one of his own works drew upon this forged play as Sophoclean evidence. Dionysius, on perceiving this, confessed what he had done; and, when the other denied the fact and would not believe him, called his attention to the acrostic which gave the name of Pancalus, of whom Dionysius was very fond. Heraclides was still unconvinced. Such a thing, he said, might very well happen by chance. To this Dionysius, “You will also find these lines:
a. An old monkey is not caught by a trap.56
b. Oh yes, he’s caught at last, but it takes time.”
And this besides: “Heraclides is ignorant of letters and not ashamed of his ignorance.”57
Fourteen persons have borne the name of Heraclides: (1) the subject of this notice; (2) a fellowcitizen of his, author of Pyrrhic verses and tales; (3) a native of Cyme, who wrote of Persia in five books; (4) another native of Cyme, who wrote rhetorical textbooks; (5) of Callatis or Alexandria, author of the Succession of Philosophers in six books and a work entitled Lembeuticus, from which he got the surname of Lembus (a fast boat or scout); (6) an Alexandrian who wrote on the Persian national character; (7) a dialectician of Bargylis, who wrote against Epicurus; (8) a physician of the school of Hicesius; (9) another physician of Tarentum, an empiric; (10) a poet who was the author of admonitions; (11) a sculptor of Phocaea; (12) a Ligurian poet, author of epigrams; (13) Heraclides of Magnesia, who wrote a history of Mithradates; (14) the compiler of an Astronomy.
53 That Heraclides was a member of the Academy is established beyond all doubt by the fact that he was a candidate for the headship of the School on the death of Speusippus: Index Acad. p. 38 Mekler. However, not only does Diogenes Laertius make him, on Sotion’s authority, a pupil of Aristotle, but Aëtius also seems, iii. 2. 5, to associate him with the Peripatetics (καθάπερ ἀμέλει πάντες οἱ Περιπατητικοί).
54 Anth. Pal. vii. 104.
55 Or, reading ἄπαρτι for ἄπασι, “wished to leave a report behind you that immediately after death you became a living snake.”
56 We should say, “An old bird is not caught with chaff.”
57 Von Arnim’s emendation (ὁ δὲ) gives a different turn to the story, viz. “And this besides: ‘Heraclides is ignorant of letters.’ This made Heraclides blush.”
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:07