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Listed 35 sub titles with search on: Biographies  for wider area of: "BENGHAZI Town LIBYA" .

Biographies (35)


Arcesilaus I

Battus II

Battus II., surnamed "the Happy," principally from his victory over Apries (Battos ho Eudaimon), was the son of No. 2, and the third king of the dynasty; for the opinion of those who consider that Herodotus has omitted two kings between Arcesilaus I. and the present Battus, is founded on an erroneous punctuation of iv. 159, and is otherwise encumbered with considerable chronological difficulties. (Thrige; comp. Plut. Cor. 11.) In this reign, Cyrene received a great accession of strength by the influx of a large number of colonists from various parts of Greece, principally perhaps from Peloponnesus and from Crete and the other islands, whom the state invited over under the promise of a new division of lands (probably to enable herself to make head against the neighbouring Libyans), and who were further urged to the migration by the Delphic oracle. (Herod. iv. 159, comp. c. 161.) This influx apparently giving rise to farther encroachments on the Libyan tribes, the latter, under Adicran, their king, surrendered themselves to Apries, king of Egypt, and claimed his protection. A battle ensued in the region of Irasa, B. C. 570, in which the Egyptians were defeated,- this being the first time, according to Herodotus (iv. 159), that they had ever come into hostile collision with Greeks. (Comp. Herod. ii. 161; Diod. i. 68.) This battle seems to have finished the war with Egypt; for we read in Herodotus (ii. 181), that Amasis formed a marriage with Ladice, a Cyrenaean woman, daughter perhaps of Battus II. (Wesseling, ad Herod. l. c.), and, in other ways as well, cultivated friendly relations with the Cyrenaeans. By the same victory too the sovereignty of Cyrene over the Libyans was confirmed. (Comp. Herod. iv. 160, where their revolt from Arcesilaus II. is spoken of.) It was in this reign also, according to a probable conjecture of Thrige's, that Cyrene began to occupy the neighbouring region with her colonies, which seem to have been numerous. (Pind. Pyth. iv. 20, 34, v. 20.) The period of the death of Battus II. it is impossible to settle with exactness. We know only that his reign lasted beyond the year 570 B. C.; and it is pure conjecture which would assign the end of it, with Thrige, to 560, or, with Bouhier and Larcher, to 554. (Thrige; Larcher, ad Herod. iv. 163.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Arcesilaus II

Arcesilaus II., son of Battus II., was surnamed "the oppressive" (Chalepos), from his attempting probably to substitute a tyranny for the Cyrenaean constitution, which had hitherto been similar to that of Sparta. It was perhaps from this cause that the dissensions arose between himself and his brothers, in consequence of which the latter withdrew from Cyrene, and founded Barca, at the same time exciting the Libyan tribes to revolt from Arcesilaus, who, in his attempt to quell this rebellion, suffered a signal defeat at Leucon or Leucoe, a place in the region of Marmarica. He met his end at last by treachery, being strangled by his brother or friend, Learchus. His wife, Eryxo, however, soon after avenged his death by the murder of his assassin. His reign lasted, according to some, from 560 to 550 B. C.; according to others, from 554 to 544. (Herod. iv. 160; Diod. Exc. de Virt. et Vit.; Plut. de Virt. Mul.; Thrige.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Battus III & Pheretima

Battus III., or "the lame" (Cholos), son of Arcesilaus JI., reigned from B. C. 550 to 530, or, as some state it, from 544 to 529. In his time, the Cyrenaeans, weakened by internal seditions, apprehensive of assaults from Libya and Egypt, and distressed too perhaps by the consciousness of the king's inefficiency, invited Demonax, a Mantinean, by the advice of the Delphic oracle, to settle the constitution of the city. The conflicting claims of the original colonists with those of the later settlers, and the due distribution of power between the sovereign and the commonalty, were the main difficulties with which he had to deal. With respect to the former point, he substituted for the old division of tribes an entirely new one, in which however some privileges, in regard to their relation to the Perioikoi, were reserved to those of Theraean descent; while the royal power he reduced within very narrow limits, leaving to the king only certain selected lands, and the enjoyment of some priestly functions (temenea kai hiposunas), with the privilege probably (see Herod. iv. 165) of presidency in the council. We hear nothing more recorded of Battus III. The diminution of the kingly power in his reign is not to be wondered at, when we remember that the two main causes assigned by Aristotle (Polit. v. 10, ad fin. ed. Bekk.) for the overthrow of monarchy had been, as we have seen, in full operation at Cyrene, -viz. quarrels in the royal family, and the attempt to establish a tyrannical government. (Herod. iv. 161; Diod. l.c.; Plut. l.c.; Thrige; Muller, Dor. iii. 4.5, iii. 9.13.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Arcesilaus III

Arcesilaus III., son of Battus III. by Pheretime, reigned, according to Thrige, from 530 to about 514 B. C. In the early part of his reign he was driven from Cyrene in an attempt to recover the ancient royal privileges, and, taking refuge in Samos, returned with a number of auxiliaries, whom he had attached to his cause by the promise of a new division of lands. With their aid he regained the throne; on which, besides taking the most cruel vengeance on his enemies, he endeavoured further to strengthen himself by making submission to Cambyses, and stipulating to pay him tribute, B. C. 525. (Herod. iv. 162-165, comp. iii. 13, 91, ii. 181.) Terrified, however, according to Herodotus (iv. 164), at the discovery that he had subjected himself to the woe denounced against him, under certain conditions, by an obscure oracle (comp. iv. 163), or, more probably, being driven out by his subjects, who were exasperated at his submission to the Persians (see iv. 165, ad fin.), he fled to Alazir, king of Barca, whose daughter he had married, and was there slain, together with his father-in-law, by the Barcaeans and some Cyrenaean exiles. (Herod. iv 164, 167.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Battus IV

Battus IV., is called "the Handsome" (ho kalos) by Heracleides Ponticus. It has been doubted by some whether there were any kings of the family after Arcesilaus III., but this point seems to be settled by Herodotus (iv. 163) and by Pindar. (Pyth. iv. 115.) The opinion of those, who suppose the names of two kings to have been omitted by Herodotus between Arcesilaus I. and Battus "the lame," has been noticed above. Of Battus IV. we know nothing. It is not improbable, however, that he was the son of Arcesilaus III., and was in possession of the throne at the period of the capture of Barca by the Persians, about 512 B. C. (Herod. iv. 203.) At least the peaceable admission of the latter into Cyrene (Herod. l.c.) may seem to point to the prevalence there of a Medizing policy, such as we might expect from a son or near relative of Arcesilaus III. The chronology of this reign is involved in as much obscurity as the events of it, and it is impossible therefore to assign any exact date either to its beginning or its end.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Arcesilaus IV

Arcesilaus IV., son probably of Battus IV., is the prince whose victory in the chariot-race at the Pythian games, B. C. 466, is celebrated by Pindar in his 4th and 5th Pythian odes; and these, in fact, together with the Scholia upon them, are our sole authority for the life and reign of this last of the Battiadae. From them, even in the midst of all the praises of him which they contain, it appears, that he endeavoured to make himself despotic, and had recourse, among other means, to the expedient (a favourite one with tyrants, see Aristot. Polit. iii. 13, v. 10, 11, ed. Bekk.) of ridding himself of the nobles of the state. Indeed one main object of Pindar in the 4th Pythian ode seems to have been to induce Arcesilaus to adopt a more prudent and moderate course, and in particular to recall Demophilus, a banished Cyrenaean nobleman then living at Thebes. (See especially Pyth. iv. 468, &c., ei gar tis ozous, k. t. l. ; Bockh and Dissen, ad loc.) It is further probable, that the city "Hesperides" in the Cyrenaic Pentapolis (afterwards called " Berenice" from the wife of Ptolemy Euergetes) was founded by Arcesilaus IV., with the view of securing a retreat for himself in the event of the successful rebellion of his subjects. It is not known whether he died by violence or not; but after his death royalty was abolished, and his son Battus, who had fled to Hesperides, was there murdered, and his head was thrown into the sea. Various dates have been assigned for the conclusion of the dynasty of the Battiadae; but nothing is certain, except that it could not have ended before B. C. 460, in which year Arcesilaus IV. won the chariot-race at Olympia,- nor after 401, when we hear of violent seditions between the Cyrenaean nobles and populace. (Diod. xiv. 34; Aristot. Polit. vi. 4, ed. Bekk.) Thrige is disposed to place the commencement of popular government about 450. (Res Cyrenensium; comp. Muller, Dor. iii. 9.13.) The father of Callimachus was a Cyrenaean of the name of Battus (Suidas, s. v. Kallimachos); and the poet, who is often called "Battiades," seems to have claimed descent from the royal blood. (Callim. Hymn in Apoll. 65, &c., Ep. 37; Ovid. Trist.ii. 367; Catull. 66.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Demetrius, surnamed the Handsome (ho kalos), whom he had by Ptolemais, daughter of Ptolemy Soter, and who was consequently brother of Antigonus Gonatas. He was first married to Olympias of Larissa, by whom he had a son Antigonus, surnamed Doson, who afterwards succeeded to the throne of Macedonia. (Euseb. Arm. i.) After the death of Magas, king of Cyrene, his widow, Arsinoe, wishing to obtain support against Ptolemy, sent to Macedonia to offer the hand of her daughter Berenice, and with it the kingdom of Cyrene, to Demetrius, who readily embraced the offer, repaired immediately to Cyrene, and established his power there without opposition. How long he continued to hold it we know not; but he is said to have given general offence by his haughty and unpopular manners, and carried on a criminal intercourse with his mother-in-law, Arsinoe. This was deeply resented by the young queen, Berenice, who caused him to be assassinated in her mother's arms. (Justin, xxvi. 3; Euseb. Arm. i.; Niebuhr's Kleine, Schriften.; Droysen, Hellenism. ii.) According to a probable conjecture of Droysen's (ii.), it must have been this Demetrius, and not, as stated by Justin (xxvi. 2), the son of Antigonus Gonatas, who defeated Alexander of Epeirus when he invaded Macedonia.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Magas & Arsinoe

Magas. King of Cyrene, was a step-son of Ptolemy Soter, being the offspring of the accomplished Berenice by a former marriage. His father's name was Philip: he is termed by Pausanias (i. 7. 1) a Macedonian of obscure and ignoble birth, but Droysen regards him as the same with the Philip, son of Amyntas, who is frequently mentioned as commanding one division of the phalanx in the wars of Alexander. Magas seems to have accompanied his mother to Egypt, where he soon rose to a high place in the favour of Ptolemy, so that in B. C. 308 he was appointed by that monarch to the command of the expedition destined for the recovery of Cyrene after the death of Ophellas. The enterprise was completely successful, and Magas obtained from his step-father the government of the province thus re-united to Egypt, which he continued to hold without interruption from thenceforth till the day of his death, an interval of not less than fifty years. (Paus. i. 6. 8; Agatharchides, ap. Athen. xii.) Of the transactions of this long period we know almost nothing: it is certain that Magas at first ruled over the province of Cyrenaica only as a dependency of Egypt, and there is no reason to suppose that he threw off his allegiance to Ptolemy Soter so long as the latter lived, though it appears probable that he early obtained the honorary title of king. But after the accession of Ptolemy Philadelphus this friendly union no longer subsisted, and Magas not only assumed the character of an independent monarch, but even made war on the king of Egypt. He had advanced as far as the frontier of the two kingdoms, when he was recalled by the news of a revolt of the Marmaridae, which threatened his communications with Cyrene, and thus compelled him to retreat. (Paus. i. 7. 1, 2.) Soon after this he married Apama, daughter of Antiochus Soter, and concluded a league with that monarch against Ptolemy; in pursuance of which he undertook a second expedition against Egypt, took the frontier fortress of Paraetonium, and advanced so far as to threaten Alexandria itself. The war appears to have been terminated by a treaty, by which Berenice, the infant daughter of Magas, was betrothed to Ptolemy Euergetes, the son of Philadelphus. (Paus. i. 7. 3; Polyaen. ii. 28; Justin. xxvi. 3.) The chronology of these events is very uncertain; but it seems clear that a considerable interval of peace followed, during which Magas abandoned himself, as he had previously done, to indolence and luxury, and grew in consequence so enormously fat as to cause his death by suffocation, B. C. 258. (Agatharch. ap. Atlhen. l. c.) From a passage in the comic writer Philemon cited by Plutarch (De Ira cohib. 9), it appears that Magas had the character of being very illiterate; but the anecdote there related confirms the impression of his being a man of a mild and gentle character, which the tranquillity of his long reign is calculated to convey. The few particulars known concerning him will be found collected and discussed by the Abbe Belley in the Hist. de l'Acad. des Inscr. vol. xxxvi. p. 19, also by Thrige, Res Cyrenensium, and more fully and critically by Droysen, Hellenismus, vol. i. p. 417, vol. ii. pp. 242-248. It is worthy of notice that the name of Magas is found in an Indian inscription on a rock near Peshawer. (Droysen, vol. ii. p. 321.)
  The chronology of the reign of Magas is very uncertain: in the dates above given, the authority of Droysen has been followed. Niebuhr, on the contrary (Kl. Schrrift. p. 236), places the commencement of his reign after the battle of Ipsus.
  He left only one daughter, Berenice, afterwards the wife of Ptolemy Euergetes. Besides the Syrian Apama already mentioned, he had a second wife, Arsinoe, who survived him. (Just. xxvi. 3; and see Niebuhr, Kl. Schrift. p. 230, note.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Arsinoe, the wife of Magas, king of Cyrene. In order to put an end to his disputes with his brother Ptolemy II. Philadelphus, Magas had betrothed his only daughter, Berenice, to the son of Ptolemy, but died before the marriage took place. As Arsinoe disapproved of this connexion, she invited Demetrius the Fair, the son of Demetrius Poliorcetes, to Cyrene, in order to become the king of the place and the husband of Berenice. But his beauty captivated Arsinoe; and her daughter indignant at the treatment she had received, excited a conspiracy against him, and caused him to be killed in the arms of her mother. Berenice then married the son of Ptolemy (Justin, xxvi. 3). It is not stated of what family this Arsinoe was. Niebuhr conjectures that she was the same as the daughter of Lysimachus, who after her banishment to Coptos went to Cyrene, and married Magas.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Eratosthenes of Cyrene

, , 276 - 194
Eratosthenes of Cyrene (fl. 276 - 194 BC). Astronomer, Geographer
One of the greatest of the ancient Greek sages and the first great geographer of the ancient world, Eratosthenes is considered the founder of physical and mathematical geography. He studied in Athens with Ariston of Chios and Archesilaus, then moved to Alexandria, where he spent most of the rest of his life. Ptolemy III Euergetes appointed him director of the famous Library of Alexandria. It was Eratosothenes who coined the term "philologist". Archimedes, his senior by 11 years, held him in very high esteem, and dedicated two of his works to him: "On the Method of Mechanical Theorems" and "The Cattle Problem". He is cited by Stobaeus. One of the moon's craters has been named "Eratosthenes" in his honour.
His principal works are:
"Proof of the sphericity of the earth": In this work Eratosthenes employed a method still used in modern astronomy, which was based on four assumptions:
A) At Syene (now Aswan, in Upper Egypt), which is in the Tropic of Cancer, the sun's rays fall vertically at noon at the summer solstice.
B) Syene and Alexandria "lie under the same meridian circle".
C) The distance between the two points (length of the arc) is estimated at about 500 stades (~ 900 km).
D) The rays of the sun are parallel when they reach the earth.
Eratosthenes accepted that the earth was a sphere, and knew that the difference in latitude between Alexandria and Syene was equal to the angle formed by the rays of the sun at its zenith at noon in Alexandria. He measured the length of a vertical rod (gnomon) and its shadow and calculated that the angle formed was 1/50th of the circumference of a circle. The length of the equator, therefore, could be calculated to be 250,000 stades (50 x 5000).
"Astronomy, or Placings among the stars": This book contains, besides, a detailed list of the stars, a very accurate calculation of the polar diameter of the earth, of the ecliptic, and of the distance between the earth and the sun.
"A new map of the world": Partially based on the map drawn by Dicaearchus of Messene.
"On geography": Treatise in three parts.
A) History of geography.
B) Mathematical and physical geography.
C) Preliminary data for the projection of the map and descriptive geography with economic and ethnographic material.
"On ancient comedy": Study.
"Chronology": Complete system of dating covering 1076 years, with every important scientific and historical event beginning with the Fall of Troy.
"The sieve": Method for finding successive odd numbers.
"The means": Instrument to help in resolving the problem of the duplication of the cube.

This text is based on the Greek book "Ancient Greek Scientists", Athens, 1995 and is cited Sep 2005 from The Technology Museum of Thessaloniki URL below.

Eratosthenes, of Cyrene, was, according to Suidas, the son of Aglaus, according to others, the son of Ambrosius, and was born B. C. 276. He was taught by Ariston of Chius, the philosopher, Lysanias of Cyrene, the grammarian, and Callimachus, the poet. He left Athens at the invitation of Ptolemy Evergetes, who placed him over the library at Alexandria. Here he continued till the reign of Ptolemy Epiphanes. He died at the age of eighty, about B. C. 196, of voluntary starvation, having lost his sight, and being tired of life. He was a man of veryextensive learning : we shall first speak of him as a geometer and astronomer.
  It is supposed that Eratosthenes suggested to Ptolemy Evergetes the construction of the large armillae or fixed circular instruments which were long in use at Alexandria : but only because it is difficult to imagine to whom else they are to be assigned; for Ptolemy (the astronomer), though he mentions them, and incidentally their antiquity, does not state to whom they were due. In these circles each degree was divided into six parts. We know of no observations of Eratosthenes in which they were probably employed, except those which led him to the obliquity of the ecliptic, which lie must have made to be 23° 51' 2''; for he states the distance of the tropics to be eleven times the eighty-third part of the circumference. This was a good observation for the time : Ptolemy (the astronomer) was content with it, and, according to him, Hipparchus used no other. Of his measure of the earth we shall presently speak. According to Nicomachus, he was the inventor of the koskinon or Cribrum Arithmeticum, as it has since been called, being the well known method of detecting the prime numbers by writing down all odd numbers which do net end with 5. and stribingent successively the multiples of each, one after the other, so that only prime numbers remain.
  We still possess under the name of Eratosthenes a work, entitled Katasterismoi, giving a slight account of the constellations, their fabulous history, and the stars in them. It is, however, acknowledged on all hands that this is not a work of Eratosthenes. It has been shewn by Bernhardy in his Eratosthenica (Berlin, 1822, 8vo.) to be a miserable compilation made by some Greek grammarian from the Poeticon Astronomiicon of Hyginus. This book was printed (Gr.) in Dr. Fell's, or the Oxford, edition of Aratus, 1762, 8vo.; again (Gr. Lat.) by Thomas Gale, in the Opuscula Physica et Ethica, Amsterdam, 1688, 8vo.; also by Schaubach, with notes by Heyne, Gottingen, 1795, 8vo.; also by F. K. Matthiae, in his Aratus, Frankfort, 1817, 8vo., and more recently by A. Westermann, in his Scriptores Historiae poeticae Graeci. The short comment on Aratus, attributed to Eratosthenes, and first printed by Peter Victorius, and afterwards by Petavius in his Uranologion (1630, fol.), is also named in the title of both as being attributed to Hipparchus as well as to Eratosthenes. Petavius remarks (says Fabricius) that it can be attributed to neither; for IIipparchus is mentioned by name, also the month of July, also the barbarous word aletropodion for Orion, which the more recent Greeks never used : these reasons do not help each other, for the second shews the work to be posterior to Eratosthenes, if anything, and the third shows it to be prior. But on looking into this comment we find that aletropodion and July (and also August) are all mentioned in one sentence, which is evidently (1) an interpolation; and the constellation Orion is frequently mentioned under that name. But Hipparchus certainly is mentioned.
  The only other writing of Eratosthenes which remains is a letter to Ptolemy on the duplication of the cube, for the mechanical performance of which he had contrived an instrument, of which he seems to contemplate actual use in measuring the contents of vessels, &c. He seems to say that he has had his method engraved in some temple or public building, with some verses which lie adds. Eutocius has preserved this letter in his comment on book ii. prop. 2 of the sphere and cylinder of Archimedes.
  The greatest work of Eratosthenes, and that which must always make his name conspicuous in scientific history, is the attempt which he made to measure the magnitude of the earth,--in which he brought forward and used the method which is employed to this day. Whether or no he was successful cannot be told, as we shall see; but it is not the less true that he was the originator of the process by which we now know, very nearly indeed, the magnitude of our own planet. Delambre says that if it were he who advised the erection of the circular instruments above alluded to, he must be considered as the founder of astronomy : to which it may be added that he was the founder of geodesy, without any if in the case. The number of ancient writers who have alluded to this remarkable operation (which seems to have obtained its full measure of fame) is very great, and we shall not attempt to combine their remarks or surmises : it is enough to say that the most distinct account, and one of the earliest, is found in the remaining work of Cleomedes.
  At Syene, in Upper Egypt, which is supposed to be the same as, or near to, the town of Assouan (Lat. 24° 10' N., Long. 32° 59' E. of Greenwich), Eratosthenes was told (that he observed is very doubtful), that deep wells were enlightened to the bottom on the day of the summer solstice, and that vertical objects cast no shadows. He concluded, therefore, that Sycne was on the tropic, and its latitude equal to the obliquity of the ecliptic, which, as we have seen, He had determined : he presumed that it was in the same longitude as Alexandria, in which he was out about 3°, which is not enough to produce what would at that time have been a sensible error. By observations made at Alexandria, he determined the zenith of that place to be distant by the fiftieth part of the circumference from the solstice, which was equivalent to saying that the arc of the meridian between the two places is 7° 12'. Cleomedes says that he used the skaphe, or hemispherical dial of Berosus, in the determination of this latitude. Delambre rejects the idea with infinite scorn, and pronounces Cleomedes unworthy of credit; and, indeed, it is not easy to see why Eratosthenes should have rejected the gnomon and the large circular instruments, unless, perhaps, for the following reason : There is a sentence of Cleomedes which seems to imply that the disappearance of the shadows at Syene on the day of the summer solstice was noticed to take place for 300 stadia every way round Syene. If Eratosthenes took his report about the phenomenon (and we have no evidence that he went to Syene himself) from those who could give no better account than this, we may easily understand why he would think the skaphe quite accurate enough to observe with at his own end of the arc, since the other end of it was uncertain by as much as 300 stadia. He gives 5000 stadia for the distance from Alexandriato Syene, and this round number seems further to justify us in concluding that he thought the process to be as rough as in truth it was. Martianus Capella states that he obtained this distance from the measures made by order of the Ptolemies (which had been commenced by Alexander); this writer then implies that Eratosthenes did not go to Syene himself.
  The result is 250,000 stadia for the circumference of the earth, which Eratosthenes altered into 252,000, that his result might give an exact number of stadia for the degree, namely, 700; this, of course, should have been 694 4/9. Pliny (H. N. ii. 108) calls this 31,500 Roman miles, and therefore supposes the stadium to be the eighth part of a Roman mile, or takes for granted that Eratosthenes used the Olympic stadium. It is likely enough that the Ptolemies naturalized this stadium in Egypt; but, nevertheless, it is not unlikely that an Egyptian stadium was employed. If we assume the Olympic stadium (202 1/4 yards), the degree of Eratosthenes is more than 79 miles, upwards of 10 miles (2) too great. Nothing is known of any Egyptian stadium. Pliny (l. c.) asserts that Hipparchus, but for what reason he does not say, wanted to add 25,000 stadia to the circumference as found by Eratosthenes.
  According to Plutarch (de Plac. Phil. ii. 31), Eratosthenes made the sun to be 804 millions of stadia from the earth, and the moon 780,000; according to Macrobius (in Somn. Scip. i. 20), he made the diameter of the sun to be 27 times that of the earth. (Weidler, Hist. Astron. ; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. iv.; Delambre, Hist. de l'Astron. Anc. ; Petavius, Uranologion.)
  With regard to the other merits of Eratosthenes, we must first of all mention what he did for geography, which was closely connected with his mathematical pursuits. It was Eratosthenes who raised geography to the rank of a science; for, previous to his time, it seems to have consisted, more or less, of a mass of information scattered in books of travel, descriptions of particular countries, and the like. All these treasures were accessible to Eratosthenes in the libraries of Alexandria; and he made the most profitable use of them, by collecting the scattered materials, and uniting them into an organic system of geography in his comprehensive work entitled Geographika, or as it is sometimes, but erroneously, called, geographoumena or geographia. (Strab. i., ii., xv.; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. iv. 259, 284, 310.) It consisted of three books, the first of which, forming a sort of introduction, contained a critical review of the labours of his predecessors from the earliest to his own times, and investigations concerning the form and nature of the earth, which, according to him, was an immovable globe, on the surface of which traces of a series of great revolutions were still visible. He conceived that in one of these revolutions the Mediterranean had acquired its present form; for, according to him, it was at one time a large lake covering portions of the adjacent countries of Asia and Libya, until a passage was forced open by which it entered into communication with the ocean in the west. The second book contained what is now called mathematical geography. His attempt to measure the magnitude of the earth has been spoken of above. The third book contained the political geography, and gave descriptions of the various countries, derived from the works of earlier travellers and geographers. In order to be able to determine the accurate site of each place, he drew a line parallel with the equator, running from the pillars of Heracles to the extreme east of Asia, and dividing the whole of the inhabited earth into two halves. Connected with this work was a new map of the earth, in which towns, mountains, rivers, lakes, and climates were marked according to his own improved measurements. This important work of Eratosthenes forms an epoch in the history of ancient geography; but unfortunately it is lost, and all that has survived consists in fragments quoted by later geographers and historians, such as Polybius, Strabo, Marcianus, Pliny, and others, who often judge of him unfavourably, and controvert his statements; while it can be proved that, in a great many passages, they adopt his opinions without mentioning his name. Marcianus charges Eratosthenes with having copied the substance of the work of Timosthenes on Ports (peri Dimenon), to which he added but very little of his own. This charge may be well-founded, but cannot have diminished the value of the work of Eratosthenes, in which that of Timosthenes can have formed only a very small portion. It seems to have been the very overwhelming importance of the geography of Eratosthenes that called forth a number of opponents, among whom we meet with the names of Polemon, Hipparchus, Polybius, Serapion, and Marcianus of Heracleia. The fragments of this work were first collected by L. Ancher, Diatribe in Fragm. Geograph. Eratosth., Gottingen, 1770, 4to., and afterwards by G. C. F. Seidel, Eratosth. Geograph. Fragm. Gottingen, 1789, 8vo. The best collection is that of Bernhardy in his Eratosthenica.
  Another work of a somewhat similar nature, entitled Hermes (perhaps the same as the Katasterismoi mentioned above), was written in verse and treated of the form of the earth, its temperature, the different zones, the constellations, and the like. (Bernhardy, Eratosth.) Another poem, Erigone, is mentioned with great commendation by Longinus. (De Sublim. 33. 5; comp. Schol. ad Hom. Il. x. 29; Bernhardy, l.c.)
  Eratosthenes distinguished himself also as a philosopher, historian, and grammarian. His acquirements as a philosopher are attested by the works which are attributed to him, though we may not believe that all the philosophical works which bore his name were really his productions. It is, however, certain that he wrote on subjects of moral philosophy, e. g. a work Peri Agathon kai Kakon (Harpocrat. s. v. harmostai; Clem. Alex. Strom. iv.), another Peri Plouton kai Penias (Diog. Laert. ix. 66; Plut. Themist. 27), which some believe to have been only a portion of the preceding work, just as a third Peri Alupias, which is mentioned by Suidas. Some other works, on the other hand, such as Peri ton kata Philosophian Haireseon, Meletai, and Dialogoi, are believed to have been erroneously attributed to him. Athenaeus mentions a work of Eratosthenes entitled Arsinoe (vii.), Epistles (x.), one Epistle addressed to the Lacedaemonian Agetor (xi.), and lastly, a work called Ariston, after his teacher in philosophy. (vii.)
  His historical productions are closely connected with his mathematical pursuits. He is said to have written on the expedition of Alexaxander the Great (Plut. Alex. 3, 31, &c.; Arrian, Anab. v. 5.3); but the statements quoted from it belonged in all probability to his geographical or chronological work. Another on the history of the Galatians (Galatika), of which the 33rd book is quoted by Stephanus of Byzantium (s. v. Hudrela), was undoubtedly the work of another Eratosthenes. (Schmidt, de Gall. Exped.; Bernhardy, l. c.) There was, however, a very important chronological work, entitled Chronographia or Chronographion, which was unquestionably the production of our Eratosthenes. In it the author endeavoured to fix the dates of all the important events in literary as well as political history. (Harpocrat. s. v. Euenos; Dionys. i. 46; Clem. Alex. Strong. i.) This work, of which some fragments are still extant, formed a comprehensive chronological history, and appears to have been held in high esteem by the ancients. Apollodorus and Eusebius made great use of it, and Syncellus has preserved from it a list of 38 kings of the Egyptian Thebes. (Comp. Bernhardy, l. c.) Another work, likewise of a chronological kind, was the Olumpionikai. (Diog. Laert. viii. 51; Athen. iv.; Schol. ad Eurip. Hecub. 569.) It contained a chronological list of the victors in the Olympic games, and other things connected with them. (Bernhardy)
  Among his grammatical works we notice that On the Old Attic Comedy (Peri tes Archaias Komoidias), sometimes simply Peri Komoidias, or Komoidion), a very extensive work, of which the twelfth book is quoted. It contained everything that was necessary to arrive at a perfect understanding of those poetical productions. In the first part of the work, Eratosthenes appears to have entered even into discussions concerning the structure of theatres, the whole scenic apparatus, the actors, their costumes, declamation, and the like; and it is therefore not improbable that the Architektonikos (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 567, iii. 232) and skeuographikos (Pollux, x. 1), which are mentioned as separate works, were only portions of the first part of his work on the Old Comedy. After this general introduction, Eratosthenes discussed the works of the principal comic poets themselves, such as Aristophanes, Cratinus, Eupolis, Pherecrates, and others, entering into detailed criticism, and giving explanations both of their language and the subjects of their comedies. We still possess a considerable number of fragments of this work (collected in Bernhardy, l. c.); and from what he says about Aristophanes, it is evident that his judgment was as sound as his information was extensive. He is further said to have been engaged in the criticism and explanation of the Homeric poems, and to have written on the life and productions of that poet; but nothing certain is known in this respect. For more complete lists of the works attributed to Eratosthenes, see the Eratosthenica of Bernhardy.
(1) These are the only months mentioned in the comment : Orion, which the vulgar call aletropodion, first rises in July, and Procyon in August. It is not stated anywhere else in what month a star first rises, nor is any other month mentioned at all. Probably some interpolator, subsequent to Augustus, introduced this sentence rather to fix the astronomical characterof the new named months in his own or his reader's mind, than to give information on the constellations. It also appears that aletropodion was the word which was used by the vullgar (idiotais) for Orion, after July and August had received their imperial names.
(2) This is not so much as the error of Fernel's measure, which so many historians, by assuming him, contrary to his own statement, to have used the Parisian foot, have supposed to have been, accidentally, very correct.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Agroetas, 3rd/2nd cent. B.C.


Acesander (Akesandros) wrote a history of Cyrene (Schol. ad Apoll. iv. 1561, 1750; ad Pind. Pyth. iv. init. 57). Plutarch (Symp. v. 2.8) speaks of a work of his respecting Libya (peri Aibues), which may probably be the same work as the history of Cyrene. The time at which he lived is unknown.


Jason (Iason), of Cyrene, an Hellenist Jew, wrote the history of the Maccabees, and of the wars of the Jews against Antiochus Epiphanes and his son Eupator, in five books. He must therefore have written after B. C. 162. The second book of Maccabees, in the Apocrypha, with the exception of the two spurious epistles at the beginning, is an abridgement of the work of Jason. (2 Maccab. ii. 21-24)


Aristippus the Younger, 4th cent. B.C.

Grandson of Aristippus.

Lacydes, 3rd cent. BC

Lacydes. A philosopher of Cyrene, who filled the chair of the Platonic School at Athens after the death of Arcesilaus. He assumed this office about the year B.C. 245. He is said to have been the founder of a new school, not because he introduced any new doctrines, but because he changed the place of instruction, and held his school in the garden of Attalus, still, however, within the limits of the Academic grove. He died of a palsy occasioned by excessive drinking about B.C. 215 ( Diog. Laert.iv. 59 foll.; Aelian, V.H. ii. 41).

Cyrenaic School of Philosophy

The Cyrenaic School of Philosophy, so called from the city of Cyrene, in which it was founded, flourished from about 400 to about 300 B.C., and had for its most distinctive tenet Hedonism, or the doctrine that pleasure is the chief good. The school is generally said to derive its doctrines from Socrates on the one hand and from the sophist, Protagoras, on the other. From Socrates, by a perversion of the doctrine that happiness is the chief good, it derived the doctrine of the supremacy of pleasure, while from Protagoras it derived its relativistic theory of knowledge. Aristippus (flourished c. 400 B.C.) was the founder of the school, and counted among his followers his daughter Arete and his grandson Aristippus the Younger. The Cyrenaics started their philosophical inquiry by agreeing with Protagoras that all knowledge is relative. That is true, they said, which seems to be true; of things in themselves we can know nothing. From this they were led to maintain that we can know only our feelings, or the impression which things produce upon us. Transferring this theory of knowledge to the discussion of the problem of conduct, and assuming, as has been said, the Socratic doctrine that the chief aim of conduct is happiness, they concluded that happiness is to be attained by the production of pleasurable feelings and the avoidance of painful ones. Pleasure, therefore, is the chief aim in life. The good man is he who obtains or strives to obtain the maximum of pleasure and the minimum of pain. Virtue is not good in itself; it is good only as a means to obtain pleasure. This last point raises the question: What did the Cyrenaics really mean by pleasure? They were certainly sensists, yet it is not entirely certain that by pleasure they meant mere sensuous pleasure. They speak of a hierarchy of pleasures, in which the pleasures of the body are subordinated to virtue, culture, knowledge, artistic enjoyment, which belong to the higher nature of man. Again, some of the later Cyrenaics reduced pleasure to a mere negative state, painlessness; and others, later still, substituted for pleasure "cheerfulness and indifference". The truth seems to be that in this, as in many other instances, sensism was satisfied with a superficial and loosely-jointed system. There was no consistency in the Cyrenaic theory of conduct; probably none was looked for. Indeed, in spite of the example of the founders of the school, the later Cyrenaics fell far below the level of what was expected from philosophers, even in Greece, and their doctrine came to be merely a set of maxims to justify the careless manner of living of men whose chief aim in life was a pleasant time. But, taken at its best, the Cyrenaic philosophy can hardly justify its claim to be considered an ethical System at all. For good and evil it substituted the pleasant and the painful, without reference, direct or indirect, to obligation or duty. In some points of doctrine the school descends to the commonplace, as when it justifies obedience to law by remarking that the observance of the law of the land leads to the avoidance of punishment, and that one should act honestly because one thereby increases the sum of pleasure. The later Cyrenaics made common cause with the Epicureans. Indeed, the difference between the two schools was one of details, not of fundamental principles.

William Turner, ed.
Transcribed by: Rick McCarty
This text is cited Oct 2005 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.


Aristippus (Aristippos), son of Aritades, born at Cyrene, and founder of the Cyrenaic School of Philosophy, came over to Greece to be present at the Olympic games, where he fell in with Ischomachus the agriculturist (whose praises are the subject of Xenophon's Occonomicus), and by his description was filled with so ardent a desire to see Socrates, that he went to Athens for the purpose (Plut. de Curios. 2), and remained with him almost up to the time of his execution, B. C. 399. Diodorus (xv. 76) gives B. C. 366 as the date of Aristippus, which agrees very well with the facts which we know about him, and with the statement (Schol. ad Aristoph. Plut. 179), that Lais, the courtezan with whom he was intimate, was born B. C. 421.
  Though a disciple of Socrates, he wandered both in principle and practice very far from the teaching and example of his great master. He was luxurious in his mode of living; he indulged in sensual gratifications, and the society of the notorious Lais; he took money for his teaching (being the first of the disciples of Socrates who did so, Diog. Laert. ii. 65), and avowed to his instructor that he resided in a foreign land in order to escape the trouble of mixing in the politics of his native city (Xen. Mlem. ii. 1). He passed part of his life at the court of Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, and is also said to have been taken prisoner by Artaphernes, the satrap who drove the Spartans from Rhodes B. C. 396 (Diod. Sic. xiv. 79). He appears, however, at last to have returned to Cyrene, and there he spent his old age. The anecdotes which are told of him, and of which we find a most tedious number in Diogenes Laertius (ii. 65, &c.), by no means give us the notion of a person who was the mere slave of his passions, but rather of one who took a pride in extracting enjoyment from all circumstances of every kind, and in controlling adversity and prosperity alike. They illustrate and confirm the two statements of Horace (Ep. i. 1. 18), that to observe the precepts of Aristippus is "mihi res, non me rebus subjungere", and (i. 17. 23) that, "omnis Aristippum deceit color et status et res". Thus when reproached for his love of bodily indulgences, he answered, that there was no shame in enjoying them, but that it would be disgraceful if he could not at any time give them up. When Dionysius, provoked at some of his remarks, ordered him to take the lowest place at table, he said, "You wish to dignify the seat". Whether he was prisoner to a satrap, or grossly insulted and even spit upon by a tyrant, or enjoying the pleasures of a banquet, or reviled for faithlessness to Socrates by his fellow-pupils, he maintained the same calm temper. To Xenophon and Plato he was very obnoxious, as we see from the Memorabilia, where he maintains an odious discussion against Socrates in defence of voluptuous enjoyment, and from the Phaedo, where his absence at the death of Socrates, though he was only at Aegina, 200 stadia from Athens, is doubtless mentioned as a reproach. Aristotle, too, calls him a sophist (Metaphys. ii. 2), and notices a story of Plato speaking to him with rather undue vehemence, and of his replying with calmness (Rhet. ii. 23). He imparted his doctrine to his daughter Arete, by whom it was communicated to her son, the younger Aristippus (hence called Metrodidaktos), and by him it is said to have been reduced to a system. Laertius, on the authority of Sotion (B. C. 205) and Panactius (B. C. 143), gives a long list of books whose authorship is ascribed to Aristippus, though he also says that Sosicrates of Rhodes (B. C. 255) states, that he wrote nothing. Among these are treatises Peri Paideias, Peri Aretes, Peri Tuches, and many others. Some epistles attributed to him are [p. 299] deservedly rejected as forgeries by Bentley. One of these is to Arete, and its spuriousness is proved, among other arguments, by the occurrence in it of the name of a city near Cyrene, Berenike, which must have been given by the Macedonians, in whose dialect b stands for ph, so that the name is equivalent to Pherenike, the victorious.
We shall now give a short view of the leading doctrines of the earlier Cyrenaic school in general, though it is not to be understood that the system was wholly or even chiefly drawn up by the elder Aristippus; but, as it is impossible from the loss of contemporary documents to separate the parts which belong to each of the Cyrenaic philosophers, it is better here to combine them all. From the fact pointed out by Ritter, that Aristotle chooses Eudoxus rather than Aristippus as the representative of the doctrine that Pleasure is the summum bonum (Eth. Nic. x. 2), it seems probable that but little of the Cyrenaic system is due to the founder of the school.
  The Cyrenaics despised Physics, and limited their inquiries to Ethics, though they included under that term a much wider range of science than can fairly be reckoned as belonging to it. So, too, Aristotle accuses Aristippus of neglecting mathematics, as a study not concerned with good and evil, which, he said, are the objects even of the carpenter and tanner (Metaphys. ii. 2). They divided Philosophy into five parts, viz. the study of (1) Objects of Desire and Aversion, (2) Feelings and Affections, (3) Actions, (4) Causes, (5) Proofs. Of these (4) is clearly connected with physics, and (5) with logic.

1. The first of the five divisions of science is the only one in which the Cyrenaic view is connected with the Socratic. Socrates considered happiness (i. e. the enjoyment of a well-ordered mind) to be the aim of all men, and Aristippus, taking up this position, pronounced pleasure the chief good, and pain the chief evil; in proof of which he referred to the natural feelings of men, children, and animals; but he wished the mind to preserve its authority in the midst of pleasure. Desire he could not admit into his system, as it subjects men to hope and fear : the telos of human life was momentary pleasure (monochronos, merike). For the Present only is ours, the Past is gone, and the Future uncertain; present happiness therefore is to be sought, and not eudaimonia, which is only the sum of a number of happy states, just as he considered life in general the sum of particular states of the soul. In this point the Cyrenaics were opposed to the Epicureans. All pleasures were held equal, though they might admit of a difference in the degree of their purity. So that a man ought never to covet more than he possesses, and should never allow himself to be overcome by sensual enjoyment. It is plain that, even with these concessions, the Cyrenaic system destroys all moral unity, by proposing to a man as many separate tele as his life contains moments.
2. The next point is to determine what is pleasure and what pain. Both are positive, i. e. pleasure is not the gratification of a want, nor does the absence of pleasure equal pain. The absence of either is a mere negative inactive state, and both pleasure and pain are motions of the soul (en kinesei). Pain was defined to be a violent, pleasure a moderate motion,--the first being compared to the sea in a storm, the second to the sea under a light breeze, the intermediate state of no-pleasure and no-pain to a calm--a simile not quite apposite, since a calm is not the middle state between a storm and a gentle breeze. In this denial of pleasure as a state of rest, we find Aristippus again opposed to Epicurus.
3. Actions are in themselves morally indifferent, the only question for us to consider being their result; and law and custom are the only authorities which make an action good or bad. This monstrous dogma was a little qualified by the statement, that the advantages of injustice are slight; but we cannot agree with Brucker (Hist. Crit. ii. 2), that it is not clear whether the Cyrenaics meant the law of nature or of men. For Laertius says expressly, ho spoudaios ouden atopon praxei dia tas epikeimenas zemias kai doxas, and to suppose a law of nature would be to destroy the whole Cyrenaic system. Whatever conduces to pleasure, is virtue--a definition which of course includes bodily exercise; but they seem to have conceded to Socrates, that the mind has the greatest share in virtue. We are told that they preferred bodily to mental pleasure; but this statement must be qualified, as they did not even confine their pleasures to selfish gratification, but admitted the welfare of the state as a legitimate source of happiness, and bodily pleasure itself they valued for the sake of the mental state resulting from it.
4. There is no universality in human conceptions ; the senses are the only avenues of knowledge, and even these admit a very limited range of information. For the Cyrenaics said, that men could agree neither in judgments nor notions, in nothing, in fact, but names. We have all certain sensations, which we call white or sweet ; but whether the sensation which A calls white is similar to that which B calls by that name, we cannot tell; for by the common term white every man denotes a distinct object. Of the causes which produce these sensations we are quite ignorant ; and from all this we come to the doctrine of modern philological metaphysics, that truth is what each man troweth. All states of mind are motions; nothing exists but states of mind, and they are not the same to all men. True wisdom consists therefore in transforming disagreeable into agreeable sensations.
5. As to the Cyrenaic doctrine of proofs, no evidence remains.

In many of these opinions we recognize the happy, careless, selfish disposition which characterized their author; and the system resembles in most points those of Heracleitus and Protagoras, as given in Plato's Theaetetus. The doctrines that a subject only knows objects through the prism of the impression which he receives, and that man is the measure of all things, are stated or implied in the Cyrenaic system, and lead at once to the consequence, that what we call reality is appearance; so that the whole fabric of human knowledge becomes a fantastic picture. The principle on which all this rests, viz. that knowledge [p. 300] is sensation, is the foundation of Locke's modern ideology, though he did not perceive its connexion with the consequences to which it led the Cyrenaics. To revive these was reserved for Hume.
  The ancient authorities on this subject are Diogenes Laertius, ii. 65, &c.; Sextus Empiricus, adv. Math. vii. 11; the places in Xenophon and Aristotle already referred to; Cic. Tusc. iii. 13, 22, Acad. iv. 7, 46; Euseb. Praep. Evang. xiv. 18, &c.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Arete, daughter of Aristippus

Arete, daughter of Aristippus, the founder of the Cyrenaic school of philosophy. She was instructed by him in the principles of his system, which she transmitted to her son, Aristippus metrodidaktos, to whom Ritter (Gesch. der Phil. vii. 1. 3) ascribes the formal completion of the earlier Cyrenaic doctrine. We are told by Diogenes Laertius (ii. 72), that her father taught her contentment and moderation, both by precept and practice, and the same duties are insisted on in an epistle now extant, said to be addressed to her by him. This letter is certainly spurious, although Laertius mentions among the writings of Aristippus an epistole pros Areten ten Dugatera. Whether the letter to which he refers was the same as that which we possess, is uncertain ; but the fact that it was extant in his time would not prove its authenticity. Aelian (H. A. iii. 40) calls Arete the sister of Aristippus, but this assertion is opposed to the statement of all other writers; and, besides, the passage which contains it is corrupt (Diog. Laert. ii. 72, 86)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Anniceris, 330-270 BC

Anniceris (Annikeris), a Cyrenaic philosophe, of whom the ancients have left us very vague and contradictory accounts. He is said to have ransomed Plato for 20 minae from Dionysius of Syracuse (Diog. Laert. ii. 86); but we read, on the other hand, that he was a disciple of Paraebates, whose succession from Aristippus in the order of discipleship was as follows: -Aristippus, Arete, Aristippus the younger, Antipater, Epitimedes, Paraebates. Plato, however, was contemporary with the first Aristippus, and therefore one of the above accounts of Anniceris must be false. Hence Menage on Laertius and Kuster on Suidas have supposed that there were two philosophers of the name of Anniceris, the one contemporary with Plato, the other with Alexander the Great. If so, the latter is the one of whose system some notices have reached us, and who forms a link between the Cyrenaic and Epicurean schools. He was opposed to Epicurus in two points: (1) he denied that pleasure was merely the absence of pain, for if so death would be a pleasure; and (2) he attributed to every separate act a distinct object, maintaining that there was no general end of human life. In both these statements he reasserted the principle of Aristippus. But he differed from Aristippus, inasmuch as he allowed that friendship, patriotism, and similar virtues, were good in themselves; saying that the wise man will derive pleasure from such qualities, even though they cause him occasional trouble, and that a friend should be chosen not only for our own need, but for kindness and natural affection. Again he denied that reason (ho logos) alone can secure us from error, maintaining that habit (anethizesthai) was also necessary (Suidas and Diog. Laert. l. c.; Clem. Alex. Strom. ii.). Aelian (V. H. ii. 27) says, that Anniceris (probably the elder of the two) was distinguished for his skill as a charioteer.


Antipater (Antipatros), of Cyrene, one of the disciples of Aristippus, the founder of the Cyrenaic school of philosophy. (Diog. Laert. ii. 86.) According to Cicero (Tuscul. v. 38) he was blind, but knew how to console himself by saying, that darkness was not without its pleasures.

Carneades, 3rd/2nd c. BC

Carneades (Karneades). A philosopher of Cyrene in Africa, founder of a sect called the Third or New Academy. The Athenians sent him with Diogenes the Stoic, and Critolaus the Peripatetic, as ambassador to Rome, B.C. 155. Carneades excelled in the vehement and rapid, Critolaus in the correct and elegant, and Diogenes in the simple and modest, kind of eloquence. Carneades, in particular, attracted the attention of his new anditory by the subtlety of his reasoning and the fluency of his language. Before Galba and Cato the Censor, he harangued with great variety of thought and copiousness of diction in praise of justice. The next day, to establish his doctrine of the uncertainty of human knowledge, he undertook to refute all his former arguments. Many were captivated by his eloquence; but Cato , apprehensive lest the Roman youth should lose their military character in the pursuit of Grecian learning, persuaded the Senate to send back these philosophers, without delay, to their own schools.
  Carneades obtained such high reputation at home that other philosophers, when they had dismissed their scholars, frequently came to hear him. It was the doctrine of the New Academy that the senses, the understanding, and the imagination frequently deceive us, and therefore can not be infallible judges of truth; but that, from the impression which we perceive to be produced on the mind by means of the senses, we infer appearances of truth or probabilities. He maintained that these do not always correspond to the real nature of things, and that there is no infallible method of determining when they are true or false, and consequently that they afford no certain criterion of truth. Nevertheless, with respect to the conduct of life, Carneades held that probable appearances are a sufficient guide, because it is unreasonable that some degree of credit should not be allowed to those witnesses who commonly give a true report. He maintained that all the knowledge the human mind is capable of attaining is not science, but opinion. He died in B.C. 129. See New Academy.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Carneades (Karneades), the son of Epicomus or Philocomus, was born at Cyrene about the year B. C. 213. He went early to Athens, and attended the lectures of the Stoics, and learnt there logie from Diogenes. His opinions, however, on philosophical subjects differed from those of his master, and he was fond of telling him, "if I reason right, I am satisfied; if wrong, give back the mina," which was the fee for the logic lectures. He was six years old when Chrysippus died, and never had any personal intercourse with him; but he deeply studied his works, and exerted all the energy of a very acute and original mind in their refutation. To this exercise he attributed his own eminence, and often repeated the words:
      ei me gar en Chrusippos, ouk an en ego.
He attached himself as a zealous partizan to the Academy, which had suffered severely from the attacks of the Stoics; and on the death of Hegesinus, he was chosen to preside at the meetings of Academy, and was the fourth in succession from Arcesilaus. His great eloquence and skill in argument revived the glories of his school; and, defending himself in the negative vacancy of asserting nothing (not even that nothing can be asserted), carried on a vigorous war against every position that had been maintained by other sects.
  In the year B. C. 155, when he was fifty-eight years old, he was chosen with Diogenes the Stoic and Critolaus the Peripatetic to go as ambassador to Rome to deprecate the fine of 500 talents which had been imposed on the Athenians for the destruction of Oropus. During his stay at Rome, he attracted great notice from his eloquent declamations on philosophical subjects, and it was here that, in the presence of Cato the Elder, he delivered his famous orations on Justice. The first oration was in commendation of the virtue, and the next day the second was delivered, in which all the arguments of the first were answered, and justice was proved to be not a virtue, but a mere matter of compact for the maintenance of civil society. The honest mind of Cato was shocked at this, and he moved the senate to send the philosopher home to his school, and save the Roman youth from his demoralizinge doctrines.
  Carneades lived twenty-seven years after this at Athens, and died at the advanced age of eighty-five, or (according to Cicero) 90, B. C. 129. He is described as a man of unwearied industry. He was so engrossed in his studies, that he let his hair and nails grow to an immoderate iength, and was so absent at his own table (for he would never dine out), that his servant and concubine, Melissa, was constantly obliged to feed him. In his old age, he suffered from cataract in his eyes, which he bore with great impatience, and was so little resigned to the decay of nature, that he used to ask angrily, if this was the way in which nature undid what she had done, and sometimes expressed a wish to poison himself.
  Carneades left no writings, and all that is known of his lectures is derived from his intimate friend and pupil, Cleitomachus; but so true was he to his own principles of witholding assent, that Cleitomachus confesses he never could ascertain what his master really thought on any subject. He, however, appears to have defended atheism, and consistently enough to have denied that the world was the result of anything but chance. In ethics, which more particularly were the subject of his long and laborious study, he seems to have denied the conformity of the moral ideas with nature. This he particularly insisted on in the second oration on Justice, in which he manifestly wished to convey his own notions on the subject; and he there maintains that ideas of justice are not derived from nature, but that they are purely artificial for purposes of expediency.
  All this, however, was nothing but the special application of his general theory, that man did not possess, and never could possess, any criterion of truth.
  Carneades argued that, if there were a criterion, it must exist either in reason (logos), or sensation (aisthesis), or conception (phantasia). But then reason itself depends on conception, and this again on sensation; and we have no means of judging whether our sensations are true or false, whether they correspond to the objects that produce them, or carry wrong impressions to the mind, producing false conceptions and ideas, and leading reason also into error. Therefore sensation, conception, and reason, are alike disqualified for being the criterion of truth.
  But after all, man must live and act, and must have some rule of practical life; therefore, although it is impossible to pronounce anything as absolutely true, we may yet establish probabilities of various degrees. For, although we cannot say that any given conception or sensation is in itself true, yet some sensations appear to us more true than others, and we must be guided by that which seems the most true. Again, sensations are not single, but generally combined with others,which either confirm or contradict them; and the greater this combination the greater is the probability of that being true which the rest combine to confirm; and the case in which the greatest number of conceptions, each in themselves apparently most true, should combine to affirm that which also in itself appears most true, would present to Carneades the highest probability, and his nearest approach to truth.
  But practical life needed no such rule as this, and it is difficult to conceive a system more barren of all help to man than that of Carneades. It is not, indeed, probable that he aspired to any such designs of benefiting mankind, or to anything beyond his own celebrity as an acute reasoner and an eloquent speaker. As such he represented the spirit of an age when philosophy was fast losing the earnest and serious spirit of the earlier schools, and was degenerating to mere purposes of rhetorical display. (Diog. Laert. iv. 62-66; Orelli, Onom. Tull. ii., where are given all the passages of Cicero, in which Carneades is mentioned; Sextus Empiricus, Adv. Math. vii. 159)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

New Academy, also called the Third Academy. The form which the Academic philosophy of Plato received at the hands of Carneades. (See Carneades.) It was largely skeptical in its teaching, denying the possibility of aiming at absolute truth or at any certain criterion of truth. Carneades argued that if there were any such criterion it must exist in reason (logos) or sensation (aisthesis) or conception (phantasia); but as reason depends on conception and this in turn on sensation, and as we have no means of deciding whether our sensations really correspond to the objects that produce them, the basis of all knowledge is always uncertain. Hence, all that we can attain to is a high degree of probability, which we must accept as the nearest possible approximation to the truth. The New Academy teaching is in the nature of modern agnosticism, and represents the spirit of an age when religion was decaying, and philosophy itself, losing its earnest and serious spirit, was becoming merely a vehicle for rhetoric and dialectical ingenuity. Cicero's speculative philosophy was in the main in accord with the teachings of Carneades, looking rather to the probable (illud probabile) than to certain truth. See his Academica.


Aristoxenus (Aristoxenos), a Cyrenaic philosopher, who appears not to have been distinguished for anything except his gluttony, whence he derived the surname of kolen. (Athen. i.; Suid. s. v. Aristoxenos)


Hegesias, a Cyrenaic philosopher, said by Diogenes Laertius (ii. 86, &c.) to have been the disciple of Paraebates. He was the fellow-student of Anniceris, from whom, however, he differed by presenting in its most hateful form the system which Anniceris softened and improved. He followed Aristippus in considering pleasure the object of man's desire; but, being probably of a morose and discontented turn of mind, the view which he took of human life was of the gloomiest character, and his practical inferences from the Cyrenaic principles were destructive alike to goodness and happiness. The latter he said could not be the aim of man, because it is not attainable, and therefore concluded that the wise man's only object should be to free himself from inconvenience, thereby reducing the whole of human life to mere sensual pleasure. Since, too, every man is sufficient to himself, all external goods were rejected as not being true sources of pleasure, and therefore all the domestic and benevolent affections. Hence the sage ought to regard nothing but himself; action is quite indifferent; and if action, so also is life, which, therefore, is in no way more desirable than death. This statement (ten te zoen te kai ton thanaton haireton) is, however, less strong than that of Cicero (Tusc. i. 34), who tells us that Hegesias wrote a book called apokarteron, in which a man who has resolved to starve himself is introduced as representing to his friends that death is actually more to be desired than life, and that the gloomy descriptions of human misery which this work contained were so overpowering, that they drove many persons to commit suicide, in consequence of which the author received the surname of Peisithanatos. This book was published at Alexandria, where he was, in consequence, forbidden to teach by king Ptolemy. The date of Hegesias is unknown, though Ritter thinks that he was contemporaneous with Epicurus. (Geschichte der Philosophie, viii. 1, 3; see also Val. Max. viii. 9.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



Callimachus was born in Cyrene in c.310, and moved to Alexandria, where he lived at the court of king Ptolemy II Philadelphus, a great patron of the arts. Here, Callimachus innovated poetry, and it is not much exaggerated to state that it was at Alexandria that literature as we know it was invented: quite useless but entertaining. Callimachus' contribution consisted of no less than 800 books, but almost everything is lost, including his Pinakes, a classification of Greek literature in 120 books. However, we can reconstruct his Origins (of several religious rituals), Iambic poems, a short epic called Hekale, and six Hymns to several gods. In these works, Callimachus presents himself as a scholar who delights in surprising his reader with unexpected turns, learned literary allusions, and technical refinement and sophistication. Among his students were Apollonius of Rhodes and Eratosthenes of Cyrene.

This text is cited July 2003 from the Livius Ancient History Website URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks.

Callimachus (Kallimachos), one of the most celebrated Alexandrine grammarians and poets, was, according to Suidas, a son of Battus and Mesatme, and belonged to the celebrated family of the Battiadae at Cyrene, whence Ovid (1b. 53) and others call him simply Battiades (Comp. Strab. xvii.). He was a disciple of the grammarian Hermocrates, and afterwards taught at Eleusis, a suburb of Alexandria. He was highly esteemed by Ptolemy Philadelphus, who invited him to a place in the Museum (Suid.; Strab. xvii.). Callimachus was still alive in the reign of Ptolemy Euergetes, the successor of Philadelphus (Schol. ad Callim. Hymn. ii. 26). It was formerly believed, but is now established as an historical fact, that Callimachus was chief librarian of the famous library of Alexandria. This fact leads us to the conclusion, that he was the successor of Zenodotus, and that he held this office from about B. C. 260 until his death about B. C. 240. This calculation agrees with the statement of A. Gellius (xvii. 21), that Callimachus lived shortly before the first Punic war. He was married to a daughter of Euphrates of Syracuse, and had a sister Megatime, who was married to Stasenorus, and a son Callimachus, who is distinguished from his uncle by being called the younger, and is called by Suidas the author of an epic poem Peri neson.
  Callimachus was one of the most distinguished grammarians, critics, and poets of the Alexandrine period, and his celebrity surpassed that of nearly all the other Alexandrine scholars and poets. Several of the most distinguished men of that period, such as his successor Eratosthenes, Philostephanus, Aristophanes of Byzantium, Apollonius Rhodius, Ister, and Hermippus, were among his pupils. Callimachus was one of the most fertile writers of antiquity, and if the number in Suidas be correct, he wrote 800 works though we may take it for granted that most of them were not of great extent, if he followed his own maxim, that a great book was equal to a great evil (Athen. iii.). The number of his works of which the titles or fragments are known to us, amounts to upwards of forty. But what we possess is very little, and consists principally of poetical productions, apparently the least valuable of all his works, since Callimachus, notwithstanding the reputation he enjoyed for his poems, was not a man of real poetical talent: labour and learning are with him the substitutes for poetic genius and talent. His prose works, on the other hand, which would have furnished us with some highly important information concerning ancient mythology, history, literature, &c., are completely lost.
The poetical productions of Callimachus still extant are:
1. Hymns, six in number, of which five are written in hexameter verse and in the Ionic dialect, and one, on the bath of Pallas, in distichs and in the Doric dialect. These hymns, which bear greater resemblance to epic than to lyric poetry, are the productions of labour and learning, like most of the poems of that period. Almost every line furnishes some curious mythical information, and it is perhaps not saying too much to assert, that these hymns are more overloaded with learning than any other poetical production of that time. Their style has nothing of the easy flow of genuine poetry, and is evidently studied and laboured. There are some ancient Greek scholia on these hymns, which however have no great merit.
2. Seventy-three epigrams, which belong to the best specimens of this kind of poetry. The high estimation they enjoyed in antiquity is attested by the fact, that Archibius, the grammarian, who lived, at the latest, one generation after Callimachus, wrote a commentary upon them, and that Marianus, in the reign of the emperor Anastasius, wrote a paraphrase of them in iambics. They were incorporated in the Greek Anthology at an early time, and have thus been preserved.
3. Elegies. These are lost with the exception of some fragments, but there are imitations of them by the Roman poets, the most celebrated of which is the "De Coma Berenices" of Catullus. If we may believe the Roman critics, Callimachus was the greatest among the elegiac poets (Quintil. x. 1.53), and Ovid, Propertius, and Catullus took Callimachus for their model in this species of poetry. We have mention of several more poetical productions, but all of them have perished except a few fragments, and however much we may lament their loss on account of the information we might have derived from them, we have very little reason to regret their loss as specimens of poetry. Among them we may mention, 1. The Aitia, an epic poem in four books on the causes of the various mythical stories, religious ceremonies, and other customs. The work is often referred to, and was paraphrased by Marianus; but the paraphrase is lost, and of the original we have only a few fragments. 2. An epic poem entitled Ekale, which was the name of an old woman who had received Theseus hospitably when he went out to fight against the Marathonian bull. This work was likewise paraphrased by Marianus, and we still possess some fragments of the original. The works entitled Galateia and Glaukos were ii all probability likewise epic poems. It appears that there was scarcely any kind of poetry in which Callimachus did not try his strength, for he is said to have written comedies, tragedies, iambic, and choliambic poems. Respecting his poem Ibis see Apollonius Rhodius.
  Of his numerous prose works not one is extant entire, though there were among them some of the highest importance. The one of which the loss is most to be lamented was entitled Pinax pantodapon sungrammaton, or pinakes ton en pasei paideiai dialampsanton kai hon sunegrapsan, in 120 books. This work was the first comprehensive history of Greek literature. It contained, systematically arranged, lists of the authors and their works. The various departments of literature appear to have been classified, so that Callimachus spoke of the comic and tragic poets, of the orators, law-givers, philosophers, &c., in separate books, in which the authors were enumerated in their chronological succession (Athen. ii., vi., xiii., xv.; Diog. Laert. iv. 23, viii. 86). It is natural to suppose that this work was the fruit of his studies in the libraries of Alexandria, and that it mainly recorded such authors as were contained in those libraries. His pupil Aristophanes of Byzantium wrote a commentary upon it (Athen. ix., viii.; Etym. Mag. s. v. Pinax). Among his other prose works we find mentioned the following: 1. Mouseion, which is usually supposed to have treated of the Museum of Alexandria and the scholars connected with it. 2. Peri agonon. 3. Ethnikai onomasiai. 3. Thaumasia or Thaumaton ton eis hapasan ten gen kai topous onton sunagoge, a work similar, though probably much superior, to the one still extant by Antigonus Carystius. 4. Gpomnemata historika. 5. Nomima barbarika. 6. Ktiseis neson kai poleon. 7.Argous oikismoi. 8. Peri anemon. 9. Peri orneon. 10. Sunagoge potamon, or peri ton en oikoumenei potamon, &c., &c. A list of his works is given by Suidas, and a more complete one by Fabricius.
  The first edition of the six hlymns of Callimachus appeared at Florence, probably between 1494 and 1500. It was followed by the Aldine, Venice, 1513, but a better edition, in which some gaps are filled up and the Greek scholia are added, is that of S. Gelenius, Basel, 1532, reprinted at Paris, 1549. A more complete edition than any of the preceding ones is that of H. Stephanus, Paris, 1566, fol. in the collection of "Poetae principes Heroici Carminis". This edition is the basis of the text which from that time has been regarded as the vulgate. A second edition by H. Stephanus (Geneva, 1577) is greatly improved: it contains the Greek scholia, a Latin translation, thirty-three epigrams of Callimachus, and a few fragments of his other works. Henceforth scarcely anything was done for the text, until Th. Graevius undertook a new and comprehensive edition, which was completed by his father J. G. Graevius. It appeared at Utrecht, 1697. It contains the notes of the previous editors, of R. Bentley, and the famous commentary of Ez. Spanheim. This edition is the basis of the one edited by J. A. Ernesti at Leiden, 1761, which contains the whole of the commentary of Graevius' edition, a much improved text, a more complete collection of the fragments, and additioal notes by Hemsterhuis and Ruhnken. Among the subsequent editions we need only mention those of Ch. F.Loesner (Leipzig, 1774), H. F. M. Volzer (Leizig, 1817), and C. F. Blomfield (London, 1815).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Eugamon, 6th cent. BC

Eugamon, (Eugaeon), one of the Cyclic poets. He was a native of Cyrene, and lived about B. C. 568, so that he was a contemporary of Peisistratus, Stesichorus, and Aristeas. His poem, which was intended to be a continuation of the Odyssey, and bore the title of Telegonia, consisted of two books or rhapsodies, and formed the conclusion of the epic cycle. It contained an account of all that happened after the fight of Odysseus with the suitors of Penelope till the death of Odysseus. The substance of the poem, which itself is entirely lost, is preserved in Proclus's Chrestomathia. (Comp. Eustath. ad Hom.) As Eugamon lived at so late a period, it is highly probable that he made use of the productions of earlier poets; and Clemens of Alexandria (Strom. vi.; comp. Euseb. Praep. Evang. x. 12) expressly states that Eugamon incorporated in his Telegonia a whole epic poem of Musaeus, entitled "Thesprotis." Whether the Telegonia ascribed to the Lacedaemonian Cinaethon was an earlier work than that of Eugamon, or whether it was identical with it, is uncertain. The name Telegonia was formed from Telegonus, a son of Odysseus and Circe, who killed his father. (Comp. Bode, Gesch. der Episch. Dichtk.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Geraeus, (Geraios), a poet of Cyrene, who wrote an epigram on the poet Aratus. (Jacobs, Anth. Graec. vol. xiii.)



Damon. Of Cyrene, a Greek author of uncertain date, who wrote a work on the philosophers (peri ton Philosophon, Diog. Laert. i. 40).

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