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Title: Plato and the Other Companions of Sokrates, 3rd ed. Volume I (of 4)
Author: Grote, George, 1794-1871
Language: English
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_The right of Translation is reserved._


In the present Edition, with a view to the distribution into four
volumes, there is a slight transposition of the author's arrangement.
His concluding chapters (XXXVIII., XXXIX.), entitled "Other Companions
of Sokrates," and "Xenophon," are placed in the First Volume, as
chapters III. and IV. By this means each volume is made up of nearly
related subjects, so as to possess a certain amount of unity.

Volume First contains the following subjects:--Speculative Philosophy
in Greece before Sokrates; Growth of Dialectic; Other Companions of
Sokrates; Xenophon; Life of Plato; Platonic Canon; Platonic
Compositions generally; Apology of Sokrates; Kriton; Euthyphron.

Volume Second comprises:--Alkibiades I. and II.; Hippias
Major--Hippias Minor; Hipparchus--Minos; Theages; Erastæ or
Anterastæ--Rivales; Ion; Laches; Charmides; Lysis; Euthydemus;
Menon; Protagoras; Gorgias; Phædon.

Volume Third:--Phædrus--Symposion; Parmenides; Theætetus; Sophistes;
Politikus; Kratylus; Philebus; Menexenus; Kleitophon.

Volume Fourth:--Republic; Timæus and Kritias; Leges and Epinomis;
General Index.

The Volumes may be obtained separately.


The present work is intended as a sequel and supplement to my History
of Greece. It describes a portion of Hellenic philosophy: it dwells
upon eminent individuals, enquiring, theorising, reasoning, confuting,
&c., as contrasted with those collective political and social
manifestations which form the matter of history, and which the modern
writer gathers from Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon.

Both Sokrates and Plato, indeed, are interesting characters in history
as well as in philosophy. Under the former aspect, they were described
by me in my former work as copiously as its general purpose would
allow. But it is impossible to do justice to either of them--above
all, to Plato, with his extreme variety and abundance--except in a
book of which philosophy is the principal subject, and history only
the accessory.

The names of Plato and Aristotle tower above all others in Grecian
philosophy. Many compositions from both have been preserved, though
only a small proportion of the total number left by Aristotle. Such
preservation must be accounted highly fortunate, when we read in
Diogenes Laertius and others, the long list of works on various topics
of philosophy, now irrecoverably lost, and known by little except
their titles. Respecting a few of them, indeed, we obtain some partial
indications from fragmentary extracts and comments of later critics.
But none of these once celebrated philosophers, except Plato and
Aristotle, can be fairly appreciated upon evidence furnished by
themselves. The Platonic dialogues, besides the extraordinary genius
which they display as compositions, bear thus an increased price (like
the Sibylline books) as the scanty remnants of a lost philosophical
literature, once immense and diversified.

Under these two points of view, I trust that the copious analysis and
commentary bestowed upon them in the present work will not be
considered as unnecessarily lengthened. I maintain, full and
undiminished, the catalogue of Plato's works as it was inherited from
antiquity and recognised by all critics before the commencement of the
present century. Yet since several subsequent critics have contested
the canon, and set aside as spurious many of the dialogues contained
in it,--I have devoted a chapter to this question, and to the
vindication of the views on which I have proceeded.

The title of these volumes will sufficiently indicate that I intend to
describe, as far as evidence permits, the condition of Hellenic
philosophy at Athens during the half century immediately following the
death of Sokrates in 399 B.C. My first two chapters do indeed furnish
a brief sketch of Pre-Sokratic philosophy: but I profess to take my
departure from Sokrates himself, and these chapters are inserted
mainly in order that the theories by which he found himself surrounded
may not be altogether unknown. Both here, and in the sixty-ninth
chapter of my History, I have done my best to throw light on the
impressive and eccentric personality of Sokrates: a character original
and unique, to whose peculiar mode of working on other minds I
scarcely know a parallel in history. He was the generator, indirectly
and through others, of a new and abundant crop of compositions--the
"Sokratic dialogues": composed by many different authors, among whom
Plato stands out as unquestionable coryphæus, yet amidst other names
well deserving respectful mention as seconds, companions, or

It is these Sokratic dialogues, and the various companions of Sokrates
from whom they proceeded, that the present work is intended to
exhibit. They form the dramatic manifestation of Hellenic philosophy--as
contrasted with the formal and systematising, afterwards prominent
in Aristotle.

But the dialogue is a process containing commonly a large
intermixture, often a preponderance, of the negative vein: which was
more abundant and powerful in Sokrates than in any one. In discussing
the Platonic dialogues, I have brought this negative vein into the
foreground. It reposes upon a view of the function and value of
philosophy which is less dwelt upon than it ought to be, and for which
I here briefly prepare the reader.

Philosophy is, or aims at becoming, reasoned truth: an aggregate of
matters believed or disbelieved after conscious process of examination
gone through by the mind, and capable of being explained to others:
the beliefs being either primary, knowingly assumed as self-evident--or
conclusions resting upon them, after comparison of all relevant
reasons favourable and unfavourable. "Philosophia" (in the words of
Cicero), "ex rationum collatione consistit." This is not the form in
which beliefs or disbeliefs exist with ordinary minds: there has been
no conscious examination--there is no capacity of explaining to
others--there is no distinct setting out of primary truths assumed--nor
have any pains been taken to look out for the relevant reasons on
both sides, and weigh them impartially. Yet the beliefs nevertheless
exist as established facts generated by traditional or other
authority. They are sincere and often earnest, governing men's
declarations and conduct. They represent a cause in which sentence has
been pronounced, or a rule made absolute, without having previously
heard the pleadings.[1]

[Footnote 1: Napoléon, qui de temps en temps, au milieu de sa fortune
et de sa puissance, songeait à Robespierre et à sa triste
fin--interrogeait un jour son archi-chancelier Cambacérès sur le neuf
Thermidor. "_C'est un procès jugé et non plaidé_," répondait
Cambacérès, avec la finesse d'un jurisconsulte courtisan.--(Hippolyte
Carnot--Notice sur Barère, p. 109; Paris, 1842.)]

Now it is the purpose of the philosopher, first to bring this omission
of the pleadings into conscious notice--next to discover, evolve, and
bring under hearing the matters omitted, as far as they suggest
themselves to his individual reason. He claims for himself, and he
ought to claim for all others alike, the right of calling for proof
where others believe without proof--of rejecting the received
doctrines, if upon examination the proof given appears to his mind
unsound or insufficient--and of enforcing instead of them any others
which impress themselves upon his mind as true. But the truth which he
tenders for acceptance must of necessity be _reasoned truth_;
supported by proofs, defended by adequate replies against
preconsidered objections from others. Only hereby does it properly
belong to the history of philosophy: hardly even hereby has any such
novelty a chance of being fairly weighed and appreciated.

When we thus advert to the vocation of philosophy, we see that (to use
the phrase of an acute modern author[2]) it is by necessity polemical:
the assertion of independent reason by individual reasoners, who
dissent from the unreasoning belief which reigns authoritative in the
social atmosphere around them, and who recognise no correction or
refutation except from the counter-reason of others. We see besides,
that these dissenters from the public will also be, probably, more or
less dissenters from each other. The process of philosophy may be
differently performed by two enquirers equally free and sincere, even
of the same age and country: and it is sure to be differently
performed, if they belong to ages and countries widely apart. It is
essentially relative to the individual reasoning mind, and to the
medium by which the reasoner is surrounded. Philosophy herself has
every thing to gain by such dissent; for it is only thereby that the
weak and defective points of each point of view are likely to be
exposed. If unanimity is not attained, at least each of the
dissentients will better understand what he rejects as well as what he

[Footnote 2: Professor Ferrier, in his instructive volume, 'The
Institutes of Metaphysic,' has some valuable remarks on the scope and
purpose of Philosophy. I transcribe some of them, in abridgment.

(Sections 1-8) "A system of philosophy is bound by two main
requisitions: it ought to be true--and it ought to be reasoned.
Philosophy, in its ideal perfection, is a body of reasoned truth. Of
these obligations, the latter is the more stringent. It is more proper
that philosophy should be reasoned, than that it should be true:
because, while truth may perhaps be unattainable by man, to reason is
certainly his province and within his power. . . . A system is of the
highest value only when it embraces both these requisitions--that is,
when it is both true, and reasoned. But a system which is reasoned
without being true, is always of higher value than a system which is
true without being reasoned. The latter kind of system is of no value:
because philosophy is the attainment of truth _by the way of reason_.
That is its definition. A system, therefore, which reaches the truth
but not by the way of reason, is not philosophy at all, and has
therefore no scientific worth. Again, an unreasoned philosophy, even
though true, carries no guarantee of its truth. It may be true, but it
cannot be certain. On the other hand, a system, which is reasoned
without being true, has always some value. It creates reason by
exercising it. It is employing the proper means to reach truth, though
it may fail to reach it." (Sections 38-41)--"The student will find
that the system here submitted to his attention is of a very polemical
character. Why! Because philosophy exists only to correct the
inadvertencies of man's ordinary thinking. She has no other mission to
fulfil. If man naturally thinks aright, he need not be taught to think
aright. If he is already in possession of the truth, he does not
require to be put in possession of it. The occupation of philosophy is
gone: her office is superfluous. Therefore philosophy assumes and must
assume that man does not naturally think aright, but must be taught to
do so: that truth does not come to him spontaneously, but must be
brought to him by his own exertions. If man does not naturally think
aright, he must think, we shall not say wrongly (for that implies
malice prepense) but inadvertently: the native occupant of his mind
must be, we shall not say falsehood (for that too implies malice
prepense) but error. The original dowry then of universal man is
inadvertency and error. This assumption is the ground and only
justification of the existence of philosophy. The circumstance that
philosophy exists only to put right the oversights of common
thinking--renders her polemical not by choice, but by necessity. She is
controversial as the very tenure and condition of her existence: for
how can she correct the slips of common opinion, the oversights of
natural thinking, except by controverting them?" Professor Ferrier
deserves high commendation for the care taken in this volume to set
out clearly Proposition and Counter-Proposition: the thesis which he
impugns, as well as that which he sustains.]

The number of individual intellects, independent, inquisitive, and
acute, is always rare everywhere; but was comparatively less rare in
these ages of Greece. The first topic, on which such intellects broke
loose from the common consciousness of the world around them, and
struck out new points of view for themselves, was in reference to the
Kosmos or the Universe. The received belief, of a multitude of unseen
divine persons bringing about by volitions all the different phenomena
of nature, became unsatisfactory to men like Thales, Anaximander,
Parmenides, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras. Each of these volunteers,
following his own independent inspirations, struck out a new
hypothesis, and endeavoured to commend it to others with more or less
of sustaining reason. There appears to have been little of negation or
refutation in their procedure. None of them tried to disprove the
received point of view, or to throw its supporters upon their defence.
Each of them unfolded his own hypothesis, or his own version of
affirmative reasoned truth, for the adoption of those with whom it
might find favour.

The dialectic age had not yet arrived. When it did arrive, with
Sokrates as its principal champion, the topics of philosophy were
altered, and its process revolutionised. We have often heard repeated
the Ciceronian dictum--that Sokrates brought philosophy down from the
heavens to the earth: from the distant, abstruse, and complicated
phenomena of the Kosmos--in respect to which he adhered to the vulgar
point of view, and even disapproved any enquiries tending to
rationalise it--to the familiar business of man, and the common
generalities of ethics and politics. But what has been less observed
about Sokrates, though not less true, is, that along with this change
of topics he introduced a complete revolution in method. He placed the
negative in the front of his procedure; giving to it a point, an
emphasis, a substantive value, which no one had done before. His
peculiar gift was that of cross-examination, or the application of his
Elenchus to discriminate pretended from real knowledge. He found men
full of confident beliefs on these ethical and political
topics--affirming with words which they had never troubled themselves
to define--and persuaded that they required no farther teaching: yet at
the same time unable to give clear or consistent answers to his
questions, and shown by this convincing test to be destitute of real
knowledge. Declaring this false persuasion of knowledge, or confident
unreasoned belief, to be universal, he undertook, as the mission of
his life, to expose it: and he proclaimed that until the mind was
disabused thereof and made painfully conscious of ignorance, no
affirmative reasoned truth could be presented with any chance of

Such are the peculiar features of the Sokratic dialogue, exemplified
in the compositions here reviewed. I do not mean that Sokrates always
talked so; but that such was the marked peculiarity which
distinguished his talking from that of others. It is philosophy, or
reasoned truth, approached in the most polemical manner; operative at
first only to discredit the natural, unreasoned intellectual growths
of the ordinary mind, and to generate a painful consciousness of
ignorance. I say this here, and I shall often say it again throughout
these volumes. It is absolutely indispensable to the understanding of
the Platonic dialogues; one half of which must appear unmeaning,
unless construed with reference to this separate function and value of
negative dialectic. Whether readers may themselves agree in such
estimation of negative dialectic, is another question: but they must
keep it in mind as the governing sentiment of Plato during much of his
life, and of Sokrates throughout the whole of life: as being moreover
one main cause of that antipathy which Sokrates inspired to many
respectable orthodox contemporaries. I have thought it right to take
constant account of this orthodox sentiment among the ordinary public,
as the perpetual drag-chain, even when its force is not absolutely
repressive, upon free speculation.

Proceeding upon this general view, I have interpreted the numerous
negative dialogues in Plato as being really negative and nothing
beyond. I have not presumed, still less tried to divine, an ulterior
Affirmative beyond what the text reveals--neither _arcana coelestia_,
like Proklus and Ficinus,[3] nor any other _arcanum_ of terrestrial
character. While giving such an analysis of each dialogue as my space
permitted and as will enable the reader to comprehend its general
scope and peculiarities--I have studied each as it stands written, and
have rarely ascribed to Plato any purpose exceeding what he himself
intimates. Where I find difficulties forcibly dwelt upon without any
solution, I imagine, not that he had a good solution kept back in his
closet, but that he had failed in finding one: that he thought it
useful, as a portion of the total process necessary for finding and
authenticating reasoned truth, both to work out these unsolved
difficulties for himself, and to force them impressively upon the
attention of others.[4]

[Footnote 3: F. A. Wolf, Vorrede, Plato, Sympos. p. vi.

"Ficinus suchte, wie er sich in der Zueignungsschrift seiner Vision
ausdrückt, im Platon allenthalben _arcana coelestia_: und da er sie
in seinem Kopfe mitbrachte, so konnte es ihm nicht sauer werden,
etwas zu finden, was freilich jedem andern verborgen bleiben muss."]

[Footnote 4: A striking passage from Bentham illustrates very well
both the Sokratic and the Platonic point of view. (Principles of
Morals and Legislation, vol. ii. ch. xvi. p. 57, ed. 1823.)

"Gross ignorance descries no difficulties. Imperfect knowledge finds
them out and struggles with them. It must be perfect knowledge that
overcomes them."

Of the three different mental conditions here described, the first is
that against which Sokrates made war, _i.e._ real ignorance, and false
persuasion of knowledge, which therefore descries no difficulties.

The second, or imperfect knowledge struggling with difficulties, is
represented by the Platonic negative dialogues.

The third--or perfect knowledge victorious over difficulties--will be
found in the following pages marked by the character [Greek: to\
du/nasthai lo/gon dido/nai kai\ de/chesthai]. You do not possess "perfect
knowledge," until you are able to answer, with unfaltering promptitude
and consistency, all the questions of a Sokratic cross-examiner--and
to administer effectively the like cross-examination yourself, for the
purpose of testing others. [Greek: O(\lôs de\ sêmei=on tou= ei)do/tos
to\ du/nasthai dida/skein e)/stin.] (Aristotel. Metaphys. A. 981, b.

Perfect knowledge, corresponding to this definition, will not be found
manifested in Plato. Instead of it, we note in his latter years the
lawgiver's assumed infallibility.]

Moreover, I deal with each dialogue as a separate composition. Each
represents the intellectual scope and impulse of a peculiar moment,
which may or may not be in harmony with the rest. Plato would have
protested not less earnestly than Cicero,[5] against those who sought
to foreclose debate, in the grave and arduous struggles for searching
out reasoned truth--and to bind down the free inspirations of his
intellect in one dialogue, by appealing to sentence already pronounced
in another preceding. Of two inconsistent trains of reasoning, both
cannot indeed be true--but both are often useful to be known and
studied: and the philosopher, who professes to master the theory of
his subject, ought not to be a stranger to either. All minds athirst
for reasoned truth will be greatly aided in forming their opinions by
the number of points which Plato suggests, though they find little
which he himself settles for them finally.

[Footnote 5: Cicero, Tusc. Disp. v. 11, 38.

The collocutor remarks that what Cicero says is inconsistent with
what he (Cicero) had written in the fourth book De Finibus.
To which Cicero replies:--

"Tu quidem tabellis obsignatis agis mecum, et testificaris, quid
dixerim aliquando aut scripserim. Cum aliis isto modo, qui legibus
impositis disputant. Nos in diem vivimus: quodcunque nostros animos
probabilitate percussit, id dicimus: itaque soli sumus liberi."]

There have been various critics, who, on perceiving inconsistencies in
Plato, either force them into harmony by a subtle exegêsis, or discard
one of them as spurious.[6] I have not followed either course. I
recognise such inconsistencies, when found, as facts--and even as very
interesting facts--in his philosophical character. To the marked
contradiction in the spirit of the Leges, as compared with the earlier
Platonic compositions, I have called special attention. Plato has been
called by Plutarch a mixture of Sokrates with Lykurgus. The two
elements are in reality opposite, predominant at different times:
Plato begins his career with the confessed ignorance and philosophical
negative of Sokrates: he closes it with the peremptory, dictatorial,
affirmative of Lykurgus.

[Footnote 6: Since the publication of the first edition of this work,
there have appeared valuable commentaries on the philosophy of the
late Sir William Hamilton, by Mr. John Stuart Mill, and Mr. Stirling
and others. They have exposed inconsistencies, both grave and
numerous, in some parts of Sir William Hamilton's writings as compared
with others. But no one has dreamt of drawing an inference from this
fact, that one or other of the inconsistent trains of reasoning must
be spurious, falsely ascribed to Sir William Hamilton.

Now in the case of Plato, this same fact of inconsistency is accepted
by nearly all his commentators as a sound basis for the inference that
both the inconsistent treatises cannot be genuine: though the dramatic
character of Plato's writings makes inconsistencies much more easily
supposable than in dogmatic treatises such as those of Hamilton.]

To Xenophon, who belongs only in part to my present work, and whose
character presents an interesting contrast with Plato, I have devoted
a separate chapter. To the other less celebrated Sokratic Companions
also, I have endeavoured to do justice, as far as the scanty means of
knowledge permit: to them, especially, because they have generally
been misconceived and unduly depreciated.

The present volumes, however, contain only one half of the speculative
activity of Hellas during the fourth century B.C. The second half, in
which Aristotle is the hero, remains still wanting. If my health and
energies continue, I hope one day to be able to supply this want: and
thus to complete from my own point of view, the history, speculative
as well as active, of the Hellenic race, down to the date which I
prescribed to myself in the Preface of my History near twenty years

The philosophy of the fourth century B.C. is peculiarly valuable and
interesting, not merely from its intrinsic speculative worth--from the
originality and grandeur of its two principal heroes--from its
coincidence with the full display of dramatic, rhetorical, artistic
genius--but also from a fourth reason not unimportant--because it is
purely Hellenic; preceding the development of Alexandria, and the
amalgamation of Oriental veins of thought with the inspirations of the
Academy or the Lyceum. The Orontes[7] and the Jordan had not yet begun
to flow westward, and to impart their own colour to the waters of
Attica and Latium. Not merely the real world, but also the ideal
world, present to the minds of Plato and Aristotle, were purely
Hellenic. Even during the century immediately following, this had
ceased to be fully true in respect to the philosophers of Athens: and
it became less and less true with each succeeding century. New foreign
centres of rhetoric and literature--Asiatic and Alexandrian
Hellenism--were fostered into importance by regal encouragement. Plato
and Aristotle are thus the special representatives of genuine Hellenic
philosophy. The remarkable intellectual ascendancy acquired by them in
their own day, and maintained over succeeding centuries, was one main
reason why the Hellenic vein was enabled so long to maintain itself,
though in impoverished condition, against adverse influences from the
East, ever increasing in force. Plato and Aristotle outlasted all
their Pagan successors--successors at once less purely Hellenic and
less highly gifted. And when Saint Jerome, near 750 years after the
decease of Plato, commemorated with triumph the victory of unlettered
Christians over the accomplishments and genius of Paganism--he
illustrated the magnitude of the victory, by singling out Plato and
Aristotle as the representatives of vanquished philosophy.[8]

[Footnote 7: Juvenal iii. 62:--

"Jampridem Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes," &c.]

[Footnote 8: The passage is a remarkable one, as marking both the
effect produced on a Latin scholar by Hebrew studies, and the neglect
into which even the greatest writers of classical antiquity had then
fallen (about 400 A.D.).

Hieronymus--Comment. in Epist. ad Galatas, iii. 5, p. 486-487, ed.
Venet. 1769:--

"Sed omnem sermonis elegantiam, et Latini sermonis venustatem, stridor
lectionis Hebraicæ sordidavit. Nostis enim et ipsæ" (_i.e._ Paula and
Eustochium, to whom his letter is addressed) "quod plus quam quindecim
anni sunt, ex quo in manus meas nunquam Tullius, nunquam Maro, nunquam
Gentilium literarum quilibet Auctor ascendit: et si quid forte inde,
dum loquimur, obrepit, quasi antiqua per nebulam somnii recordamur.
Quod autem profecerim ex linguæ illius infatigabili studio, aliorum
judicio derelinquo: _ego quid in meâ amiserim, scio_ . . . Si quis
eloquentiam quærit vel declamationibus delectatur, habet in utrâque
linguâ Demosthenem et Tullium, Polemonem et Quintilianum. Ecclesia
Christi non de Academiâ et Lyceo, sed de vili plebeculâ congregata
est. . . . Quotusquisque nunc Aristotelem legit? Quanti Platonis vel
libros novêre vel nomen? Vix in angulis otiosi eos senes recolunt.
Rusticanos vero et piscatores nostros totus orbis loquitur, universus
mundus sonat."]




Speculative Philosophy in Greece, before and in the time of Sokrates.

Change in the political condition of Greece during the life of Plato   1

Early Greek mind, satisfied with the belief in polytheistic personal
agents, as the real producing causes of phenomena   2

Belief in such agency continued among the general public, even after
the various sects of philosophy had arisen   3

Thales, the first Greek who propounded the hypothesis of physical
agency in place of personal. Water, the primordial substance, or
[Greek: a)rchê/]   4

Anaximander--laid down as [Greek: a)rchê/] the Infinite or
Indeterminate--generation of the elements out of it, by evolution of
latent, fundamental contraries--astronomical and geological doctrines

Anaximenes--adopted Air as [Greek: a)rchê/]--rise of substances out of
it, by condensation and rarefaction   7

Pythagoras--his life and career--Pythagorean brotherhood--great
political influence which it acquired among the Greco-Italian
cities--incurred great enmity, and was violently put down   8

The Pythagoreans continue as a recluse sect, without political power   9

Doctrine of the Pythagoreans--Number the Essence of Things   _ib._

The Monas--[Greek: a)rchê/], or principle of Number--geometrical
conception of number--symbolical attributes of the first ten numbers,
especially of the Dekad   11

Pythagorean Kosmos and Astronomy--geometrical and harmonic laws
guiding the movements of the cosmical bodies   12

Music of the Spheres   14

Pythagorean list of fundamental Contraries--Ten opposing pairs   _ib._

Eleatic philosophy--Xenophanes   16

His censures upon the received Theogony and religious rites   _ib._

His doctrine of Pankosmism; or Pantheism--the whole Kosmos is Ens Unum
or God--[Greek: E(\n kai\ Pan]. Non-Ens inadmissible   17

Scepticism of Xenophanes--complaint of philosophy as unsatisfactory   18

His conjectures on physics and astronomy   _ib._

Parmenides continues the doctrine of Xenophanes--Ens Parmenideum,
self-existent, eternal, unchangeable, extended--Non-Ens, an unmeaning
phrase   19

He recognises a region of opinion, phenomenal and relative, apart from
Ens   20

Parmenidean ontology--stands completely apart from phenomenology   21

Parmenidean phenomenology--relative and variable   23

Parmenides recognises no truth, but more or less of probability, in
phenomenal explanations.--His physical and astronomical conjectures   24

Herakleitus--his obscure style, impressive metaphors, confident and
contemptuous dogmatism   26

Doctrine of Herakleitus--perpetual process of generation and
destruction--everything flows, nothing stands--transition of the
elements into each other backwards and forwards   27

Variety of metaphors employed by Herakleitus, signifying the same
general doctrine   28

Nothing permanent except the law of process and implication of
contraries--the transmutative force. Fixity of particulars is an
illusion for the most part: so far as it exists, it is a sin against
the order of Nature   29

Illustrations by which Herakleitus symbolized his perpetual force,
destroying and generating   30

Water--Intermediate between Fire (Air) and Earth   31

Sun and Stars--not solid bodies, but meteoric aggregations dissipated
and renewed--Eclipses--[Greek: e)kpu/rôsis], or destruction of the
Kosmos by fire   32

His doctrines respecting the human soul and human knowledge. All
wisdom resided in the Universal Reason--individual Reason is
worthless   34

By Universal Reason, he did not mean the Reason of most men as it is,
but as it ought to be   35

Herakleitus at the opposite pole from Parmenides   37

Empedokles--his doctrine of the four elements and two moving or
restraining forces   _ib._

Construction of the Kosmos from these elements and forces--action and
counteraction of love and enmity. The Kosmos alternately made and
unmade   38

Empedoklean predestined cycle of things--complete empire of Love
Sphærus--Empire of Enmity--disengagement or separation of the
elements--astronomy and meteorology   39

Formation of the Earth, of Gods, men, animals, and plants   41

Physiology of Empedokles--Procreation--Respiration--movement of the
blood   43

Doctrine of effluvia and pores--explanation of
perceptions--intercommunication of the elements with the sentient
subject--like acting upon like   44

Sense of vision   45

Senses of hearing, smell, taste   46

Empedokles declared that justice absolutely forbade the killing of
anything that had life. His belief in the metempsychosis. Sufferings
of life, are an expiation for wrong done during an antecedent life.
Pretensions to magical power   46

Complaint of Empedokles on the impossibility of finding out truth   47

Theory of Anaxagoras denied--generation and destruction--recognised
only mixture and severance of pre-existing kinds of matter   48

Homoeomeries--small particles of diverse kinds of matter, all mixed
together   _ib._

First condition of things all--the primordial varieties of matter were
huddled together in confusion. [Greek: Nou=s] or reason, distinct from
all of them, supervened and acted upon this confused mass, setting the
constituent particles in movement   49

Movement of rotation in the mass, originated by [Greek: Nou=s] on a
small scale, but gradually extending itself. Like particles congregate
together--distinguishable aggregates are formed   50

Nothing (except [Greek: Nou=s]) can be entirely pure or unmixed; but
other things may be comparatively pure. Flesh, Bone, &c., are purer
than Air or Earth   51

Theory of Anaxagoras, compared with that of Empedokles   52

Suggested partly by the phenomena of of animal nutrition   53

Chaos common to both Empedokles and Anaxagoras: moving agency,
different in one from the other theory   54

[Greek: Nou=s], or mind, postulated by Anaxagoras--how understood by
later writers--how intended by Anaxagoras himself   _ib._

Plato and Aristotle blame Anaxagoras for deserting his own theory   56

Astronomy and physics of Anaxagoras   57

His geology, meteorology, physiology   58

The doctrines of Anaxagoras were regarded as offensive and impious   59

Diogenes of Apollonia recognises one primordial element   60

Air was the primordial, universal element   61

Air possessed numerous and diverse properties; was eminently
modifiable   _ib._

Physiology of Diogenes--his description of the veins in the human
body   62

Kosmology and Meteorology   64

Leukippus and Demokritus--Atomic theory   65

Long life, varied travels, and numerous compositions, of Demokritus

Relation between the theory of Demokritus and that of Parmenides   66

Demokritean theory--Atoms Plena and Vacua--Ens and Non-Ens   67

Primordial atoms differed only in magnitude, figure, position, and
arrangement--they had no qualities, but their movements and
combinations generated qualities   69

Combination of atoms--generating different qualities in the compound   70

All atoms essentially separate from each other   71

All properties of objects, except weight and hardness, were phenomenal
and relative to the observer. Sensation could give no knowledge of the
real and absolute   _ib._

Reason alone gave true and real knowledge, but very little of it was
attainable   72

No separate force required to set the atoms in motion--they moved by
an inherent force of their own. Like atoms naturally tend towards
like. Rotatory motion, the capital fact of the Kosmos   72

Researches of Demokritus on zoology and animal generation   75

His account of mind--he identified it with heat or fire, diffused
throughout animals, plants, and nature generally. Mental particles
intermingled throughout all frame with corporeal particles   _ib._

Different mental aptitudes attached to different parts of the body   76

Explanation of different sensations and perceptions. Colours   77

Vision caused by the outflow of effluvia or images from objects.
Hearing   78

Difference of tastes--how explained   _ib._

Thought or intelligence--was produced by influx of atoms from without   79

Sensation, obscure knowledge relative to the sentient: Thought,
genuine knowledge--absolute, or object _per se_   80

Idola or images were thrown off from objects, which determined the
tone of thoughts, feelings, dreams, divinations, &c.   81

Universality of Demokritus--his ethical views   82


General Remarks on the Earlier Philosophers--Growth of Dialectic--Zeno
and Gorgias.

Variety of sects and theories--multiplicity of individual authorities
is the characteristic of Greek philosophy   84

These early theorists are not known from their own writings, which
have been lost. Importance of the information of Aristotle about them   85

Abundance of speculative genius and invention--a memorable fact in the
Hellenic mind   86

Difficulties which a Grecian philosopher had to overcome--prevalent
view of Nature, established, impressive, and misleading   _ib._

Views of the Ionic philosophers--compared with the more recent
abstractions of Plato and Aristotle   87

Parmenides and Pythagoras--more nearly akin to Plato and Aristotle   89

Advantage derived from this variety of constructive imagination among
the Greeks   90

All these theories were found in circulation by Sokrates, Zeno, Plato,
and the dialecticians. Importance of the scrutiny of negative
Dialectic   91

The early theorists were studied, along with Plato and Aristotle, in
the third and second centuries B.C.   92

Negative attribute common to all the early theorists--little or no
dialectic   93

Zeno of Elea--Melissus   _ib._

Zeno's Dialectic--he refuted the opponents of Parmenides, by showing
that their assumptions led to contradictions and absurdities   93

Consequences of their assumption of Entia Plura Discontinua.
Reductiones ad absurdum   94

Each thing must exist in its own place--Grain of millet not sonorous   95

Zenonian arguments in regard to motion   97

General purpose and result of the Zenonian Dialectic. Nothing is
knowable except the relative   98

Mistake of supposing Zeno's _reductiones ad absurdum_ of an opponent's
doctrine, to be contradictions of data generalized from experience   99

Zenonian Dialectic--Platonic Parmenides   100

Views of historians of philosophy, respecting Zeno   101

Absolute and relative--the first, unknowable   _ib._

Zeno did not deny motion, as a fact, phenomenal and relative   102

Gorgias the Leontine--did not admit the Absolute, even as conceived by
Parmenides   103

His reasonings against the Absolute, either as Ens or Entia   _ib._

Ens, incogitable and unknowable   104

Ens, even if granted to be knowable, is still incommunicable to others

Zeno and Gorgias--contrasted with the earlier Grecian philosophers   105

New character of Grecian philosophy--antithesis of affirmative and
negative--proof and disproof   _ib._


Other Companions of Sokrates.

Influence exercised by Sokrates over his companions   110

Names of those companions   111

Æschines--Oration of Lysias against him   112

Written Sokratic Dialogues--their general character   114

Relations between the companions of Sokrates--Their proceedings after
the death of Sokrates   116

No Sokratic school--each of the companions took a line of his own   117

Eukleides of Megara--he blended Parmenides with Sokrates   118

Doctrine of Eukleides about _Bonum_   119

The doctrine compared to that of Plato--changes in Plato   _ib._

Last doctrine of Plato nearly the same as Eukleides   120

Megaric succession of philosophers. Eleian or Eretrian succession   121

Doctrines of Antisthenes and Aristippus--Ethical, not transcendental   122

Preponderance of the negative vein in the Platonic age   123

Harsh manner in which historians of philosophy censure the negative
vein   _ib._

Negative method in philosophy essential to the controul of the
affirmative   _ib._

Sokrates--the most persevering and acute Eristic of his age   124

Platonic Parmenides--its extreme negative character   125

The Megarics shared the negative impulse with Sokrates and Plato   126

Eubulides--his logical problems or puzzles--difficulty of solving
them--many solutions attempted   128

Real character of the Megaric sophisms, not calculated to deceive, but
to guard against deception   129

If the process of theorising be admissible, it must include negative
as well as affirmative   130

Logical position of the Megaric philosophers erroneously described by
historians of philosophy. Necessity of a complete collection of
difficulties   131

Sophisms propounded by Eubulides. 1. Mentiens. 2. The Veiled Man. 3.
Sorites. 4. Cornutus   133

Causes of error constant--The Megarics were sentinels against them   135

Controversy of the Megarics with Aristotle about Power. Arguments of
Aristotle   _ib._

These arguments not valid against the Megarici   136

His argument cited and criticised   137

Potential as distinguished from the Actual--What it is   139

Diodôrus Kronus--his doctrine about [Greek: to\ dunato/n]   140

Sophism of Diodôrus [Greek: O( Kurieu/ôn]   141

Question between Aristotle and Diodôrus, depends upon whether
universal regularity of sequence be admitted or denied   _ib._

Conclusion of Diodôrus defended by Hobbes--Explanation given by
Hobbes   143

Reasonings of Diodôrus--respecting Hypothetical
Propositions--respecting Motion. His difficulties about the _Now_
of time   145

Motion is always present, past, and future   146

Stilpon of Megara--His great celebrity   147

Menedêmus and the Eretriacs   148

Open speech and licence of censure assumed by Menedêmus   149

Antisthenes took up Ethics principally, but with negative Logic
intermingled   _ib._

He copied the manner of life of Sokrates, in plainness and rigour   150

Doctrines of Antisthenes exclusively ethical and ascetic. He despised
music, literature, and physics   151

Constant friendship of Antisthenes with Sokrates--Xenophontic
Symposion   152

Diogenes, successor of Antisthenes--His Cynical perfection--striking
effect which he produced   _ib._

Doctrines and smart sayings of Diogenes--Contempt of
pleasure--training and labour required--indifference to literature
and geometry   154

Admiration of Epiktêtus for Diogenes, especially for his consistency
in acting out his own ethical creed   157

Admiration excited by the asceticism of the Cynics--Asceticism extreme
in the East. Comparison of the Indian Gymnosophists with Diogenes

The precepts and principles laid down by Sokrates were carried into
fullest execution by the Cynics   160

Antithesis between Nature and Law or Convention insisted on by the
Indian Gymnosophists   162

The Greek Cynics--an order of ascetic or mendicant friars   163

Logical views of Antisthenes and Diogenes--they opposed the Platonic
Ideas   _ib._

First protest of Nominalism against Realism   164

Doctrine of Antisthenes about predication--He admits no other
predication but identical   165

The same doctrine asserted by Stilpon, after the time of Aristotle   166

Nominalism of Stilpon. His reasons against accidental predication   167

Difficulty of understanding how the same predicate could belong to
more than one subject   169

Analogous difficulties in the Platonic Parmenides   _ib._

Menedêmus disallowed all negative predications   170

Distinction ascribed to Antisthenes between simple and complex
objects. Simple objects undefinable   171

Remarks of Plato on this doctrine   172

Remarks of Aristotle upon the same   _ib._

Later Grecian Cynics--Monimus--Krates--Hipparchia   173

Zeno of Kitium in Cyprus   174

Aristippus--life, character, and doctrine   175

Discourse of Sokrates with Aristippus   _ib._

Choice of Hêraklês   177

Illustration afforded of the views of Sokrates respecting Good and
Evil   _ib._

Comparison of the Xenophontic Sokrates with the Platonic Sokrates   178

Xenophontic Sokrates talking to Aristippus--Kalliklês in Platonic
Gorgias   179

Language held by Aristippus--his scheme of life   181

Diversified conversations of Sokrates, according to the character of
the hearer   182

Conversation between Sokrates and Aristippus about the Good and
Beautiful   184

Remarks on the conversation--Theory of Good   185

Good is relative to human beings and wants in the view of Sokrates

Aristippus adhered to the doctrine of Sokrates   186

Life and dicta of Aristippus--His type of character   _ib._

Aristippus acted conformably to the advice of Sokrates   187

Self mastery and independence--the great aspiration of Aristippus   188

Aristippus compared with Antisthenes and Diogenes--Points of agreement
and disagreement between them   190

Attachment of Aristippus to ethics and philosophy--contempt for other
studies   192

Aristippus taught as a Sophist. His reputation thus acquired procured
for him the attentions of Dionysius and others   193

Ethical theory of Aristippus and the Kyrenaic philosophers   195

Prudence--good, by reason of the pleasure which it ensured, and of the
pains which it was necessary to avoid. Just and honourable, by law or
custom--not by nature   197

Their logical theory--nothing knowable except the phenomenal, our own
sensations and feelings--no knowledge of the absolute   197

Doctrines of Antisthenes and Aristippus passed to the Stoics and
Epikureans   198

Ethical theory of Aristippus is identical with that of the Platonic
Sokrates in the Protagoras   199

Difference in the manner of stating the theory by the two   200

Distinction to be made between a general theory--and the particular
application of it made by the theorist to his own tastes and
circumstances   201

Kyrenaic theorists after Aristippus   202

Theodôrus--Annikeris--Hegesias   _ib._

Hegesias--Low estimation of life--renunciation of
pleasure--coincidence with the Cynics   203

Doctrine of Relativity affirmed by the Kyrenaics, as well as by
Protagoras   204



Xenophon--his character--essentially a man of action and not a
theorist--the Sokratic element is in him an accessory   206

Date of Xenophon--probable year of his birth   207

His personal history--He consults Sokrates--takes the opinion of the
Delphian oracle   208

His service and command with the Ten Thousand Greeks, afterwards under
Agesilaus and the Spartans.--He is banished from Athens   209

His residence at Skillus near Olympia   210

Family of Xenophon--his son Gryllus killed at Mantineia   _ib._

Death of Xenophon at Corinth--Story of the Eleian Exegetæ   211

Xenophon different from Plato and the other Sokratic brethren   212

His various works--Memorabilia, Oekonomikus, &c.   213

Ischomachus, hero of the Oekonomikus--ideal of an active citizen,
cultivator, husband, house-master, &c.   214

Text upon which Xenophon insists--capital difference between command
over subordinates willing and subordinates unwilling   215

Probable circumstances generating these reflections in Xenophon's
mind   215

This text affords subjects for the Hieron and Cyropædia--Name of
Sokrates not suitable   216

Hieron--Persons of the dialogue--Simonides and Hieron   _ib._

Questions put to Hieron, view taken by Simonides. Answer of Hieron   217

Misery of governing unwilling subjects declared by Hieron   218

Advice to Hieron by Simonides--that he should govern well, and thus
make himself beloved by his subjects   219

Probable experience had by Xenophon of the feelings at Olympia against
Dionysius   220

Xenophon could not have chosen a Grecian despot to illustrate his
theory of the happiness of governing willing subjects   222

Cyropædia--blending of Spartan and Persian customs--Xenophon's
experience of Cyrus the Younger   _ib._

Portrait of Cyrus the Great--his education--Preface to the Cyropædia   223

Xenophon does not solve his own problem--The governing aptitude and
popularity of Cyrus come from nature, not from education   225

Views of Xenophon about public and official training of all citizens   226

Details of (so called) Persian education--Severe
discipline--Distribution of four ages   227

Evidence of the good effect of this discipline--Hard and dry condition
of the body   228

Exemplary obedience of Cyrus to the public discipline--He had learnt
justice well--His award about the two coats--Lesson inculcated upon
him by the Justice-Master   229

Xenophon's conception of the Sokratic problems--He does not recognise
the Sokratic order of solution of those problems   230

Definition given by Sokrates of Justice--Insufficient to satisfy the
exigencies of the Sokratic Elenchus   231

Biography of Cyrus--constant military success earned by suitable
qualities--Variety of characters and situations   232

Generous and amiable qualities of Cyrus. Abradates and Pantheia   233

Scheme of government devised by Cyrus when his conquests are
completed--Oriental despotism, wisely arranged   234

Persian present reality--is described by Xenophon as thoroughly
depraved, in striking contrast to the establishment of Cyrus   236

Xenophon has good experience of military and equestrian
proceedings--No experience of finance and commerce   236

Discourse of Xenophon on Athenian finance and the condition of Athens.
His admiration of active commerce and variety of pursuits   _ib._

Recognised poverty among the citizens. Plan for improvement   238

Advantage of a large number of Metics. How these may be encouraged

Proposal to raise by voluntary contributions a large sum to be
employed as capital by the city. Distribution of three oboli per head
per day to all the citizens   _ib._

Purpose and principle of this distribution   240

Visionary anticipations of Xenophon, financial and commercial   241

Xenophon exhorts his countrymen to maintain peace   243

Difference of the latest compositions of Xenophon and Plato, from
their point of view in the earlier   244


Life of Plato.

Scanty information about Plato's life   246

His birth, parentage, and early education   247

Early relations of Plato with Sokrates   248

Plato's youth--service as a citizen and soldier   249

Period of political ambition   251

He becomes disgusted with politics   252

He retires from Athens after the death of Sokrates--his travels   253

His permanent establishment at Athens--386 B.C.   _ib._

He commences his teaching at the Academy   254

Plato as a teacher--pupils numerous and wealthy, from different
cities   255

Visit of Plato to the younger Dionysius at Syracuse, 367 B.C. Second
visit to the same--mortifying failure   258

Expedition of Dion against Dionysius--sympathies of Plato and the
Academy   259

Success, misconduct, and death of Dion   _ib._

Death of Plato, aged 80, 347 B.C.   260

Scholars of Plato--Aristotle   _ib._

Little known about Plato's personal history   262


Platonic Canon, as Recognised by Thrasyllus.

Platonic Canon--Ancient and modern discussions   264

Canon established by Thrasyllus. Presumption in its favour   265

Fixed residence and school at Athens--founded by Plato and transmitted
to successors   _ib._

Importance of this foundation. Preservation of Plato's manuscripts.
School library   266

Security provided by the school for distinguishing what were Plato's
genuine writings   267

Unfinished fragments and preparatory sketches, preserved and published
after Plato's death   268

Peripatetic school at the Lykeum--its composition and arrangement   269

Peripatetic school library, its removal from Athens to Skêpsis--its
ultimate restitution in a damaged state to Athens, then to Rome   270

Inconvenience to the Peripatetic school from the loss of its library

Advantage to the Platonic school from having preserved its MSS.   272

Conditions favourable, for preserving the genuine works of Plato

Historical facts as to their preservation   _ib._

Arrangement of them into Trilogies, by Aristophanes   273

Aristophanes, librarian at the Alexandrine library   _ib._

Plato's works in the Alexandrine library, before the time of
Aristophanes   274

Kallimachus--predecessor of Aristophanes--his published Tables of
authors whose works were in the library   275

Large and rapid accumulation of the Alexandrine Library   _ib._

Plato's works--in the library at the time of Kallimachus   276

First formation of the library--intended as a copy of the Platonic and
Aristotelian [Greek: Mousei=a] at Athens   277

Favour of Ptolemy Soter towards the philosophers at Athens   279

Demetrius Phalereus--his history and character   _ib._

He was chief agent in the first establishment of the Alexandrine
Library   280

Proceedings of Demetrius in beginning to collect the library   282

Certainty that the works of Plato and Aristotle were among the
earliest acquisitions made by him for the library   283

Large expenses incurred by the Ptolemies for procuring good MSS.   285

Catalogue of Platonic works, prepared by Aristophanes, is trustworthy

No canonical or exclusive order of the Platonic dialogues, when
arranged by Aristophanes   286

Other libraries and literary centres, besides Alexandria, in which
spurious Platonic works might get footing   _ib._

Other critics, besides Aristophanes, proposed different arrangements
of the Platonic dialogues   287

Panætius, the Stoic--considered the Phædon to be spurious--earliest
known example of a Platonic dialogue disallowed upon internal
grounds   288

Classification of Platonic works by the rhetor
Thrasyllus--dramatic--philosophical   289

Dramatic principle--Tetralogies   _ib._

Philosophical principle--Dialogues of Search--Dialogues of
Exposition   291

Incongruity and repugnance of the two classifications   294

Dramatic principle of classification--was inherited by Thrasyllus from
Aristophanes   295

Authority of the Alexandrine library--editions of Plato published,
with the Alexandrine critical marks   _ib._

Thrasyllus followed the Alexandrine library and Aristophanes, as to
genuine Platonic works   296

Ten spurious dialogues, rejected by all other critics as well as by
Thrasyllus--evidence that these critics followed the common authority
of the Alexandrine library   297

Thrasyllus did not follow an internal sentiment of his own in
rejecting dialogues as spurious   298

Results as to the trustworthiness of the Thrasyllean Canon   299


Platonic Canon, as Appreciated and Modified by Modern Critics.

The Canon of Thrasyllus continued to be generally acknowledged, by the
Neo-Platonists, as well as by Ficinus and the succeeding critics after
the revival of learning   301

Serranus--his six Syzygies--left the aggregate Canon unchanged,
Tennemann--importance assigned to the Phædrus   302

Schleiermacher--new theory about the purposes of Plato. One
philosophical scheme, conceived by Plato from the beginning--essential
order and interdependence of the dialogues, as contributing to the
full execution of this scheme. Some dialogues not constituent items in
the series, but lying alongside of it. Order of arrangement   303

Theory of Ast--he denies the reality of any preconceived
scheme--considers the dialogues as distinct philosophical dramas   304

His order of arrangement. He admits only fourteen dialogues as
genuine, rejecting all the rest   305

Socher agrees with Ast in denying preconceived scheme--his arrangement
of the dialogues, differing from both Ast and Schleiermacher--he
rejects as spurious Parmenidês, Sophistês, Politikus, Kritias, with
many others   306

Schleiermacher and Ast both consider Phædrus and Protagoras as early
compositions--Socher puts Protagoras into the second period, Phædrus
into the third   307

K. F. Hermann--Stallbaum--both of them consider the Phædrus as a late
dialogue--both of them deny preconceived order and system--their
arrangements of the dialogues--they admit new and varying
philosophical points of view   _ib._

They reject several dialogues   309

Steinhart--agrees in rejecting Schleiermacher's fundamental
postulate--his arrangement of the dialogues--considers the Phædrus
as late in order--rejects several   _ib._

Susemihl--coincides to a great degree with K. F. Hermann--his order of
arrangement   310

Edward Munk--adopts a different principle of arrangement, founded upon
the different period which each dialogue exhibits of the life,
philosophical growth, and old age, of Sokrates--his arrangement,
founded on this principle. He distinguishes the chronological order of
composition from the place allotted to each dialogue in the systematic
plan   311

Views of Ueberweg--attempt to reconcile Schleiermacher and
Hermann--admits the preconceived purpose for the later dialogues,
composed after the foundation of the school, but not for the
earlier   313

His opinions as to authenticity and chronology of the dialogues, He
rejects Hippias Major, Erastæ, Theagês, Kleitophon, Parmenidês: he is
inclined to reject Euthyphron and Menexenus   314

Other Platonic critics--great dissensions about scheme and order of
the dialogues   316

Contrast of different points of view instructive--but no solution has
been obtained   _ib._

The problem incapable of solution. Extent and novelty of the theory
propounded by Schleiermacher--slenderness of his proofs   317

Schleiermacher's hypothesis includes a preconceived scheme, and a
peremptory order of interdependence among the dialogues   318

Assumptions of Schleiermacher respecting the Phædrus inadmissible   319

Neither Schleiermacher, nor any other critic, has as yet produced any
tolerable proof for an internal theory of the Platonic dialogues

Munk's theory is the most ambitious, and the most gratuitous, next to
Schleiermacher's   320

The age assigned to Sokrates in any dialogue is a circumstance of
little moment   _ib._

No intentional sequence or interdependence of the dialogues can be
made out   322

Principle of arrangement adopted by Hermann is reasonable--successive
changes in Plato's point of view: but we cannot explain either the
order or the causes of these changes   _ib._

Hermann's view more tenable than Schleiermacher's   323

Small number of certainties, or even reasonable presumptions, as to
date or order of the dialogues   324

Trilogies indicated by Plato himself   325

Positive dates of all the dialogues--unknown   326

When did Plato begin to compose? Not till after the death of Sokrates

Reasons for this opinion. Labour of the composition--does not consist
with youth of the author   327

Reasons founded on the personality of Sokrates, and his relations with
Plato   328

Reasons, founded on the early life, character, and position of Plato   330

Plato's early life--active by necessity, and to some extent
ambitious   331

Plato did not retire from political life until after the restoration
of the democracy, nor devote himself to philosophy until after the
death of Sokrates   333

All Plato's dialogues were composed during the fifty-one years after
the death of Sokrates   334

The Thrasyllean Canon is more worthy of trust than the modern critical
theories by which it has been condemned   335

Unsafe grounds upon which those theories proceed   336

Opinions of Schleiermacher, tending to show this   337

Any true theory of Plato must recognise all his varieties, and must be
based upon all the works in the Canon, not upon some to the exclusion
of the rest   339


Platonic Compositions Generally.

Variety and abundance visible in Plato's writings   342

Plato both sceptical and dogmatical   _ib._

Poetical vein predominant in some compositions, but not in all   343

Form of dialogue--universal to this extent, that Plato never speaks in
his own name   344

No one common characteristic pervading all Plato's works   _ib._

The real Plato was not merely a writer of dialogues, but also lecturer
and president of a school. In this last important function he is
scarcely at all known to us. Notes of his lectures taken by
Aristotle   346

Plato's lectures De Bono obscure and transcendental. Effect which they
produced on the auditors   347

They were delivered to miscellaneous auditors. They coincide mainly
with what Aristotle states about the Platonic Ideas   348

The lectures De Bono may perhaps have been more transcendental than
Plato's other lectures   349

Plato's Epistles--in them only he speaks in his own person   _ib._

Intentional obscurity of his Epistles in reference to philosophical
doctrine   350

Letters of Plato to Dionysius II. about philosophy. His anxiety to
confine philosophy to discussion among select and prepared minds   351

He refuses to furnish any written, authoritative exposition of his own
philosophical doctrine   352

He illustrates his doctrine by the successive stages of geometrical
teaching. Difficulty to avoid the creeping in of error at each of
these stages   353

No written exposition can keep clear of these chances of error   355

Relations of Plato with Dionysius II. and the friends of the deceased
Dion. Pretensions of Dionysius to understand and expound Plato's
doctrines   _ib._

Impossibility of teaching by written exposition assumed by Plato; the
assumption intelligible in his day   357

Standard by which Plato tested the efficacy of the expository
process.--Power of sustaining a Sokratic cross-examination   358

Plato never published any of the lectures which he delivered at the
Academy   _ib._

Plato would never publish his philosophical opinions in his own name;
but he may have published them in the dialogues under the name of
others   360

Groups into which the dialogues admit of being thrown   361

Distribution made by Thrasyllus defective, but still useful--Dialogues
of Search, Dialogues of Exposition   _ib._

Dialogues of Exposition--present affirmative result. Dialogues of
Search are wanting in that attribute   362

The distribution coincides mainly with that of Aristotle--Dialectic,
Demonstrative   363

Classification of Thrasyllus in its details. He applies his own
principles erroneously   364

The classification, as it would stand, if his principles were applied
correctly   365

Preponderance of the searching and testing dialogues over the
expository and dogmatical   366

Dialogues of Search--sub-classes among them recognised by
Thrasyllus--Gymnastic and Agonistic, &c.   _ib._

Philosophy, as now understood, includes authoritative teaching,
positive results, direct proofs   _ib._

The Platonic Dialogues of Search disclaim authority and
teaching--assume truth to be unknown to all alike--follow a process
devious as well as fruitless   367

The questioner has no predetermined course, but follows the lead given
by the respondent in his answers   _ib._

Relation of teacher and learner. Appeal to authority is suppressed   368

In the modern world the search for truth is put out of sight. Every
writer or talker professes to have already found it, and to proclaim
it to others   369

The search for truth by various interlocutors was a recognised process
in the Sokratic age. Acute negative Dialectic of Sokrates   370

Negative procedure supposed to be represented by the Sophists and the
Megarici; discouraged and censured by historians of philosophy   371

Vocation of Sokrates and Plato for the negative procedure: absolute
necessity of it as a condition of reasoned truth. Parmenidês of
Plato   372

Sokrates considered the negative procedure to be valuable by itself,
and separately. His theory of the natural state of the human mind; not
ignorance, but false persuasion of knowledge   373

Declaration of Sokrates in the Apology; his constant mission to make
war against the false persuasion of knowledge   374

Opposition of feeling between Sokrates and the Dikasts   375

The Dialogues of Search present an end in themselves. Mistake of
supposing that Plato had in his mind an ulterior affirmative end, not
declared   _ib._

False persuasion of knowledge--had reference to topics social,
political, ethical   376

To those topics, on which each community possesses established dogmas,
laws, customs, sentiments, consecrated and traditional, peculiar to
itself. The local creed, which is never formally proclaimed or taught,
but is enforced unconsciously by every one upon every one else.
Omnipotence of King Nomos   377

Small minority of exceptional individual minds, who do not yield to
the established orthodoxy, but insist on exercising their own
judgment   382

Early appearance of a few free-judging individuals, or free-thinkers
in Greece   384

Rise of Dialectic--Effect of the Drama and the Dikastery   386

Application of Negative scrutiny to ethical and social topics by
Sokrates   _ib._

Emphatic assertion by Sokrates of the right of satisfaction for his
own individual reason   386

Aversion of the Athenian public to the negative procedure of Sokrates.
Mistake of supposing that that negative procedure belongs peculiarly
to the Sophists and the Megarici   387

The same charges which the historians of philosophy bring against the
Sophists were brought by contemporary Athenians against Sokrates. They
represent the standing dislike of free inquiry, usual with an orthodox
public 388

Aversion towards Sokrates aggravated by his extreme publicity of
speech. His declaration, that false persuasion of knowledge is
universal; must be understood as a basis in appreciating Plato's
Dialogues of Search   393

Result called _Knowledge_, which Plato aspires to. Power of going
through a Sokratic cross-examination; not attainable except through
the Platonic process and method   396

Platonic process adapted to Platonic topics--man and society   397

Plato does not provide solutions for the difficulties which he has
raised. The affirmative and negative veins are in him completely
distinct. His dogmas are enunciations _à priori_ of some impressive
sentiment   399

Hypothesis--that Plato had solved all his own difficulties for
himself; but that he communicated the solution only to a few select
auditors in oral lectures--Untenable   401

Characteristic of the oral lectures--that they were delivered in
Plato's own name. In what other respects they departed from the
dialogues, we cannot say   402

Apart from any result, Plato has an interest in the process of search
and debate _per se_. Protracted enquiry is a valuable privilege, not a
tiresome obligation   403

Plato has done more than any one else to make the process of enquiry
interesting to others, as it was to himself   405

Process of generalisation always kept in view and illustrated
throughout the Platonic Dialogues of Search--general terms and
propositions made subjects of conscious analysis   406

The Dialogues must be reviewed as distinct compositions by the same
author, illustrating each other, but without assignable
inter-dependence   407

Order of the Dialogues, chosen for bringing them under separate
review. Apology will come first; Timæus, Kritias, Leges, Epinomis last

Kriton and Euthyphron come immediately after Apology. The intermediate
dialogues present no convincing grounds for any determinate order   408


Apology of Sokrates.

The Apology is the real defence delivered by Sokrates before the
Dikasts, reported by Plato, without intentional transformation   410

Even if it be Plato's own composition, it comes naturally first in the
review of his dialogues   411

General character of the Apology--Sentiments entertained towards
Sokrates at Athens   412

Declaration from the Delphian oracle respecting the wisdom of
Sokrates, interpreted by him as a mission to cross-examine the
citizens generally--The oracle is proved to be true   413

False persuasion of wisdom is universal--the God alone is wise   414

Emphatic assertion by Sokrates of the cross-examining mission imposed
upon him by the God   _ib._

He had devoted his life to the execution of this mission, and he
intended to persevere in spite of obloquy or danger   416

He disclaims the function of a teacher--he cannot teach, for he is not
wiser than others. He differs from others by being conscious of his
own ignorance   _ib._

He does not know where competent teachers can be found. He is
perpetually seeking for them, but in vain   417

Impression made by the Platonic Apology on Zeno the Stoic   418

Extent of efficacious influence claimed by Sokrates for
himself--exemplified by Plato throughout the Dialogues of
Search--Xenophon and Plato enlarge it   _ib._

Assumption by modern critics, that Sokrates is a positive teacher,
employing indirect methods for the inculcation of theories of his
own   419

Incorrectness of such assumption--the Sokratic Elenchus does not
furnish a solution, but works upon the mind of the respondent,
stimulating him to seek for a solution of his own   420

Value and importance of this process--stimulating active individual
minds to theorise each for itself   421

View taken by Sokrates about death. Other men profess to know what it
is, and think it a great misfortune: he does not know   422

Reliance of Sokrates on his own individual reason, whether agreeing or
disagreeing with others   423

Formidable efficacy of established public beliefs, generated without
any ostensible author   424



General purpose of the Kriton   425

Subject of the dialogue--interlocutors   _ib._

Answer of Sokrates to the appeal made by Kriton   426

He declares that the judgment of the general public is not worthy of
trust: he appeals to the judgment of the one Expert, who is wise on
the matter in debate   _ib._

Principles laid down by Sokrates for determining the question with
Kriton. Is the proceeding recommended just or unjust? Never in any
case to act unjustly   427

Sokrates admits that few will agree with him, and that most persons
hold the opposite opinion: but he affirms that the point is cardinal

Pleading supposed to be addressed by the Laws of Athens to Sokrates,
demanding from him implicit obedience   428

Purpose of Plato in this pleading--to present the dispositions of
Sokrates in a light different from that which the Apology had
presented--unqualified submission instead of defiance   _ib._

Harangue of Sokrates delivered in the name of the Laws, would have
been applauded by all the democratical patriots of Athens   430

The harangue insists upon topics common to Sokrates with other
citizens, overlooking the specialties of his character   431

Still Sokrates is represented as adopting the resolution to obey, from
his own conviction; by a reason which weighs with him, but which would
not weigh with others   _ib._

The harangue is not a corollary from this Sokratic reason, but
represents feelings common among Athenian citizens   432

Emphatic declaration of the authority of individual reason and
conscience, for the individual himself   _ib._

The Kriton is rhetorical, not dialectical. Difference between Rhetoric
and Dialectic   433

The Kriton makes powerful appeal to the emotions, but overlooks the
ratiocinative difficulties, or supposes them to be solved   _ib._

Incompetence of the general public or [Greek: i)diô=tai]--appeal to
the professional Expert   435

Procedure of Sokrates after this comparison has been declared--he does
not name who the trustworthy Expert is   _ib._

Sokrates acts as the Expert himself: he finds authority in his own
reason and conscience   436



Situation supposed in the dialogue--interlocutors   437

Indictment by Melêtus against Sokrates--Antipathy of the Athenians
towards those who spread heretical opinions   437

Euthyphron recounts that he is prosecuting an indictment for murder
against his own father--Displeasure of his friends at the proceeding

Euthyphron expresses full confidence that this step of his is both
required and warranted by piety or holiness. Sokrates asks him--What
is Holiness?   439

Euthyphron alludes to the punishment of Uranus by his son Kronus and
of Kronus by his son Zeus   440

Sokrates intimates his own hesitation in believing these stories of
discord among the Gods. Euthyphron declares his full belief in them,
as well as in many similar narratives, not in so much circulation

Bearing of this dialogue on the relative position of Sokrates and the
Athenian public   441

Dramatic moral set forth by Aristophanes against Sokrates and the
freethinkers, is here retorted by Plato against the orthodox
champion   442

Sequel of the dialogue--Euthyphron gives a particular example as the
reply to a general question   444

Such mistake frequent in dialectic discussion   _ib._

First general answer given by Euthyphron--that which is pleasing to
the Gods is holy. Comments of Sokrates thereon   445

To be loved by the Gods is not the essence of the Holy--they love it
because it is holy. In what then does its essence consist? Perplexity
of Euthyphron   446

Sokrates suggests a new answer. The Holy is one branch or variety of
the Just. It is that branch which concerns ministration by men to the
Gods   447

Ministration to the Gods? How? To what purpose?   _ib._

Holiness--rectitude in sacrifice and prayer--right traffic between men
and the Gods   448

This will not stand--the Gods gain nothing--they receive from men
marks of honour and gratitude--they are pleased therewith--the Holy,
therefore, must be that which is pleasing to the Gods   448

This is the same explanation which was before declared insufficient. A
fresh explanation is required from Euthyphron. He breaks off the
dialogue   _ib._

Sokratic spirit of the dialogue--confessed ignorance applying the
Elenchus to false persuasion of knowledge   449

The questions always difficult, often impossible to answer. Sokrates
is unable to answer them, though he exposes the bad answers of others

Objections of Theopompus to the Platonic procedure   450

Objective view of Ethics, distinguished by Sokrates from the
subjective   451

Subjective unanimity coincident with objective dissent   _ib._

Cross-examination brought to bear upon this mental condition by
Sokrates--position of Sokrates and Plato in regard to it   452

The Holy--it has an essential characteristic--what is this?--not the
fact that it is loved by the Gods--this is true, but is not its
constituent essence   454

Views of the Xenophontic Sokrates respecting the Holy--different from
those of the Platonic Sokrates--he disallows any common absolute
general type of the Holy--he recognises an indefinite variety of
types, discordant and relative   _ib._

The Holy a branch of the Just--not tenable as a definition, but useful
as bringing to view the subordination of logical terms   455

The Euthyphron represents Plato's way of replying to the charge of
impiety, preferred by Melêtus against Sokrates--comparison with
Xenophon's way of replying   _ib._






[Side-note: Change in the political condition of Greece during the
life of Plato.]

The life of Plato extends from 427-347 B.C. He was born in the fourth
year of the Peloponnesian war, and he died at the age of 80, about the
time when Olynthus was taken by the Macedonian Philip. The last years
of his life thus witnessed a melancholy breach in the integrity of the
Hellenic world, and even exhibited data from which a far-sighted
Hellenic politician might have anticipated something like the coming
subjugation, realised afterwards by the victory of Philip at
Chæroneia. But during the first half of Plato's life, no such
anticipations seemed even within the limits of possibility. The forces
of Hellas, though discordant among themselves, were superabundant as
to defensive efficacy, and were disposed rather to aggression against
foreign enemies, especially against a country then so little
formidable as Macedonia. It was under this contemplation of Hellas
self-acting and self-sufficing--an aggregate of cities, each a
political unit, yet held together by strong ties of race, language,
religion, and common feelings of various kinds--that the mind of Plato
was both formed and matured.

In appreciating, as far as our scanty evidence allows, the
circumstances which determined his intellectual and speculative
character, I shall be compelled to touch briefly upon the various
philosophical theories which were propounded anterior to Sokrates--as
well as to repeat some matters already brought to view in the
sixteenth, sixty-seventh, and sixty-eighth chapters of my History of

[Side-note: Early Greek mind, satisfied with the belief in
polytheistic personal agents as the real producing causes of

To us, as to Herodotus, in his day, the philosophical speculation of
the Greeks begins with the theology and cosmology of Homer and Hesiod.
The series of divine persons and attributes, and generations presented
by these poets, and especially the Theogony of Hesiod, supplied at one
time full satisfaction to the curiosity of the Greeks respecting the
past history and present agencies of the world around them. In the
emphatic censure bestowed by Herakleitus on the poets and philosophers
who preceded him, as having much knowledge but no sense--he includes
Hesiod, as well as Pythagoras, Xenophanes, and Hekatæus: upon Homer
and Archilochus he is still more severe, declaring that they ought to
be banished from the public festivals and scourged.[1] The sentiment
of curiosity as it then existed was only secondary and derivative,
arising out of some of the strong primary or personal sentiments--fear
or hope, antipathy or sympathy,--impression of present
weakness,--unsatisfied appetites and longings,--wonder and awe under the
presence of the terror-striking phenomena of nature, &c. Under this state
of the mind, when problems suggested themselves for solution, the answers
afforded by Polytheism gave more satisfaction than could have been
afforded by any other hypothesis. Among the indefinite multitude of
invisible, personal, quasi-human agents, with different attributes and
dispositions, some one could be found to account for every perplexing
phenomenon. The question asked was, not What are the antecedent
conditions or causes of rain, thunder, or earthquakes, but Who rains
and thunders? Who produces earthquakes?[2] The Hesiodic Greek was
satisfied when informed that it was Zeus or Poseidon. To be told of
physical agencies would have appeared to him not merely
unsatisfactory, but absurd, ridiculous, and impious. It was the task
of a poet like Hesiod to clothe this general polytheistic sentiment in
suitable details: to describe the various Gods, Goddesses, Demigods,
and other quasi-human agents, with their characteristic attributes,
with illustrative adventures, and with sufficient relations of
sympathy and subordination among each other, to connect them in men's
imaginations as members of the same brotherhood. Okeanus, Gæa, Uranus,
Helios, Selênê,--Zeus, Poseidon, Hades--Apollo and Artemis, Dionysus
and Aphroditê--these and many other divine personal agents, were
invoked as the producing and sustaining forces in nature, the past
history of which was contained in their filiations or contests.
Anterior to all of them, the primordial matter or person, was Chaos.

[Footnote 1: Diogen. Laert. ix. 1. [Greek: Polumathi/ê no/on ou)
dida/skei;] ([Greek: ou) phu/ei,] ap. Proclum in Platon. Timæ. p. 31 F.,
p. 72, ed. Schneider), [Greek: Ê(si/odon ga\r a)\n e)di/daxe kai\
Puthago/rên, auti/s te Xenopha/nea/ te kai\ E(katai=on; to/n th'
O(/mêron e)/phasken a)/xion ei)=nai e)k tô=n agô/nôn e)kba/llesthai
kai\ rhapi/zesthai, kai\ A)rchi/lochon o(moi/ôs.]

[Footnote 2: Aristophanes, Nubes, 368, [Greek: A)lla\ ti/s u(/ei?]
Herodot. vii. 129.]

[Side-note: Belief in such agency continued among the general public,
even after the various sects of philosophy had arisen.]

Hesiod represents the point of view ancient and popular (to use
Aristotle's expression[3]) among the Greeks, from whence all their
philosophical speculation took its departure; and which continued
throughout their history, to underlie all the philosophical
speculations, as the faith of the ordinary public who neither
frequented the schools nor conversed with philosophers. While
Aristophanes, speaking in the name of this popular faith, denounces
and derides Sokrates as a searcher, alike foolish and irreligious,
after astronomical and physical causes--Sokrates himself not only
denies the truth of the allegation, but adopts as his own the
sentiment which dictated it; proclaiming Anaxagoras and others to be
culpable for prying into mysteries which the Gods intentionally kept
hidden.[4] The repugnance felt by a numerous public, against
scientific explanation--as eliminating the divine agents and
substituting in their place irrational causes,[5]--was a permanent
fact of which philosophers were always obliged to take account, and
which modified the tone of their speculations without being powerful
enough to repress them.

[Footnote 3: Aristotel. Metaphys. A. 8, p. 989, a. 10. [Greek: Phêsi\
de/ kai\ Ê(si/odos tê\n gê=n prô/tên gene/sthai tô=n sôma/tôn; ou(/tôs
a)rchai/an kai\ dêmotikê\n sumbe/bêken ei)=nai tê\n u(po/lêpsin.]

Again in the beginning of the second book of the Meteorologica,
Aristotle contrasts the ancient and primitive theology with the "human
wisdom" which grew up subsequently: [Greek: Oi( a)rchai=oi kai\
diatri/bontes peri\ ta\s theologi/as--oi( sophô/teroi tê\n
a)nthrôpi/nên sophi/an] (Meteor, ii. i. p. 353, a.)]

[Footnote 4: Xenophon, Memor. iv. 7, 5; i. 1, 11-15. Plato, Apolog. p.
26 E.]

[Footnote 5: Plutarch, Nikias, c. 23. [Greek: Ou) ga\r ê)neichonto
tou\s phusikou\s kai\ meteôrole/schas to/te kaloume/nous, ô(s ei)s
ai)ti/as a)lo/gous kai\ duna/meis a)pronoê/tous kai\ katênagkasme/na
pa/thê diatri/bontas to\ thei=on.]]

[Side-note: Thales, the first Greek who propounded the hypothesis of
physical agency in place of personal. Water, the primordial substance,
or [Greek: a)rchê/].]

Even in the sixth century B.C., when the habit of composing in prose
was first introduced, Pherekydes and Akusilaus still continued in
their prose the theogony, or the mythical cosmogony, of Hesiod and the
other old Poets: while Epimenides and the Orphic poets put forth
different theogonies, blended with mystical dogmas. It was, however,
in the same century, and in the first half of it, that Thales of
Miletus (620-560 B.C.), set the example of a new vein of thought.
Instead of the Homeric Okeanus, father of all things, Thales assumed
the material substance, Water, as the primordial matter and the
universal substratum of everything in nature. By various
transmutations, all other substances were generated from water; all of
them, when destroyed, returned into water. Like the old poets, Thales
conceived the surface of the earth to be flat and round; but he did
not, like them, regard it as stretching down to the depths of
Tartarus: he supposed it to be flat and shallow, floating on the
immensity of the watery expanse or Ocean.[6] This is the main feature
of the Thaletian hypothesis, about which, however, its author seems to
have left no writing. Aristotle says little about Thales, and that
little in a tone of so much doubt,[7] that we can hardly confide in
the opinions and discoveries ascribed to him by others.[8]

[Footnote 6: Aristotel. Metaphys. A. 3, p. 983, b. 21. De Coelo, ii.
13, p. 294, a. 29. [Greek: Thalê=s, o( tê=s toiau/tês a)rchêgo\s
philosophi/as], &c. Seneca, Natural. Quæst. vi. 6.

Pherekydes, Epimenides, &c., were contemporary with the earliest Ionic
philosophers (Brandis, Handbuch der Gesch. der Gr.-Röm. Phil., s. 23).

According to Plutarch (Aquæ et Ignis Comparatio, p. 955, init.), most
persons believed that Hesiod, by the word Chaos, meant Water. Zeno the
Stoic adopted this interpretation (Schol. Apollon. Rhod. i. 498). On
the other hand, Bacchylides the poet, and after him Zenodotus, called
Air by the name Chaos (Schol. Hesiod. Theogon. p. 392, Gaisf.).
Hermann considers that the Hesiodic Chaos means empty space (see note,
Brandis, Handb. d. Gesch. d. Gr.-Röm. Phil., vol. i., p. 71).]

[Footnote 7: See two passages in Aristotle De Animâ, i. 2, and i. 5.]

[Footnote 8: Cicero says (De Naturâ Deorum, i. 10), "Thales--aquam
dixit esse initium rerum, Deum autem eam mentem, quæ ex aquâ cuncta
fingeret." That the latter half of this Ciceronian statement,
respecting the doctrines of Thales, is at least unfounded, and
probably erroneous, is recognised by Preller, Brandis, and Zeller.
Preller, Histor. Philos. Græc. ex Fontium Locis Contexta, sect. 15;
Brandis, Handbuch der Gr.-R. Philos. sect. 31, p. 118; Zeller, Die
Philos. der Griechen, vol. i., p. 151, ed. 2.

It is stated by Herodotus that Thales foretold the year of the
memorable solar eclipse which happened during the battle between the
Medes and the Lydians (Herod. i. 74). This eclipse seems to have
occurred in B.C. 585, according to the best recent astronomical
enquiries by Professor Airy.]

[Side-note: Anaximander--laid down as [Greek: a)rchê/] the Infinite or
indeterminate--generation of the elements out of it, by evolution of
latent fundamental contraries--astronomical and geological doctrines.]

The next of the Ionic philosophers, and the first who published his
opinions in writing, was Anaximander, of Miletus, the countryman and
younger contemporary of Thales (570-520 B.C.). He too searched for an
[Greek: A)rchê/], a primordial Something or principle, self-existent
and comprehending in its own nature a generative, motive, or
transmutative force. Not thinking that water, or any other known and
definite substance fulfilled these conditions, he adopted as the
foundation of his hypothesis a substance which he called the Infinite
or Indeterminate. Under this name he conceived Body simply, without
any positive or determinate properties, yet including the fundamental
contraries, Hot, Cold, Moist, Dry, &c., in a potential or latent
state, including farther a self-changing and self-developing force,[9]
and being moreover immortal and indestructible.[10] By this inherent
force, and by the evolution of one or more of these dormant contrary
qualities, were generated the various definite substances of
nature--Air, Fire, Water, &c. But every determinate substance thus
generated was, after a certain time, destroyed and resolved again into
the Indeterminate mass. "From thence all substances proceed, and into
this they relapse: each in its turn thus making atonement to the others,
and suffering the penalty of injustice."[11] Anaximander conceived
separate existence (determinate and particular existence, apart from
the indeterminate and universal) as an unjust privilege, not to be
tolerated except for a time, and requiring atonement even for that. As
this process of alternate generation and destruction was unceasing, so
nothing less than an Infinite could supply material for it. Earth,
Water, Air, Fire, having been generated, the two former, being cold
and heavy, remained at the bottom, while the two latter ascended. Fire
formed the exterior circle, encompassing the air like bark round a
tree: this peripheral fire was broken up and aggregated into separate
masses, composing the sun, moon, and stars. The sphere of the fixed
stars was nearest to the earth: that of the moon next above it: that
of the sun highest of all. The sun and moon were circular bodies
twenty-eight times larger than the earth: but the visible part of them
was only an opening in the centre, through which[12] the fire or light
behind was seen. All these spheres revolved round the earth, which was
at first semi-fluid or mud, but became dry and solid through the heat
of the sun. It was in shape like the section of a cylinder, with a
depth equal to one-third of its breadth or horizontal surface, on
which men and animals live. It was in the centre of the Kosmos; it
remained stationary because of its equal distance from all parts of
the outer revolving spheres; there was no cause determining it to move
upward rather than downward or sideways, therefore it remained
still.[13] Its exhalations nourished the fire in the peripheral
regions of the Kosmos. Animals were produced from the primitive muddy
fluid of the earth: first, fishes and other lower animals--next, in
process of time man, when circumstances permitted his development.[14]
We learn farther respecting the doctrines of Anaximander, that he
proposed physical explanations of thunder, lightning, and other
meteorological phenomena:[15] memorable as the earliest attempt of
speculation in that department, at a time when such events inspired
the strongest religious awe, and were regarded as the most especial
manifestations of purposes of the Gods. He is said also to have been
the first who tried to represent the surface and divisions of the
earth on a brazen plate, the earliest rudiment of a map or chart.[16]

[Footnote 9: See Zeller, Philosophie der Griechen, vol. i. p. 157,
seq., ed. 2nd.

Anaximander conceived [Greek: to\ a)peiron] as _infinite matter_; the
Pythagoreans and Plato conceived it as a distinct nature by itself--as
a subject, not as a predicate (Aristotel. Physic. iii. 4, p. 203, a.

About these fundamental contraries, Aristotle says (Physic. i. 4,
init.): [Greek: oi( d' e)k tou e(no\s e)nou/sas ta\s e)nantio/têtas
e)kkri/nesthai, ô(/sper A)naxi/mandro/s phêsi]. Which Simplikius
explains, [Greek: e)nantio/tête/s ei)si, thermo\n, psuchro\n, xêro\n,
u(gro\n, kai\ ai( a)/llai], &c.

Compare also Schleiermacher, "Ueber Anaximandros," in his Vermischte
Schriften, vol. ii. p. 178, seq. Deutinger (Gesch. der Philos. vol. i.
p. 165, Regensb. 1852) maintains that this [Greek: e)/krisis] of
contraries is at variance with the hypothesis of Anaximander, and has
been erroneously ascribed to him. But the testimony is sufficiently
good to outweigh this suspicion.]

[Footnote 10: Anaximander spoke of his [Greek: a)/peiron] as [Greek:
a)tha/naton kai\ a)nô/lethron] (Aristotel. Physic. iii. 4, 7, p. 203,
b. 15).]

[Footnote 11: Simplikius ad Aristotel. Physic. fol. 6 a. apud Preller,
Histor. Philos. Græco-Rom. § 57, [Greek: e)x ô(=n de\ ê( ge/nesi/s
e)sti toi=s ou)=si, kai\ tê\n phthora\n ei)s tau)ta\ gi/nesthai kata\
to\ chreô/n; dido/nai ga\r au)ta\ ti/sin kai\ di/kên a)llê/lois tê=s
a)diki/as kata\ tê\n tou= chro/nou ta/xin.] Simplikius remarks upon
the poetical character of this phraseology, [Greek: poiêtikôte/rois
o)no/masin au)ta\ le/gôn].]

[Footnote 12: Origen. Philosophumen. p. 11, ed. Miller; Plutarch ap.
Eusebium Præp. Evang. i. 8, xv. 23-46-47; Stobæus Eclog. i. p. 510.
Anaximander supposed that eclipses of the sun and moon were caused by
the occasional closing of these apertures (Euseb. xv. 50-61). The part
of the sun visible to us was, in his opinion, not smaller than the
earth, and of the purest fire (Diog. Laert. ii. 1).

Eudêmus, in his history of astronomy, mentioned Anaximander as the
first who had discussed the magnitudes and distances of the celestial
bodies (Simplikius ad Aristot. De Coelo, ap. Schol. Brand, p. 497, a.

[Footnote 13: Aristotel. Meteorol. ii. 2, p. 355, a. 21, which is
referred by Alexander of Aphrodisias to Anaximander; also De Coelo,
ii. 13, p. 295, b. 12.

A doctrine somewhat like it is ascribed even to Thales. See
Alexander's Commentary on Aristotel. Metaphys. i. p. 983, b. 17.

The reason here assigned by Anaximander why the Earth remained still,
is the earliest example in Greek philosophy of that fallacy called the
principle of the Sufficient Reason, so well analysed and elucidated by
Mr. John Stuart Mill, in his System of Logic, book v., ch. 3, sect. 5.

The remarks which Aristotle himself makes upon it are also very
interesting, when he cites the opinion of Anaximander. Compare Plato,
Phædon, p. 109, c. 132, with the citations in Wyttenbach's note.]

[Footnote 14: Plutarch, Placit. Philos. v. 19.]

[Footnote 15: Plutarch, Placit. Philos. iii. 3; Seneca, Quæst. Nat.
ii. 18-19.]

[Footnote 16: Strabo, i. p. 7. Diogenes Laertius (ii. 1) states that
Anaximander affirmed the figure of the earth to be spherical; and Dr.
Whewell, in his History of the Inductive Sciences, follows his
statement. But Schleiermacher (Ueber Anaximandros, vol. ii. p. 204 of
his Sämmtliche Werke) and Gruppe (Die Kosmischen Systeme der Griechen,
p. 38) contest this assertion, and prefer that of Plutarch (ap.
Eusebium Præp. Evang. i. 8, Placit. Philos. iii. 10), which I have
adopted in the text. It is to be remembered that Diogenes himself, in
another place (ix. 3, 21), affirms Parmenides to have been the first
who propounded the spherical figure of the earth. See the facts upon
this subject collected and discussed in the instructive dissertation
of L. Oettinger, Die Vorstellungen der Griechen und Römer ueber die
Erde als Himmelskörper, p. 38; Freiburg, 1850.]

[Side-note: Anaximenes--adopted Air as [Greek: a)rchê/]--rise of
substances out of it, by condensation and rarefaction.]

The third physical philosopher produced by Miletus, seemingly before
the time of her terrible disasters suffered from the Persians after
the Ionic revolt between 500-494 B.C., was Anaximenes, who struck out
a third hypothesis. He assumed, as the primordial substance, and as
the source of all generation or transmutation, Air, eternal in
duration, infinite in extent. He thus returned to the principle of the
Thaletian theory, selecting for his beginning a known substance,
though not the same substance as Thales. To explain how generation of
new products was possible (as Anaximander had tried to explain by his
theory of evolution of latent contraries), Anaximenes adverted to the
facts of condensation and rarefaction, which he connected respectively
with cold and heat.[17] The Infinite Air, possessing and exercising an
inherent generative and developing power, perpetually in motion,
passing from dense to rare or from rare to dense, became in its utmost
rarefaction, Fire and Æther; when passing through successive stages of
increased condensation it became first cloud, next water, then earth,
and, lastly, in its utmost density, stone.[18] Surrounding, embracing,
and pervading the Kosmos, it also embodied and carried with it a vital
principle, which animals obtained from it by inspiration, and which
they lost as soon as they ceased to breathe.[19] Anaximenes included
in his treatise (which was written in a clear Ionic dialect) many
speculations on astronomy and meteorology, differing widely from those
of Anaximander. He conceived the Earth as a broad, flat, round plate,
resting on the air.[20] Earth, Sun, and Moon were in his view
condensed air, the Sun acquiring heat by the extreme and incessant
velocity with which he moved. The Heaven was not an entire hollow
sphere encompassing the Earth below as well as above, but a hemisphere
covering the Earth above, and revolving laterally round it like a cap
round the head.[21]

[Footnote 17: Origen. Philosophumen. c. 7; Simplikius in Aristot.
Physic. f. 32; Brandis, Handb. d. Gesch. d. Gr.-R. Phil. p. 144.

Cicero, Academic. ii. 37, 118. "Anaximenes infinitum aera, sed ea, quæ
ex eo orirentur, definita."

The comic poet Philemon introduced in one of his dramas, of which a
short fragment is preserved (Frag. 2, Meineke, p. 840), the
omnipresent and omniscient Air, to deliver the prologue:

[Greek:             ----ou(to/s ei)m' e)gô\
A)ê/r, o(\n a)/n tis o)noma/seie kai\ Di/a.
e)gô\ d', o(\ theou=' stin e)/rgon, ei)mi\ pantachou=--
pa/nt' e)x a)na/gkês oi)=da, pantachou= parô/n.]]

[Footnote 18: Plutarch, De Primo Frigido, p. 917; Plutarch, ap. Euseb.
P. E. i. 8.]

[Footnote 19: Plutarch, Placit. Philosophor, i. 3, p. 878.]

[Footnote 20: Aristotel. De Coelo, ii. 13; Plutarch, Placit.
Philosoph. iii. 10, p. 895.]

[Footnote 21: Origen. Philosophum. p. 12, ed. Miller: [Greek:
ô(sperei\ peri\ tê\n ê(mete/ran kephalê\n stre/phetai to\ pili/on.]]

The general principle of cosmogony, involved in the hypothesis of
these three Milesians--one primordial substance or Something endued
with motive and transmutative force, so as to generate all the variety
of products, each successive and transient, which our senses
witness--was taken up with more or less modification by others, especially
by Diogenes of Apollonia, of whom I shall speak presently. But there were
three other men who struck out different veins of thought--Pythagoras,
Xenophanes, and Herakleitus: the two former seemingly contemporary
with Anaximenes (550-490 B.C.), the latter somewhat later.

[Side-note: Pythagoras--his life and career--Pythagorean brotherhood,
great political influence which it acquired among the Greco-Italian
cities--incurred great enmity and was violently put down.]

Of Pythagoras I have spoken at some length in the thirty-seventh
chapter of my History of Greece. Speculative originality was only one
among many remarkable features in his character. He was an
inquisitive traveller, a religious reformer or innovator, and the
founder of a powerful and active brotherhood, partly ascetic, partly
political, which stands without parallel in Grecian history. The
immortality of the soul, with its transmigration (metempsychosis)
after death into other bodies, either of men or of other animals--the
universal kindred thus recognised between men and other animals, and
the prohibition which he founded thereupon against the use of animals
for food or sacrifice--are among his most remarkable doctrines: said
to have been borrowed (together with various ceremonial observances)
from the Egyptians.[22] After acquiring much celebrity in his native
island of Samos and throughout Ionia, Pythagoras emigrated (seemingly
about 530 B.C.) to Kroton and Metapontum in Lower Italy, where the
Pythagorean brotherhood gradually acquired great political ascendancy:
and from whence it even extended itself in like manner over the
neighbouring Greco-Italian cities. At length it excited so much
political antipathy among the body of the citizens,[23] that its rule
was violently put down, and its members dispersed about 509 B.C.
Pythagoras died at Metapontum.

[Footnote 22: Herodot. ii. 81; Isokrates, Busirid. Encom. s. 28.]

[Footnote 23: Polybius, ii. 39; Porphyry, Vit. Pythag. 54, seq.]

[Side-note: The Pythagoreans continue as a recluse sect, without
political power.]

Though thus stripped of power, however, the Pythagoreans still
maintained themselves for several generations as a social, religious,
and philosophical brotherhood. They continued and extended the vein of
speculation first opened by the founder himself. So little of
proclaimed individuality was there among them, that Aristotle, in
criticising their doctrine, alludes to them usually under the
collective name Pythagoreans. Epicharmus, in his comedies at Syracuse
(470 B.C.) gave occasional utterance to various doctrines of the sect;
but the earliest of them who is known to have composed a book, was
Philolaus,[24] the contemporary of Sokrates. Most of the opinions
ascribed to the Pythagoreans originated probably among the successors
of Pythagoras; but the basis and principle upon which they proceed
seems undoubtedly his.

[Footnote 24: Diogen. Laert. viii. 7-15-78-85.

Some passages of Aristotle, however, indicate divergences of doctrine
among the Pythagoreans themselves (Metaphys. A. 5, p. 986, a. 22). He
probably speaks of the Pythagoreans of his own time when dialectical
discussion had modified the original orthodoxy of the order. Compare
Gruppe, Ueber die Fragmente des Archytas, cap. 5, p. 61-63. About the
gradual development of the Pythagorean doctrine, see Brandis, Handbuch
der Gr.-R. Philos. s. 74, 75.]

[Side-note: Doctrine of the Pythagoreans--Number the Essence of

The problem of physical philosophy, as then conceived, was to find
some primordial and fundamental nature, by and out of which the
sensible universe was built up and produced; something which
co-existed always underlying it, supplying fresh matter and force for
generation of successive products. The hypotheses of Thales,
Anaximander, and Anaximenes, to solve this problem, have been already
noticed: Pythagoras solved it by saying, That the essence of things
consisted in Number. By this he did not mean simply that all things
were numerable, or that number belonged to them as a predicate.
Numbers were not merely predicates inseparable from subjects, but
subjects in themselves: substances or magnitudes, endowed with active
force, and establishing the fundamental essences or types according to
which things were constituted. About water,[25] air, or fire,
Pythagoras said nothing.[26] He conceived that sensible phenomena had
greater resemblance to numbers than to any one of these substrata
assigned by the Ionic philosophers. Number was (in his doctrine) the
self-existent reality--the fundamental material and in-dwelling force
pervading the universe. Numbers were not separate from things[27]
(like the Platonic Ideas), but _fundamenta_ of things--their essences
or determining principles: they were moreover conceived as having
magnitude and active force.[28] In the movements of the celestial
bodies, in works of human art, in musical harmony--measure and number
are the producing and directing agencies. According to the Pythagorean
Philolaus, "the Dekad, the full and perfect number, was of supreme and
universal efficacy as the guide and principle of life, both to the
Kosmos and to man. The nature of number was imperative and lawgiving,
affording the only solution of all that was perplexing or unknown;
without number all would be indeterminate and unknowable."[29]

[Footnote 25: Aristotel. Metaphys. A. 5, p. 985, b. 27. [Greek: E)n
de\ toi=s a)rithmoi=s, e)ndo/koun theôrei=n o(moiô/mata polla\ toi=s
ou)=si kai\ gignome/nois, ma=llon ê)\ e)n puri\ kai\ gê=| kai\
u(/dati], &c. Cf. N. 3, p. 1090, a. 21.]

[Footnote 26: Aristotel. Metaph. A. 9, p. 990, a. 16. [Greek: Dio\
peri\ puro\s ê)\ gê=s ê)\ tô=n a)/llôn tô=n toiou/tôn sôma/tôn ou)d'
o(tiou=n ei)rê/kasin], &c. (the Pythagoreans); also N. 3.]

[Footnote 27: Physic. iii. 4, p. 203, a. 6. [Greek: Ou) ga\r
chôristo\n poiou=si] (the Pythagoreans) [Greek: to\n a)rithmo/n], &c.
Metaphys. M. 6, p. 1080, b. 19: [Greek: ta\s mona/das u(polamba/nousin
e)/chein me/gethos]. M. 8, p. 1083, b. 17: [Greek: e)kei=noi] (the
Pythagoreans) [Greek: to\n a)rithmo\n ta\ o)/nta le/gousin; ta\ gou=n
theôrê/mata prosa/ptousi toi=s sô/masin ô(s e)x e)kei/nôn o)/ntôn tô=n

[Footnote 28: An analogous application of this principle (Number as
the fundamental substance and universal primary agent) may be seen in
an eminent physical philosopher of the nineteenth century, Oken's
Elements of Physio-Philosophy, translated by Tulk. Aphorism
57:--"While numbers in a mathematical sense are positions and negations
of nothing, in the philosophical sense they are positions and negations
of the Eternal. Every thing which is real, posited, finite, has become
this, out of numbers; or more strictly speaking, every Real is
absolutely nothing else than a number. This must be the sense
entertained of numbers in the Pythagorean doctrine--namely, that every
thing, or the whole universe, had arisen from numbers. This is not to
be taken in a merely quantitative sense, as it has hitherto been
erroneously; but in an intrinsic sense, as implying that all things
are numbers themselves, or the acts of the Eternal. The essence in
numbers is nought else than the Eternal. The Eternal only is or
exists, and nothing else is when a number exists. There is therefore
nothing real but the Eternal itself; for every Real, or every thing
that is, is only a number and only exists by virtue of a number."

Ibid., Aphorism 105-107:--"Arithmetic is the science of the second
idea, or that of time or motion, or life. It is therefore the first
science. Mathematics not only begin with it, but creation also, with
the becoming of time and of life. Arithmetic is, accordingly, the
truly absolute or divine science; and therefore every thing in it is
also directly certain, because every thing in it resembles the Divine.
Theology is arithmetic personified."--"A natural thing is nothing but
a self-moving number. An organic or living thing is a number moving
itself out of itself or spontaneously: an inorganic thing, however, is
a number moved by another thing: now as this other thing is also a
real number, so then is every inorganic thing a number moved by
another number, and so on _ad infinitum_. The movements in nature are
only movements of numbers by numbers: even as arithmetical computation
is none other than a movement of numbers by numbers; but with this
difference--that in the latter, this operates in an ideal manner, in
the former after a real."]

[Footnote 29: Philolaus, ed. Boeckh, p. 139. seqq.

[Greek: Theôrei=n dei= ta\ e)/rga kai\ ta\n e)ssi/an (ou)si/an) tô=
a)rithmô= katta\n du/namin, a(/tis e)nti\ e)n ta=| deka/di; mega/la
ga\r kai\ pantelê\s kai\ pantoergo\s kai\ thei/ô kai\ ou)rani/ô bi/ô
kai\ a)nthrôpi/nô a)rcha\ kai\ a(gemô\n . . . a)/neu de\ tau/tas pa/nta
a)/peira kai\ a)/dêla kai\ a)phanê=; nomika\ ga\r a( phu/sis tô=
a)rithmô= kai\ a(gemonika\ kai\ didaskalika\ tô= a)poroume/nô panto\s
kai\ a)gnooume/nô panti/]. Compare the Fr. p. 58, of the same work.

According to Plato, as well as the Pythagoreans, number extended to
ten, and not higher: all above ten were multiples and increments of
ten. (Aristot. Physic. iii. 6, p. 203, b. 30).]

[Side-note: The Monas--[Greek: a)rchê/], or principle of
Number--geometrical conception of number--symbolical attributes of the
first ten numbers, especially of the Dekad.]

The first principle or beginning of Number, was the One or
Monas--which the Pythagoreans conceived as including both the two
fundamental contraries--the Determining and the Indeterminate.[30] All
particular numbers, and through them all things, were compounded from
the harmonious junction and admixture of these two fundamental
contraries.[31] All numbers being either odd or even, the odd numbers
were considered as analogous to the Determining, the even numbers to
the Indeterminate. In One or the Monad, the Odd and Even were supposed
to be both contained, not yet separated: Two was the first
indeterminate even number; Three, the first odd and the first
determinate number, because it included beginning, middle, and end.
The sum of the first four numbers--One, Two, Three, Four = Ten (1 + 2
+ 3 + 4) was the most perfect number of all.[32] To these numbers,
one, two, three, four, were understood as corresponding the
fundamental conceptions of Geometry--Point, Line, Plane, Solid. _Five_
represented colour and visible appearance: _Six_, the phenomenon of
Life: _Seven_, Health, Light, Intelligence, &c.: _Eight_, Love or
Friendship.[33] Man, Horse, Justice and Injustice, had their
representative numbers: that corresponding to Justice was a square
number, as giving equal for equal.[34]

[Footnote 30: See the instructive explanations of Boeckh, in his work
on the Fragments of Philolaus, p. 54 seq.]

[Footnote 31: Philolaus, Fr., p. 62, Boeckh.--Diogen. L. viii. 7, 85.

By [Greek: a(rmoni/a], Philolaus meant the musical octave: and his
work included many explanations and comparisons respecting the
intervals of the musical scale. (Boeckh, p. 65 seq.)]

[Footnote 32: Aristotel. De Coelo, i. 1, p. 268, a. 10. [Greek:
katha/per ga/r phasin oi( Puthago/reioi, to\ pa=n kai\ ta\ pa/nta
toi=s tri/sin ô(/ristai; teleutê\ ga\r kai\ me/son kai\ a)rchê\ to\n
a)rithmo\n e)/chei to\n tou= panto\s, tau=ta de\ to\n tê=s tria/dos.
Dio\ para\ tê=s phu/seôs ei)lêpho/tes ô(/sper no/mous e)kei/nês, kai\
pro\s ta\s a(gistei/as chrô/metha tô=n theô=n tô=| a)rithmô=| tou/tô|]
(i. e. three). It is remarkable that Aristotle here adopts and
sanctions, in regard to the number Three, the mystic and fanciful
attributes ascribed by the Pythagoreans.]

[Footnote 33: Strümpell, Geschichte der theoretischen Philosophie der
Griechen, s. 78. Brandis, Handbuch der Gr.-Röm. Phil., sect. 80, p.
467 seq.

The number Five also signified marriage, because it was a junction of
the first masculine number Three with the first feminine Two. Seven
signified also [Greek: kairo\s] or Right Season. See Aristotel.
Metaphys. A. 5, p. 985, b. 26, and M. 4, p. 1078, b. 23, compared with
the commentary of Alexander on the former passage.]

[Footnote 34: Aristotel. Ethica Magna, i. 1.]

[Side-note: Pythagorean Kosmos and Astronomy--geometrical and harmonic
laws guiding the movements of the cosmical bodies.]

The Pythagoreans conceived the Kosmos, or the universe, as one single
system, generated out of numbers.[35] Of this system the central
point--the determining or limiting One--was first in order of time,
and in order of philosophical conception. By the determining influence
of this central constituted One, portions of the surrounding Infinite
were successively attracted and brought into system: numbers,
geometrical figures, solid substances, were generated. But as the
Kosmos thus constituted was composed of numbers, there could be no
continuum: each numerical unit was distinct and separated from the
rest by a portion of vacant space, which was imbibed, by a sort of
inhalation, from the infinite space or spirit without.[36] The central
point was fire, called by the Pythagoreans the Hearth of the Universe
(like the public hearth or perpetual fire maintained in the prytaneum
of a Grecian city), or the watch-tower of Zeus. Around it revolved,
from West to East, ten divine bodies, with unequal velocities, but in
symmetrical movement or regular dance.[37] Outermost was the circle of
the fixed stars, called by the Pythagoreans Olympus, and composed of
fire like the centre. Within this came successively,--with orbits more
and more approximating to the centre,--the five planets, Saturn,
Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury: next, the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth.
Lastly, between the Earth and the central fire, an hypothetical body,
called the Antichthon or Counter-Earth, was imagined for the purpose
of making up a total represented by the sacred number Ten, the symbol
of perfection and totality. The Antichthon was analogous to a
separated half of the Earth; simultaneous with the Earth in its
revolutions, and corresponding with it on the opposite side of the
central fire.

[Footnote 35: Aristot. Metaph. M. 6, p. 1080, b. 18. [Greek: to\n ga\r
o(/lon ou)/ranon kataskeua/zousin e)x a)rithmô=n]. Compare p. 1075, b.
37, with the Scholia.

A poet calls the tetraktys (consecrated as the sum total of the first
four numbers 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10) [Greek: pêgê\n a)ena/ou phu/seôs
rhizô/mat' e)/chousan]. Sextus Empiric. adv. Mathemat. vii. 94.]

[Footnote 36: Philolaus, ed. Boeckh, p. 91-95. [Greek: to\ pra=ton
a(rmosthe\n, to\ e(/n e)n tô=| me/sô| tê=s sphai/ras e(sti/a
kalei=tai--bômo/n te kai\ sunochê\n kai\ me/tron phu/seôs--prô=ton
ei)=nai phu/sei to\ me/son].

Aristot. Metaph. N. 3, p. 1091, a. 15. [Greek: phanerô=s ga\r
le/gousin] (the Pythagoreans) [Greek: ô(s tou= e(no\s
sustathe/ntos--eu)thu\s to\ e)/ggista tou= a)pei/rou o(/ti ei(lketo
kai\ e)perai/neto u(po\ tou= pe/ratos].

Aristot. Physic. iv. 6, p. 213, b. 21. [Greek: Ei)=nai d' e)/phasan
kai\ oi( Puthago/reioi keno/n, kai\ e)peisie/nai au)to\ tô=| ou)ra/nô|
e)k tou= a)pei/rou pneu/matos, ô(s a)napne/onti; kai\ to\ keno/n, o(\
diori/zei ta\s phu/seis, ô(s o)/ntos tou= kenou= chôrismou= tinos tô=n
e)phexê=s kai\ tê=s diori/seôs, kai\ tou=t' ei)=nai prô=ton e)n toi=s
a)rithmoi=s; to\ ga\r keno\n diori/zein tê\n phu/sin au)tô=n]. Stobæus
(Eclog. Phys. i. 18, p. 381, Heer.) states the same, referring to the
lost work of Aristotle on the Pythagorean philosophy. Compare Preller,
Histor. Philos. Gr. ex Font. Loc. Context., sect. 114-115.]

[Footnote 37: Philolaus, p. 94. Boeckh. [Greek: peri\ de\ tou=to de/ka
sô/mata thei=a choreu/ein], &c. Aristot. De Coelo, ii. 13. Metaphys. A.

The inhabited portion of the Earth was supposed to be that which was
turned away from the central fire and towards the Sun, from which it
received light. But the Sun itself was not self-luminous: it was
conceived as a glassy disk, receiving and concentrating light from the
central fire, and reflecting it upon the Earth, so long as the two
were on the same side of the central fire. The Earth revolved, in an
orbit obliquely intersecting that of the Sun, and in twenty-four
hours, round the central fire, always turning the same side towards
that fire. The alternation of day and night was occasioned by the
Earth being during a part of such revolution on the same side of the
central fire with the Sun, and thus receiving light reflected from
him: and during the remaining part of her revolution on the side
opposite to him, so that she received no light at all from him. The
Earth, with the Antichthon, made this revolution in one day: the Moon,
in one month:[38] the Sun, with the planets, Mercury and Venus, in one
year: the planets, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, in longer periods
respectively, according to their distances from the centre: lastly,
the outermost circle of the fixed stars (the Olympus, or the Aplanes),
in some unknown period of very long duration.[39]

[Footnote 38: The Pythagoreans supposed that eclipses of the moon took
place, sometimes by the interposition of the earth, sometimes by that
of the Antichthon, to intercept from the moon the light of the sun
(Stobæus, Eclog. Phys. i. 27, p. 560. Heeren). Stobæus here cites the
history ([Greek: i(stori/an]) of the Pythagorean philosophy by
Aristotle, and the statement of Philippus of Opus, the friend of

[Footnote 39: Aristot. de Coelo, ii. 13. Respecting this Pythagorean
cosmical system, the elucidations of Boeckh are clear and valuable.
Untersuchungen über das Kosmische System des Platon, Berlin, 1852, p.
99-102; completing those which he had before given in his edition of
the fragments of Philolaus.

Martin (in his Études sur le Timée de Platon, vol. ii. p. 107) and
Gruppe (Die Kosmischen Systeme der Griechen, ch. iv.) maintain that
the original system proposed by Pythagoras was a geocentric system,
afterwards transformed by Philolaus and other Pythagoreans into that
which stands in the text. But I agree with Boeckh (Ueber das Kosmische
System des Platon, p. 89 seqq.), and with Zeller (Phil. d. Griech.,
vol. i. p. 308, ed. 2), that this point is not made out. That which
Martin and Gruppe (on the authority of Alexander Polyhistor, Diog.
viii. 25, and others) consider to be a description of the original
Pythagorean system as it stood before Philolaus, is more probably a
subsequent transformation of it; introduced after the time of
Aristotle, in order to suit later astronomical views.]

[Side-note: Music of the Spheres.]

The revolutions of such grand bodies could not take place, in the
opinion of the' Pythagoreans, without producing a loud and powerful
sound; and as their distances from the central fire were supposed to
be arranged in musical ratios,[40] so the result of all these separate
sounds was full and perfect harmony. To the objection--Why were not
these sounds heard by us?--they replied, that we had heard them
constantly and without intermission from the hour of our birth; hence
they had become imperceptible by habit.[41]

[Footnote 40: Playfair observes (in his dissertation on the Progress
of Natural Philosophy, p. 87) respecting Kepler--"Kepler was perhaps
the first person who conceived that there must be always a law capable
of being expressed by arithmetic or geometry, which connects such
phenomena as have a physical dependence on each other". But this seems
to be exactly the fundamental conception of the Pythagoreans: or
rather a part of their fundamental conception, for they also
considered their numbers as active forces bringing such law into
reality. To illustrate the determination of the Pythagoreans to make
up the number of Ten celestial bodies, I transcribe another passage
from Playfair (p. 98). Huygens, having discovered one satellite of
Saturn, "believed that there were no more, and that the number of the
planets was now complete. The planets, primary and secondary, thus
made up twelve--the double of six, the first of the perfect numbers."]

[Footnote 41: Aristot. De Coelo, ii. 9; Pliny, H.N. ii. 20.

See the Pythagorean system fully set forth by Zeller, Die Philosophie
der Griechen, vol. i. p. 302-310, ed. 2nd.]

[Side-note: Pythagorean list of fundamental Contraries--Ten opposing

Ten was, in the opinion of the Pythagoreans, the perfection and
consummation of number. The numbers from One to Ten were all that they
recognised as primary, original, generative. Numbers greater than ten
were compounds and derivatives from the decad. They employed this
perfect number not only as a basis on which to erect a bold
astronomical hypothesis, but also as a sum total for their list of
contraries. Many Hellenic philosophers[42] recognised pairs of
opposing attributes as pervading nature, and as the fundamental
categories to which the actual varieties of the sensible world might
be reduced. While others laid down Hot and Cold, Wet and Dry, as the
fundamental contraries, the Pythagoreans adopted a list of ten pairs.
1. Limit and Unlimited; 2. Odd and Even; 3. One and Many; 4. Right and
Left; 5. Male and Female; 6. Rest and Motion; 7. Straight and Curve;
8. Light and Darkness; 9. Good and Evil; 10. Square and Oblong.[43] Of
these ten pairs, five belong to arithmetic or to geometry, one to
mechanics, one to physics, and three to anthropology or ethics. Good
and Evil, Regularity and Irregularity, were recognised as alike
primordial and indestructible.[44]

[Footnote 42: Aristot. Metaphys. [Greek: G]. 2, p. 1004, b. 30.
[Greek: ta\ d' o)/nta kai\ tê\n ou)sian o(mologou=sin e)x e)nanti/ôn
schedo\n a(/pantes sugkei=sthai.]]

[Footnote 43: Aristot. Metaphys. A. 5, p. 986, a. 22. He goes on to
say that Alkmæon, a semi-Pythagorean and a younger contemporary of
Pythagoras himself, while agreeing in the general principle that
"human affairs were generally in pairs," ([Greek: ei)=nai du/o ta\
polla\ tô=n a)nthrôpi/nôn]), laid down pairs of fundamental contraries
at random ([Greek: ta\s e)nantio/têtas ta\s tuchou/sas])--black and
white, sweet and bitter, good and evil, great and little. All that you
can extract from these philosophers is (continues Aristotle) the
general axiom, that "contraries are the principia of existing
things"--[Greek: o(/ti ta)na/ntia a)rchai\ tô=n o)/ntôn].

This axiom is to be noted as occupying a great place in the minds of
the Greek philosophers.]

[Footnote 44: Theophrast. Metaphys. 9. Probably the recognition of one
dominant antithesis--[Greek: To\ E(/n--ê( a)o/ristos Dua\s]--is the
form given by Plato to the Pythagorean doctrine. Eudorus (in
Simplikius ad Aristot. Physic. fol. 39) seems to blend the two

The arithmetical and geometrical view of nature, to which such
exclusive supremacy is here given by the Pythagoreans, is one of the
most interesting features of Grecian philosophy. They were the
earliest cultivators of mathematical science,[45] and are to be
recognised as having paved the way for Euclid and Archimedes,
notwithstanding the symbolical and mystical fancies with which they
so largely perverted what are now regarded as the clearest and most
rigorous processes of the human intellect. The important theorem which
forms the forty-seventh Proposition of Euclid's first book, is
affirmed to have been discovered by Pythagoras himself: but how much
progress was made by him and his followers in the legitimate province
of arithmetic and geometry, as well as in the applications of these
sciences to harmonics,[46] which they seem to have diligently
cultivated, we have not sufficient information to determine with

[Footnote 45: Aristot. Metaph. A. 5, p. 985, b. 23. [Greek: oi(
Puthagorei=oi tô=n mathêma/tôn a)psa/menoi _prô=toi tau=ta
proê/gagon_, kai\ e)ntraphe/ntes e)n au)toi=s ta\s tou/tôn a)rcha\s
tô=n o)/ntôn a)rcha\s ô)|ê/thêsan ei)=nai pa/ntôn.]]

[Footnote 46: Concerning the Pythagorean doctrines on Harmonics, see
Boeckh's Philolaus, p. 60-84, with his copious and learned comments.]

[Side-note: Eleatic philosophy--Xenophanes.]

Contemporary with Pythagoras, and like him an emigrant from Ionia to
Italy, was Xenophanes of Kolophon. He settled at the Phokæan colony of
Elea, on the Gulf of Poseidonia; his life was very long, but his
period of eminence appears to belong (as far as we can make out amidst
conflicting testimony) to the last thirty years of the sixth century
B.C. (530-500 B.C.). He was thus contemporary with Anaximander and
Anaximenes, as well as with Pythagoras, the last of whom he may have
personally known.[47] He composed, and recited in person, poems--epic,
elegiac, and iambic--of which a very few fragments remain.

[Footnote 47: Karsten. Xenophanis Fragm., s. 4, p. 9, 10.]

[Side-note: His censures upon the received Theogony and religious

Xenophanes takes his point of departure, not from Thales or
Anaximander, but from the same ancient theogonies which they had
forsaken. But he follows a very different road. The most prominent
feature in his poems (so far as they remain), is the directness and
asperity with which he attacks the received opinions respecting the
Gods--and the poets Hesiod and Homer, the popular exponents of those
opinions. Xenophanes not only condemns these poets for having ascribed
to the Gods discreditable exploits, but even calls in question the
existence of the Gods, and ridicules the anthropomorphic conception
which pervaded the Hellenic faith. "If horses or lions could paint,
they would delineate their Gods in form like themselves. The
Ethiopians conceive their Gods as black, the Thracians conceive theirs
as fair and with reddish hair."[48] Dissatisfied with much of the
customary worship and festivals, Xenophanes repudiated divination**
altogether, and condemned the extravagant respect shown to victors in
Olympic contests,[49] not less than the lugubrious ceremonies in
honour of Leukothea. He discountenanced all Theogony, or assertion of
the birth of Gods, as impious, and as inconsistent with the prominent
attribute of immortality ascribed to them.[50] He maintained that
there was but one God, identical with, or a personification of, the
whole Uranus. "The whole Kosmos, or the whole God, sees, hears, and
thinks." The divine nature (he said) did not admit of the conception
of separate persons one governing the other, or of want and
imperfection in any way.[51]

[Footnote 48: Xenophanis Fragm. 5-6-7, p. 39 seq. ed. Karsten; Clemens
Alexandr. Strom. v. p. 601; vii. p. 711.]

[Footnote 49: Xenophan. Fragm. 19, p. 60, ed. Karsten; Cicero,
Divinat. i. 3, 5.]

[Footnote 50: Xenophanis Fragment. 34-35, p. 85, ed. Karsten;
Aristotel. Rhetoric. ii. 23; Metaphys. A. 5, p. 986, b. 19.]

[Footnote 51: Xenoph. Frag. 1-2, p. 35.

[Greek: Ou)=los o(ra=|, ou)=los de\ noei=, ou)=los de t' a)kou/ei.]

Plutarch ap. Eusebium, Præp. Evang. i. 8; Diogen. Laert. ix. 19.]

[Side-note: His doctrine of Pankosmism, or Pantheism--The whole Kosmos
is Ens Unum or God--[Greek: E(\n kai\ Pa=n]. Non-Ens inadmissible.]

Though Xenophanes thus appears (like Pythagoras) mainly as a religious
dogmatist, yet theogony and cosmogony were so intimately connected in
the sixth century B.C., that he at the same time struck out a new
philosophical theory. His negation of theogony was tantamount to a
negation of cosmogony. In substituting Ens Unum--one God for many, he
set aside all distinct agencies in the universe, to recognise only one
agent, single, all-pervading, indivisible. He repudiated all genesis
of a new reality, all actual existence of parts, succession, change,
beginning, end, etc., in reference to the universe, as well as in
reference to God. "Wherever I turned my mind (he exclaimed) everything
resolved itself into One and the same: all things existing came back
always and everywhere into one similar and permanent nature."[52] The
fundamental tenet of Xenophanes was partly religious, partly
philosophical, Pantheism, or Pankosmism: looking upon the universe as
one real all-comprehensive Ens, which he would not call either finite
or infinite, either in motion or at rest.[53] Non-Ens he pronounced to
be an absurdity--an inadmissible and unmeaning phrase.

[Footnote 52: Timon, fragment of the Silli ap. Sext. Empiric. Hypot.
Pyrrh. i. 33, sect. 224.

[Greek: o)/ppê ga\r e)mo\n no/on ei)ru/saimi,
ei)s e(\n tau)to/ te pa=n a)nelu/eto, pa=n de o)\n ai)ei\
pa/ntê a)nelko/menon mi/an ei)s phu/sin i)/stath' o(moi/an].

[Greek: Ai)ei\] here appears to be more conveniently construed with
[Greek: i)/stath'] not (as Karsten construes it, p. 118) with [Greek:

It is fair to presume that these lines are a reproduction of the
sentiments of Xenophanes, if not a literal transcript of his words.]

[Footnote 53: Theophrastus ap. Simplikium in Aristotel. Physic. f. 6,
Karsten, p. 106; Arist. Met. A. 5, p. 986, b. 21: [Greek: Xenopha/nês
de\ prô=tos tou/tôn e(ni/sas, o( ga\r Parmeni/dês tou/ton le/getai
mathêtê/s,--eis to\n o(/lon ou)/ranon a)poble/psas to\ e(\n ei)=nai/
phêsi to\n theo/n.]]

[Side-note: Scepticism of Xenophanes--complaint of philosophy as

It was thus from Xenophanes that the doctrine of Pankosmism obtained
introduction into Greek philosophy, recognising nothing real except
the universe as an indivisible and unchangeable whole. Such a creed
was altogether at variance with common perception, which apprehends
the universe as a plurality of substances, distinguishable, divisible,
changeable, &c. And Xenophanes could not represent his One and All,
which excluded all change, to be the substratum out of which
phenomenal variety was generated--as Water, Air, the Infinite, had
been represented by the Ionic philosophers. The sense of this
contradiction, without knowing how to resolve it, appears to have
occasioned the mournful complaints of irremediable doubt and
uncertainty, preserved as fragments from his poems. "No man (he
exclaims) knows clearly about the Gods or the universe: even if he
speak what is perfectly true, he himself does not know it to be true:
all is matter of opinion."[54]

[Footnote 54: Xenophan. Fragm. 14, p. 51, ed. Karsten.

[Greek: kai\ to\ me\n ou)=n saphe\s ou)/tis a)nê\r ge/net' ou)/de tis
ei)dô\s, a)mphi\ theô=n te kai\ a)/ssa le/gô peri\ pa/ntôn;
ei) ga\r kai\ ta\ ma/lista tu/choi tetelesme/non ei)pô\n,
au)to\s o(mô=s ou)k oi)=de; do/kos d' e)pi\ pa=si te/tuktai].

Compare the extract from the Silli of Timon in Sextus
Empiricus--Pyrrhon. Hypot. i. 224; and the same author, adv.
Mathemat. vii. 48-52.]

Nevertheless while denying all real variety or division in the
universe, Xenophanes did not deny the variety of human perceptions and
beliefs. But he allowed them as facts belonging to man, not to the
universe--as subjective or relative, not as objective or absolute. He
even promulgated opinions of his own respecting many of the physical
and cosmological subjects treated by the Ionic philosophers.

[Side-note: His conjectures on physics and astronomy.]

Without attempting to define the figure of the Earth, he considered it
to be of vast extent and of infinite depth;[55] including, in its
interior cavities, prodigious reservoirs both of fire and water. He
thought that it had at one time been covered with water, in proof of
which he noticed the numerous shells found inland and on mountain
tops, together with the prints of various fish which he had observed
in the quarries of Syracuse, in the island of Paros, and elsewhere.
From these facts he inferred that the earth had once been covered with
water, and even that it would again be so covered at some future time,
to the destruction of animal and human life.[56] He supposed that the
sun, moon, and stars were condensations of vapours exhaled from the
Earth, collected into clouds, and alternately inflamed and

[Footnote 55: Aristot. De Coelo, ii. 13.]

[Footnote 56: Xenophan. Fragm. p. 178, ed. Karsten; Achilles Tatius,
[Greek: Ei)sagôgê\] in Arat. Phænom. p. 128, [Greek: ta\ ka/tô d' e)s
a)/peiron i(ka/nei].

This inference from the shells and prints of fishes is very remarkable
for so early a period. Compare Herodotus (ii. 12) who notices the
fact, and draws the same inference, as to Lower Egypt; also Plutarch,
De Isid. et Osirid. c. 40, p. 367; and Strabo, i. p. 49-50, from whom
we learn that the Lydian historian Xanthus had made the like
observation, and also the like inference, for himself. Straton of
Lampsakus, Eratosthenes, and Strabo himself, approved what Xanthus

[Footnote 57: Xenophanes Frag. p. 161 seq., ed. Karsten. Compare
Lucretius, v. 458.

  "per rara foramina, terræ
Partibus erumpens primus se sustulit æther
Ignifer et multos secum levis abstulit ignis . . . .
Sic igitur tum se levis ac diffusilis æther
Corpore concreto circumdatus undique flexit: . . . .
Hunc exordia sunt solis lunæque secuta."]

[Side-note: Parmenides continues the doctrine of Xenophanes--Ens
Parmenideum, self-existent, eternal, unchangeable, extended,--Non-Ens,
an unmeaning phrase.]

Parmenides, of Elea, followed up and gave celebrity to the Xenophanean
hypothesis in a poem, of which the striking exordium is yet preserved.
The two veins of thought, which Xenophanes had recognised and lamented
his inability to reconcile, were proclaimed by Parmenides as a sort of
inherent contradiction in the human mind--Reason or Cogitation
declaring one way, Sense (together with the remembrances and
comparisons of sense) suggesting a faith altogether opposite. Dropping
that controversy with the popular religion which had been raised by
Xenophanes, Parmenides spoke of many different Gods or Goddesses, and
insisted on the universe as one, without regarding it as one God. He
distinguished Truth from matter of Opinion.[58] Truth was knowable
only by pure mental contemplation or cogitation, the object of which
was Ens or Being, the Real or Absolute: here the Cogitans and the
Cogitatum were identical, one and the same.[59] Parmenides conceived
Ens not simply as existent, but as self-existent, without beginning or
end,[60] as extended, continuous, indivisible, and unchangeable. The
Ens Parmenideum comprised the two notions of Extension and
Duration:[61] it was something Enduring and Extended; Extension
including both space, and matter so far forth as filling space.
Neither the contrary of Ens (Non-Ens), nor anything intermediate
between Ens and Non-Ens, could be conceived, or named, or reasoned
about. Ens comprehended all that was Real, without beginning or end,
without parts or difference, without motion or change, perfect and
uniform like a well-turned sphere.[62]

[Footnote 58: Parmenid. Fr. v. 29.]

[Footnote 59: Parm. Frag. v. 40, 52-56.

    [Greek: to\ ga\r au)to\ noei=n e)sti/n te kai\ ei)=nai.
A)lla\ su\ tê=s d' a)ph' o(dou= dizê/sios ei)=rge no/êma,
mêde/ s' e)/thos polu/peiron o(do\n kata\ tê/nde bia/sthô,
nôma=|n a)/skopon o)/mma kai\ ê)chê/essan a)kouê\n
kai\ glô=ssan; kri=nai de\ lo/gô| polu/dênin e)/legchon
e)x e)me/then rhêthe/nta.]]

[Footnote 60: Parm. Frag. v. 81.

[Greek: au)ta\r a)ki/nêton mega/lôn e)n pei/rasi desmô=n
e)sti\n, a)/narchon, a)/pauston], &c.]

[Footnote 61: Zeller (Die Philosophie der Griech., i. p. 403, ed. 2)
maintains, in my opinion justly, that the Ens Parmenideum is conceived
by its author as extended. Strümpell (Geschichte der theor. Phil. der
Griech., s. 44) represents it as unextended: but this view seems not
reconcilable with the remaining fragments.]

[Footnote 62: Parm. Frag. v. 102.]

[Side-note: He recognises a region of opinion, phenomenal and
relative, apart from Ens.]

In this subject Ens, with its few predicates, chiefly negative,
consisted all that Parmenides called Truth. Everything else belonged
to the region of Opinion, which embraced all that was phenomenal,
relative, and transient: all that involved a reference to man's
senses, apprehension, and appreciation, all the indefinite diversity
of observed facts and inferences. Plurality, succession, change,
motion, generation, destruction, division of parts, &c., belonged to
this category. Parmenides did not deny that he and other men had
perceptions and beliefs corresponding to these terms, but he denied
their application to the Ens or the self-existent. We are conscious of
succession, but the self-existent has no succession: we perceive
change of colour and other sensible qualities, and change of place or
motion, but Ens neither changes nor moves. We talk of things generated
or destroyed--things coming into being or going out of being--but this
phrase can have no application to the self-existent Ens, which _is_
always and cannot properly be called either past or future.[63]
Nothing is really generated or destroyed, but only in appearance to
us, or relatively to our apprehension.[64] In like manner we perceive
plurality of objects, and divide objects into parts. But Ens is
essentially One, and cannot be divided.[65] Though you may divide a
piece of matter you cannot divide the extension of which that matter
forms part: you cannot (to use the expression of Hobbes[66]) pull
asunder the first mile from the second, or the first hour from the
second. The milestone, or the striking of the clock, serve as marks to
assist you in making a mental division, and in considering or
describing one hour and one mile apart from the next. This, however,
is your own act, relative to yourself: there is no real division of
extension into miles, or of duration into hours. You may consider the
same space or time as one or as many, according to your convenience:
as one hour or as sixty minutes, as one mile or eight furlongs. But
all this is a process of your own mind and thoughts; another man may
divide the same total in a way different from you. Your division noway
modifies the reality without you, whatever that may be--the Extended
and Enduring Ens--which remains still a continuous one, undivided and

[Footnote 63: Parm. Frag. v. 96.

[Greek: ----e)pei\ to/ ge moi=r' e)pe/dêsen
Oi)=on a)ki/nêton tele/thein tô=| pa/nt' o)/nom' _ei)=nai_,
O)/ssa brotoi\ kate/thento, pepoitho/tes ei)=nai a)lêthê=,
gi/gnesthai/ te kai\ o)/llusthai, ei)=nai/ te kai\ ou)ki\,
kai\ to/pon a)lla/ssein, dia/ te chro/a phano\n a)mei/bein;

v. 75:--

ei)/ ge ge/noit', ou)k e)/st'; ou)d' ei)/ po/te me/llei e)/sesthai;
tô=s ge/nesis me\n a)pe/sbestai, kai\ a)/pistos o)/lethros.]]

[Footnote 64: Aristotel. De Coelo, iii. 1. [Greek: Oi( me\n ga\r
au)tô=n o(/lôs a)nei=lon ge/nesin kai\ phthora/n; ou)the\n ga\r ou)/te
gi/gnesthai/ phasin ou)/te phthei/resthai tô=n o)/ntôn, _a)lla\ mo/non
dokei=n ê(mi=n_; oi)=on oi( peri\ Me/lisson kai\ Parmeni/dên], &c.]

[Footnote 65: Parm. Frag. v. 77.

[Greek: Ou)de\ diai/reto/n e)stin, e)pei\ pa=n e)sti\n o(/moion,
ou)de/ ti tê=| ma=llon to/ ken ei)/rgoi min xune/chesthai,
ou)de/ ti cheiro/teron; pa=n de\ ple/on e)sti\n e)o/ntos;
tô=| xuneche\s pa=n e)sti/n; e)o\n ga\r e)o/nti pela/zei].

Aristotel. Metaphys. A. 5, p. 986, b. 29, with the Scholia, and
Physic. i. 2, 3. Simplikius Comm. in Physic. Aristot. (apud Tennemann
Geschichte der Philos. b. i. s. 4, vol. i. p. 170) [Greek: pa/nta ga/r
phêsi (Parmeni/dês) ta\ o)/nta, katho\ o)/nta, e(n e)sti/n]. This
chapter, in which Tennemann gives an account of the Eleatic
philosophy, appears to me one of the best and most instructive in his

[Footnote 66: "To make parts,--or to part or divide, Space or Time,--is
nothing else but to consider one and another within the same: so
that if any man divide space or time, the diverse conceptions he has
are more, by one, than the parts which he makes. For his first
conception is of that which is to be divided--then, of some part of
it--and again of some other part of it: and so forwards, as long as he
goes in dividing. But it is to be noted, that here, by _division_, I
do not mean the severing or pulling asunder of one space or time from
another (for does any man think that one hemisphere may be separated
from the other hemisphere, or the first hour from the second?), but
_diversity of consideration_: so that division is not made by the
operation of the hands, but of the mind."--Hobbes, First Grounds of
Philosophy, chap. vii. 5, vol. i. p. 96, ed. Molesworth.

"Expansion and duration have this farther agreement, that though they
are both considered by us as having parts, yet their parts are not
separable one from another, not even in thought; though the parts of
bodies from which we take our measure of the one--and the parts of
motion, from which we may take the measure of the other--may be
interrupted or separated."--Locke, Essay on the Human Understanding,
book ii. ch. 15. s. 11.

In the Platonic Parmenides, p. 156 D., we find the remarkable
conception of what he calls [Greek: to\ e)xai/phnês, a)/topo/s tis
phu/sis]--a break in the continuity of duration, an extra-temporal

[Side-note: Parmenidean ontology stands completely apart from

The Ens of Parmenides thus coincided mainly with that which (since
Kant) has been called the Noumenon--the Thing in itself--the Absolute;
or rather with that which, by a frequent illusion, passes for the
absolute--no notice being taken of the cogitant and believing apart
from mind, as if cogitation and belief, _cogitata_ and _credita_,
would be had without it. By Ens was understood the remnant in his
mind, after leaving out all that abstraction, as far as it had then
been carried, could leave out. It was the minimum indispensable to the
continuance of thought; you cannot think (Parmenides says) without
thinking of Something, and that Something Extended and Enduring.
Though he and others talk of this Something as an Absolute (_i.e._
apart from or independent of his own thinking mind), yet he also uses
some juster language ([Greek: to\ ga\r au)to\ noei=n e)/stin te kai\
ei)=nai]), showing that it is really relative: that if the Cogitans
implies a Cogitatum, the Cogitatum also implies no less its
correlative Cogitans: and that though we may divide the two in words,
we cannot divide them in fact. It is to be remarked that Parmenides
distinguishes the Enduring or Continuous from the Transient or
Successive, Duration from Succession (both of which are included in
the meaning of the word Time), and that he considers Duration alone as
belonging to Ens or the Absolute--to the region of Truth--setting it
in opposition or antithesis to Succession, which he treats as relative
and phenomenal. We have thus (with the Eleates) the first appearance
of Ontology, the science of Being or Ens, in Grecian philosophy. Ens
is everything, and everything is Ens. In the view of Parmenides,
Ontology is not merely narrow, but incapable of enlargement or
application; we shall find Plato and others trying to expand it into
numerous imposing generalities.[67]

[Footnote 67: Leibnitz says, Réponse à M. Foucher, p. 117, ed.
Erdmann, "Comment seroit il possible qu'aucune chose existât, si
l'être même, ipsum Esse, n'avoit l'existence? Mais bien au contraire
ne pourrait on pas dire avec beaucoup plus de raison, qu'il n'y a que
lui qui existe véritablement, les êtres particuliers n'ayant rien de
permanent? Semper generantur, et nunquam sunt."]

[Side-note: Parmenidean phenomenology--relative and variable.]

Apart from Ontology, Parmenides reckons all as belonging to human
opinions. These were derived from the observations of sense (which he
especially excludes from Ontology) with the comparisons, inferences,
hypothesis, &c., founded thereupon: the phenomena of Nature
generally.[68] He does not attempt (as Plato and Aristotle do after
him) to make Ontology serve as a principle or beginning for anything
beyond itself,[69] or as a premiss from which the knowledge of nature
is to be deduced. He treats the two--Ontology and Phenomenology, to
employ an Hegelian word--as radically disparate, and incapable of any
legitimate union. Ens was essentially one and enduring: Nature was
essentially multiform, successive, ever changing and moving relative
to the observer, and different to observers at different times and
places. Parmenides approached the study of Nature from its own
starting point, the same as had been adopted by the Ionic
philosophers--the data of sense, or certain agencies selected among
them, and vaguely applied to explain the rest. Here he felt that he
relinquished the full conviction, inseparable from his intellectual
consciousness, with which he announced his few absolute truths
respecting Ens and Non-Ens, and that he entered upon a process of
mingled observation and conjecture, where there was great room for
diversity of views between man and man.

[Footnote 68: Karsten observes that the Parmenidean region of opinion
comprised not merely the data of sense, but also the comparisons,
generalisations, and notions, derived from sense.

"[Greek: Doxasto\n] et [Greek: noêto\n] vocantur duo genera inter se
diversa, quorum alterum complectitur res externas et fluxas,
_notionesque quæ ex his ducuntur_--alterum res æternas et à conspectu
remotas," &c. (Parm. Fragm. p. 148-149).]

[Footnote 69: Marbach (Lehrbuch der Gesch. der Philos., s. 71, not. 3)
after pointing out the rude philosophical expression of the
Parmenidean verses, has some just remarks upon the double aspect of
philosophy as there proclaimed, and upon the recognition by Parmenides
of that which he calls the "illegitimate" vein of enquiry along with
the "legitimate."

"Learn from me (says Parmenides) the opinions of mortals, brought to
your ears in the deceitful arrangement of my words. This is not
philosophy (Marbach says): it is Physics. We recognise in modern times
two perfectly distinct ways of contemplating Nature: the philosophical
and the physical. Of these two, the second dwells in plurality, the
first in unity: the first teaches everything as infallible truth, the
second as multiplicity of different opinions. We ought not to ask why
Parmenides, while recognising the fallibility of this second road of
enquiry, nevertheless undertook to march in it,--any more than we can
ask, Why does not modern philosophy render physics superfluous?"

The observation of Marbach is just and important, that the line of
research which Parmenides treated as illegitimate and deceitful, but
which he nevertheless entered upon, is the analogon of modern Physics.
Parmenides (he says) indicated most truly the contrast and divergence
between Ontology and Physics; but he ought to have gone farther, and
shown how they could be reconciled and brought into harmony. This
(Marbach affirms) was not even attempted, much less achieved, by
Parmenides: but it was afterwards attempted by Plato, and achieved by

Marbach is right in saying that the reconciliation was attempted by
Plato; but he is not right (I think) in saying that it was achieved by
Aristotle--nor by any one since Aristotle. It is the merit of
Parmenides to have brought out the two points of view as radically
distinct, and to have seen that the phenomenal world, if explained at
all, must be explained upon general principles of its own, raised out
of its own data of facts--not by means of an illusory Absolute and
Real. The subsequent philosophers, in so far as they hid and slurred
over this distinction, appear to me to have receded rather than

[Side-note: Parmenides recognises no truth, but more or less
probability, in phenomenal explanations.--His physical and
astronomical conjectures.]

Yet though thus passing from Truth to Opinions, from full certainty to
comparative and irremediable uncertainty,[70] Parmenides does not
consider all opinions as equally true or equally untrue. He announces
an opinion of his own--what he thinks most probable or least
improbable--respecting the structure and constitution of the Kosmos,
and he announces it without the least reference to his own doctrines
about Ens. He promises information respecting Earth, Water, Air, and
the heavenly bodies, and how they work, and how they came to be what
they are.[71] He recognises two elementary principles or beginnings,
one contrary to the other, but both of them positive--Light,
comprehending the Hot, the Light, and the Rare--Darkness,
comprehending the Cold, the Heavy, and the Dense.[72] These two
elements, each endued with active and vital properties, were brought
into junction and commixture by the influence of a Dea Genitalis
analogous to Aphroditê,[73] with her first-born son Eros, a personage
borrowed from the Hesiodic Theogony. From hence sprang the other
active forces of nature, personified under various names, and the
various concentric circles or spheres of the Kosmos. Of those spheres,
the outer-most was a solid wall of fire--"flammantia moenia
mundi"--next under this the Æther, distributed into several circles of
fire unequally bright and pure--then the circle called the Milky Way,
which he regarded as composed of light or fire combined with denser
materials--then the Sun and Moon, which were condensations of fire
from the Milky Way--lastly, the Earth, which he placed in the centre
of the Kosmos.[74] He is said to have been the first who pronounced
the earth to be spherical, and even distributed it into two or five
zones.[75] He regarded it as immovable, in consequence of its exact
position in the centre. He considered the stars to be fed by
exhalation from the Earth. Midway between the Earth and the outer
flaming circle, he supposed that there dwelt a Goddess--Justice or
Necessity--who regulated all the movements of the Kosmos, and
maintained harmony between its different parts. He represented the
human race as having been brought into existence by the power of the
sun,[76] and he seems to have gone into some detail respecting animal
procreation, especially in reference to the birth of male and female
offspring. He supposed that the human mind, as well as the human body,
was compounded of a mixture of the two elemental influences, diffused
throughout all Nature: that like was perceived and known by like: that
thought and sensation were alike dependent upon the body, and upon the
proportions of its elemental composition: that a certain limited
knowledge was possessed by every object in Nature, animate or

[Footnote 70: Parmen. Fr. v. 109.

[Greek: e)n tô=| soi\ pau/ô pisto\n lo/gon ê)de\ no/êma
a)mphi\s a)lêthei/ês; do/xas d' a)po\ tou=de brotei/as
ma/nthane, ko/smon e)mô=n e)pe/ôn a)patêlo\n a)kou/ôn.]]

[Footnote 71: Parm. Frag. v. 132-142.]

[Footnote 72: Aristotle (Metaphys. A. 5, p. 987, a. 1) represents
Parmenides as assimilating one of his phenomenal principles (Heat) to
Ens, and the other (Cold) to Non-Ens. There is nothing in the
fragments of Parmenides to justify this supposed analogy. Heat as well
as Cold belongs to Non-Ens, not to Ens, in the Parmenidean doctrine.
Moreover Cold or Dense is just as much a positive principle as Hot or
Rare, in the view of Parmenides; it is the female to the male (Parm.
Fragm. v. 129; comp. Karsten, p. 270). Aristotle conceives Ontology as
a substratum for Phenomenology; and his criticisms on Parmenides imply
(erroneously in my judgment) that Parmenides did the same. The remarks
which Brucker makes both on Aristotle's criticism and on the Eleatic
doctrine are in the main just, though the language is not very

Brucker, Hist. Philosoph., part ii. lib. ii. ch. xi. tom. 1, p.
1152-3, about Xenophanes:--"Ex iis enim quæ apud Aristotelem ex ejus
mente contra motum disputantur, patet Xenophanem motûs notionem aliam
quam quæ in physicis obtinet, sibi concepisse; et ad verum motum
progressum a nonente ad ens ejusque existentiam requisivisse. Quo sensu
notionis hujus semel admisso, sequebatur (cum illud impossibile sit, ut
ex nihilo fiat aliquid) universum esse immobile, adeoque et partes ejus
non ita moveri, ut ex statu nihili procederent ad statum existentiæ.
Quibus admissis, de rerum tamen mutationibus disserere poterat, quas
non alterationes, generationes, et extinctiones, rerum naturalium, sed
modificationes, esse putabat: hoc nomine indignas, eo quod rerum
universi natura semper maneret immutabilis, soliusque materiæ æternum
fluentis particulæ varie inter se modificarentur. Hâc ratione si
Eleaticos priores explicemus de motu disserentes, rationem facile
dabimus, quî de rebus physicis disserere et phenomena naturalia
explicare, salvâ istâ hypothesi, potuerint. Quod tamen de iis negat
Aristoteles, _conceptum motûs metaphysicum ad physicum transferens_:
ut, more suo, Eleatico systemate corrupto, eò vehementius illud

[Footnote 73: Parmenides, ap. Simplik. ad Aristot. Physic. fol. 9 a.

[Greek: e)n de\ me/sô| tou/tôn Daimôn, ê(\ pa/nta kuberna=|], &c.

Plutarch, Amator, 13.]

[Footnote 74: See especially the remarkable passage from Stobæus,
Eclog. Phys. i. 23, p. 482, cited in Karsten, Frag. Parm. p. 241, and
Cicero, De Natur. Deor, i. 11, s. 28, with the Commentary of Krische,
Forschungen auf dem Gebiete der alten Philosophie, viii. p. 98, seqq.

It is impossible to make out with any clearness the Kosmos and its
generation as conceived by Parmenides. We cannot attain more than a
general approximation to it.]

[Footnote 75: Diogen. Laert. ix. 21, viii. 48; Strabo, ii. p. 93 (on
the authority of Poseidonius). Plutarch (Placit. Philos. iii. 11) and
others ascribe to Parmenides the recognition not of five zones, but
only of two. If it be true that Parmenides held this opinion about the
figure of the earth, the fact is honourable to his acuteness; for
Leukippus, Anaxagoras, Archelaus, Diogenes the Apolloniate, and
Demokritus, all thought the earth to be a flat, round surface, like a
dish or a drum: Plato speaks about it in so confused a manner that his
opinion cannot be made out: and Aristotle was the first who both
affirmed and proved it to be spherical. The opinion had been
propounded by some philosophers earlier than Anaxagoras, who
controverted it. See the dissertation of L. Oettinger. Die
Vorstellungen der Griechen über die Erde als Himmelskörper, Freiburg,
1850, p. 42-46.]

[Footnote 76: Diogen. Laert. ix. 22.]

[Footnote 77: Parmen. Frag. v. 145; Theophrastus, De Sensu, Karsten.
pp. 268, 270.

Parmenides (according to Theophrastus) thought that the dead body,
having lost its fiery element, had no perception of light, or heat, or
sound; but that it had perception of darkness, cold, and
silence--[Greek: kai\ o(/lôs de\ pa=n to\ o)\n e)/chein tina gnô=sin].]

Before we pass from Parmenides to his pupil and successor Zeno, who
developed the negative and dialectic side of the Eleatic doctrine, it
will be convenient to notice various other theories of the same
century: first among them that of Herakleitus, who forms as it were
the contrast and antithesis to Xenophanes and Parmenides.

[Side-note: Herakleitus--his obscure style, impressive metaphors,
confident and contemptuous dogmatism.]

Herakleitus of Ephesus, known throughout antiquity by the denomination
of the Obscure, comes certainly after Pythagoras and Xenophanes and
apparently before Parmenides. Of the two first he made special
mention, in one of the sentences, alike brief and contemptuous which
have been preserved from his lost treatise:--"Much learning does not
teach reason: otherwise it would have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras,
Xenophanes and Hekatæus." In another passage Herakleitus spoke of the
"extensive knowledge, cleverness, and wicked arts" of Pythagoras. He
declared that Homer as well as Archilochus deserved to be scourged and
expelled from the public festivals.[78] His thoughts were all embodied
in one single treatise, which he is said to have deposited in the
temple of the Ephesian Artemis. It was composed in a style most
perplexing and difficult to understand, full of metaphor, symbolical
illustration, and antithesis: but this very circumstance imparted to
it an air of poetical impressiveness and oracular profundity.[79] It
exercised a powerful influence on the speculative minds of Greece,
both in the Platonic age, and subsequently: the Stoics especially both
commented on it largely (though with many dissentient opinions among
the commentators), and borrowed with partial modifications much of its

[Footnote 78: Diogen. L. ix. 1. [Greek: Polumathi/ê no/on ou)
dida/skei; Ê(si/odon ga\r a)\n e)di/daxe kai\ Puthago/rên, au)=tis te
Xenopha/nea kai\ E(katai=on], &c. Ib. viii. 1, 6. [Greek: Puthago/rês
Mnêsa/rchou i(stori/ên ê)/skêsen a)nthrô/pôn ma/lista pa/ntôn, kai\
e)klexa/menos tau/tas ta\s suggrapha\s e)poi/êsen e(ôu+tou= sophi/ên,
polumathi/ên, kakotechni/ên.]]

[Footnote 79: Diogen. Laert. ix. 1-6. Theophrastus conceived that
Herakleitus had left the work unfinished, from eccentricity of
temperament ([Greek: u(po\ melagcholi/as]). Of him, as of various
others, it was imagined by some that his obscurity was intentional
(Cicero, Nat. Deor. i. 26, 74, De Finib. 2, 5). The words of Lucretius
about Herakleitus are remarkable (i. 641):--

Clarus ob obscuram linguam magis inter inanes
Quamde graves inter Græcos qui vera requirunt:
Omnia enim stolidi magis admirantur amantque
Inversis quæ sub verbis latitantia cernunt.

Even Aristotle complains of the difficulty of understanding
Herakleitus, and even of determining the proper punctuation (Rhetoric.
iii. 5).]

[Footnote 80: Cicero, Nat. Deor., iii. 14, 35.]

[Side-note: Doctrine of Herakleitus--perpetual process of generation
and destruction--everything flows, nothing stands--transition of the
elements into each other, backwards and forwards.]

The expositors followed by Lucretius and Cicero conceived Herakleitus
as having proclaimed Fire to be the universal and all-pervading
element of nature;[81] as Thales had recognised water, and Anaximenes
air. This interpretation was countenanced by some striking passages of
Herakleitus: but when we put together all that remains from him, it
appears that his main doctrine was not physical, but metaphysical or
ontological: that the want of adequate general terms induced him to
clothe it in a multitude of symbolical illustrations, among which fire
was only one, though the most prominent and most significant.[82]
Xenophanes and the Eleates had recognised, as the only objective
reality, One extended Substance or absolute Ens, perpetual, infinite,
indeterminate, incapable of change or modification. They denied the
objective reality of motion, change, generation, and
destruction--considering all these to be purely relative and phenomenal.
Herakleitus on the contrary denied everything in the nature of a
permanent and perpetual substratum: he laid down nothing as permanent
and perpetual except the process of change--the alternate sequence of
generation and destruction, without beginning or end--generation and
destruction being in fact coincident or identical, two sides of the
same process, since the generation of one particular state was the
destruction of its antecedent contrary. All reality consisted in the
succession and transition, the coming and going, of these finite and
particular states: what he conceived as the infinite and universal,
was the continuous process of transition from one finite state to the
next--the perpetual work of destruction and generation combined, which
terminated one finite state in order to make room for a new and
contrary state.

[Footnote 81: To some it appeared that Herakleitus hardly
distinguished Fire from Air. Aristotel. De Animâ, i. 2; Sext. Empiric.
adv. Mathemat. vii. 127-129, ix. 360.]

[Footnote 82: Zeller's account of the philosophy of Herakleitus in the
second edition of his Philosophie der Griechen, vol. i. p. 450-496, is
instructive. Marbach also is useful (Gesch. der Phil. s. 46-49); and
his (Hegelian) exposition of Herakleitus is further developed by
Ferdinand Lassalle (Die Philosophie Herakleitos des Dunklen, published
1858). This last work is very copious and elaborate, throwing great
light upon a subject essentially obscure and difficult.]

[Side-note: Variety of metaphors employed by Herakleitus, signifying
the same general doctrine.]

This endless process of transition, or ever-repeated act of generation
and destruction in one, was represented by Herakleitus under a variety
of metaphors and symbols--fire consuming its own fuel--a stream of
water always flowing--opposite currents meeting and combating each
other--the way from above downwards, and the way from below upwards,
one and the same--war, contest, penal destiny or retributive justice,
the law or decree of Zeus realising each finite condition of things
and then destroying its own reality to make place for its contrary and
successor. Particulars are successively generated and destroyed, none
of them ever arriving at permanent existence:[83] the universal
process of generation and destruction alone continues. There is no
Esse, but a perpetual Fieri: a transition from Esse to Non-Esse, from
Non-Esse to Esse, with an intermediate temporary halt between them: a
ceaseless meeting and confluence of the stream of generation with the
opposite stream of destruction: a rapid and instant succession, or
rather coincidence and coalescence, of contraries. Living and dead,
waking and sleeping, light and dark, come into one or come round into
each other: everything twists round into its contrary: everything both
is and is not.[84]

[Footnote 83: Plato, Kratylus, p. 402, and Theætet. p. 152, 153.

Plutarch, De [Greek: Ei] apud Delphos, c. 18, p. 392. [Greek: Potamô=|
ga\r ou)/k e)stin e)mbê=nai di\s tô=| au)tô=| kath' Ê(ra/kleiton,
ou)de\ thnêtê=s ou)si/as di\s a(/psasthai kata\ e(/xin; a)ll'
o)xu/têti kai\ tachei metabolês skidnêsi kai\ pa/lin suna/gei,
_ma=llon de\ ou)de\ pa/lin ou)de\ u(/steron, a)ll' a(/ma suni/statai
kai\ a)polei/pei, pro/seisi kai\ a)/peisi. O(/then ou)d' ei)s to\
ei)=nai perai/nei to\ gigno/menon au)tê=s_, tô=| mêde/pote lê/gein
mêd' i(/stasthai tê\n ge/nesin, a)ll' a)po\ spe/rmatos a)ei\
metaba/llousan--ta\s prô/tas phthei/rousan gene/seis kai\ ê(liki/as
tai=s e)pigignome/nais].

Clemens Alex. Strom. v. 14, p. 711. [Greek: Ko/smon to\n au)to\n
a(pa/ntôn ou)/te tis theô=n ou)/t' a)nthrô/pôn e)poi/êsen; a)ll' ê=n
a)ei\ kai\ e)/stai pu=r a)ei/zôon, a(pto/menon me/tra kai\
a)posbennu/menon me/tra]. Compare also Eusebius, Præpar. Evang. xiv.
3, 8; Diogen. L. ix. 8.]

[Footnote 84: Plato, Sophist. p. 242 E. [Greek: Diaphero/menon ga\r
a)ei\ xumphe/retai].

Plutarch, Consolat. ad Apollonium c. 10, p. 106. [Greek: Po/te ga\r
e)n ê(mi=n au)toi=s ou)k e)/stin o( tha/natos? kai\ ê(=| phêsin
Ê(ra/kleitos, tau)to/ t' e)/ni zô=n kai\ tethnêko/s, kai\ to\
e)grêgoro\s kai\ to\ katheu=don, kai\ ne/on kai\ gêraio/n; ta/de ga\r
metapeso/nta e)kei=na e)sti, ka)kei=na pa/lin metapeso/nta tau=ta].

Pseudo-Origenes, Refut. Hær. ix. 10, [Greek: O( theo\s ê(me/rê,
eu)phro/nê--chei/môn, the/ros--po/lemos, ei)rê/nê--ko/ros, li/mos],

[Side-note: Nothing permanent except the law of process and
implication of contraries--the transmutative force. Fixity of
particulars is an illusion for most part, so far as it exists, it is a
sin against the order of Nature.]

The universal law, destiny, or divine working (according to
Herakleitus), consists in this incessant process of generation and
destruction, this alternation of contraries. To carry out such law
fully, each of the particular manifestations ought to appear and pass
away instantaneously--to have no duration of its own, but to be
supplanted by its contrary at once. And this happens to a great
degree, even in cases where it does not appear to happen: the river
appears unchanged, though the water which we touched a short time ago
has flowed away:[85] we and all around us are in rapid movement,
though we appear stationary: the apparent sameness and fixity is thus
a delusion. But Herakleitus does not seem to have thought that his
absolute universal force was omnipotent, or accurately carried out in
respect to all particulars. Some positive and particular
manifestations, when once brought to pass, had a certain measure of
fixity, maintaining themselves for more or less time before they were
destroyed. There was a difference between one particular and another,
in this respect of comparative durability: one was more durable,
another less.[86] But according to the universal law or destiny, each
particular ought simply to make its appearance, then to be supplanted
and re-absorbed; so that the time during which it continued on the
scene was, as it were, an unjust usurpation, obtained by encroaching
on the equal right of the next comer, and by suspending the negative
agency of the universal. Hence arises an antithesis or hostility
between the universal law or process on one side, and the persistence
of particular states on the other. The universal law or process is
generative and destructive, positive and negative, both in one: but
the particular realities in which it manifests itself are all
positive, each succeeding to its antecedent, and each striving to
maintain itself against the negativity or destructive interference of
the universal process. Each particular reality represented rest and
fixity: each held ground as long as it could against the pressure of
the cosmical force, essentially moving, destroying, and renovating.
Herakleitus condemns such pretensions of particular states to separate
stability, inasmuch as it keeps back the legitimate action of the
universal force, in the work of destruction and renovation.

[Footnote 85: Aristot. De Coelo, iii. 1, p. 298, b. 30; Physic. viii.
3, p. 253, b. 9. [Greek: Phasi/ tines kinei=sthai tô=n o)/ntôn ou) ta\
me\n ta\ d' ou)/, a)lla\ pa/nta kai\ a)ei\, a)lla\ lantha/nein tou=to
tê\n ê(mete/ran ai)/sthêsin]--which words doubtless refer to
Herakleitus. See Preller, Hist. Phil. Græc. Rom. s. 47.]

[Footnote 86: Lassalle, Philosophie des Herakleitos, vol. i. pp. 54,
55. "Andrerseits bieten die sinnlichen Existenzen _graduelle_ oder
_Mass-Unterschiede_ dar, je nachdem in ihnen das Moment des festen
Seins über die Unruhe des Werdens vorwiegt oder nicht; und diese
Graduation wird also zugleich den Leitfaden zur Classification der
verschiedenen Existenz-formen bilden."]

[Side-note: Illustrations by which Herakleitus symbolized his
perpetual force, destroying and generating.]

The theory of Herakleitus thus recognised no permanent substratum, or
Ens, either material or immaterial--no category either of substance or
quality--but only a ceaseless principle of movement or change,
generation and destruction, position and negation, immediately
succeeding, or coinciding with each other.[87] It is this principle or
everlasting force which he denotes under so many illustrative
phrases--"the common ([Greek: to\ xuno\n]), the universal, the
all-comprehensive ([Greek: to\ perie/chon]), the governing, the divine,
the name or reason of Zeus, fire, the current of opposites, strife or
war, destiny, justice, equitable measure, Time or the Succeeding," &c.
The most emphatic way in which this theory could be presented was, as
embodied, in the coincidence or co-affirmation of contraries. Many of
the dicta cited and preserved out of Herakleitus are of this
paradoxical tenor.[88] Other dicta simply affirm perpetual flow,
change, or transition, without express allusion to contraries: which
latter, however, though not expressed, must be understood, since
change was conceived as a change from one contrary to the other.[89]
In the Herakleitean idea, contrary forces come simultaneously into
action: destruction and generation always take effect together: there
is no negative without a positive, nor positive without a

[Footnote 87: Aristot. De Coelo, iii. 1, p. 298, b. 30. [Greek: Oi(
de\ ta\ me\n a)/lla pa/nta gi/nesthai/ te/ phasi kai\ rhei=n, ei)=nai
de\ pagi/ôs ou)de/n, e(\n de/ ti mo/non u(pome/nein, e)x ou(= tau=ta
pa/nta metaschêmati/zesthai pe/phuken; o(/per e)oi/kasin bou/lesthai
le/gein a)/lloi te polloi\ kai\ Ê(ra/kleitos o( E)phe/sios]. See the
explanation given of this passage by Lassalle, vol. ii. p. 21, 39, 40,
founded on the comment of Simplikius. He explains it as an universal
law or ideal force--die reine Idee des Werdens selbst (p. 24), and
"eine unsinnliche Potenz" (p. 25). Yet, in i. p. 55 of his elaborate
exposition, he does indeed say, about the theory of Herakleitus, "Hier
sind zum erstenmale die sinnlichen Bestimmtheiten zu bloss
verschiedenen und absolut in einander übergehenden Formen eines
identischen, ihnen zu Grunde liegenden, _Substrats_ herabgesetzt".
But this last expression appears to me to contradict the whole tenor
and peculiarity of Lassalle's own explanation of the Herakleitean
theory. He insists almost in every page (compare ii. p. 156) that "das
Allgemeine" of Herakleitus is "reines Werden; reiner, steter,
erzeugender, Prozess". This process cannot with any propriety be
called a _substratum_, and Herakleitus admitted no other. In thus
rejecting any substratum he stood alone. Lassalle has been careful in
showing that Fire was not understood by Herakleitus as a substratum
(as water by Thales), but as a symbol for the universal force or law.
In the theory of Herakleitus no substratum was recognised--no [Greek:
to/de ti] or [Greek: ou)si/a]--in the same way as Aristotle observes
about [Greek: to\ a)/peiron] (Physic. iii. 6, a. 22-31) [Greek: ô(/ste
to\ a)/peiron ou) dei= lamba/nein ô(s to/de ti, oi(=on a)/nthrôpon ê)\
oi)ki/an, a)ll' ô(s ê( ê(me/ra le/getai kai\ o( a)gô\n, oi(=s to\
ei)=nai _ou)ch' ô(s ou)si/a tis ge/gonen, a)ll' a)ei\ e)n gene/sei ê(\
phthora=|_, ei) kai\ peperasme/non, _a)ll' a)ei/ ge e(/teron kai\

[Footnote 88: Aristotle or Pseudo-Aristotle, De Mundo, c. 5, p. 396,
b. 20. [Greek: Tau)to\ de\ tou=to ê)=n kai\ to\ para\ tô=| skoteinô=|
lego/menon Ê(rakleitô=|: "suna/pseias ou)=la kai\ ou)chi\ ou)=la,
sumphero/menon kai\ diaphero/menon, suna=|don kai\ dia=|don, kai\ e)k
pa/ntôn e(\n kai\ e)x e(no\s pa/nta."] Heraclid. Allegor. ap.
Schleiermacher (Herakleitos, p. 529), [Greek: potamoi=s toi=s au)toi=s
e)mbai/nome/n te kai\ ou)k e)mbai/nomen, ei)me/n te kai\ ou)k
ei)me/n]: Plato, Sophist, p. 242, E., [Greek: diaphero/menon a)ei\
xumphe/retai]: Aristotle, Metaphys. iii. 7, p. 1012, b. 24, [Greek:
e)/oike d' o( me\n Ê(raklei/tou lo/gos, le/gôn pa/nta ei)=nai kai\ mê\
ei)=nai, a(/panta a)lêthê= poei=n]: Aristot. Topic. viii. 5, p. 155,
b., [Greek: oi(=on a)gatho\n kai\ kako\n ei)=nai tau)to\n, katha/per
Ê(ra/kleito/s phêsin]: also Aristot. Physic. i. 2, p. 185, b. Compare
the various Herakleitean phrases cited in Pseudo-Origen. Refut. Hæres.
Fragm. ix. 10; also Krische, Forschungen auf dem Gebiete der alten
Philosophie, vol. i. p. 370-468.

Bernays and Lassalle (vol. i. p. 81) contend, on reasonable grounds
(though in opposition to Zeller, p. 495), that the following verses in
the Fragments of Parmenides refer to Herakleitus:

[Greek: oi(=s to\ pe/lein te kai\ ou)k ei)=nai tau)to\n neno/mistai
kou) tau)to\n, pa/ntôn de\ pali/ntropo/s e)sti ke/leuthos].

The commentary of Alexander Aphrodis. on the Metaphysica says,
"Heraclitus ergo cum diceret omnem rem esse et non esse et opposita
simul consistere, contradictionem veram simul esse statuebat, et omnia
dicebat esse vera" (Lassalle, p. 83).

One of the metaphors by which Herakleitus illustrated his theory of
opposite and co-existent forces, was the pulling and pushing of two
sawyers with the same saw. See Bernays, Heraclitea, part i. p. 16; Bonn,

[Footnote 89: Aristot. Physic. viii. 3, p. 253, b. 30, [Greek: ei)s
tou)nanti/on ga\r ê( a)lloi/ôsis]: also iii. 5, p. 205, a. 6, [Greek:
pa/nta ga\r metaba/llei e)x e)nanti/ou ei)s e)nanti/on, oi(=on e)k
thermou= ei)s psuchro/n.]]

[Footnote 90: Lassalle, Herakleitos, vol. i. p. 323.]

[Side-note: Water--intermediate between Fire (Air) and Earth.]

Such was the metaphysical or logical foundation of the philosophy of
Herakleitus: the idea of an eternal process of change, manifesting
itself in the perpetual destruction and renovation of particular
realities, but having itself no reality apart from these
particulars, and existing only in them as an immanent principle or
condition. This principle, from the want of appropriate abstract
terms, he expressed in a variety of symbolical and metaphorical
phrases, among which Fire stood prominent.[91] But though Fire was
thus often used to denote the principle or ideal process itself, the
same word was also employed to denote that one of the elements which
formed the most immediate manifestation of the principle. In this
latter sense, Fire was the first stage of incipient reality: the
second stage was water, the third earth. This progression, fire,
water, earth, was in Herakleitean language "the road downwards," which
was the same as "the road upwards," from earth to water and again to
fire. The death of fire was its transition into water: that of water
was its transition partly into earth, partly into flame. As fire was
the type of extreme mobility, perpetual generation and destruction--so
earth was the type of fixed and stationary existence, resisting
movement or change as much as possible.[92] Water was intermediate
between the two.

[Footnote 91: See a striking passage cited from Gregory of Nyssa by
Lassalle (vol. i. p. 287), illustrating this characteristic of fire;
the flame of a lamp appears to continue the same, but it is only a
succession of flaming particles, each of which takes fire and is
extinguished in the same instant: [Greek: ô(/sper to\ e)pi\ tê=s
thrualli/dos pu=r tô=| me\n dokei=n a)ei\ to\ au)to\ phai/netai--to\
ga\r suneche\s a)ei\ tê=s kinê/seôs a)dia/spaston au)to\ kai\
ê(nôme/non pro\s e(auto\ dei/knusi--tê=| de\ a)lêthei/a| pa/ntote
au)to\ e(auto\ diadecho/menon, ou)de/pote to\ au)to\ me/nei--ê( ga\r
e)xelkusthei=sa dia\ tê=s thermo/têtos i)kma\s _o(mou= te
e)xephlogô/thê kai\ ei)s lignu\n e)kkauthei=sa metapoiê/thê_], &c.]

[Footnote 92: Diogen. Laert. ix. 9; Clemens Alexand. Strom. v. 14, p.
599, vi. 2, p. 624. [Greek: Puro\s tropai\ prô=ton tha/lassa,
thala/ttês de\ to\ me\n ê(/misu gê=, to\ d' ê(/misu prêstê/r]. A full
explanation of the curious expression [Greek: prêstê/r] is given by
Lassalle (Herakl. vol. ii. p. 87-90). See Brandis (Handbuch der Gr.
Philos. sect, xliii. p. 164), and Plutarch (De Primo Frigido, c. 17,
p. 952, F.).

The distinction made by Herakleitus, but not clearly marked out or
preserved, between the _ideal fire_ or universal process, and the
_elementary fire_ or first stage towards realisation, is brought out
by Lassalle (Herakleitos, vol. ii. p. 25-29).]

[Side-note: Sun and stars--not solid bodies but meteoric aggregations
dissipated and renewed--Eclipses--[Greek: e)kpu/rôsis], or
destructions of the Kosmos by fire.]

Herakleitus conceived the sun and stars, not as solid bodies, but as
meteoric aggregations perpetually dissipated and perpetually renewed
or fed, by exhalation upward from the water and earth. The sun became
extinguished and rekindled in suitable measure and proportion, under
the watch of the Erinnyes, the satellites of Justice. These celestial
lights were contained in troughs, the open side of which was turned
towards our vision. In case of eclipses the trough was for the time
reversed, so that the dark side was turned towards us; and the
different phases of the moon were occasioned by the gradual turning
round of the trough in which her light was contained. Of the phenomena
of thunder and lightning also, Herakleitus offered some explanation,
referring them to aggregations and conflagrations of the clouds, and
violent currents of winds.[93] Another hypothesis was often ascribed
to Herakleitus, and was really embraced by several of the Stoics in
later times--that there would come a time when all existing things
would be destroyed by fire ([Greek: e)kpu/rôsis]), and afterwards
again brought into reality in a fresh series of changes. But this
hypothesis appears to have been conceived by him metaphysically rather
than physically. Fire was not intended to designate the physical
process of combustion, but was a symbolical phrase for the universal
process; the perpetual agency of conjoint destruction and renovation,
manifesting itself in the putting forth and re-absorption of
particulars, and having no other reality except as immanent in these
particulars.[94] The determinate Kosmos of the present moment is
perpetually destroyed, passing into fire or the indeterminate: it is
perpetually renovated or passes out of fire into water, earth--out of
the indeterminate, into the various determinate modifications. At the
same time, though Herakleitus seems to have mainly employed these
symbols for the purpose of signifying or typifying a metaphysical
conception, yet there was no clear apprehension, even in his own mind,
of this generality, apart from all symbols: so that the illustration
came to count as a physical fact by itself, and has been so understood
by many.[95] The line between what he meant as the ideal or
metaphysical process, and the elementary or physical process, is not
easy to draw, in the fragments which now remain.

[Footnote 93: Aristot. Meteorol. ii. e. p. 355, a. Plato, Republ. vi.
p. 498, c. 11; Plutarch, De Exilio, c. 11, p. 604 A.; Plutarch. De
Isid. et Osirid. c. 48, p. 370, E.; Diogen. L. ix. 10; Plutarch,
Placit. Philos. ii. 17-22-24-28, p. 889-891; Stobæus, Eclog. Phys. i.
p. 594.

About the doctrine of the Stoics, built in part upon this of
Herakleitus, see Cicero, Natur. Deor. ii. 46; Seneca, Quæst. Natur.
ii. 5, vi. 16.]

[Footnote 94: Aristot. or Pseudo-Aristot., De Mundo, [Greek: e)k
pa/ntôn e(\n kai\ e)x e(no\s pa/nta].]

[Footnote 95: See Lassalle, Herakleitos, vol. ii. s. 26-27,
p. 182-258.

Compare about the obscure and debated meaning of the Herakleitean
[Greek: e)kpu/rôsis], Schleiermacher, Herakleitos, p. 103; Zeller,
Philos. der Griech. vol. i. p. 477-479.

The word [Greek: diako/smêsis] stands as the antithesis (in the
language of Herakleitus) to [Greek: e)kpu/rôsis]. A passage from Philo
Judæus is cited by Lassalle illustrating the Herakleitean movement
from ideal unity into totality of sensible particulars, forwards and
backwards--[Greek: o( de\ gonorrhuê\s (lo/gos) e)k ko/smou pa/nta kai\
ei)s ko/smon a)na/gôn, u(po\ theou= de\ mêde\n oi)o/menos,
Ê(rakleitei/ou do/xês e(tai=ros, ko/ron kai\ chrêsmosu/nên, kai\ e(\n
to\ pa=n kai\ pa/nta a)moibê=| ei)sa/gôn]--where [Greek: ko/ros] and
[Greek: chrêsmosu/nê] are used to illustrate the same ideal antithesis
as [Greek: diako/smêsis] and [Greek: e)kpu/rôsis] (Lassalle, vol. i.
p. 232).]

[Side-note: His doctrines respecting the human soul and human
knowledge. All wisdom resided in the Universal Wisdom--individual
Reason is worthless.]

The like blending of metaphysics and physics--of the abstract and the
concrete and sensible--is to be found in the statements remaining from
Herakleitus respecting the human soul and human knowledge. The human
soul, according to him, was an effluence or outlying portion of the
Universal[96]--the fire--the perpetual movement or life of things. As
such, its nature was to be ever in movement: but it was imprisoned and
obstructed by the body, which represented the stationary, the fixed,
the particular--that which resisted the universal force of change. So
long as a man lived, his soul or mind, though thus confined,
participated more or less in the universal movement: but when he died,
his body ceased to participate in it, and became therefore vile, "fit
only to be cast out like dung". Every man, individually considered,
was irrational;[97] reason belonged only to the universal or the
whole, with which the mind of each living man was in conjunction,
renewing itself by perpetual absorption, inspiration or inhalation,
vaporous transition, impressions through the senses and the pores, &c.
During sleep, since all the media of communication, except only those
through respiration, were suspended, the mind became stupefied and
destitute of memory. Like coals when the fire is withdrawn, it lost
its heat and tended towards extinction.[98] On waking, it recovered
its full communication with the great source of intelligence
without--the universal all-comprehensive process of life and movement.
Still, though this was the one and only source of intelligence open to all
waking men, the greater number of men could neither discern it for
themselves, nor understand it without difficulty even when pointed out
to them. Though awake, they were not less unconscious or forgetful of
the process going on around them, than if they had been asleep.[99]
The eyes and ears of men with barbarous or stupid souls, gave them
false information.[100] They went wrong by following their own
individual impression or judgment: they lived as if reason or
intelligence belonged to each man individually. But the only way to
attain truth was, to abjure all separate reason, and to follow the
common or universal reason. Each man's mind must become identified and
familiar with that common process which directed and transformed the
whole: in so far as he did this, he attained truth: whenever he
followed any private or separate judgment of his own, he fell into
error.[101] The highest pitch of this severance of the individual
judgment was seen during sleep, at which time each man left the common
world to retire into a world of his own.[102]

[Footnote 96: Sext. Empiric. adv. Mathem. vii. 130. [Greek: ê(
e)pixenôthei=sa toi=s ê(mete/rois sô/masin a)po\ tou= perie/chontos

Plutarch, Sympos., p. 644. [Greek: neku/es kopri/ôn e)kblêto/teroi].

Plutarch, Placit. Philos. i. 23, p. 884. [Greek: Ê(ra/kleitos
ê)remi/an kai\ sta/sin e)k tô=n o(/lôn a)nê/|rei; e)sti\ ga\r tou=to
tô=n nekrô=n.]]

[Footnote 97: See Schleiermacher, Herakleitos, p. 522; Sext. Empir.
adv. Mathem. viii. 286.]

[Footnote 98: The passage of Sextus Empiricus (adv. Mathem. vii.
127-134) is curious and instructive about Herakleitus.

[Greek: A)re/skei ga\r tô=| phusikô=|] (Herakleitus) [Greek: to
perie/chon ê(ma=s logiko/n te o)\n kai\ phrenê=res--tou=ton dê\ to\n
thei=on lo/gon, kath' Ê(ra/kleiton, di' a)napnoê=s spa/santes noeroi\
gino/metha, kai\ e)n me\n u(/pnois lêthai=oi, kata\ de\ e)/gersin
pa/lin e)/mphrones. e)n ga\r toi=s u(/pnois musa/ntôn tô=n
ai)sthêtikô=n po/rôn chôri/zetai tê=s pro\s to\ perie/chon sumphui+/as
o( e)n ê(mi=n nou=s, monê=s tê=s kata\ a)napnoê\n prosphu/seôs
sôzome/nês oi(onei/ tinos rhi/zês, chôristhei/s te a)poba/llei ê)\n
pro/teron ei)=che mnêmonikê\n du/namin. e)n de\ e)grêgoro/si pa/lin
dia\ tô=n ai)sthêtikô=n po/rôn ô(/sper dia\ tinô=n thuri/dôn
proku/psas kai\ tô=| perie/chonti sumba/llôn logikê\n e)ndu/etai
du/namin.] Then follows the simile about coals brought near to, or
removed away from, the fire.

The Stoic version of this Herakleitean doctrine, is to be seen in
Marcus Antoninus, viii. 54. [Greek: Mêke/ti mo/non _sumpnei=n tô=|
perie/chonti a)e/ri, a)ll' ê)/dê kai\ sumphronei=n tô=| perie/chonti
pa/nta noerô=|_. Ou) ga\r ê(=tton ê( noera\ du/namis pa/ntê ke/chutai
kai\ diapephoi/têke tô=| spa=sai boulome/nô|, ê(/per ê( a)erô/dês tô=|
a)napneu=sai duname/nô|].

The Stoics, who took up the doctrine of Herakleitus with farther
abstraction and analysis, distinguished and named separately matters
which he conceived in one and named together--the physical inhalation
of air--the metaphysical supposed influx of
intelligence--_inspiration_ in its literal and metaphorical senses. The
word [Greek: to\ perie/chon], as he conceives it, seems to denote, not any
distinct or fixed local region, but the rotatory movement or circulation
of the elements, fire, water, earth, reverting back into each other.
Lassalle, vol. ii. p. 119-120; which transition also is denoted by the
word [Greek: a)nathumi/asis] in the Herakleitean sense--cited from
Herakleitus by Aristotle. De Animâ, i. 2, 16.]

[Footnote 99: Sextus Empiricus (adv. Math. vii. 132) here cites the
first words of the treatise of Herakleitus (compare also Aristotle,
Rhet. iii. 5). [Greek: lo/gou tou=de e)o/ntos a)xu/netoi gi/gnontai
a)/nthrôpoi kai\ pro/sthen ê)\ a)kou=sai kai\ a)kou/santes to\
prô=ton;--tou\s de\ a)/llous a)nthrô/pous lantha/nei o(ko/sa
e)gerthe/ntes poiou=sin o(/kôsper o(ko/sa eu(/dontes

[Footnote 100: Sext. Empiric. ib. vii. 126, a citation from

[Footnote 101: Sext. Emp. ib. vii. 133 (the words of Herakleitus)
[Greek: dio\ dei= _e(/pesthai tô=| xunô=|_;--tou= lo/gou de\ e)o/ntos
xunou=, zô/ousin oi( polloi\ ô(s i)di/an e)/chontes phro/nêsin; ê( d'
e)/stin ou)k a)/llo ti _a)ll' e)xê/gêsis tou= tro/pou tê=s tou=
pa/ntos dioikê/seôs_; dio\ kath' o(/ ti a)\n au)tou= tê=s mnê/mês
koinônê/sômen, a)lêtheu/omen, a(\ de\ a)\n i)dia/sômen,

[Footnote 102: Plutarch, De Superstit. c. 3, p. 166, C. See also the
passage in Clemens Alexandr. Strom. iv. 22, about the comparison of
sleep to death by Herakleitus.]

[Side-note: By Universal Reason he did not mean the Reason of most men
as it is, but as it ought to be.]

By this denunciation of the mischief of private judgment, Herakleitus
did not mean to say that a man ought to think like his neighbours or
like the public. In his view the public were wrong, collectively as
well as individually. The universal reason to which he made appeal,
was not the reason of most men as it actually is but that which, in
his theory, ought to be their reason:[103] that which formed the
perpetual and governing process throughout all nature, though most men
neither recognised nor attended to it, but turned away from it in
different directions equally wrong. No man was truly possessed of
reason, unless his individual mind understood the general scheme of
the universe, and moved in full sympathy with its perpetual movement
and alternation or unity of contraries.[104] The universal process
contained in itself a sum-total of particular contraries which were
successively produced and destroyed: to know the universal was to know
these contraries in one, and to recognise them as transient, but
correlative and inseparable, manifestations, each implying the
other--not as having each a separate reality and each excluding its
contrary.[105] In so far as a man's mind maintained its kindred nature
and perpetual conjoint movement with the universal, he acquired true
knowledge; but the individualising influences arising from the body
usually overpowered this kindred with the universal, and obstructed
the continuity of this movement, so that most persons became plunged
in error and illusion.

[Footnote 103: Sextus Empiricus misinterprets the Herakleitean theory
when he represents it (vii. 134) as laying down--[Greek: ta\ koinê=|
phaino/mena, pista\, ô(s a)\n tô=| koinô=| krino/mena lo/gô|, ta\ de\
kat' i)di/an e(ka/stô|, pseudê=]. Herakleitus denounces mankind
generally as in error. Origen. Philosophum. i. 4; Diog. Laert. ix. 1.]

[Footnote 104: The analogy and sympathy between the individual mind
and the Kosmical process--between the knowing and the known--was
reproduced in many forms among the ancient philosophers. It appears in
the Platonic Timæus, c. 20, p. 47 C.

[Greek: To\ kinou/menon tô=| kinoume/nô| gignô/skesthai] was the
doctrine of several philosophers. Aristot. De Animâ, i. 2. Plato,
Kratylus, p. 412 A: [Greek: kai\ mê\n ê)/ ge e)pistê/mê mênu/ei ô(s
pherome/nois toi=s pra/gmasin e)pome/nês tê=s psuchê=s tê=s a)xi/as
lo/gou, kai\ ou)/te a)poleipome/nês ou)/te protheou/sês]. A remarkable
passage from the comment of Philoponus (on the treatise of Aristotle
De Animâ) is cited by Lassalle, ii. p. 339, describing the Herakleitean
doctrine, [Greek: dia\ tou=to e)k tê=s a)nathumia/seôs au)tê\n
e)/legen] (Herakleitus); [Greek: tô=n ga\r pragma/tôn e)n kinê/sei
o)/ntôn dei=n kai\ to\ gi/nôskon ta\ pra/gmata e)n kinê/sei ei)=nai,
i(/na _sumpara/theon au)toi=s e)pha/ptêtai kai\ e)pharmo/zê|_
au)toi=s]. Also Simplikius ap. Lassalle, p. 341: [Greek: e)n
metabolê=| ga\r sunechei= ta\ o)/nta u(potithe/menos o( Ê(ra/kleitos,
kai\ to\ gnôso/menon au)ta\ tê=| e)paphê=| gi/nôskon, sune/pesthai
e)bou/leto ô(s a)ei\ ei)=nai kata\ to\ gnôstiko\n e)n kinê/sei.]]

[Footnote 105: Stobæus, Eclog. Phys. p. 58; and the passage of Philo
Judæus, cited by Schleiermacher, p. 437; as well as more fully by
Lassalle, vol. ii. p. 265-267 (Quis rerum divinar. hæres, p. 503,
Mangey): [Greek: e(\n ga\r to\ e)x a)mphoi=n tô=n e)nanti/ôn, ou(=
tmêthe/ntos gnô/rima ta\ e)nanti/a. Ou) tou=t' e)sti\n o(/ phasin
E(/llênes to\n me/gan kai\ a)oi/dimon par' au)toi=s Ê(ra/kleiton,
kephalai=on tê=s au)tou= prostêsa/menon philosophi/as, au)chei=n ô(s
eu(re/sei kainê=|? palaio\n ga\r eu(/rêma Môu/seô/s e)stin.]]

[Side-note: Herakleitus at the opposite pole from Parmenides]

The absolute of Herakleitus stands thus at the opposite pole as
compared with that of Parmenides: it is absolute movement, change,
generation and destruction--negation of all substance and
stability,[106] temporary and unbecoming resistance of each successive
particular to the destroying and renewing current of the universal.
The Real, on this theory, was a generalisation, not of substances, but
of facts, events, changes, revolutions, destructions, generations,
&c., determined by a law of justice or necessity which endured, and
which alone endured, for ever. Herakleitus had many followers, who
adopted his doctrine wholly or partially, and who gave to it
developments which he had not adverted to, perhaps might not have
acknowledged.[107] It was found an apt theme by those who, taking a
religious or poetical view of the universe, dwelt upon the transitory
and contemptible value of particular existences, and extolled the
grandeur or power of the universal. It suggested many doubts and
debates respecting the foundations of logical evidence, and the
distinction of truth from falsehood; which debates will come to be
noticed hereafter, when we deal with the dialectical age of Plato and

[Footnote 106: The great principle of Herakleitus, which Aristotle
states in order to reject (Physic. viii. 3, p. 253, b. 10, [Greek:
phasi/ tines kinei=sthai tô=n o)/ntôn ou) ta\ me\n ta\ d' ou), a)lla\
pa/nta kai\ a)ei\; a)lla\ lantha/nein tou=to tê\n ê(mete/ran
ai)/sthêsin]) now stands averred in modern physical philosophy. Mr.
Grove observes, in his instructive Treatise on the Correlation of
Physical Forces, p. 22:

"Of absolute rest, Nature gives us no evidence. All matter, as far as
we can discern, is ever in movement: not merely in masses, as in the
planetary spheres, but also molecularly, or throughout its intimate
structure. Thus every alteration of temperature produces a molecular
change throughout the whole substance heated or cooled: slow chemical
or electrical forces, actions of light or invisible radiant forces,
are always at play; so that, as a fact, we cannot predicate of any
portion of matter, that it is absolutely at rest."]

[Footnote 107: Many references to Herakleitus are found in the
recently published books of the Refutatio Hæresium by Pseudo-Origen or
Hippolytus--especially Book ix. p. 279-283, ed. Miller. To judge by
various specimens there given, it would appear that his
juxta-positions of contradictory predicates, with the same subject,
would be recognised as paradoxes merely in appearance, and not in
reality, if we had his own explanation. Thus he says (p. 282) "the pure
and the corrupt, the drinkable and the undrinkable, are one and the
same." Which is explained as follows: "The sea is most pure and most
corrupt: to fish, it is drinkable and nutritive; to men, it is
undrinkable and destructive." This explanation appears to have been
given by Herakleitus himself, [Greek: tha/lassa, _phêsi\n_], &c.

These are only paradoxes in appearance--the relative predicate being
affirmed without mention of its correlate. When you supply the
correlate to each predicate, there remains no contradiction at all.]

[Side-note: Empedokles--his doctrine of the four elements, and two
moving or restraining forces.]

After Herakleitus, and seemingly at the same time with Parmenides, we
arrive at Empedokles (about 500-430 B. C.) and his memorable doctrine
of the Four Elements. This philosopher, a Sicilian of Agrigentum, and
a distinguished as well as popular-minded citizen, expounded his views
in poems, of which Lucretius[108] speaks with high admiration, but of
which few fragments are preserved. He agreed with Parmenides, and
dissented from Herakleitus and the Ionic philosophers, in rejecting
all real generation and destruction.[109] That which existed had not
been generated and could not be destroyed. Empedokles explained what
that was, which men mistook for generation and destruction. There
existed four distinct elements--Earth, Water, Air, and Fire--eternal,
inexhaustible, simple, homogeneous, equal, and co-ordinate with each
other. Besides these four substances, there also existed two moving
forces, one contrary to the other--Love or Friendship, which brought
the elements into conjunction--Enmity or Contest, which separated
them. Here were alternate and conflicting agencies, either bringing
together different portions of the elements to form a new product, or
breaking up the product thus formed and separating the constituent
elements. Sometimes the Many were combined into One; sometimes the One
was decomposed into Many. Generation was simply this combination of
elements already existing separately--not the calling into existence
of anything new: destruction was in like manner the dissolution of
some compound, not the termination of any existent simple substance.
The four simple substances or elements (which Empedokles sometimes
calls by names of the popular Deities--Zeus, Hêrê, Aidoneus, &c.),
were the roots or foundations of everything.[110]

[Footnote 108: Lucretius, i. 731.

Carmina quin etiam divini pectoris ejus
Vociferantur, et exponunt præclara reperta:
Ut vix humanâ videatur stirpe creatus.]

[Footnote 109: Empedokles, Frag. v. 77-83, ed. Karsten, p. 96:

[Greek: phu/sis ou)deno/s e)stin a(pa/ntôn
thnêtô=n, ou)de/ tis ou)lome/nou thanatoi=o teleutê\,
a)lla\ mo/non mi/xis te dia/llaxi/s te mige/ntôn
e)sti, phu/sis d' e)pi\ toi=s o)noma/zetai a)nthrô/poisin. . . . ]

[Greek: Phu/sis] here is remarkable, in its primary sense, as
derivative from [Greek: phu/omai], equivalent to [Greek: ge/nesis].
Compare Plutarch adv. Koloten, p. 1111, 1112.]

[Footnote 110: Emp. Fr. v. 55. [Greek: Te/ssara tô=n pa/ntôn

[Side-note: Construction of the Kosmos from these elements and
forces--action and counter action of love and enmity. The Kosmos
alternately made and unmade.]

From the four elements--acted upon by these two forces, abstractions
or mythical personifications--Empedokles showed how the Kosmos was
constructed. He supposed both forces to be perpetually operative, but
not always with equal efficacy: sometimes the one was predominant,
sometimes the other, sometimes there was equilibrium between them.
Things accordingly pass through a perpetual and ever-renewed cycle.
The complete preponderance of Love brings alternately all the elements
into close and compact unity, Enmity being for the time eliminated.
Presently the action of the latter recommences, and a period ensues in
which Love and Enmity are simultaneously operative; until at length
Enmity becomes the temporary master, and all union is for the time
dissolved. But this condition of things does not last. Love again
becomes active, so that partial and increasing combination of the
elements is produced, and another period commences--the simultaneous
action of the two forces, which ends in renewed empire of Love,
compact union of the elements, and temporary exclusion of Enmity.[111]

[Footnote 111: Zeller, Philos. der Griech., vol. i. p. 525-528, ed.

[Side-note: Empedoklean predestined cycle of things--complete empire
of Love--Sphærus--Empire of Enmity--disengagement or separation of the
elements--astronomy and meteorology.]

This is the Empedoklean cycle of things,[112] divine or predestined,
without beginning or end: perpetual substitution of new for old
compounds--constancy only in the general principle of combination and
dissolution. The Kosmos which Empedokles undertakes to explain, takes
its commencement from the period of complete empire of Love, or
compact and undisturbed union of all the elements. This he conceives
and divinises under the name of Sphærus--as One sphere, harmonious,
uniform, and universal, having no motion, admitting no parts or
separate existences within it, exhibiting no one of the four elements
distinctly, "instabilis tellus, innabilis unda"--a sort of chaos.[113]
At the time prescribed by Fate or Necessity, the action of Enmity
recommenced, penetrating gradually through the interior of Sphærus,
"agitating the members of the God one after another,"[114] disjoining
the parts from each other, and distending the compact ball into a vast
porous mass. This mass, under the simultaneous and conflicting
influences of Love and Enmity, became distributed partly into
homogeneous portions, where each of the four elements was accumulated
by itself--partly into compounds or individual substances, where two
or more elements were found in conjunction. Like had an appetite for
Like--Air for Air, Fire for Fire, and so forth: and a farther
extension of this appetite brought about the mixture of different
elements in harmonious compounds. First, the Air disengaged itself,
and occupied a position surrounding the central mass of Earth and
Water: next, the Fire also broke forth, and placed itself externally
to the Air, immediately in contact with the outermost crystalline
sphere, formed of condensed and frozen air, which formed the wall
encompassing the Kosmos. A remnant of Fire and Air still remained
embodied in the Earth, but the great mass of both so distributed
themselves, that the former occupied most part of one hemisphere, the
latter most part of the other.[115] The rapid and uniform rotation of
the Kosmos, caused by the exterior Fire, compressed the interior
elements, squeezed the water out of the earth like perspiration from
the living body, and thus formed the sea. The same rotation caused the
earth to remain unmoved, by counterbalancing and resisting its
downward pressure or gravity.[116] In the course of the rotation, the
light hemisphere of Fire, and the comparatively dark hemisphere of
Air, alternately came above the horizon: hence the interchange of day
and night. Empedokles (like the Pythagoreans) supposed the sun to be
not self-luminous, but to be a glassy or crystalline body which
collected and reflected the light from the hemisphere of Fire. He
regarded the fixed stars as fastened to the exterior crystalline
sphere, and revolving along with it, but the planets as moving free
and detached from any sphere.[117] He supposed the alternations of
winter and summer to arise from a change in the proportions of Air and
Fire in the atmospheric regions: winter was caused by an increase of
the Air, both in volume and density, so as to drive back the exterior
Fire to a greater distance from the Earth, and thus to produce a
diminution of heat and light: summer was restored when the Fire, in
its turn increasing, extruded a portion of the Air, approached nearer
to the Earth, and imparted to the latter more heat and light.[118]
Empedokles farther supposed (and his contemporaries, Anaxagoras and
Diogenes, held the same opinion) that the Earth was round and flat at
top and bottom, like a drum or tambourine: that its surface had been
originally horizontal, in reference to the rotation of the Kosmos
around it, but that it had afterwards tilted down to the south and
upward towards the north, so as to lie aslant instead of horizontal.
Hence he explained the fact that the north pole of the heavens now
appeared obliquely elevated above the horizon.[119]

[Footnote 112: Emp. Frag. v. 96, Karst., p. 98:

[Greek: Ou(/tôs ê)=| me\n e(\n e)k pleo/nôn mema/thêke phu/esthai,
ê)de\ pa/lin diaphunto\s e(no\s ple/on e)ktele/thousi,
tê=| me\n gi/gnontai/ te kai\ ou)/ sphisin e)/mpedos ai)ô/n;
ê(=| de\ ta/d' a)lla/ssonta diampere\s ou)dama\ lê/gei,
tau/tê| d' ai)e\n e)/asin a)ki/nêta kata\ ku/klon.]


[Greek: kai\ ga\r kai\ paro\s ê(=n te kai\ e)/ssetai ou)de/ pot',
tou/tôn a)mphote/rôn] (Love and Discord) [Greek: keinô/setai a)/spetos

These are new Empedoklean verses, derived from the recently published
fragments of Hippolytus (Hær. Refut.) printed by Stein, v. 110, in his
collection of the Fragments of Empedokles, p. 43. Compare another
passage in the same treatise of Hippolytus, p. 251.]

[Footnote 113: Emped. Fr. v. 59, Karsten:

[Greek: Ou(/tôs a(rmoni/ês pukinô=| kruphô=| e)stê/riktai
sphai/ros kuklote/rês, moniê=| periêge/i+ gai/ôn].

Plutarch, De Facie in Orbe Lunæ, c. 12.

About the divinity ascribed by Empedokles to Sphærus, see Aristot.
Metaphys. B. 4, p. 1000, a. 29. [Greek: a(/panta ga\r e)k tou/tou
(nei/kous) ta)/lla/ e)sti plê\n o( theo/s] (i.e. Sphærus).--[Greek:
Ei) ga\r mê\ ê)=n to\ nei=kos e)n toi=s pra/gmasi, e(\n a)\n ê)=n
a(/panta, ô(s phêsi/n] (Empedokles). See Preller, Hist. Philos. ex
Font. Loc. Contexta, sect. 171, 172, ed. 3.

The condition of things which Empedokles calls Sphærus may be
illustrated (translating his Love and Enmity into the modern
phraseology of _attraction_ and _repulsion_) from an eminent modern
work on Physics:--"Were there only atoms and attraction, as now
explained, the whole material of creation would rush into close
contact, and the universe would be one huge solid mass of stillness
and death. There is heat or caloric, however, which directly
counteracts attraction and singularly modifies the results. It has
been described by some as a most subtile fluid pervading things, as
water does a sponge: others have accounted it merely a vibration among
the atoms. The truth is, that we know little more of heat as a cause
of repulsion, than of gravity as a cause of attraction: but we can
study and classify the phenomena of both most accurately." (Dr.
Arnott, Elements of Physics, vol. i. p. 26.)]

[Footnote 114: Emp. Fr. v. 66-70, Karsten:

[Greek: pa/nta ga\r e)xei/ês pelemi/zeto gui=a theoi=o.]]

[Footnote 115: Plutarch ap. Euseb. Præp. Evang. i. 8, 10; Plutarch,
Placit. Philos. ii. 6, p. 887; Aristot. Ethic. Nic. viii. 2.]

[Footnote 116: Emped. Fr. 185, Karsten. [Greek: ai)thê\r sphi/ggôn
peri\ ku/klon a(/panta]. Aristot. De Coelo, ii. 13, 14; iii. 2, 2.
[Greek: tê\n gê=n u(po\ tê=s di/nês ê)remei=n], &c. Empedokles called
the sea [Greek: i(/drôta tê=s gê=s]. Emp. Fr. 451, Karsten; Aristot.
Meteor. ii. 3.]

[Footnote 117: Plutarch, Placit. Phil. ii. 20, p. 890.]

[Footnote 118: Zeller, Phil. d. Griech., i. p. 532-535, 2nd ed.:
Karsten--De Emped. Philos. p. 424-431.

The very imperfect notices which remain, of the astronomical and
meteorological doctrines of Empedokles, are collected and explained by
these two authors.]

[Footnote 119: Plutarch, Placit. Philos. ii. 8; Schaubach, Anaxag.
Fragm. p. 175. Compare the remarks of Gruppe (Ueber die Kosmischen**
Systeme der Griechen, p. 98) upon the obscure Welt-Gebäude of

[Side-note: Formation of the Earth, of Gods, men, animals, and

From astronomy and meteorology Empedokles[120] proceeded to describe
the Earth, its tenants, and its furniture; how men were first
produced, and how put together. All were produced by the Earth: being
thrown up under the stimulus of Fire still remaining within it. In its
earliest manifestations, and before the influence of Discord had been
sufficiently neutralized, the Earth gave birth to plants only, being
as yet incompetent to produce animals.[121] After a certain time she
gradually acquired power to produce animals, first imperfectly and
piecemeal, trunks without limbs and limbs without trunks; next,
discordant and monstrous combinations, which did not last, such as
creatures half man half ox; lastly, combinations with parts suited to
each other, organizations perfect and durable, men, horses, &c., which
continued and propagated.[122] Among these productions were not only
plants, birds, fishes, and men, but also the "long-lived Gods".[123]
All compounds were formed by intermixture of the four elements, in
different proportions, more or less harmonious.[124] These elements
remained unchanged: no one of them was transformed into another. But
the small particles of each flowed into the pores of the others, and
the combination was more or less intimate, according as the structure
of these pores was more or less adapted to receive them. So intimate
did the mixture of these fine particles become, when the effluvia of
one and the pores of another were in symmetry, that the constituent
ingredients, like colours compounded together by the painter,[125]
could not be discerned or handled separately. Empedokles rarely
assigned any specific ratio in which he supposed the four elements to
enter into each distinct compound, except in the case of flesh and
blood, which were formed of all the four in equal portions; and of
bones, which he affirmed to be composed of one-fourth earth,
one-fourth water, and the other half fire. He insisted merely on the
general fact of such combinations, as explaining what passed for
generation of new substances without pointing out any reason to
determine one ratio of combination rather than another, and without
ascribing to each compound a distinct ratio of its own. This omission
in his system is much animadverted on by Aristotle.

[Footnote 120: Hippokrates--[Greek: Peri\ a)rchai/ês i)êtrikê=s]--c.
20, p. 620, vol. i. ed. Littré. [Greek: katha/per E)mpedoklê=s ê)\
a)/lloi oi(\ peri\ phu/sios gegra/phasin e)x a)rchê=s o(/ ti/ e)stin
a)/nthrôpos, kai\ o(/pôs e)geneto prô/ton, kai\ o(/pôs xunepa/gê].

This is one of the most ancient allusions to Empedokles, recently
printed by M. Littré, out of one of the MSS. in the Parisian library.]

[Footnote 121: Emp. Fr. v. 253, Kar. [Greek: tou\s me\n pu=r a)nepemp'
e)/thelon pro\s o(/moion i(ke/sthai], &c.

Aristot., or Pseudo-Aristot. De Plantis, i. 2. [Greek: ei)=pe pa/lin
o( E)mpedoklê=s, o(/ti ta\ phuta\ e)/chousi ge/nesin e)n ko/smô|
ê)lattôme/nô|, kai\ ou) telei/ô| kata\ tê\n sumplê/rôsin au)tou=;
tau/tês de\ sumplêroume/nês] (while it is in course of being
completed), [Greek: ou) genna=tai zô=on.]]

[Footnote 122: Emp. Frag. v. 132, 150, 233, 240, ed. Karst. Ver. 238:--

[Greek: polla\ me\n a)mphipro/sôpa kai\ a)mphi/stern' e)phu/onto,
bougenê= a)ndro/prôra], &c. Ver. 251:--
[Greek: Ou)lophuei=s me\n prô=ta tu/poi chthono\s e(xane/tellon], &c.

Lucretius, v. 834; Aristotel. Gen. Animal. i. 18, p. 722, b. 20;
Physic. ii. 8, 2, p. 198, b. 32; De Coelo, iii. 2, 5, p. 300, b. 29;
with the commentary of Simplikius ap. Schol. Brand. b. 512.]

[Footnote 123: Emp. Frag. v. 135, Kar.]

[Footnote 124: Plato, Menon. p. 76 A.; Aristot. Gen. et Corr. i. 8, p.
324, b. 30 seq.]

[Footnote 125: [Greek: E)mpedoklê=s e)x a)metablê/tôn tô=n tetta/rôn
stoichei/ôn ê(gei=to gi/gnesthai tê\n tô=n sunthe/tôn sôma/tôn
phu/sin, ou(/tôs a)namemigme/nôn a)llê/lois tô=n prô/tôn, ô(s ei)/ tis
leiô/sas a)kribô=s kai\ chnoô/dê poiê/sas i)o\n kai\ chalki=tin kai\
kadmei/an kai\ mi/su mi/xeien, ô(s mêde\n e)x au)tou=
metacheiri/sasthai chôri\s e(te/rou].

Galen, Comm. in Hippokrat. De Homin. Nat. t. iii. p. 101. See Karsten,
De Emped. Phil. p. 407, and Emp. Fr. v. 155.

Galen says, however (after Aristot. Gen. et Corr. ii. 7, p. 334, a.
30), that this mixture, set forth by Empedokles, is not mixture
properly speaking, but merely close proximity. Hippokrates (he says)
was the first who propounded the doctrine of real mixture. But
Empedokles seems to have intended a real mixture, in all cases where the
structure of the pores was in symmetry with the inflowing particles.
Oil and water (he said) would not mix together, because there was no
such symmetry between them--[Greek: o(/lôs ga\r poiei=] (Empedokles)
[Greek: tê\n mi/xin tê=| summetri/a| tô=n po/rôn; dio/per e)/laion
me\n kai\ u(/dôr ou) mi/gnusthai, ta\ de\ a)/lla u(gra\ kai\ peri\
o(/sôn dê\ katarithmei=tai ta\s i)di/as kra/seis] (Theophrastus, De
Sensu et Sensili, s. 12, vol. i. p. 651, ed. Schneider).]

[Side-note: Physiology of
Empedokles--Procreation--Respiration--movement of the blood.]

Empedokles farther laid down many doctrines respecting physiology. He
dwelt on the procreation of men and animals, entered upon many details
respecting gestation and the foetus, and even tried to explain what it
was that determined the birth of male or female offspring. About
respiration, alimentation, and sensation, he also proposed theories:
his explanation of respiration remains in one of the fragments. He
supposed that man breathed, partly through the nose, mouth, and lungs,
but partly also through the whole surface of the body, by the pores
wherewith it was pierced, and by the internal vessels connected with
those pores. Those internal vessels were connected with the blood
vessels, and the portion of them near the surface was alternately
filled with blood or emptied of blood, by the flow outwards from the
centre or the ebb inwards towards the centre. Such was the movement
which Empedokles considered as constantly belonging to the blood:
alternately a projection outwards from the centre and a recession
backwards towards the centre. When the blood thus receded, the
extremities of the vessels were left empty, and the air from without
entered: when the outward tide of blood returned, the air which had
thus entered was expelled.[126] Empedokles conceived this outward tide
of blood to be occasioned by the effort of the internal fire to escape
and join its analogous element without.[127]

[Footnote 126: Emp. Fr. v. 275, seqq. Karst.

The comments of Aristotle on this theory of Empedokles are hardly
pertinent: they refer to respiration by the nostrils, which was not
what Empedokles had in view (Aristot. De Respirat. c. 3).]

[Footnote 127: Karsten, De Emp. Philosoph. p. 480.

Emp. Fr. v. 307--[Greek: to/ t' e)n mê/nigxin e)ergme/non ô)gu/gion
pu=r--pu=r d' e)/xô diathrô=skon], &c.

Empedokles illustrates this influx and efflux of air in respiration by
the klepsydra, a vessel with one high and narrow neck, but with a
broad bottom pierced with many small holes. When the neck was kept
closed by the finger or otherwise, the vessel might be plunged into
water, but no water would ascend into it through the holes in the
bottom, because of the resistance of the air within. As soon as the
neck was freed from pressure, and the air within allowed to escape,
the water would immediately rush up through the holes in the bottom.

This illustration is interesting. It shows that Empedokles was
distinctly aware of the pressure of the air as countervailing the
ascending movement of the water, and the removal of that pressure as
allowing such movement. Vers. 286:--

[Greek: ou)de/ t' e)s a)/ggos d' o)/mbros e)se/rchetai, a)lla/ min
a)e/ros o)/gkos e)/sôthe pesô\n e)pi\ trê/mata pukna/], &c.

This dealing with the klepsydra seems to have been a favourite
amusement with children.]

[Side-note: Doctrine of effluvia and pores--explanation of
perceptions--Intercommunication of the elements with the sentient
subject--like acting upon like.]

The doctrine of pores and effluvia, which formed so conspicuous an
item in the physics of Empedokles, was applied by him to explain
sensation. He maintained the general doctrine (which Parmenides had
advanced before him, and which Plato retained after him), that
sensation was produced by like acting upon like: Herakleitus before
him, and Anaxagoras after him, held that it was produced by unlike
acting upon unlike. Empedokles tried (what Parmenides had not tried)
to apply his doctrine to the various senses separately.[128] Man was
composed of the same four elements as the universe around him: and
since like always tended towards like, so by each of the four elements
within himself, he perceived and knew the like element without.
Effluvia from all bodies entered his pores, wherever they found a
suitable channel: hence he perceived and knew earth by earth, water by
water, and so forth.[129] Empedokles, assuming perception and
knowledge to be produced by such intercommunication of the four
elements, believed that not man and animals only, but plants and other
substances besides, perceived and knew in the same way. Everything
possessed a certain measure of knowledge, though less in degree, than
man, who was a more compound structure.[130] Perception and knowledge
was more developed in different animals in proportion as their
elementary composition was more mixed and varied. The blood, as the
most compound portion of the whole body, was the principal seat of

[Footnote 128: Theophrastus, De Sensu, s. 2, p. 647, Schneid.]

[Footnote 129: Emp. Frag. Karst. v. 267, seq.

[Greek: gnô=th', o(/ti pa/ntôn ei)si\n a)por)r(oai\ o(/ss' e)ge/nonto],

ib. v. 321:

[Greek: gai/ê| me\n ga\r gai=an o)pô/pamen, u(/dati d' u(/dôr,
ai)the/ri d' ai)the/ra di=on, a)ta\r puri\ pu=r a)i+\dêlon,
storgê=| de\ storgê/n, nei=kos de/ te nei/kei+ lugrô=|].

Theophrastus, De Sensu, c. 10, p. 650, Schneid.

Aristotle says that Empedokles regarded each of these six as a [Greek:
psuchê\] (_soul_, _vital principle_) by itself. Sextus Empiricus
treats Empedokles as considering each of the six to be a [Greek:
kritê/rion a)lêthei/as] (Aristot. De Animâ, i. 2; Sext. Emp. adv.
Mathem. vii. 116).]

[Footnote 130: Emp. Fr. v. 313, Karst. ap. Sext. Empir. adv. Mathem.
viii. 286; also apud Diogen. L. viii. 77.

[Greek: pa/nta ga\r i)/sth' phro/nêsin e)/chein kai\ nô/matos

Stein gives (Emp. Fr. v. 222-231) several lines immediately preceding
this from the treatise of Hippolytus; but they are sadly corrupt.

Parmenides had held the same opinion before--[Greek: kai\ o(/lôs pa=n
to\ o)\n e)/chein tina\ gnô=sin]--ap. Theophrast. De Sensu, s. 4.

Theophrastus, in commenting upon the doctrine of Empedokles, takes as
one of his grounds of objection--That Empedokles, in maintaining
sensation and knowledge to be produced by influx of the elements into
pores, made no difference between animated and inanimate substances
(Theophr. De Sens. s. 12-23). Theophrastus puts this as if it were an
inconsistency or oversight of Empedokles: but it cannot be so
considered, for Empedokles (as well as Parmenides) appears to have
accepted the consequence, and to have denied all such difference,
except one of degree, as to perception and knowledge.]

[Footnote 131: Emp. Frag. 316, Karst. [Greek: ai(=ma ga\r a)nthrô/pois
perika/rdio/n e)sti no/êma.] Comp. Theophrast. De Sensu, s. 11.]

[Side-note: Sense of vision.]

In regard to vision, Empedokles supposed that it was operated mainly
by the fire or light within the eye, though aided by the light
without. The interior of the eye was of fire and water, the exterior
coat was a thin layer of earth and air. Colours were brought to the
eye as effluvia from objects, and became apprehended as sensations by
passing into the alternate pores or ducts of fire and water: white
colour was fitted to (or in symmetry with) the pores of fire, black
colour with those of water.[132] Some animals had the proportions of
fire and water in their eyes better adjusted, or more conveniently
located, than others: in some, the fire was in excess, or too much on
the outside, so as to obstruct the pores or ducts of water: in others,
water was in excess, and fire in defect. The latter were the animals
which saw better by day than by night, a great force of external light
being required to help out the deficiency of light within: the former
class of animals saw better by night, because, when there was little
light without, the watery ducts were less completely obstructed--or
left more free to receive the influx of black colour suited to

[Footnote 132: Emp. Frag. v. 301-310, Karst. [Greek: to/ t' e)n
mê/nigxin e)ergme/non ô)gu/gion pu=r], &c. Theophr. De Sensu, s. 7, 8;
Aristot. De Sensu, c. 3; Aristot. De Gen. et Corrupt. i. 8.]

[Footnote 133: Theophrastus, De Sensu, s. 7, 8.]

[Side-note: Senses of hearing, smell, taste.]

In regard to hearing, Empedokles said that the ear was like a bell or
trumpet set in motion by the air without; through which motion the
solid parts were brought into shock against the air flowing in, and
caused the sensation of sound within.[134] Smell was, in his view, an
adjunct of the respiratory process: persons of acute smell were those
who had the strongest breathing: olfactory effluvia came from many
bodies, and especially from such as were light and thin. Respecting
taste and touch, he gave no further explanation than his general
doctrine of effluvia and pores: he seems to have thought that such
interpenetration was intelligible by itself, since here was immediate
and actual contact. Generally, in respect to all the senses, he laid
it down that pleasure ensued when the matter which flows in was not
merely fitted in point of structure to penetrate the interior pores or
ducts (which was the condition of all sensation), but also harmonious
with them in respect to elementary mixture.[135]

[Footnote 134: Theophrast. De Sensu, s. 9-21.

Empedokles described the ear under the metaphor of [Greek: sa/rkinon
o)/zon], "the fleshy branch."]

[Footnote 135: Theophrast. De Sensu, s. 9, 10. The criticisms of
Theophrastus upon this theory of Empedokles are extremely interesting,
as illustrating the change in the Grecian physiological point of view
during a century and a half, but I reserve them until I come to the
Aristotelian age. I may remark, however, that Theophrastus, disputing
the doctrine of sensory effluvia generally, disputes the existence of
the olfactory effluvia not less than the rest (s. 20).]

[Side-note: Empedokles declared that justice absolutely forbade the
killing of anything that had life. His belief in the metempsychosis.
Sufferings of life are an expiation for wrong done during an
antecedent life. Pretensions to magic power.]

Empedokles held various opinions in common with the Pythagoreans and
the brotherhood of the Orphic mysteries--especially that of the
metempsychosis. He represented himself as having passed through prior
states of existence, as a boy, a girl, a shrub, a bird, and a fish. He
proclaims it as an obligation of justice, absolute and universal, not
to kill anything that had life: he denounces as an abomination the
sacrificing of or eating of an animal, in whom perhaps might dwell the
soul of a deceased friend or brother.[136] His religious faith,
however, and his opinions about Gods, Dæmons, and the human soul,
stood apart (mostly in a different poem) from his doctrines on
kosmology and physiology. In common with many Pythagoreans, he laid
great stress on the existence of Dæmons (of intermediate order and
power between Gods and men), some of whom had been expelled from the
Gods in consequence of their crimes, and were condemned to pass a long
period of exile, as souls embodied in various men or animals. He
laments the misery of the human soul, in himself as well as in others,
condemned to this long period of expiatory degradation, before they
could regain the society of the Gods.[137] In one of his remaining
fragments, he announces himself almost as a God upon earth, and
professes his willingness as well as ability to impart to a favoured
pupil the most wonderful gifts--powers to excite or abate the winds,
to bring about rain or dry weather, to raise men from the dead.[138]
He was in fact a man of universal pretensions; not merely an expositor
of nature, but a rhetorician, poet, physician, prophet, and conjurer.
Gorgias the rhetor had been personally present at his magical

[Footnote 136: Emp. Frag. v. 380-410, Karsten; Plutarch, De Esu
Carnium, p. 997-8.

Aristot. Rhetoric. i. 13, 2: [Greek: e)sti\ ga\r, o(\ manteu/ontai/ ti
pa/ntes, phu/sei koino\n di/kaion kai\ a)/dikon, ka)\n mêdemi/a
koinôni/a pro\s a)llê/lous ê)=|, mêde\ sunthê/kê--ô(s E)mpedoklê=s
le/gei peri\ tou= mê\ ktei/nein to\ e)/mpsuchon; tou=to ga\r ou) tisi\
me\n di/kaion, tisi\ d' ou) di/kaion,

A)lla\ to\ me\n pa/ntôn no/mimon dia/ t' eu)rume/dontos
Ai)the/ros ê)neke/ôs te/tatai dia/ t' a)ple/tou au)gê=s].

Sext. Empiric. adv. Mathem. ix. 127.]

[Footnote 137: Emp. Frag. v. 5-18, Karst.; compare Herod. ii. 123;
Plato, Phædrus, 55, p. 246 C.; Plutarch, De Isid. et Osirid. c. 26.
Plutarch observes in another place on the large proportion of
religious mysticism blended with the philosophy of Empedokles--[Greek:
Sôkra/tês, phasma/tôn kai\ deisidaimoni/as a)naple/ô philosophi/an
a)po\ Puthago/rou kai\ E)mpedokle/ous dexa/menos, eu)= ma/la
bebakcheume/nên], &c. (Plutarch, De Genio Socratis, p. 580, C.)

See Fr. Aug. Ukert, Ueber Daemonen, Heroen, und Genien, p. 151.]

[Footnote 138: Emp. Fr. v. 390-425, Karst.]

[Footnote 139: Diog. Laert. viii. 59.]

[Side-note: Complaint of Empedokles on the impossibility of finding
out truth.]

None of the remaining fragments of Empedokles are more remarkable than
a few in which he deplores the impossibility of finding out any great
or comprehensive truth, amidst the distraction and the sufferings
of our short life. Every man took a different road, confiding only in
his own accidental experience or particular impressions; but no man
could obtain or communicate satisfaction about the whole.[140]

[Footnote 140: Emp. Fr. v. 34, ed. Karst., p. 88.

[Greek: pau=ron de\ zô/ês a)bi/ou me/ros a)thlê/santes
ô)ku/moroi, ka/pnoio di/kên a)rthe/ntes, a)pe/ptan,
au)to\ mo/non peisthe/ntes o(/tô| prose/kursen e(/kastos,
pa/ntos' e)launo/menoi; to\ de\ ou)=lon e)peu/chetai eu(rei=n
au)/tôs. ou)/t' e)piderkta\ ta/d' a)ndra/sin ou)/t' e)pakousta\
ou)/te no/ô| perilêpta/.]]

[Side-note: Theory of Anaxagoras--denied generation and
destruction--recognises only mixture and severance of pre-existing
kinds of matter.]

Anaxagoras of Klazomenæ, a friend of the Athenian Perikles, and
contemporary of Empedokles, was a man of far simpler and less
ambitious character: devoted to physical contemplation and geometry,
without any of those mystical pretentions common among the
Pythagoreans. His doctrines were set forth in prose, and in the Ionic
dialect.[141] His theory, like all those of his age, was
all-comprehensive in its purpose, starting from a supposed beginning,
and shewing how heaven, earth, and the inhabitants of earth, had come
into those appearances which were exhibited to sense. He agreed with
Empedokles in departing from the point of view of Thales and other
Ionic theorists, who had supposed one primordial matter, out of which,
by various transformations, other sensible things were generated--and
into which, when destroyed, they were again resolved. Like Empedokles,
and like Parmenides previously, he declared that generation,
understood in this sense, was a false and impossible notion: that no
existing thing could have been generated, or could be destroyed, or
could undergo real transformation into any other thing different from
what it was.[142] Existing things were what they were, possessing
their several inherent properties: there could be no generation except
the putting together of these things in various compounds, nor any
destruction except the breaking up of such compounds, nor any
transformation except the substitution of one compound for another.

[Footnote 141: Aristotel. Ethic. Eudem. i. 4, 5; Diogen. Laert. ii.

[Footnote 142: Anaxagor. Fr. 22, p. 135, ed. Schaubach. [Greek: to\
de\ gi/nesthai kai\ a)po/llusthai ou)k o)rthô=s nomi/zousin oi(
E(/llênes. Ou)de\n ga\r chrê=ma gi/netai, ou)de\ a)po/llutai, a)ll'
a)p' e)o/ntôn chrêma/tôn summi/sgetai/ te kai\ diakri/netai; kai\
ou(/tôs a)\n o)rthô=s kaloi=en to/ te gi/nesthai summi/sgesthai kai\
to\ a)po/llusthai diakri/nesthai.]]

[Side-note: Homoeomeries--small particles of diverse kinds of matter,
all mixed together.]

But Anaxagoras did not accept the Empedoklean four elements as the sum
total of first substances. He reckoned all the different sorts of
matter as original and primæval existences: he supposed them all to
lie ready made, in portions of all sizes, whereof there was no
greatest and no least.[143] Particles of the same sort he called
Homoeomeries: the aggregates of which formed bodies of like parts;
wherein the parts were like each other and like the whole. Flesh,
bone, blood, fire,[144] earth, water, gold, &c., were aggregations of
particles mostly similar, in which each particle was not less flesh,
bone, and blood, than the whole mass.

[Footnote 143: Anaxag. Fr. 5, ed. Schaub, p. 94.

[Greek: Ta\ o(moiomerê=] are the primordial particles themselves:
[Greek: o(moiome/reia] is the abstract word formed from this
concrete--existence in the form or condition of [Greek: o(moiomerê=].
Each distinct substance has its own [Greek: o(moiomerê=], little
particles like each other, and each possessing the characteristics of
the substance. But the state called [Greek: o(moiome/reia] pervades all
substances (Marbach, Lehrbuch der Geschichte der Philosophie, s. 53,
note 3.)]

[Footnote 144: Lucretius, i. 830:

Nunc et Anaxagoræ scrutemur Homoeomerian,
Quam Grai memorant, nec nostrâ dicere linguâ
Concedit nobis patrii sermonis egestas.

Lucretius calls this theory Homoeomeria, and it appears to me that
this name must have been bestowed upon it by its author. Zeller and
several others, after Schleiermacher, conceive the name to date first
from Aristotle and his physiological classification. But what other
name was so natural or likely for Anaxagoras himself to choose?]

But while Anaxagoras held that each of these Homoeomeries[145] was a
special sort of matter with its own properties, and each of them
unlike every other: he held farther the peculiar doctrine, that no one
of them could have an existence apart from the rest. Everything was
mixed with everything: each included in itself all the others: not one
of them could be obtained pure and unmixed. This was true of any
portion however small. The visible and tangible bodies around us
affected our senses, and received their denominations according to
that one peculiar matter of which they possessed a decided
preponderance and prominence. But each of them included in itself all
the other matters, real and inseparable, although latent.[146]

[Footnote 145: Anaxag. Fr. 8; Schaub. p. 101; compare p. 113. [Greek:
e(/teron de\ ou)de/n e)stin o(/moion ou)deni\ a)/llô|. A)ll' o(/teô|
plei=sta e)/ni, tau=ta e)ndêlo/tata e(\n e(/kasto/n e)sti kai\ ê)=n.]]

[Footnote 146: Lucretius, i. 876:

Id quod Anaxagoras sibi sumit, ut omnibus omnes
Res putet inmixtas rebus latitare, sed illud
Apparere unum cujus sint plurima mixta,**
Et magis in promptu primâque in fronte** locata.

Aristotel. Physic. i. 4, 3. [Greek: Dio/ phasi pa=n e)n panti\
memi=chthai, dio/ti pa=n e)k panto\s e(ô/rôn gigno/menon; phai/nesthai
de\ diaphe/ronta kai/ prosagoreu/esthai e(/tera a)llê/lôn, e)k tou=
ma/lista u(pere/chontos, dia\ to\ plê=thos e)n tê=| mi/xei tô=n
a)pei/rôn; ei)likrinô=s me\n ga\r o(/lon leuko\n ê)\ me/lan ê)\ sa/rka
ê)\ o)stou=n, ou)k ei)=nai; o(/tou de\ plei=ston e(/kaston e)/chei,
tou=to dokei=n ei)=nai tê\n phu/sin tou= pra/gmatos.] Also Aristot. De
Coelo, iii. 3; Gen. et Corr. i. 1.]

[Side-note: First condition of things--all the primordial varieties of
matter were huddled together in confusion. Nous, or Reason, distinct
from all of them, supervened and acted upon this confused mass,
setting the constituent particles in movement.]

In the beginning (said Anaxagoras) all things (all sorts of matter)
were together, in one mass or mixture. Infinitely numerous and
infinite in diversity of magnitude, they were so packed and confounded
together that no one could be distinguished from the rest: no definite
figure, or colour, or other property, could manifest itself. Nothing
was distinguishable except the infinite mass of Air and Æther (Fire),
which surrounded the mixed mass and kept it together.[147] Thus all
things continued for an infinite time in a state of rest and nullity.
The fundamental contraries--wet, dry, hot, cold, light, dark, dense,
rare,--in their intimate contact neutralised each other.[148] Upon
this inert mass supervened the agency of Nous or Mind. The
characteristic virtue of mind was, that it alone was completely
distinct, peculiar, pure in itself, unmixed with anything else: thus
marked out from all other things which were indissolubly mingled with
each other. Having no communion of nature with other things, it was
noway acted upon by them, but was its own master or autocratic, and
was of very great force. It was moreover the thinnest and purest of
all things; possessing complete knowledge respecting all other things.
It was like to itself throughout--the greater manifestations of mind
similar to the less.[149]

[Footnote 147: Anaxag. Frag. 1; Schaub. p. 65; [Greek: O(mou= pa/nta
chrê/mata ê)=n, a)/peira kai\ plê=thos kai\ smikro/têta. Kai\ ga\r to\
smikro\n a)/peiron ê)=n. Kai\ pa/ntôn o(mou= e)o/ntôn ou)de\n
eu)/dêlon ê)=n u(po\ smikro/têtos. Pa/nta ga\r a)ê/r te kai\ ai)thê\r
katei=chen, a)mpho/tera a)/peira e)o/nta. Tau=ta ga\r me/gista
e)/nestin e)n toi=s sumpa=si kai\ plê/thei kai\ mege/thei].

The first three words--[Greek: o(mou= pa/nta chrê/mata]--were the
commencement of the Anaxagorean treatise, and were more recollected
and cited than any other words in it. See Fragm. 16, 17, Schaubach,
and p. 66-68. Aristotle calls this primeval chaos [Greek: to\ mi/gma].]

[Footnote 148: Anax. Frag. 6, Schaub. p. 97; Aristotel. Physic. i. 4,
p. 187, a, with the commentary of Simplikius ap. Scholia, p. 335;
Brandis also, iii. 203, a. 25; and De Coelo, iii. 301, a. 12, [Greek:
e)x a)kinê/tôn ga\r a)/rchetai] (Anaxagoras) [Greek: kosmopoiei=n.]]

[Footnote 149: Anaxag. Fr. 8, p. 100, Schaub. [Greek: Ta\ me\n a)/lla
panto\s moi=ran e)/chei, nou=s de/ e)stin a)/peiron kai\ au)tokrate\s
kai\ me/miktai ou)deni\ chrê/mati, a)lla\ mo/nos au)to\s e)ph'
e(ôu+tou= e)stin. Ei) mê\ ga\r e)ph' e(ôu+tou= ê)=n, a)lla/ teô|
e)me/mikto a)/llô|, metei=chen a)\n a(pa/ntôn chrêma/tôn ei)/
e)me/mikto teô| . . . . Kai\ a)nekô/luen au)to\n ta\ summemigme/na,
ô(/ste mêdeno\s chrê/matos kratei=n o(moi/ôs, ô(s kai\ mo/non e)o/nta
e)ph' e(ôu+tou=. E)sti\ ga\r lepto/tato/n te pa/ntôn chrêma/tôn kai\
katharô/taton, kai\ gnô/mên ge peri\ panto\s pa=san i)/schei, kai\
i)schu/ei me/giston.]

Compare Plato, Kratylus, c. 65, p. 413, c. [Greek: nou=n au)tokra/tora
kai\ ou)deni\ memigme/non (o(\ le/gei A)naxago/ras).]]

[Side-note: Movement of rotation in the mass initiated by Nous on a
small scale, but gradually extending itself. Like particles congregate
together--distinguishable aggregates are formed.]

But though other things could not act upon mind, mind could act upon
them. It first originated movement in the quiescent mass. The movement
impressed was that of rotation, which first began on a small scale,
then gradually extended itself around, becoming more efficacious as it
extended, and still continuing to extend itself around more and more.
Through the prodigious velocity of this rotation, a separation was
effected of those things which had been hitherto undistinguishably
huddled together.[150] Dense was detached from rare, cold from hot,
dark from light, dry from wet.[151] The Homoeomeric particles
congregated together, each to its like; so that bodies were
formed--definite and distinguishable aggregates, possessing such a
preponderance of some one ingredient as to bring it into clear
manifestation.[152] But while the decomposition of the multifarious
mass was thus carried far enough to produce distinct bodies, each of
them specialised, knowable, and regular--still the separation can
never be complete, nor can any one thing be "cut away as with a
hatchet" from the rest. Each thing, great or small, must always
contain in itself a proportion or trace, latent if not manifest, of
everything else.[153] Nothing except mind can be thoroughly pure and

[Footnote 150: Anaxag. Fr. 8, p. 100, Sch. [Greek: kai\ tê=s
perichôrê/sios tê=s sumpa/sês nou=s e)kra/têsen, ô(/ste perichôrê=sai
tê\n a)rchê/n. Kai\ prô=ton a)po\ tou= smikrou= ê)/rxato
perichôrê=sai, e)/peiten plei=on perichôre/ei, kai\ perichôrê/sei
e)pi\ ple/on. Kai\ ta\ summisgo/mena/ te kai\ a)pokrino/mena kai\
diakrino/mena, pa/nta e)/gnô nou=s]. Also Fr. 18, p. 129; Fr. 21, p.
134, Schau.]

[Footnote 151: Anaxag. Fr. 8-19, Schaubach.]

[Footnote 152: Anaxag. Fr. 8, p. 101, Schaub. [Greek: o(/teô| plei=sta
e)/ni, tau=ta e)ndêlo/tata e(/n e(/kasto/n e)sti kai\ ê)=n].
Pseudo-Origen. Philosophumen. 8. [Greek: kinê/seôs de mete/chein ta\
pa/nta u(po\ tou= nou= kinou/mena, sunelthei=n te ta\ o(/moia], &c.
Simplikius ad Aristot. Physic. i. p. 188, a. 13 (p. 337, Schol.

[Footnote 153: Aristotel. Physic. iii. 4, 5, p. 203, a. 23, [Greek:
o(tiou=n tô=n mori/ôn ei)=nai mi=gma o(moi/ôs tô=| pa/nti], &c. Anaxag.
Fr. 16, p. 126, Schaub.

Anaxag. Fr. 11, p. 119, Schaub. [Greek: ou) kechô/ristai ta\ e(n e(ni\
ko/smô|, ou)de\ _a)poke/koptai pele/kei_], &c. Frag. 12, p. 122.
[Greek: e)n panti\ pa/nta, ou)de\ chôri\s e)/stin ei)=nai].--Frag. 15,
p. 125.]

[Side-note: Nothing (except [Greek: Nou=s]) can be entirely pure or
unmixed, but other things may be comparatively pure. Flesh, Bone, &c.
are purer than Air or Earth.]

Nevertheless other things approximate in different degrees to purity,
according as they possess a more or less decided preponderance of some
few ingredients over the remaining multitude. Thus flesh, bone, and
other similar portions of the animal organism, were (according to
Anaxagoras) more nearly pure (with one constituent more thoroughly
preponderant and all other coexistent natures more thoroughly
subordinate and latent) than the four Empedoklean elements, Air, Fire,
Earth, &c.; which were compounds wherein many of the numerous
ingredients present were equally effective, so that the manifestations
were more confused and complicated. In this way the four Empedoklean
elements formed a vast seed-magazine, out of which many distinct
developments might take place, of ingredients all pre-existing within
it. Air and Fire appeared to generate many new products, while flesh
and bone did not.[154] Amidst all these changes, however, the infinite
total mass remained the same, neither increased nor diminished.[155]

[Footnote 154: Aristotle, in two places (De Coelo, iii. 3, p. 302, a.
28, and Gen. et Corr. i. 1, p. 314, a. 18) appears to state that
Anaxagoras regarded flesh and bone as simple and elementary: air,
fire, and earth, as compounds from these and other Homoeomeries. So
Zeller (Philos. d. Griech., v. i. p. 670, ed. 2), with Ritter, and
others, understand him. Schaubach (Anax. Fr. p. 81, 82) dissents from
this opinion, but does not give a clear explanation. Another passage
of Aristotle (Metaphys. A. 3, p. 984, a. 11) appears to contradict the
above two passages, and to put fire and water, in the Anaxagorean
theory, in the same general category as flesh and bone: the
explanatory note of Bonitz, who tries to show that the passage in the
Metaphysica is in harmony with the other two above named passages,
seems to me not satisfactory.

Lucretius (i. 835, referred to in a previous note) numbers flesh,
bone, fire, and water, all among the Anaxagorean Homoeomeries; and I
cannot but think that Aristotle, in contrasting Anaxagoras with
Empedokles, has ascribed to the former language which could only have
been used by the latter. [Greek: E)nanti/ôs de\ phai/nontai le/gontes
oi( peri\ A)naxago/ran toi=s peri\ E)mpedokle/a. O( me\n ga/r] (Emp.)
[Greek: phêsi pu=r kai\ u(/dôr kai\ a)e/ra kai\ gê=n stoichei=a
te/ssara kai\ a(pla= ei)=nai, ma=llon ê)\ sa/rka kai\ o)stou=n kai\
ta\ toiau=ta tô=n o(moiomerô=n. Oi( de\] (Anaxag.) [Greek: tau=ta me\n
a(pla= kai\ stoichei=a, gê=n de\ kai\ pu=r kai\ a)e/ra su/ntheta;
panspermi/an ga\r ei)=nai tou/tôn.] (Gen. et Corr. i. 1.) The last
words ([Greek: panspermi/an]) are fully illustrated by a portion of
the other passage, De Coelo, iii. 3, [Greek: a)e/ra de\ kai\ pu=r
mi=gma tou/tôn] (the Homoeomeries, such as flesh and blood) [Greek:
kai\ tô=n a)/llôn sperma/tôn pa/ntôn; ei)=nai ga\r e(ka/teron au)tô=n
e)x a)ora/tôn o(moiomerô=n pa/ntôn ê)throisme/nôn; dio\ kai\
gi/gnesthai pa/nta e)k tou/tôn].

Now it can hardly be said that Anaxagoras recognised one set of bodies
as simple and elementary, and that Empedokles recognised another set
of bodies as such. Anaxagoras expressly denied _all simple bodies_. In
his theory, all bodies were compound: _Nous_ alone formed an
exception. Everything existed in everything. But they were compounds
in which particles of one sort, or of a definite number of sorts, had
come together into such positive and marked action, as practically to
nullify the remainder. The generation of the Homoeomeric aggregate was
by disengaging these like particles from the confused mixture in which
their agency had before lain buried ([Greek: ge/nesis, e)/kphansis
mo/non kai\ e)/kkrisis tou= pri\n kruptome/nou]. Simplikius ap.
Schaub. Anax. Fr. p. 115). The Homoeomeric aggregates or bodies were
infinite in number: for ingredients might be disengaged and recombined
in countless ways, so that the result should always be some positive
and definite manifestations. Considered in reference to the
Homoeomeric body, the constituent particles might in a certain sense
be called elements.]

[Footnote 155: Anaxag. Fr. 14, p. 125, Schaub.]

[Side-note: Theory of Anaxagoras compared with that of Empedokles.]

In comparing the theory of Anaxagoras with that of Empedokles, we
perceive that both of them denied not only the generation of new
matter out of nothing (in which denial all the ancient physical
philosophers concurred), but also the transformation of one form of
matter into others, which had been affirmed by Thales and others. Both
of them laid down as a basis the existence of matter in a variety of
primordial forms. They maintained that what others called generation
or transformation, was only a combination or separation of these
pre-existing materials, in great diversity of ratios. Of such primordial
forms of matter Empedokles recognised only four, the so-called
Elements; each simple and radically distinct from the others, and
capable of existing apart from them, though capable also of being
combined with them. Anaxagoras recognised primordial forms of matter
in indefinite number, with an infinite or indefinite stock of
particles of each; but no one form of matter (except Nous) capable of
being entirely severed from the remainder. In the constitution of
every individual body in nature, particles of all the different forms
were combined; but some one or a few forms were preponderant and
manifest, all the others overlaid and latent. Herein consisted the
difference between one body and another. The Homoeomeric body was one
in which a confluence of like particles had taken place so numerous
and powerful, as to submerge all the coexistent particles of other
sorts. The majority thus passed for the whole, the various minorities
not being allowed to manifest themselves, yet not for that reason
ceasing to exist: a type of human society as usually constituted,
wherein some one vein of sentiment, ethical, æsthetical, religious,
political, &c., acquires such omnipotence as to impose silence on
dissentients, who are supposed not to exist because they cannot
proclaim themselves without ruin.

[Side-note: Suggested partly by the phenomena of animal nutrition.]

The hypothesis of multifarious forms of matter, latent yet still real
and recoverable, appears to have been suggested to Anaxagoras mainly
by the phenomena of animal nutrition.[156] The bread and meat on which
we feed nourishes all the different parts of our body--blood, flesh,
bones, ligaments, veins, trachea, hair, &c. The nutriment must contain
in itself different matters homogeneous with all these tissues and
organs; though we cannot see such matters, our reason tells us that
they must be there. This physiological divination is interesting from
its general approximation towards the results of modern analysis.

[Footnote 156: See a remarkable passage in Plutarch, Placit.
Philosoph. i. 3.]

[Side-note: Chaos common to both Empedokles and Anaxagoras: moving
agency, different in one from the other theory.]

Both Empedokles and Anaxagoras begin their constructive process from a
state of stagnation and confusion both tantamount to Chaos; which is
not so much active discord (as Ovid paints it), as rest and nullity
arising from the equilibrium of opposite forces. The chaos is in fact
almost a reproduction of the Infinite of Anaximander.[157] But
Anaxagoras as well as Empedokles enlarged his hypothesis by
introducing (what had not occurred or did not seem necessary to
Anaximander) a special and separate agency for eliciting positive
movement and development out of the negative and stationary Chaos. The
Nous or Mind is the Agency selected for this purpose by Anaxagoras:
Love and Enmity by Empedokles. Both the one and the other initiate the
rotatory cosmical motion; upon which follows as well the partial
disgregation of the chaotic mass, as the congregation of like
particles of it towards each other.

[Footnote 157: This is a just comparison of Theophrastus. See the
passage from his [Greek: phusikê\ i(stori/a], referred to by
Simplikius ad Aristot. Physic. i. p. 187, a. 21 (p. 335, Schol.

[Side-note: Nous, or mind, postulated by Anaxagoras--how understood by
later writers--how intended by Anaxagoras himself.]

The Nous of Anaxagoras was understood by later writers as a God;[158]
but there is nothing in the fragments now remaining to justify the
belief that the author himself conceived it in that manner--or that he
proposed it (according to Aristotle's expression[159]) as the cause of
all that was good in the world, assigning other agencies as the causes
of all evil. It is not characterised by him as a person--not so much
as the Love and Enmity of Empedokles. It is not one but multitudinous,
and all its separate manifestations are alike, differing only as
greater or less. It is in fact identical with the soul, the vital
principle, or vitality, belonging not only to all men and to all
plants also.[160] It is one substance, or form of matter among the
rest, but thinner than all of them (thinner than even fire or air),
and distinguished by the peculiar characteristic of being absolutely
unmixed. It has moving power and knowledge, like the air of Diogenes
the Apolloniate: it initiates movement; and it knows about all the
things which either pass into or pass out of combination. It disposes
or puts in order all things that were, are, or will be; but it effects
this only by acting as a fermenting principle, to break up the huddled
mass, and to initiate rotatory motion, at first only on a small scale,
then gradually increasing. Rotation having once begun, and the mass
having been as it were unpacked and liberated the component
Homoeomeries are represented as coming together by their own inherent
attraction.[161] The Anaxagorean Nous introduces order and symmetry
into Nature, simply by stirring up rotatory motion in the inert mass,
so as to release the Homoeomeries from prison. It originates and
maintains the great cosmical fact of rotatory motion; which variety of
motion, from its perfect regularity and sameness, is declared by Plato
also to be the one most consonant to Reason and Intelligence.[162]
Such rotation being once set on foot, the other phenomena of the
universe are supposed to be determined by its influence, and by their
own tendencies and properties besides: but there is no farther agency
of Nous, which only _knows_ these phenomena as and when they occur.
Anaxagoras tried to explain them as well as he could; not by reference
to final causes, nor by assuming good purposes of Nous which each
combination was intended to answer--but by physical analogies, well or
ill chosen, and especially by the working of the grand cosmical

[Footnote 158: Cicero, Academ. iv. 37; Sext. Empiric. adv.
Mathematicos, ix. 6, [Greek: to\n me\n nou=n, o(/s e)sti kat' au)to\n
theo\s], &c.

Compare Schaubach, Anax. Frag. p. 153.]

[Footnote 159: Aristot. Metaphys. A. p. 984, b. 17. He praises
Anaxagoras for this, [Greek: oi(=on nê/phôn par' ei)kê= le/gontas
tou\s pro/teron], &c.]

[Footnote 160: Aristoteles (or Pseudo-Aristot.) De Plantis, i. 1.

Aristot. De Animâ, i. 2, 65-6-13.

Aristotle says that the language of Anaxagoras about [Greek: nou=s]
and [Greek: psuchê\] was not perfectly clear or consistent. But it
seems also from Plato De Legg. xii. p. 967, B, that Anaxagoras made no
distinction between [Greek: nou=s] and [Greek: psuchê/]. Compare
Plato, Kratylus, p. 400 A.]

[Footnote 161: Anaxag. Fr. 8, and Schaubach's Comm. p. 112-116.

"Mens erat id, quod movebat molem homoeomeriarum: hâc ratione, per
hunc motum à mente excitatum, secretio facta est . . . . Materiæ autem
propriæ insunt vires: proprio suo pondere hæc, quæ mentis vi mota et
secreta sunt, feruntur in eum locum, quo nunc sunt."

Compare Alexand. Aphrod. ap. Scholia ad Aristot. Physic. ii. p. 194,
a. (Schol. p. 348 a. Brandis); Marbach, Lehrbuch der Gesch. Philos. s.
54, note 2, p. 82; Preller, Hist. Phil. ex Font. Loc. Contexta, s. 53,
with his comment.]

[Footnote 162: Plato, Phædo, c. 107, 108, p. 98; Plato, De Legg. xii.
p. 967 B; Aristot. Metaphys. A. 4, p. 985, b. 18; Plato, Timæus, 34 A.
88 E.]

[Footnote 163: Aristoph. Nub. 380, 828. [Greek: ai)the/rios
Di=nos--Di=nos basileu/ei, to\n Di/' e)xelêlakô/s]--the sting of which
applies to Anaxagoras and his doctrines.

Anaxagoras [Greek: di/nous tina\s a)noê/tous a)nazôgraphô=n, su\n tê=|
tou= nou= a)praxi/a| kai\ a)noi/a|] (Clemens. Alexandrin. Stromat. ii.
p. 365).

To _move_ (in the active sense, _i.e._ to cause movement in) and to
_know_, are the two attributes of the Anaxagorean [Greek: Nou=s]
(Aristotel. De Animâ, i. 2, p. 405, a. 18).]

[Side-note: Plato and Aristotle blame Anaxagoras for deserting his own

This we learn from Plato and Aristotle, who blame Anaxagoras for
inconsistency in deserting his own hypothesis, and in invoking
explanations from physical agencies, to the neglect of Nous and its
supposed optimising purposes. But Anaxagoras, as far as we can judge
by his remaining fragments, seems not to have committed any such
inconsistency. He did not proclaim his Nous to be a powerful
extra-cosmical Architect, like the Demiurgus of Plato--nor an
intra-cosmical, immanent, undeliberating instinct (such as Aristotle
calls Nature), tending towards the production and renewal of regular
forms and conjunctions, yet operating along with other agencies which
produced concomitants irregular, unpredictable, often even obstructive
and monstrous. Anaxagoras appears to conceive his Nous as one among
numerous other real agents in Nature, material like the rest, yet
differing from the rest as being powerful, simple, and pure from all
mixture,[164] as being endued with universal cognizance, as being the
earliest to act in point of time, and as furnishing the primary
condition to the activity of the rest by setting on foot the cosmical
rotation. The Homoeomeries are coeternal with, if not anterior to,
Nous. They have laws and properties of their own, which they follow,
when once liberated, without waiting for the dictation of Nous. What
they do is known by, but not ordered by, Nous.[165] It is therefore no
inconsistency in Anaxagoras that he assigns to mind one distinct and
peculiar agency, but nothing more; and that when trying to explain the
variety of phenomena he makes reference to other physical agencies, as
the case seems to require.[166]

[Footnote 164: Anaxagoras, Fr. 8,** p. 100, Schaub.

[Greek: e)sti\ ga\r lepto/tato/n te pa/ntôn chrêma/tôn], &c.

This means, not that [Greek: nou=s] was unextended or immaterial, but
that it was thinner or more subtle than either fire or air.
Herakleitus regarded [Greek: to\ perie/chon] as [Greek: logiko\n kai\
phrenê=res]. Diogenes of Apollonia considered air as endued with
cognition, and as imparting cognition by being inhaled. Compare
Plutarch, De Placit. Philos. iv. 3.

I cannot think, with Brücker (Hist. Philosop. part ii. b. ii. De Sectâ
Ionicâ, p. 504, ed. 2nd), and with Tennemann, Ges. Ph. i. 8, p. 312,
that Anaxagoras was "primus qui Dei ideam inter Græcos à materialitate
quasi purificavit," &c. I agree rather with Zeller (Philos. der
Griech. i. p. 680-683, ed. 2nd), that the Anaxagorean Nous is not
conceived as having either immateriality or personality.]

[Footnote 165: Simplikius, in Physic. Aristot. p. 73. [Greek: kai\
A)naxago/ras de\ to\n nou=n e)a/sas, ô(/s phêsin Eu)/dêmos, kai\
au)tomati/zôn ta\ polla\ suni/stêsin.]]

[Footnote 166: Diogen. Laert. ii. 8. [Greek: Nou=n . . . a)rchê\n

Brücker, Hist. Philos. ut supra. "Scilicet, semel inducto in materiam
à mente motu, sufficere putavit Anaxagoras, juxta leges naturæ
motûsque, rerum ortum describere."]

[Side-note: Astronomy and physics of Anaxagoras.]

In describing the formation of the Kosmos, Anaxagoras supposed that,
as a consequence of the rotation initiated by mind, the primitive
chaos broke up. "The Dense, Wet, Cold, Dark, Heavy, came together into
the place where now Earth is: Hot, Dry, Bare, Light, Bright, departed
to the exterior region of the revolving Æther."[167] In such
separation each followed its spontaneous and inherent tendency. Water
was disengaged from air and clouds, earth from water: earth was still
farther consolidated into stones by cold.[168] Earth remained
stationary in the centre, while fire and air were borne round it by
the force and violence of the rotatory movement. The celestial
bodies--Sun, Moon, and Stars--were solid bodies analogous to the earth,
either caught originally in the whirl of the rotatory movement, or
torn from the substance of the earth and carried away into the outer
region of rotation.[169] They were rendered hot and luminous by the
fiery fluid in the rapid whirl of which they were hurried along. The
Sun was a stone thus made red-hot, larger than Peloponnesus: the Moon
was of earthy matter, nearer to the Earth, deriving its light from the
Sun, and including not merely plains and mountains, but also cities
and inhabitants.[170] Of the planetary movements, apart from the
diurnal rotation of the celestial sphere, Anaxagoras took no
notice.[171] He explained the periodical changes in the apparent
course of the sun and moon by resistances which they encountered, the
former from accumulated and condensed air, the latter from the
cold.[172] Like Anaximenes and Demokritus, Anaxagoras conceived the
Earth as flat, round in the surface, and not deep, resting on and
supported by the air beneath it. Originally (he thought) the earth was
horizontal, with the axis of celestial rotation perpendicular, and the
north pole at the zenith, so that this rotation was then lateral, like
that of a dome or roof; it was moreover equable and unchanging with
reference to every part of the plane of the earth's upper surface, and
distributed light and heat equally to every part. But after a certain
time the Earth tilted over of its own accord to the south, thus
lowering its southern half, raising the northern half, and causing the
celestial rotation to appear oblique.[173]

[Footnote 167: Anaxag. Fr. 19, p. 131, Schaub.; compare Fr. 6, p. 97;
Diogen. Laert. ii. 8.]

[Footnote 168: Anaxag. Fr. 20, p. 133, Schau.]

[Footnote 169: See the curious passage in Plutarch, Lysander 12, and
Plato, Legg. xii. p. 967 B; Diogen. Laert. ii. 12; Plutarch, Placit.
Philos. ii. 13.]

[Footnote 170: Plato, Kratylus, p. 409 A; Plato, Apol. Sok. c. 14;
Xenophon, Memorab. iv. 7.]

[Footnote 171: Schaubach, ad Anax. Fr. p. 165.]

[Footnote 172: Plutarch, Placit. Philosoph. ii. 23.]

[Footnote 173: Diogenes Laert. ii. 9. [Greek: ta\ d' a)/stra kat'
a)rcha\s tholoeidô=s e)nechthê=nai, ô(/ste kata\ koruphê\n tê=s gê=s
to\n a)ei\ phaino/menon ei)=nai po/lon, u(/steron de\ tê\n (gê=n)
e)/gklisin labei=n.] Plutarch, Placit. Phil. ii. 8.]

[Side-note: His geology, meteorology, physiology.]

Besides these doctrines respecting the great cosmical bodies,
Anaxagoras gave explanations of many among the striking phenomena in
geology and meteorology--the sea, rivers, earthquakes, hurricanes,
hail, snow, &c.[174] He treated also of animals and plants--their
primary origin, and the manner of their propagation.[175] He thought
that animals were originally produced by the hot and moist earth; but
that being once produced, the breeds were continued by propagation.
The seeds of plants he supposed to have been originally contained in
the air, from whence they fell down to the warm and moist earth, where
they took root and sprung up.[176] He believed that all plants, as
well as all animals, had a certain measure of intelligence and
sentiment, differing not in kind but only in degree from the
intelligence and sentiment of men; whose superiority of intelligence
was determined, to a great extent, by their possession of hands.[177]
He explained sensation by the action of unlike upon unlike (contrary
to Empedokles, who referred it to the action of like upon like),[178]
applying this doctrine to the explanation of the five senses
separately. But he pronounced the senses to be sadly obscure and
insufficient as means of knowledge. Apparently, however, he did not
discard their testimony, nor assume any other means of knowledge
independent of it, but supposed a concomitant and controlling effect
of intelligence as indispensable to compare and judge between the
facts of sense when they appeared contradictory.[179] On this point,
however, it is difficult to make out his opinions.

[Footnote 174: See Schaubach, ad Anax. Fr. p. 174-181. Among the
points to which Anaxagoras addressed himself was the annual inundation
of the Nile, which he ascribed to the melting of the snows in
Æthiopia, in the higher regions of the river's course.--Diodor. i. 38.
Herodotus notices this opinion (ii. 22), calling it plausible, but
false, yet without naming any one as its author. Compare Euripides,
Helen. 3.]

[Footnote 175: Aristotel. De Generat. Animal. iii. 6, iv. 1.]

[Footnote 176: Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. iii. 2; Diogen. Laert. ii.
9; Aristot. De Plantis, i. 2.]

[Footnote 177: Aristot. De Plantis, i. 1; Aristot. Part. Animal. iv.

[Footnote 178: Theophrastus, De Sensu, sect. 1--sect. 27-30.

This difference followed naturally from the opinions of the two
philosophers on the nature of the soul or mind. Anaxagoras supposed it
peculiar in itself, and dissimilar to the Homoeomeries without.
Empedokles conceived it as a compound of the four elements, analogous
to all that was without: hence man knew each exterior element by its
like within himself--earth by earth, water by water, &c.]

[Footnote 179: Anaxag. Fr. 19, Schaub.; Sextus Empiric. adv. Mathem.
vii. 91-140; Cicero, Academ. i. 12.

Anaxagoras remarked that the contrast between black and white might be
made imperceptible to sense by a succession of numerous intermediate
colours very finely graduated. He is said to have affirmed that snow
was really black, notwithstanding that it appeared white to our
senses: since water was black, and snow was only frozen water (Cicero,
Academ. iv. 31; Sext. Empir. Pyrrhon. Hypotyp. i. 33). "Anaxagoras non
modo id ita esse (_sc._ albam nivem esse) negabat, sed sibi, quia
sciret aquam nigram esse, unde illa concreta esset, albam ipsam esse
_ne videri quidem_." Whether Anaxagoras ever affirmed that snow did
not _appear to him_ white, may reasonably be doubted: his real
affirmation probably was, that snow, though it appeared white, was not
really white. And this affirmation depended upon the line which he
drew between the fact of sense, the phenomenal, the relative, on one
side--and the substratum, the real, the absolute, on the other. Most
philosophers recognise a distinction between the two; but the line
between the two has been drawn in very different directions.
Anaxagoras assumed as his substratum, real, or absolute, the
Homoeomeries--numerous primordial varieties of matter, each with its
inherent qualities. Among these varieties he reckoned _water_, but he
did not reckon _snow_. He also considered that water was really and
absolutely black or dark (the Homeric [Greek: me/lan u(/dôr])--that
blackness was among its primary qualities. Water, when consolidated
into snow, was so disguised as to produce upon the spectator the
appearance of whiteness; but it did not really lose, nor could it
lose, its inherent colour. A negro covered with white paint, and
therefore looking white, is still really black: a wheel painted with
the seven prismatic colours, and made to revolve rapidly, will look
white, but it is still really septi-coloured: _i.e._ the state of
rapid revolution would be considered as an exceptional state, not
natural to it. Compare Plato, Lysis, c. 32, p. 217 D.]

[Side-note: The doctrines of Anaxagoras were regarded as offensive and

Anaxagoras, residing at Athens and intimately connected with Perikles,
incurred not only unpopularity, but even legal prosecution, by the
tenor of his philosophical opinions, especially those on astronomy. To
Greeks who believed in Helios and Selênê as not merely living beings
but Deities, his declaration that the Sun was a luminous and fiery
stone, and the Moon an earthy mass, appeared alike absurd and impious.
Such was the judgment of Sokrates, Plato, and Xenophon, as well as of
Aristophanes and the general Athenian public.[180] Anaxagoras was
threatened with indictment for blasphemy, so that Perikles was
compelled to send him away from Athens.

[Footnote 180: Plato, Apol. So. c. 14; Xenoph. Memor. iv. 7.]

That physical enquiries into the nature of things, and attempts to
substitute scientific theories in place of the personal agency of the
Gods, were repugnant to the religious feelings of the Greeks, has been
already remarked.[181] Yet most of the other contemporary philosophers
must have been open to this reproach, not less than Anaxagoras; and we
learn that the Apolloniate Diogenes left Athens from the same cause.
If others escaped the like prosecution which fell upon Anaxagoras, we
may probably ascribe this fact to the state of political party at
Athens, and to the intimacy of the latter with Perikles. The numerous
political enemies of that great man might fairly hope to discredit him
in the public mind--at the very least to vex and embarrass him--by
procuring the trial and condemnation of Anaxagoras. Against other
philosophers, even when propounding doctrines not less obnoxious
respecting the celestial bodies, there was not the same collateral
motive to stimulate the aggressive hostility of individuals.

[Footnote 181: Plutarch, Nikias, 23.]

[Side-note: Diogenes of Apollonia recognises one primordial element.]

Contemporary with Anaxagoras--yet somewhat younger, as far as we can
judge, upon doubtful evidence--lived the philosopher Diogenes, a
native of Apollonia in Krete. Of his life we know nothing except that
he taught during some time at Athens, which city he was forced to quit
on the same ground as Anaxagoras. Accusations of impiety were either
brought or threatened against him:[182] physical philosophy being
offensive generally to the received religious sentiment, which was
specially awakened and appealed to by the political opponents of

[Footnote 182: Diogen. Laert. ix. 52. The danger incurred by Diogenes
the Apolloniate at Athens is well authenticated, on the evidence of
Demetrius the Phalerean, who had good means of knowing. And the fact
may probably be referred to some time after the year B.C. 440, when
Athens was at the height of her power and of her attraction for
foreign visitors--when the visits of philosophers to the city had been
multiplied by the countenance of Perikles--and when the political
rivals of that great man had set the fashion of assailing them in
order to injure him. This seems to me one probable reason for
determining the chronology of the Apolloniate Diogenes: another is,
that his description of the veins in the human body is so minute and
detailed as to betoken an advanced period of philosophy between B.C.
440-410. See the point discussed in Panzerbieter, Fragment. Diogen.
Apoll. c. 12-18 (Leipsic, 1830).

Simplikius (ad Aristot. Phys. fol. 6 A) describes Diogenes as having
been [Greek: schedo\n neô/tatos] in the series of physical theorists.]

Diogenes the Apolloniate, the latest in the series of Ionic
philosophers or physiologists, adopted, with modifications and
enlargements, the fundamental tenet of Anaximenes. There was but one
primordial element--and that element was air. He laid it down as
indisputable that all the different objects in this Kosmos must be at
the bottom one and the same thing: unless this were the fact, they
would not act upon each other, nor mix together, nor do good and harm
to each other, as we see that they do. Plants would not grow out of
the earth, nor would animals live and grow by nutrition, unless there
existed as a basis this universal sameness of nature. No one thing
therefore has a peculiar nature of its own: there is in all the same
nature, but very changeable and diversified.[183]

[Footnote 183: Diogen. Ap. Fragm. ii. c. 29 Panzerb.; Theophrastus, De
Sensu, s. 39.

[Greek: ei) ga\r ta\ e)n tô=|de tô=| ko/smô| e)o/nta nu=n gê= kai\
u(/dôr kai\ ta)/lla, o(/sa phainetai e)n tô=|de tô=| ko/smô| e)o/nta,
ei) toute/ôn ti ê)=n to\ e(/teron tou= e(te/rou e(/teron e)o\n tê=|
i)di/ê| phu/sei, kai\ mê\ to\ au)to\ e)o\n mete/pipte pollachô=s kai\
ê(teroiou=to; ou)damê= ou)/te mi/sgesthai a)llê/lois ê)du/nato ou)/te
ô)phe/lêsis tô=| e(te/rô| ou)/te bla/bê], &c.

Aristotle approves this fundamental tenet of Diogenes, the conclusion
that there must be one common Something out of which all things
came--[Greek: e)x e(no\s a(/panta] (Gen. et Corrupt. i. 6-7,
p. 322, a. 14), inferred from the fact that they acted upon each other.]

[Side-note: Air was the primordial, universal element.]

Now the fundamental substance, common to all, was air. Air was
infinite, eternal, powerful; it was, besides, full of intelligence and
knowledge. This latter property Diogenes proved by the succession of
climatic and atmospheric phenomena of winter and summer, night and
day, rain, wind, and fine weather. All these successions were disposed
in the best possible manner by the air: which could not have laid out
things in such regular order and measure, unless it had been endowed
with intelligence. Moreover, air was the source of life, soul, and
intelligence, to men and animals: who inhaled all these by
respiration, and lost all of them as soon as they ceased to

[Footnote 184: Diog. Apoll. Fr. iv.-vi. c. 36-42, Panz.--[Greek: Ou)
ga\r a)\n ou(/tô de/dasthai oi(=o/n te ê)=n a)/neu noê/sios, ô(/ste
pa/ntôn me/tra e)/chein, cheimô=no/s te kai\ the/reos kai nukto\s kai\
ê(me/rês kai\ u(etô=n kai\ a)ne/môn kai\ eu)diô=n. kai\ ta\ a)/lla
ei)/ tis bou/letai e)nnoe/esthai, eu(/riskoi a)\n ou(/tô diakei/mena,
ô(s a)nusto\n ka/llista. E)/ti de pro\s tou/tois kai\ ta/de mega/la
sêmei=a; a)/nthrôpos ga\r kai\ ta\ a)/lla zô=a a)napne/onta zô/ei tô=|
a)e/ri. Kai\ tou=to au)toi=s kai\ psuchê/ e)sti kai\ no/êsis----

--Kai\ moi\ doke/ei to\ tê\n no/êsin e)/chon ei)=nai o( a)ê\r
kaleo/menos u(po\ tô=n a)nthrô/pôn], &c.

Schleiermacher has an instructive commentary upon these fragments of
the Apolloniate Diogenes (Vermischte Schriften, vol. ii. p. 157-162;
Ueber Diogenes von Apollonia).]

[Side-note: Air possessed numerous and diverse properties; was
eminently modifiable.]

Air, life-giving and intelligent, existed everywhere, formed the
essence of everything, comprehended and governed everything. Nothing
in nature could be without it: yet at the same time all things in
nature partook of it in a different manner.[185] For it was
distinguished by great diversity of properties and by many gradations
of intelligence. It was hotter or colder--moister or drier--denser or
rarer--more or less active and movable--exhibiting differences of
colour and taste. All these diversities were found in objects, though
all at the bottom were air. Reason and intelligence resided in the
warm air. So also to all animals as well as to men, the common source
of vitality, whereby they lived, saw, heard, and understood, was air;
hotter than the atmosphere generally, though much colder than that
near the sun.[186] Nevertheless, in spite of this common
characteristic, the air was in other respects so indefinitely
modifiable, that animals were of all degrees of diversity, in form,
habits, and intelligence. Men were doubtless more alike among
themselves: yet no two of them could be found exactly alike, furnished
with the same dose of aerial heat or vitality. All other things,
animate and inanimate, were generated and perished, beginning from air
and ending in air: which alone continued immortal and

[Footnote 185: Diog. Ap. Fr. vi. [Greek: kai\ e)sti mêde\ e(\n o(/, ti
mê\ mete/chei tou/tou] (air). [Greek: Mete/chei de\ ou)de\ e(\n
o(moi/ôs to\ e(/teron tô=| e(te/rô|; a)lla\ polloi\ tro/poi\ kai\
au)tou\ tou= a)e/ros kai\ tê=s noê/sio/s ei)sin.]

Aristotel. De Animâ, i. 2, p. 405, a. 21. [Greek: Dioge/nês d',
ô(/sper kai\ e(teroi/ tines, a)e/ra [u(pe/labe tê\n psuchê/n]], &c.]

[Footnote 186: Diog. Ap. Fr. vi. [Greek: kai\ pa/ntôn zô/ôn dê\ ê(
psuchê\ to\ au)to/ e)stin, a)ê\r thermo/teros me\n tou= e)/xô e)n ô(=|
e)sme/n, tou= me/ntoi para\ tô=| ê(eli/ô| pollo\n psuchro/teros.]]

[Footnote 187: Diogen. Apoll. Fr. v. ch. 38, Panz.]

[Side-note: Physiology of Diogenes--his description of the veins in
the human body.]

The intelligence of men and animals, very unequal in character and
degree, was imbibed by respiration, the inspired air passing by means
of the veins and along the blood into all parts of the body. Of the
veins Diogenes gave a description remarkable for its minuteness of
detail, in an age when philosophers dwelt almost exclusively in loose
general analogies.[188] He conceived the principal seat of
intelligence in man to be in the thoracic cavity, or in the ventricle
of the heart, where a quantity of air was accumulated ready for
distribution.[189] The warm and dry air concentrated round the brain,
and reached by veins from the organs of sense, was the centre of
sensation. Taste was explained by the soft and porous nature of the
tongue, and by the number of veins communicating with it. The juices
of sapid bodies were sucked up by it as by a sponge: the odorous
stream of air penetrated from without through the nostrils: both were
thus brought into conjunction with the sympathising cerebral air. To
this air also the image impressed upon the eye was transmitted,
thereby causing vision:[190] while pulsations and vibrations of the
air without, entering through the ears and impinging upon the same
centre, generated the sensation of sound. If the veins connecting the
eye with the brain were inflamed, no visual sensation could take
place;[191] moreover if our minds or attention were absorbed in other
things, we were often altogether insensible to sensations either of
sight or of sound: which proved that the central air within us was the
real seat of sensation.[192] Thought and intelligence, as well as
sensation, was an attribute of the same central air within us,
depending especially upon its purity, dryness, and heat, and impeded
or deadened by moisture or cold. Both children and animals had less
intelligence than men: because they had more moisture in their bodies,
so that the veins were choked up, and the air could not get along them
freely to all parts. Plants had no intelligence; having no apertures
or ducts whereby the air could pervade their internal structure. Our
sensations were pleasurable when there was much air mingled with the
blood, so as to lighten the flow of it, and to carry it easily to all
parts: they were painful when there was little air, and when the blood
was torpid and thick.[193]

[Footnote 188: Diogen. Apoll. Fr. vii. ch. 48, Panz. The description
of the veins given by Diogenes is preserved in Aristotel. Hist.
Animal, iii. 2: yet seemingly only in a defective abstract, for
Theophrastus alludes to various opinions of Diogenes on the veins,
which are not contained in Aristotle. See Philippson, [Greek: U(/lê
a)nthrôpi/nê], p. 203.]

[Footnote 189: Plutarch, Placit. Philos. iv. 5. [Greek: E)n tê=|
a)rtêriakê=| koili/a| tê=s kardi/as, ê(/tis e)sti\ kai\ pneumatikê/].
See Panzerbieter's commentary upon these words, which are not very
clear (c. 50), nor easy to reconcile with the description given by
Diogenes himself of the veins.]

[Footnote 190: Plutarch, Placit. Philosoph. iv. 18. Theophrast. De
Sensu, s. 39-41-43. [Greek: Kritikô/taton de\ ê(donê=s tê\n glô=ttan;
a(palô/taton ga\r ei)=nai kai\ mano\n kai\ ta\s phle/bas a(pa/sas
a)nê/kein ei)s au)tê/n.]]

[Footnote 191: Plutarch, Placit. Philosoph. iv. 16; Theophrastus, De
Sensu, s. 40.]

[Footnote 192: Theophrast. De Sensu, s. 42. [Greek: O(/ti de\ o(
e)nto\s a)ê\r ai)stha/netai, mikro\n ô)\n mo/rion tou= theou=,
sêmei=on ei)=nai, o(/ti polla/kis pro\s a)/lla to\n nou=n e)/chontes
ou)/th' o(rô=men ou)/t' a)kou/omen]. The same opinion--that sensation,
like thought, is a mental process, depending on physical conditions--is
ascribed to Strato (the disciple and successor of Theophrastus) by
Porphyry, De Abstinentiâ, iii. 21. [Greek: Stra/tônos tou= phusikou=
lo/gos e)sti\n a)podeiknu/ôn, ô(s ou)de\ ai)stha/nesthai to para/pan
a)/neu tou= noei=n u(pa/rchei. kai\ ga\r gra/mmata polla/kis
e)piporeuome/nous tê=| o)/psei kai\ lo/goi prospi/ptontes tê=| a)koê=|
dialantha/nousin ê(ma=s kai\ diapheu/gousi pro\s e(te/rous to\n nou=n
e)/chontas--ê(=| kai\ le/lektai, nou=s o(rê= kai\ nou=s a)kou/ei,
ta)/lla kôpha\ kai\ tuphla/.]

The expression ascribed to Diogenes by Theophrastus--[Greek: o(
e)nto\s a)ê\r, mikro\n ô)\n mo/rion _tou= theou=_]--is so printed by
Philippson; but the word [Greek: theou=] seems not well avouched as to
the text, and Schneider prints [Greek: thumou=]. It is not impossible
that Diogenes may have called the air God, without departing from his
physical theory; but this requires proof.]

[Footnote 193: Theophrastus, De Sensu, s. 43-46; Plutarch, Placit.
Philos. v. 20. That moisture is the cause of dulness, and that the dry
soul is the best and most intelligent--is cited among the doctrines of
Herakleitus, with whom Diogenes of Apollonia is often in harmony.
[Greek: Au)/ê psuchê\ sophôta/tê kai\ a)ri/stê.] See Schleiermach.
Herakleitos, sect. 59-64.]

[Side-note: Kosmology and meteorology.]

The structure of the Kosmos Diogenes supposed to have been effected by
portions of the infinite air, taking upon them new qualities and
undergoing various transformations. Some air, becoming cold, dense,
and heavy, sunk down to the centre, and there remained stationary as
earth and water: while the hotter, rarer, and lighter air ascended and
formed the heavens, assuming through the intelligence included in it a
rapid rotatory movement round the earth, and shaping itself into sun,
moon, and stars, which were light and porous bodies like pumice stone.
The heat of this celestial matter acted continually upon the earth and
water beneath, so that the earth became comparatively drier, and the
water was more and more drawn up as vapour, to serve for nourishment
to the heavenly bodies. The stars also acted as breathing-holes to the
Kosmos, supplying the heated celestial mass with fresh air from the
infinite mass without.[194] Like Anaxagoras, Diogenes conceived the
figure of the earth as flat and round, like a drum; and the rotation
of the heavens as lateral, with the axis perpendicular to the surface
of the earth, and the north pole always at the zenith. This he
supposed to have been the original arrangement; but after a certain
time, the earth tilted over spontaneously towards the south--the
northern half was elevated and the southern half depressed--so that
the north pole was no longer at the zenith, and the axis of rotation
of the heavens became apparently oblique.[195] He thought, moreover,
that the existing Kosmos was only of temporary duration; that it would
perish and be succeeded by future analogous systems, generated from
the same common substance of the infinite and indestructible air.[196]
Respecting animal generation--and to some extent respecting
meteorological phenomena[197]--Diogenes also propounded several
opinions, which are imperfectly known, but which appear to have
resembled those of Anaxagoras.

[Footnote 194: Plutarch ap. Eusebium Præp. Evang. i. 8; Aristotel. De
Animâ, i. 2; Diogen. Laert. ix. 53. [Greek: Dioge/nês kissêroeidê= ta\
a)/stra, diapnoi/as de\ au)ta\ nomi/zei tou= ko/smou, ei)=nai de\
dia/pura; sumperiphe/resthai de\ toi=s phaneroi=s a)/strois a)phanei=s
li/thous kai\ par' au)to\ tou=t' a)nônu/mous; pi/ptonta de\ polla/kis
e)pi\ tê=s gê=s sbe/nnusthai; katha/per to\n e)n Ai)go\s potamoi=s
purôdô=s katenechthe/nta _a)ste/ra_ pe/trinon.] This remarkable
anticipation of modern astronomy--the recognition of aerolithes as a
class of non-luminous earthy bodies revolving round the sun, but
occasionally coming within the sphere of the earth's attraction,
becoming luminous in our atmosphere, falling on the earth, and there
being extinguished--is noticed by Alex. von Humboldt in his Kosmos,
vol. i. p. 98-104, Eng. trans. He says--"The opinion of Diogenes of
Apollonia entirely accords with that of the present day," p. 110. The
charm and value of that interesting book is greatly enhanced by his
frequent reference to the ancient points of view on astronomical

[Footnote 195: Plutarch, Placit. Philos. ii. 8; Panzerbieter ad Diog.
Ap. c. 76-78; Schaubach ad Anaxagor. Fr. p. 175.]

[Footnote 196: Plut. Ap. Euseb. Præp. Evang. i. 8.]

[Footnote 197: Preller, Hist. Philosoph. Græc.-Rom. ex Font. Loc.
Contexta, sect. 68. Preller thinks that Diogenes employed his chief
attention "in animantium naturâ ex aeris principio repetendâ"; and
that he was less full "in cognitione [Greek: tô=n meteô/rôn]". But the
fragments scarcely justify this.]

[Side-note: Leukippus and Demokritus--Atomic theory.]

Nearly contemporary with Anaxagoras and Empedokles, two other
enquirers propounded a new physical theory very different from those
already noticed--usually known under the name of the atomic theory.
This Atomic theory, though originating with the Eleate Leukippus,
obtained celebrity chiefly from his pupil Demokritus of Abdera, its
expositor and improver. Demokritus (born seemingly in B.C. 460, and
reported to have reached extreme old age) was nine years younger than
Sokrates, thirty-three years older than Plato, and forty years younger
than Anaxagoras.[198] The age of Leukippus is not known, but he can
hardly have been much younger than Anaxagoras.

[Footnote 198: Diogen. Laert. ix. 41. See the chronology of Demokritus
discussed in Mullach, Frag. Dem. p. 12-25; and in Zeller, Phil. der
Griech., vol. i. p. 576-681, 2nd edit. The statement of Apollodorus as
to the date of his birth, appears more trustworthy than the earlier
date assigned by Thrasyllus (B.C. 470). Demokritus declared himself to
be forty years younger than Anaxagoras.]

[Side-note: Long life, varied travels, and numerous compositions of

Of Leukippus we know nothing: of Demokritus, very little--yet enough
to exhibit a life, like that of Anaxagoras, consecrated to
philosophical investigation, and neglectful not merely of politics,
but even of inherited patrimony.[199] His attention was chiefly turned
towards the study of Nature, with conceptions less vague, and a more
enlarged observation of facts, than any of his contemporaries had ever
bestowed. He was enabled to boast that no one had surpassed him in
extent of travelling over foreign lands, in intelligent research and
converse with enlightened natives, or in following out the geometrical
relations of lines.[200] He spent several years in visiting Egypt,
Asia Minor, and Persia. His writings were numerous, and on many
different subjects, including ethics, as well as physics, astronomy,
and anthropology. None of them have been preserved. But we read, even
from critics like Dionysius of Halikarnassus and Cicero, that they
were composed in an impressive and semi-poetical style, not unworthy
to be mentioned in analogy with Plato; while in range and diversity of
subjects they are hardly inferior to Aristotle.[201]

[Footnote 199: Dionys. ix. 36-39.]

[Footnote 200: Demokrit. Fragm. 6, p. 238, ed. Mullach. Compare ib. p.
41; Diogen. Laert. ix. 35; Strabo, xv. p. 703.

Pliny, Hist. Natur. "Democritus--vitam inter experimenta consumpsit,"

[Footnote 201: Cicero, Orat. c. 20; Dionys. De Comp. Verbor. c. 24;
Sextus Empir. adv. Mathem. vii. 265. [Greek: Dêmo/kritos, o( tê=|
Dio\s phô/nê| pareikazo/menos], &c.

Diogenes (ix. 46-48) enumerates the titles of the treatises of
Demokritus, as edited in the days of Tiberius by the rhetor
Thrasyllus: who distributed them into tetralogies, as he also
distributed the dialogues of Plato. It was probably the charm of
style, common to Demokritus with Plato, which induced the rhetor thus
to edit them both. In regard to scope and spirit of philosophy, the
difference between the two was so marked, that Plato is said to have
had a positive antipathy to the works of Demokritus, and a desire to
burn them (Aristoxenus ap. Diog. Laert. ix. 40). It could hardly be
from congeniality of doctrine that the same editor attached himself to
both. It has been remarked that Plato never once names Demokritus,
while Aristotle cites him very frequently, sometimes with marked

[Side-note: Relation between the theory of Demokritus and that of

The theory of Leukippus and Demokritus (we have no means of
distinguishing the two) appears to have grown out the Eleatic
theory.[202] Parmenides the Eleate (as I have already stated) in
distinguishing Ens, the self-existent, real, or absolute, on one
side--from the phenomenal and relative on the other--conceived the former
in such a way that its connection with the latter was dissolved. The
real and absolute, according to him, was One, extended, enduring,
continuous, unchangeable, immovable: the conception of Ens included
these affirmations, and at the same time excluded peremptorily
Non-Ens, or the contrary of Ens. Now the plural, unextended, transient,
discontinuous, changeable, and moving, implied a mixture of Ens and
Non-Ens, or a partial transition from one to the other. Hence (since
Non-Ens was inadmissible) such plurality, &c., could not belong to the
real or absolute (ultra-phenomenal), and could only be affirmed as
phenomenal or relative. In the latter sense, Parmenides _did_ affirm
it, and even tried to explain it: he explained the phenomenal facts
from phenomenal assumptions, apart from and independent of the
absolute. While thus breaking down the bridge between the phenomenal
on one side and the absolute on the other, he nevertheless recognised
each in a sphere of its own.

[Footnote 202: Simplikius, in Aristotel. Physic. fol. 7 A. [Greek:
Leu/kippos . . . . koinônê/sas Parmeni/dê| tê=s philosophi/as, ou) tê\n
au)tê\n e)ba/dise Parmeni/dê| kai\ Xenopha/nei peri\ tô=n o)/ntôn
do/xan, a)ll', ô(s dokei=, tê\n e)nanti/an]. Aristotel. De Gener. et
Corr. i. 8, p. 251, a. 31. Diogen. Laert. ix. 30.]

[Side-note: Demokritean theory--Atoms--Plena and Vacua--Ens and

This bridge the atomists undertook to re-establish. They admitted that
Ens could not really change--that there could be no real generation,
or destruction--no transformation of qualities--no transition of many
into one, or of one into many. But they denied the unity and
continuity and immobility of Ens: they affirmed that it was
essentially discontinuous, plural, and moving. They distinguished the
extended, which Parmenides had treated as an _Unum continuum_, into
extension with body, and extension without body: into _plenum_ and
_vacuum_, matter and space. They conceived themselves to have thus
found positive meanings both for Ens and Non-Ens. That which
Parmenides called Non-Ens or nothing, was in their judgment the
_vacuum_; not less self-existent than that which he called Something.
They established their point by showing that Ens, thus interpreted,
would become reconcilable to the phenomena of sense: which latter they
assumed as their basis to start from. Assuming motion as a phenomenal
fact, obvious and incontestable, they asserted that it could not even
appear to be a fact, without supposing _vacuum_ as well as body to be
real: and the proof that both of them were real was, that only in this
manner could sense and reason be reconciled. Farther, they proved the
existence of a _vacuum_ by appeal to direct physical observation,
which showed that bodies were porous, compressible, and capable of
receiving into themselves new matter in the way of nutrition. Instead
of the Parmenidean Ens, one and continuous, we have a Demokritean Ens,
essentially many and discontinuous: _plena_ and _vacua_, spaces full
and spaces empty, being infinitely intermingled.[203] There existed
atoms innumerable, each one in itself essentially a plenum, admitting
no vacant space within it, and therefore indivisible as well as
indestructible: but each severed from the rest by surrounding vacant
space. The atom could undergo no change: but by means of the empty
space around, it could freely move. Each atom was too small to be
visible: yet all atoms were not equally small; there were fundamental
differences between them in figure and magnitude: and they had no
other qualities except figure and magnitude. As no atom could be
divided into two, so no two atoms could merge into one. Yet though two
or more atoms could not so merge together as to lose their real
separate individuality, they might nevertheless come into such close
approximation as to appear one, and to act on our senses as a
phenomenal combination manifesting itself by new sensible

[Footnote 203: It is chiefly in the eighth chapter of the treatise De
Gener. et Corr. (i. 8) that Aristotle traces the doctrine of Leukippus
as having grown out of that of the Eleates. [Greek: Leu/kippos d'
e)/chein ô)|ê/thê lo/gous, oi(/tines pro\s tê\n ai)/sthêsin
o(mologou/mena le/gontes ou)k a)nairê/sousin ou)/te ge/nesin ou)/te
phthora\n ou)/te ki/nêsin kai\ to\ plê=thos tô=n o)/ntôn], &c.

Compare also Aristotel. De Coelo, iii. 4, p. 303, a. 6; Metaphys. A.
4, p. 985, b. 5; Physic. iv. 6: [Greek: le/gousi de\] (Demokritus,
&c., in proving a vacuum) [Greek: e(\n me\n o(/ti ê( ki/nêsis ê( kata\
to/pon ou)k a)\n ei)/ê, _ou) ga\r a)\n dokei=n_ ei)=nai ki/nêsin ei)
mê\ ei)/ê keno/n; to\ ga\r plê=res a)du/naton ei)=nai de/xasthai/ ti],

Plutarch adv. Kolot. p. 1108. [Greek: Oi(=s ou)d' o)/nar e)ntuchô\n o(
Kolô/tês, e)spha/lê peri\ le/xin tou= a)ndro\s] (Demokritus) [Greek:
e)n ê)=| diori/zetai, mê\ ma=llon to\ de\n, ê)\ to\ mêde\n ei)=nai;
de\n me\n o)noma/zôn to\ sô=ma mêde\n de\ to\ keno/n, ô(s kai\ tou/tou
phu/sin tina\ kai\ u(po/stasin i)di/an e)/chontos.]

The affirmation of Demokritus--That Nothing existed, just as much as
Something--appears a paradox which we must probably understand as
implying that he here adopted, for the sake of argument, the language
of the Eleates, his opponents. They called the vacuum _Nothing_, but
Demokritus did not so call it. If (said Demokritus) you call vacuum
_Nothing_, then I say that Nothing exists as well as Something.

The direct observations by which Demokritus showed the existence of a
vacuum were--1. A vessel with ashes in it will hold as much water as
if it were empty: hence we know that there are pores in the ashes,
into which the water is received. 2. Wine can be compressed in skins.
3. The growth of organised bodies proves that they have pores, through
which new matter in the form of nourishment is admitted. (Aristot.
Physic. iv. 6, p. 213, b.)

Besides this, Demokritus set forth motion as an indisputable fact,
ascertained by the evidence of sense: and affirmed that motion was
impossible, except on the assumption that vacuum existed. Melissus,
the disciple of Parmenides, inverted the reasoning, in arguing against
the reality of motion. If it be real (he said), then there must exist
a vacuum: but no vacuum does or can exist: therefore there is no real
motion. (Aristot. Physic. iv. 6.)

Since Demokritus started from these facts of sense, as the base of his
hypothesis of atoms and vacua, so Aristotle (Gen. et Corr. i. 2; De
Animâ, i. 2) might reasonably say that he took sensible appearances as
truth. But we find Demokritus also describing reason as an improvement
and enlightenment of sense, and complaining how little of truth was
discoverable by man. See Mullach, Demokritus (pp. 414, 415). Compare
Philippson--[Greek: U(=lê a)nthrôpi/nê]--Berlin, 1831.]

[Footnote 204: Aristotel. Gen. et Corr. i. 8, p. 325, a. 25, [Greek:
ta\ prô=ta mege/thê ta\ a)diai/reta sterea/]. Diogen. Laert. ix. 44;
Plutarch, adv. Koloten, p. 1110 seq.

Zeller, Philos. der Griech., vol. i. p. 583-588, ed. 2nd; Aristotel.
Metaphys. Z. 13, p. 1039, a. 10, [Greek: a)du/naton ei)=nai/ phêsi
Dêmo/kritos e)k du/o e(\n ê)\| e)x e(no\s du/o gene/sthai; ta\ ga\r
mege/thê ta\ a)/toma ta\s ou)si/as poiei=.]]

[Side-note: Primordial atoms differed only in magnitude, figure,
position, and arrangement--they had no qualities, but their movements
and combinations generated qualities.]

The bridge, broken down by Parmenides, between the real and the
phenomenal world, was thus in theory re-established. For the real
world, as described by Demokritus, differed entirely from the sameness
and barrenness of the Parmenidean Ens, and presented sufficient
movement and variety to supply a basis of explanatory hypothesis,
accommodated to more or less of the varieties in the phenomenal world.
In respect of quality, indeed, all the atoms were alike, not less than
all the vacua: such likeness was (according to Demokritus) the
condition of their being able to act upon each other, or to combine as
phenomenal aggregates.[205] But in respect to quantity or magnitude as
well as in respect to figure, they differed very greatly: moreover,
besides all these diversities, the ordination and position of each
atom with regard to the rest were variable in every way. As all
objects of sense were atomic compounds, so, from such fundamental
differences--partly in the constituent atoms themselves, partly in the
manner of their arrangement when thrown into combination--arose all
the diverse qualities and manifestations of the compounds. When atoms
passed into new combination, then there was generation of a new
substance: when they passed out of an old combination there was
destruction: when the atoms remained the same, but were merely
arranged anew in order and relative position, then the phenomenon was
simply change. Hence all qualities and manifestations of such
compounds were not original, but derivative: they had no "nature of
their own," or law peculiar to them, but followed from the atomic
composition of the body to which they belonged. They were not real and
absolute, like the magnitude and figure of the constituent atoms, but
phenomenal and relative--_i.e._ they were powers of acting upon
correlative organs of sentient beings, and nullities in the absence of
such organs.[206] Such were the colour, sonorousness, taste, smell,
heat, cold, &c., of the bodies around us: they were relative, implying
correlative percipients. Moreover they were not merely relative, but
perpetually fluctuating; since the compounds were frequently changing
either in arrangement or in diversity of atoms, and every such atomic
change, even to a small extent, caused it to work differently upon our

[Footnote 205: Aristotel. Gener. et Corr. i. 7, p. 323, b. 12. It was
the opinion of Demokritus, that there could be no action except where
agent and patient were alike. [Greek: Phêsi\ ga\r to\ au)to\ kai\
o(/moion ei)=nai to/ te poiou=n kai\ to\ pa/schon; ou) ga\r
e)gchôrei=n ta\ e(/tera kai\ diaphe/ronta pa/schein u(p' a)llê/lôn;
a)lla\ ka)\n e(/tera o)/nta poiê=| ti ei)s a)/llêla, ou)ch ê(=|
e(/tera, a)ll' ê(=| tau)to/n ti u(pa/rchei, tau/tê| tou=to sumbai/nein
au)toi=s]. Many contemporary philosophers affirmed distinctly the
opposite. [Greek: To\ o(/moion u(po\ tou= o(moi/ou pa=n a)pathe/s],
&c. Diogenes the Apolloniate agreed on this point generally with
Demokritus; see above, p. 61, note 1 [*Footnote 185*]. The facility
with which these philosophers laid down general maxims is constantly

[Footnote 206: Aristot. Gen. et Corr. i. 2, p. 316, a. 1; Theophrast.
De Sensu, s. 63, 64. [Greek: Peri\ me\n ou)=n bare/os kai\ kou/phou
kai\ sklêrou= kai\ malakou= e)n tou/tois a)phori/zei; tô=n de\ a)/llôn
ai)sthêtô=n ou)deno\s ei)=nai phu/sin, a)lla\ pa/nta pa/thê tê=s
ai)sthê/seôs a)lloioume/nês, e)x ê(=s gi/nesthai tê\n phantasi/an],

Stobæus, Eclog. Physic. i. c. 16. [Greek: Phu/sin me\n mêde\n ei)=nai
chrô=ma, ta\ me\n ga\r stoichei=a a)/poia, ta/ te mesta\ kai\ to\
keno/n; ta\ d' e)x au)tô=n sugkri/mata ke/chrô=sthai diatagê=| te kai\
r(uthmô=| kai\ protropê=|], &c.

Demokritus restricted the term [Greek: Phu/sis]--Nature--to the
primordial atoms and vacua (Simplikius ad Aristot. Physic. p. 310

[Footnote 207: Aristotel. Gener. et Corr. i. 2, p. 315, b. 10. [Greek:
Ô(/ste tai=s metabolai=s tou= sugkeime/nou to\ au)to\ e)nanti/on
dokei=n a)/llô| kai\ a)/llô|, kai\ metakinei=sthai mikrou=
e)mmignume/nou, _kai\ o(/lôs e(/teron phai/nesthai e(no\s

[Side-note: Combinations of atoms--generating different qualities in
the compounds.]

Among the various properties of bodies, however, there were two which
Demokritus recognised as not merely relative to the observer, but also
as absolute and belonging to the body in itself. These were weight and
hardness--primary qualities (to use the phraseology of Locke and
Reid), as contrasted with the secondary qualities of colour, taste,
and the like. Weight, or tendency downward, belonged (according to
Demokritus) to each individual atom separately, in proportion to its
magnitude: the specific gravity of all atoms was supposed to be equal.
In compound bodies one body was heavier than another, in proportion as
its bulk was more filled with atoms and less with vacant space.[208]
The hardness and softness of bodies Demokritus explained by the
peculiar size and peculiar junction of their component atoms. Thus,
comparing lead with iron, the former is heavier and softer, the latter
is lighter and harder. Bulk for bulk, the lead contained a larger
proportion of solid, and a smaller proportion of interstices, than the
iron: hence it was heavier. But its structure was equable throughout;
it had a greater multitude of minute atoms diffused through its bulk,
equally close to and coherent with each other on every side, but not
more close and coherent on one side than on another. The structure of
the iron, on the contrary, was unequal and irregular, including larger
spaces of vacuum in one part, and closer approach of its atoms in
other parts: moreover these atoms were in themselves larger, hence
there was a greater force of cohesion between them on one particular
side, rendering the whole mass harder and more unyielding than the

[Footnote 208: Theophrastus, De Sensu, s. 61. [Greek: Baru\ me\n ou)=n
kai\ kou=phon tô=| mege/thei diairei= Dêmo/kritos], &c.

Aristotel. De Coelo, iv. 2, 7, p. 309, a. 10; Gen. et Corr. i. 8, p.
326, a. 9. [Greek: Kai/toi baru/teron ge kata\ tê\n u(perochê/n phêsin
ei)=nai Dêmo/kritos e(/kaston tô=n a)diaire/tôn], &c.]

[Footnote 209: Theophrastus, De Sensu, s. 62.]

[Side-note: All atoms essentially separate from each other.]

We thus see that Demokritus, though he supposed single atoms to be all
of the same specific gravity, yet recognised a different specific
gravity in the various compounds of atoms or material masses. It is to
be remembered that, when we speak of contact or combination of atoms,
this is not to be understood literally and absolutely, but only in a
phenomenal and relative sense; as an approximation, more or less
close, but always sufficiently close to form an atomic combination
which our senses apprehended as one object. Still every atom was
essentially separate from every other, and surrounded by a margin of
vacant space: no two atoms could merge into one, any more than one
atom could be divided into two.

[Side-note: All properties of objects, except weight and hardness,
were phenomenal and relative to the observer. Sensation could give no
knowledge of the real and absolute.]

Pursuant to this theory, Demokritus proclaimed that all the properties
of objects, except weight, hardness, and softness, were not inherent
in the objects themselves, but simply phenomenal and relative to the
observer--"modifications of our sensibility". Colour, taste, smell,
sweet and bitter, hot and cold, &c., were of this description. In
respect to all of them, man differed from other animals, one man from
another, and even the same man from himself at different times and
ages. There was no sameness of impression, no unanimity or constancy
of judgment, because there was no real or objective "nature"
corresponding to the impression. From none of these senses could we at
all learn what the external thing was in itself. "Sweet and bitter,
hot and cold (he said) are by law or convention (_i.e._ these names
designate the impressions of most men on most occasions, taking no
account of dissentients): what really exists is, atoms and vacuum. The
sensible objects which we suppose and believe to exist do not exist in
truth; there exist only atoms and vacuum. We know nothing really and
truly about an object, either what it is or what it is not: our
opinions depend upon influences from without, upon the position of our
body, upon the contact and resistances of external objects. There are
two phases of knowledge, the obscure and the genuine. To the obscure
belong all our senses--sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch. The
genuine is distinct from these. When the obscure phase fails, when we
can no longer see, nor hear, nor smell, nor taste, nor touch--from
minuteness and subtlety of particles--then the genuine phase, or
reason and intelligence, comes into operation."[210]

[Footnote 210: Demokritus, Fr. p. 205, Mullach; Sextus Empiric. adv.
Mathemat. vii. p. 135; Diogen. Laert. ix. 72.]

[Side-note: Reason alone gave true and real knowledge, but very little
of it was attainable.]

True knowledge (in the opinion of Demokritus) was hardly at all
attainable; but in so far as it could be attained, we must seek it,
not merely through the obscure and insufficient avenues of sense, but
by reason or intelligence penetrating to the ultimatum of corpuscular
structure, farther than sense could go. His atoms were not pure
Abstracta (like Plato's Ideas and geometrical plane figures, and
Aristotle's materia prima), but concrete bodies, each with its
own[211] magnitude, figure, and movement; too small to be seen or felt
by us, yet not too small to be seen or felt by beings endowed with
finer sensitive power. They were abstractions mainly in so far as all
other qualities were supposed absent. Demokritus professed to show how
the movements, approximations, and collisions of these atoms, brought
them into such combinations as to form the existing Kosmos; and not
that system alone, but also many other cosmical systems, independent
of and different from each other, which he supposed to exist.

[Footnote 211: Aristotel. Gen. et Corr. i. 8, p. 325, a. 29. [Greek:
A)/peira to\ plê=thos kai\ a)o/rata dia\ smikro/têta tô=n o)/gkôn],

Marbach observes justly that the Demokritean atoms, though not really
objects of sense in consequence of their smallness (of their
disproportion to our visual power), are yet spoken of as objects of
sense: they are as it were microscopic objects, and the [Greek:
gnêsi/ê gnô/mê], or intelligence, is conceived as supplying something
of a microscopic power. (Marbach, Lehrbuch der Geschichte der
Philosophie, sect. 58, vol. i. p. 94.)]

[Side-note: No separate force required to set the atoms in
motion--they moved by an inherent force of their own. Like atoms
naturally tend towards like. Rotatory motion, the capital fact of the

How this was done we cannot clearly make out, not having before us the
original treatise of Demokritus, called the Great Diakosmos. It is
certain, however, that he did not invoke any separate agency to set
the atoms in motion--such as the Love and Discord of Empedokles--the
Nous or Intelligence of Anaxagoras. Demokritus supposed that the atoms
moved by an inherent force of their own: that this motion was as much
without beginning as the atoms themselves:[212] that eternal motion
was no less natural, no more required any special cause to account for
it, than eternal rest. "Such is the course of nature--such is and
always has been the fact," was his ultimatum.[213] He farther
maintained that all the motions of the atoms were necessary--that is,
that they followed each other in a determinate order, each depending
upon some one or more antecedents, according to fixed laws, which he
could not explain.[214] Fixed laws, known or unknown, he recognised
always. Fortune or chance was only a fiction imagined by men to cover
their own want of knowledge and foresight.[215] Demokritus seems to
have supposed that like atoms had a spontaneous tendency towards like;
that all, when uncombined, tended naturally downwards, yet with
unequal force, owing to their different size, and weight proportional
to size; that this unequal force brought them into impact and
collision one with another, out of which was generated a rotatory
motion, gradually extending itself, and comprehending a larger and
larger number of them, up to a certain point, when an exterior
membrane or shell was formed around them.[216] This rotatory motion
was the capital fact which both constituted the Kosmos, and maintained
the severance of its central and peripheral masses--Earth and Water in
the centre--Air, Fire, and the celestial bodies, near the
circumference. Demokritus, Anaxagoras, and Empedokles, imagined
different preliminary hypotheses to get at the fact of rotation; but
all employed the fact, when arrived at, as a basis from which to
deduce the formation of the various cosmical bodies and their known
manifestations.[217] In respect to these bodies--Sun, Moon, Stars,
Earth, &c.--Demokritus seems to have held several opinions like those
of Anaxagoras. Both of them conceived the Sun as a redhot mass, and
the Earth as a flat surface above and below, round horizontally like a
drum, stationary in the centre of the revolving celestial bodies, and
supported by the resistance of air beneath.[218]

[Footnote 212: Aristotel. De Coelo, iii. 2, 3, p. 300, b. 9. [Greek:
Leuki/ppô| kai\ Dê/mokritô|, toi=s le/gousin a)ei\ kinei=sthai, ta\
prô=ta sô/mata], &c. (Physic. viii. 3, 3, p. 253, b. 12, viii. 9, p.
265, b. 23; Cicero, De Finib. i. 6, 17.)]

[Footnote 213: Aristot. Generat. Animal. ii. 6, p. 742, b. 20; Physic.
viii. 1, p. 252, b. 32.

Aristotle blames Demokritus for thus acquiescing in the general course
of nature as an ultimatum, and for omitting all reference to final
causes. M. Lafaist, in a good dissertation, Sur la Philosophie
Atomistique (Paris, 1833, p. 78), shows that this is exactly the
ultimatum of natural philosophers at the present day. "Un phénomène se
passait-il, si on lui en demandait la raison, il (Demokritus)
répondait, 'La chose se passe ainsi, parcequ'elle s'est toujours
passée ainsi.' C'est, en d'autres termes, la seule réponse que font
encore aujourd'hui les naturalistes. Suivant eux, une pierre, quand
elle n'est pas soutenue, tombe en vertu de la loi de la pesanteur.
Qu'est-ce que la loi de la pesanteur? La généralisation de ce fait
plusieurs fois observé, qu'une pierre tombe quand elle n'est pas
soutenue. Le phénomène dans un cas particulier arrive ainsi, parceque
toujours il est arrivé ainsi. Le principe qu'implique l'explication
des naturalistes modernes est celle de Démokrite, c'est que la nature
demeure constante à elle-même. La proposition de Démokrite--'Tel
phénomène a lieu de cette façon, parceque toujours il a eu lieu de
cette même façon'--est la première forme qu' ait revêtue le principe
de la stabilité des lois naturelles."]

[Footnote 214: Aristotle (Physic. ii. 4, p. 196, a. 25) says that
Demokritus (he seems to mean Demokritus) described the motion of the
atoms to form the cosmical system, as having taken place [Greek: a)po\
tou= au)toma/tou]. Upon which Mullach (Dem. Frag. p. 382) justly
remarks--"Casu ([Greek: a)po\ tau)toma/tou]) videntur fieri, quæ
naturali quâdam necessitate cujus leges ignoramus evenire dicuntur.
Sed quamvis Aristoteles naturalem Abderitani philosophi necessitatem,
vitato [Greek: a)na/gkês] vocabulo, quod alii aliter usurpabant, casum
et fortunam vocaret--ipse tamen Democritus, abhorrens ab iis omnibus
quæ destinatam causarum seriem tollerent rerumque naturam
perturbarent, nihil juris fortunæ et casui in singulis rebus

Zeller has a like remark upon the phrase of Aristotle, which is
calculated to mislead as to the doctrine of Demokritus (Phil. d.
Griech., i. p. 600, 2nd.** ed.).

Dugald Stewart, in one of the Dissertations prefixed to the
Encyclopædia Britannica, has the like comment respecting the
fundamental principle of the Epicurean (identical _quoad hoc_ with the
Demokritean) philosophy.

"I cannot conclude this note without recurring to an observation
ascribed by Laplace to Leibnitz--'that the _blind chance_ of the
Epicureans involves the supposition of an effect taking place without
a cause'. This is a very incorrect statement of the philosophy taught
by Lucretius, which nowhere gives countenance to such a supposition.
The distinguishing tenet of this sect was, that the order of the
universe does not imply the existence of _intelligent_ causes, but may
be accounted for by the active powers belonging to the atoms of
matter: which active powers, being exerted through an indefinitely
long period of time, might have produced, nay must have produced,
exactly such a combination of things as that with which we are
surrounded. This does not call in question the necessity of a cause to
produce every effect, but, on the contrary, virtually assumes the
truth of that axiom. It only excludes from these causes the attribute
of intelligence. In the same way, when I apply the words _blind
chance_ to the throw of a die, I do not mean to deny that I am
ultimately the cause of the particular event that is to take place:
but only to intimate that I do not here act as a _designing_ cause, in
consequence of my ignorance of the various accidents to which the die
is subjected while shaken in the box. If I am not mistaken, this
Epicurean theory approaches very nearly to the scheme which it is the
main object of the Essay on Probabilities (by Laplace) to inculcate."
(Stewart--First Dissertation, part ii. p. 139, note.)]

[Footnote 215: Demokrit. Frag. p. 167, ed. Mullach; Eusebius, Præp.
Evang. xiv. 27. [Greek: a)/nthrôpoi tu/chês ei)/dôlon e)pla/santo
pro/phasin i)di/ês a)bouli/ês.]]

[Footnote 216: Zeller, Phil. d. Griech., i. p. 604 seq.; Demokrit.
Fragm. p. 207, Mull.; Sext. Empiricus adv. Mathem. vii. 117.]

[Footnote 217: Demokrit. Fragm. p. 208, Mullach. [Greek: Dêmo/kritos
e)n oi(=s phêsi di/nê a)po\ panto\s a)pokri/nesthai pantoi/ôn
ei)de/ôn], &c.

Diog. Laert. ix. 31-44.]

[Footnote 218: Zeller, Phil. d. Griech., i. p. 612, ed. 2nd.]

[Side-note: Researches of Demokritus on zoology and animal

Among the researches of Demokritus there were some relating to animal
generation, and zoology; but we cannot find that his opinions on these
subjects were in peculiar connection with his atomic theory.[219] Nor
do we know how far he carried out that theory into detail by tracing
the various phenomenal manifestations to their basis in atomic
reality, and by showing what particular magnitude, figure, and
arrangement of atoms belonged to each. It was only in some special
cases that he thus connected determinate atoms with compounds of
determinate quality; for example, in regard to the four Empedoklean
elements. The atoms constituting heat or fire he affirmed to be small
and globular, the most mobile, rapid, and penetrating of all; those
constituting air, water, and earth, were an assemblage of all
varieties of figures, but differed from each other in magnitude--the
atoms of air being apparently smallest, those of earth largest.[220]

[Footnote 219: Mullach, Demokr. Fragm. p. 395 seqq.]

[Footnote 220: Aristotle, Gen. et Corr. i. 8, p. 326, a. 5; De Coelo,
iii. 8, p. 306, b. 35; Theophrastus, De Sensu, s. 64.]

[Side-note: His account of mind--he identified it with heat or fire
diffused throughout animals, plants, and nature generally. Mental
particles intermingled throughout all the frame with corporeal

In regard to mind or soul generally, he identified it with heat or
fire, conceiving it to consist in the same very small, globular,
rapidly movable atoms, penetrating everywhere: which he illustrated by
comparison with the fine dust seen in sunbeams when shining through a
doorway. That these were the constituent atoms of mind, he proved by
the fact, that its first and most essential property was to move the
body, and to be itself moved.[221] Mind, soul, the vital principle,
fire, heat, &c., were, in the opinion of Demokritus, substantially
identical--not confined to man or even to animals, but
diffused, in unequal proportions, throughout plants, the air, and
nature generally. Sensation, thought, knowledge, were all motions of
mind or of these restless mental particles, which Demokritus supposed
to be distributed over every part of the living body, mingling and
alternating with the corporeal particles.[222] It was the essential
condition of life, that the mental particles should be maintained in
proper number and distribution throughout the body; but by their
subtle nature they were constantly tending to escape, being squeezed
or thrust out at all apertures by the pressure of air on all the
external parts. Such tendency was counteracted by the process of
respiration, whereby mental or vital particles, being abundantly
distributed throughout the air, were inhaled along with air, and
formed an inward current which either prevented the escape, or
compensated the loss, of those which were tending outwards. When
breathing ceased, such inward current being no longer kept up, the
vital particles in the interior were speedily forced out, and death

[Footnote 221: Aristotel. De Animâ, i. 2, 2-3, p. 403, b. 28; i. 3, p.
406, b. 20; Cicero, Tuscul. Disput. i. 11; Diogen. Laert. ix. 44.]

[Footnote 222: Aristotel. De Respirat. (c. 4, p. 472, a. 5), [Greek:
le/gei] (Demokritus) [Greek: ô(s ê( psuchê\ kai\ to\ thermo\n
tau)to\n, ta\ prô=ta schê/mata tô=n sphairoeidô=n].

Lucretius, iii. 370.

Illud in his rebus nequaquam sumere possis,
Democriti quod sancta viri sententia ponit;
Corporis atque animi primordia singula privis
Adposita alternis variare ac nectere membra.]

[Footnote 223: Aristotel. De Respiratione, c. 4, p. 472, a. 10; De
Animâ, i. 2, p. 404, a. 12.]

[Side-note: Different mental aptitudes attached to different parts of
the body.]

Though Demokritus conceived those mental particles as distributed all
over the body, yet he recognised different mental aptitudes attached
to different parts of the body. Besides the special organs of sense,
he considered intelligence as attached to the brain, passion to the
heart, and appetite to the liver:[224] the same tripartite division
afterwards adopted by Plato. He gave an explanation of perception or
sensation in its different varieties, as well as of intelligence or
thought. Sensation and thought were, in his opinion, alike material,
and alike mental. Both were affections of the same peculiar particles,
vital or mental, within us: both were changes operated in these
particles by effluvia or images from without; nevertheless the one
change was different from the other.[225]

[Footnote 224: Zeller, Phil. d. Griech., i. p. 618, ed. 2nd.

Plutarch (Placit. Philos. iv. 4), ascribes a bipartite division of the
soul to Demokritus: [Greek: to\ logiko\n], in the thorax: [Greek: to\
a)/logon], distributed over all the body. But in the next section (iv.
6), he departs from this statement, affirming that both Demokritus and
Plato supposed [Greek: to\ ê(gemoniko\n] of the soul to be in the

[Footnote 225: Plutarch, Placit. Philos. iv. 8. Demokritus and
Leukippus affirm [Greek: tê\n ai)/sthêsin kai\ tê\n no/êsin
gi/nesthai, ei)dô/lôn e)/xôthen prosio/ntôn; mêdeni\ ga\r e)piba/llein
mêdete/ran chôri\s tou= prospi/ptontos ei)dô/lou].

Cicero, De Finibus, i. 6, 21, "imagines, quæ idola nominant, quorum
incursione non solum videamus, sed etiam cogitemus," &c.]

In regard to sensations, Demokritus said little about those of touch,
smell, and hearing; but he entered at some length into those of sight
and taste.[226]

[Footnote 226: Theophrastus, De Sensu, s. 64.]

[Side-note: Explanation of different sensations and perceptions.

Proceeding upon his hypothesis of atoms and vacua as the only
objective existences, he tried to show what particular modifications
of atoms, in figure, size, and position, produced upon the sentient
the impressions of different colours. He recognised four fundamental
or simple colours--white, black, red, and green--of which all other
colours were mixtures and combinations.[227] White colour (he said)
was caused by smooth surfaces, which presented straight pores and a
transparent structure, such as the interior surface of shells: where
these smooth substances were brittle or friable, this arose from the
constituent atoms being at once spherical and loosely connected
together, whereby they presented the clearest passage through their
pores, the least amount of shadow, and the purest white colour. From
substances thus constituted, the effluvia flowed out easily, and
passed through the intermediate air without becoming entangled or
confused with it. Black colour was caused by rough, irregular, unequal
substances, which had their pores crooked and obstructed, casting much
shadow, and sending forth slowly their effluvia, which became hampered
and entangled with the intervening medium of air. Red colour arose
from the effluvia of spherical atoms, like those of fire, though of
larger size: the connection between red colour and fire was proved by
the fact that heated substances, man as well as the metals, became
red. Green was produced by atoms of large size and wide vacua, not
restricted to any determinate shape, but arranged in peculiar order
and position. These four were given by Demokritus as the simple
colours. But he recognised an infinite diversity of compound colours,
arising from mixture of them in different proportions, several of
which he explained--gold-colour, purple, blue, violet, leek-green,
nut-brown, &c.[228]

[Footnote 227: Theophrastus, De Sensu, s. 73 seq.; Aristotel. De
Sensu, c. iv. p. 442, b. 10. The opinions of Demokritus on colour are
illustrated at length by Prantl in his Uebersicht der Farbenlehre der
Alten (p. 49 seq.), appended to his edition of the Aristotelian or
Pseudo-Aristotelian treatise, [Greek: Peri\ Chrôma/tôn] (Munich,

Demokritus seems also to have attempted to show, that the sensation of
cold and shivering was produced by the irruption of jagged and acute
atoms. See Plutarch, De Primo Frigido, p. 947, 948, c. 8.]

[Footnote 228: Theophrastus, De Sensu, s. 76-78. [Greek: a)/peira ta\
chrô/mata kai\ tou\s chulou\s kata\ ta\s mi/xeis--ou)de\n ga\r
o(/moion e)/sesthai tha)/teron tha)te/rou.]]

[Side-note: Vision caused by the outflow of effluvia or images from
objects. Hearing.]

Besides thus setting forth those varieties of atoms and atomic motions
which produced corresponding varieties of colour, Demokritus also
brought to view the intermediate stages whereby they realised the act
of vision. All objects, compounds of the atoms, gave out effluvia or
images resembling themselves. These effluvia stamped their impression,
first upon the intervening air, next upon the eye beyond: which, being
covered by a fine membrane, and consisting partly of water, partly of
vacuum, was well calculated to admit the image. Such an image, the
like of which any one might plainly see by looking into another
person's eye, was the immediate cause of vision.[229] The air,
however, was no way necessary as an intervening medium, but rather
obstructive: the image proceeding from the object would be more
clearly impressed upon the eye through a vacuum: if the air did not
exist, vision would be so distinct, even at the farthest distance,
that an object not larger than an ant might be seen in the
heavens.[230] Demokritus believed that the visual image, after having
been impressed upon the eye, was distributed or multiplied over the
remaining body.[231] In like manner, he believed that, in hearing, the
condensed air carrying the sound entered with some violence through
the ears, passed through the veins to the brain, and was from thence
dispersed over the body.[232] Both sight and hearing were thus not
simply acts of the organ of sense, but concurrent operations of the
entire frame: over all which (as has been already stated) the mental
or vital particles were assumed to be disseminated.

[Footnote 229: Theophrast. De Sensu, s. 50. [Greek: to\n a)e/ra to\n
metaxu\ tê=s o)/pseôs kai\ tou= o(rôme/nou tupou=sthai], &c.
Aristotel. De Sensu, c. 2, p. 438, a. 6.

Theophrastus notices this intermediate [Greek: a)potu/pôsis e)n tô=|
a)e/ri] as a doctrine peculiar ([Greek: i)di/ôs]) to Demokritus: he
himself proceeds to combat it (51, 52).]

[Footnote 230: Aristotel. De Animâ, ii. 7-9, p. 419, a. 16.]

[Footnote 231: Theophrastus, De Sensu, s. 54.]

[Footnote 232: Theophrastus, De Sensu, 55, 56. [Greek: tê\n ga\r
phônê\n ei)=nai puknoume/nou tou= a)e/ros kai\ meta\ bi/as
ei)sio/ntos], &c.

Demokritus thought that air entered into the system not only through
the ears, but also through pores in other parts of the body, though so
gently as to be imperceptible to our consciousness: the ears afforded
a large aperture, and admitted a considerable mass.]

[Side-note: Differences of taste--how explained.]

Farther, Demokritus conceived that the diversities of taste were
generated by corresponding diversities of atoms, or compounds of
atoms, of particular figure, magnitude and position. Acid taste was
caused by atoms rough, angular, twisted, small, and subtle, which
forced their way through all the body, produced large interior vacant
spaces, and thereby generated great heat: for heat was always
proportional to the amount of vacuum within.[233] Sweet taste was
produced by spherical atoms of considerable bulk, which slid gently
along and diffused themselves equably over the body, modifying and
softening the atoms of an opposite character. Astringent taste was
caused by large atoms with many angles, which got into the vessels,
obstructing the movement of fluids both in the veins and intestines.
Salt taste was produced by large atoms, much entangled with each
other, and irregular. In like manner Demokritus assigned to other
tastes particular varieties of generating atoms: adding, however, that
in every actual substance, atoms of different figures were
intermingled, so that the effect of each on the whole was only
realised in the ratio of the preponderating figure.[234] Lastly, the
working of all atoms, in the way of taste, was greatly modified by the
particular system upon which they were brought to act: effects totally
opposite being sometimes produced by like atoms upon different

[Footnote 233: Theophrast. De Sensu, 65-68.]

[Footnote 234: Theophrast. De Sensu, 67. [Greek: a(pa/ntôn de\ tô=n
schêma/tôn ou)de\n a)ke/raion ei)=nai kai\ a)mige\s toi=s a)/llois,
a)ll' e)n e(ka/stô| polla\ ei)=nai . . . . ou)= d' a)\n e)nê=| plei=ston,
tou=to ma/lista e)nischu/ein pro/s te tê\n ai)/sthêsin kai\ tê\n

This essential intermixture, in each distinct substance, of atoms of
all different shapes, is very analogous to the essential intermixture
of all sorts of Homoeomeries in the theory of Anaxagoras.]

[Footnote 235: Theophrast. De Sensu, 67. [Greek: ei)s o(poi/an e(/xin
a)\n ei)se/lthê|, diaphe/rein ou)k o)li/gon; kai\ dia\ tou=to to\
au)to\ ta)nanti/a, kai\ ta)nanti/a to\ au)to\ pa/thos poiei=n

[Side-note: Thought or Intelligence--was produced by influx of atoms
from without.]

As sensation, so also thought or intelligence, was produced by the
working of atoms from without. But in what manner the different
figures and magnitudes of atoms were understood to act, in producing
diverse modifications of thought, we do not find explained. It was,
however, requisite that there should be a symmetry, or correspondence
of condition between the thinking mind within and the inflowing atoms
from without, in order that these latter might work upon a man
properly: if he were too hot, or too cold, his mind went astray.[236]
Though Demokritus identified the mental or vital particles with the
spherical atoms constituting heat or fire, he nevertheless seems to
have held that these particles might be in excess as well as in
deficiency, and that they required, as a condition of sound mind, to
be diluted or attempered with others. The soundest mind, however, did
not work by itself or spontaneously, but was put in action by atoms or
effluvia from without: this was true of the intellectual mind, not
less than of the sensational mind. There was an objective something
without, corresponding to and generating every different thought--just
as there was an objective something corresponding to every different
sensation. But first, the object of sensation was an atomic compound
having some appreciable bulk, while that of thought might be separate
atoms or vacua so minute as to be invisible and intangible. Next, the
object of sensation did not reveal itself as it was in its own nature,
but merely produced changes in the percipient, and different changes
in different percipients (except as to heavy and light, hard and soft,
which were not simply modifications of our sensibility, but were also
primary qualities inherent in the objects themselves[237]): while the
object of thought, though it worked a change in the thinking subject,
yet also revealed itself as it was, and worked alike upon all.

[Footnote 236: Theophrast. De Sensu, 58. [Greek: Peri\ de\ tou=
phronei=n e)pi\ tosou=ton ei)/rêken, o(/ti gi/netai summe/trôs
e)chou/sês tê=s psuchê=s meta\ tê\n ki/nêsin; e)a\n de\ peri/thermo/s
tis ê)\ peri/psuchros ge/nêtai, metalla/ttein phêsi/.]]

[Footnote 237: Theophrastus, De Sensu, 71. [Greek: nu=n de\ sklêrou=
me\n kai\ malakou= kai\ bare/os kai\ kou/phou poiei= tê\n ou)si/an,
_o(/per (a(/per) ou)ch' ê(=tton e)/doxe le/gesthai pro\s ê(ma=s,_
thermou= de\ kai\ psuchrou= kai\ tô=n a)/llôn ou)deno/s].

This is a remarkable point to be noted in the criticisms of
Theophrastus on the doctrine of Demokritus. Demokritus maintains that
_hot_ and _cold_ are relative to us: _hard_ and _soft_, _heavy_ and
_light_, are not only relative to us, but also absolute, objective,
things in their own nature,--though causing in us sensations which are
like them. Theophrastus denies this distinction altogether: and denies
it with the best reason. Not many of his criticisms on Demokritus are
so just and pertinent as this one.]

[Side-note: Sensation, obscure knowledge relative to the sentient;
Thought, genuine knowledge--absolute, or object per se.]

Hence Demokritus termed sensation, _obscure knowledge_--thought,
_genuine knowledge_.[238] It was only by thought (reason,
intelligence) that the fundamental realities of nature, atoms and
vacua, could be apprehended: even by thought, however, only
imperfectly, since there was always more or less of subjective
movements and conditions, which partially clouded the pure objective
apprehension--and since the atoms themselves were in perpetual
movement, as well as inseparably mingled one with another. Under such
obstructions, Demokritus proclaimed that no clear or certain knowledge
was attainable: that the sensible objects, which men believed to be
absolute realities, were only phenomenal and relative to us,--while
the atoms and vacua, the true existences or things in themselves,
could scarce ever be known as they were:[239] that truth was hidden in
an abyss, and out of our reach.

[Footnote 238: Demokritus Fragm. Mullach, p. 205, 206; ap. Sext.
Empir. adv. Mathemat. vii. 135-139, [Greek: gnô/mês du/o ei)si\n
i)de/ai; ê( me\n gnêsi/ê, ê( de\ skoti/ê], &c.]

[Footnote 239: Democr. Frag., Mull., p. 204-5. [Greek: A(/per
nomi/zetai me\n ei)=nai kai\ doxa/zetai ta\ ai)sthêta/, _ou)k e)/sti
de\ kata\ a)lê/theian tau=ta;_ a)lla\ ta\ a)/toma mo/non kai\ keno/n.
ê(me/es de\ tô=| me\n e)o/nti ou)de\n a)treke\s xuni/emen, meta/pipton
de\ kata/ te sô/matos diathigê/n, kai\ tô=n e)peisio/ntôn, kai\ tô=n
a)ntistêrizo/ntôn . . . . e)teê=| me/n nun, o(/ti oi(/on e(/kasto/n
e)stin ê)\ ou)/k e)stin, ou) xuni/emen, pollachê= dedê/lôtai], &c.

Compare Cicero, Acad. Quæst. i. 13, ii. 10; Diog. Laert. ix. 72;
Aristotel. Metaphys. iii. 5, p. 1009, b. 10.]

[Side-note: Idola or images were thrown off from objects, which
determined the tone of thoughts, feelings, dreams, divinations, &c.]

As Demokritus supposed both sensations and thoughts to be determined
by effluvia from without, so he assumed a similar cause to account for
beliefs, comfortable or uncomfortable dispositions, fancies, dreams,
presentiments, &c. He supposed that the air contained many effluences,
spectres, images, cast off from persons and substances in
nature--sometimes even from outlying very distant objects which lay
beyond the bounds of the Kosmos. Of these images, impregnated with the
properties, bodily and mental, of the objects from whence they came,
some were beneficent, others mischievous: they penetrated into the
human body through the pores and spread their influence all through
the system.[240] Those thrown off by jealous and vindictive men were
especially hurtful,[241] as they inflicted suffering corresponding to
the tempers of those with whom they originated. Trains of thought and
feeling were thus excited in men's minds; in sleep,[242] dreams,
divinations, prophetic warnings, and threats, were communicated:
sometimes, pestilence and other misfortunes were thus begun.
Demokritus believed that men's happiness depended much upon the nature
and character of the images which might approach them, expressing an
anxious wish that he might himself meet with such as were
propitious.[243] It was from grand and terrific images of this nature,
that he supposed the idea and belief of the Gods to have arisen: a
supposition countenanced by the numerous tales, respecting appearances
of the Gods both to dreaming and to waking men, current among the
poets and in the familiar talk of Greece.

[Footnote 240: Demokriti Frag. p. 207, Mullach; Sext. Empiric. adv.
Mathemat. ix. 19; Plutarch, Symposiac. viii. 10, p. 735 A.]

[Footnote 241: Plutarch, Symposiac. v. 7, p. 683 A.]

[Footnote 242: Aristotel. De Divinat. per Somnum, p. 464, a. 5;
Plutarch, Symposiac. viii. 9, p. 733 E. [Greek: o(/ti kai\ ko/smôn
e)kto\s phthare/ntôn kai\ sôma/tôn a)llophu/lôn e)k tê=s a)por)r(oi/as
e)pir)r(eo/ntôn, e)ntau=tha polla/kis a)rchai\ parempi/ptousi loimô=n
kai\ pathô=n ou) sunê/thôn.]]

[Footnote 243: Plutarch, De Oraculor. Defectu, p. 419. [Greek: au)to\s
eu)/chetai eu)lo/gchôn ei)dôlôn tugcha/nein.]]

[Side-note: Universality of Demokritus--his ethical views.]

Among the lost treasures of Hellenic intellect, there are few which
are more to be regretted than the works of Demokritus. Little is known
of them except the titles: but these are instructive as well as
multifarious. The number of different subjects which they embrace is
astonishing. Besides his atomic theory, and its application to
cosmogony and physics, whereby he is chiefly known, and from whence
his title of _physicus_ was derived--we find mention of works on
geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, optics, geography or geology,
zoology, botany, medicine, music, and poetry, grammar, history,
ethics, &c.[244] In such universality he is the predecessor, perhaps
the model, of Aristotle. It is not likely that this wide range of
subjects should have been handled in a spirit of empty generality,
without facts or particulars: for we know that his life was long, his
curiosity insatiable, and his personal travel and observation greater
than that of any contemporary. We know too that he entered more or
less upon the field of dialectics, discussing those questions of
evidence which became so rife in the Platonic age. He criticised, and
is said to have combated, the doctrine laid down by Protagoras, "Man
is the measure of all things". It would have been interesting to know
from what point of view he approached it: but we learn only the fact
that he criticised it adversely.[245] The numerous treatises of
Demokritus, together with the proportion of them which relate to
ethical and social subjects, rank him with the philosophers of the
Platonic and Aristotelian age. His Summum Bonum, as far as we can make
out, appears to have been the maintenance of mental serenity and
contentment: in which view he recommended a life of tranquil
contemplation, apart from money-making, or ambition, or the exciting
pleasures of life.[246]

[Footnote 244: See the list of the works of Demokritus in Diogen.
Laert. ix. 46, and in Mullach's edition of the Fragments, p. 105-107.
Mullach mentions here (note 18) that Demokritus is cited seventy-eight
times in the extant works of Aristotle, and sometimes with honourable
mention. He is never mentioned by Plato. In the fragment of Philodemus
de Musica, Demokritus is called [Greek: a)nê\r ou) phusiologô/tatos
mo/non tô=n a)rchai/ôn, a)lla\ kai\ peri\ ta\ i(storou/mena ou)deno\s
ê)=tton polupra/gmôn] (Mullach, p. 237). Seneca calls him "Democritus,
subtilissimus antiquorum omnium".--Quæstion. Natural. vii. 2. And
Dionysius of Hal. (De Comp. Verb. p. 187, R.) characterises
Demokritus, Plato, and Aristotle (he arranges them in that order) as
first among all the philosophers, in respect of [Greek: su/nthesis
tô=n o)noma/tôn].]

[Footnote 245: Plutarch, adv. Kolôten, p. 1108.

Among the Demokritean treatises, was one entitled Pythagoras, which
contained probably a comment on the life and doctrines of that eminent
man, written in an admiring spirit. (Diog. Laert. ix. 38.)]

[Footnote 246: Seneca, De Tranquill. Animæ, cap. 2. "Hanc stabilem
animi sedem Græci [Greek: Eu)thumi/an] vocant, de quo Democriti
volumen egregium est." Compare Cicero De Finib. v. 29; Diogen. Laert.
ix. 45. For [Greek: eu)thumi/a] Demokritus used as synonyms [Greek:
eu)estô/, a)thambi/ê, a)taraxi/ê], &c. See Mullach, p. 416.]



[Side-note: Variety of sects and theories--multiplicity of individual
authorities is the characteristic of Greek philosophy.]

The first feeling of any reader accustomed to the astronomy and
physics of the present century, on considering the various theories
noticed in the preceding chapter, is a sort of astonishment that such
theories should have been ever propounded or accepted as true. Yet
there can be no doubt that they represent the best thoughts of
sincere, contemplative, and ingenious men, furnished with as much
knowledge of fact, and as good a method, as was then attainable. The
record of what such men have received as scientific truth or
probability, in different ages, is instructive in many ways, but in
none more than in showing how essentially relative and variable are
the conditions of human belief; how unfounded is the assumption of
those modern philosophers who proclaim certain first truths or first
principles as universal, intuitive, self-evident; how little any
theorist can appreciate _à priori_ the causes of belief in an age
materially different from his own, or can lay down maxims as to what
must be universally believed or universally disbelieved by all
mankind. We shall have farther illustration of this truth as we
proceed: here I only note variety of belief, even on the most
fundamental points, as being the essential feature of Grecian
philosophy even from its outset, long before the age of those who are
usually denounced as the active sowers of discord, the Sophists and
the professed disputants. Each philosopher followed his own individual
reason, departing from traditional or established creeds, and
incurring from the believing public more or less of obloquy; but no
one among the philosophers acquired marked supremacy over the rest.
There is no established philosophical orthodoxy, but a collection of
Dissenters--[Greek: a)/llê d' a)/llôn glô=ssa memigme/nê]--small
sects, each with its own following, each springing from a special
individual as authority, each knowing itself to be only one among

[Side-note: These early theorists are not known from their own writings,
which have been lost. Importance of the information of Aristotle about

It is a misfortune that we do not possess a complete work, or even
considerable fragments, from any one of these philosophers, so as to
know what their views were when stated by themselves, and upon what
reasons they insisted. All that we know is derived from a few detached
notices, in very many cases preserved by Aristotle; who, not content
(like Plato) with simply following out his own vein of ideas, exhibits
in his own writings much of that polymathy which he transmitted to the
Peripatetics generally, and adverts often to the works of
predecessors. Being a critic as well as a witness, he sometimes blends
together inconveniently the two functions, and is accused (probably
with reason to a certain extent) of making unfair reports; but if it
were not for him, we should really know nothing of the Hellenic
philosophers before Plato. It is curious to read the manner in which
Aristotle speaks of these philosophical predecessors as "the ancients"
([Greek: oi( a)rchai=oi]), and takes credit to his own philosophy for
having attained a higher and more commanding point of view.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bacon ascribes the extinction of these early Greek
philosophers to Aristotle, who thought that he could not assure his
own philosophical empire, except by putting to death all his brothers,
like the Turkish Sultan. This remark occurs more than once in Bacon
(Nov. Org. Aph. 67; Redargutio Philosoph. vol. xi. p. 450, ed.
Montagu). In so far as it is a reproach, I think it is not deserved.
Aristotle's works, indeed, have been preserved, and those of his
predecessors have not: but Aristotle, far from seeking to destroy
their works, has been the chief medium for preserving to us the little
which we know about them. His attention to the works of his
predecessors is something very unusual among the theorists of the
ancient world. His friends Eudêmus and Theophrastus followed his
example, in embodying the history of the earlier theories in distinct
works of their own, now unfortunately lost.

It is much to be regretted that no scholar has yet employed himself in
collecting and editing the fragments of the lost scientific histories
of Eudêmus (the Rhodian) and Theophrastus. A new edition of the
Commentaries of Simplikius is also greatly wanted: those which exist
are both rare and unreadable.

Zeller remarks that several of the statements contained in Proklus's
commentary on Euclid, respecting the earliest Grecian mathematicians,
are borrowed from the [Greek: geômetrikai\ i(stori/ai] of the Rhodian
Eudêmus (Zeller--De Hermodoro Ephesio et Hermodoro Platonico, p. 12).]

[Side-note: Abundance of speculative genius and invention--a memorable
fact in the Hellenic mind.]

During the century and a half between Thales and the beginning of the
Peloponnesian war, we have passed in review twelve distinct schemes of
philosophy--Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Xenophanes, Pythagoras,
Parmenides, Herakleitus, Empedokles, Anaxagoras, the Apolloniate
Diogenes, Leukippus, and Demokritus. Of most of these philosophers it
may fairly be said that each speculated upon nature in an original
vein of his own. Anaximenes and Diogenes, Xenophanes and Parmenides,
Leukippus and Demokritus, may indeed be coupled together as kindred
pairs yet by no means in such manner that the second of the two is a
mere disciple and copyist of the first. Such abundance and variety of
speculative genius and invention is one of the most memorable facts in
the history of the Hellenic mind. The prompting of intelligent
curiosity, the thirst for some plausible hypothesis to explain the
Kosmos and its generation, the belief that a basis or point of
departure might be found in the Kosmos itself, apart from those
mythical personifications which dwelt both in the popular mind and in
the poetical Theogonies, the mental effort required to select some
known agency and to connect it by a chain of reasoning with the
result--all this is a new phenomenon in the history of the human mind.

[Side-note: Difficulties which a Grecian philosopher had to
overcome--prevalent view of Nature, established, impressive, and

An early Greek philosopher found nothing around him to stimulate or
assist the effort, and much to obstruct it. He found Nature disguised
under a diversified and omnipresent Polytheistic agency, eminently
captivating and impressive to the emotions--at once mysterious and
familiar--embodied in the ancient Theogonies, and penetrating deeply
all the abundant epic and lyric poetry, the only literature of the
time. It is perfectly true (as Aristotle remarks[2]) that Hesiod and
the other theological poets, who referred everything to the generation
and agency of the Gods, thought only of what was plausible to
themselves, without enquiring whether it would appear equally
plausible to their successors; a reproach which bears upon many
subsequent philosophers also. The contemporary public, to whom they
addressed themselves, knew no other way of conceiving Nature than
under this religious and poetical view, as an aggregate of
manifestations by divine personal agents, upon whose
volition--sometimes signified beforehand by obscure warnings intelligible
to the privileged interpreters, but often inscrutable--the turn of events
depended. Thales and the other Ionic philosophers were the first who
became dissatisfied with this point of view, and sought for some
"causes and beginnings" more regular, knowable, and predictable. They
fixed upon the common, familiar, widely-extended, material substances,
water, air, fire, &c.; and they could hardly fix upon any others.
Their attempt to find a scientific basis was unsuccessful; but the
memorable fact consisted in their looking for one.

[Footnote 2: Aristot. Metaphys. B. 4, p. 1000, a. 10.

[Greek: Oi( me\n ou)=n peri\ Ê(si/odon, kai\ pa/ntes o(/soi
theo/logoi, mo/non e)phro/ntisan tou= pithanou= tou= pro\s au)tou/s,
ê(mô=n d' ô)ligô/rêsan; Theou\s ga\r poiou=ntes ta\s a)rcha\s kai\ e)k
theô=n gegone/nai], &c. Aristotle mentions them a few lines afterwards
as not worth serious notice, [Greek: peri\ tô=n muthikô=s
sophizome/nôn ou)k a)/xion meta\ spoudê=s skopei=n.]]

[Side-note: Views of the Ionic philosophers--compared with the more
recent abstractions of Plato and Aristotle.]

In the theories of these Ionic philosophers, the physical ideas of
generation, transmutation, local motion, are found in the foreground:
generation in the Kosmos to replace generation by the God. Pythagoras
and Empedokles blend with their speculations a good deal both of
ethics and theology, which we shall find yet more preponderant when we
come to the cosmical theories of Plato. He brings us back to the
mythical Prometheus, armed with the geometrical and arithmetical
combinations of the Pythagoreans: he assumes a chaotic substratum,
modified by the intentional and deliberate construction of the
Demiurgus and his divine sons, who are described as building up and
mixing like a human artisan or chemist. In the theory of Aristotle we
find Nature half personified, and assumed to be perpetually at work
under the influence of an appetite for good or regularity, which
determines her to aim instinctively and without deliberation (like
bees or spiders) at constant ends, though these regular tendencies are
always accompanied, and often thwarted, by accessories, irregular,
undefinable, unpredictable. Both Plato and Aristotle, in their
dialectical age, carried abstraction farther than it had been carried
by the Ionic philosophers.[3] Aristotle imputes to the Ionic
philosophers that they neglected three out of his four causes (the
efficient, formal, and final), and that they attended only to the
material. This was a height of abstraction first attained by Plato and
himself; in a way sometimes useful, sometimes misleading. The earlier
philosophers had not learnt to divide substance from its powers or
properties; nor to conceive substance without power as one thing, and
power without substance as another. Their primordial substance, with
its powers and properties, implicated together as one concrete and
without any abstraction, was at once an efficient, a formal, and a
material cause: a final cause they did not suppose themselves to want,
inasmuch as they always conceived a fixed terminus towards which the
agency was directed, though they did not conceive such fixed tendency
under the symbol of an appetite and its end. Water, Air, Fire, were in
their view not simply inert and receptive patients, impotent until
they were stimulated by the active force residing in the ever
revolving celestial spheres--but positive agents themselves,
productive of important effects. So also a geologist of the present
day, when he speculates upon the early condition[4] of the Kosmos,
reasons upon gaseous, fluid, solid, varieties of matter, as
manifesting those same laws and properties which experience attests,
but manifesting them under different combinations and circumstances.
The defect of the Ionic philosophers, unavoidable at the time, was,
that possessing nothing beyond a superficial experience, they either
ascribed to these physical agents powers and properties not real, or
exaggerated prodigiously such as were real; so that the primordial
substance chosen, though bearing a familiar name, became little better
than a fiction. The Pythagoreans did the same in regard to numbers,
ascribing to them properties altogether fanciful and imaginary.

[Footnote 3: Plato (Sophistes, 242-243) observes respecting these
early theorists--what Aristotle says about Hesiod and the
Theogonies--that they followed out their own subjective veins of thought
without asking whether we, the many listeners, were able to follow them
or were left behind in the dark. I dare say that this was true (as indeed
it is true respecting most writers on speculative matters), but I am
sure that all of them would have made the same complaint if they had
heard Plato read his Timæus.]

[Footnote 4: Bacon has some striking remarks on the contrast in this
respect between the earlier philosophers and Aristotle.

Bacon, after commending the early Greek philosophers for having
adopted as their first principle some known and positive matter, not a
mere abstraction, goes on to say:--

"Videntur antiqui illi, in inquisitione principiorum, rationem non
admodum acutam instituisse, sed hoc solummodo egisse, ut ex corporibus
apparentibus et manifestis, quod maximé excelleret, quærerent, et quod
tale videbatur, principium rerum ponerent: tanquam per excellentiam,
non veré aut realiter. . . . Quod si principium illud suum teneant non
per excellentiam, sed simpliciter, videntur utique in duriorem tropum
incidere: cum res plané deducatur ad æquivocum, neque de igne
naturali, aut naturali ære, aut aquâ, quod asserunt, prædicari
videatur, sed de igne aliquo phantastico et notionali (et sic de
cæteris) qui nomen ignis retineat, definitionem abneget. . . .
Principium statuerunt secundum sensum, aliquod ens verum: modum autem
ejus dispensandi (liberius se gerentes) phantasticum." (Bacon,
Parmenidis, Telesii, et Democriti Philosophia, vol. xi., p. 115-116,
ed. Montagu.)

"Materia illa spoliata et passiva prorsus humanæ mentis commentum
quoddam videtur. Materia prima ponenda est conjuncta cum principio
motûs primo, ut invenitur. Hæc tria (materia, forma, motus) nullo modo
discerpenda, sed tantummodo distinguenda, atque asserenda materia
(qualiscunque ea sit), ita ornata et apparata et formata, ut omnis
virtus, essentia, actio, atque motus naturalis, ejus consecutio et
emanatio esse possit. Omnes ferè antiqui, Empedocles, Anaxagoras,
Anaximenes. Heraclitus, Democritus, de materiâ primâ in cæteris
dissidentes, in hoc convenerunt, quod materiam activam formâ nonnullâ,
et formam suam dispensantem, atque intra se principium motûs habentem,
posuerunt." (Bacon, De Parmenidis, Telesii, et Campanellæ, Philosoph.,
p. 653-654, t. v.)

Compare Aphorism I. 50 of the Novum Organum.

Bacon, Parmenidis, Telesii, et Democriti Philosophia, vol. xi. ed.
Montagu, p. 106-107. "Sed omnes ferè antiqui (anterior to Plato),
Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, Democritus, de materiâ
primâ in cæteris dissidentes, in hoc convenerunt, quod materiam
activam, formâ nonnullâ, et formam suam dispensantem, atque intra se
principium motûs habentem, posuerunt. Neque aliter cuiquam opinari
licebit, qui non experientiæ plané desertor esse velit. Itaque hi
omnes mentem rebus submiserunt. At Plato mundum cogitationibus,
Aristoteles verò etiam cogitationes verbis, adjudicarunt." . . . .
"Omnino materia prima ponenda est conjuncta cum formâ primâ, ac etiam
cum principio motûs primo, ut invenitur. Nam et motûs quoque
abstractio infinitas phantasias peperit, de animis, vitis, et
similibus--ac si iis per materiam et formam non satisfieret, sed ex
suis propriis penderent illa principiis. Sed hæc tria nullo modo
discerpenda, sed tantummodo distinguenda: atque asserenda materia
(qualiscunque ea sit) ita ornata et apparata et formata, ut omnis
virtus, essentia, actio, atque motus naturalis, ejus consecutio et
emanatio esse possit. Neque propterea metuendum, ne res torpeant, aut
varietas ista, quam cernimus, explicari non possit--ut postea

Playfair also observes, in his Dissertation on the Progress of Natural
Philosophy, prefixed to the Encyclopædia Britannica, p. 31:--

"Science was not merely stationary, but often retrograde; and the
reasonings of Democritus and Anaxagoras were in many respects more
solid than those of Plato and Aristotle."

See a good summary of Aristotle's cosmical views, in Ideler, Comm. in
Aristotel. Meteorologica, i. 2, p. 328-329.]

[Side-note: Parmenides and Pythagoras--more nearly akin to Plato and

Parmenides and Pythagoras, taking views of the Kosmos metaphysical and
geometrical rather than physical, supplied the basis upon which
Plato's speculations were built. Aristotle recognises Empedokles and
Anaxagoras as having approached to his own doctrine--force abstracted
or considered apart from substance, yet not absolutely detached from
it. This is true about Empedokles to a certain extent, since his
theory admits Love and Enmity as agents, the four elements as
patients: but it is hardly true about Anaxagoras, in whose theory Noûs
imparts nothing more than a momentary shock, exercising what modern
chemists call a catalytic agency in originating movement among a
stationary and stagnant mass of Homoeomeries, which, as soon as they
are liberated from imprisonment, follow inherent tendencies of their
own, not receiving any farther impulse or direction from Noûs.

[Side-note: Advantage derived from this variety of constructive
imagination among the Greeks.]

In the number of cosmical theories proposed, from Thales to
Demokritus, as well as in the diversity and even discordance of the
principles on which they were founded--we note not merely the growth
and development of scientific curiosity, but also the spontaneity and
exuberance of constructive imagination.[5] This last is a prominent
attribute of the Hellenic mind, displayed to the greatest advantage in
their poetical, oratorical, historical, artistic, productions, and
transferred from thence to minister to their scientific curiosity.
None of their known contemporaries showed the like aptitudes, not even
the Babylonians and Egyptians, who were diligent in the observation of
the heavens. Now the constructive imagination is not less
indispensable to the formation of scientific theories than to the
compositions of art, although in the two departments it is subject to
different conditions, and appeals to different canons and tests in the
human mind. Each of these early Hellenic theories, though all were
hypotheses and "anticipations of nature," yet as connecting together
various facts upon intelligible principles, was a step in advance;
while the very number and discordance of them (urged by Sokrates[6] as
an argument for discrediting the purpose common to all), was on the
whole advantageous. It lessened the mischief arising from the
imperfections of each, increased the chance of exposing such
imperfections, and prevented the consecration of any one among them
(with that inveterate and peremptory orthodoxy which Plato so much
admires[7] in the Egyptians) as an infallible dogma and an exclusive
mode of looking at facts. All the theorists laboured under the common
defect of a scanty and inaccurate experience: all of them were
prompted by a vague but powerful emotion of curiosity to connect
together the past and present of Nature by some threads intelligible
and satisfactory to their own minds; each of them followed out some
analogy of his own, such as seemed to carry with it a self-justifying
plausibility; and each could find some phenomena which countenanced
his own peculiar view. As far as we can judge, Leukippus and
Demokritus greatly surpassed the others, partly in the pains which
they took to elaborate their theory, partly in the number of facts
which they brought into consistency with it. The loss of the
voluminous writings of Demokritus is deeply to be regretted.[8]

[Footnote 5: Karsten observes, in his account of the philosophy of
Parmenides (sect, 23, p. 241):--

"Primum mundi descriptionem consideremus. Argumentum illustre et
magnificum, cujus quanto major erat veterum in contemplando admiratio,
tanto minor ferè in observando diligentia fuit. Quippe universi
_ornatum et pulcritudinem admirati_, ejus _naturam partiumque ordinem
non sensu assequi_ studuerunt, sed _mente informarunt ad eam pulcri
perfectique speciem quæ in ipsorum animis_ insideret: sic ut
Aristoteles ait, non sua cogitata suasque notiones ad mundi naturam,
sed hanc illa accommodantes. Hujusmodi quoque fuit Parmenidea ratio."]

[Footnote 6: Xenophon, Memor. i. 1, 13-14.]

[Footnote 7: Plato, Legg. ii. 656-657.]

[Footnote 8: About the style of Demokritus, see Cicero De Orat. i. 11.
Orator. c. 20.]

[Side-note: All these theories were found in circulation by Sokrates,
Zeno, Plato, and the dialecticians. Importance of the scrutiny of
negative Dialectic.]

In studying the writings of Plato and Aristotle, we must recollect
that they found all these theories pre-existent or contemporaneous. We
are not to imagine that they were the first who turned an enquiring
eye on Nature. So far is this from being the case that Aristotle is,
as it were, oppressed both by the multitude and by the discordance of
his predecessors, whom he cites, with a sort of indulgent
consciousness of superiority, as "the ancients" ([Greek: oi(
a)rchai=oi]).[9] The dialectic activity, inaugurated by Sokrates and
Zeno, lowered the estimation of these cosmical theories in more ways
than one: first, by the new topics of man and society, which Sokrates
put in the foreground for discussion, and treated as the only topics
worthy of discussion: next, by the great acuteness which each of them
displayed in the employment of the negative weapons, and in bringing
to view the weak part of an opponent's case. When we look at the
number of these early theories, and the great need which all of them
had to be sifted and scrutinised, we shall recognise the value of
negative procedure under such circumstances, whether the negationist
had or had not any better affirmative theory of his own. Sokrates,
moreover, not only turned the subject-matter of discussion from
physics to ethics, but also brought into conscious review the _method_
of philosophising: which was afterwards still farther considered and
illustrated by Plato. General and abstract terms and their meaning,
stood out as the capital problems of philosophical research, and as
the governing agents of the human mind during the process: in Plato
and Aristotle, and the Dialectics of their age, we find the meaning or
concept corresponding to these terms invested with an objective
character, and represented as a cause or beginning; by which, or out
of which, real concrete things were produced. Logical, metaphysical,
ethical, entities, whose existence consists in being named and
reasoned about, are presented to us (by Plato) as the real antecedents
and producers of the sensible Kosmos and its contents, or (by
Aristotle) as coeternal with the Kosmos, but as its underlying
constituents--the [Greek: a)rchai\], primordia or ultimata--into which
it was the purpose and duty of the philosopher to resolve sensible
things. The men of words and debate, the dialecticians or metaphysical
speculators of the period since Zeno and Sokrates, who took little
notice of the facts of Nature, stand contrasted in the language of
Aristotle with the antecedent physical philosophers who meddled less
with debate and more with facts. The contrast is taken in his mind
between Plato and Demokritus.[10]

[Footnote 9: Aristot. Gen. et Corr. i. 314, a. 6; 325, a. 2; Metaphys.
[Greek: L]. 1069, a. 25. See the sense of [Greek: a)rchai+kô=s], Met.
N. 1089, a. 2, with the note of Bonitz.

Adam Smith, in his very instructive examination of the ancient systems
of Physics and Metaphysics, is too much inclined to criticise Plato
and Aristotle as if they were the earliest theorizers, and as if they
had no predecessors.]

[Footnote 10: Aristotel. Gen. et Corr. i. 316, a. 6.--[Greek: dio\
o(/soi e)nô|kê/kasi ma=llon e)n toi=s phusikoi=s, ma=llon du/nantai
u(poti/thesthai toiau/tas a)rcha\s, ai(\ e)pi\ polu\ du/nantai
sunei/rein; oi( d' e)k tô=n pollô=n lo/gôn a)theô/rêtoi tô=n
u(parcho/ntôn o)/ntes, pro\s o)li/ga ble/psantes, a)pophai/nontai
r(a=|on; i)/doi d' a)/n tis kai\ e)k tou/tôn o(/son diaphe/rousin oi(
phusikô=s kai\ logikô=s skopou=ntes], &c. This remark is thoroughly

[Greek: Oi( en toi=s lo/gois] is the phrase by which Aristotle
characterises the Platonici.--Metaphys. [Greek: Th]. 1050, b. 35.]

[Side-note: The early theorists were studied along with Plato and
Aristotle, in the third and second centuries B.C.]

Both by Stoics and by Epikureans, during the third and second
centuries B.C., Demokritus, Empedokles, Anaxagoras, and Herakleitus
were studied along with Plato and Aristotle--by some, even more.
Lucretius mentions and criticises all the four, though he never names
Plato or Aristotle. Cicero greatly admires the style of Demokritus,
whose works were arranged in tetralogies by Thrasyllus, as those of
Plato were.[11]

[Footnote 11: Epikurus is said to have especially admired Anaxagoras
(Diog. L. x. 12).]

[Side-note: Negative attribute common to all the early
theorists--little or no dialectic.]

In considering the early theorists above enumerated, there is great
difficulty in finding any positive characteristic applicable to all of
them. But a negative characteristic may be found, and has already been
indicated by Aristotle. "The earlier philosophers (says he) had no
part in dialectics: Dialectical force did not yet exist."[12] And the
period upon which we are now entering is distinguished mainly by the
introduction and increasing preponderance of this new
element--Dialectic--first made conspicuously manifest in the Eleatic
Zeno and Sokrates; two memorable persons, very different from each other,
but having this property in common.

[Footnote 12: Aristotel. Metaphys. A. 987, b. 32. [Greek: Oi( ga\r
pro/teroi dialektikê=s ou) metei=chon].--M. 1078, b. 25; [Greek:
dialektikê\ ga\r i)schu\s ou)/pô to/t' ê)=n, ô(/ste du/nasthai], &c.]

[Side-note: Zeno of Elea--Melissus.]

It is Zeno who stands announced, on the authority of Aristotle, as the
inventor of dialectic: that is, as the first person of whose skill in
the art of cross-examination and refutation conspicuous illustrative
specimens were preserved. He was among the first who composed written
dialogues on controversial matters of philosophy.[13] Both he, and his
contemporary the Samian Melissus, took up the defence of the
Parmenidean doctrine. It is remarkable that both one and the other
were eminent as political men in their native cities. Zeno is even
said to have perished miserably, in generous but fruitless attempts to
preserve Elea from being enslaved by the despot Nearchus.

[Footnote 13: Diogen. Laert. ix. 25-28.

The epithets applied to Zeno by Timon are remarkable.

[Greek: A)mphoteroglô/ssou te me/ga sthe/nos ou)k a)lapadno\n
Zê/nônos pa/ntôn e)pilê/ptoros], &c.]

[Side-note: Zeno's Dialectic--he refuted the opponents of Parmenides,
by showing that their assumptions led to contradictions and

We know the reasonings of Zeno and Melissus only through scanty
fragments, and those fragments transmitted by opponents. But it is
plain that both of them, especially Zeno, pressed their adversaries
with grave difficulties, which it was more easy to deride than to
elucidate. Both took their departure from the ground occupied by
Parmenides. They agreed with him in recognising the phenomenal,
apparent, or relative world, the world of sense and experience, as a
subject of knowledge, though of uncertain and imperfect knowledge.
Each of them gave, as Parmenides had done, certain affirmative
opinions, or at least probable conjectures, for the purpose of
explaining it.[14] But beyond this world of appearances, there lay the
real, absolute, ontological, ultra-phenomenal, or Noumenal world,
which Parmenides represented as _Ens unum continuum_, and which his
opponents contended to be plural and discontinuous. These opponents
deduced absurd and ridiculous consequences from the theory of the One.
Herein both Zeno and Melissus defended Parmenides. Zeno, the better
dialectician of the two, retorted upon the advocates of absolute
plurality and discontinuousness, showing that their doctrine led to
consequences not less absurd and contradictory than the _Ens unum_ of
Parmenides. He advanced many distinct arguments; some of them
antinomies, deducing from the same premisses both the affirmative and
the negative of the same conclusion.[15]

[Footnote 14: Diog. Laert. ix. 24-29.

Zeller (Phil. d. Griech. i. p. 424, note 2) doubts the assertion that
Zeno delivered probable opinions and hypotheses, as Parmenides had
done before him, respecting phenomenal nature. But I see no adequate
ground for such doubt.]

[Footnote 15: Simplikius, in Aristotel. Physic. f. 30. [Greek: e)n
me/ntoi tô=| suggra/mmati au)tou=, polla\ e)/chonti e)picheirê/mata,
kath' e(/kaston dei/knusin, o(/ti tô=| polla\ ei)=nai le/gonti
sumbai/nei ta\ e)nanti/a le/gein], &c.]

[Side-note: Consequences of their assumption of Entia Plura
Discontinua. Reductiones ad absurdum.]

If things in themselves were many (he said) they must be both
infinitely small and infinitely great. _Infinitely small_, because the
many things must consist in a number of units, each essentially
indivisible: but that which is indivisible has no magnitude, or is
infinitely small if indeed it can be said to have any existence
whatever:[16] _Infinitely great_, because each of the many things, if
assumed to exist, must have magnitude. Having magnitude, each thing
has parts which also have magnitude: these parts are, by the
hypothesis, essentially discontinuous, but this implies that they are
kept apart from each other by other intervening parts--and these
intervening parts must be again kept apart by others. Each body will
thus contain in itself an infinite number of parts, each having
magnitude. In other words, it will be infinitely great.[17]

[Footnote 16: Aristotel. Metaphys. B. 4, p. 1001, b. 7. [Greek: e)/ti
ei) a)diai/reton au)to\ to\ e(/n, kata\ me\n to\ Zê/nônos a)xi/ôma,
ou)the\n a)\n ei)/ê.

o(\ ga\r mê/te prostithe/menon mête\ a)phairou/menon poiei= ti mei=zon
mêde\ e(/latton, ou)/ phêsin ei)=nai tou=to tô=n o)/ntôn, ô(s dê=lon
o(/ti o)/ntos mege/thous tou= o)/ntos].

Seneca (Epistol. 88) and Alexander of Aphrodisias (see the passages of
Themistius and Simplikius cited by Brandis, Handbuch Philos. i. p.
412-416) conceive Zeno as having dissented from Parmenides, and as
having denied the existence, not only of [Greek: ta\ polla\], but also
of [Greek: to\ e(/n]. But Zeno seems to have adhered to Parmenides;
and to have denied the existence of [Greek: to\ e(/n], only upon the
hypothesis opposed to Parmenides--namely, that [Greek: ta\ polla\]
existed. Zeno argued thus:--Assuming that the Real or Absolute is
essentially divisible and discontinuous, divisibility must be pushed
to infinity, so that you never arrive at any ultimatum, or any real
unit ([Greek: a)kribô=s e(/n]). If you admit [Greek: ta\ polla\], you
renounce [Greek: to\ e(/n]. The reasoning of Zeno, as far as we know
it, is nearly all directed against the hypothesis of _Entia plura
discontinua_. Tennemann (Gesch. Philos. i. 4, p. 205) thinks that the
reasoning of Zeno is directed against the world of sense: in which I
cannot agree with him.]

[Footnote 17: Scholia ad Aristotel. Physic. p. 334, a. ed. Brandis.]

Again--If things in themselves were many, they would be both finite
and infinite in number. _Finite_, because they are as many as they
are, neither more nor less: and every number is a finite number.
_Infinite_, because being essentially separate, discontinuous, units,
each must be kept apart from the rest by an intervening unit; and this
again by something else intervening. Suppose a multitude A, B, C, D,
&c. A and B would be continuous unless they were kept apart by some
intervening unit Z. But A and Z would then be continuous unless they
were kept apart by something else--Y: and so on ad infinitum:
otherwise the essential discontinuousness could not be maintained.[18]

[Footnote 18: See the argument cited by Simplikius in the words of the
Zenonian treatise, in Preller, Hist. Philos. Græc. ex font. context.
p. 101, sect. 156.]

By these two arguments,[19] drawn from the hypothesis which affirmed
perpetual divisibility and denied any Continuum, Zeno showed that such
_Entia multa discontinua_ would have contradictory attributes: they
would be both infinitely great and infinitely small--they would be
both finite and infinite in number. This he advanced as a _reductio ad
absurdum_ against the hypothesis.

[Footnote 19: Simplikius ad Aristot. Physic. f. 30. [Greek: kai\
ou)/tô me\n to\ kata\ to\ plê=thos a)/peiron e)k tê=s dichotomi/as
e)/deixe, to\ de\ kata\ to\ me/gethos pro/teron kata\ tê\n au)tê\n
e)pichei/rêsin]. Compare Zeller, Phil. d. Griech. i. p. 427.]

[Side-note: Each thing must exist in its own place--Grain of millet
not sonorous.]

Again--If existing things be many and discontinuous, each of these
must exist in a place of its own. Nothing can exist except in some
place. But the place is itself an existing something: each place must
therefore have a place of its own to exist in: the second place must
have a third place to exist in and so forth ad infinitum.[20] We have
here a farther _reductio ad impossibile_ of the original hypothesis:
for that hypothesis denies the continuity of space, and represents
space as a multitude of discontinuous portions or places.

[Footnote 20: Aristotel. Physic. iv. 1, p. 209, a. 22; iv. 3, p. 210,
b. 23.

Aristotle here observes that the Zenonian argument respecting place is
easy to be refuted; and he proceeds to give the refutation. But his
refutation is altogether unsatisfactory. Those who despise these
Zenonian arguments as _sophisms_, ought to look at the way in which
they were answered, at or near the time.

Eudêmus ap. Simplik. ad Aristot. Physic. f. 131. [Greek: a)/xion ga\r
pa=n tô=n o)/ntôn pou= ei)=nai; ei) de\ o( to/pos tô=n o)/ntôn, pou=
a)\n ei)/ê?]]

Another argument of Zeno is to the following effect:--"Does a grain of
millet, when dropped upon the floor, make sound? No.--Does a bushel of
millet make sound under the same circumstances? Yes.--Is there not a
determinate proportion between the bushel and the grain? There
is.--There must therefore be the same proportion between the
sonorousness of the two. If one grain be not sonorous, neither can ten
thousand grains be so."[21]

[Footnote 21: Aristotel. Physic. vii. 5, p. 250, a. 20, with the
Scholia of Simplikius on the passage, p. 423, ed. Brandis.]

To appreciate the contradiction brought out by Zeno, we must recollect
that he is not here reasoning about facts of sense, phenomenal and
relative--but about things in themselves, absolute and
ultra-phenomenal** realities. He did not deny the fact of sense:
to appeal to that fact in reply, would have been to concede his point.
The adversaries against whom he reasoned (Protagoras is mentioned, but he
can hardly have been among them, if we have regard to his memorable
dogma, of which more will be said presently) were those who maintained
the plurality of absolute substances, each for itself, with absolute
attributes, apart from the fact of sense, and independent of any
sentient subject. One grain of millet (Zeno argues) has no absolute
sonorousness, neither can ten thousand such grains taken together have
any. Upon the hypothesis of absolute reality as a discontinuous
multitude, you are here driven to a contradiction which Zeno intends
as an argument against the hypothesis. There is no absolute
sonorousness in the ten thousand grains: the sound which they make is
a phenomenal fact, relative to us as sentients of sound, and having no
reality except in correlation with a hearer.[22]

[Footnote 22: It will be seen that Aristotle in explaining this
[Greek: a)pori/a], takes into consideration the difference of force in
the vibrations of air, and the different impressibility of the ear.
The explanation is pertinent and just, if applied to the fact of
sense: but it is no reply to Zeno, who did not call in question the
fact of sense. Zeno is impugning the doctrine of absolute substances
and absolute divisibility. To say that ten thousand grains are
sonorous, but that no one of them separately taken is so, appears to
him a contradiction, similar to what is involved in saying that a real
magnitude is made up of mathematical points. Aristotle does not meet
this difficulty.]

[Side-note: Zenonian arguments in regard to motion.]

Other memorable arguments of Zeno against the same hypothesis were
those by which he proved that if it were admitted, motion would be
impossible. Upon the theory of absolute plurality and
discontinuousness, every line or portion of distance was divisible
into an infinite number of parts: before a moving body could get from
the beginning to the end of this line, it must pass in succession over
every one of these parts: but to do this in a finite time was
impossible: therefore motion was impossible.[23]

[Footnote 23: Aristot. Physic. vi. 9, p. 239 b., with the Scholia, p.
412 seq. ed. Brandis; Aristotel. De Lineis Insecabilibus, p. 968, a.

These four arguments against absolute motion caused embarrassment to
Aristotle and his contemporaries. [Greek: te/ttares d' ei)si\ lo/goi
Zê/nônos oi( pare/chontes ta\s duskoli/as toi=s lu/ousin], &c.]

A second argument of the same tendency was advanced in the form of
comparison between Achilles and the tortoise--the swiftest and slowest
movers. The two run a race, a certain start being given to the
tortoise. Zeno contends that Achilles can never overtake the tortoise.
It is plain indeed, according to the preceding argument, that motion
both for the one and for the other is an impossibility. Neither one
nor the other can advance from the beginning to the end of any line,
except by passing successively through all the parts of that line: but
those parts are infinite in number, and cannot therefore be passed
through in any finite time. But suppose such impossibility to be got
over: still Achilles will not overtake the tortoise. For while
Achilles advances one hundred yards, the tortoise has advanced ten:
while Achilles passes over these additional ten yards, the tortoise
will have passed over one more yard: while Achilles is passing over
this remaining one yard, the tortoise will have got over one-tenth of
another yard: and so on ad infinitum: the tortoise will always be in
advance of him by a certain distance, which, though ever diminishing,
will never vanish into nothing.

The third Zenonian argument derived its name from the flight of an
arrow shot from a bow. The arrow while thus carried forward (says
Zeno) is nevertheless at rest.[24] For the time from the beginning to
the end of its course consists of a multitude of successive instants.
During each of these instants the arrow is in a given place of equal
dimension with itself. But that which is during any instant in a given
place, is at rest. Accordingly during each successive instant of its
flight, the arrow is at rest. Throughout its whole flight it is both
in motion and at rest. This argument is a deduction from the doctrine
of discontinuous time, as the preceding is a deduction from that of
discontinuous space.

[Footnote 24: Aristotel. Physic. vi. 9, p. 239, b. 30. [Greek: tri/tos
o( nu=n r(êthei/s, o(/ti ê( o)i+sto\s pherome/nê e(/stêken.]]

A fourth argument[25] was derived from the case of two equal bodies
moved with equal velocity in opposite directions, and passing each
other. If the body A B were at rest, the other body C D would move
along the whole length of C D in two minutes. But if C D be itself
moving with equal velocity in the opposite direction, A B will pass
along the whole length of C D in half that time, or one minute. Hence
Zeno infers that the motion of A B is nothing absolute, or belonging
to the thing in itself--for if that were so, it would not be varied
according to the movement of C D. It is no more than a phenomenal
fact, relative to us and our comparison.

[Footnote 25: See the illustration of this argument at some length by
Simplikius, especially the citation from Eudêmus at the close of
it--ap. Scholia ad Aristotel. p. 414, ed. Brandis.]

This argument, so far as I can understand its bearing, is not deduced
(as those preceding are) from the premisses of opponents: but rests
upon premisses of its own, and is intended to prove that motion is
only relative.

[Side-note: General result and purpose of the Zenonian Dialectic.
Nothing is knowable except the relative.]

These Zenonian reasonings are memorable as the earliest known
manifestations of Grecian dialectic, and are probably equal in
acuteness and ingenuity to anything which it ever produced. Their
bearing is not always accurately conceived. Most of them are
_argumenta ad hominem_: consequences contradictory and inadmissible,
but shown to follow legitimately from a given hypothesis, and
therefore serving to disprove the hypothesis itself.[26] The
hypothesis was one relating to the real, absolute, or
ultra-phenomenal, which Parmenides maintained to be _Ens Unum
Continuum_, while his opponents affirmed it to be essentially
multiple and discontinuous. Upon the hypothesis of Parmenides, the
Real and Absolute, being a continuous One, was obviously inconsistent
with the movement and variety of the phenomenal world: Parmenides
himself recognised the contradiction of the two, and his opponents
made it a ground for deriding his doctrine.[27] The counter-hypothesis,
of the discontinuous many, appeared at first sight not to be open to
the same objection: it seemed to be more in harmony with the facts of
the phenomenal and relative world, and to afford an absolute basis for
them to rest upon. Against this delusive appearance the dialectic of
Zeno was directed. He retorted upon the opponents, and showed that if
the hypothesis of the _Unum Continuum_ led to absurd consequences,
that of the discontinuous many was pregnant with deductions yet more
absurd and contradictory. He exhibits in detail several of these
contradictory deductions, with a view to refute the hypothesis from
whence they flow; and to prove that, far from performing what it
promises, it is worse than useless, as entangling us in contradictory
conclusions. The result of his reasoning, implied rather than
announced, is--That neither of the two hypotheses are of any avail to
supply a real and absolute basis for the phenomenal and relative
world: That the latter must rest upon its own evidence, and must be
interpreted, in so far as it can be interpreted at all, by its own

[Footnote 26: The scope of the Zenonian dialectic, as I have here
described it, is set forth clearly by Plato, in his Parmenides, c.
3-6, p. 127, 128. [Greek: Pô=s ô)= Zê/nôn, tou=to le/geis? _ei) polla/
e)sti ta\ o)/nta,_ ô(s a)/ra dei= au)ta\ o(/moia/ te ei)=nai kai\
a)no/moia, tou=to de\ dê\ a)du/naton.--Ou)kou=n ei) a)du/naton ta/ te
a)no/moia o(/moia ei)=nai kai\ ta\ o(/moia a)no/moia, _a)du/naton dê\
kai\ polla\ ei)=nai?_ ei) ga\r polla\ ei)/ê, pa/schoi a)\n ta\
a)du/nata. A)=ra _tou=to/ e)stin o(\ bou/lontai/ sou oi( lo/goi?_ ou)k
_a)llo ti ê)\ diama/chesthai para\ pa/nta ta\ lego/mena, ô(s ou)
polla/ e)stin?_] Again, p. 128 D. [Greek: A)ntile/gei ou)=n tou=to to\
gra/mma pro\s tou\s ta polla\ le/gontas, kai\ a)ntapodi/dôsi tau=ta
kai\ plei/ô, tou=to boulo/menon dêlou=n, ô(s e)/ti geloio/tera
pa/schoi a)\n _au)tô=n ê( u(po/thesis, ê( ei) polla/ e)stin--ê)\ ê(
tou= e(\n ei)=nai--ei)/ tis i(kanô=s e)pexi/oi_].

Here Plato evidently represents Zeno as merely proving that
contradictory conclusions followed, _if you assumed a given
hypothesis_; which hypothesis was thereby shown to be inadmissible.
But Plato alludes to Zeno in another place (Phædrus, c. 97, p. 261)
under the name of the Eleatic Palamedes, as "showing his art in
speaking, by making the same things appear to the hearers like and
unlike, one and many, at rest and in motion". In this last passage,
the impression produced by Zeno's argumentation is brought to view,
apart from the scope and purpose with which he employed it: which
scope and purpose are indicated in the passage above cited from the

So also Isokrates (Encom. Helen. init.) [Greek: Zê/nôna, to\n tau)ta\
dunata\ kai\ pa/lin a)du/nata peirô/menon a)pophai/nein.]]

[Footnote 27: Plato, Parmenides, p. 128 D.]

[Side-note: Mistake of supposing Zeno's _reductiones ad absurdum_ of
an opponents doctrines to be generalisations of data gathered from

But the purport of Zeno's reasoning is mistaken, when he is conceived
as one who wishes to delude his hearers by proving both sides of a
contradictory proposition. Zeno's contradictory conclusions are
elicited with the express purpose of disproving the premisses from
which they are derived. For these premisses Zeno himself is not to be
held responsible, since he borrows them from his opponents: a
circumstance which Aristotle forgets, when he censures the Zenonian
arguments as paralogisms, because they assume the Continua, Space, and
Time, to be discontinuous or divided into many distinct parts.[28] Now
this absolute discontinuousness of matter, space, and time, was not
advanced by Zeno as a doctrine of his own, but is the very doctrine of
his opponents, taken up by him for the purpose of showing that it led
to contradictory consequences, and thus of indirectly refuting it. The
sentence of Aristotle is thus really in Zeno's favour, though
apparently adverse to him. In respect to motion, a similar result
followed from the Zenonian reasonings; namely, to show That motion, as
an attribute of the Real and Absolute, was no less inconsistent with
the hypothesis of those who opposed Parmenides, than with the
hypothesis of Parmenides himself:--That absolute motion could no more
be reconciled with the doctrine of the discontinuous Many, than with
that of the Continuous One:--That motion therefore was only a
phenomenal fact, relative to our sensations, conceptions, and
comparisons; and having no application to the absolute. In this
phenomenal point of view, neither Zeno nor Parmenides nor Melissus
disputed the fact of motion. They recognised it as a portion of the
world of sensation and experience; which world they tried to explain,
well or ill, by analogies and conjectures derived from itself.

[Footnote 28: Aristotel. Physic. vi. 9, p. 239 b. [Greek: Zê/nôn de\
paralogi/zetai; ou) ga\r su/gketai o( chro/nos e)k tô=n nu=n o)/ntôn
tô=n a)diaire/tôn, ô(/sper ou)d' a)/llo me/gethos ou)de/n] &c.

Aristotle, in the second and third chapters of his Physica, canvasses
and refutes the doctrine of Parmenides and Zeno respecting Ens and
Unum. He maintains that Ens and Unum are equivocal--[Greek: pollachô=s
lego/mena]. He farther maintained that no one before him had succeeded
in refuting Zeno. See the Scholia of Alexander ad Sophistic. Elench.
p. 320 b. 6, ed. Brandis.]

[Side-note: Zenonian Dialectic--Platonic Parmenides.]

Though we have not the advantage of seeing the Zenonian dialectics as
they were put forth by their author, yet if we compare the substance
of them as handed down to us, with those dialectics which form the
latter half of the Platonic dialogue called Parmenides, we shall find
them not inferior in ingenuity, and certainly more intelligible in
their purpose. Zeno furnishes no positive support to the Parmenidean
doctrine, but he makes out a good negative case against the

[Side-note: Views of historians of philosophy respecting Zeno.]

Zeller and other able modern critics, while admitting the reasoning of
Zeno to be good against this counter-doctrine, complain that he takes
it up too exclusively; that One and Many did not exclude each other,
and that the doctrines of Parmenides and his opponents were both true
together, but neither of them true to the exclusion of the other. But
when we reflect that the subject of predication on both sides was the
Real (Ens _per se_) it was not likely that either Parmenides or his
opponents would affirm it to be both absolutely One and Continuous,
and absolutely Many and Discontinuous.[29] If the opponents of
Parmenides had taken this ground, Zeno need not have imagined
deductions for the purpose of showing that their hypothesis led to
contradictory conclusions; for the contradictions would have stood
avowedly registered in the hypothesis itself. If a man affirms both at
once, he divests the predication of its absolute character, as
belonging unconditionally to Ens _per se_; and he restricts it to the
phenomenal, the relative, the conditioned--dependent upon our
sensations and our fluctuating point of view. This was not intended
either by Parmenides or by his opponents.

[Footnote 29: That both of them could not be true respecting Ens _per
se_, seems to have been considered indisputable. See the argument of
Sokrates in the Parmenides of Plato, p. 129 B-E.]

[Side-note: Absolute and relative--the first unknowable.]

If, indeed, we judge the question, not from their standing-point, but
from our own, we shall solve the difficulty by adopting the
last-mentioned answer. We shall admit that One and Many are predicates
which do not necessarily exclude each other; but we shall refrain from
affirming or denying either of them respecting the Real, the Absolute,
the Unconditioned. Of an object absolutely one and continuous--or of
objects absolutely many and discontinuous, apart from the facts of our
own sense and consciousness, and independent of any sentient subject--we
neither know nor can affirm anything. Both these predicates (One--Many)
are relative and phenomenal, grounded on the facts and
comparisons of our own senses and consciousness, and serving only to
describe, to record, and to classify, those facts. Discrete quantity
or number, or succession of distinct unities--continuous quantity, or
motion and extension--are two conceptions derived from comparison,
abstracted and generalised from separate particular phenomena of our
consciousness; the continuous, from our movements and the
consciousness of persistent energy involved therein--the
discontinuous, from our movements, intermitted and renewed, as well as
from our impressions of sense. We compare one discrete quantity with
another, or one continual quantity with another, and we thus ascertain
many important truths: but we select our unit, or our standard of
motion and extension, as we please, or according to convenience,
subject only to the necessity of adapting our ulterior calculations
consistently to this unit, when once selected. The same object may
thus be considered sometimes as one, sometimes as many; both being
relative, and depending upon our point of view. Motion, Space, Time,
may be considered either as continuous or as discontinuous: we may
reason upon them either as one or the other, but we must not confound
the two points of view with each other. When, however, we are called
upon to travel out of the Relative, and to decide between Parmenides
and his opponents--whether the Absolute be One or Multitudinous--we
have only to abstain from affirming either, or (in other words) to
confess our ignorance. We know nothing of an absolute, continuous,
self-existent One, or of an absolute, discontinuous Many.

[Side-note: Zeno did not deny motion as a fact, phenomenal and

Some critics understand Zeno to have denied motion as a fact--opposing
sophistical reasoning to certain and familiar experience. Upon this
view is founded the well-known anecdote, that Diogenes the Cynic
refuted the argument by getting up and walking. But I do not so
construe the scope of his argument. He did not deny motion as a fact.
It rested with him on the evidence of sense, acknowledged by every
one. It was therefore only a phenomenal fact relative to our
consciousness, sensation, movements, and comparisons. As such, but as
such only, did Zeno acknowledge it. What he denied was, motion as a
fact belonging to the Absolute, or as deducible from the Absolute. He
did not deny the Absolute or Thing in itself, as an existing object,
but he struck out variety, divisibility, and motion, from the list of
its predicates. He admitted only the Parmenidean Ens, one, continuous,
unchanged, and immovable, with none but negative predicates, and
severed from the relative world of experience and sensation.

[Side-note: Gorgias the Leontine--did not admit the Absolute, even as
conceived by Parmenides.]

Other reasoners, contemporary with Zeno, did not agree with him, in
admitting the Absolute, even as an object with no predicates, except
unity and continuity. They denied it altogether, both as substratum
and as predicate. To establish this negation is the purpose of a short
treatise ascribed to the rhetor or Sophist Gorgias, a contemporary of
Zeno; but we are informed that all the reasonings, which Gorgias
employed, were advanced, or had already been advanced, by others
before him.[30] Those reasonings are so imperfectly preserved, that we
can make out little more than the general scope.

[Footnote 30: See the last words of the Aristotelian or
Pseudo-Aristotelian treatise, De Melisso, Xenophane et Gorgiâ, p. 980.

[Greek: A(/pasai de\ au)=tai kai\ e(te/rôn a)rchaiote/rôn ei)si\n
a)po/riai, ô(/ste e)n tê=| peri\ e)kei/nôn ske/psei kai\ tau/tas

[Greek: A(/pasai] is the reading of Mullach in his edition of this
treatise (p. 79), in place of [Greek: a(/pantes] or [Greek:

[Side-note: His reasonings against the Absolute, either as Ens or

Ens, or Entity _per se_ (he contended), did not really exist. Even
granting that it existed, it was unknowable by any one. And even
granting that it both existed, and was known by any one, still such
person could not communicate his knowledge of it to others.[31]

[Footnote 31: See the treatise of Aristotle or Pseudo-Aristotle, De
Melisso, Xenophane, et Gorgiâ, in Aristot. p. 979-980, Bekker, also in
Mullach's edition, p. 62-78. The argument of Gorgias is also abridged
by Sextus Empiric. adv. Mathemat. vii. p. 384, sect. 65-86.

See also a copious commentary on the Aristotelian treatise in Foss, De
Gorgiâ Leontino, p. 115 seq.

The text of the Aristotelian treatise is so corrupt as to be often

As to the first point, Ens was no more real or existent than Non-Ens:
the word Non-Ens must have an objective meaning, as well as the word
Ens: it was Non-Ens, therefore it _was_, or existed. Both of them
existed alike, or rather neither of them existed. Moreover, if Ens
existed, it must exist either as One or as Many--either as eternal or
as generated--either in itself, or in some other place. But Melissus,
Zeno, and other previous philosophers, had shown sufficient cause
against each of these alternatives separately taken. Each of the
alternative essential predicates had been separately disproved;
therefore the subject, Ens, could not exist under either of them, or
could not exist at all.

[Side-note: Ens, incogitable and unknowable.]

As to the second point, let us grant that Ens or Entia exist; they
would nevertheless (argued Gorgias) be incogitable and unknowable. To
be cogitated is no more an attribute of Ens than of Non-Ens. The fact
of cogitation does not require Ens as a condition, or attest Ens as an
absolute or thing in itself. If our cogitation required or attained
Ens as an indispensable object, then there could be no fictitious
_cogitata_ nor any false propositions. We think of a man flying in the
air, or of a chariot race on the surface of the sea. If our _cogitata_
were realities, these must be so as well as the rest: if realities
alone were the object of cogitation, then these could not be thought
of. As Non-Ens was thus undeniably the object of cogitation, so Ens
could not be its object: for what was true respecting one of these
contraries, could not be true respecting the other.

[Side-note: Ens, even if granted to be knowable, is still
incommunicable to others.]

As to the third point: Assuming Ens both to exist and to be known by
you, you cannot (said Gorgias) declare or explain it to any one else.
You profess to have learnt what Ens is in itself, by your sight or
other perceptions but you declare to others by means of words, and
these words are neither themselves the absolute Ens, nor do they bring
Ens before the hearer. Even though you yourself know Ens, you cannot,
by your words, enable _him_ to know it. If he is to know Ens, he must
know it in the same way as you. Moreover, neither your words, nor Ens
itself, will convey to the hearer the same knowledge as to you; for
the same cannot be at once in two distinct subjects; and even if it
were, yet since you and the hearer are not completely alike, so the
effect of the same object on both of you will not appear to be

[Footnote 32: In this third branch of the argument, showing that Ens,
even if known, cannot be communicable to others, Gorgias travels
beyond the Absolute, and directs his reasoning against the
communicability of the Relative or Phenomenal also. Both of his
arguments against such communicability have some foundation, and serve
to prove that the communicability cannot be exact or entire, even in
the case of sensible facts. The sensations thoughts, emotions, &c., of
one person are not _exactly_ like those of another.]

Such is the reasoning, as far as we can make it out, whereby Gorgias
sought to prove that the absolute Ens was neither existent, nor
knowable, nor communicable by words from one person to another.

[Side-note: Zeno and Gorgias--contrasted with the earlier Grecian

The arguments both of Zeno and of Gorgias (the latter presenting the
thoughts of others earlier than himself), dating from a time
coinciding with the younger half of the life of Sokrates, evince a new
spirit and purpose in Grecian philosophy, as compared with the
Ionians, the two first Eleates, and the Pythagoreans. Zeno and Gorgias
exhibit conspicuously the new element of dialectic: the force of the
negative arm in Grecian philosophy, brought out into the arena,
against those who dogmatized or propounded positive theories: the
fertility of Grecian imagination in suggesting doubts and
difficulties, for which the dogmatists, if they aspired to success and
reputation, had to provide answers. Zeno directed his attack against
one scheme of philosophy--the doctrine of the Absolute Many: leaving
by implication the rival doctrine--the Absolute One of Parmenides in
exclusive possession of the field, yet not reinforcing it with any new
defences against objectors. Gorgias impugned the philosophy of the
Absolute in either or both of its forms--as One or as Many: not with a
view of leaving any third form as the only survivor, or of providing
any substitute from his own invention, but of showing that Ens, the
object of philosophical research, could neither be found nor known.
The negative purpose, disallowing altogether the philosophy of Nature
(as then conceived, not as now conceived), was declared without
reserve by Gorgias, as we shall presently find that it was by Sokrates

[Side-note: New character of Grecian philosophy--antithesis of
affirmative and negative--proof and disproof.]

It is the opening of the negative vein which imparts from this time
forward a new character to Grecian philosophy. The positive and
negative forces, emanating from different aptitudes in the human mind,
are now both of them actively developed, and in strenuous antithesis
to each other. Philosophy is no longer exclusively confined to
dogmatists, each searching in his imagination for the Absolute Ens of
Nature, and each propounding what seems to him the only solution of
the problem. Such thinkers still continue their vocation, but under
new conditions of success, and subject to the scrutiny of numerous
dissentient critics. It is no longer sufficient to propound a
theory,[33] either in obscure, oracular metaphors and
half-intelligible aphorisms, like Herakleitus--or in verse more or
less impressive, like Parmenides or Empedokles. The theory must be
sustained by proofs, guarded against objections, defended against
imputations of inconsistency: moreover, it must be put in comparison
with other rival theories, the defects of which must accordingly be
shown up along with it. Here are new exigencies, to which dogmatic
philosophers had not before been obnoxious. They were now required to
be masters of the art of dialectic attack and defence, not fearing the
combat of question and answer--a combat in which, assuming tolerable
equality between the duellists, the questioner had the advantage of
the sun, or the preferable position,[34] and the farther advantage of
choosing where to aim his blows. To expose fallacy or inconsistency,
was found to be both an easier process, and a more appreciable display
of ingenuity, than the discovery and establishment of truth in such
manner as to command assent. The weapon of negation, refutation,
cross-examination, was wielded for its own results, and was found hard
to parry by the affirmative philosophers of the day.

[Footnote 33: The repugnance of the Herakleitean philosophers to the
scrutiny of dialectical interrogation is described by Plato in strong
language, it is indeed even caricatured. (Theætêtus, 179-180.)]

[Footnote 34: Theokritus, Idyll, xxii. 83; the description of the
pugilistic contest between Pollux and Amykus:--

[Greek: e)/ntha polu/s sphisi mo/chthos e)peigome/noisin e)tu/chthê,
o(ppo/teros kata\ nô=ta la/bê| pha/os ê)eli/oio;
a)ll' i)dri/ê| me/gan a)/ndra parê/luthes ô)= Polu/deukes;
ba/lleto d' a)kti/nessin a(/pan A)mu/koio pro/sôpon].

To toss up for the sun, was a practice not yet introduced between


To illustrate by comparison the form of Grecian philosophy, before
Dialectic was brought to bear upon it, I transcribe from two eminent
French scholars (M. Barthélemy St. Hilaire and Professor Robert Mohl)
some account of the mode in which the Indian philosophy has always
been kept on record and communicated.

M. Barthélemy St. Hilaire (in his Premier Mémoire sur le Sânkhya, pp.
5-11) gives the following observations upon the Sânkhya or philosophy
of Kapila, one of the principal systems of Sanskrit philosophy: date
(as supposed) about 700 B.C.

There are two sources from whence the Sânkhya philosophy is known:--

"1. Les Soûtras ou aphorismes de Kapila.

"2. Le traité déjà connu et traduit sous le nom de Sânkhya Kârikâ,
c'est à dire Vers Mémoriaux du Sânkhya.

"Les Soûtras de Kapila sont en tout au nombre de 499, divisés en six
lectures, et répartis inégalement entre chacune d'elles. Les Soûtras
sont accompagnés d'un commentaire qui les explique, et qui est d'un
brahmane nommé le Mendiant. Le commentateur explique avec des
developpements plus ou moins longs les Soûtras de Kapila, qu'il cite
un à un.

"Les Soûtras sont en général tres concis: parfois ils ne se composent
que de deux ou trois mots, et jamais ils ne comprennent plus d'une
phrase. Cette forme aphoristique, sous laquelle se présente à nous la
philosophie Indienne--est celle qu'a prise la science Indienne dans
toutes ses branches, depuis la grammaire jusqu'à la philosophie. Les
Soûtras de Panini, qui a réduit toutes les régles de la grammaire
sanscrite en 3996 aphorismes, ne sont pas moins concis que ceux de
Kapila. Ce mode étrange d'exposition tient dans l'Inde à la manière
même dont la science s'est transmise d'âge en âge. Un maître n'a
généralement qu'un disciple: il lui suffit, pour la doctrine qu'il
communique, d'avoir des points de repère, et le commentaire oral qu'il
ajoute à ces sentences pour leur expliquer, met le disciple en état de
les bien comprendre. Le disciple lui-même, une fois qu'il en a pénétré
le sens veritable, n'a pas besoin d'un symbole plus développé, et la
concision même des aphorismes l'aide a les mieux retenir. _C'est une
initiation qu'il a reçue: et les sentences, dans lesquelles cette
initiation se résume, restent toujours assez claires pour lui._

"Mais il n'en est pas de même pour les lecteurs étrangers, et il
serait difficile de trouver rien de plus obscur que ces Soûtras. Les
commentaires mêmes ne suffisent pas toujours à les rendre parfaitement

"Le seul exemple d'une forme analogue dans l'histoire de l'esprit
humain et de la science en Occident, nous est fourni par les
Aphorismes d'Hippocrate: eux aussi s'adressaient à des adeptes, et ils
réclamaient, comme les Soûtras Indiens, l'explication des maîtres pour
être bien compris par les disciples. Mais cet exemple unique n'a point
tiré à conséquence dans le monde occidental, tandis que dans le monde
Indien l'aphorisme est resté pendant de longs siècles la forme
spéciale de la science: et les développements de pensée qui nous sont
habituels, et qui nous semblent indispensables, ont été reservés aux

"La Sânkhya Kârikâ est en vers: En Grèce, la poésie a été pendant
quelque temps la langue de la philosophie; Empédocle, Parménide, ont
écrit leurs systèmes en vers. Ce n'est pas Kapila qui l'a écrite.
Entre Kapila, et l'auteur de la Kârikâ, Isvara Krishna, on doit
compter quelques centaines d'années tout au moins: et le second n'a
fait que rediger en vers, pour aider la mémoire des élèves, la
doctrine que le maître avait laissée sous la forme axiomatique.

"On conçoit, du reste, sans peine, que l'usage des vers mémoriaux se
soit introduit dans l'Inde pour l'enseignement et la transmission de
la science: c'était une conséquence nécessaire de l'usage des
aphorismes. Les sciences les plus abstraites (mathematics, astronomy,
algebra), emploient aussi ce procédé, quoiqu'il semble peu fait pour
leur austérité et leur precision. Ainsi, le rhythme est, avec les
aphorismes, et par le même motif, la forme à peu pres générale de la
science dans l'Inde."

(Kapila as a personage is almost legendary; nothing exact is known
about him. His doctrine passes among the Indians "comme une sorte de
révélation divine".--Pp. 252, 253.)

M. Mohl observes as follows:--

"Ceci m'amène aux Pouranas. Nous n'avons plus rien du Pourana
primitif, qui paraît avoir été une cosmogonie, suivie d'une histoire
des Dieux et des families héroïques. Les sectes ont fini par
s'approprier ce cadre, après des transformations dont nous ne savons
ni le nombre ni les époques: et s'en sont servies, pour exalter
chacune son dieu, et y fondre, avec des débris de l'ancienne
tradition, leur mythologie plus moderne. Ce que les Pouranas sont pour
le peuple, les six systèmes de philosophie le sont pour les savants.
Nous trouvons ces systèmes dans la forme abstruse que les Hindous
aiment à donner à leur science: chaque école a ses aphorismes, qui,
sous forme de vers mnémoniques, contiennent dans le moins grand nombre
de mots possible tous les résultats d'une école. Mais nous n'avons
aucun renseignement sur les commencements de l'école, sur les
discussions que l'élaboration du système a dû provoquer, sur les
hommes qui y ont pris part, sur la marche et le développement des
idées: nous avons le système dans sa dernière forme, et rien ne nous
permet de remplir l'espace qui le sépare des théories plus vagues que
l'on trouve dans les derniers écrits de l'époque védique, à laquelle
pourtant tout prétend se rattacher. À partir de ces aphorismes, nous
avons des commentaires et des traités d'exposition et
d'interprétation: mais les idées premières, les termes techniques, et
le systeme en tier, sont fixés antérieurement. Tous ces systèmes
reposent sur une analyse psychologique très raffinée; et chacun a sa
terminologie précise, et à laquelle la nôtre ne répond que fort
imparfaitement: il faut donc, sous peine de se tromper et de tromper
ses lecteurs, que les traducteurs créent une foule de termes
techniques, ce qui n'est pas la moindre difficulté de ce travail." R.
Mohl, 'Rapport Annuel Fait à la Société Asïatique,' 1863, pp. 103-105;
collected edition, 'Vingt-sept ans d'histoire des Études Orientales,'
vol. ii. pp. 496, 498-9.

When the purpose simply is to imprint affirmations on the memory, and
to associate them with strong emotions of reverential belief--mnemonic
verses and aphorisms are suitable enough; Empedokles employed verse,
Herakleitus and the Pythagoreans expressed themselves in
aphorisms--brief, half-intelligible, impressive symbols. But if philosophy
is ever to be brought out of such twilight into the condition of
"reasoned truth," this cannot be done without submitting all the
affirmations to cross-examining opponents--to the scrutiny of a
negative Dialectic. It is the theory and application of this Dialectic
which we are about to follow in Sokrates and Plato.


[Footnote *: As stated in the prefatory note to this edition, the
present and the following chapter have been, for convenience,
transferred from the place given to them by the author, to their
present position.]


Having dwelt at some length on the life and compositions of Plato, I
now proceed to place in comparison with him some other members of the
Sokratic philosophical family: less eminent, indeed, than the
illustrious author of the Republic, yet still men of marked character,
ability, and influence.[1] Respecting one of the brethren, Xenophon,
who stands next to Plato in celebrity, I shall say a few words
separately in my next and concluding chapter.

[Footnote 1: Dionysius of Halikarnassus contrasts Plato with [Greek:
to\ Sôkra/tous didaskalei=on pa=n] (De Adm. Vi Dic. Demosthen. p.
956.) Compare also Epistol. ad Cn. Pomp. p. 762, where he contrasts
the style and phraseology of Plato with that of the [Greek:
Sôkratikoi\ dia/logoi] generally.]

[Side-note: Influence exercised by Sokrates over his companions.]

The ascendancy of Sokrates over his contemporaries was powerfully
exercised in more than one way. He brought into vogue new subjects
both of indefinite amplitude, and familiar as well as interesting to
every one. On these subjects, moreover, he introduced, or at least
popularised, a new method of communication, whereby the relation of
teacher and learner, implying a direct transfer of ready-made
knowledge from the one to the other, was put aside. He substituted an
interrogatory process, at once destructive and suggestive, in which
the teacher began by unteaching and the learner by unlearning what was
supposed to be already known, for the purpose of provoking in the
learner's mind a self-operative energy of thought, and an internal
generation of new notions. Lastly, Sokrates worked forcibly upon the
minds of several friends, who were in the habit of attending him when
he talked in the market-place or the palæstra. Some tried to copy his
wonderful knack of colloquial cross-examination: how far they did so
with success or reputation we do not know: but Xenophon says that
several of them would only discourse with those who paid them a fee,
and that they thus sold for considerable sums what were only small
fragments obtained gratuitously from the rich table of their
master.[2] There were moreover several who copied the general style of
his colloquies by composing written dialogues. And thus it happened
that the great master,--he who passed his life in the oral application
of his Elenchus, without writing anything,--though he left no worthy
representative in his own special career, became the father of
numerous written dialogues and of a rich philosophical literature.[3]

[Footnote 2: Xenophon, Memor. i. 2, 60. [Greek: ô(=n tine\s mikra\
me/rê par' e)kei/nou proi=ka labo/ntes pollou= toi=s a)/llois
e)pô/loun, kai\ ou)k ê)=san ô(/sper e)kei=nos dêmotikoi/; toi=s ga\r
mê\ e)/chousi chrê/mata dido/nai ou)k ê)/thelon diale/gesthai.]]

[Footnote 3: We find a remarkable proof how long the name and
conception of Sokrates lasted in the memory of the Athenian public, as
having been the great progenitor of the philosophy and philosophers of
the fourth century B.C. in Athens. It was about 306 B.C., almost a
century after the death of Sokrates, that Democharês (the nephew of
the orator Demosthenes) delivered an oration before the Athenian
judicature for the purpose of upholding the law proposed by Sophokles,
forbidding philosophers or Sophists to lecture without a license
obtained from the government; which law, passed a year before, had
determined the secession of all the philosophers from Athens until the
law was repealed. In this oration Democharês expatiated on the
demerits of many philosophers, their servility, profligate ambition,
rapacity, want of patriotism, &c., from which Athenæus makes several
extracts. [Greek: Toiou=toi ei)sin oi( a)po\ philosophi/as stratêgoi/;
peri\ ô(=n Dêmocha/rês e)/legen,--Ô(/sper e)k thu/mbras ou)dei\s a)\n
du/naito kataskeua/sai lo/gchên, ou)/d' e)k _Sôkra/tous stratiô/tên

Demetrius Phalereus also, in or near that same time, composed a
[Greek: Sôkra/tous a)pologi/an] (Diog. La. ix. 37-57). This shows how
long the interest in the personal fate and character of Sokrates
endured at Athens.]

[Side-note: Names of those companions.]

Besides Plato and Xenophon, whose works are known to us, we hear of
Alexamenus, Antisthenes, Æschines, Aristippus, Bryson, Eukleides,
Phædon, Kriton, Simmias, Kebês, &c., as having composed dialogues of
this sort. All of them were companions of Sokrates; several among them
either set down what they could partially recollect of his
conversations, or employed his name as a dramatic speaker of their own
thoughts. Seven of these dialogues were ascribed to Æschines,
twenty-five to Aristippus, seventeen to Kriton, twenty-three to Simmias,
three to Kebês, six to Eukleides, four to Phædon. The compositions of
Antisthenes were far more numerous: ten volumes of them, under a
variety of distinct titles (some of them probably not in the form of
dialogues) being recorded by Diogenes.[4] Aristippus was the first of
the line of philosophers called Kyrenaic or Hedonic, afterwards (with
various modifications) Epikurean: Antisthenes, of the Cynics and
Stoics: Eukleides, of the Megaric school. It seems that Aristippus,
Antisthenes, Eukleides, and Bryson, all enjoyed considerable
reputation, as contemporaries and rival authors of Plato: Æschines,
Antisthenes (who was very poor), and Aristippus, are said to have
received money for their lectures; Aristippus being named as the first
who thus departed from the Sokratic canon.[5]

[Footnote 4: Diogenes Laert. 1. 47-61-83, vi. 15; Athenæ. xi. p. 505

Bryson is mentioned by Theopompus ap. Athenæum, xi. p. 508 D.
Theopompus, the contemporary of Aristotle and pupil of Isokrates, had
composed an express treatise or discourse against Plato's dialogues,
in which discourse he affirmed that most of them were not Plato's own,
but borrowed in large proportion from the dialogues of Antisthenes,
Aristippus, and Bryson. Ephippus also, the comic writer (of the fourth
century B.C., contemporary with Theopompus, perhaps even earlier),
spoke of Bryson as contemporary with Plato (Athenæ. xi. 509 C). This
is good proof to authenticate Bryson as a composer of "Sokratic
dialogues" belonging to the Platonic age, along with Antisthenes and
Aristippus: whether Theopompus is correct when he asserts that Plato
borrowed _much_, from the three, is very doubtful.

Many dialogues were published by various writers, and ascribed falsely
to one or other of the _viri Sokratici_: Diogenes (ii. 64) reports the
judgment delivered by Panætius, which among them were genuine and
which not so. Panætius considered that the dialogues ascribed to
Plato, Xenophon, Antisthenes, and Æschines, were genuine; that those
assigned to Phædon and Eukleides were doubtful; and that the rest were
all spurious. He thus regarded as spurious those of Alexamenus,
Kriton, Simmias, Kebês, Simon, Bryson, &c., or he did not know them
all. It is possible that Panætius may not have known the dialogues of
Bryson; if he did know them and believed them to be spurious, I should
not accept his assertion, because I think that it is outweighed by the
contrary testimony of Theopompus. Moreover, though Panætius was a very
able man, confidence in his critical estimate is much shaken when we
learn that he declared the Platonic Phædon to be spurious.]

[Footnote 5: Diogen. Laert. i. 62-65; Athenæus, xi. p. 507 C.

Dion Chrysostom (Orat. lv. De Homero et Socrate, vol. ii. p. 289,
Reiske) must have had in his view some of these other Sokratic
dialogues, not those composed by Plato or Xenophon, when he alludes to
conversations of Sokrates with Lysikles, Glykon, and Anytus; what he
says about Anytus can hardly refer to the Platonic Menon.]

[Side-note: Æschines--oration of Lysias against him.]

Æschines the companion of Sokrates did not become (like Eukleides,
Antisthenes, Aristippus) the founder of a succession or sect of
philosophers. The few fragments remaining of his dialogues do not
enable us to appreciate their merit. He seems to have employed the
name of Aspasia largely as a conversing personage, and to have
esteemed her highly. He also spoke with great admiration of
Themistokles. But in regard to present or recent characters, he stands
charged with much bitterness and ill-nature: especially we learn that
he denounced the Sophists Prodikus and Anaxaras, the first on the
ground of having taught Theramenes, the second as the teacher of two
worthless persons--Ariphrades and Arignôtus. This accusation deserves
greater notice, because it illustrates the odium raised by Melêtus
against Sokrates as having instructed Kritias and Alkibiades.[6]
Moreover, we have Æschines presented to us in another character, very
unexpected in a _vir Socraticus_. An action for recovery of money
alleged to be owing was brought in the Athenian Dikastery against
Æschines, by a plaintiff, who set forth his case in a speech composed
by the rhetor Lysias. In this speech it is alleged that Æschines,
having engaged in trade as a preparer and seller of unguents, borrowed
a sum of money at interest from the plaintiff; who affirms that he
counted with assurance upon honest dealing from a disciple of
Sokrates, continually engaged in talking about justice and virtue.[7]
But so far was this expectation from being realized, that Æschines had
behaved most dishonestly. He repaid neither principal nor interest;
though a judgment of the Dikastery had been obtained against him, and
a branded slave belonging to him had been seized under it. Moreover,
Æschines had been guilty of dishonesty equally scandalous in his
dealings with many other creditors also. Furthermore, he had made love
to a rich woman seventy years old, and had got possession of her
property; cheating and impoverishing her family. His character as a
profligate and cheat was well known and could be proved by many
witnesses. Such are the allegations against Æschines, contained in the
fragment of a lost speech of Lysias, and made in open court by a real
plaintiff. How much of them could be fairly proved, we cannot say: but
it seems plain at least that Æschines must have been a trader as well
as a philosopher. All these writers on philosophy must have had their
root and dealings in real life, of which we know scarce anything.

[Footnote 6: Plutarch, Perikles, c. 24-32; Cicero, De Invent. i. 31;
Athenæus, v. 220. Some other citations will be found in Fischer's
collection of the few fragments of Æschines Sokraticus (Leipsic, 1788,
p. 68 seq.), though some of the allusions which he produces seem
rather to belong to the orator Æschines. The statements of Athenæus,
from the dialogue of Æschines called Telaugês, are the most curious.
The dialogue contained, among other things, [Greek: tê\n Prodi/kou
kai\ A)naxago/rous _tô=n sophistô=n_ diamô/kêsin], where we see
Anaxagoras denominated a Sophist (see also Diodor. xii. 39) as well as
Prodikus. Fischer considers the three Pseudo-Platonic
dialogues--[Greek: Peri\ A)retê=s, Peri\ Plou/tou, Peri\ Thana/tou]--as
the works of Æschines. But this is noway established.]

[Footnote 7: Athenæus, xiii. pp. 611-612. [Greek: Peisthei\s d' u(p'
au)tou= toiau=ta le/gontos, kai\ a(/ma oi)o/menos tou=ton Ai)schi/nên
Sôkra/tous gegone/nai mathêtê/n, kai\ peri\ dikaiosu/nês kai\ a)retê=s
pollou\s kai\ semnou\s le/gonta lo/gous, ou)k a)/n pote e)picheirê=sai
ou)de\ tolmê=sai a(/per oi( ponêro/tatoi kai\ a)dikô/tatoi a)/nthrôpoi
e)picheirou=si pra/ttein].

We read also about another oration of Lysias against Æschines--[Greek:
peri\ sukophanti/as] (Diogen. Laert. ii. 63), unless indeed it be the
same oration differently described.]

[Side-note: Written Sokratic Dialogues--their general character.]

The dialogues known by the title of Sokratic dialogues,[8] were
composed by all the principal companions of Sokrates, and by many who
were not companions. Yet though thus composed by many different
authors, they formed a recognised class of literature, noticed by the
rhetorical critics as distinguished for plain, colloquial, unstudied,
dramatic execution, suiting the parts to the various speakers: from
which general character Plato alone departed--and he too not in all of
his dialogues. By the Sokratic authors generally Sokrates appears to
have been presented under the same main features: his proclaimed
confession of ignorance was seldom wanting: and the humiliation which
his cross-questioning inflicted even upon insolent men like
Alkibiades, was as keenly set forth by Æschines as by Plato: moreover
the Sokratic disciples generally were fond of extolling the Dæmon or
divining prophecy of their master.[9] Some dialogues circulating under
the name of some one among the companions of Sokrates, were spurious,
and the authorship was a point not easy to determine. Simon, a currier
at Athens, in whose shop Sokrates often conversed, is said to have
kept memoranda of the conversations which he heard, and to have
afterwards published them: Æschines also, and some other of the
Sokratic companions, were suspected of having preserved or procured
reports of the conversations of the master himself, and of having made
much money after his death by delivering them before select
audiences.[10] Aristotle speaks of the followers of Antisthenes as
unschooled, vulgar men: but Cicero appears to have read with
satisfaction the dialogues of Antisthenes, whom he designates as acute
though not well-instructed.[11] Other accounts describe his dialogues
as composed in a rhetorical style, which is ascribed to the fact of
his having received lessons from Gorgias:[12] and Theopompus must have
held in considerable estimation the dialogues of that same author, as
well as those of Aristippus and Bryson, when he accused Plato of
having borrowed from them largely.[13]

[Footnote 8: Aristotel. ap. Athenæum, xi. p. 505 C; Rhetoric. iii. 16.

Dionys. Halikarnass. ad Cn. Pomp. de Platone, p. 762, Reiske. [Greek:
Traphei\s] (Plato) [Greek: e)n toi=s Sôkratikoi=s dialo/gois
i)schnota/tois ou)=si kai\ a)kribesta/tois, ou) mei/nas d' e)n
au)toi=s, a)lla\ tê=s Gorgi/ou kai\ Thoukudi/dou kataskeuê=s
e)rasthei/s]: also, De Admir. Vi Dicend. in Demosthene, p. 968. Again
in the same treatise De Adm. V. D. Demosth. p. 956. [Greek: ê( de\
e(te/ra le/xis, ê( litê\ kai\ a)phelê\s kai\ dokou=sa kataskeuê/n te
kai\ i)schu\n tê\n pro\s i)diô/tên e)/chein lo/gon kai\ o(moio/têta,
pollou\s me\n e)/sche kai\ a)gathou\s a)/ndras prosta/tas--kai\ oi(
tô=n ê)thikô=n dialo/gôn poiêtai/, ô(=n ê)=n to\ Sôkratiko\n
didaskalei=on pa=n, e)/xô Pla/tônos], &c.

Dionysius calls this style [Greek: o( Sôkratiko\s charaktê\r] p. 1025.
I presume it is the same to which the satirist Timon applies the

[Greek: A)sthenikê/ te lo/gôn duas ê)\ tria\s ê)\ e)/ti po/rsô,
Oi)=os Xeinopho/ôn, ê)/t' Ai)schi/nou ou)k e)pipeithê\s
gra/psai--] Diogen. La. ii. 55.

Lucian, Hermogenes, Phrynichus, Longinus, and some later rhetorical
critics of Greece judged more favourably than Timon about the style of
Æschines as well as of Xenophon. See Zeller, Phil. d. Griech. ii. p.
171, sec. ed. And Demetrius Phalereus (or the author of the treatise
which bears his name), as well as the rhetor Aristeides, considered
Æschines and Plato as the best representatives of the [Greek:
Sôkratiko\s charaktê/r], Demetr. Phaler. De Interpretat. 310;
Aristeides, Orat. Platon. i. p. 35; Photius, Cods. 61 and 158;
Longinus, ap. Walz. ix. p. 559, c. 2. Lucian says (De Parasito, 33)
that Æschines passed some time with the elder Dionysius at Syracuse,
to whom he read aloud his dialogue, entitled Miltiades, with great

An inedited discourse of Michæl Psellus, printed by Mr. Cox in his
very careful and valuable catalogue of the MSS. in the Bodleian
Library, recites the same high estimate as having been formed of
Æschines by the chief ancient rhetorical critics: they reckoned him
among and alongside of the foremost Hellenic classical writers, as
having his own peculiar merits of style--[Greek: para\ me\n Pla/tôni,
tê\n dialogikê\n phra/sin, para\ de\ tou= Sôkratikou= Ai)schi/nou,
tê\n e)mmelê= sunthê/kên tô=n le/xeôn, para\ de\ Thoukudi/dou], &c.
See Mr. Cox's Catalogue, pp. 743-745. Cicero speaks of the Sokratic
philosophers generally, as writing with an elegant playfulness of
style (De Officiis, i. 29, 104): which is in harmony with Lucian's
phrase--[Greek: Ai)schi/nês o( tou\s dialo/gous makrou\s kai\
a)stei/ous gra/psas], &c.]

[Footnote 9: Cicero, Brutus, 85, s. 292; De Divinatione, i. 54-122;
Aristeides, Orat. xlv. [Greek: peri\ R(êtorikê=s] Orat. xlvi. [Greek:
U(pe\r tô=n Tetta/rôn], vol. ii. pp. 295-369, ed. Dindorf. It appears
by this that some of the dialogues composed by Æschines were mistaken
by various persons for actual conversations held by Sokrates. It was
argued, that because Æschines was inferior to Plato in ability, he was
more likely to have repeated accurately what he had heard Sokrates

[Footnote 10: Diog. L. ii. 122. He mentions a collection of
thirty-three dialogues in one volume, purporting to be reports of real
colloquies of Sokrates, published by Simon. But they can hardly be
regarded as genuine.

The charge here mentioned is advanced by Xenophon (see a preceding
note, Memorab. i. 2, 60), against some persons ([Greek: tine\s]), but
without specifying names. About Æschines, see Athenæus, xiii. p. 611
C; Diogen. Laert. ii. 62.]

[Footnote 11: Cicero, Epist. ad Atticum, xii. 38:--"viri acuti magis
quam eruditi," is the judgment of Cicero upon Antisthenes. I presume
that these words indicate the same defect as that which is intended by
Aristotle when he says--[Greek: oi( A)nthisthe/neioi kai\ oi( ou(/tôs
_a)pai/deutoi_], Metaphysic. [Greek: Ê]. 3, p. 1043, b. 24. It is
plain, too, that Lucian considered the compositions of Antisthenes as
not unworthy companions to those of Plato (Lucian, adv. Indoctum, c.

[Footnote 12: Diogen. Laert. vi. 1. If it be true that Antisthenes
received lessons from Gorgias, this proves that Gorgias must sometimes
have given lessons _gratis_; for the poverty of Antisthenes is well
known. See the Symposion of Xenophon.]

[Footnote 13: Theopomp. ap. Athenæ. xi. p. 508. See K. F. Hermann,
Ueber Plato's Schriftsteller. Motive, p. 300. An extract of some
length, of a dialogue composed by Æschines between Sokrates and
Alkibiades, is given by Aristeides, Or. xlvi. [Greek: U(pe\r tô=n
Tetta/rôn], vol. ii. pp. 292-294, ed. Dindorf.]

[Side-note: Relations between the companions of Sokrates--Their
proceedings after the death of Sokrates.]

Eukleides, Antisthenes, and Aristippus, were all companions and
admirers of Sokrates, as was Plato. But none of them were his
disciples, in the strict sense of the word: none of them continued or
enforced his doctrines, though each used his name as a spokesman.
During his lifetime the common attachment to his person formed a bond
of union, which ceased at his death. There is indeed some ground for
believing that Plato then put himself forward in the character of
leader, with a view to keep the body united.[14] We must recollect
that Plato though then no more than twenty-eight years of age, was the
only one among them who combined the advantages of a noble Athenian
descent, opulent circumstances, an excellent education, and great
native genius. Eukleides and Aristippus were neither of them
Athenians: Antisthenes was very poor: Xenophon was absent on service
in the Cyreian army. Plato's proposition, however, found no favour
with the others and was even indignantly repudiated by Apollodorus: a
man ardently attached to Sokrates, but violent and overboiling in all
his feelings.[15] The companions of Sokrates, finding themselves
unfavourably looked upon at Athens after his death, left the city for
a season and followed Eukleides to Megara. How long they stayed there
we do not know. Plato is said, though I think on no sufficient
authority, to have remained absent from Athens for several years
continuously. It seems certain (from an anecdote recounted by
Aristotle)[16] that he talked with something like arrogance among the
companions of Sokrates: and that Aristippus gently rebuked him by
reminding him how very different had been the language of Sokrates
himself. Complaints too were made by contemporaries, about Plato's
jealous, censorious, spiteful, temper. The critical and disparaging
tone of his dialogues, notwithstanding the admiration which they
inspire, accounts for the existence of these complaints: and anecdotes
are recounted, though not verified by any sufficient evidence, of
ill-natured dealing on his part towards other philosophers who were
poorer than himself.[17] Dissension or controversy on philosophical
topics is rarely carried on without some invidious or hostile feeling.
Athens, and the _viri Sokratici_, Plato included, form no exception to
this ordinary malady of human nature.

[Footnote 14: Athenæus, xi. p. 507 A-B. from the [Greek: u(pomnê/mata]
of the Delphian Hegesander. Who Hegesander was, I do not know: but
there is nothing improbable in the anecdote which he recounts.]

[Footnote 15: Plato, Phædon. pp. 59 A. 117 D. Eukleides, however,
though his school was probably at Megara, seems to have possessed
property in Attica: for there existed, among the orations of Isæus, a
pleading composed by that rhetor for some client--[Greek: Pro\s
Eu)klei/dên to\n Sôkratiko\n a)mphisbê/têsis u(pe\r tê=s tou= chôri/ou
lu/seôs] (Dion. Hal., Isæ., c. 14, p. 612 Reiske) Harpokr.--[Greek:
O(/ti ta\ e)pikêrutto/mena]: also under some other words by
Harpokration and by Pollux, viii. 48.]

[Footnote 16: Aristot. Rhet. ii. 23, p. 1398, b. 30. [Greek: ê)\ ô(s
A)ri/stippos, pro\s Pla/tôna e)paggeltikô/tero/n ti ei)po/nta, ô(s
ô(/|eto--a)lla\ mê\n o( g' e(tai=ros ê(mô=n, e)/phê, ou)the\n
toiou=ton--le/gôn to\n Sôkra/tên].

This anecdote, mentioned by Aristotle, who had good means of knowing,
appears quite worthy of belief. The jealousy and love of supremacy
inherent in Plato's temper ([Greek: to\ philo/timon]), were noticed by
Dionysius Hal. (Epist. ad Cn. Pompeium, p. 756).]

[Footnote 17: Athenæus, xi. pp. 505-508. Diog. Laert. ii. 60-65, iii.

The statement made by Plato in the Phædon--That Aristippus and
Kleombrotus were not present at the death of Sokrates, but were said
to be in Ægina--is cited as an example of Plato's ill-will and
censorious temper (Demetr. Phaler. s. 306). But this is unfair. The
statement ought not to be so considered, if it were true: and if not
true, it deserves a more severe epithet. We read in Athenæus various
other criticisms, citing or alluding to passages of Plato, which are
alleged to indicate ill-nature; but many of the passages cited do not
deserve the remark.]

[Side-note: No Sokratic school--each of the companions took a line of
his own.]

It is common for historians of philosophy to speak of a Sokratic
school: but this phrase, if admissible at all, is only admissible in
the largest and vaguest sense. The effect produced by Sokrates upon
his companions was, not to teach doctrine, but to stimulate
self-working enquiry, upon ethical and social subjects. Eukleides,
Antisthenes, Aristippus, each took a line of his own, not less
decidedly than Plato. But unfortunately we have no compositions
remaining from either of the three. We possess only brief reports
respecting some leading points of their doctrine, emanating altogether
from those who disagreed with it: we have besides aphorisms, dicta,
repartees, bons-mots, &c., which they are said to have uttered. Of
these many are evident inventions; some proceeding from opponents and
probably coloured or exaggerated, others hardly authenticated at all.
But if they were ever so well authenticated, they would form very
insufficient evidence on which to judge a philosopher--much less to
condemn him with asperity.[18] Philosophy (as I have already observed)
aspires to deliver not merely truth, but reasoned truth. We ought to
know not only what doctrines a philosopher maintained, but how he
maintained them:--what objections others made against him, and how he
replied:--what objections he made against dissentient doctrines, and
what replies were made to him. Respecting Plato and Aristotle, we
possess such information to a considerable extent:--respecting
Eukleides, Antisthenes, and Aristippus, we are without it. All their
compositions (very numerous, in the case of Antisthenes) have

[Footnote 18: Respecting these ancient philosophers, whose works are
lost, I transcribe a striking passage from Descartes, who complains,
in his own case, of the injustice of being judged from the statements
of others, and not from his own writings:--"Quod adeo in hâc materiâ
verum est, ut quamvis sæpe _aliquas ex meis opinionibus explicaverim
viris acutissimis_, et qui _me loquente videbantur eas valdé distincté
intelligere: attamen cum eas retulerunt, observavi_ ipsos fere _semper
illas ita mutavisse, ut pro meis agnoscere amplius non possem._ Quâ
occasione posteros hic oratos volo, ut nunquam credant, quidquam à me
esse profectum, quod ipse in lucem non edidero. _Et nullo modo miror
absurda illa dogmata, quæ veteribus illis philosophis tribuuntur,
quorum scripta non habemus_: nec propterea judico ipsorum cogitationes
valdé à ratione fuisse alienas, cum habuerint præstantissima suorum
sæculorum ingenia; sed tantum nobis perperam esse relatas."
(Descartes, Diss. De Methodo, p. 43.)]

 * * * * *


[Side-note: Eukleides of Megara--he blended Parmenides with Sokrates.]

Eukleides was a Parmenidean, who blended the ethical point of view of
Sokrates with the ontology of Parmenides, and followed out that
negative Dialectic which was common to Sokrates with Zeno. Parmenides
(I have with already said)[19] and Zeno after him, recognised no
absolute reality except Ens Unum, continuous, indivisible: they denied
all real plurality: they said that the plural was Non-Ens or Nothing,
_i.e._ nothing real or absolute, but only apparent, perpetually
transient and changing, relative, different as appreciated by one man
and by another. Now Sokrates laid it down that wisdom or knowledge of
Good, was the sum total of ethical perfection, including within it all
the different virtues: he spoke also about the divine wisdom inherent
in, or pervading the entire Kosmos or universe.[20] Eukleides blended
together the Ens of Parmenides with the Good of Sokrates, saying that
the two names designated one and the same thing: sometimes called
Good, Wisdom, Intelligence, God, &c., and by other names also, but
always one and the same object named and meant. He farther maintained
that the opposite of Ens, and the opposite of Bonum (Non-Ens,
Non-Bonum, or Malum) were things non-existent, unmeaning names,
Nothing,[21] &c.: _i.e._ that they were nothing really, absolutely,
permanently, but ever varying and dependent upon our ever varying
conceptions. The One--the All--the Good--was absolute, immoveable,
invariable, indivisible. But the opposite thereof was a non-entity or
nothing: there was no one constant meaning corresponding to Non-Ens--but
a variable meaning, different with every man who used it.

[Footnote 19: See ch. i. pp. 19-22.]

[Footnote 20: Xenophon. Memor. i. 4, 17. [Greek: tê\n e)n tô=| panti\
phro/nêsin]. Compare Plato, Philêbus, pp. 29-30; Cicero, Nat. Deor.
ii. 6, 6, iii. 11.]

[Footnote 21: Diog. L. ii. 106. [Greek: Ou)=tos e)\n to\ a)gatho\n
a)pephê/|nato polloi=s o)no/masi kalou/menon; o(/te me\n ga\r
phro/nêsin, o(/te de\ theo/n, kai\ a)/llote nou=n kai\ ta\ loipa/. Ta\
de\ a)ntikei/mena tô=| a)gathô=| a)nê/|rei, mê\ ei)=nai pha/skôn].
Compare also vii. 2, 161, where the Megarici are represented as
recognising only [Greek: mi/an a)retê\n polloi=s o)no/masi
kaloume/nên]. Cicero, Academ. ii. 42.]

[Side-note: Doctrine of Eukleides about _Bonum_.]

It was in this manner that Eukleides solved the problem which Sokrates
had brought into vogue--What is the Bonum--or (as afterwards phrased)
the Summum Bonum? Eukleides pronounced the Bonum to be coincident with
the Ens Unum of Parmenides. The Parmenidean thesis, originally
belonging to Transcendental Physics or Ontology, became thus
implicated with Transcendental Ethics.[22]

[Footnote 22: However, in the verse of Xenophanes, the predecessor of
Parmenides--[Greek: Ou(=los o(ra=|, ou(=los de\ noei=, ou(=los de/ t'
a)kou/ei]--the Universe is described as a thinking, seeing, hearing
God--[Greek: E(\n kai\ Pa=n]. Sextus Empir. adv. Mathemat. ix. 144;
Xenophan. Fragm. p. 36, ed. Karsten.]

[Side-note: The doctrine compared to that of Plato--changes in Plato.]

Plato departs from Sokrates on the same point. He agrees with
Eukleides in recognising a Transcendental Bonum. But it appears that
his doctrines on this head underwent some change. He held for some
time what is called the doctrine of Ideas: transcendental Forms,
Entia, Essences: he considered the Transcendental to be essentially
multiple, or to be an aggregate--whereas Eukleides had regarded it as
essentially One. This is the doctrine which we find in some of the
Platonic dialogues. In the Republic, the Idea of Good appears as one
of these, though it is declared to be the foremost in rank and the
most ascendant in efficacy.[23] But in the later part of his life, and
in his lectures (as we learn from Aristotle), Plato came to adopt a
different view. He resolved the Ideas into numbers. He regarded them
as made up by the combination of two distinct factors:--1. The One--the
Essentially One. 2. The Essentially Plural: The Indeterminate
Dyad: the Great and Little.--Of these two elements he considered the
Ideas to be compounded. And he identified the Idea of Good with the
essentially One--[Greek: to\ a)gatho\n] with [Greek: to\ e(/n]: the
principle of Good with the principle of Unity: also the principle of
Evil with the Indeterminate. But though Unity and Good were thus
identical, he considered Unity as logically antecedent, or the
subject--Good as logically consequent, or the predicate.[24]

[Footnote 23: Plato, Republic, vi. p. 508 E, vii. p. 517 A.]

[Footnote 24: The account given by Aristotle of Plato's doctrine of
Ideas, as held by Plato in his later years, appears in various
passages of the Metaphysica, and in the curious account repeated by
Aristoxenus (who had often heard it from Aristotle--[Greek:
A)ristote/lês a)ei\ diêgei=to]) of the [Greek: a)kro/asis] or lecture
delivered by Plato, De Bono. See Aristoxen. Harmon. ii. p. 30, Meibom.
Compare the eighth chapter in this work,--Platonic Compositions
Generally. Metaphys. N. 1091, b. 13.[Greek: tô=n de\ ta\s a)kinê/tous
ou)si/as ei)=nai lego/ntôn] (sc. Platonici) [Greek: oi( me/n phasin
au)to\ to\ e(\n to\ a)gatho\n au)to\ ei)=nai; ou)si/an me/ntoi to\
e(\n au)tou= ô)/|onto ei)=nai ma/lista], which words are very clearly
explained by Bonitz in the note to his Commentary, p. 586: also
Metaphys. 987, b. 20, and Scholia, p. 551, b. 20, p. 567, b. 34, where
the work of Aristotle, [Greek: Peri\ Ta\gathou=], is referred to:
probably the memoranda taken down by Aristotle from Plato's lecture on
that subject, accompanied by notes of his own.

In Schol. p. 573, a. 18, it is stated that the astronomer Eudoxus was
a hearer both of Plato and of Eukleides.

The account given by Zeller (Phil. der Griech. ii. p. 453, 2nd ed.) of
this latter phase of the Platonic doctrine of Ideas, applies exactly
to that which we hear about the main doctrine of Eukleides. Zeller
describes the Platonic doctrine as being "Eine Vermischung des
ethischen Begriffes vom höchsten Gut, mit dem Metaphysischen des
Absoluten: Der Begriff des Guten ist zunächst aus dem menschlichen
Leben abstrahirt; er bezeichnet das, was dem Menschen zuträglich ist.
So noch bei Sokrates. Plato verallgemeinert ihn nun zum Begriff des
Absoluten; dabei spielt aber seine ursprüngliche Bedeutung noch
fortwährend herein, und so entsteht die Unklarheit, dass weder der
ethische noch der metaphysische Begriff des Guten rein gefasst wird."

This remark is not less applicable to Eukleides than to Plato, both of
them agreeing in the doctrine here criticised. Zeller says truly, that
the attempt to identify Unum and Bonum produces perpetual confusion.
The two notions are thoroughly distinct and independent. It ought not
to be called (as he phrases it) "a generalization of Bonum". There is
no common property on which to found a generalization. It is a forced
conjunction between two disparates.]

[Side-note: Last doctrine of Plato nearly the same as that of

This last doctrine of Plato in his later years (which does not appear
in the dialogues, but seems, as far as we can make out, to have been
delivered substantially in his oral lectures, and is ascribed to him
by Aristotle) was nearly coincident with that of Eukleides. Both held
the identity of [Greek: to\ e(/n] with [Greek: to\ a)gatho/n]. This
one doctrine is all that we know about Eukleides: what consequences he
derived from it, or whether any, we do not know. But Plato combined,
with this transcendental Unum = Bonum, a transcendental indeterminate
plurality: from which combination he considered his Ideas or Ideal
Numbers to be derivatives.

[Side-note: Megaric succession of philosophers. Eleian or Eritrean

Eukleides is said to have composed six dialogues, the titles of which
alone remain. The scanty information which we possess respecting him
relates altogether to his negative logical procedure. Whether he
deduced any consequences from his positive doctrine of the
Transcendental Ens, Unum, Bonum, we do not know: but he, as Zeno had
been before him,[25] was acute in exposing contradictions and
difficulties in the positive doctrines of opponents. He was a citizen
of Megara, where he is said to have harboured Plato and the other
companions of Sokrates, when they retired for a time from Athens after
the death of Sokrates. Living there as a teacher or debater on
philosophy, he founded a school or succession of philosophers who were
denominated _Megarici_. The title is as old as Aristotle, who both
names them and criticises their doctrines.[26] None of their
compositions are preserved. The earliest who becomes known to us is
Eubulides, the contemporary and opponent of Aristotle; next Ichthyas,
Apollonius, Diodôrus Kronus, Stilpon, Alexinus, between 340-260 B.C.

[Footnote 25: Plato, Parmenides, p. 128 C, where Zeno represents
himself as taking for his premisses the conclusions of opponents, to
show that they led to absurd consequences. This seems what is meant,
when Diogenes says about Eukleides--[Greek: tai=s a)podei/xesin
e)ni/stato ou) kata\ lê/mmata, a)lla\ kat' e)piphora/n] (ii. 107);
Deycks, De Megaricorum Doctrinâ, p. 34.]

[Footnote 26: Aristot. Metaph. iv. p. 1046, b. 29.

The sarcasm ascribed to Diogenes the Cynic implies that Eukleides was
really known as the founder of a _school_--[Greek: kai\ tê\n me\n
Eu)klei/dou scholê\n e)/lege cholê/n] (Diog. L. vi. 24)--the earliest
mention (I apprehend) of the word [Greek: scholê\] in that sense.]

With the Megaric philosophers there soon become confounded another
succession, called Eleian or Eretrian, who trace their origin to
another Sokratic man--Phædon. The chief Eretrians made known to us are
Pleistanus, Menedêmus, Asklepiades. The second of the three acquired
some reputation.

[Side-note: Doctrines of Antisthenes and Aristippus--Ethical, not

The Megarics and Eretrians, as far as we know them, turned their
speculative activity altogether in the logical or intellectual
direction, paying little attention to the ethical and emotional field.
Both Antisthenes and Aristippus, on the contrary, pursued the ethical
path. To the Sokratic question, What is the Bonum? Eukleides had
answered by a transcendental definition: Antisthenes and Aristippus
each gave to it an ethical answer, having reference to human wants and
emotions, and to the different views which they respectively took
thereof. Antisthenes declared it to consist in virtue, by which he
meant an independent and self-sufficing character, confining all wants
within the narrowest limits: Aristippus placed it in the moderate and
easy pleasures, in avoiding ambitious struggles, and in making the
best of every different situation, yet always under the guidance of a
wise calculation and self-command. Both of them kept clear of the
transcendental: they neither accepted it as Unum et Omne (the view of
Eukleides), nor as Plura (the Eternal Ideas or Forms, the Platonic
view). Their speculations had reference altogether to human life and
feelings, though the one took a measure of this wide subject very
different from the other: and in thus confining the range of their
speculations, they followed Sokrates more closely than either
Eukleides or Plato followed him. They not only abstained from
transcendental speculation, but put themselves in declared opposition
to it. And since the intellectual or logical philosophy, as treated by
Plato, became intimately blended with transcendental
hypothesis--Antisthenes and Aristippus are both found on the negative side
against its pretensions. Aristippus declared the mathematical sciences to
be useless, as conducing in no way to happiness, and taking no account of
what was better or what was worse.[27] He declared that we could know
nothing except in so far as we were affected by it, and as it was or
might be in correlation with ourselves: that as to causes not relative
to ourselves, or to our own capacities and affections, we could know
nothing about them.[28]

[Footnote 27: Aristotel. Metaph. B. 906, a. 32. [Greek: ô(/ste dia\
tau=ta tô=n _sophistô=n tines_ oi(=on A)ri/stippos proepêla/kizon
au)ta\s (ta\s mathêmatika\s te/chnas);--e)n me\n ga\r tai=s a)/llais
te/chnais, kai\ tai=s banau/sois, oi(=on e)n tektonikê=| kai\
skutikê=|, dio/ti be/ltion ê)\ chei=ron le/gesthai pa/nta, ta\s de\
mathêmatika\s ou)the/na poiei=sthai lo/gon peri\ a)gathô=n kai\

Aristotle here ranks Aristippus among the [Greek: sophistai/].

Aristippus, in discountenancing [Greek: phusiologi/an], cited the
favourite saying of Sokrates that the proper study of mankind was
[Greek: o(/tti toi e)n mega/roisi kako/n t' a)gatho/n te te/tuktai].

Plutarch, ap. Euseb. Præp. Evang. i. 8.]

[Footnote 28: Sext. Emp. adv. Math. vii. 191; Diog. L. ii. 92.]

[Side-note: Preponderance of the negative vein in the Platonic age.]

Such were the leading writers and talkers contemporary with Plato, in
the dialectical age immediately following on the death of Sokrates.
The negative vein greatly preponderates in them, as it does on the
whole even in Plato--and as it was pretty sure to do, so long as the
form of dialogue was employed. Affirmative exposition and proof is
indeed found in some of the later Platonic works, carried on by
colloquy between two speakers. But the colloquial form manifests
itself evidently as unsuitable for the purpose: and we must remember
that Plato was a lecturer as well as a writer, so that his doctrines
made their way, at least in part, through continuous exposition. But
it is Aristotle with whom the form of affirmative continuous
exposition first becomes predominant, in matters of philosophy. Though
he composed dialogues (which are now lost), and though he appreciates
dialectic as a valuable exercise, yet he considers it only as a
discursive preparation; antecedent, though essential, to the more
close and concentrated demonstrations of philosophy.

[Side-note: Harsh manner in which historians of philosophy censure the
negative vein.]

Most historians deal hardly with this negative vein. They depreciate
the Sophists, the Megarics and Eretrians, the Academics and Sceptics
of the subsequent ages--under the title of Eristics, or lovers of
contention for itself--as captious and perverse enemies of truth.

[Side-note: Negative method in philosophy essential to the controul of
the affirmative.]

I have already said that my view of the importance and value of the
negative vein of philosophy is altogether different. It appears to me
quite as essential as the affirmative. It is required as an
antecedent, a test, and a corrective. Aristotle deserves all honour
for his attempts to construct and defend various affirmative theories:
but the value of these theories depends upon their being defensible
against all objectors. Affirmative philosophy, as a body not only of
truth but of reasoned truth, holds the champion's belt, subject to the
challenge not only of competing affirmants, but of all deniers and
doubters. And this is the more indispensable, because of the vast
problems which these affirmative philosophers undertake to solve:
problems especially vast during the age of Plato and Aristotle. The
question has to be determined, not only which of two proposed
solutions is the best, but whether either of them is tenable, and even
whether any solution at all is attainable by the human faculties:
whether there exist positive evidence adequate to sustain any
conclusion, accompanied with adequate replies to the objections
against it. The burthen of proof lies upon the affirmant: and the
proof produced must be open to the scrutiny of every dissentient.

[Side-note: Sokrates--the most persevering and acute Eristic of his

Among these dissentients or negative dialecticians, Sokrates himself,
during his life, stood prominent. In his footsteps followed Eukleides
and the Megarics: who, though they acquired the unenviable surname of
Eristics or Controversialists, cannot possibly have surpassed Sokrates,
and probably did not equal him, in the refutative Elenchus. Of no one
among the Megarics, probably, did critics ever affirm, what the admiring
Xenophon says about Sokrates--"that he dealt with every one in colloquial
debate just as he chose," _i.e._, that he baffled and puzzled his
opponents whenever he chose. No one of these Megarics probably ever
enunciated so sweeping a negative programme, or declared so emphatically
his own inability to communicate positive instruction, as Sokrates in the
Platonic Apology. A person more thoroughly Eristic than Sokrates never
lived. And we see perfectly, from the Memorabilia of Xenophon (who
nevertheless strives to bring out the opposite side of his character),
that he was so esteemed among his contemporaries. Plato, as well as
Eukleides, took up this vein in the Sokratic character, and worked it
with unrivalled power in many of his dialogues. The Platonic Sokrates
is compared, and compares himself, to Antæus, who compelled every
new-comer, willing or unwilling, to wrestle with him.[29]

[Footnote 29: Plato, Theætet. p. 169 A. _Theodorus_. [Greek: Ou)
r(a/|dion, ô)= Sô/krates, soi\ parakathê/menon mê\ dido/nai lo/gon,
a)ll' e)gô\ a)/rti parelê/rêsa pha/skôn se e)pitre/psein moi mê\
a)podu/esthai, kai\ ou)chi\ a)nagka/sein katha/per Lakedaimo/nioi; su\
de/ moi dokei=s pro\s to\n Ski/r)r(ôna ma=llon tei/nein.
Lakedaimo/nioi me\n ga\r a)pie/nai ê(\ a)podu/esthai keleu/ousi, su\
de\ kat' A)ntai=o/n ti/ moi ma=llon dokei=s to\ dra=ma dra=|n; to\n
ga\r proseltho/nta ou)k a)ni/ês pri\n a)nagka/sê|s a)podu/sas e)n
toi=s lo/gois prospalai=sai.]

_Sokrates_. [Greek: _A)=rista ge_, ô)= Theo/dôre, _tê\n no/son mou
a)pei/kasas_; i)schurikô/teros me/ntoi e)gô\ e)kei/nôn; muri/oi ga\r
ê)/dê moi Ê(rakle/es te kai\ Thêse/es e)ntucho/ntes karteroi\ pro\s
to\ le/gein ma/l' eu)= xugkeko/phasin, a)ll' e)gô\ ou)de/n ti ma=llon
a)phi/stamai. ou(/tô _tis e)rô\s deino\s e)nde/duke tê=s peri\ tau=ta
gumnasi/as_; mê\ ou)=n mêde\ su\ phthonê/sê|s prosanatripsa/menos
sauto/n te a(/ma kai\ e)me\ o)nê=sai].

How could the eristic appetite be manifested in stronger language
either by Eukleides, or Eubulides, or Diodôrus Kronus, or any of those
Sophists upon whom the Platonic commentators heap so many harsh

Among the compositions ascribed to Protagoras by Diogenes Laertius
(ix. 55), one is entitled [Greek: Te/chnê E)ristikô=n]. But if we look
at the last chapter of the Treatise De Sophisticis Elenchis, we shall
find Aristotle asserting explicitly that there existed no [Greek:
Te/chnê E)ristikô=n] anterior to his own work the Topica.]

[Side-note: Platonic Parmenides--its extreme negative character.]

Of the six dialogues composed by Eukleides, we cannot speak
positively, because they are not preserved. But they cannot have been
more refutative, and less affirmative, than most of the Platonic
dialogues; and we can hardly be wrong in asserting that they were very
inferior both in energy and attraction. The Theætêtus and the
Parmenides, two of the most negative among the Platonic dialogues,
seem to connect themselves, by the _personnel_ of the drama, with the
Megaric philosophers: the former dialogue is ushered in by Eukleides,
and is, as it were, dedicated to him: the latter dialogue exhibits, as
its _protagonistes_, the veteran Parmenides himself, who forms the one
factor of the Megaric philosophy, while Sokrates forms the other.
Parmenides (in the Platonic dialogue so called) is made to enforce the
negative method in general terms, as a philosophical duty co-ordinate
with the affirmative; and to illustrate it by a most elaborate
argumentation, directed partly against the Platonic Ideas (here
advocated by the youthful Sokrates), partly against his own (the
Parmenidean) dogma of Ens Unum. Parmenides adduces unanswerable
objections against the dogma of Transcendental Forms or Ideas; yet
says at the same time that there can be no philosophy unless you admit
it. He reproves the youthful Sokrates for precipitancy in affirming
the dogma, and contends that you are not justified in affirming any
dogma until you have gone through a bilateral scrutiny of it--that is,
first assuming the doctrine to be true, next assuming it to be false,
and following out the deductions arising from the one assumption as
well as from the other.[30] Parmenides then gives a string of
successive deductions (at great length, occupying the last half of the
dialogue)--four pairs of counter-demonstrations or Antinomies--in
which contradictory conclusions appear each to be alike proved. He
enunciates the final result as follows:--"Whether Unum exists, or does
not exist, Unum itself and Cætera, both exist and do not exist, both
appear and do not appear, all things and in all ways--both in relation
to themselves and in relation to each other".[31]

[Footnote 30: Plato, Parmen. p. 136.]

[Footnote 31: Plato, Parmen. p. 166. [Greek: e(\n ei)/t' e)/stin,
ei)/te mê\ e)/stin, au)to/ te kai\ ta)/lla kai\ pro\s au)ta\ kai\
pro\s a)/llêla pa/nta pa/ntôs e)sti/ te kai\ ou)k e)/sti, kai\
phai/netai/ te kai\ ou) phai/netai.--A)lêthe/stata].

See below, vol. iii. chap. xxvii. Parmenides.]

If this memorable dialogue, with its concluding string of elaborate
antinomies, had come down to us under the name of Eukleides,
historians would probably have denounced it as a perverse exhibition
of ingenuity, worthy of "that litigious person, who first infused into
the Megarians the fury of disputation "[32] But since it is of
Platonic origin, we must recognise Plato not only as having divided
with the Megaric philosophers the impulse of negative speculation
which they had inherited from Sokrates, but as having carried that
impulse to an extreme point of invention, combination, and dramatic
handling, much beyond their powers. Undoubtedly, if we pass from the
Parmenidês to other dialogues, we find Plato very different. He has
various other intellectual impulses, an abundant flow of ideality and
of constructive fancy, in many distinct channels. But negative
philosophy is at least one of the indisputable and prominent items of
the Platonic aggregate.

[Footnote 32: This is the phrase of the satirical sillographer Timon,
who spoke with scorn of all the philosophers except Pyrrhon:--

[Greek: A)ll' ou)/ moi tou/tôn phledo/nôn me/lei, ou)de\ me\n a)/llou
Ou)deno/s, ou) Phai/dônos, o(/tis ge me\n--ou)/d' e)rida/nteô
Eu)klei/dou, Megareu=sin o(\s e)/mbale lu/ssan e)rismou=.]]

[Side-note: The Megarics shared the negative impulse with Sokrates and

While then we admit that the Megaric succession of philosophers
exhibited negative subtlety and vehement love of contentious debate,
we must recollect that these qualities were inherited from Sokrates
and shared with Plato. The philosophy of Sokrates, who taught nothing
and cross-examined every one, was essentially more negative and
controversial, both in him and his successors, than any which had
preceded it. In an age when dialectic colloquy was considered as
appropriate for philosophical subjects, and when long continuous
exposition was left to the rhetor--Eukleides established a succession
or school[33] which was more distinguished for impugning dogmas of
others than for defending dogmas of its own. Schleiermacher and others
suppose that Plato in his dialogue Euthydêmus intends to expose the
sophistical fallacies of the Megaric school:[34] and that in the
dialogue Sophistês, he refutes the same philosophers (under the vague
designation of "the friends of Forms") in their speculations about
Ens and Non-Ens. The first of these two opinions is probably true to
some extent, though we cannot tell how far: the second of the two is
supported by some able critics--yet it appears to me untenable.[35]

[Footnote 33: If we may trust a sarcastic bon-mot ascribed to Diogenes
the Cynic, the contemporary of the _viri Sokratici_ and the follower
of Antisthenes, the term [Greek: scholê\] was applied to the visitors
of Eukleides rather than to those of Plato--[Greek: kai\ tê\n me\n
Eu)klei/dou scholê\n e)/lege _cholê/n_, tê\n de\ Pla/tônos diatribê/n,
_katatribê/n_]. Diog. L. vi. 24.]

[Footnote 34: Schleierm. Einleitung to Plat. Euthyd. p. 403 seq.]

[Footnote 35: Schleierm. Introduction to the Sophistês, pp. 134-135.

See Deycks, Megaricorum Doctrina, p. 41 seq. Zeller, Phil. der Griech.
vol. ii. p. 180 seq., with his instructive note. Prantl, Gesch. der
Logik, vol. i. p. 37, and others cited by Zeller.--Ritter dissents
from this view, and I concur in his dissent. To affirm that Eukleides
admitted a plurality of Ideas or Forms, is to contradict the only one
deposition, certain and unequivocal, which we have about his
philosophy. His doctrine is that of the Transcendental Unum, Ens,
Bonum; while the doctrine of the Transcendental Plura (Ideas or Forms)
belongs to Plato and others. Both Deycks and Zeller (p. 185) recognise
this as a difficulty. But to me it seems fatal to their hypothesis;
which, after all, is only an hypothesis--first originated by
Schleiermacher. If it be true that the Megarici are intended by Plato
under the appellation [Greek: oi( tô=n ei)dô=n phi/loi], we must
suppose that the school had been completely transformed before the
time of Stilpon, who is presented as the great opponent of [Greek: ta\

Of Eukleides himself, though he is characterised as strongly
controversial, no distinct points of controversy have been preserved:
but his successor Eubulides is celebrated for various sophisms. He was
the contemporary and rival of Aristotle: who, without however
expressly naming him, probably intends to speak of him when alluding
to the Megaric philosophers generally.[36] Another of the same school,
Alexinus (rather later than Eubulides) is also said to have written
against Aristotle.

[Footnote 36: Aristokles, ap. Euseb. Præp. Ev. xv. 2. Eubulides is
said not merely to have controverted the philosophical theories of
Aristotle, but also to have attacked his personal character with
bitterness and slander: a practice not less common in ancient
controversy than in modern. About Alexinus, Diog. L. ii. 109.

Among those who took lessons in rhetoric and pronunciation from
Eubulides, we read the name of the orator Demosthenes, who is said to
have improved his pronunciation thereby. Diog. Laert. ii. p. 108.
Plutarch, x. Orat. 21, p. 845 C.]

[Side-note: Eubulides--his logical problems or puzzles--difficulty of
solving them--many solutions attempted.]

Six sophisms are ascribed to Eubulides. 1.--[Greek: O(
pseudo/menos]--Mentiens. 2.--[Greek: O( dialantha/nôn], or
[Greek: e)gkekalumme/nos]--the person hidden under a veil.
3.--[Greek: Ê)le/ktra]. 4.--[Greek: Sôrei/tês]--Sorites.
5.--[Greek: Kerati/nês]--Cornutus. 6.--[Greek: Pha/lakros]--Calvus.
Of these the second is substantially the same with the third; and the
fourth the same with the sixth, only inverted.[37]

[Footnote 37: Diog. L. ii. pp. 108-109; vii. 82. Lucian vit. Auct. 22.

1. Cicero, Academ. ii. pp. 30-96. "Si dicis te mentiri verumque dicis,
mentiris. Dicis autem te mentiri, verumque dicis: mentiris igitur." 2,
3. [Greek: O( e)gkekalumme/nos]. You know your father: you are placed
before a person covered and concealed by a thick veil: you do not know
him. But this person is your father. Therefore you both know your
father and do not know him. 5. [Greek: Kerati/nês]. That which you
have not lost, you have: but you have not lost horns; therefore you
_have_ horns. 4, 6. [Greek: Sôrei/tês--Pha/lakros]. What number of
grains make a heap--or are many? what number are few? Are three grains
few, and four _many_?--or, where will you draw the line between Few
and Many? The like question about the hairs on a man's head--How many
must he lose before he can be said to have only a few, or to be bald?]

These sophisms are ascribed to Eubulides, and belonged probably to the
Megaric school both before and after him. But it is plain both from
the Euthydêmus of Plato, and from the Topica of Aristotle, that there
were many others of similar character; frequently employed in the
abundant dialectic colloquies which prevailed at Athens during the
fourth and third centuries B.C. Plato and Aristotle handle such
questions and their authors contemptuously, under the name of Eristic:
but it was more easy to put a bad name upon them, as well as upon the
Eleate Zeno, than to elucidate the logical difficulties which they
brought to view. Neither Aristotle nor Plato provided a sufficient
answer to them: as is proved by the fact, that several subsequent
philosophers wrote treatises expressly in reference to them--even
philosophers of reputation, like Theophrastus and Chrysippus.[38] How
these two latter philosophers performed their task, we cannot say. But
the fact that they attempted the task, exhibits a commendable anxiety
to make their logical theory complete, and to fortify it against

[Footnote 38: Diog. L. v. p. 49; vii. pp. 192-198. Seneca, Epistol. p.
45. Plutarch (De Stoicor. Repugnantiis, p. 1087) has some curious
extracts and remarks from Chrysippus; who (he says) spoke in the
harshest terms against the [Greek: Megarika\ e)rôtê/mata], as having
puzzled and unsettled men's convictions without ground--while he
(Chrysippus) had himself proposed puzzles and difficulties still more
formidable, in his treatise [Greek: kata\ Sunêthei/as].]

[Side-note: Real character of the Megaric sophisms, not calculated to
deceive but to guard against deception.]

It is in this point of view--in reference to logical theory--that the
Megaric philosophers have not been fairly appreciated. They, or
persons reasoning in their manner, formed one essential encouragement
and condition to the formation of any tolerable logical theory. They
administered, to minds capable and constructive, that painful sense of
contradiction, and shock of perplexity, which Sokrates relied upon as
the stimulus to mental parturition--and which Plato extols as a lever
for raising the student to general conceptions.[39] Their sophisms
were not intended to impose upon any one, but on the contrary, to
guard against imposition.[40] Whoever states a fallacy clearly and
nakedly, applying it to a particular case in which it conducts to a
conclusion known upon other evidence not to be true--contributes to
divest it of its misleading effect. The persons most liable to be
deceived by the fallacy are those who are not forewarned:--in cases
where the premisses are stated not nakedly, but in an artful form of
words--and where the conclusion, though false, is not known beforehand
to be false by the hearer. To use Mr. John Stuart Mill's phrase,[41]
the fallacy is a case of apparent evidence mistaken for real evidence:
you expose it to be evidence only apparent and not real, by giving a
type of the fallacy, in which the conclusion obtained is obviously
false: and the more obviously false it is, the better suited for its
tutelary purpose. Aristotle recognises, as indispensable in
philosophical enquiry, the preliminary wrestling into which he
conducts his reader, by means of a long string of unsolved
difficulties or puzzles--([Greek: a)po/riai]). He declares distinctly
and forcibly, that whoever attempts to lay out a positive theory,
without having before his mind a full list of the difficulties with
which he is to grapple, is like one who searches without knowing what
he is looking for; without being competent to decide whether what he
hits upon as a solution be really a solution or not.[42] Now that
enumeration of puzzles which Aristotle here postulates (and in part
undertakes, in reference to Philosophia Prima) is exactly what the
Megarics, and various other dialecticians (called by Plato and
Aristotle Sophists) contributed to furnish for the use of those who
theorised on Logic.

[Footnote 39: Plato, Republic, vii. pp. 523 A, 524. [Greek: ta\ me\n
e)n tai=s ai)sthê/sesin ou) parakalou=nta tê\n no/êsin ei)s
e)pi/skepsin, ô(s i(kanô=s u(po\ tê=s ai)sthê/seôs krino/mena--ta\ de\
panta/pasi diakeleuo/mena e)kei/nên e)piske/psasthai, ô(s tê=s
ai)sthê/seôs ou)de\n u(gie\s poiou/sês . . . Ta\ me\n ou)
parakalou=nta, o(/sa mê\ e)kbai/nei ei)s e)nanti/an ai)/sthêsin a(/ma;
ta\ d' e)kbai/nonta, ô(s parakalou=nta ti/thêmi, e)peida\n ê(
ai)/sthêsis mêde\n ma=llon tou=to ê)\ to\ e)nanti/on dêloi=]. Compare
p. 524 E: the whole passage is very interesting.]

[Footnote 40: The remarks of Ritter (Gesch. der Philos. ii. p. 189.
2nd ed.) upon these Megaric philosophers are more just and discerning
than those made by most of the historians of philosophy "Doch darf man
wohl annehmen, dass sie solche Trugschlüsse nicht zur Täuschung,**
sondern zur Belehrung für unvorsichtige, oder zur Warnung vor der
Seichtigkeit gewöhnlicher Vorstellungsweisen, gebrauchen wollten. So
viel ist gewiss, dass die Megariker sich viel mit den Formen des
Denken beschäftigten, vielleicht mehr zu Aufsuchung einzelner Regeln,
als zur Begründung eines wissenschaftlichen Zusammenhangs unter ihnen;
obwohl auch besondere Theile der Logik unter ihren Schriften erwähnt

This is much more reasonable than the language of Prantl, who
denounces "the shamelessness of doctrinarism" (die Unverschämtheit des
Doctrinarismus) belonging to these Megarici "the petulance and vanity
which prompted them to seek celebrity by intentional offences against
sound common sense," &c. (Gesch. der Logik, pp. 39-40.--Sir Wm.
Hamilton has some good remarks on these sophisms, in his Lectures on
Logic, Lect. xxiii. p. 452 seq.)]

[Footnote 41: See the first chapter of his book v. on Fallacies,
System of Logic, vol. ii.]

[Footnote 42: Aristotel. Metaphys. B. 1, p. 995, a. 33.

[Greek: dio\ dei= ta\s duscherei/as tetheôrêke/nai pa/sas pro/teron,
tou/tôn de\ cha/rin kai\ dia\ to\ tou\s zêtou=ntas a)/neu tou=
diaporê=sai prô=ton o(moi/ous ei)=nai toi=s poi= dei= badi/zein
a)gnoou=si, kai\ pro\s tou/tois ou)d' ei) pote to\ zêtou/menon
eu(/rêken ê)\ mê\ gignô/skein; to\ ga\r te/los tou/tô| me\n ou)
dê=lon, tô=| de\ proêporêko/ti dê=lon].

Aristotle devotes the whole of this Book to an enumeration of [Greek:

[Side-note: If the process of theorising be admissible, it must
include negative as well as affirmative.]

You may dislike philosophy: you may undervalue, or altogether
proscribe, the process of theorising. This is the standing-point usual
with the bulk of mankind, ancient as well as modern: who generally
dislike all accurate reasoning, or analysis and discrimination of
familiar abstract words, as mean and tiresome hair-splitting.[43] But
if you admit the business of theorising to be legitimate, useful, and
even honourable, you must reckon on free working of independent,
individual, minds as the operative force--and on the necessity of
dissentient, conflicting, manifestations of this common force, as
essential conditions to any successful result. Upon no other
conditions can you obtain any tolerable body of reasoned truth--or
even reasoned _quasi-truth_.

[Footnote 43: See my account of the Platonic dialogue Hippias Major,
vol. ii. chap. xiii. Aristot. Metaphys. A. minor, p. 995, a. 9.
[Greek: tou\s de\ lupei= to\ a)kribe\s, ê)\ dia\ to\ mê\ du/nasthai
sunei/rein, ê)\ dia\ tê\n mikrologi/an; e)/chei ga/r ti to\ a)kribe\s
toiou=ton, ô(/ste katha/per e)pi\ tô=n sumbolai/ôn, kai\ e)pi\ tô=n
lo/gôn a)neleu/theron ei)=nai tisi dokei=]. Cicero (Paradoxa, c. 2)
talks of the "minutæ interrogatiunculæ" of the Stoics as tedious and

[Side-note: Logical position of the Megaric philosophers erroneously
described by historians of philosophy. Necessity of a complete
collection of difficulties.]

Now the historians of philosophy seldom take this view of philosophy
as a whole--as a field to which the free antithesis of affirmative and
negative is indispensable. They consider true philosophy as
represented by Sokrates, Plato, and Aristotle, one or other of them:
while the contemporaries of these eminent men are discredited under
the name of Sophists, Eristics, or sham-philosophers, sowing tares
among the legitimate crop of wheat--or as devils whom the miraculous
virtue of Sokrates and Plato is employed in expelling from the
Athenian mind. Even the companions of Sokrates, and the Megarics among
them, whom we know only upon the imperfect testimony of opponents,
have fallen under this unmerited sentence:[44] as if they were
destructive agents breaking down an edifice of well-constituted
philosophy--no such edifice in fact having ever existed in Greece,
though there were several dissenting lecture rooms and conflicting
veins of speculation promoted by eminent individuals.

[Footnote 44: The same charge is put by Cicero into the mouth of
Lucullus against the Academics: "Similiter vos (Academici) quum
perturbare, ut illi" (the Gracchi and others) "rempublicam, sic vos
philosophiam, benè jam constitutam velitis. . . . Tum exortus est, ut
in optimâ republicâ Tib. Gracchus, qui otium perturbaret, sic
Arcesilas, qui constitutam philosophiam everteret" (Acad. Prior, ii. 5,

Even in the liberal and comprehensive history of the Greek philosophy
by Zeller (vol. ii. p. 187, ed. 2nd), respecting Eukleides' and the
Megarians;--"Dagegen bot der _Streit gegen die geltenden Meinungen_
dem Scharfsinn, der Rechthaberei, und dem wissenschaftlichen Ehrgeiz,
ein unerschöpfliches Feld dar, welches denn auch die Megarischen
Philosophen rüstig ausbeuteten."

If by "die geltenden Meinungen" Zeller means the common sense of the
day that is, the opinions and beliefs current among the [Greek:
i)diô=tai], the working, enjoying, non-theorising public--it is very
true that the Megaric philosophers contended against them: but
Sokrates and Plato contended against them quite as much: we see this
in the Platonic Apology, Gorgias, Republic, Timæus, Parmenidês, &c.

If, on the other hand, by "die geltenden Meinungen" Zeller means any
philosophical or logical theories generally or universally admitted by
thinking men as valid, the answer is that there were none such in the
fourth and third centuries B.C. Various eminent speculative
individuals were labouring to construct such theories, each in his own
way, and each with a certain congregation of partisans; but
established theory there was none. Nor can any theory (whether
accepted or not) be firm or trustworthy, unless it be exposed to the
continued thrusts of the negative weapon, searching out its vulnerable
points. We know of the Megarics only what they furnished towards that
negative testing; without which, however,--as we may learn from Plato
and Aristotle themselves,--the true value of the affirmative defences
can never be measured.]

Whoever undertakes, _bonâ fide_, to frame a complete and defensible
logical theory, will desire to have before him a copious collection of
such difficulties, and will consider those who propound them as useful
auxiliaries.[45] If he finds no one to propound them, he will have to
imagine them for himself. "The philosophy of reasoning" (observes Mr.
John Stuart Mill) "must comprise the philosophy of bad as well as of
good reasoning."[46] The one cannot be complete without the other. To
enumerate the different varieties of apparent evidence which is not
real evidence (called Fallacies), and of apparent contradictions which
are not real contradictions--referred as far as may be to classes,
each illustrated by a suitable type--is among the duties of a
logician. He will find this duty much facilitated, if there happen to
exist around him an active habit of dialectic debate: ingenious men
who really study the modes of puzzling and confuting a well-armed
adversary, as well as of defending themselves against the like. Such a
habit did exist at Athens: and unless it had existed, the Aristotelian
theories on logic would probably never have been framed. Contemporary
and antecedent dialecticians, the Megarici among them, supplied the
stock of particular examples enumerated and criticised by Aristotle in
the Topica:[47] which treatise (especially the last book, De
Sophisticis Elenchis) is intended both to explain the theory, and to
give suggestions on the practice, of logical controversy. A man who
takes lessons in fencing must learn not only how to thrust and parry,
but also how to impose on his opponent by feints, and to meet the
feints employed against himself: a general who learns the art of war
must know how to take advantage of the enemy by effective cheating and
treachery (to use the language of Xenophon), and how to avoid being
cheated himself. The Aristotelian Topica, in like manner, teach the
arts both of dialectic attack and of dialectic defence.[48]

[Footnote 45: Marbach (Gesch. der Philos. s. 91), though he treats the
Megarics as jesters (which I do not think they were), yet adds very
justly: "Nevertheless these puzzles (propounded by the Megarics) have
their serious and scientific side. We are forced to inquire, how it
happens that the contradictions shown up in them are not merely
possible but even necessary."

Both Tiedemann and Winckelmann also remark that the debaters called
Eristics contributed greatly to the formation of the theory and
precepts of Logic, afterwards laid out by Aristotle. Winckelmann,
Prolegg. ad Platon. Euthydem. pp. xxiv.-xxxi. Even Stallbaum, though
full of harshness towards those Sophists whom he describes as
belonging to the school of Protagoras, treats the Megaric philosophers
with much greater respect. Prolegom. ad Platon. Euthydem. p. 9.]

[Footnote 46: System of Logic, Book v. 1, 1.]

[Footnote 47: Prantl (Gesch. der Logik, vol. i. pp. 43-50) ascribes to
the Megarics all or nearly all the sophisms which Aristotle notices in
the Treatise De Sophisticis Elenchis. This is more than can be proved,
and more than I think probable. Several of them are taken from the
Platonic Euthydêmus.]

[Footnote 48: See the remarkable passages in the discourses of
Sokrates (Memorab. iii. 1, 6; iv. 2, 15), and in that of Kambyses to
Cyrus, which repeats the same opinion--Cyropæd. i. 6, 27--respecting
the amount of deceit, treachery, the thievish and rapacious qualities
required for conducting war against an enemy--([Greek: ta\ pro\s tou\s
polemi/ous no/mima], i. 6, 34).

Aristotle treats of Dialectic, as he does of Rhetoric, as an art
having its theory, and precepts founded upon that theory. I shall have
occasion to observe in a future chapter (xxi.), that logical Fallacies
are not generated or invented by persons called Sophists, but are
inherent liabilities to error in the human intellect; and that the
habit of debate affords the only means of bringing them into clear
daylight, and guarding against being deceived by them. Aristotle gives
precepts both how to thrust, and how to parry with the best effect: if
he had taught only how to parry, he would have left out one-half of
the art.

One of the most learned and candid of the Aristotelian
commentators--M. Barthélemy St. Hilaire--observes as follows (Logique
d'Aristote, p. 435, Paris, 1838) respecting De Sophist. Elenchis:--

"Aristote va donc s'occuper de la marche qu'il faut donner aux
discussions sophistiques: et ici il serait difficile quelquefois de
décider, à la manière dont les choses sont présentées par lui, si ce
sont des conseils qu'il donne aux Sophistes, ou à ceux qui veulent
éviter leurs ruses. Tout ce qui précède, prouve, au reste, que c'est
en ce dernier sens qu'il faut entendre la pensée du philosophe. Ceci
est d'ailleurs la seconde portion du traîté."

It appears to me that Aristotle intended to teach or to suggest both
the two things which are here placed in Antithesis--though I do not
agree with M. St. Hilaire's way of putting the alternative--as if
there were one class of persons, professional Sophists, who fenced
with poisoned weapons, while every one except them refrained from such
weapons. Aristotle intends to teach the art of Dialectic as a whole;
he neither intends nor wishes that any learners shall make a bad use
of his teaching; but if they do use it badly, the fault does not lie
with him. See the observations in the beginning of the Rhetorica, i.
p. 1355, a. 26, and the observations put by Plato into the mouth of
Gorgias (Gorg. p. 456 E).

Even in the Analytica Priora (ii. 19, a. 34) (independent of the
Topica) Aristotle says:--[Greek: chrê\ d' o(/per phula/ttesthai
paragge/llomen a)pokrinome/nous, au)tou\s e)picheirou=ntas
peira=sthtai lantha/nein]. Investigations of the double or triple
senses of words (he says) are useful--[Greek: kai\ pro\s to\ mê\
paralogisthê=nai, kai\ pro\s to\ paralogi/sasthai], Topica, i. 18, p.
108, a. 26. See also other passages of the Topica where artifices are
indicated for the purpose of concealing your own plan of proceeding
and inducing your opponent to make answer in the sense which you wish,
Topica, i. 2, p. 101, a. 25; vi. 10, p. 148, a. 37; viii. 1, p. 151,
b. 23; viii. 1, p. 153, a. 6; viii. 2, p. 154, a. 5; viii. 11, p. 161,
a. 24 seq. You must be provided with the means of meeting every sort
and variety of objection--[Greek: pro\s ga\r to\n pa/ntôs
e)nista/menon pa/ntôs a)ntitakte/on e)sti/n]. Topic. v. 4, p. 134, a.

I shall again have to touch on the Topica, in this point of view, as
founded upon and illustrating the Megaric logical puzzles (ch. viii.
of the present volume).]

[Side-note: Sophisms propounded by Eubulides. 1. Mentiens. 2. The
Veiled Man. 3. Sorites. 4. Cornutus.]

The Sophisms ascribed to Eubulidês, looked at from the point of view
of logical theory, deserve that attention which they seem to have
received. The logician lays down as a rule that no affirmative
proposition can be at the same time true and false. Now the first
sophism (called _Mentiens_) exhibits the case of a proposition which
is, or appears to be, at the same time true and false.[49] It is for
the logician to explain how this proposition can be brought under his
rule--or else to admit it as an exception. Again, the second sophism
in the list (the Veiled or Hidden Man) is so contrived as to involve
the respondent in a contradiction: he is made to say both that he
knows his father, and that he does not know his father. Both the one
answer and the other follow naturally from the questions and
circumstances supposed. The contradiction points to the loose and
equivocal way in which the word _to know_ is used in common speech.
Such equivocal meaning of words is not only one of the frequent
sources of error and fallacy in reasoning, but also one of the least
heeded by persons untrained in dialectics; who are apt to presume that
the same word bears always the same meaning. To guard against this
cause of error, and to determine (or impel others to determine) the
accurate meaning or various distinct meanings of each word, is among
the duties of the logician: and I will add that the verb _to know_
stands high in the list of words requiring such determination--as the
Platonic Theætêtus[50] alone would be sufficient to teach us.
Farthermore, when we examine what is called the Soritês of Eubulides,
we perceive that it brings to view an inherent indeterminateness of
various terms: indeterminateness which cannot be avoided, but which
must be pointed out in order that it may not mislead. You cannot say
how many grains are _much_--or how many grains make _a heap_. When
this want of precision, pervading many words in the language, was
first brought to notice in a suitable special case, it would naturally
appear a striking novelty. Lastly, the sophism called [Greek:
Kerati/nês] or Cornutus, is one of great plausibility, which would
probably impose upon most persons, if the question were asked for the
first time without any forewarning. It serves to administer a lesson,
nowise unprofitable or superfluous, that before you answer a question,
you should fully weigh its import and its collateral bearings.

[Footnote 49: Theophrastus wrote a treatise in three books on the
solution of the puzzle called [Greek: O( pseudo/menos] (see the list
of his lost works in Diogenes L. v. 49). We find also other treatises
entitled [Greek: Megariko\s a/] (which Diogenes cites, vi.
22),--[Greek: A)gônistiko\n tê=s peri\ tou\s e)ristikou\s lo/gous
theôri/as--Sophisma/tôn a/, b]--besides several more titles relating to
dialectics, and bearing upon the solution of syllogistic problems.
Chrysippus also, in the ensuing century, wrote a treatise in three
books, [Greek: Peri\ tê=s tou= pseudome/non lu/seôs] (Diog. vii. 107).
Such facts show the importance of these problems in their bearing upon
logical theory, as conceived by the ancient world. Epikurus also wrote
against the [Greek: Megarikoi/] (Diog. x. 27).

The discussion of sophisms, or logical difficulties ([Greek: lu/seis
a)pori/ôn]), was a favourite occupation at the banquets of
philosophers at Athens, on or about 100 B.C. [Greek: A)nti/patros d'
o( philo/sophos, sumpo/sio/n pote suna/gôn, sune/taxe toi=s
e)rchome/nois ô(s peri\ sophisma/tôn e(rou=sin] (Athenæus, v. 186 C).
Plutarch, Non posse suaviter vivi secundum Epicurum, p. 1096 C; De
Sanitate Præcepta, c. 20, p. 133 B.]

[Footnote 50: Various portions of the Theætêtus illustrate this
Megaric sophism (pp. 165-188). The situation assumed in the question
of Eubulidês--having before your eyes a person veiled--might form a
suitable addition to the various contingencies specified in Theætêt.
pp. 192-193.

The manner in which the Platonic Sokrates proves (Theæt. 165) that you
at the same time see, and do not see, an object before you, is quite
as sophistical as the way in which Eubulidês proves that you both
know, and do not know, your father.]

[Side-note: Causes of error constant--the Megarics were sentinals
against them.]

The causes of error and fallacy are inherent in the complication of
nature, the imperfection of language, the small range of facts which
we know, the indefinite varieties of comparison possible among those
facts, and the diverse or opposite predispositions, intellectual as
well as emotional, of individual minds. They are not fabricated by
those who first draw attention to them.[51] The Megarics, far from
being themselves deceivers, served as sentinels against deceit. They
planted conspicuous beacons upon some of the sunken rocks whereon
unwary reasoners were likely to be wrecked. When the general type of a
fallacy is illustrated by a particular case in which the conclusion is
manifestly untrue, the like fallacy is rendered less operative for the

[Footnote 51: Cicero, in his Academ. Prior, ii. 92-94, has very just
remarks on the obscurities and difficulties in the reasoning process,
which the Megarics and others brought to view--and were blamed for so
doing, as unfair and captious reasoners--as if they had themselves
created the difficulties--"(Dialectica) primo progressu festivé tradit
elementa loquendi et ambiguorum intelligentiam concludendique
rationem; tum paucis additis venit ad soritas, lubricum sané et
periculosum locum, quod tu modo dicebas esse vitiosum interrogandi
genus. Quid ergo? _istius vitii num nostra culpa est_? Rerum natura
nullam nobis dedit cognitionem finium, ut ullâ in re statuere possimus
quatenus. Nec hoc in acervo tritici solum, unde nomen est, sed nullâ
omnino in re minutatim interroganti--dives, pauper--clarus, obscurus,
sit--multa, pauca, magna, parva, longa, brevia, lata, angusta, quanto
aut addito aut dempto certum respondeamus, non habemus. At vitiosi
sunt soritæ. Frangite igitur eos, si potestis, ne molesti sint. . .
Sic me (inquit) sustineo, neque diutius captiosé interroganti
respondes. Si habes quod liqueat neque respondes, superbis: si non
habes, ne tu quidem percipis."

The principle of the Sorites ([Greek: ê( sôritikê\ a)pori/a]--Sextus
adv. Gramm. s. 68), though differently applied, is involved in the
argument of Zeno the Eleate, addressed to Protagoras--see Simplikius
ad Aristot. Physic. 250, p. 423, b. 42. Sch. Brand. Compare chap. ii.
of this volume.]

[Side-note: Controversy of the Megarics with Aristotle about Power.
Arguments of Aristotle.]

Of the positive doctrines of the Megarics we know little: but there is
one upon which Aristotle enters into controversy with them, and upon
which (as far as can be made out) I think they were in the right. In
the question about Power, they held that the power to do a thing did
not exist, except when the thing was actually done: that an architect,
for example, had no power to build a house, except when he actually
did build one. Aristotle controverts this opinion at some length;
contending that there exists a sort of power or cause which is in
itself irregular and indeterminate, sometimes turning to the
affirmative, sometimes to the negative, to do or not to do;[52] that
the architect _has_ the _power to build_ constantly, though he exerts
it only on occasion: and that many absurdities would follow if we did
not admit, That a given power or energy--and the exercise of that
power--are things distinct and separable.[53]

[Footnote 52: Aristot. De Interpret. p. 19, a. 6-20. [Greek: o(/lôs
e)/stin e)n toi=s mê\ a)ei\ e)nergou=si to\ dunato\n ei)=nai kai\ mê\
o(moi/ôs; e)n oi(=s a)mphô e)nde/chetai, kai\ to\ ei)=nai kai\ to\ mê\
ei)=nai, ô(/ste kai\ to\ gene/sthai kai\ to\ mê\ gene/sthai.]]

[Footnote 53: Aristot. Metaph. [Greek: Th]. 3, p. 1046, b. 29. [Greek:
Ei)si\ de/ tines, oi)/ phasin, oi(=on oi( Megarikoi/, o(/tan
e)nergê=|, mo/non du/nasthai, o(/tan de\ mê\ e)nergê=|, mê\
du/nasthai--oi(=on to\n mê\ oi)kodomou=nta ou) du/nasthai oi)kodomei=n,
a)lla\ to\n oi)kodomou=nta o(/tan oi)kodomê=|; o(moi/ôs de\ kai\ e)pi\
tô=n a)/llôn].

Deycks (De Megaricorum Doctrinâ, pp. 70-71) considers this opinion of
the Megarics to be derived from their general Eleatic theory of the
Ens Unum et Immotum. But I see no logical connection between the two.]

[Side-note: These arguments not valid against the Megarici.]

Now these arguments of Aristotle are by no means valid against the
Megarics, whose doctrine, though apparently paradoxical, will appear
when explained to be no paradox at all, but perfectly true. When we
say that the architect has power to build, we do not mean that he has
power to do so under all supposable circumstances, but only under
certain conditions: we wish to distinguish him from non-professional
men, who under those same conditions have no power to build. The
architect must be awake and sober: he must have the will or
disposition to build:[54] he must be provided with tools and
materials, and be secure against destroying enemies. These and other
conditions being generally understood, it is unnecessary to enunciate
them in common speech. But when we engage in dialectic analysis, the
accurate discussion ([Greek: a)kribologi/a]) indispensable to
philosophy requires us to bring under distinct notice, that which the
elliptical character of common speech implies without enunciating.
Unless these favourable conditions be supposed, the architect is no
more able to build than an ordinary non-professional man. Now the
Megarics did not deny the distinctive character of the architect, as
compared with the non-architect: but they defined more accurately in
what it consisted, by restoring the omitted conditions. They went a
step farther: they pointed out that whenever the architect finds
himself in concert with these accompanying conditions (his own
volition being one of the conditions) he goes to work--and the
building is produced. As the house is not built, unless he wills to
build, and has tools and materials, &c.--so conversely, whenever he
has the will to build and has tools and materials, &c., the house is
actually built. The effect is not produced, except when the full
assemblage of antecedent conditions come together: but as soon as they
do come together, the effect is assuredly produced. The
accomplishments of the architect, though an essential item, are yet
only one item among several, of the conditions necessary to building
the house. He has no power to build, except when those other
conditions are assumed along with him: in other words, he has no such
power except when he actually does build.

[Footnote 54: About this condition implied in the predicate [Greek:
dunato/s], see Plato, Hippias Minor, p. 366 D.]

[Side-note: His arguments cited and criticised.]

Aristotle urges against the Megarics various arguments, as
follows:--1. Their doctrine implies that the architect is not an
architect, and does not possess his professional skill,[55] except at
the moment when he is actually building.--But the Megarics would have
denied that their doctrine did imply this. The architect possesses his
art at all times: but his art does not constitute a power of building
except under certain accompanying conditions.

[Footnote 55: Aristot. Metaph. [Greek: Th]. 3, 1047, a. 3. [Greek:
o(/tan pau/sêtai (oi)kodomô=n) ou)ch e(/xei tê\n te/chnên.]]

2. The Megaric doctrine is the same as that of Protagoras, implying
that there exists no perceivable Object, and no Subject capable of
perceiving, except at the moment when perception actually takes
place.[56] On this we may observe, that the Megarics coincide with
Protagoras thus far, that they bring into open daylight the relative
and conditional, which the received phraseology tends to hide. But
neither they nor he affirm what is here put upon them. When we speak
of a perceivable Object, we mean that which may and will be perceived,
_if_ there be a proper Subject to perceive it: when we affirm a
Subject capable of perception, we mean, one which will perceive, under
those circumstances which we call the presence of an Object suitably
placed. The Subject and Object are correlates: but it is convenient to
have a language in which one of them alone is introduced
unconditionally, while the conditional sign is applied to the
correlate: though the matter affirmed involves a condition common to

[Footnote 56: Aristot. Metaph. [Greek: Th]. 3, 1047, a. 8-13.]

3. According to the Megaric doctrine (Aristotle argues) every man when
not actually seeing, is blind; every man when not actually speaking,
is dumb.--Here the Megarics would have said that this is a
misinterpretation of the terms dumb and blind; which denote a person
who cannot speak or see, even though he wishes it. One who is now
silent, though not dumb, may speak if he wills it: but his own
volition is an essential condition.[57]

[Footnote 57: The question between Aristotle and the Megarics has not
passed out of debate with modern philosophers.

Dr. Thomas Brown observes, in his inquiry into Cause and Effect--"From
the mere silence of any one, we cannot infer that he is dumb in
consequence of organic imperfection. He may be silent only because he
has no desire of speaking, not because speech would not have followed
his desire: and it is not with the mere _existence_ of any one, but
_with his desire of speaking_, that we suppose utterance to be
connected. A man who has _no desire of speaking, has in truth_, and in
strictness of language, _no power of speaking, when in that state of
mind_: since he has not a circumstance which, as immediately prior, is
essential to speech. But since he has that power, as soon as the new
circumstance of desire arises--and as the presence or absence of the
desire cannot be perceived but in its effects--_there is no
inconvenience in the common language_, which ascribes the power, _as
if it were possessed at all times, and in all circumstances of mind_,
though unquestionably, nothing more is meant than that the desire
existing will be followed by utterance." (Brown, Essay on the Relation
of Cause and Effect, p. 200.)

This is the real sense of what Aristotle calls [Greek: to\ de\
(le/getai) dunato/n, oi(=on dunato\n ei)=nai badi/zein o(/ti badiseien
a)\n], _i.e._ he will walk _if_ he desires to do so (De Interpret. p.
23, a. 9-15).]

4. According to the Megaric doctrine (says Aristotle) when you are now
lying down, you have no power to rise: when you are standing up, you
have no power to lie down: so that the present condition of affairs
must continue for ever unchanged: nothing can come into existence
which is not now in being.--Here again, the Megarics would have denied
his inference. The man who is now standing up, has power to lie down,
_if he wills_ to do so--or he may be thrown down by a superior force:
that is, he will lie down, _if_ some new fact of a certain character
shall supervene. The Megarics do not deny that he has power, _if_--so
and so: they deny that he has power, without the _if_--that is,
without the farther accompaniments essential to energy.

[Side-note: Potential as distinguished from the Actual--What it is.]

On the whole, it seems to me that Aristotle's refutation of the
Megarics is unsuccessful. A given assemblage of conditions is
requisite for the production of any act: while there are other
circumstances, which, if present at the same time, would defeat its
production. We often find it convenient to describe a state of things
in which some of the antecedent conditions are present without the
rest: in which therefore the act is not produced, yet would be
produced, if the remaining circumstances were present, and if the
opposing circumstances were absent.[58] The state of things thus
described is the _potential_ as distinguished from the _actual_:
power, distinguished from act or energy: it represents an incomplete
assemblage of the antecedent positive conditions--or perhaps a
complete assemblage, but counteracted by some opposing circumstances.
As soon as the assemblage becomes complete, and the opposing
circumstances removed, the potential passes into the actual. The
architect, when he is not building, possesses, not indeed the full or
plenary power to build, but an important fraction of that power, which
will become plenary when the other fractions supervene, but will then
at the same time become operative, so as to produce the actual

[Footnote 58: Hobbes, in his Computation or Logic (chaps. ix. and x.
Of Cause and Effect. Of Power and Act) expounds this subject with his
usual perspicuity.

"A Cause simply, or an Entire Cause, is the aggregate of all the
accidents, both of the agents, how many soever they be, and of the
patient, put together; which, when they are all supposed to be
present, it cannot be understood but that the effect is produced at
the same instant: and if any one of them be wanting, it cannot be
understood but that the effect is not produced" (ix. 3).

"Correspondent to Cause and Effect are Power and Act: nay, those and
these are the same things, though for divers considerations they have
divers names. For whensoever any agent has all those accidents which
are necessarily requisite for the production of some effect in the
patient, then we say that agent has power to produce that effect if it
be applied to a patient. In like manner, whensoever any patient has
all those accidents which it is requisite it should have for the
production of some effect in it, we say it is in the power of that
patient to produce that effect if it be applied to a fitting agent.
Power, active and passive, are parts only of plenary and entire power:
nor, except they be joined, can any effect proceed from them. And
therefore these powers are but conditional: namely, the agent has
power if it be applied to a patient, and the patient has power if it
be applied to an agent. _Otherwise neither of them have power, nor can
the accidents which are in them severally be properly called powers_:
nor any action be said to be possible for the power of the agent alone
or the patient alone."]

[Footnote 59: Aristotle does in fact grant all that is here said, in
the same book and in the page next subsequent to that which contains
his arguments against the Megaric doctrine, Metaphys. [Greek: Th]. 5,
1048, a. 1-24.

In this chapter Aristotle distinguishes powers belonging to things,
from powers belonging to persons--powers irrational from powers
rational--powers in which the agent acts without any will or choice,
from those in which the will or choice of the agent is one item of the
aggregate of conditions. He here expressly recognises that the power
of the agent, separately considered, is only _conditional_; that is,
conditional on the presence and suitable state of the patient, as well
as upon the absence of counteracting circumstances. But he contends
that such absence of counteracting circumstances is plainly implied,
and need not be expressly mentioned in the definition.

[Greek: e)pei\ de\ to\ dunato\n ti\ dunato\n kai\ pote\ kai\ pô=s kai\
o(/sa a)/lla a)na/gkê prosei=nai e)n tô=| diorismô=|--

to\ dunato\n kata\ lo/gon a(/pan a)na/gkê, o(/tan o)re/gêtai, ou)= t'
e)/chei tê\n du/namin kai\ ô(s e)/chei, tou=to poiei=n; e)/chei de\
paro/ntos tou= pathêtikou= kai\ ô(di\ e)/chontos poiei=n; _ei) de\
mê/, poiei=n ou) dunê/setai_. to\ ga\r mêtheno\s tô=n e(/xô kôlu/ontos
prosdiori/zesthai, ou)the\n e)/ti dei=; tê\n ga\r du/namin e)/chei
ô(/s e)/sti du/namis tou= poiei=n, _e)/sti d' ou) pa/ntôs_, a)ll'
e)cho/ntôn pô=s, e)n oi(=s a)phoristhê/setai kai\ ta\ e(/xô kôlu/onta;
a)phairei=tai ga\r tau=ta tô=n e)n tô=| diorismô=| proso/ntôn e)/nia].
The commentary of Alexander Aphr. upon this chapter is well worth
consulting (pp. 546-548 of the edition of his commentary by Bonitz,
1847). Moreover Aristotle affirms in this chapter, that when [Greek:
to\ poiêtiko\n] and [Greek: to\ pathêtiko\n] come together under
suitable circumstances, the power will certainly pass into act.

Here then, it seems to me, Aristotle concedes the doctrine which the
Megarics affirmed; or, if there be any difference between them, it is
rather verbal than real. In fact, Aristotle's reasoning in the third
chapter (wherein he impugns the doctrine of the Megarics), and the
definition of [Greek: dunato\n] which he gives in that chapter (1047,
a. 25), are hardly to be reconciled with his reasoning in the fifth
chapter. Bonitz (Notes on the Metaphys. pp. 393-395) complains of the
_mira levitas_ of Aristotle in his reasoning against the Megarics, and
of his omitting to distinguish between _Vermögen_ and _Möglichkeit_. I
will not use so uncourteous a phrase; but I think his refutation of
the Megarics is both unsatisfactory and contradicted by himself. I
agree with the following remark of Bonitz:--"Nec mirum, quod Megarici,
aliis illi quidem in rebus arguti, in hâc autem satis acuti,
existentiam [Greek: tô=| duna/mei o)/nti] tribuere recusarint," &c.]

[Side-note: Diodôrus Kronus--his doctrine about [Greek: to\ dunato/n].]

The doctrine which I have just been canvassing is expressly cited by
Aristotle as a Megaric doctrine, and was therefore probably held by
his contemporary Eubulidês. From the pains which Aristotle takes (in
the 'De Interpretatione' and elsewhere) to explain and vindicate his
own doctrine about the Potential and the Actual, we may see that it
was a theme much debated among the dialecticians of the day. And we
read of another Megaric, Diodorus[60] Kronus, perhaps contemporary
(yet probably a little later than Aristotle), as advancing a position
substantially the same as that of Eubulidês. That alone is possible
(Diodorus affirmed) which either is happening now, or will happen at
some future time. As in speaking about facts of an unrecorded past, we
know well that a given fact either occurred or did not occur, yet
without knowing which of the two is true--and therefore we affirm only
that the fact _may_ have occurred: so also about the future, either
the assertion that a given fact will at some time occur, is positively
true, or the assertion that it will never occur, is positively true:
the assertion that it may or may not occur some time or other,
represents only our ignorance, which of the two is true. That which
will never at any time occur, is impossible.

[Footnote 60: The dialectic ingenuity of Diodorus is powerfully
attested by the verse of Ariston, applied to describe Arkesilaus
(Sextus Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. i. p. 234):

[Greek: Pro/sthe Pla/tôn, o)/pithen Pu/r)r(ôn, me/ssos Dio/dôros.]]

[Side-note: Sophism of Diodorus--[Greek: O( Kurieu/ôn].]

The argument here recited must have been older than Diodorus, since
Aristotle states and controverts it: but it seems to have been handled
by him in a peculiar dialectic arrangement, which obtained the title
of [Greek: O( Kurieu/ôn].[61] The Stoics (especially Chrysippus), in
times somewhat later, impugned the opinion of Diodorus, though
seemingly upon grounds not quite the same as Aristotle. This problem
was one upon which speculative minds occupied themselves for several
centuries. Aristotle and Chrysippus maintained that affirmations
respecting the past were _necessary_ (one necessarily true and the
other necessarily false)--affirmations respecting the future,
_contingent_ (one must be true and the other false, but either might
be true). Diodorus held that both varieties of affirmations were
equally necessary--Kleanthes the Stoic thought that both were equally

[Footnote 61: Aristot. De Interpret. p. 18, a. pp. 27-38. Alexander ad
Aristot. Analyt. Prior. 34, p. 163, b. 34, Schol. Brandis. See also
Sir William Hamilton's Lectures on Logic, Lect. xxiii. p. 464.]

[Footnote 62: Arrian ad Epiktet. ii. p. 19. Upton, in his notes on
this passage of Arrian (p. 151) has embodied a very valuable and
elaborate commentary by Mr. James Harris (the great English
Aristotelian scholar of the 18th century), explaining the nature of
this controversy, and the argument called [Greek: o( Kurieu/ôn].

Compare Cicero, De Fato, c. 7-9. Epistol. Fam. ix. 4.]

It was thus that the Megaric dialecticians, with that fertility of
mind which belonged to the Platonic and Aristotelian century, stirred
up many real problems and difficulties connected with logical
evidence, and supplied matters for discussion which not only occupied
the speculative minds of the next four or five centuries, but have
continued in debate down to the present day.

[Side-note: Question between Aristotle and Diodôrus depends upon
whether universal regularity of sequence be admitted or denied.]

The question about the Possible and Impossible, raised between
Aristotle and Diodorus, depends upon the larger question, Whether
there are universal laws of Nature or not? whether the sequences are,
universally and throughout, composed of assemblages of conditions
regularly antecedent, and assemblages of events regularly consequent;
though from the number and complication of causes, partly co-operating
and partly conflicting with each other, we with our limited
intelligence are often unable to predict the course of events in each
particular situation. Sokrates, Plato, and Aristotle, all maintained
that regular sequence of antecedent and consequent was not universal,
but partial only:[63] that there were some agencies essentially
regular, in which observation of the past afforded ground for
predicting the future--other agencies (or the same agencies on
different occasions) essentially irregular, in which the observation
of the past afforded no such ground. Aristotle admitted a graduation
of causes from perfect regularity to perfect irregularity:--1. The
Celestial Spheres, with their included bodies or divine persons, which
revolved and exercised a great and preponderant influence throughout
the Kosmos, with perfect uniformity; having no power of contraries,
_i.e._, having no power of doing anything else but what they actually
did (having [Greek: e)nergei/a] without [Greek: du/namis]). 2. The
four Elements, in which the natural agencies were to a great degree
necessary and uniform, but also in a certain degree otherwise--either
always or for the most part uniform ([Greek: to\ ô(s e)pi\ to\
polu/])--tending by inherent appetency towards uniformity, but not
always attaining it. 3. Besides these there were two other varieties
of Causes accidental, or perfectly irregular--Chance and Spontaneity:
powers of contraries, or with equal chance of contrary
manifestations--essentially capricious, undeterminable, unpredictable.[64]
This _Chance_ of Aristotle--with one of two contraries sure to turn up,
though you could never tell beforehand which of the two--was a
conception analogous to what logicians sometimes call an Indefinite
Proposition, or to what some grammarians have reckoned as a special
variety of genders called the _doubtful gender_. There were thus
positive causes of regularity, and positive causes of irregularity,
the co-operation or conflict of which gave the total manifestations of
the actual universe. The principle of irregularity, or the
Indeterminate, is sometimes described under the name of Matter,[65] as
distinguishable from, yet co-operating with, the three determinate
Causes--Formal, Efficient, Final. The Potential--the Indeterminate--the
_May or May not be_--is characterised by Aristotle as one of the inherent
principles operative in the Kosmos.

[Footnote 63: Xenophon, Memor. i. 1; Plato, Timæus, p. 48 A. [Greek:
ê( planôme/nê ai)ti/a], &c.]

[Footnote 64: [Greek: Ê( tu/chê--to\ o(po/ter' e)/tuche--to\
au)to/maton] are in the conception of Aristotle independent [Greek:
A)rchai/], attached to and blending with [Greek: a)na/gkê] and [Greek:
to\ ô(s e)pi\ to\ polu/]. See Physic. ii. 196, b. 11; Metaphys. E.

Sometimes [Greek: to\ o(po/ter' e)/tuche] is spoken of as an [Greek:
A)rchê/], but not as an [Greek: ai)/tion], or belonging to [Greek:
u(/lê] as the [Greek: A)rchê/]. 1027, b. 11. [Greek: dê=lon a)/ra
o(/ti me/chri tino\s badi/zei a)rchê=s, au)/tê d' ou)/keti ei)s
a)/llo; e)/stai ou)=n ê( tou= o(po/ter' e)/tuchen au)/tê, kai\
ai)/tioi tê=s gene/seôs au)tê=s ou)the/n].

See, respecting the different notions of Cause held by ancient
philosophers, my remarks on the Platonic Phædon infrà, vol. iii.** ch.

[Footnote 65: Aristot. Metaph. E. 1027, a. 13; A. 1071, a. 10.

[Greek: ô(/ste ê( u(/lê e)/stai ai)ti/a, ê( e)ndechome/n ê para\ to\
ô(s e)pi\ to polu\ a)/llôs tou= sumbebêko/tos].

Matter is represented as the principle of irregularity, of [Greek: to\
o(po/ter' e)/tuche]--as the [Greek: du/namis tô=n e)nanti/ôn].

In the explanation given by Alexander of Aphrodisias of the
Peripatetic doctrine respecting chance--free-will, the principle of
irregularity--[Greek: tu/chê] is no longer assigned to the material
cause, but is treated as an [Greek: ai)ti/a kata\ sumbebêko/s],
distinguished from [Greek: ai)ti/a proêgou/mena] or [Greek: kath'
au(ta/]. The exposition given of the doctrine by Alexander is valuable
and interesting. See his treatise De Fato, addressed to the Emperor
Severus, in the edition of Orelli, Zurich. 1824 (a very useful volume,
containing treatises of Ammonius, Plotinus, Bardesanes, &c., on the
same subject); also several sections of his Quæstiones Naturales et
Morales, ed. Spengel, Munich, 1842, pp. 22-61-65-123, &c. He gives,
however, a different explanation of [Greek: to\ dunato\n] and [Greek:
to\ a)du/naton] in pp. 62-63, which would not be at variance with the
doctrine of Diodorus. We may remark that Alexander puts the antithesis
of the two doctrines differently from Aristotle,--in this way. 1.
Either all events happen [Greek: kath' ei(marme/nên]. 2. Or all events
do not happen [Greek: kath' ei(marme/nên], but some events are [Greek:
e)ph' ê(mi=n]. See De Fato, p. 14 seq. This way of putting the
question is directed more against the Stoics, who were the great
advocates of [Greek: ei(marme/nê], than against the Megaric Diodorus.
The treatises of Chrysippus and the other Stoics alter both the
wording and the putting of the thesis. We know that Chrysippus
impugned the doctrine of Diodorus, but I do not see how.

The Stoic antithesis of [Greek: ta kath' ei(marme/nên--ta\ e)ph'
ê(mi=n] is different from the antithesis conceived by Aristotle and
does not touch the question about the universality of regular
sequence. [Greek: Ta\ e)ph' ê(mi=n] describes those sequences in which
human volition forms one among the appreciable conditions determining
or modifying the result; [Greek: ta\ kath' ei(marme/nên] includes all
the other sequences wherein human volition has no appreciable
influence. But the sequence [Greek: tô=n e)ph' ê(mi=n] is just as
regular as the sequence [Greek: tô=n kath' ei(marme/nên]: both the one
and the other are often imperfectly predictable, because our knowledge
of facts and power of comparison is so imperfect.

Theophrastus discussed [Greek: to\ kath' ei(marme/nên], and explained
it to mean the same as [Greek: to\ kata\ phu/sin. phanerô/tata de\
Theo/phrastos dei/knusi tau)to\n o(\n to\ kath' ei(marme/nên tô=|
kata\ phu/sin] (Alexander Aphrodisias ad Aristot. De Animâ, ii.).]

[Side-note: Conclusion of Diodôrus--defended by Hobbes--Explanation
given by Hobbes.]

In what manner Diodorus stated and defended his opinion upon this
point, we have no information. We know only that he placed
affirmations respecting the future on the same footing as affirmations
respecting the past: maintaining that our potential affirmation--_May
or May not be_--respecting some future event, meant no more than it
means respecting some past event, viz.: no inherent indeterminateness
in the future sequence, but our ignorance of the determining
conditions, and our inability to calculate their combined working.[66]
In regard to scientific method generally, this problem is of the
highest importance: for it is only so far as uniformity of sequence
prevails, that facts become fit matter for scientific study.[67]
Consistently with the doctrine of all-pervading uniformity of
sequence, the definition of Hobbes gives the only complete account of
the Impossible and Possible: _i.e._ an account such as would appear to
an omniscient calculator, where _May or May not_ merge in _Will or
Will not_. According as each person falls short of or approaches this
ideal standard--according to his knowledge and mental resource,
inductive and deductive--will be his appreciation of what may be or
may not be--as of what may have been or may not have been during the
past. But such appreciation, being relative to each individual mind,
is liable to vary indefinitely, and does not admit of being embodied
in one general definition.

[Footnote 66: The same doctrine as that of the Megaric Diodorus is
declared by Hobbes in clear and explicit language (First Grounds of
Philosophy, ii. 10, 4-5):--"That is an impossible act, for the
production of which there is no power plenary. For seeing plenary
power is that in which all things concur which are requisite for the
production of an act,** if the power shall never be plenary, there will
always be wanting some of those things, without which the act cannot
be produced. Wherefore that act shall never be produced: that is, that
act is _impossible_. And every act, which is not impossible, is
_possible_. Every act therefore which is possible, shall at some time
or other be produced. For if it shall never be produced, then those
things shall never concur which are requisite for the production of
it; wherefore the act is _impossible_, by the definition; which is
contrary to what was supposed.

"A _necessary act_ is that, the production of which it is impossible
to hinder: and therefore every act that shall be produced, shall
necessarily be produced; for that it shall not be produced is
impossible, because, as has already been demonstrated, every possible
act shall at some time be produced. Nay, this proposition--_What shall
be shall be_--is as necessary a proposition as this--_A man is a man_.

"But here, perhaps, some man will ask whether those future things
which are commonly called _contingents_, are necessary. I say, then,
that generally all contingents have their necessary causes, but are
called _contingents_, in respect of other events on which they do not
depend--as the rain which shall be to-morrow shall be necessary, that
is, from necessary causes; but we think and say, it happens by chance,
because we do not yet perceive the causes thereof, though they exist
now. For men commonly call that _casual_ or _contingent_, whereof they
do not perceive the necessary cause: _and in the same manner they use
to speak of things past, when not knowing whether a thing be done or
not, they say, It is possible it never was done._

"Wherefore all propositions concerning future things, contingent or
not contingent, as this--It will rain to-morrow, or To-morrow the sun
will rise--are either necessarily true or necessarily false: but we
call them contingent, because we do not yet know whether they be true
or false; whereas their verity depends not upon our knowledge, but
upon the foregoing of their causes. But there are some, who, though
they will confess this whole proposition--_ To-morrow it will either
rain or not rain_--to be true, yet they will not acknowledge the parts
of it, as, _To-morrow it will rain_, or _To-morrow it will not rain_,
to be either of them true by itself; because (they say) neither this
nor that is true _determinately_. But what is this _true
determinately_, but true _upon our knowledge_ or _evidently true_? And
therefore they say no more but that it is not yet known whether it be
true or not; but they say it more obscurely, and darken the evidence
of the truth with the same words by which they endeavour to hide their
own ignorance."]

[Footnote 67: The reader will find this problem admirably handled in
Mr. John Stuart Mill's System of Logic, Book iii. ch. 21, and Book vi.
chs. 2 and 8; also in the volume of Professor Bain on the Emotions and
the Will, Chapter on Belief.]

Besides the above doctrine respecting Possible and Impossible, there
is also ascribed to Diodorus a doctrine respecting Hypothetical
Propositions, which, as far as I comprehend it, appears to have been a
correct one.[68] He is also said to have reasoned against the reality
of motion, renewing the arguments of Zeno the Eleate.

[Footnote 68: Sextus Emp. Pyrrhon. Hypotyp. ii. pp. 110-115. [Greek:
a)lêthe\s sunêmme/non]. Adv. Mathemat. viii. 112. Philo maintained
that an hypothetical proposition was true, if both the antecedent and
consequent were true--"If it be day, I am conversing". Diodorus denied
that this proposition, as an Hypothetical proposition, was true: since
the consequent might be false, though the antecedent were true. An
Hypothetical proposition was true only when, assuming the antecedent
to be true, the consequent must be true also.]

[Side-note: Reasonings of Diodôrus--respecting Hypothetical
Propositions--respecting Motion. His difficulties about the _Now_ of

But if he reproduced the arguments of Zeno, he also employed another,
peculiar to himself. He admitted the reality of _past_ motion: but he
denied the reality of _present_ motion. You may affirm truly (he said)
that a thing _has been moved_: but you cannot truly affirm that any
thing _is being moved_. Since it was _here_ before, and is _there_
now, you may be sure that it has been moved: but actual present motion
you cannot perceive or prove. Affirmation in the perfect tense may be
true, when affirmation in the present tense neither is nor ever was
true: thus it is true to say--Helen _had_ three husbands (Menelaus,
Paris, Deiphobus): but it was never true to say--Helen _has_ three
husbands, since they became her husbands in succession.[69] Diodorus
supported this paradox by some ingenious arguments, and the opinion
which he denied seems to have presented itself to him as involving the
position of indivisible minima--atoms of body, points of space,
instants of time. He admitted such minima of atoms, but not of space
or time: and without such admission he could not make intelligible to
himself the fact of present or actual motion. He could find no present
_Now_ or Minimum of Time; without which neither could any present
motion be found. Plato in the Parmenidês[70] professes to have found
this inexplicable moment of transition, but he describes it in terms
not likely to satisfy a dialectical mind: and Aristotle denying that
the Now is any portion or constituent part of time, considers it only
as a boundary of the past and future.[71]

[Footnote 69: Sextus Empir. adv. Mathemat. x. pp. 85-101.]

[Footnote 70: Plato, Parmenidês, p. 156 D-E. [Greek: Po/t' ou)=n,
metaba/llei? ou)/te ga\r e(sto\s a)\n ou)/te kenou/menon meta/balloi,
ou)/te e)n chro/nô| o)/n]. (Here Plato adverts to the difficulties
attending the supposition of actual [Greek: metabolê/], as Diodorus to
those of actual [Greek: ki/nêsis]. Next we have Plato's hypothesis for
getting over the difficulties.) [Greek: A)=r' ou)=n e)sti/ to\
a)/topon tou=to, e)n ô)=| to/t' a)\n ei)/ê o(/te metaba/llei? To\
poi=on dê/? _To\ e)xai/phnês; ê( e)xai/phnês au)/tê phu/sis a)/topos_
tis e)gka/thêtai metaxu\ tê=s kinê/seôs te kai\ sta/seôs, e)n chro/nô|
ou)deni\ ou)=sa, kai\ ei)s tau/tên dê\ kai\ e)k tau/tês to/ te
kinou/menon metaba/llei e)pi\ to\ e)sta/nai kai\ to\ e)sto\s e)pi\ to\

Diodorus could not make out this [Greek: phu/sis a)/topos] which Plato
calls [Greek: to\ e)xai/phnês].]

[Footnote 71: To illustrate this apparent paradox of Diodorus,
affirming past motion, but denying present motion, we may compare what
is said by Aristotle about the Now or Point of Present Time--that it
is not a part, but a boundary between Past and Future.

Aristot. Physic. iv. p. 218, a. 4-10. [Greek: tou= de\ chro/non ta\
me\n ge/gone, ta\ de\ me/llei, e)sti d' ou)de\n, o)/ntos meristou=;
to\ de\ nu=n ou) me/ros--to\ de\ nu=n pe/ras e)/sti] (a. 24)--p. 222,
a. 10-20-223, a. 20. [Greek: o( de\ chro/nos kai\ ê( ki/nêsis a(/ma
kata/ te du/namin kai\ kat' e)nergei/an].

Which doctrine is thus rendered by Harris in his Hermes, ch. vii. pp.
101-103-105:--"Both Points and Nows being taken as Bounds, and not as
Parts, it will follow that in the same manner as the same point may be
the end of one line and the beginning of another--so the same Now may
be the End of one time, and the beginning of another. . . I say of
these two times, that with respect to the _Now_, or Instant which they
include, the first of them is necessarily Past time, as being previous
to it: the other is necessarily Future, as being subsequent. . . From
the above speculations, there follow some conclusions, which may be
called paradoxes, till they have been attentively considered. In the
first place, there cannot (strictly speaking) be any such thing as
Time Present. For if all Time be transient, as well as continuous, it
cannot like a line be present altogether, but part will necessarily be
gone and part be coming. If therefore any portion of its continuity
were to be present at once, it would so far quit its transient nature,
and be Time no longer. But if no portion of its continuity can be thus
present, how can Time possibly be present, to which such continuity is
essential?"--Compare Sir William Hamilton's Discussions on Philosophy,
p. 581.]

[Side-note: Motion is always present, past, and future.]

This opinion of Aristotle is in the main consonant with that of
Diodorus; who, when he denied the reality of present motion, meant
probably only to deny the reality of _present motion apart from past
and future motion_. Herein also we find him agreeing with Hobbes, who
denies the same in clearer language.[72] Sextus Empiricus declares
Diodorus to have been inconsistent in admitting past motion while he
denied present motion.[73] But this seems not more inconsistent than
the doctrine of Aristotle respecting the _Now_ of time. I know, when I
compare a child or a young tree with what they respectively were a
year ago, that they have grown: but whether they actually are growing,
at every moment of the intervening time, is not ascertainable by
sense, and is a matter of probable inference only.[74] Diodorus could
not understand present motion, except in conjunction with past and
future motion, as being the common limit of the two: but he could
understand past motion, without reference to present or future. He
could not state to himself a satisfactory theory respecting the
beginning of motion: as we may see by his reasonings distinguishing
the motion of a body all at once in its integrity, from the motion of
a body considered as proceeding from the separate motion of its
constituent atoms--the moving atoms preponderating over the atoms at
rest, and determining them to motion,[75] until gradually the whole
body came to move. The same argument re-appears in another example,
when he argues--The wall does not fall while its component stones hold
together, for then it is still standing: nor yet when they have come
apart, for then it _has_ fallen.[76]

[Footnote 72: Hobbes, First Grounds of Philosophy, ii. 8, 11. "That is
said to be at rest which, during any time, is in one place; and that
to be moved, or to have been moved, which whether it be now at rest or
moved, was formerly in another place from that which it is now in.
From which definition it may be inferred, first, that whatsoever is
moved _has been_ moved: for if it still be in the same place in which
it was formerly, it is at rest: but if it be in another place, it _has
been_ moved, by the definition of moved. Secondly, that what _is_
moved, _will yet_ be moved: for that which is moved, leaveth the place
where it is, and consequently will be moved still. Thirdly, that
whatsoever is moved, is not in one place during any time, how little
soever that may be: for by the definition of rest, that which is in
one place during any time, is at rest. . . . From what is above
demonstrated--namely, that whatsoever _is_ moved, _has also been_
moved, and _will be_ moved: this also may be collected, That there can
be no conception of motion without conceiving past and future time."]

[Footnote 73: Sext. Emp. adv. Mathem. x. pp. 91-97-112-116.]

[Footnote 74: See this point touched by Plato in Philêbus, p. 43 B.]

[Footnote 75: Sext. Emp. adv. Mathem. x. 113. [Greek: ki/nêsis kat'
ei)likri/neian . . . ki/nêsis kat' e)pikra/teian]. Compare Zeller, Die
Philosophie der Griech. ii. p. 191, ed. 2nd.]

[Footnote 76: Sext. Emp. adv. Mathem. x. pp. 346-348.]

[Side-note: Stilpon of Megara--His great celebrity.]

That Diodorus was a person seriously anxious to solve logical
difficulties, as well as to propose them, would be incontestably
proved if we could believe the story recounted of him--that he hanged
himself because he could not solve a problem proposed by Stilpon in
the presence of Ptolemy Soter.[77] But this story probably grew out of
the fact, that Stilpon succeeded Diodorus at Megara, and eclipsed him
in reputation. The celebrity of Stilpon, both at Megara and at Athens
(between 320-300 B.C., but his exact date can hardly be settled), was
equal, if not superior, to that of any contemporary philosopher. He
was visited by listeners from all parts of Greece, and he drew away
pupils from the most renowned teachers of the day; from Theophrastus
as well as the others.[78] He was no less remarkable for fertility of
invention than for neatness of expression. Two persons, who came for
the purpose of refuting him, are said to have remained with him as
admirers and scholars. All Greece seemed as it were looking towards
him, and inclining towards the Megaric doctrines.[79] He was much
esteemed both by Ptolemy Soter and by Demetrius Poliorkêtes, though he
refused the presents and invitations of both: and there is reason to
believe that his reputation in his own day must have equalled that of
either Plato or Aristotle in theirs. He was formidable in disputation;
but the nine dialogues which he composed and published are
characterised by Diogenes as cold.[80]

[Footnote 77: Diog. L. ii. 112.]

[Footnote 78: This is asserted by Diogenes upon the authority of
[Greek: Phi/lippos o( Megriko/s], whom he cites [Greek: kata\ le/xin].
We do not know anything about Philippus.

Menedêmus, who spoke with contempt of the other philosophers, even of
Plato and Xenokrates, admired Stilpon (Diog. L. ii. 134).]

[Footnote 79: The phrase of Diogenes is here singular, and must
probably have been borrowed from a partisan--[Greek: ô(/ste mikrou=
deê=sai pa=san tê\n E(lla/da a)phorô=san ei)s au)to\n megari/sai].
Stilpon [Greek: eu(resilogi/a| kai\ sophistei/a| proê=ge tou\s
a)/llous--kompso/tatos] (Diog. L. ii. 113-115).]

[Footnote 80: Diog. L. ii. 119-120. [Greek: psuchroi/].]

[Side-note: Menedêmus and the Eretriacs.]

Contemporary with Stilpon (or perhaps somewhat later) was Menedêmus of
Eretria, whose philosophic parentage is traced to Phædon. The name of
Phædon has been immortalised, not by his own works, but by the
splendid dialogue of which Plato has made him the reciter. He is said
(though I doubt the fact) to have been a native of Elis. He was of
good parentage, a youthful companion of Sokrates in the last years of
his life.[81] After the death of Sokrates, Phædon went to Elis,
composed some dialogues, and established a succession or sect of
philosophers--Pleistanus, Anchipylus, Moschus. Of this sect
Menedêmus,[82] contemporary and hearer of Stilpon, became the most
eminent representative, and from him it was denominated Eretriac
instead of Eleian. The Eretriacs, as well as the Megarics, took up the
negative arm of philosophy, and were eminent as puzzlers and

[Footnote 81: The story given by Diogenes L. (ii. 31 and 106; compare
Aulus Gellius, ii. 18) about Phædon's adventures antecedent to his
friendship with Sokrates, is unintelligible to me. "Phædon was made
captive along with his country (Elis), sold at Athens, and employed in
a degrading capacity; until Sokrates induced Alkibiades or Kriton to
pay his ransom." Now, no such event as the capture of Elis, and the
sale of its Eupatrids as slaves, happened at that time: the war
between Sparta and Elis (described by Xenophon, Hell. iii. 2, 21 seq.)
led to no such result, and was finished, moreover, after the death of
Sokrates. Alkibiades had been long in exile. If, in the text of
Diogenes, where we now read [Greek: Phai/dôn, _Ê(/leios_, tô=n
eu)patridô=n]--we were allowed to substitute [Greek: Phai/dôn,
_Mê/lios_, tô=n eu)patridô=n]--the narrative would be rendered
consistent with known historical facts. The Athenians captured the
island of Melos in 415 B.C., put to death the Melians of military age,
and sold into slavery the younger males as well as the females
(Thucyd. v. 116). If Phædon had been a Melian youth of good family, he
would have been sold at Athens, and might have undergone the
adventures narrated by Diogenes. We know that Alkibiades purchased a
female Melian as slave (Pseudo-Andokides cont. Alkibiad.).]

[Footnote 82: Diog. L. ii. 105, 126 seq. There was a statue of
Menedêmus in the ancient stadium of Eretria: Diogenes speaks as if it
existed in his time, and as if he himself had seen it (ii. 132).]

[Side-note: Open speech and licence of censure assumed by Menedêmus.]

But though this was the common character of the two, in a logical
point of view, yet in Stilpon, as well as Menedêmus, other elements
became blended with the logical. These persons combined, in part at
least, the free censorial speech of Antisthenes with the subtlety of
Eukleides. What we hear of Menedêmus is chiefly his bitter, stinging
sarcasms, and clever repartees. He did not, like the Cynic Diogenes,
live in contented poverty, but occupied a prominent place (seemingly
under the patronage of Antigonus and Demetrius) in the government of
his native city Eretria. Nevertheless he is hardly less celebrated
than Diogenes for open speaking of his mind, and carelessness of
giving offence to others.[83]

[Footnote 83: Diog. L. ii. 129-142.]

 * * * * *


[Side-note: Antisthenes took up Ethics principally, but with negative
Logic intermingled.]

Antisthenes, the originator of the Cynic succession of philosophers,
was one of those who took up principally the ethical element of the
Sokratic discoursing, which the Megarics left out or passed lightly
over. He did not indeed altogether leave out the logical element: all
his doctrines respecting it, as far as we hear of them, appear to have
been on the negative side. But respecting ethics, he laid down
affirmative propositions,[84] and delivered peremptory precepts. His
aversion to pleasure, by which he chiefly meant sexual pleasure, was
declared in the most emphatic language. He had therefore, in the
negative logic, a point of community with Eukleides and the Megarics:
so that the coalescence of the two successions, in Stilpon and
Menedêmus, is a fact not difficult to explain.

[Footnote 84: Clemens Alexandr. Stromat. ii. 20, p. 485, Potter.
[Greek: e)gô\ d' a)pode/chomai to\n A)phrodi/tên le/gonta ka)\|n
katatoxeu/saimi, ei) la/boimi], &c.

[Greek: Manei/ên ma=llon ê)\ ê)sthei/ên], Diog. L. vi. 3.]

The life of Sokrates being passed in conversing with a great variety
of persons and characters, his discourses were of course multifarious,
and his ethical influence operated in different ways. His mode of
life, too, exercised a certain influence of its own.

[Side-note: He copied the manner of life of Sokrates, in plainness and

Antisthenes, and his disciple Diogenes, were in many respects closer
approximations to Sokrates than either Plato or any other of the
Sokratic companions. The extraordinary colloquial and cross-examining
force was indeed a peculiar gift, which Sokrates bequeathed to none of
them: but Antisthenes took up the Sokratic purpose of inculcating
practical ethics not merely by word of mouth, but also by manner of
life. He was not inferior to his master in contentment under poverty,
in strength of will and endurance,[85] in acquired insensibility both
to pain and pleasure, in disregard of opinion around him, and in
fearless exercise of a self-imposed censorial mission. He learnt from
Sokrates indifference to conventional restraints and social
superiority, together with the duty of reducing wants to a minimum,
and stifling all such as were above the lowest term of necessity. To
this last point, Sokrates gave a religious colour, proclaiming that
the Gods had no wants, and that those who had least came nearest to
the Gods.[86] By Antisthenes, these qualities were exhibited in
eminent measure; and by his disciple Diogenes they were still farther
exaggerated. Epiktetus, a warm admirer of both, considers them as
following up the mission from Zeus which Sokrates (in the Platonic
Apology) sets forth as his authority, to make men independent of the
evils of life by purifying and disciplining the appreciation of good
and evil in the mind of each individual.[87]

[Footnote 85: Cicero, de Orator. iii. 17, 62; Diog. L. vi. 2. [Greek:
par' ou)=] (Sokrates) [Greek: kai\ to\ karteriko\n labô\n kai\ to\
a)pathe\s zêlô/sas katê=rxe prô=tos tou= kunismou=]: also vi. 15. The
appellation of Cynics is said to have arisen from the practice of
Antisthenes to frequent the gymnasium called [Greek: Kuno/sarges] (D.
L. vi. 13), though other causes are also assigned for the denomination
(Winckelmann, Antisth. Frag. pp. 8-10).]

[Footnote 86: Sokrates had said, [Greek: to\ mêdeno\s de/esthai,
thei=on ei)=nai; to\ d' ô(s e)lachi/stôn, e)gguta/tô tou= thei/ou]
(Xenophon, Memor. i. 6, 10. Compare Apuleius, Apol. p. 25). Plato,
Gorgias, p. 492 E. The same dictum is ascribed to Diogenes (Diog. L.
vi. 105).]

[Footnote 87: Epiktetus, Dissert. iii. 1, 19-22, iii. 21-19, iii.
24-40-60-69. The whole of the twenty-second Dissertation, [Greek: Peri\
Kunismou=], is remarkable. He couples Sokrates with Diogenes more
closely than with any one else.]

[Side-note: Doctrines of Antisthenes exclusively ethical and ascetic.
He despised music, literature, and physics.]

Antisthenes declared virtue to be the End for men to aim at--and to be
sufficient _per se_ for conferring happiness; but he also declared
that virtue must be manifested in acts and character, not by words.
Neither much discourse nor much learning was required for virtue;
nothing else need be postulated except bodily strength like that of
Sokrates.[88] He undervalued theory even in regard to Ethics: much
more in regard to Nature (Physics) and to Logic: he also despised
literary, geometrical, musical teaching, as distracting men's
attention from the regulation of their own appreciative sentiment, and
the adaptation of their own conduct to it. He maintained strenuously
(what several Platonic dialogues call in question) that virtue both
could be taught and must be taught: when once learnt, it was
permanent, and could not be eradicated. He prescribed the simplest
mode of life, the reduction of wants to a minimum, with perfect
indifference to enjoyment, wealth, or power. The reward was, exemption
from fear, anxiety, disappointments, and wants: together with the
pride of approximation to the Gods.[89] Though Antisthenes thus
despised both literature and theory, yet he had obtained a rhetorical
education, and had even heard the rhetor Gorgias. He composed a large
number of dialogues and other treatises, of which only the titles
(very multifarious) are preserved to us.[90] One dialogue, entitled
Sathon, was a coarse attack on Plato: several treated of Homer and of
other poets, whose verses he seems to have allegorised. Some of his
dialogues are also declared by Athenæus to contain slanderous abuse of
Alkibiades and other leading Athenians. On the other hand, the
dialogues are much commended by competent judges; and Theopompus even
affirmed that much in the Platonic dialogues had been borrowed from
those of Antisthenes, Aristippus, and Bryson.[91]

[Footnote 88: Diog. L. vi. 11.]

[Footnote 89: Diog. L. vi. 102-104.]

[Footnote 90: Diog. L. vi. 1, 15-18. The two remaining
fragments--[Greek: Ai)/as, O)/dusseu\s] (Winckelmann, Antisth. Fragm.
pp. 38-42)--cannot well be genuine, though Winckelmann seems to think
them so.]

[Footnote 91: Athenæus, v. 220, xi. 508; Diog. L. iii. 24-35;
Phrynichus ap. Photium, cod. 158; Epiktêtus, ii. 16-35. Antisthenes is
placed in the same line with Kritias and Xenophon, as a Sokratic
writer, by Dionysius of Halikarnassus, De Thucyd. Jud. p. 941. That
there was standing reciprocal hostility between Antisthenes and Plato
we can easily believe. Plato never names Antisthenes: and if the
latter attacked Plato, it was under the name of Sathon. How far Plato
in his dialogues intends to attack Antisthenes without naming him--is
difficult to determine. Probably he does intend to designate
Antisthenes as [Greek: ge/rôn o)psimathê/s], in Sophist. 251.
Schleiermacher and other commentators think that he intends to attack
Antisthenes in Philêbus, Theætêtus, Euthydêmus, &c. But this seems to
me not certain. In Philêbus, p. 44, he can hardly include Antisthenes
among the [Greek: ma/la deinoi\ peri\ phu/sin]. Antisthenes neglected
the study of [Greek: phu/sis].]

[Side-note: Constant friendship of Antisthenes with
Sokrates--Xenophontic Symposion.]

Antisthenes was among the most constant friends and followers of
Sokrates, both in his serious and in his playful colloquies.[92] The
Symposion of Xenophon describes both of them, in their hours of
joviality. The picture drawn by an author, himself a friend and
companion, exhibits Antisthenes (so far as we can interpret caricature
and jocular inversion) as poor, self-denying, austere, repulsive, and
disputatious--yet bold and free-spoken, careless of giving offence,
and forcible in colloquial repartee.[93]

[Footnote 92: Xenophon, Memor. iii. 11, 17.]

[Footnote 93: Xenophon, Memorab. iii. 11, 17; Symposion, ii. 10, iv.
2-3-44. Plutarch (Quæst. Symp. ii. 1, 6, p. 632) and Diogenes Laertius
(vi. 1, 15) appear to understand the description of Xenophon as
ascribing to Antisthenes a winning and conciliatory manner. To me it
conveys the opposite impression. We must recollect that the pleasantry
of the Xenophontic Symposion (not very successful as pleasantry) is
founded on the assumption, by each person, of qualities and
pretensions the direct reverse of that which he has in reality--and on
his professing to be proud of that which is a notorious disadvantage.
Thus Sokrates pretends to possess great personal beauty, and even puts
himself in competition with the handsome youth Kritobulus; he also
prides himself on the accomplishments of a good [Greek: mastropo/s].
Antisthenes, quite indigent, boasts of his wealth; the neglected
Hermogenes boasts of being powerfully friended. The passage, iv. 57,
61, which talks of the winning manners of Antisthenes, and his power
of imparting popular accomplishments, is to be understood in this
ironical and inverted sense.]

[Side-note: Diogenes, successor of Antisthenes--His Cynical
perfection--striking effect which he produced.]

In all these qualities, however, Antisthenes was surpassed by his
pupil and successor Diogenes of Sinôpê; whose ostentatious austerity
of life, eccentric and fearless character, indifference to what was
considered as decency, great acuteness and still greater power of
expression, freedom of speech towards all and against all--constituted
him the perfect type of the Cynical sect. Being the son of a
money-agent at Sinôpê, he was banished with his father for fraudulently
counterfeiting the coin of the city. On coming to Athens as an exile,
he was captivated with the character of Antisthenes, who was at first
unwilling to admit him, and was only induced to do so by his
invincible importunity. Diogenes welcomed his banishment, with all its
poverty and destitution, as having been the means of bringing him to
Antisthenes,[94] and to a life of philosophy. It was Antisthenes (he
said) who emancipated him from slavery, and made him a freeman. He was
clothed in one coarse garment with double fold: he adopted the wallet
(afterwards the symbol of cynicism) for his provisions, and is said to
have been without any roof or lodging--dwelling sometimes in a tub
near the Metroon, sometimes in one of the public porticoes or temples:
he is also said to have satisfied all his wants in the open day. He
here indulged unreservedly in that unbounded freedom of speech, which
he looked upon as the greatest blessing of life. No man ever turned
that blessing to greater account: the string of repartees, sarcasms,
and stinging reproofs, which are attributed to him by Diogenes
Laertius, is very long, but forms only a small proportion of those
which that author had found recounted.[95] Plato described Diogenes as
Sokrates running mad:[96] and when Diogenes, meeting some Sicilian
guests at his house and treading upon his best carpet, exclaimed "I am
treading on Plato's empty vanity and conceit," Plato rejoined "Yes,
with a different vanity of your own ". The impression produced by
Diogenes in conversation with others, was very powerfully felt both by
young and old. Phokion, as well as Stilpon, were among his
hearers.[97] In crossing the sea to Ægina, Diogenes was captured by
pirates, taken to Krete, and there put up to auction as a slave: the
herald asked him what sort of work he was fit for: whereupon Diogenes
replied--To command men. At his own instance, a rich Corinthian named
Xeniades bought him and transported him to Corinth. Diogenes is said
to have assumed towards Xeniades the air of a master: Xeniades placed
him at the head of his household, and made him preceptor of his sons.
In both capacities Diogenes discharged his duty well.[98] As a slave
well treated by his master, and allowed to enjoy great freedom of
speech, he lived in greater comfort than he had ever enjoyed as a
freeman: and we are not surprised that he declined the offers of
friends to purchase his liberation. He died at Corinth in very old
age: it is said, at ninety years old, and on the very same day on
which Alexander the Great died at Babylon (B.C. 323). He was buried at
the gate of Corinth leading to the Isthmus: a monument being erected
to his honour, with a column of Parian marble crowned by the statue of
a dog.[99]

[Footnote 94: Diog. L. vi. 2, 21-49; Plutarch Quæst. Sympos. ii. 1, 7;
Epiktetus, iii. 22, 67, iv. 1, 114; Dion Chrysostom. Orat. viii.-ix.-x.

Plutarch quotes two lines from Diogenes respecting Antisthenes:--

[Greek: O(/s me r(a/kê t' ê)/mpische ka\xêna/gkase
Ptôcho\n gene/sthai kai\ do/môn a)na/staton--
  ou) ga\r a)\n o(moi/ôs pithano\s ê)=n le/gôn--O(/s me sopho\n kai\
au)ta/rkê kai\ maka/rion e)poi/êse].

The interpretation given of the passage by Plutarch is curious, but
quite in the probable meaning of the author. However, it is not easy
to reconcile with the fact of this extreme poverty another fact
mentioned about Diogenes, that he asked fees from listeners, in one
case as much as a mina (Diog. L. vi. 2, 67).]

[Footnote 95: Diog. L. v. 18, vi. 2, 69. [Greek: e)rôtêthei\s ti/
ka/lliston e)n a)nthrô/pois e)/phê--par)r(êsi/a]. Among the numerous
lost works of Theophrastus (enumerated by Diogen. Laert. v. 43) one is
[Greek: Tô=n Dioge/nous Sunagôgê\, a/], a remarkable evidence of the
impression made by the sayings and proceedings of Diogenes upon his
contemporaries. Compare Dion Chrysostom. Or. ix. (vol. i. 288 seq.
Reiske) for the description of the conduct of Diogenes at the Isthmian
festival, and the effect produced by it on spectators.

These smart sayings, of which so many are ascribed to Diogenes, and
which he is said to have practised beforehand, and to have made
occasions for--[Greek: o(/ti chrei/an ei)/ê memeletêkô/s] (Diog. L. v.
18, vi. 91, vii. 26)--were called by the later rhetors [Greek:
Chrei=ai]. See Hermogenes and Theon, apud Walz, Rhetor. Græc. i. pp.
19-201; Quintilian, i. 9, 4.

Such collections of _Ana_ were ascribed to all the philosophers in
greater or less number. Photius, in giving the list of books from
which the Sophist Sopater collected extracts, indicates one as [Greek:
Ta\ Dioge/nous tou= Kunikou= A)pophthe/gmata] (Codex 161).]

[Footnote 96: Diog. L. vi. 54: [Greek: Sôkra/tês maino/ menos]. vi. 26:
[Greek: Oi( de\ phasi to\n Dioge/nên ei)pei=n, Patô= to\n Pla/tônos
tu=phon; to\n de\ pha/nai, E(te/rô| ge tu/phô|, Dio/genes]. The term
[Greek: tu=phos] ("vanity, self-conceit, assumption of knowing better
than others, being puffed up by the praise of vulgar minds") seems to
have been mach interchanged among the ancient philosophers, each of
them charging it upon his opponents; while the opponents of philosophy
generally imputed it to all philosophers alike. Pyrrho the Sceptic
took credit for being the only [Greek: a)/tuphos]: and he is
complimented as such by his panegyrist Timon in the Silli. Aristokles
affirmed that Pyrrho had just as much [Greek: tu=phon] as the rest.
Eusebius, Præp. Evang. xiv. 18.]

[Footnote 97: Diog. L. vi. 2, 75-76.]

[Footnote 98: Diog. L. vi. 2, 74. Xeniades was mentioned by
Democritus: he is said to have been a sceptic (Sext. Emp. adv. Mathem.
vii. 48-53), at least he did not recognise any [Greek: kritê/rion].]

[Footnote 99: Diog. L. vi. 2, 77-78.

Diogenes seems to have been known by his contemporaries under the
title of [Greek: o( Ku/ôn]. Aristotle cites from him a witty comparison
under that designation, Rhetoric. iii. 10, 1410, a. 24. [Greek: kai\
o( Ku/ôn (e)ka/lei) ta\ kapêlei=a, ta\ A)ttika\ phidi/tia.]]

[Side-note: Doctrines and smart sayings of Diogenes--Contempt of
pleasure--training and labour required--indifference to literature and

In politics, ethics, and rules for human conduct, Diogenes adopted
views of his own, and spoke them out freely. He was a freethinker
(like Antisthenes) as to the popular religion: and he disapproved of
marriage laws, considering that the intercourse of the sexes ought to
be left to individual taste and preference.[100] Though he respected
the city and conformed to its laws, yet he had no reverence for
existing superstitions, or for the received usages as to person, sex,
or family. He declared himself to be a citizen of the Kosmos and of
Nature.[101] His sole exigency was, independence of life, and freedom
of speech: having these, he was satisfied, fully sufficient to himself
for happiness, and proud of his own superiority to human weakness. The
main benefit which he derived from philosophy (he said) was, that he
was prepared for any fortune that might befall him. To be ready to
accept death easily, was the sure guarantee of a free and independent
life.[102] He insisted emphatically upon the necessity of exercise or
training ([Greek: a)/skêsis]) both as to the body and as to the mind.
Without this, nothing could be done: by means of it everything might
be achieved. But he required that the labours imposed should be
directed to the acquisition of habits really useful; instead of being
wasted, as they commonly were, upon objects frivolous and showy. The
truly wise man ought to set before him as a model the laborious life
of Hêraklês: and he would find, after proper practice and training,
that the contempt of pleasures would afford him more enjoyment than
the pleasures themselves.[103]

[Footnote 100: Diog. L. vi. 2, 72. Cicero, De Nat. Deor. i. 13.]

[Footnote 101: Diog. L. vi. 2, 63-71. The like declaration is ascribed
to Sokrates. Epiktêtus, i. 9, 1.]

[Footnote 102: Diog. L. vi. 2, 63, 72. [Greek: mêde\n e)leutheri/as
prokri/nôn]. Epiktêtus, iv. 1, 30. [Greek: Ou(/tô kai\ Dioge/nês
le/gei, mi/an ei)=nai mêchanê\n pro\s e)leutheri/an--to\ eu)ko/lôs
a)pothnê/skein]. Compare iv. 7-28, i. 24, 6.]

[Footnote 103: Diog. L. vi. 2, 70-71. [Greek: kai\ ga\r au)tê\ tê=s
ê(donê=s ê( kataphro/nêsis ê(duta/tê promeletêthei=sa, kai\ ô(/sper
oi( sunethisthe/ntes ê(de/ôs zê=|n, a)êdô=s e)pi\ tou)nanti/on
meti/asin, ou(/tô oi( tou)nanti/on a)skêthe/ntes ê(/dion au)tô=n tô=n
ê(donô=n kataphronou=si]. See Lucian, Vitar. Auct. c. 9, about the
hard life and the happiness of Diogenes. Compare s. 26 about the
[Greek: tu=phos] of Diogenes treading down the different [Greek:
tu=phos] of Plato, and Epiktêtus iii. 22, 57. Antisthenes, in his
dialogue or discourse called [Greek: Ê(raklê=s], appears to have
enforced the like appeal to that hero as an example to others. See
Winckelmann, Fragm. Antisthen. pp. 15-18.]

[Side-note: Admiration of Epiktêtus for Diogenes, especially for his
consistency in acting out his own ethical creed.]

Diogenes declared that education was sobriety to the young,
consolation to the old, wealth to the poor, ornament to the rich. But
he despised much of what was commonly imparted as education--music,
geometry, astronomy, &c.: and he treated with equal scorn Plato and
Eukleides.[104] He is said however to have conducted the education of
the sons of his master Xeniades[105] without material departure from
the received usage. He caused them to undergo moderate exercise (not
with a view to athletic success) in the palæstra, and afterwards to
practise riding, shooting with the bow, hurling the javelin, slinging
and hunting: he cultivated their memories assiduously, by recitations
from poets and prose authors, and even from his own compositions: he
kept them on bread and water, without tunic or shoes, with clothing
only such as was strictly necessary, with hair closely cut, habitually
silent, and fixing their eyes on the ground when they walked abroad.
These latter features approximate to the training at Sparta (as
described by Xenophon) which Diogenes declared to contrast with Athens
as the apartments of the men with those of the women. Diogenes is said
to have composed several dialogues and even some tragedies.[106] But
his most impressive display (like that of Sokrates) was by way of
colloquy--prompt and incisive interchange of remarks. He was one of
the few philosophers who copied Sokrates in living constantly before
the public--in talking with every one indiscriminately and fearlessly,
in putting home questions like a physician to his patient.[107]
Epiktêtus,--speaking of Diogenes as equal, if not superior, to
Sokrates--draws a distinction pertinent and accurate. "To Sokrates"
(says he) "Zeus assigned the elenchtic or cross-examining function: to
Diogenes, the magisterial and chastising function: to Zeno (the Stoic)
the didactic and dogmatical." While thus describing Diogenes justly
enough, Epiktetus nevertheless insists upon his agreeable person and
his extreme gentleness and good-nature:[108] qualities for which
probably Diogenes neither took credit himself, nor received credit
from his contemporaries. Diogenes seems to have really possessed--that
which his teacher Antisthenes postulated as indispensable--the
Sokratic physical strength and vigour. His ethical creed, obtained
from Antisthenes, was adopted by many successors, and (in the main) by
Zeno and the Stoics in the ensuing century. But the remarkable feature
in Diogenes which attracts to him the admiration of Epiktêtus, is--that
he set the example of acting out his creed, consistently and
resolutely, in his manner of life:[109] an example followed by some of
his immediate successors, but not by the Stoics, who confined
themselves to writing and preaching. Contemporary both with Plato and
Aristotle, Diogenes stands to both of them in much the same relation
as Phokion to Demosthenes in politics and oratory: he exhibits
strength of will, insensibility to applause as well as to reproach,
and self-acting independence--in antithesis to their higher gifts and
cultivation of intellect. He was undoubtedly, next to Sokrates, the
most original and unparalleled manifestation of Hellenic philosophy.

[Footnote 104: Diog. L. vi. 2, 68-73-24-27.]

[Footnote 105: Diog. L. vi. 2, 30-31.]

[Footnote 106: Diog. L. vi. 2, 80. Diogenes Laertius himself cites a
fact from one of the dialogues--Pordalus (vi. 2, 20): and Epiktêtus
alludes to the treatise on Ethics by Diogenes--[Greek: e)n tê=|
Ê)thikê=|]--ii. 20, 14. It appears however that the works ascribed to
Diogenes were not admitted by all authors as genuine (Diog. L. c.).]

[Footnote 107: Dion Chrysost. Or. x.; De Servis, p. 295 E. Or. ix.;
Isthmicus, p. 289 R. [Greek: ô(/sper i)atroi\ a)nakri/nousi tou\s
a)sthenou=ntas, ou(/tôs Dioge/nês a)ne/krine to\n a)/nthrôpon], &c.]

[Footnote 108: Epiktêtus, iii. 21, 19. [Greek: ô(s Sôkra/tei
sunebou/leue tê\n e)legktikê\n chô/ran e)/chein, ô(s Dioge/nei tê\n
basilikê\n kai\ e)piplêktikê/n, ô(s Zê/nôni tê\n didaskalikê\n kai\

About [Greek: to\ ê(/meron kai\ phila/nthrôpon] of Diogenes, see
Epiktêtus, iii. 24, 64; who also tells us (iv. 11, 19), professing to
follow the statements of contemporaries, that the bodies both of
Sokrates and Diogenes were by nature so sweet and agreeable ([Greek:
e)pi/chari kai\ ê(du/]) as to dispense with the necessity of washing.

"Ego certé" (says Seneca, Epist. 108, 13-14, about the lectures of the
eloquent Stoic Attalus) "cum Attalum audirem, in vitia, in errores, in
mala vitæ perorantem, sæpé misertus sum generis humani, et illum
sublimem altioremque humano fastigio credidi. Ipse regem se esse
dicebat: sed plus quam regnare mihi videbatur, cui liceret censuram
agere regnantium." See also his treatises De Beneficiis, v. 4-6, and
De Tranquillitate Animi (c. 8), where, after lofty encomium on
Diogenes, he exclaims--"Si quis de felicitate Diogenis dubitat, potest
idem dubitare et de Deorum immortalium statu, an parum beaté degant,"

[Footnote 109: Cicero, in his Oration in defence of Murena (30-61-62)
compliments Cato (the accuser) as one of the few persons who adopted
the Stoic tenets with a view of acting them out, and who did really
act them out--"Hæc homo ingeniosissimus M. Cato, autoribus
eruditissimis inductus, arripuit: neque disputandi causa, ut magna
pars, sed ita vivendi". Tacitus (Histor. iv. 5) pays the like
compliment to Helvidius Priscus.

M. Gaston Boissier (Étude sur la Vie et les Ouvrages de Varron, pp.
113-114, Paris, 1861) expresses an amount of surprise which I should
not have expected, on the fact that persons adopted a philosophical
creed for the purpose only of debating it and defending it, and not of
acting it out. But he recognises the fact, in regard to Varro and his
contemporaries, in terms not less applicable to the Athenian world:
amidst such general practice, Antisthenes, Diogenes, Krates, &c.,
stood out as memorable exceptions. "Il ne faut pas non plus oublier de
quelle manière, et dans quel esprit, les Romains lettrés étudiaient la
philosophie Grecque. Ils venaient écouter les plus habiles maîtres,
connaître les sectes les plus célèbres: mais ils les étudiaient plutôt
en curieux, qu'ils ne s'y attachaient en adeptes. On ne les voit
guères approfondir un système et s'y tenir, adopter un ensemble de
croyances, et y conformer leur conduite. On étudiait le plus souvent
la philosophie pour discuter. C'était seulement une matière à des
conversations savantes, un exercice et un aliment pour les esprits
curieux. Voilà pourquoi la secte Académique étoit alors mieux
accueillie que les autres," &c.]

[Side-note: Admiration excited by the asceticism of the
Cynics--Asceticism extreme in the East--Comparison of the Indian
Gymnosophists with Diogenes.]

Respecting Diogenes and the Cynic philosophers generally, we have to
regard not merely their doctrines, but the effect produced by their
severity of life. In this point Diogenes surpassed his master
Antisthenes, whose life he criticised as not fully realising the lofty
spirit of his doctrine. The spectacle of man not merely abstaining
from enjoyment, but enduring with indifference hunger, thirst, heat,
cold, poverty, privation, bodily torture, death, &c., exercises a
powerful influence on the imagination of mankind. It calls forth
strong feelings of reverence and admiration in the beholders: while in
the sufferer himself also, self-reverence and self-admiration, the
sense of power and exaltation above the measure of humanity, is
largely developed. The extent to which self-inflicted hardships and
pains have prevailed in various regions of the earth, the
long-protracted and invincible resolution with which they have been
endured, and the veneration which such practices have procured for the
ascetics who submitted to them are among the most remarkable chapters
in history.[110] The East, especially India, has always been, and
still is, the country in which these voluntary endurances have reached
their extreme pitch of severity; even surpassing those of the
Christian monks in Egypt and Syria, during the fourth and fifth
centuries of the Christian era.[111] When Alexander the Great first
opened India to the observation of Greeks, one of the novelties which
most surprised him and his followers was, the sight of the
Gymnosophists or naked philosophers. These men were found lying on the
ground, either totally uncovered or with nothing but a cloth round the
loins; abstaining from all enjoyment, nourishing themselves upon a
minimum of coarse vegetables or fruits, careless of the extreme heat
of the plain, and the extreme cold of the mountain; and often
superadding pain, fatigue, or prolonged and distressing uniformity of
posture. They passed their time either in silent meditation or in
discourse on religion and philosophy: they were venerated as well as
consulted by every one, censuring even the most powerful persons in
the land. Their fixed idea was to stand as examples to all, of
endurance, insensibility, submission only to the indispensable
necessities of nature, and freedom from all other fear or authority.
They acted out the doctrine, which Plato so eloquently preaches under
the name of Sokrates in the Phædon--That the whole life of the
philosopher is a preparation for death: that life is worthless, and
death an escape from it into a better state.[112] It is an interesting
fact to learn that when Onesikritus (one of Alexander's officers, who
had known and frequented the society of Diogenes in Greece), being
despatched during the Macedonian march through India for the purpose
of communicating with these Gymnosophists, saw their manner of life
and conversed with them he immediately compared them with Diogenes,
whom he had himself visited--as well as with Sokrates and Pythagoras,
whom he knew by reputation. Onesikritus described to the Gymnosophists
the manner of life of Diogenes: but Diogenes wore a threadbare mantle,
and this appeared to them a mark of infirmity and imperfection. They
remarked that Diogenes was right to a considerable extent; but wrong
for obeying convention in preference to nature, and for being ashamed
of going naked, as they did.[113]

[Footnote 110: Dion Chrysostom, viii. p. 275, Reiske.]

[Footnote 111: See the striking description in Gibbon, Decl. and Fall,
ch. xxxvii. pp. 253-265.]

[Footnote 112: Strabo, xv. 713 A (probably from Onesikritus, see
Geier, Fragment. Alexandr. Magn. Histor. p. 379). [Greek: Plei/stous
d' au)toi=s ei)=nai lo/gous peri\ tou= thana/tou; nomi/zein ga\r dê\
to\n me\n e)ntha/de bi/on ô(s a)\n a)kmê\n kuome/nôn ei)=nai, to\n de\
tha/naton ge/nesin ei)s to\n o)/ntôs bi/on kai\ to\n eu)dai/mona toi=s
philosophê/sasi; dio\ tê=| a)skê/sei plei/stê| chrê=sthai pro\s to\
e)toimotha/naton; a)gatho\n de\ ê)\ kako\n mêde\n ei)=nai tô=n
sumbaino/ntôn a)nthrô/pois], &c.

This is an application of the doctrines laid down by the Platonic
Sokrates in the Phædon, p. 64 A: [Greek: Kinduneu/ousi ga\r o(/soi
tugcha/nousin o)rthô=s a)pto/menoi philosophi/as lelêthe/nai tou\s
a)/llous, o(/ti ou)de\n a)/llo au)toi\ e)pitêdeu/ousin ê)\
a)pothnê/skein te kai\ tethna/nai]. Compare p. 67 D.; Cicero. Tusc. D.
i. 30. Compare Epiktêtus, iv. i. 30 (cited in a former note) about
Diogenes the Cynic. Also Cicero, Tusc. Disp. v. 27; Valerius Maximus,
iii. 3, 6; Diogen. L. Prooem. s. 6; Pliny, H. N. vii. 2.

Bohlen observes (Das Alte Indien, ch. ii. pp. 279-289), "It is a
remarkable fact that Indian writings of the highest antiquity depict
as already existing the same ascetic exercises as we see existing at
present: they were even then known to the ancients, who were
especially astonished at such fanaticism.]

[Footnote 113: Strabo gives a condensed summary of this report, made
by Onesikritus respecting his conversation with the Indian
Gymnosophist Mandanis, or Dandamis (Strabo, xv. p. 716 B):--[Greek:
Tau=t' ei)po/nta e)xere/sthai] (Dandamis asked Onesikritus), [Greek:
ei) kai\ e)n toi=s E(/llêsi lo/goi toiou=toi le/gointo. Ei)po/ntos d'
(O)nêsikri/tou), o(/ti kai\ Puthago/ras toiau=ta le/goi, keleu/oi te
e)mpsu/chôn a)pe/chesthai, kai\ Sôkra/tês, kai\ Dioge/nês, _ou(= kai\
au)to\s_] (Onesikritus) [Greek: _a)kroa/saito_, a)pokri/nasthai]
(Dandamis), [Greek: o(/ti ta)/lla me\n nomi/zoi phroni/môs au)toi=s
dokei=n, e(\n d' a(marta/nein--no/mon pro\ tê=s phu/seôs titheme/nous;
ou) ga\r a)\n ai)schu/nesthai gumnou/s, ô(/sper au)to/n, dia/gein,
a)po\ litô=n zô=ntas; kai\ ga\r oi)ki/an a)ri/stên ei)=nai, ê)/tis
a)\n e)piskeuê=s e)lachi/stês de/êtai].

About Onesikritus, Diog. Laert. vi. 75-84; Plutarch, Alexand. c. 65;
Plutarch, De Fortuna Alexandri, p. 331.

The work of August Gladitsch (Einleitung in das Verständniss der
Weltgeschichte, Posen, 1841) contains an instructive comparison
between the Gymnosophists and the Cynics, as well as between the
Pythagoreans and the Chinese philosophers--between the Eleatic sect
and the Hindoo philosophers. The points of analogy, both in doctrine
and practice, are very numerous and strikingly brought out, pp.
356-377. I cannot, however, agree in his conclusion, that the doctrines
and practice of Antisthenes were borrowed, not from Sokrates with
exaggeration, but from the Parmenidean theory, and the Vedanta theory
of the Ens Unum, leading to negation and contempt of the phenomenal

[Side-note: The precepts and principles laid down by Sokrates were
carried into fullest execution by the Cynics.]

These observations of the Indian Gymnosophist are a reproduction and
an application in practice[114] of the memorable declaration of
principle enunciated by Sokrates--"That the Gods had no wants: and
that the man who had fewest wants, approximated most nearly to the
Gods". This principle is first introduced into Grecian ethics by
Sokrates: ascribed to him both by Xenophon and Plato, and seemingly
approved by both. In his life, too, Sokrates carried the principle
into effect, up to a certain point. Both admirers and opponents attest
his poverty, hard fare, coarse clothing, endurance of cold and
privation:[115] but he was a family man, with a wife and children to
maintain, and he partook occasionally, of indulgences which made him
fall short of his own ascetic principle. Plato and Xenophon--both of
them well-born Athenians, in circumstances affluent, or at least easy,
the latter being a knight, and even highly skilled in horses and
horsemanship--contented themselves with preaching on the text,
whenever they had to deal with an opponent more self-indulgent than
themselves; but made no attempt to carry it into practice.[116] Zeno
the Stoic laid down broad principles of self-denial and apathy: but in
practice he was unable to conquer the sense of shame, as the Cynics
did, and still more the Gymnosophists. Antisthenes, on the other hand,
took to heart, both in word and act, the principle of Sokrates: yet
even he, as we know from the Xenophontic Symposion, was not altogether
constant in rigorous austerity. His successors Diogenes and Krates
attained the maximum of perfection ever displayed by the Cynics of
free Greece. They stood forth as examples of endurance,
abnegation--insensibility to shame and fear--free-spoken censure of
others. Even they however were not so recognised by the Indian
Gymnosophists; who, having reduced their wants, their fears, and
their sensibilities, yet lower, had thus come nearer to that which they
called the perfection of Nature, and which Sokrates called the close
approach to divinity.[117] When Alexander the Great (in the first year of
his reign and prior to any of his Asiatic conquests) visited Diogenes at
Corinth, found him lying in the sun, and asked if there was anything
which he wanted--Diogenes made the memorable reply--"Only that you and
your guards should stand out of my sunshine". This reply doubtless
manifests the self-satisfied independence of the philosopher. Yet it
is far less impressive than the fearless reproof which the Indian
Gymnosophists administered to Alexander, when they saw him in the
Punjab at the head of his victorious army, after exploits, dangers,
and fatigues almost superhuman, as conqueror of Persia and
acknowledged son of Zeus.[118]

[Footnote 114: Onesikritus observes, respecting the Indian
Gymnosophists, that "they were more striking in act than in discourse"
([Greek: e)n e)/rgois ga\r au)tou\s krei/ttous ê)\ lo/gois ei)=nai],
Strabo, xv. 713 B); and this is true about the Cynic succession of
philosophers, in Greece as well as in Rome. Diogenes Laertius (compare
his prooem, s. 19, 20, and vi. 103) ranks the Cynic philosophy as a
distinct [Greek: ai(/resis]: but he tells us that other writers
(especially Hippobotus) would not reckon it as an [Greek: ai(/resis],
but only as an [Greek: e)/nstasis bi/ou]--practice without theory.]

[Footnote 115: Xenophon, Memor. i. 6, 2-5; Plato, Sympos. 219, 220.

The language of contemporary comic writers, Ameipsias, Eupolis,
Aristophanes, &c., about Sokrates--is very much the same as that of
Menander a century afterwards about Kratês. Sokrates is depicted as a
Cynic in mode of life (Diogen. L. ii. 28; Aristophan. Nubes,

[Footnote 116: Zeno, though he received instructions from Kratês, was
[Greek: a)/llôs me\n eu)/tonos pro\s tê\n philosophi/an, ai)dê/môn de\
ô(s pro\s tê\n kunikê\n a)naischunti/an] (Diog. L. vii. 3).

"Disputare cum Socrate licet, dubitare cum Carneade, cum Epicure
quiescere, hominis naturam cum Stoicis vincere, cum Cynicis excedere,"
&c. This is the distinction which Seneca draws between Stoic and Cynic
(De Brevitat. Vitæ, 14, 5). His admiration for the "seminudus" Cynic
Demetrius, his contemporary and companion, was extreme (Epist. 62, 2,
and Epist. 20, 18).]

[Footnote 117: Xenoph. Memor. i. 6, 10 (the passage is cited in a
previous note). The Emperor Julian (Orat. vi. p. 192 Spanh.) says
about the Cynics--[Greek: a)pa/theian ga\r poiou=ntai to\ te/los,
tou=to de\ i)/son e)sti\ tô=| theo\n gene/sthai]. Dion Chrysostom (Or.
vi. p. 208) says also about Diogenes the Cynic--[Greek: kai\ ma/lista
e)mimei=to tô=n theô=n to\n bi/on.]]

[Footnote 118: Cicero, Tusc. Disp. v. 32, 92, and the Anabasis of
Arrian, vii. 1-2-3, where both the reply of Diogenes and that of the
Indian Gymnosophists are reported. Dion Chrysostom (Orat. iv. p. 145
seq. Reiske) gives a prolix dialogue between Alexander and Diogenes.
His picture of the effect produced by Diogenes upon the different
spectators at the Isthmian festival, is striking and probable.

Kalanus, one of the Indian Gymnosophists, was persuaded, by the
instances of Alexander, to abandon his Indian mode of life and to come
away with the Macedonian army--very much to the disgust of his
brethren, who scornfully denounced him as infirm and even as the
slave of appetite ([Greek: a)ko/laston], Strabo, xv. 718). He was
treated with the greatest consideration and respect by Alexander and
his officers; yet when the army came into Persis, he became sick of
body and tired of life. He obtained the reluctant consent of Alexander
to allow him to die. A funeral pile was erected, upon which he
voluntarily burnt himself in presence of the whole army; who witnessed
the scene with every demonstration of military honour. See the
remarkable description in Arrian, Anab. vii. 3. Cicero calls him
"Indus indoctus ac barbarus" (Tusc. Disp. ii. 22, 52); but the
impression which he made on Alexander himself, Onesikritus,
Lysimachus, and generally upon all who saw him, was that of respectful
admiration (Strabo, xv. 715; Arrian, l. c.). One of these Indian
sages, who had come into Syria along with the Indian envoys sent by an
Indian king to the Roman Emperor Augustus, burnt himself publicly at
Athens, with an exulting laugh when he leaped upon the funeral pile
(Strabo, xv. 720 A)--[Greek: kata\ ta\ pa/tria tô=n I)ndô=n e)/thê].

The like act of self-immolation was performed by the Grecian Cynic
Peregrinus Proteus, at the Olympic festival in the reign of Marcus
Antoninus, 165 A.D. (See Clinton, Fasti Romani.) Lucian, who was
present and saw the proceeding, has left an animated description of
it, but ridicules it as a piece of silly vanity. Theagenes, the
admiring disciple of Peregrinus, and other Cynics, who were present in
considerable numbers--and also Lucian himself compare this act to that
of the Indian Gymnosophists--[Greek: ou(=tos de\ ti/nos ai)ti/as
e(/neken e)mba/llei phe/rôn e(auto\n ei)s to\ pu=r? nê\ Di/', o(/pôs
tê\n karteri/an e)pidei/xêtai, katha/per oi( Brachma=nes] (Lucian, De
Morte Peregrini, 25-39, &c.).]

[Side-note: Antithesis between Nature--and Law or Convention--insisted
on by the Indian Gymnosophists.]

Another point, in the reply made by the Indian Gymnosophist to
Onesikritus, deserves notice: I mean the antithesis between law (or
convention) and nature ([Greek: no/mos--phu/sis])--the supremacy which
he asserts for Nature over law--and the way in which he understands
Nature and her supposed ordinances. This antithesis was often put
forward and argued in the ancient Ethics: and it is commonly said,
without any sufficient proof, that the Sophists (speaking of them
collectively) recognised only the authority of law--while Sokrates and
Plato had the merit of vindicating against them the superior authority
of Nature. The Indian Gymnosophist agrees with the Athenian speaker in
the Platonic treatise De Legibus, and with the Platonic Kallikles in
the Gorgias, thus far--that he upholds the paramount authority of
Nature. But of these three interpreters, each hears and reports the
oracles of Nature differently from the other two: and there are many
other dissenting interpreters besides.[119] Which of them are we to
follow? And if, adopting any one of them, we reject the others, upon
what grounds are we to justify our preference? When the Gymnosophist
points out, that nakedness is the natural condition of man; when he
farther infers, that because natural it is therefore right and that
the wearing of clothes, being a departure from nature, is also a
departure from right--how are we to prove to him that his
interpretation of nature is the wrong one? These questions have
received no answer in any of the Platonic dialogues: though we have
seen that Plato is very bitter against those who dwell upon the
antithesis between Law and Nature, and who undertake to decide between
the two.

[Footnote 119: Though Seneca (De Brevitate Vit. 14) talks of the
Stoics as "conquering Nature, and the Cynics as exceeding Nature," yet
the Stoic Epiktêtus considers his morality as the only scheme
conformable to Nature (Epiktêt. Diss. iv. 1, 121-128); while the
Epikurean Lucretius claims the same conformity for the precepts of

[Side-note: The Greek Cynics--an order of ascetic or mendicant

Reverting to the Cynics, we must declare them to be in one respect the
most peculiar outgrowth of Grecian philosophy: because they are not
merely a doctrinal sect, with phrases, theories, reasonings, and
teachings, of their own--but still more prominently a body of
practical ascetics, a mendicant order[120] in philosophy, working up
the bystanders by exhibiting themselves as models of endurance and
apathy. These peculiarities seem to have originated partly with
Pythagoras, partly with Sokrates--for there is no known prior example
of it in Grecian history, except that of the anomalous priests of Zeus
at Dodona, called Selli, who lay on the ground with unwashed feet. The
discipline of Lykurgus at Sparta included severe endurance; but then
it was intended to form, and actually did form, good soldiers. The
Cynics had no view to military action. They exaggerated the
peculiarities of Sokrates, and we should call their mode of life the
Sokratic life, if we followed the example of those who gave names to
the Pythagorean or Orphic life, as a set of observances derived from
the type of Pythagoras or Orpheus.[121]

[Footnote 120: Respecting the historical connexion between the Grecian
Cynics and the ascetic Christian monks, see Zeller, Philos. der
Griech. ii. p. 241, ed. 2nd.

Homer, Iliad xvi. 233-5:--

[Greek: Zeu= a)/na, Dôdônai=e, Pelasgike/, têlo/thi nai/ôn,
Dôdô/nês mede/ôn duscheime/rou, a)mphi\ de\ Se/lloi
Soi\ nai/ous' u(pophê=tai a)nipto/podes, chamaieu=nai].

There is no analogy in Grecian history to illustrate this very curious
passage: the Excursus of Heyne furnishes no information (see his
edition of the Iliad, vol. vii. p. 289) except the general
remark:--"Selli--vitæ genus et institutum affectarunt abhorrens à communi
usu, vitæ monachorum mendicantium haud absimile, cum sine vitæ cultu
viverent, nec corpus abluerent, et humi cubarent. Ita inter barbaros
non modo, sed inter ipsas feras gentes intellectum est, eos qui
auctoritatem apud multitudinem consequi vellent, externâ specie, vitæ
cultu austeriore, abstinentiâ et continentiâ, oculos hominum in se
convertere et mirationem facere debere."]

[Footnote 121: Plato, Republic, x. 600 B; Legib. vi. 782 C; Eurip.
Hippol. 955; Fragm. [Greek: Krê=tes].

See also the citations in Athenæus (iv. pp. 161-163) from the writers
of the Attic middle comedy, respecting the asceticism of the
Pythagoreans, analogous to that of the Cynics.]

[Side-note: Logical views of Antisthenes and Diogenes--they opposed
the Platonic Ideas.]

Though Antisthenes and Diogenes laid chief stress upon ethical topics,
yet they also delivered opinions on logic and evidence.[122]
Antisthenes especially was engaged in controversy, and seemingly in
acrimonious controversy, with Plato; whose opinions he impugned in an
express dialogue entitled Sathon. Plato on his side attacked the
opinions of Antisthenes, and spoke contemptuously of his intelligence,
yet without formally naming him. At least there are some criticisms in
the Platonic dialogues (especially in the Sophistês, p. 251) which the
commentators pronounce, on strong grounds, to be aimed at Antisthenes:
who is also unfavourably criticised by Aristotle. We know but little
of the points which Antisthenes took up against Plato and still less
of the reasons which he urged in support of them. Both he and
Diogenes, however, are said to have declared express war against the
Platonic theory of self-existent Ideas. The functions of general
Concepts and general propositions, together with the importance of
defining general terms, had been forcibly insisted on in the
colloquies of Sokrates; and his disciple Plato built upon this
foundation the memorable hypothesis of an aggregate of eternal,
substantive realities, called Ideas or Forms, existing separate from
the objects of sense, yet affording a certain participation in
themselves to those objects: not discernible by sense, but only by the
Reason or understanding. These bold creations of the Platonic fancy
were repudiated by Antisthenes and Diogenes: who are both said to have
declared "We see Man, and we see Horse; but Manness and Horseness we
do not see". Whereunto Plato replied "You possess that eye by which
Horse is seen: but you have not yet acquired that eye by which
Horseness is seen".[123]

[Footnote 122: Among the titles of the works of Antisthenes, preserved
by Diogenes Laertius (vi. 15), several relate to dialectic or logic.
[Greek: A)lê/theia. Peri\ tou= diale/gesthai, a)ntilogiko/s. Sa/thôn,
peri\ tou= a)ntile/gein, a, b, g. Peri\ Diale/kton. Peri\ Paidei/as
ê)\ o)noma/tôn, a, b, g, d, e. Peri\ o)noma/tôn chrêseôs, ê)\
e)ristiko/s. Peri\ e)rôtê/seôs kai\ a)pokri/seôs], &c., &c.

Diogenes Laertius refers to _ten_ [Greek: to/moi] of these treatises.]

[Footnote 123: Simplikius, ad Aristot. Categ. p. 66, b. 47, 67, b. 18,
68, b. 25, Schol. Brand.; Tzetzes, Chiliad. vii. 606.

[Greek: tô=n de\ palaiô=n oi( me\n a)nê/|roun ta\s poio/têtas tele/ôs,
to\ poio\n sugchôrou=ntos ei)=nai; ô(/sper A)ntisthe/nês, o(/s pote
Pla/tôni diamphisbêtô=n--ô(= Pla/tôn, e)/phê, i(/ppon me\n o(rô=,
i(ppo/têta d' ou)ch o(rô=; kai\ o(\s ei)=pen, e)/cheis me\n ô(=|
i(/ppos o(ra=tai to/de to\ o)/mma, ô(=| de\ i(ppo/tês theôrei=tai,
ou)de/pô ke/ktêsai. kai\ a)/lloi de/ tines ê)=san tau/tês tê=s do/xês.
oi( de\ tina\s men a)nê/|roun poio/têtas, tina\s de\ kateli/mpanon].

[Greek: Anthrôpo/tês] occurs p. 58, a. 31. Compare p. 20, a. 2.

The same conversation is reported as having taken place between
Diogenes and Plato, except that instead of [Greek: i(ppo/tês] and
[Greek: a)nthrôpo/tês], we have [Greek: trapezo/tês] and [Greek:
kuatho/tês] (Diog. L. vi, 53).

We have [Greek: zôo/tês--A)thênaio/tês]--in Galen's argument against
the Stoics (vol. xix. p. 481, Kühn).]

[Side-note: First protest of Nominalism against Realism.]

This debate between Antisthenes and Plato marks an interesting point
in the history of philosophy. It is the first protest of Nominalism
against the doctrine of an extreme Realism. The Ideas or Forms of
Plato (according to many of his phrases, for he is not always
consistent with himself) are not only real existences distinct from
particulars, but absorb to themselves all the reality of particulars.
The real universe in the Platonic theory was composed of Ideas or
Forms such as Manness or Horseness[124] (called by Plato the [Greek:
Au)to\-A)/nthrôpos] and [Greek: Au)to\-I(/ppos]), of which particular
men and horses were only disfigured, transitory, and ever-varying
photographs. Antisthenes denied what Plato affirmed, and as Plato
affirmed it. Aristotle denied it also; maintaining that genera,
species, and attributes, though distinguishable as separate predicates
of, or inherencies in, individuals--yet had no existence apart from
individuals. Aristotle was no less wanting than Antisthenes, in the
intellectual eye required for discerning the Platonic Ideas.
Antisthenes is said to have declared these Ideas to be mere thoughts
or conceptions ([Greek: psila\s e)nnoi/as]): _i.e._, merely subjective
or within the mind, without any object corresponding to them. This is
one of the various modes of presenting the theory of Ideas, resorted
to even in the Platonic Parmenidês, not by one who opposes that
theory, but by one seeking to defend it--_viz._, by Sokrates, when he
is hard pressed by the objections of the Eleate against the more
extreme and literal version of the theory.[125] It is remarkable, that
the objections ascribed to Parmenides against that version which
exhibits the Ideas as mere Concepts of and in the mind, are decidedly
less forcible than those which he urges against the other versions.

[Footnote 124: We know from Plato himself (Theætêtus, p. 182 A) that
even the word [Greek: poio/tês], if not actually first introduced by
himself, was at any rate so recent as to be still repulsive, and to
require an Apology, If [Greek: poio/tês] was strange, [Greek:
a)nthrôpo/tês] and [Greek: i(ppo/tês] would be still more strange.
Antisthenes probably invented them, to present the doctrine which he
impugned in a dress of greater seeming absurdity.]

[Footnote 125: Plato, Parmenidês, p. 132 B. See, afterwards, chapter
xxvii., Parmenides.]

[Side-note: Doctrines of Antisthenes about predication--he admits no
other predication but identical.]

There is another singular doctrine, which Aristotle ascribes to
Antisthenes, and which Plato notices and confutes; alluding to its
author contemptuously, but not mentioning his name. Every name
(Antisthenes argued) has its own special reason or meaning ([Greek:
oi)kei=os[126] lo/gos]), declaring the essence of the thing named, and
differing from every other word: you cannot therefore truly predicate
any one word of any other, because the reason or meaning of the two is
different: there can be no true propositions except identical
propositions, in which the predicate is the same with the subject--"man
is man, good is good". "Man is good" was an inadmissible
proposition: affirming different things to be the same, or one thing
to be many.[127] Accordingly, it was impossible for two speakers
really to contradict each other. There can be no contradiction between
them if both declare the essence of the same thing--nor if neither of
them declare the essence of it--nor if one speaker declares the
essence of one thing, and another speaker that of another. But one of
these three cases must happen: therefore there can be no

[Footnote 126: Diogen. L. vi. 3. [Greek: Prôto/s te ô(ri/sato]
(Antisthenes) [Greek: lo/gon, ei)pô/n, lo/gos e)sti\n o( to\ ti/ ê)=n
ê)/ e)sti dêlô=n.]]

[Footnote 127: Aristotle, Metaphy. [Greek: D]. 1024, b. 32, attributes
this doctrine to Antisthenes by name; which tends to prove that Plato
meant Antisthenes, though not naming him, in Sophist, p. 251 B, where
he notices the same doctrine. Compare Philêbus, p. 14 D.

It is to be observed that a doctrine exactly the same as that which
Plato here censures in Antisthenes, will be found maintained by the
Platonic Sokrates himself, in Plato, Hippias Major, p. 304 A. See
chap, xiii. vol. ii. of the present work.]

[Footnote 128: Aristot. Topic. i. p. 104, b. 20. [Greek: the/sis de/
e)stin u(po/lêpsis para/doxos tô=n gnôri/môn tino\s kata\
philosophi/an; oi(=on o(/ti ou)k e)/stin a)ntile/gein, katha/per
e)/phê A)ntisthe/nês].

Plato puts this [Greek: the/sis] into the mouth of Dionysodorus, in
the Euthydêmus--p. 286 B; but he says (or makes Sokrates say) that it
was maintained by many persons, and that it had been maintained by
Protagoras, and even by others yet more ancient.

Antisthenes had discussed it specially in a treatise of three sections
polemical against Plato--[Greek: Sa/thôn, ê)\ peri\ tou= a)ntile/gein,
a, b, g] (Diog. L. vi. 16).]

[Side-note: The same doctrine asserted by Stilpon, after the time of

The works of Antisthenes being lost, we do not know how he himself
stated his own doctrine, nor what he said on behalf of it, declaring
contradiction to be impossible. Plato sets aside the doctrine as
absurd and silly; Aristotle--since he cites it as a paradox, apt for
dialectical debate, where the opinion of a philosopher stood opposed
to what was generally received--seems to imply that there were
plausible arguments to be urged in its favour.[129] And that the
doctrine actually continued to be held and advocated, in the
generation not only after Antisthenes but after Aristotle--we may see
by the case of Stilpon: who maintained (as Antisthenes had done) that
none but identical propositions, wherein the predicate was a
repetition of the subject, were admissible: from whence it followed
(as Aristotle observed) that there could be no propositions either
false or contradictory. Plutarch,[130] in reciting this doctrine of
Stilpon (which had been vehemently impugned by the Epikurean Kolôtês),
declares it to have been intended only in jest. There is no ground for
believing that it was so intended: the analogy of Antisthenes goes to
prove the contrary.

[Footnote 129: Aristotle (Met. [Greek: D]. 1024) represents the
doctrine of Antisthenes, That contradictory and false propositions are
impossible--as a consequence deduced from the position laid down--That
no propositions except identical propositions were admissible. If you
grant this last proposition, the consequences will be undeniable.
Possibly Antisthenes may have reasoned in this way:"There are many
contradictory and false propositions now afloat; but this arises from
the way in which predication is conducted. So long as the predicate is
different from the subject, there is nothing _in the form of a
proposition_ to distinguish falsehood from truth (to distinguish
_Theætêtus sedet_, from _Theætêtus volat_--to take the instance in the
Platonic Sophistês--p. 263). There ought to be no propositions except
identical propositions: the form itself will then guarantee you
against both falsehood and contradiction: you will be sure always to
give [Greek: to\n oi)kei=on lo/gon tou= pra/gmatos]." There would be
nothing inconsistent in such a precept: but Aristotle might call it
silly [Greek: eu)êthô=s]), because, while shutting out falsehood and
contradiction, it would also shut out the great body of useful truth,
and would divest language of its usefulness as a means of

Brandis (Gesch. der Gr. Römisch. Phil. vol. ii. xciii. 1) gives
something like this as the probable purpose of Antisthenes--"Nur Eins
bezeichne die Wesenheit eines Dinges--die Wesenheit als einfachen
Träger des mannichfaltigen der Eigenschaften"(this is rather too
Aristotelian)--"zur Abwehr von Streitigkeiten auf dem Gebiete der
Erscheinungen". Compare also Ritter, Gesch. Phil. vol. ii. p. 130. We
read in the Kratylus, that there were persons who maintained the
rectitude of all names: to say that a name was not right, was (in
their view) tantamount to saying that it was no name at all, but only
an unmeaning sound (Plato, Krat. pp. 429-430).]

[Footnote 130: Plutarch, adv. Kolôten, p. 1119 C-D.]

[Side-note: Nominalism of Stilpon. His reasons against accidental

Stilpon, however, while rejecting (as Antisthenes had done) the
universal Ideas[131] or Forms, took a larger ground of objection. He
pronounced them to be inadmissible both as subject and as predicate.
If you speak of Man in general (he said), what, or whom, do you mean?
You do not mean A or B, or C or D, &c.: that is, you do not mean any
one of these more than any other. You have no determinate meaning at
all: and beyond this indefinite multitude of individuals, there is
nothing that the term can mean. Again, as to predicates--when you say,
_The man runs_, or _The man is good_, what do you mean by the
predicate _runs_, or is _good_? You do not mean any thing specially
belonging to man: for you apply the same predicates to many other
subjects: you say _runs_, about a horse, a dog, or a cat--you say
_good_ in reference to food, medicine, and other things besides. Your
predicate, therefore, being applied to many and diverse subjects,
belongs not to one of them more than to another: in other words, it
belongs to neither: the predication is not admissible.[132]

[Footnote 131: Hegel (Geschichte der Griech. Philos. i. p. 123) and
Marbach (Geschichte der Philos. s. 91) disallow the assertion of
Diogenes, that Stilpon [Greek: a)nê/rei ta\ ei)/dê]. They maintain
that Stilpon rejected the particular affirmations, and allowed only
general or universal affirmations. This construction appears to me

[Footnote 132: Diog. L. ii. 113; Plutarch, adv. Kolôten, 1119-1120.
[Greek: ei) peri\ i(/ppou to\ tre/chein katêgorou=men, ou)/ phêsi]
(Stilpon) [Greek: tau)to\n ei)=nai tô=| peri\ ou)= katêgorei=tai to\
katêgorou/menon--e)kate/rou ga\r a)paitou/menoi to\n lo/gon, ou) to\n
au)to\n a)podi/domen u(pe\r a)mphoi=n. O(/then a(marta/nein tou\s
e(/teron e(te/rou katêgorou=ntas. Ei) me\n ga\r tau)ton e)sti tô=|
a)nthrô/pô| to\ a)gatho/n, kai\ tô=| i(/ppô| to\ tre/chein, pô=s kai\
siti/ou kai\ pharma/kou to\ a)gatho/n? kai\ nê\ Di/a pa/lin le/ontos
kai\ kuno\s to\ tre/chein, katêgorou=men? ei) d' e(/teron, ou)k
o)rthô=s _a)/nthrôpon a)gatho\n kai\ i(/ppon tre/chein_ le/gomen].

Sextus Empiricus (adv. Mathem. vii. p. 269-282) gives a different vein
of reasoning respecting predication,--yet a view which illustrates
this doctrine of Antisthenes. Sextus does not require that all
predication shall be restricted to identical predication: but he
maintains that you cannot define any general word. To define, he says,
is to enunciate the essence of that which is defined. But when you
define Man--"a mortal, rational animal, capable of reason and
knowledge"--you give only certain attributes of Man, which go along
with the essence--you do not give the essence itself. If you enumerate
even all the accompaniments ([Greek: sumbebêko/ta]), you will still
fail to tell me what the essence of Man is: which is what I desire to
know, and what you profess to do by your definition. It is useless to
enumerate accompaniments, until you explain to me what the essence is
which they accompany.

These are ingenious objections, which seem to me quite valid, if you
assume the logical subject to be a real, absolute essence, apart from
all or any of its predicates. And this is a frequent illusion,
favoured even by many logicians. We enunciate the subject first, then
the predicate; and because the subject can be conceived after
abstraction of this, that, _or_ the other predicates--we are apt to
imagine that it may be conceived without _all or any_ of the
predicates. But this is an illusion. If you suppress all predicates,
the subject or supposed substratum vanishes along with them: just as
the Genus vanishes, if you suppress all the different species of it.

"Scais-tu au moins ce que c'est que la matière? Très-bien. . . Par
exemple, cette pierre est grise, est d'une telle forme, a ses trois
dimensions; elle est pésante et divisible. Eh bien (dit le Sirien),
cette chose qui te paroît être divisible, pésante, et grise, me dirois
tu bien ce que c'est? Tu vois quelques attributs: mais le fond de la
chose, le connois tu? Non, dit l'autre. Tu ne scais donc point ce que
c'est que la matière." (Voltaire, Micromégas, c. 7.)

"Le fond de la chose"--the Ding an sich--is nothing but the name
itself, divested of every fraction of meaning: it is _titulus sine
re_. But the name being familiar, and having been always used with a
meaning, still appears invested with much of the old emotional
associations, even though it has been stripped of all its meaning by
successive acts of abstraction. If you subtract from four, 1 + 1 + 1 +
1, there will remain zero. But by abstracting, from the subject _man_,
all its predicates, real and possible, you cannot reduce it to zero.
The _name_ man always remains, and appears by old association to carry
with it some meaning--though the meaning can no longer be defined.

This illusion is well pointed out in a valuable passage of Cabanis (Du
Degré de Certitude de la Médecine, p. 61):--

"Je pourrois d'ailleurs demander ce qu'on entend par la nature et les
causes premières des maladies. Nous connoissons de leur nature, ce que
les faits en manifestent. Nous savons, par exemple, que la fièvre
produit tels et tels changements: ou plutôt, c'est par ces changements
qu'elle se montre à nos yeux: c'est _par eux seuls qu'elle existe pour
nous_. Quand un homme tousse, crache du sang, respire avec peine,
ressent une douleur de côté, a le pouls plus vite et plus dur, la peau
plus chaude que dans l'état naturel--l'on dit qu'il est attaqué d'une
pleurésie. Mais qu'est ce donc _qu'une pleurésie_? On vous répliquera
que c'est une maladie, dans laquelle tous, ou presque tous, ces
accidents se trouvent combinés. S'il en manque un ou plusieurs, ce
n'est point la pleurésie, du moins la vraie pleurésie essentielle des
écoles. _C'est donc le concours de ces accidents qui la constitue._ Le
mot _pleurésie ne fait que les retracer d'une manière plus courte. Ce
mot n'est pas un être par lui-même_: il exprime une abstraction de
l'esprit, et réveille par un seul trait toutes les images d'un assez
grand tableau.

"Ainsi lorsque, non content de connoître une maladie par ce qu'elle
offre à nos sens, par ce qui seul la constitue, et sans quoi elle
n'existeroit pas, _vous demandez encore quelle est sa nature en
elle-même, quelle est son essence--c'est comme si vous demandiez quelle
est la nature ou l'essence d'un mot, d'une pure abstraction._ Il n'y a
donc pas beaucoup de justesse à dire, d'un air de triomphe, que les
médecins ignorent même la nature de la fièvre, et que sans cesse ils
agissent dans des circonstances, ou manient des instruments, dont
l'essence leur est inconnue."]

[Side-note: Difficulty of understanding how the same predicate could
belong to more than one subject.]

Stilpon (like Antisthenes, as I have remarked above) seems to have had
in his mind a type of predication, similar to the type of reasoning
which Aristotle laid down the syllogism: such that the form of the
proposition should be itself a guarantee for the truth of what was
affirmed. Throughout the ancient philosophy, especially in the more
methodised debates between the Academics and Sceptics on one side, and
the Stoics on the other--what the one party affirmed and the other
party denied, was, the existence of a Criterion of Truth: some
distinguishable mark, such as falsehood could not possibly carry. To
find this infallible mark in propositions, Stilpon admitted none
except identical. While agreeing with Antisthenes, that no predicate
could belong to a subject different from itself, he added a new
argument, by pointing out that predicates applied to one subject were
also applied to many other subjects. Now if the predicates belonged to
one, they could not (in his view) belong to the others: and therefore
they did not really belong to any. He considered that predication
involved either identity or special and exclusive implication of the
predicate with the subject.

[Side-note: Analogous difficulties in the Platonic Parmenidês.]

Stilpon was not the first who had difficulty in explaining to himself
how one and the same predicate could be applied to many different
subjects. The difficulty had already been set forth in the Platonic
Parmenidês.[133] How can the Form (Man, White, Good, &c.) be present
at one and the same time in many distinct individuals? It cannot be
present as a whole in each: nor can it be divided, and thus present
partly in one, partly in another. How therefore can it be present at
all in any of them? In other words, how can the One be Many, and how
can the Many be One? Of this difficulty (as of many others) Plato
presents no solution, either in the Parmenidês or anywhere else.[134]
Aristotle alludes to several contemporaries or predecessors who felt
it. Stilpon reproduces it in his own way. It is a very real
difficulty, requiring to be dealt with by those who lay down a theory
of predication; and calling upon them to explain the functions of
general propositions, and the meaning of general terms.

[Footnote 133: Plato, Parmenidês, p. 131. Compare also Philêbus, p.
15, and Stallbaum's Proleg. to the Parmenidês, pp. 46-47. The long
commentary of Proklus (v. 100-110. pp. 670-682 of the edition of
Stallbaum) amply attests the [Greek: duskoli/an] of the problem.

The argument of Parmenidês (in the dialogue called Parmenidês) is
applied to the Platonic [Greek: ei)/dê] and to [Greek: ta\
mete/chonta]. But the argument is just as much applicable to
attributes, genera, species: to all general predicates.]

[Footnote 134: Aristot. Physic. i. 2, 185, b. 26-36.

Lykophron and some others anterior to Aristotle proposed to elude the
difficulty, by ceasing to use the substantive verb as copula in
predication: instead of saying [Greek: Sôkra/tês e)sti\ leuko/s], they
said either [Greek: Sôkra/tês leuko/s], simply, or [Greek: Sôkra/tês

This is a remarkable evidence of the difficulty arising, even in these
early days of logic, about the logical function of the copula.]

[Side-note: Menedêmus disallowed all negative predication.]

Menedêmus the Eretrian, one among the hearers and admirers of Stilpon,
combined even more than Stilpon the attributes of the Cynic with those
of the Megaric. He was fearless in character, and uncontrouled in
speech, delivering harsh criticisms without regard to offence given:
he was also a great master of ingenious dialectic and puzzling
controversy.[135] His robust frame, grave deportment, and simplicity
of life, inspired great respect; especially as he occupied a
conspicuous position, and enjoyed political influence at Eretria. He
is said to have thought meanly both of Plato and Xenokrates. We are
told that Menedêmus, like Antisthenes and Stilpon, had doctrines of
his own on the subject of predication. He disallowed all negative
propositions, admitting none but affirmative: moreover even of the
affirmative propositions, he disallowed all the hypothetical,
approving only the simple and categorical.[136]

[Footnote 135: Diog. L. ii. 127-134. [Greek: ê)=n ga\r kai\
e)piko/ptês kai\ par)r(êsiastê/s.]]

[Footnote 136: Diog. L. ii. 134.]

It is impossible to pronounce confidently respecting these doctrines,
without knowing the reasons upon which they were grounded.
Unfortunately these last have not been transmitted to us. But we may
be very sure that there were reasons, sufficient or insufficient: and
the knowledge of those reasons would have enabled us to appreciate
more fully the state of the Greek mind, in respect to logical theory,
in and before the year 300 B.C.

[Side-note: Distinction ascribed to Antisthenes between simple and
complex objects. Simple objects undefinable.]

Another doctrine, respecting knowledge and definition, is ascribed by
Aristotle to "the disciples of Antisthenes and other such uninstructed
persons": it is also canvassed by Plato in the Theætêtus,[137] without
specifying its author, yet probably having Antisthenes in view. As far
as we can make out a doctrine which both these authors recite as
opponents, briefly and their own way, it is as follows:--"Objects must
be distinguished into--1. Simple or primary; and 2. Compound or
secondary combinations of these simple elements. This last class, the
compounds, may be explained or defined, because you can enumerate the
component elements. By such analysis, and by the definition founded
thereupon, you really come to _know_ them--describe them--predicate
about them. But the first class, the simple or primary objects, can
only be perceived by sense and named: they cannot be analysed,
defined, or known. You can only predicate about them that they are
like such and such other things: _e.g., silver_, you cannot say what
it is in itself, but only that it is like tin, or like something else.
There may thus be a _ratio_ and a definition of any compound object,
whether it be an object of perception or of conception: because one of
the component elements will serve as Matter or Subject of the
proposition, and the other as Form or Predicate. But there can be no
definition of any one of the component elements separately taken:
because there is neither Matter nor Form to become the Subject and
Predicate of a defining proposition."

[Footnote 137: Plato, Theætêt, pp. 201-202. Aristotel. Metaph. [Greek:
Ê]. 1043, b. 22.]

This opinion, ascribed to the followers of Antisthenes, is not in
harmony with the opinion ascribed by Aristotle to Antisthenes himself
(_viz._, That no propositions, except identical propositions, were
admissible): and we are led to suspect that the first opinion must
have been understood or qualified by its author in some manner not now
determinable. But the second opinion, drawing a marked logical
distinction between simple and complex Objects, has some interest from
the criticisms of Plato and Aristotle: both of whom select, for the
example illustrating the opinion, the syllable as the compound made up
of two or more letters which are its simple constituent elements.

[Remarks of Plato on this doctrine.]

Plato refutes the doctrine,[138] but in a manner not so much to prove
its untruth, as to present it for a verbal incongruity. How can you
properly say (he argues) that you _know_ the compound AB, when you
know neither A nor B separately? Now it may be incongruous to
restrict in this manner the use of the words _know--knowledge_: but
the distinction between the two cases is not denied by Plato.
Antisthenes said--"I feel a simple sensation (A or B) and can name it,
but I do not _know_ it: I can affirm nothing about it in itself, or
about its real essence. But the compound AB I do know, for I know its
essence: I can affirm about it that _it is_ compounded of A and B, and
this is its essence." Here is a real distinction: and Plato's argument
amounts only to affirming that it is an incorrect use of words to call
the compound _known_, when the component elements are not known.
Unfortunately the refutation of Plato is not connected with any
declaration of his own counter-doctrine, for Theætêtus ends in a
result purely negative.

[Footnote 138: Plato, Theætêt. ut suprâ.]

[Side-note: Remarks of Aristotle upon the same.]

Aristotle, in his comment on the opinion of Antisthenes, makes us
understand better what it really is:--"Respecting simple essences (A
or B), I cannot tell what they really are: but I can tell what they
are like or unlike, _i.e._, I can compare them with other essences,
simple or compound. But respecting the compound AB, I can tell what it
really is: its essence is, to be compounded of A and B. And this I
call _knowing_ or _knowledge_."[139] The distinction here taken by
Antisthenes (or by his followers) is both real and useful: Plato does
not contest it: while Aristotle distinctly acknowledges it, only that
among the simple items he ranks both Percepta and Concepta.

[Footnote 139: Aristot. Metaphys. [Greek: Ê]. 1043, b. 24-32, with the
Scholia, p. 774, b. Br.

Mr. J. S. Mill observes, Syst. of Logic, i. 5, 6, p. 116,
ed. 9:--"There is still another exceptional case, in which, though
the predicate is the name of a class, yet in predicating it we affirm
nothing but resemblance: the class being founded not on resemblance in
any given particular, but on general unanalysable resemblance. The
classes in question are those into which our simple sensations, or
other simple feelings, are divided. Sensations of white, for instance,
are classed together, not because we can take them to pieces, and say,
they are alike in this, not alike in that but because we feel them to
be alike altogether, though in different degrees. When therefore I
say--The colour I saw yesterday was a white colour, or, The sensation
I feel is one of tightness--in both cases the attribute I affirm of
the colour or of the other sensation is mere resemblance: simple
likeness to sensations which I have had before, and which have had
that name bestowed upon them. The names of feelings, like other
concrete general names, are connotative: but they connote a mere
resemblance. When predicated of any individual feelings, the
information they convey is that of its likeness to the other feelings
which we have been accustomed to call by the same name."]

[Side-note: Later Grecian Cynics--Monimus--Krates--Hipparchia.]

Monimus a Syracusan, and Krates a Theban, with his wife
Hipparchia,[140] were successors of Diogenes in the Cynic vein of
philosophy: together with several others of less note. Both Monimus
and Krates are said to have been persons of wealthy condition,[141]
yet their minds were so powerfully affected by what they saw of
Diogenes, that they followed his example, renounced their wealth, and
threw themselves upon a life of poverty; with nothing beyond the
wallet and the threadbare cloak, but with fearless independence of
character, free censure of every one, and indifference to opinion. "I
choose as my country" (said Krates) "poverty and low esteem, which
fortune cannot assail: I am the fellow-citizen of Diogenes, whom the
snares of envy cannot reach."[142] Krates is said to have admonished
every one, whether they invited it or not: and to have gone unbidden
from house to house for the purpose of exhortation. His persistence in
this practice became so obtrusive that he obtained the title of "the
Door-Opener".[143] This feature, common to several other Cynics,
exhibits an approximation to the missionary character of Sokrates, as
described by himself in the Platonic Apology: a feature not found in
any of the other eminent heads of philosophy--neither in Plato nor in
Aristotle, Zeno, or Epikurus.

[Footnote 140: Hipparchia was a native of Maroneia in Thrace; born in
a considerable station, and belonging to an opulent family. She came
to Athens with her brother Mêtroklês, and heard both Theophrastus and
Kratês. Both she and her brother became impressed with the strongest
admiration for Kratês: for his mode of life, as well as for his
discourses and doctrine. Rejecting various wealthy suitors, she
insisted upon becoming his wife, both against his will and against the
will of her parents. Her resolute enthusiasm overcame the reluctance
of both. She adopted fully his hard life, poor fare, and threadbare
cloak. She passed her days in the same discourses and controversies,
indifferent to the taunts which were addressed to her for having
relinquished the feminine occupations of spinning and weaving.
Diogenes Laertius found many striking dicta or replies ascribed to her
([Greek: a)/lla muri/a tê=s philoso/phou] vi. 96-98). He gives an
allusion made to her by the contemporary comic poet Menander, who (as
I before observed) handled the Cynics of his time as Aristophanes,
Eupolis, &c., had handled Sokrates--

[Greek: Sumperipatê/seis ga\r tri/bôn' e)/chous e)moi\,
ô(/sper Kra/têti tô=| Kunikô=| poth' ê( gunê\.
Kai\ thugate/r' e)xe/dôk' e)kei=nos, ô(s e)/phê
au)to\s, e)pi\ peira=| dou\s tria/konth' ê(me/ras].
(vi. 93.)]

[Footnote 141: Diog, L. vi. 82-88. [Greek: Mo/nimos o( Ku/ôn], Sext.
Emp. adv. Mathem. vii. 48-88.

About Krates, Plutarch, De Vit. Aere Alieno, 7, p. 831 F.]

[Footnote 142: Diog. L. vi. 93. [Greek: e)/chein de\ patri/da a)doxi/an
te kai\ peni/an, a)na/lôta tê=| tu/chê|: kai\--Dioge/nous ei)=nai
poli/tês a)nepibouleu/tou phtho/nô|]. The parody or verses of Krates,
about his city of Pera (the Wallet), vi. 85, are very spirited--

[Greek: Pê/rê tis po/lis e)sti\ me/sô| e)ni\ oi)/nopi tu/phô|], &c.

Krates composed a collection of philosophical Epistles, which Diogenes
pronounces to be excellent, and even to resemble greatly the style of
Plato (vi. 98).]

[Footnote 143: Diog. L. vi. 86, [Greek: e)kalei=to de\
_thurepanoi/ktês_, dia\ to\ ei)s pa=san ei)sie/nai oi)ki/an kai\
nouthetei=n]. Compare Seneca, Epist. 29.]

[Side-note: Zeno of Kitium in Cyprus.]

Among other hearers of Krates, who carried on, and at the same time
modified, the Cynic discipline, we have to mention Zeno, of Kitium in
Cyprus, who became celebrated as the founder of the Stoic sect. In him
the Cynic, Megaric, and Herakleitean tendencies may be said to have
partially converged, though with considerable modifications:[144] the
ascetic doctrines (without the ascetic practices or obtrusive
forwardness) of the Cynics--and the logical subtleties of the others.
He blended them, however, with much of new positive theory, both
physical and cosmological. His compositions were voluminous; and those
of the Stoic Chrysippus, after him, were still more numerous. The
negative and oppugning function, which in the fourth century B.C. had
been directed by the Megarics against Aristotle, was in the third
century B.C. transferred to the Platonists, or Academy represented by
Arkesilaus: whose formidable dialectic was brought to bear upon the
Stoic and Epikurean schools--both of them positive, though greatly
opposed to each other.

[Footnote 144: Numenius ap. Euseb. Præp. Evang. xiv. 5.]

* * * * *


Along with Antisthenes, among the hearers and companions of Sokrates,
stood another Greek of very opposite dispositions, yet equally marked
and original--Aristippus of Kyrênê. The stimulus of the Sokratic
method, and the novelty of the topics on which it was brought to bear,
operated forcibly upon both, prompting each of them to theorise in his
own way on the best plan of life.

[Side-note: Aristippus--life, character, and doctrine.]

Aristippus, a Kyrenean of easy circumstances, having heard of the
powerful ascendancy exercised by Sokrates over youth, came to Athens
for the express purpose of seeing him, and took warm interest in his
conversation.[145] He set great value upon mental cultivation and
accomplishments; but his habits of life were inactive, easy, and
luxurious. Upon this last count, one of the most interesting chapters
in the Xenophontic Memorabilia reports an interrogative lecture
addressed to him by Sokrates, in the form of dialogue.[146]

[Footnote 145: Plutarch (De Curiositate, p. 516 A) says that
Aristippus informed himself, at the Olympic games, from Ischomachus
respecting the influence of Sokrates.]

[Footnote 146: See the first chapter of the Second Book of the

I give an abstract of the principal points in the dialogue, not a
literal translation.]

[Side-note: Discourse of Sokrates with Aristippus.]

Sokrates points out to Aristippus that mankind may be distributed into
two classes: 1. Those who have trained themselves to habits of
courage, energy, bodily strength, and command over their desires and
appetites, together with practice in the actual work of life:--these
are the men who become qualified to rule, and who do actually rule. 2.
The rest of mankind, inferior in these points, who have no choice but
to obey, and who do obey.[147]--Men of the first or ruling class
possess all the advantages of life: they perform great exploits, and
enjoy a full measure of delight and happiness, so far as human
circumstances admit. Men of the second class are no better than
slaves, always liable to suffer, and often actually suffering,
ill-treatment and spoliation of the worst kind. To which of these
classes (Sokrates asks Aristippus) do you calculate on belonging--and
for which do you seek to qualify yourself?--To neither of them (replies
Aristippus). I do not wish to share the lot of the subordinate
multitude: but I have no relish for a life of command, with all the
fatigues, hardships, perils, &c., which are inseparable from it. I
prefer a middle course: I wish neither to rule, nor to be ruled, but
to be a freeman: and I consider freedom as the best guarantee for
happiness.[148] I desire only to pass through life as easily and
pleasantly as possible.[149]--Which of the two do you consider to live
most pleasantly, the rulers or the ruled? asks Sokrates.--I do not
rank myself with either (says Aristippus): nor do I enter into active
duties of citizenship anywhere: I pass from one city to another, but
everywhere as a stranger or non-citizen.--Your scheme is impracticable
(says Sokrates). You cannot obtain security in the way that you
propose. You will find yourself suffering wrong and distress along
with the subordinates[150]--and even worse than the subordinates: for
a stranger, wherever he goes, is less befriended and more exposed to
injury than the native citizens. You will be sold into slavery, though
you are fit for no sort of work: and your master will chastise you
until you become fit for work.--But (replies Aristippus) this very art
of ruling, which you consider to be happiness,[151] is itself a hard
life, a toilsome slavery, not only stripped of enjoyment, but full of
privation and suffering. A man must be a fool to embrace such
discomforts of his own accord.--It is that very circumstance (says
Sokrates), that he does embrace them of his own accord--which renders
them endurable, and associates them with feelings of pride and
dignity. They are the price paid beforehand, for a rich reward to
come. He who goes through labour and self-denial, for the purpose of
gaining good friends or subduing enemies, and for the purpose of
acquiring both mental and bodily power, so that he may manage his own
concerns well and may benefit both his friends and his country--such a
man will be sure to find his course of labour pleasurable. He will
pass his life in cheerful[152] satisfaction, not only enjoying his own
esteem and admiration, but also extolled and envied by others. On the
contrary, whoever passes his earlier years in immediate pleasures and
indolent ease, will acquire no lasting benefit either in mind or body.
He will have a soft lot at first, but his future will be hard and

[Footnote 147: Xen. Memor. ii. 1, 1 seq. [Greek: to\n me\n o(/pôs
i(kano\s e)/stai a)/rchein, to\n de\ o(/pôs mê/d' a)ntipoiê/setai
a)rchê=s--tou\s a)rchikou/s.]]

[Footnote 148: Xen. Mem. ii. 1, 11. [Greek: a)ll' ei)=nai ti/s moi
dokei= me/sê tou/tôn o(do/s, ê)\n peirô=mai badi/zein, ou)/te di'
a)rchê=s, ou)/te dia\ doulei/as, a)lla\ di' e)leutheri/as, ê)/per
ma/lista pro\s eu)daimoni/an a)/gei.]]

[Footnote 149: Xen. Mem. ii. 1, 9. [Greek: e)mauton toi/nun ta/ttô
ei)s tou\s boulome/nous ê)=| r(a=|sta kai\ ê(/dista bioteu/ein.]]

[Footnote 150: Xen. Mem. ii. 1, 12. [Greek: ei) me/ntoi e)n
a)nthrô/pois ô)\n mê/te a)/rchein a)xiô/seis mê/te a)/rchesthai, mê/te
tou\s a)/rchontas e(kô\n therapeu/seis, oi)=mai/ se o(ra=|n ô(s
e)pi/stantai oi( krei/ttones tou\s ê(/ttonas kai\ koinê=| kai\ i)di/a|
klai/ontas kathi/santes, ô(s dou/lois chrê=sthai].

What follows is yet more emphatic, about the unjust oppression of
rulers, and the suffering on the part of subjects.]

[Footnote 151: Xen. Mem. ii. 1, 17. [Greek: A)lla\ ga\r, ô)=
Sô/krates, oi( ei)s tê\n basilikê\n te/chnên paideuo/menoi, ê)\n
dokei=s moi su\ nomi/zein eu)daimoni/an ei)=nai].

Compare Memor. ii. 3, 4.]

[Footnote 152: Xen. Mem. ii. 1, 19. [Greek: pô=s ou)k oi)/esthai chrê\
tou/tous kai\ ponei=n ê(de/ôs ei)s ta\ toiau=ta, kai\ zê=n
eu)phronome/nous, a)game/nous me\n e(autou\s, e)painoume/nous de\ kai\
zêloume/nous u(po\ tô=n a)/llôn?]

[Footnote 153: Xen. Mem. ii. 1, 20, cited from Epicharmus:--

[Greek: mê\ ta\ malaka\ mô/eo, mê\ ta\ sklê/r' e)/chê|s.]]

[Side-note: Choice of Hêraklês.]

Sokrates enforces his lecture by reciting to Aristippus the memorable
lecture or apologue, which the Sophist Prodikus was then delivering in
lofty diction to numerous auditors[154]--the fable still known as the
Choice of Hêraklês. Virtue and Pleasure (the latter of the two being
here identified with Evil or Vice) are introduced as competing for the
direction of the youthful Hêraklês. Each sets forth her case, in
dramatic antithesis. Pleasure is introduced as representing altogether
the gratification of the corporeal appetites and the love of repose:
while Virtue replies by saying, that if youth be employed altogether
in pursuing such delights, at the time when the appetites are most
vigorous--the result will be nothing but fatal disappointment,
accompanied with entire loss of the different and superior pleasures
available in mature years and in old age. Youth is the season of
labour: the physical appetites must be indulged sparingly, and only at
the call of actual want: accomplishments of body and mind must be
acquired in that season, which will enable the mature man to perform
in after life great and glorious exploits. He will thus realise the
highest of all human delights--the love of his friends and the
admiration of his countrymen--the sound of his own praises and the
reflexion upon his own deserts. At the price of a youth passed in
labour and self-denial, he will secure the fullest measure of mature
and attainable happiness.

[Footnote 154: Xen. Mem. ii. 1, 21-34. [Greek: e)n tô=| suggra/mmati
tô=| peri\ Ê(rakle/ous, o(/per dê\ kai\ plei/stois
e)pidei/knutai--megaleiote/rois r(ê/masin.]]

"It is worth your while, Aristippus" (says Sokrates, in concluding
this lecture), "to bestow some reflexion on what is to happen in the
latter portions of your life."

[Side-note: Illustration afforded of the views of Sokrates respecting
Good and Evil.]

This dialogue (one of the most interesting remnants of antiquity, and
probably reported by Xenophon from actual hearing) is valuable in
reference not only to Aristippus, but also to Sokrates himself. Many
recent historians of philosophy describe Sokrates and Plato as setting
up an idea of Virtue or Good Absolute (_i.e._ having no essential
reference to the happiness or security of the agent or of any one
else) which they enforce--and an idea of Vice or Evil Absolute (_i.e._
having no essential reference to suffering or peril, or
disappointment, either of the agent or of any one else) which they
denounce and discommend and as thereby refuting the Sophists, who are
said to have enforced Virtue and denounced Vice only relatively--_i.e._
in consequence of the bearing of one and the other upon the
security and happiness of the agent or of others. Whether there be any
one doctrine or style of preaching which can be fairly ascribed to the
Sophists as a class, I will not again discuss here: but I believe that
the most eminent among them, Protagoras and Prodikus, held the
language here ascribed to them. But it is a mistake to suppose that
upon this point Sokrates was their opponent. The Xenophontic Sokrates
(a portrait more resembling reality than the Platonic) always holds
this same language: the Platonic Sokrates not always, yet often. In
the dialogue between Sokrates and Aristippus, as well as in the
apologue of Prodikus, we see that the devotion of the season of youth
to indulgence and inactive gratification of appetite, is blamed as
productive of ruinous consequences--as entailing loss of future
pleasures, together with a state of weakness which leaves no
protection against future suffering; while great care is taken to
show, that though laborious exercise is demanded during youth, such
labour will be fully requited by the increased pleasures and happiness
of after life. The pleasure of being praised, and the pleasure of
seeing good deeds performed by one's self, are especially insisted on.
On this point both Sokrates and Prodikus concur.[155]

[Footnote 155: Xenoph. Mem. ii. 1, 31. [Greek: tou= de\ pa/ntôn
ê(di/stou a)kou/smatos, e)pai/nou seautê=s, a)nê/koos ei)=, kai\ tou=
pa/ntôn ê(distou thea/matos a)the/atos; ou)de\n ga\r pô/pote seautê=s
e)/rgon kalo\n tethe/asai. . . .

ta\ me\n ê(de/a e)n tê=| veo/têti diadramo/ntes, ta\ de\ chalepa\ e)s
to\ gê=ras a)pothe/menoi.]]

[Side-note: Comparison of the Xenophontic Sokrates with the Platonic

If again we compare the Xenophontic Sokrates with the Platonic
Sokrates, we shall find that the lecture of the former to Aristippus
coincides sufficiently with the theory laid down by the latter in the
dialogue Protagoras; to which theory the Sophist Protagoras is
represented as yielding a reluctant adhesion. But we shall find also
that it differs materially from the doctrine maintained by Sokrates in
the Platonic Gorgias. Nay, if we follow the argument addressed by the
Xenophontic Sokrates to Aristippus, we perceive that it is in
substance similar to that which the Platonic dialogue Gorgias puts in
the mouth of the rhetor Pôlus and the politician Kalliklês. The
Xenophontic Sokrates distributes men into two classes--the rulers and
the ruled: the former strong, well-armed, and well-trained, who enjoy
life at the expense of the submission and suffering of the latter: the
former committing injustice, the latter enduring injustice. He
impresses upon Aristippus the misery of being confounded with the
suffering many, and exhorts him to qualify himself by a laborious
apprenticeship for enrolment among the ruling few. If we read the
Platonic Gorgias, we shall see that this is the same strain in which
Pôlus and Kalliklês address Sokrates, when they invite him to exchange
philosophy for rhetoric, and to qualify himself for active political
life. "Unless you acquire these accomplishments, you will be helpless
and defenceless against injury and insult from others: while, if you
acquire them, you will raise yourself to political influence, and will
exercise power over others, thus obtaining the fullest measure of
enjoyment which life affords: see the splendid position to which the
Macedonian usurper Archelaus has recently exalted himself.[156]
Philosophy is useful, when studied in youth for a short time as
preface to professional and political apprenticeship: but if a man
perseveres in it and makes it the occupation of life, he will not only
be useless to others, but unable to protect himself; he will be
exposed to suffer any injustice which the well-trained and powerful
men may put upon him." To these exhortations of Pôlus and Kalliklês
Sokrates replies by admitting their case as true matter of fact. "I
know that I am exposed to such insults and injuries: but my life is
just and innocent. If I suffer, I shall suffer wrong: and those who do
the wrong will thereby inflict upon themselves a greater mischief than
they inflict upon me. Doing wrong is worse for the agent than
suffering wrong."[157]

[Footnote 156: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 466-470-486.]

[Footnote 157: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 508-509-521-527 C. [Greek: kai\
e)/aso/n tina sou= kataphronê=sai ô(s a)noê/tou, kai\ propêlaki/sai
e)a\n bou/lêtai, kai\ nai\ ma\ Di/a su/ ge thar)r(ô=n pata/xai tê\n
a)/timon tau/tên plêgê/n; ou)de\n ga\r deino\n pei/sei, e)a\n tô=|
o)/nti ê(=|s kalo\s ka)gatho/s, a)skô=n a)retê/n.]]

[Side-note: Xenophontic Sokrates talking to Aristippus--Kallikes in
Platonic Gorgias.]

There is indeed this difference between the Xenophontic Sokrates in
his address to Aristippus, and the Platonic Kalliklês in his
exhortation to Sokrates: That whereas Kalliklês proclaims and even
vindicates it as natural justice and right, that the strong should
gratify their desires by oppressing and despoiling the weak--the
Xenophontic Sokrates merely asserts such oppression as an actual fact,
notorious and undeniable,[158] without either approving or blaming it.
Plato, constructing an imaginary conversation with the purpose that
Sokrates shall be victorious, contrives intentionally and with
dramatic consistency that the argument of Kalliklês shall be advanced
in terms so invidious and revolting that no one else would be bold
enough to speak it out:[159] which contrivance was the more necessary,
as Sokrates is made not only to disparage the poets, rhetors, and most
illustrious statesmen of historical Athens, but to sustain a thesis in
which he admits himself to stand alone, opposed to aristocrats as well
as democrats.[160] Yet though there is this material difference in the
manner of handling, the plan of life which the Xenophontic Sokrates
urges upon Aristippus, and the grounds upon which he enforces it, are
really the same as those which Kalliklês in the Platonic Gorgias urges
upon Sokrates. "Labour to qualify yourself for active political
power"--is the lesson addressed in the one case to a wealthy man who
passed his life in ease and indulgence, in the other case to a poor
man who devoted himself to speculative debate on general questions,
and to cross-examination of every one who would listen and answer. The
man of indulgence, and the man of speculation,[161] were both of them
equally destitute of those active energies which were necessary to
confer power over others, or even security against oppression by

[Footnote 158: If we read the conversation alleged by Thucydides (v.
94-105-112) to have taken place between the Athenian generals and the
executive council of Melos, just before the siege of that island by
the Athenians, we shall see that this same language is held by the
Athenians. "You, the Melians, being much weaker, must submit to us who
are much stronger; this is the universal law and necessity of nature,
which we are not the first to introduce, but only follow out, as
others have done before us, and will do after us. Submit--or it will
be worse for you. No middle course, or neutrality, is open to you."]

[Footnote 159: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 482-487-492.]

[Footnote 160: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 472-521.]

[Footnote 161: If we read the treatise of Plutarch, [Greek: Peri\
Stôi/kôn e)nantiôma/tôn] (c. 2-3, p. 1033 C-D), we shall see that the
Stoic writers, Zeno, Kleanthes, Chrysippus, Diogenes, Antipater, all
of them earnestly recommended a life of active citizenship and
laborious political duty, as incumbent upon philosophers not less than
upon others; and that they treated with contempt a life of literary
leisure and speculation. Chrysippus explicitly declared [Greek:
ou)de\n diaphe/rein to\n scholastiko\n bi/on tou= ê(donikou=] _i. e._
that the speculative philosopher who kept aloof from political
activity, was in substance a follower of Epikurus. Tacitus holds much
the same language (Hist. iv. 5) when he says about Helvidius
Priscus:--"ingenium illustre altioribus studiis juvenis admodum dedit:
non, ut plerique, ut nomine magnifico segne otium velaret, sed quo
constantior adversus fortuita rempublicam capesseret," &c.

The contradiction which Plutarch notes is, that these very Stoic
philosophers (Chrysippus and the others) who affected to despise all
modes of life except active civic duty--were themselves, all, men of
literary leisure, spending their lives away from their native cities,
in writing and talking philosophy. The same might have been said about
Sokrates and Plato (except as to leaving their native cities), both of
whom incurred the same reproach for inactivity as Sokrates here
addresses to Aristippus.]

[Side-note: Language held by Aristippus--his scheme of life.]

In the Xenophontic dialogue, Aristippus replies to Sokrates that the
apprenticeship enjoined upon him is too laborious, and that the
exercise of power, itself laborious, has no charm for him. He desires
a middle course, neither to oppress nor to be oppressed: neither to
command, nor to be commanded--like Otanes among the seven Persian
conspirators.[162] He keeps clear of political obligation, and seeks
to follow, as much as he can, his own individual judgment. Though
Sokrates, in the Xenophontic dialogue, is made to declare this middle
course impossible, yet it is substantially the same as what the
Platonic Sokrates in the Gorgias aspires to:--moreover the same as
what the real Sokrates at Athens both pursued as far as he could, and
declared to be the only course consistent with his security.[163] The
Platonic Sokrates in the Gorgias declares emphatically that no man can
hope to take active part in the government of a country, unless he be
heartily identified in spirit with the ethical and political system of
the country: unless he not merely professes, but actually and
sincerely shares, the creed, doctrines, tastes, and modes of
appreciation prevalent among the citizens.[164] Whoever is deficient
in this indispensable condition, must be content "to mind his own
business and to abstain from active meddling with public affairs".
This is the course which the Platonic Sokrates claims both for himself
and for the philosopher generally:[165] it is also the course which
Aristippus chooses for himself, under the different title of a middle
way between the extortion of the ruler and the suffering of the
subordinate. And the argument of Sokrates that no middle way is
possible--far from refuting Aristippus (as Xenophon says that it
did)[166] is founded upon an incorrect assumption: had it been
correct, neither literature nor philosophy could have been developed.

[Footnote 162: Herodot. iii. 80-83.]

[Footnote 163: Plato, Apol. So. p. 32 A. [Greek: i)diôteu/ein, a)lla\
mê\ dêmosieu/ein].]

[Footnote 164: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 510-513. [Greek: Ti/s ou)=n pot'
e)sti\ te/chnê tê=s paraskeuê=s tou= mêde\n a)dikei=sthai ê)\ ô(s
o)li/gista? ske/psai ei)/ soi dokei= ê(=|per e)moi/. e)moi\ me\n ga\r
dokei= ê(/de; ê)\ au)to\n a)/rchein dei=n e)n tê=| po/lei ê)\ kai\
turannei=n, ê)\ tê=s u(parchou/sês politei/as e(tai=ron ei)=nai].
(This is exactly the language which Sokrates holds to Aristippus,
Xenoph. Memor. ii. 1, 12.)

[Greek: o(\s a)\n o(moê/thês ô)\n, tau)ta pse/gôn kai\ e)painô=n,
e)the/lê| a)/rchesthai kai\ u(pokei=sthai tô=| a)/rchonti--eu)thu\s
e)k ne/ou e)thi/zein au(to\n toi=s au)toi=s chai/rein kai\
a)/chthesthai tô=| despo/tê|] (510 D). [Greek: ou) ga\r mimêtê\n dei=
ei)=nai a)ll' au)tophuô=s o(/moion tou/tois] (513 B).]

[Footnote 165: Plato, Gorgias, p. 526 C-D. (Compare Republic, vi. p.
496 D.) [Greek: a)ndro\s i)diô/tou ê)\ a)/llou tino/s, ma/lista me/n,
e)/gôge/ phêmi, ô)= Kalli/kleis, philoso/phou ta\ au(tou= pra/xantos
kai\ ou) polupragmonê/santos e)n tô=| bi/ô|--kai\ dê\ kai\ se\
a)ntiparakalô=] (Sokrates to Kalliklês) [Greek: e)pi\ tou=ton to\n
bi/on]. Upon these words Routh remarks: "Respicitur inter hæc verba ad
Calliclis orationem, quâ rerum civilium tractatio et [Greek:
polupragmosu/nê] Socrati persuadentur,"--which is the same invitation
as the Xenophontic Sokrates addresses to Aristippus. Again, in Plat.
Republ. viii. pp. 549 C, 550 A, we read, that corruption of the
virtuous character begins by invitations to the shy youth to depart
from the quiet plan of life followed by a virtuous father (who is
[Greek: ta\ e(autou= pra/ttei]) and to enter on a career of active
political ambition. The youth is induced, by instigation of his mother
and relatives without, to pass from [Greek: a)pragmosu/nê] to [Greek:
philopragmosu/nê], which is described as a change for the worse. Even
in Xenophon (Memor. iii. 11, 16) Sokrates recognises and jests upon
his own [Greek: a)pragmosu/nê].]

[Footnote 166: Xen. Mem. iii. 8, 1. Diogenes L. says (and it is
probable enough, from radical difference of character) that Xenophon
was adversely disposed to Aristippus. In respect to other persons
also, Xenophon puts invidious constructions (for which at any rate no
ground is shown) upon their purposes in questioning Sokrates: thus, in
the dialogue (i. 6) with the Sophist Antiphon, he says that Antiphon
questioned Sokrates in order to seduce him away from his companions
(Mem. i. 6, 1).]

[Side-note: Diversified conversations of Sokrates, according to the
character of the hearer.]

The real Sokrates, since he talked incessantly and with every one,
must of course have known how to diversify his conversation and adapt
it to each listener. Xenophon not only attests this generally,[167]
but has preserved the proofs of it in his Memorabilia--real
conversations, reported though doubtless dressed up by himself. The
conversations which he has preserved relate chiefly to piety and to
the duties and proceedings of active life: and to the necessity of
controuling the appetites: these he selected partly because they
suited his proclaimed purpose of replying to the topics of indictment,
partly because they were in harmony with his own _idéal_. Xenophon was
a man of action, resolute in mind and vigorous in body, performing
with credit the duties of the general as well as of the soldier. His
heroes were men like Cyrus, Agesilaus, Ischomachus--warriors,
horsemen, hunters, husbandmen, always engaged in active competition
for power, glory, or profit, and never shrinking from danger, fatigue,
or privation. For a life of easy and unambitious indulgence, even
though accompanied by mental and speculative activity--"homines ignavâ
operâ et philosophiâ sententiâ"--he had no respect. It was on this
side that the character of Aristippus certainly seemed to be, and
probably really was, the most defective. Sokrates employed the
arguments the most likely to call forth within him habits of action--to
render him [Greek: praktikô/teron].[168] In talking with the
presumptuous youth Glaukon, and with the diffident Charmides,[169]
Sokrates used language adapted to correct the respective infirmities
of each. In addressing Kritias and Alkibiades, he would consider it
necessary not only to inculcate self-denial as to appetite, but to
repress an exorbitance of ambition.[170] But in dealing with
Aristippus, while insisting upon command of appetite and acquirement
of active energy, he at the same time endeavours to kindle ambition,
and the love of command: he even goes so far as to deny the
possibility of a middle course, and to maintain (what Kritias and
Alkibiades[171] would have cordially approved) that there was no
alternative open, except between the position of the oppressive
governors and that of the suffering subjects. Addressed to Aristippus,
these topics were likely to thrust forcibly upon his attention the
danger of continued indulgences during the earlier years of life, and
the necessity, in view to his own future security, for training in
habits of vigour, courage, self-command, endurance.

[Footnote 167: Xen. Mem. iv. 1, 2-3.]

[Footnote 168: Xenoph. Memor. iv. 5, 1. [Greek: ô(s de\ kai\
praktikôte/rous e)poi/ei tou\s suno/ntas au)tô=|, nu=n au)= tou=to

[Footnote 169: Xenoph. Mem. iii. capp. 6 and 7.]

[Footnote 170: Xenoph. Memor. i. 2, 15-18-24. Respecting the different
tone and arguments employed by Sokrates, in his conversations with
different persons, see a good passage in the Rhetor Aristeides, Orat.
xlvi. [Greek: U(pe\r tô=n tetta/rôn], p. 161, Dindorf.]

[Footnote 171: We see from the first two chapters of the Memorabilia
of Xenophon (as well as from the subsequent intimation of Æschines, in
the oration against Timarchus, p. 173) how much stress was laid by the
accusers of Sokrates on the fact that he had educated Kritias and
Alkibiades; and how the accusers alleged that his teaching tended to
encourage the like exorbitant aspirations in others, dangerous to
established authority, traditional, legal, parental, divine. I do not
doubt (what Xenophon affirms) that Sokrates, when he conversed with
Kritias and Alkibiades, held a very opposite language. But it was
otherwise when he talked with men of ease and indulgence without
ambition, such as Aristippus. If Melêtus and Anytus could have put in
evidence the conversation of Sokrates with Aristippus, many points of
it would have strengthened their case against Sokrates before the
Dikasts. We read in Xenophon (Mem. i. 2, 58) how the point was made to
tell, that Sokrates often cited and commented on the passage of the
Iliad (ii. 188) in which the Grecian chiefs, retiring from the agora
to their ships, are described as being respectfully addressed by
Odysseus--while the common soldiers are scolded and beaten by him, for
the very same conduct: the relation which Sokrates here dwells on as
subsisting between [Greek: oi( a)rchikoi\] and [Greek: oi(
a)rcho/menoi], would favour the like colouring.]

[Side-note: Conversations between Sokrates and Aristippus about the
Good and Beautiful.]

Xenophon notices briefly two other colloquies between Sokrates and
Aristippus. The latter asked Sokrates, "Do you know anything good?" in
order (says Xenophon) that if Sokrates answered in the affirmative and
gave as examples, health, wealth, strength, courage, bread, &c., he
(Aristippus) might show circumstances in which this same particular
was evil; and might thus catch Sokrates in a contradiction, as
Sokrates had caught him before.[172] But Sokrates (says Xenophon) far
from seeking to fence with the question, retorted it in such a way as
to baffle the questioner, and at the same time to improve and instruct
the by-standers.[173] "Do you ask me if I know anything good for a
fever?--No. Or for ophthalmic distemper?-No. Or for hunger?--No. Oh!
then, if you mean to ask me, whether I know anything good, which is
good for nothing--I reply that I neither know any such thing, nor care
to know it."

[Footnote 172: Xenoph. Memor. iii. 8, 1. Both Xenophon and some of his
commentators censure this as a captious string of questions put by
Aristippus--'captiosas Aristippi quæstiunculas". Such a criticism is
preposterous, when we recollect that Sokrates was continually
examining and questioning others in the same manner. See in particular
his cross-examination of Euthydêmus, reported by Xenophon, Memor. iv.
2; and many others like it, both in Xenophon and in Plato.]

[Footnote 173: Xenoph. Memor. iii. 8, 1. [Greek: boulo/menos tou\s
suno/ntas ô(phelei=n.]]

Again, on another occasion Aristippus asked him "Do you know anything
beautiful?--Yes; many things.--Are they all like to each other?--No;
they are as unlike as possible to each other.--How then (continues
Aristippus) can that which is unlike to the beautiful, be itself
beautiful?--Easily enough (replies Sokrates); one man is beautiful for
running; another man, altogether unlike him, is beautiful for
wrestling. A shield which is beautiful for protecting your body, is
altogether unlike to a javelin, which is beautiful for being swiftly
and forcibly hurled.--Your answer (rejoined Aristippus) is exactly the
same as it was when I asked you whether you knew anything
good.--Certainly (replies Sokrates). Do you imagine, that the Good is one
thing, and the Beautiful another? Do you not know that all things are
good and beautiful in relation to the same purpose? Virtue is not good
in relation to one purpose, and beautiful in relation to another. Men
are called both good and beautiful in reference to the same ends: the
bodies of men, in like manner: and all things which men use, are
considered both good and beautiful, in consideration of their serving
their ends well.--Then (says Aristippus) a basket for carrying dung is
beautiful?--To be sure (replied Sokrates), and a golden shield is
ugly; if the former be well made for doing its work, and the latter
badly.--Do you then assert (asked Aristippus) that the same things are
beautiful and ugly?--Assuredly (replied Sokrates); and the same things
are both good and evil. That which is good for hunger, is often bad
for a fever: that which is good for a fever, is often bad for hunger.
What is beautiful for running is often ugly for wrestling--and _vice
versâ_. All things are good and beautiful, in relation to the ends
which they serve well: all things are evil and ugly, in relation to
the ends which they serve badly."[174]

[Footnote 174: Xenoph. Memor. iii. 8, 1-9.]

[Side-note: Remarks on the conversation--Theory of Good.]

These last cited colloquies also, between Sokrates and Aristippus, are
among the most memorable remains of Grecian philosophy: belonging to
one of the years preceding 399 B.C., in which last year Sokrates
perished. Here (as in the former dialogue) the doctrine is distinctly
enunciated by Sokrates--That Good and Evil--Beautiful (or Honourable)
and Ugly (or Dishonourable--Base)--have no intelligible meaning except
in relation to human happiness and security. Good or Evil Absolute
(_i.e._, apart from such relation) is denied to exist. The theory of
Absolute Good (a theory traceable to the Parmenidean doctrines, and
adopted from them by Eukleides) becomes first known to us as
elaborated by Plato. Even in his dialogues it is neither always nor
exclusively advocated, but is often modified by, and sometimes even
exchanged for, the eudæmonistic or relative theory.

[Side-note: Good is relative to human beings and wants, in the view of

Sokrates declares very explicitly, in his conversation with
Aristippus, what _he_ means by the Good and the Beautiful: and when
therefore in the name of the Good and the Beautiful, he protests
against an uncontrolled devotion to the pleasures of sense (as in one
of the Xenophontic dialogues with Euthydemus[175]), what he means is,
that a man by such intemperance ruins his prospects of future
happiness, and his best means of being useful both to himself and
others. Whether Aristippus first learnt from Sokrates the relative
theory of the Good and the Beautiful, or had already embraced it
before, we cannot say. Some of his questions, as reported in Xenophon,
would lead us to suspect that it took him by surprise: just as we
find, in the Protagoras of Plato that a theory substantially the same,
though in different words, is proposed by the Platonic Sokrates to the
Sophist Protagoras: who at first repudiates it, but is compelled
ultimately to admit it by the elaborate dialectic of Sokrates.[176] If
Aristippus did not learn the theory from Sokrates, he was at any rate
fortified in it by the authority of Sokrates; to whose doctrine, in
this respect, he adhered more closely than Plato.

[Footnote 175: Xenoph. Memor. iv. 5.

Sokrates exhorts those with whom he converses to be sparing in
indulgences, and to cultivate self-command and fortitude as well as
bodily energy and activity. The reason upon which these exhortations
are founded is eudæmonistic: that a person will thereby escape or be
able to confront serious dangers--and will obtain for himself
ultimately greater pleasures than those which he foregoes (Memor. i.
6, 8; ii. 1, 31-33; iii. 12, 2-5). [Greek: Tou= de\ mê\ douleu/ein
gastri\ mêde\ u(/pnô| kai\ lagnei/a| oi)/ei ti a)/llo ai)tiô/teron
ei)=nai, ê)\ to\ e(/tera e)/chein tou/tôn ê(di/ô, a(\ ou) mo/non e)n
chrei/a| o)/nta eu)phrai/nei, a)lla\ kai\ e)/lpidas pare/chonta
ô)phelê/sein a)ei/?] See also Memor. ii. 4, ii. 10, 4, about the
importance of acquiring and cultivating friends, because a good friend
is the most useful and valuable of all possessions. Sokrates, like
Aristippus, adopts the prudential view of life, and not the
transcendental; recommending sobriety and virtue on the ground of
pleasures secured and pains averted. We find Plutarch, in his very
bitter attacks on Epikurus, reasoning on the Hedonistic basis, and
professing to prove that Epikurus discarded pleasures more and greater
for the sake of obtaining pleasures fewer and less. See Plutarch, Non
posse suaviter vivi secundum Epicurum, pp. 1096-1099.]

[Footnote 176: Plato, Protagoras, pp. 351-361.]

[Side-note: Aristippus adhered to the doctrine of Sokrates.]

Aristippus is recognised by Aristotle[177] in two characters: both as
a Sophist, and as a companion of Sokrates and Plato. Moreover it is
remarkable that the doctrine, in reference to which Aristotle cites
him as one among the Sophists, is a doctrine unquestionably
Sokratic--contempt of geometrical science as useless, and as having no
bearing on the good or evil of life.[178] Herein also Aristippus followed
Sokrates, while Plato departed from him.

[Footnote 177: Aristot. Rhetoric. ii. 24; Metaphysic. B. 996, a. 32.]

[Footnote 178: Xenophon. Memor. iv. 7, 2.]

[Side-note: Life and dicta of Aristippus--His type of character.]

In estimating the character of Aristippus, I have brought into
particular notice the dialogues reported by Xenophon, because the
Xenophontic statements, with those of Aristotle, are the only
contemporary evidence (for Plato only names him once to say that he
was not present at the death of Sokrates, and was reported to be in
Ægina). The other statements respecting Aristippus, preserved by
Diogenes and others, not only come from later authorities, but give us
hardly any facts; though they ascribe to him a great many sayings and
repartees, adapted to a peculiar type of character. That type of
character, together with an imperfect notion of his doctrines, is all
that we can make out. Though Aristippus did not follow the
recommendation of Sokrates, to labour and qualify himself for a ruler,
yet both the advice of Sokrates, to reflect and prepare himself for
the anxieties and perils of the future--and the spectacle of
self-sufficing independence which the character of Sokrates
afforded--were probably highly useful to him. Such advice being adverse
to the natural tendencies of his mind, impressed upon him forcibly those
points of the case which he was most likely to forget: and contributed
to form in him that habit of self-command which is a marked feature in
his character. He wished (such are the words ascribed to him by
Xenophon) to pass through life as easily and agreeably as possible.
Ease comes before pleasure: but his plan of life was to obtain as much
pleasure as he could, consistent with ease, or without difficulty and
danger. He actually realised, as far as our means of knowledge extend,
that middle path of life which Sokrates declared to be impracticable.

[Side-note: Aristippus acted conformably to the advice of Sokrates.]

Much of the advice given by Sokrates, Aristippus appears to have
followed, though not from the reasons which Sokrates puts forward for
giving it. When Sokrates reminds him that men liable to be tempted and
ensnared by the love of good eating, were unfit to command--when he
animadverts on the insanity of the passionate lover, who exposed
himself to the extremity of danger for the purpose of possessing a
married woman, while there were such abundant means of gratifying the
sexual appetite without any difficulty or danger whatever[179]--to all
this Aristippus assents: and what we read about his life is in perfect
conformity therewith. Reason and prudence supply ample motives for
following such advice, whether a man be animated with the love of
command or not. So again, when Sokrates impresses upon Aristippus that
the Good and the Beautiful were the same, being relative only to human
wants or satisfaction--and that nothing was either good or beautiful,
except in so far as it tended to confer relief, security, or
enjoyment--this lesson too Aristippus laid to heart, and applied in a
way suitable to his own peculiar dispositions and capacities.

[Footnote 179: Xen. Mem. ii. 1, 5. [Greek: kai\ têlikou/tôn me\n
e)pikeime/nôn tô=| moicheu/onti kakô=n te kai\ ai)schrô=n, o)/ntôn de\
pollô=n tô=n a)poluso/ntôn tê=s tô=n a)phrodisiô=n e)pithumi/as e)n
a)dei/a|, o(/môs ei)s ta\ e)piki/nduna phe/resthai, a)=r' ou)k ê)/dê
tou=to panta/pasi kakodaimonô=nto/s e)stin? E)/moige dokei=, e)/phê

[Side-note: Self-mastery and independence--the great aspiration of

The type of character represented by Aristippus is the man who enjoys
what the present affords, so far as can be done without incurring
future mischief, or provoking the enmity of others--but who will on no
account enslave himself to any enjoyment; who always maintains his own
self-mastery and independence and who has prudence and intelligence
enabling him to regulate each separate enjoyment so as not to incur
preponderant evil in future.[180] This self-mastery and independence
is in point of fact the capital aspiration of Aristippus, hardly less
than of Antisthenes and Diogenes. He is competent to deal suitably
with all varieties of persons, places, and situations, and to make the
best of each--[Greek: Ou(= ga\r toiou/tôn dei=, touou=tos ei)=m'
e)gô/]:[181] but he accepts what the situation presents, without
yearning or struggling for that which it cannot present.[182] He
enjoys the society both of the Syracusan despot Dionysius, and of the
Hetæra Lais; but he will not make himself subservient either to one or
to the other: he conceives himself able to afford, to both, as much
satisfaction as he receives.[183] His enjoyments are not enhanced by
the idea that others are excluded from the like enjoyment, and that he
is a superior, privileged man: he has no jealousy or antipathy, no
passion for triumphing over rivals, no demand for envy or admiration
from spectators. Among the Hetæræ in Greece were included all the most
engaging and accomplished women--for in Grecian matrimony, it was
considered becoming and advantageous that the bride should be young
and ignorant, and that as a wife she should neither see nor know any
thing beyond the administration of her own feminine apartments and
household.[184] Aristippus attached himself to those Hetæræ who
pleased him; declaring that the charm of their society was in no way
lessened by the knowledge that others enjoyed it also, and that he
could claim no exclusive privilege.[185] His patience and mildness in
argument is much commended. The main lesson which he had learnt from
philosophy (he said), was self-appreciation--to behave himself with
confidence in every man's society: even if all laws were abrogated,
the philosopher would still, without any law, live in the same way as
he now did.[186] His confidence remained unshaken, when seized as a
captive in Asia by order of the Persian satrap Artaphernes: all that
he desired was, to be taken before the satrap himself.[187] Not to
renounce pleasure, but to enjoy pleasure moderately and to keep
desires under controul,--was in his judgment the true policy of life.
But he was not solicitous to grasp enjoyment beyond what was easily
attainable, nor to accumulate wealth or power which did not yield
positive result.[188] While Sokrates recommended, and Antisthenes
practised, the precaution of deadening the sexual appetite by
approaching no women except such as were ugly and
repulsive,[189]--while Xenophon in the Cyropædia,[190] working out the
Sokratic idea of the dangerous fascination of beauty, represents Cyrus
as refusing to see the captive Pantheia, and depicts the too confident
Araspes (who treats such precaution as exaggerated timidity, and fully
trusts his own self-possession), when appointed to the duty of guarding
her, as absorbed against his will in a passion which makes him forget all
reason and duty--Aristippus has sufficient self-mastery to visit the
most seductive Hetæræ without being drawn into ruinous extravagance or
humiliating subjugation. We may doubt whether he ever felt, even for
Lais, a more passionate sentiment than Plato in his Epigram expresses
towards the Kolophonian Hetæra Archeanassa.

[Footnote 180: Diog. L. ii. 67. [Greek: ou)/tôs ê)=n kai\ e(le/sthai
kai\ kataphronê=sai polu\s.]]

[Footnote 181: Diog. L. ii. 66. [Greek: ê)=n de\ i(kano\s
a(rmo/sasthai kai\ to/pô| kai\ chro/nô| kai\ prosô/pô|, kai\ pa=san
peri/stasin a(rmoni/ôs u(pokri/nasthai; dio\ kai\ para\ Dionusi/ô|
tô=n a)/llôn êu)doki/mei ma=llon, a)ei\ to\ prospeso\n eu)=
diatithe/menos; a)pe/laue me\n ga\r ê(donê=s tô=n paro/ntôn, ou)k
e)thê/ra de\ po/nô| tê\n a)po/lausin tô=n ou) paro/ntôn].

Horat. Epistol. i. 17, 23-24:--

"Omnis Aristippum decuit color et status et res,
Tentantem majora, ferè præsentibus æquum."]

[Footnote 182: Sophokles, Philoktêtes, 1049 (the words of Odysseus).]

[Footnote 183: Diog. L. ii. 75. [Greek: e)/chrêto kai\ Lai+/di tê=|
e(tai/ra|; pro\s ou)=n tou\s memphome/nous e)/phê, E)/chô Lai+/da,
a)ll' ou)k e)/chomai; e)pei\ to\ kratei=n kai\ mê\ ê(tta=sthai
ê(donô=n, a)/riston--ou) to\ mê\ chrê=sthai]. ii. 77, [Greek:
Dionusi/ou pote\ e)rome/nou, e)pi\ ti/ ê(/koi, e)/phê, e)pi\ tô=|
metadô/sein ô(=n e)/choi, kai\ metalê/psesthai ô(=n mê\ e)/choi].

Lucian introduces [Greek: A)retê\] and [Greek: Truphê\] as litigating
before [Greek: Di/kê] for the possession of Aristippus: the litigation
is left undecided (Bis Accusatus, c. 13-23).]

[Footnote 184 Xenophon, Oeconomic. iii. 13, vii. 6, Ischomachus says
to Sokrates about his wife, [Greek: Kai\ ti/ a)\n e)pistame/nên
au)tê\n pare/labon, ê(\ e)/tê me\n ou)/pô pentekai/deka gegonui=a
ê)=lthe pro\s e)me/, to\n d' e)mprosthen _chro/non e)/zê u(po\ pollê=s
e)pimelei/as, o(/pôs ô(s e)/lachista me\n o)/psoito, e)la/chista d'
a)kou/soito, e)la/chista de\ e)/roito?_]]

[Footnote 185: Diog.** L. ii. 74. On this point his opinion coincided
with that of Diogenes, and of the Stoics Zeno and Chrysippus (D. L.
vii. 131), who maintained, that among the wise wives ought to be in
common, and that all marital jealousy ought to be discarded. [Greek:
A)re/skei d' au)toi=s kai\ koina\s ei)=nai ta\s gunai=kas dei=n para\
toi=s sophoi=s ô(/ste to\n e)ntucho/nta tê=| e)ntuchou/sê| chrê=sthai,
katha/ phêsi Zê/nôn e)n tê=| Politei/a| kai\ Chru/sippos e)n tô=|
peri\ Politei/as, a)lla/ te Dioge/nês o( Kuniko\s kai\ Pla/tôn;
pa/ntas te pai=das e)pi/sês ste/rxomen pate/rôn tro/pon, kai\ ê( e)pi\
moichei/a| zêlotupi/a periairethê/setai]. Compare Sextus Emp. Pyrrh.
H. iii. 205.]

[Footnote 186: Diog. L. ii. 68. The like reply is ascribed to
Aristotle. Diog. L. v. 20; Plutarch, De Profect. in Virtut. p. 80 D.]

[Footnote 187: Diog. L. ii. 79.]

[Footnote 188: Diog. L. ii. 72-74.]

[Footnote 189: Xenoph. Memor. i. 3, 11-14; Symposion, iv. 38; Diog. L.
vi. 3. [Greek: (A)ntisthe/nês) e)/lege suneche\s--Manei/ên ma=llon ê)\
ê(sthei/ên--kai\--chrê\ toiau/tais plêsia/zein gunaixi/n, ai(\ cha/rin

[Footnote 190: Xenoph. Cyropæd. v. 1, 2-18.]

[Side-note: Aristippus compared with Antisthenes and Diogenes--Points
of agreement and disagreement between them.]

Aristippus is thus remarkable, like the Cynics Antisthenes and
Diogenes, not merely for certain theoretical doctrines, but also for
acting out a certain plan of life.[191] We know little or nothing of
the real life of Aristippus, except what appears in Xenophon. The
biography of him (as of the Cynic Diogenes) given by Diogenes
Laertius, consists of little more than a string of anecdotes, mostly
sayings, calculated to illustrate a certain type of character.[192]
Some of these are set down by those who approved the type, and who
therefore place it in a favourable point of view--others by those who
disapprove it and give the opposite colour.

[Footnote 191: Sextus Empiricus and others describe this by the Greek
word [Greek: a)gôgê/] (Pyrrhon. Hypotyp. i. 150). Plato's beautiful
epigram upon Archeanassa is given by Diogenes L. iii. 31. Compare this
with the remark of Aristippus--Plutarch, Amatorius, p. 750 E.

That the society of these fascinating Hetæræ was dangerous, and
exhaustive to the purses of those who sought it, may be seen from the
expensive manner of life of Theodotê, described in Xenophon, Mem. iii.
11, 4.

The amorous impulses or fancies of Plato were censured by Dikæarchus.
See Cicero, Tusc. Disp. iv. 34, 71, with Davies's note.]

[Footnote 192: This is justly remarked by Wendt in his instructive
Dissertation, De Philosophiâ Cyrenaicâ, p. 8 (Göttingen, 1841).]

We can understand and compare the different types of character
represented by Antisthenes or Diogenes, and by Aristippus: but we have
little knowledge of the real facts of their lives. The two types, each
manifesting that marked individuality which belongs to the Sokratic
band, though in many respects strongly contrasted, have also some
points of agreement. Both Aristippus and Diogenes are bent on
individual freedom and independence of character: both of them stand
upon their own appreciation of life and its phenomena: both of them
are impatient of that servitude to the opinions and antipathies of
others, which induces a man to struggle for objects, not because they
afford him satisfaction, but because others envy him for possessing
them--and to keep off evils, not because he himself feels them as
such, but because others pity or despise him for being subject to
them; both of them are exempt from the competitive and ambitious
feelings, from the thirst after privilege and power, from the sense of
superiority arising out of monopolised possession and exclusion of
others from partnership. Diogenes kept aloof from political life and
civil obligations as much as Aristippus; and would have pronounced (as
Aristippus replies to Sokrates in the Xenophontic dialogue) that the
task of ruling others, instead of being a prize to be coveted, was
nothing better than an onerous and mortifying servitude,[193] not at
all less onerous because a man took up the burthen of his own accord.
These points of agreement are real: but the points of disagreement are
not less real. Diogenes maintains his free individuality, and puts
himself out of the reach of human enmity, by clothing himself in
impenetrable armour: by attaining positive insensibility, as near as
human life permits. This is with him not merely the acting out of a
scheme of life, but also a matter of pride. He is proud of his ragged
garment and coarse[194] fare, as exalting him above others, and as
constituting him a pattern of endurance: and he indulges this
sentiment by stinging and contemptuous censure of every one.
Aristippus has no similar vanity: he achieves his independence without
so heavy a renunciation: he follows out his own plan of life, without
setting himself up as a pattern for others. But his plan is at the
same time more delicate; requiring greater skill and intelligence,
more of manifold sagacity, in the performer. Horace, who compares the
two and gives the preference to Aristippus, remarks that Diogenes,
though professing to want nothing, was nevertheless as much dependent
upon the bounty of those who supplied his wallet with provisions, as
Aristippus upon the favour of princes: and that Diogenes had only one
fixed mode of proceeding, while Aristippus could master and turn to
account a great diversity of persons and situations--could endure
hardship with patience and dignity, when it was inevitable, and enjoy
the opportunities of pleasure when they occurred. "To Aristippus alone
it is given to wear both fine garments and rags" is a remark ascribed
to Plato.[195] In truth, Aristippus possesses in eminent measure that
accomplishment, the want of which Plato proclaims to be so misleading
and mischievous--artistic skill in handling human affairs, throughout
his dealings with mankind.[196]

[Footnote 193: It is this servitude of political life, making the
politician the slave of persons and circumstances around him, which
Horace contrasts with the philosophical independence of Aristippus:--

Ac ne forté roges, quo me duce, quo lare tuter;
Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri
Quo me cunque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes.
Nunc agilis fio et mersor civilibus undis,
Virtutis veræ custos rigidusque satelles:
Nunc in Aristippi furtim præcepta relabor,
Et mihi res, non me rebus, subjungere conor.
(Epist. i. 1, 15.)

So also the Platonic Sokrates (Theætêt. pp. 172-175) depicts forcibly
the cramped and fettered lives of rhetors and politicians; contrasting
them with the self-judgment and independence of speculative and
philosophical enquirers--[Greek: ô(s oi)ke/tai pro\s e)leuthe/rous
tethra/phthai--o( me\n tô=| o)/nti e)n e)leutheri/a| te kai\ scholê=|
tethramme/nos, o(\n dê\ philo/sophon kalei=s.]]

[Footnote 194: Diog. L. ii. 36. [Greek: stre/psantos A)ntisthe/nous
to\ dier)r(ôgo\s tou= tri/bônos ei)s tou)mphane/s, O(rô= sou=, e)/phê
(Sôkra/tês), dia\ tou= tri/bônos tê\n kenodoxi/an.]]

[Footnote 195: Horat. Epistol. i. 17, 13-24; Diog. L. vi. 46-56-66.

"Si pranderet olus patienter, regibus uti
Nollet Aristippus." "Si sciret regibus uti,
Fastidiret olus, qui me notat." Utrius horum
Verba probes et facta, doce: vel junior audi
Cur sit Aristippi potior sententia. Namque
Mordacem Cynicum sic eludebat, ut aiunt:
"Scurror ego ipse mihi, populo tu: rectius hoc et
Splendidius multò est. Equus ut me portet, alat rex,
Officium facio: tu poscis vilia rerum,
Dante minor, quamvis fers te nullius egentem."
Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et status, et res,
Tentantem majora, ferè præsentibus æquum.

(Compare Diog. L. ii. 102, vi. 58, where this anecdote is reported as
of Plato instead of Aristippus.)

Horace's view and scheme of life are exceedingly analogous to those of
Aristippus. Plutarch, Fragm. De Homero, p. 1190; De Fortunâ Alex. p.
330 D. Diog. Laert. ii. 67. [Greek: dio/ pote Stra/tôna, oi( de\
Pla/tôna, pro\s au)to\n ei)pei=n, Soi\ mo/nô| de/dotai kai\ chlani/da
phorei=n kai\ r(a/kos]. The remark cannot have been made by Straton,
who was not contemporary with Aristippus. Even Sokrates lived by the
bounty of his rich friends, and indeed could have had no other means
of supporting his wife and children; though he accepted only a portion
of what they tendered to him, declining the remainder. See the remark
of Aristippus, Diog. L. ii. 74.]

[Footnote 196: Plato, Phædon, p. 89 E. [Greek: o(/ti a)/neu te/chnês
tê=s peri\ ta)nthrô/peia o( toiou=tos chrê=sthai e)picheirei= toi=s

[Side-note: Attachment of Aristippus to ethics and
philosophy--contempt for other studies.]

That the scheme of life projected by Aristippus was very difficult
requiring great dexterity, prudence, and resolution, to execute it--we
may see plainly by the Xenophontic dialogue; wherein Sokrates
pronounces it to be all but impracticable. As far as we can judge, he
surmounted the difficulties of it: yet we do not know enough of his
real life to determine with accuracy what varieties of difficulties he
experienced. He followed the profession of a Sophist, receiving fees
for his teaching: and his attachment to philosophy (both as contrasted
with ignorance and as contrasted with other studies not philosophy)
was proclaimed in the most emphatic language. It was better (he said)
to be a beggar, than an uneducated man:[197] the former was destitute
of money, but the latter was destitute of humanity. He disapproved
varied and indiscriminate instruction, maintaining that persons ought
to learn in youth what they were to practise in manhood: and he
compared those who, neglecting philosophy, employed themselves in
literature or physical science, to the suitors in the Odyssey who
obtained the favours of Melantho and the other female servants, but
were rejected by the Queen Penelopê herself.[198] He treated with
contempt the study of geometry, because it took no account, and made
no mention, of what was good and evil, beautiful and ugly. In other
arts (he said), even in the vulgar proceeding of the carpenter and the
currier, perpetual reference was made to good, as the purpose intended
to be served and to evil as that which was to be avoided: but in
geometry no such purpose was ever noticed.[199]

[Footnote 197: Diog. L. ii. 70; Plutarch, Fragm. [Greek: U(pomnê/mat'
ei)s Ê(si/odon], s. 9. [Greek: A)ri/stippos de\ a)p' e)nanti/as o(
Sôkratiko\s e)/lege, sumbou/lou dei=sthai chei=ron ei)=nai ê)\

[Footnote 198: Diog. L. ii. 79-80. [Greek: tou\s tô=n e)gkukli/ôn
paideuma/tôn metascho/ntas, philosophi/as de\ a)poleiphthe/ntas], &c.
Plutarch, Fragm. [Greek: Strômate/ôn], sect. 9.]

[Footnote 199: Aristot. Metaph. B. 996, a 32, M. 1078, a. 35. [Greek:
ô(/ste dia\ tau=ta kai\ tô=n sophistô=n tine\s oi(=on A)ri/stippos
_proepêla/kizon_ au)ta\s], &c.]

[Side-note: Aristippus taught as a Sophist. His reputation thus
acquired procured for him the attentions of Dionysius and others.]

This last opinion of Aristippus deserves particular attention,
because it is attested by Aristotle. And it confirms what we hear upon
less certain testimony, that Aristippus discountenanced the department
of physical study generally (astronomy and physics) as well as
geometry; confining his attention to facts and reasonings which bore
upon the regulation of life.[200] In this restrictive view he followed
the example and precepts of Sokrates--of Isokrates--seemingly also of
Protagoras and Prodikus though not of the Eleian Hippias, whose course
of study was larger and more varied.[201] Aristippus taught as a
Sophist, and appears to have acquired great reputation in that
capacity both at Athens and elsewhere.[202] Indeed, if he had not
acquired such intellectual and literary reputation at Athens, he would
have had little chance of being invited elsewhere, and still less
chance of receiving favours and presents from Dionysius and other
princes:[203] whose attentions did not confer celebrity, but waited
upon it when obtained, and doubtless augmented it. If Aristippus lived
a life of indulgence at Athens, we may fairly presume that his main
resources for sustaining it, like those of Isokrates, were derived
from his own teaching: and that the presents which he received from
Dionysius of Syracuse, like those which Isokrates received from
Nikokles of Cyprus, were welcome additions, but not his main income.
Those who (like most of the historians of philosophy) adopt the
opinion of Sokrates and Plato, that it is disgraceful for an
instructor to receive payment from the persons taught will doubtless
despise Aristippus for such a proceeding: for my part I dissent from
this opinion, and I therefore do not concur in the disparaging
epithets bestowed upon him. And as for the costly indulgences, and
subservience to foreign princes, of which Aristippus stands accused,
we must recollect that the very same reproaches were advanced against
Plato and Aristotle by their contemporaries: and as far as we know,
with quite as much foundation.[204]

[Footnote 200: Diog. L. ii. 92. Sext. Emp. adv. Math. vii. 11.
Plutarch, apud Eusebium Præp. Ev. i. 8, 9.]

[Footnote 201: Plato, Protagor. p. 318 E, where the different methods
followed by Protagoras and Hippias are indicated.]

[Footnote 202: Diog. Laert. ii. 62. Alexis Comicus ap. Athenæ. xii.

Aristokles (ap. Euseb. Præp. Ev. xiv. 18) treats the first Aristippus
as a mere voluptuary, who said nothing generally [Greek: peri\ tou=
te/lous]. All the doctrine (he says) came from the younger Aristippus.
I think this very improbable. To what did the dialogues composed by
the first Aristippus refer? How did he get his reputation?]

[Footnote 203: Several anecdotes are recounted about sayings and
doings of Aristippus in his intercourse with _Dionysius_. _Which_
Dionysius is meant?--the elder or the younger? Probably the elder.

It is to be remembered that Dionysius the Elder lived and reigned
until the year 367 B.C., in which year his son Dionysius the Younger
succeeded him. The death of Sokrates took place in 399 B.C.: between
which, and the accession of Dionysius the Younger, an interval of 32
years occurred. Plato was old, being sixty years of age, when he first
visited the younger Dionysius, shortly after the accession of the
latter. Aristippus cannot well have been younger than Plato, and he is
said to have been older than Æschines Sokraticus (D. L. ii. 83).
Compare D. L. ii. 41.

When, with these dates present to our minds, we read the anecdotes
recounted by Diogenes L. respecting the sayings and doings of
Aristippus with _Dionysius_, we find: that several of them relate to
the contrast between the behaviour of Aristippus and that of Plato at
Syracuse. Now it is certain that Plato went _once_ to Syracuse when he
was forty years of age (Epist. vii. init.), in 387 B.C.--and according
to one report (Lucian, De Parasito, 34), he went there _twice_--while
the elder Dionysius was in the plenitude of power: but he made an
unfavourable impression, and was speedily sent away in displeasure. I
think it very probable that Aristippus may have visited the elder
Dionysius, and may have found greater favour with him than Plato found
(see Lucian, l. c.), since Dionysius was an accomplished man and a
composer of tragedies. Moreover Aristippus was a Kyrenæan, and
Aristippus wrote about Libya (D. L. ii. 83).]

[Footnote 204: See the epigram of the contemporary poet, Theokritus of
Chios, in Diog. L. v. 11; compare Athenæus, viii. 354, xiii. 566.
Aristokles, ap. Eusebium Præp. Ev. xv. 2.]

Aristippus composed several dialogues, of which the titles alone are
preserved.[205] They must however have been compositions of
considerable merit, since Theopompus accused Plato of borrowing
largely from them.

[Footnote 205: Diog. L. ii. 84-85.]

[Side-note: Ethical theory of Aristippus and the Kyrenaic

As all the works of Aristippus are lost, we cannot pretend to
understand fully his theory from the meagre abstract given in Sextus
Empiricus and Diogenes. Yet the theory is of importance in the history
of ancient speculation, since it passed with some modifications to
Epikurus, and was adopted by a large proportion of instructed men. The
Kyrenaic doctrine was transmitted by Aristippus to his disciples
Æthiops and Antipater: but his chief disciple appears to have been his
daughter Arêtê: whom he instructed so well, that she was able to
instruct her own son, the second Aristippus, called for that reason
Metrodidactus. The basis of his ethical theory was, pleasure and pain:
pleasure being _smooth motion_, pain, _rough motion_:[206] pleasure
being the object which all animals, by nature and without
deliberation, loved, pursued, and felt satisfaction in obtaining pain
being the object which they all by nature hated and tried to avoid.
Aristippus considered that no one pleasure was different from another,
nor more pleasurable than another:[207] that the attainment of these
special pleasurable moments, or as many of them as practicable, was
The End to be pursued in life. By _Happiness_, they understood the sum
total of these special pleasures, past, present, and future: yet
Happiness was desirable not on its own account, but on account of its
constituent items, especially such of those items as were present and
certainly future.[208] Pleasures and pains of memory and expectation
were considered to be of little importance. Absence of pain or relief
from pain, on the one hand--they did not consider as equivalent to
positive pleasure--nor absence of pleasure or withdrawal of pleasure,
on the other hand--as equivalent to positive pain. Neither the one
situation nor the other was a _motion_ ([Greek: ki/nêsis]), _i.e._ a
positive situation, appreciable by the consciousness: each was a
middle state--a mere negation of consciousness, like the phenomena of
sleep.[209] They recognised some mental pleasures and pains as
derivative from bodily sensation and as exclusively individual--others
as not so: for example, there were pleasures and pains of sympathy;
and a man often felt joy at the prosperity of his friends and
countrymen, quite as genuine as that which he felt for his own good
fortune. But they maintained that the bodily pleasures and pains were
much more vehement than the mental which were not bodily: for which
reason, the pains employed by the laws in punishing offenders were
chiefly bodily. The fear of pain was in their judgments more operative
than the love of pleasure: and though pleasure was desirable for its
own sake, yet the accompanying conditions of many pleasures were so
painful as to deter the prudent man from aiming at them. These
obstructions rendered it impossible for any one to realise the sum
total of pleasures constituting Happiness. Even the wise man sometimes
failed, and the foolish man sometimes did well, though in general the
reverse was the truth: but under the difficult conditions of life, a
man must be satisfied if he realised some particular pleasurable
conjunctions, without aspiring to a continuance or totality of the

[Footnote 206: Diog. L. ii. 86-87. [Greek: du/o pa/thê u(phi/stanto,
po/non kai\ ê(donê/n; tê\n me\n lei/an ki/nêsin, tê\n ê(donê/n, to\n
de\ po/non, trachei=an ki/nêsin; mê\ diaphe/rein te ê(donê\n ê(donê=s,
mêde\ ê(/dion ti ei)=nai; kai\ tê\n me\n, eu)dokêtê\n** pa=si zô/ois,
to\n de\ a)pokroustiko/n.]]

[Footnote 207: Diog. L. ii. p. 87. [Greek: mê\ diaphe/rein te ê(donê\n
ê(donê=s, mêde\ ê(/dion ti ei)=nai]. They did not mean by these words
to deny that one pleasure was more vehement and attractive than
another pleasure, or that one pain is more vehement and deterrent than
another pain: for it is expressly said afterwards (s. 90) that they
admitted this. They meant to affirm that one pleasure did not differ
from another _so far forth as pleasure_: that all pleasures must be
ranked as a class, and compared with each other in respect of
intensity, durability, and other properties possessed in greater or
less degree.]

[Footnote 208: Diog. L. ii. pp. 88-89. Athenæus, xii. p. 544.]

[Footnote 209: Diog. L. ii. 89-90. [Greek: mê\ ou)/sês tê=s a)poni/as
ê)\ tê=s a)êdoni/as kinê/seôs, e)pei\ ê( a)poni/a oi(onei\
katheu/donto/s e)sti kata/stasis--me/sas katasta/seis ô)no/mazon
a)êdoni/an kai\ a)poni/an].

A doctrine very different from this is ascribed to Aristippus in
Galen--Placit. Philos. (xix. p. 230, Kühn). It is there affirmed that
by pleasure Aristippus understood, not the pleasure of sense, but that
disposition of mind whereby a person becomes insensible to pain, and
hard to be imposed upon ([Greek: a)na/lgêtos kai\ dusgoê/teutos]).]

[Footnote 210: Diog. L. ii. 91.

It does not appear that the Kyrenaic sect followed out into detail the
derivative pleasures and pains; nor the way in which, by force of
association, these come to take precedence of the primary, exercising
influence on the mind both more forcible and more constant. We find
this important fact remarkably stated in the doctrine of Kalliphon.

Clemens Alexandr. Stromat. ii. p. 415, ed. 1629. [Greek: Kata\ de\
tou\s peri\ Kalliphô=nta, e(/neka me\n tê=s ê(donê=s pareisê=lthen ê(
a)retê/; chro/nô| de\ u(/steron, to\ peri\ au)tê\n ka/llos katidou=sa,
i)so/timon e(autê\n tê=| a)rchê=|, toute/sti tê=| ê(donê=|,

[Side-note: Prudence--good, by reason of the pleasure which it
ensured, and of the pains which it was necessary to avoid. Just and
honourable, by law or custom--not by nature.]

Aristippus regarded prudence or wisdom as good, yet not as good _per
se_, but by reason of the pleasures which it enabled us to procure and
the pains which it enabled us to avoid--and wealth as a good, for the
same reason. A friend also was valuable, for the use and necessities
of life: just as each part of one's own body was precious, so long as
it was present and could serve a useful purpose.[211] Some branches of
virtue might be possessed by persons who were not wise: and bodily
training was a valuable auxiliary to virtue. Even the wise man could
never escape pain and fear, for both of these were natural:
but he would keep clear of envy, passionate love, and superstition,
which were not natural, but consequences of vain opinion. A thorough
acquaintance with the real nature of Good and Evil would relieve him
from superstition as well as from the fear of death.[212]

[Footnote 211: Diog. L. ii. 91. [Greek: tê\n phro/nêsin a)gatho\n me\n
ei)=nai le/gousin, ou) di' e(autê\n de\ ai(retê/n, a)lla\ dia\ ta\ e)x
au)tê=s perigino/mena; to\n phi/lon tê=s chrei/as e(/neka; kai\ ga\r
me/ros sô/matos, me/chris a)\n parê=|, a)spa/zesthai].

The like comparison is employed by the Xenophontic Sokrates in the
Memorabilia (i. 2, 52-55), that men cast away portions of their own
body, so soon as these portions cease to be useful.]

[Footnote 212: Diog. L. ii. p. 92.]

The Kyrenaics did not admit that there was anything just, or
honourable, or base, by nature: but only by law and custom:
nevertheless the wise man would be sufficiently restrained, by the
fear of punishment and of discredit, from doing what was repugnant to
the society in which he lived. They maintained that wisdom was
attainable; that the senses did not at first judge truly, but might be
improved by study; that progress was realised in philosophy as in
other arts, and that there were different gradations of it, as well as
different gradations of pain and suffering, discernible in different
men. The wise man, as they conceived him, was a reality; not (like the
wise man of the Stoics) a sublime but unattainable ideal.[213]

[Footnote 213: Diog. L. ii. p. 93.]

[Side-note: Their logical theory--nothing knowable except the
phenomenal, our own sensations and feelings--no knowledge of the

Such were (as far as our imperfect evidence goes) the ethical and
emotional views of the Kyrenaic school: their theory and precepts
respecting the plan and prospects of life. In regard to truth and
knowledge, they maintained that we could have no knowledge of anything
but human sensations, affections, feelings, &c. ([Greek: pa/thê]):
that respecting the extrinsic, extra-sensational, absolute, objects or
causes from whence these feelings proceeded, we could know nothing at
all. Partly for this reason, they abstained from all attention to the
study of nature--to astronomy and physics: partly also because they
did not see any bearing of these subjects upon good and evil, or upon
the conduct of life. They turned their attention mainly to ethics,
partly also to logic as subsidiary to ethical reasoning.[214]

[Footnote 214: Diog. L. ii. p. 92. Sextus Empiric. adv. Mathemat. vi.

Such low estimation of mathematics and physics and attention given
almost exclusively to the feelings and conduct of human life--is a
point common to the opposite schools of Aristippus and Antisthenes,
derived by both of them from Sokrates. Herein Plato stands apart from
all the three.

The theory of Aristippus, as given above, is only derived from a
meagre abstract and from a few detached hints. We do not know how he
himself stated it: still less how he enforced and vindicated it.--He,
as well as Antisthenes, composed dialogues: which naturally implies
diversity of handling. Their main thesis, therefore--the text, as it
were, upon which they debated or expatiated (which is all that the
abstract gives)--affords very inadequate means, even if we could rely
upon the accuracy of the statement, for appreciating their
philosophical competence. We should form but a poor idea of the acute,
abundant, elastic and diversified dialectic of Plato, if all his
dialogues had been lost--and if we had nothing to rely upon except the
summary of Platonism prepared by Diogenes Laertius: which summary,
nevertheless, is more copious and elaborate than the same author has
furnished either of Aristippus or Antisthenes.

[Side-note: Doctrines of Antisthenes and Aristippus passed to the
Stoics and Epikureans.]

In the history of the Greek mind these two last-mentioned philosophers
(though included by Cicero among the _plebeii philosophi_) are not
less important than Plato and Aristotle. The speculations and precepts
of Antisthenes passed, with various enlargements and modifications,
into the Stoic philosophy: those of Aristippus into the Epikurean: the
two most widely extended ethical sects in the subsequent Pagan
world.--The Cynic sect, as it stood before it embraced the enlarged
physical, kosmical, and social theories of Zeno and his contemporaries,
reducing to a minimum all the desires and appetites--cultivating
insensibility to the pains of life, and even disdainful insensibility to
its pleasures--required extraordinary force of will and obstinate
resolution, but little beyond. Where there was no selection or
discrimination, the most ordinary prudence sufficed. It was otherwise
with the scheme of Aristippus and the Kyrenaics: which, if it tasked
less severely the powers of endurance, demanded a far higher measure
of intelligent prudence. Selection of that which might safely be
enjoyed, and determination of the limit within which enjoyment must be
confined, were constantly indispensable. Prudence, knowledge, the art
of mensuration or calculation, were essential to Aristippus, and ought
to be put in the foreground when his theory is stated.

[Side-note: Ethical theory of Aristippus is identical with that of the
Platonic Sokrates in the Protagoras.]

That theory is, in point of fact, identical with the theory expounded
by the Platonic Sokrates in Plato's Protagoras. The general features
of both are the same. Sokrates there lays it down explicitly, that
pleasure _per se_ is always good, and pain _per se_ always evil: that
there is no other good (_per se_) except pleasure and diminution of
pain--no other evil (_per se_) except pain and diminution of pleasure:
that there is no other object in life except to live through it as
much as possible with pleasures and without pains;[215] but that many
pleasures become evil, because they cannot be had without depriving us
of greater pleasures or imposing upon us greater pains while many
pains become good, because they prevent greater pains or ensure
greater pleasures: that the safety of life thus lies in a correct
comparison of the more or less in pleasures and pains, and in a
selection founded thereupon. In other words, the safety of life
depends upon calculating knowledge or prudence, the art or science of

[Footnote 215: Plato, Protag. p. 355 A. [Greek: ê)\ a)rkei= u(mi=n to\
ê(de/ôs katabiô=nai to\n bi/on a)/neu lupô=n? ei) de\ a)rkei=, kai\
mê\ e)/chete mêde\n a)/llo pha/nai ei)=nai a)gatho\n ê)\ kako/n, o(\
mê\ ei)s tau=ta teleuta=|, to\ meta\ tou=to a)kou/ete].

The exposition of this theory, by the Platonic Sokrates, occupies the
latter portion of the Protagoras, from p. 351 to near the conclusion.
See below, ch. xxiii. of the present work.

The language held by Aristippus to Sokrates, in the Xenophontic
dialogue (Memor. ii. 1. 9), is exactly similar to that of the Platonic
Sokrates, as above cited--[Greek: e)mauto\n ta/ttô ei)s tou\s
boulome/nous ê(=| r(a=|sta/ te kai\ ê(/dista bioteu/ein.]]

[Side-note: Difference in the manner of stating the theory by the

The theory here laid down by the Platonic Sokrates is the same as that
of Aristippus. The purpose of life is stated almost in the same words
by both: by the Platonic Sokrates, and by Aristippus in the
Xenophontic dialogue--"to live through with enjoyment and without
suffering." The Platonic Sokrates denies, quite as emphatically as
Aristippus, any good or evil, honourable or base, except as
representing the result of an intelligent comparison of pleasures and
pains. Judicious calculation is postulated by both: pleasures and
pains being assumed by both as the only ends of pursuit and avoidance,
to which calculation is to be applied. The main difference is, that
the prudence, art, or science, required for making this calculation
rightly, are put forward by the Platonic Sokrates as the prominent
item in his provision for passing through life: whereas, in the scheme
of Aristippus, as far as we know it, such accomplished intelligence,
though equally recognised and implied, is not equally thrust into the
foreground. So it appears at least in the abstract which we possess of
his theory; if we had his own exposition of it, perhaps we might find
the case otherwise. In that abstract, indeed, we find the writer
replying to those who affirmed prudence or knowledge, to be good _per
se_--and maintaining that it is only good by reason of its
consequences:[216] that is, that it is not good as End, in the same
sense in which pleasure or mitigation, of pain are good. This point of
the theory, however, coincides again with the doctrine of the Platonic
Sokrates in the Protagoras: where the art of calculation is extolled
simply as an indispensable condition to the most precious results of
human happiness.

[Footnote 216: Diog. L. ii. p. 91.]

What I say here applies especially to the Protagoras: for I am well
aware that in other dialogues the Platonic Sokrates is made to hold
different language.[217] But in the Protagoras he defends a theory the
same as that of Aristippus, and defends it by an elaborate argument
which silences the objections of the Sophist Protagoras; who at first
will not admit the unqualified identity of the pleasurable,
judiciously estimated and selected, with the good. The general and
comprehensive manner in which Plato conceives and expounds the theory,
is probably one evidence of his superior philosophical aptitude as
compared with Aristippus and his other contemporaries. He enunciates,
side by side, and with equal distinctness, the two conditions
requisite for his theory of life. 1. The calculating or measuring art.
2. A description of the items to which alone such measurement must be
applied--pleasures and pains.--These two together make the full
theory. In other dialogues Plato insists equally upon the necessity of
knowledge or calculating prudence: but then he is not equally distinct
in specifying the items to which such prudence or calculation is to be
applied. On the other hand, it is quite possible that Aristippus, in
laying out the same theory, may have dwelt with peculiar emphasis upon
the other element in the theory: _i.e._ that while expressly insisting
upon pleasures and pains, as the only data to be compared, he may have
tacitly assumed the comparing or calculating intelligence, as if it
were understood by itself, and did not require to be formally

[Footnote 217: See chapters xxiii., xxiv.,** xxxii. of the present work,
in which I enter more fully into the differences between the
Protagoras, Gorgias, and Philêbus, in respect to this point.

Aristippus agrees with the Platonic Sokrates in the Protagoras, as to
the general theory of life respecting pleasure and pain.

He agrees with the Platonic Sokrates _in the Gorgias_ (see pp.
500-515), in keeping aloof from active political life. [Greek: a\
au(tou= pra/ttein, kai\ ou) polupragmonei=n e)n tô=| bi/ô|]--which
Sokrates, in the Gorgias (p. 526 C), proclaims as the conduct of the true
philosopher, proclaimed with equal emphasis by Aristippus. Compare the
Platonic Apology, p. 31 D-E.]

[Side-note: Distinction to be made between a general theory--and the
particular application of it made by the theorist to his own tastes
and circumstances.]

A distinction must here be made between the general theory of life
laid down by Aristippus--and the particular application which he made
of that theory to his own course of proceeding. What we may observe
is, that the Platonic Sokrates (in the Protagoras) agrees in the
first, or general theory: whether he would have agreed in the second
(or application to the particular case) we are not informed, but we
may probably assume the negative. And we find Sokrates (in the
Xenophontic dialogue) taking the same negative ground against
Aristippus--upon the second point, not upon the first. He seeks to
prove that the course of conduct adopted by Aristippus, instead of
carrying with it a preponderance of pleasure, will entail a
preponderance of pain. He does not dispute the general theory.

[Side-note: Kyrenaic theorists after Aristippus.]

Though Aristippus and the Kyrenaic sect are recognised as the first
persons who laid down this general theory, yet various others apart
from them adopted it likewise. We may see this not merely from the
Protagoras of Plato, but also from the fact that Aristotle, when
commenting upon the theory in his Ethics,[218] cites Eudoxus (eminent
both as mathematician and astronomer, besides being among the hearers
of Plato) as its principal champion. Still the school of Kyrênê are
recorded as a continuous body, partly defending, partly modifying the
theory of Aristippus.[219] Hegesias, Annikeris, and Theodôrus are the
principal Kyrenaics named: the last of them contemporary with Ptolemy
Soter, Lysimachus, Epikurus, Theophrastus, and Stilpon.

[Footnote 218: Aristot. Ethic. Nikom. x. 2.]

[Footnote 219: Sydenham, in his notes on Philêbus (note 39, p. 76),
accuses Aristippus and the Kyrenaics of prevarication and sophistry in
the statement of their doctrine respecting Pleasure. He says that they
called it indiscriminately [Greek: a)gatho\n] and
[Greek: ta)gatho/n]--(a good--The Good)--"they used the fallacy of
changing a particular term for a term which is universal, or vice versâ,
by the sly omission or insertion of the definite article _The_ before
the word Good" (p. 78). He contrasts with this prevarication the
ingenuousness of Eudoxus, as the advocate of Pleasure (Aristot. Eth.
N. x. 2). I know no evidence for either of these allegations: either
for the prevarication of Aristippus or the ingenuousness of Eudoxus.]

[Side-note: Theodôrus--Annikeris--Hegesias.]

Diogenes Laertius had read a powerfully written book of Theodôrus,
controverting openly the received opinions respecting the Gods:--which
few of the philosophers ventured to do. Cicero also mentions a
composition of Hegesias.[220] Of Annikeris we know none; but he, too,
probably, must have been an author. The doctrines which we find
ascribed to these Kyrenaics evince how much affinity there was, at
bottom, between them and the Cynics, in spite of the great apparent
opposition. Hegesias received the surname of the Death-Persuader: he
considered happiness to be quite unattainable, and death to be an
object not of fear, but of welcome acceptance, in the eyes of a wise
man. He started from the same basis as Aristippus: pleasure as the
_expetendum_, pain as the _fugiendum_, to which all our personal
friendships and aversions were ultimately referable. But he considered
that the pains of life preponderated over the pleasures, even under
the most favourable circumstances. For conferring pleasure, or for
securing continuance of pleasure--wealth, high birth, freedom, glory,
were of no greater avail than their contraries poverty, low birth,
slavery, ignominy. There was nothing which was, by nature or
universally, either pleasurable or painful. Novelty, rarity, satiety,
rendered one thing pleasurable, another painful, to different persons
and at different times. The wise man would show his wisdom, not in the
fruitless struggle for pleasures, but in the avoidance or mitigation
of pains: which he would accomplish more successfully by rendering
himself indifferent to the causes of pleasure. He would act always for
his own account, and would value himself higher than other persons:
but he would at the same time reflect that the mistakes of these
others were involuntary, and he would give them indulgent counsel,
instead of hating them. He would not trust his senses as affording any
real knowledge: but he would be satisfied to act upon the probable
appearances of sense, or upon phenomenal knowledge.[221]

[Footnote 220: Diog. L. ii. 97. [Greek: Theo/dôros--panta/pasin
a)nairô=n ta\s peri\ theô=n do/xas]. Diog. L. ii. 86, 97. Cicero, Tusc.
Disp. i. 34, 83-84. [Greek: Ê(gêsi/as o( peisitha/natos].]

[Footnote 221: Diog. L. ii. 93, 94.]

[Side-note: Hegesias--Low estimation of life--renunciation of
pleasure--coincidence with the Cynics.]

Such is the summary which we read of the doctrines of Hegesias: who is
said to have enforced his views,[222]--of the real character of life,
as containing a great preponderance of misfortune and suffering--in a
manner so persuasive, that several persons were induced to commit
suicide. Hence he was prohibited by the first Ptolemy from lecturing
in such a strain. His opinions respecting life coincide in the main
with those set forth by Sokrates in the Phædon of Plato: which
dialogue also is alleged to have operated so powerfully on the
Platonic disciple Kleombrotus, that he was induced to terminate his
own existence. Hegesias, agreeing with Aristippus that pleasure would
be the Good, if you could get it--maintains that the circumstances of
life are such as to render pleasure unattainable: and therefore
advises to renounce pleasure at once and systematically, in order that
we may turn our attention to the only practicable end--that of
lessening pain. Such deliberate renunciation of pleasure brings him
into harmony with the doctrine of the Cynics.

[Footnote 222: Compare the Pseudo-Platonic dialogue entitled Axiochus,
pp. 366, 367, and the doctrine of Kleanthes in Sext. Empiric. adv.
Mathemat. ix. 88-92. Lucretius, v. 196-234.]

[Side-note: Doctrine of Relativity affirmed by the Kyrenaics, as well
as by Protagoras.]

On another point, however, Hegesias repeats just the same doctrine as
Aristippus. Both deny any thing like absolute knowledge: they maintain
that all our knowledge is phenomenal, or relative to our own
impressions or affections: that we neither do know, nor can know,
anything about any real or supposed ultra-phenomenal object, _i.e._,
things in themselves, as distinguished from our own impressions and
apart from our senses and other capacities. Having no writings of
Aristippus left, we know this doctrine only as it is presented by
others, and those too opponents. We cannot tell whether Aristippus or
his supporters stated their own doctrine in such a way as to be open
to the objections which we read as urged by opponents. But the
doctrine itself is not, in my judgment, refuted by any of those
objections. "Our affections ([Greek: pa/thê]) alone are known to us,
but not the supposed objects or causes from which they proceed." The
word rendered by _affections_ must here be taken in its most general
and comprehensive sense--as including not merely sensations, but also
remembrances, emotions, judgments, beliefs, doubts, volitions,
conscious energies, &c. Whatever we know, we can know only as it
appears to, or implicates itself somehow with, our own minds. All the
knowledge which I possess, is an aggregate of propositions affirming
facts, and the order or conjunction of facts, as they are, or have
been, or may be, relative to myself. This doctrine of Aristippus is in
substance the same as that which Protagoras announced in other words
as--"Man is the measure of all things". I have already explained and
illustrated it, at considerable length, in my chapter on the Platonic
Theætêtus, where it is announced by Theætetus and controverted by

[Footnote 223: See below, vol. iii. ch. xxviii. Compare Aristokles ap.
Eusebium, Præp. Ev. xiv. 18, 19, and Sextus Emp. adv. Mathemat. vii.
190-197, vi. 53. Sextus gives a summary of this doctrine of the
Kyrenaics, more fair and complete than that given by Aristokles--at
least so far as the extract from the latter in Eusebius enables us to
judge. Aristokles impugns it vehemently, and tries to fasten upon it
many absurd consequences--in my judgment without foundation. It is
probable that by the term [Greek: pa/thos] the Kyrenaics meant simply
sensations internal and external: and that the question, as they
handled it, was about the reality of the supposed Substratum or Object
of sense, independent of any sentient Subject. It is also probable
that, in explaining their views, they did not take account of the
memory of past sensations--and the expectation of future sensations,
in successions or conjunctions more or less similar--associating in
the mind with the sensation present and actual, to form what is called
a permanent object of sense. I think it likely that they set forth
their own doctrine in a narrow and inadequate manner.

But this defect is noway corrected by Aristokles their opponent. On
the contrary, he attacks them on their strong side: he vindicates
against them the hypothesis of the ultra phenomenal, absolute,
transcendental Object, independent of and apart from any sensation,
present, past, or future--and from any sentient Subject. Besides that,
he assumes them to deny, or ignore, many points which their theory
noway requires them to deny. He urges one argument which, when
properly understood, goes not against them, but strongly in their
favour. "If these philosophers," says Aristokles (Eus. xiv. 19, 1),
"know that they experience sensation and perceive, they must know
something beyond the sensation itself. If I say [Greek: e)gô\
kai/omai], 'I am being burned,' this is a proposition, not a
sensation. These three things are of necessity co-essential--the
sensation itself, the Object which causes it, the Subject which feels
it ([Greek: a)na/gkê ge tri/a tau=ta sunuphi/stasthai--to/ te pa/thos
au)to\ kai\ to\ poiou=n kai\ to\ pa/schon])." In trying to make good
his conclusion--That you cannot know the sensation without the Object
of sense--Aristokles at the same time asserts that the Object cannot
be known apart from the sensation, nor apart from the knowing Subject.
He asserts that the three are by necessity _co-essential--i.e._
implicated and indivisible in substance and existence: if
distinguishable therefore, distinguishable only logically ([Greek:
lo/gô| chôrista\]), admitting of being looked at in different points
of view. But this is exactly the case of his opponents, when properly
stated. They do not deny Object: they do not deny Subject: but they
deny the independent and separate existence of the one as well as of
the other: they admit the two only as relative to each other, or as
reciprocally implicated in the indivisible fact of cognition. The
reasoning of Aristokles thus goes to prove the opinion which he is
trying to refute. Most of the arguments, which Sextus adduces in
favour of the Kyrenaic doctrine, show forcibly that the Objective
Something, apart from its Subjective correlate, is unknowable and a
non-entity; but he does not include in the Subjective as much as ought
to be included; he takes note only of the present sensation, and does
not include sensations remembered or anticipated. Another very
forcible part of Sextus's reasoning may be found, vii. sect. 269-272,
where he shows that a logical Subject _per se_ is undefinable and
inconceivable--that those who attempt to define Man (_e.g._) do so by
specifying more or fewer of the predicates of Man--and that if you
suppose all the predicates to vanish, the Subject vanishes along with



[Side-note: Xenophon--his character--essentially a man of action and
not a theorist--the Sokratic element in him an accessory.]

There remains one other companion of Sokrates, for whom a dignified
place must be reserved in this volume--Xenophon the son of Gryllus. It
is to him that we owe, in great part, such knowledge as we possess of
the real Sokrates. For the Sokratic conversations related by
Xenophon, though doubtless dressed up and expanded by him, appear to
me reports in the main of what Sokrates actually said. Xenophon was
sparing in the introduction of his master as titular spokesman for
opinions, theories, or controversial difficulties, generated in his
own mind: a practice in which Plato indulged without any reserve, as
we have seen by the numerous dialogues already passed in review.

I shall not however give any complete analysis of Xenophon's works:
because both the greater part of them, and the leading features of his
personal character, belong rather to active than to speculative
Hellenic life. As such, I have dealt with them largely in my History
of Greece. What I have here to illustrate is the Sokratic element in
his character, which is important indeed as accessory and modifying--yet
not fundamental. Though he exemplifies and attests, as a witness,
the theorising negative vein, the cross-examining Elenchus of Sokrates
it is the preceptorial vein which he appropriates to himself and
expands in its bearing on practical conduct. He is the
semi-philosophising general; undervalued indeed as a hybrid by Plato--but
by high-minded Romans like Cato, Agricola, Helvidius Priscus, &c.
likely to be esteemed higher than Plato himself.[1] He is the military
brother of the Sokratic family, distinguished for ability and energy
in the responsible functions of command: a man of robust frame,
courage, and presence of mind, who affronts cheerfully the danger and
fatigues of soldiership, and who extracts philosophy from experience
of the variable temper of armies, together with the multiplied
difficulties and precarious authority of a Grecian general.[2] For our
knowledge, imperfect as it is, of real Grecian life, we are greatly
indebted to his works. All historians of Greece must draw largely from
his Hellenica and Anabasis: and we learn much even from his other
productions, not properly historical; for he never soars high in the
region of ideality, nor grasps at etherial visions--"nubes et
inania"--like Plato.

[Footnote 1: See below, my remarks on the Platonic Euthydêmus, vol.
ii. chap, xxi.**]

[Footnote 2: We may apply to Plato and Xenophon the following
comparison by Euripides, Supplices, 905. (Tydeus and Meleager.)

[Greek: gnô/mê| d' a)delphou= Melea/grou leleimme/nos,
i)son pare/schen o)/noma dia\ te/chnên doro/s,
eu(rô\n a)kribê= mousikê\n e)n a)spi/di;
philo/timon ê)=thos, plou/sion phro/nêma de\
e)n toi=sin e)/rgois, ou)chi\ toi=s lo/gois e)/chôn.]]

[Side-note: Date of Xenophon--probable year of his birth.]

Respecting the personal history of Xenophon himself, we possess but
little information: nor do we know the year either of his birth or
death. His Hellenica concludes with the battle of Mantineia in 362
B.C. But he makes incidental mention in that work of an event five
years later--the assassination of Alexander, despot of Pheræ, which
took place in 357 B.C.[3]--and his language seems to imply that the
event was described shortly after it took place. His pamphlet De
Vectigalibus appears to have been composed still later--not before 355
B.C. In the year 400 B.C., when Xenophon joined the Grecian military
force assembled at Sardis to accompany Cyrus the younger in his march
to Babylon, he must have been still a young man: yet he had even then
established an intimacy with Sokrates at Athens: and he was old enough
to call himself the "ancient guest" of the Boeotian Proxenus, who
engaged him to come and take service with Cyrus.[4] We may suppose him
to have been then about thirty years of age; and thus to have been
born about 430 B.C.--two or three years earlier than Plato. Respecting
his early life, we have no facts before us: but we may confidently
affirm (as I have already observed about[5] Plato), that as he became
liable to military service in 412 B.C., the severe pressure of the war
upon Athens must have occasioned him to be largely employed, among
other citizens, for the defence of his native city, until its capture
in 405 B.C. He seems to have belonged to an equestrian family in the
census, and therefore to have served on horseback. More than one of
his compositions evinces both intelligent interest in horsemanship,
and great familiarity with horses.

[Footnote 3: Xenoph. Hellen. vi. 4, 37. [Greek: tô=n de\ tau=ta
praxa/ntôn] (_i.e._ of the brothers of Thêbê, which brothers had
assassinated Alexander) [Greek: a)/chri ou)= o(de o( lo/gos
e)gra/pheto, Tisi/phonos, presbu/tatos ô(=n tô=n a)delphô=n, tê\n
a)rchê\n ei)=che.]]

[Footnote 4: That he was still a young man appears from his language,
Anabas. iii. 1, 25. His intimacy with Sokrates, whose advice he asked
about the propriety of accepting the invitation of Proxenus to go to
Asia, is shown iii. 1, 5. Proxenus was his [Greek: xe/nos a)rchai=os],
iii. 1, 4.

The story mentioned by Strabo (ix. 403) that Xenophon served in the
Athenian cavalry at the battle of Delium (424 B.C.), and that his life
was saved by Sokrates, I consider to be not less inconsistent with any
reasonable chronology, than the analogous anecdote--that Plato
distinguished himself at the battle of Delium. See below, ch. v.]

[Footnote 5: See ch. v.]

[Side-note: His personal history--He consults Sokrates--takes the
opinion of the Delphian oracle.]

Our knowledge of his personal history begins with what he himself
recounts in the Anabasis. His friend Proxenus, then at Sardis
commanding a regiment of Hellenic mercenaries under Cyrus the younger,
wrote recommending him earnestly to come over and take service, in the
army prepared ostensibly against the Pisidians. Upon this Xenophon
asked the advice of Sokrates: who exhorted him to go and consult the
Delphian oracle--being apprehensive that as Cyrus had proved himself
the strenuous ally of Sparta, and had furnished to her the principal
means for crushing Athens, an Athenian taking service under him would
incur unpopularity at home. Xenophon accordingly went to Delphi: but
instead of asking the question broadly--"Shall I go, or shall I
decline to go?"--he put to Apollo the narrower question--"Having in
contemplation a journey, to which of the Gods must I sacrifice and
pray, in order to accomplish it best, and to come back with safety and
success?" Apollo indicated to him the Gods to whom he ought to address
himself: but Sokrates was displeased with him for not having first
asked, whether he ought to go at all. Nevertheless (continued
Sokrates), since you have chosen to put the question in your own way
you must act as the God has prescribed.[6]

[Footnote 6: Xenoph. Anab. iii. 1, 4-6.]

[Side-note: His service and command with the Ten Thousand Greeks;
afterwards under Agesilaus and the Spartans.--He is banished from

The anecdote here recounted by Xenophon is interesting, as it
illustrates his sincere faith, as well as that of Sokrates, in the
Delphian oracle: though we might have expected that on this occasion,
Sokrates would have been favoured with some manifestation of that
divine sign, which he represents to have warned him afterwards so
frequently and on such trifling matters. Apollo however was perhaps
displeased (as Sokrates was) with Xenophon, for not having submitted
the question to him with full frankness: since the answer given was
proved by subsequent experience to be incomplete.[7] After fifteen
months passed, first, in the hard upward march--next, in the still
harder retreat--of the Ten Thousand, to the preservation of whom he
largely contributed by his energy, presence of mind, resolute
initiative, and ready Athenian eloquence, as one of their
leaders--Xenophon returned to Athens. It appears that he must have come
back not long after the death of Sokrates. But Athens was not at that time
a pleasant residence for him. The Sokratic companions shared in the
unpopularity of their deceased master, and many of them were absent:
moreover Xenophon himself was unpopular as the active partisan of
Cyrus. After a certain stay, we know not how long, at Athens, Xenophon
appears to have gone back to Asia; and to have resumed his command of
the remaining Cyreian soldiers, then serving under the Lacedæmonian
generals against the Persian satraps Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus. He
served first under Derkyllidas, next under Agesilaus. For the latter
he conceived the warmest admiration, and contracted with him an
intimate friendship. At the time when Xenophon rejoined the Cyreians
in Asia, Athens was not at war with the Lacedæmonians: but after some
time, the hostile confederacy of Athens, Thebes, and Corinth, against
them was organised: and Agesilaus was summoned home by them from Asia,
to fight their battles in Greece. Xenophon and his Cyreians were still
a portion of the army of Agesilaus, and accompanied him in his march
into Boeotia; where they took part in his desperate battle and bloody
victory at Koroneia.[8] But he was now lending active aid to the
enemies of Athens, and holding conspicuous command in their armies. A
sentence of banishment, on the ground of Laconism, was passed against
him by the Athenians, on the proposition of Eubulus.[9]

[Footnote 7: Compare Anabas. vi. 1, 22, and vii. 8, 1-6.

See also Plato, Apol. Sokr. p. 33 C, and Plato, Theagês, p. 129; also
below, vol. ii. ch. xv.

Sokrates and Xenophon are among the most imposing witnesses cited by
Quintus Cicero, in his long pleading to show the reality of divination
(Cicero, De Divinatione, i. 25, 52, i. 54, 122). Antipater the Stoic
collected a large number of examples, illustrating the miraculous
divining power of Sokrates. Several of these examples appear much more
trifling than this incident of Xenophon.]

[Footnote 8: Xenoph. Anab. v. 3, 6; Plutarch, Agesilaus, c. 18.]

[Footnote 9: Diog. L. ii. 51-69. [Greek: e)pi\ Lakônismô=| phugê\n
u(p' A)thênai/ôn kategnô/sthê.]]

[Side-note: His residence at Skillus near Olympia.]

How long he served with Agesilaus, we are not told. At the end of his
service, the Lacedæmonians provided him with a house and land at the
Triphylian town of Skillûs near Olympia, which they had seemingly
taken from the Eleians and re-colonised. Near this residence he also
purchased, under the authority of the God (perhaps Olympian Zeus) a
landed estate to be consecrated to the Goddess Artemis: employing
therein a portion of the tithe of plunder devoted to Artemis by the
Cyreian army, and deposited by him for the time in the care of
Megabyzus, priest of Artemis at Ephesus. The estate of the Goddess
contained some cultivated ground, but consisted chiefly of pasture;
with wild ground, wood and mountain, abounding in game and favourable
for hunting. Xenophon became Conservator of this property for Artemis:
to whom he dedicated a shrine and a statue, in miniature copy of the
great temple at Ephesus. Every year he held a formal hunting-match, to
which he invited all the neighbours, with abundant hospitality, at the
expense of the Goddess. The Conservator and his successors were bound
by formal vow, on pain of her displeasure, to employ one tenth of the
whole annual produce in sacrifices to her: and to keep the shrine and
statue in good order, out of the remainder.[10]

[Footnote 10: Xenoph. Anab. v. 3, 8-12; Diog. L. ii. 52: Pausanias, v.
6, 3.

[Greek: phêsi\ d' o( Dei/narchos o(/ti kai\ oi)ki/an kai\ a)/gron
au)tô=| e(/dosan Lakedaimo/nioi].

Deinarchus appears to have composed for a client at Athens a judicial
speech against Xenophon, the grandson of Xenophon Sokraticus. He
introduced into the speech some facts relating to the grandfather.]

[Side-note: Family of Xenophon--his son Gryllus killed at Mantinea.]

Xenophon seems to have passed many years of his life either at Skillus
or in other parts of Peloponnesus, and is said to have died very old
at Corinth. The sentence of banishment passed against him by the
Athenians was revoked after the battle of Leuktra, when Athens came
into alliance with the Lacedæmonians against Thebes. Some of
Xenophon's later works indicate that he must have availed himself of
this revocation to visit Athens: but whether he permanently resided
there is uncertain. He had brought over with him from Asia a wife
named Philesia, by whom he had two sons, Gryllus and Diodorus.[11] He
sent these two youths to be trained at Sparta, under the countenance
of Agesilaus:[12] afterwards the eldest of them, Gryllus, served with
honour in the Athenian cavalry which assisted the Lacedæmonians and
Mantineians against Epameinondas, B.C. 362. In the important
combat[13] of the Athenian and Theban cavalry, close to the gates of
Mantineia--shortly preceding the general battle of Mantineia, in which
Epameinondas was slain--Gryllus fell, fighting with great bravery. The
death of this gallant youth--himself seemingly of great promise, and
the son of so eminent a father--was celebrated by Isokrates and several
other rhetors, as well as by the painter Euphranor at Athens, and by
sculptors at Mantineia itself.[14]

[Footnote 11: Æschines Sokraticus, in one of his dialogues, introduced
Aspasia conversing with Xenophon and his (Xenophon's) wife. Cicero, De
Invent. i. 31, 51-54; Quintil. Inst. Orat. v. p. 312.]

[Footnote 12: Plutarch, Agesilaus, c. 20.]

[Footnote 13: Xenoph. Hellen. vii. 5, 15-16-17. This combat of cavalry
near the gates of Mantineia was very close and sharply contested; but
at the great battle fought a few days afterwards the Athenian cavalry
were hardly at all engaged, vii. 5, 25.]

[Footnote 14: Pausanias, i. 3, 3, viii. 11, 4, ix. 15, 3; Diogenes L.
ii. 54. Harpokration v. [Greek: Kêphiso/dôros].

It appears that Euphranor, in his picture represented Gryllus as
engaged in personal conflict with Epameinondas and wounding him--a
compliment not justified by the facts. The Mantineians believed
Antikrates, one of their own citizens, to have mortally wounded the
great Theban general with his spear, and they awarded to him as
recompense immunity from public burthens ([Greek: a)te/leian]), both
for himself and his descendants. One of his descendants, Kallikrates,
continued even in Plutarch's time to enjoy this immunity. Plutarch,
Agesilaus, c. 35.]

[Side-note: Death of Xenophon at Corinth--Story of the Eleian

Skillus, the place in which the Lacedæmonians had established
Xenophon, was retaken by the Eleians during the humiliation of
Lacedæmonian power, not long before the battle of Mantineia. Xenophon
himself was absent at the time; but his family were constrained to
retire to Lepreum. It was after this, we are told, that he removed to
Corinth, where he died in 355 B.C. or in some year later. The Eleian
Exegetæ told the traveller Pausanias, when he visited the spot five
centuries afterwards, that Xenophon had been condemned in the judicial
Council of Olympia as wrongful occupant of the property at Skillus,
through Lacedæmonian violence; but that the Eleians had granted him
indulgence, and had allowed him to remain.[15] As it seems clearly
asserted that he died at Corinth, he can hardly have availed himself
of the indulgence; and I incline to suspect that the statement is an
invention of subsequent Eleian Exegetæ, after they had learnt to
appreciate his literary eminence.

[Footnote 15: Pausan. v. 6, 3; Diog. L. ii. 53-56.]

[Side-note: Xenophon different from Plato and the other Sokratic

From the brief outline thus presented of Xenophon's life, it will
plainly appear that he was quite different in character and habits
from Plato and the other Sokratic brethren. He was not only a man of
the world (as indeed Aristippus was also), but he was actively engaged
in the most responsible and difficult functions of military command:
he was moreover a landed proprietor and cultivator, fond of strong
exercise with dogs and horses, and an intelligent equestrian. His
circumstances were sufficiently easy to dispense with the necessity of
either composing discourses or taking pupils for money. Being thus
enabled to prosecute letters and philosophy in an independent way, he
did not, like Plato and Aristotle, open a school.[16] His relations,
as active coadjutor and subordinate, with Agesilaus, form a striking
contrast to those of Plato with Dionysius, as tutor and pedagogue. In
his mind, the Sokratic conversations, suggestive and stimulating to
every one, fell upon the dispositions and aptitudes of a
citizen-soldier, and fructified in a peculiar manner. My present work
deals with Xenophon, not as an historian of Grecian affairs or of the
Cyreian expedition, but only on the intellectual and theorising side:--as
author of the Memorabilia, the Cyropædia, Oekonomikus, Symposion,
Hieron, De Vectigalibus, &c.

[Footnote 16: See, in the account of Theopompus by Photius (Cod. 176,
p. 120; compare also Photius, Cod. 159, p. 102, a. 41), the
distinction taken by Theopompus: who said that the four most
celebrated literary persons of his day were, his master Isokrates,
Theodektês of Phasêlis, Naukrates of Erythræ, and himself
(Theopompus). He himself and Naukrates were in good circumstances, so
that he passed his life in independent prosecution of philosophy and
philomathy. But Isokrates and Theodektês were compelled [Greek: di'
a)pori/an bi/ou, misthou= lo/gous gra/phein kai\ sophisteu/ein,
e)kpaideu/ontes tou\s ne/ous, ka)kei=then karpoume/nous ta\s

Theopompus does not here present the profession of a Sophist (as most
Platonic commentators teach us to regard it) as a mean,
unprincipled, and corrupting employment.]

[Side-note: His various works--Memorabilia, Oekonomikus, &c.]

The Memorabilia were composed as records of the conversations of
Sokrates, expressly intended to vindicate Sokrates against charges of
impiety and of corrupting youthful minds, and to show that he
inculcated, before every thing, self-denial, moderation of desires,
reverence for parents, and worship of the Gods. The Oekonomikus and
the Symposion are expansions of the Memorabilia: the first[17]
exhibiting Sokrates not only as an attentive observer of the facts of
active life (in which character the Memorabilia present him also), but
even as a learner of husbandry[18] and family management from
Ischomachus--the last describing Sokrates and his behaviour amidst the
fun and joviality of a convivial company. Sokrates declares[19] that
as to himself, though poor, he is quite as rich as he desires to be;
that he desires no increase, and regards poverty as no disadvantage.
Yet since Kratobulus, though rich, is beset with temptations to
expense quite sufficient to embarrass him, good proprietary management
is to him a necessity. Accordingly, Sokrates, announcing that he has
always been careful to inform himself who were the best economists in
the city,[20] now cites as authority Ischomachus, a citizen of wealth
and high position, recognised by all as one of the
"super-excellent".[21] Ischomachus loves wealth, and is anxious to
maintain and even enlarge his property: desiring to spend magnificently
for the honour of the Gods, the assistance of friends, and the support
of the city.[22] His whole life is arranged, with intelligence and
forethought, so as to attain this object, and at the same time to keep
up the maximum of bodily health and vigour, especially among the
horsemen of the city as an accomplished rider[23] and cavalry
soldier. He speaks with respect, and almost with enthusiasm, of
husbandry, as an occupation not merely profitable, but improving to
the character: though he treats with disrespect other branches of
industry and craft.[24] In regard to husbandry, too, as in regard to
war or steersmanship, he affirms that the difference between one
practitioner and another consists, not so much in unequal knowledge,
as in unequal care to practise what both of them know.[25]

[Footnote 17: Galen calls the Oekonomicus the last book of the
Memorabilia (ad Hippokrat. De Articulis, t. xviii. p. 301, Kühn). It
professes to be repeated by Xenophon from what he himself _heard_
Sokrates say--[Greek: ê)/kousa de/ pote au)tou= kai\ peri\
oi)konomi/as toia/de dialegome/nou], &c. Sokrates first instructs
Kritobulus that economy, or management of property, is an art,
governed by rules, and dependent upon principles; next, he recounts to
him the lessons which he professes to have himself received from

I have already adverted to the Xenophontic Symposion as containing
jocular remarks which some erroneously cite as serious.]

[Footnote 18: To _learn_ in this way the actualities of life, and the
way of extracting the greatest amount of wheat and barley from a given
piece of land, is the sense which Xenophon puts on the word [Greek:
philo/sophos] (Xen. Oek. xvi. 9; compare Cyropædia, vi. 1, 41).]

[Footnote 19: Xenoph. Oekonom. ii. 3; xi. 3, 4.

I have made some observations on the Xenophontic Symposion, comparing
it with the Platonic Symposion, in a subsequent chapter of this work,
ch. xxvi.]

[Footnote 20: Xen. Oekon. ii. 16.]

[Footnote 21: Xen. Oekon. vi. 17, xi. 3. [Greek: pro\s pa/ntôn kai\
a)ndrô=n kai\ gunaikô=n, kai\ xe/nôn kai\ a)stô=n, kalo/n te
ka)gatho\n e)ponomazo/menon.]]

[Footnote 22: Xen. Oekon. xi. 9.]

[Footnote 23: Xen. Oekon. xi. 17-21. [Greek: e)n toi=s i(ppokôta/tois
te kai\ plousiôta/tois].]

[Footnote 24: Xen. Oekon. iv. 2-3, vi. 5-7. Ischomachus asserts that
his father had been more devoted to agriculture ([Greek:
philogeôrgo/tatos]) than any man at Athens; that he had bought several
pieces of land ([Greek: chô/rous]) when out of order, improved them,
and then resold them with very large profit, xx. 26.]

[Footnote 25: Xen. Oekon. xx. 2-10.]

[Side-note: Ischomachus, hero of the Oekonomikus--ideal of an active
citizen, cultivator, husband, house-master, &c.]

Ischomachus describes to Sokrates, in reply to a string of successive
questions, both his scheme of life and his scheme of husbandry. He had
married his wife before she was fifteen years of age: having first
ascertained that she had been brought up carefully, so as to have seen
and heard as little as possible, and to know nothing but spinning and
weaving.[26] He describes how he took this very young wife into
training, so as to form her to the habits which he himself approved.
He declares that the duties and functions of women are confined to
in-door work and superintendence, while the out-door proceedings,
acquisition as well as defence, belong to men:[27] he insists upon
such separation of functions emphatically, as an ordinance of
nature--holding an opinion the direct reverse of that which we have seen
expressed by Plato.[28] He makes many remarks on the arrangements of
the house, and of the stores within it: and he dwells particularly on
the management of servants, male and female.

[Footnote 26: Xen. Oekon. vii. 3-7. [Greek: to\n d' e)/mprosthen
chro/non e)/zê u(po\ pollê=s e)pimelei/as, o(/pôs ô(s e)la/chista me\n
o)/psoito, e)la/chista de\ a)kou/soito, e)la/chista de\ e)/roito].

The [Greek: didaskali/a] addressed to Sokrates by Ischomachus is in
the form of [Greek: e)rô/têsis], xix. 15. The Sokratic interrogation
is here brought to bear _upon_ Sokrates, instead of by Sokrates: like
the Elenchus in the Parmenidês of Plato.]

[Footnote 27: Xen. Oekon. vii. 22-32.]

[Footnote 28: See below, ch. xxxvii.

Compare also Aristotel. Politic. iii. 4, 1277, b. 25, where Aristotle
lays down the same principle as Xenophon.]

[Side-note: Text upon which Xenophon insists--capital difference
between command over subordinates willing, and subordinates

It is upon this last point that he lays more stress than upon any
other. To know how to command men--is the first of all accomplishments
in the mind of Xenophon. Ischomachus proclaims it as essential that
the superior shall not merely give orders to his subordinates, but
also see them executed, and set the example of personal active
watchfulness in every way. Xenophon aims at securing not simply
obedience, but cheerful and willing obedience--even attachment from
those who obey. "To exercise command over willing subjects"[29] (he
says) "is a good more than human, granted only to men truly
consummated in virtue of character essentially divine. To exercise
command over unwilling subjects, is a torment like that of Tantalus."

[Footnote 29: Xen. Oekon. xxi. 10-12. [Greek: ê)/thous
basilikou=--thei=on gene/sthai. Ou) ga\r pa/nu moi\ dokei= touti\ to\
a)gatho\n a)nthrô/pinon ei)=nai, a)lla\ thei=on, to\ _e)thelo/ntôn
a)/rchein_; saphô=s de\ di/dotai toi=s a)lêthinô=s sôphrosu/nê|
tetelesme/nois. To\ de\ a)ko/ntôn turannei=n dido/asin, ô(s e)moi\
dokei=, ou(\s a)\n ê(gô=ntai a)xi/ous ei)=nai bioteu/ein, ô(/sper o(
Ta/ntalos e)n a(/|dou le/getai]. Compare also iv. 19, xiii. 3-7.]

[Side-note: Probable circumstances generating these reflections in
Xenophon's mind.]

The sentence just transcribed (the last sentence in the Oekonomikus)
brings to our notice a central focus in Xenophon's mind, from whence
many of his most valuable speculations emanate. "What are the
conditions under which subordinates will cheerfully obey their
commanders?"--was a problem forced upon his thoughts by his own
personal experience, as well as by contemporary phenomena in Hellas.
He had been elected one of the generals of the Ten Thousand: a large
body of brave warriors from different cities, most of them unknown to
him personally, and inviting his authority only because they were in
extreme peril, and because no one else took the initiative.[30] He
discharged his duties admirably: and his ready eloquence was an
invaluable accomplishment, distinguishing him from all his colleagues.
Nevertheless when the army arrived at the Euxine, out of the reach of
urgent peril, he was made to feel sensibly the vexations of authority
resting upon such precarious basis, and perpetually traversed by
jealous rivals. Moreover, Xenophon, besides his own personal
experience, had witnessed violent political changes running
extensively through the cities of the Grecian world: first, at the
close of the Peloponnesian war--next, after the battle of Knidus--again,
under Lacedæmonian supremacy, after the peace of Antalkidas,
and the subsequent seizure of the citadel of Thebes--lastly, after the
Thebans had regained their freedom and humbled the Lacedæmonians by
the battle of Leuktra. To Xenophon--partly actor, partly
spectator--these political revolutions were matters of anxious interest;
especially as he ardently sympathised with Agesilaus, a political
partisan interested in most of them, either as conservative or

[Footnote 30: The reader will find in my 'History of Greece,' ch. 70,
 p. 103 seq., a narrative of the circumstances under which Xenophon
was first chosen to command, as well as his conduct afterwards.]

[Side-note: This text affords subjects for the Hieron and
Cyropædia--Name of Sokrates not suitable.]

We thus see, from the personal history of Xenophon, how his attention
came to be peculiarly turned to the difficulty of ensuring steady
obedience from subordinates, and to the conditions by which such
difficulty might be overcome. The sentence, above transcribed from the
Oekonomikus, embodies two texts upon which he has discoursed in two of
his most interesting compositions--Cyropædia and Hieron. In Cyropædia
he explains and exemplifies the divine gift of ruling over cheerful
subordinates: in Hieron, the torment of governing the disaffected and
refractory. For neither of these purposes would the name and person of
Sokrates have been suitable, exclusively connected as they were with
Athens. Accordingly Xenophon, having carried that respected name
through the Oekonomikus and Symposion, now dismisses it, yet retaining
still the familiar and colloquial manner which belonged to Sokrates.
The Epilogue, or concluding chapter, of the Cyropædia, must
unquestionably have been composed after 364 B.C.--in the last ten
years of Xenophon's life: the main body of it may perhaps have been
composed earlier.

[Side-note: Hieron--Persons of the dialogue--Simonides and Hieron.]

The Hieron gives no indication of date: but as a picture purely
Hellenic, it deserves precedence over the Cyropædia, and conveys to my
mind the impression of having been written earlier. It describes a
supposed conversation (probably suggested by current traditional
conversations, like that between Solon and Kroesus) between the poet
Simonides and Hieron the despot of Syracuse; who, shortly after the
Persian invasion of Greece by Xerxes, had succeeded his brother Gelon
the former despot.[31] Both of them had been once private citizens, of
no remarkable consequence: but Gelon, an energetic and ambitious
military man, having raised himself to power in the service of
Hippokrates despot of Gela, had seized the sceptre on the death of his
master: after which he conquered Syracuse, and acquired a formidable
dominion, enjoyed after his death by his brother Hieron. This last was
a great patron of eminent poets--Pindar, Simonides, Æschylus,
Bacchylides: but he laboured under a painful internal complaint, and
appears to have been of an irritable and oppressive temper.[32]

[Footnote 31: Plato, Epistol. ii. p. 311 A. Aristot. Rhetor. ii. 16,
1391, a. 9; Cicero, Nat. Deo. i. 22, 60. How high was the opinion
entertained about Simonides as a poet, may be seen illustrated in a
passage of Aristophanes, Vespæ, 1362.]

[Footnote 32: See the first and second Pythian Odes of Pindar,
addressed to Hieron, especially Pyth. i. 55-61-90, with the Scholia
and Boeckh's Commentary. Pindar compliments Hieron upon having founded
his new city of Ætna--[Greek: theodma/tô| su\n e)leutheria|]. This does
not coincide with the view of Hieron's character taken by Xenophon;
but Pindar agrees with Xenophon in exhorting Hieron to make himself
popular by a liberal expenditure.]

[Side-note: Questions put to Hieron; view taken by Simonides. Answer
of Hieron.]

Simonides asks of Hieron, who had personally tried both the life of a
private citizen and that of a despot, which of the two he considered
preferable, in regard to pleasures and pains. Upon this subject, a
conversation of some length ensues, in which Hieron declares that the
life of a despot has much more pain, and much less pleasure, than that
of a private citizen under middling circumstances:[33] while Simonides
takes the contrary side, and insists in detail upon the superior means
of enjoyment, apparent at least, possessed by the despot. As each of
these means is successively brought forward, Hieron shews that however
the matter may appear to the spectator, the despot feels no greater
real happiness in his own bosom: while he suffers many pains and
privations, of which the spectator takes no account. As to the
pleasures of sight, the despot forfeits altogether the first and
greatest, because it is unsafe for him to visit the public festivals
and matches. In regard to hearing--many praises, and no reproach,
reach his ears: but then he knows that the praises are insincere--and
that reproach is unheard, only because speakers dare not express what
they really feel. The despot has finer cookery and richer unguents;
but others enjoy a modest banquet as much or more--while the scent of
the unguents pleases those who are near him more than himself.[34]
Then as to the pleasures of love, these do not exist, except where the
beloved person manifests spontaneous sympathy and return of
attachment. Now the despot can never extort such return by his power;
while even if it be granted freely, he cannot trust its sincerity and
is compelled even to be more on his guard, since successful
conspiracies against his life generally proceed from those who profess
attachment to him.[35] The private citizen on the contrary knows that
those who profess to love him, may be trusted, as having no motive for

[Footnote 33: Xenoph. Hier. i. 8. [Greek: eu)= i)/sthi, ô)= Simôni/dê,
o(/ti polu\ mei/ô eu)phrai/nontai oi( tu/rannoi tô=n metri/ôs
diago/ntôn i)diôtô=n, polu\ de\ plei/ô kai\ mei/zô lupou=ntai.]]

[Footnote 34: Xen. Hieron, i. 12-15-24.]

[Footnote 35: Xen. Hier. i. 26-38. [Greek: Tô=| tura/nnô| ou)/ pot'
e)sti\ pisteu=sai, ô(s philei=tai. Ai( e)piboulai\ e)x ou)de/nôn
ple/ones toi=s tura/nnois ei)si\n ê)\ a)po\ tô=n ma/lista philei=n
au)tou\s prospoiêsame/nôn].

This chapter affords remarkable illustration of Grecian manners,
especially in the-distinction drawn between [Greek: ta\ paidika\
a)phrodi/sia] and [Greek: ta\ teknopoia\ a)phrodi/sia].]

[Side-note: Misery of governing unwilling subjects declared by

Still (contends Simonides) there are other pleasures greater than
those of sense. You despots possess the greatest abundance and variety
of possessions--the finest chariots and horses, the most splendid
arms, the finest palaces, ornaments, and furniture--the most brilliant
ornaments for your wives--the most intelligent and valuable servants.
You execute the greatest enterprises: you can do most to benefit your
friends, and hurt your enemies: you have all the proud consciousness
of superior might.[36]--Such is the opinion of the multitude (replies
Hieron), who are misled by appearances: but a wise man like you,
Simonides, ought to see the reality in the background, and to
recollect that happiness or unhappiness reside only in a man's
internal feelings. You cannot but know that a despot lives in
perpetual insecurity, both at home and abroad: that he must always go
armed himself, and have armed guards around him: that whether at war
or at peace, he is always alike in danger: that, while suspecting
every one as an enemy, he nevertheless knows that when he has put to
death the persons suspected, he has only weakened the power of the
city:[37] that he has no sincere friendship with any one: that he
cannot count even upon good faith, and must cause all his food to be
tasted by others, before he eats it: that whoever has slain a private
citizen, is shunned in Grecian cities as an abomination--while the
tyrannicide is everywhere honoured and recompensed: that there is no
safety for the despot even in his own family, many having been killed
by their nearest relatives:[38] that he is compelled to rely upon
mercenary foreign soldiers and liberated slaves, against the free
citizens who hate him: and that the hire of such inauspicious
protectors compels him to raise money, by despoiling individuals and
plundering temples:[39] that the best and most estimable citizens are
incurably hostile to him, while none but the worst will serve him for
pay: that he looks back with bitter sorrow to the pleasures and
confidential friendships which he enjoyed as a private man, but from
which he is altogether debarred as a despot.[40]

[Footnote 36: Xen. Hier. ii. 2.]

[Footnote 37: Xen. Hieron, ii. 5-17.]

[Footnote 38: Xenoph. Hieron, ii. 8, iii. 1, 5. Compare Xenophon,
Hellenic. iii. 1, 14.]

[Footnote 39: Xen. Hieron, iv. 7-11.]

[Footnote 40: Xen. Hieron, vi. 1-12.]

Nothing brings a man so near to the Gods (rejoins Simonides) as the
feeling of being honoured. Power and a brilliant position must be of
inestimable value, if they are worth purchasing at the price which you
describe.[41] Otherwise, why do you not throw up your sceptre? How
happens it that no despot has ever yet done this? To be honoured
(answers Hieron) is the greatest of earthly blessings, when a man
obtains honour from the spontaneous voice of freemen. But a despot
enjoys no such satisfaction. He lives like a criminal under sentence
of death by every one: and it is impossible for him to lay down his
power, because of the number of persons whom he has been obliged to
make his enemies. He can neither endure his present condition, nor yet
escape from it. The best thing he can do is to hang himself.[42]

[Footnote 41: Xen. Hieron, vii. 1-5.]

[Footnote 42: Xen. Hieron, vii. 5-13. [Greek: O( de\ tu/rannos, ô(s
u(po\ pa/ntôn a)nthrô/pôn katakekrime/nos di' a)diki/an
a)pothnê/skein--kai\ nu/kta kai\ ê(me/ran dia/gei. . . . A)ll' ei)/per
tô| a)/llô| lusitelei= a)pa/gxasthai, i)/sthi o(/ti tura/nnô| e)/gôge
eu(ri/skô ma/lista tou=to lusitelou=n poiê=sai. Mo/nô| ga\r au(tô=|
ou)/te e)/chein, ou)/te katathe/sthai ta\ kaka\ lusitelei=].

Solon in his poems makes the remark, that for the man who once usurps
the sceptre no retreat is possible. See my 'History of Greece,' chap.
xi. p. 132 seq.

The impressive contrast here drawn by Hieron (c. vi.) between his
condition as a despot and the past enjoyments of private life and
citizenship which he has lost, reminds one of the still more sorrowful
contrast in the Atys of Catullus, v. 58-70.]

[Side-note: Advice to Hieron by Simonides--that he should govern well,
and thus make himself beloved by his subjects.]

Simonides in reply, after sympathising with Hieron's despondency,
undertakes to console him by showing that such consequences do not
necessarily attend despotic rule. The despot's power is an instrument
available for good as well as for evil. By a proper employment of it,
he may not only avoid being hated, but may even make himself beloved,
beyond the measure attainable by any private citizen. Even kind words,
and petty courtesies, are welcomed far more eagerly when they come
from a powerful man than from an equal: moreover a showy and brilliant
exterior seldom fails to fascinate the spectator.[43] But besides
this, the despot may render to his city the most substantial and
important services. He may punish criminals and reward meritorious
men: the punishments he ought to inflict by the hands of others, while
he will administer the rewards in person--giving prizes for superior
excellence in every department, and thus endearing himself to all.[44]
Such prizes would provoke a salutary competition in the performance of
military duties, in choric exhibitions, in husbandry, commerce, and
public usefulness of every kind. Even the foreign mercenaries, though
usually odious, might be so handled and disciplined as to afford
defence against foreign danger,--to ensure for the citizens
undisturbed leisure in their own private affairs--to protect and
befriend the honest man, and to use force only against criminals.[45]
If thus employed, such mercenaries, instead of being hated, would be
welcome companions: and the despot himself may count, not only upon
security against attack, but upon the warmest gratitude and
attachment. The citizens will readily furnish contributions to him
when asked, and will regard him as their greatest benefactor. "You
will obtain in this way" (Simonides thus concludes his address to
Hieron), "the finest and most enviable of all acquisitions. You will
have your subjects obeying you willingly, and caring for you of their
own accord. You may travel safely wherever you please, and will be a
welcome visitor at all the crowded festivals. You will be happy,
without jealousy from any one."[46]

[Footnote 43: Xen. Hieron, viii. 2-7.]

[Footnote 44: Xen. Hieron, ix. 1-4.]

[Footnote 45: Xen. Hieron, x. 6-8.]

[Footnote 46: Xen. Hieron, xi. 10-12-15. [Greek: ka)\n tau=ta pa/nta
poiê=s, eu)= i)/sthi pa/ntôn tô=n a)nthrô/pois ka/lliston kai\
makariô/taton ktê=ma kektême/nos; eu)daimonô=n ga\r ou)

[Side-note: Probable experience had by Xenophon of the feelings at
Olympia against Dionysius.]

The dialogue of which I have given this short abstract, illustrates
what Xenophon calls the torment of Tantalus--the misery of a despot
who has to extort obedience from unwilling subjects:--especially if
the despot be one who has once known the comfort and security of
private life, under tolerably favourable circumstances. If we compare
this dialogue with the Platonic Gorgias, where we have seen a thesis
very analogous handled in respect to Archelaus,--we shall find Plato
soaring into a sublime ethical region of his own, measuring the
despot's happiness and misery by a standard peculiar to himself, and
making good what he admits to be a paradox by abundant eloquence
covering faulty dialectic: while Xenophon, herein following his
master, applies to human life the measure of a rational common sense,
talks about pleasures and pains which every one can feel to be such,
and points out how many of these pleasures the despot forfeits, how
many of these pains and privations he undergoes,--in spite of that
great power of doing hurt, and less power, though still considerable,
of doing good, which raises the envy of spectators. The Hieron gives
utterance to an interesting vein of sentiment, more common at Athens
than elsewhere in Greece; enforced by the conversation of Sokrates,
and serving as corrective protest against that unqualified worship of
power which prevailed in the ancient world no less than in the modern.
That the Syrakusan Hieron should be selected as an exemplifying name,
may be explained by the circumstance, that during thirty-eight years
of Xenophon's mature life (405-367 B.C.), Dionysius the elder was
despot of Syrakuse; a man of energy and ability, who had extinguished
the liberties of his native city, and acquired power and dominion
greater than that of any living Greek. Xenophon, resident at Skillus,
within a short distance from Olympia, had probably[47] seen the
splendid Thêory (or sacred legation of representative envoys)
installed in rich and ornamented tents, and the fine running horses
sent by Dionysius, at the ninety-ninth Olympic festival (384 B.C.):
but he probably also heard the execration with which the name of
Dionysius himself had been received by the spectators, and he would
feel that the despot could hardly shew himself there in person. There
were narratives in circulation about the interior life of
Dionysius,[48] analogous to those statements which Xenophon puts into
the mouth of Hieron. A predecessor of Dionysius as despot of
Syracuse[49] and also as patron of poets, was therefore a suitable
person to choose for illustrating the first part of Xenophon's
thesis--the countervailing pains and penalties which spoilt all the
value of power, if exercised over unwilling and repugnant subjects.[50]

[Footnote 47: Xenoph. Anab. v. 3, 11.]

[Footnote 48: See chap. 83, vol. xi. pp. 40-50, of my 'History of
Greece,' where this memorable scene at Olympia is described.]

[Footnote 49: Cicero, Tusc. Disp. v. 20, 57-63; De Officiis, ii. 7,

"Multos timebit ille, quem multi timent."]

[Footnote 50: An anecdote is told about a visit of Xenophon to
Dionysius at Syracuse--whether the elder or the younger is not
specified--but the tenor of the anecdote points to the younger; if so
the visit must have been later than 367 B.C. (Athenæus x. 427).]

[Side-note: Xenophon could not have chosen a Grecian despot to
illustrate his theory of the happiness of governing willing subjects.]

But when Xenophon came to illustrate the second part of his thesis--the
possibility of exercising power in such manner as to render the
holder of it popular and beloved--it would have been scarcely possible
for him to lay the scene in any Grecian city. The repugnance of the
citizens of a Grecian city towards a despot who usurped power over
them, was incurable--however much the more ambitious individuals
subjects among them might have wished to obtain such power for
themselves: a repugnance as great among oligarchs as among
democrats--perhaps even greater. When we read the recommendations
addressed by Simonides, teaching Hieron how he might render himself
popular, we perceive at once that they are alike well intentioned and
ineffectual. Xenophon could neither find any real Grecian despot
corresponding to this portion of his illustrative purpose--nor could he
invent one with any shew of plausibility. He was forced to resort to
other countries and other habits different from those of Greece.

[Side-note: Cyropædia--blending of Spartan and Persian
customs--Xenophon's experience of Cyrus the Younger.]

To this necessity probably we owe the Cyropædia: a romance in which
Persian and Grecian experience are singularly blended, and both of
them so transformed as to suit the philosophical purpose of the
narrator. Xenophon had personally served and communicated with Cyrus
the younger: respecting whom also he had large means of information,
from his intimate friend Proxenus, as well as from the other Grecian
generals of the expedition. In the first book of the Anabasis, we find
this young prince depicted as an energetic and magnanimous character,
faithful to his word and generous in his friendships--inspiring strong
attachment in those around him, yet vigorous in administration and in
punishing criminals--not only courting the Greeks as useful for his
ambitious projects, but appreciating sincerely the superiority of
Hellenic character and freedom over Oriental servitude.[51] And in the
Oekonomikus, Cyrus is quoted as illustrating in his character the
true virtue of a commander; the test of which Xenophon declares to
be--That his subordinates follow him willingly, and stand by him to the

[Footnote 51: Xenoph. Anab. i. 9, also i. 7, 3, the address of Cyrus
to the Greek soldiers--[Greek: O(/pôs ou)=n e)/sesthe a)/ndres a)/xioi
tê=s e)leutheri/as ê(=s ke/ktêsthe, kai\ u(pe\r ê(=s u(ma=s
eu)daimoni/zô. Eu)= ga\r i)/ste, o(/ti te\n e)leutheri/an e(loi/mên
a)\n, a)nti\ ô(=n e)/chô pa/ntôn kai\ a)/llôn pollaplasi/ôn],
compared with i. 5, 16, where Cyrus gives his appreciation of the
Oriental portion of his army, and the remarkable description of the
trial of Orontes, i. 6.]

[Footnote 52: Xenoph. Oeconom. iv. 18-19. [Greek: Ku=ros, ei)
e)bi/ôsen, a)/ristos a)\n dokei= a)/rchôn gene/sthai--ê(gou=mai me/ga
tekmê/rion a)/rchontos a)retê=s ei)=nai, ô(=| a)\n e(ko/ntes
e(/pôntai, kai\ e)n toi=s deinoi=s parame/nein e)the/lôsin]. Compare
Anab. i. 9, 29-30.]

[Side-note: Portrait of Cyrus the Great--his education--Preface to the

It is this character Hellenised, Sokratised, idealised--that Xenophon
paints into his glowing picture of Cyrus the founder of the Persian
monarchy, or the Cyropædia. He thus escapes the insuperable difficulty
arising from the position of a Grecian despot; who never could acquire
willing or loving obedience, because his possession of power was felt
by a majority of his subjects to be wrongful, violent, tainted. The
Cyrus of the Cyropædia begins as son of Kambyses, king or chief of
Persia, and grandson of Astyages, king of Media; recognised according
to established custom by all, as the person to whom they look for
orders. Xenophon furnishes him with a splendid outfit of heroic
qualities, suitable to this ascendant position: and represents the
foundation of the vast Persian empire, with the unshaken fidelity of
all the heterogeneous people composing it, as the reward of a
laborious life spent in the active display of such qualities. In his
interesting Preface to the Cyropædia, he presents this as the solution
of a problem which had greatly perplexed him. He had witnessed many
revolutions in the Grecian cities--subversions of democracies,
oligarchies, and despotisms: he had seen also private establishments,
some with numerous servants, some with few, yet scarcely any
house-master able to obtain hearty or continued obedience. But as to
herds of cattle or flocks of sheep, on the contrary, he had seen them
uniformly obedient; suffering the herdsman or shepherd to do what he
pleased with, them, and never once conspiring against him. The first
inference of Xenophon from these facts was, that man was by nature the
most difficult of all animals to govern.[53] But he became satisfied
that he was mistaken, when he reflected on the history of Cyrus; who
had acquired and maintained dominion over more men than had ever been
united under one empire, always obeying him cheerfully and
affectionately. This history proved to Xenophon that it was not
impossible, nor even difficult,[54] to rule mankind, provided a man
undertook it with scientific or artistic competence. Accordingly, he
proceeded to examine what Cyrus was in birth, disposition, and
education--and how he came to be so admirably accomplished in the
government of men.[55] The result is the Cyropædia. We must observe,
however, that his solution of the problem is one which does not meet
the full difficulties. These difficulties, as he states them, had been
suggested to him by his Hellenic experience: by the instability of
government in Grecian cities. But the solution which he provides
departs from Hellenic experience, and implies what Aristotle and
Hippokrates called the more yielding and servile disposition of
Asiatics:[56] for it postulates an hereditary chief of heroic or
divine lineage, such as was nowhere acknowledged in Greece, except at
Sparta--and there, only under restrictions which would have rendered
the case unfit for Xenophon's purpose. The heroic and regal lineage of
Cyrus was a condition not less essential to success than his
disposition and education:[57] and not merely his lineage, but also
the farther fact, that besides being constant in the duties of prayer
and sacrifice to the Gods, he was peculiarly favoured by them with
premonitory signs and warnings in all difficult emergencies.[58]

[Footnote 53: Xen. Cyrop. i. 1, 2.]

[Footnote 54: Xen. Cyrop. i. 1, 3. [Greek: e)k tou/tou dê\
ê)nagkazo/metha metanoei=n, mê\ ou)/te tô=n a)duna/tôn ou)/te tô=n
chalepô=n e)/rgôn ê(=| to\ a)nthrô/pôn a)/rchein, _ê)/n tis
e)pistame/nôs_ tou=to pra/ttê|.]]

[Footnote 55: Xen. Cyrop. i. 1, 3-8.]

[Footnote 56: Aristot. Politic. vii. 7, 1327, b. 25. [Greek: ta\ de\
peri\ tê\n A)si/an, dianoêtika\ me\n kai\ te\chnika\ tê\n psuchê/n,
a)/thuma de/; dio/per a)rcho/mena kai\ douleu/onta diatelei=].

Hippokrates, De Aere, Locis, et Aquis, c. 19-23.]

[Footnote 57: So it is stated by Xenophon himself, in the speech
addressed by Kroesus after his defeat and captivity to Cyrus, vii. 2,
24--[Greek: a)gnoô=n e)mauto\n o(/ti soi a)ntipolemei=n i(kano\s
ô(=|mên ei)=nai, prô=ton me\n e)k theô=n gegono/ti, e)/peita de\ dia\
basile/ôn pephuko/ti, e)/peita de\ e)k paido\s a)retê\n a)skou=nti;
tô=n d' e)mô=n progo/nôn a)kou/ô to\n prô=ton basileu/santa a)/ma te
basile/a kai\ e)leu/theron gene/sthai]. Cyrop. i. 2, 1: [Greek: tou=
Perseidô=n ge/nous], &c.]

[Footnote 58: See the remarkable words addressed by Cyrus, shortly
before his death, in sacrificing on the hill-top to [Greek: Zeu\s
Patrô=|os] and [Greek: Ê(/lios], Cyrop. viii. 7, 3.

The special communications of the Gods to Cyrus are insisted on by
Xenophon, like those made to Sokrates, and like the constant aid of
Athênê to Odysseus in Homer, Odyss. iii. 221:--

[Greek: Ou) ga\r pô i)/don ô(=de theou\s a)naphanda\ phileu=ntas
ô(s kei/nô| a)naphanda\ pari/stato Palla\s A)thê/nê.]]

[Side-note: Xenophon does not solve his own problem--The governing
aptitude and popularity of Cyrus come from nature, not from

The fundamental principle of Xenophon is, that to obtain hearty and
unshaken obedience is not difficult for a ruler, provided he possesses
the science or art of ruling. This is a principle expressly laid down
by Sokrates in the Xenophontic Memorabilia.[59] We have seen Plato
affirming in the Politikus[60] that this is the only true government,
though very few individuals are competent to it: Plato gives to it a
peculiar application in the Republic, and points out a philosophical
or dialectic tuition whereby he supposes that his Elders will acquire
the science or art of command. The Cyropædia presents to us an
illustrative example. Cyrus is a young prince who, from twenty-six
years of age to his dying day, is always ready with his initiative,
provident in calculation of consequences, and personally active in
enforcement: giving the right order at the right moment, with good
assignable reasons. As a military man, he is not only personally
forward, but peculiarly dexterous in the marshalling and management of
soldiers; like the Homeric Agamemnon[61]--

[Greek: A)mpho/teron, basileu/s t' a)gatho/s, kratero/s t'

But we must consider this aptitude for command as a spontaneous growth
in Cyrus--a portion of his divine constitution or of the golden
element in his nature (to speak in the phrase of the Platonic
Republic): for no means are pointed out whereby he acquired it, and
the Platonic Sokrates would have asked in vain, where teachers of it
were to be found. It is true that he is made to go through a rigorous
and long-continued training: but this training is common to him with
all the other Persian youths of good family, and is calculated to
teach obedience, not to communicate aptitude for command; while the
master of tactics, whose lessons he receives apart, is expressly
declared to have known little about the duties of a commander.[62]
Kambyses indeed (father of Cyrus) gives to his son valuable general
exhortations respecting the multiplicity of exigencies which press
upon a commander, and the constant watchfulness, precautions,
fertility of invention, required on his part to meet them. We read the
like in the conversations of Sokrates in the Memorabilia:[63] but
neither Kambyses nor Sokrates are teachers of the art of commanding.
For this art, Cyrus is assumed to possess a natural aptitude; like the
other elements of his dispositions--his warm sympathies, his frank and
engaging manners, his ardent emulation combined with perfect freedom
from jealousy, his courage, his love of learning, his willingness to
endure any amount of labour for the purpose of obtaining praise, &c.,
all which Xenophon represents as belonging to him by nature, together
with a very handsome person.[64]

[Footnote 59: Xenoph. Mem. iii. 9, 10-12.]

[Footnote 60: See what is said below about the Platonic Politikus,
chap. xxx.]

[Footnote 61: Cicero, when called upon in his province of Cilicia to
conduct warlike operations against the Parthians, as well as against
some refractory mountaineers, improved his military knowledge by
studying and commenting on the Cyropædia. Epist. ad Famil. ix. 25.
Compare the remarkable observation made by Cicero (Academic. Prior.
ii. init.) about the way in which Lucullus made up his deficiency of
military experience by reading military books.]

[Footnote 62: Xen. Cyrop. i. 6, 12-15.]

[Footnote 63: Compare Cyropæd. i. 6, with Memorab. iii. 1.]

[Footnote 64: Cyropæd. i. 2, 1. [Greek: _phu=nai_ de\ o( Ku=ros
le/getai], &c. i. 3, 1-2. [Greek: pa/ntôn tô=n ê(li/kôn diaphe/rôn
e)phai/neto . . . pai=s phu/sei philo/storgos], &c.]

[Side-note: Views of Xenophon about public and official training of
all citizens.]

The Cyropædia is a title not fairly representing the contents of the
work, which contains a more copious biography of the hero than any
which we read in Plutarch or Suetonius. But the education of Cyrus[65]
is the most remarkable part of it, in which the ethico-political
theory of Xenophon, generated by Sokratic refining criticism brought
to bear on the Spartan drill and discipline, is put forth. Professing
to describe the Persian polity, he in reality describes only the
Persian education; which is public, and prescribed by law, intended to
form the character of individuals so that they shall stand in no need
of coercive laws or penalties. Most cities leave the education of
youth to be conducted at the discretion of their parents, and think it
sufficient to enact and enforce laws forbidding, under penal sanction,
theft, murder, and various other acts enumerated as criminal. But
Xenophon (like Plato and Aristotle) disapproves of this system.[66]
His Persian polity places the citizen even from infancy under official
tuition, and aims at forming his first habits and character, as well
as at upholding them when formed, so that instead of having any
disposition of his own to commit such acts, he shall contract a
repugnance to them. He is kept under perpetual training, drill, and
active official employment throughout life, but the supervision is
most unremitting during boyhood and youth.

[Footnote 65: I have already observed that the phrase of Plato in
Legg. iii. p. 694 C may be considered as conveying his denial of the
assertion, that Cyrus had received a good education.]

[Footnote 66: Xenophon says the same about the scheme of Lykurgus at
Sparta, De Lac. Repub. c. 2.]

[Side-note: Details of (so-called) Persian education--Severe
discipline--Distribution of four ages.]

There are four categories of age:--boys, up to sixteen--young men or
ephêbi, from sixteen to twenty-six--mature men, as far as
fifty-one--above that age, elders. To each of these four classes there is
assigned a certain portion of the "free agora": _i.e._, the great
square of the city, where no buying or selling or vulgar occupation is
allowed--where the regal residence is situated, and none but dignified
functions, civil or military, are carried on. Here the boys and the
mature men assemble every day at sunrise, continue under drill, and
take their meals; while the young men even pass the night on guard
near the government house. Each of the four sections is commanded by
superintendents or officers: those superintending the boys are Elders,
who are employed in administering justice to the boys, and in teaching
them what justice is. They hold judicial trials of the boys for
various sorts of misconduct: for violence, theft, abusive words,
lying, and even for ingratitude. In cases of proved guilt, beating or
flogging is inflicted. The boys go there to learn justice (says
Xenophon), as boys in Hellas go to school to learn letters. Under this
discipline, and in learning the use of the bow and javelin besides,
they spend the time until sixteen years of age. They bring their food
with them from home (wheaten bread, with a condiment of kardamon, or
bruised seed of the nasturtium), together with a wooden cup to draw
water from the river: and they dine at public tables under the eye of
the teacher. The young men perform all the military and police duty
under the commands of the King and the Elders: moreover, they
accompany the King when he goes on a hunting expedition--which
accustoms them to fatigue and long abstinence, as well as to the
encounter of dangerous wild animals. The Elders do not take part in
these hunts, nor in any foreign military march, nor are they bound,
like the others, to daily attendance in the agora. They appoint all
officers, and try judicially the cases shown up by the
superintendents, or other accusers, of all youths or mature men who
have failed in the requirements of the public discipline. The gravest
derelictions they punish with death: where this is not called for,
they put the offender out of his class, so that he remains degraded
all his life.[67]

[Footnote 67: Xen. Cyrop. i. 2, 6-16. [Greek: kai\ ê)/n tis ê)\ e)n
e)phê/bois ê)\ e)n telei/ois a)ndra/sin e)lli/pê| ti tô=n nomi/môn,
phai/nousi me\n oi( phu/larchoi e(/kaston, kai\ tô=n a)/llôn o(
boulo/menos; oi( de\ gerai/teroi a)kou/santes e)kkri/nousin; o( de\
e)kkrithei\s a)/timos to\n loipo\n bi/on diatelei=.]]

[Side-note: Evidence of the good effect of this discipline--Hard and
dry condition of the body.]

This severe discipline is by law open to all Persians who choose to
attend and the honours of the state are attainable by all equally. But
in practice it is confined to a few: for neither boys nor men can
attend it continuously, except such as possess an independent
maintenance; nor is any one allowed to enter the regiment of youths or
mature men, unless he has previously gone through the discipline of
boyhood. The elders, by whom the higher functions are exercised, must
be persons who have passed without reproach through all the three
preceding stages: so that these offices, though legally open to all,
are in practice confined to a few--the small class of Homotimoi.[68]

[Footnote 68: Cyropæd. i. 2, 14-15.]

Such is Xenophon's conception of a perfect Polity. It consists in an
effective public discipline and drill, begun in early boyhood and
continued until old age. The evidence on which he specially insists to
prove its good results relates first to the body. The bodies of the
Persians become so dry and hard, that they neither spit, nor have
occasion to wipe their noses, nor are full of wind, nor are ever seen
to retire for the satisfaction of natural wants.[69] Besides this, the
discipline enforces complete habits of obedience, sobriety, justice,
endurance of pain and privation.

[Footnote 69: Cyrop. i. 2, 16.]

We may note here both the agreement, and the difference, between
Xenophon and Plato, as to the tests applied for measuring the goodness
of their respective disciplinarian schemes. In regard to the ethical
effects desirable (obedience, sobriety, &c.) both were agreed. But
while Plato (in Republic) dwells much besides upon the musical
training necessary, Xenophon omits this, and substitutes in its place
the working off of all the superfluous moisture of the body.[70]

[Footnote 70: See below, chap. xxxvii.]

[Side-note: Exemplary obedience of Cyrus to the public discipline--He
had learnt justice well--His award about the two coats--Lesson
inculcated upon him by the Justice-Master.]

Through the two youthful stages of this discipline Cyrus is
represented as having passed; undergoing all the fatigues as well as
the punishment (he is beaten or flogged by the superintendent[71])
with as much rigour as the rest, and even surpassing all his comrades
in endurance and exemplary obedience, not less than in the bow and the
javelin. In the lessons about justice he manifests such pre-eminence,
that he is appointed by the superintendent to administer justice to
other boys: and it is in this capacity that he is chastised for his
well-known decision, awarding the large coat to the great boy and the
little coat to the little boy, as being more convenient to both,[72]
though the proprietorship was opposite: the master impressing upon
him, as a general explanation, that the lawful or customary was the
Just.[73] Cyrus had been brought as a boy by his mother Mandanê to
visit her father, the Median king Astyages. The boy wins the affection
of Astyages and all around by his child-like frankness and
affectionate sympathy (admirably depicted in Xenophon): while he at
the same time resists the corruptions of a luxurious court, and
adheres to the simplicity of his Persian training. When Mandanê is
about to depart and to rejoin her husband Kambyses in Persis, she is
entreated by Astyages to allow Cyrus to remain with him. Cyrus himself
also desires to remain: but Mandanê hesitates to allow it: putting to
Cyrus, among other difficulties, the question--How will you learn
justice here, when the teachers of it are in Persis? To which Cyrus
replies--I am already well taught in justice: as you may see by the
fact, that my teacher made me a judge over other boys, and compelled
me to render account to him of all my proceedings.[74] Besides which,
if I am found wanting, my grandfather Astyages will make up the
deficient teaching. But (says Mandanê) justice is not the same here
under Astyages, as it is in Persis. Astyages has made himself master
of all the Medes: while among the Persians equality is accounted
justice. Your father Kambyses both performs all that the city directs,
and receives nothing more than what the city allows: the measure for
him is, not his own inclination, but the law. You must therefore be
cautious of staying here, lest you should bring back with you to
Persia habits of despotism, and of grasping at more than any one else,
contracted from your grandfather: for if you come back in this spirit,
you will assuredly be flogged to death. Never fear, mother (answered
Cyrus): my grandfather teaches every one round him to claim less than
his due--not more than his due: and he will teach me the same.[75]

[Footnote 71: Cyrop. i. 3, 17; i. 5, 4.]

[Footnote 72: Cyrop. i. 3, 17. This is an ingenious and apposite
illustration of the law of property.]

[Footnote 73: Cyrop. i. 3, 17. [Greek: e)/peita de\ e)/phê to\ me\n
no/mimon di/kaion ei)=nai; to\ de\ a)/nomon, bi/aion.]]

[Footnote 74: Cyropæd. i. 4, 2.]

[Footnote 75: Cyrop. i. 3, 17-18. [Greek: O(/pôs ou)=n mê\ a)polê=|
mastigou/menos, e)peida\n oi)/koi ê)=|s, a)\n para\ tou/tou mathô\n
ê(/kê|s a)nti\ tou= basilikou= to\ turanniko/n, e)n ô(=| e)sti to\
ple/on oi)/esthai chrê=nai pa/ntôn e)/chein.]]

[Side-note: Xenophon's conception of the Sokratic problems--He does
not recognise the Sokratic order of solution of those problems.]

The portion of the Cyropædia just cited deserves especial attention,
in reference to Xenophon as a companion and pupil of Sokrates. The
reader has been already familiarised throughout this work with the
questions habitually propounded and canvassed by Sokrates--What is
Justice, Temperance, Courage, &c.? Are these virtues teachable? If
they are so, where are the teachers of them to be found?--for he
professed to have looked in vain for any teachers.[76] I have farther
remarked that Sokrates required these questions to be debated in the
order here stated. That is--you must first know what Justice is,
before you can determine whether it be teachable or not--nay, before
you are in a position to affirm any thing at all about it, or to
declare any particular acts to be either just or unjust.[77]

[Footnote 76: Xenoph. Memor. i. 16, iv. 4, 5.]

[Footnote 77: See below, ch. xiii., ch. xxii, and ch. xxiii.]

Now Xenophon, in his description of the Persian official discipline,
provides a sufficient answer to the second question--Whether justice
is teachable--and where are the teachers thereof? It _is_ teachable:
there are official teachers appointed: and every boy passes through a
course of teaching prolonged for several years.--But Xenophon does not
at all recognise the Sokratic requirement, that the first question
shall be fully canvassed and satisfactorily answered, before the
second is approached. The first question is indeed answered in a
certain way--though the answer appears here only as an _obiter
dictum_, and is never submitted to any Elenchus at all. The master
explains--What is Justice?--by telling Cyrus, "That the lawful is
just, and that the lawless is violent". Now if we consider this as
preceptorial--as an admonition to the youthful Cyrus how he ought to
decide judicial cases--it is perfectly reasonable: "Let your decisions
be conformable to the law or custom of the country". But if we
consider it as a portion of philosophy or reasoned truth--as a
definition or rational explanation of Justice, advanced by a
respondent who is bound to defend it against the Sokratic
cross-examination--we shall find it altogether insufficient. Xenophon
himself tells us here, that Law or Custom is one thing among the
Medes, and the reverse among the Persians: accordingly an action which
is just in the one place will be unjust in the other. It is by
objections of this kind that Sokrates, both in Plato and Xenophon,
refutes explanations propounded by his respondents.[78]

[Footnote 78: Plato, Republ. v. p. 479 A. [Greek: tou/tôn tô=n pollô=n
kalô=n mô=n ti e)/stin, o( ou)k ai)schro\n phanê/setai? kai\ tô=n
dikai/ôn, o(\ ou)k a)/dikon? kai\ tô=n o(si/ôn, o(\ ou)k a)no/sion?]
Compare Republ. i. p. 331 C, and the conversation of So krates with
Euthydêmus in the Xenophontic Memorab. iv. 2, 18-19, and Cyropædia, i.
6, 27-34, about what is just and good morality towards enemies.

We read in Pascal, Pensées, i. 6, 8-9:--

"On ne voit presque rien de juste et d'injuste, qui ne change de
qualité en changeant de climat. Trois degrés d'élévation du pôle
renversent toute la jurisprudence. Un méridien décide de la verité: en
peu d'années de possession, les loix fondamentales changent: le droit
a ses époques. Plaisante justice, qu'une rivière ou une montagne
borne! Vérité au deçà des Pyrénées--erreur au delà!

"Ils confessent que la justice n'est pas dans les coutumes, mais
qu'elle reside dans les loix naturelles, connues en tout pays.
Certainement ils la soutiendraient opiniâtrement, si la témérité du
hasard qui a semé les loix humaines en avait rencontré au moins une
qui fut universelle: mais la plaisanterie est telle, que le caprice
des hommes s'est si bien diversifié, qu'il n'y en a point.

"Le larcin, l'inceste, le meurtre des enfans et des pères, tout a eu
sa place entre les actions vertueuses. Se peut-il rien de plus
plaisant, qu'un homme ait droit de me tuer parcequ'il demeure au-delà
de l'eau, et que son prince a querelle avec le mien, quoique je n'en
aie aucune avec lui?

"L'un dit que l'essence de la justice est l'autorité du législateur:
l'autre, la commodité du souverain: l'autre, la coutume présente--et
c'est le plus sûr. Rien, suivant la seule raison, n'est juste de soi:
tout branle avec le temps. La coutume fait toute l'équité, par cela
seul qu'elle est reçue: c'est le fondement mystique de son autorité.
Qui la ramène à son principe, l'anéantit."]

[Side-note: Definition given by Sokrates of Justice--Insufficient to
satisfy the exigencies of the Sokratic Elenchus.]

Though the explanation of Justice here given is altogether untenable,
yet we shall find it advanced by Sokrates himself as complete and
conclusive, in the Xenophontic Memorabilia, where he is conversing
with the Sophist Hippias. That Sophist is represented as at first
urging difficulties against it, but afterwards as concurring with
Sokrates: who enlarges upon the definition, and extols it as perfectly
satisfactory. If Sokrates really delivered this answer to Hippias, as
a general definition of Justice--we may learn from it how much greater
was his negative acuteness in overthrowing the definitions of others,
than his affirmative perspicacity in discovering unexceptionable
definitions of his own. This is the deficiency admitted by himself in
the Platonic Apology--lamented by friends like Kleitophon--arraigned
by opponents like Hippias and Thrasymachus. Xenophon, whose intellect
was practical rather than speculative, appears not to be aware of it.
He does not feel the depth and difficulty of the Sokratic problems,
even while he himself enunciates them. He does not appreciate all the
conditions of a good definition, capable of being maintained against
that formidable cross-examination (recounted by himself) whereby
Sokrates humbled the youth Euthydêmus: still less does he enter into
the spirit of that Sokratic order of precedence (declared in the
negative Platonic dialogues), in the study of philosophical
questions:--First define Justice, and find a definition of it such as
you can maintain against a cross-examining adversary before you
proceed either to affirm or deny any predicates concerning it. The
practical advice and reflexions of Xenophon are, for the most part,
judicious and penetrating. But he falls very short when he comes to
deal with philosophical theory:--with reasoned truth, and with the
Sokratic Elenchus as a test for discriminating such truth from the
false, the doubtful, or the not-proven.

[Side-note: Biography of Cyrus--constant military success earned by
suitable qualities--Variety of characters and situations.]

Cyrus is allowed by his mother to remain amidst the luxuries of the
Median court. It is a part of his admirable disposition that he
resists all its temptations,[79] and goes back to the hard fare and
discipline of the Persians with the same exemplary obedience as
before. He is appointed by the Elders to command the Persian
contingent which is sent to assist Kyaxares (son of Astyages), king of
Media; and he thus enters upon that active military career which is
described as occupying his whole life, until his conquest of Babylon,
and his subsequent organization of the great Persian empire. His
father Kambyses sends him forth with excellent exhortations, many of
which are almost in the same words as those which we read ascribed to
Sokrates in the Memorabilia. In the details of Cyrus's biography which
follow, the stamp of Sokratic influence is less marked, yet seldom
altogether wanting. The conversation of Sokrates had taught Xenophon
how to make the most of his own large experience and observation. His
biography of Cyrus represents a string of successive situations,
calling forth and displaying the aptitude of the hero for command. The
epical invention with which these situations are imagined--the variety
of characters introduced, Araspes, Abradates, Pantheia, Chrysantas,
Hystaspes, Gadatas, Gobryas, Tigranes, &c.--the dramatic propriety
with which each of these persons is animated as speaker, and made to
teach a lesson bearing on the predetermined conclusion--all these are
highly honourable to the Xenophontic genius, but all of them likewise
bespeak the Companion of Sokrates. Xenophon dwells, with evident
pleasure, on the details connected with the _rationale_ of military
proceedings: the wants and liabilities of soldiers, the advantages or
disadvantages of different weapons or different modes of marshalling,
the duties of the general as compared with those of the soldier, &c.
Cyrus is not merely always ready with his orders, but also competent
as a speaker to explain the propriety of what he orders.[80] We have
the truly Athenian idea, that persuasive speech is the precursor of
intelligent and energetic action: and that it is an attribute
essentially necessary for a general, for the purpose of informing,
appeasing, re-assuring, the minds of the soldiers.[81] This, as well
as other duties and functions of a military commander, we find laid
down generally in the conversations of Sokrates,[82] who conceives
these functions, in their most general aspect, as a branch of the
comprehensive art of guiding or governing men. What Sokrates thus
enunciates generally, is exemplified in detail throughout the life of

[Footnote 79: Cyropæd. i. 5, 1.]

[Footnote 80: Cyropæd. v. 5, 46. [Greek: lektikô/tatos kai\
praktikô/tatos]. Compare the Memorabilia, iv. 6, 1-15.]

[Footnote 81: Memorab. iii. 3, 11; Hipparch. viii. 22; Cyropæd. vi. 2,
13. Compare the impressive portion of the funeral oration delivered by
Perikles in Thucydides, ii. 40.]

[Footnote 82: See the four first chapters of the third book of the
Xenophontic Memorabilia. The treatise of Xenophon called [Greek:
I(pparchiko\s] enumerates also the general duties required from a
commander of cavalry: among these, [Greek: pseudauto/moloi] are
mentioned (iv. 7). Now the employment, with effect, of a [Greek:
pseudauto/molos], is described with much detail in the Cyropædia. See
the case of Araspes (vi. 1, 37, vi. 3, 16).]

[Side-note: Generous and amiable qualities of Cyrus, Abradates and

Throughout all the Cyropædia, the heroic qualities and personal agency
of Cyrus are always in the foreground, working with unerring success
and determining every thing. He is moreover recommended to our
sympathies, not merely by the energy and judgment of a leader, but
also by the amiable qualities of a generous man--by the remarkable
combination of self-command with indulgence towards others--by
considerate lenity towards subdued enemies like Kroesus and the
Armenian prince--even by solicitude shown that the miseries of war
should fall altogether on the fighting men, and that the cultivators
of the land should be left unmolested by both parties.[83] Respecting
several other persons in the narrative, too--the Armenian Tigranes,
Gadatas, Gobryas, &c.--the adventures and scenes described are
touching: but the tale of Abradates and Pantheia transcends them all,
and is perhaps the most pathetic recital embodied in the works of
Hellenic antiquity.[84] In all these narratives the vein of sentiment
is neither Sokratic nor Platonic, but belongs to Xenophon himself.

[Footnote 83: Cyrop. iii. 1, 10-38, vii. 2, 9-29, v. 4, 26, vi. 1, 37.
[Greek: A)lla\ su\ me\n, ô)= Ku=re, kai\ tau=ta o(/moios ei)=,
pra=|o/s te kai\ suggnô/môn tô=n a)nthrôpi/nôn a(martêma/tôn].\

[Footnote 84: Cyrop. vii. 3.]

[Side-note: Scheme of government devised by Cyrus when his conquests
are completed--Oriental despotism, wisely arranged.]

This last remark may also be made respecting the concluding
proceedings of Cyrus, after he has thoroughly completed his conquests,
and when he establishes arrangements for governing them permanently.
The scheme of government which Xenophon imagines and introduces him as
organizing, is neither Sokratic nor Platonic, nor even Hellenic: it
would probably have been as little acceptable to his friend Agesilaus,
the marked "hater of Persia,"[85] as to any Athenian politician. It is
altogether an Oriental despotism, skilfully organized both for the
security of the despot and for enabling him to keep a vigorous hold on
subjects distant as well as near: such as the younger Cyrus might
possibly have attempted, if his brother Artaxerxes had been slain at
Kunaxa, instead of himself. "Eam conditionem esse imperandi, ut non
aliter ratio constet, quam si uni reddatur"[86]--is a maxim repugnant
to Hellenic ideas, and not likely to be rendered welcome even by the
regulations of detail with which Xenophon surrounds it; judicious as
these regulations are for their contemplated purpose. The amiable and
popular character which Cyrus has maintained from youth upwards, and
by means of which he has gained an uninterrupted series of victories,
is difficult to be reconciled with the insecurity, however imposing,
in which he dwells as Great King. When we find that he accounts it a
necessary precaution to surround himself with eunuchs, on the express
ground that they are despised by every one else and therefore likely
to be more faithful to their master--when we read also that in
consequence of the number of disaffected subjects, he is forced to
keep a guard composed of twenty thousand soldiers taken from poor
Persian mountaineers[87]--we find realised, in the case of the
triumphant Cyrus, much of that peril and insecurity which the despot
Hieron had so bitterly deplored in his conversation with Simonides.
However unsatisfactory the ideal of government may be, which Plato
lays out either in the Republic or the Leges--that which Xenophon sets
before us is not at all more acceptable, in spite of the splendid
individual portrait whereby he dazzles our imagination. Few Athenians
would have exchanged Athens either for Babylon under Cyrus, or for
Plato's Magnêtic colony in Krete.

[Footnote 85: Xenoph. Agesilaus, vii. 7. [Greek: ei) d' au)= kalo\n
kai\ _misope/rsên_ ei)=nai--e)xe/pleusen, o(/, ti du/naito kako\n;
poiê/sôn to\n ba/rbaron.]]

[Footnote 86: Tacit. Annal. i. 6.]

[Footnote 87: Xen. Cyrop. vii. 5, 58-70.]

[Side-note: Persian present reality--is described by Xenophon as
thoroughly depraved, in striking contrast to the establishment of

The Xenophontic government is thus noway admirable, even as an ideal.
But he himself presents it only as an ideal--or (which is the same
thing in the eyes of a present companion of Sokrates) as a
quasi-historical fact, belonging to the unknown and undetermined past.
When Xenophon talks of what the Persians _are now_, he presents us with
nothing but a shocking contrast to this ideal; nothing but vice,
corruption, degeneracy of every kind, exorbitant sensuality,
faithlessness and cowardice.[88] His picture of Persia is like that of
the of Platonic Kosmos, which we can read in the Timæus:[89] a
splendid Kosmos in its original plan and construction, but full of
defects and evil as it actually exists. The strength and excellence of
the Xenophontic orderly despotism dies with its heroic beginner. His
two sons (as Plato remarked) do not receive the same elaborate
training and discipline as himself: nor can they be restrained, even
by the impressive appeal which he makes to them on his death-bed, from
violent dissension among themselves, and misgovernment of every

[Footnote 88: Cyrop. viii. 8.]

[Footnote 89: See below, ch. xxxviii.]

[Footnote 90: Cyropæd. viii. 7, 9-19: Plato, Legg. iii. p. 694 D.]

[Side-note: Xenophon has good experience of military and equestrian
proceedings--No experience of finance and commerce.]

Whatever we may think of the political ideal of Xenophon, his
Cyropædia is among the glories of the Sokratic family; as an excellent
specimen of the philosophical imagination, in carrying a general
doctrine into illustrative details--and of the epical imagination in
respect to varied characters and touching incident. In stringing
together instructive conversations, moreover, it displays the same art
which we trace in the Memorabilia, Oekonomikus, Hieron, &c., and which
is worthy of the attentive companion of Sokrates. Whenever Xenophon
talks about military affairs, horsemanship, agriculture,
house-management, &c., he is within the range of personal experience of
his own; and his recommendations, controlled as they thus are by known
realities, are for the most part instructive and valuable. Such is the
case not merely with the Cyropædia and Oekonomikus, but also in his
two short treatises, De Re Equestri and De Officio Magistri Equitum.

But we cannot say so much when he discusses plans of finance.

[Side-note: Discourse of Xenophon on Athenian finance and the
condition of Athens. His admiration of active commerce and variety of

We read among his works a discourse composed after his sentence of
exile had been repealed, and when he was very old, seemingly not
earlier than 355 B.C.[91]--criticising the actual condition of Athens,
and proposing various measures for the improvement of the finances, as
well as for relief of the citizens from poverty. He begins this
discourse by a sentiment thoroughly Sokratic and Platonic, which would
serve almost as a continuation of the Cyropædia. The government of a
city will be measured by the character and ability of its leaders.[92]
He closes it by another sentiment equally Sokratic and Platonic;
advising that before his measures are adopted, special messengers
shall be sent to Delphi and Dodona; to ascertain whether the Gods
approve them--and if they approve, to which Gods they enjoin that the
initiatory sacrifices shall be offered.[93] But almost everything in
the discourse, between the first and last sentences, is in a vein not
at all Sokratic--in a vein, indeed, positively anti-Platonic and
anti-Spartan. We have already seen that wealth, gold and silver,
commerce, influx of strangers, &c., are discouraged as much as possible
by Plato, and by the theory (though evaded partially in practice) of
Sparta. Now it is precisely these objects which Xenophon, in the
treatise before us, does his utmost to foster and extend at Athens.
Nothing is here said about the vulgarising influence of trade as
compared with farming, which we read in the Oekonomikus: nor about the
ethical and pædagogic dictation which pervades so much of the
Cyropædia, and reigns paramount throughout the Platonic Republic and
Leges. Xenophon takes Athens as she stands, with great variety of
tastes, active occupation, and condition among the inhabitants: her
mild climate and productive territory, especially her veins of silver
and her fine marble: her importing and exporting merchants, her
central situation, as convenient entrepôt for commodities produced in
the most distant lands:[94] her skilful artisans and craftsmen: her
monied capitalists: and not these alone, but also the congregation and
affluence of fine artists, intellectual men, philosophers, Sophists,
poets, rhapsodes, actors, &c.: last, though not least, the temples
adorning her akropolis, and the dramatic representations exhibited at
her Dionysiac festivals, which afforded the highest captivation to eye
as well as ear, and attracted strangers from all quarters as
visitors.[95] Xenophon extols these charms of Athens with a warmth
which reminds us of the Periklean funeral oration in Thucydides.[96]
He no longer speaks like one whose heart and affections are with the
Spartan drill: still less does he speak like Plato--to whom (as we see
both by the Republic and the Leges) such artistic and poetical
exhibitions were abominations calling for censorial repression--and in
whose eyes gold, silver, commerce, abundant influx of strangers, &c.,
were dangerous enemies of all civic virtue.

[Footnote 91: Xenophon, [Greek: Po/roi--ê(\ peri\ Proso/dôn]. De
Vectigalibus. See Schneider's Proleg. to this treatise, pp. 138-140.]

[Footnote 92: De Vectig. i. 1. [Greek: e)gô\ me\n tou=to a)ei/ pote
nomi/zo, o(poi=oi/ tines a)\n oi( prosta/tai ô)=si, toiau/tas kai\
ta\s politei/as gi/gnesthai.]]

[Footnote 93: De Vect. vi. 2. Compare this with Anabas. iii. 1, 5,
where Sokrates reproves Xenophon for his evasive manner of putting a
question to the Delphian God. Xenophon here adopts the plenary manner
enjoined by Sokrates.]

[Footnote 94: De Vectig. c. i. 2-3.]

[Footnote 95: De Vect. v. 3-4. [Greek: Ti/ de\ oi( polue/laioi? ti/
de\ oi( polupro/batoi? ti/ de\ oi( gnô/mê| kai\ a)rguri/ô| duna/menoi
chrêmati/zesthai? Kai\ mê\n cheirote/chnai te kai\ sophistai\ kai\
philo/sophoi; oi( de\ poiêtai\, oi( de\ ta\ tou/tôn
metacheirizo/menoi, oi( de\ a)xiothea/tôn ê)\ a)xiakou/stôn i(erô=n
ê)\ o(si/ôn e)pithumou=ntes], &c.]

[Footnote 96: Thucydid. ii. 34-42; Plutarch, Periklês, c. 12. Compare
Xenophon, Republ. Athen. ii. 7, iii. 8.]

[Side-note: Recognised poverty among the citizens. Plan for

Yet while recognising all these charms and advantages, Xenophon finds
himself compelled to lament great poverty among the citizens; which
poverty (he says) is often urged by the leading men as an excuse for
unjust proceedings. Accordingly he comes forward with various
financial suggestions, by means of which he confidently anticipates
that every Athenian citizen may obtain a comfortable maintenance from
the public.[97]

[Footnote 97: De Vectig. iv. 33. [Greek: kai\ e)moi\ me\n dê\
ei)/rêtai, ô(s a)\n ê(gou=mai kataskeuasthei/sês tê=s po/leôs i(kanê\n
a)\n pa=sin A)thênai/ois trophê\n a)po\ koinou= gene/sthai.]]

[Side-note: Advantage of a large number of Metics. How these may be

First, he dwells upon the great advantage of encouraging metics, or
foreigners resident at Athens, each of whom paid an annual capitation
tax to the treasury. There were already many such, not merely Greeks,
but Orientals also, Lydians, Phrygians, Syrians, &c.:[98] and by
judicious encouragement all expatriated men everywhere might be made
to prefer the agreeable residence at Athens, thus largely increasing
the annual amount of the tax. The metics ought (he says) to be
exempted from military service (which the citizens ought to perform
and might perform alone), but to be admitted to the honours of the
equestrian duty, whenever they were rich enough to afford it: and
farther, to be allowed the liberty of purchasing land and building
houses in the city. Moreover not merely resident metics, but also
foreign merchants who came as visitors, conducting an extensive
commerce--ought to be flattered by complimentary votes and occasional
hospitalities: while the curators of the harbour, whose function it
was to settle disputes among them, should receive prizes if they
adjudicated equitably and speedily.[99]

[Footnote: 98: De Vect. ii. 3-7.]

[Footnote: 99: De Vect. iii. 2-6.]

[Side-note: Proposal to raise by voluntary contributions a large sum
to be employed as capital by the city. Distribution of three oboli per
head per day to all the citizens.]

All this (Xenophon observes) will require only friendly and
considerate demonstrations. His farther schemes are more ambitious,
not to be effected without a large outlay. He proposes to raise an
ample fund for the purposes of the city, by voluntary contributions;
which he expects to obtain not merely from private Athenians and
metics, rich and in easy circumstances--but also from other cities,
and even from foreign despots, kings, satraps, &c. The tempting
inducement will be, that the names of all contributors with their
respecting contributions will be inscribed on public tablets, and
permanently commemorated as benefactors of the city.[100] Contributors
(he says) are found, for the outfit of a fleet, where they expect no
return: much more will they come forward here, where a good return
will accrue. The fund so raised will be employed under public
authority with the most profitable result, in many different ways. The
city will build docks and warehouses for bonding goods--houses near
the harbour to be let to merchants--merchant-vessels to be let out on
freight. But the largest profit will be obtained by working the silver
mines at Laureion in Attica. The city will purchase a number of
foreign slaves, and will employ them under the superintendence of old
free citizens who are past the age of labour, partly in working these
mines for public account, each of the ten tribes employing one tenth
part of the number--partly by letting them out to private mining
undertakers, at so much per diem for each slave: the slaves being
distinguished by a conspicuous public stamp, and the undertaker
binding himself under penalty always to restore the same number of
them as he received.[101] Such competition between the city and the
private mining undertakers will augment the total produce, and will be
no loss to either, but wholesome for both. The mines will absorb as
many workmen as are put into them: for in the production of silver
(Xenophon argues) there can never be any glut, as there is sometimes
in corn, wine, or oil. Silver is always in demand, and is not lessened
in value by increase of quantity. Every one is anxious to get it, and
has as much pleasure in hoarding it under ground as in actively
employing it.[102] The scheme, thus described, may (if found
necessary) be brought into operation by degrees, a certain number of
slaves being purchased annually until the full total is made up. From
these various financial projects, and especially from the fund thus
employed as capital under the management of the Senate, the largest
returns are expected. Amidst the general abundance which will ensue,
the religious festivals will be celebrated with increased splendour--the
temples will be repaired, the docks and walls will be put in
complete order--the priests, the Senate, the magistrates, the
horsemen, will receive the full stipends which the old custom of
Athens destined for them.[103] But besides all these, the object which
Xenophon has most at heart will be accomplished: the poor citizens
will be rescued from poverty. There will be a regular distribution
among all citizens, per head and equally. Three oboli, or half a
drachma, will be allotted daily to each, to poor and rich alike. For
the poor citizens, this will provide a comfortable subsistence,
without any contribution on their part: the poverty now prevailing
will thus be alleviated. The rich, like the poor, receive the daily
triobolon as a free gift: but if they even compute it as interest for
their investments, they will find that the rate of interest is full
and satisfactory, like the rate on bottomry. Three oboli per day
amount in the year of 360 days to 180 drachmæ: now if a rich man has
contributed ten minæ ( = 1000 drachmæ), he will thus receive interest
at the rate of 18 per cent. per annum: if another less rich citizen
has contributed one mina ( = 100 drachmæ), he will receive interest at
the rate of 180 per cent. per annum: more than he could realise in any
other investment.[104]

[Footnote 100: De Vect. iii. 11.]

[Footnote 101: De Vect. iv. 13-19.]

[Footnote 102: De Vect. iv. 4-7.]

[Footnote 103: De Vectig. vi. 1-2. [Greek: Kai\ o( me\n dê=mos
trophê=s eu)porê/sei, oi( de\ plou/sioi tê=s ei)s to\n po/lemon
dapa/nês a)pallagê/sontai, periousi/as de\ pollê=s genome/nês,
megaloprepe/steron me\n e)/ti ê(\ nu=n ta\s e(orta\s a)/xomen, i(era\
d' e)piskeua/somen, tei/chê de\ kai\ neô/ria a)northô/somen, i(ereu=si
de\ kai\ boulê=| kai\ a)rchai=s kai\ i(ppeu=si ta\ pa/tria
a)podô/somen--pô=s ou)k a)/xion ô(s ta/chista tou/tois e)gcheirei=n,
i(/na e)/ti e)ph' ê(mô=n e)pi/dômen tê\n po/lin met' a)sphalei/as

[Footnote 104: De Vectig. iii. 9-12.]

[Side-note: Purpose and principle of this distribution.]

Half a drachma, or three oboli, per day, was the highest rate of pay
ever received (the rate varied at different times) by the citizens as
Dikasts and Ekklesiasts, for attending in judicature or in assembly.
It is this amount of pay which Xenophon here proposes to ensure to
every citizen, without exception, out of the public treasury; which
(he calculates) would be enriched by his project so as easily to bear
such a disbursement. He relieves the poor citizens from poverty by
making them all pensioners on the public treasury, with or without
service rendered, or the pretence of service. He strains yet farther
the dangerous principle of the Theôrikon, without the same excuse as
can be shown for the Theôrikon itself on religious grounds.[105] If
such a proposition had been made by Kleon, Hyperbolus, Kleophon,
Agyrrhius, &c., it would have been dwelt upon by most historians of
Greece as an illustration of the cacoethes of democracy--to extract
money, somehow or other, from the rich, for the purpose of keeping the
poor in comfort. Not one of the democratical leaders, so far as we
know, ever ventured to propose so sweeping a measure: we have it here
from the pen of the oligarchical Xenophon.

[Footnote 105: Respecting the Theôrikon at Athens, see my 'History of
Greece,' ch. 88, pp. 492-498.]

[Side-note: Visionary anticipations of Xenophon, financial and

But we must of course discuss Xenophon's scheme as a whole: the
aggregate enlargement of revenue, from his various visionary new ways
and means, on one side--against the new mode and increased amount of
expenditure, on the other side. He would not have proposed such an
expenditure, if he had not thoroughly believed in the correctness of
his own anticipations, both as to the profits of the mining scheme,
and as to the increase of receipts from other sources: such as the
multiplication of tax-paying Metics, the rent paid by them for the new
houses to be built by the city, the increase of the harbour dues from
expanded foreign trade. But of these anticipations, even the least
unpromising are vague and uncertain: while the prospects of the mining
scheme appear thoroughly chimerical. Nothing is clear or certain
except the disbursement. We scarcely understand how Xenophon could
seriously have imagined, either that voluntary contributors could have
been found to subscribe the aggregate fund as he proposes--or that, if
subscribed, it could have yielded the prodigious return upon which he
reckons. We must, however, recollect that he had no familiarity with
finance, or with the conditions and liabilities of commerce, or with
the raising of money from voluntary contributors for any collective
purpose. He would not have indulged in similar fancies if the question
had been about getting together supplies for an army. Practical
Athenian financiers would probably say, in criticising his financial
project--what Heraldus[106] observes upon some views of his opponent
Salmasius, about the relations of capital and interest in
Attica--"Somnium est hominis harum rerum, etiam cum vigilat, nihil
scientis".[107] The financial management of Athens was doubtless
defective in many ways: but it would not have been improved in the
hands of Xenophon--any more than the administrative and judiciary
department of Athens would have become better under the severe regimen
of Plato.[108] The merits of the Sokratic companions--and great merits
they were--lay in the region of instructive theory.

[Footnote 106: This passage of Heraldus is cited by M. Boeckh in his
Public Economy of Athens, B. iv. ch. 21, p. 606, Eng. Trans. In that
chapter of M. Boeckh's work (pp. 600-610) some very instructive pages
will be found about the Xenophontic scheme here noticed.

I will however mention one or two points on which my understanding of
the scheme differs from his. He says (p. 605):--"The author supposes
that the profit upon this speculation would amount to three oboli per
day, so that the subscribers would obtain a very high per centage on
their shares. Xenophon supposes unequal contributions, according to
the different amounts of property, agreeable to the principles of a
property-tax, but an equal distribution of the receipts for the
purpose of favouring and aiding the poor. What Xenophon is speaking of
is an income annually arising upon each share, either equal to or
exceeding the interest of the loans on bottomry. Where, however, is
the security that the undertaking would produce three oboli a day to
each subscriber?"

I concur in most of what is here said; but M. Boeckh states the matter
too much as if the three oboli per diem were a real return arising
from the scheme, and payable to each shareholder upon each _share_ as
he calls it. This is an accident of the case, not the essential
feature. The poorest citizens--for whose benefit, more than for any
other object, the scheme is contrived--would not be shareholders at
all: they would be too poor to contribute anything, yet each of them
would receive his triobolon like the rest. Moreover, many citizens,
even though able to pay, might hold back, and decline to pay: yet
still each would receive as much. And again, the foreigners, kings,
satraps, &c., would be contributors, but would receive nothing at all.
The distribution of the triobolon would be made to citizens only.
Xenophon does indeed state the proportion of receipt to payments in
the cases of some rich contributors, as an auxiliary motive to
conciliate them. Bat we ought not to treat this receipt as if it were
a real return yielded by the public mining speculation, or as profit
actually brought in.

As I conceive the scheme, the daily triobolon, and the respective
contributions furnished, have no premeditated ratio, no essential
connection with each other. The daily payment of the triobolon to
every citizen indiscriminately, is a new and heavy burden which
Xenophon imposes upon the city. But this is only one among many other
burdens, as we may see by cap. 6. In order to augment the wealth of
the city, so as to defray these large expenses, he proposes several
new financial measures. Of these the most considerable was the public
mining speculation; but it did not stand alone. The financial scheme
of Xenophon, both as to receipts and as to expenditure, is more
general than M. Boeckh allows for.]

[Footnote 107: It is truly surprising to read in one of Hume's Essays
the following sentence. Essay XII. on Civil Liberty, p. 107 ed. of
Hume's Philosophical Works, 1825.

"The Athenians, though governed by a Republic, paid near two hundred
per cent for those sums of money which any emergence made it necessary
for them to borrow, as we learn from Xenophon."

In the note Hume quotes the following passage from this discourse, De
Vectigalibus:--[Greek: Ktê=sin de\ a)p' ou)deno\s a)\n ou(/tô kalê\n
ktê/sainto, ô(/sper a)ph' ou)= a)\n protele/sôsin ei)s tê\n
a)phormê/n. Oi( de/ ge plei=stoi A)thênai/ôn plei/ona lê/psontai kat'
e)niauto\n ê)\ o(/sa a)\n ei)sene/gkôsin. Oi( ga\r mna=n
protele/santes, e)ggu\s duoi=n mna=|n pro/sodon e)/xousi. O(\ dokei=
tô=n a)nthrôpi/nôn a)sphale/stato/n te kai\ poluchroniô/taton

Hume has been misled by dwelling upon one or two separate sentences.
If he had taken into consideration the whole discourse and its
declared scope, he would have seen that it affords no warrant for any
inference as to the rate of interest paid by the Athenian public when
they wanted to borrow. In Xenophon's scheme there is no fixed
proportion between what a contributor to the fund would pay and what
he would receive. The triobolon received is a fixed sum to each
citizen, whereas the contributions of _each_ would be different.
Moreover the foreigners and metics would contribute without receiving
anything, while the poor citizens would receive their triobolon per
head, without having contributed anything.]

[Footnote 108: Aristeides the Rhetor has some forcible remarks in
defending Rhetoric and the Athenian statesmen against the bitter
criticisms of Plato in the Gorgias: pointing out that Plato himself
had never made trial of the difficulty of governing any real community
of men, or of the necessities under which a statesman in actual
political life was placed (Orat. xlv. [Greek: Peri\ R(êtorikê=s], pp.
109-110, Dindorf).]

[Side-note: Xenophon exhorts his countrymen to maintain peace.]

Xenophon accompanies his financial scheme with a strong recommendation
to his countrymen that they should abstain from warlike enterprises
and maintain peace with every one. He expatiates on the manifest
advantages, nay, even on the necessity, of continued peace, under the
actual poverty of the city: for the purpose of recruiting the
exhausted means of the citizens, as well as of favouring his own new
projects for the improvement of finance and commerce. While he
especially deprecates any attempt on the part of Athens to regain by
force her lost headship over the Greeks, he at the same time holds out
hopes that this dignity would be spontaneously tendered to her, if,
besides abstaining from all violence, she conducted herself with a
liberal and conciliatory spirit towards all: if she did her best to
adjust differences among other cities, and to uphold the autonomy of
the Delphian temple.[109] As far as we can judge, such pacific
exhortations were at that time wise and politic. Athens had just then
concluded peace (355 B.C.) after the three years of ruinous and
unsuccessful war, called the Social War, carried on against her
revolted allies Chios, Kos, Rhodes, and Byzantium. To attempt the
recovery of empire by force was most mischievous. There was indeed one
purpose, for which she was called upon by a wise forecast to put forth
her strength--to check the aggrandisement of Philip in Macedonia. But
this was a distant purpose: and the necessity, though it became every
year more urgent, was not so prominently manifest[110] in 355 B.C. as
to affect the judgment of Xenophon. At that early day, Demosthenes
himself did not see the danger from Macedonia: his first Philippic was
delivered in 351 B.C., and even then his remonstrances, highly
creditable to his own forecast, made little impression on others. But
when we read the financial oration De Symmoriis we appreciate his
sound administrative and practical judgment; compared with the
benevolent dreams and ample public largess in which Xenophon here

[Footnote 109: Xenoph. De Vectig. v. 3-8.]

[Footnote 110: See my 'History of Greece,' ch. 86, p. 325 seq.

I agree with Boeckh, Public Econ. of Athens, ut suprà, p. 601, that
this pamphlet of Xenophon is probably to be referred to the close of
the Social War, about 355 B.C.]

[Footnote 111: Respecting the first Philippic, and the Oratio De
Symmoriis of Demosthenes, see my 'History of Greece,' ch. 87,
pp. 401-431.]

[Side-note: Difference of the latest compositions of Xenophon and
Plato, from their point of view in the earlier.]

We have seen that Plato died in 347 B.C., having reached the full age
of eighty: Xenophon must have attained the same age nearly, and may
perhaps have attained it completely--though we do not know the exact
year of his death. With both these two illustrious companions of
Sokrates, the point of view is considerably modified in their last
compositions as compared to their earlier. Xenophon shows the
alteration not less clearly than Plato, though in an opposite
direction. His discourse on the Athenian revenues differs quite as
much from the Anabasis, Cyropædia, and Oekonomikus--as the Leges and
Epinomis differ from any of Plato's earlier works. Whatever we may
think of the financial and commercial anticipations of Xenophon, his
pamphlet on the Athenian revenues betokens a warm sympathy for his
native city--a genuine appreciation of her individual freedom and her
many-sided intellectual activity--an earnest interest in her actual
career, and even in the extension of her commercial and manufacturing
wealth. In these respects it recommends itself to our feelings more
than the last Platonic production--Leges and Epinomis--composed nearly
at the same time, between 356-347 B.C. While Xenophon in old age,
becoming reconciled to his country, forgets his early passion for the
Spartan drill and discipline, perpetual, monotonous, unlettered--we
find in the senility of Plato a more cramping limitation of the
varieties of human agency--a stricter compression, even of individual
thought and speech, under the infallible official orthodoxy--a more
extensive use of the pædagogic rod and the censorial muzzle than he
had ever proposed before.

In thus taking an unwilling leave of the Sokratic family, represented
by these two venerable survivors--to both of whom the students of
Athenian letters and philosophy are so deeply indebted--I feel some
satisfaction in the belief, that both of them died, as they were born,
citizens of free Athens and of unconquered Hellas: and that neither of
them was preserved to an excessive old age, like their contemporary
Isokrates, to witness the extinction of Hellenic autonomy by the
battle of Chæroneia.[112]

[Footnote 112: Compare the touching passage in Tacitus's description
of the death of Agricola, c. 44-45.

"Festinatæ mortis grande solatium tulit, evasisse postremum illud
tempus," &c.]



[Side-note: Scanty information about Plato's life.]

Of Plato's biography we can furnish nothing better than a faint
outline. We are not fortunate enough to possess the work on Plato's
life,[1] composed by his companion and disciple Xenokrates, like the
life of Plotinus by Porphyry, or that of Proklus by Marinus. Though
Plato lived eighty years, enjoying extensive celebrity--and though
Diogenes Laertius employed peculiar care in collecting information
about him--yet the number of facts recounted is very small, and of
those facts a considerable proportion is poorly attested.[2]

[Footnote 1: This is cited by Simplikius, Schol. ad Aristot. De Coelo,
470, a. 27; 474, a. 12, ed. Brandis.]

[Footnote 2: Diogen. Laert. iv. 1. The person to whom Diogenes
addressed his biography of Plato was a female: possibly the wife of
the emperor Septimius Severus (see Philostr. Vit. Apoll. i. 3), who
greatly loved and valued the Platonic philosophy (Diog. Laert. iii.
47). Ménage (in his commentary on the Prooemium) supposes the person
signified to be Arria: this also is a mere conjecture, and in my
judgment less probable. We know that the empress gave positive
encouragement to writers on philosophy. The article devoted by
Diogenes to Plato is of considerable length, including both biography
and exposition of doctrine. He makes reference to numerous
witnesses--Speusippus, Aristotle, Hermodôrus, Aristippus, Dikæarchus,
Aristoxenus, Klearchus, Herakleides, Theopompus, Timon in his Silli or
satirical poem, Pamphila, Hermippus, Neanthes, Antileon, Favorinus,
Athenodôrus. Timotheus, Idomeneus, Alexander [Greek: e)n diadochai=s
kath' Ê(ra/kleiton], Satyrus, Onêtor, Alkimus, Euphorion, Panætius,
Myronianus, Polemon, Aristophanes of Byzantium, the Alexandrine
critic, Antigonus of Karystus, Thrasyllus, &c.

Of the other biographers of Plato, Olympiodorus and the Auctor
Anonymus cite no authorities. Apuleius, in his survey of the doctrine
of Plato (De Habitudine doctrinarum Platonis, init. p. 567, ed.
Paris), mentions only Speusippus, as having attested the early
diligence and quick apprehension of Plato. "Speusippus, domesticis
instructus documentis, et pueri ejus acre in percipiendo ingenium, et
admirandæ verecundiæ indolem laudat, et pubescentis primitias labore
atque amore studendi imbutas refert," &c.

Speusippus had composed a funeral Discourse or Encomium on Plato
(Diogen. iii. 1, 2; iv. 1, 11). Unfortunately Diogenes refers to it
only once in reference to Plato. We can hardly make out whether any of
the authors, whom he cites, had made the life of Plato a subject of
attentive study. Hermodôrus is cited by Simplikius as having written a
treatise [Greek: peri\ Pla/tônos]. Aristoxenus, Dikæarchus, and
Theopompus--perhaps also Hermippus, and Klearchus--had good means of

See K. F. Hermann, Geschichte und System der Platonischen Philosophie,
p. 97, not. 45.]

[Side-note: His birth, parentage, and early education.]

Plato was born in Ægina (in which island his father enjoyed an estate
as kleruch or out-settled citizen) in the month Thargelion (May) of
the year B.C. 427.[3] His family, belonging to the Dême Kollytus, was
both ancient and noble, in the sense attached to that word at Athens.
He was son of Ariston (or, according to some admirers, of the God
Apollo) and Periktionê: his maternal ancestors had been intimate
friends or relatives of the law-giver Solon, while his father belonged
to a Gens tracing its descent from Kodrus, and even from the God
Poseidon. He was also nearly related to Charmides and to Kritias--this
last the well-known and violent leader among the oligarchy called the
Thirty Tyrants.[4] Plato was first called Aristoklês, after his
grandfather; but received when he grew up the name of Plato--on
account of the breadth (we are told) either of his forehead or of his
shoulders. Endowed with a robust physical frame, and exercised in
gymnastics, not merely in one of the palæstræ of Athens (which he
describes graphically in the Charmides) but also under an Argeian
trainer, he attained such force and skill as to contend (if we may
credit Dikæarchus) for the prize of wrestling among boys at the
Isthmian festival.[5] His literary training was commenced under a
schoolmaster named Dionysius, and pursued under Drakon, a celebrated
teacher of music in the large sense then attached to that word. He is
said to have displayed both diligence and remarkable quickness of
apprehension, combined too with the utmost gravity and modesty.[6] He
not only acquired great familiarity with the poets, but composed
poetry of his own--dithyrambic, lyric, and tragic: and he is even
reported to have prepared a tragic tetralogy, with the view of
competing for victory at the Dionysian festival. We are told that he
burned these poems, when he attached himself to the society of
Sokrates. No compositions in verse remain under his name, except a few
epigrams--amatory, affectionate, and of great poetical beauty. But
there is ample proof in his dialogues that the cast of his mind was
essentially poetical. Many of his philosophical speculations are
nearly allied to poetry, and acquire their hold upon the mind rather
through imagination and sentiment than through reason or evidence.

[Footnote 3: It was affirmed distinctly by Hermodôrus (according to
the statement of Diogenes Laertius, iii. 6) that Plato was
twenty-eight years old at the time of the death of Sokrates: that is,
in May, 399 B.C. (Zeller, Phil. der Griech. vol. ii. p. 39, ed. 2nd.)
This would place the birth of Plato in 427 B.C. Other critics refer
his birth to 428 or 429: but I agree with Zeller in thinking that the
deposition of Hermodôrus is more trustworthy than any other evidence
before us.

Hermodôrus was a friend and disciple of Plato, and is even said to
have made money by publishing Plato's dialogues without permission
(Cic., Epist. ad Attic. xiii. 21). Suidas, [Greek: E(rmo/dôros]. He
was also an author: he published a treatise [Greek: Peri\ Mathêma/tôn]
(Diog. L., Prooem. 2).

See the more recent Dissertation of Zeller, De Hermodoro Ephesio et
Hermodoro Platonico, Marburg, 1859, p. 19 seq. He cites two important
passages (out of the commentary of Simplikius on Aristot. Physic.)
referring to the work of Hermodôrus [Greek: o( Pla/tônos e(/tairos]--a
work [Greek: Peri\ Pla/tônos], on Plato.]

[Footnote 4: The statements respecting Plato's relatives are obscure
and perplexing: unfortunately the _domestica documenta_, which were
within the knowledge of his nephew Speusippus, are no longer
accessible to us. It is certain that he had two brothers, Glaukon and
Adeimantus: besides which, it would appear from the Parmenides (126 B)
that he had a younger half-brother by the mother's side, named
Antiphon, and son of Pyrilampes (compare Charmides, p. 158 A, and
Plut., De Frat. Amore, 12, p. 484 E). But the age, which this would
assign to Antiphon, does not harmonise well with the chronological
postulates assumed in the exordium of the Parmenides. Accordingly, K.
F. Hermann and Stallbaum are led to believe, that besides the brothers
of Plato named Glaukon and Adeimantus, there must also have been two
uncles of Plato bearing these same names, and having Antiphon for
their younger brother. (See Stallbaum's Prolegg. ad Charm. pp. 84, 85,
and Prolegg. ad Parmen., Part iii. pp. 304-307.) This is not unlikely:
but we cannot certainly determine the point--more especially as we do
not know what amount of chronological inaccuracy Plato might hold to
be admissible in the _personnel_ of his dialogues.

It is worth mentioning, that in the discourse of Andokides de
Mysteriis, persons named Plato, Charmides, Antiphon, are named among
those accused of concern in the sacrileges of 415 B.C.--the mutilation
of the Hermæ and the mock celebration of the mysteries. Speusippus is
also named as among the Senators of the year (Andokides de Myst. p.
13-27, seq.). Whether these persons belonged to the same family as the
philosopher Plato, we cannot say. He himself was then only twelve
years old.]

[Footnote 5: Diog. L. iii. 4; Epiktêtus, i. 8-13, [Greek: ei) de\
kalo\s ê)=n Pla/tôn kai\ i)schuro/s], &c.

The statement of Sextus Empiricus--that Plato in his boyhood had his
ears bored and wore ear-rings--indicates the opulent family to which
he belonged. (Sex. Emp. adv. Gramm. s. 258.) Probably some of the old
habits of the great Athenian families, as to ornaments worn on the
head or hair, were preserved with the children after they had been
discontinued with adults. See Thuc. i. 6.]

[Footnote 6: Diog. L. iii. 26.]

[Side-note: Early relations of Plato with Sokrates.]

According to Diogenes[7] (who on this point does not cite his
authority), it was about the twentieth year of Plato's age (407 B.C.)
that his acquaintance with Sokrates began. It may possibly have begun
earlier, but certainly not later--since at the time of the
conversation (related by Xenophon) between Sokrates and Plato's
younger brother Glaukon, there was already a friendship established
between Sokrates and Plato: and that time can hardly be later than 406
B.C., or the beginning of 405 B.C.[8] From 406 B.C. down to 399 B.C.,
when Sokrates was tried and condemned, Plato seems to have remained in
friendly relation and society with him: a relation perhaps interrupted
during the severe political struggles between 405 B.C. and 403 B.C.,
but revived and strengthened after the restoration of the democracy in
the last-mentioned year.

[Footnote 7: Ibid. 6.]

[Footnote 8: Xen. Mem. iii. 6, 1. Sokrates was induced by his
friendship for Plato and for Charmides the cousin of Plato, to
admonish the forward youth Glaukon (Plato's younger brother), who
thrust himself forward obtrusively to speak in the public assembly
before he was twenty years of age. The two discourses of Sokrates--one
with the presumptuous Glaukon, the other with the diffident
Charmides--are both reported by Xenophon.

These discourses must have taken place before the battle of
Ægospotami: for Charmides was killed during the Anarchy, and Glaukon
certainly would never have attempted such acts of presumption
after the restoration of the democracy, at a time when the tide of
public feeling had become vehemently hostile to Kritias, Charmides,
and all the names and families connected with the oligarchical rule
just overthrown.

I presume the conversation of Sokrates with Glaukon to have taken
place in 406 B.C. or 405 B.C.: it was in 405 B.C. that the disastrous
battle of Ægospotami occurred.]

[Side-note: Plato's youth--service as a citizen and soldier.]

But though Plato may have commenced at the age of twenty his
acquaintance with Sokrates, he cannot have been exclusively occupied
in philosophical pursuits between the nineteenth and the twenty-fifth
year of his age--that is, between 409-403 B.C. He was carried, partly
by his own dispositions, to other matters besides philosophy; and even
if such dispositions had not existed, the exigencies of the time
pressed upon him imperatively as an Athenian citizen. Even under
ordinary circumstances, a young Athenian of eighteen years of age, as
soon as he was enrolled on the public register of citizens, was
required to take the memorable military oath in the chapel of
Aglaurus, and to serve on active duty, constant or nearly constant,
for two years, in various posts throughout Attica, for the defence of
the country.[9] But the six years from 409-403 B.C. were years of an
extraordinary character. They included the most strenuous public
efforts, the severest suffering, and the gravest political revolution,
that had ever occurred at Athens. Every Athenian citizen was of
necessity put upon constant (almost daily) military service; either
abroad, or in Attica against the Lacedæmonian garrison established in
the permanent fortified post of Dekeleia, within sight of the Athenian
Akropolis. So habitually were the citizens obliged to be on guard,
that Athens, according to Thucydides,[10] became a military post
rather than a city. It is probable that Plato, by his family and its
place on the census, belonged to the Athenian Hippeis or Horsemen, who
were in constant employment for the defence of the territory. But at
any rate, either on horseback, or on foot, or on shipboard, a robust
young citizen like Plato, whose military age commenced in 409, must
have borne his fair share in this hard but indispensable duty. In the
desperate emergency, which preceded the battle of Arginusæ (406 B.C.),
the Athenians put to sea in thirty days a fleet of 110 triremes for
the relief of Mitylenê; all the men of military age, freemen, and
slaves, embarking.[11] We can hardly imagine that at such a season
Plato can have wished to decline service: even if he had wished it,
the Strategi would not have permitted him. Assuming that he remained
at home, the garrison-duty at Athens must have been doubled on account
of the number of departures. After the crushing defeat of the
Athenians at Ægospotami, came the terrible apprehension at Athens,
then the long blockade and famine of the city (wherein many died of
hunger); next the tyranny of the Thirty, who among their other
oppressions made war upon all free speech, and silenced even the voice
of Sokrates: then the gallant combat of Thrasybulus followed by the
intervention of the Lacedæmonians--contingencies full of uncertainty
and terror, but ending in the restoration of the democracy. After such
restoration, there followed all the anxieties, perils, of reaction,
new enactments and provisions, required for the revived democracy,
during the four years between the expulsion of the Thirty and the
death of Sokrates.

[Footnote 9: Read the oath sworn by the Ephêbi in Pollux viii. 105.
Æschines tells us that he served his two ephebic years as [Greek:
peri/polos tê=s chô/ras], when there no was remarkable danger or foreign
pressure. See Æsch. De Fals. Legat. s. 178. See the facts about the
Athenian Ephêbi brought together in a Dissertation by W. Dittenberger,
p. 9-12.]

[Footnote 10: Thuc. vii. 27: [Greek: o(sême/rai e)xelauno/ntôn tô=n
i(ppe/ôn], &c. Cf., viii. 69. Antiphon, who is described in the
beginning of the Parmenides, as devoted to [Greek: i(ppikê\], must
have been either brother or uncle of Plato.]

[Footnote 11: Xen. Hell. i. 6, 24. [Greek: Oi( de\ A)thênai=oi, ta\
gegenême/na kai\ tê\n poliorki/an e)pei\ ê)/kousan, e)psêphi/santo
boêthei=n nausi\n e(kato\n kai\ de/ka, ei)sbiba/zontes tou\s e)n
ê(liki/a| o)/ntas a(/pantas, kai\ dou/lous kai\ e)leuthe/rous; kai\
plêrô/santes ta\s de/ka kai\ e(kato\n e)n tria/konta ê(me/rais,
a)pê=ran; ei)se/bêsan de\ kai\ tô=n i(ppe/ôn polloi/]. In one of the
anecdotes given by Diogenes (iii. 24) Plato alludes to his own
military service. Aristoxenus (Diog. L. iii. 8) said that Plato had
been engaged thrice in military expeditions out of Attica: once to
Tanagra, a second time to Corinth, a third time to Delium, where he
distinguished himself. Aristoxenus must have had fair means of
information, yet I do not know what to make of this statement. All the
three places named are notorious for battles fought by Athens;
nevertheless chronology utterly forbids the supposition that Plato
could have been present either at _the_ battle of Tanagra or at _the_
battle of Delium. At the battle of Delium Sokrates was present, and is
said to have distinguished himself: hence there is ground for
suspecting some confusion between his name and that of Plato. It is
however possible that there may have been, during the interval between
410-405 B.C., partial invasions of the frontiers of Boeotia by
Athenian detachments: both Tanagra and Delium were on the Boeotian
frontier. The great battle of Corinth took place in 394 B.C. Plato
left Athens immediately after the death of Sokrates in 399 B.C., and
visited several foreign countries during the years immediately
following; but he may have been at Athens in 394 B.C., and may have
served in the Athenian force at Corinth. See Mr. Clinton, Fast. Hell.
ad ann. 395 B.C. I do not see how Plato could have been engaged in any
battle of Delium _after_ the battle of Corinth, for Athens was not
then at war with the Boeotians.

At the same time I confess that the account given by or ascribed to
Aristoxenus appears to me to have been founded on little positive
information, when we compare it with the military duty which Plato
must have done between 410-405 B.C.

It is curious that Antisthenes also is mentioned as having
distinguished himself at the battle of Tanagra (Diog. vi. 1). The same
remarks are applicable to him as have just been made upon Plato.]

[Side-note: Period of political ambition.]

From the dangers, fatigues, and sufferings of such an historical
decad, no Athenian citizen could escape, whatever might be his feeling
towards the existing democracy, or however averse he might be to
public employment by natural temper. But Plato was not thus averse,
during the earlier years of his adult life. We know, from his own
letters, that he then felt strongly the impulse of political ambition
usual with young Athenians of good family;[12] though probably not
with any such premature vehemence as his younger brother Glaukon,
whose impatience Sokrates is reported to have so judiciously
moderated.[13] Whether Plato ever spoke with success in the public
assembly, we do not know: he is said to have been shy by nature, and
his voice was thin and feeble, ill adapted for the Pnyx.[14] However,
when the oligarchy of Thirty was established, after the capture and
subjugation of Athens, Plato was not only relieved from the necessity
of addressing the assembled people, but also obtained additional
facilities for rising into political influence, through Kritias (his
near relative) and Charmides, leading men among the new oligarchy.
Plato affirms that he had always disapproved the antecedent democracy,
and that he entered on the new scheme of government with full hope of
seeing justice and wisdom predominant. He was soon undeceived. The
government of the Thirty proved a sanguinary and rapacious
tyranny,[15] filling him with disappointment and disgust. He was
especially revolted by their treatment of Sokrates, whom they not only
interdicted from continuing his habitual colloquy with young men,[16]
but even tried to implicate in nefarious murders, by ordering him
along with others to arrest Leon the Salaminian, one of their intended
victims: an order which Sokrates, at the peril of his life, disobeyed.

[Footnote 12: Plato, Epistol. vii. p. 324-325.]

[Footnote 13: Xen., Mem. iii. 6.]

[Footnote 14: Diogen. Laert. iii. 5: [Greek: I)schno/phôno/s te ê)=n],
&c. iii. 26: [Greek: ai)dê/môn kai\ ko/smios].]

[Footnote 15: History of Greece, vol. viii. ch. 65.]

[Footnote 16: Xen. Mem. i. 2, 36; Plato, Apol. Sokrat. c. 20, p. 32.]

[Side-note: He becomes disgusted with politics.]

Thus mortified and disappointed, Plato withdrew from public functions.
What part he took in the struggle between the oligarchy and its
democratical assailants under Thrasybulus, we are not informed. But
when the democracy was re-established, his political ambition revived,
and he again sought to acquire some active influence on public
affairs. Now however the circumstances had become highly unfavourable
to him. The name of his deceased relative Kritias was generally
abhorred, and he had no powerful partisans among the popular leaders.
With such disadvantages, with anti-democratical sentiments, and with a
thin voice, we cannot wonder that Plato soon found public life
repulsive;[17] though he admits the remarkable moderation displayed by
the restored Demos. His repugnance was aggravated to the highest pitch
of grief and indignation by the trial and condemnation of Sokrates
(399 B.C.), four years after the renewal of the democracy. At that
moment doubtless the Sokratic men or companions were unpopular in a
body. Plato, after having yielded his best sympathy and aid at the
trial of Sokrates, retired along with several others of them to
Megara. He made up his mind that for a man of his views and opinions,
it was not only unprofitable, but also unsafe, to embark in active
public life, either at Athens or in any other Grecian city. He
resolved to devote himself to philosophical speculation, and to
abstain from practical politics; unless fortune should present to him
some exceptional case, of a city prepared to welcome and obey a
renovator upon exalted principles.[18]

[Footnote 17: Ælian (V. H. iii. 27) had read a story to the effect,
that Plato, in consequence of poverty, was about to seek military
service abroad, and was buying arms for the purpose, when he was
induced to stay by the exhortation of Sokrates, who prevailed upon him
to devote himself to philosophy at home.

If there be any truth in this story, it must refer to some time in the
interval between the restoration of the democracy (403 B.C.) and the
death of Sokrates (399 B.C.). The military service of Plato, prior to
the battle of Ægospotami (405 B.C.), must have been obligatory, in
defence of his country, not depending on his own free choice. It is
possible also that Plato may have been for the time impoverished, like
many other citizens, by the intestine troubles in Attica, and may have
contemplated military service abroad, like Xenophon.

But I am inclined to think that the story is unfounded, and that it
arises from some confusion between Plato and Xenophon.]

[Footnote 18: The above account of Plato's proceedings, perfectly
natural and interesting, but unfortunately brief, is to be found in
his seventh Epistle, p. 325-326.]

[Side-note: He retires from Athens after the death of Sokrates--his

At Megara Plato passed some time with the Megarian Eukleides, his
fellow-disciple in the society of Sokrates, and the founder of what is
termed the Megaric school of philosophers. He next visited Kyrênê,
where he is said to have become acquainted with the geometrician
Theodôrus, and to have studied geometry under him. From Kyrênê he
proceeded to Egypt, interesting himself much in the antiquities of the
country as well as in the conversation of the priests. In or about 394
B.C.--if we may trust the statement of Aristoxenus about the military
service of Plato at Corinth, he was again at Athens. He afterwards
went to Italy and Sicily, seeking the society of the Pythagorean
philosophers, Archytas, Echekrates, Timæus, &c., at Tarentum and
Lokri, and visiting the volcanic manifestations of Ætna. It appears
that his first visit to Sicily was made when he was about forty years
of age, which would be 387 B.C. Here he made acquaintance with the
youthful Dion, over whom he acquired great intellectual ascendancy. By
Dion Plato was prevailed upon to visit the elder Dionysius at
Syracuse:[19] but that despot, offended by the free spirit of his
conversation and admonitions, dismissed him with displeasure, and even
caused him to be sold into slavery at Ægina in his voyage home. Though
really sold, however, Plato was speedily ransomed by friends. After
farther incurring some risk of his life as an Athenian citizen, in
consequence of the hostile feelings of the Æginetans, he was conveyed
away safely to Athens, about 386 B.C.[20]

[Footnote 19: Plato. Epistol. vii. p. 324 A, 327 A.]

[Footnote 20: Plut. Dion. c. 5: Corn. Nep., Dion, ii. 3; Diog. Laert.
iii. 19-20; Aristides, Or. xlvi., [Greek: U(pe\r tô=n Tetta/rôn], p.
305-306, ed. Dindorf.

Cicero (De Fin. v. 29; Tusc. Disp. i. 17), and others, had contracted a
lofty idea of Plato's Travels, more than the reality seems to warrant.
Val. Max. viii. 7, 3; Plin. Hist. Nat. xxx. 2.

The Sophist Himerius repeats the same general statements about Plato's
early education, and extensive subsequent travels, but without adding
any new particulars (Orat. xiv. 21-25).

If we can trust a passage of Tzetzes, cited by Mr. Clinton (F. H. ad
B.C. 366) and by Welcker (Trag. Gr. p. 1236), Dionysius the elder of
Syracuse had composed (among his various dramas) a tragi-comedy
directed against Plato.]

[Side-note: His permanent establishment at Athens--386 B.C.]

It was at this period, about 386 B.C., that the continuous and formal
public teaching of Plato, constituting as it does so great an epoch in
philosophy, commenced. But I see no ground for believing, as many
authors assume, that he was absent from Athens during the entire
interval between 399-386 B.C. I regard such long-continued absence as
extremely improbable. Plato had not been sentenced to banishment, nor
was he under any compulsion to stay away from his native city. He was
not born "of an oak-tree or a rock" (to use an Homeric phrase,
strikingly applied by Sokrates in his Apology to the Dikasts[21]), but
of a noble family at Athens, where he had brothers and other
connections. A temporary retirement, immediately after the death of
Sokrates, might be congenial to his feelings and interesting in many
ways; but an absence of moderate length would suffice for such
exigencies, and there were surely reasonable motives to induce him to
revisit his friends at home. I conceive Plato as having visited
Kyrênê, Egypt, and Italy during these thirteen years, yet as having
also spent part of this long time at Athens. Had he been continuously
absent from that city he would have been almost forgotten, and would
scarcely have acquired reputation enough to set up with success as a

[Footnote 21: Plato, Apol. p. 34 D.]

[Footnote 22: Stallbaum insists upon it as "certum et indubium" that
Plato was absent from Athens continuously, without ever returning to
it, for the thirteen years immediately succeeding the death of
Sokrates. But I see no good evidence of this, and I think it highly
improbable. See Stallbaum, Prolegg. ad Platon. Politicum, p. 38, 39.
The statement of Strabo (xvii. 806), that Plato and Eudoxus passed
thirteen years in Egypt, is not admissible.

Ueberweg examines and criticises the statements about Plato's travels.
He considers it probable that Plato passed some part of these thirteen
years at Athens (Ueber die Aechtheit und Zeitfolge der Platon.
Schrift. p. 126, 127). Mr Fynes Clinton thinks the same. F. H. B.C.
394; Append. c. 21, p. 366.]

[Side-note: He commences his teaching at the Academy.]

The spot selected by Plato for his lectures or teaching was a garden
adjoining the precinct sacred to the Hero Hekadêmus or Akadêmus,
distant from the gate of Athens called Dipylon somewhat less than a
mile, on the road to Eleusis, towards the north. In this precinct
there were both walks, shaded by trees, and a gymnasium for bodily
exercise; close adjoining, Plato either inherited or acquired a small
dwelling-house and garden, his own private property.[23] Here, under
the name of the Academy, was founded the earliest of those schools of
philosophy, which continued for centuries forward to guide and
stimulate the speculative minds of Greece and Rome.

[Footnote 23: Diog. Laert. iii. 7, 8; Cic. De Fin. v. 1; C. G. Zumpt,
Ueber den Bestand der philosophischen Schulen in Athen, p. 8 (Berlin,
1843). The Academy was consecrated to Athênê; there was, however, a
statue of Eros there, to whom sacrifice was offered, in conjunction
with Athênê. Athenæus, xiii. 561.

At the time when Aristophanes assailed Sokrates in the comedy of the
Nubes (423 B.C.), the Academy was known and familiar as a place for
gymnastic exercise; and Aristophanes (Nub. 995) singles it out as the
proper scene of action for the honest and muscular youth, who despises
rhetoric and philosophy. Aristophanes did not anticipate that within a
short time after the representation of his last comedy, the most
illustrious disciple of Sokrates would select the Academy as the spot
for his residence and philosophical lectures, and would confer upon
the name a permanent intellectual meaning, as designating the earliest
and most memorable of the Hellenic schools.

In 369 B.C., when the school of Plato was in existence, the Athenian
hoplites, marching to aid the Lacedæmonians in Peloponnesus, were
ordered by Iphikrates to make their evening meal in the Academy (Xen.
Hell. vi. 5, 49).

The garden, afterwards established by Epikurus, was situated between
the gate of Athens and the Academy: so that a person passed by it,
when he walked forth from Athens to the Academy (Cic. De Fin. i. 1).]

[Side-note: Plato as a teacher--pupils numerous and wealthy, from
different cities.]

We have scarce any particulars respecting the growth of the Academy
from this time to the death of Plato, in 347 B.C. We only know
generally that his fame as a lecturer became eminent and widely
diffused: that among his numerous pupils were included Speusippus,
Xenokrates, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Hyperides, Lykurgus, &c.: that he
was admired and consulted by Perdikkas in Macedonia and Dionysius at
Syracuse: that he was also visited by listeners and pupils from all
parts of Greece. Among them was Eudoxus of Knidus, who afterwards
became illustrious both in geometry and astronomy. At the age of
twenty-three, and in poor circumstances, Eudoxus was tempted by the
reputation of the Sokratic men, and enabled by the aid of friends, to
visit Athens: where, however, he was coldly received by Plato. Besides
preparing an octennial period or octaetêris, and a descriptive map of
the Heavens, Eudoxus also devised the astronomical hypothesis of
Concentric Spheres--the earliest theory proposed to show that the
apparent irregularity in the motion of the Sun and the Planets might
be explained, and proved to result from a multiplicity of co-operating
spheres or agencies, each in itself regular.[24] This theory of
Eudoxus is said to have originated in a challenge of Plato, who
propounded to astronomers, in his oral discourse, the problem which
they ought to try to solve.[25]

[Footnote 24: For an account of Eudoxus himself, of his theory of
concentric spheres, and the subsequent extensions of it, see the
instructive volume of the late lamented Sir George Cornewall
Lewis,--Historical Survey of the Ancient Astronomy, ch. iii. sect. 3,
p. 146 seq.

M. Boeckh also (in his recent publication, Ueber die vierjährigen
Sonnenkreise der Alten, vorzüglich den Eudoxischen, Berlin, 1863) has
given an account of the life and career of Eudoxus, not with reference
to his theory of concentric spheres, but to his Calendar and Lunisolar
Cycles or Periods, quadrennial and octennial. I think Boeckh is right
in placing the voyage of Eudoxus to Egypt at an _earlier_ period of
the life of Eudoxus; that is, about 378 B.C.; and not in 362 B.C.,
where it is placed by Letronne and others. Boeckh shows that the
letters of recommendation from Agesilaus to Nektanebos, which Eudoxus
took with him, do not necessarily coincide in time with the military
expedition of Agesilaus to Egypt, but were more probably of earlier
date. (Boeckh, p. 140-148.)

Eudoxus lived 53 years (406-353 B.C., about); being born when Plato
was 21, and dying when Plato was 75. He was one of the most
illustrious men of the age. He was born in poor circumstances; but so
marked was his early promise, that some of the medical school at
Knidus assisted him to prosecute his studies--to visit Athens and hear
the Sophists, Plato among them--to visit Egypt, Tarentum (where he
studied geometry with Archytas), and Sicily (where he studied [Greek:
ta\ i)atrika\] with Philistion). These facts depend upon the [Greek:
Pi/nakes] of Kallimachus, which are good authority. (Diog. L. viii.

After thus preparing himself by travelling and varied study, Eudoxus
took up the profession of a Sophist, at Kyzikus and the neighbouring
cities in the Propontis. He obtained great celebrity, and a large
number of pupils. M. Boeckh says, "Dort lebte er als Sophist, sagt
Sotion: das heisst, er lehrte, und hielt Vortrage. Dasselbe bezeugt

I wish to call particular attention to the way in which M. Boeckh here
describes** a Sophist of the fourth century B.C. Nothing can be more
correct. Every man who taught and gave lectures to audiences more or
less numerous, was so called. The Platonic critics altogether darken
the history of philosophy, by using the word _Sophist_ with its modern
associations (and the unmeaning abstract _Sophistic_ which they derive
from it), to represent a supposed school of speculative and deceptive

Eudoxus, having been coldly received when young and poor by Plato, had
satisfaction in revisiting Athens at the height of his reputation,
accompanied by numerous pupils--and in showing himself again to Plato.
The two then became friends. Menæchmus and Helikon, geometrical pupils
of Eudoxus, received instruction from Plato also; and Helikon
accompanied Plato on his third voyage to Sicily (Plato, Epist. xiii.
p. 360 D; Plut. Dion, c. 19). Whether Eudoxus accompanied him there
also, as Boeckh supposes, is doubtful: I think it improbable.

Eudoxus ultimately returned to his native city of Knidus, where he was
received with every demonstration of honour: a public vote of esteem
and recognition being passed to welcome him. He is said to have been
solicited to give laws to the city, and to have actually done so: how
far this may be true, we cannot say. He also visited the neighbouring
prince Mausôlus of Karia, by whom he was much honoured.

We know from Aristotle, that Eudoxus was not only illustrious as an
astronomer and geometer, but that he also proposed a theory of Ethics,
similar in its general formula to that which was afterwards laid down
by Epikurus. Aristotle dissents from the theory, but he bears express
testimony, in a manner very unusual with him, to the distinguished
personal merit and virtue of Eudoxus (Ethic. Nikom. x. 3, p. 1172, b.

[Footnote 25: Respecting Eudoxus, see Diog. L. viii. 86-91. As the
life of Eudoxus probably extended from about 406-353 B.C., his first
visit to Athens would be about 383 B.C., some three years after Plato
commenced his school. Strabo (xvii. 806), when he visited Heliopolis
in Egypt, was shown by the guides certain cells or chambers which were
said to have been occupied by Plato and Eudoxus, and was assured that
the two had passed thirteen years together in Egypt. This account
deserves no credit. Plato and Eudoxus visited Egypt, but not together,
and neither of them for so long as thirteen years. Eudoxus stayed
there sixteen months (Diog. L. viii. 87). Simplikius, Schol. ad
Aristot. De Coelo, p. 497, 498, ed. Brandis, 498, a. 45. [Greek: Kai\
prô=tos tô=n E(llê/nôn Eu)/doxos o( Kni/dios. ô(s Eu)/dêmo/s te e)n
tô=| deute/rô| tê=s A)strologikê=s I)stori/as a)pemnêmo/neuse kai\
Sôsige/nês para\ _Eu)dê/mou tou=to labô\n_, a(/psasthai le/getai tô=n
toiou/tôn u(pothe/seôn; Pla/tônos, _ô(s phêsi Sôsige/nês_, pro/blêma
tou=to poiêsame/nou toi=s peri\ tau=ta e)spoudako/si--ti/nôn
u(potethei/sôn o(malô=n kai\ tetagme/nôn kinê/seôn diasôthê=| ta\
peri\ ta\s kinê/seis tô=n planôme/nôn phaino/mena]. The Scholion of
Simplikius, which follows at great length, is exceedingly interesting
and valuable, in regard to the astronomical theory of Eudoxus, with
the modifications introduced into it by Kallippus, Aristotle, and
others. All the share in it which is claimed for Plato, is, that he
described in clear language the problem to be solved: and even _that_
share depends simply upon the statement of the Alexandrine Sosigenes
(contemporary of Julius Cæsar), not upon the statement of Eudemus. At
least the language of Simplikius affirms, that Sosigenes copied from
Eudemus the fact, that Eudoxus was the first Greek who proposed a
systematic astronomical hypothesis to explain the motions of the
planets--([Greek: par' Eu)dê/mou _tou=to_ labô/n]) not the
circumstance, that Plato propounded the problem afterwards mentioned.
From whom Sosigenes derived this last information, is not indicated.
About his time, various fictions had gained credit in Egypt respecting
the connection of Plato with Eudoxus, as we may see by the story of
Strabo above cited. If Plato impressed upon others that which is here
ascribed to him, he must have done so in _conversation or oral
discourse_--for there is nothing in his written dialogues to that
effect. Moreover, there is nothing in the dialogues to make us suppose
that Plato adopted or approved the theory of Eudoxus. When Plato
speaks of astronomy, either in the Republic, or in Leges, or in
Epinomis, it is in a totally different spirit--not manifesting any
care to save the astronomical phenomena. Both Aristotle himself
(Metaphys. A. p. 1073 b.) and Simplikius, make it clear that Aristotle
warmly espoused and enlarged the theory of Eudoxus. Theophrastus,
successor of Aristotle, did the same. But we do not hear that either
Speusippus or Xenokrates (successor of Plato) took any interest in the
theory. This is one remarkable point of divergence between Plato and
the Platonists on one side--Aristotle and the Aristotelians on the
other--and much to the honour of the latter: for the theory of
Eudoxus, though erroneous, was a great step towards improved
scientific conceptions on astronomy, and a great provocative to
farther observation of astronomical facts.]

Though Plato demanded no money as a fee for admission of pupils, yet
neither did he scruple to receive presents from rich men such as
Dionysius, Dion, and others.[26] In the jests of Ephippus, Antiphanes,
and other poets of the middle comedy, the pupils of Plato in the
Academy are described as finely and delicately clad, nice in their
persons even to affectation, with elegant caps and canes; which is the
more to be noticed because the preceding comic poets derided Sokrates
and his companions for qualities the very opposite--as prosing
beggars, in mean attire and dirt.[27] Such students must have belonged
to opulent families; and we may be sure that they requited their
master by some valuable present, though no fee may have been formally
demanded from them. Some conditions (though we do not know what) were
doubtless required for admission. Moreover the example of Eudoxus
shows that in some cases even ardent and promising pupils were
practically repelled. At any rate, the teaching of Plato formed a
marked contrast with that extreme and indiscriminate publicity which
characterised the conversation of Sokrates, who passed his days in the
market-place or in the public porticoes or palæstræ; while Plato both
dwelt and discoursed in a quiet residence and garden a little way out
of Athens. The title of Athens to be considered the training-city of
Hellas (as Perikles had called her fifty years before), was fully
sustained by the Athenian writers and teachers between 390-347;
especially by Plato and Isokrates, the most celebrated and largely
frequented. So many foreign pupils came to Isokrates that he affirms
most of his pecuniary gains to have been derived from non-Athenians.
Several of his pupils stayed with him three or four years. The like is
doubtless true about the pupils of Plato.[28]

[Footnote 26: Plato, Epistol. xiii. p. 361, 362. We learn from this
epistle that Plato received pecuniary remittances not merely from
Dionysius, but also from other friends ([Greek: a)/llôn
e)pitêdei/ôn]--361 C); that he employed these not only for choregies and
other costly functions of his own, but also to provide dowry for female
relatives, and presents to friends (363 A).]

[Footnote 27: See Meineke, Hist. Crit. Comic. Græc. p. 288, 289--and
the extracts there given from Ephippus and Antiphanes--apud Athenæum,
xi. 509, xii. 544. About the poverty and dirt which was reproached to
Sokrates and his disciples, see the fragment of Ameipsias in Meineke,
ibid. p. 203. Also Aristoph. Aves, 1555; Nubes, 827; and the Fragm. of
Eupolis in Meineke, p. 552--[Greek: Misô= d' e)gô\ kai\ Sôkra/tên,
to\n ptôcho\n a)dole/schên].

Meineke thinks that Aristophanes, in the Ekklesiazusæ, 646, and in the
Plutus, 313, intends to ridicule Plato under the name of Aristyllus:
Plato's name having been originally Aristokles. But I see no
sufficient ground for this opinion.]

[Footnote 28: Perikles in the Funeral Oration (Thuc. ii. 41) calls
Athens [Greek: tê=s E(lla/dos pai/deusin]: the same eulogium is
repeated, with greater abundance of words, by Isokrates in his
Panegyrical Oration (Or. iv. sect. 56, p. 51).

The declaration of Isokrates, that most of his money was acquired from
foreign (non-Athenian) pupils, and the interesting fact that many of
them not only stayed with him three or four years but were even then
loth to depart, will be found in Orat. xv. De Permutatione, sect.
93-175. Plutarch (Vit. x. Orat. 838 E) goes so far as to say that
Isokrates never required any pay from an Athenian pupil.

Nearly three centuries after Plato's decease, Cicero sent his son
Marcus to Athens, where the son spent a considerable time, frequenting
the lectures of the Peripatetic philosopher Kratippus. Young Cicero,
in an interesting letter addressed to Tiro (Cic. Epist. Fam. xvi. 23),
describes in animated terms both his admiration for the person and
abilities, and his delight in the private society, of Kratippus.
Several of Plato's pupils probably felt as much or more towards him.]

[Side-note: Visit of Plato to the younger Dionysius at Syracuse, 367
B.C. Second visit to the same--mortifying failure.]

It was in the year 367-366 that Plato was induced, by the earnest
entreaties of Dion, to go from Athens to Syracuse, on a visit to the
younger Dionysius, who had just become despot, succeeding to his
father of the same name. Dionysius II., then very young, had
manifested some dispositions towards philosophy, and prodigious
admiration for Plato: who was encouraged by Dion to hope that he would
have influence enough to bring about an amendment or thorough reform
of the government at Syracuse. This ill-starred visit, with its
momentous sequel, has been described in my 'History of Greece'. It not
only failed completely, but made matters worse rather than better:
Dionysius became violently alienated from Dion, and sent him into
exile. Though turning a deaf ear to Plato's recommendations, he
nevertheless liked his conversation, treated him with great respect,
detained him for some time at Syracuse, and was prevailed upon, only
by the philosopher's earnest entreaties, to send him home. Yet in
spite of such uncomfortable experience Plato was induced, after a
certain interval, again to leave Athens and pay a second visit to
Dionysius, mainly in hopes of procuring the restoration of Dion. In
this hope too he was disappointed, and was glad to return, after a
longer stay than he wished, to Athens.

[Side-note: Expedition of Dion against Dionysius--sympathies of Plato
and the Academy.]

[Side-note: Success, misconduct, and death of Dion.]

It was in 359 B.C. that Dion, aided by friends in Peloponnesus, and
encouraged by warm sympathy and co-operation from many of Plato's
pupils in the Academy,[29] equipped an armament against Dionysius.
Notwithstanding the inadequacy of his force he had the good fortune to
make himself master of Syracuse, being greatly favoured by the popular
discontent of Syracusans against the reigning despot: but he did not
know how to deal with the people, nor did he either satisfy their
aspirations towards liberty, or realise his own engagements. Retaining
in his hands a despotic power, similar in the main to that of
Dionysius, he speedily became odious, and was assassinated by the
treachery of Kallippus, his companion in arms as well as fellow-pupil
of the Platonic Academy. The state of Syracuse, torn by the joint
evils of anarchy and despotism, and partially recovered by Dionysius,
became more unhappy than ever.

[Footnote 29: Plutarch, Dion, c. 22.

Xenokrates as well as Speusippus accompanied Plato to Sicily (Diog. L.
iv. 6).

To show the warm interest taken, not only by Plato himself but also by
the Platonic pupils in the Academy in the conduct of Dion after he had
become master of Syracuse, Plutarch quotes both from the letter of
Plato to Dion (which now stands fourth among the Epistolæ Platonicæ,
p. 320) and also from a letter which he had read, written by
Speusippus to Dion; in which Speusippus exhorts Dion emphatically to
bless Sicily with good laws and government, "in _order that he may
glorify the Academy_"--[Greek: o(/pôs . . . eu)klea= thê/sei tê\n
A)kadêmi/an] (Plutarch, De Adulator. et Amic. c. 29, p. 70 A).]

[Side-note: Death of Plato, aged 80, 347 B.C.]

The visits of Plato to Dionysius were much censured, and his
motives[30] misrepresented by unfriendly critics; and these reproaches
were still further embittered by the entire failure of his hopes. The
closing years of his long life were saddened by the disastrous turn of
events at Syracuse, aggravated by the discreditable abuse of power and
violent death of his intimate friend Dion, which brought dishonour
both upon himself and upon the Academy. Nevertheless he lived to the
age of eighty, and died in 348-347 B.C., leaving a competent property,
which he bequeathed by a will still extant.[31] But his foundation,
the Academy, did not die with him. It passed to his nephew Speusippus,
who succeeded him as teacher, conductor of the school, or Scholarch:
and was himself succeeded after eight years by Xenokrates of
Chalkêdon: while another pupil of the Academy, Aristotle, after an
absence of some years from Athens, returned thither and established a
school of his own at the Lykeum, at another extremity of the city.

[Footnote 30: Themistius, Orat. xxiii. (Sophistes) p. 285 C;
Aristeides, Orat. xlvi., [Greek: U(pe\r tô=n Tetta/rôn], p. 234-235;
Apuleius, De Habit. Philos. Platon. p. 571.]

[Footnote 31: Diog. Laert. iii. 41-42. Seneca (Epist. 58) says that
Plato died on the anniversary of his birth, in the month Thargelion.]

[Side-note: Scholars of Plato--Aristotle.]

The latter half of Plato's life in his native city must have been one
of dignity and consideration, though not of any of political activity.
He is said to have addressed the Dikastery as an advocate for the
accused general Chabrias: and we are told that he discharged the
expensive and showy functions of Chorêgus, with funds supplied by
Dion.[32] Out of Athens also his reputation was very great. When he
went to the Olympic festival of B.C. 360, he was an object of
conspicuous attention and respect: he was visited by hearers, young
men of rank and ambition, from the most distant Hellenic cities; and
his advice was respectfully invoked both by Perdikkas in Macedonia and
by Dionysius II. at Syracuse. During his last visit to Syracuse, it is
said that some of the students in the Academy, among whom Aristotle is
mentioned, became dissatisfied with his absence, and tried to set up a
new school; but were prevented by Iphikrates and Chabrias, the
powerful friends of Plato at Athens. This story is connected with
alleged ingratitude on the part of Aristotle towards Plato, and with
alleged repugnance on the part of Plato towards Aristotle.[33] The
fact itself--that during Plato's absence in Sicily his students sought
to provide for themselves instruction and discussion elsewhere--is
neither surprising nor blameable. And as to Aristotle, there is ground
for believing that he passed for an intimate friend and disciple of
Plato, even during the last ten years of Plato's life. For we read
that Aristotle, following speculations and principles of teaching of
his own, on the subject of rhetoric, found himself at variance with
Isokrates and the Isokratean school. Aristotle attacked Isokrates and
his mode of dealing with the subject: upon which Kephisodôrus (one of
the disciples of Isokrates) retaliated by attacking Plato and the
Platonic Ideas, considering Aristotle as one of Plato's scholars and

[Footnote 32: Plut. Aristeides, c. 1; Diog. Laert. iii. 23-24.
Diogenes says that no other Athenian except Plato dared to speak
publicly in defence of Chabrias; but this can hardly be correct, since
Aristotle mentions another [Greek: sunê/goraos] named Lykoleon (Rhet.
iii. 10, p. 1411, b. 6). We may fairly presume that the trial of
Chabrias alluded to by Aristotle is the same as that alluded to by
Diogenes, that which arose out of the wrongful occupation of Orôpus by
the Thebans. If Plato appeared at the trial, I doubt whether it could
have occurred in 366 B.C., as Clinton supposes; Plato must have been
absent during that year in Sicily.

The anecdote given by Diogenes, in relation to Plato's appearance at
this trial, deserves notice. Krobylus, one of the accusers, said to
him, "Are _you_ come to plead on behalf of another? Are not you aware
that the hemlock of Sokrates is in store for _you_ also?" Plato
replied: "I affronted dangers formerly, when I went on military
expedition, for my country, and I am prepared to affront them now in
discharge of my duty to a friend" (iii. 24).

This anecdote is instructive, as it exhibits the continuance of the
anti-philosophical antipathies at Athens among a considerable portion
of the citizens, and as it goes to attest the military service
rendered personally by Plato.

Diogenes (iii. 46) gives a long list of hearers; and Athenæus (xi.
506-509) enumerates several from different cities in Greece: Euphræus
of Oreus (in Euboea), who acquired through Plato's recommendation
great influence with Perdikkas, king of Macedonia, and who is said to
have excluded from the society of that king every one ignorant of
philosophy and geometry; Euagon of Lampsakus, Timæus of Kyzikus,
Chæron of Pellênê, all of whom tried, and the last with success, to
usurp the sceptre in their respective cities; Eudêmus of Cyprus;
Kallippus the Athenian, fellow-learner with Dion in the Academy,
afterwards his companion in his expedition to Sicily, ultimately his
murderer; Herakleides and Python from Ænus in Thrace, Chion and
Leonides, also Klearchus the despot from the Pontic Herakleia (Justin,
xvi. 5).

Several of these examples seem to have been cited by the orator
Democharês (nephew of Demosthenes) in his speech at Athens vindicating
the law proposed by Sophokles for the expulsion of the philosophers
from Athens (Athenæ. xi. 508 F), a speech delivered about 306 B.C.
Plutarch compliments Plato for the active political liberators and
tyrannicides who came forth from the Academy: he considers Plato as
the real author and planner of the expedition of Dion against
Dionysius, and expatiates on the delight which Plato must have derived
from it--a supposition very incorrect (Plutarch, Non Posse Suav. p.
1097 B; adv. Kolôten, p. 1126 B-C).]

[Footnote 33: Aristokles, ap. Eusebium, Præp. Evang. xv. 2: Ælian, V.
H. iii. 19: Aristeides, Or. 46, [Greek: U(pe\r tô=n Tetta/rôn] vol.
ii. p. 324-325. Dindorf.

The friendship and reciprocity of service between Plato and Chabrias
is an interesting fact. Compare Stahr, Aristotelia, vol. i. p. 50

Cicero affirms, on the authority of the Epistles of Demosthenes, that
Demosthenes describes himself as an assiduous hearer as well as reader
of Plato (Cic. Brut. 31 121; Orat. 4, 15). I think this fact highly
probable, but the epistles which Cicero read no longer exist. Among
the five Epistles remaining, Plato is once mentioned with respect in
the fifth (p. 1490), but this epistle is considered by most critics

[Footnote 34: Numenius, ap. Euseb. Præp. Ev. xiv. 6, 9. [Greek:
oi)êthei\s] (Kephisodôrus) [Greek: kata\ Pla/tôna to\n A)ristote/lên
philosophei=n, e)pole/mei me\n A)ristote/lei, e)/balle de\ Pla/tôna],
&c. This must have happened in the latter years of Plato's life, for
Aristotle must have been at least twenty-five or twenty-six years of
age when he engaged in such polemics. He was born in 384 B.C.]

[Side-note: Little known about Plato's personal history.]

Such is the sum of our information respecting Plato. Scanty as it is,
we have not even the advantage of contemporary authority for any
portion of it. We have no description of Plato from any contemporary
author, friendly or adverse. It will be seen that after the death of
Sokrates we know nothing about Plato as a man and a citizen, except
the little which can be learnt from his few Epistles, all written when
he was very old, and relating almost entirely to his peculiar
relations with Dion and Dionysius. His dialogues, when we try to
interpret them collectively, and gather from them general results as
to the character and purposes of the author, suggest valuable
arguments and perplexing doubts, but yield few solutions. In no one of
the dialogues does Plato address us in his own person. In the Apology
alone (which is not a dialogue) is he alluded to even as present: in
the Phædon he is mentioned as absent from illness. Each of the
dialogues, direct or indirect, is conducted from beginning to end by
the persons whom he introduces.[35] Not one of the dialogues affords
any positive internal evidence showing the date of its composition. In
a few there are allusions to prove that they must have been composed
at a period later than others, or later than some given event of known
date; but nothing more can be positively established. Nor is there any
good extraneous testimony to determine the date of any one among them.
For the remark ascribed to Sokrates about the dialogue called Lysis
(which remark, if authentic, would prove the dialogue to have been
composed during the life-time of Sokrates) appears altogether
untrustworthy. And the statement of some critics, that the Phædrus was
Plato's earliest composition, is clearly nothing more than an
inference (doubtful at best, and, in my judgment, erroneous) from its
dithyrambic style and erotic subject.[36]

[Footnote 35: On this point Aristotle, in the dialogues which he
composed, did not follow Plato's example. Aristotle introduced two or
more persons debating a question, but he appeared in his own person to
give the solution, or at least to wind up the debate. He sometimes
also opened the debate by a prooem or prefatory address in his own
person (Cic. ad Attic. iv. 16, 2, xiii. 19, 4). Cicero followed the
manner of Aristotle, not that of Plato. His dialogues are rhetorical
rather than dramatic.

All the dialogues of Aristotle are lost.]

[Footnote 36: Diog. L. iii. 38. Compare the Prolegomena [Greek: tê=s
Pla/tônos Philosophi/as], c. 24, in the Appendix Platonica of K. F.
Hermann's edition, p. 217.]



As we know little about Plato except from his works, the first
question to be decided is, Which _are_ his real works? Where are we to
find a trustworthy Platonic Canon?

[Side-note: Platonic Canon--Ancient and modern discussions.]

Down to the close of the last century this question was not much
raised or discussed. The catalogue recognised by the rhetor Thrasyllus
(contemporary with the Emperor Tiberius) was generally accepted as
including none but genuine works of Plato; and was followed as such by
editors and critics, who were indeed not very numerous.[1] But the
discussions carried on during the present century have taken a
different turn. While editors, critics, and translators have been
greatly multiplied, some of the most distinguished among them,
Schleiermacher at the head, have either professedly set aside, or in
practice disregarded, the Thrasyllean catalogue, as if it carried no
authority and very faint presumption. They have reasoned upon each
dialogue as if its title to be considered genuine were now to be
proved for the first time; either by external testimony (mentioned in
Aristotle or others), or by internal evidences of style, handling, and
thoughts:[2] as if, in other words, the _onus probandi_ lay upon any
one who believed the printed works of Plato to be genuine--not upon an
opponent who disputes the authenticity of any one or more among them,
and rejects it as spurious. Before I proceed to examine the
conclusions, alike numerous and discordant, which these critics have
proclaimed, I shall enquire how far the method which they have pursued
is warrantable. Is there any presumption at all--and if so, what
amount of presumption--in favour of the catalogue transmitted from
antiquity by Thrasyllus, as a canon containing genuine works of Plato
and no others?

[Footnote 1: The following passage from Wyttenbach, written in 1776,
will give an idea of the state of Platonic criticism down to the last
quarter of the last century. To provide a new Canon for Plato seems
not to have entered his thoughts.

Wyttenbach, Bibliotheca Critica, vol. i. p. 28. Review of Fischer's
edition of Plato's Philêbus and Symposion. "Quæ Ciceroni obtigit
interpretum et editorum felicitas, eâ adeo caruit Plato, ut non solum
paucos nactus sit qui ejus scripta typis ederent--sed qui ejus
orationi nitorem restitueret, eamque a corruptelarum labe purgaret, et
sensus obscuros atque abditos ex interiore doctrinâ patefaceret,
omnino repererit neminem. Et ex ipso hoc editionum parvo numero--nam
sex omnino sunt--nulla est recentior anno superioris seculi secundo:
ut mirandum sit, centum et septuaginta annorum spatio neminem ex tot
viris doctis extitisse, qui ita suam crisin Platoni addiceret, ut
intelligentiam ejus veræ eruditionis amantibus aperiret.

"Qui Platonem legant, pauci sunt: qui intelligant, paucissimi; qui
vero, vel ex versionibus, vel ex jejuno historiæ philosophicæ
compendio, de eo judicent et cum supercilio pronuncient, plurimi

[Footnote 2: To see that this is the general method of proceeding, we
have only to look at the work of Ueberweg, one of the most recent and
certainly one of the ablest among the Platonic critics. Untersuchungen
über die Aechtheit und Zeitfolge der Platonischen Schriften, Wien,
1861, p. 130-131.]

[Side-note: Canon established by Thrasyllus. Presumption in its

Upon this question I hold an opinion opposite to that of the Platonic
critics since Schleiermacher. The presumption appears to me
particularly strong, instead of particularly weak: comparing the
Platonic writings with those of other eminent writers, dramatists,
orators, historians, of the same age and country.

[Side-note: Fixed residence and school at Athens--founded by Plato and
transmitted to successors.]

We have seen that Plato passed the last thirty-eight years of his life
(except his two short visits to Syracuse) as a writer and lecturer at
Athens; that he purchased and inhabited a fixed residence at the
Academy, near the city. We know, moreover, that his principal pupils,
especially (his nephew) Speusippus and Xenokrates, were constantly
with him in this residence during his life; that after his death the
residence became permanently appropriated as a philosophical school
for lectures, study, conversation, and friendly meetings of studious
men, in which capacity it served for more than two centuries;[3] that
his nephew Speusippus succeeded him there as teacher, and taught there
for eight years, being succeeded after his death first by Xenokrates
(for twenty-five years), afterwards by Polemon, Krantor, Krates,
Arkesilaus, and others in uninterrupted series; that the school always
continued to be frequented, though enjoying greater or less celebrity
according to the reputation of the Scholarch.

[Footnote 3: The teaching and conversation of the Platonic School
continued fixed in the spot known as the Academy until the siege of
Athens by Sylla in 87 B.C. The teacher was then forced to confine
himself to the interior of the city, where he gave lectures in the
gymnasium called Ptolemæum. In that gymnasium Cicero heard the
lectures of the Scholarch Antiochus, B.C. 79; walking out afterwards
to visit the deserted but memorable site of the Academy (Cic. De Fin.
v. 1; C. G. Zumpt, Ueber den Bestand der Philosophischen Schulen in
Athen, p. 14, Berlin, 1843). The ground of the Academy, when once
deserted, speedily became unhealthy, and continues to be so now, as
Zumpt mentions that he himself experienced in 1835.]

[Side-note: Importance of this foundation. Preservation of Plato's
manuscripts. School library.]

By thus perpetuating the school which his own genius had originated,
and by providing for it permanent support with a fixed domicile, Plato
inaugurated a new epoch in the history of philosophy: this example was
followed a few years afterwards by Aristotle, Zeno, and Epikurus.
Moreover the proceeding was important in another way also, as it
affected the preservation and authentication of his own manuscripts
and compositions. It provided not only safe and lasting custody, such
as no writer had ever enjoyed before, for Plato's original
manuscripts, but also a guarantee of some efficacy against any fraud
or error which might seek to introduce other compositions into the
list. That Plato himself was not indifferent on this head we may
fairly believe, since we learn from Dionysius of Halikarnassus, that
he was indefatigable in the work of correction: and his disciples, who
took the great trouble of noting down themselves what he spoke in his
lectures, would not be neglectful as to the simpler duty of preserving
his manuscripts.[4] Now Speusippus and Xenokrates (also Aristotle,
Hestiæus, the Opuntian Philippus, and the other Platonic pupils) must
have had personal knowledge of all that Plato had written, whether
finished dialogues, unfinished fragments, or preparatory sketches.
They had perfect means of distinguishing his real compositions from
forgeries passed off in his name: and they had every motive to expose
such forgeries (if any were attempted) wherever they could, in order
to uphold the reputation of their master. If any one composed a
dialogue and circulated it under the name of Plato, the school was a
known place, and its occupants were at hand to give information to all
who enquired about the authenticity of the composition. The original
MSS. of Plato (either in his own handwriting or in that of his
secretary, if he employed one[5]) were doubtless treasured up in the
school as sacred memorials of the great founder, and served as
originals from which copies of unquestionable fidelity might be made,
whenever the Scholarch granted permission. How long they continued to
be so preserved we cannot say: nor do we know what was the condition
of the MSS., or how long they were calculated to last. But probably
many of the students frequenting the school would come for the express
purpose of reading various works of Plato (either in the original
MSS., or in faithful copies taken from them) with the exposition of
the Scholarch; just as we know that the Roman M. Crassus (mentioned by
Cicero), during his residence at Athens, studied the Platonic Gorgias
with the aid of the Scholarch Charmadas.[6] The presidency of
Speusippus and Xenokrates (taken jointly) lasted for thirty-three
years; and even when they were replaced by successors who had enjoyed
no personal intimacy with Plato, the motive to preserve the Platonic
MSS. would still be operative, and the means of verifying what was
really Platonic would still be possessed in the school. The original
MSS. would be preserved, along with the treatises or dialogues which
each successive Scholarch himself composed; thus forming a permanent
and increasing school-library, probably enriched more or less by works
acquired or purchased from others.

[Footnote 4: Simplikius, Schol. Aristotel. Physic. f. 32, p. 334, b.
28, Brandis: [Greek: la/boi d' a)/n tis kai\ para\ Speusi/ppou kai\
para\ Xenokra/tous, kai\ tô=n a)/llôn oi(\ parege/nonto e)n tê=| peri\
Ta)gathou= tou= Pla/tônos a)kroa/sei; pa/ntes ga\r sune/grapsan kai\
diesô/santo tê\n do/xan au)tou=]. In another passage of the same
Scholia (p. 362, a. 12) Simplikius mentions Herakleides (of Pontus),
Hestiæus, and even Aristotle himself, as having taken notes of the
same lectures.

Hermodôrus appears to have carried some of Plato's dialogues to
Sicily, and to have made money by selling them. See Cicero ad Atticum,
xiii. 21: Suidas et Zenobius--[Greek: lo/goisin E(rmo/dôros
e)mporeu/etai]. See Zeller, Dissert. De Hermodoro, p. 19. In the
above-mentioned epistle Cicero compares his own relations with
Atticus, to those of Plato with Hermodôrus. Hermodôrus had composed a
treatise respecting Plato, from which some extracts were given by
Derkyllides (the contemporary of Thrasyllus) as well as by Simplikius
(Zeller, De Hermod. p. 20-21).]

[Footnote 5: We read in Cicero, (Academic. Priora, ii. 4, 11) that the
handwriting of the Scholarch Philo, when his manuscript was brought
from Athens to Alexandria, was recognised at once by his friends and

[Footnote 6: Cicero, De Oratore, i. 11, 45-47: "florente Academiâ,
quod eam Charmadas et Clitomachus et Æschines obtinebant. . . Platoni,
cujus tum Athenis cum Charmadâ diligentius legi Gorgiam," &c.]

[Side-note: Security provided by the school for distinguishing what
were Plato's genuine writings.]

It appears to me that the continuance of this school--founded by Plato
himself at his own abode, permanently domiciliated, and including all
the MSS. which he left in it--gives us an amount of assurance for the
authenticity of the so-called Platonic compositions, such as does not
belong to the works of other eminent contemporary authors, Aristippus,
Antisthenes, Isokrates, Lysias, Demosthenes, Euripides, Aristophanes.
After the decease of these last-mentioned authors, who can say what
became of their MSS.? Where was any certain permanent custody provided
for them? Isokrates had many pupils during his life, but left no
school or [Greek: mousei=on] after his death. If any one composed a
discourse, and tried to circulate it as the composition of Isokrates,
among the bundles of judicial orations which were sold by the
booksellers[7] as his (according to the testimony of Aristotle)--where
was the person to be found, notorious and accessible, who could say:
"I possess all the MSS. of Isokrates, and I can depose that this is
not among them!" The chances of success for forgery or mistake were
decidedly greater, in regard to the works of these authors, than they
could be for those of Plato.

[Footnote 7: Dionys. Halik. de Isocrate, p. 576 R. [Greek: desma\s
pa/nu polla\s dikanikô=n lo/gôn I)sokratei/ôn periphe/resthai/ phêsin
u(po\ tô=n bibliopôlô=n A)ristote/lês.]]

[Side-note: Unfinished fragments and preparatory sketches, preserved
and published after Plato's death.]

Again, the existence of this school-library explains more easily how
it is that unfinished, inferior, and fragmentary Platonic compositions
have been preserved. That there must have existed such compositions I
hold to be certain. How is it supposable that any author, even Plato
could have brought to completion such masterpieces as Republic,
Gorgias, Protagoras, Symposion, &c., without tentative and preparatory
sketches, each of course in itself narrow, defective, perhaps of
little value, but serving as material to be worked up or worked in?
Most of these would be destroyed, but probably not all. If (as I
believe) it be the fact, that all the Platonic MSS. were preserved as
their author left them, some would probably be published (and some
indeed are said to have been published) after his death; and among
them would be included more or fewer of these unfinished performances,
and sketches projected but abandoned. We can hardly suppose that Plato
himself would have published fragments never finished, such as
Kleitophon and Kritias[8]--the last ending in the middle of a

[Footnote 8: Straton, the Peripatetic Scholarch who succeeded
Theophrastus, B.C. 287, bequeathed to Lykon by his will both the
succession to his school ([Greek: diatribê\n]) and all his books,
except what he had written himself ([Greek: plê\n ô(=n au)toi\
gegra/phamen]). What is to be done with these latter he does not say.
Lykon, in his last will, says:--[Greek: kai\ du/o mna=s au)tô=|]
(Chares, a manumitted slave) [Greek: di/dômi kai\ ta)ma\ bi/blia ta\
a)negnôsme/na; ta\ de\ a)ne/kdota Kalli/nô|, o(/pôs e)pimelô=s au)ta\
e)kdô=|]. See Diog. L. v. 62, 73. Here Lykon directs expressly that
Kallinus shall edit with care his (Lykon's) unpublished works.
Probably Straton may have given similar directions during his life, so
that it was unnecessary to provide in the will. [Greek: Ta\
a)negnôsme/na] is equivalent to [Greek: ta\ e)kdedome/na]. Publication
was constituted by reading the MSS. aloud before a chosen audience of
friends or critics; which readings often led to such remarks as
induced the author to take his work back, and to correct it for a
second recitation. See the curious sentence extracted from the letter
of Theophrastus to Phanias (Diog. L. v. 37). Boeckh and other critics
agree that both the Kleitophon and the Kritias were transmitted from
antiquity in the fragmentary state in which we now read them: that
they were compositions never completed. Boeckh affirms this with
assurance respecting the Kleitophon, though he thinks that it is not a
genuine work of Plato; on which last point I dissent from him. He
thinks that the Kritias is a real work of Plato, though uncompleted
(Boeckh in Platonis Minoem, p. 11).

Compare the remarks of M. Littré respecting the unfinished sketches,
treatises, and notes not intended for publication, included in the
Collectio Hippocratica (Oeuvres d' Hippocrate, vol. x. p. liv. seq.)]

[Side-note: Peripatetic school at the Lykeum--its composition and

The second philosophical school, begun by Aristotle and perpetuated
(after his death in 322 B.C.) at the Lykeum on the eastern side of
Athens, was established on the model of that of Plato. That which
formed the centre or consecrating point was a Museum or chapel of the
Muses: with statues of those goddesses of place, and also a statue of
the founder. Attached to this Museum were a portico, a hall with seats
(one seat especially for the lecturing professor), a garden, and a
walk, together with a residence, all permanently appropriated to the
teacher and the process of instruction.[9] Theophrastus, the friend
and immediate successor of Aristotle, presided over the school for
thirty-five years; and his course, during part of that time at least,
was prodigiously frequented by students.

[Footnote 9: Respecting the domicile of the Platonic School, and that
of the Aristotelian or Peripatetic school which followed it, the
particulars given by Diogenes are nearly coincident: we know more in
detail about the Peripatetic, from what he cites out of the will of
Theophrastus. See iv. 1-6-19, v. 51-63.

The [Greek: mousei=on] at the Academy was established by Plato
himself. Speusippus placed in it statues of the Charities or Graces.
Theophrastus gives careful directions in his about repairing and
putting in the best condition, the Peripatetic [Greek: mousei=on],
with its altar, its statues of the Goddesses, and its statue of the
founder Aristotle. The [Greek: stoa\, e)xe/dra, kê=pos, peri/patos],
attached to both schools, are mentioned: the most zealous students
provided for themselves lodgings close adjoining. Cicero, when he
walked out from Athens to see the deserted Academy, was particularly
affected by the sight of the _exedra_, in which Charmadas had lectured
(De Fin. v. 2, 4).

There were periodical meetings, convivial and conversational, among
the members both of the Academic and Peripatetic schools; and [Greek:
xumpotikoi\ no/moi] by Xenokrates and Aristotle to regulate them
(Athenæus, v. 184).

Epikurus (in his interesting testament given by Diogen. Laert. x.
16-21) bequeaths to two Athenian citizens his garden and property, in
trust for his principal disciple the Mitylenæan Hermarchus, [Greek:
kai\ toi=s sumphilosophou=sin au)tô=|, kai\ oi(=s a)\n E(/rmarchos
katali/pê| diado/chois tê=s philosophi/as, e)ndiatri/bein kata\
philosophi/an]. He at the same time directs all his books to be given
to Hermarchus: they would form the school-library.]

[Side-note: Peripatetic school library, its removal from Athens to
Skêpsis--its ultimate restitution in a damaged state to Athens, then
to Rome.]

Moreover, the school-library at the Lykeum acquired large development
and importance. It not only included all the MS. compositions,
published or unpublished, of Aristotle and Theophrastus, each of them
a voluminous writer--but also a numerous collection (numerous for that
day) of other works besides; since both of them were opulent and fond
of collecting books. The value of the school-library is shown by what
happened after the decease of Theophrastus, when Straton succeeded him
in the school (B.C. 287). Theophrastus--thinking himself entitled to
treat the library not as belonging to the school but as belonging to
himself--bequeathed it at his death to Neleus, a favourite scholar,
and a native of Skêpsis (in the Troad), by whom it was carried away to
Asia, and permanently separated from the Aristotelian school at
Athens. The manuscripts composing it remained in the possession of
Neleus and his heirs for more than a century and a half, long hidden
in a damp cellar, neglected, and sustaining great damage--until about
the year 100 B.C., when they were purchased by a rich Athenian named
Apellikon, and brought back to Athens. Sylla, after he had captured
Athens (86 B.C.), took for himself the library of Apellikon, and
transported it to Rome, where it became open to learned men
(Tyrannion, Andronikus, and others), but under deplorable
disadvantage--in consequence of the illegible state of the MSS. and
the unskilful conjectures and restitutions which had been applied, in
the new copies made since it passed into the hands of Apellikon.[10]

[Footnote 10: The will of Theophrastus, as given in Diogenes (v. 52),
mentions the bequest of all his books to Neleus. But it is in Strabo
that we read the fullest account of this displacement of the
Peripatetic school-library, and the consequences which ensued from it
(xiii. 608, 609). [Greek: Nêleu\s, a)nê\r kai\ A)ristote/lous
ê)kroame/nos kai\ Theophra/stou, diadedegme/nos de\ tê\n bibliothê/kên
tou= Theophra/stou, e)n ê(=| ê)=n kai\ ê( tou= A)ristote/lous. o(
gou=n A)ristote/lês tê\n e(autou= Theophra/stô| pare/dôken, ô(=|per
kai\ tê\n scholê\n a)pe/lipe, _prô=tos, ô(=n i)/smen, sunagagô\n
bi/blia, kai\ dida/xas tou\s e)n Ai)gu/ptô| basile/as bibliothê/kês

The kings of Pergamus, a few years after the death of Theophrastus,
acquired possession of the town and territory of Skêpsis; so that the
heirs of Neleus became numbered among their subjects. These kings
(from about the year B.C. 280 downwards) manifested great eagerness to
collect a library at Pergamus, in competition with that of the
Ptolemies at Alexandria. The heirs of Neleus were afraid that these
kings would strip them of their Aristotelian MSS., either for nothing
or for a small price. They therefore concealed the MSS. in a cellar,
until they found an opportunity of selling them to a stranger out of
the country. (Strabo, l. c.)

This narrative of Strabo is one of the most interesting pieces of
information remaining to us about literary antiquity. He had himself
received instruction from Tyrannion (xii. 548): he had gone through a
course of Aristotelian philosophy (xvi. 757), and he had good means of
knowing the facts from the Aristotelian critics, including his master
Tyrannion. Plutarch (Vit. Syllæ, c. 26) and Athenæus (i. 3) allude to
the same story. Athenæus says that Ptolemy Philadelphus purchased the
MSS. from the heirs of Neleus, which cannot be correct.

Some critics have understood the narrative of Strabo, as if he had
meant to affirm, that the works of Aristotle had never got into
circulation until the time of Apellikon. It is against this
supposition that Stahr contends (very successfully) in his work
"Aristotelia". But Strabo does not affirm so much as this. He does not
say anything to contradict the supposition that there were copies of
various books of Aristotle in circulation, during the lives of
Aristotle and Theophrastus.]

[Side-note: Inconvenience to the Peripatetic school from the loss of
its library.]

If we knew the truth, it might probably appear that the transfer of
the Aristotelian library, from the Peripatetic school at Athens to the
distant and obscure town of Skêpsis, was the result of some jealousy
on the part of Theophrastus; that he wished to secure to Neleus the
honourable and lucrative post of becoming his successor in the school,
and conceived that he was furthering that object by bequeathing the
library to Neleus. If he entertained any such wish, it was
disappointed. The succession devolved upon another pupil of the
school, Straton of Lampsakus. But Straton and his successors were
forced to get on as well as they could without their library. The
Peripatetic school at Athens suffered severely by the loss. Its
professors possessed only a few of the manuscripts of Aristotle, and
those too the commonest and best known. If a student came with a view
to read any of the other Aristotelian works (as Crassus went to read
the Gorgias of Plato), the Scholarch was unable to assist him: as far
as Aristotle was concerned, they could only expand and adorn, in the
way of lecture, a few of his familiar doctrines.[11] We hear that the
character of the school was materially altered. Straton deserted the
track of Aristotle, and threw himself into speculations of his own
(seemingly able and ingenious), chiefly on physical topics.[12] The
critical study, arrangement, and exposition of Aristotle was postponed
until the first century before the Christian era--the Ciceronian age,
immediately preceding Strabo.

[Footnote 11: Strabo, xiii. 609. [Greek: sune/bê de\ toi=s e)k tô=n
peripa/tôn toi=s me\n pa/lai, toi=s meta\ Theo/phraston, ou)k
e)/chousin o(/lôs ta\ bi/blia plê\n o)li/gôn, kai\ ma/lista tô=n
e)xôterikô=n, mêde\n e)/chein philosophei=n pragmatikô=s, a)lla\
_the/seis lêkuthi/zein_.]]

[Footnote 12: The change in the Peripatetic school, after the death of
Theophrastus, is pointed out by Cicero, Fin. v. 5, 18. Compare Academ.
Poster. i. 9.]

[Side-note: Advantage to the Platonic school from having preserved its

This history of the Aristotelian library illustrates forcibly, by way
of contrast, the importance to the Platonic school of having preserved
its MSS. from the beginning, without any similar interruption. What
Plato left in manuscript we may presume to have never been removed:
those who came to study his works had the means of doing so: those who
wanted to know whether any composition was written by him, what works
he had written altogether, or what was the correct reading in a case
of obscurity or dispute--had always the means of informing themselves.
Whereas the Peripatetic Scholarch, after the death of Theophrastus,
could give no similar information as to the works of Aristotle.[13]

[Footnote 13: An interesting citation by Simplikius (in his commentary
on the Physica of Aristotle, fol. 216, a. 7, p. 404, b. 11, Schol.
Brandis shows us that Theophrastus, while he was resident at Athens as
Peripatetic Scholarch, had custody of the original MSS. of the works
of Aristotle and that he was applied to by those who wished to procure
correct copies. Eudêmus (of Rhodes) having only a defective copy of
the Physica, wrote to request that Theophrastus would cause to be
written out a certain portion of the fifth book, and send it to him,
[Greek: marturou=ntos peri\ tô=n prô/tôn kai\ Theophra/stou,
gra/psantos Eu)dê/mô|, peri/ tinos au)tou= tô=n diêmartême/nôn
a)ntigra/phôn; u(pe\r ô(=n, phêsin] (_sc._ Theophrastus) [Greek:
e)pe/steilas, keleu/ôn me gra/phein kai\ apostei=lai e)k tô=n
Phusikô=n, ê(/toi e)gô\ ou) suni/êmi, ê)\ mikro/n ti pantelô=s e)/chei
tou= a)na/meson tou= o(/per ê)remei=n kalô= tô=n a)kinê/tôn mo/non],

[Side-note: Conditions favourable, for preserving the genuine works of

We thus see that the circumstances, under which Plato left his
compositions, were unusually favourable (speaking by comparison with
ancient authors generally) in regard to the chance of preserving them
all, and of keeping them apart from counterfeits. We have now to
enquire what information exists as to their subsequent diffusion.

[Side-note: Historical facts as to their preservation.]

The earliest event of which notice is preserved, is, the fact stated
by Diogenes, that "Some persons, among whom is the _Grammaticus_
Aristophanes, distribute the dialogues of Plato into Trilogies;
placing as the first Trilogy--Republic, Timæus, Kritias. 2. Sophistes,
Politicus, Kratylus. 3. Leges, Minos, Epinomis. 4.** Theætêtus,
Euthyphron, Apology. 5. Kriton, Phædon, Epistolæ. The other dialogues
they place one by one, without any regular grouping."[14]

[Footnote 14: Diog. L. iii. 61-62: [Greek: E)/nioi de/, ô(=n e)/sti
kai\ A)ristopha/nês o( grammatiko/s, ei)s trilogi/as e(/lkousi tou\s
dialo/gous; kai\ prô/tên me\n tithe/asin ê(=s ê(gei=tai Politei/a,
Ti/maios, Kriti/as; deute/ran, Sophistê/s, Politiko/s, Kra/tulos;
tri/tên, No/moi, Mi/nôs, E)pinomi/s; teta/rtên, Theai/têtos,
Eu)thu/phrôn, A)pologi/a; pe/mptên, Kri/tôn, Phai/dôn, E)pistolai/;
ta\ de\ a)/lla kath' e)\n kai\ a)ta/ktôs].

The word [Greek: grammatiko\s], unfortunately, has no single English
word exactly corresponding to it.

Thrasyllus, when he afterwards applied the classification by
Tetralogies to the works of Demokritus (as he did also to those of
Plato) could only include a certain portion of the works in his
Tetralogies, and was forced to enumerate the remainder as [Greek:
a)su/ntakta] (Diog. L. ix. 46, 47). It appears that he included all
Plato's works in his Platonic Tetralogies.]

[Side-note: Arrangement of them into Trilogies, by Aristophanes.]

The name of Aristophanes lends special interest to this arrangement of
the Platonic compositions, and enables us to understand something of
the date and the place to which it belongs. The literary and critical
students (_Grammatici_) among whom he stood eminent, could scarcely be
said to exist as a class the time when Plato died. Beginning with
Aristotle, Herakleides of Pontus, Theophrastus, Demetrius Phalereus,
&c., at Athens, during the half century immediately succeeding Plato's
decease--these laborious and useful erudites were first called into
full efficiency along with the large collection of books formed by the
Ptolemies at Alexandria during a period beginning rather before 300
B.C.: which collection served both as model and as stimulus to the
libraries subsequently formed by the kings at Pergamus and elsewhere.
In those libraries alone could materials be found for their
indefatigable application.

[Side-note: Aristophanes, librarian at the Alexandrine library.]

Of these learned men, who spent their lives in reading, criticising,
arranging, and correcting, the MSS. accumulated in a great library,
Aristophanes of Byzantium was the most distinguished representative,
in the eyes of men like Varro, Cicero, and Plutarch.[15] His life was
passed at Alexandria, and seems to have been comprised between 260-184
B.C.; as far as can be made out. During the latter portion of it he
became chief librarian--an appointment which he had earned by long
previous studies in the place, as well as by attested experience in
the work of criticism and arrangement. He began his studious career at
Alexandria at an early age: and he received instruction, as a boy from
Zenodotus, as a young man from Kallimachus--both of whom were, in
succession, librarians of the Alexandrine library.[16] We must observe
that Diogenes does not expressly state the distribution of the
Platonic works into trilogies to have been _first proposed_ or
originated by Aristophanes (as he states that the tetralogies were
afterwards proposed by the rhetor Thrasyllus, of which presently): his
language is rather more consistent with the supposition, that it was
first proposed by some one earlier, and adopted or sanctioned by the
eminent authority of Aristophanes. But at any rate, the distribution
was proposed either by Aristophanes himself, or by some one before him
and known to him.

[Footnote 15: Varro, De Linguâ Latinâ, v. 9, ed. Müller. "Non solum ad
Aristophanis lucernam, sed etiam ad Cleanthis, lucubravi." Cicero, De
Fin. v. 19, 50; Vitruvius, Præf. Lib. vii.; Plutarch, "Non posse
suaviter vivi sec. Epicurum," p. 1095 E.

Aristophanes composed Argumenta to many of the Attic tragedies and
comedies: he also arranged in a certain order the songs of Alkæus and
the odes of Pindar. Boeckh (Præfat. ad Scholia Pindari, p. x. xi.)
remarks upon the mistake made by Quintilian as well as by others, in
supposing that Pindar arranged his own odes. Respecting the wide range
of erudition embraced by Aristophanes, see F. A. Wolf, Prolegg. in
Homer, pp. 218-220, and Schneidewin, De Hypothes. Traged. Græc.
Aristophani vindicandis, pp. 26, 27.]

[Footnote 16: Suidas, vv. [Greek: A)ristopha/nês, Kalli/machos].
Compare Clinton, Fast. Hellen. B.C. 256-200.]

[Side-note: Plato's works in the Alexandrine library, before the time
of Aristophanes.]

This fact is of material importance, because it enables us to Plato's
infer with confidence, that the Platonic works were included in the
Alexandrine library, certainly during the lifetime of Aristophanes,
and probably before it. It is there only that Aristophanes could have
known them; his whole life having been passed in Alexandria. The first
formal appointment of a librarian to the Alexandrine Museum was made
by Ptolemy Philadelphus, at some time after the commencement of his
reign in 285 B.C., in the person of Zenodotus; whose successors were
Kallimachus, Eratosthenes, Apollonius, Aristophanes, comprising in all
a period of a century.[17]

[Footnote 17: See Ritschl, Die Alexandrinischen Bibliotheken, pp.
16-17, &c.; Nauck, De Aristophanis Vitâ et Scriptis, cap. i. p. 68
(Halle, 1848). "Aristophanis et Aristarchi opera, cum opibus
Bibliothecæ Alexandrinæ digerendis et ad tabulas revocandis arctè
conjuncta, in eo substitisse censenda est, ut scriptores, in quovis
dicendi genere conspicuos, aut breviori indice comprehenderent, aut
uberiore enarratione describerent," &c.

When Zenodotus was appointed, the library had already attained
considerable magnitude, so that the post and title of librarian was
then conspicuous and dignified. But Demetrius Phalereus, who preceded
Zenodotus, began his operations when there was no library at all, and
gradually accumulated the number of books which Zenodotus found. Heyne
observes justly: "Primo loco Demetrius Phalereus præfuisse dicitur,
_forte re verius quam nomine_, tum Zenodotus Ephesius, hic quidem sub
Ptolemæo Philadelpho," &c. (Heyne, De Genio Sæculi Ptolemæorum in
Opuscul. i. p. 129).]

[Side-note: Kallimachus--predecessor of Aristophanes--his published
Tables of authors whose works were in the library.]

Kallimachus, born at Kyrênê, was a teacher of letters at Alexandria
before he was appointed to the service and superintendence of the
Alexandrine library or museum. His life seems to have terminated about
230 B.C.: he acquired reputation as a poet, by his hymns, epigrams,
elegies, but less celebrity as a _Grammaticus_ than Aristophanes:
nevertheless the titles of his works still remaining indicate very
great literary activity. We read as titles of his works:--

1. The Museum (a general description of the Alexandrine

2. Tables of the persons who have distinguished themselves in every
branch of instruction, and of the works which they have composed--in
120 books.

3. Table and specification of the (Didaskalies) recorded dramatic
representations and competitions; with dates assigned, and from the

4. Table of the peculiar phrases belonging to Demokritus, and of his

5. Table and specification of the rhetorical authors.[18]

[Footnote 18: See Blomfleld's edition of the Fragm. of Kallimachus, p.
220-221. Suidas, v. [Greek: Kalli/machos], enumerates a large number
of titles of poetical, literary, historical, compositions of
Kallimachus; among them are--

[Greek: Mousei=on. Pi/nakes tô=n e)n pa/sê| paidei/a| dialampsa/ntôn,
kai\ ô(=n sune/grapsan, e)n bibli/ois k' kai\ r'. Pi/nax kai\
a)nagraphê\ tô=n kata\ chro/nous kai\ a)p' a)rchê=s genome/nôn
didaskaliô=n. Pi/nax tô=n Dêmokri/tou glôssô=n kai\ suntagma/tôn.
Pi/nax kai\ a)nagraphê\ tô=n r(êtorikô=n]. See also Athenæus, xv. 669.
It appears from Dionys. Hal. that besides the Tables of Kallimachus,
enumerating and reviewing the authors whose works were contained in
the Alexandrine library or museum, there existed also [Greek:
Pergamênoi\ Pi/nakes], describing the contents of the library at
Pergamus (Dion. H. de Adm. Vi Dic. in Demosthene, p. 994; De Dinarcho,
pp. 630, 653, 661).

Compare Bernhardy, Grundriss der Griech. Litt. sect. 36, pp. 132-133

[Side-note: Large and rapid accumulation of the Alexandrine Library.]

These tables of Kallimachus (of which one by itself, No. 2, reached to
120 books) must have been an encyclopædia, far more comprehensive than
any previously compiled, of Greek authors and literature. Such tables
indeed could not have been compiled before the existence of the
Alexandrine Museum. They described what Kallimachus had before him in
that museum, as we may see by the general title [Greek: Mousei=on]
prefixed: moreover we may be sure that nowhere else could he have had
access to the multitude of books required. Lastly, the tables also
show how large a compass the Alexandrine Museum and library had
attained at the time when Kallimachus put together his compilation:
that is, either in the reign of Ptolemy II. Philadelphia (285-247
B.C.), or in the earlier portion of the reign of Ptolemy III., called
Euergetes (247-222 B.C.). Nevertheless, large as the library then was,
it continued to increase. A few years afterwards, Aristophanes
published a work commenting upon the tables of Kallimachus, with
additions and enlargements: of which work the title alone remains.[19]

[Footnote 19: Athenæus, ix. 408. [Greek: A)ristopha/nês o(
grammatiko\s e)n toi=s pro\s tou\s Kallima/chou pi/nakas].

We see by another passage, Athenæ. viii. 336, that this work included
an addition or supplement to the Tables of Kallimachus.

Compare Etymol. Magn. v. [Greek: Pi/nax].]

[Side-note: Plato's works--in the library at the time of Kallimachus.]

Now, I have already observed, that the works of Plato were certainly
in the Alexandrine library, at the time when Aristophanes either
originated or sanctioned the distribution of them into Trilogies. Were
they not also in the library at the time when Kallimachus compiled his
tables? I cannot but conclude that they were in it at that time also.
When we are informed that the catalogue of enumerated authors filled
so many books, we may be sure that it must have descended, and we know
in fact that it did descend, to names far less important and
distinguished than that of Plato.[20] The name of Plato himself can
hardly have been omitted. Demokritus and his works, especially the
peculiar and technical words ([Greek: glô=ssai]) in them, received
special attention from Kallimachus: which proves that the latter was
not disposed to pass over the philosophers. But Demokritus, though an
eminent philosopher, was decidedly less eminent than Plato: moreover
he left behind him no permanent successors, school, or [Greek:
mousei=on], at Athens, to preserve his MSS. or foster his celebrity.
As the library was furnished at that time with a set of the works of
Demokritus, so I infer that it could not have been without a set of
the works of Plato. That Kallimachus was acquainted with Plato's
writings (if indeed such a fact requires proof), we know, not only
from his epigram upon the Ambrakiot Kleombrotus (whom he affirms to
have killed himself after reading the Phædon), but also from a curious
intimation that he formally impugned Plato's competence to judge or
appreciate poets--alluding to the severe criticisms which we read in
the Platonic Republic.[21]

[Footnote 20: Thus the Tables of Kallimachus included a writer named
Lysimachus, a disciple of Theodorus or Theophrastus, and his writings
(Athenæ. vi. 252)--a rhetor and poet named Dionysius with the epithet
of [Greek: chalkou=s] (Athenæ. xv. 669))--and even the treatises of
several authors on cakes and cookery (Athenæ. xiv. 643). The names of
authors absolutely unknown to us were mentioned by him (Athenæ. ii.
70). Compare Dionys. Hal. de Dinarcho, 630, 653, 661.]

[Footnote 21: Kallimachus, Epigram. 23.

Proklus in Timæum, p. 28 C. p. 64. Schneid. [Greek: ma/tên ou)=n
phlênaphou=si Kalli/machos kai\ Dou=ris, ô(s Pla/tônos ou)k o)/ntos
i(kanou= kri/nein poiêta/s].

Eratosthenes, successor of Kallimachus as librarian at Alexandria,
composed a work (now lost) entitled [Greek: Platôniko\n], as well as
various treatises on philosophy and philosophers (Eratosthenica,
Bernhardy, p. 168, 187, 197; Suidas, v. [Greek: E)ratosthe/nês]). He
had passed some time at Athens, had enjoyed the lessons and
conversation of Zeno the Stoic, but expressed still warmer admiration
of Arkesilaus and Ariston. He spoke in animated terms of Athens as the
great centre of congregation for philosophers in his day. He had
composed a treatise, [Greek: Peri\ tô=n a)gathô=n]: but Strabo
describes him as mixing up other subjects with philosophy (Strabo, i.
p. 15).]

It would indeed be most extraordinary if, among the hundreds of
authors whose works must have been specified in the Tables of
Kallimachus as constituting the treasures of the Alexandrine
Museum,[22] the name of Plato had not been included. Moreover, the
distribution of the Platonic compositions into Trilogies, pursuant to
the analogy of the Didaskaliæ or dramatic records, may very probably
have originated with Kallimachus; and may have been simply approved
and continued, perhaps with some modifications, by Aristophanes. At
least this seems more consonant to the language of Diogenes Laertius,
than the supposition that Aristophanes was the first originator of it.

[Footnote 22: About the number of books, or more properly of _rolls_
(_volumina_), in the Alexandrine library, see the enquiries of
Parthey, Das Alexandrinische Museum, p. 76-84. Various statements are
made by ancient authors, some of them with very large numbers; and no
certainty is attainable. Many rolls would go to form one book. Parthey
considers the statement made by Epiphanius not improbable--54,800
rolls in the library under Ptolemy Philadelphus (p. 83).

The magnitude of the library at Alexandria in the time of
Eratosthenes, and the multitude of writings which he consulted in his
valuable geographical works, was admitted by his opponent Hipparchus
(Strabo, ii. 69).]

[Side-note: First formation of the library--intended as a copy of the
Platonic and Aristotelian [Greek: Mousei=a] at Athens.]

If we look back to the first commencement of the Alexandrine Museum
and library, we shall be still farther convinced that the works of
Plato, complete as well as genuine, must have been introduced into it
before the days of Kallimachus. Strabo expressly tells us that the
first stimulus and example impelling the Ptolemies to found this
museum and library, were furnished by the school of Aristotle and
Theophrastus at Athens.[23] I believe this to be perfectly true; and
it is farther confirmed by the fact that the institution at Alexandria
comprised the same constituent parts and arrangements, described by
the same titles, as those which are applied to the Aristotelian and
Platonic schools at Athens.[24] Though the terms library, museum, and
lecture-room, have now become familiar, both terms and meaning were at
that time alike novel. Nowhere, as far as we know, did there exist a
known and fixed domicile, consecrated in perpetuity to these purposes,
and to literary men who took interest therein. A special stimulus was
needed to suggest and enforce the project on Ptolemy Soter. That
stimulus was supplied by the Aristotelian school at Athens, which the
Alexandrine institution was intended to copy: [Greek: Mousei=on] (with
[Greek: e)xe/dra] and [Greek: peri/patos], a covered portico with
recesses and seats, and a walk adjacent), on a far larger scale and
with more extensive attributions.[25] We must not however imagine that
when this new museum was first begun, the founders entertained any
idea of the vast magnitude to which it ultimately attained.

[Footnote 23: Strabo, xiii. 608. [Greek: o( gou=n A)ristote/lês tê\n
e(autou= (bibliothê/kên) Theophra/stô| pare/dôken, ô(=|per kai\ tê\n
scholê\n a)pe/lipe; _prô=tos_, ô(=n i)/smen, _sunagagô\n bi/blia_,
kai\ _dida/xas tou\s e)n Ai)gu/ptô| basile/as bibliothê/kês

[Footnote 24: Strabo (xvii. 793-794) describes the Museum at
Alexandria in the following terms--[Greek: tô=n de\ basilei/ôn me/ros
e)sti\ kai\ _to\ Mousei=on, e)/chon peri/paton kai\ e)xe/dran_, kai\
oi)=kon me/gan e)n ô(=| to\ sussi/tion tô=n metecho/ntôn tou=
Mousei/ou philolo/gôn a)ndrô=n], &c. Vitruvius, v. 11.

If we compare this with the language in Diogenes Laertius respecting
the Academic and Peripatetic school residences at Athens, we shall
find the same phrases employed--[Greek: mousei=on, e)xe/dra], &c. (D.
L. iv. 19, v. 51-54). Respecting Speusippus, Diogenes tells us (iv,
1)--[Greek: Chari/tôn t' a)ga/lmat' a)ne/thêken e)n tô=| mousei/ô|
tô=| u(po\ Pla/tônos e)n A)kadêmi/a| i)druthe/nti.]]

[Footnote 25: We see from hence what there was peculiar in the
Platonic and Aristotelian literary establishments. They included
something consecrated, permanent, and intended more or less for public
use. The collection of books was not like a private library, destined
only for the proprietor and such friends as he might allow--nor was it
like that of a bookseller, intended for sale and profit. I make this
remark in regard to the Excursus of Bekker, in his Charikles, i. 206,
216, a very interesting note on the book-trade and libraries of
ancient Athens. Bekker disputes the accuracy of Strabo's statement
that Aristotle was the first person at Athens who collected a library,
and who taught the kings of Egypt to do the like. In the literal sense
of the words Bekker is right. Other persons before Aristotle had
collected books (though I think Bekker makes more of the passages
which he cites than they strictly deserve); one example is the
youthful Euthydemus in Xenophon, Memorab. iv. 2; and Bekker alludes
justly to the remarkable passage in the Anabasis of Xenophon, about
books exported to the Hellenic cities in the Euxine (Anabas. vii. 5,
14). There clearly existed in Athens regular professional booksellers;
we see that the bookseller read aloud to his visitors a part of the
books which he had to sell, in order to tempt them to buy, a feeble
foreshadowing of the advertisements and reviews of the present day
(Diogen. L. vii. 2). But there existed as yet nothing of the nature of
the Platonic and Aristotelian [Greek: mousei=on], whereof the
collection of books, varied, permanent, and intended for the use of
inmates and special visitors, was one important fraction. In this
sense it served as a model for Demetrius Phalereus and Ptolemy Soter
in regard to Alexandria.

Vitruvius (v. 11) describes the _exhedræ_ as seats placed under a
covered portico--"in quibus philosophi, rhetores, reliquique qui
studiis delectantur, sedentes disputare possint".]

[Side-note: Favour of Ptolemy Soter towards the philosophers at

Ptolemy Soter was himself an author,[26] and himself knew and
respected Aristotle, not only as a philosopher but also as the
preceptor of his friend and commander Alexander. To Theophrastus also,
the philosophical successor of Aristotle, Ptolemy showed peculiar
honour; inviting him by special message to come and establish himself
at Alexandria, which invitation however Theophrastus declined.[27]
Moreover Ptolemy appointed Straton (afterwards Scholarch in succession
to Theophrastus) preceptor to his youthful son Ptolemy Philadelphus,
from whom Straton subsequently received a large present of money:[28]
he welcomed at Alexandria the Megaric philosophers, Diodorus Kronus,
and Stilpon, and found pleasure in their conversation; he not only
befriended, but often confidentially consulted, the Kyrenaic
philosopher Theodôrus.[29] Kolôtes, the friend of Epikurus, dedicated
a work to Ptolemy Soter. Menander, the eminent comic writer, also
received an invitation from him to Egypt.[30]

[Footnote 26: Respecting Ptolemy as an author, and the fragments of
his work on the exploits of Alexander, see R. Geier, Alexandri M.
Histor. Scriptores, p. 4-26.]

[Footnote 27: Diog. L. v. 37. Probably this invitation was sent about
306 B.C., during the year in which Theophrastus was in banishment from
Athens, in consequence of the restrictive law proposed by Sophokles
against the schools of the philosophers, which law was repealed in the
ensuing year.]

[Footnote 28: Diog. L. v. 58. Straton became Scholarch at the death of
Theophrastus in 287 B.C. He must have been preceptor to Ptolemy
Philadelphus before this time, during the youth of the latter; for he
could not have been at the same time Scholarch at Athens, and
preceptor of the king at Alexandria.]

[Footnote 29: Diog. L. ii. 102, 111, 115. Plutarch adv. Kolôten, p.
1107. The Ptolemy here mentioned by Plutarch may indeed be

[Footnote 30: Meineke, Menand. et Philem. Reliq. Præf. p. xxxii.]

[Side-note: Demetrius Phalereus--his history and character.]

These favourable dispositions, on the part of the first Ptolemy,
towards philosophy and the philosophers at Athens, Demetrius appear to
have been mainly instigated and guided by the Phalerean Demetrius: an
Athenian citizen of good station, who enjoyed for ten years at Athens
(while that city was subject to Kassander) full political ascendancy,
but who was expelled about 307 B.C., by the increased force of the
popular party, seconded by the successful invasion of Demetrius
Poliorkêtês. By these political events Demetrius Phalereus was driven
into exile: a portion of which exile was spent at Thebes, but a much
larger portion of it at Alexandria, where he acquired the full
confidence of Ptolemy Soter, and retained it until the death of that
prince in 285 B.C. While active in politics, and possessing rhetorical
talent, elegant without being forcible--Demetrius Phalereus was yet
more active in literature and philosophy. He employed his influence,
during the time of his political power, to befriend and protect both
Xenokrates the chief of the Platonic school, and Theophrastus the
chief of the Aristotelian. In his literary and philosophical views he
followed Theophrastus and the Peripatetic sect, and was himself among
their most voluminous writers. The latter portion of his life was
spent at Alexandria, in the service of Ptolemy Soter; after whose
death, however, he soon incurred the displeasure of Ptolemy
Philadelphus, and died, intentionally or accidentally, from the bite
of an asp.[31]

[Footnote 31: Diog. L. iv. 14, v. 39, 75, 80; Strabo, ix. 398; Plut.,
De Exil. p. 601; Apophth. p. 189; Cic., De Fin. v. 19; Pro Rab. 30.

Diogenes says about Demetrius Phalereus, (v. 80) [Greek: Plê/thei de\
bibli/ôn kai\ a)rithmô=| sti/chôn, schedo\n a(/pantas parelê/lake
tou=s kat' au)to\n Peripatêtikou/s, eu)pai/deutos ô)\n kai\
polu/peiros par' o(ntinou=n.]]

[Side-note: He was chief agent in the first establishment of the
Alexandrine Library.]

The Alexandrine Museum or library first acquired celebrity under the
reign of Ptolemy (II.) Philadelphus, by whom moreover it was greatly
enlarged and its treasures multiplied. Hence that prince is sometimes
entitled the founder. But there can be no doubt that its first
initiation and establishment is due to Ptolemy (I.) Soter.[32]
Demetrius Phalereus was his adviser and auxiliary, the link of
connection between him and the literary or philosophical world of
Greece. We read that Julius Cæsar, when he conceived the scheme (which
he did not live to execute) of establishing a large public library at
Rome, fixed upon the learned Varro to regulate the selection and
arrangement of the books.[33] None but an eminent literary man could
carry such an enterprise into effect, even at Rome, when there existed
the precedent of the Alexandrine library: much more when Ptolemy
commenced his operations at Alexandria, and when there were only the
two [Greek: Mousei=a] at Athens to serve as precedents. Demetrius, who
combined an organising head and political experience, with an
erudition not inferior to Varro, regard being had to the stock of
learning accessible--was eminently qualified for the task. It procured
for him great importance with Ptolemy, and compensated him for that
loss of political ascendancy at Athens, which unfavourable fortune had
brought about.

[Footnote 32: Mr. Clinton says, Fast. Hell. App. 5, p. 380, 381:
"Athenæus distinctly ascribes the institution of the [Greek:
Mousei=on] to Philadelphus in v. 203, where he is describing the acts
of Philadelphus." This is a mistake: the passage in Athenæus does not
specify which of the two first Ptolemies was the founder: it is
perfectly consistent with the supposition that Ptolemy Soter founded
it. The same may be said about the passage cited by Mr. Clinton from
Plutarch; that too does not determine between the two Ptolemies, which
was the founder. Perizonius was in error (as Mr. Clinton points out)
in affirming that the passage in Plutarch determined the foundation to
the first Ptolemy: Mr. Clinton is in error by affirming that the
passage in Athenæus determines it to the second. Mr. Clinton has also
been misled by Vitruvius and Scaliger (p. 389), when he affirms that
the library at Alexandria was not formed until after the library at
Pergamus. Bernhardy (Grundriss der Griech. Litt., Part i. p. 359, 367,
369) has followed Mr. Clinton too implicitly in recognising
Philadelphus as the founder: nevertheless he too admits (p. 366) that
the foundations were laid by Ptolemy Soter, under the advice and
assistance of Demetrius Phalereus.

The earliest declared king of the Attalid family at Pergamus acquired
the throne in 241 B.C. The library at Pergamus could hardly have been
commenced before his time: and it is his successor, Eumenes II. (whose
reign began in 197 B.C.), who is mentioned as the great collector and
adorner of the library at Pergamus. See Strabo, xiii. 624; Clinton,
Fast. Hellen. App. 6, p. 401-403. It is plain that the library at
Pergamus could hardly have been begun before the close of the reign of
Ptolemy Philadelphus in Egypt, by which time the library of Alexandria
had already acquired great extension and renown.]

[Footnote 33: Sueton. Jul. Cæs. c. 44. Melissus, one of the Illustres
Grammatici of Rome, undertook by order of Augustus, "curam
ordinandarum bibliothecarum in Octaviæ porticu". (Sueton. De Illustr.
Grammat. c. 21.)

Cicero replies in the following terms to his brother Quintus, who had
written to him, requesting advice and aid in getting together for his
own use a collection of Greek and Latin books. "De bibliothecâ tuâ
Græcâ supplendâ, libris commutandis, Latinis comparandis--valdé velim
ista confici, præsertim cum ad meum quoque usum spectent. Sed ego,
mihi ipsi ista per quem agam, non habeo. _Neque enim venalia sunt, quæ
quidem placeant: et confici nisi per hominem et peritum et diligentem
non possunt._ Chrysippo tamen imperabo, et cum Tyrannione loquar."
(Cic., Epist. ad Q. Fratr. iii. 4, 5.)

Now the circulation of books was greatly increased, and the book trade
far more developed, at Rome when this letter was written (about three
centuries after Plato's decease) than it was at Athens during the
time of Demetrius Phalereus (320-300 B.C.). Yet we see the difficulty
which the two brothers Cicero had in collecting a mere private library
for use of the owner simply. _Good books, in a correct and
satisfactory condition, were not to be had for money_: it was
necessary to get access to the best MSS., and to have special copies
made, neatly and correctly: and this could not be done, except under
the superintendence of a laborious literary man like Tyrannion, by
well taught slaves subordinate to him.

We may understand, from this analogy, the far greater obstacles which
the collectors of the Alexandrine museum and library must have had to
overcome, when _they_ began their work. No one could do it, except a
practised literary man such as Demetrius Phalereus: nor even he,
except by finding out the best MSS., and causing special copies to be
made for the use of the library. Respecting the extent and facility of
book-diffusion in the Roman world, information will be found in the
late Sir George Cornewall Lewis's _Enquiry into the Credibility of
Early Roman History_, vol. i. p. 196, seqq.; also, in the fifth
chapter of the work of Adolf Schmidt, _Geschichte der Denk-und
Glaubens-Freiheit im ersten Jahrhunderte der Kaiser-herrschaft_,
Berlin, 1847; lastly in a valuable review of Adolf Schmidt's work by
Sir George Lewis himself, in Fraser's Magazine for April, 1862, pp.
432-439. Adolf Schmidt represents the multiplication and cheapness of
books in that day as something hardly inferior to what it is
now--citing many authorities for this opinion. Sir G. Lewis has shown,
in my judgment most satisfactorily, that these authorities are
insufficient, and that the opinion is incorrect: this might have been
shown even more fully, if the review had been lengthened. I perfectly
agree with Sir G. Lewis on the main question: yet I think he narrows
the case on his own side too much, and that the number of copies of
such authors as Virgil and Horace, in circulation at one time, cannot
have been so small as he imagines.]

[Side-note: Proceedings of Demetrius in beginning to collect the

We learn that the ardour of Demetrius Phalereus was unremitting, and
that his researches were extended everywhere, to obtain for the new
museum literary monuments from all countries within contemporary
knowledge.[34] This is highly probable: such universality of literary
interest was adapted to the mixed and cosmopolitan character of the
Alexandrine population. But Demetrius was a Greek, born about the time
of Plato's death (347 B.C.), and identified with the political,
rhetorical, dramatic, literary, and philosophical, activity of Athens,
in which he had himself taken a prominent part. To collect the
memorials of Greek literature would be his first object, more
especially such as Aristotle and Theophrastus possessed in their
libraries. Without doubt he would procure the works of Homer and the
other distinguished poets, epic, lyric, and dramatic, as well as the
rhetors, orators, &c. He probably would not leave out the works of the
_viri Sokratici_ (Antisthenes, Aristippus, Æschines, &c.) and the
other philosophers (Demokritus, Anaxagoras, Parmenides, &c.). But
there are two authors, whose compositions he would most certainly take
pains to obtain--Plato and Aristotle. These were the two commanding
names of Grecian philosophy in that day: the founders of the two
schools existing in Athens, upon the model of which the Alexandrine
Museum was to be constituted.

[Footnote 34: Josephus, Antiquit. xii. 2, 1. [Greek: Dêmê/trios o(
Phalêreu/s, o(\s ê)=n e)pi\ tô=n bibliothêkô=n tou= basile/ôs,
spouda/zôn ei) dunato\n ei)/ê pa/nta ta\ kata\ tê\n oi)koume/nên
suna/gein bi/blia, kai\ sunônou/menos ei)/ ti/ pou mo/non a)kou/seie
spoudê=s a)/xion ê)\ ê(du/, tê=| tou= basile/ôs proaire/sei (ma/lista
ga\r peri\ tê\n sullogê\n tô=n bibli/ôn ei)=che philoka/lôs)

What Josephus affirms here, I apprehend to be perfectly true; though
he goes on to state much that is fabulous and apocryphal, respecting
the incidents which preceded and accompanied the translation of the
Hebrew Scriptures. Josephus is also mistaken in connecting Demetrius
Phalereus with Ptolemy Philadelphus. Demetrius Phalereus was
disgraced, and died shortly after that prince's accession. His time of
influence was under Ptolemy Soter.

Respecting the part taken by Demetrius Phalereus in the first getting
up of the Alexandrine Museum, see Valckenaer, Dissertat. De Aristobulo
Judaico, p. 52-57; Ritschl, Die Alexandrin. Biblioth. p. 17, 18;
Parthey, Das Alexandrinische Museum, p. 70, 71 seq.]

[Side-note: Certainty that the works of Plato and Aristotle were among
the earliest acquisitions made by him for the library.]

Among all the books which would pass over to Alexandria as the
earliest stock of the new library, I know nothing upon which we can
reckon more certainly than upon the works of Plato.[35] For they were
acquisitions not only desirable, but also easily accessible. The
writings of Aristippus or Demokritus--of Lysias or Isokrates--might
require to be procured (or good MSS. thereof, fit to be specially
copied) at different places and from different persons, without any
security that the collection, when purchased, would be either complete
or altogether genuine. But the manuscripts of Plato and of Aristotle
were preserved in their respective schools at Athens, the Academic and
Peripatetic:[36] a collection complete as well as verifiable.
Demetrius could obtain permission, from Theophrastus in the
Peripatetic school, from Polemon or Krantor in the Academic school, to
have these MSS. copied for him by careful and expert hands. The cost
of such copying must doubtless have been considerable; amounting to a
sum which few private individuals would have been either able or
willing to disburse. But the treasures of Ptolemy were amply
sufficient for the purpose:[37] and when he once conceived the project
of founding a museum in his new capital, a large outlay, incurred for
transcribing from the best MSS. a complete and authentic collection of
the works of illustrious authors, was not likely to deter him. We know
from other anecdotes,[38] what vast sums the third Ptolemy spent, for
the mere purpose of securing better and more authoritative MSS. of
works which the Alexandrine library already possessed.

[Footnote 35: Stahr, in the second part of his work "Aristotelia,"
combats and refutes with much pains the erroneous supposition, that
there was no sufficient publication of the works of Aristotle, until
after the time when Apellikon purchased the MSS. from the heirs of
Neleus--_i.e._ B.C. 100. Stahr shows evidence to prove, that the
works, at least many of the works, of Aristotle were known and studied
before the year 100 B.C.: that they were in the library at Alexandria,
and that they were procured for that library by Demetrius Phalereus.
Stahr says (Thl. ii. p. 59): "Is it indeed credible--is it even
conceivable--that Demetrius, who recommended especially to his regal
friend Ptolemy the study of the political works of the
philosophers--that Demetrius, the friend both of the Aristotelian
philosophy and of Theophrastus, should have left the works of the two
greatest Peripatetic philosophers out of his consideration? May we not
rather be sure that he would take care to secure their works, before all
others, for his nascent library--if indeed he did not bring them with
him when he came to Alexandria?" The question here put by Stahr (and
farther insisted on by Ravaisson, Essai sur la Métaphysique
d'Aristote, Introd. p. 14) is very pertinent: and I put the like
question, with slight change of circumstances, respecting the works of
Plato. Demetrius Phalereus was the friend and patron of Xenokrates, as
well as of Theophrastus.]

[Footnote 36: In respect to the Peripatetic school, this is true only
during the lifetime of Theophrastus, who died 287 B.C. I have already
mentioned that after the death of Theophrastus, the MSS. were
withdrawn from Athens. But all the operations of Demetrius Phalereus
were carried on during the lifetime of Theophrastus; much of them,
probably, in concert with Theophrastus, whose friend and pupil he was.
The death of Theophrastus, the death of Ptolemy Soter, and the
discredit and subsequent death of Demetrius are separated only by an
interval of two or three years.]

[Footnote 37: We find interesting information, in the letters of
Cicero, respecting the _librarii_ or copyists whom he had in his
service; and the still more numerous and effective band of _librarii_
and _anagnostæ_: (slaves, mostly home-born) whom his friend Atticus
possessed and trained (Corn. Nep., Vit. Attici, c. 13). See Epist. ad
Attic. xii. 6; xiii. 21-44; v. 12 seq.

It appears that many of the compositions of Cicero were copied,
prepared for publication, and published, by the _librarii_ of Atticus:
who, in the case of the _Academica_, incurred a loss, because
Cicero--after having given out the work to be copied and published, and
after progress had been made in doing this--thought fit to alter
materially both the form and the speakers introduced (xiii. 13). In
regard to the Oration pro Ligario, Atticus sold it well, and brought
himself home ("Ligarianam præclaré vendidisti: posthac, quicquid
scripsero, tibi præconium deferam," xiii. 12). Cicero (xiii. 21)
compares the relation of Atticus towards himself, with that of
Hermodôrus towards Plato, as expressed in the Greek verse,
[Greek: lo/goisin E(rmo/dôros [e)mporeu/etai]]. (Suidas, s, v.
[Greek: lo/goisin E(rm. e)mp].)

Private friends, such as Balbus and Cærellia (xiii. 21), considered it
a privilege to be allowed to take copies of his compositions at their
own cost, through _librarii_ employed for the purpose. And we find
Galen enumerating this among the noble and dignified ways for an
opulent man to expend money, in a remarkable passage, [Greek: ble/pô
ga\r se ou)de\ pro\s ta\ kala\ tô=n e)/rgôn dapanê=sai tolmô=nta, mêd'
ei)s bibli/ôn ô)nê\n kai\ kataskeuê\n kai\ tô=n grapho/ntôn a)/skêsin,
ê)/toi ge ei)s ta/chos dia\ sêmei/ôn, ê)\ ei)s kalô=n a)kri/beian,
ô(/sper ou)de\ tô=n a)naginôsko/ntôn o)rthô=s]. (De Cognoscendis
Curandisque Animi Morbis, t. v. p. 48, Kühn.)]

[Footnote 38: Galen, Comm. ad Hippokrat. [Greek: E)pidêmi/as], vol.
xvii. p. 606, 607, ed. Kühn.

Lykurgus, the contemporary of Demosthenes as an orator, conspicuous
for many years in the civil and financial administration of Athens,
caused a law to be passed, enacting that an official MS. should be
made of the plays of Æschylus, Sophokles, and Euripides. No permission
was granted to represent any of these dramas at the Dionysiac
festival, except upon condition that the applicant and the actors whom
he employed, should compare the MS. on which they intended to proceed,
with the official MS. in the hands of the authorised secretary. The
purpose was to prevent arbitrary amendments or omissions in these
plays, at the pleasure of [Greek: u(pokri/tai].

Ptolemy Euergetes borrowed from the Athenians these public and
official MSS. of Æschylus, Sophokles, and Euripides on the plea that
he wished to have exact copies of them taken at Alexandria, and under
engagement to restore them as soon as this was done. He deposited with
them the prodigious sum of fifteen talents, as a guarantee for the
faithful restitution. When he got the MSS. at Alexandria, he caused
copies of them to be taken on the finest paper. He then sent these
copies to Athens, keeping the originals for the Alexandrine library;
desiring the Athenians to retain the deposit of fifteen talents for
themselves. Ptolemy Euergetes here pays, not merely the cost of the
finest copying, but fifteen talents besides, for the possession of
official MSS. of the three great Athenian tragedians; whose works in
other manuscripts must have been in the library long before.

Respecting these official MSS. of the three great tragedians, prepared
during the administration and under the auspices of the rhetor
Lykurgus, see Plutarch, Vit. X. Orator, p. 841, also Boeckh, Græcæ
Tragoed. Principia, pp. 13-15. The time when Lykurgus caused this to
be done, must have been nearly coincident with the decease of Plato,
347 B.C. See Boeckh, Staatshaushaltung der Athener, vol. i. p. 468,
ii. p. 244; Welcker, Griech. Trag. iii. p. 908; Korn, De Publico
Æschyli, &c., Exemplari, Lykurgo Auctore Confecto, p. 6-9, Bonn, 1863.

In the passage cited above from Galen, we are farther informed, that
Ptolemy Euergetes caused inquiries to be made, from the masters of all
vessels which came to Alexandria, whether there were any MSS. on
board; if there were, the MSS. were brought to the library, carefully
copied out, and the copies given to the owners; the original MSS.
being retained in the library, and registered in a
separate compartment, under the general head of [Greek: Ta\ e)k
ploi/ôn], and with the name of the person from whom the acquisition
had been made, annexed. Compare Wolf, Prolegg. ad Homerum, p. clxxv.
These statements tend to show the care taken by the Alexandrine
librarians, not only to acquire the best MSS., but also to keep good
MSS. apart from bad, and to record the person and the quarter from
which each acquisition had been made.]

[Side-note: Large expenses incurred by the Ptolemies for procuring
good MSS.]

We cannot doubt that Demetrius could obtain permission, if he asked
it, from the Scholarchs, to have such copies made. To them the
operation was at once complimentary and lucrative; while among the
Athenian philosophers generally, the name of Demetrius was acceptable,
from the favour which he had shown to them during his season of
political power--and that of Ptolemy popular from his liberalities. Or
if we even suppose that Demetrius, instead of obtaining copies of the
Platonic MSS. from the school, purchased copies from private persons
or book-sellers (as he must have purchased the works of Demokritus and
others)--he could, at any rate, assure himself of the authenticity of
what he purchased, by information from the Scholarch.

[Side-note: Catalogue of Platonic works, prepared by Aristophanes, is

My purpose, in thus calling attention to the Platonic school and the
Alexandrine Museum, is to show that the chance for preservation of
Plato's works complete and genuine after his decease, was unusually
favourable. I think that they existed complete and genuine in the
Alexandrine Museum before the time of Kallimachus, and, of course,
during that of Aristophanes. If there were in the Museum any other
works obtained from private vendors and professing to be Platonic,
Kallimachus and Aristophanes had the means of distinguishing these
from such as the Platonic school had furnished and could authenticate,
and motive enough for keeping them apart from the certified Platonic
catalogue. Whether there existed any spurious works of this sort in
the Museum, Diogenes Laertius does not tell us; nor, unfortunately,
does he set forth the full list of those which Aristophanes,
recognising as Platonic, distributed either in triplets or in units.
Diogenes mentions only the principle of distribution adopted, and a
select portion of the compositions distributed. But as far as his
positive information goes, I hold it to be perfectly worthy of trust.
I consider that all the compositions recognised by Aristophanes as
works of Plato are unquestionably such; and that his testimony greatly
strengthens our assurance for the received catalogue, in many of those
items which have been most contested by critics, upon supposed
internal grounds. Aristophanes authenticates, among others, not merely
the Leges, but also the Epinomis, the Minos, and the Epistolæ.

[Side-note: No canonical or exclusive order of the Platonic dialogues,
when arranged by Aristophanes.]

There is another point also which I conceive to be proved by what we
hear about Aristophanes. He (or Kallimachus before him) introduced a
new order or distribution of his own--the Trilogies--founded on the
analogy of the dramatic Didaskalies. This shows that the Platonic
dialogues were not received into the library in any canonical or
_exclusive order_ of their own, or in any interdependence as first,
second, third, &c., essential to render them intelligible as a system.
Had there been any such order, Kallimachus and Aristophanes would no
more have altered it, than they would have transposed the order of the
books in the Republic and Leges. The importance of what is here
observed will appear presently, when we touch upon the theory of

[Side-note: Other libraries and literary centres, besides Alexandria,
in which spurious Platonic works might get footing.]

The distributive arrangement, proposed or sanctioned by Aristophanes,
applied (as I have already remarked) to the materials in the
Alexandrine library only. But this library, though it was the most
conspicuous portion, was not the whole, of the Grecian literary
aggregate. There were other great regal libraries (such as those of
the kings of Pergamus and the Seleukid kings[39]) commenced after the
Alexandrine library had already attained importance, and intended to
rival it: there was also an active literary and philosophising class,
in various Grecian cities, of which Athens was the foremost, but in
which Rhodes, Kyrênê, and several cities in Asia Minor, Kilikia, and
Syria, were included: ultimately the cultivated classes at Rome, and
the Western Hellenic city of Massalia, became comprised in the number.
Among this widespread literary public, there were persons who neither
knew nor examined the Platonic school or the Alexandrine library, nor
investigated what title either of them had to furnish a certificate
authenticating the genuine works of Plato. It is not certain that even
the great library at Pergamus, begun nearly half a century after that
of Alexandria, had any such initiatory agent as Demetrius Phalereus,
able as well as willing to go to the fountain-head of Platonism at
Athens: nor could the kings of Pergamus claim aid from Alexandria,
with which they were in hostile rivalry, and from which they were even
forbidden (so we hear) to purchase papyrus. Under these circumstances,
it is quite possible that spurious Platonic writings, though they
obtained no recognition in the Alexandrine library, might obtain more
or less recognition elsewhere, and pass under the name of Plato. To a
certain extent, such was the case. There existed some spurious
dialogues at the time when Thrasyllus afterwards formed his

[Footnote 39: The library of Antiochus the Great or of his
predecessor, is mentioned by Suidas, [Greek: Eu)phori/ôn]. Euphorion
was librarian of it, seemingly about 230-220 B.C. See Clinton, Fast.
Hell. B.C. 221.

Galen states (Comm. in Hippok. De Nat. Hom. vol. xv. p. 105, Kühn)
that the forgeries of books, and the practice of tendering books for
sale under the false names of celebrated authors, did not commence
until the time when the competition between the kings of Egypt and the
kings of Pergamus for their respective libraries became vehement. If
this be admitted, there could have been no forgeries tendered at
Alexandria until after the commencement of the reign of Euergetes
(B.C. 247-222): for the competition from Pergamus could hardly have
commenced earlier than 230 B.C. In the times of Soter and
Philadelphus, there would be no such forgeries tendered. I do not
doubt that such forgeries were sometimes successfully passed off:** but
I think Galen does not take sufficient account of the practice
(mentioned by himself) at the Alexandrine library, to keep faithful
record of the person and quarter from whence each book had been

[Side-note: Other critics, besides Aristophanes, proposed different
arrangements of the Platonic dialogues.]

Moreover the distribution made by Aristophanes of the Platonic
dialogues into Trilogies, and the order of priority which he
established among them was by no means universally accepted. Some
rejected altogether the dramatic analogy of Trilogies as a principle
of distribution. They arranged the dialogues into three classes:[40]
1. The Direct, or purely dramatic. 2. The Indirect, or narrative
(diegematic). 3. The Mixed--partly one, partly the other. Respecting
the order of priority, we read that while Aristophanes placed the
Republic first, there were eight other arrangements, each recognising
a different dialogue as first in order; these eight were, Alkibiades
I., Theagês, Euthyphron, Kleitophon, Timæus, Phædrus, Theætêtus,
Apology. More than one arrangement began with the Apology. Some even
selected the Epistolæ as the proper commencement for studying Plato's

[Footnote 40: Diog. L. iii. 49. Schöne, in his commentary on the
Protagoras (pp. 8-12), lays particular stress on this division into
the direct or dramatic, and indirect or diegematic. He thinks it
probable, that Plato preferred one method to the other at different
periods of life: that all of one sort, and all of the other sort, come
near together in time.]

[Footnote 41: Diog. L. iii. 62. Albinus, [Greek: Ei)sagôgê\], c. 4, in
K. F. Hermann's Appendix Platonica, p. 149.]

[Side-note: Panætius, the Stoic--considered the Phædon to be
spurious--earliest known example of a Platonic dialogue disallowed upon
internal grounds.]

We hear with surprise that the distinguished Stoic philosopher at
Athens, Panætius, rejected the Phædon as not being the work of
Plato.[42] It appears that he did not believe in the immortality of
the soul, and that he profoundly admired Plato; accordingly, he
thought it unworthy of so great a philosopher to waste so much logical
subtlety, poetical metaphor, and fable, in support of such a
conclusion. Probably he was also guided, in part, by one singularity
in the Phædon: it is the only dialogue wherein Plato mentions himself
in the third person.[43] If Panætius was predisposed, on other
grounds, to consider the dialogue as unworthy of Plato, he might be
induced to lay stress upon such a singularity, as showing that the
author of the dialogue must be some person other than Plato. Panætius
evidently took no pains to examine the external attestations of the
dialogue, which he would have found to be attested both by Aristotle
and by Kallimachus as the work of Plato. Moreover, whatever any one
may think of the cogency of the reasoning--the beauty of Platonic
handling and expression is manifest throughout the dialogue. This
verdict of Panætius is the earliest example handed down to us of a
Platonic dialogue disallowed on internal grounds that is, because it
appeared to the critic unworthy of Plato: and it is certainly among
the most unfortunate examples.

[Footnote 42: See the Epigram out of the Anthology, and the extract
from the Scholia on the Categories of Aristotle, cited by Wyttenbach
in his note on the beginning of the Phædon. A more important passage
(which he has not cited) from the Scholia on Aristotle, is, that of
Asklepius on the Metaphysica, p. 991; Scholia, ed. Brandis, p. 576, a.
38. [Greek: O(/ti tou= Pla/tônos e)stin o( Phai/dôn, saphô=s o(
A)ristote/lês dêloi=--Panai/tios ga\r tis e)to/lmêse notheu=sai to\n
dia/logon. e)peidê\ ga\r e)/legen ei)=nai thnêtê\n tê\n psuchê/n,
e)bou/leto sugkataspa/sai to\n Pla/tôna; e)pei\ ou)=n e)n tô=|
Phai/dôni saphô=s a)pathanati/zei] (Plato) [Greek: tê\n logikê\n
psuchê/n, tou/tou cha/rin e)no/theuse to\n dia/logon]. Wyttenbach
vainly endeavours to elude the force of the passages cited by himself,
and to make out that the witnesses did not mean to assert that
Panætius had declared the Phædon to be spurious. One of the reasons
urged by Wyttenbach is--"Nec illud negligendum, quod dicitur [Greek:
u(po\ Panaiti/ou tino\s], à _Panætio quodam_ neque per contemptum dici
potuisse neque a Syriano neque ab hoc anonymo; quorum neuter eâ fuit
doctrinæ inopia, ut Panætii laudes et præstantiam ignoraret." But in
the Scholion of Asklepius on the Metaphysica (which passage was not
before Wyttenbach), we find the very same expression [Greek:
Panai/tio/s tis], and plainly used _per contemptum_: for Asklepius
probably considered it a manifestation of virtuous feeling to
describe, in contemptuous language, a philosopher who did not believe
in the immortality of the soul. We have only to read the still harsher
and more contemptuous language which he employs towards the
Manicheans, in another Scholion, p. 666, b. 5, Brandis.

Favorinus said (Diog. iii. 37) that when Plato read aloud the Phædon,
Aristotle was the only person present who remained to the end: all the
other hearers went away in the middle. I have no faith in this
anecdote: I consider it, like so many others in Diogenes, as a myth:
but the invention of it indicates, that there were many persons who
had no sympathy with the Phædon, taking at the bottom the same view as

[Footnote 43: Plato, Phædon, p. 59. Plato is named also in the
Apology: but this is a report, more or less exact, of the real defence
of Sokrates.]

[Side-note: Classification of Platonic works by the rhetor

But the most elaborate classification of the Platonic works was that
made by Thrasyllus, in the days of Augustus or Tiberius, near to, or
shortly after, the Christian era: a rhetor of much reputation,
consulted and selected as travelling companion by the Emperor

[Footnote 44: Diog. L. iii. 56; Themistius, Orat. viii. ([Greek:
Pentetêriko\s]) p. 108 B.

It appears that this classification by Thrasyllus was approved, or
jointly constructed, by his contemporary Derkyllides. (Albinus,
[Greek: Ei)sagôgê\], c. 4, p. 149, in K. F. Hermann's Appendix

Thrasyllus adopted two different distributions of the Platonic works:
one was dramatic, the other philosophical. The two were founded on
perfectly distinct principles, and had no inherent connection with
each other; but Thrasyllus combined them together, and noted, in
regard to each dialogue, its place in the one classification as well
as in the other.

[Side-note: Dramatic principle--Tetralogies.]

One of these distributions was into Tetralogies, or groups of four
each. This was in substitution for the Trilogies introduced by
Aristophanes or by Kallimachus, and was founded upon the same
dramatic analogy: the dramas, which contended for the prize at the
Dionysiac festivals, having been sometimes exhibited in batches of
three, or Trilogies, sometimes in batches of four, or
Tetralogies--three tragedies, along with a satirical piece as
accompaniment. Because the dramatic writer brought forth four pieces at
a birth, it was assumed as likely that Plato would publish four dialogues
all at once. Without departing from this dramatic analogy, which seems to
have been consecrated by the authority of the Alexandrine Grammatici,
Thrasyllus gained two advantages. First, he included ALL the Platonic
compositions, whereas Aristophanes, in his Trilogies, had included
only a part, and had left the rest not grouped. Thrasyllus included
all the Platonic compositions, thirty-six in number, reckoning the
Republic, the Leges, and the Epistolæ in bulk, each as one--in nine
Tetralogies or groups of four each. Secondly, he constituted his first
tetralogy in an impressive and appropriate manner--Euthyphron,
Apology, Kriton, Phædon--four compositions really resembling a
dramatic tetralogy, and bound together by their common bearing, on the
last scenes of the life of a philosopher.[45] In Euthyphron, Sokrates
appears as having been just indicted and as thinking on his defence;
in the Apology, he makes his defence; in the Kriton, he appears as
sentenced by the legal tribunal, yet refusing to evade the sentence by
escaping from his prison; in the Phædon, we have the last dying scene
and conversation. None of the other tetralogies present an equal bond
of connection between their constituent items; but the first tetralogy
was probably intended to recommend the rest, and to justify the

[Footnote 45: Diog. L. iii. 57. [Greek: prô/tên me\n ou)=n
tetralogi/an ti/thêsi tê\n koinê\n u(po/thesin e)/chousan; paradei=xai
ga\r bou/letai o(/poiois a)\n ei)/ê o( tou= philoso/phou bi/os].
Albinus, Introduct. ad Plat. c. 4, p. 149, in K. F. Hermann's Append.

Thrasyllus appears to have considered the Republic as ten dialogues
and the Leges as twelve, each book (of Republic and of Leges)
constituting a separate dialogue, so that he made the Platonic works
fifty-six in all. But for the purpose of his tetralogies he reckoned
them only as thirty-six--nine groups.

The author of the Prolegomena [Greek: tê=s Pla/tônos Philosophi/as] in
Hermann's Append. Platon. pp. 218-219, gives the same account of the
tetralogies, and of the connecting bond which united the four** members
of the first tetralogical group: but he condemns altogether the
principle of the tetralogical division. He does not mention the name
of Thrasyllus. He lived after Proklus (p. 218), that is, after 480

The argument urged by Wyttenbach and others--that Varro must have
considered the Phædon as _fourth_ in the order of the Platonic
compositions--an argument founded on a passage in Varro. L. L. vii.
37, which refers to the Phædon under the words _Plato in quarto_--this
argument becomes inapplicable in the text as given by O. Müller--not
_Varro in quarto_ but _Varro in quattuor fluminibus_, &c. Mullach
(Democriti Frag. p. 98) has tried unsuccessfully to impugn Müller's
text, and to uphold the word _quarto_ with the inference resting upon

[Side-note: Philosophical principle--Dialogues of Search--Dialogues of

In the other distribution made by Thrasyllus,[46] Plato was regarded
not as a quasi-dramatist, but as a philosopher. The dialogues were
classified with reference partly to their method and spirit, partly to
their subject. His highest generic distinction was into:--1. Dialogues
of Investigation or Search. 2. Dialogues of Exposition or
Construction. The Dialogues of Investigation he subdivided into two
classes:--1. Gymnastic. 2. Agonistic. These were again subdivided,
each into two sub-classes; the Gymnastic, into 1. Obstetric. 2.
Peirastic. The Agonistic, into 1. Probative. 2. Refutative. Again, the
Dialogues of Exposition were divided into two classes: 1. Theoretical.
2. Practical. Each of these classes was divided into two sub-classes:
the Theoretical into 1. Physical. 2. Logical. The Practical into 1.
Ethical. 2. Political.

[Footnote 46: The statement in Diogenes Laertius, in his life of
Plato, is somewhat obscure and equivocal; but I think it certain that
the classification which he gives in iii. 49, 50, 51, of the Platonic
dialogues, was made by Thrasyllus. It is a portion of the same
systematic arrangement as that given somewhat farther on (iii. 56-61),
which is ascribed by name to Thrasyllus, enumerating the Tetralogies.
Diogenes expressly states that Thrasyllus was the person who annexed
to each dialogue its double denomination, which it has since borne in
the published editions--[Greek: Eu)thu/phrôn--peri\
o(si/ou--peirastiko/s]. In the Dialogues of examination or Search, one of
these names is derived from the subject, the other from the method, as in
the instance of Euthyphron just cited: in the Dialogues of Exposition
both names are derived from the subject, first the special, next the
general. [Greek: Phai/dôn, ê)\ peri\ psuchê=s, ê)thiko/s. Parmeni/dês,
ê)\ peri\ i)deô=n, logiko/s].

Schleiermacher (in the Einleitung prefixed to his translation of
Plato, p. 24) speaks somewhat loosely about "the well-known
dialectical distributions of the Platonic dialogues, which Diogenes
has preserved without giving the name of the author". Diogenes gives
only _one_ such dialectical (or logical) distribution; and though he
does not mention the name of Thrasyllus in direct or immediate
connection with it, we may clearly see that he is copying Thrasyllus.
This is well pointed out in an acute commentary on Schleiermacher, by
Yxem, Logos Protreptikos, Berlin, 1841, p. 12-13.

Diogenes remarks (iii. 50) that the distribution of the dialogues into
narrative, dramatic, and mixed, is made [Greek: tragikô=s ma=llon ê)\
philoso/phôs]. This remark would seem to apply more precisely to the
arrangement of the dialogues into trilogies and tetralogies. His word
[Greek: philoso/phôs] belongs very justly to the logical distribution
of Thrasyllus, apart from the tetralogies.

Porphyry tells us that Plotinus did not bestow any titles upon his own
discourses. The titles were bestowed by his disciples; who did not
always agree, but gave different titles to the same discourse
(Porphyry, Vit. Plotin. 4).]

The following table exhibits this philosophical classification of

Table I.


I. Dialogues of Investigation.       II. Dialogues of Exposition.

_Searching Dialogues_.                       _Guiding Dilogues_
[Greek: Zêtêtikoi/].                         [Greek: U(phêgêtikoi/].

                 I. Dialogues of investigation.

      Gymnastic.                                Agonistic.

Maieutikoi/. Peirastikoi/.            E)ndeiktikoi/. A)natreptikpoi/.]

Obstetric.    Peirastic.              Probative.       Refutative.
 ----            ----                  ----               ----
Alkibiades I.  Charmidês.             Protagoras.       Euthydêmus.
Alkibiades II. Menon.                                   Gorgias.
Theagês.       Ion.                                     Hippias I.
Lachês.        Euthyphron.                              Hippias II.

                II. Dialogues of Exposition.

       Theoretical.                            Practical

Phusikoi/. Logikoi/.                 Ê)thikoi/.       Politikoi/.]

Physical   Logical.                  Ethical.         Political.
 ----       ----                       ----              ----

Timæus.    Kratylus.                Apology.         Republic.
           Sophistês.               Kriton.          Kritias.
           Politikus.               Phædon.          Minos.
           Parmenidês.              Phædrus.         Leges.
           Theætêtus.               Symposion.       Epinomis.

I now subjoin a second Table, containing the Dramatic Distribution of
the Platonic Dialogues, with the Philosophical Distribution combined
or attached to it.

Table II.


         Tetralogy 1.

1. Euthyphron           On Holiness              Peirastic or Testing.
2. Apology of Sokrates  Ethical                  Ethical.
3. Kriton               On Duty in Action        Ethical.
4. Phædon               On the Soul              Ethical.


1. Kratylus             On Rectitude in Naming   Logical.
2. Theætêtus            On Knowledge             Logical.
3. Sophistês            On Ens or the Existent   Logical.
4. Politikus            On the Art of Governing  Logical.


1. Parmenidês           On Ideas                 Logical.
2. Philêbus             On Pleasure              Ethical.
3. Symposion            On Good                  Ethical.
4. Phædrus              On Love                  Ethical.


1. Alkibiadês I         On the Nature of Man     Obstetric or Evolving.
2. Alkibiadês II        On Prayer                Obstetric.
3. Hipparchus           On the Love of Gain.     Ethical.
4. Erastæ               On Philosophy            Ethical.


1. Theagês              On Philosophy            Obstetric.
2. Charmidês            On Temperance            Peirastic.
3. Lachês               On Courage               Obstetric.
4. Lysis                On Friendship            Obstetric.


1. Euthydêmus           The Disputatious Man     Refutative.
2. Protagoras           The Sophists             Probative.
3. Gorgias              On Rhetoric              Refutative.
4. Menon                On Virtue                Peirastic.


1. Hippias I            On the Beautiful         Refutative.
2. Hippias II           On Falsehood             Refutative.
3. Ion                  On the Iliad             Peirastic.
4. Menexenus            The Funeral Oration      Ethical.


1. Kleitophon           The Impulsive            Ethical.
2. Republic             On Justice               Political.
3. Timæus               On Nature                Physical.
4. Kritias              The Atlantid             Ethical.


1. Minos                On Law                   Political.
2. Leges                On Legislation           Political.
3. Epinomis             The Night-Assembly,      Political
                        or the Philosopher
4. Epistolæ XIII                                 Ethical.

The second Table, as it here stands, is given by Diogenes Laertius,
and is extracted by him probably from the work of Thrasyllus, or from
the edition of Plato as published by Thrasyllus. The reader will see
that each Platonic composition has a place assigned to it in two
classifications--1. The dramatic--2. The philosophical--each in itself
distinct and independent of the other, but here blended together.

[Side-note: Incongruity and repugnance of the two classifications.]

We may indeed say more. The two classifications are not only
independent, but incongruous and even repugnant. The better of the two
is only obscurely and imperfectly apprehended, because it is presented
as an appendage to the worse. The dramatic classification, which
stands in the foreground, rests upon a purely fanciful analogy,
determining preference for the number _four_. If indeed this objection
were urged against Thrasyllus, he might probably have replied that the
group of four volumes together was in itself convenient, neither too
large nor too small, for an elementary subdivision; and that the
fanciful analogy was an artifice for recommending it to the feelings,
better (after all) than selection of another number by haphazard. Be
that as it may, however, the fiction was one which Thrasyllus
inherited from Aristophanes: and it does some honour to his ability,
that he has built, upon so inconvenient a fiction, one tetralogy (the
first), really plausible and impressive.[47] But it does more honour
to his ability that he should have originated the philosophical
classification; distinguishing the dialogues by important attributes
truly belonging to each, and conducting the Platonic student to points
of view which ought to be made known to him. This classification forms
a marked improvement upon every thing (so far as we know) which
preceded it.

[Footnote 47: It is probable that Aristophanes, in distributing Plato
into trilogies, was really influenced by the dramatic form of the
compositions to put them in a class with real dramas. But Thrasyllus
does not seem to have been influenced by such a consideration. He took
the number _four_ on its own merits, and adopted, as a way of
recommending it, the traditional analogy sanctioned by the Alexandrine

That such was the case, we may infer pretty clearly when we learn,
that Thrasyllus applied the same distribution (into tetralogies) to
the works of Demokritus, which were _not_ dramatic in form. (Diog. L.
ix. 45; Mullach, Democ. Frag. p. 100-107, who attempts to restore the
Thrasyllean tetralogies.)

The compositions of Demokritus were not merely numerous, but related
to the greatest diversity of subjects. To them Thrasyllus could not
apply the same logical or philosophical distribution which he applied
to Plato. He published, along with the works of Demokritus, a preface,
which he entitled [Greek: Ta\ pro\ tê=s a)nagnô/seôs tô=n Dêmokri/tou
bibli/ôn] (Diog. L. ix. 41).

Porphyry tells us, that when he undertook, as literary executor, the
arrangement and publication of the works of his deceased master
Plotinus, he found fifty-four discourses: which he arranged into six
Enneads or groups of nine each. He was induced to prefer this
distribution, by regard to the perfection of the number six ([Greek:
teleio/têti]). He placed in each Ennead discourses akin to each other,
or on analogous subjects (Porphyry, Vit. Plotin. 24).]

[Side-note: Dramatic principle of classification--was inherited by
Thrasyllus from Aristophanes.]

[Side-note: Authority of the Alexandrine library--editions of Plato
published, with the Alexandrine critical marks.]

That Thrasyllus followed Aristophanes in the principle of his
classification, is manifest: that he adopted the dramatic ground and
principle of classification (while amending its details), not because
he was himself guided by it, but because he found it already in use
and sanctioned by the high authority of the Alexandrines--is also
manifest, because he himself constructed and tacked to it a better
classification, founded upon principles new and incongruous with the
dramatic. In all this we trace the established ascendancy of the
Alexandrine library and its eminent literati. Of which ascendancy a
farther illustration appears, when we read in Diogenes Laertius that
editions of Plato were published, carrying along with the text the
special marks of annotation applied by the Alexandrines to Homer and
other poets: the obelus to indicate a spurious passage, the obelus
with two dots to denote a passage which had been improperly declared
spurious, the X to signify peculiar locutions, the double line or
Diplê to mark important or characteristic opinions of Plato--and
others in like manner. A special price was paid for manuscripts of
Plato with these illustrative appendages:[48] which must have been
applied either by Alexandrines themselves, or by others trained in
their school. When Thrasyllus set himself to edit and re-distribute
the Platonic works, we may be sure that he must have consulted one or
more public libraries, either at Alexandria, Athens, Rome, Tarsus, or
elsewhere. Nowhere else could he find all the works together. Now the
proceedings ascribed to him show that he attached himself to the
Alexandrine library, and to the authority of its most eminent critics.

[Footnote 48: Diog. L. iii. 65, 66. [Greek: E)pei\ de\ kai\ sêmei=a/
tina toi=s bibli/ois au)tou= parati/thetai, phe/re kai\ peri\ tou/tôn
ti ei)/pômen], &c. He then proceeds to enumerate the [Greek: sêmei=a].

It is important to note that Diogenes cites this statement (respecting
the peculiar critical marks appended to manuscripts of the Platonic
works) from Antigonus of Karystus in his Life of Zeno the Stoic. Now
the date of Antigonus is placed by Mr. Fynes Clinton in B.C. 225,
before the death of Ptolemy III. Euergetes (see Fasti Hellen. B.C.
225, also Appendix, 12, 80). Antigonus must thus have been
contemporary both with Kallimachus and with Aristophanes of Byzantium:
he notices the marked manuscripts of Plato as something newly
edited--[Greek: neôsti\ e)kdothe/nta]): and we may thus see that the work
of critical marking must have been performed either by Kallimachus and
Aristophanes themselves (one or both) or by some of their
contemporaries. Among the titles of the lost treatises of Kallimachus,
one is--about the [Greek: glô=ssai] or peculiar phrases of Demokritus.
It is therefore noway improbable that Kallimachus should have bestowed
attention upon the peculiarities of the Platonic text, and the
inaccuracies of manuscripts. The library had probably acquired several
different manuscripts of the Platonic compositions, as it had of the
Iliad and Odyssey, and of the Attic tragedies.]

[Side-note: Thrasyllus followed the Alexandrine library and
Aristophanes, as to genuine Platonic works.]

Probably it was this same authority that Thrasyllus followed in
determining which were the real works of Plato, and in setting aside
pretended works. He accepted the collection of Platonic compositions
sanctioned by Aristophanes and recognised as such in the Alexandrine
library. As far as our positive knowledge goes, it fully bears out
what is here stated: all the compositions recognised by Aristophanes
(unfortunately Diogenes does not give a complete enumeration of those
which he recognised) are to be found in the catalogue of Thrasyllus.
And the evidentiary value of this fact is so much the greater, because
the most questionable compositions (I mean, those which modern critics
reject or even despise) are expressly included in the recognition of
Aristophanes, and passed from him to Thrasyllus--Leges, Epinomis,
Minos, Epistolæ, Sophistês, Politikus. Exactly on those points on
which the authority of Thrasyllus requires to be fortified against
modern objectors, it receives all the support which coincidence with
Aristophanes can impart. When we know that Thrasyllus adhered to
Aristophanes on so many disputable points of the catalogue, we may
infer pretty certainly that he adhered to him in the remainder. In
regard to the question, Which were Plato's genuine works? it was
perfectly natural that Thrasyllus should accept the recognition of the
greatest library then existing: a library, the written records of
which could be traced back to Demetrius Phalereus. He followed this
external authority: he did not take each dialogue to pieces, to try
whether it conformed to a certain internal standard--a "platonisches
Gefühl"--of his own.

[Side-note: Ten spurious dialogues, rejected by all other critics as
well as by Thrasyllus--evidence that these critics followed the common
authority of the Alexandrine library.]

That the question between genuine and spurious Platonic dialogues was
tried in the days of Thrasyllus, by external authority and not by
internal feeling--we may see farther by the way in which Diogenes
Laertius speaks of the spurious dialogues. "The following dialogues
(he says) are declared to be spurious _by common consent_: 1. Eryxias
or Erasistratus. 2. Akephali or Sisyphus. 3. Demodokus. 4. Axiochus.
5. Halkyon. 6. Midon or Hippotrophus. 7. Phæakes. 8. Chelidon. 9.
Hebdomê. 10. Epimenides."[49] There was, then, unanimity, so far as
the knowledge of Diogenes Laertius reached, as to genuine and
spurious. All the critics whom he valued, Thrasyllus among them,
pronounced the above ten dialogues to be spurious: all of them agreed
also in accepting the dialogues in the list of Thrasyllus as
genuine.[50] Of course the ten spurious dialogues must have been
talked of by some persons, or must have got footing in some editions
or libraries, as real works of Plato: otherwise there could have been
no trial had or sentence passed upon them. But what Diogenes affirms
is, that Thrasyllus and all the critics whose opinion he esteemed,
concurred in rejecting them. We may surely presume that this unanimity
among the critics, both as to all that they accepted and all that they
rejected, arose from common acquiescence in the authority of the
Alexandrine library.[51] The ten rejected dialogues were not in the
Alexandrine library--or at least not among the rolls therein
recognised as Platonic.

[Footnote 49: Diog. L. iii. 62: [Greek: notheu/ontai de\ tô=n
dialo/gôn o(mologoume/nôs].

Compare Prolegomena [Greek: tê=s Pla/tônos Philosophi/as], in
Hermann's Appendix Platonica, p. 219.]

[Footnote 50: It has been contended by some modern critics, that
Thrasyllus himself doubted whether the Hipparchus was Plato's work.
When I consider that dialogue, I shall show that there is no adequate
ground for believing that Thrasyllus doubted its genuineness.]

[Footnote 51: Diogenes (ix. 49) uses the same phrase in regard to the
spurious works ascribed to Demokritus, [Greek: ta\ d' o(mologoume/nôs
e)sti\n a)llo/tria]. And I believe that he means the same thing by it:
that the works alluded to were not recognised in the Alexandrine
library as belonging to Demokritus, and were accordingly excluded from
the tetralogies (of Demokritus) prepared by Thrasyllus.]

[Side-note: Thrasyllus did not follow an internal sentiment of his own
in rejecting dialogues as spurious.]

If Thrasyllus and the others did not proceed upon this evidence in
rejecting the ten dialogues, and did not find in them any marks of
time such as to exclude the supposition of Platonic authorship--they
decided upon what is called internal evidence: a critical sentiment,
which satisfied them that these dialogues did not possess the Platonic
character, style, manner, doctrines, merits, &c. Now I think it highly
improbable that Thrasyllus could have proceeded upon any such
sentiment. For when we survey the catalogue of works which he
recognised as genuine, we see that it includes the widest diversity of
style, manner, doctrine, purpose, and merits: that the disparate
epithets, which he justly applies to discriminate the various
dialogues, cannot be generalised so as to leave any intelligible
"Platonic character" common to all. Now since Thrasyllus reckoned
among the genuine works of Plato, compositions so unlike, and so
unequal in merit, as the Republic, Protagoras, Gorgias, Lysis,
Parmenidês, Symposion, Philêbus, Menexenus, Leges, Epinomis,
Hipparchus, Minos, Theagês, Epistolæ, &c., not to mention a
composition obviously unfinished, such as the Kritias--he could have
little scruple in believing that Plato also composed the Eryxias,
Sisyphus, Demodokus, and Halkyon. These last-mentioned dialogues still
exist, and can be appreciated.[52] Allowing, for the sake of argument,
that we are entitled to assume our own sense of worth as a test of
what is really Plato's composition, it is impossible to deny, that if
these dialogues are not worthy of the author of Republic and
Protagoras, they are at least worthy of the author of the Leges,
Epinomis, Hipparchus, Minos, &c. Accordingly, if the internal
sentiment of Thrasyllus did not lead him to reject these last four,
neither would it lead him to reject the Eryxias, Sisyphus, and
Halkyon. I conclude therefore that if he, and all the other critics
whom Diogenes esteemed, agreed in rejecting the ten dialogues as
spurious--their verdict depended not upon any internal sentiment, but
upon the authority of the Alexandrine library.[53]

[Footnote 52: The Axiochus, Eryxias, Sisyphus, and Demodokus, are
printed as Apocrypha annexed to most editions of Plato, together with
two other dialogues entitled De Justo and De Virtute. The Halkyon has
generally appeared among the works of Lucian, but K. F. Hermann has
recently printed it in his edition of Plato among the Platonic

The Axiochus contains a mark of time (the mention of [Greek:
A)kadêmi/a] and [Greek: Lukei=on], p. 367), as F. A. Wolf has
observed, proving that it was not composed until the Platonic and
Peripatetic schools were both of them in full establishment at
Athens--that is, certainly after the death of Plato, and probably after
the death of Aristotle. It is possible that Thrasyllus may have proceeded
upon this evidence of time, at least as collateral proof, in
pronouncing the dialogue not to be the work of Plato. The other four
dialogues contain no similar evidence of date.

Favorinus affirmed that Halkyon was the work of an author named Leon.

Some said (Diog. L. iii. 37) that Philippus of Opus, one of the
disciples of Plato, transcribed the Leges, which were on waxen tablets
([Greek: e)n kêrô=|]), and that the Epinomis was his work ([Greek:
tou/tou de\ kai\ tê\n E)pinomi/da phasi\n ei)=nai]). It was probably
the work of Philippus only in the sense in which the Leges were his
work--that he made a fair and durable copy of parts of it from the
wax. Thrasyllus admitted it with the rest as Platonic.]

[Footnote 53: Mullach (Democr. Fragm. p. 100) accuses Thrasyllus of an
entire want of critical sentiment, and pronounces his catalogue to be
altogether without value as an evidence of genuine Platonic
works--because Thrasyllus admits many dialogues, "quos doctorum nostri
sæculi virorum acumen è librorum Platonicorum numero exemit".

This observation exactly illustrates the conclusion which I desire to
bring out. I admit that Thrasyllus had a critical sentiment different
from that of the modern Platonic commentators; but I believe that in
the present case he proceeded upon other evidence--recognition by the
Alexandrine library. My difference with Mullach is, that I consider
this recognition (in a question of genuine or spurious) as more
trustworthy evidence than the critical sentiment of modern literati.]

[Side-note: Results as to the trustworthiness of the Thrasyllean

On this question, then, of the Canon of Plato's works (as compared
with the works of other contemporary authors) recognised by
Thrasyllus--I consider that its claim to trustworthiness is very high,
as including all the genuine works, and none but the genuine works, of
Plato: the following facts being either proved, or fairly presumable.

1. The Canon rests on the authority of the Alexandrine library and its
erudite librarians;[54] whose written records went back to the days of
Ptolemy Soter, and Demetrius Phalereus, within a generation after the
death of Plato.

2. The manuscripts of Plato at his death were preserved in the school
which he founded; where they continued for more than thirty years
under the care of Speusippus and Xenokrates, who possessed personal
knowledge of all that Plato had really written. After Xenokrates, they
came under the care of Polemon and the succeeding Scholarchs, from
whom Demetrius Phalereus probably obtained permission to take copies
of them for the nascent museum or library at Alexandria or through
whom at least (if he purchased from booksellers) he could easily
ascertain which were Plato's works, and which, if any, were spurious.

3. They were received into that library without any known canonical
order, prescribed system, or interdependence essential to their being
properly understood. Kallimachus or Aristophanes devised an order of
arrangement for themselves, such as they thought suitable.

[Footnote 54: Suckow adopts and defends the opinion here stated--that
Thrasyllus, in determining which were the genuine works of Plato and
which were not genuine, was guided mainly by the authority of the
Alexandrine library and librarians (G. F. W. Suckow, Form der
Platonischen Schriften, pp. 170-175). Ueberweg admits this opinion as
just (Untersuchungen, p. 195).

Suckow farther considers (p. 175) that the catalogue of works of
esteemed authors, deposited in the Alexandrine library, may be
regarded as dating from the [Greek: Pi/nakes] of Kallimachus.

This goes far to make out the presumption which I have endeavoured to
establish in favour of the Canon recognised by Thrasyllus, which,
however, these two authors do not fully admit.

K. F. Hermann, too (see Gesch. und Syst. der Platon. Philos. p. 44),
argues sometimes strongly in favour of this presumption, though
elsewhere he entirely departs from it.]



[Side-note: The Canon of Thrasyllus continued to be generally
acknowledged, by the Neo-Platonists, as well as by Ficinus and the
succeeding critics after the revival of learning.]

The Platonic Canon established by Thrasyllus maintained its authority
until the close of the last century, in regard to the distinction
between what was genuine and spurious. The distribution indeed did not
continue to be approved: the Tetralogies were neglected, and the order
of the dialogues varied: moreover, doubts were intimated about
Kleitophon and Epinomis. But nothing was positively removed from, or
positively added to, the total recognised by Thrasyllus. The
Neo-Platonists (from the close of the second century B.C., down to the
beginning of the sixth A.D.) introduced a new, mystic, and theological
interpretation, which often totally changed and falsified Plato's
meaning. Their principles of interpretation would have been strange
and unintelligible to the rhetors Thrasyllus and Dionysius of
Halikarnassus--or to the Platonic philosopher Charmadas, who expounded
Plato to Marcus Crassus at Athens. But they still continued to look
for Plato in the nine Tetralogies of Thrasyllus, in each and all of
them. So also continued Ficinus, who, during the last half of the
fifteenth century, did so much to revive in the modern world the study
of Plato. He revived along with it the neo-platonic interpretation.
The Argumenta, prefixed to the different dialogues by Ficinus, are
remarkable, as showing what an ingenious student, interpreting in that
spirit, discovered in them.

But the scholars of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth
centuries, speaking generally--though not neglecting these
neo-platonic refinements, were disposed to seek out, wherever they could
find it, a more literal interpretation of the Platonic text, correctly
presented and improved. The next great edition of the works of Plato
was published by Serranus and Stephens, in the latter portion of the
sixteenth century.

[Side-note: Serranus--his six Syzygies--left the aggregate Canon
unchanged, Tennemann--importance assigned to the Phædrus.]

Serranus distributed the dialogues of Plato into six groups which he
called Syzygies. In his first Syzygy were comprised Euthyphron,
Apologia, Kriton, Phædon (coinciding with the first Tetralogy of
Thrasyllus), as setting forth the defence of Sokrates and of his
doctrine. The second Syzygy included the dialogues introductory to
philosophy generally, and impugning the Sophists--Theagês, Erastæ,
Theætêtus, Sophistês, Euthydêmus, Protagoras, Hippias II. In the third
Syzygy were three dialogues considered as bearing on Logic--Kratylus,
Gorgias, Ion. The fourth Syzygy contained the dialogues on Ethics
generally--Philêbus, Menon, Alkibiadês I.; on special points of
Ethics--Alkibiadês II., Charmidês, Lysis, Hipparchus; and on
Politics--Menexenus, Politikus, Minos, Republic, Leges, Epinomis. The
fifth Syzygy included the dialogues on Physics, and Metaphysics (or
Theology)--Timæus, Kritias, Parmenidês, Symposion, Phædrus, Hippias
I.** In the sixth Syzygy were ranged the thirteen Epistles, the various
dialogues which Serranus considered spurious (Kleitophon among them,
which he regarded as doubtful), and the Definitions.

Serranus, while modifying the distribution of the Platonic works, left
the entire Canon very much as he found it. So it remained throughout
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: the scholars who devoted
themselves to Plato were content with improvement of the text,
philological illustration, and citations from the ancient
commentators. But the powerful impulse, given by Kant to the
speculative mind of Europe during the last quarter of the eighteenth
century, materially affected the point of view from which Plato was
regarded. Tennemann, both in his System of the Platonic Philosophy,
and in dealing with Plato as a portion of his general history of
philosophy, applied the doctrines of Kant largely and even excessively
to the exposition of ancient doctrines. Much of his comment is
instructive, greatly surpassing his predecessors. Without altering the
Platonic Canon, he took a new view of the general purposes of Plato,
and especially he brought forward the dialogue Phædrus into a
prominence which had never before belonged to it, as an index or
key-note ([Greek: e)ndo/simon]) to the whole Platonic series. Shortly
after Tennemann, came Schleiermacher, who introduced a theory of his
own, ingenious as well as original, which has given a new turn to all
the subsequent Platonic criticism.

[Side-note: Schleiermacher--new theory about the purposes of Plato.
One philosophical scheme, conceived by Plato from the
beginning--essential order and interdependence of the dialogues, as
contributing to the full execution of this scheme. Some dialogues not
constituent items in the series, but lying alongside of it. Order of

Schleiermacher begins by assuming two fundamental postulates, both
altogether new. 1. A systematic unity of philosophic theme and
purpose, conceived by Plato in his youth, at first
obscurely--afterwards worked out through successive dialogues; each
dialogue disclosing the same purpose, but the later disclosing it more
clearly and fully, until his old age. 2. A peremptory, exclusive, and
intentional order by Plato of the dialogues, composed by Plato with a
view to the completion of this philosophical scheme. Schleiermacher
undertakes to demonstrate what this order was, and to point out the
contribution brought by each successive dialogue to the accomplishment
of Plato's premeditated scheme.

To those who understand Plato, the dialogues themselves reveal (so
Schleiermacher affirms) their own essential order of sequence--their
own mutual relations of antecedent and consequent. Each presupposes
those which go before: each prepares for those which follow.
Accordingly, Schleiermacher distributes the Platonic dialogues into
three groups: the first, or elementary, beginning with Phædrus,
followed by Lysis, Protagoras, Lachês, Charmidês, Euthyphron,
Parmenidês: the second, or preparatory, comprising Gorgias, Theætêtus,
Menon, Euthydêmus, Kratylus, Sophistês, Politikus, Symposion, Phædon,
Philêbus: the third, or constructive, including Republic, Timæus, and
Kritias. These groups or files are all supposed to be marshalled under
Platonic authority: both the entire files as first, second, third and
the dialogues composing each file, carrying their own place in the
order, imprinted in visible characters. But to each file, there is
attached what Schleiermacher terms an Appendix, containing one or more
dialogues, each a composition by itself, and lying not in the series,
but alongside of it (Nebenwerke). The Appendix to the first file
includes Apologia, Kriton, Ion, Hippias II., Hipparchus, Minos,
Alkibiadês II. The Appendix to the second file consists of Theagês,
Erastæ, Alkibiadês I., Menexenus, Hippias I., Kleitophon. That of the
third file consists of the Leges. The Appendix is not supposed to
imply any common positive character in the dialogues which it
includes, but simply the negative attribute of not belonging to the
main philosophical column, besides a greater harmony with the file to
which it is attached than with the other two files. Some dialogues
assigned to the Appendixes are considered by Schleiermacher as
spurious; some however he treats as compositions on special occasions,
or adjuncts to the regular series. To this latter category belong the
Apologia, Kriton, and Leges. Schleiermacher considers the Charmidês to
have been composed during the time of the Anarchy, B.C. 404: the
Phædrus (earliest of all), in Olymp. 93 (B.C. 406), two years
before:[1] the Lysis, Protagoras, and Lachês, to lie between them in
respect of date.

[Footnote 1: Schleierm. vol. i. p. 72; vol. ii. p. 8.]

[Side-note: Theory of Ast--he denies the reality of any preconceived
scheme--considers the dialogues as distinct philosophical dramas.]

Such is the general theory of Schleiermacher, which presents to us
Plato in the character of a Demiurgus, contemplating from the first an
Idea of philosophy, and constructing a series of dialogues (like a
Kosmos of Schleiermacher), with the express purpose of giving
embodiment to it as far as practicable. We next come to Ast, who
denies this theory altogether. According to Ast, there never was any
philosophical system, to the exposition and communication of which
each successive dialogue was deliberately intended to contribute:
there is no scientific or intentional connection between the
dialogues,--no progressive arrangement of first and second, of
foundation and superstructure: there is no other unity or connecting
principle between them than that which they involve as all emanating
from the same age, country, and author, and the same general view of
the world (Welt-Ansicht) or critical estimate of man and nature.[2]
The dialogues are dramatic (Ast affirms), not merely in their external
form, but in their internal character: each is in truth a
philosophical drama.[3] Their purpose is very diverse and many-sided:
we mistake if we imagine the philosophical purpose to stand alone. If
that were so (Ast argues), how can we explain the fact, that in most
of the dialogues there is no philosophical result at all? Nothing but
a discussion without definite end, which leaves every point
unsettled.[4] Plato is poet, artist, philosopher, blended in one. He
does not profess to lay down positive opinions. Still less does he
proclaim his own opinions as exclusive orthodoxy, to be poured
ready-prepared into the minds of recipient pupils. He seeks to urge the
pupils to think and investigate for themselves. He employs the form of
dialogue, as indispensable to generate in their minds this impulse of
active research, and to arm them with the power of pursuing it
effectively.[5] But each Platonic dialogue is a separate composition
in itself, and each of the greater dialogues is a finished and
symmetrical whole, like a living organism.[6]

[Footnote 2: Ast, Leben und Schriften Platon's, p. 40.]

[Footnote 3: Ast, ib. p. 46.]

[Footnote 4: Ast, ibid. p. 89.]

[Footnote 5: Ast, ib. p. 42.]

[Footnote 6: The general view here taken by Ast--dwelling upon the
separate individuality as well as upon the dramatic character of each
dialogue--calling attention to the purpose of intellectual
stimulation, and of reasoning out different aspects of ethical and
dialectical questions, as distinguished from endoctrinating purpose--this
general view coincides more nearly with my own than that of any
other critic. But Ast does not follow it out consistently. If he were
consistent with it, he ought to be more catholic than other critics,
in admitting a large and undefinable diversity in the separate
Platonic manifestations: instead of which, he is the most sweeping of
all repudiators, on internal grounds. He is not even satisfied with
the Parmenides as it now stands; he insists that what is now the
termination was not the real and original termination; but that Plato
must have appended to the dialogue an explanation of its [Greek:
a)pori/ai], puzzles, and antinomies; which explanation is now lost.]

[Side-note: His order of arrangement. He admits only fourteen
dialogues as genuine, rejecting all the rest.]

Though Ast differs thus pointedly from Schleiermacher in the
enunciation of his general principle, yet he approximates to him more
nearly when he comes to detail: for he recognises three classes of
dialogues, succeeding each other in a chronological order verifiable
(as he thinks) by the dialogues themselves. His first class (in which
he declares the poetical and dramatic element to be predominant)
consists of Protagoras, Phædrus, Gorgias, Phædon. His second class,
distinguished by the dialectic element, includes Theætêtus, Sophistês,
Politikus, Parmenidês, Kratylus. His third class, wherein the poetical
and dialectic element are found both combined, embraces Philêbus,
Symposion, Republic, Timæus, Kritias. These fourteen dialogues, in
Ast's view, constitute the whole of the genuine Platonic works. All
the rest he pronounces to be spurious. He rejects Leges, Epinomis,
Menon, Euthydêmus, Lachês, Charmidês, Lysis, Alkibiades I. and II.,
Hippias I. and II., Ion, Erastæ, Theages, Kleitophon, Apologia,
Kriton, Minos, Epistolæ--together with all the other dialogues which
were rejected in antiquity by Thrasyllus. Lastly, Ast considers the
Protagoras to have been composed in 408 B.C., when Plato was not more
than 21 years of age--the Phædrus in 407 B.C.--the Gorgias in 404

[Footnote 7: Ast, Leben und Schriften Platon's, p. 376.]

[Side-note: Socher agrees with Ast in denying preconceived scheme--his
arrangement of the dialogues, differing from both Ast and
Schleiermacher--he rejects as spurious Parmenidês, Sophistês,
Politikus, Kritias, with many others.]

Socher agrees with Ast in rejecting the fundamental hypothesis of
Schleiermacher--that of a preconceived scheme systematically worked
out by Plato. But on many points he differs from Ast no less than from
Schleiermacher. He assigns the earliest Platonic composition (which he
supposes to be Theagês), to a date preceding the battle of Arginusæ,
in 406 B.C., when Plato was about 22-23 years of age.[8] Assuming it
is certain that Plato composed dialogues during the lifetime of
Sokrates, he conceives that the earliest of them would naturally be
the most purely Sokratic in respect of theme, as well as the least
copious, comprehensive, and ideal, in manner of handling. During the
six and a half years between the battle of Arginusæ and the death of
Sokrates, Socher registers the following succession of Platonic
compositions: Theagês, Lachês, Hippias II., Alkibiadês I., Dialogus de
Virtute (usually printed with the spurious, but supposed by Socher to
be a sort of preparatory sketch for the Menon), Menon, Kratylus,
Euthyphron. These three last he supposes to precede very shortly the
death of Sokrates. After that event, and very shortly after, were
composed the Apologia, Kriton, and Phædon.

[Footnote 8: Socher, Ueber Platon's Schriften, p. 102. These critics
adopt 429** B.C. as the year of Plato's birth: I think 427** B.C.
is the true year.]

These eleven dialogues fill up what Socher regards as the first period
of Plato's life, ending when he was somewhat more than thirty years of
age. The second period extends to the commencement of his teaching at
the Academy, when about 41 or 42 years old (B.C. 386). In this second
period were composed Ion, Euthydêmus, Hippias I, Protagoras,
Theætêtus, Gorgias, Philêbus--in the order here set forth. During the
third period of Plato's life, continuing until he was 65 or more, he
composed Phædrus, Menexenus, Symposion, Republic, Timæus. To the
fourth and last period, that of extreme old age, belongs the
composition of the Leges.[9]

[Footnote 9: Socher, Ueber Platon's Schriften, pp. 301-459-460.]

Socher rejects as spurious Hipparchus, Minos, Kleitophon, Alkibiadês
II., Erastæ, Epinomis, Epistolæ, Parmenidês, Sophistês, Politikus,
Kritias: also Charmidês, and Lysis, these two last however not quite
so decisively.

[Side-note: Schleiermacher and Ast both consider Phædrus and
Protagoras as early compositions--Socher puts Protagoras into the
second period, Phædrus into the third.]

Both Ast and Schleiermacher consider Phædrus and Protagoras as among
the earliest compositions of Plato. Herein Socher dissents from them.
He puts Protagoras into the second period, and Phædrus into the third.
But the most peculiar feature in his theory is, that he rejects as
spurious Parmenidês, Sophistês, Politikus, Kritias.

[Side-note: K. F. Hermann--Stallbaum--both of them consider the
Phædrus as a late dialogue--both of them deny preconceived order and
system--their arrangements of the dialogues--they admit new and
varying philosophical points of view.]

From Schleiermacher, Ast, and Socher, we pass to K. F. Hermann[10]--and
to Stallbaum, who has prefixed Prolegomena to his edition of each
dialogue. Both these critics protest against Socher's rejection of the
four dialogues last indicated: but they agree with Socher and Ast in
denying the reality of any preconceived system, present to Plato's
mind in his first dialogue, and advanced by regular steps throughout
each of the succeeding dialogues. The polemical tone of K. F. Hermann
against this theory, and against Schleiermacher, its author, is
strenuous and even unwarrantably bitter.[11] Especially the position
laid down by Schleiermacher--that Phædrus is the earliest of Plato's
dialogues, written when he was 22 or 23 years of age, and that the
general system presiding over all the future dialogues is indicated
therein as even then present to his mind, afterwards to be worked
out--is controverted by Hermann and Stallbaum no less than by Ast and
Socher. All three concur in the tripartite distribution of the life of
Plato. But Hermann thinks that Plato acquired gradually and
successively, new points of view, with enlarged philosophical
development: and that the dialogues as successively composed are
expressions of these varying phases. Moreover, Hermann thinks that
such variations in Plato's philosophy may be accounted for by external
circumstances. He reckons Plato's first period as ending with the
death of Sokrates, or rather at an epoch not long after the death of
Sokrates: the second as ending with the commencement of Plato's
teaching at the Academy, after his return from Sicily--about 385 B.C.:
the third, as extending from thence to his old age. To the first, or
Sokratic stadium, Hermann assigns the smaller dialogues: the earliest
of which he declares to be--Hippias II., Ion, Alkibiadês I., Lysis,
Charmidês, Lachês: after which come Protagoras and Euthydêmus, wherein
the batteries are opened against the Sophists, shortly before the
death of Sokrates. Immediately after the last mentioned event, come a
series of dialogues reflecting the strong and fresh impression left by
it upon Plato's mind--Apologia, Kriton, Gorgias, Euthyphron, Menon,
Hippias I.--occupying a sort of transition stage between the first and
the second period. We now enter upon the second or dialectic period;
passed by Plato greatly at Megara, and influenced by the philosophical
intercourse which he there enjoyed, and characterised by the
composition of Theætêtus, Kratylus, Sophistês, Politikus,
Parmenidês.[12] To the third, or constructive period, greatly
determined by the influence of the Pythagorean philosophy, belong
Phædrus, Menexenus, Symposion, Phædon, Philêbus, Republic, Timæus,
Kritias: a series composed during Plato's teaching at the Academy, and
commencing with Phædrus, which last Hermann considers to be a sort of
(Antritts-Programme) inauguratory composition for the opening of his
school of oral discourse or colloquy. Lastly, during the final years
of the philosopher, after all the three periods, come the Leges or
treatise de Legibus: placed by itself as the composition of his old

[Footnote 10: K. F. Hermann, Geschichte und System der Platonischen
Philosophie, p. 368, seq. Stallbaum, Disputatio de Platonis Vitâ et
Scriptis, prefixed to his edition of Plato's Works, p. xxxii., seq.]

[Footnote 11: Ueberweg (Untersuchungen, pp. 50-52) has collected
several citations from K. F. Hermann, in which the latter treats
Schleiermacher "wie einen Sophisten, der sich in absichtlicher
Unwahrhaftigkeit gefalle, mitunter fast als einen Mann der innerlich
wohl wisse, wie die Sache stehe (nämlich, dass sie so sei, wie
Hermann lehrt), der sich aber, etwa aus Lust, seine überlegene
Dialektik zu beweisen, Mühe gebe, sie in einem anderen Lichte
erscheinen zu lassen; also--[Greek: to\n ê(/ttô lo/gon krei/ttô
poiei=n]--recht in rhetorisch sophistischer Manier."

We know well, from other and independent evidence, what Schleiermacher
really was, that he was not only one of the most accomplished
scholars, but one of the most liberal and estimable men of his age.
But how different would be our appreciation if we had no other
evidence to judge by except the dicta of opponents, and even
distinguished opponents, like Hermann! If there be any point clear in
the history of philosophy, it is the uncertainty of all judgments,
respecting writers and thinkers, founded upon the mere allegations of
opponents. Yet the Athenian Sophists, respecting whom we have no
independent evidence (except the general fact that they had a number
of approvers and admirers), are depicted confidently by the Platonic
critics in the darkest colours, upon the evidence of their bitter
opponent Plato--and in colours darker than even his evidence warrants.
The often-repeated calumny, charged against almost all
debaters--[Greek: to\ to\n ê(/tto lo/gon krei/ttô poiei=n]--by Hermann
against Schleiermacher, by Melêtus against Sokrates, by Plato against the
Sophists--is believed only against these last.]

[Footnote 12: K. F. Hermann, Gesch. u. Syst. d. Plat. Phil., p. 496,
seq. Stallbaum (p. xxxiii.) places the Kratylus during the lifetime of
Sokrates, a little earlier than Euthydêmus and Protagoras, all three
of which he assigns to Olymp. 94, 402-400 B.C. See also his Proleg. to
Kratylus, tom. v. p. 26.

Moreover, Stallbaum places the Menon and Ion about the same time--a
few months or weeks before the trial of Sokrates (Proleg. ad Menonem,
tom. vi. pp. 20, 21; Proleg. ad Ionem, tom. iv. p. 289). He considers
the Euthyphron to have been actually composed at the moment to which
it professes to refer (viz., after Melêtus had preferred indictment
against Sokrates), and with a view of defending Sokrates against the
charge of impiety (Proleg. ad Euthyphron. tom. vi. pp. 138-139-142).
He places the composition of the Charmidês about six years before the
death of Sokrates (Proleg. ad Charm. p. 86). He seems to consider,
indeed, that the Menon and Euthydêmus were both written for the
purpose of defending Sokrates: thus implying that they too were
written _after_ the indictment was preferred (Proleg. ad Euthyphron.
p. 145).

In regard to the date of the Euthyphron, Schleiermacher also had
declared, prior to Stallbaum, that it was _unquestionably_
(unstreitig) composed at a period between the indictment and the trial
of Sokrates (Einl. zum Euthyphron, vol. ii. p. 53, of his transl. of

[Side-note: They reject several dialogues.]

Hermann and Stallbaum reject (besides the dialogues already rejected
by Thrasyllus) Alkibiadês II., Theagês, Erastæ, Hipparchus, Minos,
Epinomis: Stallbaum rejects the Kleitophon: Hermann hesitates, and is
somewhat inclined to admit it, as he also admits, to a considerable
extent, the Epistles.[13]

[Footnote 13: Stallbaum, p. xxxiv. Hermann,** pp. 424, 425.]

[Side-note: Steinhart--agrees in rejecting Schleiermacher's
fundamental postulate--his arrangement of the dialogues--considers the
Phædrus as late in order--rejects several.]

Steinhart, in his notes and prefaces to H. Müller's translation of the
Platonic dialogues, agrees in the main with K. F. Hermann, both in
denying the fundamental postulate of Schleiermacher, and in settling
the general order of the dialogues, though with some difference as to
individual dialogues. He considers Ion as the earliest, followed by
Hippias I, Hippias II., Alkibiadês I., Lysis, Charmidês, Lachês,
Protagoras. These constitute what Steinhart calls the
ethico-Sokratical series of Plato's compositions, having the common
attributes--That they do not step materially beyond the philosophical
range of Sokrates himself--That there is a preponderance of the mimic
and plastic element--That they end, to all appearance, with unsolved
doubts and unanswered questions.[14] He supposes the Charmidês to have
been composed during the time of the Thirty, the Lachês shortly
afterwards, and the Protagoras about two years before the death of
Sokrates. He lays it down as incontestable that the Protagoras was not
composed after the death of Sokrates.[15] Immediately prior to this
last-mentioned event, and posterior to the Protagoras, he places the
Euthydêmus, Menon, Euthyphron, Apologia, Kriton, Gorgias, Kratylus:
preparatory to the dialectic series consisting of Parmenidês,
Theætêtus, Sophistês, Politikus, the result of Plato's stay at Megara,
and contact with the Eleatic and Megaric philosophers. The third
series of dialogues, the mature and finished productions of Plato at
the Academy, opens with Phædrus. Steinhart rejects as spurious
Alkibiadês II., Erastæ, Theagês, &c.

[Footnote 14: See Steinhart's Proleg. to the Protag. vol. i. p. 430.
of Müller's transl. of Plato.]

[Footnote 15: Steinhart, Prolegg. to Charmidês, p. 295.]

[Side-note: Susemihl--coincides to a great degree with K. F. Hermann
his order of arrangement.]

Another author, also, Susemihl, coincides in the main with the
principles of arrangement adopted by K. F. Hermann for the Platonic
dialogues. First in the order of chronological composition he places
the shorter dialogues--the exclusively ethical, least systematic; and
he ranges them in a series, indicating the progressive development of
Plato's mind, with approach towards his final systematic
conceptions.[16] Susemihl begins this early series with Hippias II.,
followed by Lysis, Charmidês, Lachês, Protagoras, Menon, Apologia,
Kriton, Gorgias, Euthyphron. The seven first, ending with the Menon,
he conceives to have been published successively during the lifetime
of Sokrates: the Menon itself, during the interval between his
indictment and his death;[17] the Apologia and Kriton, very shortly
after his death; followed, at no long interval, by Gorgias and
Euthyphron.[18] The Ion and Alkibiadês I. are placed by Susemihl among
the earliest of the Platonic compositions, but as not belonging to the
regular series. He supposes them to have been called forth by some
special situation, like Apologia and Kriton, if indeed they be
Platonic at all, of which he does not feel assured.[19]

[Footnote 16: F. Susemihl, Die Genetische Entwickelung der
Platonischen Philosophie, Leipsic, 1865, p. 9.]

[Footnote 17: Susemihl, ibid. pp. 40-61-89.]

[Footnote 18: Susemihl, ib. pp. 113-125.]

[Footnote 19: Susemihl, ib. p. 9.]

Immediately after Euthyphron, Susemihl places Euthydêmus, which he
treats as the commencement of a second series of dialogues: the first
series, or ethical, being now followed by the dialectic, in which the
principles, process, and certainty of cognition are discussed, though
in an indirect and preparatory way. This second series consists of
Euthydêmus, Kratylus, Theætêtus, Phædrus, Sophistês, Politikus,
Parmenidês, Symposion, Phædon. Through all these dialogues Susemihl
professes to trace a thread of connection, each successively unfolding
and determining more of the general subject: but all in an indirect,
negative, round-about manner. Allowing for this manner, Susemihl
contends that the dialectical counter-demonstrations or Antinomies,
occupying the last half of the Parmenidês, include the solution of
those difficulties, which have come forward in various forms from the
Euthydêmus up to the Sophistês, against Plato's theory of Ideas.[20]
The Phædon closes the series of dialectic compositions, and opens the
way to the constructive dialogues following, partly ethical, partly
physical--Philêbus, Republic, Timæus, Kritias.[21] The Leges come last
of all.

[Footnote 20: Susemihl, ib. p. 355, seq.]

[Footnote 21: Susemihl, pp. 466-470. The first volume of Susemihl's
work ends with the Phædon.]

[Side-note Edward Munk--adopts a different principle of arrangement,
founded upon the different period which each dialogue exhibits of the
life, philosophical growth, and old age, of Sokrates--his arrangement,
founded on this principle. He distinguishes the chronological order of
composition from the place allotted to each dialogue in the systematic

A more recent critic, Dr. Edward Munk, has broached a new and very
different theory as to the natural order of the Platonic dialogues.
Upon his theory, they were intended by Plato[22] to depict the life
and working of a philosopher, in successive dramatic exhibitions, from
youth to old age. The different moments in the life of Sokrates,
indicated in each dialogue, mark the place which Plato intended it
to occupy in the series. The Parmenidês is the first, wherein Sokrates
is introduced as a young man, initiated into philosophy by the ancient
Parmenidês: the Phædon is last, describing as it does the closing
scene of Sokrates. Plato meant his dialogues to be looked at partly in
artistic sequence, as a succession of historical dramas--partly in
philosophical sequence, as a record of the progressive development of
his own doctrine: the two principles are made to harmonize in the
main, though sometimes the artistic sequence is obscured for the
purpose of bringing out the philosophical, sometimes the latter is
partially sacrificed to the former.[23] Taken in the aggregate, the
dialogues from Parmenidês to Phædon form a Sokratic cycle, analogous
to the historical plays of Shakespeare, from King John to Henry
VIII.[24] But Munk at the same time contends that this natural order
of the dialogues--or the order in which Plato intended them to be
viewed--is not to be confounded with the chronological order of their
composition.[25] The Parmenidês, though constituting the opening
Prologue of the whole cycle, was not composed first: nor the Phædon
last. All of them were probably composed after Plato had attained the
full maturity of his philosophy: that is, probably after the opening
of his school at the Academy in 386 B.C. But in composing each, he had
always two objects jointly in view: he adapted the tone of each to the
age and situation in which he wished to depict Sokrates:[26] he
commemorated, in each, one of the past phases of his own
philosophising mind.

[Footnote 22: Dr. Edward Munk. Die natürliche Ordnung der Platonischen
Schriften, Berlin, 1857. His scheme of arrangement is explained
generally, pp. 25-48, &c.]

[Footnote 23: Munk, ib. p. 29.]

[Footnote 24: Munk, ib. p. 27.]

[Footnote 25: Munk, ibid. p. 27.]

[Footnote 26: Munk, ib. p. 54; Preface, p. viii.]

The Cycle taken in its intentional or natural order, is distributed by
Munk into three groups, after the Parmenidês as general prologue.[27]

1. Sokratic or Indirect Dialogues.--Protagoras, Charmidês, Lachês,
Gorgias, Ion, Hippias I., Kratylus, Euthydêmus, Symposion.

2. Direct or Constructive Dialogues.--Phædrus, Philêbus, Republic,
Timæus, Kritias.

3. Dialectic and Apologetic Dialogues.--Menon, Theætêtus, Sophistês,
Politikus, Euthyphron, Apologia, Kriton, Phædon.

The Leges and Menexenus stand apart from the Cycle, as compositions on
special occasion. Alkibiadês I., Hippias II., Lysis, are also placed
apart from the Cycle, as compositions of Plato's earlier years, before
he had conceived the general scheme of it.[28]

[Footnote 27: Munk, ib. p. 50.]

[Footnote 28: Munk, ib. pp. 25-34.]

The first of the three groups depicts Sokrates in the full vigour of
life, about 35 years of age: the second represents him an elderly man,
about 60: the third, immediately prior to his death.[29] In the first
group he is represented as a combatant for truth: in the second as a
teacher of truth: in the third, as a martyr for truth.[30]

[Footnote 29: Munk, ib. p. 26.]

[Footnote 30: Munk, ib. p. 31.]

[Side-note: Views of Ueberweg--attempt to reconcile Schleiermacher and
Hermann--admits the preconceived purpose for the later dialogues,
composed after the foundation of the school, but not for the earlier.]

Lastly, we have another German author still more recent, Frederick
Ueberweg, who has again investigated the order and authenticity of the
Platonic dialogues, in a work of great care and ability: reviewing the
theories of his predecessors, as well as proposing various
modifications of his own.[31] Ueberweg compares the different opinions
of Schleiermacher and K. F. Hermann, and admits both of them to a
certain extent, each concurrent with and limiting the other.[32] The
theory of a preconceived system and methodical series, proposed by
Schleiermacher, takes its departure from the Phædrus, and postulates
as an essential condition that that dialogue shall be recognised as
the earliest composition.[33] This condition Ueberweg does not admit.
He agrees with Hermann, Stallbaum, and others, in referring the
Phædrus to a later date (about 386 B.C.), shortly after Plato had
established his school in Athens, when he was rather above forty years
of age. At this period (Ueberweg thinks) Plato may be considered as
having acquired methodical views which had not been present to him
before; and the dialogues composed after the Phædrus follow out, to a
certain extent, these methodical views. In the Phædrus, the Platonic
Sokrates delivers the opinion that writing is unavailing as a means of
imparting philosophy: that the only way in which philosophy can be
imparted is, through oral colloquy adapted by the teacher to the
mental necessities, and varying stages of progress, of each individual
learner: and that writing can only serve, after such oral instruction
has been imparted, to revive it if forgotten, in the memory both of
the teacher and of the learner who has been orally taught. For the
dialogues composed after the opening of the school, and after the
Phædrus, Ueberweg recognises the influence of a preconceived method
and of a constant bearing on the oral teaching of the school: for
those anterior to that date, he admits no such influence: he refers
them (with Hermann) to successive enlargements, suggestions,
inspirations, either arising in Plato's own mind, or communicated from
without. Ueberweg does not indeed altogether exclude the influence of
this non-methodical cause, even for the later dialogues: he allows its
operation to a certain extent, in conjunction with the methodical:
what he excludes is, the influence of any methodical or preconceived
scheme for the earlier dialogues.[34] He thinks that Plato composed
the later portion of his dialogues (_i.e._, those subsequent to the
Phædrus and to the opening of his school), not for the instruction of
the general reader, but as reminders to his disciples of that which
they had already learnt from oral teaching: and he cites the analogy
of Paul and the apostles, who wrote epistles not to convert the
heathen, but to admonish or confirm converts already made by

[Footnote 31: Ueberweg, Untersuchungen.]

[Footnote 32: Ueberweg, p. 111.]

[Footnote 33: Ueberweg, pp. 23-26.]

[Footnote 34: Ueberweg, pp. 107-110-111. "Sind beide Gesichtspunkte,
der einer methodischen Absicht und der einer Selbst-Entwicklung
Platon's durchweg mit einander zu verbinden, so liegt es auch in der
Natur der Sache und wird auch von einigen seiner Nachfolger
(insbesondere nachdrücklich von Susemihl) anerkannt, dass der erste
Gesichtspunkt vorzugsweise für die späteren Schriften von der Gründung
der Schule an--der andere vorzugsweise für die früheren--gilt."]

[Footnote 35: Ueberweg, pp. 80-86, "Ist unsere obige Deutung richtig,
wonach Platon nicht für Fremde zur Belehrung, sondern wesentlich für
seine Schüler zur Erinnerung an den mündlichen Unterricht, schrieb
(wie die Apostel nicht für Fremde zur Bekehrung, sondern für die
christlichen Gemeinden zur Stärke und Läuterung, nachdem denselben der
Glaube aus der Predigt gekommen war)--so folgt, dass jede
Argumentation, die auf den Phaedrus gegründet wird, nur für die Zeit
gelten kann, in welcher bereits die Platonische Schule bestand."]

[Side-note: His opinions as to authenticity and chronology of the
dialogues, He rejects Hippias Major, Erastæ, Theagês, Kleitophon,
Parmenidês: he is inclined to reject Euthyphron and Menexenus.]

Ueberweg investigates the means which we possess, either from external
testimony (especially that of Aristotle) or from internal evidence, of
determining the authenticity as well as the chronological order of the
dialogues. He remarks that though, in contrasting the expository
dialogues with those which are simply enquiring and debating, we may
presume the expository to belong to Plato's full maturity of life, and
to have been preceded by some of the enquiring and debating--yet we
cannot safely presume _all_ these latter to be of his early
composition. Plato may have continued to inclined to compose dialogues
of mere search, even after the time when he began to compose
expository dialogues.[36] Ueberweg considers that the earliest of
Plato's dialogues are, Lysis, Hippias Minor, Lachês, Charmidês,
Protagoras, composed during the lifetime of Sokrates: next the
Apologia, and Kriton, not long after his death. All these (even the
Protagoras) he reckons among the "lesser Platonic writings".[37] None
of them allude to the Platonic Ideas or Objective Concepts. The
Gorgias comes next, probably soon after the death of Sokrates, at
least at some time earlier than the opening of the school in 386
B.C.[38] The Menon and Ion may be placed about the same general
period.[39] The Phædrus (as has been already observed) is considered
by Ueberweg to be nearly contemporary with the opening of the school:
shortly afterwards Symposion and Euthydêmus:[40] at some subsequent
time, Republic, Timæus, Kritias, and Leges. In regard to the four
last, Ueberweg does not materially differ from Schleiermacher,
Hermann, and other critics: but on another point he differs from them
materially, _viz._: that instead of placing the Theætêtus, Sophistês,
and Politikus, in the Megaric period or prior to the opening of the
school, he assigns them (as well as the Phædon and Philêbus) to the
last twenty years of Plato's life. He places Phædon later than Timæus,
and Politikus later than Phædon: he considers that Sophistês,
Politikus, and Philêbus are among the latest compositions of
Plato.[41] He rejects Hippias Major, Erastæ, Theagês, Kleitophon, and
Parmenidês: he is inclined to reject Euthyphron. He scarcely
recognises Menexenus, in spite of the direct attestation of Aristotle,
which attestation he tries (in my judgment very unsuccessfully) to
invalidate.[42] He recognises the Kratylus, but without determining
its date. He determines nothing about Alkibiadês I. and II.

[Footnote 36: Ueberweg, p. 81.]

[Footnote 37: Ueberweg, pp. 100-105-296. "Eine Anzahl kleinerer
Platonischer Schriften."]

[Footnote 38: Ueberweg, pp. 249-267-296.]

[Footnote 39: Ueberweg, pp. 226, 227.]

[Footnote 40: Ueberweg, p. 265.]

[Footnote 41: Ueberweg, pp. 204-292.]

[Footnote 42: Ueberweg, pp. 143-176-222-250.]

[Side-note: Other Platonic critics--great dissensions about scheme and
order of the dialogues.]

The works above enumerated are those chiefly deserving of notice,
though there are various others also useful, amidst the abundance of
recent Platonic criticism. All these writers, Schleiermacher, Ast,
Socher, K. F. Hermann, Stallbaum, Steinhart, Susemihl, Munk, Ueberweg,
have not merely laid down general schemes of arrangement for the
Platonic dialogues, but have gone through the dialogues seriatim, each
endeavouring to show that his own scheme fits them well, and each
raising objections against the schemes earlier than his own. It is
indeed truly remarkable to follow the differences of opinion among
these learned men, all careful students of the Platonic writings. And
the number of dissents would be indefinitely multiplied, if we took
into the account the various historians of philosophy during the last
few years. Ritter and Brandis accept, in the main, the theory of
Schleiermacher: Zeller also, to a certain extent. But each of these
authors has had a point of view more or less belonging to himself
respecting the general scheme and purpose of Plato, and respecting the
authenticity, sequence, and reciprocal illustration of the

[Footnote 43: Socher remarks (Ueber, Platon. p. 225) (after
enumerating twenty-two dialogues of the Thrasyllean canon, which he
considers the earliest) that of these twenty-two, there are _only two_
which have not been declared spurious by some one or more critics. He
then proceeds to examine the remainder, among which are Sophistês,
Politikus, Parmenidês. He (Socher) declares these three last to be
spurious, which no critic had declared before.]

[Side-note: Contrast of different points of view instructive--but no
solution has been obtained.]

By such criticisms much light has been thrown on the dialogues in
detail. It is always interesting to read the different views taken by
many scholars, all careful students of Plato, respecting the order and
relations of the dialogues: especially as the views are not merely
different but contradictory, so that the weak points of each are put
before us as well as the strong. But as to the large problem which
these critics have undertaken to solve--though several solutions have
been proposed, in favour of which something may be urged, yet we look
in vain for any solution at once sufficient as to proof and defensible
against objectors.

[Side-note: The problem incapable of solution. Extent and novelty of
the theory propounded by Schleiermacher--slenderness of his proofs.]

It appears to me that the problem itself is one which admits of no
solution. Schleiermacher was the first who proposed it with the large
pretensions which it has since embraced, and which have been present
more or less to the minds of subsequent critics, even when they differ
from him. He tells us himself that he comes forward as _Restitutor
Platonis_, in a character which no one had ever undertaken before.[44]
And he might fairly have claimed that title, if he had furnished
proofs at all commensurate to his professions. As his theory is
confessedly novel as well as comprehensive, it required greater
support in the way of evidence. But when I read the Introductions (the
general as well as the special) in which such evidence ought to be
found, I am amazed to find that there is little else but easy and
confident assumption. His hypothesis is announced as if the simple
announcement were sufficient to recommend it[45]--as if no other
supposition were consistent with the recognised grandeur of Plato as a
philosopher--as if any one, dissenting from it, only proved thereby
that he did not understand Plato. Yet so far from being of this
self-recommending character, the hypothesis is really loaded with the
heaviest antecedent improbability. That in 406 B.C., and at the age of
23, in an age when schemes of philosophy elaborated in detail were
unknown--Plato should conceive a vast scheme of philosophy, to be
worked out underground without ever being proclaimed, through numerous
Sokratic dialogues one after the other, each ushering in that which
follows and each resting upon that which precedes: that he should have
persisted throughout a long life in working out this scheme, adapting
the sequence of his dialogues to the successive stages which he had
attained, so that none of them could be properly understood unless
when studied immediately after its predecessors and immediately before
its successors--and yet that he should have taken no pains to impress
this one peremptory arrangement on the minds of readers, and that
Schleiermacher should be the first to detect it--all this appears to
me as improbable as any of the mystic interpretations of Iamblichus or
Proklus. Like other improbabilities, it may be proved by evidence, if
evidence can be produced: but here nothing of the kind is producible.
We are called upon to grant the general hypothesis without proof, and
to follow Schleiermacher in applying it to the separate dialogues.

[Footnote 44: Schleiermacher, Einleitung, pp. 22-29. "Diese natürliche
Folge (der Platonischen Gespräche) wieder herzustellen, diess ist,
wie jedermann sieht, eine Absicht, welche sich sehr weit entfernt von
allen bisherigen Versuchen zur Anordnung der Platonischen Werke," &c.]

[Footnote 45: What I say about Schleiermacher here will be assented to
by any one who reads his Einleitung, pp. 10, 11, seq.]

[Side-note: Schleiermacher's hypothesis includes a preconceived
scheme, and a peremptory order of interdependence among the

Schleiermacher's hypothesis includes two parts. 1. A premeditated
philosophical scheme, worked out continuously from the first dialogue
to the last. 2. A peremptory canonical order, essential to this
scheme, and determined thereby. Now as to the scheme, though on the
one hand it cannot be proved, yet on the other hand it cannot be
disproved. But as to the canonical order, I think it may be disproved.
We know that no such order was recognised in the days of Aristophanes,
and Schleiermacher himself admits that before those days it had been
lost.[46] But I contend that if it was lost within a century after the
decease of Plato, we may fairly presume that it never existed at all,
as peremptory and indispensable to the understanding of what Plato
meant. A great philosopher such as Plato (so Schleiermacher argues)
must be supposed to have composed all his dialogues with some
preconceived comprehensive scheme: but a great philosopher (we may
add), if he does work upon a preconceived scheme, must surely be
supposed to take some reasonable precautions to protect the order
essential to that scheme from dropping out of sight. Moreover,
Schleiermacher himself admits that there are various dialogues which
lie apart from the canonical order and form no part of the grand
premeditated scheme. The distinction here made between these outlying
compositions (Nebenwerke) and the members of the regular series, is
indeed altogether arbitrary: but the admission of it tends still
farther to invalidate the fundamental postulate of a grand Demiurgic
universe of dialogues, each dovetailed and fitted into its special
place among the whole. The universe is admitted to have breaks: so
that the hypothesis does not possess the only merit which can belong
to gratuitous hypothesis--that of introducing, if granted, complete
symmetry throughout the phenomena.

[Footnote 46: Schleiermacher, Einleitung, p. 24.]

[Side-note: Assumptions of Schleiermacher respecting the Phædrus

To these various improbabilities we may add another--that
Schleiermacher's hypothesis requires us to admit that the Phædrus is
Plato's earliest dialogue, composed about 406 B.C., when he was 21
years of age, on my computation, and certainly not more than 23: that
it is the first outburst of the inspiration which Sokrates had
imparted to him,[47] and that it embodies, though in a dim and
poetical form, the lineaments of that philosophical system which he
worked out during the ensuing half century. That Plato at this early
age should have conceived so vast a system--that he should have
imbibed it from Sokrates, who enunciated no system, and abounded in
the anti-systematic negative--that he should have been inspired to
write the Phædrus (with its abundant veins, dithyrambic,[48] erotic,
and transcendental) by the conversation of Sokrates, which exhibited
acute dialectic combined with practical sagacity, but neither poetic
fervour nor transcendental fancy,--in all this hypothesis of
Schleiermacher, there is nothing but an aggravation of

[Footnote 47: See Schleiermacher's Einleitung to the Phædrus: "Der
Phaidros, der erste Ausbruch seiner Begeisterung vom Sokrates".]

[Footnote 48: If we read Dionysius of Halikarnassus (De Admirab. Vi
Dic. in Demosth. pp. 968-971, Reiske), we shall find that rhetor
pointing out the Phædrus as a signal example of Plato's departure from
the manner and character of Sokrates, and as a specimen of misplaced
poetical exaggeration. Dikæarchus formed the same opinion about the
Phædrus (Diog. L. iii. 38).]

[Side-note: Neither Schleiermacher, nor any other critic, has as yet
produced any tolerable proof for an internal theory of the Platonic

Against such improbabilities (partly external partly internal)
Schleiermacher has nothing to set except internal reasons: that is,
when he shall have arranged the dialogues and explained the
interdependence as well as the special place of each, the arrangement
will impress itself upon all as being the intentional work of Plato
himself.[49] But these "internal reasons" (innere Gründe), which are
to serve as constructive evidence (in the absence of positive
declarations) of Plato's purpose, fail to produce upon other minds the
effect which Schleiermacher demands. If we follow them as stated in
his Introductions (prefixed to the successive Platonic dialogues), we
find a number of approximations and comparisons, often just and
ingenious, but always inconclusive for his point: proving, at the very
best, what Plato's intention may possibly have been--yet subject to be
countervailed by other "internal reasons" equally specious, tending to
different conclusions. And the various opponents of Schleiermacher
prove just as much and no more, each on behalf of his own mode of
arrangement, by the like constructive evidence--appeal to "internal
reasons". But the insufficient character of these "internal reasons"
is more fatal to Schleiermacher than to any of his opponents: because
his fundamental hypothesis--while it is the most ambitious of all and
would be the most important, if it could be proved--is at the same
time burdened with the strongest antecedent improbability, and
requires the amplest proof to make it at all admissible.

[Footnote 49: See the general Einleitung, p. 11.]

[Side-note: Munk's theory is the most ambitious, and the most
gratuitous, next to Schleiermacher's.]

Dr. Munk undertakes the same large problem as Schleiermacher. He
assumes the Platonic dialogues to have been composed upon a
preconceived system, beginning when Plato opened his school, about 41
years of age. This has somewhat less antecedent improbability than the
supposition that Plato conceived his system at 21 or 23 years of age.
But it is just as much destitute of positive support. That Plato
intended his dialogues to form a fixed series, exhibiting the
successive gradations of his philosophical system--that he farther
intended this series to coincide with a string of artistic portraits,
representing Sokrates in the ascending march from youth to old age, so
that the characteristic feature which marks the place and time of each
dialogue, is to be found in the age which it assigns to Sokrates--these
are positions for the proof of which we are referred to "internal
reasons"; but which the dialogues do not even suggest, much less sanction.

[Side-note: The age assigned to Sokrates in any dialogue is a
circumstance of little moment.]

In many dialogues, the age assigned to Sokrates is a circumstance
neither distinctly brought out, nor telling on the debate. It is true
that in the Parmenidês he is noted as young, and is made to conduct
himself with the deference of youth, receiving hints and admonitions
from the respected veteran of Elea. So too in the Protagoras, he is
characterised as young, but chiefly in contrast with the extreme and
pronounced old age of the Sophist Protagoras: he does not conduct
himself like a youth, nor exhibit any of that really youthful or
deferential spirit which we find in the Parmenidês; on the contrary,
he stands forward as the rival, cross-examiner, and conqueror of the
ancient Sophist. On the contrary, in the Euthydêmus,[50] Sokrates is
announced as old; though that dialogue is indisputably very analogous
to the Protagoras, both of them being placed by Munk in the earliest
of his three groups. Moreover in the Lysis also, Sokrates appears as
old;--here Munk escapes from the difficulty by setting aside the
dialogue as a youthful composition, not included in the consecutive
Sokratic Cycle.[51] What is there to justify the belief, that the
Sokrates depicted in the Phædrus (which dialogue has been affirmed by
Schieiermacher and Ast, besides some ancient critics, to exhibit
decided marks of juvenility) is older than the Sokrates of the
Symposion? or that Sokrates in the Philêbus and Republic is older than
in the Kratylus or Gorgias? It is true that the dialogues Theætêtus
and Euthyphron are both represented as held a little before the death
of Sokrates, after the indictment of Melêtus against him had already
been preferred. This is a part of the hypothetical situation, in which
the dialogists are brought into company. But there is nothing in the
two dialogues themselves (or in the Menon, which Munk places in the
same category) to betoken that Sokrates is old. Holiness, in the
Euthyphron--Knowledge, in the Theætêtus--is canvassed and debated just
as Temperance and Courage are debated in the Charmidês and Lachês.
Munk lays it down that Sokrates appears as a Martyr for Truth in the
Euthyphron, Menon, and Theætêtus and as a Combatant for Truth in the
Lachês, Charmidês, Euthydêmus, &c. But the two groups of dialogues,
when compared with each other, will not be found to warrant this
distinctive appellation. In the Apologia, Kriton, and Phædon, it may
be said with propriety that Sokrates is represented as a martyr for
truth: in all three he appears not merely as a talker, but as a
personal agent: but this is not true of the other dialogues which Munk
places in his third group.

[Footnote 50: Euthydêmus, c. 4, p. 272.]

[Footnote 51: Lysis, p. 223, ad fin. [Greek: Katage/lastoi gego/namen
e)gô/ te, ge/rôn a)nê/r, kai\ u(mei=s]. See Munk, p. 25.]

[Side-note: No intentional sequence or interdependence of the
dialogues can be made out.]

I cannot therefore accede to this "natural arrangement of the Platonic
dialogues," assumed to have been intended by Plato, and founded upon
the progress of Sokrates as he stands exhibited in each, from youth to
age--which Munk has proposed in his recent ingenious volume. It is
interesting to be made acquainted with that order of the Platonic
dialogues which any critical student conceives to be the "natural
order". But in respect to Munk as well as to Schleiermacher, I must
remark that if Plato had conceived and predetermined the dialogues, so
as to be read in one natural peremptory order, he would never have
left that order so dubious and imperceptible, as to be first divined
by critics of the nineteenth century, and understood by them too in
several different ways. If there were any peremptory and intentional
sequence, we may reasonably presume that Plato would have made it as
clearly understood as he has determined the sequence of the ten books
of his Republic.

[Side-note: Principle of arrangement adopted by Hermann is
reasonable--successive changes in Plato's point of view: but we cannot
explain either the order or the causes of these changes.]

The principle of arrangement proposed by K. F. Hermann (approved also
by Steinhart and Susemihl) is not open to the same antecedent
objection. Not admitting any preconceived, methodical, intentional,
system, nor the maintenance of one and the same successive
philosophical point of view throughout--Hermann supposes that the
dialogues as successively composed represent successive phases of
Plato's philosophical development and variations in his point of view.
Hermann farther considers that these variations may be assigned and
accounted for: first pure Sokratism, next the modifications
experienced from Plato's intercourse with the Megaric philosophers,--then
the influence derived from Kyrênê and Egypt--subsequently that
from the Pythagoreans in Italy--and so forth. The first portion of
this hypothesis, taken generally, is very reasonable and probable. But
when, after assuming that there must have been determining changes in
Plato's own mind, we proceed to inquire what these were, and whence
they arose, we find a sad lack of evidence for the answer to the
question. We neither know the order in which the dialogues were
composed,--nor the date when Plato first began to compose,--nor the
primitive philosophical mind which his earliest dialogues
represented,--nor the order of those subsequent modifications which
his views underwent. We are informed, indeed, that Plato went from
Athens to visit Megara, Kyrênê, Egypt, Italy; but the extent or kind
of influence which he experienced in each, we do not know at all.[52]
I think it a reasonable presumption that the points which Plato had in
common with Sokrates were most preponderant in the mind of Plato
immediately after the death of his master: and that other trains of
thought gradually became more and more intermingled as the
recollection of his master became more distant. There is also a
presumption that the longer, more elaborate, and more transcendental
dialogues (among which must be ranked the Phædrus), were composed in
the full maturity of Plato's age and intellect: the shorter and less
finished may have been composed either then or earlier in his life.
Here are two presumptions, plausible enough when stated generally, yet
too vague to justify any special inferences: the rather, if we may
believe the statement of Dionysius, that Plato continued to "comb and
curl his dialogues until he was eighty years of age".[53]

[Footnote 52: Bonitz (in his instructive volume, Platonische Studien,
Wien, 1858, p. 5) points out how little we know about the real
circumstances of Plato's intellectual and philosophical development: a
matter which most of the Platonic critics are apt to forget.

I confess that I agree with Strümpell, that it is impossible to
determine chronologically, from Plato's writings, and from the other
scanty evidence accessible to us, by what successive steps his mind
departed from the original views and doctrines held and communicated
by Sokrates (Strümpell, Gesch. der Griechen, p. 294, Leipsic, 1861).]

[Footnote 53: Dionys. Hal. De Comp. Verbor. p. 208; Diog. L. iii. 37;
Quintilian, viii. 6.

F. A. Wolf, in a valuable note upon the [Greek: diaskeuastai\]
(Proleg. ad Homer. p. clii.) declares, upon this ground, that it is
impossible to determine the time when Plato composed his best
dialogues. "Ex his collatis apparet [Greek: diaskeua/zein] a veteribus
magistris adscitum esse in potestatem verbi [Greek:
e)pidiaskeua/zein]: ut in Scenicis propé idem esset quod [Greek:
a)nadida/skein]--h. e. repetito committere fabulam, sed mutando,
addendo, detrahendo, emendatam, refictam, et secundis curis
elaboratam. Id enim facere solebant illi poetæ sæpissimé: mox etiam
alii, ut Apollonius Rhodius. Neque aliter Plato fecit in optimis
dialogis suis: _quam ob causam exquirere non licet, quando quisque
compositus sit_; quum in scenicis fabulis saltem ex didascaliis
plerumque notum sit tempus, quo editæ sunt."

Preller has a like remark (Hist. Phil. ex Font. Loc. Context., sect.

In regard to the habit of correcting compositions, the contrast
between Plato and Plotinus was remarkable. Porphyry tells us that
Plotinus, when once he had written any matter, could hardly bear even
to read it over--much less to review and improve it (Porph. Vit.
Plotini, 8).]

[Side-note: Hermann's view more tenable than Schleiermacher's.]

If we compare K. F. Hermann with Schleiermacher, we see that Hermann
has amended his position by abandoning Schleiermacher's gratuitous
hypothesis, of a preconceived Platonic system with a canonical order
of the dialogues adapted to that system--and by admitting only a
chronological order of composition, each dialogue being generated by
the state of Plato's mind at the time when it was composed. This,
taken generally, is indisputable. If we perfectly knew Plato's
biography and the circumstances around him, we should be able to
determine which dialogues were first, second, and third, &c., and what
circumstances or mental dispositions occasioned the successive
composition of those which followed. But can we do this with our
present scanty information? I think not. Hermann, while abandoning the
hypothesis of Schleiermacher, has still accepted the large conditions
of the problem first drawn up by Schleiermacher, and has undertaken to
decide the real order of the dialogues, together with the special
occasion and the phase of Platonic development corresponding to each.
Herein, I think, he has failed.

[Side-note: Small number of certainties, or even reasonable
presumptions, as to date or order of the dialogues.]

It is, indeed, natural that critics should form some impression as to
earlier and later in the dialogues. But though there are some peculiar
cases in which such impression acquires much force, I conceive that in
almost all cases it is to a high degree uncertain. Several dialogues
proclaim themselves as subsequent to the death of Sokrates. We know
from internal allusions that the Theætêtus must have been composed
after 394 B.C., the Menexenus after 387 B.C., and the Symposion after
385 B.C. We are sure, by Aristotle's testimony, that the Leges were
written at a later period than the Republic; Plutarch also states that
the Leges were composed during the old age of Plato, and this
statement, accepted by most modern critics, appears to me
trustworthy.[54] The Sophistês proclaims itself as a second meeting,
by mutual agreement, of the same persons who had conversed in the
Theætêtus, with the addition of a new companion, the Eleatic stranger.
But we must remark that the subject of the Theætêtus, though left
unsettled at the close of that dialogue, is not resumed in the
Sophistês: in which last, moreover, Sokrates acts only a subordinate
part, while the Eleatic stranger, who did not appear in the Theætêtus,
is here put forward as the prominent questioner or expositor. So too,
the Politikus offers itself as a third of the same triplet: with this
difference, that while the Eleatic stranger continues as the
questioner, a new respondent appears in the person of Sokrates Junior.
The Politikus is not a resumption of the same subject as the
Sophistês, but a second application of the same method (the method of
logical division and subdivision) to a different subject. Plato speaks
also as if he contemplated a third application of the same method--the
Philosophus: which, so far as we know, was never realised. Again, the
Timæus presents itself as a sequel to the Republic, and the Kritias as
a sequel to the Timæus: a fourth, the Hermokrates, being apparently
announced, as about to follow--but not having been composed.

[Footnote 54: Plutarch, Isid. et Osirid. c. 48, p. 370.]

[Side-note: Trilogies indicated by Plato himself.]

Here then are two groups of three each (we might call them Trilogies,
and if the intended fourth had been realised, Tetralogies), indicated
by Plato himself. A certain relative chronological order is here
doubtless evident: the Sophistês must have been composed after the
Theætêtus and before the Politikus, the Timæus after the Republic and
before the Kritias. But this is all that we can infer: for it does not
follow that the sequence must have been immediate in point of time:
there may have been a considerable interval between the three forming
the so-called Trilogy.[55] We may add, that neither in the Theætêtus
nor in the Republic, do we find indication that either of them is
intended as the first of a Trilogy: the marks proving an intended
Trilogy are only found in the second and third of the series.

[Footnote 55: It may seem singular that Schlelermacher is among those
who adopt this opinion. He maintains that the Sophistes does not
follow _immediately_ upon the Theætêtus; that Plato, though intending
when he finished the Theætêtus to proceed onward to the Sophistês,
altered his intention, and took up other views instead: that the Menon
(and the Euthydêmus) come in between them, in immediate sequel to the
Theætêtus (Einleitung zum Menon, vol. iii. p. 326).

Here Schleiermacher introduces a new element of uncertainty, which
invalidates yet more seriously the grounds for his hypothesis of a
preconceived sequence throughout all the dialogues. In a case where
Plato directly intimates an intentional sequence, we are called upon
to believe, on "internal grounds" alone, that he altered his
intention, and introduced other dialogues. He may have done this: but
how are we to prove it? How much does it attenuate the value of his
intentions, as proofs of an internal philosophical sequence? We become
involved more and more in unsupported hypothesis. I think that K. F.
Hermann's objections against Schleiermacher, on the above ground, have
much force; and that Ueberweg's reply to them is unsatisfactory.
(Hermann, Gesch. und Syst. der Platon. Phil. p. 350. Ueberweg,
Untersuchungen, p. 82, seq.)]

[Side-note: Positive dates of all the dialogues--unknown.]

While even the relative chronology of the dialogues is thus faintly
marked in the case of a few, and left to fallible conjecture in the
remainder--the positive chronology, or the exact year of composition,
is not directly marked in the case of any one. Moreover, at the very
outset of the enquiry, we have to ask, At what period of life did
Plato begin to publish his dialogues? Did he publish any of them
during the lifetime of Sokrates? and if so, which? Or does the
earliest of them date from a time after the death of Sokrates?

[Side-note: When did Plato begin to compose? Not till after the death
of Sokrates.]

Amidst the many dissentient views of the Platonic critics, it is
remarkable that they are nearly unanimous in their mode of answering
this question.[56] Most of them declare without hesitation, that Plato
published several before the death of Sokrates--that is, before he was
28 years of age--though they do not all agree in determining which
these dialogues were. I do not perceive that they produce any external
proofs of the least value. Most of them disbelieve (though Stallbaum
and Hermann believe) the anecdote about Sokrates and his criticism on
the dialogue Lysis.[57] In spite of their unanimity, I cannot but
adopt the opposite conclusion. It appears to me that Plato composed no
Sokratic dialogues during the lifetime of Sokrates.

[Footnote 56: Valentine Rose (De Aristotelis Librorum ordine, p. 25,
Berlin, 1854), Mullach (Democriti Fragm. p. 99), and R. Schöne (in his
Commentary on the Platonic Protagoras), are among the critics known to
me, who intimate their belief that Plato published no Sokratic
dialogues during the lifetime of Sokrates. In discussing the matter,
Schöne adverts to two of the three lines of argument brought forward
in my text:--1. The too early and too copious "productivity" which the
received supposition would imply in Plato. 2. The improbability that
the name of Sokrates would be employed in written dialogues, as
spokesman, by any of his scholars during his lifetime.

Schöne does not touch upon the improbability of the hypothesis,
arising out of the early position and aspirations of Plato himself
(Schöne, Ueber Platon's Protagoras, p. 64, Leipsic, 1862).]

[Footnote 57: Diog. Laert. iii. 85; Stallbaum, Prolegg. ad Plat. Lys.
p. 90; K. F. Hermann, Gesch. u. Syst. der Plat. Phil. p. 370.
Schleiermacher (Einl. zum Lysis, i. p. 175) treats the anecdote about
the Lysis as unworthy of credence. Diogenes (iii. 38) mentions that
some considered the Phædrus as Plato's earliest dialogue; the reason
being that the subject of it was something puerile: [Greek: lo/gos de\
prô=ton gra/psai au)to\n to\n Phai=dron; kai\ ga\r e)/chei
meirakiô=des ti to\ pro/blêma. Dikai/archos de\ kai\ to\n tro/pon tê=s
graphê=s o(/lon e)pime/mphetai ô(s phortiko/n]. Olympiodorus also in
his life of Plato mentions the same report, that the Phædrus was
Plato's earliest composition, and gives the same ground of belief,
"its dithyrambic character". Even if the assertion were granted, that
the Phædrus is the earliest Platonic composition, we could not infer
that it was composed during the life-time of Sokrates. But that
assertion cannot be granted. The two statements, above cited, give it
only as a report, suggested to those who believed it by the character
and subject-matter of the dialogue. I am surprised that Dr.
Volquardsen, who in a learned volume, recently published, has
undertaken the defence of the theory of Schleiermacher about the
Phædrus (Phädros, Erste Schrift Platon's, Kiel, 1862), can represent
this as a "_feste historische Ueberlieferung_"--the rather as he
admits that Schleiermacher himself placed no confidence in it, and
relied upon other reasons (pp. 90-92-93). Comp. Schleiermacher, Einl.
zum Phaidros, p. 76.

Whoever will read the Epistle of Dionysius of Halikarnassus, addressed
to Cneius Pompeius (pp. 751-765, Reiske), will be persuaded that
Dionysius can neither have known, nor even believed, that the Phædrus
was the first composition, and a youthful composition, of Plato. If
Dionysius had believed this, it would have furnished him with the
precise excuse which his letter required. For the purpose of his
letter is to mollify the displeasure of Cn. Pompey, who had written to
blame him for some unfavourable criticisms on the style of Plato.
Dionysius justifies his criticisms by allusions to the Phædrus. If he
had been able to add, that the Phædrus was a first composition, and
that Plato's later dialogues were comparatively free from the like
faults--this would have been the most effective way of conciliating
Cn. Pompey.]

[Side-note: Reasons for this opinion. Labour of the composition--does
not consist with youth of the author.]

All the information (scanty as it is) which we obtain from the rhetor
Dionysius and others respecting the composition of the Platonic
dialogues, announces them to have cost much time and labour to their
author: a statement illustrated by the great number of inversions of
words which he is said to have introduced successively in the first
sentence of the Republic, before he was satisfied to let the sentence
stand. This corresponds, too, with all that we read respecting the
patient assiduity both of Isokrates and Demosthenes.[58] A first-rate
Greek composition was understood not to be purchasable at lower cost.
I confess therefore to great surprise, when I read in Ast the