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Theophrastus

This webpage reproduces one of the
Lives of the Eminent Philosophers

by
Diogenes Laërtius

published in the Loeb Classical Library, 1925

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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Lyco

(Vol. I) Diogenes Laërtius
Lives of the Eminent Philosophers

Book V

 p509  Chapter 3
Strato
(Head of the School from 286‑268 B.C.)

[link to original Greek text] 58 His successor in the school was Strato, the son of  p511 Arcesilaus, a native of Lampsacus, whom he mentioned in his will; a distinguished man who is generally known as "the physicist," because more than anyone else he devoted himself to the most careful study of nature. Moreover, he taught Ptolemy Philadelphus and received, it is said, 80 talents from him. According to Apollodorus in his Chronology he became head of the school in the 123rd Olympiad,1 and continued to preside over it for eighteen years.

[link to original Greek text] 59 There are extant of his works:

Of Kingship, three books.

Of Justice, three books.

Of the Good, three books.

Of the Gods, three books.

On First Principles, three books.

On Various Modes of Life.

Of Happiness.

On the Philosopher-King.

Of Courage.

On the Void.

On the Heaven.

On the Wind.

Of Human Nature.

On the Breeding of Animals.

Of Mixture.

Of Sleep.

Of Vision.

Of Dreams.

Of Sensation.

Of Pleasure.

On Colours.

Of Diseases.

 p513  Of the Courses in Diseases.

On Faculties.

On Mining Machinery.

Of Starvation and Dizziness.

On the Attributes Light and Heavy.

Of Enthusiasm or Ecstasy.

On Time.

On Growth and Nutrition.

On Animals the existence of which is questioned.

On Animals in Folk-lore or Fable.

Of Causes.

Solutions of Difficulties.

Introduction to Topics.

Of Accident.

[link to original Greek text] 60 Of Definition.

On difference of Degree.

Of Injustice.

Of the logically Prior and Posterior.

Of the Genus of the Prior.

Of the Property or Essential Attribute.

Of the Future.

Examination of Discoveries, in two books.

Lecture-notes, the genuineness of which is doubted.

Letters beginning "Strato to Arsinoë greeting."

Strato is said to have grown so thin that he felt nothing when his end came. And I have written some lines upon him as follows:2

A thin, spare man in body, take my word for it, owing to his use of unguents,3 was this Strato, I at least affirm, to  p515 whom Lampsacus gave birth. For ever wrestling with diseases, he died unawares or ever he felt the hand of death.

[link to original Greek text] 61 There have been eight men who bore the name of Strato: (1) a pupil of Isocrates; (2) our subject; (3) a physician, a disciple, or, as some say, a foster-child, of Erasistratus; (4) a historian, who treated of the struggle of Philip and Perseus against the Romans; (5) * *; (6) a poet who wrote epigrams; (7) a physician who lived in ancient times, mentioned by Aristotle; (8) a Peripatetic philosopher who lived in Alexandria.

But to return to Strato the physicist. His will is also extant and it runs as follows:

"In case anything should happen to me I make these dispositions. All the goods in my house I give and bequeath to Lampyrio and Arcesilaus. From the money belonging to me in Athens, in the first place my executors shall provide for my funeral and for all that custom requires to be done after the funeral, without extravagance on the one hand or meanness on the other. [link to original Greek text] 62 The executors of this my will shall be Olympichus, Aristides, Mnesigenes, Hippocrates, Epicrates, Gorgylus, Diocles, Lyco, Athanes. I leave the school to Lyco, since of the rest some are too old and others too busy. But it would be well if the others would co‑operate with him. I also give and bequeath to him all my books, except those of which I am the author, and all the furniture in the dining-hall, the cushions and the drinking-cups. The trustees shall give Epicrates 500 drachmas and one of the servants whom Arcesilaus shall approve. [link to original Greek text] 63 And in the first place Lampyrio and Arcesilaus shall  p517 cancel the agreement which Daïppus made on behalf of Iraeus. And he shall not owe anything either to Lampyrio or to Lampyrio's heirs, but shall have a full discharge from the whole transaction. Next, the executors shall give him 500 drachmas in money and one of the servants whom Arcesilaus shall approve, so that, in return for all the toil he has shared with me and all the services he has rendered me, he may have the means to maintain himself respectably. Further, I emancipate Diophantus, Diocles and Abus; and Simias I make over to Arcesilaus. I also emancipate Dromo. As soon as Arcesilaus has arrived, Iraeus shall, with Olympichus, Epicrates, and the other executors, prepare an account of the money expended upon the funeral and the other customary charges. [link to original Greek text] 64 Whatever money remains over, Arcesilaus shall take over from Olympichus, without however pressing him as to times and seasons. Arcesilaus shall also cancel the agreement made by Strato with Olympichus and Ameinias and deposited with Philocrates the son of Tisamenus. With regard to my monument they shall make it as Arcesilaus, Olympichus and Lyco shall approve."

Such are terms of his extant will, according to the Collection of Ariston of Ceos. Strato himself, however, was, as stated above, a man entitled to full approbation,4 since he excelled in every branch of learning, and most of all in that which is styled  p519 "physics," a branch of philosophy more ancient and imperfect than the others.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 288‑284 B.C.

2 Anth. Pal. VII.111.

3 Or "If you attend to me, I am content," according to the alternative reading.

4 πολλῆς τῆς ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος. This phrase might be taken as Diogenes Laertius's defence for the inclusion of the Life of Strato. According to this scheme of I.14, 15, the Peripatetics ended with Theophrastus, whose successors were often held to be vastly inferior, and unworthy to rank beside him; see Cicero, De Fin. V. §§ 12, 13; Strabo XIII.609. The latter alleges as the reason for this decline the well-known story that the school was deprived of Aristotle's library, which had been carried away to Scepsis.


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