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Dicaearchus


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Aristotle (384—322 bc)

Theophrastus (c. 372—287 bc) Greek philosopher and scientist

Aristoxenus

Plato (c. 429—347 bc)

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Of Messana,

Greek polymath and prolific writer, pupil of Aristotle and contemporary of Theophrastus and Aristoxenus: fl. c.320–300 bc. Fragments only survive of his works, but they show a remarkable range:

Literary and Cultural History

(1) The Life of Greece, a pioneering history of culture in three books: it began with an idealized worldwide golden age and went on to trace the evolution of contemporary Greek culture, pointing the contribution of Chaldaeans and Egyptians as well as Greeks.(2) On Lives, in several books, treating Plato, Pythagoras, and other philosophers. The title suggests a discussion of different lifestyles rather than straightforward biographies, and he presented his subjects as men of action as well as of reflection.

(1) The Life of Greece, a pioneering history of culture in three books: it began with an idealized worldwide golden age and went on to trace the evolution of contemporary Greek culture, pointing the contribution of Chaldaeans and Egyptians as well as Greeks.

(2) On Lives, in several books, treating Plato, Pythagoras, and other philosophers. The title suggests a discussion of different lifestyles rather than straightforward biographies, and he presented his subjects as men of action as well as of reflection.

Philosophical

(1) On the Soul, a dialogue on the corporeal nature and mortality of the soul (one way in which he departed from Aristotelian teaching).(2) On the Destruction of Man, arguing that man is destroyed more by man than by natural disasters.(3) On Prophecy, accepting the possibility of the soul's prophetic power in dreams and in frenzy, but doubting its moral value and advisability.(4) Descent into the Trophonian Cave, including immoralities of its priests.

(1) On the Soul, a dialogue on the corporeal nature and mortality of the soul (one way in which he departed from Aristotelian teaching).

(2) On the Destruction of Man, arguing that man is destroyed more by man than by natural disasters.

(3) On Prophecy, accepting the possibility of the soul's prophetic power in dreams and in frenzy, but doubting its moral value and advisability.

(4) Descent into the Trophonian Cave, including immoralities of its priests.

Geographical

Tour of the World, apparently including maps. This established with some accuracy a main parallel of latitude from the straits of Gibraltar to the Himalayas and the assumed eastern Ocean. See geography.

Dicaearchus' learning was as remarkable as his range and originality. He influenced many later writers. Cicero admired him greatly, taking him as the model advocate of the ‘practical’ life and Theophrastus as that of the ‘theoretical’.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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