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THE LIVES AND OPINIONS OF EMINENT PHILOSOPHERS

BY DIOGENES LAERTIUS, TRANSLATED BY C.D. YONGE

LIFE OF LACYDES



I. LACYDES, the son of Alexander, was a native of Cyrene. He it is who was the founder of the New Academy, having succeeded Arcesilaus; and he was a man of great gravity of character and demeanour, and one who had many imitators.

II. He was industrious from his very childhood, and poor, but very pleasing and sociable in his manners.

III. They say that he had a pleasant way of managing his house-keeping affairs. For when he had taken anything out of his store-chest, he would seal it up again, and throw in his seal through the hole, so that it should be impossible for anything of what he had laid up there to be stolen from him, or carried off. But his servants learning this contrivance of his, broke the seal, and carried off as much as they pleased, and then they put the ring back through the hole in the same manner as before; and though they did this repeatedly, they were never detected.

IV. Lacydes now used to hold his school in the Academy in the garden which had been laid out by Attalus the king, and it was called the Lacydeum, after him. And he was the only man, who, while alive, resigned his school to a successor; but he resigned this to Telicles and Evander, of Phocis; and Hegesinus, of Pergamus, succeeded Evander; and he himself was in his turn succeeded by Carneades.

V. There is a witty saying, which is attributed to Lacydes. For they say that when Attalus sent for him, he answered that statues ought to be seen at a distance. On another occasion, as it is reported, he was studying geometry very late in life, and some said to him, "Is it then a time for you to be learning now?" "If it is not," he replied, "when will it be?"

VI. And he died in the fourth year of the hundred and thirty-fourth Olympiad, when he had presided over his school twenty-six years. And his death was caused by paralysis, which was brought on by drinking. And we ourselves have jested upon him in the following language.

'Tis an odd story that I heard of you--
Lacydes, that you went with hasty steps,
Spurred on by Bacchus, to the shades below.
How then, if this be true, can it be said,
That Bacchus e'er trips up his votaries' feet
'Tis a mistake his being named Lyaeus.1




1. From luô, solvo, to relax or weaken the limbs.










Scanned and edited for Peithô's Web from The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, by Diogenes Laertius, Literally translated by C.D. Yonge. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853. Footnotes have been converted to endnotes. Some, but not all, of Yonge's spellings of ancient names have been updated.

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