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THE LIVES AND OPINIONS OF EMINENT PHILOSOPHERS

BY DIOGENES LAERTIUS, TRANSLATED BY C.D. YONGE

LIFE OF METROCLES



I. METROCLES was the brother of Hipparchia; and though he had formerly been a pupil of Theophrastus, he had profited so little by his instructions, that once, thinking that, while listening to a lecture on philosophy, he had disgraced himself by his inattention, he fell into despondency, and shut himself up in his house, intending to starve himself to death. Accordingly, when Crates heard of it, he came to him, having been sent for; and eating a number of lupins, on purpose, he persuaded him by numbers of arguments, that he had done no harm; for that it was not to be expected that a man should not indulge his natural inclinations and habits; and he comforted him by showing him that he, in a similar case, would certainly have behaved in a similar manner. And after that, he became a pupil of Crates, and a man of great eminence as a philosopher.

II.II. He burnt all his writings, as Hecaton tells us in the first book of his Apophthegms, and said:

These are the phantoms of infernal dreams;

As if he meant that they were all nonsense. But some say that it was the notes which he had taken of the lectures of Theophrastus which be burnt, quoting the following verse:

Vulcan, draw near, 'tis Thetis asks your aid.1

III. He used to say that some things could be bought with money, as for instance a house; and some with time and industry, as education; that wealth was mischievous; if a man did not use it properly.

IV. He died at a great age, having suffocated himself.

V. His pupils were Theomentus and Cleomenes, Demetrius of Alexandria, the son of Theombrotus, Timarchus of Alexandria, the son of Cleomenes, and Echecles, of Ephesus. Not but what Echecles was also a pupil of Theombrotus; and Menedemus, of whom we shall speak hereafter, was his pupil. Menippus, of Sinope, too, was a very eminent person in his school.





1. Hom. Il. 18. 395. Pope's version, 460.










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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