Lacydes of Cyrene

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Lacydes of Cyrene (Greek : Λακύδης ὁ Κυρηναῖος), Greek philosopher, was head of the Academy at Athens in succession to Arcesilaus from 241 BC. He was forced to resign c. 215 BC due to ill-health, and he died c. 205 BC. Nothing survives of his works.

Cyrene, Libya ancient Greek and Roman city near present-day Shahhat, Libya

Cyrene was an ancient Greek and later Roman city near present-day Shahhat, Libya. It was the oldest and most important of the five Greek cities in the region. It gave eastern Libya the classical name Cyrenaica that it has retained to modern times. Located nearby is the ancient Necropolis of Cyrene.

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

The Academy was founded by Plato in c. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle studied there for twenty years before founding his own school, the Lyceum. The Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC. The Platonic Academy was destroyed by the Roman dictator Sulla in 86 BC.

Contents

Life

He was born in Cyrene, the son of Alexander. In his youth he was poor, but remarkable for his industry, as well as for his affable and engaging manners. He moved to Athens, and attached himself to the Middle Academy, according to a silly story quoted by Eusebius [1] from Numenius, because the ease with which his servants robbed him without being detected, convinced him that no reliance could be placed on the evidence of the senses. He was a disciple of Arcesilaus, and succeeded him as head (scholarch) of the school in 241 BC, over which he presided for 26 years. The place where his instructions were delivered was a garden, named the Lacydeum (Greek : Λακύδειον), provided for the purpose by his friend Attalus I of Pergamon. He resigned his position in 216/5 BC, because of ill-health, and for the final ten years of his life the Academy was run by a council led by Evander and Telecles, who succeeded him to jointly run the Academy after his death in 206/5 BC. According to Diogenes Laërtius [2] he died from excessive drinking, but the story is discredited by the eulogy of Eusebius [1] that he was in all things moderate.

Eusebius Greek church historian

Eusebius of Caesarea, also known as Eusebius Pamphili, was a historian of Christianity, exegete, and Christian polemicist. He became the bishop of Caesarea Maritima about 314 AD. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon and is regarded as an extremely learned Christian of his time. He wrote Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, and On Discrepancies between the Gospels, studies of the Biblical text. As "Father of Church History", he produced the Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, the Chronicle and On the Martyrs.

Numenius of Apamea was a Greek philosopher, who lived in Apamea in Syria and Rome, and flourished during the latter half of the 2nd century AD. He was a Neopythagorean and forerunner of the Neoplatonists.

Arcesilaus ancient Greek philosopher

Arcesilaus was a Greek philosopher and founder of the Second or Middle Academy—the phase of Academic scepticism. Arcesilaus succeeded Crates as the sixth head (scholarch) of the Academy c. 264 BC. He did not preserve his thoughts in writing, so his opinions can only be gleaned second-hand from what is preserved by later writers. He was the first Academic to adopt a position of philosophical scepticism, that is, he doubted the ability of the senses to discover truth about the world, although he may have continued to believe in the existence of truth itself. This brought in the sceptical phase of the Academy. His chief opponents were the Stoics and their dogma of katalepsis.

Philosophy

In his philosophical views he followed Arcesilaus closely. [3] He is said to have written treatises, including one entitled On Nature, [4] but nothing survives. Apart from a number of anecdotes distinguished for their sarcastic humour, Lacydes exists for us as a man of refined character, a hard worker and an accomplished orator.

Notes

  1. 1 2 Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica xiv. 7.
  2. Diogenes Laërtius, iv. 60; comp. Aelian, Varia Historia, ii. 41; Athenaeus, x.
  3. Cicero, Academica, ii. 6.
  4. Suda, Lakudes.

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References

Diogenes Laërtius late antique biographer of classical Greek philosophers

Diogenes Laërtius was a biographer of the Greek philosophers. Nothing is definitively known about his life, but his surviving Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers is a principal source for the history of ancient Greek philosophy. His reputation is controversial among scholars because he often repeats information from his sources without critically evaluating it. He also frequently focuses on trivial or insignificant details of his subjects' lives while ignoring important details of their philosophical teachings and he sometimes fails to distinguish between earlier and later teachings of specific philosophical schools. However, unlike many other ancient secondary sources, Diogenes Laërtius generally reports philosophical teachings without attempting to reinterpret or expand on them, which means his accounts are often closer to the primary sources. Due to the loss of so many of the primary sources on which Diogenes relied, his work has become the foremost surviving source on the history of Greek philosophy.

Robert Drew Hicks was a classical scholar, and a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

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