Timon of Phlius
|c. 325-320 BCE
|c. 235-230 BCE (aged c. 90)
|Part of a series on
Timon of Phlius ( // TY-mən; Ancient Greek : Τίμων ὁ Φλιάσιος, romanized: Tímōn ho Phliásios, gen.Τίμωνος, Tímōnos; c. 320 BC –c. 235 BC) was an Ancient Greek philosopher from the Hellenistic period, who was the student of Pyrrho. Unlike Pyrrho, who wrote nothing, Timon wrote satirical philosophical poetry called Silloi (Σίλλοι) as well as a number of prose writings. Unfortunately, these have been lost, but the fragments quoted in later authors allow a rough outline of his philosophy to be reconstructed.
The primary source for Timon's biography is the account in Diogenes Laërtius,which claims to be taken from earlier authors such as Apollonides of Nicaea, Antigonus of Carystus, and Sotion, whose works have now been lost. According to Diogenes, Timon was born in Phlius, and was at first a dancer in the theatre, but he abandoned this profession for the study of philosophy, and, having moved to Megara, he spent some time with Stilpo, returned home to marry, and then moved to Elis with his wife, and heard Pyrrho, whose tenets he adopted. Driven again from Elis by straitened circumstances, he spent some time on the Hellespont and the Propontis, and taught at Chalcedon as a sophist with such success that he made a fortune. He then moved to Athens, where he lived until his death, with the exception of a short residence at Thebes. According to Diogenes he knew the kings Antigonus and Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The Suda also claims he was linked to several literary figures such as: Alexander Aetolus and Homerus, whom he is said to have assisted in the composition of their tragedies; and Aratus, whom he is said to have taught. He died at an age of almost ninety.
According to Diogenes Laërtius, Timon composed "lyric and epic poems, and tragedies and satiric dramas, and thirty comedies, and sixty tragedies and the Silloi and amatory poems." The Silloi has not survived intact, but they are mentioned and quoted by several ancient authors. It has been suggested that Pyrrhonism ultimately originated with Timon rather than Pyrrho.
The most celebrated of his poems were the satiric compositions called Silloi, a word of somewhat uncertain etymology, but which undoubtedly describes metrical compositions, of a character at once ludicrous and sarcastic. The invention of this species of poetry is ascribed to Xenophanes of Colophon. The Silloi of Timon were in three books, in the first of which he spoke in his own person, and the other two are in the form of a dialogue between the author and Xenophanes, in which Timon proposed questions, to which Xenophanes replied at length. The subject was a sarcastic account of the tenets of all philosophers, living and dead; an unbounded field for scepticism and satire. They were in hexameter verse, and, from the way in which they are mentioned by the ancient writers, as well as from the few fragments of them which have survived, it is evident that they were admirable productions of their kind.Commentaries were written on the Silloi by Apollonides of Nicaea, and also by Sotion of Alexandria.
The poem entitled Images (Greek : Ἰνδαλμοι) in elegiac verse, appears to have been similar in its subject to the Silloi. Diogenes Laërtius also mentions Timon's iamboi , but perhaps the word is here merely used in the sense of satirical poems in general, without reference to the metre. According to Timon, philosophers are "excessively cunning murderers of many wise saws" (v. 96); the only two whom he spares are Xenophanes, "the modest censor of Homer's lies" (v. 29), and Pyrrho, against whom "no other mortal dare contend" (v. 126).
No remains of his dramas have survived. Of his epic poems little is known, but it may be presumed that they were chiefly ludicrous or satirical poems in the epic form. It appears probable that his Funeral Banquet of Arcesilaus was also a satirical poem in epic verse.He also wrote parodies on Homer, and some lines from a scepticism-themed poem in elegiac verse have been preserved, as well as one or two fragments which cannot be with certainty assigned to any of his poems.
He also wrote in prose, to the quantity, according to Diogenes Laërtius, of twenty thousand lines. These works were no doubt on philosophical subjects, and Diogenes mentions On Sensations, On Inquiries, and Towards Wisdom. Also among his lost works is Against the Physicists, in which he questioned the legitimacy of making hypotheses. : Πύθων), which contained a long account of a conversation with Pyrrho, during a journey to the Delphic oracle. :The longest surviving quote, preserved by Eusebius in Praeparatio evangelica quoting Aristocles is from his work Python (Greek
'The things themselves are equally indifferent, and unstable, and indeterminate, and therefore neither our senses nor our opinions are either true or false. For this reason then we must not trust them, but be without opinions, and without bias, and without wavering, saying of every single thing that it no more is than is not, or both is and is not, or neither is nor is not.
Eubulides of Miletus was a philosopher of the Megarian school who is famous for his paradoxes.
Parmenides of Elea was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Elea in Magna Graecia.
Pyrrho of Elis, born in Elis, Greece, was a Greek philosopher of Classical antiquity, credited as being the first Greek skeptic philosopher and founder of Pyrrhonism.
Arcesilaus was a Greek Hellenistic philosopher. He was the founder of Academic Skepticism and what is variously called the Second or Middle or New Academy – the phase of the Platonic Academy in which it embraced philosophical skepticism.
Xenophanes of Colophon was a Greek philosopher, theologian, poet, and critic of Homer from Ionia who travelled throughout the Greek-speaking world in early Classical Antiquity.
Lacydes of Cyrene, Academic Skeptic philosopher, was head of the Platonic 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.
The Megarian school of philosophy, which flourished in the 4th century BC, was founded by Euclides of Megara, one of the pupils of Socrates. Its ethical teachings were derived from Socrates, recognizing a single good, which was apparently combined with the Eleatic doctrine of Unity. Some of Euclides' successors developed logic to such an extent that they became a separate school, known as the Dialectical school. Their work on modal logic, logical conditionals, and propositional logic played an important role in the development of logic in antiquity.
Pyrrhonism is an Ancient Greek school of philosophical skepticism which rejects dogma and advocates the suspension of judgement over the truth of all beliefs. It was founded by Aenesidemus in the first century BCE, and said to have been inspired by the teachings of Pyrrho and Timon of Phlius in the fourth century BCE. Pyrrhonism is best known today through the surviving works of Sextus Empiricus, writing in the late second century or early third century CE. The publication of Sextus' works in the Renaissance ignited a revival of interest in Skepticism and played a major role in Reformation thought and the development of early modern philosophy.
Phaenias of Eresus was a Greek philosopher from Lesbos, important as an immediate follower of and commentator on Aristotle. He came to Athens about 332 BCE, and joined his compatriot, Theophrastus, in the Peripatetic school. His writings on logic and science appear to have been commentaries or supplements to the works of Aristotle and Theophrastus. He also wrote extensively on history. His works have only survived in fragments quoted by other authors.
Aristocles of Messene, in Sicily, was a Peripatetic philosopher, who probably lived in the 1st century AD. He may have been the teacher of Alexander of Aphrodisias.
Polemon of Athens was an eminent Greek Platonist philosopher and Plato's third successor as scholarch from 314/313 to 270/269 BC. A pupil of Xenocrates, he believed that philosophy should be practiced rather than just studied, and he placed the highest good in living according to nature.
Aristippus the Younger, of Cyrene, was a Cyrenaic philosopher in the second half of the 4th century BC. He was the grandson of Aristippus of Cyrene, the founder of the school. According to Diogenes Laërtius, he received the nickname "Mother-taught" (metrodidaktos). because he learned philosophy from his mother, Arete of Cyrene, who was the daughter of the elder Aristippus. Diogenes lists Theodorus the Atheist as one of his students. According to Aristocles of Messene, as quoted by Eusebius, he may have formalized the principles of Cyrenaic philosophy.:
He quite plainly defined the end to be the life of pleasure, ranking as pleasure that which lies in motion. For he said that there are three states affecting our temperament: one, in which we feel pain, like a storm at sea; another, in which we feel pleasure, that may be likened to a gentle undulation, for pleasure is a gentle movement, comparable to a favourable breeze; and the third is an intermediate state, in which we feel neither pain nor pleasure, which is similar to a calm.
Oenomaus of Gadara, was a Pagan Cynic philosopher. He is known principally for the long extracts of a work attacking oracles, which have been preserved among the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea.
Arius Didymus was a Stoic philosopher and teacher of Augustus. Fragments of his handbooks summarizing Stoic and Peripatetic doctrines are preserved by Stobaeus and Eusebius.
Bryson of Achaea was an ancient Greek philosopher.
Preparation for the Gospel, commonly known by its Latin title Praeparatio evangelica, is a work of Christian apologetics written by Eusebius in the early part of the fourth century AD. It was begun about the year 313, and attempts to prove the excellence of Christianity over pagan religions and philosophies. It was dedicated to Bishop Theodotus of Laodicea.
Mochus, also known as Mochus of Sidon and Mochus the Phoenician, is listed by Diogenes Laërtius along with Zalmoxis the Thracian and Atlas of Mauretania, as a proto-philosopher. Athenaeus claimed that he authored a work on the history of Phoenicia. Strabo, on the authority of Posidonius, speaks of one Mochus or Moschus of Sidon as the author of the atomic theory and says that he was more ancient than the Trojan war. He is also referred to by Josephus, Tatian, and Eusebius.
Lucius Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor was a Greek scholar who was enslaved by the Romans during the Mithridatic War and taken to Rome as a tutor. After his release, he continued to live in Italy as a Roman citizen. He was so productive as a writer that he earned the surname Polyhistor. The majority of his writings are now lost, but the fragments that remain shed valuable light on antiquarian and eastern Mediterranean subjects. Among his works were historical and geographical accounts of nearly all the countries of the ancient world, and the book Upon the Jews which excerpted many works which might otherwise be unknown.
Andron is the name of a number of different people in classical antiquity:
Apollonides of Nicaea lived in the time of the Roman emperor Tiberius, to whom he dedicated a commentary on the Silloi of Timon of Phlius.
The surviving fragments of Timon's work are published in Diels, Hermann (1901). Poetarum philosophorum fragmenta (in Latin and Ancient Greek).