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 Let us first examine Eratosthenes, reviewing at the same time what Hipparchus has advanced against him. Eratosthenes is much too creditable an historian for us to believe what Polemon endeavours to charge against him, that he had not even seen Athens. At the same time he does not merit that unbounded confidence which some seem to repose in him, although, as he himself tells us, he passed much of his time with first-rate [characters]. Never, says he, at one period, and in one city, were there so many philosophers flourishing together as in my time. In their number was Ariston and Arcesilaus. This, however, it seems is not sufficient, but you must also be able to choose who are the real guides whom it is your interest to follow. He considers Arcesilaus and Ariston to be the coryphæi of the philosophers who flourished in his time, and is ceaseless in his eulogies of Apelles and Bion, the latter of whom, says he, was the first to deck himself in the flowers of philosophy, but concerning whom one is often likewise tempted to exclaim, ‘How great is Bion in spite of his rags!’1 It is in such instances as the following that the mediocrity of his genius shows itself. Although at Athens he became a disciple of Zeno2 of Citium, he makes no mention of his followers; while those who opposed that philosopher, and of whose sect not a trace remains, he thinks fit to set down amongst the [great characters] who flourished in his time. His real character appears in his Treatise on Moral Philosophy,3 his Meditations, and some similar productions. He seems to have held a middle course between the man who devotes himself to philosophy, and the man who cannot make up his mind to dedicate himself to it: and to have studied the science merely as a relief from his other pursuits, or as a pleasing and instructive recreation. In his other writings he is just the same; but let these things pass. We will now proceed as well as we can to the task of rectifying his geography. First, then, let us return to the point which we lately deferred.
1 This seems to be a paraphrase of Homer's verse on Ulysses, Odyssey xviii. 74.
“ What thewsOdyssey xviii. 74.
And what a haunch the senior's tatters hide.
2 Zeno, of Citium, a city in the island of Cyprus, founded by Phoenician settlers, was the son of Mnaseas.
3 πεοͅὶ τῶν ᾿αγαθῶν, is the title given by Strabo, but we find from Harpocrates and Clemens Alexandrinus, that properly it was πεοͅὶ ᾿αγαθῶν καὶ κακῶν, or "Concerning Good and Evil Things 'which we have rendered in the text ‘Moral Philosophy.’
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