Chapter 3. STRATO
(Head of the School 286-268 B.C.)
His successor in the school was Strato, the son of
Arcesilaus, a native of Lampsacus, whom he mentioned in his will; a distinguished man who is
generally known as "the physicist," because more
than anyone else he devoted himself to the most
careful study of nature. Moreover, he taught
Ptolemy Philadelphus and received, it is said, 80
talents from him. According to Apollodorus in his
he became head of the school in the
and continued to preside over
There are extant of his works:
Of Kingship, three books.
Of Justice, three books.
Of the Good, three books.
Of the Gods, three books.
On First Principles, three books.
On Various Modes of Life.
On the Philosopher-King.
On the Void.
On the Heaven.
On the Wind.
Of Human Nature.
On the Breeding of Animals.
Of the Crises in Diseases.
On Mining Machinery.
Of Starvation and Dizziness.
On the Attributes Light and Heavy.
Of Enthusiasm or Ecstasy.
On Growth and Nutrition.
On Animals the existence of which is questioned.
On Animals in Folk-lore or Fable.
Solutions of Difficulties.
Introduction to Topics.
On difference of Degree.
Of the logically Prior and Posterior.
Of the Genus of the Prior.
Of the Property or Essential Attribute.
Of the Future.
Examinations of Discoveries, in two books.
Lecture-notes, the genuineness of which is doubted.
Letters beginning "Strato to Arsinoë greeting."
Strato is said to have grown so thin that he felt
nothing when his end came. And I have written
some lines upon him as follows2
A thin, spare man in body, take my word for it, owing
to his use of unguents,3
was this Strato, I at least affirm,
whom Lampsacus gave birth. For ever wrestling with
diseases, he died unawares or ever he felt the hand of death.
There have been eight men who bore the name of
Strato: (1) a pupil of Isocrates; (2) our subject;
(3) a physician, a disciple, or, as some say, a fosterchild, of Erasistratus; (4) a historian, who treated
of the struggle of Philip and Perseus against the
Romans; (5) * *; (6) a poet who wrote epigrams;
(7) a physician who lived in ancient times, mentioned
by Aristotle; (8) a Peripatetic philosopher who lived
But to return to Strato the physicist. His will is
also extant and it runs as follows:
"In case anything should happen to me I make
these dispositions. All the goods in my house I
give and bequeath to Lampyrio and Arcesilaus.
From the money belonging to me in Athens, in the
first place my executors shall provide for my funeral
and for all that custom requires to be done after the
funeral, without extravagance on the one hand or
meanness on the other.
The executors of this my
will shall be Olympichus, Aristides, Mnesigenes,
Hippocrates, Epicrates, Gorgylus, Diocles, Lyco,
Athanes. I leave the school to Lyco, since of the
rest some are too old and others too busy. But it
would be well if the others would co-operate with him.
I also give and bequeath to him all my books, except
those of which I am the author, and all the furniture
in the dining-hall, the cushions and the drinking-cups.
The trustees shall give Epicrates 500 drachmas and
one of the servants whom Arcesilaus shall approve.
And in the first place Lampyrio and Arcesilaus shall
cancel the agreement which Daïppus made on behalf
of Iraeus. And he shall not owe anything either to
Lampyrio or to Lampyrio's heirs, but shall have a
full discharge from the whole transaction. Next,
the executors shall give him 500 drachmas in money
and one of the servants whom Arcesilaus shall
approve, so that, in return for all the toil he has
shared with me and all the services he has rendered
me, he may have the means to maintain himself
respectably. Further, I emancipate Diophantus,
Diocles and Abus; and Simias I make over to
Arcesilaus. I also emancipate Dromo.
As soon as
Arcesilaus has arrived, Iraeus shall, with Olympichus,
Epicrates, and the other executors, prepare an
account of the money expended upon the funeral
and the other customary charges. Whatever money
remains over, Arcesilaus shall take over from
Olympichus, without however pressing him as to
times and seasons. Arcesilaus shall also cancel
the agreement made by Strato with Olympichus
and Ameinias and deposited with Philocrates the
son of Tisamenus. With regard to my monument
they shall make it as Arcesilaus, Olympichus and
Lyco shall approve."
Such are the terms of his extant will, according
to the Collection of Ariston of Ceos. Strato himself,
however, was, as stated above, a man entitled to
since he excelled in every
of learning, and most of all in that which is styled
"physics," a branch of philosophy more ancient and
important than the others.