Chapter 6. SPHAERUS (flor. c. 220 B.C.)
Amongst those who after the death of Zeno became pupils of
Cleanthes was Sphaerus of Bosporus, as already mentioned.1
After making considerable progress in his studies,
he went to Alexandria to the court of King Ptolemy Philopator. 2
One day when a discussion had arisen on
the question whether the wise man could stoop to hold opinion, 3
and Sphaerus had
maintained that this was impossible, the king, wishing to refute
him, ordered some waxen pomegranates to be put on the table.
Sphaerus was taken in and the king cried out, "You have given your
assent to a presentation which is false." But Sphaerus was ready
with a neat answer. "I assented not to the proposition that they are
pomegranates, but to another, that there are good grounds for
thinking them to be pomegranates. Certainty of presentation and
reasonable probability are two totally different things." Mnesistratus having accused him of denying that Ptolemy was a king, his
reply was, "Being of such quality as he is, Ptolemy is indeed a
The books that he wrote were as follows :
the Cosmos, two books.
Of Minimal Parts.
Of Organs of Sense.
A Course of Five
Lectures on Heraclitus.
On the Right Arrangement of Ethical
Of the Passions,
Of the Spartan
Of Lycurgus and Socrates, three books.
Dialogues on Love.
the School of Eretria.
Of Contradictions, three books.
Handbook of Dialectic, two books.