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Chapter 10. ANAXARCHUS

[58] Anaxarchus, a native of Abdera, studied under Diogenes of Smyrna,1 and the latter under Metrodorus of Chios, who used to declare that he knew nothing, not even the fact that he knew nothing ; while Metrodorus was a pupil of Nessas of Chios, though some say that he was taught by Democritus. Now Anaxarchus accompanied Alexander and flourished in the 110th Olympiad.2 He made an enemy of Nicocreon, tyrant of Cyprus. Once at a

banquet, when asked by Alexander how he liked the feast, he is said to have answered, "Everything, O king, is magnificent ; there is only one thing lacking, that the head of some satrap should be served up at table." This was a hit at Nicocreon, [59] who never forgot it, and when after the king's death Anaxarchus was forced against his will to land in Cyprus, he seized him and, putting him in a mortar, ordered him to be pounded to death with iron pestles. But he, making light of the punishment, made that well-known speech, "Pound, pound the pouch containing Anaxarchus ; ye pound not Anaxarchus." And when Nicocreon commanded his tongue to be cut out, they say he bit it off and spat it at him. This is what I have written upon him3 :

Pound, Nicocreon, as hard as you like : it is but a pouch. Pound on ; Anaxarchus's self long since is housed with Zeus. And after she has drawn you upon her carding-combs a little while, Persephone will utter words like these: "Out upon thee, villainous miller !"

[60] For his fortitude and contentment in life he was called the Happy Man. He had, too, the capacity of bringing anyone to reason in the easiest possible way. At all events he succeeded in diverting Alexander when he had begun to think himself a god ; for, seeing blood running from a wound he had sustained, he pointed to him with his finger and said, "See, there is blood and not

Ichor which courses in the veins of the blessed gods."4

Plutarch reports this as spoken by Alexander to his friends.5 Moreover, on another occasion, when Anaxarchus was drinking Alexander's health, he held up his goblet and said :

One of the gods shall fall by the stroke of mortal man.6

1 Here a Diogenes is mentioned as a link between Demo critus and Anaxarchus. See p. 468, note c. Cf. Clem. Alex. Strom. i. 64, p. 301 D Δημοκρ ίτου δὲ ἀκουστ αὶ Πρωταγ όρας Ἀβδηρί της καὶ Μητρόδ ωρος Χίος, οὗ Διογέν ης Σμυρνα ῖος, οὗ Ἀνάξαρ χος, τούτου δὲ Πύρρων, οὗ Ναυσιφ άνης ; Euseb. xiv. 17. 10 ; Epiphanius, De fide, 9, p. 591.

2 340-337 b.c.

3 Anth. Pal. vii. 133.

4 Il. v. 340.

5 Vit. Alex. c. 28.

6 Euripides, Orestes, 271.

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