), an eminent physician of Agrigentum, the son of Xenon. His exact date is not known; but, as he is mentioned as being contemporary with Empedocles, who died about the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, he must have lived in the fifth century before Christ. From Sicily he went to Athens, and there opened a philosophical school (ἐσοφίστευεν
It is said that he was in that city during the great plague (B. C. 430), and that large fires for the purpose of purifying the air were kindled in the streets by his direction, which proved of great service to several of the sick. (Plut. De Is. et Osir.
80 ; Oribas. Synops.
6.24, p. 97; Aetius, tetrab. ii. serm. 1.94, p. 223; Paul Aegin. 2.35, p. 406.)
It should however be borne in mind that there is no mention of this in Thucydides (2.49
, &c.), and, if it is true that Empedocles or Simonides (who died B. C. 467) wrote the epitaph on Acron, it may be doubted whether he was in Athens at the time of the plague. Upon his return to Agrigentum he was anxious to erect a family tomb, and applied to the senate for a spot of ground for that purpose on account of his eminence as a physician. Empedocles however resisted this application as being contrary to the principle of equality, and proposed to inscribe on his tomb the following sarcastic epitaph (τωθαστικόν
), which it is quite impossible to translate so as to preserve the paronomasia of the original:
Ἄκρον ἰητρὸν Ἄκρων᾽ Ἀκραγαντῖνον πατρὸς ἄκρου Κρύπτει κρημνὸς ἅκρος πατρίδος ἀκροτάτης
The second line was sometimes read thus:
Ἀκροτάτης κορυφῆς τύμβος ἄκρος κατέχει
Some persons attributed the whole epigram to Simonides. (Suid. s. v. Ἄκρων
; Eudoc. Violar.,
ap. Villoison, Anecd. Gr.
1.49; Diog. Läert. 8.65.)
The sect of the Empirici, in order to boast of a greater antiquity than the Dogmatici (founded by Thessalus, the son, and Polybus, the son-in-law of Hippocrates, about B. C. 400), claimed Acron as their founder (Pseudo-Gal. Introd.
4. vol. xiv. p. 683), though they did not really exist before the third century B. C. [PHILINUS
] Pliny falls into this anachronism. (H. N.
29.4.) None of Acron's works are now extant, though he wrote several in the Doric dialect on Medical and Physical subjects, of which the titles are preserved by Suidas and Eudocia.