a Greek philosopher of some celebrity.
He was a native of Elis, and of high birth.
He was taken prisoner in his youth, and passed into the hands of an Athenian slave dealer; and being of considerable personal beauty (Plat. Phaed.
100.38) was compelled to prostitute himself. (D. L. 2.105
; Suid. s. v. Φαίδων ;
A. Gellius, N. A.
The occasion on which he was taken prisoner ws no doubt the war between Sparta and Elis, in which the Lacedaemonians were joined by the Athenians, which was carried on in the years B. C. 401, 400. (Clinton, s.a
) The reading Ἰνδῶν
in Suidas is of course an error.
The later date assigned for the war by Krüger and others is manifestly erroneous. (See Clinton, Fasti Hellen.
vol. ii. p. 220, ed. 3.) So that it would be in the summer of B. C. 400 that Phaedon was brought to Athens.
A year would thus remain for his acquaintance with Socrates, to whom he attached himself.
According to Diogenes Laertius (i. c.
) he ran away from his master to Socrates, and was ransomed by one of the friends of the latter. Suidas says, that he was accidentally present at a conversation with Socrates, and besought him to effect his liberation. Various accounts mentioned Alcibiades, Criton, or Ccbes, as the person who ransomed him. (Diog. Laert.; Suid.; A. Gell. l.c.
) Alcibiades, however, was not at Athens at the time. Cebes is stated to have been on terms of intimate friendship with Phaedon, and to have instructed him in philosophy. Phaedon was present at the death of Socrates, while he was still quite a youth. From the mention of his long hair (Plat. l.c.
) it would seem that he was not eighteen years of age at the time, as at that age it was customary to cease wearing the hair long. (Becker, Charikles,
ii. p. 382.) That Phaedon was on terms of friendship with Plato appears likely from the mode in. which he is introduced in the dialogue which takes its name from him. Other stories that were current in the schools spoke of their relation as being that of enmity rather than friendship. (Athen. xi. pp. 505, 507, c.)
In the former passage Athenaeus says, that neither Gorgias nor Phaedon would acknowledge the least of what Plato attributed to them in the dialogues that bore their names.) Several philosophers were ungenerous enough to reproach Phaedon with his previous condition, as Hieronymus (Diog. Laert. l.c.
), and Epicurus (Cic. de Nat. Deor.
1.33.93). Besides Plato Aeschines named one of his dialogues after Phaedon. (Suid. s. v. Αἰσχίνης
Phaedon appears to have lived in Athens some time after the death of Socrates.
He then returned to Elis, where he became the founder of a school of philosophy. Anclhipylus and Moschus are mentioned among his disciples. (D. L. 2.126
He was succeeded by Pleistanus (D. L. 2.105
), after whom the Elean school was merged in the Eretrian. [MENEDEMUS.] Of the doctrines of Phaedon nothing is known, except as they made their appearance in the philosophy of Menedemus. Nothing can safely be inferred respecting them from the Phaedon of Plato. None of Phaedonm's writings have come down to us, They were in the form of dialogues.
There was some doubt in antiquity as to which were genuine, and which were not. Panaetius attempted a critical separation of the two classes (D. L. 2.64
); and the Ζώπυρος
and the Σίμων
were acknowledged to be genuine. Besides these Diogenes Laertius (2.105) mentions as of doubtful authenticity the Νικίας, Μήδιος, Ἀντίμαχος ἢπρεσβίται
, and Σκυθικοὶ λόγοι.
Besides these Suidas mentions the Σιμμίας, Ἀλκιβιάδης
, and Κριτόλαος
It was probably from the Zopyrus that the incident alluded to by Cicero (de. Fato,
5, Tusc. Disp.
4.37.80), Maximus Tyr. (31.3), and others, was derived. Seneca (Ep.
94. 41) has a translation of a short passage from one of his pieces. (Fabric. Bibl. Gr.
vol. ii. p. 717; Schöll, Gesch. der Griech. Lit.
vol. i. p. 475; Preller in Ersch and Gruber's Encycl.