), the Greek philosopher, was a native of Megara, the son of Eucleides, or as is more in accordance with the chronological notices to be presently adduced, of Pasicles of Thebes, a disciple of Eucleides. Other authorities mention Thrasymachus of Corinth as his father. (D. L. 2.113
, comp. 6.89, and Suid. s. v.
) According to one account, he engaged in dialectic encounters with Diodorus Cronus at the court of Ptolemaeus Soter; according to another, he did not comply with the invitation of the king to go to Alexandria. We are further told that Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, honoured him no less, spared his house at the capture of Megara (Ol. 121, 3), and offered him indemnity for the injury which it had received, which, however, Stilpo declined. (D. L. 2.115
. Plut. Demetr. 100.9
, &c.) Uniting elevated sentiment (Φρόνημα
) with gentleness and patience (μετριοπαθεία
), he, as Plutarch says (ad v. Colot.
100.22), was an ornament to his country and friends, and had his acquaintance sought by kings. His original propensity to wine and voluptuousness he is said to have entirely overcome (Cic. de Fato,
100.5); in inventive power and dialectic art (σοφιστεία
) to have surpassed his contemporaries, and to have inspired almost all Hellas with a devotion to the Megarian philosophy.
A number of distinguished men too are named, whom he is said to have drawn away from Aristotle, Theophrastus, and others, and attached to himself (D. L. 2.113
, comp. 119, 120); among others Crates the Cynic, and Zeno, the founder of the Stoic school. (ib. 114.) Not less commendation is bestowed upon his political wisdom, his simple, straightforward disposition, and the equanimity with which he endured the fate of being the father of a degenerate daughter (ib. 114, comp. Plut. de tranqu. animi,
100.6). Of the nine dialogues, which were ascribed to him, and which are described as being of a somewhat frigid kind, we learn only the titles, two of which seem to point to a polemical disquisition on Aristippus and Aristotle. (D. L. 2.120
In like manner, we obtain exceedingly scanty disclosures respecting his doctrines in the few propositions and sayings of his which are quoted, torn as they are from their connection. Only we can scarcely fail to recognize in them the direction which the Megaric philosophy took, to demonstrate that the phenomenal world is unapproachable to true knowledge. For it is probably in this sense that we are to understand the assertion, that one thing cannot be predicated of another, that is, the essence of things cannot be reached by means of predicates (Plut. ad v. Colot. 22, 23 ;
comp. Simpl. in Phys. Ausc.
f. 26); and that the genus, the universal, is not contained in the individual and concrete. (D. L. 2.119
He seems, however, especially to have made the idea of virtue the object of his consideration (Crates, apud D. L. 118
), and to have placed in a prominent point of view the self-sufficiency of it.
He maintained that the wise man ought not only to overcome every evil, but not even to be affected by any, not even to feel it. (Seneca, Epist. 9,
comp. Plut. de Tranqu. animi, 6, D. L. 2.114
), and in that way outbids not only the Stoics, but even the Cynics. Thence too, probably, his collisions with Crates, referred to in the verses of the latter (ap. D. L. 2.118
), and in the otherwise very tasteless anecdote repeated by Diogenes Laertius. (2.117, &c.) Whether he was in earnest in his antagonism to the popular polytheistic faith, and whether and how the Areiopagus in Athens stepped in, cannot be gathered from the childish statements of such a silly writer as Diogenes. (D. L. 2.116
[CH. A. B.]