2. TIMON THE MISANTHROPE (ὁ μισάνθρωπος
) is distinguished from Timon of Phlius by Diogenes (9.112), but, as has been remarked above, it is not clear how much, or whether any part, of the information Diogenes gives respecting Timon is to be referred to this Timon rather than the former.
There was a certain distant resemblance between their characters, which may have led to a confusion of the one with the other.
The great distinctions between them are, that Timon the misanthrope wrote nothing, and that he lived about a century and a half earlier than Timon of Phlius, namely, at the time of the Peloponnesian war.
The few particulars that are known of Timon the misanthrope are contained in the passages in which he is attacked by Aristophanes (Lysist. 809,
&c., Av. 1548
) and the other comic poets in the dialogue of Lucian, which bears his name (Timon,
100.7), and in a few other passages of the ancient writers (Plut. Anton. 70 ;
7.273; Suid. s. v.
) The comic poets who mention him, besides Aristophanes, are Phrynichus, Plato, and Antiphanes, the last of whom made him the subject of one of his comedies. (See Meineke, Hist. Crit. Com. Graec.
pp. 327, 328.)
He was an Athenian, of the demos of Colyttus, and his father's name was Echecratides.
In consequence of the ingratitude he experienced, and the disappointments he sufered, from his early friends and companions, he secluded himself entirely from the world, admitting no one to his society except Alcibiades, in whose reckless and variable disposition be probably found pleasure in tracing and studying an image of the world he had abandoned; and at last he is said to have died in consequence of refusing to suffer a surgeon to come to him to set a broken limb. His grave is said to have been planted with thorns, and the following epitaph upon him is preserved in the Greek Anthology (Brunck, Anal.
vol. i. p. 153; Jacobs, Anth. Graec.
vol. i. p. 86) : --
ἐνθάδ᾽ ἀπορρήξας ψυχὴν βαρυδαίμονα κεῖμαι
, τοὔνομα δ᾽ οὐ πεύσεσθε, κακοὶ δὲ κακῶς ἀπόλοισθε.
The few details recorded of his eccentricities by the authors above cited have no value except as contributing to the study of his whole character, as one type of the diseased human mind, a subject which lies beyond our present limits, but for which the reader will find ample materials in comparing the ancient authorities with Shakspeare's Timon of Athens,
and in this comparison Mr. Knight's Introductory Notice
to that tragedy will be found to give valuable assistance.