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Empedocles


“Empedocles:—Son of Meton, or according to some authorities Archinomus, or as others say, Exaenetus. He was at first a pupil of Parmenides, of whom, if we may believe Porphyrius' History of the Philosphers , he was the bosom-friend. Some writers make him a pupil of Telauges the son of Pythagoras. He was of Acragas, a physical philosopher and epic poet; he flourished in the 79th Olympiad (464-1 B.C.).. He visited the cities of Greece with a gold wreath on his head, bronze Amyclean shoes on his feet, and Delphic garlands in his hands, with the intention of establishing himself in the public mind as a God. When he became old he threw himself by night into a crater, so that his body should never be found, and thus perished, his sandal being cast up by the fire.1 A pupil of his was Gorgias the orator of leontini. He wrote two Books in epic verse On the Nature of Things —these amount to upwards of 2,000 lines2 —a prosework called Medicine, and many others.” Suidas Lexicon “The Purifications of Empedocles were recited at Olympia by the rhapsode Cleomenes, according to Dicaearchus in his Olympic Oration. : .. And such as hold that all things come of four— Of fire, earth, air, and water; now of these Chief is Empedocles of Agrigent, Son of the isle of shores triangular. Which great and anywise marvellous tho' it be, Worthy the traveller's eye, rich in good things, And furnished with a host of dwellers, yet Methinks it ne'er had aught more glorious, More holy, or more wondrous, or more dear, Than him; nay, his divine heart's song So loud and clear is, telling to the world His glorious discoveries, that searce He seems to be of human lineage. Lucretius On the Nature of ThingsSuidas Lexicon

Inscriptions


“When the physician Acron asked the council for a site for a monument to his father, who had reached the top of the same profession, Empedocles came forward and defeated the proposal by a speech in which he dilated upon equality, his chief argument being to ask ‘What inscription shall we put upon it? Shall it be this?

Acron son of Acros, Acragas the eminent physician, lies beneath the most eminent heidht of his most eminent birthplace.’3

CURFRAG.tlg-1342.1
Other writers give as the second line:

is laid in a tomb eminent upon an eminence.

CURFRAG.tlg-1342.2
Some authorities ascribe the couplet to Simonides.

Diogenes Laertius Lives of the Philosophers [Empedocles]

“Pausanias, according to Aristippus and Satyrus, was Empedocles' bosom-friend, and indeed it was he to whom he addressed his poem On Nature in the words: [fr. 1 Diels]. Moreover he wrote and epigram on him:

With good name was this Asclepiad physician Pausanias, son of Anchites, bred in his birthplace Gela; for many a wight that wasted in dire woes he turned back on his way to the chamber of Persephone.4

CURFRAG.tlg-1342.3
Diogenes Laertius Lives of the Philosophers [Empedocles]

1 this famous story is prob. untrue; the accounts of his death vary (see Diog. L. 8. 67 ff.)

2 The many extant citations from this work and from the other ‘epic’ writings of E. will be found in Diels Vorsokratiker i.p. 223 ff.

3 every word of the Gk. contains kr or tr , and akr occurs in six words out of the eleven ( e.g. ‘Here is Dick Crick laid,| Son of Rick Crick of Cricklade, | A tip-top physician | In a tip-top position'); the father's real name was Xenon (Suid. Ἀ´κρων ): cf. Suid. Ἀ´κρων , Tz. Sch. in Hermog. Cram. A.O. 4. 119. 13, Hesych, Mil. 21, Rh. Gr. 3. 641 W, Eust. 1634. 12

4 Pausanias is here derived from παύω ‘to make to cease’ and ἀνία ‘pain’: cf. A.P. 7. 508 ( Σιμωνίδου

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