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Epitaph and Riddle

“Cleobulus son of Euagoras, of Lindus; according to Duris a Carian; some writers make his lineage go back to Heracles, and say that he was of remarkable strength and beauty, and acquainted with the learning of Egypt. He had a daughter Cleobulina, a poetess who wrote riddles in hexameter verse and is mentioned by Cratinus in the play which bears her name in the plural number. He is also said to have rebuilt the temple of Athena founded by Danaus. He wrote Songs and Riddles amounting to 3000 lines. Some authorities ascribe to him the Epitaph on Midas:1.

A maiden of brass am I and I lie on the tomb of Midas. So long as water shall flow and tall trees grow green, Sun rise and shine and Moon give light, rivers run and sea wash shore, ever shall I abide upon this sore-lamented tomb and tell the passers--by that this is the grave of Midas.

And they find evidence for this in a poem of Simonides2 where he says: ‘Who that hath understanding would praise Cleobulus the man of Lindus for his pitting of the might of a grave-stone against the ever-running rivers and the flowers of the Spring, against the flame of Sun and of golden Moon, and against the eddies of the ocean-wave? All these are subject to the Gods; but a stone, even mortal hands may break it. This is the rede of a fool.’ For they deny that the epitaph is Homer's, who lived, say they, many years before Midas.

Pamphila's Notes preserve the following Riddle of his:3

The father is one, the sons twelve, and each of these has twice thirty daughters of features twain; some are white and others are black, and though they be immortal they all perish.

The answer is ‘the year.’ ... He died an old man, seventy years of age, and his epitaph was: ‘This his birthplace Lindus, whose pride is the sea, mourns for a wise man, Cleobulus.’

Diogenes Laertius Lives of the Philosophers

1 cf. A.P. 7. 153, Philop. in Arist. 77 b. 32 (p. 156 Wall.)

2 31 L.G.

3 cf. Suid Κλεοβουλίνη , A.P. 14. 101, Stob. Ecl. Phys. i. 8. 37

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