Chapter 10. EUCLIDES
Euclides was a native of Megara on the Isthmus,1
or according to some of Gela, as Alexander states in
Successions of Philosophers.
to the writings of Parmenides, and his followers were
called Megarians after him, then Eristics, and at a
later date Dialecticians, that name having first been
given to them by Dionysius of Chalcedon because
they put their arguments into the form of question
and answer. Hermodorus tells us that, after the
death of Socrates, Plato and the rest of the philosophers came to him, being alarmed at the cruelty
of the tyrants. He held the supreme good to be
really one, though called by many names, sometimes
wisdom, sometimes God, and again Mind, and so
forth. But all that is contradictory of the good he
used to reject, declaring that it had no existence.
When he impugned a demonstration, it was not
the premisses but the conclusion that he attacked.
He rejected the argument from analogy, declaring
that it must be taken either from similars or from
dissimilars. If it were drawn from similars, it is with
these and not with their analogies that their arguments should deal; if from dissimilars, it is gratuitous
to set them side by side. Hence Timon says of him,
with a side hit at the other Socratics as well2
But I care not for these babblers, nor for anyone besides,
not for Phaedo whoever he be, nor wrangling Euclides, who
inspired the Megarians with a frenzied love of controversy.
He wrote six dialogues, entitled
Lamprias, Aeschines, Phoenix, Crito, Alcibiades,
To the school of Euclides belongs Eubulides
of Miletus, the author of many dialectical arguments
in an interrogatory form, namely,
The Liar, The Disguised, Electra, The Veiled Figure, The Sorites, The
The Bald Head.
Of him it is
by one of the Comic poets3
Eubulides the Eristic, who propounded his quibbles about
horns and confounded the orators with falsely pretentious
arguments, is gone with all the braggadocio of a Demosthenes.
Demosthenes was probably his pupil and thereby
improved his faulty pronunciation of the letter R.
Eubulides kept up a controversy with Aristotle and
said much to discredit him.
Among other members the school of Eubulides
included Alexinus of Elis, a man very fond of controversy, for which reason he was called Elenxinus.
In particular he kept up a controversy with Zeno.
Hermippus says of him that he left Elis and removed
to Olympia, where he studied philosophy. His pupils
inquired why he took up his abode here, and were
told that it was his intention to found a school which
should be called the Olympian school. But as their
provisions ran short and they found the place unhealthy, they left it, and for the rest of his days
Alexinus lived in solitude with a single servant.
And some time afterwards, as he was swimming in
the Alpheus, the point of a reed ran into him, and
of this injury he died.
I have composed the following lines upon him4
It was not then a vain tale that once an unfortunate man,
while diving, pierced his foot somehow with a nail; since
that great man Alexinus, before he could cross the Alpheus,
was pricked by a reed and met his death.
He has written not only a reply to Zeno but other
works, including one against Ephorus the historian.
To the school of Eubulides also belonged Euphantus
of Olynthus, who wrote a history of his own times.
He was besides a poet and wrote several tragedies,
with which he made a great reputation at the
festivals. He taught King Antigonus5
to him a work
which was very popular.
He died of old age.
There are also other pupils of Eubulides, amongst
them Apollonius surnamed Cronus. He had a pupil
Diodorus, the son of Ameinias of Iasus, who was
also nicknamed Cronus.6
Callimachus in his
says of him:
Momus himself chalked up on the walls "Cronus is wise."
He too was a dialectician and was supposed to
have been the first who discovered the arguments
known as the "Veiled Figure" and the "Horned
One." When he was staying with Ptolemy Soter,
he had certain dialectical questions addressed to him
by Stilpo, and, not being able to solve them on the
spot, he was reproached by the king and, among
other slights, the nickname Cronus was applied to
him by way of derision.
He left the banquet and,
after writing a pamphlet upon the logical problem,
ended his days in despondency. Upon him too I
have written lines7
Diodorus Cronus, what sad fate
Buried you in despair,
So that you hastened to the shades below,
Perplexed by Stilpo's quibbles?
You would deserve your name of Cronus better
If C and R were gone.8
The successors of Euclides include Ichthyas, the
son of Metallus, an excellent man, to whom Diogenes
the Cynic has addressed one of his dialogues; Clinomachus of Thurii, who was the first to write about
propositions, predications and the like; and Stilpo of
Megara, a most distinguished philosopher, of whom
we have now to treat.