Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

Manual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions online

. (page 109 of 153)
Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 109 of 153)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

On the Cytniac sect ; Enfield, bk. ii. ch. v.—Fi: Mentz, Aristippus philosophus Sncralicus, Halle, 1719. 4.— Cowstri'i Tenn»

mann, § 121. On the Megaric; Enfield, bk. ii. ch. vi.— /. G. Hager, Dissert, de modo disputandi Euclidis. Lips. 1736. 4.—

Ceusin's Tennemann, § 125. On the Eliac ; Enfield, bk. ii. ch. vii.

^ 173. The Major Socratic sects were four, viz. the Cynic and Stoic, Academic and
Peripatetic ; each of which was found at Athens, and will deserve a short notice.

The Cynic originated with Antisthe?ies, a pupil of Socrates. He maintained that
all the philosophers were departing from the principles of that master. He assumed
the character of a reformer; severe in manners ; carefully negligent of dress, so much

so as to provoke the ridicule of Socrates. The Cynics were rather a class of

reformers in manners, than a sect of philosophers. Their name is said by some to
have been occasioned by their severity and sourness, which M'ere such as to bring
upon them the appellation o( Dogs. They had two grand peculiarities; one was that
they discarded all speculation and science whatever; the other, that they insisted on

the most rigid self-denial. One of the most famous of this sect was Dios^ene^. He

carried the notions of Antisthenes to extravagance. Made up of eccentricities, he was
always a censor, and his opposition to refinement often degenerated into rudeness. He
satirized the instructions of other philosophers ; having heard Plato define a manto be
a two legsed animal without wings, he stripped a cock of its feathers, and taking- it into

the Academy, exclaimed. " See Plato's Ma?i." There are po writings of this sect

except some fragments of Antisthenes.

On the Cynics; Enfield, bk. ii. ch. ^.—Bnrthehmy. Trav. of Anach. ch. yh.—SchSU, Hist. Lilt. Gr. ii. 360.— The remains of
Antisthenes are two discourses, given in Rciske (ci'ea ^ 99. 2), 8th vol. ; and some se?i(e?icfiS, given in /. OrelH, Opuscula, &c. cited
I 103. 1. The letters ascribed to him are in /. OreUi, CoUeclio, &c. cited § 152. 1


§ 174. The Sfm'c sect may be said to have sprung from the Cynic. Its founder wag
Zeno, a native of the island of Cyprus. Brought to Athens by the mercantile pursuits
of his father, he was accidentally introduced to the school of the Cynics, and from
them he borrowed many of the notions of the sect he established. Zeno, however,
visited the other schools which then existed and borrowed Irom all. I'he name Stoic
was drawn from the Portico iP. IV. § 74) where he gave his lectures.

The Stoics differed from the Cynics, in as much as the former devoted themselves
much to speculative studies, which the latter wholly discarded ; but they resembled
the Cynics in some degree in their general austerity of manners and character. In-
difference to pleasure or pain, adversity or prosperity, they inculcated as the state of
mind essential to happiness. The doctrine oifate was one of their grand peculiarities;
they considered all things as controlled by an eternal necessity, to which even the
Deity submitted ; and this was supposed to be the origin of evil. — Their system of
morals was in general strict and outwardly correct, but one which was based upon and
which greatly fostered a cold, self-relying pride. It approved of suicide, which was
perpetrated by Zeno himself. Yet it stimulated to heroic deeds. — In logic they imi-
tated the quibbles and sophisms of the Megaric sect. The story of the sophist Prota-
goras and his pupil well illustrates the absurd trifling of their dialectics. Their system
of logic and metaphysics, however, presents a classification which bears, in some
respects, a striking resemblance to that of Locke. Objects of thought or knowledge are

divided into /o«r kinds; substances, qualities, modes, and relatio7is. '1 he later

Stoics are supposed to have borrowed some views from Christianity. They speak of
the world as destined to be destroyed in avast conflagration, and succeeded by another
new and pure. One of them, addressing a mother on the loss of her son. says, " The
sacred assembly of the Scipios and Catos shall welcome the youth to the region of
happy souls. Your father himself (for there all are known to all) shall embrace his
grandson, and shall direct his eyes, now furnished with new light, along the course of
the stars, with delight explaining to him the mysteries of nature, not from conjecture,
but from certain knowledge."

Among the most distinguished of the early disciples of this school were Cleanthes,
immediate successor to Zeno (cf. "^ 72), and Chryslppus, who also became the public
teacher in the school at Athens. The latter was celebrated as a disputant ; '■ Give me
doctrines," said he, " I will find arguments to support them." His industry, it is said,
produced many hundred treatises ; of which nothing remains except a few scattered
citations. — Nor have we any written productions from Zeno, or any of the early Stoics.
The principal authors whose works remain are Epictetus and Antoninus, who lived
after the Christian era.

On the stoics; Enfield, bit. ii. eh. xi.—Cudworth, Int. System, ch. iv. § 25.—jl(lam Smith, Th. of Moral Senlimenis, pt. vii.
sect. 2. ch. i. (p. 115, ed. Bost. 1817).— T/i. Brown, On the Philos. of the Human Mind, lect. xcix. (p 547. 3d vol. ed. And. IKH).
——On Epictetus and Antoninus ; cf. § 193, 196.—/. C. F. Meyer, Commentatio in qua Stoic doctr, eth. cum Christ, conip'aralur.
GotU 1823. 4.

§ 175. The Academic sect originated with Plato, a native of Athens, descended on
his father's side from Codrus, and on his mother's from Solon. In youth devoted to
poetry and painting, lie wrote a poem, but, after comparing it with Homer, committed
it to the flames. Captivated by the lectures of Socrates, he left poetry for philosophy.
After much travel through the "East and also in Magna Grscia, he opened his school
in a public grove, from which the sect derived the name of the Academy (cf P. IV.
§ 74). Over his door was the inscription Ot(5£(f dyecopttrprirog uairo}; so much did he
value mathematical science as a foundation for higher studies.

One of the peculiarhies of the Platonic philosophy respected the relations of matter
to mind. The system recognized a supreme intelligence, but maintained the eternity
of matter ; matter receives all its shapes from the will of the intelligence, yet contains
a blind refractory force which is the cause of all evil. The human soul consists of
parts derived from both these, the intelligence and the matter; and all its impurity
results from the inherent nature of the latter constituent. — A very striking peculiarity
was the doctrine respecting ideas. It was briefly this ; that there exist eternal -patterns,
or types, or exemplars of all things ; these exemplars are the only proper objects ot
science ; to understand them is to know truth ; on the other hand, all sensible forms,
the appearances made to the several senses, are only shadows ; the forms and shadows
are addressed to the senses, the exemplars or types to the intellect. _ These exemplars
•were called ideas. — The doctrines respecting matter and ideas essentially controlled the
system of study in this sect, and their practical morality. To gain true science, one
must turn away from the things around him and apply' his mind in the most perfect
abstraction to contemplate diW A fnd out the eternal original patterns of things. And to
gain moral purity, he must mortify and deny the parts of the soul derived from matter,
and avoid all familiarity with the shadows. Hence probably the readiness to embrace
the Platonic system manifested among the Christians of the middle ages, when the
mystic notion of cleansing the soul by solitude and penance became so cornmon.

The Academic sect was very popular, and eminent philosophers successively taught
its doctrines in the grove. Some adhered closely to the views of Plato, and were


called disciples of the Old Academy, while others departed from them and formed
successively the Middle and the New Academy. The Old was begun by Plato, B. C.
about 400; the Middle, by Arcesilaus, B. C. about 300; the New, by Carneades,
B. C. about IfcO. — The distinguishing point of difference between the three branches
was their opinion respecting the certainty of human knowledge. The Old Academy
maintained that certain knowledge can be obtained, not of the sensible forms, but only
of the eternal exemplars; the Middle, that there is a certaiiity in things, yet it is beyond
the attainment of the human mind, so that positive assertion is improper; the New,
that man has the means of knowledge, not infallible, but sufficiently certain for ail
his wants.

On \htAcndemic sect ; Enfield, bk. ii. ch. i.—Middleton's Life of Cicero, sect. \2.—Gilliee, Hist. Greece, ch. xxxii 7. F. Her'

hart, DePlalonici Systematis fundaniento. Gott. 1805. 8-— Ph. G. Van Hiusde, Inilia Philosophise Platonicje. Lips. 1827-31

Johiuoii^s or CousinU Tennemann, § 128-138— firfuifc. Rev July, 1857. Plato's Philo-:. aod Bacon's compared.— ff. J. Richter, De
Ideis Plafonis. Lips. I8<!7. 8.— J. Kapp, Plalons Erziehungslehre, als Padagogik far Einzelnen und als Slaatspidagogik. MinJen,
1S35. 8. — See references under § 189.

§ 176. The Peripatetic sect grew out of the Academy, Aristotle its founder having
been long a pupil to Plaio. Having closed his labors as the teacher of Alexander, he
returned to Athens, and his master, Plato, being dead, he commenced his Lectures in
the Lyceum (cf P. IV. § 74). He taught for 12 years. Accused of impiety by ene-
mies and rivals, he retired to Chalcis, where he remained until his death.

The Peripatetics, according to the established practice of the philosophers, had their
pubhc and their secret doctrine, or the exoteric and esoteric (cf. P. IV. § 72). In his
morning walk, Aristotle imparted the latter to his particular disciples; in his evening
walk, he proclaimed the former, his public doctrine, to a mixed crowd of hearers.
Very contradictory accounts have been given of the essential principles of Aristotle
and his sect. -But nothing perhaps was more distinctive than the system of syllogistic
reasoning, which was introduced by the founder, and became so celebrated in subse-
quent ages, and for so long a period held the highest place in the plans of education.—
Of the early disciples of this sect, Theophrastus and Strato were among the most
eminent. I'hey succeeded Aristotle as teachers in the Lyceum. Dicaearchus, the
geographer, and Demetrius Phalereus, the rhetorician (cf. § 116), were also distin-
guished Peripatetics.

On the Penpaecficj; Enfield, bk. ii. ch. \x.— Gillies, ch. xt—Cudwortli, ch. iv. 24.— Smi/A, Theory Mnr. Sentiment, pf. vii.

sect. 2. ch. \.—yiilford, ch. xci. § \.—Edinb. Encycl. Aristotle.— Coi/Jin'» or Johntooi's Tennemann, § 139—150. On the Logic

of Aristotle ; Rtid''s Analysis of A.'s Logic —S(£iO'ir(, Elements of Phil. Human Mind, vol. ii. ch. iii.— / Gillies. Analysis, &c,
in his Translation of A 's Ethics and Politics. Loud. 1797. 2 vols. i.—T/u Taylor, Diss, on the Philosophy of Aristotle. Lend.
1813. 4.— See references under § 191.

§ 177. We will next notice the sects which were derived from the Italic school (cf.
§ ICS). They were four, the Eleatic, the Heraclitean, the Epicurean, and the Skeptic.

The Eleatic was founded by Xenophanes of Colophon, who early left his native
country for Sicily, and thence passed over into Magna Graecia. Here he became a
celebrated disciple in the Pythagorean school, but advanced new and different views
in his own lectures. The sect derived its name from the place where some of his
most distinguished followers belonged, Elea in Magna Graecia. — The doctrines of the
Eleatic sect were atheistical. Matter is made up of infinitely small atoms, which have no
property but a tendency to move. By the eternally varying motions of these atoms,
every existence and every effect in the universe is caused. Yet there is no real change
except in our senses. The soul of man is material. — The most distinguished supporters
of this sect were Parmenides, Zeno of Elea, Leucippus, who is said to have been the
chief author of the atomic theory, and Democritus of Abdera, commonly called the
laughing philosopher. Another eminent follower of this sect was Protagoras of Abdera,
who acquired great power and wealth at Athens in the profession of sophist, but was
finally banished, his writings having been publicly burned, on account of his impiety.

The Heraclitean sect was instituted at Ephesus by Heraclitus, from whom it took
its name. It is but httle noticed as a separate sect. The doctrines were atheistic, and
many of them more absurd than those of the Eleatic philosophers. One of the notions
was, that all nature is full of souls or daemons. Fire is the principle from which all
things are produced, and those souls are the best which have the least moisture, and
approach nearest to the primary fire. — The most celebrated name among the Hera-
cliiists was Hippocrates, who in some points agreed with this sect, but was not properly
epeaking a disciple.

On the Eleatic sect, Enfield, bk. ii. cb. ]3.—Cudwcrth, ch. i. § 8. ch. iv. § 20.— X G. Buhle, Comment, de orlu et progresro
pantheismi inde a Xenophane primo ejus auctore usque ad Spinozam. Gott. 1790. 4.— Cownrt's Tennemann, § 97 — 102, 104, 105.
—Fragments of their writings in H. Sttpharius, Poesis Philosophica, cited ^ 47 f.— and in A. Peyron, as cited § 64. i.—SchSU, ii.
317. — Respec'ing Xenophanes and Zeno of Elea, Couiin, Nouv. Fragm. (p. 9-95) cited § 171.

Ou the Htraclitean sect; Enfield, bk. ii. ch. \i.—Cudworth, ch. i. § 16. iii. 8. iv. 13.— CA. Gottl. Heyne, Progr. de animabns
ticcis ex Heracliteo placito optime ad sapient, ac virt. instructis. Gott. I7S1. fol. and in his Opusc Acad. vol. 3J.— CoJtnn'J or
Johnson's Tennemann, § 103.— Fragments of »rilings, Stephanus, as just cited. — Leltert ascribed to Heraclitus, in the Collections
rited 5 152. 1.

§ 178. The Epicurean sect had its name and origin from Epicmxifi, born near Athens.


He first gave lectures at Mitylene, but afterwards opened his school at Athens in a
garden, in which he Uved, and often supported large numbers of young men, who
flocked to hear him.

The doctrines of this sect were derived from the atomic theory of the Eleatics, and
were on the whole atheistic, although not so fully and formally. All happiness was
founded in pleasure. This principle opened the way lor the great hcentiousness of the
later disciples of this school. Epicurus explained and limited his language so as to
recommend the practice of virtue. " It might have been his pleasure to be chaste and
temperate. We are told it was so; but others find their pleasure in intemperance and
luxury ; and such was the taste of his princij)al followers." — The sect became popular,
and existed to a very late period. Of the writings of the sect, only trifling fragments
remain. Yet Epicurus alone is said to have written several hundred treatises. Her-
machus, or properly Hermarchus, was successor to Epicurus, and inherited his books
and garden.

Ou the Epicureans; Enfield, bk. ii. ch. 15.— Gillia, Hist. Greece, eh i\.— Smith, Theor. Mor. Sent. P. vii. sect. 2. ch. 2.—
Brown, lolell. Phil. lect. 99.— Cctwin'j or Johnson's Tenneniann, § 151-157. — Fragments of Epicurus. /. G. Schneider, Epicur!
physica et meteorologiaduabus epistolis ejusilam comprehensa. Lips. 1813. 8.—/. C. OreZJi, Epicuri fragnieula librorum ii. et si.
ie natura, &c. Lips. 1818. 8.-Cf. SduJlt, iii. 321.

^ 179. The Skeptic sect was so named from its doctrines ; it was also called Pyrrho-
nic from its founder Pyrrho. He was educated in the Eleatic sect, and particularly
admired the notions of Democritus, from whom he drew the elements of his system.
He was also instructed in the dialectic sophistries of the Megaiic sect, and seems to
have been disgusted whh their frivolous disputes.

The doctrines of this sect were very similar to those of the middle Academy (cf.
§ 175), and many real skeptics concealed themselves under the name of the Academy,
as their own sect was rather unpopular. Their essential peculiarity was, that nothing
is certain, and no assertion can he made. Happiness they placed in tranquillity of mind,
and this could be obtained only by absolute indifl'erence to all dogmas. They ridiculed
the disputes and contradictions of the other sects, especially the boasted confidence of
the Stoic, and the proud sophistries of the Megaric. But Seneca well remarked in
comparing the Megaric and the Skeptic sects, " I prefer a man who teaches me trifles
to him who teaches me nothing ; if the dialectic philosopher leaves me in the dark,

the Skeptic puts out my eyes." One of the eminent disciples of this sect was Timon,

already mentioned as a poet (§ 45). The sect had its professors and teachers, down
to the time of Sextus Empiricus, whose writings are a principal source of information
respecting the views of the Skeptics.

On the Skeptict; Enfield, bk ii. ch. \e.— Gillies, ch. xl.— B. Bodersen, de philcsophia Pynhonia. Kit. 1S19. i.— Cousin's Ten.
Demann, § XU.—Langheinrich, cited § 45.— ScASS, iii. 342.

•^ 180. We have given a view of the sects as they grew one out of another. It may
be remarked here, that four of them arose after the commencement of the 4th period
in our division of the history of Greek literature {% 9), viz, the Peripatetic and Stoic,
descendants of the Ionic school, and the Epicurean and Skeptic, ofl'spring of the Italic ;
all the others existed before the time of Alexander. It was in the 4th period also,

that the middle and the new Academy appeared. In the 5fh period, i. e. after the

Roman supremacy, Grecian philosophy lost much of the dignity and importance it had
enjoyed. Its professors were viewed more in the light of mercenary teachurs. The
spirit of honest inquiry gave place to the prevalence of skepticism. Visionaries and
impostors assumed the garb of philosophers, and new sects were formed under the old
names, the outward forms and technical expressions being retained, with almost hothing
else. — Such especially were the New-Pythagoreans. As eminent among these may
be mentioned particularly, Sextius, in the time of Augustus, Sotion of Alexandria,
under Tiberius, and Apollonius Tyanensis, the famous impostor.

On the NerjoPythagcfreans ; Enfield, bk. iii. ch. 2. sect. 2. — Cousin's Tennemann, § iSi.—Scholl, livre v. ch. eO.—Sovdiay, Des
Secies philosophiques, in the Mem. .Scad. Jnscr. xiv. 1.

§ 181. The New-Platonists also appeared under the Roman emperors. These pro-
fessed to disentangle the pure doctrines of Plato from the additions and corruptions of
the later Academicians ; but they themselves mingled much that was foreign to his
system, and soon prepared the way for the Synchretistic, or Eclectic schools.

The principle of the Eclectics was, to select whatever was true in the various con
flicting doctrines of all the sects, and thus form an harmonious union. The first pro
jector of this plan is said to have been Potamo, a Plalonist of Alexandria. But Am
monius, of the same city, surnamed Saccas, is considered as the actual founder of tb«?
Eclectic school. Having been educated among Christians, he endeavored to incor-
porate in his system some of the principles of Christianity. And this sect numbered
among its disciples both Christians and pagans. The more eminent of the pagans
before the time of Constantine, were Plotinus, Porphyry, Proclus, and Jamblichus.

On the New-Platonists and Eclectics; Enfield, bk. iii. ch. 2. sect. 3, A.— Cousin's or /oAnson'j Tennemann, §185,200-2!?.
ScftSU, bk. V. ch. 61, &2.— Matter, Sur I'Ecole d'Alexandrie, cited § 68 3.— For some account of the Alexandrian Platonism (a?«d
of the Itluseum at Aleiandria), see also Land. Quart. Rev. Julv, 1840. p. 34, ss.



"5i 182. There were also during the same period, under the Roman emperors, followers
and advocates of the principal ancient sects, as (besides the Academic) the Peripatetic,
the Cynic, the Stoic, the Skeptic, and especially the Epicurean. It is not important,
in this glance, to notice them separately ; indeed the Eclectic principles held a great
sway with the age, and under the prevalence of these on the one hand, and of a
Chrhtiari philosophy on the other, the adherents to the old names had but a limited
influence. After the time of Constantine, who died A. D. 337, the Neio-Platonistg,
who were generally great enemies of Christianity, established their school at Athens.
The most distinguished philosopher was Proclus. This school was at length sup-
pressed by Justinian (cf. P. IV. ^ 82). Of the other systems the Peripatetic was

the most in vogue among the Greeks, especially at Constantinople. Indeed it was not
long after Constantine, when all, who did not embrace Platonism, were included under
the°general name of Peripatetics. Many writers employed themselves in attempting
to explain and enforce the system. In the 8th and 9th centuries the Peripatetic phi-
losophy was introduced among the Arabians, and the works of Aristotle were trans-
lated iiito the Arabic language. By them it was propagated in the west of Europe in
the 11th and 12th centuries. Here it gave rise to that scholastic philosophy, which
exhibited such a singular union of acuteness and folly, and which reigned in Europe
until the revival of letters.

On the several sects above named, under the emperors before Constantine ; Enfield, bk. iii. ch. 2. sect. S-9.—Schbll, livre v. ch.

63-67. On the Christian philosophy, of the sanje period ; Sckoll, livre v. ch. 6S.— Enfield, bk. vi. ch. 2.—Ritter, Geschichte d

Phil. vols. Sand 6, as cited § 1S3. 2. Cf. § 285. On the New-Platonista after Constantine ; Enfield, bk. iii. ch. 2. sect. 4.—

Schmi, livre vi. ch 93. On tt.e Peripatetics after Constanline ; Sdwll, livre vi. ch. 94.— Cf. Hallam, View of Europe in Middle

Ages, ch. ix. pt. 2. (p. 332. 2d vol. ed. Phil. 1824.)

§ 183/. We shall now mention some of the principal sources of information
respectinor the Greek philosophy, and then proceed to notice the more distin-
guished Greek philosophers, of whose written productions we still have remains.

1. Original sources.— The first and moit direct are the extant works of the philosophers themselves; these works are to be noticed
ID the subsequent sections. But we may properly put here also some ancient authorities which are indirect. — I. Authors who
composed memoirs of philosophers ; Diogenes Lairttus, cf. § 255 a ; Philottratus, cf. 5 2i5 b ; Eunapius, cf. § 255 c. — 2. Authors
who wrote conipendiums or sketches of philosophy ; Galeii (cf. § 273), to whom is ascribed a book on the History of Philosophy,
which is ;iven in the ed. of Chartier ; Plutarch (cf. § 249), to whom is ascribed (perhaps falsely, however) a work De plncitis
philcsophniTxin (cf. § 195. 3).— 3. Authors who in their works have introduced, more or less fully, the doctrines and precepts of the
philosophers ; e. g. Mhenseus, cf. § 123 ; Cicero (cf. § 40;), a valuable source, especially in his De Finibris, and his Qusstiones Aca
demicx; the information is collected in F. Gedike, Ciceronis Historia Philosophic antique Berl. 1782. 3d ed. 1815. 8. — 4. Chris-
tian authors, who wrote in controversy with the pagans ; Ori^en, Eusebim, and others ; cf. § 287, 288.

2. Modem works on the History of philosophy.— r/i Stanley, History of Philosophy. Lond. 1655. fol.— 31 ed. 1701. 4.—/.
Brueker, Historia Crilica Philosophise, &c. Lpz. 1742-67. 6 vols. 4.— By same, Instituliones hist. Philos. Lpz. 17?6. 8. and (ed.
Born) 1790. S.—IV. Enfield, History of Philosophy, &c. (a translation and abridgment of Bruckcr). Lond. 1791. 2 vols. 4. Dubl.
1792. 2 vols. 8 — ff. Ritter, Gfschichte der Philosophie. Hamb. (I— V. Th.) 1829-41. 8.—Ritler's History of Anc. Philos. Trans-
lated from German. Oxf. 1S38. 4 vols. 8. Now considered as high authority.— W^ G. Tennemann, Geschichte der Philosophie.
Lpz. I79S-1SI9. 1 1 vols. 8. one of the best works in this department.- By same, Grundriss der Gesch. d. Phil. (3d ed. by IVendt)-
Lpz. 1820. 8. Transl. into French by Cousin. Par. 1819. 8. Transl. into Enjlish by .«. Johnson. Oxf. 1832. 8. This is valua-
ble for its full references on the subjects notice.!— J^. G. Buhle, Lehrbuch der Gesch. d. Philos. und ihrer Literalur. GotL 1796-

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 109 of 153)