The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Theophrastus – Theopompus – Theoriae


(3) Of Alexandria. One of the last members of the Alexandrian Museum, born about 365 a.d. He is the author of a com­mentary on Euclid and on the astronomical tables of Ptolemseus.

(4) JElius, A rhetorician of Alexandria. He wrote, in the 5th century A.D., a book on rhetoric, to which were appended exer­cises on style, called progymnasmata, deserving of much commendation both for their conciseness and lucidity of exposition, and for their criticisms on the style of the Attic orators.

The6phrastus. A Greek philosopher, born 371 b.c. at Eresus, in Lesbfis. At Athens, he was at first the pupil of Plato, and then of Aristotle, who, on account of his fasci­nating powers of language, is said to have given him the name of Theophrastus (" divine speaker "), instead of his original name Tyrtamus. Appointed by Aristotle guardian of his son and heir to his library, and designated by him as his suc­cessor in the leadership of the Peripatetic school, he continued at its head, and pur­sued, in an independent spirit, the philo­sophy of his master. After long enjoying the highest esteem, he died in the eighty-fifth year of his age, in 287.

Like Aristotle, he succeeded in com­bining with his philosophical studies (of which only the fragment of a work on metaphysics has been preserved), various investigations in natural science, especially in botany, of which science he may be said to be the founder, just as Aristotle is con­sidered to be the originator of zoology. Of his botanical works we still possess a Natural History of Plants, in ten books, and six books of the eight On the Origin (or physiology) of Plants. A small pam­phlet, containing an outline of mineralogy, has also been preserved, together with other scientific works. His. Characters are pro­bably an abridgment of a larger work. They consist of thirty sections, descriptions of various types of character, and are remarkable for the knowledge of life and keenness of observation which they display, and for the intuitive skill and vivacity of expression with which they are written.

Theopompus. (1) A Greek poet of the Old Comedy, a younger contemporary of Aristophanes; he is known to have been engaged in composition as late as about 370 b.c. Only fragments remain of his twenty-four dramas, which prepared the way for the transition to the Middle Comedy. !

(2) A Greek historian, born at Chifls I about 380 b.c. He left home, probab _ about 361, with his father, who was banished by the democratic party on account of his predilection for the Spartans, and, having been trained in oratory by Isdcrates, spoke with great success in all the larger towns of Greece, He distinguished himself so greatly in the rhetorical contest in-i stituted (351) by queen Artemlsia, wife of Mausolus, in honour of her deceased husband, that he obtained a brilliant victory over all competitors. He afterwards travelled, with the object of acquiring material for his historical works. The favour shown him by Alexander the Great induced him to return to Chios at the age of forty-five; but on the death of his patron he found himself again obliged to flee from his opponents, whose hatred he had incurred by his vehement adoption of the sentiments of the aristocracy. He took refuge with king Ptolemy I at Alexandria about 305. Here he- did not, however, meet with a favourable reception, and was compelled to withdraw, as his life was in danger. Of his subsequent fate nothing is known.

Besides numerous orations, he composed two large histories, founded on the most careful and minute research: (a) Hgllenica, in twelve books, a continuation of Thucy-dides, covering the period from 411-394; and (b) PMlippica, in fifty-eight books, treating of the life and times of Philip of Macedon. Of these works only fragments remain. The charge of malignity, which was brought against him by the ancients, seems to have originated in the reckless manner in which, on the testimony of Dionysius of Halicar-nassus [Ep. ad On. Pompcium], he exposed the pettiness and baseness of the politics of those times, especially those of the IJlace-donian party. There seems to be better foundation for the charge brought against him of being too fond of digressions; for when, in later times, the digressions in the PMlippica were omitted, the work was thereby reduced to sixteen books.

Theorise (Gr. theonai). The Greek name for the sacred embassies, which were sent by individual States to the great national festivals, as well as to those of friendly States; for instance, that sent by the Athenians to the festival of Apollo at Del6s. A number of important men were appointed to this office, the principal of whom was known as the archithf,SrSs. Part of the cost, which was considerable, was borne by the State and part by the

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.