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Death by Philosophy: The Biographical Tradition in the Life and Death of the Archaic Philosophers Empedocles, Heraclitus, and Democritus

By Ava Chitwood

How does one die by means of philosophy? In Diogenes Laertius, philosophers bounce into volcanoes, bury themselves in dung, get eaten through canines, hold themselves, drown, and vanish into skinny air -- occasionally all in one lifetime. yet what occurs once we glance past the glorious and absurd to ascertain the actual ways in which the philosophers' lives and deaths are recounted?

Ava Chitwood's reexamination of Diogenes Laertius's philosophical biographies opens a brand new window at the highbrow tradition and context within which the paintings of philosophers like Empedocles, Heraclitus, and Democritus used to be learn, acquired, and transmitted. Chitwood's research additionally indicates a strategy for knowing the interaction among biography and philosophy and for comparing biographical sources.

While Chitwood's method combines the disciplines of classical philology and philosophy, dying by way of Philosophy isn't meant exclusively for the expert. This research deals the fashionable reader a desirable, clean, and interesting view of the traditional literary and philosophical world.

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20. In his paintings On Poets, he [Aristotle] says that Empedocles used to be of Homer’s tuition and strong in diction, being nice in metaphors and within the use of all different poetic units. (DL eight. 58)67 Αριστοτελης δε . . . εν δε τωι Περι ποιητων [fr. 70] ␸ησιν οτι και Οµηρικος ο Εµπεδοκλης και δεινος περι την ␸ρασιν γεγονεν, µετα␸ορητικος τε ων και τοι ς αλλοις τοις περι ποιητικ ην επιπευγµασι χρωµενος. Aristotle’s reviews in other places provide a enormously diverse effect. 21. Empedocles has not anything to do with Homer other than meter; the 1st might be referred to as a poet, the opposite relatively a scientist. (Aristotle Poet. 1. 4447b 17 ϭ DK 31 A22) ουδεν δε κοινον εστιν Οµηρωι και Εµπεδοκλει πλην το µετρον᝽ διο τον µεν ποιητην δικαιον καλει ν, τον δε ␸υσιολογον µαλλον η ποιητην. 22. [On the necessities of excellent Greek] . . . The 3rd requirement is to prevent ambiguity, except certainly the anomaly is intentionally sought, because it is by means of those that fake they've got anything to claim once they haven't. Such humans often say it in verse, like Empedocles. problematic circumlocutions lie to those people who are inspired, as most folk are inspired, via prophecies, so they assent to ambiguous oracles, like, ‘If Croesus crosses the river Halys, he'll spoil an exceptional nation. ’68 (Aristotle Rhet. three. five. 1407a31 ϭ DK 31A25) τριτον µη αµ␸ιβολοις᝽ ταυτα δε, αν µη ταναντια προαιρηται, οπερ ποιουσιν οταν µηθεν µεν εχωσι λεγειν, προσποιωνται δε τι λεγειν. ο ι γαρ τοιουτοι εν ποιησει λεγουσιν ταυτα ο ιον Εµπεδοκλης. ␸ενακιζει γαρ το κυκλωι πολυ ον, και πασχουσιν ο ι ακροαται οπερ ο ι πολλοι παρα τοι ς µαντεσιν. οταν γαρ λεγωσιν αµ␸ιβολα, συµπαρανευουσιν Κροι σος Αλυν διαβας µεγαλην αρχην καταλυσει . both Aristotle was once inconsistent in his perspectives, or Diogenes Laertius was once flawed in his interpretation. sixty nine the potential for misinterpretation leaves Diogenes Laertius’ different statements at the topic doubtful to boot. Empedocles 37 23. [Aristotle] says that [Empedocles] wrote different poems, particularly at the invasion of Xerxes and a hymn to Apollo, which a sister of his (or, in line with Hieronymus, his daughter) afterwards burnt. The hymn she destroyed by accident, however the poem at the Persian conflict intentionally, since it was once unfinished. And in most cases phrases Aristotle says Empedocles wrote either tragedies and political discourses. yet Heraclides, the son of Sarapion, attributes the tragedies to another writer. Hieronymus broadcasts that he had encounter forty-three of his performs, whereas Neanthes tells us that Empedocles wrote those tragedies in his adolescence, and that he, Neanthes, was once accustomed to seven of them. (DL eight. 57–58) και διοτι γραψαντος αυτου και αλλα ποιηµατα την τε Ξερξου διαβασιν και προοιµιον ε ις Απολλωνα, ταυθ υστερον κατεκαυσεν αδελ␸η τις αυτου (η θυγατηρ, ως ␸ησιν Ιερωνυµος [fr. 24 Hiller]), το µεν προοιµιον ακουσα, τα δε Περσικα βουληθει σα δια το ατελειωτα ειναι. (58) καθολου δε ␸ησι και τραγωιδιας αυτον γραψαι και πολιτικους᝽ Ηρακλειδης δε ο του Σαραπιωνος ετερου ␸ησιν ειναι τας τραγωιδιας. Ιερωνυµος δε τρισ ι και τετταρακοντα ␸ησιν εντετυχηκεναι, Νεανθης [FGrHist.

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