Home  »  library  »  BIOS  »  Chrysippus (c. 280–206 B.C.)

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Chrysippus (c. 280–206 B.C.)

Chrysippus (krī-sip’us). A famed Greek philosopher; about 280–206 B.C.; born probably at Soli in Cilicia. He attended at Athens the lectures of Zeno, at least of Cleanthes; after the death of Cleanthes he became head of the school. His writings were exceedingly numerous, but only fragments remain. The loss is not very much to be regretted, if we may judge of the quality of the whole mass by specimens preserved for us in ancient authors. But there were precious gems of thought scattered through the rubbish of hair-splitting refinements and mere anilities; and it is to be regretted that these were not timely “tried out” and the rest shot into the dust-hole. This service Seneca could have done most acceptably,—a reverent disciple of Chrysippus, but also an outspoken critic of his writings, as we see in his treatise on ‘Kindnesses’: “I may seem to be setting Chrysippus to rights; he is a great man, but after all a Greek; his all too fine analysis is worked overmuch; even when you think he is getting at the heart of the matter, he punctures only, instead of boring through.”