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Clitomachus ( , also Cleitomachus or Kleitomachos; 187-109 BC) originally named Hasdrubal, was a Carthaginianmarker who came to Athensmarker around 146 BC and studied philosophy under Carneades, whom he succeeded as head of the Academymarker in 129 BC. He was a philosophical sceptic like his master. Nothing survives of his writings, which were dedicated to making known the views of Carneades, but Cicero made use of them for some of his works.

Life

Clitomachus was born in Carthagemarker in 187 BC, and he was originally named Hasdrubal. He came to Athensmarker when he was 40 years old around 146 BC. He there became connected with the founder of the New Academy, the philosopher Carneades, under whose guidance he rose to be one of the most distinguished disciples of this school; but he also studied at the same time the philosophy of the Stoics and Peripatetics. In 129 BC he became the head (scholarch) of the Academymarker after the death of Carneades. He continued to teach at Athens till as late as 111 BC, as Crassus heard him in that year. He was succeeded as scholarch by Philo of Larissa.

Writings

Of his works, which amounted to 400 books, only a few titles are preserved. His main object in writing them was to make known the philosophy of his master Carneades, from whose views he never dissented. Clitomachus continued to reside at Athens till the end of his life; but he continued to cherish a strong affection for his native country, and when Carthagemarker was taken in 146 BC, he wrote a work to console his unfortunate countrymen. This work, which Cicero says he had read, was taken from a discourse of Carneades, and was intended to exhibit the consolation which philosophy supplies even under the greatest calamities. His work was highly regarded by Cicero, who based parts of his De Natura, De Divinatione and De Fato on a work of Clitomachus he names as On the Withholding of Assent ( ).

Clitomachus probably treated of the history of philosophy in his work on the philosophical sects: On the Schools of Thought ( ).

Two of Clitomachus' works are known to have been dedicated to prominent Romans, the poet Gaius Lucilius and the one-time consul Lucius Marcius Censorinus, suggesting that his work was known and appreciated in Rome.

References

  1. Diogenes Laƫrtius, iv. 67
  2. Cicero, de Oratore, i. 11.
  3. Cicero, Tusculanae Quaestione, iii. 22.
  4. Cicero, Academica, ii. 6, 31.
  5. Cicero, Academica, ii. 31.
  6. Diogenes Laƫrtius, ii. 92
  7. Cicero, Academica, ii. 32.


Sources




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