Page:Early Greek philosophy by John Burnet, 3rd edition, 1920.djvu/145

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131
HERAKLEITOS OF EPHESOS

Dareios,[1] and it seems probable that the party led by him had enjoyed the confidence of the Persian government. His expulsion would mark the beginnings of the movement against Persian rule, rather than its successful issue.

Sotion quotes a statement that Herakleitos was a disciple of Xenophanes,[2] which is not probable; for Xenophanes left Ionia before Herakleitos was born. More likely he was not a disciple of any one; but it is clear that he was acquainted both with the Milesian cosmology and with the poems of Xenophanes. He also knew something of the theories taught by Pythagoras (fr. 17). Of his life we really know nothing, except, perhaps, that he belonged to the ancient royal house and resigned the nominal position of Basileus in favour of his brother.[3] The origin of the other statements bearing on it is quite transparent.[4]

64.His book. We do not know the title of the work of Herakleitos.[5]—if, indeed, it had one—and it is not easy to form a clear idea of its contents. We are told that it was divided into three discourses: one dealing with the universe, one political,
  1. Bernays, op. cit. pp. 20 sqq. This is quite consistent with the Roman tradition that Hermodoros took part later in the legislation of the Twelve Tables at Rome (Dig. 1, 2, 2, 4; Strabo, xiv. p. 642). There was a statue of him in the Comitium (Pliny, H.N. xxxiv. 21). The Romans were well aware that the Twelve Tables were framed on a Greek model; and, as Bernays said (op. cit. p. 85), the fact is attested as few things are in the early history of Rome.
  2. Sotion ap. Diog. ix. 5 (R.P. 29 c).
  3. Diog. ix. 6 (R.P. 31).
  4. Herakleitos said (fr. 68) that it was death to souls to become water; and we are told accordingly that he died of dropsy. He said (fr. 14) that the Ephesians should leave their city to their children, and (fr. 79) that Time was a child playing draughts. We are therefore told that he refused to take any part in public life, and went to play with the children in the temple of Artemis. He said (fr. 85) that corpses were more fit to be cast out than dung; and we are told that he covered himself with dung when attacked with dropsy. Lastly, he is said to have argued at great length with his doctors because of fr. 58. For these tales see Diog. ix. 3-5.
  5. The variety of titles enumerated in Diog. ix. 12 (R.P. 30 b) seems to show that none was authentically known. That of "Muses" comes from Plato, Soph. 242 d 7. The others are mere "mottoes" (Schuster) prefixed by Stoic editors (Diog. ix. 15; R.P. 30 c),