Polyaenus of Lampsacus

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Polyaenus of Lampsacus (/ˌpɒlˈnəs/;[1] Greek: Πoλύαινoς Λαμψακηνός, Polyainos Lampsakēnos; c. 340 – c. 285 BCE), also spelled Polyenus, was an ancient Greek mathematician and a friend of Epicurus.

Life[edit]

He was the son of Athenodorus. His friendship with Epicurus started after the latter's escape from Mytilene in 307 or 306 BC when he opened a philosophical school at Lampsacus associating himself with other citizens of the town, like Pythocles, Colotes, and Idomeneus. With these fellow citizens he moved to Athens, where they founded a school of philosophy with Epicurus as head, or hegemon, while Polyaenus, Hermarchus and Metrodorus were kathegemones.

A man of mild and friendly manners, as Philodemus refers, he adopted fully the philosophical system of his friend, and, although he had previously acquired great reputation as a mathematician, he now maintained with Epicurus the worthlessness of geometry.[2][3] But the statement may be at least doubted, since it is certain Polyaenus wrote a mathematical work called Puzzles (Greek: Aπoριαι) in which the validity of geometry is maintained. It was against this treatise that another Epicurean, Demetrius Lacon, wrote Unsolved questions of Polyaenus (Greek: Πρὸς τὰς Πoλυαίνoυ ἀπoρίας) in the 2nd century BCE. Like Epicurus, a considerable number of spurious works seem to have been assigned to him; one of these was Against the Orators, whose authenticity was attacked both by Zeno of Sidon and his pupil Philodemus.

Writings[edit]

The works attributed to Polyaenus include:[4]

  • On Definitions
  • On Philosophy
  • Against Aristo
  • Puzzles (Aporiai)
  • On the Moon
  • Against the Orators
  • His collected Letters.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ US dict: pŏl′·ē·ē′·nəs
  2. ^ Cicero, De finibus, i. 6; Academica, ii. 33
  3. ^ Diogenes Laertius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, ii.105, x. 12
  4. ^ Donald J. Zeyl, Daniel Devereux, Phillip Mitsis, (1997), Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy, page 446.

References[edit]