Metrodorus of Lampsacus (the elder)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Metrodorus of Lampsacus
Μητρόδωρος Λαμψακηνός
Bornfl. 5th century BC
Died464 BC
EraPresocratic philosophy
RegionAncient Greek philosophy
Main interests
Homeric scholarship, Allegorical interpretation
Notable ideas
Interpretation of gods as allegorical depictions of forces of nature.

Metrodorus of Lampsacus (Ancient Greek: Μητρόδωρος Λαμψακηνός, romanizedMētrodōros Lampsakēnos; fl. 5th century BC) was a Pre-Socratic philosopher from the Greek town of Lampsacus on the eastern shore of the Hellespont. According to Diogenes Laertius, he was a contemporary and friend of Anaxagoras.[1] He died in 464 BC.[2]

The earliest surviving mention of Metrodorus is in Plato's dialogue Ion as one of the interpreters of Homer, along with Stesimbrotos of Thasos and Glaucon of Rhegium.[3][4] who expanded upon Anaxagoras' theories of allegorical interpretation.[5] The leading feature of Metrodorus' system of interpretation being that the deities and stories in Homer were to be understood as modes of representing physical powers and phenomena.[6][7]

Similarities have also been drawn between Metrodorus' doctrines and the allegorical interpretations of an Orphic poem found in the Derveni papyrus since its discovery in 1962. Although Metrodorus' authorship of that particular work has been rejected by modern scholarship, his derivation of physical doctrines via allegorical interpretation may have influenced it.[8]


  1. ^ Diogenes Laertius, ii. 11
  2. ^ Smith 1870.
  3. ^ Plato, Ion, 530c
  4. ^ Fuentes González 2005, p. 508.
  5. ^ Diogenes Laertius, ii. 11
  6. ^ Tatian, Exhortation to the Greeks 21.3
  7. ^ Fuentes González 2005, p. 509-512.
  8. ^ Fuentes González 2005, p. 513-514.


  • Der Kleine Pauly. vol. 3, col. 1280.
  • Fuentes González, Pedro Pablo (2005). "Métrodore de Lampsaque". In Goulet, Richard (ed.). Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques (in French). Vol. 4. Paris: Editions du Centre national de la recherche scientifique. pp. 508–514. ISBN 978-2-271-06386-1. Retrieved 7 August 2023.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "Metrodorus of Lampascus". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.