Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 9.1. Heraclitus

LCL 185: 408-409

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Diogenes Laertius



1Ἡράκλειτος Βλόσωνος ἤ, ὥς τινες, Ἡράκωντος1 Ἐφέσιος. οὗτος ἤκμαζε μὲν κατὰ τὴν ἐνάτην καὶ ἑξηκοστὴν Ὀλυμπιάδα. μεγαλόφρων δὲ γέγονε παρ᾿ ὁντιναοῦν καὶ ὑπερόπτης, ὡς καὶ ἐκ τοῦ συγγράμματος αὐτοῦ δῆλον, ἐν ᾧ φησι, “πολυμαθίη νόον2 οὐ διδάσκει· Ἡσίοδον γὰρ ἂν ἐδίδαξε καὶ Πυθαγόρην, αὖτίς τε Ξενοφάνεά τε καὶ Ἑκαταῖον.” εἶναι γὰρ‘ ‘ἓν τὸ σοφόν, ἐπίστασθαι γνώμην, ὁτέη ἐκυβέρνησε πάντα διὰ πάντων.” τόν τε Ὅμηρον ἔφασκεν ἄξιον ἐκ τῶν ἀγώνων ἐκβάλλεσθαι καὶ ῥαπίζεσθαι, καὶ Ἀρχίλοχον ὁμοίως.

2Ἔλεγε δὲ καὶ “ὕβριν χρὴ σβεννύναι μᾶλλον ἢ πυρκαϊὴν” καὶ “μάχεσθαι χρὴ τὸν δῆμον ὑπὲρ τοῦ νόμου ὅκωσπερ τείχεος.3” καθάπτεται δὲ καὶ τῶν Ἐφεσίων ἐπὶ τῷ τὸν ἑταῖρον ἐκβαλεῖν Ἑρμόδωρον,



Book IX

Chapter 1. Heraclitus

Heraclitus, son of Bloson or, according to some, of Heracon, was a native of Ephesus. He flourished in the 69th Olympiad.a He was lofty-minded beyond all other men,b and over-weening, as is clear from his book in which he says: “Much learning does not teach understanding; else would it have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras, or, again, Xenophanes and Hecataeus.”c For “this one thing is wisdom, to understand thought, as that which guides all the world everywhere.”d And he used to say that “Homer deserved to be chased out of the lists and beaten with rods, and Archilochus likewise.”e

Again he would say: “There is more need to extinguish insolence than an outbreak of fire,”f and “The people must fight for the law as for city-walls.”g He attacks the Ephesians, too, for banishing his friend Hermodorus: he says: “The Ephesians

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.diogenes_laertius-lives_eminent_philosophers_book_ix_chapter_1_heraclitus.1925