Phaedo(N) of Elis

Phaedo(n) Of Elis a noted ancient Grecian philosopher, was a native of Elis, and of high birth. He was taken prisoner in his youth, and passed into the hands of an Athenian slave-dealer; and being of considerable personal beauty was compelled to prostitute himself. It was in the summer of B.C. 400 that Phmedo was brought to Athens. A year would thus remain for his acquaintance with Socrates, to whom he attached himself. According to Diogenes Laertius he ran away from his master to Socrates, and was ransomed by one of the friends of the latter. Suidas says that he was accidentally present at a conversation with Socrates, and besought him to effect his liberation. Various accounts mentioned Alcibiades, Crito, or Cebes as the person who ransomed him. Cebes is stated to have been on terms of intimate friendship with Phaedo, and to have instructed him in philosophy. Phaedo was present at the death of Socrates, while he was still quite a youth. From the mention of his long hair it would seem that he was not eighteen years of age at the time, as at that age it was customary to cease wearing the hair long (Becker, Charikles, 2:382). That Phaedo was Mn terms of friendship with Plato appears likely from the mode in which he is introduced in the dialogue which takes its name from him. Other stories that were current in the schools spoke of their relation as being that of enmity rather than friendship. Several philosophers were ungenerous enough to reproach Phaedo with his previous condition, but LEschines named one of his dialogues after Phaedo. Phsedo appears to have lived in Athens some time after the death of Socrates. He then returned to Elis, where he became the founder of a school of philosophy, which appears to have resembled in tendency and character the Megaric school. Anchipylus and Moschus are mentioned among his disciples. He was succeeded by Pleistanus, after whom the Elean school was merged in the Eretrian.

Of the doctrines of Phaedo nothing is known, except as they made their appearance in the philosophy of Menedemus. Nothing can safely be inferred respecting them from the Phaedo of Plato. None of Phaedo's writings have come down to us. They were in the form of dialogues. There was some doubt in antiquity as to which were genuine, and which were not. Panaetius attempted a critical separation of the two classes, and the Ζώπυρος and the Σίμων were acknowledged to be genuine. Besides these, Diogenes Laertius (2:105) mentions as of doubtful authenticity the Νικίας, Μήδιος, Α᾿ντίμαχος ἤ πρεσβίται, and Σκυθικοὶ λογοι. In addition to these Suidas mentions the Σεμμίας, Α᾿λκιβιάδης, and Κριτόλαος. It was probably from the Zopyrus that the incident alluded to by Cicero (De Fato, 5; Tusc. Disp. 4:37, § 80), Maximus Tyr. (31:3), and others, was derived. Seneca (Ep. 94, 41) has a translation of a short passage from one of his pieces. See Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. 2:717; Scholl, Gesch. der Griech. Lit. 1:475; Preller, in Ersch and Gruber's Encyklopedie,

s.v.; Preller, Phaedons Lebensschicksale u. Schriften in the Rheinisches Museum fur Philosophie, 1846, page 391 sq., now in his Kleine Schriften, ed. by R. Kohler.

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