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Headword: Ἐρατοσθένης
Adler number: epsilon,2898
Translated headword: Eratosthenes
Vetting Status: high
Son of Aglaus (others say Ambrosius); of Cyrene. A pupil of the philosopher Ariston of Chios, the grammarian Lysanias of Cyrene, and Callimachus the poet.[1] Ptolemy III summoned him from Athens, and he lived until Ptolemy V. Because he came second in every branch of learning to those who had reached the highest level, he was nicknamed 'platforms'.[2] Others called him a second or new Plato, or the 'pentathlete'.[3] He was born in the 126th Olympiad,[4] and died aged 80, giving up food because of his declining eye-sight. He left a distinguished pupil, Aristophanes of Byzantium,[5] whose pupil Aristarchus was in turn.[6] His pupils were Mnaseas, Menander and Aristis. He wrote philosophical works, poems and histories; Astronomy, or Catasterisms; On the Philosophical Sects; On Freedom from Pain; many dialogues; and numerous grammatical works.
Greek Original:
Ἐρατοσθένης, Ἀγλαοῦ, οἱ δὲ Ἀμβροσίου: Κυρηναῖος, μαθητὴς φιλοσόφου Ἀρίστωνος Χίου, γραμματικοῦ δὲ Λυσανίου τοῦ Κυρηναίου καὶ Καλλιμάχου τοῦ ποιητοῦ. μετεπέμφθη δὲ ἐξ Ἀθηνῶν ὑπὸ τοῦ τρίτου Πτολεμαίου καὶ διέτριψε μέχρι τοῦ πέμπτου. διὰ δὲ τὸ δευτερεύειν ἐν παντὶ εἴδει παιδείας τοῖς ἄκροις ἐγγίσασι τὰ βήματα ἐπεκλήθη. οἱ δὲ καὶ δεύτερον ἢ νέον Πλάτωνα, ἄλλοι Πένταθλον ἐκάλεσαν. ἐτέχθη δὲ ρκ#2# ὀλυμπιάδι καὶ ἐτελεύτησεν π# ἐτῶν γεγονώς, ἀποσχόμενος τροφῆς διὰ τὸ ἀμβλυώττειν, μαθητὴν ἐπίσημον καταλιπὼν Ἀριστοφάνην τὸν Βυζάντιον: οὗ πάλιν Ἀρίσταρχος μαθητής. μαθηταὶ δὲ αὐτοῦ Μνασέας καὶ Μένανδρος καὶ Ἄριστις. ἔγραψε δὲ φιλόσοφα καὶ ποιήματα καὶ ἱστορίας, Ἀστρονομίαν ἢ Καταστηριγμούς, Περὶ τῶν κατὰ φιλοσοφίαν αἱρέσεων, Περὶ ἀλυπίας, διαλόγους πολλοὺς καὶ γραμματικὰ συχνά.
See generally RE Eratosthenes(4); OCD3 (bibliographically updated in OCD4) Eratosthenes; FGrH 241, where T1 is the present entry. Entry in the History of Mathematics archive from St. Andrews at web address 1.
[1] kappa 227: Callimachus.
[2] So the transmitted text, βήματα , but it is a mistake for βῆτα (the letter which comes second in the alphabet: thus, no.2, silver medallist, runner-up). The emendation was first advocated by Meursius (Jan de Meurs, 1579-1639) and, insofar as it is not self-recommending, is corroborated by a phrase applied to Eratosthenes in an epitome of one of ancient geographers; see Pfeiffer 170 n.3.
[3] For "pentathlete" in this depreciatory sense Pfeiffer 170 n.3 adduces [Plato], Lovers 135E-136A. See also, more nuanced, the opinion of [Longinus], On the Sublime 34, on Hyperides.
[4] 276-273 BC.
[5] alpha 3933: Aristophanes.
[6] alpha 3892: Aristarchus.
P.M. Fraser Ptolemaic Alexandria (Oxford 1972) 456-8, 525-39
R. Pfeiffer A History of Classical Scholarship (Oxford 1968) 152-70
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; chronology; dialects, grammar, and etymology; food; geography; historiography; medicine; philosophy; poetry; science and technology
Translated by: Malcolm Heath on 11 February 2001@10:22:30.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added notes and keyword; cosmetics) on 28 May 2001@11:28:59.
Catharine Roth (added coding) on 16 November 2003@18:26:12.
David Whitehead (tweaked primary note) on 25 October 2012@05:51:34.
David Whitehead (additions to two notes) on 5 February 2016@07:26:57.
Catharine Roth (added a link) on 19 November 2017@19:39:57.


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