Clitomăchus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

(Κλειτόμαχος). A native of Carthage. In his early years he acquired a fondness for learning, which induced him to visit Greece for the purpose of attending the schools of the philosophers. From the time of his first arrival in Athens he attached himself to Carneades (q.v.), and continued his disciple until his death, when he became his successor in the academic chair. He studied with great industry and made himself master of the systems of the other schools, but professed the doctrine of suspension of assent, as it had been taught by his master. Cicero relates that he wrote four hundred books upon philosophical subjects. At an advanced age he was seized with a lethargy. Recovering in some measure the use of his faculties, he said, "The love of life shall deceive me no longer," and laid violent hands upon himself. He entered, as we have said, upon the office of preceptor in the Academy immediately after the death of Carneades, and held it thirty years. According to Cicero, he taught that there is no certain criterion by which to judge of the truth of those reports which we receive from the senses, and that, therefore, a wise man will either wholly suspend his assent, or decline giving a peremptory opinion; but that, nevertheless, men are strongly impelled by nature to follow probability. His moral doctrine established a natural alliance between pleasure and virtue. He was a professed enemy to rhetoric, and thought that no place should be allowed in society to so dangerous an art.

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