Dicaearchus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

A native of Messana in Sicily. He was a scholar of Aristotle's, and is called a Peripatetic philosopher by Cicero (De Off. ii. 5); but, though he wrote some works on philosophical subjects, he seems to have devoted his attention principally to geography and statistics. His chief philosophical work was two dialogues on the soul, each divided into three books, one dialogue (Κορινθιακοί) being supposed to have been held at Corinth, the other at Mitylené (Λεσβιακοί). In these he argued against the existence of the soul. The greatest performance, however, of Dicaearchus was a treatise on the geography, politics, and manners of Greece, which he called Βίος Ἑλλάδος, "The Life of Greece," a title imitated by Varro in his Vita Populi Romani. All the philosophical writings of Dicaearchus are lost. His geographical works have shared the same fate, except a few fragments. We have remaining one hundred and fifty verses of his Ἀναγραφὴ τῆς Ἑλλάδος, or "Description of Greece," written in iambic trimeters; and also two fragments of the Βίος Ἑλλάδος, one containing a description of Boeotia and Attica, and another an account of Mount Pelion. Dicaearchus's maps were extant in the time of Cicero (Ep. ad Att. vi. 2). Cicero was very fond of the writings of Dicaearchus, and speaks of him in terms of warm admiration (Ad Att. ii. 2). In one of the extant fragments Dicaearchus quotes Posidippus, and must therefore have been alive in B.C. 289. There is an edition of the fragments of Dicaearchus by Fuhr (Darmstadt, 1841).

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