Theophrastus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)

(Θεόφραστος). The Greek philosopher. He was a native of Eresus in Lesbos, and studied philosophy at Athens, first under Plato and afterwards under Aristotle. He became the favourite pupil of Aristotle, who named Theophrastus his successor in the presidency of the Lyceum, and in his will bequeathed to him his library and the originals of his own writings. Theophrastus was a worthy successor of his great master, and nobly sustained the character of the school. He is said to have had two thousand disciples, and among them such men as the comic poet Menander. He was highly esteemed by the kings Philippus, Cassander, and Ptolemy, and was not the less the object of the regard of the Athenian people, as was decisively shown when he was impeached of impiety; for he was not only acquitted, but his accuser would have fallen a victim to his calumny had not Theophrastus generously interfered to save him. He died in B.C. 287, having presided over the Academy about thirty-five years. His age is variously stated. According to some accounts he lived 85 years, according to others 107 years. He is said to have closed his life with the complaint respecting the short duration of human existence, that it ended just when the insight into its problems was beginning. He wrote a great number of works, the great object of which was the development of the Aristotelian philosophy. His Ἠθικοὶ Χαρακτῆρες, in thirty chapters; his work on plants (Περὶ Φυτῶν Ιστορίας), in ten books; his account of the causes of plants (Περὶ Φυτῶν Αἰτιῶν); and his treatise on stones (Περὶ Λίθων), are extant. These are edited together by Wimmer (Breslau, 1842-62). A separate edition of the Characteres is that of Jebb (London, 1870).

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