Theophrastus

Theophrastus

Overview
Theophrastus a Greek native of Eresos
Eresos
Eresos and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Lesbos. They are villages visited by considerable number of tourists...

 in Lesbos
Lesbos Island
Lesbos is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. It has an area of with 320 kilometres of coastline, making it the third largest Greek island. It is separated from Turkey by the narrow Mytilini Strait....

, was the successor to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 at a young age, and initially studied in Plato's school
Platonic Academy
The Academy was founded by Plato in ca. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle studied there for twenty years before founding his own school, the Lyceum. The Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC...

. After Plato's death he attached himself to Aristotle. Aristotle bequeathed to Theophrastus his writings, and designated him as his successor at the Lyceum
Lyceum (Classical)
The Lyceum was a gymnasium and public meeting place in Classical Athens named after the god of the grove that housed the Lyceum, Apollo Lyceus...

. Theophrastus presided over the Peripatetic school for thirty-six years, during which time the school flourished greatly.
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Theophrastus a Greek native of Eresos
Eresos
Eresos and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Lesbos. They are villages visited by considerable number of tourists...

 in Lesbos
Lesbos Island
Lesbos is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. It has an area of with 320 kilometres of coastline, making it the third largest Greek island. It is separated from Turkey by the narrow Mytilini Strait....

, was the successor to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 at a young age, and initially studied in Plato's school
Platonic Academy
The Academy was founded by Plato in ca. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle studied there for twenty years before founding his own school, the Lyceum. The Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC...

. After Plato's death he attached himself to Aristotle. Aristotle bequeathed to Theophrastus his writings, and designated him as his successor at the Lyceum
Lyceum (Classical)
The Lyceum was a gymnasium and public meeting place in Classical Athens named after the god of the grove that housed the Lyceum, Apollo Lyceus...

. Theophrastus presided over the Peripatetic school for thirty-six years, during which time the school flourished greatly. After his death, the Athenians honoured him with a public funeral. His successor as head of the school was Strato of Lampsacus
Strato of Lampsacus
Strato of Lampsacus was a Peripatetic philosopher, and the third director of the Lyceum after the death of Theophrastus...

.

The interests of Theophrastus were wide-ranging, extending from biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 and physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 to ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 and metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

. His two surviving botanical works, Enquiry into Plants and On the Causes of Plants, were an important influence on medieval science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

. There are also surviving works On Moral Characters, On Sensation, On Stones, and fragments on Physics and Metaphysics all written in Greek. In philosophy, he studied grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

 and language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

, and continued Aristotle's work on logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

. He also regarded space
Space
Space is the boundless, three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction. Physical space is often conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists usually consider it, with time, to be part of a boundless four-dimensional continuum...

 as the mere arrangement and position of bodies, time
Time
Time is a part of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change such as the motions of objects....

 as an accident of motion, and motion
Motion (physics)
In physics, motion is a change in position of an object with respect to time. Change in action is the result of an unbalanced force. Motion is typically described in terms of velocity, acceleration, displacement and time . An object's velocity cannot change unless it is acted upon by a force, as...

 as a necessary consequence of all activity. In ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

, he regarded happiness
Happiness
Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources....

 as depending on external influences as well as on virtue
Virtue
Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality subjectively deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being....

, and famously said that "life is ruled by fortune, not wisdom."

Life


Most of the biographical information we have of Theophrastus was provided by Diogenes Laërtius
Diogenes Laertius
Diogenes Laertius was a biographer of the Greek philosophers. Nothing is known about his life, but his surviving Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers is one of the principal surviving sources for the history of Greek philosophy.-Life:Nothing is definitively known about his life...

' Lives of the Philosophers, written more than four hundred years after Theophrastus' time. He was a native of Eresos
Eresos
Eresos and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Lesbos. They are villages visited by considerable number of tourists...

 in Lesbos
Lesbos Island
Lesbos is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. It has an area of with 320 kilometres of coastline, making it the third largest Greek island. It is separated from Turkey by the narrow Mytilini Strait....

. His given name was Tyrtamus , but he later became known by the nickname "Theophrastus," given to him, it is said, by Aristotle to indicate the grace of his conversation (ancient Greek: Θεός = God and φράζειν = to phrase i.e. divine expression).
After receiving instruction in philosophy in Lesbos from one Alcippus, he moved to Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, where he may have studied under Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

. He became friends with Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, and when Plato died (348/7 BC) Theophrastus may have joined Aristotle in his self-imposed exile from Athens. When Aristotle moved to Mytilene
Mytilene
Mytilene is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is the capital of the island of Lesbos. Mytilene, whose name is pre-Greek, is built on the...

 on Lesbos in 345/4, it is very likely that he did so at the urging of Theophrastus. It seems that it was on Lesbos that Aristotle and Theophrastus began their research into natural science
Natural science
The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

, with Aristotle studying animals and Theophrastus studying plants. Theophrastus probably accompanied Aristotle to Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

ia when Aristotle was appointed tutor to Alexander the Great in 343/2. Around 335 BC, Theophrastus moved with Aristotle to Athens where Aristotle began teaching in the Lyceum
Lyceum (Classical)
The Lyceum was a gymnasium and public meeting place in Classical Athens named after the god of the grove that housed the Lyceum, Apollo Lyceus...

. When, after the death of Alexander, anti-Macedonian feeling forced Aristotle to leave Athens, Theophrastus remained behind as head (scholarch
Scholarch
A scholarch is the head of a school. The term was especially used for the heads of schools of philosophy in ancient Athens, such as the Platonic Academy, whose first scholarch was Plato himself...

) of the peripatetic school, a position he continued to hold after Aristotle's death in 322/1.

Aristotle in his will made him guardian of his children, including Nicomachus
Nicomachus (son of Aristotle)
Nicomachus , lived c. 325 BC, was the son of Aristotle.The Suda states that he was from Stageira, a philosopher, a pupil of Theophrastus, and, according to Aristippus, his lover. He may have written a commentary on his father's lectures in physics...

 with whom he was close. Aristotle likewise bequeathed to him his library and the originals of his works, and designated him as his successor at the Lyceum. Eudemus of Rhodes
Eudemus of Rhodes
Eudemus of Rhodes was an ancient Greek philosopher, and first historian of science who lived from ca. 370 BC until ca. 300 BC. He was one of Aristotle's most important pupils, editing his teacher's work and making it more easily accessible...

 also had some claims to this position, and Aristoxenus
Aristoxenus
Aristoxenus of Tarentum was a Greek Peripatetic philosopher, and a pupil of Aristotle. Most of his writings, which dealt with philosophy, ethics and music, have been lost, but one musical treatise, Elements of Harmony, survives incomplete, as well as some fragments concerning rhythm and...

 is said to have resented Aristotle's choice.

Theophrastus presided over the Peripatetic school for thirty-five years, and died at the age of eighty-five according to Diogenes. He is said to have remarked "we die just when we are beginning to live".

Under his guidance the school flourished greatly — there were at one period more than 2000 students, Diogenes affirms, and at his death, according to the terms of his will preserved by Diogenes, he bequeathed to it his garden with house and colonnades as a permanent seat of instruction. The comic poet Menander
Menander
Menander , Greek dramatist, the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy, was the son of well-to-do parents; his father Diopeithes is identified by some with the Athenian general and governor of the Thracian Chersonese known from the speech of Demosthenes De Chersoneso...

 was among his pupils. His popularity was shown in the regard paid to him by Philip
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

, Cassander
Cassander
Cassander , King of Macedonia , was a son of Antipater, and founder of the Antipatrid dynasty...

, and Ptolemy, and by the complete failure of a charge of impiety brought against him. He was honored with a public funeral, and "the whole population of Athens, honouring him greatly, followed him to the grave." He was succeeded as head of the Lyceum by Strato of Lampsacus
Strato of Lampsacus
Strato of Lampsacus was a Peripatetic philosopher, and the third director of the Lyceum after the death of Theophrastus...

.

Writings


From the lists of Diogenes Laërtius
Diogenes Laertius
Diogenes Laertius was a biographer of the Greek philosophers. Nothing is known about his life, but his surviving Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers is one of the principal surviving sources for the history of Greek philosophy.-Life:Nothing is definitively known about his life...

, giving 227 titles, it appears that the activity of Theophrastus extended over the whole field of contemporary knowledge. His writing probably differed little from Aristotle's treatment of the same themes, though supplementary in details. Like Aristotle, most of his writings are lost work
Lost work
A lost work is a document or literary work produced some time in the past of which no surviving copies are known to exist. Works may be lost to history either through the destruction of the original manuscript, or through the non-survival of any copies of the work. Deliberate destruction of works...

s.

Thus Theophrastus, like Aristotle, had composed a first and second Analytic. He had also written books on Topics; on the refutation of fallacies; as well as books on the Principles of Natural Philosophy (Physica Auscultatio), on Heaven, and on Meteorological Phenomena. The work of Theophrastus On Affirmation and Denial seems to have corresponded to that of Aristotle's On Judgment.

In addition, he wrote on the Warm and the Cold, on Water, Fire, the Sea, on Coagulation and Melting, on various phenomena of organic and spiritual life, and on the Soul and Sensuous Perception. Likewise we find mention of monographs of Theophrastus on the early Greek philosophers Anaximenes
Anaximenes of Miletus
Anaximenes of Miletus was an Archaic Greek Pre-Socratic philosopher active in the latter half of the 6th century BC. One of the three Milesian philosophers, he is identified as a younger friend or student of Anaximander. Anaximenes, like others in his school of thought, practiced material monism...

, Anaxagoras
Anaxagoras
Anaxagoras was a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. Born in Clazomenae in Asia Minor, Anaxagoras was the first philosopher to bring philosophy from Ionia to Athens. He attempted to give a scientific account of eclipses, meteors, rainbows, and the sun, which he described as a fiery mass larger than...

, Empedocles
Empedocles
Empedocles was a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a citizen of Agrigentum, a Greek city in Sicily. Empedocles' philosophy is best known for being the originator of the cosmogenic theory of the four Classical elements...

, Archelaus
Archelaus (philosopher)
Archelaus was an Ancient Greek philosopher, a pupil of Anaxagoras, and said by some to have been a teacher of Socrates. He asserted that the principle of motion was the separation of hot from cold, from which he endeavoured to explain the formation of the Earth and the creation of animals and...

, Diogenes of Apollonia, Democritus
Democritus
Democritus was an Ancient Greek philosopher born in Abdera, Thrace, Greece. He was an influential pre-Socratic philosopher and pupil of Leucippus, who formulated an atomic theory for the cosmos....

, which were made use of by Simplicius
Simplicius of Cilicia
Simplicius of Cilicia, was a disciple of Ammonius Hermiae and Damascius, and was one of the last of the Neoplatonists. He was among the pagan philosophers persecuted by Justinian in the early 6th century, and was forced for a time to seek refuge in the Persian court, before being allowed back into...

; and also on Xenocrates
Xenocrates
Xenocrates of Chalcedon was a Greek philosopher, mathematician, and leader of the Platonic Academy from 339/8 to 314/3 BC. His teachings followed those of Plato, which he attempted to define more closely, often with mathematical elements...

, against the Academics
Platonism
Platonism is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. In a narrower sense the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism...

, and a sketch of the political doctrine of Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

. That he studied general history, as we see from the quotations in Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

's lives of Lycurgus, Solon
Solon
Solon was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in archaic Athens...

, Aristides
Aristides
Aristides , 530 BC – 468 BC was an Athenian statesman, nicknamed "the Just".- Biography :Aristides was the son of Lysimachus, and a member of a family of moderate fortune. Of his early life, it is only told that he became a follower of the statesman Cleisthenes and sided with the aristocratic party...

, Pericles
Pericles
Pericles was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the city's Golden Age—specifically, the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars...

, Nicias
Nicias
Nicias or Nikias was an Athenian politician and general during the period of the Peloponnesian War. Nicias was a member of the Athenian aristocracy because he had inherited a large fortune from his father, which was invested into the silver mines around Attica's Mt. Laurium...

, Alcibiades
Alcibiades
Alcibiades, son of Clinias, from the deme of Scambonidae , was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. He was the last famous member of his mother's aristocratic family, the Alcmaeonidae, which fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War...

, Lysander
Lysander
Lysander was a Spartan general who commanded the Spartan fleet in the Hellespont which defeated the Athenians at Aegospotami in 405 BC...

, Agesilaus
Agesilaus
Agesilaus was a Greek historian who wrote a work on the early history of Italy, fragments of which are preserved in Plutarch's "Parallel Lives", and in Stobaeus' Florilegium....

, and Demosthenes
Demosthenes
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by...

, which were probably borrowed from the work on Lives. But his main efforts were to continue the labours of Aristotle in natural history
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

. This is testified to not only by a number of treatises on individual subjects of zoology
Zoology
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

, of which, besides the titles, only fragments remain, but also by his books on Stones, his Enquiry into Plants, and On the Causes of Plants, which have come down to us entire. In politics, also, he seems to have trodden in the footsteps of Aristotle. Besides his books on the State, we find quoted various treatises on Education, on Royalty, on the Best State, on Political Morals, and particularly his works on the Laws, one of which, containing a recapitulation of the laws of various barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 as well as Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 states, was intended to be a companion to Aristotle's outline of Politics, and must have been similar to it. He also wrote on oratory
Oratory
Oratory is a type of public speaking.Oratory may also refer to:* Oratory , a power metal band* Oratory , a place of worship* a religious order such as** Oratory of Saint Philip Neri ** Oratory of Jesus...

 and poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

. Theophrastus, without doubt, departed further from Aristotle in his ethical writings, as also in his metaphysical
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

 investigations respecting motion
Motion (physics)
In physics, motion is a change in position of an object with respect to time. Change in action is the result of an unbalanced force. Motion is typically described in terms of velocity, acceleration, displacement and time . An object's velocity cannot change unless it is acted upon by a force, as...

, the soul, and God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

.

Besides these writings, Theophrastus was the author of several collections of problems, out of which some things at least have passed into the Problems
Problems (Aristotle)
The Problems is an Aristotelian or possibly pseudo-Aristotelian collection of problems written in a question and answer format as its authenticity has been under questioning. The collection, gradually assembled by the peripatetic school, reached its final form anywhere between the third century BC...

 that have come down to us under the name of Aristotle, and commentaries, partly dialogues, to which probably belonged the Erotikos, Megacles, Callisthenes, and Megarikos, and letters, partly books on mathematical sciences and their history.

Many of his works that we do have exist only in fragmentary form. "The style of these works, as of the botanical books, suggests that, as in the case of Aristotle, what we possess consists of notes for lectures or notes taken of lectures," his translator Arthur Hort remarks. "There is no literary charm; the sentences are mostly compressed and highly elliptical, to the point sometimes of obscurity. The text of these fragments and extracts is often so corrupt that there is a certain plausibility to the well-known story that the works of Aristotle and Theophrastus were allowed to languish in the cellar of Neleus of Scepsis
Neleus of Scepsis
Neleus of Scepsis, was the son of Coriscus of Scepsis. He was a disciple of Aristotle and Theophrastus, the latter of whom bequeathed to him his library, and appointed him one of his executors...

 and his descendents.

On Plants




The most important of his books are two large botanical treatises, Enquiry into Plants
Historia Plantarum
Historia Plantarum is Latin and literally means History of Plants, although in reality it means something closer to "on plants" or "treatise on plants". There has been more than one book by this title....

, and On the Causes of Plants, which constitute the most important contribution to botanical science during antiquity and the Middle Ages, the first systemization of the botanical world; on the strength of these works some call him the "father of botany
Botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

."

The Enquiry into Plants was originally ten books, of which nine survive. The work is arranged into a system whereby plants are classified according to their modes of generation, their localities, their sizes, and according to their practical uses such as foods, juices, herbs, etc. The first book deals with the parts of plants; the second book with the reproduction of plants and the times and manner of sowing; the third, fourth, and fifth books are devoted to trees, their types, their locations, and their practical applications; the sixth book deals with shrubs and spiny plants; the seventh book deals with herbs; the eighth book deals with plants that produce edible seeds; and the ninth book deals with plants that produce useful juices, gums
Natural gum
Natural gums are polysaccharides of natural origin, capable of causing a large viscosity increase in solution, even at small concentrations. In the food industry they are used as thickening agents, gelling agents, emulsifying agents, and stabilizers...

, resins, etc.


On the Causes of Plants was originally eight books, of which six survive. It concerns the growth of plants; the influences on their fecundity; the proper times they should be sown and reaped; the methods of preparing the soil, manuring it, and the use of tools; and of the smells, tastes, and properties of many types of plants. The work deals mainly with the economical uses of plants rather than their medicinal uses, although the latter is sometimes mentioned.

Although these works contain many absurd and fabulous statements, as a whole they have many valuable observations concerning the functions and properties of plants. Theophrastus detected the process of germination
Germination
Germination is the process in which a plant or fungus emerges from a seed or spore, respectively, and begins growth. The most common example of germination is the sprouting of a seedling from a seed of an angiosperm or gymnosperm. However the growth of a sporeling from a spore, for example the...

 and realized the importance of climate and soil to plants. Much of the information on the Greek plants may have come from his own observations, as he is known to have travelled throughout Greece, and to have had a botanical garden of his own; but the works also profit from the reports on plants of Asia brought back from those who followed Alexander the Great:


Theophrastus' Enquiry into Plants was first published in a Latin translation by Theodore Gaza, at Treviso, 1483; in its original Greek it first appeared from the press of Aldus Manutius
Aldus Manutius
Aldus Pius Manutius , the Latinised name of Aldo Manuzio —sometimes called Aldus Manutius, the Elder to distinguish him from his grandson, Aldus Manutius, the Younger—was an Italian humanist who became a printer and publisher when he founded the Aldine Press at Venice.His publishing legacy includes...

 at Venice, 1495–98, from a third-rate manuscript, which, like the majority of the manuscripts that were sent to printers' workshops in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, has disappeared. Wimmer
Christian Friedrich Heinrich Wimmer
Christian Friedrich Heinrich Wimmer was a German botanist and educator who was a native of Breslau.He worked as a Schulrat in Breslau, and was the author of several publications of Silesian flora. He specialized in the study of the willow genus Salix...

 identified two manuscripts of first quality, the Codex Urbinas in the Vatican Library
Vatican Library
The Vatican Library is the library of the Holy See, currently located in Vatican City. It is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. Formally established in 1475, though in fact much older, it has 75,000 codices from...

, which was not made known to J. G. Schneider
Johann Gottlob Schneider
Johann Gottlob Theaenus Schneider was a German classicist and naturalist.-Biography:Schneider was born at Collm in Saxony...

, who made the first modern critical edition, 1818–21, and the excerpts in the Codex Parisiensis in the Bibliothèque nationale de France
Bibliothèque nationale de France
The is the National Library of France, located in Paris. It is intended to be the repository of all that is published in France. The current president of the library is Bruno Racine.-History:...

.

The Characters


His book The Characters, if it is indeed his, deserves a separate mention. The work contains thirty brief, vigorous, and trenchant outlines of moral types, which form a most valuable picture of the life of his time, and in fact of human nature in general. They are the first recorded attempt at systematic character writing
Stock character
A Stock character is a fictional character based on a common literary or social stereotype. Stock characters rely heavily on cultural types or names for their personality, manner of speech, and other characteristics. In their most general form, stock characters are related to literary archetypes,...

. The book has been regarded by some as an independent work; others incline to the view that the sketches were written from time to time by Theophrastus, and collected and edited after his death; others, again, regard the Characters as part of a larger systematic work, but the style of the book is against this. Theophrastus has found many imitators in this kind of writing, notably Joseph Hall (1608), Sir Thomas Overbury
Thomas Overbury
Sir Thomas Overbury was an English poet and essayist, and the victim of one of the most sensational crimes in English history...

 (1614–16), Bishop Earle
John Earle (bishop)
John Earle was an English bishop.-Life:He was born at York, but the exact date is unknown. He matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, but moved to Merton, where he obtained a fellowship...

 (1628), and Jean de La Bruyère
Jean de La Bruyère
Jean de La Bruyère was a French essayist and moralist.-Ancestry:He was born in Paris, not, as was once thought, at Dourdan in 1645...

 (1688), who also translated the Characters. George Eliot
George Eliot
Mary Anne Evans , better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era...

 also took inspiration from Theophrastus' Characters, most notably in her book of caricatures, Impressions of Theophrastus Such
Impressions of Theophrastus Such
Impressions of Theophrastus Such is a work of fiction by George Eliot, first published in 1879. It was Eliot's last published writing and her most experimental, taking the form of a series of literary essays by an imaginary minor scholar whose eccentric character is revealed through his...

. Writing the "character sketch
Character sketch
A character sketch is an abbreviated portrayal of a particular characteristic of people. The term originates in portraiture, where the character sketch is a common academic exercise. Following the translation of Theophrastus's Characters into English, a number of British and American painters...

" as a scholastic exercise also originated in Theophrastus's typology.

On Sensation


A treatise On Sense Perception and its objects is important for a knowledge of the doctrines of the more ancient Greek philosophers regarding the subject. A paraphrase and commentary on this work was written by Priscian of Lydia
Priscian of Lydia
Priscian of Lydia was one of the last of the Neoplatonists. Two works of his have survived.-Life:A contemporary of Simplicius of Cilicia, Priscian was born in Lydia, probably in the late 5th century. He was one of the last Neoplatonists to study at the Academy when Damascius was at its head...

 in the sixth century. With this type of work we may connect the fragments on Smells, on Fatigue, on Dizziness, on Sweat, on Swooning, on Palsy, and on Honey.

Physics


We also possess in fragments a History of Physics. To this class of work belong the still extant sections on Fire, on the Winds, and on the signs of Waters, Winds, and Storms.
Various smaller scientific fragments have been collected in the editions of Johann Gottlob Schneider
Johann Gottlob Schneider
Johann Gottlob Theaenus Schneider was a German classicist and naturalist.-Biography:Schneider was born at Collm in Saxony...

 (1818–21) and Friedrich Wimmer
Christian Friedrich Heinrich Wimmer
Christian Friedrich Heinrich Wimmer was a German botanist and educator who was a native of Breslau.He worked as a Schulrat in Breslau, and was the author of several publications of Silesian flora. He specialized in the study of the willow genus Salix...

 (1842—62) and in Hermann Usener
Hermann Usener
Hermann Karl Usener was a German scholar in the fields of philology and comparative religion.-Life:...

's Analecta Theophrastea.

Metaphysics


The Metaphysics (nine chapters) was considered a fragment of a larger work by Usener in his edition (Theophrastos Metaphysica, Bonn, 1890), but according to Ross and Fobes in their edition (Theophrastus Metaphysica, Oxford, 1929), the treatise is complete (p. X) and this opinion is now widely accepted. There is no reason for assigning this work to some other author because it is not noticed in Hermippus
Hermippus of Smyrna
Hermippus of Smyrna, a Peripatetic philosopher, surnamed by the ancient writers the Callimachian , from which it may be inferred that he was a disciple of Callimachus about the middle of the 3rd century BC, while the fact of his having written the life of Chrysippus proves that he lived to about...

 and Andronicus
Andronicus of Rhodes
Andronicus of Rhodes was a Greek philosopher from Rhodes who was also the eleventh scholarch of the Peripatetic school.He was at the head of the Peripatetic school at Rome, about 58 BC, and was the teacher of Boethus of Sidon, with whom Strabo studied...

, especially as Nicolaus of Damascus
Nicolaus of Damascus
Nicolaus of Damascus was a Greek historian and philosopher who lived during the Augustan age of the Roman Empire. His name is derived from that of his birthplace, Damascus. He was born around 64 BC....

 had already mentioned it.

On Stones


We possess a treatise On Stones, in which Theophrastus classified rocks based on their behavior when heated, further grouping minerals by common properties, such as amber
Amber
Amber is fossilized tree resin , which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry. There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents...

 and magnetite
Magnetite
Magnetite is a ferrimagnetic mineral with chemical formula Fe3O4, one of several iron oxides and a member of the spinel group. The chemical IUPAC name is iron oxide and the common chemical name is ferrous-ferric oxide. The formula for magnetite may also be written as FeO·Fe2O3, which is one part...

, which both have the power of attraction. He also comments on the effect of heat on minerals and their different hardnesses.

He describes different marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

s; mentions coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, which he says is used for heating by metal-workers; describes the various metal ores
Ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

; and knew that pumice-stones
Pumice
Pumice is a textural term for a volcanic rock that is a solidified frothy lava typically created when super-heated, highly pressurized rock is violently ejected from a volcano. It can be formed when lava and water are mixed. This unusual formation is due to the simultaneous actions of rapid...

 had a volcanic origin. He also deals with precious stones, emeralds, amethysts, onyx
Onyx
Onyx is a banded variety of chalcedony. The colors of its bands range from white to almost every color . Commonly, specimens of onyx contain bands of black and/or white.-Etymology:...

, jasper
Jasper
Jasper, a form of chalcedony, is an opaque, impure variety of silica, usually red, yellow, brown or green in color; and rarely blue. This mineral breaks with a smooth surface, and is used for ornamentation or as a gemstone. It can be highly polished and is used for vases, seals, and at one time for...

, etc., and describes a variety of "sapphire" that was blue with veins of gold, and thus was presumably lapis-lazuli.
He knew that pearls came from shell-fish, that coral
Coral
Corals are marine animals in class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria typically living in compact colonies of many identical individual "polyps". The group includes the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.A coral "head" is a colony of...

 came from India, and speaks of the fossilized remains of organic life. Theophrastus made the first known reference to the phenomenon of pyroelectricity
Pyroelectricity
Pyroelectricity is the ability of certain materials to generate a temporary voltage when they are heated or cooled. The change in temperature modifies the positions of the atoms slightly within the crystal structure, such that the polarization of the material changes. This polarization change...

, noting that the mineral tourmaline
Tourmaline
Tourmaline is a crystal boron silicate mineral compounded with elements such as aluminium, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium, or potassium. Tourmaline is classified as a semi-precious stone and the gem comes in a wide variety of colors...

 becomes charged when heated. He also considers the practical uses of various stones, such as the minerals necessary for the manufacture of glass; for the production of various pigments of paint such as ochre
Ochre
Ochre is the term for both a golden-yellow or light yellow brown color and for a form of earth pigment which produces the color. The pigment can also be used to create a reddish tint known as "red ochre". The more rarely used terms "purple ochre" and "brown ochre" also exist for variant hues...

; and for the manufacture of plaster
Plaster
Plaster is a building material used for coating walls and ceilings. Plaster starts as a dry powder similar to mortar or cement and like those materials it is mixed with water to form a paste which liberates heat and then hardens. Unlike mortar and cement, plaster remains quite soft after setting,...

. He discusses the use of the touchstone for assaying gold and gold alloys, an important property which would require the genius of Archimedes
Archimedes
Archimedes of Syracuse was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Among his advances in physics are the foundations of hydrostatics, statics and an...

 to resolve in quantitative detail when he was asked to investigate the suspected debasement of a crown a few years later.

Many of the rarer minerals were found in mines, and he mentions the famous copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 mines of Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 and the even more famous silver mines, presumably of Laurium
Laurium
Laurium or Lavrio is a town in southeastern part of Attica, Greece. It is the seat of the municipality of Lavreotiki...

 near Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, and upon which the wealth of the city was based, as well as referring to gold mines. The Laurium silver mines, which were the property of the state, were usually leased for a fixed sum and a percentage on the working. Towards the end of the fifth century the output fell, partly owing to the Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

n occupation of Decelea
Decelea
Decelea , modern Dekeleia or Dekelia, Deceleia or Decelia, previous name Tatoi, was an ancient village in northern Attica serving as a trade route connecting Euboea with Athens, Greece. The historian Herodotus reports that its citizens enjoyed a special relationship with Sparta. The Spartans took...

. But the mines continued to be worked, though Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 records that in his time the tailings were being worked over, and Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

 speaks of the mines as a thing of the past. The ancient workings, consisting of shafts and galleries for excavating the ore, and washing tables for extracting the metal, may still be seen. Theophrastus wrote a separate work On Mining, which like most of his writings is a lost work
Lost work
A lost work is a document or literary work produced some time in the past of which no surviving copies are known to exist. Works may be lost to history either through the destruction of the original manuscript, or through the non-survival of any copies of the work. Deliberate destruction of works...

.

Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 makes clear references to his use of On Stones in his Naturalis Historia
Naturalis Historia
The Natural History is an encyclopedia published circa AD 77–79 by Pliny the Elder. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover the entire field of ancient knowledge, based on the best authorities available to Pliny...

 of 77 AD, while updating and making much new information available on minerals himself. Although Pliny's treatment of the subject is more extensive, Theophrastus is more systematic and his work is comparatively free from fable and magic. From both of these early texts was to emerge the science of mineralogy
Mineralogy
Mineralogy is the study of chemistry, crystal structure, and physical properties of minerals. Specific studies within mineralogy include the processes of mineral origin and formation, classification of minerals, their geographical distribution, as well as their utilization.-History:Early writing...

, and ultimately geology
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

. Pliny is especially observant on crystal habit
Crystal habit
Crystal habit is an overall description of the visible external shape of a mineral. This description can apply to an individual crystal or an assembly of crystals or aggregates....

 and mineral hardness, for example.

Philosophy



The extent to which Theophrastus followed Aristotle's doctrines, or defined them more accurately, or conceived them in a different form, and what additional structures of thought he placed upon them, can only be partially determined because of the loss of so many of his writings. Many of his opinions have to be reconstructed from the works of later writers such as Alexander of Aphrodisias
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Alexander of Aphrodisias was a Peripatetic philosopher and the most celebrated of the Ancient Greek commentators on the writings of Aristotle. He was a native of Aphrodisias in Caria, and lived and taught in Athens at the beginning of the 3rd century, where he held a position as head of the...

 and Simplicius
Simplicius of Cilicia
Simplicius of Cilicia, was a disciple of Ammonius Hermiae and Damascius, and was one of the last of the Neoplatonists. He was among the pagan philosophers persecuted by Justinian in the early 6th century, and was forced for a time to seek refuge in the Persian court, before being allowed back into...

.

Logic


Theophrastus seems to have carried out still further the grammatical foundation of logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 and rhetoric
Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

, since in his book on the elements of speech
Speech
Speech is the human faculty of speaking.It may also refer to:* Public speaking, the process of speaking to a group of people* Manner of articulation, how the body parts involved in making speech are manipulated...

, he distinguished the main parts of speech from the subordinate parts, and also direct expressions (kuria lexis) from metaphorical expressions, and dealt with the emotions (pathe) of speech. He further distinguished a twofold reference of speech (schisis) to things (pragmata) and to the hearers, and referred poetry and rhetoric to the latter.

He wrote at length on the unity of judgment
Judgment
A judgment , in a legal context, is synonymous with the formal decision made by a court following a lawsuit. At the same time the court may also make a range of court orders, such as imposing a sentence upon a guilty defendant in a criminal matter, or providing a remedy for the plaintiff in a civil...

, on the different kinds of negation, and on the difference between unconditional and conditional necessity. In his doctrine of syllogisms he brought forward the proof for the conversion of universal affirmative judgments, differed from Aristotle here and there in the laying down and arranging the modi of the syllogisms, partly in the proof of them, partly in the doctrine of mixture, i.e. of the influence of the modality of the premises upon the modality of the conclusion. Then in two separate works he dealt with the reduction of arguments to the syllogistic form and on the resolution of them; and further, with hypothetical conclusions. For the doctrine of proof
Proof
Proof may refer to:* Proof , sufficient evidence or argument for the truth of a proposition* Formal proof* Mathematical proof, a convincing demonstration that some mathematical statement is necessarily true...

, Galen
Galen
Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus , better known as Galen of Pergamon , was a prominent Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher...

 quotes the second Analytic of Theophrastus, in conjunction with that of Aristotle, as the best treatises on that doctrine. In different monograph
Monograph
A monograph is a work of writing upon a single subject, usually by a single author.It is often a scholarly essay or learned treatise, and may be released in the manner of a book or journal article. It is by definition a single document that forms a complete text in itself...

s he seems to have tried to expand it into a general theory of science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

. To this too may have belonged the proposition quoted from his Topics, that the principles of opposites are themselves opposed, and cannot be deduced from one and the same higher genus. For the rest, some minor deviations from the Aristotelian definitions are quoted from the Topica of Theophrastus. Closely connected with this treatise was that upon ambiguous words or ideas, which, without doubt, corresponded to book E of Aristotle's Metaphysics.

Physics and metaphysics


Theophrastus introduced his Physics with the proof that all natural existence, being corporeal and composite, requires principles, and first and foremost, motion
Motion (physics)
In physics, motion is a change in position of an object with respect to time. Change in action is the result of an unbalanced force. Motion is typically described in terms of velocity, acceleration, displacement and time . An object's velocity cannot change unless it is acted upon by a force, as...

, as the basis of all change. Denying the substance of space
Space
Space is the boundless, three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction. Physical space is often conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists usually consider it, with time, to be part of a boundless four-dimensional continuum...

, he seems to have regarded it, in opposition to Aristotle, as the mere arrangement and position (taxis and thesis) of bodies. Time
Time
Time is a part of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change such as the motions of objects....

 he called an accident of motion, without, it seems, viewing it, with Aristotle, as the numerical determinant of motion. He attacked the doctrine of the four classical elements and challenged whether fire
Fire (classical element)
Fire has been an important part of all cultures and religions from pre-history to modern day and was vital to the development of civilization. It has been regarded in many different contexts throughout history, but especially as a metaphysical constant of the world.-Greek and Roman tradition:Fire...

 could be called a primary element when it appears to be compound, requiring, as it does, another material for its own nutriment.


He departed more widely from Aristotle in his doctrine of motion, since on the one hand he extended it over all categories, and did not limit it to those laid down by Aristotle. He viewed motion, with Aristotle, as an activity, not carrying its own goal in itself (ateles), of that which only potentially
Potentiality and actuality
In philosophy, Potentiality and Actuality are principles of a dichotomy which Aristotle used throughout his philosophical works to analyze motion, causality, ethics, and physiology in his Physics, Metaphysics, Ethics and De Anima .The concept of potentiality, in this context, generally refers to...

 exists, but he opposed Aristotle's view that motion required a special explanation, and he regarded it as something proper both to nature in general and the celestial system in particular:

He recognised no activity without motion, and so referred all activities of the soul to motion: the desires and emotions to corporeal motion, judgment (kriseis) and contemplation to spiritual motion. The idea of a spirit entirely independent of organic activity, must therefore have appeared to him very doubtful; yet he appears to have contented himself with developing his doubts and difficulties on the point, without positively rejecting it. Other Peripatetics, like Dicaearchus
Dicaearchus
Dicaearchus of Messana was a Greek philosopher, cartographer, geographer, mathematician and author. Dicaearchus was Aristotle's student in the Lyceum. Very little of his work remains extant. He wrote on the history and geography of Greece, of which his most important work was his Life of Greece...

, Aristoxenus
Aristoxenus
Aristoxenus of Tarentum was a Greek Peripatetic philosopher, and a pupil of Aristotle. Most of his writings, which dealt with philosophy, ethics and music, have been lost, but one musical treatise, Elements of Harmony, survives incomplete, as well as some fragments concerning rhythm and...

, and especially Strato
Strato of Lampsacus
Strato of Lampsacus was a Peripatetic philosopher, and the third director of the Lyceum after the death of Theophrastus...

, developed further this naturalism
Naturalism (philosophy)
Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know...

 in Aristotelian doctrine.

Theophrastus seems, generally speaking, where the investigation overstepped the limits of experience, to have preferred to develop the difficulties rather than solve them, as is especially apparent in his Metaphysics. He was doubtful of Aristotle's teleology
Teleology
A teleology is any philosophical account which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The word comes from the Greek τέλος, telos; root: τελε-, "end, purpose...

 and recommended that such ideas be used with caution:

He did not follow the incessant attempts by Aristotle to refer phenomena to their ultimate foundations, or his attempts to unfold the internal connections between the latter, and between them and phenomena. In antiquity, it was a subject of complaint that Theophrastus had not expressed himself with precision and consistency respecting God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, and had understood it at one time as Heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

, at another an (enlivening) breath (pneuma
Pneuma
Pneuma is an ancient Greek word for "breath," and in a religious context for "spirit" or "soul." It has various technical meanings for medical writers and philosophers of classical antiquity, particularly in regard to physiology, and is also used in Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible and in...

).

Ethics


Theophrastus did not allow a happiness resting merely upon virtue, or, consequently, to hold fast by the unconditional value of morality
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

. He subordinated moral requirements to the advantage at least of a friend, and had allowed in prosperity the existence of an influence injurious to them. In later times, fault was found with his expression in the Callisthenes, "life is ruled by fortune, not wisdom," . That in the definition of pleasure, likewise, he did not coincide with Aristotle, seems to be indicated by the titles of two of his writings, one of which dealt with pleasure generally, the other with pleasure as Aristotle had defined it. Although, like his teacher, he preferred contemplative (theoretical), to active (practical) life, he preferred to set the latter free from the restraints of family life, etc. in a manner of which Aristotle would not have approved.

Theophrastus was opposed to eating meat on the grounds that it robbed animals of life and was therefore unjust. Non-human animals, he said, can reason, sense, and feel just as human beings do.

The "portrait" of Theophrastus


The marble herm figure
Herma
A Herma, commonly in English herm is a sculpture with a head, and perhaps a torso, above a plain, usually squared lower section, on which male genitals may also be carved at the appropriate height...

 with the bearded head of philosopher type, bearing the explicit inscription, must be taken as purely conventional. Unidentified portrait heads did not find a ready market in post-Renaissance Rome. This bust was formerly in the collection of marchese Pietro Massimi at Palazzo Massimi and belonged to marchese L. Massimi at the time the engraving was made. It is now in the Villa Albani, Rome (inv. 1034). The inscribed bust has often been illustrated in engravings and photographs: a photograph of it forms the frontispiece to the Loeb Classical Library
Loeb Classical Library
The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin Literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each...

 Theophrastus: Enquiry into Plants vol. I, 1916. André Thevet
André Thévet
André de Thevet was a French Franciscan priest, explorer, cosmographer and writer who travelled to Brazil in the 16th century...

 illustrated in his iconographic compendium, Les vraies Pourtrats et vies des Hommes Illustres (Paris, 1584), an alleged portrait plagiarized from the bust, supporting his fraud with the invented tale that he had obtained it from the library of a Greek in Cyprus and that he had seen a confirming bust in the ruins of Antioch.

Further reading

  • Theophrastus of Eresus. Sources for his life, writings, thought and influence. I. Life, writings, various reports, logic, physics, metaphysics, theology, mathematics. Edited by Fortenbaugh William W. et al. Leiden: Brill 1992.
  • Theophrastus of Eresus. Sources for his life, writings, thought and influence. II. Psychology, human physiology, living creatures, botany, ethics, religion, politics, rhetoric and poetics, music, miscellanea. Edited by Fortenbaugh William W. et al. Leiden: Brill 1992.
  • Theophrastus of Eresus. Sources for his life, writings, thought and influence. Commentary, 9 volumes planned; published volumes:
    • 2. Logic, by Pamela Huby; with contributions on the Arabic material by Dimitri Gutas.
    • 3/1. Sources on physics (texts 137-223), by R. W. Sharples.
    • 4. Psychology (texts 265-327), by Pamela Huby; with contributions on the Arabic material by Dimitri Gutas.
    • 5. Sources on biology (human physiology, living creatures, botany: texts 328-435), by R. W. Sharples.
    • 8. Sources on rhetoric and poetics (texts 666-713), by William W. Fortenbaugh.
  • Theophrastus, (1993), Metaphysics. With an Introduction, Translation and Commentary by M. van Raalte, Leiden: Brill
  • Theophrastus, (1916), Enquiry into Plants: Books 1-5. Translated by A.F. Hort. Loeb Classical Library. ISBN 0-674-99077-3
  • Theophrastus, (1916), Enquiry into Plants: Books 6-9; Treatise on Odours; Concerning Weather Signs. Translated by A. Hort. Loeb Classical Library. ISBN 0-674-99088-9
  • Theophrastus, (1989), De Causis Plantarum: Books 1-2. Translated by B. Einarson and G. Link. Loeb Classical Library. ISBN 0-674-99519-8
  • Theophrastus, (1990), De Causis Plantarum: Books 3-4. Translated by B. Einarson and G. Link. Loeb Classical Library. ISBN 0-674-99523-6
  • Theophrastus, (1990), De Causis Plantarum, Books 5-6. Translated by B. Einarson and G. Link. Loeb Classical Library. ISBN 0-674-99524-4
  • Theophrastus, (2003), Characters. Translated by J. Rusten. Loeb Classical Library. ISBN 0-674-99603-8
  • Theophrastus, (2002), On Sweat, On Dizziness and On Fatigue. Translated by W. Fortenbaugh, R. Sharples, M. Sollenberger. Brill. ISBN 9004128905
  • Theophrastus, (2007), On weather signs. Edited by Sider David and Brunschön Carl Wolfram. Leiden: Brill 2007
  • Theophrastus, (2010), On First Principles (known as his Metaphysics). Edited and translated by Dimitri Gutas Leiden: Brill 2010.

External links