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Bust of Hermarchus
Bust of Hermarchus
Hermarchus [Eρμαρχoς] was a son of Agemarchus, a poor man of Mytilene (in insular Greece), and was at first brought up as a rhetorician, but afterwards became a faithful disciple of Epicurus who appointed him his successor as the head of his school, about 270 BCE. He died in the house of Lysias at an advanced age, and left behind him the reputation of a great philosopher. He was succeeded in turn by Polystratus as head of the Epicurean school.

Cicero has preserved a letter of Epicurus addressed to him.

[edit] Works of Hermarchus

Hermarchus was the author of several works, which are characterised by Diogenes Laertius as "beautiful" (καλλιστα):

  • Against Empedocles (Πρoς Eμπεδoκλεα), in 22 books
  • On the mathematicians (Περι των μαθηματων)
  • Against Plato (Πρoς Πλατωνα)
  • Against Aristotle (Πρoς Aριστoτελην)

All these works are lost, and we know nothing about them but their titles. But from an expression of Cicero, we may infer that his works were of a polemical nature, and directed against the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, and on Empedocles. A long fragment (quotation or paraphrase) from an unspecified work of Hermarchus' has been preserved by Porphyry.

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