1902 Encyclopedia > Anaxarchus

Greek philosopher
(fl. 340 B.C.)

Anaxarchus, a Grecian philosopher of the Eleatic school, was born in Abdera, and flourished about 340 B.C. He was the companion of Alexander [the Great] in his expedition into Asia, and seems, from anecdotes that have been preserved, to have enjoyed his intimate friendship. He checked the vainglory of Alexander, when, elated with pride, he aspired to the honours of divinity, by pointing to his wounded finger, saying, "See the blood of a mortal, not of a god." When Alexander was tortured by remorse at having slain his friend Clitus, Anaxarchus endeavoured to soothe him by saying, that "kings, like the gods, could do not wrong." It is said that Nicocreon, tyrant of Cyprus, commanded him to be pounded in a mortar, and that he endured this torture with the greatest patience; but the story is doubtful, having no earlier authority than Cicero. Regarding his philosophical doctrines we have no information. Some have inferred from the epithet eudaimonikos ("The Fortunate"), usually applied to him, that he held the end of life to be Eudaimonia.

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