Hermann S. Schibli
The notion of “self” is a non-technical one, bridging the areas of psychology and ethics or social relations. Criteria for selfhood include psychological unity or cohesion, agency, responsibility, self-consciousness, reflexivity, and capacity for relationships with others. “Self” is a modern concept with no obvious lexical equivalent in Greek (or Latin); the question therefore arises of the relationship between the modern concept and ancient thinking, as embodied in Greek literature. Three approaches to this question can be identified. One focuses on the idea that there is development within Greek literature towards an understanding of the self or person as a cohesive unit and bearer of agency and responsibility. Another approach sees certain aspects of Greek literature and philosophy as prefiguring some features of the modern concept of self. A third approach underlines the difference between the Greek and modern thought worlds in the formulation of concepts in this area, while also suggesting that Greek ideas and modes of presenting people can be illuminating to moderns, in part because of the challenge posed by their difference. These approaches draw on a range of evidence, including psychological vocabulary, characterization in Greek literature, and Greek philosophical analyses of ethical psychology. There are grounds for maintaining the credibility of all three approaches, and also valid criticisms that can be made of each of them.
Jakob Fortunat Stagl
The institutional scheme of Roman law was developed primarily by Gaius on the basis of a preceding tradition of law manuals. The scheme consists of dividing the law into a General Part, Family Law, Property Law, Law of Succession, Law of Obligations, and Civil Procedure. This scheme is apparent not only in Gaius’s Institutes but also in the whole of his didactic scheme, which can be discerned from descriptions of the curriculum in his time. Gaius’s larger didactic scheme is indebted to contemporary philosophical, rhetorical, and didactic currents, which made it possible for him to organise the law of Rome in such a solid and plausible way that the emperor Justinian adopted this scheme for his compilation, comprising the Institutes, the Digest, and the Codex.
Agatharchides, of Cnidus, Greek historian, geographer, and Peripatetic philosopher, c. 215–after 145 BCE
Kenneth S. Sacks
Who lived most of his adult life in *Alexandria (1), eventually leaving, perhaps in flight to Athens after 145. He was not, as previously believed, regent to *Ptolemy (1) IX but was in the service of *Heraclides (3) Lembus. His major works, for which there are fragmentary remains, include: Asian Affairs (Τὰ κατὰ τὴν Ἀσίαν), probably a universal history that extended to the *Diadochi; European Affairs (Τὰ κατὰ τὴν Εὐρώπην), perhaps to his own time; and On the Red Sea (Περὶ τῆς Ἐρυθρᾶς θαλάσσης) in five books (some preserved by Diodorus, bk. 3, and Photius). These large-scale histories, interlaced with *anthropology and *geography, provided a model for *Posidonius (2). He attacked the Asianic prose style, and *Photius calls him a worthy disciple of *Thucydides (2) in expression. He may have voiced hostility toward the Ptolemies, from whom he may have fled.
Gwilym Ellis Lane Owen and Malcolm Schofield
Wrote a philosophical book dedicated to a group of Pythagoreans (see
Erik Robertson Dodds and John Dillon
Charles H. Kahn
Anaximander of *Miletu (died soon after 547 BCE), said to be an associate or disciple of *Thales, was the first Greek to write a prose treatise ‘On the Nature of Things’ (Peri physeōs). He thus initiated the tradition of Greek natural philosophy by elaborating a system of the heavens, including an account of the origins of human life, and by leaving his speculation behind in written form. He was the first to make a *map of the inhabited world; some sources also credit him with a sphairos or plan of the heavens.
Anaximander's view of the cosmos is remarkable for its speculative imagination and for its systematic appeal to rational principles and natural processes as a basis for explanation. The origin of things is the apeiron, the limitless or infinite, which apparently surrounds the generated world and ‘steers’ or governs the world process. Symmetry probably dictates that the world-order will perish into the source from which it has arisen, as symmetry is explicitly said to explain why the earth is stable in the centre of things, equally balanced in every direction. The world process begins when the opposites are ‘separated out’ to generate the hot and the cold, the dry and the wet. By a process that is both biological and mechanical, earth, sea, and sky take shape and huge wheels of enclosed fire are formed to produce the phenomena of sun, moon, and stars. The size of the wheels was specified, corresponding perhaps to the arithmetical series 9, 18, 27. The earth is a flat disc, three times as broad as it is deep. Mechanical explanations in terms of the opposites are offered for meteorological phenomena (wind, rain, lightning, and thunder) and for the origin of animal life. The first human beings were generated from a sort of embryo floating in the sea.
Charles H. Kahn
Anaximenes (1), of *Miletus (traditional floruit 546–525