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date: 30 November 2022



  • Andrew Barker


Aristoxenus, of *Tarentum (b. c.370 bce), best known for musical writings but also a philosopher, biographer, and historian. He was trained in *music, possibly to professional standards, by his father Spintharus and Lampon of Erythrae (perhaps while living in *Mantinea). Later, probably at Athens, he studied with the Pythagorean (see pythagoras) Xenophilus, pupil of *Philolaus, before joining *Aristotle's Lyceum. Here his success made him expect to inherit the headship; and when Aristotle bequeathed it to *Theophrastus instead, his remarks about Aristotle (according to the Suda, our main biographical source) were memorably rude. The waspishness of criticisms levelled at others in his writings makes this believable; but his intellectual orientation is unmistakably Aristotelian, and his one surviving reference to Aristotle (Harm. 31. 10–16) is also the one unqualified compliment paid to anyone in that work. Nothing is known of him after 322 bce.


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