Euclid

, an eminent philosopher, who flourished irv the 97th olympiad, about 390 B. C. was the founder of the Megaric sect, which was so called from Megara, where he was bora. He was endued by nature with a subtle and penetrating genius, and applied himself early to the study of philosophy. The writings of Parmenides first taught him the art of disputation. Hearing of the fame of Socrates, Euclid removed from Megara to Athens, where he long remained a constant hearer, and zealous disciple, of that philosopher; and such was his regard for him, that, when, in consequence of the enmity which subsisted between the Athenians and Megarians, a decree was passed by the | forner, that any inhabitant of Megara, who should be seen in Athens should forfeit his life, he frequently came to Athens by night, from the distance of about twenty miles, concealed in a long female cloak and veil, to visit his master. But as his natural propensity to disputation was not sufficiently gratified in the tranquil method of philosophising adopted by Socrates, he frequently engaged in the business and disputes of the civil courts, at which Socrates, who despised forensic contests, expressed some dissatisfaction. This probably was the occasion of a separation between Euclid and his master; for we find him, after this time, at the head of a school in Megara, in which his chief employment was, to teach the art of disputation, which he did with so much vehemence, that Timon said, Euclid had carried the madness of contention from Athens to Megara. He was, however, at times sufficiently master of his temper, as appears from his reply to his brother, who in a quarrel had said, “Let me perish if I be not revenged on you:” “and let me perish,” returned Euclid, “if I do not subdue your, resentment by forbearance, and make you love me as much as ever.” In disputation, Euclid was averse to the analogical method of reasoning, and judged, that legitimate argumentation consists in deducing fair conclusions from acknowledged premises. He held, that there is one supreme good, which he called by the different names of Intelligence, Providence, God; and that evil, considered as an opposite principle to the sovereign good, has no physical existence. The supreme good he defined to be that which is always the same. Good he therefore considered abstractedly, as residing in the Deity, and he seems to have maintained, that all things which exist are good by their participation of the first good, and that in the nature of things there is no real evil. When Euclid was asked his opinion concerning the gods, he replied, “I know nothing more of them than this: that they hate inquisitive persons,” an answer which at that time, and remembering the fate of Socrates, shows his prudence at least. 1

1 Gen. Dict. Brucker, Stanley’s Hist, Diogenes Laertius.