, a Greek philosopher, born in Colophon, was, according to some authors, the disciple of Archelaus; in which case he must have been contemporary with Socrates. Others relate, that he taught himself all he knew, and that he lived at the same time with Anaximander: according to which account he must have flourished before Socrates, and about the 60th Olympiad, as Diogenes Laertius affirms. He founded the Eleatic sect; and wrote several poems on philosophical subjects; as also a great many on the foundation of Colophon, and on that of the colony of Elea. He wrote also against Homer and Hesiod. He was banished from his country, withdrew to Sicily, and lived in Zanche and Catana. His opinion with regard to the nature of God differs not much from that of Spinoza.—When he saw the Egyptians pour forth lamentations during their festivals, he thus advised them: “If the objects of your worship are Gods, do not weep: if they are men, offer not sacrifices to them.” The answer he made to a man with whom he refused to play at dice, is highly worthy of a philosopher: This man calling him a coward, “Yes, replied he, I am excessively so with regard to all shameful actions.”

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Entry taken from A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary, by Charles Hutton, 1796.

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