Plato Has Blood on His Hands: Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 1.33-4

“But death takes us away from the evils of life, not its joys, if we are truthful. This position, indeed, was so thoroughly explored by Hegesias of Cyrene that he was banned by king Ptolemy from speaking in the schools, because so many went to seek their deaths after hearing him. There is, in fact, an epigram of Callimachus written against Theombrotus of Abracia, who, although nothing bad had happened to him, hurled himself from a wall into the sea, after reading Plato. This Hegesias, whom I just mentioned, wrote a book calld the Apokarteron, in which a man dying of hunger, after being called back to life by his friends, responds to them by enumerating the many ills of human life.”

a malis igitur mors abducit, non a bonis, verum si quaerimus. et quidem hoc a Cyrenaico Hegesia sic copiose disputatur, ut is a rege Ptolomaeo prohibitus esse dicatur illa in scholis dicere, quod multi is auditis mortem sibi ipsi consciscerent.

Callimachi quidem epigramma in Ambraciotam Theombrotum est, quem ait, cum ei nihil accidisset adversi, e muro se in mare abiecisse, lecto Platonis libro. eius autem, quem dixi, Hegesiae liber est apokarteron, quo a vita quidem per inediam discedens revocatur ab amicis; quibus respondens vitae humanae enumerat incommoda.

3 thoughts on “Plato Has Blood on His Hands: Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 1.33-4

  1. Misunderstanding should be bewared of. Plato’s invitation to a sooner transit to gods does not mean suicide but becoming just and holy according to reason. Theaitetos, 176a.

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