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Xenocrates Quotes

  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Xenocrates
  • Born: 396BC, Chalcedon, Classical Greece
  • Died: 314BC
  • Occupation: Philosopher and Scholarch of the Platonic Academy 339BC - 314BC
  • Influences: Plato was his major influence
  • Influenced: Chaeron, Crantor, Epicurus, Phocion, Polemon and Zeno of Citium
  • Fields of interest: Metaphysics, logic and ethics
  • Strengths: A virtuous man who led an austere life yet he commanded great respect as a teacher

"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence"


"An ambassador should study the welfare of his country, and not spend his time in feasting and riot"


"Antipater uses us favourably if he looks upon us as staves, but very hardly if he considers us as freemen"


"One may as well go, as look into another man's house; because the eye may reach what the hand cannot"


"Tragedy when ridiculed by comedy does not condescend a reply"


"Geometry is one of the handles of science and philosophy"


"Happiness is the possession of the excellence proper to us, and of the power subservient to it"


"If the ox could think, it would attribute oxality to God"


"Go away, you give philosophy nothing to catch hold of"


"Counsel in trouble gives small comfort when help is past remedy"


"Each man's soul is his genius"

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Xenocrates Biography

Xenocrates was born in Chalcedon located at the southern end of the Bosphorus opposite Byzantium what is now known as Istanbul. He was a staunch follower of the Plato school of thought that was to be a major influence in his life.

Xenocrates succeeded Plato's nephew Speussipus as the Scholarch (president) of the Platonic Academy, a position which he held from 339BC until his death in 314BC. The bulk of his work has not survived and a lot of the understanding of Xenocrates has came from the learned pupils of his teachings.

Xenocrates main fields of interests were in metaphysics, logic and ethics although much of his teaching came from his former master Plato he further broke down fields of ethics to his own interpretation.

Nevertheless Xenocrates commanded great respect from his pupils who held him in high regards because of the altruistic and virtuous lifestyle he adopted adhering to the philosophies he believed in.

Amidst all the wisdom he shared there were some great stories passed on so this is my compilation of 11 of the best Xenocrates quotes.

Quotes About Xenocrates

Plato repeatedly instilled this simple philosphy on Xenocrates: "Sacrifice to the Graces"

Diogenes was not so impressed by Xenocrates saluting him as he retorted: "Nay, if you can endure to live in such a plight as this, I decline to return your greeting"

The writer Heinrich Dorrie shared this thought: "Xenocrates' lifework consisted of producing a kind of codification - and thus of necessity, a transformation - of Plato's philosophy. But it immediately became apparent that others, especially Aristotle, understood Plato in a wholly different way with respect to certain key questions"

Xenocrates image quote