Sextus Empiricus and Greek scepticism by Mary Mills Patrick - HTML preview

PLEASE NOTE: This is an HTML preview only and some elements such as links or page numbers may be incorrect.
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.


The following treatise on Sextus Empiricus and Greek Scepticism

has been prepared to supply a need much felt in the English

language by students of Greek philosophy. For while other

schools of Greek philosophy have been exhaustively and critically discussed by English scholars, there are few sources

of information available to the student who wishes to make

himself familiar with the teachings of Pyrrhonism. The aim has

been, accordingly, to give a concise presentation of Pyrrhonism

in relation to its historical development and the Scepticism of

the Academy, with critical references to the French and German

works existing on the subject. The time and manner of the

connection of Sextus Empiricus with the Pyrrhonean School has

also been discussed.

As the First Book of the _Hypotyposes_, or Pyrrhonic Sketches by

Sextus Empiricus, contains the substance of the teachings of

Pyrrhonism, it has been hoped that a translation of it into

English might prove a useful contribution to the literature on

Pyrrhonism, and this translation has been added to the critical

part of the work.

In making this translation, and in the general study of the

works of Sextus, the Greek text of Immanuel Bekker, Berlin,

1842, has been used, with frequent consultation of the text of

J.A. Fabricius, 1718, which was taken directly from the existing

manuscripts of the works of Sextus. The divisions into chapters,

with the headings of the chapters in the translation, is the

same as Fabricius gives from the manuscripts, although not used

by Bekker, and the numbers of the paragraphs are the same as

those given by both Fabricius and Bekker. References to Diogenes

Laertius and other ancient works have been carefully verified.

The principal modern authors consulted are the following:

Ritter, _Geschichte der Philosophie_, II. Auf., Hamburg, 1836-38.

Zeller, _Philosophie der Griechen_, III. Auf., Leipzig, 1879-89.

Lewes, _History of Philosophy_, Vol. I., London, 1866.

Ueberweg, _History of Philosophy_, IV. ed., translated by

Morris, 1871.

Brochard, _Les Sceptiques Grecs_, Paris, 1877.

Brochard, _Pyrrhon et le Scepticism Primitive_, No. 5, Ribot's

_Revue Phil._, Paris, 1885.

Saisset, _Le Scepticism Aenésidème-Pascal-Kant_, Paris, 1867.

Chaignet, _Histoire de la Psychologie des Grecs_, Paris, 1887-90.

Haas, _Leben des Sextus Empiricus_, Burghausen, 1882.

Natorp, _Forschungen zur Geschichte des Erkenntnisproblems bei

den Alten_, Berlin, 1884.

Hirzel, _Untersuchungen zu Cicero's philosophischen Schriften_,

Leipzig, 1877-83.

Pappenheim, _Erläuterung zu des Sextus Empiricus Pyrrhoneischen

Grundzügen_, Heidelberg, 1882.

Pappenheim, _Die Tropen der Greichischen Skeptiker_, Berlin,


Pappenheim, _Lebensverhältnisse des Sextus Empiricus_, Berlin,


Pappenheim, _Der angebliche Heraclitismus des Skeptikers Ainesidemos_, Berlin, 1887.

Pappenheim, _Der Sitz der Schule der Griechischen Skeptiker,

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie_, I. 1, S. 47, 1887.

Maccoll, _The Greek Sceptics from Pyrrho to Sextus_, London,


My grateful acknowledgments are due to Dr. Ludwig Stein, Professor of Philosophy in the University of Bern, for valuable

assistance in relation to the plan of the work and advice in

regard to the best authorities to be consulted. Thanks are also

due to Dr. Louisos Iliou, of Robert College, Constantinople, for

kind suggestions concerning the translation.




Introductory paragraph.--The name of Sextus Empiricus.

His profession.--The time when he lived.--The place of his birth.--The seat of the Sceptical School while Sextus

was at its head.--The character of the writings of Sextus




The subject-matter of the Hypotyposes.--The origin of Pyrrhonism.--The nomenclature of Pyrrhonism.--Its criterion.--Its aim.--[Greek: epochê] and [Greek: ataraxia].--The

standpoint of Pyrrhonism.



Origin of the name.--The ten Tropes of [Greek: epochê].-


First Trope.--The Second Trope.--The Third Trope.--The Fourth

Trope.--The Fifth Trope.--The Sixth Trope.--The Seventh Trope.--The Eighth Trope.--The Ninth Trope.--The Tenth Trope.--The five Tropes of Agrippa.--The two Tropes.--

The Tropes

of Aenesidemus against Aetiology.



Statement of the problem.--The theory of Pappenheim.--

The theory

of Brochard.--Zeller's theory.--The theory of Ritter and Saisset.--The theory of Hirzel and Natorp.--Critical examination

of the subject.



Pyrrhonism and Pyrrho.--Pyrrhonism and the Academy.

Strength and

weakness of Pyrrhonism.

* * * * *




_The Historical Relations of Sextus Empiricus._

Interest has revived in the works of Sextus Empiricus in recent

times, especially, one may say, since the date of Herbart. There

is much in the writings of Sextus that finds a parallel in the

methods of modern philosophy. There is a common starting-point

in the study of the power and limitations of human thought.

There is a common desire to investigate the phenomena of sense-perception, and the genetic relations of man to the lower

animals, and a common interest in the theory of human knowledge.

While, however, some of the pages of Sextus' works would form a

possible introduction to certain lines of modern philosophical

thought, we cannot carry the analogy farther, for Pyrrhonism as

a whole lacked the essential element of all philosophical

progress, which is a belief in the possibility of finding and

establishing the truth in the subjects investigated.

Before beginning a critical study of the writings of Sextus

Empiricus, and the light which they throw on the development of

Greek Scepticism, it is necessary to make ourselves somewhat

familiar with the environment in which he lived and wrote. We

shall thus be able to comprehend more fully the standpoint from

which he regarded philosophical questions.

Let us accordingly attempt to give some details of his life,

including his profession, the time when he lived, the place of

his birth, the country in which he taught, and the general aim

and character of his works. Here, however, we encounter great

difficulties, for although we possess most of the writings of

Sextus well preserved, the evidence which they provide on the

points mentioned is very slight. He does not give us biographical details in regard to himself, nor does he refer to

his contemporaries in a way to afford any exact knowledge of

them. His name even furnishes us with a problem impossible of

solution. He is called [Greek: Sextos ho empeirikos] by Diogenes

Laertius[1]: [Greek: Hêrodotou de diêkouse Sextos ho empeirikos

hou kai ta deka tôn skeptikôn kai alla kallista' Sextou de

diêkouse Satorninos ho Kythênas, empeirikos kai autos].


in this passage Diogenes speaks of Sextus the second time

without the surname, we cannot understand the meaning otherwise

than that Diogenes considered Sextus a physician of the Empirical School. Other evidence also is not wanting that Sextus

bore this surname. Fabricius, in his edition of the works of

Sextus, quotes from the _Tabella de Sectis Medicorum_ of Lambecius the statement that Sextus was called Empiricus because

of his position in medicine.[2]

Pseudo-Galen also refers to him as one of the directors of the

Empirical School, and calls him [Greek: Sextos ho empeirikos].[3] His name is often found in the manuscripts

written with the surname, as for example at the end of _Logic

II_.[4] In other places it is found written without the surname,

as Fabricius testifies, where Sextus is mentioned as a Sceptic

in connection with Pyrrho.

[1] Diog. Laert. IX. 12, 116.

[2] Fabricius _Testimonia_, p. 2.

[3] Pseudo-Galen _Isag._ 4; Fabricius _Testimonia_, p. 2.

[4] Bekker _Math._ VIII. 481.

The Sceptical School was long closely connected with the Empirical School of medicine, and the later Pyrrhoneans, when

they were physicians, as was often the case, belonged for the

most part to this school. Menedotus of Nicomedia is the first

Sceptic, however, who is formally spoken of as an Empirical

physician,[1] and his contemporary Theodas of Laodicea was also

an Empirical physician. The date of Menedotus and Theodas is

difficult to fix, but Brochard and Hass agree that it was about

150 A.D.[2] After the time of these two physicians, who were

also each in turn at the head of the Sceptical School,[3] there

seems to have been a definite alliance between Pyrrhonism and

Empiricism in medicine, and we have every reason to believe that

this alliance existed until the time of Sextus.

[1] Diog. IX. 12, 115.

[2] Brochard _Op. cit. Livre_ IV. p. 311.

[3] Diog. IX. 12, 116.

The difficulty in regard to the name arises from Sextus'


testimony. In the first book of the _Hypotyposes_ he takes

strong ground against the identity of Pyrrhonism and Empiricism

in medicine. Although he introduces his objections with the

admission that "some say that they are the same," in recognition

of the close union that had existed between them, he goes on to

say that "Empiricism is neither Scepticism itself, nor would it

suit the Sceptic to take that sect upon himself",[1] for the

reason that Empiricism maintains dogmatically the impossibility

of knowledge, but he would prefer to belong to the Methodical

School, which was the only medical school worthy of the Sceptic.

"For this alone of all the medical sects, does not proceed

rashly it seems to me, in regard to unknown things, and does not

presume to say whether they are comprehensible or not, but it is

guided by phenomena.[2] It will thus be seen that the Methodical

School of medicine has a certain relationship to Scepticism

which is closer than that of the other medical sects."[3]

[1] _Hyp_. I. 236.

[2] _Hyp_. I. 237.

[3] _Hyp_. I. 241.

We know from the testimony of Sextus himself that he was a

physician. In one case he uses the first person for himself as a

physician,[1] and in another he speaks of Asclepius as


founder of our science,"[2] and all his illustrations show a

breadth and variety of medical knowledge that only a physician

could possess. He published a medical work which he refers to

once as [Greek: iatrika hupomnêmata],[3] and again as


empeirika hupomnêmata][4] These passages probably refer to the

same work,[5] which, unfortunately for the solution of the

difficult question that we have in hand, is lost, and nothing is

known of its contents.

In apparent contradiction to his statement in _Hypotyposes_ I.,

that Scepticism and Empiricism are opposed to each other, in

that Empiricism denies the possibility of knowledge, and Scepticism makes no dogmatic statements of any kind, Sextus

classes the Sceptics and Empiricists together in another instance, as regarding knowledge as impossible[6]

[Greek: all oi

men phasin auta mê katalambanesthai, hôster hoi apo tês empeirias iatroi kai hoi apo tês skepseôs phiolosophoi].


another case, on the contrary, he contrasts the Sceptics sharply

with the Empiricists in regard to the [Greek: apodeixeis].[7]

[Greek: hoi de empeirikoi anairousin, hoi de skeptikoi en epochê

tautên ephylaxan].

[1] _Hyp_. ii. 238.

[2] _Adv. Math_. A. 260.

[3] _Adv. Math_. vii. 202.

[4] _Adv. Math_. A. 61.

[5] Zeller _Op. cit._. iii. 43.

[6] _Adv. Math._ viii. 191.

[7] _Adv. Math._ VIII. 328.

Pappenheim thinks that Sextus belonged to the Methodical School,

both from his strong expression in favor of that school in

_Hyp_. I. 236, as above, and also because many of his medical opinions, as found in his works, agree with the teachings of the Methodical School, more nearly than with those

of the Empiricists. Pappenheim also claims that we find no

inconsistency with this view in the passage given where Sextus

classes the Sceptics with the Empiricists, but considers that

statement an instance of carelessness in expressing himself, on

the part of Sextus.[1]

[1] _Lebensverhältnisse des Sex. Em._ 36.

The position of Pappenheim is assailable for the reason that in

dealing with any problem regarding an author on the basis of

internal evidence, we have no right to consider one of his

statements worthy of weight, and another one unworthy, on the

supposition that he expressed himself carelessly in the second

instance. Rather must we attempt to find his true standpoint by

fairly meeting all the difficulties offered in apparently

conflicting passages. This has been attempted by Zeller, Brochard, Natorp and others, with the general result that all

things considered they think without doubt that Sextus belonged

to the Empirical School.[1] His other references are too strong

to allow his fidelity to it to be doubted. He is called one of

the leaders of Empiricism by Pseudo-Galen, and his only medical

work bore the title [Greek: empeirika hupomnêmata.] The opinion

of the writers above referred to is that the passage which we

have quoted from the _Hypotyposes_ does not necessarily mean

that Sextus was not an Empiricist, but as he was more of a

Sceptic than a physician, he gave preference to those doctrines

that were most consistent with Scepticism, and accordingly

claimed that it was not absolutely necessary that a Sceptic

physician should be an Empiricist. Natorp considers that the

different standpoint from which Sextus judges the Empirical and

Methodical Schools in his different works is accounted for on

the supposition that he was an Empiricist, but disagreed with

that school on the one point only.[2] Natorp points out that

Sextus does not speak more favourably of the medical stand of

the Methodical School, but only compares the way in which both

schools regarded the question of the possibility of knowledge,

and thinks that Sextus could have been an Empiricist as a

physician notwithstanding his condemnation of the attitude of

the Empirical School in relation to the theory of knowledge.

This difference between the two schools was a small one, and on

a subtle and unimportant point; in fact, a difference in philosophical theory, and not in medical practice.

[1] Brochard _Op. cit. Livre_ IV. 317; Zeller _Op.


III. 15; Natorp _Op. cit._ p. 155.

[2] Natorp _Op. cit_. 157.

While we would agree with the authors above referred to, that

Sextus very probably recognized the bond between the Empirical

School of medicine and Pyrrhonism, yet to make his possible

connection with that school the explanation of his name, gives

him more prominence as a physician than is consistent with what

we know of his career. The long continued union of Empiricism

and Scepticism would naturally support the view that Sextus was,

at least during the earlier part of his life, a physician of

that school, and yet it may be that he was not named Empiricus

for that reason. There is one instance in ancient writings where

Empiricus is known as a simple proper name.[1] It may have been

a proper name in Sextus' case, or there are many other ways in

which it could have originated, as those who have studied the

origin of names will readily grant, perhaps indeed, from the

title of the above-named work, [Greek: empeirika hupomnêmata.]

The chief argument for this view of the case is that there were

other leaders of the Sceptical School, for whom we can claim far

greater influence as Empiricists than for Sextus, and for whom

the surname Empiricus would have been more appropriate, if it

was given in consequence of prominence in the Empirical School.

Sextus is known to the world as a Sceptic, and not as a physician. He was classed in later times with Pyrrho, and his

philosophical works survived, while his medical writings did

not, but are chiefly known from his own mention of them.

Moreover, the passage which we have quoted from the _Hypotyposes_ is too strong to allow us easily to believe that

Sextus remained all his life a member of the Empirical School.

He could hardly have said, "Nor would it suit the Sceptic to

take that sect upon himself," if he at the same time belonged to

it. His other references to the Empirical School, of a more

favorable character, can be easily explained on the ground of

the long continued connection which had existed between the two

schools. It is quite possible to suppose that Sextus was an

Empiricist a part of his life, and afterwards found the Methodical School more to his liking, and such a change would

not in any way have affected his stand as a physician.

[1] Pappenheim _Leb. Ver. Sex. Em_. 6.

In regard to the exact time when Sextus Empiricus lived, we gain

very little knowledge from internal evidence, and outside

sources of information are equally uncertain. Diogenes Laertius

must have been a generation younger than Sextus, as he mentions

the disciple of Sextus, Saturninus, as an Empirical physician.[1] The time of Diogenes is usually estimated as the

first half of the third century A.D.,[2] therefore Sextus cannot

be brought forward later than the beginning of the century.

Sextus, however, directs his writings entirely against the

Dogmatics, by whom he distinctly states that he means the

Stoics,[3] and the influence of the Stoics began to decline in

the beginning of the third century A.D. A fact often used as a

help in fixing the date of Sextus is his mention of Basilides

the Stoic,[4] [Greek: alla kai oi stôikoi, ôs oi peri ton

Basileidên]. This Basilides was supposed to be identical with

one of the teachers of Marcus Aurelius.[5] This is accepted by

Zeller in the second edition of his _History of Philosophy_, but

not in the third for the reason that Sextus, in all the work

from which this reference is taken, _i.e. Math_. VII.-


mentions no one besides Aenesidemus, who lived later than the

middle of the last century B.C.[6] The Basilides referred to by

Sextus may be one mentioned in a list of twenty Stoics, in a

fragment of Diogenes Laertius, recently published in Berlin by

Val Rose.[7] Too much importance has, however, been given to the

relation of the mention of Basilides the Stoic to the question

of the date of Sextus. Even if the Basilides referred to by

Sextus is granted to have been the teacher of Marcus Aurelius,

it only serves to show that Sextus lived either at the same time

with Marcus Aurelius or after him, which is a conclusion that we

must in any case reach for other reasons.

[1] Diog. IX. 12, 116.

[2] Ueberweg _Hist. of Phil._ p. 21.

[3] Hyp. I. 65.

[4] _Adv. Math_. VII. 258.

[5] Fabricius _Vita Sexti._

[6] Zeller _Op. cit_. III. 8.

[7] Brochard _Op. cit_. IV. 315.

The fact that has caused the greatest uncertainty in regard to

the date of Sextus is that Claudius Galen in his works mentions

several Sceptics who were also physicians of the Empirical

School,[1] and often speaks of Herodotus, supposed to be identical with the teacher of Sextus given by Diogenes Laertius,[2] but makes no reference whatever to Sextus.


Galen's time passes the limit of the second century A.D., we

must either infer that Sextus was not the well-known physician

that he was stated to be by Pseudo-Galen, and consequently not

known to Galen, or that Galen wrote before Sextus became prominent as a Sceptic. This silence on the part of Galen in

regard to Sextus increases the doubt, caused by Sextus'


criticism of the Empirical School of medicine, as to his having

been an Empiricist. The question is made more complicated, as it

is difficult to fix the identity of the Herodotus so often

referred to by Galen.[3] As Galen died about 200 A.D. at the age

of seventy,[4] we should fix the date of Sextus early in the

third century, and that of Diogenes perhaps a little later than

the middle, were it not that early in the third century the

Stoics began to decline in influence, and could hardly have

excited the warmth of animosity displayed by Sextus. We must

then suppose that Sextus wrote at the very latter part of the

second century, and either that Galen did not know him, or that

Galen's books were published before Sextus became prominent

either as a physician or as a Sceptic. The fact that he may have

been better known as the latter than as the former does not

sufficiently account for Galen's silence, as other Sceptics are

mentioned by him of less importance than Sextus, and the latter,

even if not as great a physician as Pseudo-Galen asserts, was

certainly both a Sceptic and a physician, and must have belonged

to one of the two medical schools so thoroughly discussed by

Galen--either the Empirical or the Methodical.

Therefore, if

Sextus were a contemporary of Galen, he was so far removed from

the circle of Galen's acquaintances as to have made no impression upon him, either as a Sceptic or a physician, a

supposition that is very improbable. We must then fix the date

of Sextus late in the second century, and conclude that the

climax of his public career was reached after Galen had finished

those of his writings which are still extant.

[1] Zeller, III. 7.

[2] Diog. XI. 12, 116.

[3] Pappenheim _Lebens. Ver. Sex. Em._ 30.

[4] Zeller _Grundriss der Ges. der Phil._ p. 260.

Sextus has a Latin name, but he was a Greek; we know this from

his own statement.[1] We also know that he must have been a

Greek from the beauty and facility of his style, and from his

acquaintance with Greek dialects. The place of his birth can

only, however, be conjectured, from arguments indirectly derived

from his writings. His constant references throughout his works

to the minute customs of different nations ought to give us a

clue to the solution of this question, but strange to say they

do not give us a decided one. Of these references a large

number, however, relate to the customs of Libya, showing a

minute knowledge in regard to the political and religious

customs of this land that he displays in regard to no other

country except Egypt.[2] Fabricius thinks Libya was not his

birth place because of a reference which he makes to it in the

_Hypotyposes_--[Greek: Thrakôn de kai Gaitoulôn (Libyôn de

ethnos touto)].[3] This conclusion is, however, entirely unfounded, as the explanation of Sextus simply shows that the

people whom he was then addressing were not familiar with the

nations of Libya. Suidas speaks of two men called Sextus, one

from Chæronea and one from Libya, both of whom he calls Sceptics, and to one of whom he attributes Sextus'

books. All

authorities agree in asserting that great confusion exists in

the works of Suidas; and Fabricius, Zeller, and Pappenheim place

no weight upon this testimony of Suidas.[4] Haas, however,

contends[5] that it is unreasonable to suppose that this confusion could go as far as to attribute the writings of Sextus

Empiricus to Sextus of Chæronea, and also make the latter a

Sceptic, and he considers it far more reasonable to accept the

testimony of Suidas, as it coincides so well with the internal

evidence of Sextus' writings in regard to his native land. It is

nevertheless evident, from his familiarity with the customs,

language, and laws of Athens, Alexandria and Rome, that he must

have resided at some time in each of these cities.

[1] _Adv. Math._ A. 246; _Hyp._ I. 152; _Hyp._ III.



[2] Haas _Op. cit._ p. 10.

[3] _Hyp._ III. 213.

[4] Pappenheim _Lebens. Ver. Sex. Em._ 5, 22; Zeller _Op.

cit._ III. 39; Fabricius _Vita de Sextus_.

[5] Haas _Op. cit_. p. 6.

Of all the problems connected with the historical details of the

life of Sextus, the one that is the most difficult of solution,

and also the most important for our present purpose of making a

critical study of his teaching, is to fix the seat of the

Sceptical School during the time that he was in charge of it.

The _Hypotyposes_ are lectures delivered in public in that

period of his life. Where then were they delivered? We know that

the Sceptical School must have had a long continued existence as

a definite philosophical movement, although some have contended

otherwise. The fact of its existence as an organized direction

of thought, is demonstrated by its formulated teachings, and the

list given by Diogenes Laertius of its principal leaders,[1] and

by references from the writings of Sextus. In the first book of

_Hypotyposes_ he refers to Scepticism as a distinct system of

philosophy, [Greek: kai taen diakrisin taes skepseos apo ton

parakeimenon autae philosophion].[2] He speaks also of the older

Sceptics,[3] and the later Sceptics.[4]

Pyrrho, the founder of the school, taught in Elis, his native

village; but even as early as the time of Timon, his immediate

follower, his teachings were somewhat known in Alexandria, where

Timon for a while resided.[5] The immediate disciples of Timon,

as given by Diogenes, were not men known in Greece or mentioned

in Greek writings. Then we have the well-known testimony of

Aristocles the Peripatetic in regard to Aenesidemus, that he

taught Pyrrhonism in Alexandria[6]--[Greek: echthes kai proaen

en Alexandreia tae kat' Aigypton Ainaesidaemos tis anazopyrein

aerxato ton huthlon touton].

[1] Diog. XI. 12, 115, 116.

[2] _Hyp_. I. 5.

[3] _Hyp_. I. 36.

[4] _Hyp_. I. 164.

[5] Chaignet _Op. cit._ 45.

[6] Aristocles of Euseb. _Praep. Ev._ XIV. E. 446.

This was after the dogmatic tendency of the Academy under

Antiochus and his followers had driven Pyrrhonism from the

partial union with the Academy, which it had experienced after

the breaking up of the school under the immediate successors of

Timon. Aenesidemus taught about the time of our era in Alexandria, and established the school there anew; and his

followers are spoken of in a way that presupposes their continuing in the same place. There is every reason to think

that the connection of Sextus with Alexandria was an intimate

one, not only because Alexandria had been for so long a time the

seat of Pyrrhonism, but also from internal evidence from his

writings and their subsequent historical influence; and yet the

_Hypotyposes_ could not have been delivered in Alexandria, as he

often refers to that place in comparison with the place where he

was then speaking. He says, furthermore, that he teaches in the

same place where his master taught.[1] [Greek: Blepon te hoti

entha ho huphaegaetaes ho emos dielegeto, entautha ego nun

dialegomai]. Therefore the school must have been removed from

Alexandria, in or before the time of the teacher of Sextus, to

some other centre. The _Hypotyposes_ are from beginning to end a

direct attack on the Dogmatics; therefore Sextus must have

taught either in some city where the dogmatic philosophy was

strong, or in some rival philosophical centre. The _Hypotyposes_

show also that the writer had access to some large library.

Alexandria, Rome and Athens are the three places the most

probable for selection for such a purpose. For whatever reason

the seat of the school was removed from Alexandria by the master

of Sextus, or by himself, from the place where it had so long

been united with the Empirical School of medicine, Athens would

seem the most suitable city for its recontinuance, in the land

where Pyrrhonism first had its birth. Sextus, however, in one

instance, in referring to things invisible because of their

outward relations, says in illustration, "as the city of Athens

is invisible to us at present."[2] In other places also he

contrasts the Athenians with the people whom he is addressing,

equally with the Alexandrians, thus putting Athens as well as

Alexandria out of the question.

[1] _Hyp._ III. 120.

[2] _Hyp._ II. 98.

Of the different writers on Sextus Empiricus, those who have

treated this part of the subject most critically are Haas and

Pappenheim. We will therefore consider, somewhat at length, the

results presented by these two authors. Haas thinks that the

_Hypotyposes_ were delivered in Rome for the following reasons.

Sextus' lectures must have been given in some centre of philosophical schools and of learning. He never opposes Roman

relations to those of the place where he is speaking, as he does

in regard to Athens and Alexandria. He uses the name


only three times,[1] once comparing them to the Rhodians, once

to the Persians, and once in general to other nations.[2] In the

first two of these references, the expression "among the Romans"

in the first part of the antithesis is followed by the expression, "among us," in the second part, which Haas understands to be synonymous. The third reference is in regard

to a Roman law, and the use of the word 'Roman' does not at all

show that Sextus was not then in Rome. The character of the laws

referred to by Sextus as [Greek: par' haemin] shows that they

were always Roman laws, and his definition of law[3] is especially a definition of Roman law. This argument might, it

would seem, apply to any part of the Roman Empire, but Haas

claims that the whole relation of law to custom as treated of by

Sextus, and all his statements of customs forbidden at that time

by law, point to Rome as the place of his residence.


Haas considers the Herodotus mentioned by Galen[4] as a prominent physician in Rome, to have been the predecessor and

master of Sextus, in whose place Sextus says that he is teaching.[5] Haas also thinks that Sextus' refutation of the

identity of Pyrrhonism with Empiricism evidently refers to a

paragraph in Galen's _Subfiguratio Empirica_,[6] which would be

natural if the _Hypotyposes_ were written shortly after Galen's

_Sub. Em._, and in the same place. Further, Hippolytus, who

wrote in or near Rome very soon after the time of Sextus,

apparently used the _Hypotyposes_, which would be more natural

if he wrote in the same place. According to Haas, every thing in

internal evidence, and outward testimony, points to Rome as

having been the city where Sextus occupied his position as the

head of the Sceptical School.

[1] Haas _Op. cit._ p. 15.

[2] _Hyp._ I. 149, 152; III. 211.

[3] _Hyp._ I. 146.

[4] Galen _de puls._ IV. 11; Bd. VIII. 751.

[5] _Hyp_. III. 120.

[6] Galen _Sub. Em._ 123 B-126 D. (Basileae, 1542).

Coming now to the position of Pappenheim on this subject, we

find that he takes very decided ground against the seat of the

Sceptical School having been in Rome, even for a short time, in

his latest publication regarding it.[1] This opinion is the

result of late study on the part of Pappenheim, for in his work

on the _Lebensverhältnisse des Sextus Empiricus_ Berlin 1875, he

says, "Dass Herodotus in Rom lebte sagt Galen.

Vermuthlich auch

Sextus." His reasons given in the later article for not connecting the Sceptical School at all with Rome are as follows.

He finds no proof of the influence of Scepticism in Rome, as

Cicero remarks that Pyrrhonism is extinct,[2] and he also gives

weight to the well-known sarcastic saying of Seneca, _Quis est

qui tradat praecepta Pyrrhonis!_[3] While Haas claims that

Sextus would naturally seek one of the centres of dogmatism, in

order most effectively to combat it, Pappenheim, on the contrary, contends that it would have been foolishness on the

part of Sextus to think of starting the Sceptical School in

Rome, where Stoicism was the favored philosophy of the Roman

Emperors; and when either for the possible reason of strife

between the Empirical and Methodical Schools, or for some other

cause, the Pyrrhonean School was removed from Alexandria,

Pappenheim claims that all testimony points to the conclusion

that it was founded in some city of the East. The name of Sextus

is never known in Roman literature, but in the East, on the

contrary, literature speaks for centuries of Sextus and Pyrrho.

The _Hypotyposes_, especially, were well-known in the East, and

references to Sextus are found there in philosophical and

religious dogmatic writings. The Emperor Julian makes use of the

works of Sextus, and he is frequently quoted by the Church

Fathers of the Eastern Church.[4] Pappenheim accordingly concludes that the seat of Pyrrhonism after the school was

removed from Alexandria, was in some unknown city of the East.

[1] Pappenheim _Sitz der Skeptischen Schule. Archiv für

Geschichte der Phil._ 1888.

[2] Cicero _De Orat._ III. 17, 62.

[3] Seneca _nat. qu._ VII. 32. 2.

[4] Fabricius _de Sexto Empirico Testimonia_.

In estimating the weight of these arguments, we must accept with

Pappenheim the close connection of Pyrrhonism with Alexandria,

and the subsequent influence which it exerted upon the literature of the East. All historical relations tend to fix the

permanent seat of Pyrrhonism, after its separation from the

Academy, in Alexandria. There is nothing to point to its removal

from Alexandria before the time of Menodotus, who is the teacher

of Herodotus,[1] and for many reasons to be considered the real

teacher of Sextus. It was Menodotus who perfected the Empirical

doctrines, and who brought about an official union between

Scepticism and Empiricism, and who gave Pyrrhonism in great

measure, the _éclat_ that it enjoyed in Alexandria, and who

appears to have been the most powerful influence in the school,

from the time of Aenesidemus to that of Sextus.