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Hecato Of Rhodes

HECATO OF RHODES, Greek Stoic philosopher and disciple of Panaetius (Cicero, De officiis, iii. 15). Nothing else is known of his life, but it is clear that he was eminent amongst the Stoics of the period. He was a voluminous writer, but nothing remains. A list is preserved by Diogenes, who mentions works on Duty, Good, Virtues, Ends. The first, dedicated to Tubero, is eulogized by Cicero in the De officiis, and Seneca refers to him frequently in the De beneficiis. According to Diogenes Laertius, he divided the virtues into two kinds, those founded on scientific intellectual principles (i.e. wisdom and justice), and those which have no such basis (e.g. temperance and the resultant health and vigour). Cicero shows that he was much interested in casuistical questions, as, for example, whether a good man who had received a coin which he knew to be bad was justified in passing it on to another. On the whole, his moral attitude is cynical, and he is inclined to regard self-interest as the best criterion. This he modifies by explaining that self-interest is based on the relationships of life; a man needs money for the sake of his children, his friends and the state whose general prosperity depends on the wealth of its citizens. Like the earlier Stoics, Cleanthes and Chrysippus, he held that virtue may be taught. (See STOICS and PANAETIUS.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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