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Chrysippus of Soli


Chrysippus. Bust at the British museum, London (Britain). Photo Marco Prins.Chrysippus (British Museum)
Chrysippus of Soli (c.279-c.206): Cilician philosopher, second leader of the Stoa.

Zeno of Citium was succeeded as head of the Stoic school at Athens by Cleanthes, who was in turn succeeded by Chrysippus, a native of Soli in Cilicia. He wrote more than seven hundred work, which are all lost, although fragment can be found in the works of later, Roman philosophers, like Cicero and Seneca.

His contributions to the development of philosophy can especially be found in the field of logic, where he studied paradoxes and the way an argument should be constructed.

He also reflected upon the use of allegoresis, which is a way to read a text metaphorically and find hidden meanings (or construct them). From now on, philosophers started to use the epics of Homer and the tragedies of Euripides as if they were philosophical treatises.

Finally, Chrysippus was the man who concluded that if the rational principle of the universe, the logos, was divine, the world could be defined as a manifestation of God.

It is said that Chrysippus died of laughter when he saw a donkey eating figs.

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