Hecato of Rhodes

Philosopher, Deceased Person


Who is Hecato of Rhodes?

Hecato or Hecaton of Rhodes was a Stoic philosopher.

He was a native of Rhodes, and a disciple of Panaetius, but nothing else is known of his life. It is clear that he was eminent amongst the Stoics of the period. He was a voluminous writer, but nothing remains. Diogenes Laërtius mentions six treatises written by Hecato:

⁕Περὶ ἀγαθῶν – On Goods, in at least nineteen books.

⁕Περὶ ἀρετῶν – On Virtues.

⁕Περὶ παθῶν – On Passions.

⁕Περὶ τελῶν – On Ends.

⁕Περὶ παραδόξων – On Paradoxes, in at least thirteen books.

⁕Χρεῖαι – Maxims.

In addition Cicero writes that Hecato wrote a work on On Duties, dedicated to Quintus Tubero. Hecato is also frequently mentioned by Seneca in his treatise De Beneficiis. Seneca also quotes Hecato;

According to Diogenes, Hecato divided the virtues into two kinds, those founded on scientific intellectual principles, and those with no such basis. Like the earlier Stoics, Cleanthes and Chrysippus, Hecato also held that virtue may be taught.

Cicero shows that he was much interested in casuistical questions, as, for example, whether a good man who received a coin he knew to be bad was justified in passing it on to another. On the whole, 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:

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on July 23, 2013


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