Xenocrates The Metic / Ξενοκράτης ο Μέτοικος

David Whitehead

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My purpose in this paper1) is to look at the career of Xenocrates as a whole, and to examine a number of specific problems
witbin it, in the light of the fact that he lived as a μέτοικος in fourtb-century Athens. To consider the ways in which being a
metic in Athens affected Xenocrates’ life, and also what the evidence for Xenocrates’ life can tell us aboutthe condition of an
Athenian metic, may produce results of interest to students both of Xenocrates and of the Athenian μετοικία
Unlike the case of Aristotle, Xenocrates’ own writings will not figure prominently in the discussion, as none oftbe surviving fragments reveal anyviewswhich he may have held, objective or subjective, about metic-status, or anything else pertinent to this
inquiry2). However, the materials for reconstructing Xenocrates’ actual life, while hardly superabundant, are markedly
more substantial than for that of Aristotle. Dörrie insists that ‘scharf ist zu scheiden die spätere, nur aus Anekdotenbestehende
Tradition von der einzigen ernst zu nehmenden Quelle’ 3). By the former he means the vita by Diogenes Laertius (4. 6-15) and similar material in Plutarch, Athenaeus and elsewhere, while the source ‘to be taken seriously’ is the relevant section of Mekler’s Index Academicus4.); but this latter only covers three incidents within a twenty-five-year period (347-322) – and in any case it seems best to take all the individual data on their merits.
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