Polyaenus of Lampsacus

Polyaenus of Lampsacus (/ˌpɒlˈnəs/ POL-ee-EE-nəs; Greek: Πoλύαινoς Λαμψακηνός, Polyainos Lampsakēnos; c. 340 – c. 285 BCE), also spelled Polyenus, was an ancient Greek mathematician and a friend of Epicurus.


He was the son of Athenodorus. His friendship with Epicurus started after the latter's escape from Mytilene in 307 or 306 BC when he opened a philosophical school at Lampsacus associating himself with other citizens of the town, like Pythocles, Colotes, and Idomeneus. With these fellow citizens he moved to Athens, where they founded a school of philosophy with Epicurus as head, or hegemon, while Polyaenus, Hermarchus and Metrodorus were kathegemones.

A man of mild and friendly manners, as Philodemus refers, he adopted fully the philosophical system of his friend, and, although he had previously acquired great reputation as a mathematician, he now maintained with Epicurus the worthlessness of geometry.[1][2] But the statement may be at least doubted, since it is certain Polyaenus wrote a mathematical work called Puzzles (Greek: Aπoριαι) in which the validity of geometry is maintained. It was against this treatise that another Epicurean, Demetrius Lacon, wrote Unsolved questions of Polyaenus (Greek: Πρὸς τὰς Πoλυαίνoυ ἀπoρίας) in the 2nd century BCE. Like Epicurus, a considerable number of spurious works seem to have been assigned to him; one of these was Against the Orators, whose authenticity was attacked both by Zeno of Sidon and his pupil Philodemus.


The works attributed to Polyaenus include:[3]

  • On Definitions
  • On Philosophy
  • Against Aristo
  • Puzzles (Aporiai)
  • On the Moon
  • Against the Orators
  • His collected Letters.


  1. ^ Cicero, De finibus, i. 6 Archived 2013-12-09 at the Wayback Machine; Academica, ii. 33
  2. ^ Diogenes Laertius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, ii.105, x. 12 Archived 2005-09-29 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Donald J. Zeyl, Daniel Devereux, Phillip Mitsis, (1997), Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy, page 446.


  • Polyaenus, Polieno. Frammenti, A. Tepedino Guerra (Italian translation), Napoli, (1991)
  • Smith, William; Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, "Polyaenus (2)", Boston, (1867)
  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. {{cite encyclopedia}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)