Who is Cleobulos of Lindus?

Who is Cleobulos of Lindus?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Cleobulos from Lindos (Rhodes), and according to one view, Cleobulos from Caria (Southwest Anatolia), was the son of Evagoras and descended from Heracles. He was a strong and very handsome man. He studied philosophy in Egypt. He wrote three thousand lines, these lines were quite dark lines.

It is said that he wrote the following lines on the tombstone of the Phrygian king Midas: “I am a bronze virgin in Midas’ tomb. / As the water flows, as the trees grow, / As the rising sun and the bright moon shine, / As the rivers flow and the sea waves, / I will stay here, weeping over this tomb, / I will tell passers-by, Midas lies here.” The poet mocks these verses of Simonides Cleobulos from Keos (the westernmost of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean): “Which man in his right mind adopts / The man called Cleobulos of Lindos, / The life of a statue / The endless rivers, / The flowers of spring, / It resembles the light of the sun and the bright moon, / The waves of the sea! / These phenomena are the work of a god and are carved into stone / by the hand of men. / The madman believes it.”

Cleobulos died at the age of seventy, and the following is written on his tombstone: “The wise Cleobulos has died, Lindos, his land surrounded by the sea, is weeping for him.” Cleobulos also said the phrase “Measure is the best of all”, which reveals the best understanding of the middle ground in Greek thought. Diogenes Laertios tells us the following letter written by Cleobulos to Solon: “You have many friends, each of them has his own house. But I believe Solon will want to live in Lindos, which has a democratic government. This is an island and its inhabitants have no fear of Peisistratos. In short, all your friends, whoever they are, and you can come here.”

There are sayings from the Seven Sages, meanwhile, from Cleobulos. The source for the proverbs of the Seven Sages is Demetrios of Phaleron (the port of Athens) (350-283). The famous Athenian orator and statesman Demetrios was a student and friend of Theophrastos, who took over the Lykeion after Aristotle’s death. He ruled Athens for ten years (317-307). Let us give examples from the proverbs of Cleobulos:

– Measure is the best of all.
– It is necessary to respect the father.
– Let’s take care of ourselves for physical and mental health.
– Knowing a lot is good, not knowing.
– Give your compatriots the best advice.
– Hold your tongue.
– Don’t do anything violent.
– Educate your children.
– Put a stop to your grudges.
– Remember the people who hate the people as the enemy of the people.
– Neither bicker with your wife nor caress her in front of others; the first is the worst thing, but the second can lead to a frenzied passion.
– Don’t punish your drunken slaves, or they’ll think you’re drunk too.
– Marry a woman in the same situation as you; When you buy a very rich woman, you have masters, not relatives.
– Don’t be arrogant when you’re good, don’t be condescending when you’re bad.

Cleobulos, the fourth of the Seven Sages, lived in Lindos, Rhodes, near Anatolia.

It is clear from his thoughts that he is closely related to Bias. His saying, “One should love to listen, not chatter- is similar to the phrase “Listen a lot, speak on the spot” of Bias from Priene, who lived a short time before him.


hold your tongue

One should neither quarrel with his wife nor play with her in the presence of another. The first case is the worst; the second can summon passions.

Give the citizens the best advice.

Do not do anything by force.

He should educate the children.

Those who betray the people should be viewed as the enemy.

One must marry one’s equivalent; the higher becomes your lord, not your kin.

He should like to listen, not chatter.

Hazza should rule.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook