My friends, I know that there is truth in the stories which I shall tell; but hard indeed for men and unwelcome is the impulse of trust on their minds. [B 114] Clement, Miscellanies V i 9.1
For the divine, as the poet from Acragas says, cannot be brought close in our eyes or grasped by our hands , by which the greatest highway of persuasion leads to the mind of men. [B 133] Clement, Miscellanies V xii 81.2
For most people require proof as a pledge of the truth, not being satisfied with the bare security which comes from trust: The bad who have power do not care to trust; but as the assurances from our Muse enjoin, learn, once you have divided the argument in your breast. [B4] For evil men, Empedocles says, customarily want to have power over the truth by distrusting. Clement, Miscellanies V iii 18.3-4
Alas, wretched race of mortals, unhappy ones, from what conflicts and what groans did you come into being. [B 124] Clement, Miscellanies III iii 14.1-2
For man descends and leaves the place of happiness, as Empedocles the Pythagorean says: exile from the gods and a wanderer, trusting in mad Strife [B 115.13-14] But he ascends and resumes his old condition if he escapes earthly things and the pleasureless country [B 121.1], as the same man says, where are Slaughter and Rage and the tribes of other Plagues. [B 121.2] Those who fall into this country wander in the darkness on the meadows of Ruin. [B 121.4] Hierocles, Commentary on the Golden Verses XXIV 2
Two fates or spirits take over and govern each of us when we are born there were Earth and far-seeing Sun, bloody Discord and grave-faced Harmony, Beauty and Ugliness, Speed and Slowness, desirable Clearness and black-eyed Obscurity. [B 122] Plutarch, On Tranquility of Mind 474 BC
For that reason, distraught by cruel evils, you will never relieve your heart from wretched pains. [B 145] Clement, Protreptic II 27.3
For mens wit grows in relation to what is present. [B 106] And elsewhere he says that: Insofar as they become different, to that extent always does their thought too present different objects. [B 108] Aristotle, Metaphysics 1009b12-21
For reason, which leads to virtue by way of philosophy, always makes a man consistent with himself and unblamed by himself and full of peace and friendliess towards himself: There is no faction and no ill-proportioned discord in his members. [B 27a] Plutarch, Philosophers and Princes 777C
Diogenes Laertius, Book VIII - Empedocles
55. Neanthes states that down to the time of Philolaus and Empedocles all Pythagoreans were admitted to the discussions. But when Empedocles himself made them public property by his poem, they made a law that they should not be imparted to any poet. He says the same thing also happened to Plato, for he too was excommunicated.
And thou shalt learn all the drugs that are a defence to ward off ills and old age, since for thee alone shall I accomplish all this. Thou shalt arrest the violence of the unwearied winds that arise and sweep the earth, laying waste the cornfields with their blasts; and again, if thou so will, thou shalt call back winds in requital. Thou shalt make after the dark rain a seasonable drought for men, and again after the summer drought thou shalt cause tree-nourishing streams to pour from the sky. Thou shalt bring back from Hades a dead man's strength.
60. Timaeus also in the eighteenth book of his Histories remarks that Empedocles has been admired on many grounds. For instance, when the etesian winds once began to blow violently and to damage the crops, he ordered asses to be flayed and bags to be made of their skin. These he stretched out here and there on the hills and headlands to catch the wind and, because this checked the wind, he was called the "wind-stayer."
62. My friends, who dwell in the great city sloping down to yellow Acragas, hard by the citadel, busied with goodly works, all hail! I go about among you an immortal god, no more a mortal, so honoured of all, as is meet, crowned with fillets and flowery garlands. Straightway as soon as I enter with these, men and women, into flourishing towns, I am reverenced and tens of thousands follow, to learn where is the path which leads to welfare, some desirous of oracles, others suffering from all kinds of diseases, desiring to hear a message of healing.
Hence Empedocles, he continues, speaking of their luxury, said, "The Agrigentines live delicately as if tomorrow they would die, but they build their houses well as if they thought they would live for ever."
It is said that Cleomenes the rhapsode recited this very poem, the Purifications, at Olympia: so Favorinus in his Memorabilia. Aristotle too declares him to have been a champion of freedom and averse to rule of every kind, seeing that, as Xanthus relates in his account of him, he declined the kingship when it was offered to him, obviously because he preferred a frugal life. 64. With this Timaeus agrees, at the same time giving the reason why Empedocles favoured democracy, namely, that, having been invited to dine with one of the magistrates, when the dinner had gone on some time and no wine was put on the table, though the other guests kept quiet, he, becoming indignant, ordered wine to be brought. Then the host confessed that he was waiting for the servant of the senate to appear. When he came he was made master of the revels, clearly by the arrangement of the host, whose design of making himself tyrant was but thinly veiled, for he ordered the guests either to drink wine or have it poured over their heads. For the time being Empedocles was reduced to silence; the next day he impeached both of them, the host and the master of the revels, and secured their condemnation and execution. This, then, was the beginning of his political career.
65. Again, when Acron the physician asked the council for a site on which to build a monument to his father, who had been eminent among physicians, Empedocles came forward and forbade it in a speech where he enlarged upon equality and in particular put the following question: "But what inscription shall we put upon it? Shall it be this?
Acron the eminent physician of Agrigentum, son of Acros, is buried beneath the steep eminence of his most eminent native city?"
66. Subsequently Empedocles broke up the assembly of the Thousand three years after it had been set up, which proves not only that he was wealthy but that he favoured the popular cause. At all events Timaeus in his eleventh and twelfth books (for he mentions him more than once) states that he seems to have held opposite views when in public life and when writing poetry. In some passages one may see that he is boastful and selfish. At any rate these are his words:
All hail! I go about among you an immortal god, no more a mortal, etc.
At the time when he visited Olympia he demanded an excessive deference, so that never was anyone so talked about in gatherings of friends as Empedocles.
67. Subsequently, however, when Agrigentum came to regret him, the descendants of his personal enemies opposed his return home; and this was why he went to Peloponnesus, where he died. Nor did Timon let even him alone, but fastens upon him in these words:
As to his death different accounts are given.
70. Diodorus of Ephesus, when writing of Anaximander, declares that Empedocles emulated him, displaying theatrical arrogance and wearing stately robes.
after the death of Meton, the germs of a tyranny began to show themselves, that then it was Empedocles who persuaded the Agrigentines to put an end to their factions and cultivate equality in politics.
73. Moreover, from his abundant means he bestowed dowries upon many of the maidens of the city who had no dowry. No doubt it was the same means that enabled him to don a purple robe and over it a golden girdle, as Favorinus relates in his Memorabilia, and again slippers of bronze and a Delphic laurel-wreath. He had thick hair, and a train of boy attendants. He himself was always grave, and kept this gravity of demeanour unshaken. In such sort would he appear in public; when the citizens met him, they recognized in this demeanour the stamp, as it were, of royalty.
76. His doctrines were as follows, that there are four elements, fire, water, earth and air, besides friendship by which these are united, and strife by which they are separated. These are his words:
"And their continuous change," he says, "never ceases," as if this ordering of things were eternal. At all events he goes on:
At one time all things uniting in one through Love, at another each carried in a different direction through the hatred born of strife.