There are at least a couple-dozen Greek Philosophers (in my estimation) whose ideas were both popular and comprehensive enough that they were taught throughout antiquity. Pythagoras, Democritus, Plato, Aristotle and many others each crafted a (mostly) internally-consistent view of at least two of the five main branches of ancient philosophy (Metaphysics, Epistemology, Logic, Ethics, Aesthetics) and were taught as 'schools' of thought as part of upper-class education until the last few centuries.

But we've dug up quite a bit of Greek artifacts and writings since the age of the Renaissance Man, and with the internet at our fingertips, even the most esoteric philosopher can be found with enough research.

So my question is: Are there any ancient Greek philosophers with fleshed-out viewpoints in at least two of the five main branches of ancient philosophy that were either mostly-ignored or recently (last 200 years) discovered?

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    Well, most of pre-Socratic and early Stoic writings are not extant. Eudoxus, better known as a mathematician, but whose school was also prominent in philosophy, Chrysippus, who was considered Aristotle's equal in antiquity, etc., are only known through retellings and fragments. Stoic logic and epistemology were very much ignored until 20th century. The only recent discovery of new fragments I can think of are papyri from the ashes of Herculanum, mostly by Philodemus (Epicurean), deciphering of which took from early 19th to late 20th century.
    – Conifold
    Mar 12, 2019 at 13:38
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    Thales ? "the doxographical reports say that Thales did not write a book.". Mar 12, 2019 at 13:43
  • No. This could be an answer to a question about recently (re)discovered major texts ("fleshed out viewpoints"). But it is also the answer about supposed authors: Jules Vuillemin showed plainly that philosophy is satisfactorily divided in 4 main types, according to the dominance of of materialistic or idealistic views (that is, fully or half idealist/materialist: platonism, atomism, peripatetism, stoicism). With skepticism as a meta-view there is really no room for newcomers.
    – sand1
    Mar 12, 2019 at 19:05

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure whether 'prime time' is their time or our time. For our own time I'd nominate Sextus Empiricus (160 - 210 CE) who wrote subtly and coherently on a wide range of philosophical topics, and much of whose work remains - and remains in print in the Loeb Library.

Every historian of ancient Greek philosophy is fully aware of Sextus Empiricus's work but so far as I know that work is not the subject of active research on any significant scale and seldom crops up in the basic teaching of Greek philosophy. Sextus is not a 'name'.

My other candidate would be Posidonius (c.135BCE - 51BCE). 'But we only have fragments !' Yes but the fragments have received three volumes of attention from I.G. Kidd : the fragments collated, commentary on the fragments, and translation of the fragments. It has also proved possible to supplement the fragments by tracing ideas and arguments in later philosophers which derive from Posidonius : Cicero, Seneca, and Galen.

There's nothing in Posidonius to match the wealth of extant material we have for Sextus but I mention his name without pushing it. Sextus's I would push.

David Sedley & A.A. Long have jointly done valuable work on Hellentistic philosophy. You might find some helpful material in:

A. A. Long and D. N. Sedley. The Hellenistic Philosophers. Vol. 1: Translations of the Principal Sources, With Philosophical Commentary. Vol. II: Greek and Latin Texts with Notes and Bibliography. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Vol. I: Pp. xv, 512. ISBN 0-521-25561-9; 0-521-27556-3. Vol. 1I: Pp. x, 512. ISBN 0-521-25562.

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