Polyaenus of Lampsacus (in Greek Πoλυαινoς Λαμπσακoυ; c. 340 - 278 BC), son of Athenodorus, was an ancient Greek mathematician and a friend of Epicurus. 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 citzens of the town, like Pytocles, Colotes, Idomeneus. With the other fellow citzen previously cited 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 But the statement may be at least doubted, since it is certain Polyaenus wrote a mathematical work called Aπoριαι in which the validity of geometry is maintained. It was against this treatise that another Epicurean, Demetrius Lacon, wrote Unsolved questions of Polyaenus (in Greek Πρoς τας Πoλυαινoυ απoριας) in the 2nd century BC. Like Epicurus, a considerable number of spurious works seem to have been assigned to him; one of these was Against the Rhetors, whose authenticity was attacked both by Zeno of Sidon and his pupil Philodemus. Polyaenus has been one of the authors found in the library in the Villa of the Papyri near Herculaneum, openig the road to the discovery of fragments of his works believed lost forever.


  • Polyaenus, Polieno. Frammenti, A. Tepedino Guerra (Italian translation), Napoli, (1991)
  • Smith, William; Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, "Polyaenus (2)", Boston, (1867)


1 Cicero, De finibus, i. 6; ibid., Academica, ii. 33; Diogenes Laertius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, ii.105, x. 12


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology by William Smith (1867).

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