Colotes of Lampsacus (Greek: Κολώτης Λαμψακηνός, Kolōtēs Lampsakēnos; c. 320 – after 268 BC)[1] was a pupil of Epicurus, and one of the most famous of his disciples. He wrote a work to prove "That it is impossible even to live according to the doctrines of the other philosophers" (ὅτι κατὰ τὰ τῶν ἄλλων φιλοσόφων δόγματα οὐδὲ ζῆν ἐστιν). It was dedicated to king Ptolemy II Philadelphus. In refutation of it Plutarch wrote two works, a dialogue, to prove "That it is impossible even to live pleasantly according to Epicurus", and a work entitled Against Colotes.[2] According to Plutarch, Colotes was clever, but vain, dogmatic and intolerant. He made violent attacks upon Socrates, and other great philosophers. He was a great favourite with Epicurus, who used, by way of endearment, to call him Koλωτάρας and Koλωτάριoς. It is also related by Plutarch, that Colotes, after hearing Epicurus discourse on the nature of things, fell on his knees before him, and besought him to give him instruction. He held that it is unworthy of the truthfulness of a philosopher to use fables in his teaching, a notion which Cicero opposes.[3]

Some fragments of two works of Colotes have been discovered at the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum. These are Against Plato's Lysis,[4] and Against Plato's Euthydemus.[5]


  1. ^ Dorandi 1999, p. 51.
  2. ^ Plutarch, Essays and Miscellanies: "That it is impossible even to live pleasantly according to Epicurus"; "Against Colotes".
  3. ^ Cicero, On The Commonwealth, vi. 7.
  4. ^ PHerc. 208
  5. ^ PHerc. 1032