Zeno, a Greek philosopher, born in Elea, in southern Italy, about 490 B. 0. He was a pupil of Parmenides, and resided at Elea all his life, with the exception of occasional visits to Athens as a teacher, having Pericles and other wealthy men among his scholars. Having engaged in a conspiracy against a tyrant of Elea, he was made a prisoner and called upon to denounce his accomplices. In reply he is said to have named all the personal friends of the tyrant, and to have then thrown in his face his own tongue that he had just bitten off. He was thereupon tortured and put to death. He was the first of the Eleatic school to write in prose, and Aristotle calls him the inventor of dialectics. He contended that there is in reality no such thing as motion. (See Eleatic School.) None of his works are extant.
Zeno, a Greek philosopher, founder of the stoic school, born at Citium in the island of Cyprus about 358 B. 0., died in Athens about 260. His father, according to Diogenes Laėrtius, was a merchant, and he followed the same profession until he lost a ship with a rich cargo. Henceforth he devoted himself to philosophy. At first he attached himself to Crates, but afterward sought the instructions of Stilpo, from whom he went to Diodorus Cronus, the great dialectician of the Megarean school, after which he followed the lectures of Xenocrates and Polemon, who had succeeded Plato at the academy. About 310 Zeno opened his own school, which took its name from being held under the or painted porch. (See Stoics.) To avoid a crowd, he required the payment of a small sum from his disciples, among whom was the king of Macedon Antigonus Gonatas, while Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt ordered his ambassadors at Athens to take down the words of the philosopher that they might be reported to him. He was at the head of his school for half a century, respected for the austerity of his life and the boldness of his language.
There is a story that the Athenians, from their great confidence in his integrity, intrusted to him the keys of their citadel; and after his death, at the age of 98, according to Diogenes, they decreed that by exciting the youth to wisdom and virtue, and giving in his own life an example thereof, he had deserved well of the republic, wherefore they awarded to him a golden chaplet and a public tomb in the Ceramicus. Of his writings only a few fragments remain.
Zeno, an emperor of the East, who reigned from A. D. 474 to 491. He was an Isaurian by birth, married the daughter of Leo I., commanded the imperial guards and armies, and was made consul in 469. He procured the assassination of Aspar, the minister of Leo, in 471; and on the death of Leo in 474, his own son, aged three years, was proclaimed emperor as Leo II., with himself as coregent. His son dying the same year, Zeno became emperor. He was driven out of his capital by Basiliscus, who was proclaimed emperor in 475, but regained Constantinople in 477 by buying over Harmatius, the nephew and general of Basiliscus, who was deposed and died shortly afterward. Zeno now gave himself up to pleasure, while the government was carried on by Illus, sole consul and minister. In 478 a Gothic invasion was bought off; in 479 a revolt in Constantinople was put down by corrupting the troops engaged; a second Gothic invasion was bought off, and a third was repelled by purchasing the aid of an opposing party among the Goths, one of whose chieftains, afterward Theodoric the Great, was made consul in 484, after which Illus revolted, was defeated, and put to death in 488. Having quarrelled with Theodoric, Zeno, anxious to save himself and his capital, proposed to him the invasion of Italy which resulted in the foundation of a Gothio kingdom in that country.
The bloody disputes between the Monophysites and the orthodox began under Zeno's reign. (See Byzantine Empire.) It is said that his wife had him buried alive while he was drunk. He left no children, and was succeeded by Anastasius.