Cleanthes, a Greek Stoic philosopher, born at Assus in Asia Minor about 300 B. C, died in Athens about 220. He followed the profession of an athlete, till, fleeing from a civil commotion, he arrived in Athens. Here he supported himself as a water-carrier for gardens, and began to study philosophy, working by night, and applying himself to the lessons of Crates and Zeno by day. He was a disciple of the latter for 19 years, and succeeded him as the head of the Stoic school. He was so slow of conception that he was named "the ass," so laborious that he was styled the second Hercules, and he lived so austerely from his secret nocturnal labors that the areopagus summoned him to give an account of his mode of life, and then voted him a present of 10 mina3, which Zeno, however, forbade him to receive. The Athenians held him in the highest esteem, and but for his interposition would have banished a comic poet who ridiculed him on the stage. He died by voluntary starvation, when an ulcer threatened to be fatal to him. He wrote many philosophical works, only fragments of which remain. A hymn to Jupiter by him has been preserved by Stobseus, in which he recognizes one supreme God, omnipotent and eternal, who governs nature by an immutable law.
It is contained with a Latin version in Cud-worth's "Intellectual System." An English translation is found in F. W. Newman's work entitled "The Soul."