Clitomachus (Κλειτόμαχος, also Cleitomachus or Kleitomachos), originally named Hasdrubal (187-109 BCE), was a Carthaginian who came to Athens around 146 BCE and studied philosophy under Carneades, whom he succeeded as head of the Academy in 129 BCE. He was a philosophical sceptic like his master. Nothing survives of his writings, which were dedicated to making known the views of Carneades, but Cicero made use of them for some of his works.
Clitomachus was born in Carthage
in 187 BCE, and he was originally named Hasdrubal. He came to Athens
when he was 40 years old around 146 BCE. He there became connected with the founder of the New Academy, the philosopher Carneades
, under whose guidance he rose to be one of the most distinguished disciples of this school; but he also studied at the same time the philosophy of the Stoics
. In 129 BCE he became the head of the Academy
after the death of Carneades. He continued to teach at Athens till as late as 111 BC, as Crassus
heard him in that year. He was succeeded as scholarch by Philo of Larissa
Of his works, which amounted to 400 books, only a few titles are preserved. His main object in writing them was to make known the philosophy of his master Carneades
, from whose views he never dissented. Clitomachus continued to reside at Athens till the end of his life; but he continued to cherish a strong affection for his native country, and when Carthage
was taken in 146 BC, he wrote a work to console his unfortunate countrymen. This work, which Cicero
says he had read, was taken from a discourse of Carneades, and was intended to exhibit the consolation which philosophy supplies even under the greatest calamities. His work was highly regarded by Cicero
, who based parts of his De Natura
, De Divinatione
and De Fato
on a work of Clitomachus he names as On the Withholding of Assent
(De Sustinendis Offensionibus).
Clitomachus probably treated of the history of philosophy in his work on the philosophical sects: On the Schools of Thought (περί αἱρέσεων).
Two of Clitomachus' works are known to have been dedicated to prominent Romans, the poet Gaius Lucilius and the one-time consul Lucius Marcius Censorinus, suggesting that his work was known and appreciated in Rome.