OENOPHILUS WAS A student in the Academy, but was expelled for never turning in his homework. None of his works have survived, but we may form a sound opinion of his doctrines from the following notices in other ancient writers, which represent the only fragments left of the thought of this important Attic philosopher.
Oenophilus, on the other hand, declared that there were but two elements, which he termed “Grape” and “Yeast,” from which everything worthwhile in the world was constructed.
On seeing a man eating a grape, “Are you not ashamed,” he said, “thus to abort the wine in utero?”
On seeing a man eating an apple, “Are you not ashamed,” he said, “thus to put the pot before the kettle?” And finding that he had drained his entire wine-pitcher, so that there was no wine left, he wept himself to sleep.
The disciples of Oenophilus would often listen to his discourses throughout the night, but it was said that they would never remember his words in the morning.
When asked whether it was wise to drink all night, “Would you rather,” replied Oenophilus, “I drank all day?” And when his hearers pointed out that he did drink all day, he threw rocks at them.
Socrates believed that he was wise because he knew that he knew nothing, but Oenophilus believed that he was wise because he knew that he remembered nothing.
When Aristippus accused Oenophilus of corrupting the youth of Athens, and of leading them astray through a philosophy that put pleasure before duty, “I may have corrupted the youth of Athens,” he replied, “but you have a big nose.”
Oenophilus taught his disciples always to worship the gods in the proper manner: “for,” said he, “where there are sacrifices, there is food; and where there is food, there is wine; and where there is wine, there am I.”
On seeing Aristotle in the agora, “There,” quoth Oenophilus, “you see a galley without a cheese.” And shortly after speaking thus, he died.