Melantas, a fuller, was Tytamus' father. The young philosophy student left Lesbos to study in Athens and was under the tutelage of Aristotle probably by the time he was 25. He may have accompanied Aritotle to Stagira, in Macedonia, at the time of Alexander the Great's education. After Alexander died, his successors in Egypt and Macedonia invited Theophrastus to join them, but he stayed in Athens in charge of the Lyceum from 322 until his death about 35 years later, according to the 1902 edition of the Characters of Theophrastus, by Classical scholar Charles Bennett (known for his indispensable Latin grammar) and a neurologist named William Alexander Hammond. During this time, Theophrastus attracted 2000 students, according to the biographer Diogenes Laertius, not to be confused with Theophrastus and Alexander's contemporary Diogenes the Cynic.
Details of Theophrastus' biography are limited to what he writes and what Diogenes Laertius says about him. The philosopher probably continued Aristotle's work in areas including botany, zoology, rhetoric, and modal logic. Menander is said to have been one of his disciples.
Theophrastus is thought to have lived into his eighties or longer, but to have complained about the shortness of life.
Few of Theophrastus' supposed 127 treatises or books survive. He is known best for his descriptions of personality traits or Characters. Some of the traits described in the Characters of Theophrastus are: flattery, complaisance, surliness, arrogance, irony, boastfulness, petty ambition, late learning, unreasonableness, officiousness, and unpleasantness.
"The flatterer is the kind of man who, as he walks with an acquaintance, says: " Behold ! how the people gaze at you ! There is not a man in the city who enjoys so much notice as yourself. Yesterday your praises were the talk of the Porch. While above thirty men were sitting there together and the conversation fell upon the topic : ' Who is our noblest citizen ? ' they all began and ended with your name." "
- Robert William Sharples " Theophrastus" The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Simon Hornblower and Anthony Spawforth. © Oxford University Press 1949, 1970, 1996, 2005.
- Theophrastus; Bennett, Charles E. and Hammond, William Alexander; New York [etc.] Longmans, Green, and Co.