Theophrastus thē˝ōfrăs´təs [key] [Gr.,=divinely speaking], c.372–c.287 BC, Greek philosopher, Aristotle's successor as head of the Peripatetics . The school flourished under his leadership. He wrote on many subjects, but his works on plants are perhaps the most important of his technical writings. His Characters, a series of sketches of various ethical types, provides a valuable picture of his time. It anticipates such studies as those by Sir Thomas Overbury, John Earle, and La Bruyère.

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