Eunapius, Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists (1921) pp.343-565. English translation
Xenophon the philosopher, who is unique among all philosophers in that he adorned philosophy not only with words but with deeds as well (for on the one hand he writes of the moral virtues both in discourses and historical commentaries, while he excelled also in actual achievement; nay more, by means of the examples that he gave he begat leaders of armies; for instance great Alexander never would have become great had Xenophon never been)----he, I say, asserts that we ought to record even the casual doings of distinguished men. But the aim of my narrative is not to write of the casual doings of distinguished men, but their main achievements. For if even the playful moods of virtue are worth recording, then it would be absolutely impious to be silent about her serious aims. To those who desire to read this narrative it will tell its tale, not indeed with complete certainty as to all matters----for it was impossible to collect all the evidence with accuracy----nor shall I separate out from the rest the most illustrious philosophers and orators, but I shall |345 set down for each one his profession and mode of life. That in every case he whom this narrative describes attained to real distinction, the author----for that is what he aims at----leaves to the judgement of any who may please to decide from the proofs here presented. He has read precise and detailed commentaries, and therefore, if he misses the truth, he may refer his error to others, like a diligent pupil who has fallen into the hands of inferior teachers; or, if he does go right, may have the truth on his side when he utters criticisms and be guided by those who are worthy of respect; that thus his own work may be perfectly blameless and secure from criticism, seeing that he followed those in whose steps it was his duty to follow. And inasmuch as there were few, or to say the truth, hardly any writers on this subject, nothing that has been composed by earlier authors will be concealed from my readers, nor what has come down by oral tradition to the present day, but the proper weight will be assigned to both sources; I mean that in written documents nothing has been altered, while what depends on hearsay, and hence is liable to become chaotic and confused by the lapse of time, has now been fixed and given stability by being written down, so that it is for the future a settled and abiding tradition.
THE WRITERS WHO HAVE COMPILED A HISTORY OF THE PHILOSOPHERS
Porphyry and Sotion 1 compiled a history of philosophy and the Lives of the philosophers. But Porphyry, as it happened, ended with Plato and his |347 times, while Sotion, though he lived before Porphyry, carried on his narrative, as we see, to later times also. But the crop of philosophers and sophists who came between Sotion and Porphyry was not described as their importance and many-sidedness deserved; and therefore Philostratus of Lemnos in a superficial and agreeable style spat forth 2 the Lives of the most distinguished sophists; but the lives of the philosophers no one has recorded accurately. Among these latter were Ammonius of Egypt, who was the teacher of the divine Plutarch, and Plutarch himself, the charm and lyre of all philosophy; Euphrates 3 of Egypt and Dio of Bithynia, whom men surnamed the "Golden-mouthed"; and Apollonius of Tyana, who was not merely a philosopher but a demigod, half god, half man. For he was a follower of the Pythagorean doctrine, and he did much to publish to the world the divine and vivifying character of that philosophy. But Philostratus of Lemnos wrote a full account of Apollonius, and entitled his book The Life of Apollonius, though he ought to have called it The Visit of God to Mankind. Carneades also lived about this time, a celebrated figure among the Cynics, if indeed we ought to take any account of the Cynic school, 4 among whom were Musonius, Demetrius, and Menippus, and several others also; but these were the more celebrated. Clear and accurate accounts of the lives of these men it was impossible to discover, since, so far as I know, no one has written them. But their own writings were and |349 still are sufficient records of their lives, filled as they are with such erudition and thorough research in the field of ethics and also that research which aspires to investigate the nature of things and disperses like a mist the ignorance of such as are able to follow. Thus, for example, the inspired Plutarch records in statements scattered here and there in his books, both his own life and that of his teacher; and he says that Ammonius died at Athens. But he does not entitle these records a Life, though he might well have done so, since his most successful work is that entitled The Parallel Lives of men most celebrated for their deeds and achievements. But his own life and that of his teacher he scattered piecemeal throughout every one of his books; so that if one should keep a sharp look-out for these references and track them as they occur and appear, and read them intelligently one after another, one would know most of the events of their lives. Lucian of Samosata, who usually took serious pains to raise a laugh, wrote a life of Demonax, a philosopher of his own time, and in that book and a very few others was wholly serious throughout.
This much, then, I place on record, and am aware that some things have perhaps escaped me, but other things have not. And in that, after expending much thought and pains so that the result might be a continuous and definite account of the lives of the most celebrated philosophers and rhetoricians, I fell short of my ambition, I have had the same experience as those who are madly and feverishly in love. For they, when they behold the beloved and the adored beauty of her visible countenance, bow |351 their heads, too weak to fix their gaze on that which they desire, and dazzled by its rays. But if they see her sandal or chain or ear-ring, they take heart from these and pour their souls into the sight and melt at the vision, since they can endure to see and love the symbols of beauty more easily than the beauty itself; thus too I have set out to write this narrative in such a way as not to omit in silence and through envy anything that I learned by hearsay, or by reading, or by inquiry from men of my own time, but, as far as in me lay, I reverenced the entrance and gates of truth and have handed it down to future generations who may either wish to hear thereof or have power to follow with a view to the fairest achievement. Now the period I describe is somewhat interrupted and broken up by reason of the calamities of the State. Still a third crop of men began with the days of Claudius and Nero (for the second which came next after Plato has been commemorated and made clear to all). As for those unlucky Emperors who lasted for a year only, they are not worthy of record; I mean, for example, Galba, Vitellius, Otho, and, following them, Vespasian, Titus and those who ruled after these men; and no one must suppose that I pay serious attention to them. Anyhow, to speak cursorily and in brief, the tribe of the best philosophers lasted on even into the reign of Severus. 5 And surely this is part of the felicity that belongs to emperors, that in history the date which marks the superlative virtue of a philosopher is that which dates the superlative luck of an emperor. 6 Therefore let no |353 one take it amiss if I, recording as I do the period for which it was possible for me to obtain evidence, or with which I could make an appropriate beginning, embark on my narrative at this point.
P LOTINUS was a philosopher of Egyptian birth. But though I just now called him an Egyptian, I will add his native place also; Lyco they call it. Yet the divine philosopher Porphyry did not record this, though he said that he was his pupil and studied with him during the whole of his life, or the greater part of it. Altars in honour of Plotinus are still warm, and his books are in the hands of educated men, more so than the dialogues of Plato. Nay, even great numbers of the vulgar herd, though they in part fail to understand his doctrines, nevertheless are swayed by them. Porphyry set forth his whole life so fully that no one could bring forward more evidence. Moreover, he is known to have interpreted many of his books. But a life of Porphyry himself no one has written, so far as I know. However, from what I have gathered in my reading of the evidence that has been handed down, I have learned the following facts concerning him.
Tyre was P ORPHYRY's birthplace, the capital city of the ancient Phoenicians, and his ancestors were distinguished men. He was given a liberal education, and advanced so rapidly and made such progress that he became a pupil of Longinus, and in a short time was an ornament to his teacher. At that time Longinus was a living library and a walking museum; and moreover he had been entrusted with the function of critic of the ancient writers, like many |355 others before him, such as the most famous of them all, Dionysius of Caria. Porphyry's name in the Syrian town was originally Malchus (this word means "king"), but Longinus gave him the name of Porphyry, thus making it indicate the colour of imperial attire. 7 With Longinus he attained to the highest culture, and like him advanced to a perfect knowledge of grammar and rhetoric, though he did not incline to that study exclusively, since he took on the impress from every type of philosophy. For Longinus was in all branches of study by far the most distinguished of the men of his time, and a great number of his books are in circulation and are greatly admired. Whenever any critic condemned some ancient author, his opinion did not win approval until the verdict of Longinus wholly confirmed it. After Porphyry's early education had thus been carried on and he was looked up to by all, he longed to see Rome, the mistress of the world, so that he might enchain the city by his wisdom. But directly he arrived there and became intimate with that great man Plotinus, he forgot all else and devoted himself wholly to him. And since with an insatiable appetite he devoured his teaching and his original and inspired discourses, for some time he was content to be his pupil, as he himself says. Then overcome by the force of his teachings he conceived a hatred of his own body and of being human, and sailed to Sicily across the straits and Charybdis, along the route where Odysseus is said to have sailed; 8 and he would not endure either to see a city or to hear |357 the voice of man, thus putting away from himself both pain and pleasure, but kept on to Lilybaeum; this is that one of Sicily's three promontories that stretches out and looks towards Libya. There he lay groaning and mortifying the flesh, and he would take no nourishment and "avoided the path of men." 9 But great Plotinus "kept no vain watch" 10 on these things, and either followed in his footsteps or inquired for the youth who had fled, and so found him lying there; then he found abundance of words that recalled to life his soul, as it was just about to speed forth from the body. Moreover he gave strength to his body so that it might contain his soul. 11
So Porphyry breathed again and arose, but Plotinus in one of the books 12 that he wrote recorded the arguments then uttered by him. And while some philosophers hide their esoteric teachings in obscurity, as poets conceal theirs in myths, 13 Porphyry praised clear knowledge as a sovereign remedy, and since he had tasted it by experience he recorded this in writing and brought it to the light of day.
Now Porphyry returned to Rome and continued to study philosophical disputation, so that he even appeared in public to make a display of his powers; but every forum and every crowd attributed to Plotinus the credit of Porphyry's renown. For |359 Plotinus, because of the celestial quality of his soul and the oblique and enigmatic character of his discourses, seemed austere and hard to listen to. But Porphyry, like a chain of Hermes let down to mortals, 14 by reason of his many-sided culture expounded all subjects so as to be clear and easy of comprehension. He himself says (but perhaps as seems likely he wrote this while he was still young), that he was granted an oracle different from the vulgar sort; and in the same book he wrote it down, and then went on to expound at considerable length how men ought to pay attention to these oracles. And he says too that he cast out and expelled some sort of daemon from a certain bath; the inhabitants called this daemon Kausatha. 15 As he himself records, he had for fellow-disciples certain very famous men, Origen, Amerius, and Aquilinus, 16 whose writings are still preserved, though not one of their discourses; for though their doctrines are admirable, their style is wholly unpleasing, and it pervades their discourses. Nevertheless Porphyry praises these men for their oratorical talent, though he himself runs through the whole scale of charm, and alone advertises and celebrates his teacher, inasmuch as there was no branch of learning that he neglected. One may well be at a loss and wonder within oneself which branch he studied more than another; whether it was that which concerns the subject matter of rhetoric, or that which tends to |361 precise accuracy in grammar, or that which depends on numbers, or inclines to geometry, or leans to music. As for philosophy, I cannot describe in words his genius for discourse, or for moral philosophy. As for natural philosophy and the art of divination, let that be left to sacred rites and mysteries. So true is it that the man was a being who combined in himself all the talents for every sort of excellence. One who cares most for this would naturally praise the beauty of the style of his discourse more than his doctrines, or again would prefer his doctrines, if one paid closer attention to these than to the force of his oratory. It seems that he entered the married state, and a book of his is extant addressed to his wife Marcella; he says that he married her, although she was already the mother of five 17 children, and this was not that he might have children by her, but that those she had might be educated; for the father of his wife's children had been a friend of his own. It seems that he attained to an advanced old age. At any rate he left behind him many speculations that conflict with the books that he had previously published; with regard to which we can only suppQse that he changed his opinions as he grew older. He is said to have departed this life in Rome.
At this time those who were most distinguished for rhetoric at Athens were Paulus and the Syrian Andromachus. But Porphyry actually was at the height of his powers as late as the time of Gallienus, |363 Claudius, Tacitus, Aurelian, and Probus. In those days there lived also Dexippus, 18 who composed historical annals, a man overflowing with erudition and logical power.
After these men comes a very celebrated philosopher, I AMBLICHUS, who was of illustrious ancestry and belonged to an opulent and prosperous family. His birthplace was. Chalcis, a city in the region called Coele Syria. 19 As a pupil of Anatolius, who ranks next after Porphyry, he made great progress and attained to the highest distinction in philosophy. Then leaving Anatolius he attached himself to Porphyry, and in no respect was he inferior to Porphyry except in harmonious structure and force of style. For his utterances are not imbued with charm and grace, they are not lucid, and they lack the beauty of simplicity. Nevertheless they are not altogether obscure, nor have they faults of diction, but as Plato used to say of Xenocrates, "he has not sacrificed to the Graces" of Hermes. 20 Therefore he does not hold and enchant the reader into continuing to read, but is more likely to repel him and irritate his ears. But because he practised justice he gained an easy access to the ears of the gods; so much so that he had a multitude of disciples, and those who desired learning flocked to him from all parts. And it is hard to decide who among them |365 was the most distinguished, for Sopater 21 the Syrian was of their number, a man who was most eloquent both in his speeches and writings; and Aedesius and Eustathius from Cappadocia; while from Greece came Theodorus 22 and Euphrasius, men of superlative virtue, and a crowd of other men not inferior in their powers of oratory, so that it seemed marvellous that he could satisfy them all; and indeed in his devotion to them all he never spared himself. Occasionally, however, he did perform certain rites alone, apart from his friends and disciples, when he worshipped the Divine Being. But for the most part he conversed with his pupils and was unexacting in his mode of life and of an ancient simplicity. As they drank their wine he used to charm those present by his conversation and filled them as with nectar. And they never ceased to desire this pleasure and never could have too much of it, so that they never gave him any peace; and they appointed the most eloquent among them to represent them, and asked: "O master, most inspired, why do you thus occupy yourself in solitude, instead of sharing with us your more perfect wisdom? Nevertheless a rumour has reached us through your slaves that when you pray to the gods you soar aloft from the earth more than ten cubits to all appearance; 23 that your body and your garments change to a beautiful golden hue; and presently when your prayer is ended your body becomes as it was before you prayed, and then you come down to earth and associate with us." Iamblichus was not at all inclined |367 to laughter, but he laughed at these remarks. 24 And he answered them thus: "He who thus deluded you was a witty fellow; but the facts are otherwise. For the future however you shall be present at all that goes on." This was the sort of display that he made; and the report of it reached the author of this work from his teacher Chrysanthius of Sardis. He was a pupil of Aedesius, and Aedesius was one of the leading disciples of Iamblichus, and one of those who spoke to him as I have said. He said that there occurred the following sure manifestations of his divine nature. The sun was travelling towards the limits of the Lion at the time when it rises along with the constellation called the Dog. It was the hour for sacrifice, and this had been made ready in one of the suburban villas belonging to Iamblichus. Presently when the rites had been duly performed and they were returning to the city, walking slowly and at their leisure,----for indeed their conversation was about the gods as was in keeping with the sacrifice----suddenly Iamblichus even while conversing was lost in thought, as though his voice were cut off, and for some moments he fixed his eyes steadily on the ground 25 and then looked up at his friends and called to them in a loud voice: "Let us go by another road, for a dead body has lately been carried along this way." After saying this he turned into another road which seemed to be less impure, 26 and some of them turned aside with him, who thought it was a shame to desert their teacher. But the greater number and the more obstinate of his disciples, among |369 whom was Aedesius, stayed where they were, ascribing the occurrence to a portent and scenting like hounds for the proof. 27 And very soon those who had buried the dead man came back. But even so the disciples did not desist but inquired whether they had passed along this road. "We had to," they replied, for there was no other road.
But they testified also to a still more marvellous incident. When they kept pestering Iamblichus and saying that this that I have just related was a trifle, and perhaps due to a superior sense of smell, and that they wished to test him in something more important, his reply to them was: "Nay, that does not rest with me, but wait for the appointed hour." Some time after, they decided to go to Gadara, a place which has warm baths in Syria, inferior only to those at Baiae in Italy, with which no other baths can be compared. 28 So they set out in the summer season. Now he happened to be bathing and the others were bathing with him, and they were using the same insistence, whereupon Iamblichus smiled and said: "It is irreverent to the gods to give you this demonstration, but for your sakes it shall be done." There were two hot springs smaller than the others but prettier, and he bade his disciples ask the natives of the place by what names they used to be called in former times. When they had done his bidding they said: "There is no pretence about it, this spring is called Eros, and the name of the one next to it is Anteros." He at once touched the |371 water with his hand----he happened to be sitting on the ledge of the spring where the overflow runs off----and uttering a brief summons 29 he called forth a boy from the depth of the spring. He was white-skinned and of medium height, his locks were golden and his back and breast shone; and he exactly resembled one who was bathing or had just bathed. His disciples were overwhelmed with amazement, but Iamblichus said, "Let us go to the next spring," and he rose and led the way, with a thoughtful air. Then he went through the same performance there also, and summoned another Eros like the first in all respects, except that his hair was darker and fell loose in the sun. Both the boys embraced Iamblichus and clung to him as though he were genuinely their father. He restored them to their proper places and went away after his bath, reverenced by his pupils. After this the crowd of his disciples sought no further evidence, but believed everything from the proofs that had been revealed to them, and hung on to him as though by an unbreakable chain. Even more astonishing and marvellous things were related of him, but I wrote down none of these since I thought it a hazardous and sacrilegious thing to introduce a spurious and fluid tradition into a stable and well-founded narrative. Nay even this I record not without hesitation, as being mere hearsay, except that I follow the lead of men who, though they distrusted other signs, were converted by the experience of the actual revelation. Yet no one of his followers recorded it, as far as I |373 know. And this I say with good reason, since Aedesius himself asserted that he had not written about it, nor had any other ventured to do so.
At the same time as Iamblichus, lived A LYPIUS, who was especially skilled in dialectic. He was of very small stature and his body was very little larger than a pigmy's, but even the body that he seemed to have was really all soul and intelligence; to such a degree did the corruptible element in him fail to increase, since it was absorbed into his diviner nature. Therefore, just as the great Plato says, 30 that in contradistinction to human bodies, divine bodies dwell within souls, thus also of him one might say that he had migrated into a soul, and that he was confined and dominated there by some supernatural power. Now Alypius had many followers, but his teaching was limited to conversation, and no one ever published a book by him. On this account they very eagerly betook themselves to Iamblichus, to fill themselves full as though from a spring that bubbles over and does not stay within its limits. Now as the renown of both men increased and kept pace they encountered one another by chance or met in their courses like planets, and round them in a circle sat an audience as though in some great seat of the Muses. Now Iamblichus was waiting to have questions put to him rather than to ask them, but Alypius, contrary to all expectation, postponed all questioning about philosophy and giving himself up to making an effect with his audience 31 said to Iamblichus: "Tell me, philosopher, is a rich man either unjust or the heir of the unjust, yes or no? For there is no middle course." |375
Iamblichus disliked the catch in the question and replied, "Nay, most admired of men, this is not our method, to discuss anyone who more than other men possesses external things, but rather only one who excels in the virtue that is peculiar and appropriate to a philosopher." So saying he went away, and after he had risen the meeting broke up. But after he had left them and collected his thoughts, he admired the acuteness of the question, and often met Alypius privately; and he was so profoundly impressed by the subtlety and sagacity of the man, that when he died he wrote his biography. Indeed the author of this work once saw the book. The narrative was obscured by its style and it was hidden by a thick cloud, though not because of any lack of clearness in the subject matter, for his authority was a long discourse of Alypius; moreover, there was no mention of discourses that maintained an argument. The book told of journeys to Rome for which no reason was given, and it did not make manifest the greatness of his soul on those occasions, and though he insinuates that Alypius had many admiring followers it is not shown that he either did or said anything remarkable. No, the renowned Iamblichus seems to have made the same error as painters who are painting youths in their bloom and wish to add to the painting some charm of their own invention, whereby they destroy the whole character of the likeness, so that they fail to achieve either a resemblance or the beauty at which they aim. So it was with Iamblichus when he set out to praise by telling the exact truth; for though he clearly shows how severe were the punishments and sufferings in the law courts in his day, yet the causes of these things and their purposes he was |377 neither fitted by nature to expound like one versed in politics, nor was that his purpose; hence he confused the whole outline and significance of the man's life, and he hardly even left it open to the most keen-sighted to grasp the fact that he admired Alypius, and above ail reverenced his fortitude and constancy amid dangers, and the keenness and daring of his style in his discourses. Alypius was by birth an Alexandrian. This is all I have to say about him. He died an old man, in Alexandria, and after him died Iamblichus after putting forth many roots and springs of philosophy. The author of this narrative had the good fortune to benefit by the crop that sprang therefrom. For others of his disciples who have been mentioned were scattered in all directions over the whole Roman Empire, but Aedesius chose to settle at Pergamon in Mysia.
A EDESIUS THE C APPADOCIAN succeeded to the school of Iamblichus and his circle of disciples. He was extremely well born, but his family was not possessed of great wealth, and therefore his father sent him away from Cappadocia to Greece to educate himself with a view to making money, thinking that he would find a treasure in his son. But on his return, when he discovered that he was inclined to philosophy he drove him out of his house as useless. 32 And as he drove him forth he asked: "Why, what good does philosophy do you?" Whereupon his son turned round and replied: "It is no small thing, father, to have learned to revere one's father even when he is driving one forth." When his father heard this, he called his son back and expressed his approval of his virtuous character. And for the future Aedesius devoted himself entirely to finishing his interrupted |379 education. Moreover his father eagerly encouraged his son to go, and rejoiced exceedingly as though he were the father of a god rather than of a mere man.
When Aedesius had outstripped all the more notable men of his time, and all who had taught him, and by experience had gathered a store of wisdom, he made and completed a long journey from Cappadocia to Syria, to see the far-famed Iamblichus. And when he beheld the man and heard him discourse, he hung on his words and never could have enough of hearing him, till finally Aedesius himself became renowned and little inferior to Iamblichus, except as regards the latter's divine inspiration. On this head I had nothing to record, partly perhaps because Aedesius himself kept it secret owing to the times (for Constantine was emperor and was pulling down the most celebrated temples and building Christian churches); but perhaps it was partly because all his most distinguished disciples leaned towards and inclined to a silence appropriate to the mysteries, and a reserve worthy of a hierophant. At any rate, the present writer, though he became a pupil of Chrysanthius from boyhood, was scarcely in the twentieth year [of pupilage] deemed worthy of a share in the truer doctrines, so wondrous a thing was the philosophy of Iamblichus, extending and reaching down from that time even to our own day. 33
When Iamblichus had departed from this world, his disciples were dispersed in different directions, and not one of them failed to win fame and reputation.
S OPATER, 34 more eloquent than the rest because of his lofty nature and greatness of soul, would not |381 condescend to associate with ordinary men and went in haste to the imperial court, hoping to dominate and convert by his arguments the purpose and headlong policy of Constantine. And he attained to such wisdom and power that the emperor was captivated by him and publicly made him his assessor, giving him a seat at his right hand, a thing incredible to hear and see. The courtiers, bursting with jealous malice against a court so lately converted to the study of philosophy, lay in wait for their opportunity, like the Cercopes, 35 to catch not only Heracles asleep but also irrational unsleeping Fortune, and they held secret meetings and neglected no detail of their unhallowed plot. So it was just as in the time of the renowned Socrates, when no one of all the Athenians, even though they were a democracy, would have ventured on that accusation and indictment of one whom all the Athenians regarded as a walking image of wisdom, had it not been that in the drunkenness, insanity, and licence of the Dionysia and the night festival, when light laughter and careless and dangerous emotions are discovered among men, Aristophanes first introduced ridicule into their corrupted minds, and by setting dances upon the stage won over the audience to his views; for he made mock of that profound wisdom by describing the jumps of fleas, 36 and depicting the shapes and forms of clouds, and all those other absurd devices to which comedy resorts in order to raise a laugh. When they saw that the audience in the theatre was inclined to such indulgence, certain men set up an accusation and ventured on that impious indictment |383 against him; and so the death of one man brought misfortune on the whole state. For if one reckons from the date of Socrates' violent death, we may conclude that after it nothing brilliant was ever again achieved by the Athenians, but the city gradually decayed and because of her decay the whole of Greece was ruined along with her. So, too, in the time I speak of one could observe what happened in the affair of the plot against Sopater. For Constantinople, originally called Byzantium, in distant times used to furnish the Athenians with a regular supply of corn, 37 and an enormous quantity was imported thence. But in our times neither the great fleet of merchant vessels from Egypt and from all Asia, nor the abundance of corn that is contributed from Syria and Phoenicia and the other nations as the payment of tribute, can suffice to satisfy the intoxicated multitude which Constantine transported to Byzantium by emptying other cities, and established near him because he loved to be applauded in the theatres by men so drunk that they could not hold their liquor. For he desired to be praised by the unstable populace and that his name should be in their mouths, though so stupid were they that they could hardly pronounce the word. It happens, moreover, that the site of Byzantium is not adapted for the approach of ships that touch there, except when a strong wind is blowing due from the south. At that time, then, there happened what often used to happen according to the nature of the seasons; and the citizens were assembled in the theatre, worn out by hunger. The applause from |385 the drunken populace was scanty, and the Emperor was greatly discouraged. Then those who had long been envious thought that they had found an excellent occasion, and said: "It is Sopater, he whom you honour, who has fettered the winds 38 by that excessive cleverness which you yourself praise, and through which he even sits on the Imperial throne." When Constantine heard this he was won over, and ordered Sopater's head to be cut off; and those envious persons took care that this was no sooner said than done. Ablabius was responsible for all these evils, for, though he was pretorian prefect, he felt stifled with envy of Sopater, who received more consideration than himself. And since I am, as I have already said, recording the lives of men who were trained in every kind of learning, so much, that is, as is preserved and has come to my ears, it will not be amiss if I also touch briefly on those who wrongfully injured them.
A BLABIUS who brought about the murder came of a very obscure family, and on his father's side did not even attain to the humble middle class. The following anecdote about him survives, and no one contradicted the facts alleged. A certain Egyptian of the class devoted to the study called astrology, 39 who was visiting the City 40 (and when they are on their travels Egyptians are capable of behaving even in public with a lack of decorum, so that they are probably trained at home to manners of that sort); as I say, he came on a visit, pushed his way into one of the more expensive wineshops, and called out that he was parched after finishing a long journey, and that he would choke in a moment with thirst, |387 and ordered them to prepare and pour for him some sweet spiced wine, and the money for it was produced. The hostess of the wineshop, seeing her profits actually under her eyes, made ready to serve him and began bustling about. But she happened to be skilled in midwifery also. And when she had just set the goblet before the Egyptian and was in the act of pouring out the wine that she had prepared, one of her neighbours ran in and whispered in her ear: "Your friend and kinswoman," as indeed she actually was, "is in mortal danger in child-birth, unless you come quickly." When she heard this she then and there left the Egyptian open-mouthed, and did not stay to pour in the hot water. When she had relieved the woman in her travail and done all that is usual in case of child-birth, she washed her hands and came back at once to her customer. When she found him in deep chagrin and boiling over with rage, the woman explained the reason for her tardiness. On hearing it, the excellent Egyptian noted the time and season, and straightway felt more thirst to utter the message that had come to him from the gods than to cure his own thirst; and he cried out in a loud voice: "Go, woman, tell the mother that she has given birth to one only second to an emperor." After this revelation he drank his fill of the cup and spared not; and he left his name for the information of the woman. The infant's name was Ablabius, and he proved to be so much the darling of Fortune who delights in novelties, that he became even more powerful than the emperor. So much more powerful was he that he even put Sopater to death, after bringing against him a charge more foolish even than that against |389 Socrates, and in those days he influenced the emperor as though the latter were an undisciplined mob. Constantine, however, was punished for the honour that he paid to Ablabius, and the manner of his death I have described in my account of his life. He bequeathed to Ablabius his son Constantius who had been his consort in the Empire and succeeded to the throne of his father together with his brothers Constantine and Constans. But in my account of the sainted Julian I have related these matters more fully. When Constantius had succeeded to the throne and had been allotted his proper portion of the Empire, that is to say the countries that extend from Illyricum to the East, he at once relieved Ablabius of his authority, and gathered about himself a different set of favourites. Ablabius spent his time in luxury on an estate that he had long before made ready in Bithynia, which provided him a safe retreat of regal splendour and complete idleness; meanwhile all men marvelled that he did not aspire to be emperor. Then Constantius, from his father's city hard by, dispatched certain swordsmen to him in considerable numbers, and to the leaders he gave orders that they should hand him a letter. Those who delivered the letter into his hands prostrated themselves before him, as Romans are accustomed to prostrate themselves before the emperor. He received the document with great arrogance, and, freed from all apprehension, he demanded the imperial purple from those who had come, while his expression became more stern, and he inspired terror in the spectators. They replied that their task had only been to bring the letter, but that those who had been entrusted with this other |391 mission were at the door. Thereupon he insolently summoned them within, and was inflated with pride. But those who were then admitted were more in number and all carried swords, and instead of the purple robe they brought him "purple death," 41 and hacked him to pieces like some animal cut up at a public feast. Thus did the shade of Sopater avenge itself on Ablabius "the fortunate."
When these events had happened and Providence had shown that she had not deserted mankind, there remained A EDESIUS, the most renowned of those that survived. Once when he resorted with prayer to a form of oracle in which he placed most trust (it came in a dream), the god appeared in answer to his prayer and gave him the following response in hexameter verse. And just after he had opened his eyelids, while he was still spellbound with awe, he remembered the verbal sense of what had been said, though the supernatural and prodigious element in the verses escaped him and was slipping from his mind. So he called a slave, since he wished to cleanse his eyes and face with water, 42 and the servant said to him: "Look, the back of your left hand is covered with writing." He looked, and concluded that the thing was a divine portent, and after reverently saluting his hand and the letters, he found that the following oracle was written on his hand: "On the warp of the two Fates' spinning lie the threads ot thy life's web. If thy choice is the cities and towns of men, thy renown shall be deathless, shepherding |393 the god-given impulse of youth. But if thou shalt be a shepherd of sheep and bulls, then hope that thou thyself shalt one day be the associate of the blessed immortals. Thus has thy thread been woven."
Thus ran the oracle. In obedience to it, as it was his duty to obey, he set out with all speed in pursuit of the better way, and looked about for a small estate and devoted his energies to the life of a goat-herd or neat-herd. But so great was his previous renown and so widespread that this purpose could not be hidden from those who longed for training in eloquence, or for learning. They tracked him down and beset him like hounds baying before his doors, and threatened to tear him in pieces if he should devote wisdom so great and so rare to hills and rocks and trees, as though he were not born a man or with knowledge of human life. He was forced by speeches and actions of this sort to return to the life and converse of ordinary men; and now he applied his talents to the inferior of the two ways. He left Cappadocia, and handed over to Eustathius the charge of his property there----they were indeed kinsmen----while he himself passed into the province of Asia; for all Asia was holding out her arms in welcome. He settled in ancient Pergamon, and his school was attended by Greeks and by the neighbouring people, so that his fame touched the stars.
With regard to E USTATHIUS, it would be sacrilegious to leave out what would convey the truth. All men were agreed that he was not only observed to be a most noble character, but also most gifted with eloquence when put to the test, while the charm that sat on his tongue and lips seemed to be nothing |395 less than witchcraft. His mildness and amiability so blossomed out in what he said and gushed forth with his words, that those who heard his voice and speeches surrendered themselves like men who had tasted the lotus, and they hung on that voice and those speeches. So closely did he resemble the musical Sirens, that the emperor, 43 for all that he was wrapped up in the books of the Christians, sent for him at the time when he was alarmed by the state of affairs, and was hard pressed by impending danger from the king of the Persians, who had once already laid siege to Antioch and raided it with his bowmen. For unexpectedly and on a sudden he seized the height that commanded the theatre, and with his arrows shot and massacred that great crowd of spectators. In this similar crisis all men were so held captive and enchanted by Eustathius, that they did not hesitate to commend a man of the Hellenic faith to the ears of the emperor; although the earlier emperors had been accustomed to elect for embassies men who had won distinction in the army, or military prefects, or men who were next in rank to these and had been selected for office. But at that time, at the imperious call of necessity, Eustathius was sought out and admitted by general consent to be the most prudent of all men. Accordingly he was summoned by the emperor, and came forthwith, and so potent was the charm on his lips 44 that those who had advised that the embassy should be dispatched in charge of Eustathius won greater consideration than |397 before from the emperor, and he inclined more favourably towards them. Moreover, some of these men set out of their own accord to accompany the embassy, because they wished to employ a still greater test, whether in his encounter with the barbarians Eustathius should prove to possess the same power to enchant and persuade. When they arrived in Persia, Sapor was reported to be and actually was tyrannical and savage towards those who approached him; nevertheless, when Eustathius, for the embassy in general, was allowed access to the king, the latter could not but admire the expression of his eyes which was at once amiable and proudly indifferent, in spite of the many preparations that the king had devised in order to dazzle and overawe the man. And when he heard his voice conversing so equably and with no effort, when he heard him run over his arguments so modestly and good-naturedly, he bade him withdraw; and Eustathius went out, leaving the tyrant a captive to his eloquence. Presently he sent a message by his household officials to invite him to his table, and when he obeyed the summons, since the king seemed to him to have a natural bent for virtue, Sapor joined him at the banquet. Thus Eustathius became his companion at table, and by his eloquence won such influence over him that the king of Persia came within an ace of renouncing his upright tiara, laying aside his purple and bejewelled attire, and putting on instead the philosopher's cloak of Eustathius; so successfully did the latter run down the life of luxury and the pomps and vanities of the flesh, to such depths of misery did he seem to bring down those who loved their bodies. But this was prevented by certain magi who |399 happened to be at the court, and kept asserting that the man was nothing but a mere conjuror; and they persuaded the king to reply to the Roman emperor by asking him why, when Fortune had bestowed on them so many distinguished men, they sent persons no better than slaves who had enriched themselves. And the whole result of the embassy was contrary to men's expectations. 45
In my researches concerning this man, I have come upon evidence of the following, namely that the whole of Greece prayed to see him and implored the gods that he might visit them. Moreover, the omens and those who were skilled to interpret them agreed that this would come to pass. But when they proved to be mistaken, for he did not visit Greece, the Greeks sent an embassy to him and chose for this embassy their most famous wise men. The purpose of their mission was to discuss with the renowned Eustathius this question: "Why did not the facts accord with these omens?" He listened to them, and then investigated and sifted the evidence of men who were famed in this science and had a wide renown, and cross-examined them, asking what was the size, colour, and shape of the omens. Then, as his manner was, he smiled at them, on hearing the true facts (for as falsehood has no place in the choir of the gods, 46 so too it has none in their utterance), and said: "Nay, these omens did not foretell this visit from me." Then he said something that in my judgement was too high for a mere mortal, for this was his reply: "The omens revealed were too trivial and too tardy for such dignity as mine." After this the renowned Eustathius married |401 Sosipatra, who by her surpassing wisdom made her own husband seem inferior and insignificant. So far did the fame of this woman travel that it is fitting for me to speak of her at greater length, even in this catalogue of wise men. She was born in Asia, near Ephesus, in that district which the river Cayster traverses and flows through, and hence gives its name to the plain. She came of a prosperous family, blessed with wealth, and while she was still a small child she seemed to bring a blessing on everything, such beauty and decorum illumined her infant years. Now she had just reached the age of five, when two old men (both were past the prime of life, but one was rather older than the other), carrying ample wallets and dressed in garments of skins, made their way to a country estate belonging to Sosipatra's parents, and persuaded the steward, as they were easily able to do, to entrust to them the care of the vines. When a harvest beyond all expectation was the result----the owner himself was there, and with him was the little girl Sosipatra----men's amazement was boundless, and they went so far as to suspect the intervention of the gods. The owner of the estate invited them to his table, and treated them with the highest consideration; and he reproached the other labourers on the estate with not obtaining the same results. The old men, on receiving Greek hospitality and a place at a Greek table, were smitten and captivated by the exceeding beauty and charm of the little girl Sosipatra, and they said: "Our other powers we keep to ourselves hidden and |403 unrevealed, and this abundant vintage that you so highly approve is laughable and mere child's-play which takes no account of our superhuman abilities. But if you desire from us a fitting return for this maintenance and hospitality, not in money or perishable and corruptible benefits, but one far above you and your way of life, a gift whereof the fame shall reach the skies and touch the stars, hand over this child Sosipatra to us who are more truly her parents and guardians, and until the fifth year from now fear no disease for the little girl, nor death, but remain calm and steadfast. But take care not to set your feet on this soil till the fifth year come with the annual revolutions of the sun. And of its own accord wealth shall spring up for you and shall blossom forth from the soil. Moreover, your daughter shall have a mind not like a woman's or a mere human being's. Nay, you yourself also shall have higher than mortal thoughts concerning the child. Now if you have good courage accept our words with outspread hands, but if any suspicions awake in your mind consider that we have said nothing." Hearing this the father bit his tongue, and humble and awestruck put the child into their hands and gave her over to them. Then he summoned his steward and said to him: "Supply the old men with all that they need, and ask no questions." Thus he spoke, and before the light of dawn began to appear he departed as though fleeing from his daughter and his estate.
Then those others----whether they were heroes or demons or of some race still more divine----took |405 charge of the child, and into what mysteries they initiated her no one knew, and with what religious rite they consecrated the girl was not revealed even to those who were most eager to learn. And now approached the appointed time when all the accounts of the revenue of the estate were due. The girl's father came to the farm and hardly recognized his daughter, so tall was she and her beauty seemed to him to have changed its character; and she too hardly knew her father. He even saluted her reverently, so different did she appear to his eyes. When her teachers were there and the table was spread, they said: "Ask the maiden whatever you please." But she interposed: "Nay, father, ask me what happened to you on your journey." He agreed that she should tell him. Now since he was so wealthy he travelled in a four-wheeled carriage, and with this sort of carriage many accidents are liable to happen. But she related every event, not only what had been said, but his very threats and fears, as though she had been driving with him. Her father was roused to such a pitch of admiration that he did not merely admire her but was dumb with amazement, and was convinced that his daughter was a goddess. Then he fell on his knees before those men and implored them to tell him who they were. Slowly and reluctantly, for such was perhaps the will of heaven, they revealed to him that they were initiates in the lore called Chaldean, and even this they told enigmatically and with bent heads. And when Sosipatra's father clung to their knees and supplicated them, adjuring them to become masters of the estate and to keep his daughter under their influence and initiate her into |407 still more sacred things, they nodded their assent to this, but spoke no word more. Then he took courage as though he had received some sacred promise or oracle, but could not grasp its meaning. In his heart he applauded Homer above all poets for having sung of such a manifestation as this, so marvellous and divine:
Yea, and the gods in the likeness of strangers from far countries put on all manner of shapes and wander through the cities. 47
He did indeed believe that he had fallen in with gods in the likeness of strangers. While his mind was full of this lie was overcome by sleep, and the others left the table, and taking the girl with them they very tenderly and scrupulously handed over to her the whole array of garments in which she had been initiated, and added certain mystic symbols thereto; and they also put some books into Sosipatra's chest, and gave orders that she should have it sealed. And she, no less than her father, took the greatest delight in those men. When the day began to break and the doors were opened, and people began to go to their work, the men also, according to their custom, went forth with the rest. Then the girl ran to her father bearing the good news, and one of the servants went with her to carry the chest. Her father asked for all the money belonging to him that happened to be available, and from his stewards all that they had for their necessary expenses, and sent to call those men, but they were nowhere to be seen. Then he said to Sosipatra: "What is the meaning of this, my child? " After a brief pause she replied: "Now at last I understand |409 what they said. For when they wept and put these things into my hands, they said: 'Child, take care of them; for we are travelling to the Western Ocean, 48 but presently we shall return.' " This proved very clearly that they who had appeared were blessed spirits. They then departed and went whithersoever it was; but her father took charge of the girl, now fully initiated, and though without pride, filled with divine breath, and he permitted her to live as she pleased and did not interfere in any of her affairs, except that sometimes he was ill pleased with her silence. And as she grew to the full measure of her youthful vigour, she had no other teachers, but ever on her lips were the works of the poets, philosophers, and orators; and those works that others comprehend but incompletely and dimly, and then only by hard work and painful drudgery, she could expound with careless ease, serenely and painlessly, and with her light swift touch would make their meaning clear. Then she decided to marry. Now beyond dispute Eustathius of all living men was alone worthy to wed her. So she said to him and to those who were present: "Do you listen to me, Eustathius, and let those who are here bear me witness: I shall bear you three children, and all of them will fail to win what is considered to be human happiness, but as to the happiness that the gods bestow, not one of them will fail therein. But you will go hence before me, and be allotted a fair and fitting place of abode, though I perhaps shall attain to one even higher. For your station will be in the orbit of the moon, 49 and only five years longer will you devote your |411 services to philosophy----for so your phantom tells me----but you shall traverse the region below the moon with a blessed and easily guided motion. Fain would I tell you my own fate also." Then after keeping silence for a short time, she cried aloud: "No, my god prevents me!" Immediately after this prophecy----for such was the will of the Fates----she married Eustathius, and her words had the same force as an immutable oracle, so absolutely did it come to pass and transpire as had been foretold by her.
I must relate also what happened after these events. After the passing of Eustathius, Sosipatra returned to her own estate, and dwelt in Asia in the ancient city of Pergamon, and the famous Aedesius loved and cared for her and educated her sons. In her own home Sosipatra held a chair of philosophy that rivalled his, and after attending the lectures of Aedesius, the students would go to hear hers; and though there was none that did not greatly appreciate and admire the accurate learning of Aedesius, they positively adored and revered the woman's inspired teaching.
Now there was one Philometor, a kinsman of hers, who, overcome by her beauty and eloquence, and recognizing the divinity of her nature, fell in love with her; and his passion possessed him and completely overmastered him. Not. only was he completely conquered by it but she also felt its onslaught. So she said to Maximus, who was one of the most distinguished pupils of Aedesius and was moreover his kinsman: "Maximus, pray find out |413 what ailment I have, that I may not be troubled by it." When he inquired: "Why what ails you?" she replied: "When Philometor is with me he is simply Philometor, and in no way different from the crowd. But when I see that he is going away my heart within me is wounded and tortured till it tries to escape from my breast. Do you exert yourself on my behalf," she added, "and so display your piety." When he had heard this, Maximus went away puffed up with pride as though he were now associating with the gods, because so wonderful a woman had put such faith in him. Meanwhile Philometor pursued his purpose, but Maximus having discovered by his sacrificial lore what was the power that Philometor possessed, strove to counteract and nullify the weaker spell by one more potent and efficacious. When Maximus had completed this rite he hastened to Sosipatra, and bade her observe carefully whether she had the same sensations in future. But she replied that she no longer felt them, and described to Maximus his own prayer and the whole ceremony; she also told him the hour at which it took place, as though she had been present, and revealed to him the omens that had appeared. And when he fell to the earth in amazement and proclaimed Sosipatra visibly a goddess, she said: "Rise, my son. The gods love you if you raise your eyes to them and do not lean towards earthly and perishable riches." On hearing this he went away more uplifted than before with pride, seeing that he now had clear and certain proof of the woman's divine nature. Near the door he was met by Philometor who was coming in in |415 high spirits with many of his friends, and with a loud voice Maximus called out to him from some distance: "Friend Philometor, I adjure you in Heaven's name, cease to burn wood to no purpose." Perhaps he said this with some inner knowledge of the malpractices in which the other was engaged. Thereupon Philometor was overawed by Maximus, believed him to be divine, and ceased his plotting, even ridiculing the course of action that he had entered on before. And for the future Sosipatra beheld Philometor with pure and changed eyes, though she admired him for so greatly admiring herself. Once, for example, when they were all met at her house----Philometor however was not present but was staying in the country----the theme under discussion and their inquiry was concerning the soul. Several theories were propounded, and then Sosipatra began to speak, and gradually by her proofs disposed of their arguments; then she fell to discoursing on the descent of the soul, and what part of it is subject to punishment, what part immortal, when in the midst of her bacchie and frenzied flow of speech she became silent, as though her voice had been cut off, and after letting a short interval pass she cried aloud in their midst: "What is this? Behold my kinsman Philometor riding in a carriage! The carriage has been overturned in a rough place in the road and both his legs are in danger! However, his servants have dragged him out unharmed, except that he has received wounds on his elbows and hands, though even these are not dangerous. He is being carried home on a stretcher, groaning loudly." These were her words, and they were the truth, for so it actually was. By this all were convinced that Sosipatra was |417 omnipresent, and that, even as the philosophers assert concerning the gods, nothing happened without her being there to see. She died leaving the three sons of whom she had spoken. The names of two of them I need not record. But Antoninus was worthy of his parents, for he settled at the Canobic mouth of the Nile and devoted himself wholly to the religious rites of that place, and strove with all his powers to fulfil his mother's prophecy. To him resorted all the youth whose souls were sane and sound, and who hungered for philosophy, and the temple was filled with young men acting as priests. Though he himself still appeared to be human and he associated with human beings, he foretold to all his followers that after his death 50 the temple would cease to be, and even the great and holy temples of Serapis would pass into formless darkness and be transformed, and that a fabulous and unseemly gloom would hold sway over the fairest things on earth. To all these prophecies time bore witness, and in the end his prediction gained the force of an oracle. From this family----for it is not my purpose to write an Eoiae, 51 as Hesiod's poem is called----there survived certain effluences as though from the stars, and these were dispersed and distributed among various classes of professed philosophers who made a profit out of their affinity with genuine philosophy, and they spent most of their time running risks in the law courts, like Socrates in the porch of the King Archon. 52 Such was their contempt for money and their detestation of gold! In fact their philosophy consisted in wearing the philosopher's cloak |419 and constantly alluding to Sosipatra, while Eustathius was ever on their lips; moreover they carried other obvious and external signs, big wallets so crammed with books that they would have laden several camels. They had learned these very carefully by heart. And these books of theirs anyhow bore upon none of the ancient philosophers, but were wills and copies of wills, contracts of sales and suchlike documents, which are highly esteemed in that life which is prone to dissolute folly and licence. Thus it proved that Sosipatra could also divine correctly what should happen after these events. But I need not write down even the names of these men, for my narrative is eager to lead on to those that are not unworthy but worthy. An exception must be made of one of her sons; his name was Antoninus, and I mentioned him just now; he crossed to Alexandria, and then so greatly admired and preferred the mouth of the Nile at Canobus, that he wholly dedicated and applied himself to the worship of the gods there, and to their secret rites. He made rapid progress towards affinity with the divine, despised his body, freed himself from its pleasures, and embraced a wisdom that was hidden from the crowd. On this matter I may well speak at greater length. He displayed no tendency to theurgy and that which is at variance with sensible appearances, perhaps because he kept a wary eye on the imperial views and policy which were opposed to these practices. 53 But all admired his fortitude and his unswerving and inflexible character, and those who were then pursuing their studies at |421 Alexandria used to go down to him to the seashore. For, on account of its temple of Serapis, Alexandria was a world in itself, a world consecrated by religion: at any rate those who resorted to it from all parts were a multitude equal in number to its own citizens, and these, after they had worshipped the god, used to hasten to Antoninus, some, who were in haste, by land, while others were content with boats that plied on the river, gliding in a leisurely way to their studies. On being granted an interview with him, some would propound a logical problem, and were forthwith abundantly fed with the philosophy of Plato; but others, who raised questions as to things divine, encountered a statue. For he would utter not a word to any one of them, but fixing his eyes and gazing up at the sky he would lie there speechless and unrelenting, nor did anyone ever see him lightly enter into converse with any man on such themes as these.
Now, not long after, an unmistakable sign was given that there was in him some diviner element. For no sooner had he left the world of men than the cult of the temples in Alexandria and at the shrine of Serapis was scattered to the winds, and not only the ceremonies of the cult but the buildings as well, and everything happened as in the myths of the poets when the Giants gained the upper hand. The temples at Canobus also suffered the same fate in the reign of Theodosius, when Theophilus 54 presided over the abominable ones like a sort of Eurymedon
and Evagrius was prefect of the city, and Romanus in command of the legions in Egypt. 56 For these men, girding themselves in their wrath against our sacred places as though against stones and stone-masons, made a raid on the temples, and though they could not allege even a rumour of war to justify them, they demolished the temple of Serapis and made war against the temple offerings, whereby they won a victory without meeting a foe or fighting a battle. In this fashion they fought so strenuously against the statues and votive offerings that they not only conquered but stole them as well, and their only military tactics were to ensure that the thief should escape detection. Only the floor of the temple of Serapis they did not take, simply because of the weight of the stones which were not easy to move from their place. Then these warlike and honourable men, after they, had thrown everything into confusion and disorder and had thrust out hands, unstained indeed by blood but not pure from greed, boasted that they had overcome the gods, and reckoned their sacrilege and impiety a thing to glory in.
Next, into the sacred places they imported monks, as they called them, who were men in appearance but led the lives of swine, and openly did and allowed countless unspeakable crimes. But this they accounted piety, to show contempt for things divine. For in those days every man who wore a black robe and consented to behave in unseemly fashion in public, 57 possessed the power of a tyrant, to such a pitch of virtue had the human race advanced! All this however I have described in my Universal |425 History. They settled these monks at Canobus also, and thus they fettered the human race to the worship of slaves, and those not even honest slaves, instead of the true gods. For they collected the bones and skulls of criminals who had been put to death for numerous crimes, men whom the law courts of the city had condemned to punishment, made them out to be gods, haunted their sepulchres, 58 and thought that they became better by defiling themselves at their graves. "Martyrs" the dead men were called, and "ministers" of a sort, and "ambassadors" from the gods to carry men's prayers,----these slaves in vilest servitude, who had been consumed by stripes and carried on their phantom forms the scars of their villainy. 59 However these are the gods that earth produces! This, then, greatly increased the reputation of Antoninus also for foresight, in that he had foretold to all that the temples would become tombs. 60 Likewise the famous Iamblichus, as I have handed down in my account of his life, when a certain Egyptian invoked Apollo, and to the great amazement of those who saw the vision, Apollo came: "My friends," said he, "cease to wonder; this is only the ghost of a gladiator." So great a difference does it make whether one beholds a thing with the intelligence or with the deceitful eyes of the flesh. But Iamblichus saw through marvels that were present, whereas Antoninus foresaw future events. This fact of itself argues his superior powers. His end came painlessly, when he had attained to a ripe old |427 age free from sickness. And to all intelligent men the end of the temples which he had prognosticated was painful indeed.
Of M AXIMUS I have spoken earlier, and indeed the author of this narrative did not fail to see the man with his own eyes, but while still a youth met him in his old age and heard his voice, which was such as one might have heard from Homer's Athene or Apollo. The very pupils of his eyes were, so to speak, winged; he had a long grey beard, and his glance revealed the agile impulses of his soul. There was a wonderful harmony in his person, both to the eye and ear, and all who conversed with him were amazed as to both these faculties, since one could hardly endure the swift movements of his eyes or his rapid flow of words. In discussion with him no one ventured to contradict him, not even the most experienced and most eloquent, but they yielded to him in silence and acquiesced in what he said as though it came from the tripod of an oracle; such a charm sat on his lips. 61 He came of an honourable family and possessed ample means; and he had two lawful brothers whom he kept from holding the very highest rank because he held it himself. They were Claudianus 62 who settled in Alexandria and taught there, and Nymphidianus who became very distinguished as a sophist at Smyrna.
Maximus was one of those who had been saturated with the wisdom of Aedesius; moreover he received the honour of being the teacher of the Emperor Julian. After all his relatives had been put to death by Constantius, as I have recorded with more details in my account of Julian, and the whole |429 family had been stripped bare, Julian alone was left alive, being despised on the score of his tender years and his mild disposition. Nevertheless, eunuchs from the palace took charge of him, and were assigned to keep watch so that he might not waver from the Christian faith. But even in the face of these difficulties he displayed the greatness of his genius. For he had their books so thoroughly by heart that they fretted at the scantiness of their erudition, since there was nothing that they could teach the boy. Now since they had nothing to teach him and Julian had nothing to learn from them, he begged his cousin's permission to attend the schools of the sophists and lectures on philosophy. He, as the gods so willed, permitted this, because he wished Julian to browse among books and to have leisure for them, rather than leave him to reflect on his own family and his claim to empire. After he had obtained this permission, since ample and abundant wealth from many sources was at his disposal, 63 he used to travel about accompanied by the emperor's suspicions and a bodyguard, and went where he pleased. Thus it was that he came to Pergamon, following on the report of the wisdom of Aedesius. But the latter was by this time far on in years, and his bodily strength was failing. First and foremost of all his students were Maximus, about whom I am now writing, Chrysanthius of Sardis, Priscus the Thesprotian or Molossian, and Eusebius who came from Myndus, a city of Caria. On being allowed to study under Aedesius, Julian, who was old for his boyish years, in amazement and admiration of his vigour and the divine qualities of his soul, refused to leave him, but like those who had |431 been bitten by the snake 64 in the story he longed to drink down learning open-mouthed and at a gulp, and to win his end used to send Aedesius gifts worthy of an emperor. But Aedesius would not accept these, and having summoned the youth he said: "Well, thou also knowest my soul, for thou hast listened many a time to my teachings; but thou seest how its instrument is affected now that that whereby it is connected and held together is dissolving into that from which it was composed. But if thou dost desire to accomplish aught, beloved child of wisdom as thou art, such signs and tokens of thy soul do I discern, go to those who are true sons of mine. From their store fill thyself to overflowing with every kind of wisdom and learning. Once admitted to their mysteries thou shalt be utterly ashamed to have been born and to be called a man. I could have wished that Maximus also were here, but he has been dispatched to Ephesus. Of Priscus 65 too I should have said the same, but he also has sailed to Greece. But there remain of my disciples Eusebius and Chrysanthius, and if thou wilt study with them thou wilt cease to harass my old age."
On hearing this, Julian did not even then leave the philosopher, but for the greater part of his time he devoted his attention to Eusebius and Chrysanthius. Now Chrysanthius had a soul akin to that of Maximus, and like him was passionately absorbed in working marvels, and he withdrew himself in the study of the science of divination, and in other respects also had a very similar |433 character. But Eusebius, at least when Maximus was present, used to avoid precise and exact divisions of a disputation and dialectical devices and subtleties; though when Maximus was not there he would shine out like a bright star, with a light like the sun's; such was the facility and charm that flowered in his discourses. Chrysanthius too was there to applaud and assent, while Julian actually reverenced Eusebius. At the close of his exposition Eusebius would add that these 66 are the only true realities, whereas the impostures of witchcraft and magic that cheat the senses are the works of conjurors who are insane men led astray into the exercise of earthly and material powers. The sainted Julian frequently heard the closing words, and at last took Chrysanthius aside, and said: "If the truth is in you, dear Chrysanthius, tell me plainly what is the meaning of this epilogue that follows his exposition? " Having reflected deeply and with prudence, he said: "The wise thing for you to do will be to inquire this not of me but of himself." Julian listened, took the hint and acted on it, and regarded Chrysanthius as little short of divine on account of what he had said. Then when the next lecture took place, Eusebius ended with the same words as before, and Julian boldly asked him what was the meaning of the epilogue that he perpetually recited. Thereupon Eusebius spread the sails of the eloquence that was his by nature, and giving free rein to his powers of speech said: "Maximus is one of the older and more learned students, who, because of his lofty genius and superabundant eloquence scorned all logical proof in these subjects and |435 impetuously resorted to the acts of a madman. Not long since, he invited us to the temple of Hecate and summoned many witnesses of his folly. When we had arrived there and had saluted the goddess: 'Be seated,' said he, 'my well-beloved friends, and observe what shall come to pass, and how greatly I surpass the common herd.' When he had said this, and we had all sat down, he burned a grain of incense and recited to himself the whole of some hymn or other, and was so highly successful in his demonstration that the image of the goddess first began to smile, then even seemed to laugh aloud. We were all much disturbed by this sight, but he said: 'Let none of you be terrified by these things, for presently even the torches which the goddess holds in her hands shall kindle into flame.' And before he could finish speaking the torches burst into a blaze of light. Now for the moment we came away amazed by that theatrical miracle-worker. But you must not marvel at any of these things, even as I marvel not, but rather believe that the thing of the highest importance is that purification of the soul which is attained by reason." However, when the sainted Julian heard this, he said: "Nay, farewell and devote yourself to your books. You have shown me the man I was in search of." After saying this he kissed the head of Chrysanthius and started for Ephesus. There he had converse with Maximus, and hung on to him and laid fast hold on all that he had to teach. Maximus persuaded him to summon thither the divine Chrysanthius also, and when this had been done the two of them barely sufficed to satisfy the boy's great capacity for acquiring this kind of lore. |437
Now when his studies with them were prospering, he heard that there was a higher wisdom in Greece, possessed by the hierophant of the goddesses, 67 and hastened to him with all speed. The name of him who was at that time hierophant it is not lawful for me to tell 68 ; for he initiated the author of this narrative. By birth he was descended from the Eumolpidae. 69 He it was who in the presence of the author of this book foretold the overthrow of the temples and the ruin of the whole of Greece, and he clearly testified that after his death there would be a hierophant who would have no right to touch the hierophant's high seat, because he had been consecrated to the service of other gods and had sworn oaths of the uttermost sanctity that he would not preside over temples other than theirs. Nevertheless he foretold that this man would so preside, though he was not even an Athenian. To such prophetic power did he attain that he prophesied that in his own lifetime the sacred temples would be razed to the ground and laid waste, and that that other would live to see their ruin and would be despised for his overweening ambition; that the worship of the Goddesses would come to an end before his own death, and that deprived of his honour his life would no longer be that of a hierophant, and that he would not reach old age. Thus indeed it came to pass. For no sooner was the citizen of Thespiae made hierophant, he who fathered the ritual of Mithras, 70 than without delay many inexplicable disasters came on in a flood. Some of these have been described in the more detailed narrative of my History, others, if it be permitted by the powers above, I shall |439 relate. It was the time when Alaric with his barbarians invaded Greece by the pass of Thermopylae, as easily as though he were traversing an open stadium or a plain suitable for cavalry. For this gateway of Greece was thrown open to him by the impiety of the men clad in black raiment, 71 who entered Greece unhindered along with him, and by the fact that the laws and restrictions of the hierophantic ordinances had been rescinded. But all this happened in later days, and my narrative digressed because I mentioned the prophecy.
At the time I now speak of, Julian had no sooner become intimate with that most holy of hierophants and greedily absorbed his wisdom, than he was forcibly removed by Constantius to be his consort in the Empire and elevated to the rank of Caesar, 72 while Maximus remained in Asia (Aedesius had now passed away), and progressed by leaps and bounds in every kind of wisdom. Thus did Julian obtain what he did not desire, but had thrust upon him. As Caesar he was dispatched to Gaul, not so much to rule there as with the intention that he should perish by violent means, while holding his imperial office; but contrary to all expectation, by the providence of the gods he emerged alive, concealing from all men his pious devotion to the gods, but overcoming all men by reason of that very devotion. He crossed the Rhine and defeated and subjugated all the barbarian tribes beyond that river, and this in spite of numerous plots and schemes that were woven against him, as I have related in full in his Life. Then he summoned the hierophant from Greece, and having with his aid |441 performed certain rites known to them alone, he mustered up courage to abolish the tyranny of Constantius. His accomplices were Oribasius 73 of Pergamon and a certain Euhemerus, a native of Libya, which the Romans in their native tongue call Africa. But all this has been described in fuller detail in my work on Julian. When he had abolished the tyranny of Constantius, 74 and had sent back the hierophant to Greece as though he were sending back some god who had revealed himself and bestowed on him what he desired, and had sent with,him also gifts worthy of an emperor, and attendants to take care of the temples of Greece, he at once sent for Maximus and Chrysanthius. One summons came for them both. They decided to have recourse to the aid of the gods, and energetic and experienced as they both were, they combined their experience for this common purpose, and summoned and brought to bear all their keen sight in such matters and all their mental perspicacity; but they encountered forbidding and hostile omens. Well did they know the meaning of the omens then revealed. Now Chrysanthius was overwhelmed and awestruck by what he saw, and biting his tongue he said: "Not only must I stay here, beloved Maximus, I must also hide myself from all men." But Maximus asserted the force of his will, and replied: "Nay, Chrysanthius, I think that you have forgotten that we have been educated to believe that it is the duty of genuine Hellenes, especially if they are learned men, not to yield absolutely to the first obstacles they meet; but rather to wrestle with the heavenly powers till you make them incline to their servant." But Chrysanthius |443 retorted: "Perhaps you have the skill and the daring to do this, but I refuse to contend against these omens." With these words he went away, but Maximus remained and tried every method till he obtained the results that he wished and desired. Chrysanthius, however, remained more immovable than a statue, resolved not to alter in the least the conclusions that had originally been firmly fixed in his mind. Thereupon all the people of Asia flocked in haste to Maximus, not only those who at the time held office or had been relieved of their offices, but also the leading men in the various senates. The common people too blocked the streets before the house of Maximus, leaping and uttering shouts, as is from of old the custom of the mob whenever it would win someone's favour. Meanwhile the women poured in by the back door to see his wife, marvelled at her felicity, and begged her not to forget them: and so profound was her knowledge of philosophy that she made Maximus seem not to know how to swim or even know his alphabet. Thus, then, Maximus, adored by all Asia, went his way to meet the emperor, but Chrysanthius stayed where he was, since a god had appeared to him in a dream, and, as he later on told the author of this narrative, recited the following verse:
If a man obeys the gods, they in turn hearken to his prayer. 75
Maximus with a numerous escort set out for Constantinople, and on arriving there he very soon shone out in all his glory. For both ruler and ruled were entirely devoted to Maximus. Whether it were day or night made no difference to them, |445 so incessantly did they refer to the gods all questions that arose in their daily life. The result was that at the imperial court Maximus began to grow insolent, wore flowing raiment of a stuff too luxurious for a philosopher, and became more and more difficult of access and unapproachable; but the emperor knew nothing of what was going on. Then they decided, according to the urgent wishes of the emperor, to send for Priscus also; and Maximus persisted in his demand that Chrysanthius should come as well. Both men were accordingly summoned, Priscus from Greece, and Chrysanthius from Sardis in Lydia. The divine Julian was so dependent on the latter's society that he wrote to both men as though they were his intimate friends, and implored them as though they were gods to come and live with him. But in the case of Chrysanthius, on hearing that he had a wife named Melite to whom he was devotedly attached (she was a cousin of the present author), Julian retired in private and, unknown to all, he wrote with his own hand to this woman and expended every possible argument to induce her to persuade her husband not to refuse to make the journey. Then he asked for the letter that had been written to Chrysanthius, enclosed his own, set his seal on both, and dispatched messengers to take what seemed to be only one letter. 76 Moreover, he sent many verbal messages which he thought would be useful
To persuade with ease the mighty soul of the grandson of Aeacus. 77
Priscus accordingly came, 78 and when there he |447 behaved with great modesty. And though there were just as many who sought his favour, he nevertheless remained unmoved, and was not puffed up by the emperor's court, but rather endeavoured to lower the pride of the court and to bring it to a more philosophic level.
Chrysanthius, however, could not be caught even by such snares and devices as these, but he consulted the gods, and since the will of heaven was unchanged, he for his part obeyed the gods, and wrote to the emperor that it was in the latter's interest that he should stay in Lydia, and that the gods had informed him of this. The emperor was suspicious about the refusal of his invitation, but he appointed Chrysanthius high priest of Lydia, along with his wife, and entrusted to them the selection of other priests. Meanwhile he himself was setting out in haste for the war against Persia. Both Maximus and Priscus accompanied him, 79 and certain other sophists joined the expedition, so that they amounted to a considerable number; they were, in fact, a mob of men who sang their own praises and were inflated with pride because the emperor said that he had associated with them. But when the enterprise which began with such great and splendid hopes had fallen with a crash to a vague and shapeless ruin and had slipped through his fingers, as I have described more fully in my Life of Julian, Jovian 80 was made emperor, and he continued to award honours to these men. Then too swiftly and violently he passed away to join his predecessor in Empire (if, indeed, we can say of that predecessor that he merely joined the majority 81 !), and then |449 Valentinian and Valens succeeded to the Imperial throne. Thereupon Maximus and Priscus were carried off in custody, and this time their summons was very different from the time when Julian invited them. For then the summons was, as it were, to some public festival and it lit up the path to ample honours; but in that second summons, instead of bright hopes, danger was clearly visible, for the fear of public and overwhelming disgrace, veiled for them the whole prospect. Priscus, however, suffered no harm, and since evidence was produced that he was a righteous man and had behaved virtuously at the time I speak of, he returned to Greece. It was at the time when the author of this narrative was being educated, and was still a boy just arrived at adolescence. But Maximus, though many clamoured against him, both in public in the theatres and privately to the emperor, in spite of this won admiration because he bore up against such great misfortunes. Nevertheless they inflicted on him the severest possible punishment; for they fined him a sum of money so large that a philosopher could hardly even have heard of such an amount (this was because they suspected that he possessed the property of all the others); and then they regretted it on the ground that they had made his fine too small. He was sent into Asia to make payment of the money, and what he suffered there was beyond any tragedy, and none could have the power of utterance or take such pleasure in the misfortunes of others as to report fully the terrible sufferings of this great man. For even the Persian torture called "The Boat," 82 or the painful toil of the women with the hoe among |451 the Artabri 83 is not to be compared with the agonies inflicted on the body of Maxim us. His wonderful wife was ever by his side and grieve'd over his sufferings. But when there seemed to be no limit to them and they even grew more intense, he said to her: "My wife, buy poison, give it to me and set me free." Accordingly she bought it and came with it in her hand. Thereupon he asked for it to drink but she insisted on drinking first, and when she had straightway died her relatives buried her: but after that Maximus did not drink.
And now all my eloquence and all the praises that the tribe of poets might sing would prove unequal to describe the conduct of Clearchus. 84 Clearchus came of a rich family in Thesprotis and had himself won a distinguished reputation when the whole course of events was changed. For Valentinian withdrew to the empire of the West, 85 while the Emperor Valens became involved in the utmost dangers, and had to enter a contest not only for empire but for his very life. For Procopius had revolted against him with unlimited forces and was harassing him from all sides to bring about his capture. Now Clearchus was at that time governor of all Asia, that is to say of the domain that extends from the Hellespont through Lydia and Pisidia as far as the boundaries of Pamphylia. And he displayed great kindness in his government and exposed his own person to the greatest risks, and openly carried on a quarrel with the pretorian prefect, so that not even the emperor could ignore |453 their quarrel. The prefect's name was Sallust, 86 and in the reign of the Emperor Julian he had perfected and adorned his own mind. Nevertheless Clearchus exposed his slothfulness due to old age, and nicknamed him Nicias. 87 And in fact in those days he thought only of nurturing and strengthening his mind by reading and by inquiry into the facts of history.
Now when he saw that things went so well, Valens felt unbounded admiration for Clearchus, and far from removing him from his office he transferred him to a post of greater importance and appointed him proconsul of all that is to-day properly called Asia. This province embraces the sea coast from Pergamon and includes the hinterland of that coast as far as Caria, while Mount Tmolos circumscribes its limits in the direction of Lydia. It is the most illustrious of all the provinces and is outside the jurisdiction of the pretorian prefect, save in so far as everything has been thrown into confusion and disorder in these later troubles. 88 But, at the time I speak of, Asia was still free from sedition when Clearchus took over the government; and there he discovered Maximus racked by tortures and barely able to endure them. I must now relate a supernatural occurrence; for none could justly ascribe to any other than a god a thing so amazing. For all the soldiers who had been assigned to punish Maximus |455 without respite, by superior force he compelled to flee, released him from his fetters, charged himself with the cure of his body, and made him sit at his own table. Moreover he spoke so boldly and frankly to the emperor that the latter not only relaxed his wrath but conceded everything that Clearchus advised. Thus he relieved Sallust of his office and appointed Auxonius 89 to the duties of pretorian prefect. Then Clearchus proceeded to punish the soldiers who had tortured Maximus, from all who in that unhappy time had stolen anything from him he exacted repayment, and punished those who had insulted him; so that this saying was in the mouths of all that he was a second Julian to Maximus. Thereupon Maximus even delivered public declamations, but since he was not naturally fitted to speak to a sophistic audience he increased his reputation little thereby, until at last he began to lift up his head again and resumed his lectures on philosophy. Thus he recovered much of his wealth and of what had been stolen from him in various ways, and very speedily he became prosperous and as well off as when he first arrived at Julian's court. Next he actually visited Constantinople as a distinguished personage, and all men regarded him with awe when they found that his fortunes were restored. He even risked a test of his innocence in the matter of theurgy, and still further increased his reputation. 90 Thereupon once more his widespread renown gave birth to harsh feelings against him. For the courtiers framed |457 a conspiracy against the emperors and put forward some private oracle of their own (it is not everyone who can understand what I mean), and when some obscure oracular utterance was given they referred it to Maximus, without admitting to him their real aim, but as though he himself had given forth and reported the oracle, and they desired to learn its meaning more clearly. For it had been made manifest at that time that Maximus alone knew the purposes of the gods, however obscurely they might be conveyed to other men. Accordingly, by putting his mind on the oracle and closely observing what it said, he quickly saw the hidden sense of the words, that is, the truth itself, and he revealed it more truly than an oracle, namely that they had ruined both him who published it, meaning himself, and all men besides, added he, not only those who knew of their plot; but he declared that many more would be unjustly chastised. Moreover from the inmost shrine, as it were, he announced: "After the general and multiform slaughter of all men, in which we shall be the victims of the massacre, the emperor will die a strange death, and will not be given burial or the honour of a tomb." Thus indeed it came to pass, as I have described more fully in my Universal History. For presently the conspirators who had banded together were arrested, and while they were being dragged to prison from all directions and beheaded, like hens at some festival or banquet to entertain the whole populace, Maximus too was dragged away with them, and so came to Antioch where the emperor 91 was staying at the time. But they were ashamed to put him to |459 death, both because he had refuted every charge at the trial and convicted of falsehood those who had laid hands on him, and because he had so precisely foretold all that was happening; therefore just as though in the person of Maximus they were punishing some god, they sent away with him into Asia a certain Festus, 92 a man of a murderous disposition with the soul of a butcher, judging Asia to be a worthy abode for such a man. When he arrived he carried out his orders, and of his own accord even went beyond them and indulged to the top of his bent his beastlike and rabid temperament. For first he cut off the heads of many, guilty and innocent alike, and next he slaughtered Maximus, that great man. So the oracle was fulfilled, and the rest of it also came to pass. For the emperor in a fierce battle with the Scythians was done away with in a strange fashion, 93 so that not even a bone was found to bury. The will of Heaven added to all this a still more wonderful occurrence. For that same Festus (and this the author learned accurately as an eyewitness), was deprived of his office, and first he went to visit Theodosius who had lately been made emperor; then he returned to Asia (for he had there contracted a marriage splendid enough for a tyrant), and to make a display of his luxurious living and his escape from all the charges against him, he announced that he would give a magnificent banquet to those who held the most distinguished offices or were of the highest nobility. Now it was the third day after the January Calends, as the Romans call them, and they all saluted him and promised to come to the banquet. Then Festus |461 entered the temple of the Goddesses Nemesis, 94 though he had never professed any reverence for the gods, nay it was for their worship of the gods that he punished all his victims with death; still he did enter, and related to those present a vision he had had, and as he told the tale his face was bathed in tears. Now the dream was as follows: he said that Maximus threw a noose round his neck, seized him, and dragged him down to Hades to have his case tried before Pluto. All present were terrified when they recalled the whole life of the man, but they each of them dried their tears, and bade him pray to the Goddesses. He obeyed them and offered up his prayers. But as he came forth from the temple both his feet slipped from under him, and he fell on his back and lay there speechless. He was carried home and at once expired, an event that was considered to be a most admirable dispensation of Providence.
Concerning P RISCUS I have already related many facts, for I had to do so now and then, as it fell out, and so I have spoken of his birthplace. But of his character the following account is separately recorded. He was of a too secretive disposition, and his learning was recondite and abstruse; moreover, his memory was extraordinarily good, and he had collected all the teachings of the ancients and had them ever on his tongue. In appearance he was very handsome and tall, and he might have been thought uneducated, because it was so hard to induce him to engage in disputation, and he kept his own convictions hidden as though he were guarding a treasure, and used to term prodigals those who too lightly gave out their views on these matters. For he used to say that one who is beaten in philosophical |463 argument does not thereby become milder, but rather, as he fights against the might of the truth and suffers the pains of thwarted ambition, he becomes more savage, and ends by hating both letters and philosophy equally, and by being thoroughly confused in his mind. For this reason, therefore, he usually maintained his reserve. His bearing was deliberate and lofty, and he preserved this bearing not only when he was with his friends and disciples, but the authority of his manner remained with him from youth to old age. Hence Chrysanthius used to say to the author of this work that the manners of Aedesius were sociable and democratic, and after their competitions in literature and disputations, he would go for a walk in Pergamon accompanied by the more distinguished of his pupils. And their teacher used to implant in his pupils a feeling of harmony, and of responsibility towards mankind when he observed that they were intolerant and overbearing because of their pride in their own opinions; and when they spread their wings further than those of Icarus, though they were even more fragile, he would lead them gently down, not into the sea, but to the land and to human life. While he thus instructed them, he himself, if he met a woman selling vegetables, was pleased to see her and would stop in his walk to speak to her and discuss the price she charged, and say that her shop was making a good profit; and at the same time he used to talk with her about the cultivation of vegetables. He would behave in the same fashion to a weaver, or a smith, or a carpenter. Thus the more diligent of his pupils were trained in this affability, especially Chrysanthius and all who in that school resembled Chrysanthius. |465
But Priscus alone did not spare the feelings of their teacher, but to his face would call him a traitor to the dignity of philosophy, a man versed in petty maxims, 95 which, while they might be useful for elevating the soul, were never observed in practical life. Nevertheless, in spite of his disposition, even after the reign of Julian, Priscus remained exempt from criticism; and after introducing many innovations among his disciples, who, like Corybants, were intoxicated with the desire for wisdom, and while still maintaining on all occasions his secretive manners and sneering at human weakness, he at last died, having reached a great age (for he was over ninety), at the time of the destruction of the temples of Greece. And, in those days, there were many who in their grief threw away their lives, while others were slaughtered by the barbarians, among whom was Proterius, a native of the island Cephallenia, as to whose worth and probity there is good evidence. Hilarius too was known to the author; he was by birth a Bithynian, but he grew old at Athens, and, besides the whole range of learning, he had so mastered the art of painting that it seemed as though in his hands Euphranor was still alive. The author of this narrative used to admire and love him beyond other men, because of the beauty of his portraits. Nevertheless, even Hilarius could not escape his share in the general disasters, for he was captured outside Athens (he was staying somewhere near Corinth), and together with his slaves was beheaded by the barbarians. 96 These events, if it be the will of heaven, |467 I shall relate more fully in my Universal History, since there they will be told more clearly, not with reference to the individual, but as they concerned the interests of all. For the present, however, their bearing on individuals has been set forth as far as is suitable to my narrative.
J ULIAN OF C APPADOCIA, the sophist, flourished in the time of Aedesius, and was a sort of tyrant at Athens. For all the youths from all parts flocked to him, and revered the man for his eloquence and his noble disposition. For there were indeed certain other men, his contemporaries, who in some degree attained to the comprehension of true beauty and reached the heights of his renown, namely Apsines of Lacedaemon who won fame as a writer on rhetoric, and Epagathus, and a whole host of names of that sort. But Julian surpassed them all by his great genius, and he who was second to him was a bad second. He had numerous pupils who came, so to speak, from all parts of the world, and when dispersed in every country were admired wherever and whenever they established themselves. But most distinguished of them all were the inspired Prohaeresius, Hephaestion, Epiphanius of Syria, and Diophantus the Arab. It is fitting that I should also mention Tuscianus, since he too was one of Julian's pupils, but I have already spoken of him in my account of the reign of the Emperor Julian. 97 The author himself saw Julian's house at Athens; poor and humble as it was, nevertheless from it breathed the fragrance of Hermes and the Muses, so closely did it resemble a holy temple. This house he had bequeathed to Prohaeresius. There, too, |469 were erected statues of the pupils whom he had most admired; and he had a theatre of polished marble made after the model of a public theatre, but smaller and of a size suitable to a house. For in those days, so bitter was the feud at Athens between the citizens and the young students, 98 as though the city after those ancient wars of hers was fostering within her walls the peril of discord, that not one of the sophists ventured to go down into the city and discourse in public, but they confined their utterances to their private lecture theatres and there discoursed to their students. Thus they ran no risk of their lives, but there competed for applause and fame for eloquence.
Though I leave much unsaid, I must set down and introduce into this narrative the following sample of all Julian's learning and prudence. It so happened that the boldest of the pupils of Apsines had, in a fierce encounter, got the upper hand of Julian's pupils in the course of the war of factions 99 that they kept up. After laying violent hands on them in Spartan fashion, 100 though the victims of their ill-treatment had been in danger of their lives, they prosecuted them as though they themselves were the injured parties. The case was referred to the proconsul, who, showing himself stern and implacable, ordered that their teacher also be arrested, and that all the accused be thrown into chains, like men imprisoned on a charge of murder. It seems, however, that, for |471 a Roman, he was not uneducated or bred in a boorish and illiberal fashion. Accordingly Julian was in court, as he had been ordered, and Apsines was there also, not in obedience to orders but to help the case of the plaintiffs. Now all was ready for the hearing of the case, and the plaintiffs were permitted to enter. The leader of the disorderly Spartan faction was one Themistocles, an Athenian, who was in fact responsible for all the trouble, for he was a rash and headstrong youth and a disgrace to his famous name. The proconsul at once glared fiercely at Apsines, and said: "Who ordered you to come here?" He replied that he had come because he was anxious about his children. The magistrate concealed his real opinion and said no more; and then the prisoners who had been so unfairly treated again came before the court, and with them their teacher. Their hair was uncut and they were in great physical affliction, so that even to the judge they were a pitiful sight. Then the plaintiffs were permitted to speak, and Apsines began to make a speech, but the proconsul interrupted him and said: "This procedure is not approved by the Romans. He who delivered the speech for the prosecution at the first hearing must try his luck at the second also." There was then no time for preparation because of the suddenness of the decision. Now Themistocles had made the speech for the prosecution before, but now on being compelled to speak he changed colour, bit his lips in great embarrassment, looked furtively towards his comrades, and consulted them in whispers as to what they had better do. For they had come into court prepared only to shout and applaud vociferously their teacher's speech in their behalf. Therefore |473 profound silence and confusion reigned, a general silence in the court and confusion in the ranks of the accusers. Then Julian, in a low and pitiful voice said: "Nay, then, give me leave to speak." Whereupon, the proconsul exclaimed: "No, not one of you shall plead, you teachers who have come with your speeches prepared, nor shall anyone of your pupils applaud the speaker; but you shall learn forthwith how perfect and how pure is the justice that the Romans dispense. First let Themistocles finish his speech for the prosecution, and then he whom you think best fitted shall speak in defence." But no one spoke up for the plaintiffs, and Themistocles was a scandal and a disgrace to his great name. When, thereupon, the proconsul ordered that anyone who could should reply to the earlier speech of the prosecution, Julian the sophist said: "Proconsul, in your superlative justice you have transformed Apsines into a Pythagoras, who tardily but very properly has learned how to maintain silence; for Pythagoras long ago (as you are well aware) taught his pupils the Pythagorean manner. But, if you allow one of my pupils to make our defence, give orders for Prohaeresius to be released from his bonds, and you shall judge for yourself whether I have taught him the Attic manner or the Pythagorean." The proconsul granted this request very graciously, as Tuscianus, 101 who was present at the trial, reported to the author, and Prohaeresius came forward from the ranks of the defendants without his fetters before them all, after his master had called out to him not in a loud and piercing voice, such as |475 is used by those who exhort and incite athletes contending for a garland, but still in penetrating accents: "Speak, Prohaeresius! Now is the time to make a speech!" He then first delivered a prooemium of some sort. Tuscianus could not exactly recall it, though he told me its purport. It launched out and soon slid into a pitiable account of their sufferings and he inserted an encomium of their teacher. In this prooemium he let fall only one allusion to a grievance, when he pointed out how headlong the proconsular authority had been, since not even after sufficient proof of their guilt was it proper for them to undergo and suffer such treatment. At this the proconsul bowed his head and was overcome with admiration of the force of his arguments, his weighty style, his facility and sonorous eloquence. Meanwhile they all longed to applaud, but sat cowering as though forbidden to do so by a sign from heaven, and a mystic silence pervaded the place. Then he lengthened his speech into a second prooemium as follows (for this part Tuscianus remembered): "If, then, men may with impunity commit any injustice and bring accusations and win belief for what they say, before the defence is heard, so be it! Let our city be enslaved to Themistocles! " Then up jumped the proconsul, and shaking his purple-edged cloak (the Romans call it a "tebennos 102 "), that austere and inexorable judge applauded Prohaeresius like a schoolboy. Even Apsines joined in the applause, not of his own free will, but because there is no fighting against necessity. Julian his teacher could only weep. The proconsul ordered all |477 the accused, but of the accusers their teacher only, to withdraw, and then, taking aside Themistocles and his Spartans, he reminded them forcibly of the floggings of Lacedaemon, and added besides the kind of flogging in vogue at Athens. Julian himself won a great reputation by his own eloquence, and also through the fame of his disciples, and when he died at Athens he left to his pupils a great occasion for competing over his funeral oration. 103
Of P ROHAERESIUS I have said enough in the above narrative, and have set forth his life still more fully in my historical commentaries. Yet it is convenient here and now to go over the facts in more precise detail, seeing that I had unerring knowledge of him and was admitted to his conversation and teaching. And that is a very great privilege, and has immense power to excite the gratitude due to a teacher; but even this great and inexpressible gratitude falls very far short of what the author owes to Prohaeresius for his intimate friendship. The compiler of this book had crossed over from Asia to Europe and to Athens in the sixteenth year of his age. Now Prohaeresius had reached his eighty-seventh year, as he himself stated. At this advanced age his hair was curly and very thick, and because of the number of grey hairs it was silvered over and resembled sea foam. His powers of oratory were so vigorous, and he so sustained his worn body by the youthfulness of his soul, that the present writer regarded him as an ageless and immortal being, and heeded him as he might some god who had revealed himself unsummoned |479 and without ceremony. Now it happened that the writer arrived at the Piraeus about the first watch, and on the voyage had been attacked by a raging fever; and several other persons, his relatives, had sailed over with him. At that time of night, before any of the usual proceedings could take place 104 (for the ship belonged to Athens and many used to lie in wait for her arrival at the dock, mad enthusiasts each for his own particular school), the captain went straight on to Athens. The rest of the passengers walked, and the writer, too feeble to walk, was nevertheless supported by them in relays, and so was conveyed to the city. It was by then deepest midnight, at the season when the sun makes the nights longer by retiring farther to the South; for he had entered the sign of Libra, 105 and the night watches 106 were long. The captain, who was an old-time friend and guest of Prohaeresius, knocked at his door and ushered in all this crowd of disciples, so many in fact that, at a time when battles were being fought to win only one or two pupils, the newcomers seemed enough in themselves to man all the schools of the sophists. Some of these youths were distinguished for physical strength, some had more bulky purses, while the rest were only moderately endowed. The author, who was in a pitiable state, had most of the works of the ancient writers by heart, his sole possession. 107 Forthwith there was great rejoicing in the house, and men and women alike ran to and fro, some |481 laughing, others bandying jests. Prohaeresius at that time of night sent for some of his own relatives and directed them to take in the newcomers. He was himself a native of Armenia, that is to say he came from that part of Armenia which borders most closely on Persia, and these kinsmen of his were named Anatolius and Maximus. They welcomed the new arrivals, and led them to the houses of neighbours and to the baths, and showed them off in every way; and the other students made the usual demonstrations with jokes and laughter at their expense. 108 The rest, once they had been to the baths, were let off and went their way, but the writer, as his sickness grew more severe, was wasting away without seeing Prohaeresius or Athens, and all that he so desired seemed to have been only a dream. Meanwhile his own relatives and those who had come from Lydia were greatly concerned; and as all men are prone to attribute greater talent to those who are leaving us in the flower of their youth, they told many surprising falsehoods about him, and conspired to invent prodigious fictions, so that the whole city was overwhelmed by extraordinary grief, as though for some great calamity. But a certain Aeschines, not an Athenian, for Chios was his birthplace, who had slain many, not only those whom he had undertaken to cure but also those whom he had merely looked at, called out in the midst of my sorrowing friends, as became known later: "Come, allow me to give medicine to the corpse." And so they gave Aeschines permission to murder those too who were already dead. Then he held my lips apart with certain instruments and poured in a drug; what it was he revealed afterwards, and the god |483 many years later bore witness thereto; at any rate he poured it in, and the patient's stomach was at once expurged, 109 he opened his eyes to the light and recognized his own people. Thus Aeschines by this single act buried his past errors and won reverence both from him who had been delivered from death and from those who rejoiced at his deliverance. For so great an achievement he was worshipped by all, and he then crossed over to Chios, only waiting long enough to give the patient more of that strong medicine, that he might recover his strength; and thus he who had been preserved became the intimate friend of his preserver.
Now the divine Prohaeresius had not yet beheld the author, but he too had mourned for him almost as though he were dead, and when he was told of this unexpected and unheard-of recovery he sent for the best and most distinguished of his pupils and those who had proved the strength of their muscles, and said to them: "I was anxious for this boy who has recovered, though I have not yet seen him; nevertheless I grieved when he was on the point of death. Now if you wish to do me a favour, initiate him in the public bath, but refrain from all teasing and joking, and scrub him gently as though he were my own son." Thus then it came about, and a fuller account will be given when the author describes the times in which Prohaeresius lived. Yet though the author asserts that all that happened to Prohaeresius was under the direction of some divine providence, he will not in his zeal for the man depart in any way whatsoever from the truth about him, seeing that Plato's saying |485 is fixed and sure, that truth for gods and men alike is the guide to all good. 110
The physical beauty of Prohaeresius (for my narrative must now return to him) was so striking, even though he was then an old man, that one may well doubt whether anyone had ever been so handsome, even in the flower of youth, and one may marvel also that in a body so tall as his the power of beauty sufficed to model a shape so admirable in all respects. His height was greater than anyone would be inclined to believe, in fact one would hardly guess it correctly. For he seemed to stand nine feet high, so that he looked like a colossus when one saw him near the tallest men of his own time. When he was a young man, fate forced him to leave Armenia and transferred him to Antioch. He did not desire to visit Athens immediately, since he was embarrassed by lack of means; for he was unlucky in this respect, though he was well born. At Antioch he hastened to Ulpian, 111 who was the principal teacher of rhetoric there, and on his arrival he at once ranked with the foremost pupils. When he had studied with Ulpian for a long time, he held on his way to Athens and to Julian with the greatest determination, and again at Athens he gained the first place. Hephaestion accompanied him, and these two were devoted friends and rivalled one another in their poverty, just as they were rivals for the highest honours in rhetoric. For instance they had between them only one cloak and one threadbare mantle and nothing more, and, say, three or four rugs which in the course of time had lost their original dye and their thickness as well. Their only resource therefore was |487 to be two men in one, just as the myths say that Geryon was made up of three bodies; so these students were two men in one. For when Prohaeresius appeared in public Hephaestion remained invisible and lay under the rugs in bed while he studied the art of rhetoric. Prohaeresius did the same when Hephaestion appeared abroad; in such poverty did they both live.
Nevertheless Julian's soul leaned towards Prohaeresius, his ears were on the alert to listen to him, and he was awed by the nobility of his genius. And when Julian had departed this life, and Athens desired to choose a successor of equal ability to teach rhetoric, many others gave in their names for this influential sophistic chair, so many that it would be tedious even to write them down. But by the votes of all there were approved and selected Prohaeresius, Hephaestion, Epiphanius, and Diophantus. Sopolis also was added, from a class of men that was of no account but was merely supplementary and despised; and also a certain Parnasius who was of still humbler rank. For in accordance with the Roman law there had to be at Athens many to lecture and many to hear them. Now when these had been elected, the humbler men were sophists only in name, and their power was limited to the walls of their lecture rooms and the platform on which they appeared. But the city at once took sides with the more influential, and not only the city but all the nations under the rule of Rome, and their quarrels did not concern oratory alone, for they strove to maintain the credit of whole nations for oratorical talent. Thus the East 112 manifestly fell to the lot of Epiphanius, Diophantus was |489 awarded Arabia, while Hephaestion, overawed by Prohaeresius, forsook Athens and the society of men; but the whole Pontus and its neighbouring peoples sent pupils to Prohaeresius, admiring the man as a marvel that their own country had produced. So, too, did all Bithynia and the Hellespont, and all the region that extends beyond Lydia through what is now called Asia as far as Caria and Lycia, and is bounded by Pamphylia and the Taurus. Nay the whole of Egypt also came into his exclusive possession and under his sway as a teacher of rhetoric, and also the country that stretches beyond Egypt towards Libya and is the limit to known and inhabited parts. All this, however, I have stated in the most general terms, for, to speak precisely, there were a few students who were exceptions in these national divisions, because they had either migrated from one teacher to another, or sometimes one had originally been deceived and gone to a teacher other than he had intended. Now a great and violent quarrel arose on account of the extraordinary genius of Prohaeresius, and the faction of all the other sophists so gained the upper hand that they drove him from Athens into exile by bribing the proconsul; and so they themselves held sway over the domain of oratory. But after being driven into exile, and that in the utmost poverty, like Peisistratus he came back again. But the latter had wealth to aid him, while for Prohaeresius his eloquence sufficed, even as Hermes in Homer escorted Priam to the hut of Achilles, though it was in the midst of his foes. Good luck also came to his aid by placing at the |491 head of affairs a younger proconsul who was indignant at the report of what had taken place. So, as the proverb says, "heads became tails," 113 and with the emperor's permission he returned to Athens from exile; whereupon his enemies for the second time coiled and twisted themselves and reared their heads to attack him, framing other devices against him to suit any future emergencies. They busied themselves with these plots, but meanwhile his friends were beforehand and were smoothing the path of his return, and when Prohaeresius came back (a precise account of all this was given me by an eyewitness, Tuscianus of Lydia, who would have been a Prohaeresius, had not Prohaeresius existed); when, I say, he did return, like some Odysseus arriving home after a long absence, he found a few of his friends safe and sound (among whom was Tuscianus), and these looked to him for aid after this incredible miracle. Filled with good hopes on finding them there, he said: "Wait for the proconsul to come." The latter came sooner than could have been believed possible. On his arrival at Athens he called a meeting of the sophists, and by this means threw all their plans into confusion. They assembled slowly and reluctantly, and since they had to obey the voice of necessity they discussed, each according to his ability, certain questions that were proposed to them, while they were provided with applause by persons who had received their instructions and had been invited for the purpose. Then the meeting broke up, and the friends of Prohaeresius felt discouraged. But the proconsul summoned them a second time, as though to award them honours, ordered them all to be |493 detained, and suddenly he called in Prohaeresius. So they arrived, not knowing what was going to happen. But the proconsul called out: "I wish to propose a theme for you all, and to hear you all declaim on it this very day. Prohaeresius also will speak, either after you or in what order you please." When they openly demurred and, after much consideration and effort, quoted the saying of Aristeides (for it would never do for them to utter anything original); when after all they did produce it, saying that their custom was "not to vomit but to elaborate every theme," 114 the proconsul exclaimed again with a loud voice: "Speak, Prohaeresius.''' Then from his chair the sophist first delivered a graceful prelude by way of preliminary speech, in which he extolled the greatness of extempore eloquence, then with the fullest confidence he rose for his formal discussion. The proconsul was ready to propose a definition for the theme, but Prohaeresius threw back his head and gazed all round the theatre. And when he saw that his enemies were many while his friends were few, and were trying to escape notice, he was naturally somewhat discouraged. But as his guardian deity began to warm to the work and to aid him by playing its part, he again surveyed the scene, and beheld in the farthest row of the audience, hiding themselves in their cloaks, two men, veterans in the service of rhetoric, at whose hands he had received the worst treatment of all, and he cried out: "Ye gods! There are those honourable and wise men! Proconsul, order them to propose a theme for me. Then perhaps they will be convinced that they have behaved impiously." Now the men, on hearing this, slunk away into the crowd that was |495 seated there and did their best to avoid detection. But the proconsul sent some of his soldiers and brought them into full view. After a brief sort of exhortation he appointed them to propose a theme involving the precise definition of terms. 115 Whereupon, after considering for a short time and consulting together, they produced the hardest and most disagreeable theme that they knew of, a vulgar one, moreover, that gave no opening for the display of fine rhetoric. Prohaeresius glared at them fiercely, and said to the proconsul: "I implore you to grant me the just demands that I make before this contest." On his replying that Prohaeresius should not fail to have what was just and fair, the latter said: "I ask to have shorthand writers 116 assigned to me, and that they take their place in the centre of the theatre; I mean men who every day take down the words of Themis, 117 but who to-day shall devote themselves to what I have to say." The proconsul gave his permission for the most expert of the scribes to come forward, and they stood on either side of Prohaeresius ready to write, but no one knew what he meant to do. Then he said: "I shall ask for something even more difficult to grant." He was told to name it, and said: "There must be no applause whatever." When the proconsul had given all present an order to this effect under pain of the severest penalties, Prohaeresius began his speech with a flood of eloquence, rounding every period with a sonorous phrase, while the audience, which perforce kept a Pythagorean silence, in their amazed admiration broke through their restraint, and overflowed into murmurs and sighs. As the speech grew more |497 vehement and the orator soared to heights which the mind of man could not describe or conceive of, he passed on to the second part of the speech and completed the exposition of the theme. But then, suddenly leaping in the air like one inspired, he abandoned the remaining part, left it undefended, and turned the flood of his eloquence to defend the contrary hypothesis. The scribes could hardly keep pace with him, the audience could hardly endure to remain silent, while the mighty stream of words flowed on. Then, turning his face towards the scribes, he said: "Observe carefully whether I remember all the arguments that I used earlier." And, without faltering over a single word, he began to declaim the same speech for the second time. At this the proconsul did not observe his own rules, nor did the audience observe the threats of the magistrate. For all who were present licked the sophist's breast as though it were the statue of some god; some kissed his feet, some his hands, others declared him to be a god or the very model of Hermes, the god of eloquence. 118 His adversaries, on the other hand, lay in the dust eaten up with envy, though some of them even from where they lay could not refrain from applauding; but the proconsul with his whole bodyguard and the notables escorted him from the theatre. After this no one dared to speak against him, but as though they had been stricken by a thunderbolt they all admitted that he was their superior. However, some time after, they recovered themselves, like the heads of the Hydra, and were restored to their natural dispositions and reared up their heads; so they tempted certain of the most powerful men |499 in the city by means of costly banquets and smart maidservants, just as kings do when they have been defeated in a regular pitched battle, and in their difficulties are driven to extreme measures, so that they have recourse to light-armed forces and slingers, troops without heavy armour and their inferior reserves; for if they valued these not at all before they are forced to do so now. Just so those sophists, fleeing in their panic to such allies as they could muster, framed their plots, which were base indeed but the men were not to be envied, nor are any who love themselves fatuously. At any rate they had a crowd of adherents, and the plot proceeded so that they could reckon on success. However, the genius of Prohaeresius seemed to possess a sort of tyranny over men's minds, and the power of his eloquence to have extraordinary good fortune. For either all intelligent men chose him as their teacher, or those who had attended his school forthwith became intelligent, because they had chosen Prohaeresius.
Now in these days the throng at the imperial court produced a man who passionately desired both fame and eloquence. He came from the city of Berytus and was called Anatolius. 119 Those who envied him nicknamed him Azutrion, 120 and what that name means I leave to that miserable band of mummers to decide! But Anatolius who desired fame and eloquence achieved both these things. For first he won the highest distinction in what is called the science of law, as was natural since his |501 birthplace was Berytus, the foster-mother of all such studies. 121 Then he sailed to Rome where, since his wisdom and eloquence were elevated and weighty, he made his way to court. There he soon obtained the highest rank, and after holding every high office and winning a great reputation in many official positions (and indeed even his enemies admired him), he finally attained to the rank of pretorian prefect, a magistracy which, though it lacks the imperial purple, exercises imperial power. He had now attained to a fortune in accord with his lofty ambition (for the district called Illyricum had been assigned to him), and since he was devout in offering sacrifices to the gods and peculiarly fond of Greek studies, in spite of the fact that the main current was setting in other directions, instead of choosing as he might have done to visit the most important places in his dominion and administer everything according to his pleasure, he was overcome by a sort of golden madness of desire to behold Greece, and, supported by his distinguished reputation, to turn into realities the mere images of eloquence derived from his learning, and to see for himself what had been an intellectual concept received from such presentation of eloquence as ancient writings could give. He therefore hastened to Greece. Moreover, he sent to the sophists beforehand a certain problem 122 for them to consider, and bade them all practise declaiming on this same problem. All the Greeks marvelled at him when they heard of his wisdom and learning and that he was unswervingly upright and incorruptible. Then they set themselves to consider his problem and plotted every day to outwit one another. |503 Nevertheless, since necessity constrained them, they did meet together, and after bringing forward many opposing theories among themselves as to what is called the constitution of the problem (the author never knew of anything so ridiculous as this problem), they were in complete disagreement one with another, since each man in his vanity lauded his own theory and jealously maintained it in the presence of the students. But since Anatolius descending on Greece was more formidable than the famous Persian expedition, that oft-told tale, and the danger stared not indeed all the Greeks but the sophists in the face, all the others (among whom was included a certain Himerius, a sophist from Bithynia; the author knew him only from his writings) toiled and spared no pains or effort, as each one studied the constitution of the theme that he approved. In this crisis Prohaeresius, who trusted in his genius, offended them deeply because he neither showed ambition nor published his secret theory. But now Anatolius was at hand and had made his entry into Athens. When he had with great courage offered sacrifices 123 and formally visited all the temples, as the divine ordinance commanded, he summoned the sophists to the competition. When they were in his presence they one and all strove to be the first to declaim; so prone to self-love is man! But Anatolius laughed at the boy pupils who were applauding them, and commiserated the fathers whose sons were being educated by such men. Then he called on Prohaeresius who alone was left. Now he had cultivated the acquaintance of one of the friends of Anatolius who knew all the circumstances, and had learned from him the constitution of the |505 theme that Anatolius approved. (This is what the author called ridiculous in what he said above.) And even though the theme was unworthy of consideration, and it was not right that the view of Anatolius should prevail, nevertheless Prohaeresius, when his name was called, obeyed the summons promptly, and modelled his disputation on the constitution of the theme that I have mentioned, and his argument was so able and so elegant that Anatolius jumped up from his seat, the audience shouted applause till they burst, and every man there regarded him as a divine being. Accordingly Anatolius openly showed him peculiar honour, though he would hardly admit the others to his table. He himself was an accomplished sophist in table-talk and themes suited to a symposium; hence his symposium was a feast of reason and of learned conversation. But all this happened many years ago, and therefore the author has been very careful in his report of what he learned from hearsay. Now Anatolius felt great admiration for Milesius also, a man who came from Smyrna in Ionia. Though fortune had endowed him with the greatest talents, he abandoned himself to an unambitious and leisurely life, frequented the temples, neglected to marry, and cultivated every sort of poetry and lyric and every kind of composition that is favoured by the Graces. By this means, then, he won the favour of Anatolius so that he actually called the man a "Muse." But he used to call the problems raised by Epiphanius the sophist "Analyses," 124 making fan in this way of that teacher's triviality and pedantic accuracy. He satirized all the sophists for their disagreements over the constitution 125 of a theme, and said: "If there had been |507 more than thirteen of these professional sophists, they would no doubt have invented still more 'constitutions' in order to declaim on a single problem from every different angle possible." Prohaeresius was the one and only sophist of them all whom he genuinely admired. Now it happened that Prohaeresius had not long before been summoned to the Gallic provinces by Constans, who then held imperial sway, and he had so won over Constans that he sat at his table along with those whom he most honoured. And all the inhabitants of that country who could not attain to a thorough understanding of his lectures and thus admire the inmost secrets of his soul, transferred their wonder and admiration to what they could see plainly before their eyes, and marvelled at his physical beauty and great stature, while they gazed up at him with an effort as though to behold some statue or colossus, so much beyond the measure of man was he in all respects. 126 Moreover, when they observed his abstinence and self-denial they believed him to be passionless and made of iron; for clad in a threadbare cloak and barefooted 127 he regarded the winters of Gaul as the height of luxury, and he would drink the water of the Rhine when it was nearly freezing. Indeed he passed his whole life in this fashion, and was never known to touch a hot drink. Accordingly Constans dispatched him to mighty Rome, because he was ambitious to show them there what great men he ruled over. But so entirely did he surpass the ordinary human type that they could select no one peculiarity to admire. So they admired his many great qualities one after another, and were in turn approved by him, and they made and set |509 up in his honour a bronze statue life size with this inscription: "Rome the Queen of cities to the King of Eloquence." 128
When he was about to return to Athens, Constans permitted him to ask for a present. Thereupon he asked for something worthy of his character, namely several considerable islands that should pay tribute to Athens to provide it with a corn supply. Constans not only gave him these, but added the highest possible distinction by bestowing on him the title of "stratopedarch," 129 lest any should resent his acquisition of so great a fortune from the public funds. It was necessary for the pretorian prefect to confirm this gift; for the prefect had lately arrived from Gaul. Accordingly, after the competitions in eloquence that I have described, Prohaeresius approached Anatolius and begged him to confirm the favour, and summoned not only professional advocates for his cause but almost all the educated men of Greece; for on account of the prefect's visit they were all at Athens. When the theatre was crowded, and Prohaeresius called on his advocates to speak, the prefect ran counter to the expectation of all present, because he wished to test the extempore eloquence of Prohaeresius, and he said: "Speak, Prohaeresius! For it is unbecoming for any other man to speak and to praise the emperor when you are present." Then Prohaeresius, like a war-horse summoned to the plain, 130 made a speech about the imperial gift, and cited Celeus and Triptolemus and how Demeter sojourned among men that she might |511 bestow on them the gift of corn. With that famous narrative he combined the tale of the generosity of Constans, and very speedily he invested the occurrence with the splendour and dignity of ancient legend. Then, as he declaimed, his gestures became more lively, and he displayed all his sophistic art in handling the theme. The fact that he obtained the honour that he asked for shows what his eloquence must have been.
His wife came from Asia, from the city of Tralles, and her name was Amphiclea. They had two little girls, between whose ages there was only so much difference as the time necessary for their conception and birth. But no sooner had they reached that time of life when a child is a wholly lovely and charming thing, and made their father's heart tremble with joy, than they left their parents desolate, both within a few days; so that his grief almost shook Prohaeresius from the reflections that become a philosopher. However, the Muse of Milesius 131 proved able to meet this crisis, and by composing lovely harmonies and expending all his gifts of charm and gaiety he recalled him to reason. When the Romans asked him to send them one of his own pupils, Prohaeresius sent forth Eusebius who was a native of Alexandria. He seemed to be peculiarly suited to Rome, because he knew how to flatter and fawn on the great; while in Athens he was regarded as a seditious person. At the same time Prohaeresius wished to increase his own reputation by sending a man who had been initiated into the sharp practices of political oratory. As for his talent for rhetoric, it is enough to say that he was an Egyptian; for this |513 race passionately loves the poetic arts, whereas the Hermes who inspires serious study has departed from them. He had for an adversary Musonius, who had been his pupil in the sophistic art. (I have for other reasons written about him at length in my Universal History.) When Musonius reared his head to oppose him, Eusebius knew well against what sort of man he had to contend, so he very speedily deserted to take up political oratory.
In the reign of the Emperor Julian, Prohaeresius was shut out of the field of education because he was reputed to be a Christian; and since he observed that the hierophant, like a sort of Delphic tripod, was open to all who had need of him to foretell future events, by strange and wonderful arts he fraudulently intercepted that foreknowledge. For the emperor was having the land measured for the benefit of the Hellenes, 132 to relieve them from oppression in respect of taxes. Thereupon Prohaeresius requested the hierophant 133 to find out from the god whether this benevolence would be permanent. And when he declared that it would not, Prohaeresius learned in this way what the future would bring, and took courage. The author, who had attained at this time to about his sixteenth year, arrived at Athens and was enrolled among his pupils, and Prohaeresius loved him like his own son. 134 Five years later the author was preparing to go to Egypt, but his parents summoned him and compelled him to return to Lydia. To become a sophist was the obvious course to which all urged him. Now a few days later Prohaeresius departed this life. He was a great and gifted man, even as I have described, and |515 he filled the whole known world with the fame of his discourses, and with those who had been his pupils.
E PIPHANIUS was a native of Syria, and he was reputed to be very skilful in distinguishing and defining controversial themes, but as an orator he was slack and nerveless. Nevertheless, as the rival of Prohaeresius in the sophistic profession he actually attained to great fame. For human beings are not content to admire one man only, but so prone are they to envy, so completely its slave, that when a man excels and towers above the rest they set up another as his rival; and thus derive their controlling principles from opposites just as in the science of physics. Epiphanius did not live to be old, but died of blood-poisoning, and his wife also, who was an exceedingly handsome woman, met the same fate. They left no children. Epiphanius was not personally known to the author, for he died long before the latter's sojourn in Athens.
D IOPHANTUS was a native of Arabia who forced his way into the ranks of the professors of rhetoric. That same envious opinion of mankind of which I have just spoken set him up as another rival of Prohaeresius, as though one should oppose Callimachus to Homer. But Prohaeresius laughed all this to scorn, and he refused to give serious thought to human beings and their foibles. The writer knew Diophantus and often heard him declaim in public. But he has not thought fit to quote in this work any of his speeches or what he remembers of them. For this document is a record of noteworthy men; it is not a satire. However it is said that he delivered a funeral oration in honour |517 of Prohaeresius (for the latter died before he did), and they relate that he concluded with these words about Salamis and the war against the Medes: "O Marathon and Salamis, now are ye buried in silence! What a trumpet of your glorious victories have ye lost!" 135 He left two sons who devoted themselves to a luxurious life and money-making.
The author of this work often heard S OPOLIS lecture. He was a man who tried with all his might to reproduce the style of the ancients in his oratory, and did his utmost to reach the level of a saner Muse. But though he knocked diligently at her door, it was seldom opened. Nay, if ever it did creak open a little, it was but a thin and feeble spark of the divine afflatus that slipped forth from within. But at this his audience would grow frenzied with enthusiasm, unable as they were to receive calmly even a single drop squeezed from the fount of Castalia. Sopolis had a son, and they say that he too ascended the professorial chair.
H IMERIUS was a native of Bithynia, yet the author never knew him, though he lived in the same period. He travelled to the court of the Emperor Julian to declaim before him, in the hope that he would be regarded with favour on account of the emperor's dislike of Prohaeresius; and when Julian left this world, Himerius spent his time abroad. Then, on the death of Prohaeresius, he hastened to Athens. He was an agreeable and harmonious speaker. His style of composition has the ring and assonance of political oratory. Sometimes, though rarely, he rises as high as the godlike Aristeides. He left a daughter, |519 when he died of epilepsy, a disease which attacked him in extreme old age.
L IBANIUS was born at Antioch, the capital of Coele Syria as it is called. This city was founded by Seleucus surnamed Nicator. Libanius came of a noble family and ranked among the first citizens. While he was still a youth and his own master, since his parents were dead, he came to Athens, 137 and there, though he too came from Syria, he did not attach himself to Epiphanius, who enjoyed the very highest reputation, nor did he attend the school of Prohaeresius. This would have been to run the risk of being obscured, partly by so great a crowd of fellow-pupils, partly by the celebrity of his teachers. But he fell into a trap that was set for him by the pupils of Diophantus, and therefore attached himself to that sophist. It is asserted by those who knew the man intimately that, when he learned what had happened to him, he very seldom attended the lectures and meetings of the school, and gave his master very little trouble. But by himself he devoted his time to the study of rhetoric, and worked very hard to acquire the style of the ancient writers, moulding to that end both his mind and his speech. And even as those who aim at a mark sometimes succeed in hitting it, and their constant practice and regular exercise with their weapons usually begets dexterity in shooting straight rather than scientific knowledge; even so Libanius in his zeal to compare and imitate them was inseparable from the ancient |521 authors, and so to speak rubbed shoulders with those most excellent guides; and by following the right leaders he trod in the footsteps of the best and reaped the fruits of that course. As he gained confidence in his eloquence and convinced himself that he could rival any that prided themselves on theirs, he resolved not to bury himself in a small town and sink in the esteem of the world to that city's level. Therefore he crossed over to Constantinople, 138 a city which had recently attained to greatness, and, being at the height of her prosperity, needed both deeds and words to adorn her as she deserved. There he very soon became a shining light, since he proved to be an admirable and delightful teacher and his public declamations were full of charm. But a scandalous charge was brought against him in connexion with his pupils. I cannot allow myself to write about it, because I am determined to record in this document only what is worthy to be recorded. For this reason, then, he was expelled from Constantinople, and settled at Nicomedia. When the scandalous tale followed him there and obstinately pursued him, he was soon 139 thrust out of that city also, and after a time 140 he returned to his native land and the city of his birth, and there he spent his whole life, which proved to be long and long drawn out.
Though I have composed in my annals of the reign of Julian a fitting account of the career of Libanius, I will now run over it in detail. Not one of all those who associated with him and were |523 admitted to his teaching left him without being-smitten by his charm. For he knew at first sight every man's character for what it was, and understood the propensities of his soul, whether to vice or virtue. And indeed he was so clever in adapting and assimilating himself to all sorts of men that he made the very polypus look foolish 141 ; and everyone who talked with him thought to behold in him a second self. At any rate those who had had this experience used to declare that he was a sort of picture or wax impression of all the manifold and various characters of mankind. In a gathering of many men of various sorts one could never have detected who it was that he preferred. Hence those who pursued modes of life directly opposed to one another would applaud in him qualities that were directly opposed, and everyone without exception was convinced that it was his views that Libanius admired; so multiform was he, so completely all things to all men. He too avoided marriage, though in fact a woman lived with him, a person of a social position inferior to his own.
His style of eloquence in his declamations was altogether feeble, lifeless, and uninspired, and it is very evident that he had not had the advantage of a teacher; indeed he was ignorant of most of the ordinary rules of declamation, things that even a schoolboy knows. 142 But in his Letters and other familiar addresses he succeeds in rousing himself and rises to the level of the ancient models. His writings are full of charm and facetious wit, while a refined elegance pervades the whole and is at the service of his eloquence. Moreover the peculiar |525 charm and sweetness that all Syro-Phoenicians display in general intercourse one may safely look for in him, over and above his erudition. I mean that quality which the people of Attica call a keen scent, or urbane wit. This he cultivated as the very flower and crown of true culture; indeed he drew wholly on ancient comedy for his style of expression, and was master of all that shows a pleasing surface and enchants the ear. In his orations you will find the most profound erudition and the widest possible reading. You will meet also with unusual Attic forms and phrases. 143 For example he would not have omitted those "trees " of Eupolis, 144 Laispodias, and Damasias, if he had known the names by which men call the trees nowadays. Whenever he discovered some strange expression which because of its great antiquity had fallen into disuse, he cleansed it as though it were a sacred relic of the past, and when he had brushed off the dust and adorned it afresh he would bring it forth to the light, draped with a whole new theme and appropriate sentiments, like the dainty slaves and handmaids of a mistress who has just come into a fortune and has smoothed and polished away the signs of old age. For these reasons the sainted Julian 145 also admired him, and indeed every man alive admired the charm of his oratory. Very many of his works are in circulation, and any intelligent man who reads them one by one will appreciate that charm. He had also a talent for administering public affairs, and in addition to his formal orations he would confidently undertake and |527 easily compose certain other works more suited to please an audience in the theatre. When the later emperors offered him the very highest of all honours ----for they bade him use the honorary title of pretorian prefect----he refused, saving that the title of sophist was more distinguished. And this is indeed not a little to his credit, that though he was a man who longed most ardently for renown, he enslaved himself only to that renown which an orator can win, and held that any other sort is vulgar and sordid. He, too, when he died, had attained to a very great age, and he left in the minds of all men the profoundest admiration for his talents. The present author was not personally acquainted with him, inasmuch as an unkind fate on every occasion put one obstacle or another in the way.
A CACIUS was born at Caesarea in Palestine and he dawned on the world about the same time as Libanius. No man was more abundantly endowed with sophistic force and inspiration, and his diction was sonorous and tended to the imitation of the ancient classical models. Having risen to eminence at the same time as Libanius, he overthrew his rival's supremacy, and maintained his superiority by sheer strength. Libanius accordingly wrote an essay On Genius, 146 entirely devoted and dedicated to Acacius, in which he clearly ascribes his defeat by him to the man's great natural talents, while at the same time he gives evidence of his own position and exactitude in the use of erudite words; as though he did not know that Homer did not take pains about every single foot of his verses, but tried rather to secure beauty of expression and melody throughout; that Pheidias never thought of |529 displaying a finger or a foot to win praise for his goddess; that they exercised their tyranny the one over the ears of men, the other over their eyes; and that the cause of their success is undiscoverable or hard to define, just as in fair and lovely bodies not all admire the same points, and the captive of that beauty knows not what it was that took him captive. Thus, then, Acacius quickly rose to the first rank in his profession, and after winning a great reputation as one who would prove to have excelled Libanius, he passed away while still a young man. Yet all men, at least all who truly loved learning, revered him no less than if he had attained to old age.
N YMPHIDIANUS 147 was a native of Smyrna, whose own brother was Maximus the philosopher, while Claudianus, himself a very distinguished philosopher, was another brother. He was a man who, though he never shared in the education and training enjoyed at Athens, nevertheless in the art of rhetoric proved himself worthy of the reputation of the sophists. The Emperor Julian entrusted him with the task of expressing the imperial utterances, and made him Imperial Secretary for such letters as were composed in the Greek tongue. 148 He had the greatest skill in the composition of "Meletai," as they are called, and in handling problems; but he was not so skilful with "Proagones" 149 and philosophical disputations. When he died he was an old man, and he outlived his brother Maximus.
In those days many famous physicians flourished, among whom was Z ENO OF C YPRUS, who established a celebrated school of medicine. Nay, he survived down to the time of Julian the sophist, and after him there were contemporaries of Prohaeresius who |531 were the successors of Zeno. He had trained himself in oratory as well as in the practice of medicine. Of his famous pupils some took up one or other of these professions, thus dividing among them what they had learned from him; others again took up both; but whether they inherited his medical practice or his oratory, every one of them prospered mightily.
M AGNUS was a native of that Antioch which lies beyond the Euphrates and is now called Nisibis. He had been a pupil of Zeno, and, in order to give force to his rhetoric, he dragged in Aristotle in connexion with the nature of bodies endowed with volition, 150 and so compelled the doctors to keep silence in the matter of rhetoric, but he was thought to be less able as a healer than as an orator. The ancient writers relate that when Archidamus was asked whether he was stronger than Pericles, he replied: "Nay, even when I throw Pericles a fall, he still carries off the victory by declaring that he has not been thrown at all." 151 In the same way Magnus used to demonstrate that those whom other doctors had cured were still ill. And when those who had been restored to health were endeavouring to express their gratitude to those who had healed them, Magnus still got the better of the doctors in the matter of talking and putting |533 questions. At Alexandria a public school was especially assigned for him to teach in, and everyone sailed thither and attended his lectures, either merely in order to see and admire him or to enjoy the advantages of his teaching. This they never failed to do, for they either acquired the power of facile and fluent speech, or the ability to do and achieve some practical work by their own industry.
Pergamon was the birthplace of O RIBASIUS, and in fact this contributed to his renown, just as is the case with those who are born at Athens; for whenever such men win a name for eloquence, the report spreads far and wide that their Muse is Attic and that this paragon is a home product. Oribasius came of a good family on both sides, and from his boyhood he was distinguished because he acquired every kind of learning that conduces to virtue and perfects it. When he reached early manhood he became a pupil of the great Zeno and a fellow-disciple of Magnus. But he outstripped Magnus, and left him wrestling with the task of expressing his ideas, an art in which he himself excelled; and he lost no time in attaining to the first rank in medicine, thereby imitating the patron god 152 of his country, so far as it is possible for a mortal to progress towards the imitation of the divine. Since he won fame even from his earliest youth, Julian, when he was promoted to the rank of Caesar, carried him away with him to practise his art; but he so excelled in every other excellence that he actually made Julian emperor. 153 However, these matters have been more fully described in my account of Julian's reign. Nevertheless, as the proverb says, "No lark is |535 without a crest," and so too Oribasius was not without envious enemies. For it was because of his extraordinary celebrity that the emperors who followed Julian deprived him of his property, and they desired to take his life also but shrank from the deed. However, by other means they carried out the crime which they were ashamed to commit openly. For they exposed his person to the barbarians, just as the Athenians ostracized from Athens men whose virtue was above the average. However, in their case the law allowed them to exile men from the state, and there was no further penalty; whereas the emperors added to his exile this abandonment to the most savage barbarians, thus giving them absolute power to carry out their imperial purpose. But Oribasius, after being thrust out into the enemy's country, showed the greatness of his virtue, which could not be limited to this place or that, or circumscribed by the mariners of the people about him, but ever displayed its stability and constancy in independent activity whenever and wherever it showed itself; just as we are told is the case with numbers and mathematical truths. For he forthwith rose to great renown at the courts of the rulers of the barbarians, and held the first rank there; and while throughout the Roman empire he was highly regarded, among the barbarians he was worshipped like a god; since some he restored from chronic diseases and snatched others from death's door. Indeed that which men had reckoned his misfortune proved to be the occasion of nothing but good fortune; so that even the emperors gave up fighting against the man's power so universally displayed, and permitted him to return from exile. |537
After he had gained permission to return, lord of himself though not of wealth, for the only riches that he had to show were the virtues, he married a wife who came of a family illustrious both for wealth and noble blood. By her he had four children who are still alive; long life to them! He himself, at this time of writing, is alive; long life to him! Nay more, he recovered his original fortune from the public treasury with the consent of the later emperors, on the ground of the injustice of the earlier verdict. Thus and in this wise it stands with him. And any man who is a genuine philosopher can meet and converse with Oribasius, that so he may learn what above all else he ought to admire. Such harmony, such charm radiates from Oribasius and attends on all intercourse with him.
I ONICUS was a native of Sardis, and his father was a celebrated physician. As a pupil of Zeno he attained to the highest degree of industry and diligence and won the admiration of Oribasius. While he acquired the greatest skill in the theory and practice of medicine in all its branches, he showed peculiar ability in every kind of experiment, was thoroughly acquainted with the anatomy of the body, and also made researches into the nature of man. Thus he understood the composition and mixture of every kind of drug that exists; he knew every sort of plaster and dressing that the most skilful healers apply to wounds, whether to stop a haemorrhage or to disperse what has gathered there. Also he was most inventive and expert in bandaging an injured limb, and in amputating or dissecting. He was so thoroughly versed in the theory and practice of all these arts that even those who prided |539 themselves on their ability as healers were amazed at his accurate knowledge, and openly admitted that by conversing with Ionicus they really understood the precepts that had been uttered by the physicians of earlier times and could now apply them to their use, though before they had been like words whose meaning is completely obscured, save only that they had been written down.
Such were his attainments in the science of his profession, but he was also well equipped in every branch of philosophy and both kinds of divination; for there is one kind that has been bestowed on man for the benefit of the science of medicine, so that doctors may diagnose cases of sickness; and another that derives its inspiration from philosophy and is limited to and disseminated among those who have the power to receive and preserve it. He also studied the art of rhetoric with exact thoroughness, and the complete art of oratory; and was an initiate in the art of poetry. But he died not long before this work was written, and left two sons who deserve all honourable mention and remembrance.
There was also one Theon who about this time acquired a great reputation 154 in Gaul.
But I must return once more to the philosophers from whom I have digressed.
It was C HRYSANTHIUS who caused this commentary to be written, for he educated the author of this work from boyhood, and to the last maintained his kindness towards him as though it were some legal obligation. Nevertheless, I shall not on that account say anything merely to show my gratitude. For above all else he honoured the truth, and taught me this first of all, so that I shall not corrupt that gift |541 which I received at his hands, save as perhaps I may somewhat moderate my statements and say less than the truth, since this was the agreement that we made.
Chrysanthius was of senatorial rank and was rated among the most nobly born in his city. His grandfather was one Innocentius, who had made a considerable fortune and had acquired greater celebrity than is the lot of the average private citizen, inasmuch as the emperors who reigned at that time entrusted to him the task of compiling the legal statutes. Indeed certain of his works still survive, and they deal partly with the language of the Romans, partly with Greece, and bear witness to the judicial and profound character of his mind; they contain a comprehensive treatment of these subjects for the benefit of those who are disposed to be interested in them. Chrysanthius himself, having been bereaved of his father while he was still a youth, was inflamed with the love of philosophy because of the divine qualities of his nature, and therefore betook himself to Pergamon and to the famous Aedesius. The latter was at the very height of his teaching powers when Chrysanthius encountered him thirsty for knowledge, submitted himself open-mouthed to his influence, feasted on his great and singular wisdom, was untiring in his attendance at lectures, and in his devotion to study showed himself second to none. Indeed he possessed an untiring and even adamantine frame, inured to undergo every kind of severe exercise. When he had been sufficiently imbued with the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle, he turned his attention to every other school of philosophy and read |543 deeply in every branch. Then when he had a sure and firm hold on the science of oratory, and by constant practice was fully equipped to exercise instant judgement in this field, he confidently displayed in public his well-trained talents, since he knew what to say and what to leave unsaid, while he was endowed with splendid and impressive rhetoric which helped him to win when he was hard pressed. Next he applied himself wholly to comprehending the nature of the gods and that wisdom to which Pythagoras devoted his mind, as did the disciples of Pythagoras such as Archytas of old, and Apollonius of Tyana, and those who worshipped Apollonius as a god, all of them beings who only seemed to possess a body and to be mortal men. Chrysanthius lost no time in devoting himself to these studies also, and seized hold of the first handle that offered itself in every case, taking first principles as his guide. Thus he was so marvellously enlightened and uplifted by the plumage of his soul, as Plato says, that he arrived at equal perfection in every branch of every type of wisdom, and was an adept in every branch of divination. Hence one might have said of him that he rather saw than foretold future events, so accurately did he discern and comprehend everything, as though he dwelt with and were in the presence of the gods.
After spending a considerable time in these studies and collaborating with Maximus in the most arduous tasks, he left this partner of his. For Maximus had in his nature a tendency to be jealous and obstinate, and in direct opposition to the omens revealed by the gods he would keep demanding further omens and trying to extort them. Chrysanthius, on the |545 contrary, would use the first omens that appeared, then, by gradual divergence from these, would proceed to alter the signs that had been vouchsafed; then, if he got the omens he wanted, he had the best of it, but if he failed he adapted his human counsel to fit whatever came to light. For instance, on the occasion when the Emperor Julian by a single summons invited them both together to his court, and the soldiers who had been sent to escort them were applying with all due respect the Thessalian way of "forcible persuasion," 155 they resolved to communicate with the gods on this matter; and when the god warned them against the journey so plainly that any private person, even a tradesman, could have judged the omens, Maximus could not tear himself away from the sacrificial victims, and after the rites had been duly completed he persisted in wailing and lamentations, beseeching the gods to vouchsafe him different omens and to alter the course of destiny. And since he stubbornly persisted in many attempts, one after another, and always perverted the explanation that Chrysanthius gave, in the end his own will and pleasure interpreted the divine revelation, and the victims gave only the signs that he would accept, since he would not accept the signs they gave. 156 So he set out on that ill-fated journey and the travels that were the cause of all his troubles; whereas Chrysanthius stayed at home. And at first the emperor was vexed at his tardiness, and moreover, I think he even guessed something of the truth, that Chrysanthius would not have refused the invitation if he had not observed something ill-omened in events to come. Accordingly, he wrote and summoned him |547 a second time, and his invitations were not addressed to Chrysanthius only. For in a special letter he urged his wife to help him to persuade her husband. Once more, then, Chrysanthius referred the matter to the divine will, and the gods continued to give a response to the same effect. When this had happened several times, even the emperor was convinced; but Chrysanthius having been appointed high priest of the whole country, since he knew clearly what was about to happen, was not oppressive in the exercise of his office. He built no temples, as all other men in their hot haste and perfervid zeal hastened to do, nor was he excessively harsh to any of the Christians. But such was the mildness of his character that throughout Lydia the restoration of the temples almost escaped notice. At any rate, when the powers that be pursued a different policy, there proved to have been no serious innovation, nor did there seem to be any great and universal change, but everything calmed down in a friendly spirit and became smooth and tranquil; by which means he alone won admiration when all the rest were tossed to and fro as though by tempest; since on a sudden some cowered in consternation, while they that were humbled before were once more exalted. For all this, then, he won admiration as one who was not only skilled in forecasting the future, but also in rightly using his foreknowledge.
Such was the man's whole disposition, whether it was that in him the Platonic Socrates had come to life again, or in his ambition to imitate him he carefully formed himself from boyhood on his pattern. For an unaffected and indescribable |549 simplicity was manifest in him and dwelt in his speech, and moreover there was about every word of his a charm that enchanted the hearer. In intercourse he was amiable to all men, so that everyone went away from him with the conviction that he was especially beloved. And just as the most charming and sweetest songs flow gently and smoothly, as they insinuate themselves into all men's ears and reach even irrational animals, as they tell of Orpheus, even so the eloquence of Chrysanthius was modulated to suit all ears and was in harmony with and adapted to all those diverse temperaments. But it was not easy to rouse him to philosophical discussions or competitions, because he perceived that it is especially in such contests that men become embittered. Nor would anyone readily have heard him showing off his own erudition or inflated because of it, or insolent and arrogant towards others; rather he used to admire whatever they said, even though their remarks were worthless, and he would applaud even incorrect conclusions, just as though he had not even heard the premises, but was naturally inclined to assent, lest he should inflict pain on anyone. And if in an assembly of those most distinguished for learning any dissension arose, and he thought fit to take part in the discussion, the place became hushed in silence as though no one were there. So unwilling were they to face his questions and definitions and power of quoting from memory, but they would retire into the background and carefully refrain from discussion or contradiction, lest their failure should be too evident. Many of those who knew him only slightly, and therefore had not sounded the depths of his soul, accused him of |551 lack of intelligence and would praise only his mild disposition; but when they heard him maintaining a philosophical theme and unfolding his opinions and arguments, they decided that this was a very different person from the man they thought they knew. So transformed did he seem by the excitement of dialectical debate, with his hair standing on end, and his eyes testifying that the soul within him was leaping and dancing around the opinions that he expressed. He survived to an advanced old age, and during the whole of his long life he took thought for none of the ordinary affairs of human life, except the care of his own household and agriculture and just so much money as may be honestly acquired. Poverty he bore more easily than other men wealth, and moreover his diet was plain and whatever came to hand. He never ate pork, and other kinds of meat but seldom. He worshipped the gods with the utmost devotion and assiduity, and never slackened in his reading of the ancient authors. In old age he was still the same as he had been in youth, and when he was over eighty he wrote more books with his own hand than others, even in youth, find time to read. Hence the ends of the fingers with which he wrote became curved and crooked with constant work and use. When his work was done he would rise and amuse himself by walking in the public streets with the author of this narrative to keep him company; and he would take very long but leisurely walks. Meanwhile he would tell such charming and agreeable stories that one might have been terribly footsore without being aware of it. He very seldom went to the baths, and yet he always seemed fresh from a bath. In his intercourse with those in |553 authority, if he seemed to use excessive freedom of manner this was not due to arrogance or pride, but must rather be regarded as the perfect simplicity of one who was wholly ignorant of the nature of power and authority; so familiar and so witty was his language when he talked with such persons. He had taught the author of this work, then still a youth, and when the latter returned from Athens Chrysanthius showed him no less kindness, but day by day he even multiplied the signs of his peculiar goodwill; and he gained such influence over him that the author in the early morning used to give his time to his own pupils and instruct any who so desired in the art of rhetoric, but soon after midday he betook himself to his old master and was by him instructed in the teachings of religion and philosophy. And in this period the teacher never grew weary of instructing his devoted admirer, while the task was like a holiday festival for him who received his teaching.
Now when the practice of Christianity was gaining ground and usurping all men's minds, there arrived from Rome after a long interval a prefect of Asia named Justus, already well on in years, a man of noble and beautiful character, who had not cast aside the time-honoured ritual of his ancestors, for he was an ardent disciple of that happy and blessed form of worship. He was constant in his attendance at the temples, wholly under the sway of every kind of divination, and took great pride in his zeal for these things and his success in restoring them. He crossed from Asia to Constantinople, and when he found that the chief man of the country (his name was Hilarius) was as enthusiastic as himself in |555 his zeal, he built altars offhand at Sardis where there were none, and wherever a vestige was to be found he set his hand to the remains of the temples with the ambition of rebuilding them. After offering sacrifices in public, he sent to summon from all sides the men who had a reputation for learning. They were no sooner summoned than they came, partly because they admired the man himself, partly because they thought this was an opportunity to show off their own abilities, while some of them put their trust in their power to flatter quite as much as in their erudition, and hoped by this means to gain honour or glory or wealth. Therefore when a public sacrifice was announced they were all present, and the author of this work was present also. Then Justus set himself to the task, and fixing the steady gaze of his eyes on the victim, which lay in any sort of posture, he asked the bystanders: "What is portended by the posture in which the victim has fallen?" Thereupon the flatterers were warm in their admiration, because he was able to divine even from postures, and they deferred to him as alone possessed of this knowledge. But the more dignified stroked their beards with the tips of their fingers, and put on a serious expression of face, and shook their heads solemnly and slowly while they gazed at the victim lying there, and each one offered a different solution. But Justus, who could hardly contain his laughter, turned to Chrysanthius and cried: "And what do you say about this, reverend sir? " Chrysanthius replied with equanimity that he rejected the whole proceeding. "But," said he "if you wish me also to give an opinion about this, first, if you really understand the modes of |557 divination, tell me what mode of divination this is, to what type it belongs, what you seek to learn, and what method you followed in your inquiry. If you will tell me all this, I will tell you what is the bearing on the future of this thing that we see. But until you tell me these things, since the gods themselves reveal the future, it would be unworthy on my part, in answer to your question, at the same time to answer your inquiry and to speak of the future, thus connecting the future with what has just happened. For thus would arise two different questions at once; but no one asks two or more questions at the same time. For when things have two separate definitions, one explanation does not suit both." Then Justus exclaimed that he had learned something that he never knew before, and for the future he consulted him constantly in private and drank deep from that fount of knowledge. There were others also in those days, renowned for wisdom, who were attracted by the fame of Chrysanthius and entered into discussions with him, but whenever this happened they went away convinced that they could not approach his oratorical genius. This is what happened to Hellespontius of Galatia, an unusually gifted man in every way, who, if Chrysanthius had not existed, would have shown himself worthy of the first place. For he was so ardent a lover of learning that he travelled almost to the uninhabited parts of the world in the desire of finding out whether he could meet anyone who knew more than himself. Thus, then, crowned with noble words and deeds he came to ancient Sardis to enjoy the society of Chrysanthius. But all this happened later.
Chrysanthius had a son whom he named after |559 Aedesius of whom I have written above, formerly his teacher at Pergamon. From his childhood this boy was a creature winged for every excellence, and of the two horses as Plato 157 describes them, his soul possessed only the good steed, nor did his intellect ever sink; but he was a devoted student, keenwitted, and assiduous in the worship of the gods; and so completely was he emancipated from human weaknesses, that though a mortal man he was all soul. At any rate his body was so light in its movements that it would seem incredible and would take a genuine poet to describe to what a height it rose aloft. His kinship and affinity with the gods was so unceremonious and familiar that he had only to place the garland on this head and turn his gaze upwards to the sun, and immediately deliver oracles which, moreover, were always infallible and were composed after the fairest models of divine inspiration. Yet he neither knew the art of writing verse nor was trained in the science of grammar; but for him the god took the place of all else. Though he had never been ill during his allotted span of life, he died when he was about twenty years of age. On this occasion also his father showed himself a true philosopher. For whether it was that the greatness of the calamity reduced him to a state of apathy, or whether he rejoiced with his son in the latter's blessed portion, the fact is that he remained unshaken. The youth's mother also, observing her husband, rose above the |561 ordinary feminine nature and put away from her all loud lamentation, that her grief might have its due dignity.
After these events had taken place, Chrysanthius pursued his accustomed studies. And when many great public and universal calamities and disturbances befell, which shook all men's souls with terror, he alone remained unshaken by the storm; so much so that one would have thought that he was really elsewhere than on earth. About this time Hellespontius came to see him, and they met and conversed, though only after some delay. When, however, they did actually meet, Hellespontius was so captivated that he abandoned all else and was ready to live under the same roof as Chrysanthius and to renew his youth by studying with him. For he regretted that he had so long wandered in error, and had arrived at old age before learning anything useful. Accordingly he bent his whole mind to this task. But it chanced that Chrysanthius had to have a vein cut open as was his custom, and the author was present in obedience to his orders; and when the doctors prescribed that the blood should be allowed to flow freely, the author in his anxiety to apply the right treatment declared that the bloodletting was beyond all reason, and gave orders that it should be stopped then and there; for the author of this work had considerable knowledge of medicine. Hellespontius hearing what had happened came at once, indignant and loudly lamenting that it was a great calamity that a man of so great an age should lose so much blood from his arm. But when he heard Chrysanthius talking and saw that he was unharmed, he directed his remarks to |563 the author and said: "The whole city is accusing you of having done a terrible thing; but now they will all be silenced, when they see that he is unharmed." The author replied that he knew what was the proper treatment, whereupon Hellespontius made as though he would collect his books and go to Chrysanthius for a lesson; but he really left the city. Presently he began to suffer from a pain in his stomach, and he turned aside to Apamea in Bithynia and there departed this life, after laying the strictest injunctions on his comrade Procopius, who was present, to admire none but Chrysanthius. Procopius went to Sardis and did as he said, and reported these facts.
Now Chrysanthius, at the same season in the following year, that is at the beginning of summer, had recourse to the same remedy, and though the author of this work had given instructions to the doctors beforehand that they must wait for him as usual, they arrived without his knowledge. Chrysanthius offered his arm to them, and there was an excessive flux of blood, the result of which was that his limbs relaxed and he suffered acute pain in his joints, so that he had to stay in bed. Oribasius was immediately called in, and for the sake of Chrysanthius he almost succeeded, so extraordinary was his professional skill, in doing violence to the laws of nature, and by means of hot and soothing fomentations he almost restored the vigour of youth to those rigid limbs. Nevertheless old age gained the victory; for his eightieth year was now approaching, and the influence of his age was doubly felt when his temperature was so greatly changed by the excessive application of heat. After an illness |565 of four days he departed to a destiny that was worthy of him.
The successors of Chrysanthius in the profession of philosophy are Epigonus of Lacedaemon and Beronicianus of Sardis, men well worthy of the title of philosopher. But Beronicianus has sacrificed more generously to the Graces and has a peculiar talent for associating with his fellows. Long may he live to do so!
[Most of the footnotes renumbered and placed at the end]
1. 1 Eunapius ignores Diogenes Laertius. Sotion, the Peripatetic philosopher at the close of the third century b.c. , wrote an account of the successive heads of the schools of philosophy; he was used by Diogenes Laertius.
4. 3 The philosophers of other schools in the fourth century, especially the Neo-Platonists, despised and disliked the Cynics, partly because in some respects their mode of life resembled that of the Christians. This later Carneades is not otherwise known; some identify him with Carneius (Cynulcus) in Athenaeus, Deipnosophists.
5. 1 Eunapius seems to distinguish three groups of philosophers, i.e. those up to Plato, those after Plato, and those from Claudius A.D. 41 to Severus, died a.d. 211. He deals with none of these, and begins his own narrative with a brief mention of the Neoplatonist Plotinus who was born not long before the death of Severus.
11. 3 Eunapius quotes incorrectly the account of this incident given by Porphyry himself in his Life of Plotinus xi. 113. When Plotinus found that he was contemplating suicide, he persuaded him that his depression was due to ill-health, and sent him to Sicily to rest; Plotinus did not follow him, and later Porphyry returned to Rome, after the death of Plotinus.
12. 4 This is not extant. Eunapius may refer to the advice given by Plotinus, Enneads iii. 2, against succumbing to adversity, but possibly his source is a commentary on the Enneads by Porphyry himself, not now extant.
14. 1 Iliad viii. 19. The golden chain there described symbolized for the Neo-Platonists the succession of the philosophers of their school as in Marinus, Life of Proclus xxvi. 53, though here Eunapius strangely applies it to one philosopher; cf. Eunapius, Fragments of History, xxii. 71.
16. 3 Porphyry, Life of Plotinus, xvi., does not call him a fellow-disciple, but says he was a Christian Gnostic who led others astray by his doctrines. The Origen here mentioned is not the famous Christian teacher.
18. 1 We have a few fragments of the Universal History of Dexippus, which came down to Probus A.D. 269 and was continued by Eunapius ; he was a famous general who when the Goths occupied Athens in 267 collected a small force and inflicted severe losses on the invaders.
22. 2 Theodorus of Asine wrote a commentary on the Timaeus of Plato; it is possible that he is to be identified with the Theodorus who in a letter of Julian (Papadopulos 4*) is said to have attacked the doctrines of Iamblichus.
52. 3 Plato, Euthyphro init. Socrates, charged with impiety, is found in the porch of the archon who investigated such charges; these sham philosophers frequented the courts whereas Socrates, as a rule, avoided them.
66. 1 i.e. dialectical discussions. Eusebius was devoted to philosophical rhetoric, whereas Chrysanthius and Maximus were thaumaturgists, or miracle-workers. Julian from this time fell under the baleful influence of Maximus.
86. 1 This is not the prefect of Gaul to whom Julian addressed his Orations iv. and viii. The spelling in the Greek text, " Salutius," is often used instead of Sallustius. I give the more usual form. His official name, e.g. in inscriptions, was Secundus. After Julian's death he was offered and refused the throne, and again on the death of Jovian, in 364, refused it for himself and his son. He seems to have been prefect of the East in 365, but resigned because of the hostility of the proconsul of Asia, Clearchus.
99. 2 The faction fights of the sophists and their pupils are often mentioned by Libanius ; cf. Himerius, Oration iv. 9, and his Oration xix., which is addressed to those pupils who are so occupied with these encounters that they neglect their lectures. The incident here described with lively interest by Eunapius had occurred seventy years before he wrote the Lives.
101. 1 Tuscianus, who must have been very old when Eunapius knew him, was a correspondent of Libanius; he held various offices in the East and was for a time a colleague of Anatolius in the government of Illyricum.
115. 1 Hermogenes, On Invention iii. 13, gives five kinds of ὅρος , "definition"; the kind of argumentation required for each kind was elaborate and technical; it was part of the exposition of the case, the constitutio definitiva; cf. Quintilian vii. 3.
121. 1 Berytus (Beirut) was, as Libanius describes, famous for its school of Roman law. When the youths began to flock thither instead of to the Greek sophists the decay of Greek letters was inevitable.
144. 2 Quoted from the Demoi by the scholiast on Aristophanes, Birds 1569, ... " they go with me knots and all." κνήμη used of a tree is the part between two knots. In Thucydides viii. 86 Laispodias is an Athenian general. Both men were ridiculed by the comic poets because of their thin legs. Plutarch, Quaestiones 712 a, says the passage in Eupolis is a crux for commentators.
150. 1 Or " enlisted Aristotle to aid nature "? Magnus seems to have been a sort of Christian Scientist who borrowed from Aristotle, Ethics iii. 2, on the exercise of deliberate purpose, to persuade patients that they could decide as to whether to be well or ill.
151. 2 An echo of Plutarch, Pericles 8. Eunapius, though so well read in Plutarch, misquotes this familiar anecdote, which is told of Pericles and Thucydides. Archidamus asked the question of Thucydides who made the answer quoted here.