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Demonax

Hellenic Library

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There was a certain Polybius, completely uneducated and ill-spoken, who said, “The emperor has honored me with Roman citizenship.” To which Demonax responded, “If only he'd made you a Greek rather than a Roman.”:
Lucian of Samosata, Life of Demonax

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roman:roman-period

Roman Period

Aelian

Roman author and teacher of rhetoric who flourished under Septimius Severus and probably outlived Elagabalus, who died in 222. He spoke Greek so perfectly that he was called “honey-tongued” (meliglossos); Roman-born, he preferred Greek authors, and wrote in a slightly archaizing Greek himself. His two chief works are valuable for the numerous quotations from the works of earlier authors, which are otherwise lost, and for the surprising lore, which offers unexpected glimpses into the Greco-Roman world-view.

Aelian Page

Albinus

Platonist philosopher, who lived at Smyrna, and was teacher of Galen. A short tract by him, entitled Introduction to Plato's Dialogues, has come down to us. From the title of one of the extant manuscripts we learn that Albinus was a pupil of Gaius the Platonist. The original title of his work was probably Prologos, and it may have originally formed the initial section of notes taken at the lectures of Gaius. After explaining the nature of the Dialogue, which he compares to a Drama, the writer goes on to divide the Dialogues of Plato into four classes, logical, critical, physical, ethical, and mentions another division of them into Tetralogies, according to their subjects. He advises that the Alcibiades, Phaedo, Republic, and Timaeus, should be read in a series.

Albinus Page

Alciphron

Ancient Greek sophist, and the most eminent among the Greek epistolographers. Regarding his life or the age in which he lived we possess no direct information whatsoever. We possess under the name of Alciphron 116 fictional letters, in 3 books, the object of which is to delineate the characters of certain classes of men by introducing them as expressing their peculiar sentiments and opinions upon subjects with which they were familiar.

Alciphron Page

Apollodorus

Appian

Roman historian of Greek ethnicity who flourished during the reigns of Emperors of Rome Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius. He was born circa 95 in Alexandria. He tells us, after having filled the chief offices in the province of Aegyptus (Egypt), he went to Rome circa 120, where he practised as an advocate, pleading cases before the emperors (probably as advocatus fisci), that in 147 at the earliest he was appointed to the office of procurator, probably in Egypt, on the recommendation of his friend Marcus Cornelius Fronto, a well-known litterateur. Because the position of procurator was open only to members of the equestrian order (the “knightly” class), his possession of this office tells us about Appian's family background. His principal surviving work (Ῥωμαϊκά, known in Latin as Historia Romana and in English as Roman History) was written in Greek in 24 books, before 165. This work more closely resembles a series of monographs than a connected history. It gives an account of various peoples and countries from the earliest times down to their incorporation into the Roman Empire, and survives in complete books and considerable fragments. The work is very valuable, especially for the period of the civil wars. The Civil Wars, five of the later books in the corpus, concern mainly the end of the Roman Republic and take a conflict-based approach to history.

Appian Page

Arrian

Roman (ethnic Greek) historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period. As with other authors of the Second Sophistic, Arrian wrote primarily in Attic (Indica is in Herodotus' Ionic dialect, his philosophical works in Koine Greek). The Anabasis of Alexander is perhaps his best-known work, and is generally considered one of the best sources for the campaigns of Alexander the Great. (It is not to be confused with Anabasis, the best-known work of the Athenian military leader and author Xenophon from the 5th-4th century BC.) Arrian is also considered as one of the founders of a primarily military-based focus on history. His other works include Discourses of Epictetus and Indica.

Arrian Page

Athenaeus

Greek rhetorician and grammarian, flourishing about the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd century AD. The Suda says only that he lived in the times of Marcus Aurelius, but the contempt with which he speaks of Commodus, who died in 192, shows that he survived that emperor. Several of his publications are lost, but the fifteen volume Deipnosophistae mostly survives.

Athenaeus Page

Callistratus

Greek sophist and rhetorician, probably flourished in the 3rd (or possibly 4th) century AD. He wrote Ekphraseis (also known by the Latin title Statuarum descriptiones), descriptions of fourteen works of art in stone or brass by distinguished artists. This little work, which is written in a dry and affected style, without any real artistic feeling, is usually edited with the Eikones of Philostratus (whose form it imitates).

Callistratus Page

Cassius Dio

Roman consul and noted historian who wrote in Greek. Dio published a history of Rome in 80 volumes, beginning with the legendary arrival of Aeneas in Italy; the volumes then documented the subsequent founding of Rome (753 BC), the formation of the Republic (509 BC), and the creation of the Empire (31 BC), up until AD 229. The entire period covered by Dio's work is approximately 1,400 years. Of the 80 books, written over 22 years, many survive into the modern age, intact, or as fragments, providing modern scholars with a detailed perspective on Roman history.

Cassius Dio Page

Dio Chrysostom

Greek orator, writer, philosopher and historian of the Roman Empire in the 1st century. Eighty of his Discourses (or Orations) are extant, as well as a few Letters and a funny mock essay In Praise of Hair, as well as a few other fragments. His surname Chrysostom comes from the Greek chrysostomos, which literally means “golden-mouthed”.

Dio Chrysostom Page

Diodorus Siculus

Greek historian, who wrote works of history between 60 and 30 BC. He is known for the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily (now called Agira). With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work. Only Jerome, in his Chronicon under the “year of Abraham 1968” (i.e., 49 BC), writes, “Diodorus of Sicily, a writer of Greek history, became illustrious”. His English translator, Charles Henry Oldfather, remarks on the “striking coincidence” that one of only two known Greek inscriptions from Agyrium is the tombstone of one “Diodorus, the son of Apollonius”.

Diodorus Siculus Page

Diogenes Laertius

Biographer of the Greek philosophers. Nothing is known about his life, but his surviving Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers is a principal source for the history of Greek philosophy.

Diogenes Laertius Page

Epictetus

Greek sage and Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey), and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece for the rest of his life. His teachings were written down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses. Philosophy, Epictetus taught, is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. Suffering occurs from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power. As part of the universal city that is the universe, it is our duty to care for all our fellow men. Those who follow these precepts will achieve happiness and peace of mind.

Epictetus Page

Eunapius

Greek sophist and historian of the 4th century AD. His principal surviving work is the Lives of the Sophists, a collection of the biographies of twenty-three philosophers and sophists.

Eunapius Page

Herodian

Minor Roman civil servant who wrote a colourful history in Greek titled History of the Empire from the Death of Marcus in eight books covering the years 180 to 238. His work is not entirely reliable although his relatively unbiased account of Elagabalus is more useful than that of Cassius Dio. He was a Greek (perhaps from Antioch) who appears to have lived for a considerable period of time in Rome, but possibly without holding any public office. From his extant work, we gather that he was still living at an advanced age during the reign of Gordianus III, who ascended the throne in 238

Herodian Page

Hermes Trismegistus

Purported author of the Hermetic Corpus, a series of sacred texts that are the basis of Hermeticism. He may be a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth. In Hellenistic Egypt, the Greeks recognised the congruence of their god Hermes with Thoth. Subsequently the two gods were worshipped as one in what had been the Temple of Thoth in Khemnu, which the Greeks called Hermopolis.

Hermes Trimegistus Page

Iambulus

Ancient Greek merchant and the likely author of an Utopian novel about the strange forms and figures of the inhabitants of the “Islands of the Sun”.

Iambulus Page

Josephus

First-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer, who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry. Josephus recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the first century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, including the Siege of Masada, but the imperial patronage of his work has sometimes caused it to be characterized as pro-Roman propaganda. His most important works were The Jewish War (c. 75) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94). The Jewish War recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation (66–70). Antiquities of the Jews recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for an ostensibly Roman audience. These works provide valuable insight into first century Judaism and the background of Early Christianity.

Josephus Page

Longinus

Conventional name of the author of the treatise On the Sublime (Περὶ ὕψους, Perì hýpsous), a work which focuses on the effect of good writing. Longinus, sometimes referred to as Pseudo-Longinus because his real name is unknown, was a Greek teacher of rhetoric or a literary critic who may have lived in the 1st or 3rd century AD. Longinus is known only for On the Sublime.

Longinus Page

Lucian

rhetorician and satirist who wrote in the Greek language. He is noted for his witty and scoffing nature. Although he wrote solely in Greek, mainly Attic Greek, he was ethnically Syrian. Lucian claimed to be a native speaker of a “barbarian tongue” which was most likely Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic.

Lucian of Samosata Page

Marcus Aurelius

Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus' death in 169. He was the last of the Five Good Emperors, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. During his reign, the Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire in the East; Aurelius' general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. In central Europe, Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, with the threat of the Germanic tribes beginning to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. A revolt in the East led by Avidius Cassius failed to gain momentum and was suppressed immediately. Marcus Aurelius' Stoic tome Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.

Marcus Aurelius Page

New Testament

Second major part of the Christian biblical canon, the first part being the Old Testament. Although Christians hold different views from Jews about the Old Testament—that is, the Hebrew Scriptures—Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture. The contents of the New Testament deal explicitly with first-century Christianity. Therefore, the New Testament (in whole or in part) has frequently accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world. It reflects and serves as a source for Christian theology. The New Testament is an anthology, a collection of Christian works written in the common Greek language of the first century, at different times by various writers, who were early Jewish disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. In almost all Christian traditions today, the New Testament consists of 27 books. The original texts were written in the first and perhaps the second centuries of the Christian Era, generally believed to be in Koine Greek, which was the common language of the Eastern Mediterranean from the Conquests of Alexander the Great (335–323 BC) until the evolution of Byzantine Greek (c. 600). All of the works which would eventually be incorporated into the New Testament would seem to have been written no later than around AD 150. Collections of related texts such as letters of the Apostle Paul (a major collection of which must have been made already by the early 2nd century) and the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (asserted by Irenaeus of Lyon in the late-2nd century as the Four Gospels) gradually were joined to other collections and single works in different combinations to form various Christian canons of Scripture. Over time, some disputed books, such as the Book of Revelation and the Minor Catholic (General) Epistles were introduced into canons in which they were originally absent.

New Testament Page

Nicolaus of Damascus

Greek historian and philosopher who lived during the Augustan age of the Roman Empire. His name is derived from that of his birthplace, Damascus. He was born around 64 BC. He was an intimate friend of Herod the Great, whom he survived by a number of years. He was also the tutor of the children of Antony and Cleopatra (born in 40 BC), according to Sophronius. He went to Rome with Herod Archelaus. His output was vast, but is nearly all lost. His chief work was a universal history in 144 books. He also wrote an autobiography, a life of Augustus, a life of Herod, some philosophical works, and some tragedies and comedies.

Nicolaus of Damascus Page

Parthenius

Greek grammarian and poet. According to the Suda, he was the son of Heraclides and Eudora, or according to Hermippus of Berytus, his mother's name was Tetha. He was taken prisoner by Cinna in the Mithridatic Wars and carried to Rome in 72 BC. He subsequently visited Neapolis, where he taught Greek to Virgil, according to Macrobius. Parthenius is said to have lived until the accession of Tiberius in 14 AD. Parthenius was a writer of elegies, especially dirges, and of short epic poems. He is sometimes called “the last of the Alexandrians”.

Parthenius Page

Pausanias

Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece (Ἑλλάδος περιήγησις), a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical literature and modern archaeology.

Pausanias Page

Philo

Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, during the Roman Empire. Philo used philosophical allegory to attempt to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy. His method followed the practices of both Jewish exegesis and Stoic philosophy. His allegorical exegesis was important for several Christian Church Fathers, but he has barely any reception history within Judaism. He believed that literal interpretations of the Hebrew Bible would stifle humanity's view and perception of a God too complex and marvelous to be understood in literal human terms.

Philo Page

Philostratus the Elder

Greek sophist of the Roman imperial period. He was probably a nephew of the sophist Philostratus of Athens, and is credited with two books formerly attributed to his uncle.

Philostratus the Elder Page

Philostratus the Younger

Greek sophist of the Roman imperial period. He was author of the second series of Imagines, which does not survive completely; in the preface, he praises his mother's father, who wrote the first series of Imagines; this is presumably the author more commonly referred to as Philostratus of Lemnos, who himself was the son-in-law of the famous sophist Philostratus of Athens. The dating of this work, the only known activity of its author, varies between 250 and 300 AD; if the earlier date is correct, this Philostratus may well be the same man who was archon of Athens in 255 AD.

Philostratus the Younger Page

Plutarch

Greek historian, biographer, and essayist, known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is considered today to be a Middle Platonist. Plutarch's best-known work is the Parallel Lives, a series of biographies of famous Greeks and Romans, arranged in pairs to illuminate their common moral virtues and vices. The surviving Lives contain 23 pairs, each with one Greek Life and one Roman Life, as well as four unpaired single Lives. The remainder of Plutarch's surviving work is collected under the title of the Moralia (loosely translated as Customs and Mores). It is an eclectic collection of seventy-eight essays and transcribed speeches, which includes On Fraternal Affection—a discourse on honour and affection of siblings toward each other, On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander the Great—an important adjunct to his Life of the great king, On the Worship of Isis and Osiris (a crucial source of information on Egyptian religious rites), along with more philosophical treatises, such as On the Decline of the Oracles, On the Delays of the Divine Vengeance, On Peace of Mind and lighter fare, such as Odysseus and Gryllus, a humorous dialogue between Homer's Odysseus and one of Circe's enchanted pigs. The Moralia was composed first, while writing the Lives occupied much of the last two decades of Plutarch's own life.

Plutarch Page

Poseidonius

Greek Stoic philosopher, politician, astronomer, geographer, historian and teacher native to Apamea, Syria. He was acclaimed as the greatest polymath of his age. His vast body of work exists today only in fragments.

Poseidonius Page

Ptolemy

Ptolemy was the author of several scientific treatises, at least three of which were of continuing importance to later Islamic and European science. The first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest (in Greek, Ἡ Μεγάλη Σύνταξις, “The Great Treatise”, originally Μαθηματικὴ Σύνταξις, “Mathematical Treatise”). The second is the Geography, which is a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world. The third is the astrological treatise known sometimes in Greek as the Apotelesmatika (Ἀποτελεσματικά), more commonly in Greek as the Tetrabiblos (Τετράβιβλος “Four books”), and in Latin as the Quadripartitum (or four books) in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day.

Ptolemy Page

Sibylline Oracles

Collection of oracular utterances written in Greek hexameters ascribed to the Sibyls, prophetesses who uttered divine revelations in a frenzied state. Fourteen books and eight fragments of Sibylline Oracles survive. These are a collection of utterances that were composed or edited under various circumstances, probably between the 2nd century AD and the 6th century AD, and are not to be confused with the original Sibylline Books of ancient Roman religion which are now lost. The Sibylline Oracles are a valuable source for information about Classical mythology and early first millennium Gnostic, Jewish and Christian beliefs. Some apocalyptic passages scattered throughout seem to adumbrate themes of John's Book of Revelation and other Apocalyptic literature. In places the oracles have also undergone extensive editing, re-writing, and redaction, as they came to be exploited in wider circles.

Sibylline Oracles Page

Strabo

Greek geographer, philosopher and historian. Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus (modern Amasya, Turkey). Strabo's life was characterized by extensive travels. He journeyed to Egypt and Kush, as far west as coastal Tuscany and as far south as Ethiopia in addition to his travels in Asia Minor and time spent in Rome. Travel throughout the Mediterranean and Near East, especially for scholarly purposes, was popular during this era and was facilitated by the relative peace enjoyed throughout the reign of Augustus (27 BC – AD 14). It is not known precisely when Strabo's Geography was written, though comments within the work itself place the finished version within the reign of Emperor Tiberius. Some place its first drafts around 7 AD, others around 18 AD. The latest passage to which a date can be assigned is his reference to the death in AD 23 of Juba II, king of Maurousia (Mauretania), who is said to have died “just recently”. He probably worked on the Geography for many years and revised it steadily, not always consistently. On the presumption that “recently” means within a year, Strabo stopped writing that year or the next (24 AD), when he died. The first of Strabo's major works, Historical Sketches (Historica hypomnemata), written while he was in Rome (ca. 20 BC), is nearly completely lost. Meant to cover the history of the known world from the conquest of Greece by the Romans.

Strabo Page

roman/roman-period.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/15 11:55 (external edit)