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Eunapius, Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists (1921) pp.319-341.  Introduction


[By Wilmer Cave WRIGHT]

For the main facts of the life of Eunapius we depend on the allusions to himself in the following Lives. He was born in 346 at Sardis, and was related by marriage to Chrysanthius. In his sixteenth year he went to Athens and studied with a Christian sophist, the Armenian Prohaeresius. To him Eunapius gave a loyalty that was unaffected by his teacher's religion, though otherwise he is consistent in hating and fearing the steadily growing influence of Christianity. After five years in Athens, Eunapius was preparing to go to Egypt, but his parents recalled him to Lydia in 367, and for the rest of his life, for all we know to the contrary, he taught at Sardis. There, as he tells us, he devoted himself to the venerable Chrysanthius until the latter's death. His own death occurred about 414. He lived to see the decline of Greek studies so lamented by Libanius; the proscription of sacrifices to the gods, and the official abolition of paganism in 391; the invasion of Greece by Alaric, and the destruction of Eleusis in 395. His forebodings and his distress at all this colour the Lives.

His chief work was a Universal History, in which he continued the Chronicle of Dexippus, taking up the narrative at the year A.D. 270. In fourteen |320 Books he brought it down to the reign of Arcadius at the opening of the fifth century, when it was probably cut short by his own death. Some fragments of this chronicle have been preserved in the Lexicon of Suidas, and from these and from his own frequent references to it we can see that it was written in considerable detail. It would be a valuable document for the times, for though Eunapius was a bitter partisan and the book was partly a polemic against Christianity, he knew personally the leading men of the Eastern Empire, and was an eyewitness of much that he related. The real hero of the work, however, seems to have been the Emperor Julian, and Photius says that it amounts as a whole to an encomium on that last hope of the pagan world. For his career Eunapius could derive much information from his friend the physician Oribasius, who had been with Julian in Gaul. In the fifth century Zosimus the pagan historian borrowed from Eunapius for his account of Julian's life.

In the Lives Eunapius refers to himself modestly in the third person, and never by name. Though he regarded the title of sophist as the most honourable possible, he actually devotes more space to those who were philosophers rather than sophists, such as Iamblichus and Maximus. The Life of Libanius, who was a typical sophist, is short and superficial, and he gives only a few lines to Himerius. At the beginning of the work there are strange omissions, for example of Diogenes Laertius, when he is speaking of the historians of philosophy and cites only Sotion and Porphyry. But no less capricious is his avoidance of any mention of the sophist and philosopher Themistius, his own |321 contemporary and one of the most distinguished. In describing the intellectual life of the fourth Christian century he is naturally one-sided. His interests all centre in the East, and he has nothing to say about Rome or the men for whom Rome was still the capital of the world. Nor is it likely that in his History he wrote of certain fourth-century men, whose names are household words, where Libanius, Prohaeresius, and Himerius are unknown. Augustine, Jerome, Basil, and Gregory, the poets Prudentius and Ausonius are but a few of his celebrated contemporaries; but he ignores them, along with the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, to whom we must so often turn to supplement the Lives. Yet Ammianus went with the "divine Julian" to Persia, and we have no better guide for the history of that time.

Eunapius admires even absurd charlatans, such as Zeno and his successors the "iatrosophists," healing sophists,1 partly because anything that could be called a sophist was sacred to him, partly because he was something of an iatrosophist himself, since he boasts of the knowledge of medicine that enabled him to treat Chrysanthius. Success in declamation is in his eyes the highest possible achievement, and in this he is akin to Philostratus. But intellectually he is greatly his inferior; he was not so well educated, and his Greek is less crowded with reminiscences of the classical authors. One author at least he knew well, and frequently echoes; this is Plutarch, but he does not always quote him correctly.

His style is difficult and often obscure, and he was |322 by no means an Atticist. He exaggerates on all occasions, and uses poetical and grandiloquent words for the simplest actions, such as eating and drinking. At every step one has to discount his passion for superlatives. He was, as far as we can judge, among the least erudite of the fourth-century sophists. During his lifetime Nicomedia, Antioch, Smyrna, and Caesarea had almost superseded Athens, Alexandria, and Constantinople as intellectual centres, and Libanius of Antioch could boast that his school had supplied with rhetoricians "three continents and all the islands as far as the Pillars of Heracles." But, on the whole, the fourth-century sophists lack the distinction and brilliance of their predecessors in the second century, probably because they were allowed less brilliant opportunities under the Christian Emperors. The renaissance of Hellenism under Julian lasted less than two years, and his death in 363 blasted the hopes of the whole tribe of pagan sophists, philosophers, and theurgists. It is true that Christian Emperors such as Constantius had to some extent patronized Sophistic, but they gave it a divided attention, and under less cultured Emperors, such as Theodosius, the study of Latin, and, still more, of Roman law replaced Hellenic studies, so that professors of law had a better standing than professors of rhetoric.

The following notices in the order of the Lives are intended to supplement Eunapius with dates and certain facts omitted by him. He takes more interest in the historical background and gives more dates than Philostratus, but is so discursive that, by contrast, Philostratus seems systematic.  |323 

PLOTINUS OF LYCOPOLIS in Egypt (A.D. 204-270) may be called the founder of Neo-Platonism. For the facts of his life we depend on Porphyry's biography of him and the meagre notice by Eunapius. He studied at Alexandria with Ammonius, of whom little is known, and accompanied the Emperor Gordian on his disastrous expedition against Ctesiphon in 243. Then he came to Rome, where he spent the rest of his life in teaching; he died at his villa in Campania in 270. We have his Enneads (Nines), so called because each of the six sections contains nine discussions, fifty-four in all. They are the written monument of Neo-Platonism. He cared nothing for style and never revised, but left to his pupil Porphyry the arrangement of the work and even the correction of the spelling, which was a weak point in his acquired Greek. In the Enneads he expounded one by one, as they arose in his school, questions of ethics, psychology, metaphysics, cosmology, and aesthetics. In spite of Porphyry's editing there is no regular sequence in the work. The discipline of Plotinus is meant to detach the soul from material things and to enable it to attain to spiritual ecstasy, "the flight of the Alone to the Alone." 2 Plotinus himself is said to have achieved a vision of the Absolute four times in the five years of his association with Porphyry. Mystical asceticism has never been carried further, but it is usually more sombre and self-tormenting. Contemplation, rather than the worship of the gods, was the means by which Plotinus himself attained to union with the Absolute as he conceived it. But he accepted the theory of daemons and thus accounted for the existence of evil in the world. Thus he |324 opened the door to superstition and imposture, and his followers were frequently mere theurgists and charlatans, like the fourth-century Maximus. Perhaps Eunapius, when he says that in his time Plotinus was more read than Plato, exaggerates after his fashion, but the influence of the Enneads can be clearly traced in the religion and ethics of the fourth century, especially in the teaching of the popular "Syrian" school of Neo-Platonism. In fact, the terminology of mysticism and ascetism has always been derived from Plotinus. Porphyry received from a fellow-disciple, Amelius, and preserved in his Life of Plotinus, an oracle of Apollo which described the blessed state of the soul of Plotinus. 3

PORPHYRY (233-301?), called "the Tyrian," was brought up at Tyre, though that was not certainly his birthplace. He studied at Athens with several professors, but especially with Longinus. Rome was still the centre of philosophic activity, and he left Athens in 263 to become the disciple of Plotinus at Rome, wrote his Life, and many years after his master's death, probably later than 298, edited and published the Enneads; but for him Plotinus might now be little more than a name. After he had spent six years in Rome he withdrew to Sicily, as Eunapius relates, but there is no evidence that Plotinus followed him thither. After the death of Plotinus he returned to Rome, married Marcella, the widow of a friend, and became the head of the Neo-Platonic school. He was a prolific writer on a great variety of subjects----grammar, chronology, history, mathematics, Homeric criticism, vegetarianism, psychology, and metaphysics; he is the savant |325 among the Neo-Platonists. His treatise, Against the Christians, in fifteen Books, of which fragments survive, was the most serious and thorough document, as well as the fairest, in which Christianity has ever been attacked, and was free from the scorn and bitterness of Julian's work of the same name. It was burned in 448 by the edict of the Emperors Valentinian III. and Theodosius II. In his Letter to Anebo, the Egyptian priest, on divination, he speaks with astonishing frankness of the frauds of polytheism as it was practised in his day in the Mysteries, and appeals to all intellectuals to turn to philosophy; hence he has been called the Modernist of Paganism. As Plotinus had been the metaphysician, Porphyry was the moralist of the Neo-Platonic school. Several of his works, including the Letter to Marcella and the Life of Plotinus, survive. Of himself we have no such trustworthy biography as he wrote of Plotinus. Eunapius, however, though incorrect in minor details, is a fairly good authority, and he had access to reliable documents, such as the lost works of Porphyry himself.

The notice of Porphyry in Suidas is hardly more than a bibliography, and that not complete, of his writings.

IAMBLICHUS was the leading figure of the Syrian school of Neo-Platonism in the early fourth Christian century. He would have called himself a philosopher of all the schools, but his eclecticism was arbitrary and superficial. His metaphysics followed and developed the teaching of Plotinus. But his final appeal was to divination, and in his practice of theurgy he represents the decadence of Neo-Platonism. His disciples Maximus and Chrysanthius |326 were professed miracle-workers, and the Emperor Julian's fanatical admiration for him and constant reference to him as inspired is the most striking evidence of the Apostate's easy credulity. The writings of Iamblichus are full of allegorical interpretations and intermediary gods, and Julian's attempt to co-ordinate all the cults and to bring the Oriental deities into the Hellenic Pantheon is due to the influence of Iamblichus.

He died in the reign of Constantine, about 330, so that Julian cannot have known him personally, and the six Letters addressed to Iamblichus and once ascribed to Julian are now generally recognized as spurious. Iamblichus studied at Athens and returned to teach at his native Chalcis, where Eunapius describes him as surrounded by adoring and exacting disciples. The treatise On the Mysteries, an answer to Porphyry's Letter to Anebo and a defence of theurgy, is no longer ascribed by the majority of scholars to Iamblichus, but it reflects the teachings of his school. We have his works on Pythagoreanism and his mathematical treatises, but the treatise On the Gods, which Julian in his Hymns seems to have followed closely, is lost. For him, as for Julian, Mithras was the central deity. He was indifferent to style, and his writings, though useful to the historian of Neo-Platonism, have small literary merit.

AEDESIUS is badly treated by Eunapius, who in the so-called Life soon digresses from him to Sopater the pupil of Iamblichus. Sopater was put to death by Constantine, and must not be confused with the younger man of the same name, the correspondent of Libanius whom Julian met in Syria. Then comes an account of the corrupt official, Ablabius, of |327 Eustathius, and his more distinguished wife Sosipatra, and her career as a philosopher, theurgist, and clairvoyant, an amazing tale which illustrates the decadence of philosophy in the fourth century, and the strange things that were done in its name. Aedesius himself, to whom his biographer returns at the close of the Life, was about seventy and teaching at Pergamon, when, as Eunapius relates in his Life of Maximus, he kept at arm's length the future Emperor Julian, a dangerous and exacting pupil, and finally got rid of him by hints of more complete revelations to be had from his pupils and especially from Maximus the theurgist, at Ephesus. This must have occurred about 350. Perhaps Aedesius, who carried on the teachings of the Syrian school of his master Iamblichus, was more intelligent or more honest than his younger contemporaries. He died before the Hellenic reaction under Julian.

MAXIMUS OF EPHESUS, the most famous theurgist or miracle-working philosopher of the century, was said by Theodoret to look like a philosopher, though he was really a magician. From all sources we gather that he was unworthy to be called a Neo-Platonist, and that he was the most unscrupulous as well as the most successful of the followers of Iamblichus. His chief title to fame is the influence, plainly mischievous, that he gained over the Emperor Julian. When the latter became Emperor he summoned Maximus to Constantinople, and Ammianus describes how Julian interrupted a sitting of the Senate in order to greet and publicly embrace the newly arrived Maximus. According to Ammianus, Julian on his deathbed in Persia discussed the immortality of the soul with |328 Maximus and Priscus. The Romans, for political rather than religious reasons, feared the influence of the practice of magic, and, under Valens, Maximus was executed in 871. Libanius was no theurgist, but he congratulates Maximus in Letter 606 on his influence over Julian.

PRISCUS THE THESPROTIAN or MOLOSSIAN, was the last of a long line of professors who made the reputation of the school at Athens in the fourth century. He was the friend and adviser of the Emperor Julian whom he accompanied to Persia. We know very little about him apart from the Life of Eunapius, in which he appears as morose and aloof, sceptical and disdainful of popularity. In an extant letter Julian invites him to Gaul and calls him a genuine philosopher, but the Etnperor would have said as much of Maximus the charlatan. After Julian's death Priscus returned to Antioch, and was there in the autumn of 363. Both he and Maximus were arrested by the Emperors Valens and Valentinian on a charge of magic which was supposed to have been employed to give them a fever from which they suffered. But Priscus was allowed to go to Greece, where he taught for many years. He survived as late as the invasion of Alaric, and died in 395, aged over ninety. He was a frequent correspondent of Libanius. Priscus was probably a Neo-Platonist, and less devoted to theurgy than was Maximus; hence he was regarded as less dangerous to the imperial government. His wife was named Hippia, and he had several children as we learn from a letter of the Emperor Julian.

JULIAN OF CAESAREA in Cappadocia was born about 275, and was a successful teacher of rhetoric at 328 |329 Athens about 330. There he died about 340, and the succession to his chair was hotly contested by his pupils. Photius says that he wrote on the vocabulary of the Ten Attic Orators, but no work of his survives.4 Eunapius does not make it clear why Julian and his contemporaries were obliged to teach in private, but probably this was due, not to the opposition of the Christians, since there were famous Christian sophists, notably Prohaeresius, but rather to the factions of the rival sophists, which had never been so violent as when Julian was at the height of his fame. We do not know how it happened that he had more than one official successor, but it is possible that the chair of philosophy was suppressed in favour of rhetoric, which was held to be less antagonistic to Christianity. In his later years the supremacy of Julian was challenged by the success of his pupils, Prohaeresius and Diophantus the Arab. Prohaeresius the Christian sophist, when other Christian professors were hastening to enrol themselves as pagans and true Hellenes to win favour with the new Emperor Julian, seems to have said to himself, like the great bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius, "It is but a little cloud, and will pass." Eunapius says that in 362, when he went to Athens to study with Prohaeresius, the latter was eighty; but as this would make him about the same age as the sophist Julian whose chair he inherited, it seems |330 likely that Eunapius exaggerated his age by about ten years. At any rate he was a well established rival of Julian when in 340 the latter died, and Prohaeresius succeeded to his position as leading sophist at Athens, though perhaps not to all the official emoluments, as Julian seems to have had no less than six nominal successors. In 345 Anatolius of Berytus came to Athens, and confirmed Prohaeresius in his office of "stratopedarch," which had been bestowed on him by Constans when he visited Gaul, so that he, like Lolhanus in the second century, was a Food Controller.

After Julian's accession in 361 he enacted that the Christian sophists should no longer be allowed to teach Hellenic literature, a decree that shut them out of the field of education. He exempted Prohaeresius, but the sophist resigned his chair. Eunapius says only that Prohaeresius was barred from teaching because he was reputed to be a Christian, yet he was teaching at Athens when Eunapius came there as a student in 362, and it is unlikely that the decree was ever carried out with any thoroughness in the few months that elapsed before the Emperor's death. Prohaeresius died in 367 and his epitaph was written by Gregory Nazianzen. It is to be observed that all the rivals of Prohaeresius at Athens were foreigners, and that the city had ceased to produce great sophists. Prohaeresius himself was an Armenian, which perhaps accounts for his religion; for Armenia was early converted to Christianity. There was a certain coolness between the Emperor Julian and Prohaeresius, apart from the incident of the exemption, for the sophist resented the Emperor's admiration of Libanius. However, in an extant letter 330 |331 Julian writes in a friendly tone to suggest that Prohaeresius may intend to write an account of the Emperor's return from Gaul, in which case he will provide him with documents. Prohaeresius was then, according to Eunapius, eighty-seven! It is possible that Julian in his student days at Athens had attended the lectures of Prohaeresius. Anatolius of Berytus, the Phoenician of whom Eunapius speaks in the Life of Prohaeresius, was a frequent correspondent of Libanius, and we have a number of letters addressed to him by that sophist. Though Anatolius was a devout pagan and Hellene, he held many offices under the Christian Emperors, and was a distinguished prefect of Egypt and also of Illyricum, entering on the latter office in 356. His relations with Libanius were somewhat strained by his refusal to give to Libanius one of the many offices at his disposal. Anatolius died in 360.5

EPIPHANIUS OF SYRIA, sometimes called the Arab, was a poet as well as a sophist. He taught rhetoric at Laodicea before he moved to Athens. He is mentioned by Sozomenus, and was a correspondent of Libanius. Though he died young he left several technical treatises on rhetoric, which are all lost.

DIOPHANTUS THE ARAB was a pupil and one of the successors of the sophist Julian, and was teaching at Athens when Libanius came there as a student in 336. Libanius was forcibly enrolled as a pupil of Diophantus by the sophist's pupils, but avoided his lectures; he himself does not mention the name of Diophantus though he relates the incident. Students who came from Arabia were expected to study with |332 a sophist of their nationality, but the pupils of Diophantus had no right to kidnap Libanius of Antioch. Eunapius, in his Life of Diophantus, expresses the dislike that he would naturally feel for a successor to his admired Prohaeresius.

SOPOLIS was teaching at Athens when Eunapius lived there (362-367). In the Life of Prohaeresius he is referred to with scorn as only nominally a professor of rhetoric. He was one of the most insignificant successors of Julian the sophist, and secured his election by some manoeuvre that Eunapius leaves obscure.

HIMERIUS in a speech delivered in 362 says that his hair is turning grey, so his birth may be dated about 315. Like other Bithynians he studied at Athens with Prohaeresius, and there he taught for about fifteen years, until the patronage of the Emperor Julian drew him into the main current of the life of the Empire in the East. He joined Julian at Antioch in 362, after delivering declamations at every important town on the way. Whether, like Maximus and Priscus, he went with Julian on the expedition against Persia we do not know, but after its disastrous ending he seems to have stayed at Antioch or in Bithynia until the death of Prohaeresius. He returned to Greece about 368, and for the rest of his life taught rhetoric at Athens. Probably he died before the Goths invaded Greece in 395. He had married an Athenian of noble family and acquired Athenian citizenship. In his Oration 23, a monody, he boasts of the ancestry, on the maternal side, of his only son Rufinus, who died, aged fourteen, at the time when his father was in temporary exile in Boeotia, driven away by the intrigues of rival sophists. |333 Himerius was wounded in an encounter with the pupils of a rival sophist, and thereafter lectured in his own house. In Oration 22 he announces his recovery and the beginning of a new course of lectures.

Eunapius in his Life gives us no idea of the importance for our knowledge of the fourth century of this sophist, whose works have in great part survived. No doubt professional jealousy explains this neglect. In his Orations, of which thirty-four are extant, nine in a very imperfect and mutilated condition, are all the marks of Asianic oratory. He calls himself a swan, a cicada, a swallow, and his speeches hymns, odes, and songs. In fact it was only fashion that kept him from writing verse. We have the analyses by Photius of thirty-six other Orations which have survived as Eclogues or Extracts. Some of these are not only fictitious but falsely conceived; for example Eclogue 5, in which Themistocles spurns the peace terms offered by Xerxes. Himerius is all allegory, poetical allusion, and flowers of speech. In his work may be conveniently surveyed the characteristic weaknesses of fourth-century rhetoric, its lack of logical argument and of a literary or historical conscience, its dependence on commonplaces from the past, its shameless adulation of the great,6 and even its occasional, surprising charm. With Priscus he represents the last days of the Athenian school of sophistic eloquence.

LIBANIUS OF ANTIOCH was born in 314, so that |334 he was nearly fifty when Julian became Emperor and raised high hopes in the breasts of all the Hellenic sophists. Though formally enrolled as a pupil of Diophantus when he arrived at Athens in 336, Libanius had already educated himself at Antioch, and so he continued to do at Athens for some years. Then, for about a decade, he taught, first at Constantinople, where his success aroused such enmity that he was driven to migrate to Nicaea, then at Nicomedia where he was contented and popular. Eunapius, who is inclined to disparage Libanius, omits to say that, as his fame increased, the citizens of Constantinople demanded his return, and he was recalled by an Imperial edict. But in 354 he was once more in Antioch, and on the plea of ill-health was allowed to remain in his native city. There for the next forty years his school was the most famous and the most frequented of the day. We are peculiarly well-informed as to this school, thanks to his autobiography and the numerous Orations in which he describes the conditions of teaching rhetoric in the fourth century. Though he openly mourned the Emperor, he weathered the storms that followed naturally on the death of Julian and the restoration of Christianity as the State religion. He was the official orator and mediator for Antioch on important occasions, such as the bakers' strike, or the revolt of the city under Theodosius. His last years were saddened by the fact that Greek studies were being neglected in favour of Latin, and that the Emperors had ceased to patronize Hellenism; moreover he was constantly embroiled with oppressive officials and jealous rivals. He became partly blind, and lost his only son, and, one by one, his friends. It is possible |335 that he lived as late as 395, but the date of his death is uncertain.

Of all this Eunapius relates little, and he gives no account of the numerous works of Libanius with which he must have been familiar. His criticism of his style is not borne out by anything in the extant works, and this makes us hesitate to accept the judgements of Eunapius on sophists whose writings do not survive. Like Aristeides, Libanius repels the reader by the very mass of what remains of his eloquence. The new edition of his works by Foerster already amounts to eight Teubner volumes, and the Letters, of which we have more than 1600, are still to come. The 65 Orations are a valuable document for the life, manners, and education of the time; when Libanius narrates, his style is spirited and clear. He admired Aristeides the imitator of Demosthenes, but it would be unjust to Libanius to imply that his knowledge of Greek letters was at second hand. His pages are crowded with illustrations and echoes, rather than quotations, from Greek authors. He had a talent for declamation, and his formal sophistic compositions are strictly conventional, according to the types prescribed by the theorists. His Monodies, for instance that on Nicomedia when the city was destroyed by an earthquake, are in the most florid style. In Oration 25 he draws a gloomy picture of the slavery of a sophist to his pupils and their parents, a companion piece to Lucian's Dependent Scholar in the second century. It is interesting to see that in the later days of Libanius a sophist is no longer sure of his position and a tyrant in society, as Philostratus describes him. Eunapius is both spiteful and untrustworthy for |336 Libanius, but the latter has been more fortunate in his biographer Sievers 7 whose book is a valuable guide to the whole period; he has done more than any other writer to keep the name of Libanius alive.

ACACIUS OF CAESAREA was a frequent correspondent of Libanius, and from the Letters of that sophist we learn far more about him than Eunapius tells us in his Life. He was rather older than Libanius, and came of a family in which the sophistic profession was hereditary. He taught first in his native Phoenicia, then at Antioch, and finally settled in Palestine. At Antioch he was the rival of Libanius and not so friendly with him as the account of Eunapius makes him appear. Libanius triumphed, and Acacius left Antioch about 361 when the correspondence begins. There was a sort of reconciliation, and Libanius writes to Acacius sympathetically on the death of a son. It is hard to reconcile the statement of Eunapius that Acacius died young with the evidence that we can glean from Libanius as to the duration of the other's activities.

ZENO OF CYPRUS is identified by Boissonade with the physician and teacher of medicine at Alexandria to whom the Emperor Julian addressed an extant letter. If Eunapius is right in saying, in his Life of Oribasius, that Oribasius had been a pupil of Zeno, the latter must have been very old in 362, when Julian's letter To Zeno was written. It seems more likely that had Julian been addressing a talented orator, he would have mentioned this in his complimentary letter, whereas he only speaks of Zeno's teaching of medicine. At any rate the Zeno of Eunapius is an |337 "iatrosophist," a healing sophist. This seems to us a most unhappy combination of professions, and that the name inevitably became a synonym for charlatan we might assume, even if Eunapius had not, in his biography, shown us the absurd figure of Magnus talking down his fellow-practitioners and using his rhetorical talent for his own ends.

Magnus, the healing sophist, born at Nisibis, was a pupil of Zeno and taught medicine at Alexandria, that centre of the medical profession. Libanius mentions him in a letter written in 364. On his death Palladas wrote the well-known epigram in the Palatine Anthology:

"When Magnus went down to Hades, Aïdoneus trembled, and said: 'Here comes one who will raise up even the dead.'" 8

This was not intended as a satire, nor did Eunapius think Magnus absurd, and it is clear that, though visibly declining, rhetoric could still charm the Graeco-Roman world. Magnus was alive in 388, when Libanius wrote to him Letter 763.9

ORIBASIUS according to Suidas was born at Sardis, but we may suppose that his friend Eunapius when he gave Pergamon as his birthplace was better informed. Julian evidently refers to Oribasius in his Letter to the Athenians 277 c where he speaks of a "certain physician" who had been allowed by Constantius to accompany him to Milan when he was summoned there to be made Caesar. Oribasius went with Julian to Gaul, and there is preserved by Photius a letter from him to Julian mentioning their sojourn |338 there together; but we do not know whether he went on the expedition to Persia. When Eunapius says that Oribasius "made Julian Emperor," he probably means not so much that Oribasius was an accomplice in the plot to put Julian on the throne, though he does in fact, in his Life of Maximus, speak of Oribasius as the Caesar's "accomplice," but rather that the physician, by his virtuous teachings, had fitted Julian for the position. The historians at any rate are silent as to the connivance of Oribasius. It was probably in 358 that Julian wrote his extant letter to Oribasius, when the latter was editing an epitome of Galen. Oribasius was with him in Antioch on the way to Persia, and is no doubt one of the seven persons whom Julian mentions in Misopogon 354 c as newcomers to Antioch, and out of sympathy with its frivolous and ungodly citizens.

CHRYSANTHIUS, the pupil of Aedesius, whom he seems to have closely resembled in character, is the only rival of Prohaeresius in the affection and loyalty of Eunapius. But apart from this biography he is practically unknown. Julian, who must have been offended by his refusal of his pressing invitation to the court, never mentions him, and Libanius, who corresponded with nearly all the leading pagans of his day, ignores Chrysanthius. His refusal to join the Emperor Julian was perhaps due to a conviction, which must have been shared by many persons more cautious and better balanced than the headlong Maximus, that the pagan renaissance would be shortlived. His tolerant and tactful dealings with the Christians during Julian's brief reign may have preserved him from the harsh treatment that was suffered by Maximus. |339 

HELLESPONTIUS, the aged pupil of Chrysanthius in Sardis, whose sudden death is here described, was a native of Galatia, a sophist and philosopher. We have a letter 10 addressed to him by Libanius as early as 355, in which his son is mentioned. |340 



These are few and very corrupt. All are derived from Laurentianus lxxxvi. 7, fourteenth century, which was not collated by Boissonade or Wyttenbach, and was first recognized as the most reliable codex by Jordan in De Eunapii codice Laurentiano, Lemgo, 1888, followed by Lundstrom, Prolegomena in Eunapii vitas, Upsala, 1897; Vaticanus 140 (contains also Philostratus, Lives). There are inferior mss. at Naples (Borbonici) and Paris. 

Cobet's emendations are in Mnemosyne, vols. vi. and viii. De Boor in Rheinisches Museum, xlvii. maintains that the new edition of the Universal History mentioned by Photius contained also the Lives and was made later than the time of Eunapius; whereas Lundstrom thinks that Eunapius himself revised his works and omitted many passages that were offensive to the Christians. This would account for the fact that we have two recensions of the Life of Libanius, the Laurentianus and the Lacapenianus; the latter, according to Lundstrom, is the modified version.


Junius Hornanus, Antwerp, 1568 (with very incorrect Latin version). Commelinus, Heidelberg, 1596. Boissonade, Amsterdam, 1822 (Wyttenbach's notes are in vol. ii.). Boissonade, Didot, Paris, 1849, 1878 11 (a reprint of the edition of 1822, with Latin version of Junius, partly |341 revised; contains also the works of Philostratus and Himerius). Iamblichus, Protrepticus, Pistelli, Leipzig, 1893. De communi mathematica, Festa, Leipzig, 1891. Theologumena arithmeticae, Ast, Leipzig, 1817. De mysteriis, Partey, Berlin, 1857. Libanius, Opera, Foerster, Leipzig, 1903-1915. Eunapius, Eunapii historiarum quae supersunt, Bekker and Niebuhr, Bonn, 1829. Fragmenta historicorum Graecorum, Müller, Paris, vol. iv., 1885. Oribasius, Opera, Bussemaker-Daremberg, Paris, 1851.


Sievers, Das Leben des Libanius, Berlin, 1868. Petit de Julleville, L'Ecole d'Athenes au quatrieme siecle, Paris, 1868. Capes, University Life in Ancient Athens, London, 1877. France (Wright), Julians Relation to the New Sophistic, London, 1896. Seeck, Die Briefe des Libanius, Leipzig, 1906; Geschichte des Untergangs der antiken Welt, Berlin, 1901-1910. Glover, Life and Letters in the Fourth Century, Cambridge, 1901. Bidez, Vie de Porphyre, Gand, 1913. Ammianus Marcellinus (330-400 A.D.) the Latin historian is the best authority for the period with which Eunapius deals.

1. 1 For these sophists, who professed an art of healing, had sometimes studied medicine, and competed with regular physicians, see below, Life of Magnus, p. 498.

2. 1 Ennead vi. 9. 

3. 1 Well translated by Myers in his Classical Essays.

4. 1 Cumont believes that Julian of Caesarea wrote the six fulsome and foolish Letters to Iamblichus which the ms. tradition assigns to the Emperor Julian. They are certainly not the Emperor's, but there is no evidence that Julian the sophist had the slightest interest in Iamblichus and his doctrines; on the contrary he seems to have been wholly devoted to rhetoric.

5. 1 Ammianus Marcellinus xxi. 6.

6. 1 Himerius seized on every chance, and they were many, to deliver a flattering address of welcome to a new proconsul.

7. 1 Das Leben des Libanius, Berlin, 1868.

8. 1  xi. 281. Magnus is mentioned by Philostorgius viii. 10.

9. 2  So Seeck, Die Briefe des Libanius; but Sievers thinks that this is another Magnus.

10. 1 Letter 1259.

11. 1 The text of the present edition is that of Boissonade, revised; the marginal numbers refer to his pages. 

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