Portions © Les Belles Lettres, Paris.
166. [Antonius Diogenes, The incredible wonders beyond Thule]
Read by Antonius Diogenes The incredible wonders beyond Thule, in twenty-four books. The work is a novel; the style is clear and of such a purity that the clarity never leaves anything to be desired, even in the digressions. In the thought, it is most agreeable as, so close to the myths and incredible wonders, it gives to the material of the story a fashion and arrangement which is absolutely believeable.
The story begins with a man called Dinias who, during a voyage of exploration, is cast away with his son Demochares, far from his country. They crossed Pontus, passed by the edges of the Caspian or Hyrcanian Sea, and arrived at the Riphaean mountains and the sources of the Tanais. Then because of the great cold they make a half-turn towards the Scythian Sea and travel East; they arrive in the land where the sun rises; from there, they make a tour of the exterior sea spending much time and often getting lost; during which they meet Carmanians, Meniscians and Azoulians.
They arrive in the island of Thule which they consider at the time a stage on their journey. In this island of Thule, Dinias forms a relationship with a woman called Dercyllis with whom he falls in love; she came from Tyre and was the daughter of a notable family; she lived with her brother called Mantinias. Dinias, in his discussions with her, learns that the wanderings of the brother and the sister and all their misfortunes are caused by Paapis, an Egyptian priest. His country had been devastated and he had emigrated to Tyre; received by the parents of the brother and sister, Dercyllis and Mantinias, he appeared initially full of good intentions towards his benefactors and all their house; but then he did much evil to this house, the children and their parents. After misfortune which struck them, the girl was taken to Rhodes along with her brother; from there, she went away, wandering, in Crete, then to the land of the Tyrrhenians, then, from there, to those called Cimmerians; there, she saw Hades and learned enormous amounts about what occurs there; she was instructed by Myrto, her own maidservant, who was long dead and returned from to death to teach her mistress.
Then begins the account given by Dinias to a certain Cymbas, originally from Arcadia, whom the Arcadian League had sent to Tyre to ask Dinias to return with him to his country. But, as the weight of age prevented this, he recounts instead all he has seen himself in his journeys, what he has learned from other witnesses and that which he knows from the account of Dercyllis in Thule, i.e. her travels which have been mentioned, and how, after her return from Hades with Ceryllos and Astraios, since she was already separated from her brother, she had arrived with them at the tomb of the Siren; she tells how she herself, in her turn, heard what was said by Astraios about Pythagoras and Mnesarch, that which Astraios himself had heard said by Philotis and the fabulous spectacle which appeared before their eyes and finally what Dercyllis, returned from her own peregrinations, told him. By chance she arrived in a town in Spain whose inhabitants could see at night, but were blind each day ; she reports what Astraios, while playing the flute, did to the enemies of those people. Relaxed and careless, they fell to the Celts, a cruel and stupid tribe; they escaped by horse; she relates the adventures which happened to them with these horses which changed color. They arrived in Aquitain and the honors are reported which were given to Dercyllis and Ceryllos but especially to Astraios, because of his eyes which, dilating and narrowing, announced the phases of the moon; it put an end to the quarrel of the kings of this country in this matter: they were two and they followed one another mutually according to the phases of the moon. This is why the people of this country were delighted by the presence of Astraios and his friends.
Then follows the account of all that Dercyllis saw and endured further. She lived among the Artabres, a people where the women fight while the men keep house and deal with womans' work. Then follows what happened to them, to her and Ceryllos, among the people of Astures and the adventures of Astraios in particular; while, beyond any hope, Ceryllos and Dercyllis escaped many dangers, at Astures, Astraios did not avoid the punishment which was owed him for an old fault; but without delay he was first saved from danger, then cut up.
Then is told what she saw in her journey in Italy and Sicily; arrived at Eryx, the chief town of Sicily, she was stopped and led to Enesidemus, then head of the Leontins.
There she found once more this thrice-detestable Paapis who lived with the tyrant and, in this unexpected misfortune, she found an unexpected consolation : her brother Mantinias. He had wandered much; he had seen incredible spectacles concerning men and other beings, the sun itself and the moon, the planets and the islands especially. He told them to her, thus providing her with an inexhaustible matter of marvellous accounts which she will tell later to Dinias, who reunites them and who is supposed to tell this to the Arcadian, Cymbas.
Then, Mantinias and Dercyllis, on their departure from the Leontins, stole the leather bag of Paapis and the books which it contained, and his box of herbs; they embarked for Rhegium and from there for Metaponte, where Astraios found them and announced to them that Paapis followed them closely. They passed among the Thracians and Massagetes with Astraios, who returned to his friend Zamolxis; the account details all that happens during this voyage, how Astraios met Zamolxis among the Getes, who already regarded him as a god, and what Dercyllis and Mantinias requested Astraios to say and obtain for them. There, an oracle announced to them that their destiny was to go to Thule; they would return to their country later. But, before, they would know misfortune and, to requite their impiety however involuntary towards their parents, their existence would be shared between life and death: they would live during the night, but would be corpses every day. After having received this oracle, they left the country and left Astraios with Zamolxis, honoured by the Getes. The account reports all the wonders in the North which they saw and heard.
All these journeys Dinias heard told at Thule by Dercyllis; now are presented the stories recounted by the Arcadian Cymbas. Then it reports that Paapis, following the trail of the companions of Dercyllis, caught up with them in the isle by an artifice of magic and cursed them with a glamour to die during the day and live again the night following. He afflicted this torment on their publicly spitting in his face. Throuscan, an inhabitant of Thule, ardently taken with Dercylis, when he saw his lobe fall under the stroke of torment inflicted by Paapis, was very angry ; he brutally attacked the priest and in a moment killed him with a blow of his sword; this was the only way he could find to put a limit to these innumerable misfortunates. And as Dercyllis appeared dead, Throuscan killed himself over her body.
All these adventures and many others which are like them, the funerals of the dead, their exit from the tomb, the love-affairs of Mantinias and what followed from them as well as the other similar journeys which happened in the isle of Thule, Dinias, who learned them from the mouth of Dercyllis, is now presented in the process of retelling them for the Arcadian Cymbas. And so closes the twenty-third book of Antonius Diogenes on the marvels to be found beyond Thule without the work offering anything about Thule except the little information furnished at the beginning.
The twenty-fouth book presents Azoulis as narrator and Dinias reunites the stories of Azoulis to the fables recounted above by Cymbas. He tells how Azoulis discovered the type of enchantment by which Paapis had ensorcelled Dercyllis and Mantinias to make them live during the day and be corpses at night, how he delivered them from the spell after having discovered the secret of this punishment and of the cure at the same time in Paapis' own bag which Mantinias and Dercyllis carried with them. He discovers, moreover, how Dercyllis and Mantinias delivered their parents from the terrible evil; Paapis had led them, by tricks and under a pretext that it would benefit them, to make them remain a long time extended as if dead.
Following this discovery, Dercyllis and Mantinias hurry home to resuscitate and save their parents. Dinias, with Carmanes and Meniscos (Azoulis goes elsewhere), continues his course towards the regions situated beyond Thule; it is during this that he sees the unbelievable marvels which happen beyond Thule and which he now is supposed to tell to Cymbas. He says he has seen what the astronomers teach, for example that it is possible that some people live under the artic pole, where a night lasts a month, or much shorter or longer, a night of six months and, what is most extraordinary, a night of a year; that it is not only the night which reaches these durations, but the day knows an analogous phenomenon.
He pretends to have seen other strangeness of the same genre and he makes an extraordinary story about some men and about certain wonders of another sort which he saw and which no-one, he says, could have seen nor heard tell of nor imagined. But what is most incredible than all is that in journeying toward the north, they arrived near the moon, which resembled a shining land; arrived there, they saw what must normally be seen by those who imagine such exaggerated inventions.
He then says that the Sibyl performed a divination with Carmanes. He recounts after that how each made personal prayers; each of the others saw their dreams come true. For him, when he woke up after his prayer, he was discovered at Tyre in the temple of Heracles. He got up, found that Dercyllis and Mantinias had completed their adventure happily; they had delivered their parents from their long sleep or rather from death and, as for the rest, they were happy.
See what Dinias says to Cymbas; he presented him with tablets of cypress and made them ready in a manner learned from Erasinides of Athens, the companion of Cymbas, who knew the art of letters. He also showed them to Dercyllis -- it was her, in fact, who brought the tablets -- and he ordered Cymbas to tell his story twice: he would keep one copy and the other, when they died, Dercyllis would place in a coffer and deposit it in her tomb.
And, in fact, Diogenes, who was also called Antonius and who has told the story of Dinias recounting all these marvels to Cymas, wrote at the same time to Faustinus that he was in the process of composing a work on the marvels to be found beyond Thule, and that he dedicated his romance to his sister Isidora, who loved this sort of book. On the other hand, he is called the narrator of an ancient intrigue and even while inventing these incredible and untrue stories, he pretends to use the testimony of older authors on the fables he tells; it is on these witnesses he would throw the responsibility for all the mischief in the story he wrote; he even cites at the head of each book the authors who have treated the subject before him so that his incredible stories do not lack the air of witnesses.
At the head of his book, he writes a letter to his sister Isidora; there he attests that it is to her that he dedicated these works; but at the same time he introduces Balagros, who writes to his wife, named Phila, daughter of Antipater; he writes that, when Tyre was taken by Alexander, the king of Macedon, and much of it destroyed by fire, a soldier came to find Alexander to reveal to him, he says, a strange marvel visible in the town. The king took along with him Hephaestion and Parmenion; they followed the soldier and discovered stone coffins in some underground chambers. One carried as epitaph: "Lysilla lived thrity-five years"; another: "Mnason, son of Mantinias, lived sixty-six years, then seventy-one"; another: "Aristion, son of Philocles, lived forty-seven years, then fifty-two"; another: "Mantinias, son of Mnason, lived forty-two years and seven hundred and six nights"; another: "dercyllis, daughter of Mnason, lived thrity-none years and seven hundred and sixty nights"; the sixth coffin said: "Dinias the Arcadian lived one hundred and twenty-five years".
After standing perplexed before these inscriptions, apart from that of the first tomb which was plain, they found near a wall a small coffer of cypress wood carrying the inscription: "Stranger, whoever you are, open to learn what astonished you". The companions of Alexander opened therefore the box and found the tablets of cypress which Dercyllis, no doubt, had deposited there following the instructions of Dinias.
This is what Balagros wrote in the letter to his wife where he says that he transcribed the tablets of cypress to send them to her. From this the text passes to the reading and transcription of the tablets of cypress, one sees Dinias recounting to Cynibas what was said above. See therefore in what manner and on what subject Antionius Diogenes has composed and invented this romance.
According to all appearance, he is earlier in time than the authors who have imagined fictions of this kind, i.e. Lucian, Lucius, Iamblicus, Achilles Tatius, Heliodorus and Damascius. In fact this story seems to have been the source of the True History of Lucian, of the Metamorphoses of Lucius and even for the histories of Sinonis and Rhodanes, of Leucippe and Clitophon, of Chariclea and Theagenes, for the inventions in their wandering journeys, their loves, their departures, their dangers, Dercyllis, Ceryllos, Throuscan and Dinias seem to have furnished the models.
At what era to situate the career of the father of similar inventions, Antonius Diogenes, I can say nothing more certain; all the same it may be conjectured that he is not far from the era of king Alexander. He cites himself an author more ancient than himself, a certain Antiphanes who, he says, also was involved with marvellous stories of the same genre.
In the story, particularly, as in fabulous fictions of the same kind, there are two considerations most useful to notice. The first is that they show that evildoers, even if they seem to escape a thousand times, always get their punishment; the second, that they show many innocents placed in great danger often saved against all hope.
1 This novel is lost, and it is difficult to assign a date to the work. Wilson says he may be second century AD. There are some details about the work preserved in Porphyry's Life of Pythagoras; in cc. 10-13 he repeats Astraios' narrative and even treats it as authentic, and also mentions the author again in cc. 32-6.
[Translated from Henry]
167. [John Stobaeus, Anthology]
Read John Stobaeus,1 Extracts, Sentences and Precepts: 4 books in two volumes. He dedicates them to him for whom he says he worked to create them, his own son Septimius. His collection is made of loans from poets, speakers and the famous politicians. He joined together, he says, in some cases a selection of pieces, in others some sentences and elsewhere some precepts of life to discipline and improve in his son, in communicating to him, a naturally slight gift for memorising readings.
His first book dealt with natural sciences; the beginning of the second dealt with language and the remainder with morals; the third and the fourth, except for some data, deal with morals and politics. The first book numbers sixty chapters in which the author distributes the quotations and the famous sayings of old. Here are the subjects.
After having initially dealt with God as creator of what is and Providence who directs all, he is interested in those who deny the existence of a Providence and of divine forces emanating from it and which contribute to the control of the universe. Then he discusses justice established by God to supervise the actions of the men and to punish the sinners. On the divine necessity which ensures that everything happens inexorably according to the will of God. On Destiny and the good order of events. On Fate or Chance. On the movement of blind fate. On the nature of time, its divisions and that of which it is the cause. On the celestial Aphrodite and the divine love. In tenth place, on the principles, elements and universe.
Then, on matter, on the form, on the causes, on the bodies and their division, on the infinitely small, on the figures, on the colors, on the mixture and the combination, on the vacuum, the place, space, on movement. In the twentieth place, on the generation and the destruction, on the world (is it animated and managed by a Providence?); where is the principle which orders it and from where it is fed to be found? On the ordinance of the world, on the unity of the universe. On the nature and the division of the sky.
On the nature of the stars, their figures, their movement, their significance. On the nature of the sun, its size, its form, its evolutions, its eclipse, its signs and its movement. On the nature of the moon, its size, its form, its light, its eclipse and its appearance, its intervals, on predicting it. On the Milky Way; on comets, shooting stars and other phenomena of space. On thunder, the flashes, the thunderbolts, the hurricanes, the typhoons. In thirtieth place, on the rainbow, the aurora, the parhelion, the rays, like on the clouds, the fog, the rains, the dew, snow, the white frost, hail. On the winds; on the earth: is it single, limited? What is its size, its position, its form? Is it motionless or moving? On the earthquakes, on the sea, how do they flow and flow backward. On water, on everything. On Nature and the causes which emanate from it. On the generation of living beings, etc. How many species are there of living beings? Are they all endowed with reason and sensitivity? On sleep. On death. On the plants. On the food and the appetites of living beings. On the nature of men, on the spirit, the heart, the feeling and on tangible objects; are the feelings true, how much of the senses exist? What is the nature and the activity of each one? On sight. On the images which mirrors return. On hearing. On taste. On touch. On the sense of smell. On the voice: is it incorporeal? Which is the principle which orders it? On the imagination, on the judgement. One-hundred and ninth. On the opinion and sixtieth. On breathing and its affections.
Such are thus the chapters of the first book and such is their contents; it is clear that they deal with physics, except some of the first which one would rather classify as metaphysics.2 He assembles there, as I have said, the opinions of old, whether they are concordant or divergent. However, in this book, before approaching the chapters which will be enumerated,3 he has two chapters of which one is a praise of philosophy, a chapter also extracted from various authors; the other dealt with the sects which were constituted in philosophy. It is there that he joins together old opinions on geometry, music and arithmetic.
The second book is composed of forty-six chapters. He treats initially interpreters of divine signs and says that, for men, the truth about the essential nature of understandable things is imperceptible. He then discusses dialectic and rhetoric, style and letters, poetry, the form of the style in the ancients, the moral aspect of philosophy, on what depends on us, of the idea that nobody is malicious deliberately, of what the philosopher must be, of the obligation to respect the divinity; that pious and righteous people receive the assistance of the divinity. Divination. That it is necessary to much of associating with the wise and to avoid poor people and those without culture. On appearance and reality. That one should not judge a man by his speech, but by his character. That those who lay traps for others harm themselves unknowingly. On glory. On fame. That moderation is best. That virtue is difficult to reach and vice easy to practise. That one should not take account of the opinion of people deprived of intelligence. As hypocrisy is as harmful to those who use it as to those against whom it is used and must be driven out of the soul. That worldly affairs must not be pursued, because such an attitude causes envy and calumny. That, in the faults which one commits, nothing is more beautiful than repentance. On the insult; that which is not a good. That, when we are insulted, it is necessary for us to take care not to fall into the same errors. On necessity in life. That it is necessary to act advisedly. On the will. That one should not act randomly. That adversity is often salutary, especially to the foolish. On education. On instruction. That friendship is most beautiful of all the goods. That similarity of character creates friendship. That, in misfortunes and the dangers, one should not neglect ones friends. That one should not join ones friends in injustice. On false and doubtful friends. That it is necessary to hasten reconciliations with friends by tolerating their faults with more ease and by forgetting them. That it is in misfortunes that we know our true friends. Precepts on friendship. On enmity and how it is necessary to behave with regard to ones enemies. How it is possible to benefit from ones enemies. On benevolence. That pleasure made at the right time is worth more. On reciprocity of benefit. That one should neither profit the malicious nor accept it from them. Final chapter: on ingratitude. Such are the chapters of the second book.4
In the third book, there are forty-two chapters. He treats initially virtue; then vice. On prudence, imprudence, moderation, intemperance, courage, cowardice, justice, cupidity and injustice, truth, falsehood, frankness, flattery, prodigality, economy, self-control, licence, resignation, anger, self-knowledge, arrogance, selfishness, conscience, memory, lapse of memory, oaths, perjury, need to work, idleness, decency, impudence, silence, relevance in the words, brevity, chattering, kindness, envy, the fatherland, abroad, secrets and in forty-second place, on calumny.5
Here are the subjects of the fourth book. Initially the constitution, secondly laws and habits, the people,6 the powerful ones of the cities, power, the quality necessary of the leader; that monarchy is better. Precepts on kingship. Critique of dictatorship. War. Audacity. Youth.7 Military leaders and the necessities of war. Precepts on peace, agriculture, peace, navigation, the arts, masters and slaves, vulgar love and the desire of carnal pleasures, beauty, marriage and all that concerns that in this chapter. Precepts on marriage, children and all that concerns that in this chapter. That parents must receive from children the respect which is due to them. The attitude which fathers must adopt with regard to their children. That what is moreover better, is brotherly love and affection with regard to the parents. Domestic administration. On nobility and all that concerns this in this chapter. On the commoner's condition. On riches and all that concerns them in this chapter. On poverty. Comparison of poverty and riches.
That life is short and full of worry. On sadness, which is very painful. On disease and cures. On health and its conservation. On doctors. On happiness. On misfortune. That human prosperity is unstable. On those who are happy without deserving it. On those who are unhappy without deserving it. That it is necessary to support with nobility the blows of chance. That it is necessary to show ones happiness and to hide ones misfortunes. On hope. On what happens against any expectation. That one should not be delighted about those who are suffering misfortune. That those which are suffering misfortune need sympathy.8 On old age and all that concerns it in this chapter. On death. On life. Comparison, of life and death. On mourning. On burial. Consolations. That the dead should not be insulted. That the memory of the majority of people vanishes quickly after death.
Here are the fifty-eight chapters of the fourth book. For all four books, there are two hundred and eight,9 where, as we said, John presents some of the opinions, the quotations and the famous sayings which he draws from extracts, sentences and precepts. He assembles them from the philosophers, Aeschines the Socratic and Anaxarchos and Anacharsis, Aristonymus and Apollonius, Antisthenes and Aristippus, Ariston and Aristoxenes and Archytas, Aristotle, Anaximandros, Anaximenes, Archelaus, Anaxagoras, Archainetes, Arcesilaus, Arrian, Antipater son of Histiaus, Antiphanes, Apollodorus, Aristarchus, Asclepiadus, Aristaius, Archedemos son of Hecataeus, Apollophanes, Aigimius, Aisaros, Atticus, Amelius, Albinus, Aristandros, Harpocration, Apelles, Aristagoras, Aristombrotus, Archimedes, Boethus, Bias, Berosus, Veronicos, Brotinos, Bion, Glaucon, Demonax, Demetrius, Damippus, Diogenes, Diodorus, Democritus, Diotimus, Diocles, Damarmenes, Didymus, Dion, Dios, Euclid, Euphrates, Epicharmos, Epandrides, Erasistratos, Ecpolus, Epicurus of Gargettos, Epictetus, Hermes, Empedocles, Epicurus the Athenien, Eusebius, Eurysos, Eratosthenes, Eurystratus, Ecphantus, Epidicus, Eudoxos, Epigenes, Evenius, Euryphamos, Zaleucos, Zeno, Zoroaster, Heraclides, Heraclites, Herophiles, Themistius, Theobulus, Theanos, Theages, Theophrastus, Theodore, Thais, Theocritus, Thrasyllos, Jerome, Hippias, Iamblicus, Hierocles, Hippalos, Ion, Hipponos, Hierax, Hippodamos, Hippasos, Iouncos, Crito, Cleobulos, Cebes, Coriscos, Clitomacus, Critolaus, Clineas, Carneades, Cleanthes, Callimachus, Critias, Crantor, Callicratides, Leucippes, Lucius, Lysis, Lyncus, Lycon, Leophanes, Longinus, Menechmes, Metrocles, Metopos, Menedemes, Musonius, Mnesarchus, Melissos, Metrodorus, Milo, Moderatus, Maximus, Nicolas, Numenius, Naumachius, Naucrates, Nicias, Nicostratus, Xenocrates, Xenophanes, Onatos, Ocellus, Onetor, Panacaius, Pittacos, Periander, Pythagorus, Plutarch, Pempelus, Plato, Panaitius, Posidonius, Perictionus, Porphyry, Parmenides, Polemon, Pytheas, Porus, Polybius, Plotinus, Protagoras, Pythiades, Pyrrho, Rufus, Rheginus, Solon, Sotion, Sosiades, Serenus, Socrates, Stilpon, Speusippes, Strato, Scythinos, Sphairos, Seleucus, Severus, Timon, Timaeus, Taurus, Timagoras, Teles, Hypseos, Philoxenes, Philolaos, Pherecydes, Favorinus, Phintys, Chion, Chrysippus, Charondas, Chilo, and, among the cynics, Antisthenes, Diogenes, Crates, Hegésianax, Onesicritus, Menander, Monimus, Polyzelos, Xanthippus, Theomnestos. These are the philosphers from whom he makes his collection.
As poets, Athenodorus, Anaxilles, Archippos, Apollonides, Alcidamas, Aristaeus, Antimachus, Antiphanes, Aristarchus, Archilochus, Achaios, Aeschylus, Agatho, Alexis, Aristocrates, Amphis, Alcaeus, Aratus, Astydamas, Andronicus, Anaxandrides, Aristophanes, Aralochos, Apollodorus, Alexander, Anacreon, Axinicos, Aristophon, Bacchylides, Bion, Biotos, Bathon, Diphilus, Dionysius, Demetrius, Dicaiogenes, Diodorus, Dictys, Euthydamus, Eupolis, Euphronus, Eratosthenes, Epicharmus, Evenos, Euphorion, Hermolochos, Euripides, Zeno, Zenodotus, Zopyros, Hesiod, Herodes, Heniochos, Heliodorus, Theodectus, Thespis, Theognis, Theocritus, Thelerophos, Iophon, Hippothoos, Hipponax, Isidore, Hippothoon, Iulius, Ion, Cleanthes, Cleainetus, Callimachus, Critias, Cleoboulus, Cratinus, Carcinus, Cercidas, Callinicos, Clinias, Crantor, Clitomachus, Linus, Licymnius, Lycophron, Leonidas, Laon, Menander, Myron, Moschion, Menippus, Moschos, Mimnermus, Melino, Metrodorus, Menophilus, Nicostratus, Nicolas, Neophron, Nicomachus, Naumachios, Neoptolemus, Xenophanes, Xenarchus, Homer, Orpheus, Olympias, Pindar, Parmenides, Posidippus, Pausanias, Polyeides, Patrocleus, Pisander, Panyasis, Pirithous, Pompeius, Rhianos, Sophocles, Sotades, Simonides, Sosiphanes, Simylos, Sositheos, Sclerios, Sappho, Sarapion, Sosicrates, Stagimos, Sopatros, Sthenides, Sousaron, Stesichoros, Timostratos, Timocles, Tyrtaios, Telesilla, Hypobolimaios, Hypsaios, Philetas, Philoxenus, Philippides, Phrynichos, Philonides, Philemon, Phocylides, Philippos, Phoinicides, Philiscos, Pherecrates, Phanocles, Phintys, Phileos, Chaeremon, Choirilos, Chares. Such are the poets from whom he fills up the citations in his chapters.
The orators, historians, kings and generals (for he has also put together the witnesses borrowed from these groups) are: Aristides, Aristocles, Aelian, Aeschines, Agatho, Antiphon, Archelaus, Gaius, Gorgias, Demosthenes, Demades, Demaratus, Ephoros, Zopyros, Herodotus, Hegesiades, Hegesios, Thucydides, Theseus, Theodorus, Thrasyllus, Theopompus, Isocrates, Isaeus, Cornelian, Callisthenea, Clitophon, Ctesias, Lysias, Nicias, Xenophon, Obrimos, Polyainos, Prodicus, Protagoras, Sostratus, Timagoras, Trophilos, Hyperides, Philostratus, Chrysermos, Alexander, Agesilas, Agathocles, Antigonus, Agis, Agrippinus, Anaxilaos, Archidamos, Dionysius, Darius, Epaminondas, Eudamidas, Themistocles, Iphicrates, Hipparchus, Cotys, Clitarchus, Lycurgus, Leonidas, Lamachos, Mallias, Pericles, Pyrrhus, Ptolemy, Semiramis, Scipio, Scillouros, Timotheus, Philippus, Phocion, Phalaris, Charillus, Chabrias, Chares, Aristophanes, Aesop, Antigenidas, Aristotle, Aristides the Just, Alcmeon the physician, Antyllos the physician, Arimnestos, Apelles, Bryson, Glaucon, Galen the physician, Dicearchos, Dion, Dionysius, Diocles the physician, Euxitheos, Hermarchus, Hermippos, Euryximachos, Euphranias, Erasistratus the physician, Euryphron the physician, Eratosthenes, Eubulos, Theopompos, Theocritus, Thymarides, Thynon, Hippocrates the physician, Cato, Cephisodores, Kleostratos, Clitomachus, Licymnius, Myson, Metrodorus, Metrocles, Nicostratus, Prausion, Simonides, Seriphios, Sotion, Sostratus, Speusippos.
But such is thus the number of the chapters in which John Stobaeus classified the words of earlier authors and the number of writers, philosophers, poets, orators, kings, and generals from which he borrowed to make his collection. This book is of obvious utility to those who read the works of these writers; it will help their memory and will be useful to those who have not approached them yet because, thanks to a constant exercise, they will be able in a little time to acquire a summary knowledge of many beautiful and varied thoughts. Both categories will have the advantage, naturally, of being able to find without pain or waste of time what is sought if one wants to pass from these chapters to complete works. Moreover, for those who want to speak and write, this book is not without utility.
1. This is the well-known anthologist of the 5th century AD, whose Anthology is extant. The text which has come down to us is different to that which Photius had before him. For this, see:
A. Elter, De Ioannis Stobaei codice Photiano, diss. Bonn, 1880;
Hense, s. v. Joannes (n. 18), in P. W., t. IX (1916), col. 2549 ;
Luria, Entstellungen der klassiker Texte bei Stobaeus, in Rh. Mus. t. LXXVIII (1929), p. 81.
Wachsmuth-Hense, Berlin, 1884-1912, 5 vol. (Critical edition).
These studies show how much we owe to Photius. His synopsis gives us the true title of the collection, the extent of the work and its complete plan, what little we k now of the now lost introduction, and the purpose of the author in writing it. Without the table of chapters preserved here, we would have no overall picture of the first two books, which have suffered badly the ravages of time. It also makes it possible for the specialists to reclassify the many fragments scattered in the manuscript, which are often not identified as from Stobaeus.
2. The first 10 chapters.
3. Comparison of the list of subjects with the manuscripts reveals that these are the chapters in order, and their chapter titles. These are valuable where the chapters are lost. There are few divergences between the list and the Mss., and the wording of the titles is almost the same. The first two chapters are almost entirely lost. Photius thus allows us to place various fragments from them in their correct position. The series of 60 chapter titles allows us to restore the titles of chapters 2, 52, 54, 58 and 60. Chapters 33-35, 37, 44 and 46 are lost.
4. The enumeration of Photius also conforms to that in the manuscripts, and restores some chapter titles. Chapters 10-14, 16-30, 32 and 34-35 are lost.
5. Books III and IV, unlike the first two books, have come down to us almost complete. Only chapter 1 is lost.
6. This chapter, which is chapter 3, is missing in the Mss. of Stobaeus, and known to us only from Photius.
7. After this chapter, which bears the number 11, Photius omits the title of chapter 12.
8. This last title is not a chapter title, but the second part of chapter 38. The title of chapter 39 has been omitted.
9. The total is correct, despite all the damage to the Mss. Elter suggests that the number was recorded separately in the Ms. Photius used. The lists of more than 450 names pose many problems, not least because such lists are prone to damage in transmission. Elter is the only scholar to have attempted to identify them. Many are quite unknown. Henry prefers not to even attempt to tackle the problem.
Elter discussed how the register was created. It is in five parts, of which the first two only are clearly distinguished from each other in the synopsis. (1) There is a series of philosophers, with the cynics put together. (2) Poets. The synopsis then announces the orators, historians, kings and generals: (3) orators and historians, and (4) kings and generals. Finally (5) a series of names in which appear several physicians and other people who didn't belong in any of the previous 4 lists. For each list, the names are in alphabetical order, but by the first letter only, and each one was raised in the passage in which it appeared for the first time.
It was the opinion of Elter and those who followed him that Photius did not draw up this list himself, but found it in the manuscript he used.
[Translated from Henry]
168. [Basil of Seleucia, Sermons]
Read by Blessed Basile1, bishop of Seleucia, fifteen sermons. The first discusses the text, "In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth ". Then on Joseph, Adam, Cain and Abel, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Jonas; the ninth is on the centurion, the tenth on the text "the disciples sailed with Jesus, etc". Then on "Come, all you who are weary and are heavy-laden, etc ". Then, on the publican and the Pharisee. Then on the text "Say that my two sons shall sit one on your right, the other on your left ". Then on the text "Who do men say that I am, the Son of man?". Fifteenth on "Are you he that will come, or must we expect another?" 2.
In the sermons of this author more than any other, one can see implemented a figured, sharp style and with the parts of the sentence in balance; clarity and accuracy run from one end to the other of the work. However, the exaggerated abundance of figured language and the sharp turns, or rather the monotonous and uninterrupted flow of them, causes in the reader aversion and incites criticism; it provokes blame with regard to a writer unable apparently to master a natural effect and place a regular order on disorder. And, although he abounds in figures and this figured type of style comes out of him like a spring, he does not fall — or in any case only occasionally — into a cold proficiency nor he does not obscure his thought with a lack of clarity; but, by the brevity of the members of the periods and the periods, and by the expressive character of the words which he employs, he achieves with the figured style what is difficult to do. But on the whole, as I said, satiety blunts the grace, and the unmixed use of the figured style does not allow the rules of the art of speaking to operate freely.
It seems that it is this writer rather than Basil the Great of Caesarea who was the friend and the companion of the thrice-blessed John Chrysostom 3: it is to him that his treatise On priesthood is dedicated; because many traces of the words and thoughts of St. John appear in the writings of Basil, especially in those which he discusses the Scriptures, as if both had drawn from the same source to know what was useful to them. And the handling of figured style in the direction of the expressivity and familiarity is a testimony, and not least, of intimacy with St. John and of the reading of his works; because this holy man also made use of it, but a moderate and very convenient use; while happily mingling a simplicity which attenuates the emphasis and makes of his style the very image of the honest man.
This Basile is he that which also developed in verse the trials,tests and triumphs of the first martyr Thecla. There also exist other works by him.
1. We have a number of sermons under the name of this author. They can be found in Migne, P. G., t. LXXXV, p. 9-618. Cf. Jülicher, s. v. Basileios (n. 17), in P. W., t. III (1899), col. 55.
2. In PG 85, col.27-474, there are 42 sermons by Basil. All those enumerated by Photius are among them, but not in the order given. Presumably the order reflects that in the manuscript Photius had before him.
3. Not necessarily so; Jülicher thinks otherwise. Possibly Photius or his precursors have been misled by the similarities of style.
[Translated from Henry]
169. [Cyril of Alexandria, Against Nestorius]
Read by St. Cyril, Against the blasphemies of Nestorius 1, five books of which the first refutes ten chapters of the Nestorian heresy, the second fourteen chapters, the third six, the fourth seven and the fifth seven also.
The form of his style is modelled on the kind of style appropriate to his writings, but with a certain tendency to vulgarisation.
Also in the work is a letter addressed to Nestorius himself, which attempted to convince and correct him in a friendly way. But there was also the response of Nestorius to Cyril; he handles the points contained in the letter like a lawyer. There was also another letter by Cyril sent to Nestorius from the synod of Alexandria which enjoined him to anathemise the twelve chapters. There were also addresses to Bishop Valerius against Nestorius and his propositions, a dogmatic letter addressed to Acacius, bishop of Melitene, which rather constitutes an apology for a unity of views and agreement with John of Antioch. There were various others more on the same subjects; in two of them, he expounds the divine doctrines of the council of Nicaea 2. In all these writings, he keeps the style of his own works, sometimes accentuating it, sometimes attenuating it however.
In same volume there were the letter on the scapegoat addressed to Acacius, bishop of Scythopolis, and, moreover, another writing entitled Scholia on the Incarnation of the Son only where are cleared up the following questions: Who is the Christ? How should the word Emmanuel be understood? Who is Jesus the Christ and why was the Word of God called man? Then, why is the Word of God said to have vanished? How is Christ one and how is he Emmanuel? And what do we have to say on the unity? On the coal which Isaiah saw and ten other items on the same order as those. This work has great utility 3.
1. Photius has already discussed this author and work in Codex 49. The work is extant; see Migne, P. G., t. LXXVI, col. 9-256. In the original work, the second book only had 13 chapters.
2. All to be found in Migne, P. G., t. LXXVII, col. 40-297 B (passim). Clearly Photius had discovered a collection of Anti-Nestorian writings extracted from the letters of Cyril.
3. The text of these Scholias is in Migne, P. G., t. LXXV, col. 1370-1412. The questions given by Photius are very exact and in the order of the original text, in fact the titles of the first nine chapters of the work. The abbreviator hasn't continued further or signalled why he stopped after chapter 9.
[Translated from Henry]
170. [Unknown, Precursors of Christianity]
Read an extended work, voluminous even, in fifteen books and five volumes. In this work, testimonies and quotations of entire books not only by Greek authors but also by Persian, Thracian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Chaldaean and Roman authors considered notable in each one of these countries are thrown pell-mell together. The author tries to show that there is in them a supplement in favour of pure, supernatural and divine Christian religion, that these texts proclaim and announc the supernatural Trinity, one in its substance, the arrival of the Word in a body of flesh, the signs of his divinity, the Cross, the Passion, the placing in the tomb, the Resurrection, the Ascension, the grace of the Holy Spirit manifested miraculously on the Apostles by tongues of fire, the terrifying second coming of Christ our God, the resurrection of the dead, the judgement, the reward for what everyone did in life. Moreover, the creation of the universe, Providence, Paradise and other subjects of the same order, the virtue which is practised among Christians and all that touches on this subject. He tries to show that, on all these ideas, the Greeks, the Egyptians, Chaldaeans and those enumerated above reflected and proclaimed them strongly in their own writings.
And it is not only from those listed that he gathers and groups testimonies, but he has not failed in taking even some from the alchemical writings of Zosimus 2 (the latter was a Theban from Panopolis) to demonstrate the same propositions; to this end, he explains the meaning of Hebrew words and the places where each Apostle preached the doctrine of salvation and ended his human labours. At the end of his book, he develops his own exhortation in which he mixes, to reinforce it, pagan sentences and sentences borrowed from Scripture; it is there especially that one can recognize the love of this man for virtue and his irreproachable piety.
As for the form of his writings, little need be said; because, in many passages, his construction and vocabulary are so neglected that sometimes he does not even escape clichés. And often the sense of his writings is no better.
As for the method which the author used to reach his goal, no man of goodwill could blame him, but the same does not go for his work. Because there are not only many words which are often inappropriate to our divine dogmas which he forces into agreement with them, but there are also fables and dreams whose inventors must have laughed if they had any sense and which our author does not hesitate to say are in harmony with our divine wisdom; he goes as far as trying to put the completely foreign significance of the fables and the dreams in agreement with the true, divine, unquestionable and pure ideas of the divine dogma. No advantage for religion results from this; but the author could without unreason avoid procuring materials for amateurs to launch quarrels on critical matters if they can show that some relate to ours, just to confirm our religion. Our religion does not need it and is the only one which is pure and true; this is an attempt to twist into agreement the interpretation of texts which have nothing to do with it, are for the most part strangers to it, and the ideas which come from them differ more from ours than night from day.3
And the author has taken upon himself this very arduous task, as he frequently says himself, in order to show that the Christian dogma was announced and proclaimed in advance among all peoples by the remarkable men in each and to thus remove any excuse for those of the gentiles who did not come to the divine message. The goal is creditable, but it is not right to try to carry it out by difficult and not very convincing means, but by those which are easy to reach and that the faith suggests.
As for the name of the author, I have at present been unable to obtain knowledge, because the volumes which we saw did not carry it. It is known only that he lived in Constantinople, was married with a wife and children and that he lived after the time of Heraclius.4
1. Schœll, Histoire de la littérature grecque, vol. VI, p. 317-318, is one of the few modern authors to take any notice of this codex, writing that he regrets the loss of a work which would give us so much information on ancient traditions, especially those of the Orient. The loss is likewise regrettable because if we had it, our understanding of ancient Christian apologetic would be greatly enhanced. N.G.Wilson states (Photius, p.154) that the compilation of such an anthology in the late seventh or eighth century, normally regarded as a period almost devoid of cultural activity, is remarkable.
2. Zosimus wrote a treatise on alchemy in 28 books, of which only a few fragments remain. He lived in the fourth century (Wilson, p.156).
3. This paragraph, from 'No advantage' is very confused in Henry and forms a single sentence. I have broken it up somewhat with guidance from Wilson, who seems to read the text somewhat differently: 'True piety does not benefit in any way; he might reasonably be thought to give the captious opportunities to attack it, if they will now be in a position to show some members of our church making efforts to reconcile irrelevant and utterly different doctrines with the fundamentals of our faith. It has no need of this; it alone is pure and true; and this is an attempt to force the interpretation of texts more distant from our beliefs than darkness is from light.' (p.155).
4. Emperor from 610-641 AD.
[Translated from Henry, corrected against Wilson]
171. [Eustratios, On the status of souls after death]
Read a book by Eustratios,1 priest of the Great Church. It is composed in a style which can't be praised but with logic which can't be faulted. The language is clear.
The writer proposes to demonstrate three propositions: first, after leaving their bodies, the souls of the saints still exercise influence; and not only the souls of the saints, but also every human soul, according to its merits. Finally that souls often appear to many people in many different modes which manifest corresponding to their own nature; it is not a divine power which is manifesting these energies in taking on the appearance of the souls of the saints. Why, in fact, is there need of intermediaries, of figures and forms when it is possible for the Almighty to accomplish his decrees in a more immediate manner through the holy souls?
The author attempts to establish both propositions by citations taken from the Old and New Testament and by the witness of different Fathers.
The third subject with which he is concerned is that sacrifices made by the priests for the souls of those who die in the faith, offerings or just prayers, supplications or charities of the faithful in their favour, obtain the salvation and remission of sins of those for whom they are made. It is thus that he advocates sacrifices on the third day for them, considering the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord on the third day as an aid and help in supplication; likewise, sacrifices on the ninth day, because the Lord was seen by his disciples for the second time after 8 hours; likewise, sacrifices on the fourteenth day, because it was after that number of days that he was seen for the last time by his disciples and rose into heaven clothed with our nature.
I have discovered, on the other hand, that in this book the master who taught the law to Paul, Gamaliel 2, was converted and baptised. And that Nicodemus, the friend who came by night, also became a friend of the great day and died a martyr 3; he was a cousin of Gamaliel, according to the book. Both were baptised by John and Peter and the son of Gamaliel, named Abib, also. As for the blessed Nicodemus, when the Jews learned that he had been baptised, he was beaten up, which he endured valiantly, but died soon after.
This is the story in the book. The author dedicated it to Chrysippus 4. Chrysippus was a priest at Jerusalem who, while writing a eulogy of the martyr Theodore, mentioned in a digression a certain Lucian who was also a priest of the same church at Jerusalem at the time when John was High Priest there.
This Lucian 5 in the course of a night, around the third hour, awoke and received the revelation of what he recounts. Gameliel appeared to him and revealed what follows: that it was Gamaliel, when he had been baptised and by whom, that Abibos was his son and that they were buried in a single coffin, and that Stephen the first martyr was buried in the tomb just to the East; at his feet, in another coffin, was Nicodemus; he recounted his sufferings and why and from whom they were endured. The next coffin was that of himself and his son. After these revelations, Gamaliel asked Lucian not to neglect their remains and not to leave them to be destroyed by sun and rain. An earthquake happened at the same time as the vision and many healings occurred; above all, it was the tomb of the first martyr that did this abundantly.
1. The work is extant. It was first edited by Allatius, Rome, 1655, with a Latin translation. The translation (only) was reprinted by Migne, Patr. gr. latine tantum edita, t. LXXX, p. 823-889. On this author see Jûlicher, Eustratios (n. 1), in P. W., vol. VI (1907), col. 1489 sqq., and S. Vaithé, Eustrate, in Vacant, vol. V, p. 1576-1577. The latter accuses Photius of many errors in his summary, without specifying what these might be.
2. Paul tells us (Acts 22:3) that this man was his teacher in the law. His conversion is affirmed first in the Clementine Recognitions.
3. On this person, see A. Molini, in Vigouroux, Dictionnaire de la Bible, t. IV, p. 1614-1616. John (7:50) suggest that when Nicodemus knew the truth he became a believer. Later legend made him a sculptor and attributed to him the Volto.
4. On this Chrysippus (409-479AD), cf. A. Sigalas, Chrysippos, in Buchberger, vol. II, p. 1193. In Byzantinisches Archiv, vol. VII (1921), p. 1-16, Sigalas published a eulogy of the martyr Theodore mentioned here.
5. There exists a text by this Lucian dated to the Vth century : Epistula Luciani ad omnem ecclesiam (Migne, P. L., vol. XLI, col. 807-818). According to Molini (above), he is responsible for the tradition in which Nicodemus is driven out by Gamaliel, and the conversion of the three people mentioned.
[Translated from Henry]
172, 173, 174. [John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis]
Read 61 Homilies on Genesis by John Chrysostom 1 in three volumes, the first containing 20 homilies, the second 16, the third 25.
He declares in the first book that he started preaching at the start of Lent 2 and finished before the end of the season having addressed these 20 discourses to the people 3 together with, among the sermons on Genesis, three or four others arising no doubt from circumstances. It can also be remarked that, in spite of the title of Discourse that this book bears (which is what I've found in the copies which I have read), the discourses resemble homilies closely, as may be seen among other things in that in numerous places he addresses himself frequently to hearers as if he could see them in his presence, with questions, responses, promises. The discourse, with a different turn from the homily, can offer the same figures; but the fact that they are used in a continuous and constant manner and without applying any rule in the arrangement shows that we are dealing with homilies.
He addressed them to the faithful, as can be seen from the texts themselves, often day by day, sometimes both days. Such is the first book, which includes 20 homilies.
The second book contains sixteen discourses; the first seven are still visibly pronounced during Lent, so that throughout the whole of Lent to the fourth day of Holy Week, he pronounced twenty-seven homilies on Genesis.
The nine remaining discourses in the second book and the twenty-five in the third were not immediately pronounced nor in a continuous series after Easter. In fact, after the homily of the fourth day of Holy Week, which is part of the twenty-seven homilies on Genesis, he preached the following day on the cross 4, then on the treason 5, and during the remainder of the time, the homilies were conceived as a series for each day. And after the homilies on the resurrection 6, he preached in a continuous fashion on the Acts of the Apostles, as he himself indicates in beginning the twenty-eighth sermon on Genesis which he had, evidently, like those that followed, pronounced long after. In fact the homilies on Acts number fifty-five 7, and were pronounced in the space of around a year, because he pronounced them not day after day, but at intervals of five and seven days and more. He shows himself that he pronounced them in the third year of his ministry. As for those on Genesis, we cannot tell when he preached them, other than that it wasn't then as he tells us in the twenty-eighth discourse, and which he composed in the third year of his ministry and not with the others (more than that, in fact, I do not know); it is evident that these homilies were likewise composed during his ministry: the group of twenty-seven during Lent of the second year, the thirty-four others during the fourth year.
His style, beyond its clarity and usual purity, offers also distinction and ease and mixes with an abundance of thoughts a quantity of most happy examples. It is, all the same, inferior in style to the homilies on Acts because he works in a slightly more ordinary genre, in the same way as the language of the homilies on Acts is less than the commentaries on the Apostle and the reflections on the Psalmist. In fact everywhere in his writings he implements the purity, distinction, clarity with approval, and it is through these qualities that he shines throughout in these last works, as by the happy abundance of examples, the mass of arguments and also, where it is needed, by their skill; and in a word, in the vocabulary, the construction, the method, the thought and in all the composition, these are the works in which he has best succeeded.
For the homilies on the Apostle 8, there is a way to recognise from themselves which of them were composed when he lived at Antioch -- they are more regular -- and which when he was bishop. As for those on the Psalms 9, we still have not found the information necessary to know their history, but, to consider their power and the value of their style, it could be suggested that he composed them at a time of leisure rather than one in which he struggled with public affairs. And, if certain words which require an explanation or more detailed examination have not been explained carefully, it is not astonishing. Because in all that relates to the understanding of the hearers, in all that could involve their salvation and be useful, nothing is ever neglected. This is why I today admire this many times blessed man: always and in all his writings, he sets himself the objective of the utiluty to his hearers, and all the rest is of no concern, or very little. And if some ideas seem to have escaped him, and if he gives the impression of not attempting to penetrate further, it is that, in these details and others of the same kind, he considered it unimportant preferring to deal with the service of his flock.
1. St. John Chrysostom has already been mentioned in codex 86, reappears again in codices 270, 274 and 277. The homilies are in Migne, P. G., vol. LIII, p. 26-386 ; vol. LIV, p. 385-580. English translations are online at ccel.org.
2. Cf. Homily 1. Migne, P. G., vol. LIII, p. 22.
3. Allusion, in Homily 21, to a time of fasting when exhortations are more frequent.
4. Migne, P. G., vol. XLIX, col. 393-418.
5. Of Judas; two homilies, col. 373-392.
6. Two homilies on Easter, vol. L, col. 433-442, and vol. LII, col. 765-772.
7. A number which corresponds to our texts. Migne, vol. LX.
8. St. Paul. Ample collection of homilies. Migne, P. G., vol. LX-LXIII.
9. Migne, P. G., vol. L.
[Translated from Henry]
175. [Pamphila, Miscellaneous historical notes]
Read the Miscellaneous historical notes by Pamphila, in eight books. She was a married woman, as she allows us to understand at the start of these commentaries; she had lived thirty years with her husband from her youth when she began the composition of these memoires; she says that she relates that which she learned from her husband in the course of a common life of thirty years which was uninterrupted by a day or an hour, and that which she happened to learn from all the other people who visited her husband (he had many visitors famous for their culture), and that which she had taken from books.
Every statement which seemed to her deserving of noting and retaining, she included in the notes without order, without organising them or separating them by subject, but randomly and in the order in which each presented itself. There would have been no difficulty, she says, in organising them according to a plan, but she thought that the mixture and variety more agreeable and more gracious than the unity of a plan.
This book is useful as a means to erudition. In fact one finds in it much essential information as regards history, sentences, some data on rhetoric and philosophical speculation, on poetic form and randomly on other subjects of the same kind.
Pampila was of Egyptian nationality; her career is placed in the middle of the reign of Nero, emperor of the Romans. Her style, insofar as it can be detected in the preface and when she speaks elsewhere in her own name, above all in the thought, is of a simple kind as is natural for that which comes from a woman; the vocabulary even does not deviate from this. In the passages where she speaks by citing writers earlier than herself, her style has more variety and is not composed according to a single format.
1. Fragments only exist of this author, to be found in Müller, Fragmenta Hist. Graec., vol. III, p. 520-522. A discussion of the author and the fragments can be found in Regenbogen, s. v. Pamphila (n. 1), in P. W., vol. XVIII, 2 (1949), col. 309-328. The fragments are neither numerous nor very important. There are 10 in all, of which 8 come from Diogenes Laertius and 2 from Aulus Gellius. None of them give any of the biographical information above, which must therefore have been present in the text read by Photius. The notice in Suidas is not as full, and the information in it comes from Hesychius. Photius notes in codex 161 that Sopatros used Pamphila's compilation.
[Translated from Henry]
176. [Theopompus, Philippica]
Read a work of history by Theopompus. Fifty-three of his books are preserved 1. Some of the ancients have said also that books 6, 7, 29 2 and 30 have disappeared. But I did not read these books either; on the other hand, a certain Menophanes, who mentions Theopompus (he is an ancient writer not to be taken lightly) 3 says that book 12 is likewise lost, yet we read it along with the others.
And this twelfth book contains the history of Akoris,4 the king of Egypt (he deals with the barbarians 5 and labours on behalf of Evagoras against the Persians); it relates the unexpected way in which he mounted the throne in Cyprus after being captured by Abdymon of Citium, who governed the land; the manner in which the Greeks of Agamemnon took Cyprus, after driving out the subjects of Kinnyras. The remnants of these form the inhabitants of Amathus. How the king (of Persia) was persuaded to make war on Evagoras, with Antophradates, satrap of Lydia, as general and Hecatomnos as admiral. The author talks of the peace which the king arranged in Greece; he says how the war against Evagoras was managed with much vigour and talks of the naval battle of Cyprus. The Athenian state tried to remain faithful to its treaties with the king, but the Spartans, full of pride, wanted to break the treaty. The author relates in what way the peace of Antalcidas was made and the war which Tirbazos managed and how he plotted against Evagoras and how Evagoras accused him before the king and concluded an arrangement with Orontes. He says that when Nectanebo was raised to the throne in Egypt, Evagoras sent ambassadors to the Spartans. He reports how the war in Cyprus ended. He speaks of Nicocreon, who conspired, was unmasked in a surprising fashion and fled. He recounts how Evagoras and his son Pnytagoras both slept with Nicocreon's surviving daughter, without knowing the other had done so. This was thanks to the offices that the eunuch Thrasydaios of Elis who managed in turn their liason with the girl. This was the cause of their death: Thrasydaios assassinated both of them. The historian reports then how Akoris the Egyptian made alliance with the Pisidians. He talks of their country and that of Aspendos 7. He talks of the doctors of Cos and Cnidos which are called the Asclepiadae; the first of these came from Syrnos, the descendants of Podaliros 8. He speaks also of the prophet Mopsus 9 and his daughters, Rhode, Melias and Pamphilia, from whom Mposuestia and Rhodia, in Lycia, and the country called Pamphilia take their names. He reports how Pamphilia was colonised by the Greeks and their civil war; the Lycians, under the command of their king Pericles make war against Telmessos 10 and did not stop fighting until they had corned the citizens within their walls and forced them to negotiate. This is thus the content of the 12th book which Menophanes considered had disappeared 11.
Theopompus came from Chios and was the son of Damostratos. It is said that he was exiled from his country with his father, who was condemned for supporting the Spartans. He was allowed back home after the death of his father; his return was obtained thanks to a letter from king Alexander of Macedon to the people of Chios. Theopompus was then 45 years old. After the death of Alexander 12, threatened with exile from everywhere, he arrived in Egypt. Ptolemy, king of the country, did not want to receive the writer, but would have put him to death as an intriguer if certain of his friends had not saved him by interceding for him.
He says that he was the contemporary of the Athenian Isocrates, of Theodectes of Phaselis and of Naucrates of Erthraea 13; they held the first place in eloquence with him among the Greeks. But because of their lack of resources, Isocrates and Theodectes wrote their discourses for money, becoming sophists to teach the young and made their living this way. He and Naucrates had enough to consecrate their time to philosophy and study. And there would be nothing abnormal in his claim to the first place after he composed not only discourses on oratory which ran to more than 20,000 lines, but also more than 150,000 lines in which can be found the story of the facts and deeds of the Greeks and barbarians down to his own times 14.
He says also that there was no place in Greece nor any town of any importance where he had not stayed and given some public lectures from his discourses without having left there a souvenir of great glory and of his talent as an orator 15.
While talking about himself thus, he shows that those who occupy the first places in the course of earlier epochs were well inferior to the authors of his times, after whom they merit not even the second place; this is evident, he says, from the books which one or another have composed and left to us, because this kind of study has undergone great development in his time 16. But who are the authors of earlier times of whom he speaks? I cannot determine this clearly, because I suppose that he did not dare strike against Herodotus and Thucydides, to whom he was much inferior in more than one way. No doubt it is the historians Hellanicos17 and Philistos 18 which he has in mind, or perhaps he alludes to Gorgias, to Lysias 19 and to other authors of that kind which were a little before his time and which are not so inferior in every way to him in their writings. But these are the opinions of Theopompus.
It is said, on the other hand, that Ephoros 20 and he had been pupils of Isocrates. Their works themselves show this, because, in the writings of Theopompus, the form imitated from Isicrates is frequent, even if it is inferior in precision of work. The subjects of history were suggested to them by their master: ancient times to Ephoros, events in Greece after Thucydides to Theopompus. The task was divided in a manner appropriate to the temperament of each. This is why the prefaces of their histories have a great resemblance to each other in the thought and their other elements, as if both were starting the career of history from the same base.
Very numerous digressions on every sort of topic lengthen the historical writings of Theopompus. This is why Philip, who made war against the Romans,21 extracted and grouped together the acts of Philip, which were only taken from Theopompus, and so reduced the whole to 6 books only without adding anything of his own and without really omitting anything except the digressions.
Douris of Samos 22, in book 1 of his histories, says thus, "Ephorus and Theopompus are much inferior to other writings. They possess, in fact, neither fidelity in reporting nor charm in their manner of expression and they are themselves only concerned with simply writing." But however Douris is himself much inferior in this respect to the writers which he criticises. Is this accusation made in reply to the pretentious judgement of Theopompus, which did not even assign the second rank to writers before himself? I cannot say, but I can affirm that neither of the two authors have been judged fairly.
Cleochares of Smyrlea 23 considering, I think, the complete discourses of Isocrates (or his point of view, in the comparison which he makes with Demosthenes, is that we must not assign these a place too far below him), says that the discourses of Demosthenes resemble a division of soldiers and those of Isocrates a bunch of athletes. It is clear however that in his writings Theopompus is not inferior to any work by Isocrates 24.
This is what I have to say about the family of Theopompus, his education, his master, his contemporaries, his writings, his public life, his literary style and purpose 6 (all briefly summarised), the times when he lived and the vicissitudes of his existence.
1. Theopompus of Chios wrote in the 4th century BC and was born ca. 378-7 BC. He was an important historian. His main works were the Hellenica and the Philippica. Both are lost. The first was a continuation of Thucydides dealing with events from 411/410 to 394 BC (the battle of Cnidos). Fragments exist, which give little idea of the work; Grenfell et Hunt, Hellenika Oxyrhynchea cum Theopompi et Cratippi fragmentis, Oxford, 1909, mentioned by Henry, does not belong to Theopompus. The Philippica dealt with the years 360-336 BC in 58 books, and centres on the career of Philip II of Macedon. Many fragments exist, and so we know that the author did not limit himself to events involving Philip but also dealt with the Greek world in general, as well as including many digressions. Both sets of fragments are to be found in F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, Leiden 1962, pp.526-617, §115. Photius is the main source for what biographical information we have on Theopompus.
2. The text says "9 and 20"; Wilson believes that "29" is meant. (Wilson, p161).
3. An otherwise unknown writer who must have lived around the start of the Christian era. Cf. Orth, p.42-3.
4. The manuscripts have "Pacoris" here but Akoris later. Akoris was king of Egypt between 393 and 383 BC. (Wilson, p161).
5. This is the reading of manuscript A, but manuscript M reads 'he deals with the inhabitants of Barke' which was a town in Cyrenaica. Wilson following Jacoby prefers M. (p.161).
7. A city in Pamphilia, with an impressive Roman theatre still visible.
8. Fr. 351, p. 609. Podaliros son of Asclepius founded Syrnos.
9. Fr. 346, p. 608.
10. In Lycia.
11. On this summary of book 12 of the Philippica, the reader is referred to the commentary of Jacoby, vol. 2 B, p.372-4. This passage of Photius is catalogued among the fragments of the historian, as no. 103 of the Philippica. Apart from Photius there is only a scholia of Aristophanes (fr. 104). Photius gives us an idea of how Theopompus worked in his digressions.
12. On the connections of the historian with Alexander, see the fragments 251-254 (p. 590) and fr. 225 (p. 591), which mentions a eulogy of Alexander by Theopompus.
13. Both Theodectes and Naucrates were pupils of Isocrates. Nothing of their speeches has survived. Naucrates also wrote a handbook of rhetoric, while Theodectes wrote tragedies. Some titles and a few brief fragments of these survive. (Wilson, p.161). There were two Theodectes of Phaselis: cf. F. Solmsen, s. v. Theodectes (n. 1 et 2), in P. W., 2nd ser., vol. V (1934), col. 1722-1734. On Naucrates see F. Alexander, s. v. Nausikrates (n. 2), in P. W., t. XVI (1933), col. 1952-1954.
14. Either of the two works, or both together perhaps.
15. Cf. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ad Pompeium, 6, 3.
16. While inventors are often praised, the idea of progress in Greek literature is rarer than might be expected. See L. Edelstein, The idea of progress in classical antiquity, Baltimore 1967. (Wilson p.161).
17. Hellanicus of Lesbos, the contemporary of Herodotus, features in codex 161.
18. Philistos of Syracuse, politician and historian, died in a naval battle in 357 BC. During a period of exile he wrote a history of Sicily, of which fragments remain. Photius does not have access to good reference materials of dates and events, and so is misled into thinking Hellanicus and Philistios are contemporaries.
19. For Lysias see codex 262. Gorgias (ca. 480-ca.380BC) was more responsible than any other sophist for developing the new art of rhetoric. His Helen, Palamedes, and a paragraph from a funeral oration are extant.
20. Ephoros of Cyme was a 5th century author who wrote a lost Universal History in 29 books. Theopompus' relations with Isocrates are discussed again in codex 260.
21. Philip V of Macedon (238-179 BC).
22. Duris of Samos was a scholar of the 4th century BC, whose works are lost. Cf. Schwartz, s. v. Duris (n. 3), in P. W., vol. V (1908), col. 1853-1856. He was a pupil of Theophrastus.
23. Cleochares came from Myrlea, a city of Bithynia on the Propontis east of Cyzicus. The error in the name may be by either Photius or his source. He was a rhetorician of the 3rd century BC, of no great importance. His comparison is found also attributed to Philip of Macedon in codex 265. Cf. Aulitzky, s. v. Kleochares (n. 5), in P. W., t. XI (1922), col. 672 sqq.
24. The Greek may also mean 'not inferior to any of Isocrates' followers'.
[Translated from Henry with reference to Wilson]
177. [Theodore of Antioch (Mopsuestia), Against those who say that men sin by nature and not by intention] 1.
Read a book whose subscription reads, "Theodore of Antioch, Against those who say that men sin by nature and not by intention." His polemic against those is developed in 5 books. He wrote this work against westerners touched by this ill; it is among them, he says, that the promoter of this heresy appeared: he left these and came to establish himself in eastern regions and there composed some books on the new heresy which he had imagined, and sent them to the inhabitants of his country of origin. By these writings, he attracted many people of those regions to adopt his views to the point where entire churches were filled with his error.
I cannot say with certainty whether the name of Aram which he gives to their chief is a name or nickname 2. This person, the author says, fashioned a fifth gospel which he feigns that he found in the libraries of Eusebius of Palestine. He rejected the translation of the New and the Old Testament published by the united Seventy and also those of Symmachus, Aquila 3, and others, and boasted that he had composed a new one of his own without, like the others, having studied and practised Hebrew since infancy and without having mastered the spirit of the Holy Scripture. Instead he put himself under the tuiton of some low-class Jews and there acquired the audacity to make his own version.
The principles of their heresy are, in summary, the following. Men sin, they say, by nature and not by intention; and 'by nature' they do not mean that nature which was in Adam when first created (because this, they say, was good because made by a good God), but that nature which was his later after the fall because of his ill conduct and sin. He received a sinful nature in exchange for the good and a mortal nature in exchange for an immortal; it is in this manner and by nature that men became sinners after having been good by nature. It is in their nature and not by a voluntary choice that they acquired sin.
The second point is connected to the preceding propositions. They say that infants, even newly born, are not free from sin because, since the disobedience of Adam, nature is fixed into sin and that this sinful nature, as was said, extends to all his descendants. They quote, he says, the verse, "I was born in sin" and others similar: the holy baptism itself; the communion with the incorruptible body for the remission of sins and the fact that these apply to infants as a confirmation of their own opinion. They claim also that no man is just, and this is thus obviously a corollary of their initial position, "because nothing of flesh can be justified before you," he says, and he cites other texts of the same kind.
The fourth point (O blasphemous and impious mouth) is that Christ himself, our God, because he put on a nature soiled by sin, was not himself free from sin. However, in other places in their impious writings, as the author says, it can be seen that they apply the Incarnation to Christ not in truth and in nature, but only in appearance.
The fifth point is that marriage, they say, or the desire of carnal union and the ejection of seed and all that is of that domain and by which our species perpetuates itself and increases itself are works of the evil nature into which Adam fell through sin to receive all the weight of the evils because of his sinful nature. Such are thus the positions of the heretics.
As for our Theodore, he repulses them with reason and sometimes it is in the best manner and with vigour that he blames the absurd and blasphemous character of their opinions; and, in returning to the words of Scripture that the others interpret against their correct meaning, he demonstrates their ignorance perfectly 1. On the other hand, this is not always the case, but he seems to us, in many places, entangled in the Nestorian heresy and echoes that of Origen, at least in that which concerns the end of punishment.
Further, he says that Adam was mortal from the beginning and that it was only in appearance, to make us hate sin, that God seemed to impose death on us as a punishment for sin; this assertion does not seem to me to proceed from just reasoning, but on the contrary it leaves much to explain if someone chooses to ask, even if, as the author wants to say, a opinion like his is strongly opposed to heresy. Because an idea is not good just because it fights a bad idea ---- in fact bad ideas combat each other ---- but that which conforms to valid reasoning and is supported by the testimony of the holy Scriptures is admissible, even if no heresy dares to oppose it.
There is a further point which in my judgement has no place among the dogmas of the truth, which is affirmed with excessive insistance and which is not recognised by the divine church: that there are two remissions of sin, one for what one has done and the other, what to call it I do not know, a remission which is the very fact of existing without sin or of sinning no more (in fact we need several explanatory terms in order to express this new kind of remission of sins). He calls what is properly called the absence of sin, the total remission and a more appropriate sense of the term and the complete destruction of error.
What then is this remission of sins? Where is it granted? When does it begin? It began to manifest, he says, with the incarnation of Christ our Lord and was given by way of a down-payment; and it is given in a perfect manner and based on our works even in that restoration which follows the resurrection and to obtain which we are baptised just like our children.
But what has been said so far is deserving enough of respect and close to nature to make us turn everything avidly towards our end. Tell us again, what is done and what is to do? In fact we will lend you an attentive ear. What is this famous total remission of sin? He says that we will sin no more after the resurrection. But what hopes you have dashed! Because, leaving to one side this investigation into the manner in which the remission of sin must be stated, I will explain myself briefly.
And what? It is for this, in your eyes, that the Christ became incarnate, and was crucified, ---- that you would sin no more when you were resurrected from among the dead? So those who sinned before Christ walked on earth sin among the dead? And, if we are not baptized, we will commit still more sins among the dead, according to you, us and the tiny infants? And all the infidels, in the future life, they will be able to commit thefts, adulteries, impieties, robberies, and to satisfy all their wicked passions? Because you will not find for them any chastisements just or heavy enough for faults committed in that life!
These then are the reasons why in my opinion it is proven that his idea of the remission of sins cannot be approved. Perhaps he himself did not arrive at this view on his own, but to resolve the difficulties raised by those who wonder why children participate in incorruptible mysteries and why it is thought that they merit baptism if this is not because they themselves are charged with sins, since this sin is bound up in their nature, because the sacraments are administered for the remission of sins. But it will be necessary to resolve this difficulty, which offers numerous elements of solution, in another way, and, after having examined the astonishing corollaries of his conception of the remission of sins, not to strain so hard for an answer.
This Theodore is the author who also write polemically with success in twenty-eight books against Eunomius to defend the teaching of St. Basil,4 or rather, the truth; in fact the vocabulary, the arrangement of words, the spirit of the dogmas, the richness of the refutation and all the rest offers nothing wrong. He is lacking in clarity, although he uses a vocabulary which contains nothing unusual, but most of the time he employs long periods and repeated digressions during which the sense of his arguments is much delayed. He employs oblique cases and participles in abundance; he often repeats the same facts in no particular order; his repetitions (in which there is a total lack of method) are longer than the matter of his book itself. Some defects of this kind produce a great obscurity in his writings.5 However he seems to have worked seriously at our holy scripture, although he deviates frequently from the truth.
1. This work is by Theodore of Mopsuestia (ca. 350-428AD). He was born in Antioch and became bishop of Mopsuestia in 392. He was a pupil of the famous pagan rhetorican Libanius, as was John Chrysostom. He wrote commentaries on many books of the bible, mostly lost, but substantial remains exist in catenae. He was the leading member of the Antiochene school of exegesis, which was opposed to excessively allegorical interpretation of the scripture and applied philological methods of the kind used on literature by pagan scholars. Photius also deals with his work in codices 4 and 38. This particular work is lost, but fragments exist quoted in Latin by Marius Mercator (5th century) and are printed in Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 66, col. 1005-1012 in the Collectio Palatina.
Note that the codex is headed 'Theodore of Antioch' in the manuscripts. This is misleading, and a marginal note was added from somewhere in a different hand in A, reading "this is the bishop of Mopsuestia, as we have gathered from some letters." Wilson suggests that the note may be due to Photius himself.
2. 'Aram' is generally agreed to be St. Jerome. It is curious that Theodore should invent a name, since Hieronymos Eusebios is a Greek name. The work of Jerome's 'composed in the Orient' is his Dialogi in Pelagianos (Dialogues against the Pelagians). Pelagius and his partisans exaggerated the importance of freewill, but the reaction of St. Jerome was to assert almost the opposite, which gave rise to attacks like those in the work treated here. The bad state of the preservation of the text of the works of Theodore, and the limited value of the Latin fragments, makes it hard to relate them to this summary of the Greek work, and difficult to know the thought of Theodore accurately.
3. Manuscript is literally 'Akylas'.
4. Codex 4.
5. This assessment is less favourable than that given in codex 4.
[Translated from Henry. I have yet to look at Wilson here]
178. [Dioscorides, On matter]
Read On Matter by Dioscorides, a work divided in seven books. In five of them he speaks about herbs, plants, aromatics, and the preparation of oils and unguents. He also deals with animals and the use that may be made of certain of their organs; of trees, the juices which come from them, or which lose them, of honey and also of milk, of grass, of plants that are called cereals or vegetables, of the roots of plants and of shrubs and herbs and of the usage of their juice for medicine or nourishment. Further, he deals in a fully sufficient manner with wines and metals and, for most of the items he intends to discuss, he describes the appearance, the nature of these items, and the places where they may be found in a very exact manner so that one can recognise the object searched for; he speaks less of the usage that one can make of them or he describes the search with less exactitude. He also gives various ways to deal with wines in this part.
In the sixth book, he discusses remedies: those which are harmful and those which attack illness. In the seventh, which is also the last of all his research, he undertakes an enquiry into animals that throw darts and on the means thanks to which those who have encountered these animals will find a relief and even a complete cure.
Such is the general purpose of the work. This book is useful not only for the practice of medicine, but also for speculations on philosophy and the natural sciences. Of all those since Dioscurides who have written about simples, some have merely copied his work, others have not even cared to transcribe it exactly, but have broken up the ensemble of teaching on each subject so as to group in one part the facts about appearance, nature and reproduction of simples, and in the other part to describe in detail their use and usefulness.
Alexander, Paul 2 and Aetius 3 and the other writers of the same kind have not even taken any account of the appearance of plants, but have merely extracted the information relating to their use to include in their own treatises; and further, Paul has left out what Dioscurides said about the use of plants, but has collected a number of facts on the use and usefulness of items which the latter did not mention. Aetius has not only added nothing, but has left out, I do not know why, much that Dioscurides wrote. And even Oribasos himself, who seems to be the most lengthy of them, has not transcribed in its own groups all that Dioscurides wrote, but has separated the use of the form and of the nature.
And Galen, apart from leaving out a very great number of facts on plants, has only transcribed the information on the powers and uses of the items of which he talks: he has only given a feeble justification of his omissions of form and nature. Although, in discussing herbs, he speaks of them with more detail than Dioscurides, exceeding the reputation of this writer in usefulness for this one part, which is not the least important, he surpasses him less all the same because he does not appear inferior to him in his treatise on plants. To my knowledge, for things that concern knowledge of appearance, nature and origin of these plants, no author can be found more useful than Dioscurides.
According to the testimony of Galen, the author was from Anazarba. Myself I have found in the subscriptio's [of manuscripts] that he is called at the same time from Anazarba and from Peda.4 Among the many authors who have treated the same subject before him, he is revealed as having the most exact and most useful usage of them all.
1. This work has survived in 5 books, while Photius knows of 7. It belongs to the 2nd century AD. The work was edited by Wellmann, Berlin: Weidmann (1906-14). See Wellmann, Dioskurides (n. 12), in P. W., vol. V (1905), col. 1131-1142. Dante placed Dioscurides in the first circle of Hell, that inhabited by the good pagans.
2. An important 7th century AD compiler. Cf. Diller, s. v. Paulus (n. 23), in P. W., t. XVIII, 2 (1949), col. 2386-2387.
3. Aetius of Amida, a 6th century AD writer. He was the author of a large compilation in 60 books (see codex 221). The three authors mentions knew Dioscurides work only indirectly, according to Wellmann. Cf. Wellmann, s. v. Aetios (n. 8), in P. W., t. I (1894), col. 703-704, et Supplementband I, col. 29
4. The manuscripts of his work call him [Greek]. This is without doubt the source of Photius' comment.
[Translated from Henry]
179. [Agapius, Manichaean pamphlets] 1
Read a work containing 23 small books and 202 other chapters by that detestable impiety, Agapius, in which he shows that the name of Christian is for him only a facade; and no-one allows himself to burst out his hate for Christ as much as he does in his writings. He dedicates them to a woman named Urania, whom he proclaims is an initiate of the same philosophy as himself.
He thus teaches and supports everything that is the opposite of Christianity: he places opposite God an evil principle which exists of itself for all eternity; he calls it sometimes 'nature', sometimes 'matter', sometimes again 'Satan', 'devil', 'master of the world', 'god of the age', and he gives it multiple other names. It is by necessity, and in spite of themselves, he claims, that men sin; the body belongs to the domain of evil, and the soul to that of God and it is (what insanity!) consubstantial with God. He pours derision on the Old Testament, Moses and the Prophets; he goes so far, the wretch, as to speak evil of the Forerunner; he ranges them together with all that is said and done in the Old Testament (O, the impiety!) on the side of the evil principle that is opposed to God.
The tree of Paradise, he imagines, is the Christ whom he claims to honour, but with his lips [only], while enough cannot be said of the extent to which he blasphemes him, by that which he does and by the beliefs that he professes. As for the consubstantial Trinity, this damned soul affirms that he confesses it, but that is an impious bit of malice designed solely, by the words of piety, to seduce those who come to him with too much ignorant simplicity and to slip in, by this sort of admixture, the fatal strand of his teaching, totally steeped in the poison of his error. Thus he says that he honours and preaches the body of Christ, and Christ crucified, and the Cross, and Baptism, the placing of Christ in the tomb and his resurrection, and the resurrection of the dead and the judgement: in a word, all the vocabulary proper to the true faith employed by Christians he transposes and applies to other notions which are either very bizarre or abominable or foreign or senseless or inadequate, and lacking in any coherence. He thus attempts to fortify his own heresy. And his impiety is exercised with so much cunning that, while feeding an unlimited hatred against Mary ever-virgin and Mother of the Christ our God, and waging an unmerciful war on her, he nevertheless in hypocrisy makes use of the name of Mary; by calling her the Mother of God, at the price of a lie, he shows neither fear of God nor the least shame. Also, while covering the precious and salutary Cross of Christ with a thousand insults, while calling it blasphemously the scarecrow of the Jews, he nevertheless has the impudence to say that he judges the cross of Christ worthy of honour and veneration, by naming in his malice things by names foreign to them.2
It is thus that he recounts about the body and blood of Christ not what we know of it, we Christians, but that which his mad and delirious mind has invented. He uses the words which the Christians use, but he uncouples them from the true realities. He speaks without shame of the sun and the moon as divinities, which he proclaims as consubstantial with God, and he himself imagines that their light is not sensible but intelligible; this is why he calls them incorporeal, without form or colour, and deserving of veneration.
He imagines that it is necessary to abstain from meat and conjugal connection as if they were infamous things; him, the most infamous of all! In rejecting wine also because it leads to drunkenness, our author does not take into account that it is not wine that intoxicates, but the fact of using it without measure or regard for decency, in the same way as the abuse of any food or water is harmful.
Poor fool, he also worships the air, which he hymns, calling it a column and a man. He holds in aversion fire and earth, which he places in the domain of evil. After gathering together more chatter and a number of his own pitfalls taken from pagan superstition and arranged as suits his own imagination, he offers a heap of evils and fills it with the impiety that constitutes his own dogma.
He also pulls out some words from the holy gospel and from the letters of St. Paul and he tries to pervert the sense of them and to turn them into words of his own heresy. As for the so-called Acts of the Twelve Apostles, those of Andrew above all, he shows that he relies on them to support his claim. He also wants to reinforce his belief in the migration of souls: those who are elevated because of virtue, he confounds with God; those who have gone to the limit of vice, he dedicates to the fire and the shadows, and those who have lived an existence in between he returns to the body.
He uses without shame as witnesses even those faithful to pagan religion, above all Plato, to establish his own impiety; he calls them divine and holy just like Christ his saviour; many of his other remarks are still more full of great folly, of malice and impiety.
He seems to attack the error of Eunomius, and it is impossible to say at what point one blasphemes with more impiety than the other.
In his vocabulary and style, he is not without meriting sometimes some respect, above all when he undertakes a description; in places he is vulgar and no different to that which is heard in the street. This wretch even possesses some philosophical knowledge, and leaves none of it its original integrity, but mixes and confounds them all. And, to bastardise the truth and righteousness, he lacks neither energy nor skill: in invention or reflection, he is insuperably obtuse and stupid. The utility of his impious and valueless treatise is solely to confuse and to the shame of those who are attached to the impious belief of the Manichaeans and to his own.
1. The work of this direct disciple of Manes is lost. Cf. Jülicher, s. v. Agapios (n. 2), in P. W., vol. I (1894), col. 735. It has sometimes been suggested that two works by Agapius are discussed here, but Henry thinks not.
2. Mani proclaimed himself 'apostle of Jesus Christ by the providence of God the father', and at the same time called himself the Paraclete that had been promised to be the author of a true revelation. See the Anti-Manichaean works of Augustine. Cf. G. Welter, Histoire des sectes chrétiennes, Paris, Payot, 1950, p. 36.
[Translated from Henry]
180. [John the Lydian, On prodigies, etc]
Read three treatises of John Laurentius of Lydian Philadelphia 1 : On prodigies, On the months, On the public magistracies. The treatise On prodigies, for all that I can judge from my experience, never leaves the domain of fable, or very seldom; that On the months, while it abounds in useless facts, is neither agreeable nor very interesting for the study of ancient times; as for that On the public magistracies, for those whom this subject interests above all, it contains information which is not lacking in elegance.
Moreover, this author is furnished to satiety with ornate passages, and in many places, to an excessive coldness and with too much audacity; sometime he writes in an appropriate and charming manner.
As for the rest, he suffers from great unevenness, arrogant when he should not be and humble, on the other hand, where he should not be. He flatters outrageously those of his own time; on those who have passed on and concerning whom he dreads no sanction for his insolence, he pours blame in floods.
For the style, there are some places where what he says is choice and elevates itself to atticism; elsewhere he is vulgar, negligent and without anything but triviality. Nevertheless in the treatises On prodigies and On the months no doubt he cannot be criticised too much on this subject; but when he sets himself to treat of political magistracies and to develop some historical narratives, he is guilty of the same unevenness as much in the style as in the ideas and in the composition of his writing; I see no excuse which can explain this similar negligence. This writer was a soldier under the order of prefects at the age of twenty-one; at forty he was a lawyer, then keeper of the tax-rolls; it is then, he says that he wrote these treatises and that he was appointed a dignitary of the court by the emperor. 2 As for the epoque in which he lived, he knew the reign of Anastasius, and lived to the end of those of Justin and his successor Justinian. In religion he seems devoted to superstition, because he respects and honours the beliefs of the pagans, but he honours ours also, without making it possible for his readers to decide easily whether he honours them by conviction or as one who plays a part.
1. This author is of the 6th century. Nothing more of his works has survived than the three works mentioned here. On the months and On magistracies have survived only in a mutilated form. On prodigies was published by Wachsmuth, Leipzig: Teubner (1896); On the months and On magistracies by R. Wensch, Leipzig: Teubner (1898 and 1903). On the author, see A. Klotz, s. v. Lydos (n. 7), in P. W., t. XIII (1927), col. 2210-2217.
2. Lydus gives his autobiography in On magistracies III, 26-30. This is the principal source on which Photius draws for this account. He did obtain facts elsewhere, such as the appointment as matriculaire. This is discussed on III, 66, p. 167 of Wensch edition. The information is more detailed than that in Suidas.
[Translated from Henry]
181. [Damascius, The Life of the philosopher Isidore]
Read "On the life of the philosopher Isidore" by Damascius of Damascus. The work is long and split into some 60 chapters. on setting out to write the life of Isidore, he dedicated his work to a certain Theodora who also observed pagan customs. She was not lacking in knowledge in the matter of philosophy and in all the touches on the poets and grammar; she was also an expert in the speculations of geometry and arithmetic; Damascius himself and Isidore had instructed her, and three young sisters at various times. this Theodora was the daughter of Cyrina and Diogenes, son of Eusebius son of Flavian, who was descended from Sampsigeramus and Monimus, of whom Iamblichus is also a descendant; all were in the first rank in the impiety of idolaters.
Thus Damascius dedicated his biography of Isidore to this person, whose request, together with other concomitant causes, was the stimulus for the writer to carry out the task, as he says himself. however it is not especially the life of Isidore which he describes, as also that of numerous people contemporary with this philosopher or earlier than in; he assembles their deeds, stories about them, and he uses digressions in abundance and even to satiety.
His opinion on things divine is that of an extreme impiety; strange old wives' stories fill his heart and writings; thus, our holy religion is visibly the object of frequent attacks on his part, although not frank attacks, and of a disguised malevolence. For all those whom he exalts in his writings and that he proclaims superior to the human condition for the excellence of their conceptions in knowledge and the agility of their thought, he sets himself up as judge of each, and there is not one of all those he admires whom he does not reproach for some defect: he that he exalts for his intelligence isn't intelligent on every point, he that is incomparable for his knowledge does not know everything, he whose virtues make him almost divine has lots of defects.
Thus each of those whom he was exalting is trivialised and reviled; in this way he arrogates to himself, by devious means, superiority over them all and in all. Also he works through his life of Isidore alternately praising and blaming him. Nevertheless, in the difficulties of logic, in the solutions he borrows and cites as remarkable, finally in those which he himself produces with great pride for the quickness of his thought and the exactitude of his knowledge, there can be found neither any construction of this author which rises above the standard ordinary philosophy, nor anything which qualifies as ability and mental agility by human standards, never mind those of the divine; ..
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