Lives of the Sophists
Dedicated by Flavius Philostratus to the most
I have written for you in two Books an account of certain men who, though they pursued philosophy, ranked as sophists, and also of the sophists properly so called; partly because I know that your own family is connected with that profession, since Herodes the sophist was your ancestor; but I remembered, too, the discussions we once held about the sophists at Antioch, in the temple of Daphnean Apollo. Their fathers' names I have not added in all cases, God forbid! but only for those who were the sons of illustrious men. For one thing I am aware that the sophist Critias also did not begin with the father's name as a rule, but only in the case of Homer mentioned his father, because the thing he had to relate was a marvel, namely, that Homer's father was a river [Meles, near Smyrna]. And further it would be no great piece of luck for one who desired to be really well informed, to know precisely who was So-and-so's father and mother, yet fail to learn what were the man's own virtues and vices, and in what he succeeded or failed, whether by luck or judgment. This essay of mine, best of proconsuls, will help to lighten the weight of cares on your mind, like Helen's cup with its Egyptian drugs [Odyssey iv. 220]. Farewell, leader of the Muses!
We must regard the ancient sophistic art as philosophic rhetoric. For it discusses the themes that philosophers treat of, but whereas they, by their method of questioning, set snares for knowledge, and advance step by step as they confirm the minor points of their investigations, but assert that they have still no sure knowledge, the sophist of the old school assumes a knowledge of that whereof he speaks. At any rate, he introduces his speeches with such phrases as "I know," or "I am aware," or "I have long observed," or "For mankind there is nothing fixed and sure." This kind of introduction gives a tone of nobility and self-confidence to a speech and implies a clear grasp of the truth. The method of the philosophers resembles the prophetic art which is controlled by man and was organized by the Egyptians and Chaldeans and, before them, by the Indians, who used to conjecture the truth by the aid of countless stars; the sophistic method resembles the prophetic art of soothsayers and oracles. For indeed one may hear the Pythian oracle say:
I know the number of the sands of the sea and the measure
Far-seeing Zeus gives a wooden wall to the Trito-Born, [Athena]
Nero, Orestes, Alcmaeon, matricides,
and many other things of this sort; just like a sophist.
Now ancient sophistic, even when it propounded philosophical themes, used to discuss them diffusely and at length [Plato, Sopjhist 217c]; for it discoursed on courage, it discoursed on justice, on the heroes and gods, and how the universe has been fashioned into its present shape. But the sophistic that followed it, which we must not call "new," for it is old, but rather "second," sketched the types of the poor man and the rich, of princes and tyrants, and handled arguments that are concerned with definite and special themes for which history shows the way. Gorgias of Leontini founded the older type in Thessaly [Plato, Meno 70 b.], and Aeschines, son of Atrometus, founded the second, after he had been exiled from political life at Athens and had taken up his abode in Caria and Rhodes; and the followers of Aeschines handled their themes with a view to elaborating the methods of their art, while the followers of Gorgias handled theirs with a view to proving their case.
The fountains of extempore eloquence flowed, some say, from Pericles their source, and hence Pericles has won his great reputation as an orator; but others say that it arose with Python of Byzantium, of whom Demosthenes says [Demosthenes, On the Crown 136] that he alone of the Athenians was able to check Python's insolent and overpowering flow of words; while yet others say that extempore speaking was an invention of Aeschines; for after he sailed from Rhodes to the court of Mausolus of Caria, he delighted the king by an improvised speech. But my opinion is that Aeschines did indeed improvise more often than any other speaker, when he went on embassies and gave reports of these missions, and when he defended clients in the courts and delivered political harangues; but I think that he left behind him only such speeches as he had composed with care, for fear that he might fall far short of the elaborate speeches of Demosthenes, and that it was Gorgias who founded the art of extempore oratory. For when he appeared in the theatre at Athens he had the courage to say, "Do you propose a theme"; and he was the first to risk this bold announcement, whereby he as good as advertised that he was omniscient and would speak on any subject whatever, trusting to the inspiration of the moment; and I think that this idea occurred to Gorgias for the following reason. Prodicus of Ceos had composed a certain pleasant fable in which Virtue and Vice came to Heracles in the shape of women, one of them dressed in seductive and many-colored attire, the other with no care for effect; and to Heracles, who was still young, Vice offered idleness and sensuous pleasures, while Virtue offered squalor and toil on toil. For this story Prodicus wrote a rather long epilogue, and then he toured the cities and gave recitations of the story in public, for hire, and charmed them after the manner of Orpheus 2 and Thamyris. For these recitations he won a great reputation at Thebes and a still greater at Sparta, as one who benefited the young by making this fable widely known. Thereupon Gorgias ridiculed Prodicus for handling a theme that was stale and hackneyed, and he abandoned himself to the inspiration of the moment. Yet he did not fail to arouse envy. There was at Athens a certain Chaerephon, not the one who used to be nicknamed "Boxwood " in Comedy ['tallow-faced'], because he suffered from anaemia due to hard study, but the one I now speak of had insolent manners and made scurrilous jokes; he rallied Gorgias for his ambitious efforts, and said: "Gorgias, why is it that beans blow out my stomach, but do not blow up the fire?" [The verb means both 'inflate' and 'blow the bellows.'] But he was not at all disconcerted by the question and replied: "This I leave for you to investigate; but here is a fact which I have long known, that the earth grows canes for such as you."
The Athenians when they observed the too great cleverness of the sophists, shut them out of the law-courts on the ground that they could defeat a just argument by an unjust, and that they used their power to warp men's judgment. That is the reason why Aeschines [e.g. Against Timarchus 170] and Demosthenes [e.g. On the Crown 276] branded each other with the title of sophist, not because it was a disgrace, but because the very word was suspect in the eyes of the jury; for in their career outside the courts they claimed consideration and applause on the very ground that they were sophists. In fact, Demosthenes, if we may believe Aeschines [Against Timarchus 170], used to boast to his friends that he had won over the votes of the jury to his own views; while Aeschines at Rhodes would not, I think, have given the first place to a study of which the Rhodians knew nothing before his coming, unless he had already devoted serious attention to it at Athens.
The men of former days applied the name "sophist," not only to orators whose surpassing eloquence won them a brilliant reputation, but also to philosophers who expounded their theories with ease and fluency. Of these latter, then, I must speak first, because, though they were not actually sophists, they seemed to be so, and hence came to be so called.
1. Eudoxus of Cnidus, though he devoted considerable study to the teachings of the Academy, was nevertheless placed on the list of sophists because his style was ornate and he improvised with success. He was honored with the title of sophist in the Hellespont and the Propontis, at Memphis, and in Egypt beyond Memphis where it borders on Ethiopia and the region inhabited by those wise men who are called Naked Philosophers [gymnosophists].
2. Leon of Byzantium was in his youth a pupil of Plato, but when he reached man's estate he was called a sophist because he employed so many different styles of oratory, and also because his repartees were so convincing. For example, when Philip brought an army against Byzantium, Leon went out to meet him and said: "Tell me, Philip, what moved you to begin war on us?" And when he replied: "Your birthplace, the fairest of cities, lured me on to love her, and that is why I have come to my charmer's door/' Leon retorted: "They come not with swords to the beloved's door who are worthy of requited love. For lovers need not the instruments of war but of music." And Byzantium was freed, after Demosthenes had delivered many speeches to the Athenians on her behalf, while Leon had said but these few words to Philip himself. When this Leon came on an embassy to Athens, the city had long been disturbed by factions and was being governed in defiance of established customs. When he came before the assembly he excited universal laughter, since he was fat and had a prominent paunch, but he was not at all embarrassed by the laughter. "Why," said he, "do ye laugh, Athenians? Is it because I am so stout and so big? I have a wife at home who is much stouter than I, and when we agree the bed is large enough for us both, but when we quarrel not even the house is large enough." Thereupon the citizens of Athens came to a friendly agreement, thus reconciled by Leon, who had so cleverly improvised to meet the occasion.
3. Dias of Ephesus made fast the cable of his philosophy to the Academy, but he was held to be a sophist for the following reason. When he saw that Philip was treating the Greeks harshly, he persuaded him to lead an expedition against Asia, and went to and fro telling the Greeks that they ought to accompany Philip on his expedition, since it was no dishonor to endure slavery abroad in order to secure freedom at home.
4. Carneades of Athens was also enrolled among the sophists, for though his mind had been equipped for the pursuit of philosophy, yet in virtue of the force and vigor of his orations he attained to an extraordinarily high level of eloquence.
5. I am aware that Philostratus the Egyptian also, though he studied philosophy with Queen Cleopatra, was called a sophist. This was because he adopted the panegyrical and highly-colored type of eloquence; which came of associating with a woman who regarded even the love of letters as a sensuous pleasure. Hence the following elegiac couplet was composed as a parody aimed at him:
Acquire the temperament of that very wise man, Philostratus, who, fresh from his intimacy with Cleopatra, has taken on colors like hers. [Theognis 215]
6. Theomnestus of Naucratis was by profession a philosopher, but the elaborate and rhetorical style of his speeches caused him to be classed with the sophists.
7. As for Dio of Prusa, I do not know what one ought to call him, such was his excellence in all departments; for, as the proverb says, he was a "horn of Amalthea, [the horn of plenty, or cornucopia, was said to have belonged to a goat named Amalthea which suckled the infant Zeus]," since in him is compounded the noblest of all that has been most nobly expressed. His style has the ring of Demosthenes and Plato, but Dio has besides a peculiar resonance of his own, which enhances theirs as the bridge enhances the tone of musical instruments; and it was combined with a serious and direct simplicity of expression. Again, in Dio's orations the elements of his own noble character were admirably displayed. For though he very often rebuked licentious cities, he did not show himself acrimonious or ungracious, but like one who restrains an unruly horse with the bridle rather than the whip; and when he set out to praise cities that were well governed, he did not seem to extol them, but rather to guide their attention to the fact that they would be ruined if they should change their ways. In other connections also the temper of his philosophy was never vulgar or ironical; and though his attacks were made with a heavy hand, they were tempered and as it were seasoned with benevolence. That he had also a talent for writing history is proved by his treatise On the Getae; he did in fact travel as far as the Getae during his wandering as an exile. As for his Tale of Euboea, the Encomium of a Parrot, and all those writings in which he handled themes of no great importance, we must not regard them as mere trifles, but rather as sophistic compositions; for it is characteristic of a sophist to devote serious study to themes even so slight as these.
He lived at a time when Apollonius of Tyana and Euphrates of Tyre were teaching their philosophy, and he was intimate with both men, though in their quarrel with one another they went to extremes that are alien to the philosophic temper. His visit to the Getic tribes I cannot rightly call exile, since he had not been ordered to go into exile, yet it was not merely a traveller's tour, for he vanished from men's sight, hiding himself from their eyes and ears, and occupying himself in various ways in various lands, through fear of the tyrants in the capital [Rome] at whose hands all philosophy was suffering persecution. [Life of Apollonius vii. 4.] But while he planted and dug, drew water for baths and gardens, and performed many such menial tasks for a living, he did not neglect the study of letters, but sustained himself with two books; these were the Phaedo of Plato, and Demosthenes On the False Embassy. He often visited the military camps in the rags he was wont to wear, and after the assassination of Domitian, when he saw that the troops were beginning to mutiny [Suetonius Domitian 23], he could not contain himself at the sight of the disorder that had broken out, but stripped off his rags, leaped on to a high altar, and began his harangue with the verse:
Then Odysseus of many counsels stripped him of his rags, [Odyssey xxii. 1.]
and having said this and thus revealed that he was no beggar, nor what they believed him to be, but Dio the sage, he delivered a spirited and energetic indictment of the tyrant; and he convinced the soldiers that they would be wiser if they acted in accordance with the will of the Roman people. And indeed the persuasive charm of the man was such as to captivate even men who were not versed in Greek letters. An instance of this is that the Emperor Trajan in Rome set him by his side on the golden chariot in which the Emperors ride in procession when they celebrate their triumphs in war, and often he would turn to Dio and say: "I do not understand what you are saying, but I love you as I love myself."
The images employed by Dio in his orations are entirely in the sophistic manner, but though he abounds in them his style is nevertheless clear and in keeping with the matter in hand.
8. Favorinus the philosopher, no less than Dio, was proclaimed a sophist by the charm and beauty of his eloquence. He came from Western Gaul, from the city of Arelatum [Arles] which is situated on the river Rhone. He was born double-sexed, a hermaphrodite, and this was plainly shown in his appearance; for even when he grew old he had no beard; it was evident too from his voice which sounded thin, shrill, and high-pitched, with the modulations that nature bestows on eunuchs also. Yet he was so ardent in love that he was actually charged with adultery by a man of consular rank. Though he quarrelled with the Emperor Hadrian, he suffered no ill consequences. Hence he used to say in the ambiguous style of an oracle, that there were in the story of his life these three paradoxes: Though he was a Gaul he led the life of a Hellene; a eunuch, he had been tried for adultery; he had quarrelled with an Emperor and was still alive. But this must rather be set down to the credit of Hadrian, seeing that, though he was Emperor, he disagreed on terms of equality with one whom it was in his power to put to death. For a prince is really superior if he controls his anger
When he is wrath with a lesser man, [Iliad i. 80.]
Mighty is the anger of Zeus-nurtured kings,
if only it be kept in check by reason. Those who endeavor to guide and amend the morals of princes would do well to add this saying to the sentiments expressed by the poets.
He was appointed high priest [president of the public games], whereupon he appealed to the established usage of his birthplace, pleading that, according to the laws on such matters, he was exempt from public services because he was a philosopher. But when he saw that the Emperor intended to vote against him on the ground that he was not a philosopher, he forestalled him in the following way. "O Emperor," he cried, "I have had a dream of which you ought to be informed. My teacher Dio appeared to me, and with respect to this suit admonished and reminded me that we come into the world not for ourselves alone, but also for the country of our birth. Therefore, O Emperor, I obey my teacher, and I undertake this public service." Now the Emperor had acted thus merely for his own diversion, for by turning his mind to philosophers and sophists he used to lighten the responsibilities of Empire. The Athenians however took the affair seriously, and, especially the Athenian magistrates themselves, hastened in a body to throw down the bronze statue of Favorinus as though he were the Emperor's bitterest enemy. Yet on hearing of it Favorinus showed no resentment or anger at the insult, but observed: "Socrates himself would have been the gainer, if the Athenians had merely deprived him of a bronze statue, instead of making him drink hemlock."
He was very intimate with Herodes the sophist who regarded him as his teacher and father, and wrote to him: "When shall I see you, and when shall I lick the honey from your lips?" [An echo of Aristophanes frag. 231.] Accordingly at his death he bequeathed to Herodes all the books that he had collected, his house in Rome, and Autolecythus. [The name means 'he who carries his own oil-flask' which was the mark of a slave.] This was an Indian, entirely black, a pet of Herodes and Favorinus, for as they drank their wine together he used to divert them by sprinkling his Indian dialect with Attic words and by speaking barbarous Greek with a tongue that stammered and faltered.
The quarrel that arose between Polemo and Favorinus began in Ionia, where the Ephesians favoured Favorinus, while Smyrna admired Polemo; and it became more bitter in Rome; for there consuls and sons of consuls by applauding either one or the other started between them a rivalry such as kindles the keenest envy and malice even in the hearts of wise men. However they may be forgiven for that rivalry, since human nature holds that the love of glory never grows old [Thucydides ii. 44]; but they are to be blamed for the speeches that they composed assailing one another; for personal abuse is brutal, and even if it be true, that does not acquit of disgrace even the man who speaks about such things. And so when people called Favorinus a sophist, the mere fact that he had quarrelled with a sophist was evidence enough; for that spirit of rivalry of which I spoke is always directed against one's competitors in the same craft. [Hesiod, Works and Days 25.]
His style of eloquence was careless in construction, but it was both learned and pleasing. It is said that he improvised with ease and fluency. As for the speeches against Proxenus, we must conclude that Favorinus would neither have conceived nor composed them, but that they are the work of an immature youth who was intoxicated at the time, or rather he vomited them. But the speeches On One Untimely Dead, and For the Gladiators, and For the Baths, I judge to be genuine and well written; and this is far more true of his dissertations on philosophy, of which the best are those on the doctrines of Pyrrho [On the Tropes of Pyrrho]; for he concedes to the followers of Pyrrho the ability to make a legal decision, though in other matters they suspend their judgment.
When he delivered discourses in Rome, the interest in them was universal, so much so that even those in his audience who did not understand the Greek language shared in the pleasure that he gave; for he fascinated even them by the tones of his voice, by his expressive glance and the rhythm of his speech. They were also enchanted by the epilogue of his orations, which they called "The Ode," though I call it mere affectation, since it is arbitrarily added at the close of an argument that has been logically proved. He is said to have been a pupil of Dio, but he is as different from Dio as any who never were his pupils. This is all I have to say about the men who, though they pursued philosophy, had the reputation of sophists. But those who were correctly styled sophists were the following.
9. Sicily produced Gorgias of Leontini, and we must consider that the art of the sophists carries back to him as though he were its father. For if we reflect how many additions Aeschylus made to tragedy when he furnished her with her proper costume and the buskin that gave the actor's height, with the types of heroes, with messengers who tell what has happened at home and abroad, and with the conventions as to what must be done both before and behind the scenes, then we find that this is what Gorgias in his turn did for his fellow-craftsmen. For he set an example to the sophists with his virile and energetic style, his daring and unusual expressions, his inspired impressiveness, and his use of the grand style for great themes; and also with his habit of breaking off his clauses and making sudden transitions, by which devices a speech gains in sweetness and sublimity; and he also clothed his style with poetic words for the sake of ornament and dignity. That he also improvised with the greatest facility I have stated at the beginning of my narrative; and when, already advanced in years, he delivered discourses at Athens, there is nothing surprising in the fact that he won applause from the crowd; but he also, as is well known, enthralled the most illustrious men, not only Critias and Alcibiades, who were both young men, but also Thucydides and Pericles who were by that time well on in years. Agathon also, the tragic poet, whom Comedy calls a clever poet and "lovely in his speech," [Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 49] often imitates Gorgias in his iambics.
Moreover, he played a distinguished part at the religious festivals of the Greeks, and declaimed his Pythian Oration from the altar; and for this his statue was dedicated in gold and was set up in the temple of the Pythian god. His Olympian Oration dealt with a theme of the highest importance to the state. For, seeing that Greece was divided against itself, he came forward as the advocate of reconciliation, and tried to turn their energies against the barbarians and to persuade them not to regard one another's cities as the prize to be won by their arms, but rather the land of the barbarians. [cf. Isocrates Panegyric 42.] The Funeral Oration, which he delivered at Athens, was spoken in honor of those who had fallen in the wars, to whom the Athenians awarded public funerals and panegyrics, and it is composed with extraordinary cleverness. For though he incited the Athenians against the Medes and Persians, and was arguing with the same purpose as in the Olympian Oration, he said nothing about a friendly agreement with the rest of the Greeks, for this reason, that it was addressed to Athenians who had a passion for empire, and that could not be attained except by adopting a drastic line of policy. But he dwelt openly on their victories over the Medes and praised them for these, making it evident to them the while that victories over barbarians call for hymns of praise, but victories over Greeks for dirges.
It is said that though Gorgias attained to the age of 108, his body was not weakened by old age, but to the end of his life he was in sound condition, and his senses were the senses of a young man.
10. Protagoras of Abdera, the sophist, was a pupil of Democritus in the city of his birth, and he also associated with the Persian magi when Xerxes led his expedition against Greece. For his father was Maeander, who had amassed wealth beyond most men in Thrace; he even entertained Xerxes in his house, and, by giving him presents, obtained his permission for his son to study with the magi. For the Persian magi do not educate those that are not Persians, except by command of the Great King. And when he says that he has no knowledge whether the gods exist or not, I think that Protagoras derived this heresy from his Persian education. For though the magi invoke the gods in their secret rites, they avoid any public profession of belief in a deity, because they do not wish it to be thought that their own powers are derived from that source. It was for this saying that he was outlawed from the whole earth by the Athenians, as some say after a trial, but others hold that the decree was voted against him without the form of a trial. And so he passed from island to island and from continent to continent, and while trying to avoid the Athenian triremes [cf. Plutarch Pericles 11] which were distributed over every sea, he was drowned when sailing in a small boat.
He was the first to introduce the custom of charging a fee for lectures, and so was the first to hand down to the Greeks a practice which is not to be despised, since the pursuits on which we spend money we prize more than those for which no money is charged. Plato recognized [Protagoas 349a and Gorgias 520c] that though Protagoras had a dignified style of eloquence, that dignity was a mask for his real indolence of mind, and that he was at times too long-winded and lacked a sense of proportion, and so, in a long myth, he hit off the main characteristics of the other's style.
11. Hippias of Elis, the sophist, had such extraordinary powers of memory, even in his old age, that after hearing fifty names only once he could repeat them from memory in the order in which he had heard them. He introduced into his discourses discussions on geometry, astronomy, music, and rhythms, and he also lectured on painting and the art of sculpture. These were the subjects that he handled in other parts of Greece, but in Sparta he described the different types of states and colonies and their activities, because the Spartans, owing to their desire for empire, took pleasure in this kind of discourse. There is also extant by him a Trojan dialogue which is not an oration — Nestor in Troy, after it has been taken, expounds to Neoptolemus the son of Achilles what course one ought to pursue in order to win a good name. On behalf of Elis he went on more embassies than any other Greek, and in no case did he fail to maintain his reputation, whether when making public speeches or lecturing, and at the same time he amassed great wealth and was enrolled in the tribes [i.e. he was given the privileges of a citizen] of cities both great and small. In order to make money he also visited Inycus, a small town in Sicily, to whose people Plato alludes sarcastically [Hippias Major 280e]. In the rest of his time also he won renown for himself, and used to charm the whole of Greece at Olympia by his ornate and carefully studied orations. His style was never meagre, but copious and natural, and he seldom had to take refuge in the vocabulary of the poets.
12. Prodicus of Ceos had so great a reputation for wisdom that, even the son of Gryllus [Xenophon], when he was a prisoner in Boeotia, used to attend his lectures, after procuring bail for himself. When he, came on an embassy to Athens and appeared before the Senate, he proved to be the most capable ambassador possible, though he was hard to hear and had a very deep bass voice. He used to hunt out well-born youths and those who came from wealthy families [Plato Sophist 231d], so much so that he even had agents employed in this pursuit; for he had a weakness for making money and was addicted to pleasure. Even Xenophon [Memorabilia ii. 1.21] did not disdain to relate the fable of Prodicus called The Choice of Heracles, which I mentioned when I began my narrative. As for the language of Prodicus, why should I describe its characteristics, when Xenophon has given so complete a sketch of it?
13. Polus of Agrigentum, the sophist, was trained in the art by Gorgias, and for this he paid, as we are told, very high fees; for in fact Polus was a wealthy man. Some say that Polus was the first to use clauses that exactly balance, antitheses, and similar endings; but they are mistaken in so saying; for rhetorical ornament of this kind was already invented, and Polus merely employed it to excess. Hence Plato, to express his contempt for Polus because of this affectation, says: "O polite Polus! to address you in your own style." [Gorgias 467b.]
14. Those who include Thrasymachus of Chalcedon among the sophists fail, in my opinion, to understand Plato when he says [Republic 341c] that shaving a lion is the same thing as trying to get the law of Thrasymachus. For this saying really amounts to taunting him with writing legal speeches for clients, and spending his time in the law courts trumping up cases for the prosecution.
15. As for Antiphon of Rhamnus, I am uncertain whether one ought to call him a good or a bad man. On the one hand he may be called a good man, for the following reasons. Very often he held commands in war, very often he was victorious; he added to the Athenian navy sixty fully equipped triremes; he was held to be the most able of men, both in the art of speaking and in the invention of themes. On these grounds, then, he deserves praise from me or any other. But on the other hand there are evidently good reasons for regarding him as a bad man, and they are the following. He broke up the democracy; he enslaved the Athenian people; he sided with Sparta, secretly at first, but openly later on; and he let loose on the public life of Athens the mob of the Four Hundred Tyrants. [Thucydides viii. 68.]
Some say that Antiphon invented rhetoric which before him did not exist, others that it was already invented, but that he widened its scope; some say that he was self-taught, others that he owed his erudition to his father's teaching. For, say they, his father was Sophilus who taught the art of composing rhetorical speeches and educated the son of Cleinias [Alcibiades], as well as other men of great influence. Antiphon achieved an extraordinary power of persuasion, and having been nicknamed "Nestor " because of his ability to convince his hearers, whatever his theme, he announced a course of "sorrow-assuaging" lectures, asserting that no one could tell him of a grief so terrible that he could not expel it from the mind. Antiphon is attacked in Comedy for being too clever in legal matters, and for selling for large sums of money speeches composed in defiance of justice for the use of clients whose case was especially precarious. The nature of this charge I will proceed to explain. In the case of other branches of science and the arts, men pay honor to those who have won distinction in any one of these fields; that is to say, they pay more honor to physicians who are skillful than to those who are less skillful; in the arts of divination and music they admire the expert, and for carpentering and all the inferior trades they cast the same sort of vote; only in the case of rhetoric, even while they praise it they suspect it of being rascally and mercenary and constituted in despite of justice. And it is not only the crowd who so regard this art, but also the most distinguished among the men of sound culture. At any rate they apply the term "clever rhetorician" to those who show skill in the invention of themes and their exposition, thus attaching a far from flattering label to this particular excellence. Seeing that such conditions exist, it was, I think, not unnatural that Antiphon like the rest should become a theme for Comedy; for it is just the things which deserve to be a theme that Comedy makes fun of.
He was put to death in Sicily by Dionysius the tyrant, and I ascribe to Antiphon himself rather than to Dionysius the responsibility for his death. For he used to run down the tragedies of Dionysius, though Dionysius prided himself more on these than on his power as a tyrant; and once when the tyrant was interested in finding out where the best kind of bronze was produced, and asked the bystanders what continent or island produced the best bronze, Antiphon broke into the conversation and said, "The best I know of is at Athens, of which the statues of Harmodius and Aristogeiton [who overthrew the tyrants at Athens] have been made." The result of this behavior was that he was put to death on the charge of plotting against Dionysius and turning the Sicilians against him. And Antiphon was in the wrong, in the first place, for provoking a collision with a tyrant under whom he had chosen to live rather than be under a democracy at home; secondly he was wrong in trying to free the Sicilians, whereas he had tried to enslave the Athenians. Furthermore, in diverting Dionysius from writing tragedy he really diverted him from being easy-going; for pursuits of that sort belong to an easy temper, and their subjects may well prefer tyrants when they are slack rather than when they are strung up. For when they slacken their energies they will put fewer men to death, they will do less violence and plunder less; so that a tyrant who occupies himself with tragedies may be likened to a physician who is sick, but is trying to heal himself. For the writing of myths and monodies and choric rhythms and the representation of characters, the greater part of which necessarily present what is morally good, diverts tyrants from their own implacable and violent temper as taking medicines diverts the course of disease. What I have just said we must not regard as an indictment of Antiphon, but rather as advice to all men not to provoke tyrants against themselves, or excite to wrath their savage dispositions.
A good many of his legal speeches are extant, and they show his great oratorical power and all the effects of art. Of the sophistic type there are several, but more sophistic than any is the speech On Concord, in which are brilliant philosophical maxims and a lofty style of eloquence, adorned moreover with the flowers of poetical vocabulary; and their diffuse style makes them seem like smooth plains.
16. Critias the sophist, even though he did overthrow democratic government at Athens, was not thereby proved to be a bad man; for the democracy might well have been overthrown from within, since it had become so overbearing and insolent that it would not heed even those who governed according to the established laws. But seeing that he conspicuously sided with Sparta, and betrayed the holy places to the enemy; that he pulled down the walls by the agency of Lysander; that he deprived the Athenians whom he drove into exile of any place of refuge in Greece by proclaiming that Sparta would wage war on any that should harbor an Athenian exile; that in brutality and bloodthirstiness he surpassed even the Thirty; that he shared in the monstrous design of Sparta to make Attica look like a mere pasture for sheep by emptying her of her human herd; for all this I hold him to be the greatest criminal of all who are notorious for crime. Now if he had been an uneducated man, led astray into these excesses, there would be some force in the explanation of those who assert that he was demoralized by Thessaly and the society that he frequented there; for characters that lack education are easily led to choose any sort of life. But since he had been highly educated and frequently delivered himself of philosophical maxims, and his family dated back to Dropides who was archon at Athens next after Solon, he cannot be acquitted in the sight of most men of the charge that these crimes were due to his own natural wickedness.
Then again it is a strange thing that he did not grow to be like Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus, with whom above all others he studied philosophy and who had the reputation of being the wisest and the most just of his times; but did grow to be like the Thessalians, who maintain by force an insolent arrogance, and practice tyrannical customs even in their wine-drinking. However, not even the Thessalians neglected learning, but all the cities great and small in Thessaly tried to write like Gorgias and looked to Gorgias of Leontini; and they would have changed over and tried to write like Critias, if Critias had made any public display in their country of his own peculiar skill. But for this kind of success he cared nothing, and instead he tried to make the oligarchies more oppressive to the people, by conversing with the men in power there and assailing all popular government, and by falsely accusing the Athenians of an unheard of number of crimes; so that, taking all this into consideration, it would seem that Critias corrupted the Thessalians, rather than the Thessalians Critias.
He was put to death by Thrasybulus and his party who restored the democracy from Phyle, and there are those who think that he played an honorable part at the last, because his tyranny became his shroud. But let me declare my opinion that no human being can be said to have died nobly for a cause that he took up in defiance of the right. And I believe that this is the reason why this man's wisdom and his writings are held in slight esteem by the Greeks; for unless our public utterances and our moral character are in accord, we shall seem, like flutes, to speak with a tongue that is not our own.
As regards the style of his oratory, Critias abounded in brief and sententious sayings, and he was most skillful in the use of elevated language, but not of the dithyrambic sort, nor did he have recourse to words borrowed from poetry; but his was the kind of elevated language that is composed of the most appropriate words and is not artificial. I observe, moreover, that he was a master of concise eloquence, and that even when he maintained the tone proper to a speech in defense, he used to make vigorous attacks on his opponent; and that he Atticized, but in moderation, nor did he use outlandish words — for bad taste in Atticizing is truly barbarous — but his Attic words shine through his discourse like the gleams of the sun's rays. Critias also secures a charming effect by passing without connectives from one part of his speech to another. Then, too, Critias strives for the daring and unusual both in thought and expression, yet his eloquence is somewhat lacking in virility, though it is agreeable and smooth, like the breath of the west wind.
17. The Siren which stands on the tomb of Isocrates the sophist — its pose is that of one singing — testifies to the man's persuasive charm, which he combined with the conventions and customs of rhetoric. For though he was not the inventor of clauses that exactly balance, antitheses, and similar endings, since they had already been invented, nevertheless he employed those devices with great skill. He also paid great attention to rhetorical amplification, rhythm, structure, and a striking effect, and in fact it was by his study of these very things that Demosthenes achieved his eloquence. For though Demosthenes was a pupil of Isaeus, it was on Isocrates that he modelled himself, but he surpassed him in fire and impetuosity, in amplification, and in rapidity both of speech and thought. Again, the grand style in Demosthenes is more vigorous, while in Isocrates it is more refined and suave. Let me give a specimen of the grand style of Demosthenes: "For to all mankind the end of life is death, though a man keep himself shut up in a closet; yet it is the duty of brave men ever to set their hands to all honorable tasks, setting their good hope before them as their shield, and endure nobly whatever comes from the hand of God." [On the Crown 97.] With Isocrates on the other hand, the grand style is ornate, as in the following: "For since the whole earth that lies beneath the heavens is divided into two parts, and one is called Asia, the other Europe, he has received by the treaty one half thereof, as though he were dividing the territory with Zeus." [Panegyricus 179.]
He shrank from political life and did not attend political assemblies, partly because his voice was not strong enough, partly because of the jealous distrust that in politics at Athens was always especially opposed to those who had a talent above the average for public speaking. [cf. Thucydides iii. 38.] Yet in spite of this he took a strong interest in public affairs. Hence in the letters that he addressed to Philip he tried to reconcile him with the Athenians; in his writings on peace he tried to wean the Athenians from their maritime policy, on the ground that they thereby injured their reputation; and there is also his Panegyric which he delivered at Olympia, when he tried to persuade Greece to cease from domestic quarrels and make war on Asia. This oration, though it is the finest of all, nevertheless gave rise to the charge that it had been compiled from the works of Gorgias on the same subject. The most skillfully composed of all the works of Isocrates are the Archidamus and the speech called Without Witnesses [Against Euthynous]. For the former is animated throughout by the desire to revive men's courage and spirit after the defeat at Leuctra, and not only is its language exquisitely chosen, but its composition is brilliant also, and the whole speech is in the style of a legal argument; so that even the myth in it, the story of Heracles and the oxen [Heracles carried off the oxen of Geryon], is expressed with vigor and energy. Again, the speech Without Witnesses in its rhythms displays a well-restrained energy, for it is composed of periods of equal length, as one idea follows another.
Isocrates had many pupils, but the most illustrious was the orator Hypereides; for as for Theopompus of Chios and Ephorus of Cumae, I will neither criticize nor commend them. Those who think that Comedy aimed her shafts at Isocrates because he was a maker of flutes [cf. pseudo-Plutarch Isocrates 836e], are mistaken; for though his father was Theodorus, who was known in Athens as a flute-maker, Isocrates himself knew nothing about flute-making; or any other sordid trade; and he certainly would not have been honored with the statue at Olympia if he had ever been employed in any low occupation. He died at Athens, aged about one hundred years, and we must reckon him among those who perished in war, seeing that he died after the battle of Chaeronea because he could not support the tidings of the Athenian defeat.
18. Aeschines, the son of Atrometus, we are accustomed to call the founder of the Second Sophistic, and with respect to him the following facts must be borne in mind. The whole government at Athens was divided into two parties, of which one was friendly to the Persian king, the other to the Macedonians. Now among those who favored the Persian king, Demosthenes of the deme Paeania was the recognized leader, while Aeschines of the deme Cothidae led those who looked to Philip; and sums of money used to arrive regularly from both these, from the king because with the aid of Athenians he kept Philip too busy to invade Asia; and from Philip in the attempt to destroy the power of Athens which hindered him from crossing over into Asia.
The quarrel between Aeschines and Demosthenes arose partly because of this very fact that the former was working in the interests of one king and the latter in the interests of another; but also, in my opinion, because they were of wholly opposite temperaments. For between temperaments that are antagonistic to one another there grows up a hatred that has no other grounds. And naturally antagonistic the two men were, for the following reasons. Aeschines was a lover of wine, had agreeable and easy manners, and was endowed with all the charm of a follower of Dionysus; and in fact while he was still a mere boy, he actually played minor parts for ranting tragic actors [Demosthenes On the Crown 262]. Demosthenes, on the other hand, had a gloomy expression and an austere brow, and was a water-drinker; hence he was reckoned an ill-tempered and unsociable person, and especially so when the two men along with others went on an embassy to Philip, and as messmates the one showed himself pliant and amiable to his fellow-ambassadors, while the other was stiff and dry and took everything too seriously. And their quarrel was intensified by the discussions about Amphipolis in Philip's presence, when Demosthenes broke down in his speech [Aeschines, On the False Embassy, 34]; but Aeschines . . . was not one of those who ever throw away the shield, as is evident when one considers the battle of Tamynae, when the Athenians defeated the Boeotians. As a reward for his part in this he was crowned by the state, both for his conduct in general and because he had conveyed the good news of the victory with extraordinary speed. When Demosthenes accused him of being responsible for the Phocian disaster [Demosthenes, On the Crown, 142], the Athenians acquitted him of the charge, but after Antiphon had been condemned Aeschines was found guilty without a trial, and the court of the Areopagus deprived him of the right to join them in pleading for the temple on Delos. [The Athenians were defending their right to control the sanctuary of Apollo on Delos.] And after he had been nominated as a deputy to Pylae [On the Crown 149] he did not escape suspicion from most men of having himself prompted Philip to seize Elatea, by his action in stirring up the synod at Pylae with his specious words and fables. [Demosthenes, On the Crown 143.] He secretly left Athens, not because he had been ordered to go into exile, but in order to avoid the political disgrace which he had incurred when he failed to secure the necessary votes in his suit against Demosthenes and Ctesiphon. It was his purpose, when he set out on his journey, to go to Alexander, since the latter was on the point of arriving at Babylon and Susa. But when he touched at Ephesus he learned that Alexander was dead, and that therefore things were greatly disturbed in Asia, so he took up his abode at Rhodes, for the island is well adapted to literary pursuits, and having transformed Rhodes into a school for sophists, he continued to live there, sacrificing to peace and the Muses, and introducing Attic customs into the Dorian mode of life.
As an extempore speaker he was easy and fluent and employed the inspired manner, in fact he was the first to win applause by this means. For hitherto the inspired manner in oratory had not become a regular device of the sophists, but it dates from Aeschines, who extemporized as though he were carried away by a divine impulse, like one who exhales oracles. He was a pupil of Plato, and Isocrates, but his success was due in great part to natural talent. For in his orations shines the light of perfect lucidity, he is at once sublime and seductive, energetic and delightful, and in a word his sort of eloquence defies the efforts of those who would imitate it.
There are three orations of Aeschines; but some ascribe to him a fourth besides, On Delos, though it does no credit to his eloquence. Nor is it at all likely that after having composed so plausibly and with such charm those speeches about Amphissa, the people by whom the plain of Cirrha was consecrated to the god [Aeschines, Against Ctesiphon, 119 foll.], when his design was to injure Athens, as Demosthenes says, he would have handled so unskillfully the myths about Delos, which are concerned with the nature and descent of the gods and the story of bygone times, and that too when he was arguing the case of the Athenians, who considered it of the utmost importance not to fail to maintain the custody of the temple at Delos. Accordingly we must limit the eloquence of Aeschines to three orations, which are: Against Timarchus, In Defense of the Embassy, and the speech Against Ctesiphon. There is also extant a fourth work of his, the Letters, which, though they are few, are full of learning and character. What that character was he clearly showed at Rhodes. For once after he had read in public his speech Against Ctesiphon, they were expressing their surprise that he had been defeated after so able a speech, and were criticizing the Athenians as out of their senses, but Aeschines. said: "You would not marvel thus if you had heard Demosthenes in reply to these arguments." Thus he not only praised his enemy but also acquitted the jury from blame.
19. We will pass over Ariobarzanes of Cilicia, Xenophron of Sicily, and Peithagoras of Cyrene, who showed no skill either in invention or in the expression of their ideas, though in the scarcity of first-rate sophists they were sought after by the Greeks of their day, as men seek after pulse when they are short of corn; and we will proceed to Nicetes of Smyrna. For this Nicetes found the science of oratory reduced to great straits, and he bestowed on it approaches far more splendid even than those which he himself built for Smyrna, when he connected the city with the gate that looks to Ephesus, and by this great structure raised his deeds to the same high level as his words. He was a man who, when he dealt with legal matters, seemed to be a better lawyer than anything else, and again when he dealt with sophistic themes he seemed to do better as a sophist, because of the peculiar skill and the keen spirit of competition with which he adapted himself to both styles. For he adorned the legal style with sophistic amplification, while he reinforced the sophistic style with the sting of legal argument. His type of eloquence forsook the antique political convention and is almost bacchic and like a dithyramb, and he produces phrases that are peculiar and surprise by their daring, like "the thyrsi of Dionysus drip with honey," and "swarms of milk."
Though he was deemed worthy of the highest honour in Smyrna, which left nothing unsaid in its loud praise of him as a marvellous man and a great orator, he seldom came forward to speak in the public assembly; and when the crowd accused him of being afraid: "I am more afraid," said he, "of the public when they praise than when they abuse me." And once when a tax-collector behaved insolently to him in the law court, and said: "Stop barking at me," Nicetes replied with ready wit: "I will, by Zeus, if you too will stop biting me."
His journey beyond the Alps and the Rhine was made at the command of the Emperor, and the reason for it was as follows. A consul named Rufus was governing Smyrna with great harshness and malevolence, and Nicetes having come into collision with him in a certain matter, said " Good day " to him and did not again appear before his court. Now so long as Rufus was procurator of only one city, he did not take serious offense at this behavior; but when he became prefect of the armies in Gaul his anger revived in his memory; for men are uplifted by success in various ways, but especially they refuse any longer to tolerate things that, before their success, when they used ordinary human standards, they used to tolerate. Accordingly he wrote to the Emperor Nerva, bringing many serious charges against Nicetes, to which the Emperor replied: "You shall yourself hear him in his own defense, and if you find him guilty do you fix the penalty." Now in writing thus he was not abandoning Nicetes, but rather preparing the mind of Rufus for forgiveness, since he thought that he would never put to death so worthy a man if the decision were in his hands, nor indeed inflict any other penalty on him, lest he should appear harsh and vindictive to him who had appointed him his enemy's judge. It was therefore on this account that Nicetes went to the Rhine and to Gaul, and when he came forward to make his defense he impressed Rufus so profoundly that the tears he shed over Nicetes amounted to more than the water that had been allotted [i.e. in the clepsydra, the water-clock] to him for his defense; and he sent him away not only unscathed, but singled out for honor even among the most illustrious of the citizens of Smyrna. In latter times Heracleides [Heracleides ventured to rewrite the speech delivered by Nicetes before Rufus], the Lycian sophist, attempted to correct the writings of this great man and called his work Nicetes Revised, but he failed to see that he was fitting the spoils of the Pygmies on to a colossus.
20. Isaeus, the Assyrian sophist, had devoted the period of his early youth to pleasure, for he was the slave of eating and drinking, dressed himself in elegant stuffs, was often in love, and openly joined in drunken revels. But when he attained to manhood he so transformed himself as to be thought to have become another person, for he discarded both from his countenance and his mind the frivolity that had seemed to come to the surface in him; no longer did he, even in the theatre, hearken to the sounds of the lyre and the flute; he put off his transparent garments and his many-colored cloaks, reduced his table, and left off his amours as though he had lost the eyes he had before. For instance, when Ardys the rhetorician asked him whether he considered some woman or other handsome, Isaeus replied with much discretion: "I have ceased to suffer from eye trouble." And when someone asked him what sort of bird and what sort of fish were the best eating: "I have ceased," replied Isaeus, "to take these matters seriously, for I now know that I used to feed on the gardens of Tantalus."Thus he indicated to his questioner that all pleasures are a shadow and a dream.
When Dionysiui of Miletus, who had been his pupil, delivered his declamations in a sing-song, Isaeus rebuked him, saying: "Young man from Ionia, I did not train you to sing." And when a youth from Ionia admired in his presence the grandiloquent saying of Nicetes in his Xerxes, "Let us fasten Aegina to the king's ship," Isaeus burst into a loud laugh and said: "Madman, how will you put to sea?"
His declamations were not actually extempore, but he deliberated from daybreak till midday. The style of eloquence that he practiced was neither exuberant nor meagre, but simple and natural and suited to the subject matter. Moreover, a concise form of expression and the summing up of every argument into a brief statement was peculiarly an invention of Isaeus, as was clearly shown in many instances, but especially in the following. He had to represent the Lacedaemonians debating whether they should fortify themselves by building a wall, and he condensed his argument into these few words from Homer:
"And shield pressed on shield, helm on helm, man on man. [Iliad xvi. 215.]
Thus stand fast, Lacedaemonians, these are our fortifications!" When he took for his theme the indictment of Python of Byzantium, imprisoned for treason at the command of an oracle and on his trial for treason after Philip's departure, he confined his case to three points to be considered; for what he said is summed up in these three statements: "I find Python guilty of treason by the evidence of the god who gave the oracle, of the people who put him in prison, of Philip who has departed. For the first would not have given the oracle if there were no traitor; the second would not have imprisoned him if he were not that sort of man; the third would not have departed if he had not failed to find the man who had caused him to come."
21. I will now speak of the sophist Scopelian, but first I will deal with those who try to calumniate him. For they say that he is unworthy of the sophistic circle and call him dithyrambic, intemperate in his style, and thick-witted. Those who say this about him are quibblers and sluggish and are not inspired with extempore eloquence; for man is by nature a creature prone to envy. At any rate the short disparage the tall, the ill-favored the good- looking, those who are slow and lame disparage the light-footed swift runner, cowards the brave, the unmusical the musical, those who are unathletic disparage athletes. Hence we must not be surprised if certain persons who are themselves tongue-tied, and have set on their tongues the "ox of silence, [Theognis 651]" who could not of themselves conceive any great thought or sympathize with another who conceived it, should sneer at and revile one whose style of eloquence was the readiest, the boldest, and the most elevated of any Greek of his time. But since they have failed to understand the man, I will make known what he was and how illustrious was his family.
For he was himself high-priest of Asia and so were his ancestors before him, all of them, inheriting the office from father to son. And this is a great crown of glory and more than great wealth. He was one of twins, and as both were lying in one cradle, when they were five days old, one of them was struck by lightning, but the other, though he was lying with the stricken child, was not maimed in any one of his senses. And yet, so fierce and sulphurous was the fire of the thunderbolt that some of those who stood near were killed by the shock, others suffered injury to their ears and eyes, while the minds of others were affected by the shock of the bolt. But Scopelian was afflicted by none of these misfortunes, for he remained healthy and sound far on into old age. I will explain the reason why I marvel at this. Once, in Lemnos, eight harvesters were eating their meal beneath a great oak, near that part of the island called the Horn — this place is a harbor curved in the shape of slender horns — when a cloud covered the oak and a bolt was hurled on to it, so that the tree itself was struck, and the harvesters, when the stroke fell on them, were killed every one of them in the act of doing whatever it might be, one as he lifted a cup, one drinking, one kneading bread, one while eating, in fact, whatever else it might be that they were engaged on, thus in the act they lost their lives; and they were covered with smoke and blackened like bronze statues that are near hot springs and so become darkened by fumes. But Scopelian was reared under the protection of the gods so carefully that he not only escaped death from the thunderbolt, though not even the most robust of those field-laborers escaped it, but remained with his senses unimpaired, keen-witted, and independent of sleep, and in fact he was never subject even to a feeling of torpor.
He frequented the rhetoricians' schools of oratory as a pupil of Nicetes of Smyrna, who had conspicuous success as a declaimer, though in the law courts he was an even more vigorous orator. When the city of Clazomenae begged Scopelian to declaim in his native place, because they thought it would greatly benefit Clazomenae if so talented a man should open a school there, he declined politely, saying that the nightingale does not sing in a cage; and he regarded Smyrna as, so to speak, a grove in which he could practice his melodious voice, and thought it best worth his while to let it echo there. For while all Ionia is, as it were, an established seat of the Muses, Smyrna holds the most important position, like the bridge in musical instruments.
The reasons why his father, after being kind and indulgent to him, treated him harshly, are told in many different versions, for they allege now this reason, now that, then more than one, but I shall relate the truest version. After the death of Scopelian's mother, the old man was preparing to bring home a woman as a concubine and not in legal wedlock, and when the son perceived this he admonished him and tried to deter him, which is always an annoying thing to older men. The woman thereupon trumped up a tale against him to the effect that he was in love with her, and could not endure his lack of success. In this calumny she had also a slave as accomplice, the old man's cook whose name was Cytherus, and he used to flatter his master, like a slave in a play, and say things of this sort: "Master, your son wishes you to die now at once, nor will he allow to your old age a natural death, such as must needs be, not long hence; and he himself is preparing the plot, but he is trying to hire the help of my hands as well. For he has poisonous drugs destined for you, and he orders me to put the most deadly of them in one of my dishes, promising me my freedom, lands, houses, money, and whatever I may please to have from your house; and this, if I obey; but if I disobey he promises me the lash, torture, stout fetters, and the cruel pillory." And by wheedling him in this way he got round his master, so that when the latter was dying not long after, and came to make a will, he was appointed heir and was therein styled his son, his eyes, and his whole soul. And this indeed need not surprise us, since he whom he beguiled was an amorous old man, who was perhaps feeble-minded besides, from old age and from that same passion — for even when young men are in love there is not one of them that keeps his wits — but the surprising thing is that he showed himself more than a match for the oratorical talent of Scopelian, and his high reputation, in the law courts; for he went to law with him over the will, and used Scopelian's own fortune to counteract the latter's talent. For by drawing deeply on the estate and bribing with extravagant sums the tongues of all men, and at the same time the votes of the jury, he won a complete victory on every point, and hence Scopelian used to say that, whereas the property of Anaxagoras had become a sheep pasture, his own was a slave pasture. [Anaxagoras when exiled from Athens lost his property, which was then neglected; the story is told by Diogenes Laertius ii. 9]
Cytherus became prominent in public life also, and when he was now an old man and saw that his estate was growing less and that he himself was greatly despised, nay had even received blows at the hands of a man from whom he tried to recover money, he implored Scopelian to lay aside the memory of his wrongs and his anger, and to take back his father's property, only giving up to himself a part of the house, which was spacious, so that he might live in it without too great squalor; and to yield to him also two fields out of those near the sea. And to this day, that part of the house in which he lived till his death is called the dwelling of Cytherus. All these facts I have related that they may not remain unknown, and that from them we may learn that men are the playthings not only of God [Plato, Laws 644 d] but of one another.
It is no great wonder that, while Scopelian taught at Smyrna, Ionians, Lydians, Carians, Maeonians, Aeolians also and Hellenes from Mysia and Phrygia nocked thither to his school; for Smyrna is next door to these peoples and is a convenient gateway both by land and sea. But besides these he attracted Cappadocians and Assyrians, he attracted also Egyptians and Phoenicians, the more illustrious of the Achaeans, and all the youth of Athens. To the crowd he no doubt gave an impression of indolence and negligence, since during the period before a declamation he was generally in the society of the magistrates of Smyrna transacting public business, but he was able to rely on his own genius, which was brilliant and of a lofty kind; and in fact during the daytime he did not work much, but he was the most sleepless of men, and hence he used to say: "O Night, thy share of wisdom is greater than that of the other gods!" [Menander, frag. 199 Meineke] and he made her the collaborator in his studies. Indeed it is said that he used to work continuously from evening until dawn.
He devoted himself to all kinds of poetry, but tragedies he devoured in his endeavor to rival the grand style of his teacher; for in this branch Nicetes was greatly admired. But Scopelian went so much further in magniloquence that he even composed an Epic of the Giants, and furnished the Homerids ["Sons of Homer"] with material for their poetry. Of the sophists he studied most carefully Gorgias of Leontini, and of the orators those that have a splendid ring. But his charm was natural rather than studied, for with the Ionians urbanity and wit are a gift of nature. For example, even in his orations he abounded in jests, for he held that to be over-serious is unsociable and disagreeable. And even when he appeared in the public assembly it was with a cheerful and lively countenance, and all the more when the meeting was excited by anger, for then he relaxed the tension and calmed their minds by his own good-tempered demeanor. In the law courts he displayed a temper neither avaricious nor malevolent. For without a fee he would champion the cause of those who were in danger of their lives, and when men became abusive in their speeches, and thought fit to make a great display of indignation, he used to call them tipsy and frenzied old hags.
Though he charged a fee for declaiming, it was not the same for every pupil, and depended on the amount of property possessed by each. And he used to appear before his audience with no arrogance or conceited airs, nor again with the bearing of a timid speaker, but as befitted one who was entering the lists to win glory for himself and was confident that he could not fail. He would argue with suavity, so long as he was seated, but when he stood up to speak his oration became more impressive and gained in vigor. He meditated his theme neither in private nor before his audience, but he would withdraw and in a very short time would review all his arguments. He had an extremely melodious voice and a charming pronunciation, and he would often smite his thigh in order to arouse both himself and his hearers. He excelled also in the use of "covert allusion" and ambiguous language, but he was even more admirable in his treatment of the more vigorous and grandiloquent themes, and especially those relating to the Medes, in which occur passages about Darius and Xerxes; for in my opinion he surpassed all the other sophists, both in phrasing these allusions and in handing down that sort of eloquence for his successors to use; and in delivering them he used to represent dramatically the arrogance and levity that are characteristic of the barbarians. It is said that at these times he would sway to and fro more than usual, as though in a Bacchic frenzy, and when one of Polemo's pupils said of him that he beat a loud drum, Scopelian took to himself the sneering jest and retorted: "Yes, I do beat a drum, but it is the shield of Ajax."
He went on many embassies to the Emperor, and while a peculiar good luck ever accompanied his missions as ambassador, his most successful was that on behalf of the vines. For this embassy was sent, not as in most cases on behalf of Smyrna alone, but on behalf of all Asia in general. I will relate the aim of the embassy. The Emperor [Domitian] resolved that there should be no vines in Asia, because it appeared that the people when under the influence of wine plotted revolution; those that had been already planted were to be pulled up, and they were to plant no more in future. There was clearly need of an embassy to represent the whole community, and of a man who in their defense, like another Orpheus or Thamyris, would charm his hearer. Accordingly they unanimously selected Scopelian, and on this mission he succeeded so far beyond their hopes that he returned bringing not only the permission to plant, but actually the threat of penalties for those who should neglect to do so. How great a reputation he won in this contest on behalf of the vines is evident from what he said, for the oration is among the most celebrated; and it is evident too from what happened as a result of the oration. For by it he won such presents as are usually given at an imperial court, and also many compliments and expressions of praise, and moreover a brilliant band of youths fell in love with his genius and followed him to Ionia.
While he was at Athens he was entertained by Atticus, the father of Herodes the sophist, who admired him for his eloquence more than the Thessalians once admired Gorgias. Atticus accordingly gave orders that all the busts of the ancient orators that were in the porticoes of his house should be pelted with stones, because they had corrupted his son's talent. Herodes at the time was only a stripling and still under his father's control, but he cared only for extempore speaking, though he had not enough confidence for it, since he had not yet studied with Scopelian, nor learned the vigor that extempore eloquence requires. For this reason he rejoiced at Scopelian's visit. For when he heard him speak and handle an extempore discourse, by his example he became fledged and fully equipped, and with the idea of pleasing his father he invited him to hear him give a declamation in the same style as their guest. His father greatly admired his imitation and gave him fifty talents, while to Scopelian himself he gave fifteen; but Herodes besides gave him from his own present the same sum as had been bestowed by his father, and called him his teacher. And when he heard this title from Herodes it was sweeter to him than the springs of Pactolus.
The good fortune that attended his embassies we may gather also from the following. The citizens of Smyrna needed someone to go on an embassy for them, and the mission was on affairs of the greatest moment. But he was now growing old and was past the age for travelling, and therefore Polemo was elected, though he had never before acted as ambassador. So in offering up prayers for good luck, Polemo begged that he might be granted the persuasive charm of Scopelian, embraced him before the assembly, and applied very aptly to him the verses from the exploits of Patroclus:
Give me thy harness to buckle about my shoulders, if
Apollonius of Tyana also, who in wisdom surpassed mere human achievement, ranks Scopelian among the men to be admired. [Life of Apollonius i. 23, 24.]
22. With regard to Dionysius of Miletus, whether, as some say, he was born of highly distinguished parentage, or, as others say, was merely of free birth, let him not be held responsible on this head, seeing that he achieved distinction by his own merits. For to have recourse to one's ancestors is the mark of those who despair of applause for themselves. He was a pupil of Isaeus, that is of one who, as I have said, employed a natural style, and of this style he successfully took the impress, and the orderly arrangement of his thoughts besides; for this too was characteristic of Isaeus. And though he presented his ideas with honeyed sweetness, he was not intemperate in the use of pleasing effects, like some of the sophists, but was economical with them, and would always say to his pupils that honey should be tasted with the finger-tip [a proverb; cf. Lucian, How to write History 4] and not by the handful. This indeed is clearly shown in all the speeches delivered by Dionysius, whether critical works or forensic or moral disputations, but above all in the Dirge for Chaeronea. For when representing Demosthenes as he denounced himself before the Senate after Chaeronea, he ended his speech with this monody: "O Chaeronea, wicked city!" and again: "O Boeotia that hast deserted to the barbarians! Wail, ye heroes beneath the earth! We have been defeated near Plataea!" And again in the passage where the Arcadians are on trial for being mercenaries, he said: "War is bought and sold in the market-place, and the woes of the Greeks fatten Arcadia," and "A war for which there is no cause is upon us."
Such was in general the style of Dionysius, thus his declamations proceeded, and he used to meditate his themes about as long as Isaeus. As for the story that is told about him that he used to train his pupils in mnemonics by the help of Chaldean arts [for Chaldean astrology cf, Julian, vol. i. Oration 4.], I will show the source of the tradition. There is no such thing as an art of memory, nor could there be, for though memory gives us the arts, it cannot itself be taught, nor can it be acquired by any method or system, since it is a gift of nature or a part of the immortal soul. For never could human beings be regarded as endowed with immortality, nor could what we have learned be taught, did not Memory inhabit the minds of men. And I will not dispute with the poets whether we ought to call her the mother of Time or the daughter, but let that be as they please. [Philostratus refers to the Hymn to Memory by Apollonius of Tyana; see his Life i. 14.] Moreover, who that is enrolled among the wise would be so foolishly careless of his own reputation as to use magic arts with his pupils, and so bring into disrepute also what has been taught by correct methods? How was it then that his pupils had a peculiar gift of memory? It was because the declamations of Dionysius gave them a pleasure of which they could never have enough, and he was compelled to repeat them very often, since he knew that they were delighted to hear them. And so the more ready-witted of these youths used to engrave them on their minds, and when, by long practice rather than by sheer memory, they had thoroughly grasped them, they used to recite them to the rest; and hence they came to be called "the memory-artists," and men who made it into an art. It is on these grounds that some people say that the declamations of Dionysius are a collection of odds and ends, for they say one person added this, another that, where he had been concise.
Great honors were paid him by the cities that admired his talent, but the greatest was from the Emperor. For Hadrian appointed him satrap [i.e. prefect] over peoples by no means obscure, and enrolled him in the order of the knights and among those who had free meals in the Museum. (By the Museum I mean a dining-table in Egypt [founded by the first Ptolemy at Alexandria in connection with the Library] to which are invited the most distinguished men of all countries.) He visited very many cities and lived among many peoples, yet he never incurred the charge of licentious or insolent conduct, being most temperate and sedate in his behavior. Those who ascribe to Dionysius the piece called Araspes the Lover of Panthea [Panthea, wife of the Persian king Abradatas, was taken captive by the Elder Cyrus cf. Xenophon, Cyropaedia v. 1. 4], are ignorant not only of his rhythms but of his whole style of eloquence, and moreover they know nothing of the art of ratiocination. For this work is not by Dionysius, but by Celer [Probably the teacher of Marcus Aurelius; cf. To Himself viii. 25] the writer on rhetoric; and Celer, though he was a good Imperial Secretary, lacked skill in declamation and was on unfriendly terms with Dionysius from their earliest youth.
I must not omit the following facts which I heard direct from Aristaeus who was the oldest of all the educated Greeks in my time and knew most about the sophists. When Dionysius was beginning to grow old and enjoyed the most distinguished reputation, and Polemo, on the other hand, was attaining to the height of his career, though he was not yet personally known to Dionysius, Polemo paid a visit to Sardis to plead a case before the Centumviri who had jurisdiction over Lydia. And towards evening Dionysius came to Sardis and asked Dorion the critic, who was his host: "Tell me, Dorion, what is Polemo doing here?" And Dorion replied: "A very wealthy man, a Lydian, is in danger of losing his property, and hence he has brought Polemo from Smyrna to be his advocate by the inducement of a fee of two talents, and he will defend the suit to-morrow." "What a stroke of luck is this!" cried Dionysius, "that I shall actually be able to hear Polemo, for I have never yet had a chance to judge of him." Dorion remarked: "The young man seems to make you uneasy by his rapid advance to a great reputation." "Yes, by Athene," said Dionysius, "he does not even allow me to sleep. He makes my heart palpitate, and my mind too, when I think how many admirers he has. For some think that from his lips flow twelve springs, others measure his tongue by cubits, like the risings of the Nile. But you might cure this anxiety for me by telling me what are the respective superiorities and defects that you have observed in us both." Dorion replied with great discretion: "You yourself, Dionysius, will be better able to judge between yourself and him, for you are well qualified by your wisdom not only to know yourself but also to observe another accurately."
Dionysius heard Polemo defend the suit, and as he left the court he remarked: "This athlete possesses strength, but it does not come from the wrestling-ground." When Polemo heard this he came to Dionysius' door and announced that he would declaim before him. And when he had come and Polemo had sustained his part with conspicuous success, he went up to Dionysius, and leaning shoulder to shoulder with him, like those who begin a wrestling match standing, he wittily turned the laugh against him by quoting
Once O once they were strong, the men of Miletus. [cf. Aristophanes, Plutus 1003.]
Famous men have the whole earth for their sepulchre [from Thucydides ii. 43], but the actual tomb of Dionysius is in the most conspicuous part of Ephesus, for he was buried in the market-place, on the most important spot in Ephesus, in which city he ended his life; though during the earlier period of his career he had taught in Lesbos.
23. Lollianus of Ephesus was the first to be appointed to the chair of rhetoric [i.e. the municipal, as distinct from the Imperial chair] at Athens, and he also governed the Athenian people, since he held the office of strategus in that city. The functions of this office were formerly to levy troops and lead them to war, but now it has charge of the food-supplies and the provision-market. Once when a riot arose in the bread-sellers' quarter, and the Athenians were on the point of stoning Lollianus, Pancrates the Cynic, who later professed philosophy at the Isthmus, came forward before the Athenians, and by simply remarking: "Lollianus does not sell bread but words," he so diverted the Athenians that they let fall the stones that were in their hands. Once when a cargo of grain came by sea from Thessaly and there was no money in the public treasury to pay for it, Lollianus bade his pupils contribute, and a large sum was collected. This device proves him to have been a very ingenious man and prudent in public affairs, but what followed proved that he was both just and magnanimous. For by remitting the fee for his lectures he repaid this money to those who had subscribed it.
This sophist was considered to be deeply versed in his art and very clever in working out successfully the train of reasoning that depends on skill in invention. His style was admirable, and in the invention and arrangement of his ideas he was free from affectation and redundancy. In his oratory brilliant passages flare out and suddenly come to an end like a flash of lightning. This is evident in all that he wrote, but especially in the example that I now quote. His theme was to denounce Leptines on account of his law, because the supply of corn had failed to reach the Athenians from the Pontus [this fictitious theme is based on Demosthenes, Leptines 30, delivered in 355]; and he wound up as follows: "The mouth of the Pontus has been locked up by a law, and a few syllables keep back the food supply of Athens; so that Lysander fighting with his ships and Leptines fighting with his law have the same power." Again, when his theme was to oppose the Athenians, when in a scarcity of funds they were planning to sell the islands, he declaimed with energy the following: "Take back, Poseidon, the favor that you granted to Delos!" [Delos was once a "floating" island and was made stationary by Poseidon; cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses vi. 191.] Permit her, while we are selling her, to make her escape!" In his extempore speeches he imitated Isaeus, whose pupil he had been. He used to charge handsome fees, and in his classes he not only declaimed but also taught the rules of the art. There are two statues of him at Athens, one in the agora, the other in the small grove which he is said to have planted himself.
24. Nor must I omit to speak of Marcus of Byzantium, on whose behalf I will bring this reproach against the Greeks, that though he was as talented as I shall show, he does not as yet receive the honor that he deserves. The genealogy of Marcus dated back as far as the original Byzas [the legendary founder of Byzantium, said to have been the son of Poseidon], and his father, who had the same name, owned slaves who were fishermen at Hieron. (Hieron is near the entrance to the Pontus.) His teacher was Isaeus, and from him he learned the natural style of oratory, but he adorned it with a charming suavity. The most characteristic example of the style of Marcus is his speech of the Spartan advising the Lacedaemonians not to receive the men who had returned from Sphacteria without their weapons. [The punishment of these men by Sparta is described by Thucydides v. 34.] He began this argument as follows: "As a citizen of Lacedaemon who till old age has kept his shield, I would gladly have slain these men who have lost theirs." His style in his discourses may be gathered from the following. He was trying to show how rich and how many-sided is the art of the sophists, and taking the rainbow as the image of an oration, he began his discourse thus: "He who sees the rainbow only as a single color does not see a sight to marvel at, but he who sees how many colors it has, marvels more." [Iris was the daughter of Thaumas whose name means " Wonder."] Those who ascribe this discourse to Alcinous the Stoic fail to observe the style of his speech, they fail to observe the truth, and are most dishonest men, in that they try to rob the sophist even of what he wrote about his own art.
The expression of his brows and the gravity of his countenance proclaimed Marcus a sophist, and indeed his mind was constantly brooding over some theme, and he was always training himself in the methods that prepare one for extempore speaking. This was evident from the steady gaze of his eyes which were usually intent on secret thoughts, and, moreover, it was admitted by the man himself. For when one of his friends asked him how he declaimed the day before, he replied: "To myself, well enough, but to my pupils not so well." And when the other expressed surprise at the answer, Marcus said: "I work even when I am silent, and I keep myself in practice with two or three arguments beside the one that I maintain in public." His beard and hair were always unkempt, and hence most people thought that he looked too boorish to be a learned man. And this was the impression of him that Polemo the sophist had. For, when he had already made his reputation, he once visited Polemo's school, and when the pupils who had come to attend the lecture had taken their seats, one of those who had made the voyage to Byzantium recognized him and pointed him out to the man next him, and he in turn to his neighbor, and so word was handed on to them all that he was the sophist from Byzantium. Accordingly, when Polemo asked for themes to be proposed, they all turned towards Marcus that he might propose one. And when Polemo asked: "Why do you look to the rustic? This fellow will not give you a theme," Marcus, speaking as he always did at the top of his voice, and throwing his head up, retorted: "I will propose a subject and will myself declaim." Thereupon Polemo, who recognized him partly by his Doric dialect, addressed himself to Marcus in a long and wonderful speech on the spur of the moment, and when he had declaimed and heard the other declaim he both admired and was admired.
When, later on, Marcus went to Megara (Byzantium was originally a Megarian colony), the Megarians were still keeping up their quarrel with the Athenians with the utmost energy of their minds, just as if the famous decree [this was the decree by which the Megarians were proscribed by the Athenians in the fifth century B.C.] against them had been lately drawn up; and they did not admit them when they came to the Lesser Pythian games. Marcus, however, came among them, and so changed the hearts of the Megarians that he persuaded them to throw open their houses and to admit the Athenians to the society of their wives and children. The Emperor Hadrian too admired him when he came on an embassy for Byzantium, for of all the Emperors in the past he was the most disposed to foster merit.
25. Polemo the sophist was neither a native of Smyrna, as is commonly supposed, nor from Phrygia as some say, but he was born at Laodicea in Caria, a city which lies on the river Lycus and, though far inland, is more important than those on the sea- coast. Polemo's family has produced many men of consular rank, and still does, and many cities were in love with him, but especially Smyrna. For the people having from his boyhood observed in him a certain greatness, heaped on the head of Polemo all the wreaths of honor that were theirs to give, decreeing for himself and his family the distinctions most sought after in Smyrna; for they bestowed on him and his descendants the right to preside over the Olympic games founded by Hadrian [these games were held at Smyrna], and to go on board the sacred trireme. For in the month Anthesterion [February] a trireme in full sail is brought in procession to the agora, and the priest of Dionysus, like a pilot, steers it as it comes from the sea, loosing its cables.
By opening his school at Smyrna he benefited the city in the following ways. In the first place he made her appear far more populous than before, since the youth flowed into her from both continents and the islands; nor were they a dissolute and promiscuous rabble, but select and genuinely Hellenic. Secondly, he brought about a harmonious government free from faction. For, before that, Smyrna was rent by factions, and the inhabitants of the higher district were at variance with those on the sea-shore. Also he proved to be of great value to the city by going on embassies to the Emperors and defending the community. Hadrian, at any rate, had hitherto favored Ephesus, but Polemo so entirely converted him to the cause of Smyrna that in one day he lavished a million drachmae on the city, and with this the corn-market was built, a gymnasium which was the most magnificent of all those in Asia, and a temple that can be seen from afar, the one on the promontory that seems to challenge Mimas. ["Windy Mimas" (Odyssey iii. 172) is a headland opposite Chios.] Moreover, when they made mistakes in their public policy, Polemo would rebuke them, and often gave them wise advice; thus he was of great use to them, and at the same time he cured them of arrogance and every kind of insolence, an achievement that was all the greater because it was not like the Ionian to reform hi$ ancient customs. He helped them also in the following manner. The suits which they brought against one another he did not allow to be carried anywhere abroad, but he would settle them at home. I mean the suits about money, for those against adulterers, sacrilegious persons and murderers, the neglect of which breeds pollution, he not only urged them to carry them out of Smyrna but even to drive them out. For he said that they needed a judge with a sword in his hand. Though he excited the disapproval of many, because when he travelled he was followed by a long train of baggage-animals and many horses, many slaves and many different breeds of dogs for various kinds of hunting, while he himself would ride in a chariot from Phrygia or Gaul, with silver-mounted bridles, by all this he acquired glory for. Smyrna. For just as its market-place and a splendid array of buildings reflect lustre on a city, so does an opulent establishment; for not only does a city give a man renown, but itself acquires it from a man. [A favorite saying with Pindar; cf. Thucydides vi. 16.] Polemo administered the affairs of Laodicea as well, for he often visited his relatives there, and gave what assistance he could in public affairs.
The following privileges were bestowed on him by the Emperors. By the Emperor Trajan the right to travel free of expense by land and sea, and Hadrian extended this to all his descendants, and also enrolled him in the circle of the Museum, with the Egyptian right of free meals. And when he was in Rome and demanded 250,000 drachmae, he gave him that sum and more, though Polemo had not said that he needed it, nor had the Emperor said beforehand that he would give it. When the people of Smyrna accused him of having expended on his own pleasures a great part of the money that had been given by the Emperor for them, the Emperor sent a letter to the following effect: "Polemo has rendered me an account of the money given to you by me." And though one may say that this was an act of clemency, nevertheless it would not have been possible for him to win clemency in the affair of the money, had he not won pre-eminence for virtue of another kind. The temple of Olympian Zeus at Athens had been completed at last after an interval of five hundred and sixty years [the original Olympieion, begun about 530 B.C. by Peisistratus, was never completed. The existing temple was begun about 174 B.C. by Antioehus Epiphanes, was completed by Hadrian and dedicated A.D. 130], and when the Emperor consecrated it as a marvellous triumph of time, he invited Polemo also to make an oration at the sacrifice. He fixed his gaze, as was his custom, on the thoughts that were already taking their place in his mind, and then flung himself into his speech, and delivered a long and admirable discourse from the base of the temple. As the prooemium of his speech he declared that not without a divine impulse was he inspired to speak on that theme.
Moreover, the Emperor reconciled his own son Antoninus, with Polemo, at the time when he handed over his sceptre and became a god instead of a mortal. I must relate how this happened. Antoninus was proconsul of the whole of Asia without exception, and once he took up his lodging in Polemo' s house because it was the best in Smyrna and belonged to the most notable citizen. However, Polemo arrived home at night from a journey and raised an outcry at the door that he was outrageously treated in being shut out of his own house, and next he compelled Antoninus to move to another house. The Emperor was informed of this, but he held no inquiry into the affair, lest he should reopen the wound. But in considering what would happen after his death, and that even mild natures are often provoked by persons who are too aggressive and irritating, he became anxious about Polemo. Accordingly in his last testament on the affairs of the Empire, he wrote: "And Polemo, the sophist, advised me to make this arrangement." By this means he opened the way for him to win favor as a benefactor, and forgiveness enough and to spare. And in fact Antoninus used to jest with Polemo about what had happened in Smyrna, thus showing that he had by no means forgotten it, though by the honors with which he exalted him on every occasion he seemed to pledge himself not to bear it in mind. This is the sort of jest he would make. When Polemo came to Rome, Antoninus embraced him, and then said: "Give Polemo a lodging and do not let anyone turn him out of it." And once when a tragic actor who had performed at the Olympic games in Asia, over which Polemo presided, declared that he would prosecute him, because Polemo had expelled him at the beginning of the play, the Emperor asked the actor what time it was when he was expelled from the theatre, and when he replied that it happened to be at noon, the Emperor made this witty comment: "But it was midnight when he expelled me from his house, and I did not prosecute him."
Let this suffice to show how mild an Emperor could be, and how arrogant a mere man. For in truth Polemo was so arrogant that he conversed with cities as his inferiors, Emperors as not his superiors, and the gods as his equals. For instance, when he gave a display to the Athenians of extempore speeches on first coming to Athens, he did not condescend to utter an encomium on the city, though there were so many things that one might say in honor of the Athenians; nor did he make a long oration about his own renown, although this style of speech is likely to win favor for sophists in their public declamations. But since he well knew that the natural disposition of the Athenians needs to be held in check rather than encouraged to greater pride, this was his introductory speech: "Men say, Athenians, that as an audience you are accomplished judges of oratory. I shall soon find out." And once when the ruler of the Bosporus, a man who had been trained in all the culture of Greece, came to Smyrna in order to learn about Ionia, Polemo not only did not take his place among those who went to salute him, but even when the other begged him to visit him he postponed it again and again, until he compelled the king [at this date there were kings of the Bosporus under the protectorate of Rome] to come to his door with a fee of ten talents. Again, when he came to Pergamon suffering from a disease of the joints, he slept in the temple, and when Asclepius appeared to him and told him to abstain from drinking anything cold, "My good sir," said Polemo, "but what if you were doctoring a cow?"
This proud and haughty temper he contracted from Timocrates [Lucian, Demonax 3, praises Timocrates] the philosopher, with whom he associated for four years when he came to Ionia. It would do no harm to describe Timocrates also. This man came from the Pontus and his birthplace was Heraclea whose citizens admire Greek culture. At first he devoted himself to the study of writings on medicine and was well versed in the theories of Hippocrates and Democritus. But when he had once heard Euphrates of Tyre, he set full sail for his kind of philosophy. He was irascible beyond measure, so much so that while he was arguing his beard and the hair on his head stood up like a lion's when it springs to the attack. His language was fluent, vigorous and ready, and it was on this account that Polemo, who loved this headlong style of oratory, valued him so highly. At any rate, when a quarrel arose between Timocrates and Scopelian, because the latter had become addicted to the use of pitch-plasters and professional "hair-removers," the youths who were then residing in Smyrna took different sides, but Polenio, who was the pupil of both men, became one of the faction of Timocrates and called him "the father of my eloquence." And when he was defending himself before Timocrates for his speeches against Favorinus, he cowered before him in awe and submission, like boys who fear blows from their teachers when they have been disobedient.
This same humility Polemo showed also towards Scopelian somewhat later, when he was elected to go on an embassy on behalf of Smyrna, and begged for Scopelian' s power of persuasion as though it were the arms of Achilles. His behavior to Herodes the Athenian was in one way submissive and in another arrogant. I wish to relate how this came about, for it is a good story and worth remembering. Herodes, you must know, felt a keener desire to succeed in extempore speaking than to be called a consul and the descendant of consuls, and so, before he was acquainted with Polemo, he came to Smyrna in order to study with him. It was at the time when Herodes alone was regulating the status of the free cities. When he had embraced Polemo and saluted him very affectionately by kissing him on the mouth, he asked: "Father, when shall I hear you declaim?" Now Herodes thought that he would put off the declamation and would say that he hesitated to run any risks in the presence of so great a man, but Polemo, without any such pretext, replied: "Hear me declaim to-day, and let us be going." Herodes says that when he heard this, he was struck with admiration of the man and the ready facility both of his tongue and brain. This incident illustrates Polemo's pride and, by Zeus, the cleverness with which he was wont to dazzle his hearers, but the following shows equally his modesty and sense of propriety. For when the other arrived to hear him declaim, he received him with a long and appropriate panegyric on the words and deeds of Herodes.
The scenic effects which he employed in his declamations we may learn from Herodes, since they are described in one of the letters that he wrote to Varus, and I will relate them from that source. He would come forward to declaim with a countenance serene and full of confidence, and he always arrived in a litter, because his joints were already diseased. When a theme had been proposed, he did not meditate on it in public but would withdraw from the crowd for a short time. His utterance was clear and incisive, and there was a fine ringing sound in the tones of his voice. Herodes says also that he used to rise to such a pitch of excitement that he would jump up from his chair when he came to the most striking conclusions in his argument, and whenever he rounded off a period he would utter the final clause with a smile, as though to show clearly that he could deliver it without effort, and at certain places in the argument he would stamp the ground just like the horse in Homer. [Iliad vi. 507.] Herodes adds that he listened to his first declamation like an impartial judge, to the second like one who longs for more, to the third as one who can but admire; and that he attended his lectures for three days. Moreover, Herodes has recorded the themes of the declamations at which he was present. The first was: "Demosthenes swears that he did not take the bribe of fifty talents," the charge which Demades brought against him, on the ground that Alexander had communicated this fact to the Athenians, having learned it from the account-books of Darius. In the second, on the conclusion of peace after the Peloponnesian war, he urged: "That the trophies erected by the Greeks should be taken down." [cf. Apsines 219.] The third argument was to persuade the Athenians to return to their denies after the battle of Aegos Potami. Herodes says that in payment for this he sent him 150,000 drachmae, and called this the fee for his lectures. But since he did not accept it, Herodes thought that he had been treated with contempt, but Munatius the critic, when drinking with him (this man came from Tralles), remarked: "Herodes, I think that Polemo dreamed of 250,000 drachmae, and so thinks that he is being stinted because you did not send so large a sum." Herodes says that he added the 100,000 drachmae, and that Polemo took the money without the least hesitation, as though he were receiving only what was his due.
Herodes gave Polemo leave not to appear after him to give an exhibition of his oratory, and not to have to maintain a theme after him, and allowed him to depart from Smyrna by night, lest he should be compelled to do this, since Polemo thought it outrageous to be compelled to do anything. And from that time forward he never failed to commend Polemo, and to think him beyond praise. For instance, in Athens, when Herodes had brilliantly maintained the argument about the war trophies, and was being complimented on the fluency and vigor of his speech, he said: "Read Polemo's declamation, and then you will know a great man." And at the Olympic games when all Greece acclaimed him, crying: "You are the equal of Demosthenes!" he replied: "I wish I were the equal of the Phrygian," applying this name to Polemo because in those days Laodicea counted as part of Phrygia. When the Emperor Marcus asked him: "What is your opinion of Polemo?" Herodes gazed fixedly before him and said:
The sound of swift-footed horses strikes upon mine ears; [Iliad x. 535.]
thus indicating how resonant and far-echoing was his eloquence. And when Varus the consul asked him what teachers he had had, he replied: "This man and that, while I was being taught, but Polemo, when I was teaching others."
Polemo says that he studied also with Dio, and that in order to do so he paid a visit to the people of Bithynia. He used to say that the works of prose writers needed to be brought out by armfuls, but the works of poets by the wagon-load. Among the honors that he received were also the following. Smyrna was contending on behalf of her temples and their rights, and when he had already reached the last stage of his life, appointed Polemo as one of her advocates. But since he died at the very outset of the journey to defend those rights, the city was entrusted to other advocates. Before the imperial tribunal they presented their case very badly, whereupon the Emperor looked towards the counsel from Smyrna and said: "Had not Polemo been appointed as your public advocate in this suit " "Yes," they replied, "if you mean the sophist." "Then, perhaps," said the Emperor, "he wrote down some speech in defense of your rights, inasmuch as he was to speak for the defense in my presence and on behalf of such great issues." "Perhaps, O Emperor," they replied, "but not as far as we know." Whereupon the Emperor adjourned the case until the speech could be brought, and when it had been read aloud in court the Emperor gave his decision in accordance with it; and so Smyrna carried off the victory, and the citizens departed declaring that Polemo had come to life to help them.
Now inasmuch as, when men have become illustrious, not only what they said in earnest but also what they said in jest is worthy of record, I will write down Polemo' s witticisms also, so that I may not seem to have neglected even them. There was an Ionian youth who was indulging in a life of dissipation at Smyrna to a degree not customary with the Ionians, and was being ruined by his great wealth, which is a vicious teacher of ill-regulated natures. Now the youth's name was Varus, and he had been so spoiled by parasites that he had convinced himself that he was the fairest of the fair, the tallest of the tall, and the noblest and most expert of the youths at the wrestling-ground, and that not even the Muses could strike up a prelude more sweetly than he, whenever he had a mind to sing. He had the same notions about the sophists; that is to say, that he could outstrip even their tongues whenever he declaimed — and he actually used to declaim — and those who borrowed money from him used to reckon their attendance at his declamations as part of the interest. Even Polemo, when he was still a young man and not yet an invalid, was induced to pay this tribute, for he had borrowed money from him, and when he did not pay court to him or attend his lectures, the youth resented it and threatened him with a summons to recover the debt. This summons is a writ issued by the law court proclaiming judgment by default against the debtor who fails to pay. Thereupon his friends reproached Polemo with being morose and discourteous, seeing that when he could avoid being sued and could profit by the young man's money by merely giving him an amiable nod of approval, he would not do this, but provoked and irritated him. Hearing this sort of thing said, he did indeed come to the lecture, but when, late in the evening, the youth's declamation was still going on, and no place of anchorage for his speech was in sight, and everything he said was full of solecisms, barbarisms, and inconsistencies, Polemo jumped up, and stretching out his hands, cried: "Varus, bring your summons."
On another occasion, when the consul was putting to the torture a bandit who had been convicted on several charges, and declared that he could not think of any penalty for him that would match his crimes, Polemo who was present said: "Order him to learn by heart some antiquated stuff." For though this sophist had learned by heart a great number of passages, he nevertheless considered that this is the most wearisome of all exercises. Again, on seeing a gladiator dripping with sweat out of sheer terror of the life-and-death struggle before him, he remarked: "You are in as great an agony as though you were going to declaim." Again, when he met a sophist who was buying sausages, sprats, and other cheap dainties of that sort, he said: "My good sir, it is impossible for one who lives on this diet to act convincingly the arrogance of Darius and Xerxes." When Timocrates the philosopher remarked to him that Favorinus had become a chatter-box, Polemo said wittily: "And so is every old woman," thus making fun of him for being like a eunuch. Again, when a tragic actor at the Olympic games in Smyrna pointed to the ground as he uttered the words, "O Zeus! " [from Euripides, Orestes 1496] then raised his hands to heaven at the words, "and Earth!" Polemo, who was presiding at the Olympic games, expelled him from the contest, saying: "The fellow has committed a solecism with his hand." I will say no more on this subject, for this is enough to illustrate the charming wit of the man.
Polemo's style of eloquence is passionate, combative, and ringing to the echo, like the trumpet at the Olympic games. The Demosthenic cast of his thought lends it distinction and a gravity which is not dull or inert but brilliant and inspired, as though delivered from the tripod [i.e. by an oracle]. But they fail to understand the man who say that he handles invective more skillfully than any other sophist, but is less skillful in making a defense. Such a criticism is proved to be untrue by this and that declamation in which he speaks for the defense, but especially by the speech in which Demosthenes swears that he did not accept the fifty talents. [For this theme cf. Apsines ix. 535.] For in establishing a defense so difficult to make, his ornate rhetoric and technical skill were fully equal to the argument. I observe the same error in the case of those who hold that he was not qualified to sustain simulated arguments, but was forced off the course like a horse for whom the ground is too rough, and that he deprecated the use of these themes when he quoted the maxim of Homer:
For hateful to me even as the gates of hell is he that
Perhaps he used to say this with a double meaning, and to illustrate by this allusion how intractable are such themes; nevertheless, these too he sustained with great skill, as is evident from his Adulterer Unmasked or his Xenophon refuses to survive Socrates; or his Solon demands that his laws be rescinded after Peisistratus has obtained a bodyguard. [Solon's efforts to check the tyranny of Peisistratus are described by Aristotle, Constitution of Athens xiv. 2.] Then there are the three on Demosthenes, the first where he denounced himself after Chaeronea, the second in which he pretends that he ought to be punished with death for the affair of Harpalus, lastly that in which he advises the Athenians to flee on their triremes at the approach of Philip, though Aeschines had carried a law that anyone who mentioned the war should be put to death. For in these more than any other of the simulated themes that he produced, he has given free reins to the argument, and yet the ideas preserve the effect of presenting both sides.
When the doctors were regularly attending him for hardening of the joints, he exhorted them to "dig and carve in the stone-quarries of Polemo." And in writing to Herodes about this disease he sent this bulletin: "I must eat, but I have no hands; I must walk, but I have no feet; I must endure pain, and then I find I have both feet and hands."
When he died he was about fifty-six years old, but this age-limit, though for the other learned professions it is the beginning of senility, for a sophist still counts as youthfulness, since in this profession a man's knowledge grows more adaptable with advancing age.
He has no tomb in Smyrna, though several there are said to be his. For some say that he was buried in the garden of the temple of Virtue; others, not far from that place near the sea, and there is a small temple thereabouts with a statue of Polemo in it, arrayed as he was when he performed the sacred rites on the trireme, and beneath his statue they say that the man himself lies; while others say that he was buried in the courtyard of his house under the bronze statues. But none of these accounts is true, for if he had died in Smyrna there is not one of the marvellous temples in that city in which he would have been deemed unworthy to lie. But yet another version is nearer the truth, namely that he lies at Laodicea near the Syrian gate, where, in fact, are the sepulchres of his ancestors; that he was buried while still alive, for so he had enjoined on his nearest and dearest; and that, as he lay in the tomb, he thus exhorted those who were shutting up the sepulchre: "Make haste, make haste! Never shall the sun behold me reduced to silence!" And when his friends wailed over him, he cried with a loud voice: "Give me a body and I will declaim!"
With Polemo ended the house of Polemo, for his descendants, though they were his kindred, were not the sort of men who could be compared with his surpassing merit, with the exception of one, of whom I shall speak a little later. [Polemo's great-grandson Hermocrates.]
26. I must not fail to mention Secundus the Athenian whom some called "Wooden Peg," because he was the son of a carpenter. Secundus the sophist was varied and abundant in invention, but plain and simple in his style. Though he taught Herodes, he quarrelled with him while he was still his pupil, and therefore Herodes ridiculed him, and quoted at his expense the verse:
And the potter envies the potter and the carpenter the orator. [Hesiod, Works and Days 25.]
Nevertheless, when he died Herodes not only spoke his funeral oration, but shed a tribute of tears over him, though he died an old man.
Several of this man's compositions are worthy of mention, but above all the following theme for a disputation: "Suppose that he who instigates a revolt is to die, and he who suppresses it is to receive a reward. Now the same man both instigated a revolt and suppressed it, and he demands the reward." Secundus summed up this argument as follows. "Which of the two," he asked, "came first? The instigation to revolt. Which second? The suppression thereof. Therefore first pay the penalty for trying to do wrong, then, if you can, receive the reward for your good deed." Such was Secundus. He is buried near Eleusis, on the right of the road that leads to Megara.
1. Concerning Herodes the Athenian the following facts ought to be known. Herodes the sophist on his father's side belonged to a family which twice held consulships and also dated back to the house of the Aeacids [Herodotus viii. 64 describes the invocation by the Athenians of the Aeacids Ajax and Telamon; cf. Philostratus, Heroicus 743], whom Greece once enlisted as allies against the Persian. Nor did he fail to be proud of Miltiades and Cimon [they were descended from Aeacus], seeing that they were two very illustrious men and did great service to the Athenians and the rest of Greece in the wars with the Medes. For the former was the first to triumph over the Medes and the latter inflicted punishment on the barbarians for their insolent acts afterwards. [In 466 Cimon defeated the Persians by sea and land, and, later, expelled them from the Thraeian Chersonese.]
No man employed his wealth to better purpose. And this we must not reckon a thing easy to achieve, but very difficult and arduous. For men who are intoxicated with wealth are wont to let loose a flood of insults on their fellow-men. And moreover they bring this reproach on Plutus [the god of wealth] that he is blind; but even if at all other times he appeared to be blind, yet in the case of Herodes he recovered his sight. For he had eyes for his friends, he had eyes for cities, he had eyes for whole nations, since the man watched over them all, and laid up the treasures of his riches in the hearts of those who shared them with him. For indeed he used to say that he who would use his wealth aright ought to give to the needy that they might cease to be in need, and to those that needed it not, lest they should fall into need; and he used to call riches that did not circulate and were tied up by parsimony "dead riches," and the treasure-chambers in which some men hoard their money "prison-houses of wealth"; and those who thought they must actually sacrifice to their hoarded money he nicknamed "Aloadae," [Iliad v. 385; Otus and Ephialtes, the Aloadae, imprisoned Ares for thirteen months] for they sacrificed to Ares after they had imprisoned him.
The sources of his wealth were many and derived from several families, but the greatest were the fortunes that came from his father and mother. For his grandfather Hipparchus suffered the confiscation of his estate on the charge of aspiring to a tyranny, of which the Emperor was not ignorant, though the Athenians did not bring it forward. [Suetonius, Vespasian 13, refers to the trial of Hipparchus.] His son Atticus, however, the father of Herodes, was not overlooked by Fortune after he had lost his wealth and become poor, but she revealed to him a prodigious treasure in one of the houses which he had acquired near the theatre. And since, on account of its vastness, it made him cautious rather than overjoyed, he wrote the following letter to the Emperor: "O Emperor, I have found a treasure in my own house. What commands do you give about it?" To which the Emperor (Nerva at that time was on the throne) replied: "Use what you have found." But Atticus did not abandon his caution and wrote that the extent of the treasure was beyond his station. "Then misuse your windfall," replied the Emperor, "for yours it is." Hence Atticus became powerful, but Herodes still more so, for besides his father's fortune his mother's also, which was not much less, helped to make him affluent.
This same Atticus was also distinguished for his lordly spirit. As an instance, at a time when Herodes was governor of the free cities in Asia, he observed that Troy [this is the later city known as Alexandria Troas] was ill-supplied with baths, and that the inhabitants drew muddy water from their wells, and had to dig cisterns to catch rain water. Accordingly he wrote to the Emperor Hadrian to ask him not to allow an ancient city, conveniently near the sea, to perish from drought, but to give them three million drachmae to procure a water-supply, since he had already bestowed on mere villages many times that sum. The Emperor approved of the advice in the letter as in accordance with his own disposition, and appointed Herodes himself to take charge of the water-supply. But when the outlay had reached the sum of seven million drachmae, and the officials who governed Asia kept writing to the Emperor that it was a scandal that the tribute received from five hundred cities should be spent on the fountain of one city, the Emperor expressed his disapproval of this to Atticus, whereupon Atticus replied in the most lordly fashion in the world: "Do not, O Emperor, allow yourself to be irritated on account of so trifling a sum. For the amount spent in excess of the three millions I hereby present to my son, and my son will present it to the town." His will, moreover, in which he bequeathed to the people of Athens a mina annually for every citizen, proclaims the magnificence of the man; and he practiced it in other ways also. He would often sacrifice a hundred oxen to the goddess in a single day, and entertain at the sacrificial feast the whole population of Athens by tribes and families. And whenever the festival of Dionysus came round and the image of Dionysus descended to the Academy [Pausanias i. 29. 2], he would furnish wine to drink for citizens and strangers alike, as they lay in the Cerameicus on couches of ivy leaves.
Since I have mentioned the will of Atticus, I must also record the reasons why Herodes offended the Athenians. The terms of the will were as I have stated, and Atticus drew it up by the advice of his freedmen, who since they saw that Herodes was by nature prone to deal harshly with his freedmen and slaves, tried in this way to prepare a haven for themselves among the people of Athens, by appearing responsible for the legacy. What sort of relation existed between the freedmen and Herodes may be plainly seen in the invective which he composed against them. For in it he shot forth at them every weapon that his tongue could command. When the will had been read, the Athenians made a compact with Herodes that by paying them each five minae down he should redeem his obligation to keep up continued payments. But when they came to the banks to get the sum that had been agreed upon, then and there they had to listen to the recital of contracts made by their fathers and grandfathers, showing that they were in debt to the parents of Herodes, and they were held liable for counter-payments, with the result that some received payment of only a small sum, others nothing at all, while some were detained in the market-place as debtors who must pay. This treatment exasperated the Athenians, who felt they had been robbed of their legacy, and they never ceased to hate Herodes, not even at the time when he thought he was conferring on them the greatest benefits. Hence they declared the Panathenaic stadium was well named, since he had built it with money of which all the Athenians were being deprived.
Furthermore he held the office of archon eponymus [the chief archon at Athens gave his name to the current year] at Athens, and the curatorship of the pan-Hellenic festival; and when he was offered the crowning honor of the charge of the Panathenaic festival he made this announcement: "I shall welcome you, O Athenians, and those Hellenes that shall attend, and the athletes who are to compete, in a stadium of pure white marble." In accordance with this promise he completed within four years the stadium on the other side of the Ilissus, and thus constructed a monument that is beyond all other marvels, for there is no theatre that can rival it. Moreover, I have been told the following facts concerning this Panathenaic festival. The robe of Athene that was hung on the ship [the Athenians dedicated a robe, "peplos," to Athene annually] was more charming than any painting, with folds that swelled before the breeze, and the ship, as it took its course, was not hauled by animals, but slid forward by means of underground machinery. Setting sail at the Cerameicus with a thousand rowers, it arrived at the Eleusinium, and after circling it, passed by the Pelasgicum: and thus escorted came by the Pythium, to where it is now moored. The other end of the stadium is occupied by a temple of Fortune with her statue in ivory to show that she directs all contests. Herodes also changed the dress of the Athenian youths to its present form, and was the first to dress them in white cloaks, for before that time they had worn black cloaks whenever they sat in a group at public meetings, or marched in festal processions, in token of the public mourning of the Athenians for the herald Copreus [Iliad xv. 639; for this custom cf. Plutarch, Aratus 53; Pausanias ii. 3. 6; Philostratus, Heroicus 740], whom they themselves had slain when he was trying to drag the sons of Heracles from the altar.
Herodes also dedicated to the Athenians the theatre in memory of Regilla [the Odeum or Theatre of Music], and he made its roof of cedar wood, though this wood is considered costly even for making statues. These two monuments, then, are at Athens, and they are such as exist nowhere else in the Roman Empire; but I must not neglect to mention also the roofed theatre which he built for the Corinthians, which is far inferior indeed to the one at Athens but there are not many famous things elsewhere which equal it; and there are also the statues at the Isthmus and the colossal statue of the Isthmian god, and that of Amphitrite, and the other offerings with which he filled the temple; nor must I pass over the dolphin sacred to Melicertes. [Pausanias i. 44. 11. The corpse of Melicertes or Palaemon, who was drowned by his mother Ino Leucothea, was carried by dolphins to the shore near Corinth.] He also dedicated the stadium at Pytho to the Pythian god, and the aqueduct at Olympia to Zeus, and for the Thessalians and the Greeks who dwell around the Maliac gulf, the bathing pools at Thermopylae that heal the sick.
Further he colonized Oricum in Epirus, which by this time had fallen into decay, and Canusium in Italy, and made it habitable by giving it a water-supply, since it was greatly in need of this. And he endowed the cities of Euboea and the Peloponnese and Boeotia with various gifts. And yet, though he had achieved such great works, he held that he had done nothing important because he had not cut through the Isthmus [of Corinth]. For he regarded it as a really brilliant achievement to cut away the mainland to join two seas, and to contract lengths of sea into a voyage of twenty-six stades. This then he longed to do, but he never had the courage to ask the Emperor to grant him permission, lest he should be accused of grasping at an ambitious plan to which not even Nero had proved himself equal. But in conversation he did let out that ambition in the following way. For as I have been told by Ctesidemus the Athenian, Herodes was driving to Corinth with Ctesidemus sitting by his side, and when he arrived at the Isthmus Herodes cried: "Poseidon, I aspire to do it, but no one will let me!" Ctesidemus was surprised at what he had said and asked him why he had made the remark. Whereupon Herodes replied: "For a long time I have been striving to bequeath to men that come after me some proof of an ambition that reveals me for the man I am, and I consider that I have not yet attained to this reputation." Then Ctesidemus recited praises of his speeches and his deeds which no other man could surpass. But Herodes replied: "All this that you speak of must decay and yield to the hand of time, and others will plunder my speeches and criticize now this, now that. But the cutting of the Isthmus is a deathless achievement and more than one would credit to human powers, for in my opinion to cleave through the Isthmus calls for Poseidon rather than a mere man."
As to the being whom most men used to call the Heracles of Herodes, this was a youth in early manhood [Odyssey x. 279; Lucian, Demonax 1, calls him Sostratus], as tall as a tall Celt, and in fact about eight feet high. Herodes describes him in one of his letters to Julian. [Antoninus Julianus is mentioned by Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights, xix. 9.] He says that his hair grew evenly on his head, his eyebrows were bushy and they met as though they were but one, and his eyes gave out a brilliant gleam which betrayed his impulsive temperament; he was hook-nosed, and had a solidly built neck, which was due rather to work than to diet. His chest, too, was well formed and beautifully slim, and his legs were slightly bowed outwards, which made it easy for him to stand firmly planted. He was draped in wolf-skins sewed together to make a garment, and he used to contend against wild boars, jackals, wolves, and mad bulls, and would exhibit the scars from these combats. Some say that this Heracles was "earth-born " and sprang from the folk in Boeotia, but Herodes says that he heard him say that his mother was a woman so strong that she herded cattle, and his father was Marathon whose statue is at Marathon, and he is a rustic hero. Herodes asked this Heracles whether he also was immortal. To which he replied: "I am only longer lived than a mortal."
Then he asked him what he lived on, and he said: "I live chiefly on milk, and am fed by goats and herds of cows and brood mares, and the she-ass also provides a sweet sort of milk and light to digest. But when I meet with barley meal, I eat ten quarts [one quart was regarded as a day's ration for an ordinary man], and the farmers of Marathon and Boeotia supply me with this feast; they also nickname me Agathion ["Goodfellow"], because they think that I bring them luck." "And what about your speech?" asked Herodes. "How were you educated, and by whom? For you do not seem to be an uneducated man." "The interior of Attica educated me," Agathion replied, "a good school for a man who wishes to be able to converse. For the Athenians in the city admit as hirelings youths who come in like a flood from Thrace and the Pontus and from other barbarian peoples, and their own speech deteriorates from the influence of these barbarians to a greater extent than they can contribute to the improvement of the speech of the newcomers. But the central district is untainted by barbarians, and hence its language remains uncorrupted and its dialect sounds the purest strain of Atthis." [cf. Life of Aelian.] "Were you ever at a public festival?" inquired Herodes. "Yes, at Pytho," replied Agathion, "but I did not mingle with the crowd, but from the summit of Parnassus I listened to the musical competitions when Pammenes won applause in tragedy, and it seemed to me that the wise Greeks were doing an immoral thing when they listened with delight to the criminal deeds of the houses of Pelops and Labdacus; for when myths are not discredited they may be the counsellors of evil deeds." When Herodes saw that he had a philosophic bent, he asked him also what was his opinion about the gymnastic contests, and he replied: "Even more do I laugh at them when I see men struggling with one another in the pancratium, and boxing, running, wrestling, and winning crowns for all this. Let the athlete who is a runner receive a crown for running faster than a deer or a horse, and let him who trains for a weightier contest be crowned for wrestling with a bull or bear, a thing which I do every day; for fortune has robbed me of a really great encounter, now that Acarnania no longer breeds lions."
On this Herodes admired him greatly and begged him to dine with him. "To-morrow," replied Agathion, "I will come to you at noon at the temple of Canobus [Canobus or Canopus was the helmsman of Menelaus, who died in Egypt; Pausanias i. 34], and do you have there the largest bowl that is in the temple full of milk that has not been milked by a woman." Accordingly he came next day at the time agreed upon, but when he had raised the bowl to his nose, he said: "The milk is not pure, for the odor of a woman's hand assails my senses." When he had said this he went away without tasting the milk. Then Herodes gave heed to what he had said about the woman, and sent to the cow-sheds to find out the truth; and on hearing that thus the matter actually stood, he recognized that there was a superhuman character about the man.
Those who accused Herodes of having lifted his hand against Antoninus [later the Emperor Antoninus Pius] on Mount Ida, at the time when the former was the governor of the free cities, and the latter of all the cities in Asia, were, in my opinion, unaware of the action brought by Demostratus against Herodes, in which he made many charges against him, but nowhere mentioned this insolent act, for the reason that it never took place. For though they did in a manner shove one another aside, as happens in a rough place and a narrow road, still they did not break the law by coming to blows, and indeed Demostratus would not have neglected to describe the incident in his suit against Herodes, when he attacked the man so bitterly that he actually censured those acts of his which are regularly applauded.
A charge of murder was also brought against Herodes, and it was made up in this way. His wife Regilla, it was said, was in the eighth month of her pregnancy, and Herodes ordered his freedman Alcimedon to beat her for some slight fault, and the woman died in premature childbirth from a blow in the belly. On these grounds, as though true, Regilla' s brother Braduas brought a suit against him for murder. He was a very illustrious man of consular rank, and the outward sign of his high birth, a crescent-shaped ivory buckle, was attached to his sandal. [Roman patricians and senators wore a half moon as a badge on their shoes; cf. Juvenal vii. 191.] And when Braduas appeared before the Roman tribunal he brought no convincing proof of the charge that he was making, but delivered a long panegyric on himself dealing with his own family. Whereupon Herodes jested at his expense and said: "You have your pedigree on your toe-joints." And when his accuser boasted too of his benefactions to one of the cities of Italy, Herodes said with great dignity: "I too could have recited many such actions of my own in whatever part of the earth I were now being tried."
Two things helped him in his defense. First that he had given orders for no such severe measures against Regilla; secondly, his extraordinary grief at her death. Even this was regarded as a pretense and made a charge against him, but nevertheless the truth prevailed. For he never would have dedicated to her memory so fine a theatre nor would he have postponed for her sake the casting of lots for his second consulship, if he had not been innocent of the charge; nor again would he have made an offering of her apparel at the temple of Eleusis, if he had been polluted by a murder when he brought it, for this was more likely to turn the goddesses into avengers of the murder than to win their pardon. He also altered the appearance of his house in her honor by making the paintings and decorations of the rooms black by means of hangings, dyes, and Lesbian marble, which is a gloomy and dark marble. And they say that Lucius, a wise man, tried to give Herodes advice about this, and since he could not persuade him to alter it, he turned him into ridicule. And this incident must not be omitted from my narrative, since it is held worthy of mention by learned writers. For this Lucius ranked among men renowned for learning, and since he had been trained in philosophy by Musonius of Tyre, his repartees were apt to hit the mark, and he practised a wit well suited to the occasion. Now, as he was very intimate with Herodes, he was with him when he was most deeply afflicted by his grief, and used to give him good advice to the following effect: "Herodes, in every matter that which is enough is limited by the golden mean, and I have often heard Musonius argue on this theme, and have often discoursed on it myself; and, moreover, I used to hear you also, at Olympia, commending the golden mean to the Greeks, and at that time you would even exhort rivers to keep their course in mid channel between their banks. But what has now become of all this advice? For you have lost your self-control, and are acting in a way that we must needs deplore, since you risk your great reputation." He said more to the same effect. But since he could not convince him, he went away in anger. And he saw some slaves at a well that was in the house, washing radishes, and asked them for whose dinner they were intended. They replied that they were preparing them for Herodes. At this Lucius remarked: "Herodes insults Regilla by eating white radishes in a black house." This speech was reported indoors to Herodes, and when he heard it he removed the signs of mourning from his house, for fear he should become the laughing-stock of wise men.
Here is another admirable saying of this Lucius. The Emperor Marcus was greatly interested in Sextus the Boeotian philosopher, attending his classes and going to his very door. Lucius had just arrived in Rome, and asked the Emperor, whom he met going out, where he was going and for what purpose. Marcus answered: "It is a good thing even for one who is growing old to acquire knowledge. I am going to Sextus the philosopher to learn what I do not yet know." At this Lucius raised his hand to heaven, and exclaimed: "O Zeus! The Emperor of the Romans is already growing old, but he hangs a tablet round his neck and goes to school, while my Emperor Alexander died at thirty-two!" What I have quoted is enough to show the kind of philosophy cultivated by Lucius, for these speeches suffice to reveal the man as a sip reveals the bouquet of wine.
Thus, then, his grief for Regilla was quenched, while his grief for his daughter Panathenais was mitigated by the Athenians, who buried her in the city, and decreed that the day on which she died should be taken out of the year. But when his other daughter, whom he called Elpinice, died also, he lay on the floor, beating the earth and crying aloud: "O my daughter, what offerings shall I consecrate to thee? What shall I bury with thee?" Then Sextus the philosopher who chanced to be present said: "No small gift will you give your daughter if you control your grief for her." He mourned his daughters with this excessive grief because he was offended with his son Atticus. He had been misrepresented to him as foolish, bad at his letters, and of a dull memory. At any rate, when he could not master his alphabet, the idea occurred to Herodes to bring up with him twenty-four boys of the same age named after the letters of the alphabet, so that he would be obliged to learn his letters at the same time as the names of the boys. He saw too that he was a drunkard and given to senseless amours, and hence in his lifetime he used to utter a prophecy over his own house, adapting a famous verse as follows:
One fool methinks is still left in the wide house, [cf. Odyssey iv. 498]
and when he died he handed over to him his mother's estate, but transferred his own patrimony to other heirs. The Athenians, however, thought this inhuman, and they did not take into consideration his foster-sons Achilles, Polydeuces, and Memnon,and that he mourned them as though they had been his own children, since they were highly honorable youths, noble-minded and fond of study, a credit to their upbringing in his house. Accordingly he put up statues of them hunting, having hunted, and about to hunt, some in his shrubberies, others in the fields, others by springs or in the shade of plane-trees, not hidden away, but inscribed with execrations on any one who should pull down or move them. Nor would he have exalted them thus, had he not known them to be worthy of his praises. And when the Quintilii during their proconsulship of Greece censured him for putting up the statues of these youths on the ground that they were an extravagance, he retorted: "What business is it of yours if I amuse myself with my poor marbles?"
His quarrel with the Quintilii [these brothers are mentioned by Cassius Dio lxxi. 33] began, as most people assert, over the Pythian festival, when they held different views about the musical competition; but some say that it began with the jests that Herodes made to Marcus at their expense. For when he saw that, though they were Trojans, the Emperor thought them worthy of the highest honors, he said: "I blame Homer's Zeus also, for loving the Trojans." But the following reason is nearer the truth. When these two men were both governing Greece, the Athenians invited them to a meeting of the assembly, and made speeches to the effect that they were oppressed by a tyrant, meaning Herodes; and finally begged that what they had said might be forwarded to the Emperor's ears. And when the Quintilii felt pity for the people and without delay reported what they had heard, Herodes asserted that they were plotting against him, for they were inciting the Athenians to attack him. Certainly, after that meeting of the assembly there sprang into activity men like Demostratus, Praxagoras and Mamertinus, and many others whose public policy was opposed to Herodes. Thereupon Herodes indicted them on the charge of a conspiracy to set the people against him, and tried to bring them before the proconsular court. But they escaped secretly and went to the Emperor Marcus, relying both on the Emperor's disposition, which was somewhat democratic, and also on the favorable moment. For the Emperor did not acquit Herodes of being an accomplice in the treasonable plots of which he had suspected Lucius [Lucius Verus, the Emperor's son-in-law and colleague; cf. Cassius Dio lxxi. 1-2], after the latter had become his consort in the Empire.
Now the Emperor had his head-quarters among the tribes of Pannonia, with Sirmium for his base, and Demostratus and his friends lodged near the Emperor's head-quarters, where Marcus furnished them with supplies, and often asked them whether they needed anything. Not only was he himself convinced that he ought to treat them with this benevolence, but also he was induced to do so by his wife and by his little daughter who could not yet speak plainly; for she above all used to fall at her father's knees with many blandishments and implore him to save the Athenians for her. But Herodes lodged in a suburb in which towers had been erected, some of full height and others half-towers; and there had travelled with him from home two girls, twins just of marriageable age, who were greatly admired for their beauty. Herodes had brought them up from childhood, and appointed them to be his cupbearers and cooks, and used to call them his little daughters and loved them as though they were. They were the daughters of Alcimedon, and he was a freedman of Herodes.
Now while they were asleep in one of the towers which was very strongly built, a thunderbolt struck them in the night and killed them. Herodes was driven frantic by this misfortune, and when he came before the Emperor's tribunal he was not in his right mind but longed for death. For when he came forward to speak he launched into invectives against the Emperor, and did not even use figures of speech in his oration, though it might have been expected that a man who had been trained in this type of oratory would have had his own anger under control. But with an aggressive and unguarded tongue he persisted in his attack, and cried: "This is what I get for showing hospitality to Lucius, though it was you who sent him to me! These are the grounds on which you judge men, and you sacrifice me to the whim of a woman and a three-year-old child!" And when Bassaeus, the pretorian prefect, said that he evidently wished to die, Herodes replied: "My good fellow, an old man fears few things!" With these words Herodes left the court, leaving much of his allowance of water in the clock still to run. But among the eminently philosophic actions of Marcus we must include his behavior in this trial. For he never frowned or changed his expression, as might have happened even to an umpire, but he turned to the Athenians and said: "Make your defense, Athenians, even though Herodes does not give you leave." And as he listened to the speeches in defense he was greatly pained, though without showing it, by many things that he heard. But when the decree of the Athenian assembly was recited to him, in which they openly attacked Herodes for trying to corrupt the magistrates of Greece with the honeyed strains of his eloquence, and when they exclaimed: "Alas, what bitter honey!" and again, "Happy they who perished in the plague!" his feelings were so profoundly affected by what he heard that he burst into tears without concealment. But since the Athenian defense contained an indictment not of Herodes only but also of his freedmen, Marcus turned his anger against the freedmen, employing a punishment which was "as mild as possible"; for by this phrase he himself describes his judgment. Only in the case of Alcimedon he remitted the penalty, saying that the loss of his children was enough. Thus did Marcus conduct this affair in a manner worthy of a philosopher.
Some place on record the exile of Herodes, though exiled he was not, and they say that he lived at Oricum in Epirus and that he in fact founded the city in order that it might be a residence suited to his constitution. But though Herodes did actually live in this place and fell ill there, and offered sacrifices in return for his recovery from sickness, still he was never condemned to exile nor did he suffer this penalty. And as a witness to the truth of this statement I will employ the divine Marcus. For after the affair in Pannonia, Herodes lived in Attica in the demes that he loved best, Marathon and Cephisia. And youths from all parts of the world hung on his lips, and they flocked to Athens in their desire to hear his eloquence. But he put it to the test whether the Emperor was offended with him on account of what had happened in the court, by sending him a letter which so far from being an apology was a complaint. For he said that he wondered why the Emperor no longer wrote to him, though in former times he had written to him so often that three letter-carriers had once arrived at his house in a single day, treading in one another's foot-steps. Thereupon the Emperor wrote to Herodes at some length and on several subjects, tempering what he wrote with an admirable urbanity, and from this letter I will extract all that bears on my present narrative, and publish it.
The letter began with these words: "I greet you, friend Herodes!" Then after discussing the military winter quarters where he was at the time, and lamenting his wife of whom he had recently been bereaved by death [the Empress Faustina died suddenly at the foot of Mount Taurus, about A.D. 175], and after some remarks on his own bad health, he continued the letter as follows: "For yourself I wish you good health, and that you should think of me as well disposed to you. And do not regard yourself as unjustly treated, if after I detected the crimes of some of your household I chastised them with a punishment as mild as possible. Do not, I say, feel resentment against me on this account, but if I have annoyed you in aught, or am still annoying you, demand reparation from me in the temple of Athene in your city at the time of the Mysteries. For I made a vow, when the war began to blaze highest, that I too would be initiated, and I could wish that you yourself should initiate me into those rites." Such was the apology of Marcus, so benignant and so firm. Who would ever have addressed in these terms one whom he had cast into exile, or who would have imposed exile on one whom he held worthy to be so addressed?
Moreover, the story is told that when Cassius [for the conspiracy and death of Cassius in Syria see Cassius Dio lxxi. 22] the governor of the Eastern provinces was plotting treason against Marcus, Herodes rebuked him in a letter that ran thus: "Herodes to Cassius. You have gone mad." We must regard this letter as not merely a rebuke but also as a strong demonstration by one who, to defend the Emperor, took up the weapons of the intelligence.
The speech which Demostratus delivered against Herodes is, I think, admirable. In regard to its style, its characterization is even throughout, for the impressive manner is sustained from the opening sentences to the end of the speech. But the formal modes of expression are manifold and never alike, but are worthy of all praise. I grant that the speech has become famous among the malicious partly on account of Herodes, because it attacked one so distinguished. But how stoutly Herodes bore himself in the face of abuse will appear also from what he once said to the Cynic Proteus [Lucian in his Pereyrinus gives a full account of the self-immolation, of which he was an eyewitness, of Peregrinus Proteus the Cynic philosopher] at Athens. For this Proteus was one of those who have the courage of their philosophy, so much so that he threw himself into a bonfire at Olympia; and he used to dog the steps of Herodes and insult him in a semi-barbarous dialect. So once Herodes turned round and said: "You speak ill of me, so be it, but why in such bad Greek?" And when Proteus became still more persistent with his accusations, he said: "We two have grown old, you in speaking ill of me and I in hearing you." By which he implied that, though he heard him, he laughed him to scorn, because he was convinced that false accusations reach the ears but wound no deeper. [An echo of Aeschines, On the False Embassy, 149.]
I will describe also the eloquence of Herodes and proceed to the main characteristics of his oratory. I have already said that he counted Polemo, Favorinus, and Scopelian among his teachers, that he attended the lectures of Secundus the Athenian, but for the critical branch of oratory he studied with Theagenes of Cnidos and Munatius of Tralles; and for the doctrines of Plato, with Taurus of Tyre. The structure of his work was suitably restrained, and its strength lay in subtlety rather than in vigor of attack. He was impressive in the plain style, sonorous after the manner of Critias; his ideas were such as would not occur to the mind of another; he had an easy and urbane wit which was not dragged in, but inspired by the subjects themselves; his diction was pleasing and abounded in figures and had grace and beauty; he was skillful in varying his constructions; his tone was not vehement but smooth and steady [from Aristophanes, Frogs 1003], and, speaking generally, his type of eloquence is like gold dust shining beneath the waters of a silvery eddying river. [The same figure is used by Lucian, Dialogues of the Sea-Gods 3.] For while he devoted himself to the study of all the older writers, from Critias he was inseparable, and he made the Greeks better acquainted with him, since he had hitherto been neglected and overlooked. And when all Greece was loud in applause of Herodes and called him one of the Ten [the Ten Attic Orators of the canon], he was not abashed by such a compliment, though it seems magnificent enough, but replied to his admirers with great urbanity: "Well at any rate I am better than Andocides." Though no man ever learned more easily than he, he did not neglect hard work, but used to study even while he drank his wine, and at night in his wakeful intervals. Hence the lazy and light-minded used to call him the "Stuffed Orator." Different men excel in different ways and this or that man is superior to another in this or that, since one is admirable as an extempore speaker, another at elaborating a speech, but our friend surpassed every other sophist in his grasp of all these methods; and when he wished to move his hearers he drew not only on tragedy but also on the life of every day.
There are extant by Herodes very many letters, discourses and diaries, handbooks and collections of suitable passages in which the flowers of antique erudition have been collected in a small volume. And those who cast in his teeth the fact that while he was yet a youth he broke down in a speech before the Emperor in Pannonia, are, I think, not aware that the same thing happened to Demosthenes also, when he spoke before Philip. And Demosthenes returned to Athens and demanded honors and crowns, though the Athenians never recovered Amphipolis [Philip had taken Amphipolis in 357, eleven years before this embassy]; but Herodes after that humiliation rushed to the river Danube as though he would throw himself in; for so overwhelming was his desire to become famous as an orator, that he assessed the penalty of failure at death.
He died at the age of about seventy-six, of a wasting sickness. And though he expired at Marathon and had left directions to his freedmen to bury him there, the Athenians carried him off by the hands of the youths and bore him into the city, and every age went out to meet the bier with tears and pious ejaculations, as would sons who were bereft of a good father. They buried him in the Panathenaic stadium, and inscribed over him this brief and noble epitaph: "Here lies all that remains of Herodes, son of Atticus, of Marathon, but his glory is world-wide." That is all I have to say concerning Herodes the Athenian; part of it has been told already by others, but part was hitherto unknown.
2. My narrative calls me to consider the sophist Theodotus. Theodotus was a chief magistrate [he was " king archon " at Athens] of the Athenian people at the time when the Athenians had their quarrel with Herodes, and though he never reached the stage of open hostility towards him, he plotted against him in secret, since he had a talent for profiting by any turn of affairs; and indeed he was one of the baser sort. At any rate he became so thoroughly mixed up with Demostratus and his friends that he collaborated with them in the speeches that they were carefully preparing against Herodes. Also he was appointed to the chair of rhetoric to educate the youth of Athens, and was the first to receive a salary of ten thousand drachmae from the Emperor. Yet this fact alone would not be worth mentioning; for not all who ascend this chair are worthy of mention, but I do so because Marcus assigned to Herodes the task of choosing the Platonic philosophers and the Stoics, Peripatetics, and Epicureans, but this man he himself chose from the opinion that he had formed of him to direct the education of the youth and called him a past master of political oratory and an ornament to rhetoric. This man was a pupil of Lollianus, but he had also attended the lectures of Herodes. He lived to be over fifty, held the chair for two years, and both in the forensic and purely sophistic branches of oratory the style of his speeches was sufficiently good.
3. Aristocles of Pergamon also won renown among the sophists, and I will relate all that I have heard about him from men older than myself. This man belonged to a family of consular rank, and though from boyhood to early manhood he had devoted himself to the teachings of the Peripatetic school, he went over entirely to the sophists, and at Rome regularly attended the lectures of Herodes on extempore oratory. Now, so long as he was a student of philosophy he was slovenly in appearance, unkempt and squalid in his dress, but now he began to be fastidious, discarded his slovenly ways, and admitted into his house all the pleasures that are afforded by the lyre, the flute, and the singing voice, as though they had come begging to his doors. [An echo of Plato, Republic 489b; Phaedrus 233e.] For though hitherto he had lived with such austerity he now began to be immoderate in his attendance at theatres and their loud racket. When he was beginning to be famous at Pergamon, and all the Hellenes in that region hung on his oratory, Herodes travelled to Pergamon and sent all his own pupils to hear him, thereby exalting the reputation of Aristocles as though Athene [the vote of Athene given in the trial of Orestes in Aeschylus, Eumenides, became a proverb] herself had cast her vote. His style of eloquence was lucid and Attic, but it was more suited to formal discourse than to forensic argument, for his language is without acrimony or impulsive outbreaks on the spur of the moment. And even his Atticism, tested by comparison with the language of Herodes, will seem over-subtle and deficient in the qualities of magnificence and sonorousness. Aristocles died when his hair was streaked with grey [the Greek epithet is from Iliad xiii. 361], on the very threshold of old age.
4. Antiochus the sophist was born at Aegae in Cilicia of so distinguished a family that even now his descendants are made consuls. When he was accused of cowardice in not appearing to speak before the assembly and taking no part in public business, he said: "It is not you but myself that I fear." No doubt that was because he knew that he had a bitter and violent temper, and that he could not control it. But nevertheless he used to aid the citizens from his private means as far as he was able, and furnished them not only with corn whenever he saw they were in need, but also with money to restore their dilapidated buildings. [In the sophistic literature of this period there is much evidence of the decay of the Greek towns, especially in Aristeides, Oration 43, and of the generosity of sophists in restoring them.] He used to spend very many nights in the temple of Asclepius, both on account of the dreams that he had there, and also on account of all the intercourse there is between those who are awake and converse with one another, for in his case the god used to converse with him while awake, and held it to be a triumph of his healing art to ward off disease from Antiochus.
As a boy, Antiochus was a pupil of Dardanus the Assyrian, and as he grew to early manhood he studied with Dionysius of Miletus, who was already living in Ephesus. He had no talent for formal discourse, and since he was the shrewdest of men he used to run down this branch of the art as childish, so that he might appear to despise it rather than to be unequal to it. But in declamation he won great fame, for he had a sure touch in simulated arguments, was energetic in accusation and invective, brilliant in defense, strong in characterization, and, in a word, his style of eloquence was somewhat too sophistic for the forensic branch and more forensic than sophistic usually is. [The same is said of Nicetes, p. 511, of Damianus, p. 606; cf. Cicero, Brutus 31.] He handled the emotions more skillfully than any other sophist, for he did not spin out long monodies or abject lamentations, but expressed them in a few words and adorned them with ideas better than I can describe, as is evident in other cases that he pleaded, but especially in the following. A girl has been ravished, and has chosen that her ravisher shall be put to death [i.e. she had the alternative of marrying him]; later a child is born of this rape, and the grandfathers dispute as to which one of them shall bring up the child. Antiochus was pleading on behalf of its paternal grandfather, and exclaimed: "Give up the child! Give it up this instant before it can taste its mother's milk!"
The other theme is as follows. A tyrant abdicates on condition of immunity for himself. He is slain by one whom he has caused to be made a eunuch, and the latter is on his defense for the murder. In this case Antiochus refuted the strongest point made by the prosecution when they quoted the compact between the people and the tyrant; and threw in an ingenious argument while he set forth the eunuch's personal grievance: "With whom, pray," cried he, "did he make this agreement? With children, weak women, boys, old men, and men. But there is no description of me in that contract." Most skillful, too, was his defense of the Cretans, standing their trial in the matter of the tomb of Zeus [the theme presented the arguments for the Cretan claim that the tomb of Zens was in Crete]; when he made brilliant use of arguments drawn from natural philosophy and all that is taught concerning the gods. He delivered extempore declamations, but he also took pains with written compositions, as others of his works make evident, but above all, his History. For in this he has displayed to the full both his powers of language and of thought, and, moreover, he devotes himself to the love of the beautiful. Concerning the end of Antiochus, some say that he died at the age of seventy, others that he was not so old; again, some say that he died at home, others abroad.
5. Alexander, who was generally nicknamed "Clay-Plato," was born at Seleucia, a famous city in Cilicia. His father had the same name as himself and was very talented in forensic oratory, while his mother, as her portraits show, was extraordinarily beautiful, and in fact resembled the Helen of Eumelus. (Now Eumelus painted a picture of Helen that was thought worthy to be dedicated in the Roman Forum.) They say that among others who fell in love with her was Apollonius of Tyana, and that he made no secret of it; that she rejected the others, but gave herself to Apollonius because of her desire for noble offspring, since he more than ordinary men had in him something divine. In my work on Apollonius [Life of Apollonius i. 13, vi. 42] I have stated clearly on how many grounds this story is incredible. But it is true that Alexander had a godlike appearance, and was conspicuous for his beauty and charm. For his beard was curly and of moderate length, his eyes large and melting, his nose well shaped, his teeth very white, his fingers long and slender, and well fitted to hold the reins of eloquence. He had, moreover, a large fortune, which he used to spend on pleasures that were above reproach.
After he had reached manhood he went on an embassy to Antoninus on behalf of Seleucia, and malicious gossip became current about him, that to make himself look younger he used artificial means. Now the Emperor seemed to be paying too little attention to him, whereupon Alexander raised his voice and said: "Pay attention to me, Caesar." The Emperor, who was much irritated with him for using so unceremonious a form of address, retorted: "I am paying attention, and I know you well. You are the fellow who is always arranging his hair, cleaning his teeth, and polishing his nails, and always smells of myrrh."
For the greater part of his life he carried on his profession at Antioch, Rome, Tarsus, and, by Zeus, in the whole of Egypt, for he travelled even to the place where is the sect of the Naked Philosophers. [For the Gymnosophists see Life of Apollonius vi. 6.] His visits to Athens were few, but it would not be proper to ignore them. He journeyed to the tribes of Pannonia at the summons of the Emperor Marcus, who was conducting the war there and bestowed on him the title of Imperial Secretary for the Greeks. When he reached Athens — and it is a journey of no ordinary length for one travelling from the East — "Here," said he, "let us bend the knee in repose." [For this phrase cf. Aeschylus, Prometheus Vinctus 32.] After saying this he announced to the Athenians that he would deliver extempore speeches, since they were very eager to hear him. But when he was told that Herodes was living at Marathon, and that all the Athenian youth had followed him there, he wrote him a letter asking him for his Hellenes; to which Herodes replied: "I will come myself too with my Hellenes." They were accordingly assembled in the Cerameicus, in the theatre which has been called the Theatre of Agrippa, and as the day was already far advanced and Herodes still tarried, the Athenians complained that the lecture was being given up, and they thought that it was a trick; so that it became necessary for Alexander to come forward and make the introductory speech before the arrival of Herodes. Now his introductory speech was a panegyric of the city and an apology to the Athenians for not having visited them before, and it was of the appropriate length, for it was like an epitome of a Panathenaic oration.
The Athenians thought his appearance and costume so exquisite that before he spoke a word a low buzz of approval went round as a tribute to his perfect elegance. Now the theme that they chose was this: "The speaker endeavors to recall the Scythians to their earlier nomadic life, since they are losing their health by dwelling in cities." After pausing for a brief space he sprang from his seat with a look of gladness on his face, like one who brings good news to those who shall listen to what he has to tell them. While his speech was proceeding, Herodes made his appearance, wearing a shady Arcadian hat as was the fashion in the summer season at Athens, but perhaps also to show Alexander that he had just arrived from a journey. Thereupon Alexander adapted his speech so as to take note of the famous man's presence in impressive and sonorous language; and he put it to him whether he would prefer to listen to the argument that was already being discussed or to propose another himself. Herodes glanced towards the audience, saying that he would do whatever they decided, and they unanimously agreed that they would hear The Scythians; for indeed Alexander was making out his case with brilliant success, as the anecdote shows. But he made a further wonderful display of his marvellous powers in what now took place. For the sentiments that he had so brilliantly expressed before Herodes came he now recast in his presence, but with such different words and different rhythms, that those who were hearing them for the second time could not feel that he was repeating himself. For example, before Herodes appeared, the epigram that won the greatest applause was this: "When it is stagnant, even water goes bad." But after his arrival he gave it a different force, by saying: "Even those waters are sweeter that keep on the move."
Here are some more quotations from The Scythians of Alexander. "When the Danube froze I would travel South, but when it thawed I would go North, always in perfect health, not as I am now, an invalid. For what harm can come to a man who follows the seasons in their course?" In the last part of his speech he denounced the city as a cramped and suffocating dwelling, and for the closing sentence he cried out very loud: "Come fling open the gates [Euripides, Phoenician Women 297], I must breathe the air!" Then he hastened up to Herodes, embraced him and said: "Pray regale me in return." "Why not indeed," said Herodes, "when you have regaled me so splendidly?" When the declamation was over, Herodes called together the more advanced of his own pupils and asked them what was their opinion of the sophist; and when Sceptus of Corinth said that he had found the clay but had still to find the Plato, Herodes cut him short, and said: "Do not talk like that to anyone else, for," said he, "you will incriminate yourself as an illiterate critic. Nay rather follow me in thinking him a more sober Scopelian."
Herodes thus characterized him because he had observed that the sophist knew how to combine a sober and tempered eloquence with a bold use of sophistic modes of thought; and when he himself declaimed before Alexander he raised his eloquence to a higher pitch, because he knew that Alexander took the keenest pleasure in intensity and force; and he introduced into his speech rhythms more varied than those of the flute and the lyre, because he considered that Alexander was especially skillful in elaborate variations. The theme elected [this is the technical term to describe the theme voted for by the audience when several had been proposed] by his audience was, "The wounded in Sicily implore the Athenians who are retreating thence to put them to death with their own hands." [This theme is based on the narrative of Thucydides vii. 75.] In the course of this argument, with tears in his eyes, he uttered that famous and often quoted supplication: "Ah, Nicias! Ah, my father! As you hope to see Athens once more!" Whereupon they say that Alexander exclaimed: "O Herodes, we sophists are all of us merely small slices of yourself!" And that Herodes was delighted beyond measure by this eulogy, and yielding to his innate generosity presented him with ten pack-animals, ten horses, ten cup-bearers, ten shorthand writers, twenty talents of gold, a great quantity of silver, and two lisping children from the deme Collytus, since he was told that Alexander liked to hear childish voices. This, then, is what happened to Alexander at Athens.
Now since I have set before my readers certain memorable sayings of the other sophists, I must make Alexander also known to them by quoting several sayings of his. For among the Greeks he has never yet attained to the full measure of the renown that is his due. The following quotations from his discourses show how sublime and at the same time how delightful was his style of eloquence. "Marsyas was in love with Olympus, and Olympus with flute-playing." And again: "Arabia is a land of abundant woods, well-shaded plains, there is no barren spot, her soil is all plants and flowers. Not a leaf that Arabia grows would one ever throw aside, no stem or stalk that grew there would one ever cast away; so happy is her soil in all that exudes therefrom." And again: "I am a poor man from Ionia, yet Ionia consists of pure Hellenes who colonized the land of the barbarians." Antiochus made fun of this style, and despised Alexander for indulging too much in the luxury of fine-sounding words; and so when he came before the public at Antioch he began his speech with the words: "Ionias, Lydias, Marsyases, foolishness, propose me themes."
In these quotations I have shown Alexander's peculiar talent for declamation, but I must go on to show it in themes of another kind. For instance, when his theme was this: "Pericles urges that they should keep up the war, even after the oracle in which the Pythian god declared that, whether summoned to their aid or not summoned, he would be the ally of the Lacedaemonians," [Thucydides i. 118 speaks of this oracle, but not in connection with Pericles] he withstood the oracle with these words: "But the Pythian god, you say, promises to aid the Lacedaemonians. He is deceiving them. Even so did he promise them Tegea." [Herodotus i. 66 describes the misleading oracle which refused the Spartans the conquest of Arcadia, but promised that they should take Tegea; they were defeated and captured by the Tegeans.] And again, when representing the man who advised Darius to throw a bridge over the Danube [cf. Herodotus iv. 89], he said: "Let the Danube of the Scythians flow beneath your feet, and if he gives your army a smooth crossings do him the honor of drinking of his waters." Again, when he sustained the part of Artabazus trying to dissuade Xerxes from making a second expedition against Greece [cf. Herodotus vii. 10], he summed up the argument as follows: "Now the condition of the Persians and Medes is as I have said, O King, if you stay where you are. But the soil of the Greeks is poor, their sea is narrow, their men are foolhardy, their gods are jealous gods." When he was trying to persuade those who had bad health in the plains to migrate to the mountains, he thus discoursed on nature: "I believe the Creator of the universe hurled down the plains as being of less precious material, and raised up the mountains as worthy of regard. These the sun greets first and abandons last. Who would not love a place where the days are longer than elsewhere?"
Alexander's teachers were. Favorinus and Dionysius. But he left Dionysius when his education was only half completed, because he had been summoned by his father who was ill. Then, when his father was dead, Alexander became the genuine disciple of Favorinus, and it was from him above all that he caught the charm and beauty of his eloquence. Some say that Alexander died in Gaul while he was still an Imperial Secretary, others that he died in Italy after he had ceased to be Secretary. Again some say that he was sixty, others that he had not reached that age. Some say that he left a son, others a daughter, but on these points I could discover nothing worth mentioning.
6. I must not omit to mention Varus who came from Perge. The father of Varus was Callicles, one of Perge's most important citizens. His teacher was Quadratus [proconsul of Asia A.D. 165] the consul, who used to argue extempore on abstract philosophical themes, and as a sophist followed the fashion set by Favorinus. Varus was commonly nicknamed "the stork," because of the fiery hue and beaked shape of his nose, and that this witticism was not far-fetched we may gather from the likenesses of him which are dedicated in the temple of the goddess [Artemis] of Perge. The following is characteristic of his eloquence: "When you arrive at the Hellespont do you call for a horse? When you arrive at Athos do you wish to navigate it? [cf. Lucian, The Rhetorician's Guide 18; cf. Cicero, De finibus ii. 34; Dio Chrysostom, Oration iii. 31 Arnim.] Man, do you not know the regular routes? You throw this handful of earth on the Hellespont, and think you that it will remain, when mountains do not remain?" It is said that he used to declaim these words in a magnificent and well-trained voice. For the rest, he died at home while still a young man, leaving children, and his descendants are all highly esteemed in Perge.
7. Hermogenes, who was born at Tarsus, by the time he was fifteen had attained such a reputation as a sophist that even the Emperor Marcus became eager to hear him. At any rate Marcus made the journey to hear him declaim, and was delighted with his formal discourse, but marvelled at him when he declaimed extempore, and gave him splendid presents. But when Hermogenes arrived at manhood his powers suddenly deserted him, though this was not due to any apparent disease, and this provided the envious with an occasion for their wit. For they declared that his words were in very truth "winged," as Homer says, and that Hermogenes had molted them, like wing-feathers. And once Antiochus the sophist, jesting at his expense, said: "Lo, here is that fellow Hermogenes, who among boys was an old man, but among the old is a boy." [A parody of Pindar, Nem. iii. 72.] The following will show the kind of eloquence that he affected. In a speech that he was delivering before Marcus, he said, "You see before you, Emperor, an orator who still needs an attendant to take him to school, an orator who still looks to come of age." He said much more of this sort and in the same facetious vein. He died at a ripe old age, but accounted as one of the rank and file, for he became despised when his skill in his art deserted him.
8. Philagrus of Cilicia was a pupil of Lollianus, and was the most excitable and hot-tempered of the sophists. For instance it is said that when someone in his audience began to go to sleep, he gave him a blow in the face with his open hand. After making a brilliant start in his career while still a mere boy, he did not fall short of it even when he began to grow old, but made such progress that he was regarded as the model of what a teacher should be. But though he lived among many peoples and won a great reputation among them for his dexterity in handling arguments, at Athens he showed no skill in handling his own hot temper, but picked a quarrel with Herodes just as though he had come there for that very purpose. For he was walking towards evening in the Cerameicus with four men of the sort that at Athens chase after the sophists, and saw a young man on his right, with several others, keep turning round, and imagining that he was making some jest at his expense he called out: "Well, and who may you be?" "I am Amphicles," he replied, "if indeed you have heard of that citizen of Chalcis." "Then keep away from my lectures," said Philagrus, "for you do not appear to me to have any sense." "And who are you?" inquired the other, "to issue that edict?" Whereupon Philagrus said that it was an insult to him not to be recognized wherever he might be.
An outlandish [the second-century sophists, when purists, carefully avoided "barbarisms" and Latinisms. The most striking instance of this is Life of Apollonius iv. 5. Aristeides in his panegyric of Rome used no Roman name] word escaped him in the heat of his anger, and Amphicles pounced on it, for he was in fact the most distinguished of the pupils of Herodes, and asked: "In what classic is that word to be found?" "In Philagrus," was the answer. Now this foolish brawl went no further at the time; but on the next day he learned that Herodes was living in his suburban villa, and wrote him a letter accusing him of neglecting to teach his pupils decent manners. To this Herodes replied: "It seems to me that you are not very successful with your prooemium." This was to censure him for not trying to win the goodwill of his hearers, which one must regard as the true prooemium of a declamation. But Philagrus, as though he did not understand the conundrum, or understood, but regarded the advice of Herodes as absurd, though it was in fact excellent, was disappointed in his declamation because he came before an audience that was ill-disposed towards him. For as I have heard from men older than myself, his introductory speech gave offense, because they thought it had a new-fangled ring and was disconnected in its ideas; nay they even thought it childish. For into his encomium of the Athenians he inserted a lament for his wife who had died in Ionia. So when he came to deliver his declamation a plot was formed against him, as follows.
In Asia he had already argued a certain theme entitled: "They reject as allies those whom they have not invited to their aid." [This theme is probably derived from Thucydides viii. 86, where Alcibiades declines the aid of the Argives.] This argument had already been published, and had attracted notice, in fact it had greatly enhanced his reputation. Now a rumor reached the pupils of Herodes that Philagrus, when a theme was proposed to him, used to improvise the first time, but did not do so on a second occasion, but would declaim stale arguments that he had used before. Accordingly they proposed to him this same theme "The Uninvited," and when he pretended to be improvising they retaliated by reading the declamation aloud. Then the lecture became the scene of uproar and laughter, with Philagrus shouting and vociferating that it was an outrage on him not to be allowed to use what was his own; but he failed to win acquittal of a charge that was so fully proven. Now all this took place in the theatre of Agrippa, and after an interval of about four days he came forward to declaim in the council-chamber of the theatrical artisans, the building which stands near the gates of the Cerameicus not far from the equestrian statues. [Diogenes Laertius vii. 182 mentions equestrian statues in the Cerameicus.] But when he was winning universal approval in the character of Aristogeiton demanding the right to denounce Demosthenes for conspiring with Persia and Aeschines for conspiring with Philip — accusations which they had in fact brought against one another — his very utterance was stifled by his wrath. For with choleric persons the breath on which the voice depends is apt to obscure and check the power of speech. It is true that, somewhat later, he was promoted to the chair of rhetoric at Rome, nevertheless at Athens, for the reasons I have stated, he was deprived of the credit that was his due.
The following quotation shows the characteristic style of Philagrus' oratory in his introductory speeches: "And so you think that the sun is jealous of the evening-star, or that it matters to him what star beside is in the sky? Not thus is it with this mighty fire. For it seems to me that, like the poet [an allusion to Iliad xv. 190 foll., where Poseidon describes the partition of the universe among Zeus, Hades], he assigns his portion to each, saying: To thee I give the North and to thee the South, to thee the evening, but in the darkness of night are ye all, yea all, when I am invisible;
Then the sun rises leaving the fair waters of the sea, [Odyssey iii. 1]
and the stars are nowhere." The rhythms that he used in his declamations may be seen in his speech "The Uninvited"; and indeed he is said to have delighted in such rhythms: "Friend, to-day I have seen thee as thou art, to-day thou speakest to me in arms and sword in hand." And again: "The only friendship that I recognize springs from the assembly of the people. Therefore depart, friends, since for you we preserve this title, and if ever we need allies, we will send for you; if ever, that is to say!"
In height Philagrus was below the average, his brow was stern, his eye alert and easily roused to anger, and he was himself conscious of his morose temper. Hence when one of his friends asked him why he did not enjoy bringing up a family, he replied: "Because I do not even enjoy myself." Some say that he died at sea, others in Italy when he was on the eve of old age.
9. Aristeides, whether he was the son of Eudaemon, or is himself to be so called, was born at Hadriani, a town of no great size in Mysia. But he was educated at Athens when Herodes was at the height of his fame, and at Pergamon in Asia when Aristocles was teaching oratory there. Though he had poor health from his boyhood, he did not fail to work hard. The nature of his disease and the fact that he suffered from a palsy of the muscles he tells us himself in his Sacred Discourses [Aristeides i. 514]. These discourses served him in some sort as a diary, and such diaries are excellent teachers of the art of speaking well on any subject. [Quoted by Synesius, On Dreams 155 b.] And since his natural talent was not in the line of extempore eloquence, he strove after extreme accuracy, and turned his attention to the ancient writers; he was well endowed with native ability and purified his style of any empty verbosity. Aristeides made few journeys, for he did not discourse with the aim of pleasing the crowd, and he could not control his anger against those who did not applaud his lectures. But the countries that he actually visited were Italy, Greece, and that part of Egypt which is situated near the Delta; and the people of this region set up a bronze statue of him in the market-place of Smyrna.
To say that Aristeides founded Smyrna is no mere boastful eulogy but most just and true. For when this city had been blotted out by earthquakes and chasms that opened in the ground, he lamented its fate to Marcus in such moving words that the Emperor frequently groaned at other passages in the monody, but when he came to the words: "She is a desert through which the west winds blow " the Emperor actually shed tears over the pages, and in accordance with the impulse [literally "keynote"] inspired by Aristeides, he consented to rebuild the city. Now Aristeides had, as it happened, met Marcus once at an earlier time in Ionia. For as I was told by Damianus of Ephesus, the Emperor was visiting Smyrna and when three days had gone by without his having as yet made the acquaintance of Aristeides, he asked the brothers Quintilii whether he had by chance overlooked the man in the throng of those who came to welcome him. But they said that they too had not seen him, for otherwise they would not have failed to present him; and next day they both arrived to escort Aristeides in state. The Emperor addressed him, and inquired: "Why did we have to wait so long to see you?" To which Aristeides replied: "A subject on which I was meditating kept me busy, and when the mind is absorbed in meditation it must not be distracted from the object of its search." The Emperor was greatly pleased with the man's personality, so unaffected was it and so devoted to study, and he asked: "When shall I hear you declaim?" "Propose the theme to-day," he replied, "and to-morrow come and hear me, for I am one of those who do not vomit their speeches but try to make them perfect. Permit my students also, O Emperor, to be in the audience."
"They have my permission," said Marcus, "for that is democratic." And when Aristeides added: "Grant them leave, O Emperor, to shout and applaud as loud as they can,"' the Emperor smiled and retorted: "That rests with you." I have not given the theme of this declamation, because the accounts of its title vary, but in this at least all agree, that Aristeides in speaking before Marcus employed an admirable impetuosity of speech, and that far ahead fate was preparing for Smyrna to be rebuilt through the efforts of this gifted man. And when I say this I do not imply that the Emperor would not of his own accord have restored the ruined city which he had admired when it was still flourishing, but I say it because even dispositions that are truly royal and above the ordinary, when incited by good advice and by eloquence, shine out more brightly and press on with ardor to noble deeds.
This too I have heard from Damianus, that though in his discourses this sophist used to disparage extempore speakers, nevertheless he so greatly admired extempore eloquence that he used to shut himself up in a room and practice it in private. And he used to work it out by evolving it clause by clause and thought by thought. But this process we must regard as chewing rather than eating, for extempore eloquence is the crowning achievement of a fluent and facile tongue. There are some who accuse Aristeides of having made a weak and ineffective prooemiurn when his theme was: "The mercenaries are ordered to give back their lands." [A scholiast on Hermogenes explains that lands had been assigned instead of pay to certain mercenaries.] They say that he began the argument with these words: "These persons will never cease to make trouble for us." And some criticize the man's vigorous language when he spoke in the role of the Spartan who deprecated the fortifying of Lacedaemon. What he said was this: "May we never take on the nature of quails and cower within walls." They also criticize a proverbial phrase of his, on the ground that he had thrown it in casually with an effect of vulgarity. I mean that, when attacking Alexander for merely imitating his father's energy in affairs, he said: "He is a chip of the old block." These same critics also condemn a jest of his when he said that the one-eyed Arimaspi were Philip's kinsmen. [Philip had lost an eye at the siege of Methone 352 B.C.] And yet even Demosthenes defended his policy to the Greeks against one whom he called "the tragic ape/' and "the rustic Oenomaus." [On the Crown 242.] But do not judge of Aristeides from these extracts, but rather estimate his powers in such speeches as "Isocrates tries to wean the Athenians from their empire of the sea" [this theme is based on Isocrates, On the Peace 64]; or "The speaker upbraids Callixenus for not having granted burial to the Ten"; or "The deliberations on the state of affairs in Sicily"; or " Aeschines, when he had not received the corn from Cersobleptes" [cf. Polyaenus vii. 32]; or "They reject the treaty of alliance after their children have been murdered." It is in this last argument above all that he teaches us how, without making any slip, one may handle daring and tragic conceptions. And I know several other arguments of his that demonstrate the man's erudition, force and power of characterization, and it is by these that he ought to be estimated rather than by passages in which he has drivelled somewhat and has fallen into affectation. Moreover, Aristeides was of all the sophists most deeply versed in his art, and his strength lay in the elaborate cogitation of a theme; for which reason he refrained from extempore speaking. For the desire not to produce anything except after long cogitation keeps the mind too busy and robs it of alertness.
Some writers record that Aristeides died at home, others say that it was in Ionia; again some say that he reached the age of sixty, others that he was nearly seventy.
10. Adrian the Phoenician was born at Tyre, but he was trained in rhetoric at Athens. For, as I used to hear from my own teachers, he came to Athens in the time of Herodes and there displayed a great natural talent for sophistic, and it was generally held that he would rise to greatness in his profession. For he began to attend the school of Herodes when he was perhaps eighteen years old, was very soon admitted to the same privileges as Sceptus and Amphicles, and was enrolled among the pupils belonging to the Clepsydrion. Now the Clepsydrion was conducted in the following manner. After the general lecture which was open to all, ten of the pupils of Herodes, that is to say those who were proved worthy of a reward for excellence, used to dine for a period limited by a water-clock ["a lecture timed by the clock"] timed to last through a hundred verses; and these verses Herodes used to expound with copious comments, nor would he allow any applause from his hearers, but was wholly intent on what he was saying. And since he had enjoined on his pupils not to be idle even when it was the hour for drinking, but at that time also to pursue some sort of study over their wine, Adrian used to drink with the pupils of the clepsydra as their partner in a great and mysterious rite.
Now a discussion was once going on about the style of all the sophists, when Adrian came forward in their midst, and said: "I will now give a sketch of their types of style, not by quoting from memory brief phrases of theirs or smart sayings, or clauses or rhythmical effects. But I will undertake to imitate them, and will reproduce extempore the style of every one of them, with an easy flow of words and giving the rein to my tongue." But in doing this he left out Herodes, and Amphicles asked him to explain why he had omitted their own teacher, seeing that he himself was enamored of his style of eloquence, and saw that they were likewise enamored. "Because," said he, "these fellows are the sort that lend themselves to imitation, even when one is drunk. But as for Herodes, the prince of eloquence, I should be thankful if I could mimic him when I have had no wine and am sober." When this was reported to Herodes it gave him the keenest pleasure, naturally, since he never could resist his longing for approbation. When he was still a mere youth Adrian invited Herodes to hear him make a speech extempore. Herodes listened to him, not as some people unjustly accuse him, in an envious or scoffing spirit, but with his usual calm and kindly bearing, and afterwards he encouraged the youth, and ended by saying: "These might well be great fragments of a colossus." Thus while he tried to correct his disjointed and ill-constructed style as a fault of youth, he applauded the grandeur both of his words and his ideas. When Herodes died Adrian delivered a funeral oration which did full justice to the man, so that the Athenians were moved to tears while they listened to his speech.
So full of self-confidence was Adrian when he ascended the chair of rhetoric at Athens, that in the prooemium of his address to the Athenians he dilated not on their wisdom but on his own, for he began by announcing: "Once again letters have come from Phoenicia." ["Letters" in a double sense; the Greek alphabet was supposed to have come from Phoenicia.] In fact his prooemium was in the tone of one who breathed on a higher plane than the Athenians and bestowed a benefit on them rather than received it. He performed the duties of the chair at Athens with the greatest ostentation, wore very expensive clothes, bedecked himself with precious gems, and used to go down to his lectures in a carriage with silver-mounted bridles; and always after the lecture he would go home envied of all, escorted by those who loved Hellenic culture, from all parts of the world. They went so far as to reverence him just as the tribes of Eleusis reverence the initiating priest when he is ceremoniously performing the rites. Then, too, he won them over by giving games and wine-parties and hunts, and by sharing with them the Hellenic festivals; thus adapting himself to their youthfulness and all its varied interests, so that they felt towards him as sons feel towards a father who is amiable and indulgent, and with them keeps up the most boisterous Greek dance. Indeed I myself know that some of them used actually to shed tears when they remembered this sophist, and that some would try to imitate his accent, others his walk, or the elegance of his attire.
A charge of murder was brought against him, but he escaped it in the following way. There was in Athens a fellow of no account who had had some training in the curriculum of the sophists. One could easily keep him in a good humor by bestowing on him a jar of wine or a dainty dish, or clothes, or silver, just as men entice hungry animals by waving a branch before them; but if he was ignored he would indulge in abuse and bark like a dog. He had fallen foul of Adrian who disliked him for the levity of his manners, but he was the devoted disciple of Chrestus the sophist, of Byzantium. Adrian used to put up with all his insults, and would call the slanders of such men "flea-bites"; but his pupils could not tolerate the behavior of the man and gave orders to their own slaves to thrash him. This brought on a swelling of the intestines, and thirty days later he died, but not without having himself contributed to cause his own death, since during his illness he drank greedily of undiluted wine. But the relatives of the dead man charged the sophist with murder in the court of the proconsul of Greece, as being an Athenian citizen, since both his tribe and his deme were at Athens. He however denied the charge, alleging that neither with his own hands or the hands of any of his slaves had he struck the man who was said to have died. He was assisted in his defense, first by the whole crowd of Hellenes who made every possible plea in his behalf, weeping the while, and secondly by the evidence of the doctor about the wine.
Now at the time when the Emperor Marcus travelled to Athens to be initiated into the Mysteries, this sophist was already in possession of the chair of rhetoric at Athens, and among the things that Marcus wished to investigate at Athens he counted this, that he would inform himself as to the professional skill of Adrian. For he had indeed appointed him to lecture to the Athenian youth without testing him by hearing him lecture, but in acquiescence with the general rumor about him. Now the consul Severus [this was probably Claudius Severus the teacher of Marcus Aurelius, consul in 163] was attacking Adrian for putting too much passion and frenzy into his purely sophistic arguments, because his real strength lay in forensic pleading. Therefore Marcus, who wished to put this to the proof, proposed as the theme for declamation "Hypereides, when Philip is at Elatea, pays heed only to the counsels of Demosthenes." [cf. Demosthenes, On the Crown 169-179.] Whereupon Adrian guided the reins of the argument so skillfully that he proved himself fully equal to Polemo in force and vigor. The Emperor admired him greatly, and exalted him to the skies by grants and gifts. By grants, I mean the right to dine at the expense of the state, a seat of honor at the public games, immunity from taxes, priestly offices, and all else that sheds a lustre on men; and by gifts I mean gold and silver, horses, slaves, and all the outward signs of wealth with which he lavishly endowed not only Adrian but his family also, one and all. When he was promoted to the higher chair [this phrase always means the chair at Rome] of rhetoric he so successfully drew the attention of all Rome to himself that he inspired even those who did not know the Greek language with an ardent desire to hear him declaim. And they listened to him as to a sweet- voiced nightingale, struck with admiration of his facile tongue, his well-modulated and flexible voice, and his rhythms, whether in prose or when he sang in recitative. So much so, that, when they were attending shows in which the vulgar delight — these were, generally speaking, performances of dancers — a messenger had only to appear in the theatre to announce that Adrian was going to declaim, when even the members of the Senate would rise from their sitting, and the members of the equestrian order would rise, not only those who were devoted to Hellenic culture, but also those who were studying the other language [Latin; the Athenaeum at Rome was a school founded by the Emperor Hadrian] at Rome; and they would set out on the run to the Athenaeum, overflowing with enthusiasm, and upbraiding those who were going there at a walking pace.
When he lay ill at Rome and was in fact dying, Commodus appointed him Imperial Secretary, and made excuses for not having done so sooner, whereupon Adrian invoked the Muses, as was his wont, saluted reverently the Emperor's rescript, and breathed out his soul over it, thus making of that honor his funeral shroud. He was about eighty when he died, and had attained to such high honor that many actually believed him to be a magician. But in my account of Dionysius I have said enough to show that a well-educated man would never be led astray into the practice of magic arts. But I suppose it was because he used to tell marvellous tales in his declamations about the customs of the magicians that he drew down on himself from his hearers this sort of appellation. They slander him too in saying that he had shameless manners because, when one of his pupils sent him a present of fish lying on a silver plate embossed with gold, he was enchanted with the plate and so did not return it, and in acknowledging the present to the sender, he said: "It was indeed kind of you to send the fish as well." But it is said that he made this jest as a sarcasm against one of his pupils who had been reported to him as using his wealth in a miserly fashion, and that he gave back the piece of silver after he had castigated the student in this witty manner.
This sophist had a copious flow of ideas and handled them brilliantly, and also in the disposition of his themes he showed the utmost variety, which he had acquired from his study of tragedy. He did not observe the conventional arrangement or follow the rules of the art, but he furnished himself with the diction of the ancient sophists and clothed his style therewith as with a garment, with sonorousness rather than striking effects. But in the grand style he often failed, because he employed tragedy with too prodigal a hand.
11. To Chrestus of Byzantium, the sophist, Greece does less than justice, since it neglects a man who received from Herodes the best education of any Hellene, and himself educated many remarkable men. Among these were Hippodromus the sophist, Philiscus, Isagoras the tragic poet, famous rhetoricians, namely Nicomedes of Pergamon, Acylas from Eastern Galatia, and Aristaenetus of Byzantium; and among well-known philosophers, Callaeschrus the Athenian, Sospis the curator of the altar [he was priest at the sacrifices, perhaps at the public games], and several others worthy of mention. He taught in the days of the sophist Adrian and had then a hundred pupils who paid fees, the best of them those whom I have mentioned. After Adrian had been installed in the chair at Rome, the Athenians voted to send an embassy on behalf of Chrestus to ask for him from the Emperor the chair at Athens. But he came before them in the assembly and broke up the embassy, saying many memorable things in his discourse, and he ended with these words: "The ten thousand drachmae [this was the salary of the chair] do not make a man."
He had a weakness for wine, but he kept in check the drunken insolence, levity, and arrogance which wine induces in the minds of men; and his ability to keep sober was so extraordinary that, though his potations went on till cockcrow, he would then attack his studies before he had snatched any sleep. He made himself especially obnoxious to youths of the foolish boasting sort, in spite of the fact that they are more profitable than the rest for the payment of fees. At any rate, when he perceived that Diogenes of Amastris was from his earliest youth puffed up with pride, dreaming ever of satrapies and courts and of being one day the right hand of emperors, and moreover that he asserted that a certain Egyptian had foretold all this to him, Chrestus admonished him and told his own story.
He varied and enriched the style of his oratory with the peculiar excellences of Herodes, but he falls short of these in alertness of mind, just as in the painter's art a likeness falls short that is done in outline without colors. But he would have progressed even to an equal level of merit, had he not died at the age of fifty.
12. I am not sure whether one ought to call Pollux of Naucratis unlearned or learned, or, absurd as it will seem, both learned and unlearned. For when one considers his studies in words it seems that his tongue had been well trained in the Attic dialect, yet, when one observes closely the type of his style in his declamations, he was as an Atticist no more skillful than the average. In his case, then, we must take into account the following facts. Pollux had been sufficiently well trained in the science of criticism, because he was the pupil of his father, who was an expert in the art of criticism; but he composed his purely sophistic speeches with the aid of audacity rather than art, relying on his natural talents, for he was indeed very highly endowed by nature. He was a pupil of Adrian, and represents the mean between that sophist's excellences and defects. For while he never sinks too low, he never soars, except that rivulets, so to speak, of sweetness permeate his oratory. Here is an example of his style in a discourse: "Proteus of Pharos, that marvel in Homer [Odyssey iv. 456 foll.] puts on many and manifold shapes, for he rises up into water, blazes into fire, rages into a lion, makes a rush into a boar, crawls into a serpent, springs into a panther, and when he turns into a tree, grows leaves for hair." To show the characteristics of his style in declamation, let me quote the theme "The islanders who sell their children in order to pay their taxes"; for they claim that this is his most successful argument. The words of the epilogue are as follows: "A boy on the mainland writes from Babylon to his father on an island: 'I am a king's slave; I was given to him as a present from a satrap; yet I never mount a horse of the Medes or handle a Persian bow, nay I never even go forth to war to the chase like a man, but I sit i the women's quarters and wait on the king's concubines. Nor does the king resent this, for I am a eunuch. And I win their favor by describing to them the seas of Greece, and telling them tales of all the fine things that the Greeks do; how they hold the festivals at Elis, how oracles are given at Delphi, and which is the altar of Pity at Athens. But pray, father, write back to me and say when the Lacedaemonians celebrate the Hyacinthia and the Corinthians the Isthmian games; when are the Pythian games held at Delphi, and whether the Athenians are winning their naval battles. Farewell, and greet my brother for me, if he has not yet been sold.'"
Impartial hearers may estimate the quality of this man's speeches as here quoted. And by impartial I mean hearers who are prejudiced neither for nor against. It is said that he used to deliver these declamations in a mellifluous voice, with which he so charmed the Emperor Commodus that he won from him the chair at Athens. He lived to the age of fifty-eight, and died leaving a son who was legitimate but uneducated.
13. Caesarea in Cappadocia, near neighbor to Mount Argaeus, was the birthplace of PAUSANIAS the sophist. He was educated by Herodes, and was one of the members of the Clepsydrion, who were vulgarly called “the thirsty ones.” But though he inherited many of the peculiar excellences of Herodes, and especially his skill in extempore oratory, yet he used to deliver his declamations with a coarse and heavy accent, as is the way with the Cappadocians. He would make his consonants collide, would shorten the long syllables and lengthen the short. Hence he was commonly spoken of as a cook who spoiled expensive delicacies in the preparation. His style in declamation was somewhat sluggish, nevertheless it has force, and succeeds in giving a flavor of antiquity, as we may gather from the declamations that are extant. For there are many of these by Pausanias, delivered at Rome where he spent the latter part of his life; and there he died when he was already growing old and was still holding the chair of rhetoric. He also held the chair at Athens, and on the occasion of his leaving it he concluded his address to the Athenians by quoting very appropriately the verse of Euripides:
Theseus, turn me round that I may behold the city. [Mad Heracles, 1406; Pausanias substituted 'city' for the 'children' of the original.]
14. Athenodorus the sophist was, by virtue of his ancestors, the most illustrious of the citizens of Aenus [a town in Thrace; cf. Vergil, Aeneid, iii. 18], and by virtue of his teachers and his education the most notable of the all the educated Greeks in that city. For he was educated by Aristocles while still a mere boy, and by Chrestus when his intelligence began to mature; and from these two he derived his well-tempered dialect, for he both Atticized and employed an ornate style of eloquence. He taught at Athens at the time when Pollux also was teaching there, and in his discourses he used to ridicule him as puerile and would quote "The gardens of Tantalus," [cf. Odyssey xi. 588] by which I think he meant to compare his light and superficial style of eloquence with some visionary image which both is and is not. He was a man of great weight and seriousness of character, but he died in the flower of early manhood, robbed by fate of the change to push on to still greater fame.
15. Ptolemy of Naucratis also had a brilliant reputation among sophists. For he was one of those who were admitted to dine at the public expense in the temple of Naucratis, an honor paid to few of her citizens. Moreover, he was a pupil of Herodes, but he did not desire to imitate him, but came rather under the influence of Polemo. For the impetus and force of his style and the ample use of rhetorical ornament he borrowed from the equipment of Polemo. Also it is said that he spoke extemporare with marvellous ease and fluency. He nibbled at legal cases and the courts, but not enough to win fame for himself thereby. They used to call him "Marathon." Some say that this was because he was enrolled in the deme Marathon at Athens, but I have been told by others that it was because in his Attic themes he so often mentioned those who were forward to brave death at Marathon.
Ptolemy is sometimes accused of having failed to comprehend clearly his controversial themes so as to see where they were consistent and where not; and as evidence for this accusation they quote the following instance: "The Thebans accuse the Messanians of ingratitude because they refused to receive the Theban refugees when Thebes was taken by Alexander." [cf. Diodorus xv. 66.] For though he handled this argument brilliantly, and with the greatest possible skill, they make out an unfair case against it by saying: If the Messenians were being tried while Alexander was still alive, who would be so foolhardy as to give a verdict against them? But if it was after his death, who would be so lenient as to acquit them of the charge? For those who make these severe criticisms do not understand that the defense made by the Messenians is framed as a plea for pardon, since they shield themselves by making Alexander their excuse, and that dread of him from which the rest of Greece also was not immune. So much let me say in defense of Ptolemy, that I may ward off from him an unfair and maliciously manufactured accusation; for indeed this man was of all the sophists the most moderate and temperate in his speech and though he visited very many nations and was conversant with many cities, nowhere did he bring reproach on his own fame or fall below their expectations of him; but he passed on from one city to another, borne as it were on the shining car of his own renown. He died in Egypt, well on in years; a catarrh of the head had not indeed destroyed his eyesight, but had seriously impaired it.
16. Eudianus of Smyran by birth ranked as a descendant of Nicetes the sophist, but the honors won by his house ranked him with high-priests and controllers of supplies, and the achievements of his oratory carried him to Rome and the chair of rhetoric in that city. He was appointed also to supervise the artisans of Dionysus [cf. Aulus Gellius xx. 4], a very arrogant class of men and hard to keep in order; but he proved himself most capable in this office, and above all criticism. When his son died at Rome he gave vent to no womanish or ignoble laments, but thrice cried aloud, "O my child!" and then laid him in the grave. When he was at the point of death in Rome, all his most intimate friends were by his bedside and were consulting about his body, whether they ought to bury it there or embalm it and ship it to Smyrna, when Euodianus exclaimed in a loud voice: "I will not leave my son behind alone." Thus did he clearly enjoin on them that he should be buried in the same grave as his son. Having been a pupil of Aristocles he devoted himself to the panegyrical type of oratory, but he poured as it were sweet spring water into that bitter bowl. Some say that he studied with Polemo also.
17. It is not for his wealth that I shall hand down to fame the name of Rufus of Perinthus, the sophist, or because his family produced many men of consular rank, or because he presided over the Pan-Hellenic festival at Athens with great distinction. For though I might recount even more honors of this sort, they would yet not be worthy of comparison with the man's skill and learning. But rather let his eloquent tongue be his passport to fame, and that keen intelligence which he employed by preference in simulated arguments. For this type of eloquence he was much admired; in the first place because it is a difficult kind of oratory, since in themes that are composed as simulated arguments one needs to put a curb on what one actually says, but to apply the spur to what one leaves unsaid. Then too I think he was admired because his own natural disposition was taken into account. For though his character was naturally open and without guile, he was clever in portraying characters that were not at all suited to his natural bent. And though he became the wealthiest man in the region of the Hellespont and the Propontis, though he won a great reputation at Athens for extempore eloquence and in Ionia and Italy also, yet he nowhere incurred the enmity of any city or individual, but made money out of his benevolent disposition. It is said of him that he used to harden his body by athletics, that he always followed a rigid diet, and exercised himself like a regular athlete. As a boy he studied with Herodes, with Aristocles when he was a stripling, and he was greatly esteemed by the latter; but he took more pride in Herodes, and used to call him the master, the tongue of the Hellenes, the prince of eloquence, and much more of the same sort. He died at home aged sixty-one years, and left sons about whom I have nothing important to relate, except indeed that they were his offspring.
18. Onomarchus of Andros, the sophist, was not greatly admired, yet he was evidently not to be despised. He taught in the days when Adrian and Chrestus were lecturing at Athens, and living as he did so near to the coast of Asia, he contracted, as one might ophthalmia, the Ionian manner of oratory, which flourished especially at Ephesus. On this account there were some who did not believe that he had ever so much as attended a lecture by Herodes, but in this they did him an injustice. For though he did debase his style to some extent, from the cause that I have mentioned, nevertheless his abundant use of synonyms was like Herodes, and they were pleasing beyond words. If I shall not be thought too frivolous, we can observe his style in his speech: "The man who fell in love with a statue." Here is a quotation from it: "O living loveliness in a lifeless body, what deity fashioned thee? Was some goddess of Persuasion, or a Grace, or Eros himself the parent of thy loveliness? For truly nothing is lacking in thee, the expression of the face, the bloom on the skin, the sting in the glance, the charming smile, the blush on the cheeks, signs that thou canst hear me. Yea and thou hast a voice ever about to speak. And one day it may be that thou wilt even speak, but I shall be far away. O unloving and unkind! O faithless to thy faithful lover! To me thou hast granted not one word. Therefore I will lay on thee that curse at which all fair ones always shudder most: I pray that thou mayest grow old."
Some say that he died at Athens, others at home, when his hair was beginning to grow grey and he was on the verge of old age; they say too that he was somewhat rustic in appearance and squalid and unkempt, like Marcus of Byzantium.
19. Apollomus of Naucratis taught rhetoric as the rival of Heracleides, when the latter held the chair at Athens. He devoted himself to political oratory of a type restrained and moderate, but little suited to controversy; for it lacks rhetorical amplitude and force. He was a libertine in love, and from one of his lawless intrigues he had a son named Rufinus who succeeded him as a sophist, but produced nothing that was his own or from the heart, but always clung to his father's phrases and epigrams. When he was criticized for this by a learned man, he said: "The laws allow me to use my patrimony." "The laws allow it, certainly," said the other, "but only to those that are born within the law." Some people blame him for going to Macedonia as the hireling of a certain family that was not even in good circumstances. But let us acquit him of any such charge. For though even among the most learned men you would easily find those who for the sake of gain have done much that is unworthy of a free-born man, yet this is not true of our Apollomus at any rate. For he shared his estate with any Hellenes that were in need, nor was he hard to deal with in the matter of lecture fees. He died at Athens, aged seventy, and for his winding-sheet he had the goodwill of all the Athenians. He was a pupil of the sophists Adrian and Chrestus, but he was as different from them both as any who had not studied with them. He used to retire from the public view to meditate on the themes of his declamations, and would spend an inordinate length of time on this.
20. Apollonius of Athens won a name for himself among the Greeks as an able speaker in the legal branch of oratory, and as a declaimer he was not to be despised. He taught at Athens at the same time as Heracleides and his own namesake [Apollonius of Naucratis], and held the chair of political oratory [or "the municipal chair " as opposed to the imperial] at a salary of one talent. He also won distinction in public affairs, and not only was he sent as ambassador on missions of the greatest importance, but also performed the public functions which the Athenians rank highest, being appointed both archon and food controller, and when already well on in years hierophant [the hierophant delivered the mystic utterances at the Eleusinian rites] of the temple of Demeter. In beauty of enunciation he fell short of Heracleides, Logimus, Glaucus, and other hierophants of that sort, but in dignity, magnificence, and in his attire he showed himself superior to many of his predecessors.
While he was on an embassy to the Emperor Severus at Rome [in A.D. 196 or 197], he entered the lists against the sophist Heracleides to compete in declamation, and Heracleides came out of the encounter with the loss of his privileges of exemption [from certain taxes and expensive public services, i.e. "liturgies"], while Apollonius carried off gifts. Heracleides spread a false report about Apollonius that he was to set out forthwith to Libya, when the Emperor was staying there and was gathering about him the talented from all parts, and he said to Apollonius: "It is a good time for you to read the speech Against Leptines." [The law of Leptines abolished all exemptions from public charges. In 355 B.C Demosthenes by his speech Against Leptines secured the repeal of the law.] "Nay for you rather," retorted Apollonius, "for indeed it also was written on behalf of exemptions."
Apollonius took as the starting-point and basis of his eloquence the style of Adrian, whose pupil he had in fact been. But in spite of this he slips into rhythms that belong to verse, and anapaestic effects; but whenever he avoided these his style has great impressiveness and a stately march. This may be observed in others also of his arguments, but especially in that called "Callias tries to dissuade the Athenians from burning the dead": "Lift the torch on high, man! Why do you do violence to its fire and abase it to the earth and torment it? Fire belongs to the sky, it is ethereal, it tends towards that which is akin to itself. It does not lead the dead down below, but leads the gods up to the skies. Alas, Prometheus, torch-bearer and fire-bringer, see how thy gift is insulted! It is polluted by the senseless corpse. Come to its help, give it aid, and, if thou canst, even from where thou art steal this fire!"
I have not quoted this passage in order to excuse him for his license in the use of rhythms, but to show that he also knew how to use the more sober sort. For the rest he died aged about seventy-five, after a career of great energy as a speaker at Athens, and was buried in the suburbs near the highway that leads to Eleusis. This suburb is called the "Sacred Fig-tree," [Pausanias i. 37; Athenaeus 74 d.] and when the sacred emblems from Eleusis are carried in procession to the city they halt here to rest.
21. I will proceed to record the life of Proclus of Naucratis also, for I knew the man well, indeed he was one of my own teachers. Proclus, then, was a person of some importance in Egypt, but since he saw that Naucratis was rent by factions and that the State was administered with no regard to law and order, he desired to embrace the peace and quiet of Athens. So he sailed away secretly, and spent his life in that city. He brought with him a large sum of money, many slaves and other household gear, all splendid and ornate. Even while yet a stripling he was well thought of at Athens, but after he had attained to manhood he became far more renowned. This was due in the first place to the manner of life that he elected, but also I think it was because of a beneficent act of his, which, though it concerned only one Athenian citizen, yet furnished clear proof of a noble and generous disposition. For when he had arrived by ship at the Piraeus, he inquired of one of the inhabitants of that place whether a certain person still lived at Athens, and whether his affairs were going well. Now these inquiries concerned a friend and host of his with whom he had been intimate as a young man at Athens, at the time, that is, when he was attending the lectures of Adrian. He was told that he still survived and lived there, but that he was on the point of being evicted from his house, and that it was being advertised for sale in the market-place, for ten thousand drachmae, for which sum he had mortgaged it. Thereupon, before he himself even went up to the city, he sent the man the sum named, with this message; "Free your house, that I may not see you depressed." We are to consider this the act not of a rich man merely, but of one who knew how to use his riches to good purpose, one whom education had made truly humane, and who had an exact understanding of the claims of friendship.
He bought four houses, two in Athens itself, one at the Piraeus, and another at Eleusis., He used to receive direct from Egypt regular supplies of incense, ivory, myrrh, papyrus, books [the book trade has passed from Athens to Alexandria and Rome], and all such merchandise, and would sell them to those who traded in such things, but on no occasion did he show himself avaricious or illiberal or a lover of gain; for he did not seek after profits or usury, but was content with his actual principal. He had a son who dissipated his fortune in breeding fighting-cocks, quails, dogs, puppies, and horses, but instead of rebuking him he used to join him in these youthful pursuits. And when many people blamed him for this, he said: "He will stop playing with old men sooner than he will with those of his own age." When his son died and then his wife, he became attached to a mistress, since even eyes that are growing old can be captivated, and as she had all the feminine vices he gave her the rein in all matters, and showed himself a very poor guardian of his own estate.
Proclus laid down the following rules for attendance at his school of declamation. One hundred drachmae paid down gave one the right to attend his lectures at all times. Moreover, he had a library at his own house which was open to his pupils and supplemented the teaching in his lectures. And to prevent us from hissing or jeering at one another, as so often happens in the schools of the sophists, we were summoned to come in all together, and when we had obeyed the summons we sat down, first the boys, then the pedagogues [i.e. the attendants who had brought the boys to the school] in the middle, and the youths by themselves. It was the rarest thing for him to deliver a formal prooemium, but whenever he did embark on such an address, Hippias and Gorgias were the men whom he resembled. He used to review his declamations on the day before he delivered them in public. Even when he was an old man, aged ninety years, in his powers of memory he surpassed even Simonides. The style of his eloquence was natural, but in his abundant use of synonyms he imitated Adrian.
22. Phoenix the Thessalian deserves neither to be admired, nor on the other hand to be wholly slighted. He was one of the pupils of Philagrus, but he had more talent for oratorical invention than for eloquence. For though his ideas were disposed in the proper order, and he never uttered any that were unsuited to the occasion, yet his style of eloquence seemed disjointed and destitute of rhythm. He was thought to be better suited to teach youths who were beginners than those who had already acquired some grasp of their studies; for his subject matter was displayed in the barest terms, and his diction failed to clothe it with rhetoric. He died at Athens at the age of seventy, and was buried in no obscure place, for he lies near the graves of those who died in the wars, on the right of the road that goes down to the Academy.
23. In the course of my narrative I now come to a man who became most illustrious, Damianus of Ephesus. But let me omit from it such persons as Soter [Soter was an Athenian by birth, though he was educated at Ephesus], Sosus, Nicander, Phaedrus, Cyrus, and Phylax, since these men would more properly be called the playthings of the Greeks than sophists worthy of mention. Damianus, then, was descended from the most distinguished ancestors who were highly esteemed at Ephesus, and his offspring likewise were held in high repute, for they are all honored with seats in the Senate, and are admired both for their distinguished renown and because they do not set too much store by their money. Damianus was himself magnificently endowed with wealth of various sorts, and not only maintained the poor of Ephesus, but also gave most generous aid to the State by contributing large sums of money and by restoring any public buildings that were in need of repair. Moreover, he connected the temple [the celebrated temple of Artemis] with Ephesus by making an approach to it along the road that runs through the Magnesian gate. This work is a portico a stade in length, all of marble, and the idea of this structure is that the worshippers need not stay away from the temple in case of rain. When this work was completed at great expense, he inscribed it with a dedication to his wife, but the banqueting-hall in the temple he dedicated in his own name, and in size he built it to surpass all that exist elsewhere put together. He decorated it with an elegance beyond words, for it is adorned with Phrygian marble such as had never before been quarried.
Even when a stripling he began to spend his wealth to good purpose. For when Aristeides and Adrian held sway, the former at Smyrna, the latter at Ephesus, he attended the lectures of both men, and paid them fees of ten thousand drachmae, declaring that he found it more agreeable to spend money on favorites of that sort than on handsome boys and girls, as some prefer to do. And in fact all that I have recorded above about those sophists I stated on the authority of Damianus, who was well acquainted with the careers of both. The wealth of Damianus was displayed also in what I shall now describe. In the first place all the land that he had acquired was planted with trees, both to bear fruit and to give abundant shade. And for his estate by the sea-shore he made artificial islands and moles for harbors to secure safe anchorage for cargo-boats when they put in or set sail; then his residences in the suburbs were in some cases furnished and equipped like town houses, while others were more like grottoes. In the next place the man's own disposition, as he showed it in legal affairs, was that of one who did not embrace every chance of making a profit or approve of taking what he could get from any and every one. On the contrary, whenever he saw that people were in difficulties, he would offer to speak for them himself without payment. It was much the same with his sophistic lectures; for whenever he saw that pupils who had come from remote peoples were embarrassed for money, he used to remit the fee for his lectures, that they might not be led unawares into spending too much.
His style was more sophistic than is usual in a legal orator, and more judicial than is usual in a sophist. As old age came on he gave up both these pursuits, from weakness of body rather than of mind. At any rate when students were attracted to Ephesus by his renown he still allowed them access to himself, and so it was that he honored me also with one interview, then with a second and a third. And so I beheld a man who resembled the horse in Sophocles [Electra 25]. For though he seemed sluggish from old age, nevertheless in our discussions he recovered the vigor of youth. He died at home aged seventy years, and was buried in one of his own suburban villas in which he had spent most of his life.
24. The birthplace of Antipater the sophist was Hierapolis, which must be reckoned among the flourishing cities of Asia, and his father was Zeuxidemus, one of the most distinguished men in that place. Though he studied under Adrian and Pollux, he modelled himself rather on Pollux, and hence he weakened the force of his ideas by the rhythmical effects of his style. He also attended the lectures of Zeno of Athens, and from him learned the subtleties of his art. Though he had a talent for speaking extempore, he nevertheless did not neglect written work, but used to recite to us Olympic and Panathenaic orations and wrote an historical account of the achievements of the Emperor Severus. For it was by the latter's independent [he was appointed by Severus independently of his son and consort, Caracalla] appointment that he was made Imperial Secretary, a post in which he was brilliantly successful. For my part let me here openly express my opinion that, though there were many men who both declaimed and wrote historical narrative better than Antipater, yet no one composed letters [secretaries were appointed by the Roman emperors to write their letters; cf. Eunapius, Nymphidianus 497] better than he, but like a brilliant tragic actor who has a thorough knowledge of his profession, his utterances were always in keeping with the Imperial role. For what he said was always clear, the sentiments were elevated, the style was always well adapted to the occasion, and he secured a pleasing effect by the use of asyndeton, a device that, in a letter above all, enhances the brilliance of the style.
He was elevated to the rank of consul, and governed the people of Bithynia, but as he showed himself too ready with the sword he was relieved of the office. Antipater lived to be sixty-eight, and was buried in his native place. It is said that he died of voluntary fasting rather than of any disease. For he had been appointed as tutor to the sons of Severus — in fact we used to call him "Tutor of the Gods" when we applauded his lectures — and when the younger of the two [Geta; he was assassinated by Caracalla A.D. 212] was put to death on the charge that he was plotting against his brother, he wrote to the elder a letter which contained a monody and a dirge, lamenting that Caracalla now had but one eye left and one hand, and that those whom he had taught to take up arms for one another had now, he heard, taken them up against one another. We may well believe that the Emperor [Caracalla] was greatly incensed by this, and indeed these remarks would have incensed even a private person, at any rate if he were anxious to gain credence for an alleged plot against himself.
25. Hermocrates of Phocis was a member of the sophistic circle who became very celebrated and showed greater natural powers than any whom I describe here. For though he was not trained by any sophist of great repute, but was a pupil of Rufinus of Smyrna who in the sophistic art displayed more audacity than felicity, he easily surpassed all the Greeks of his day in variety, whether of eloquence or invention or arrangement; and it was not that he excelled thus in some kinds of arguments and not in others, but in all, without exception, to which he devoted his attention. For indeed he was very skillful also in handling speeches with simulated arguments, devised many ambiguous expressions, and inserted among his veiled allusions a hint of the true meaning. His grandfather was Attalus, son of Polemo the sophist, and his father was Rufinianus of Phocis, a man of consular rank who had married Callisto, the daughter of Attalus. After his father's death he quarrelled with his own mother so irrevocably that Callisto did not even shed a tear for him when he died in the flower of his youth, though on such an occasion even to the bitterest enemies it seems piteous to die at that age. One who hears this and only this, will be inclined to impute it to the youth's own evil disposition that not even his mother felt any grief for his loss. But if one takes into account the real reason, and that he ceased to love his mother because of her low passion for a slave, it will appear that the son conformed to the laws, which actually give him the right to put a woman to death for a reason of that sort; whereas the woman deserves to be detested even by those outside the family for the disgrace that she brought upon herself and her son.
But while we acquit Hermocrates of this charge, it is not so easy to acquit him of another. For he had inherited from his father a very handsome property, but he squandered it, not on breeding horses, or on public services from which one may win a great reputation, but on strong drink and boon companions of the sort that furnish a theme for Comedy, such a theme, I mean, as was once furnished by the flatterers of Callias, the son of Hipponicus. [This probably refers to the Flatterers of Eupolis; cf. Athenaeus 506 e.] After Antipater had been promoted to be Imperial Secretary he desired to arrange a marriage between Hermocrates and his daughter who was very unattractive in appearance. But Hermocrates did not jump at the chance to share Antipater' s prosperity, but when the woman who was arranging the affair called his attention to the great resources of which Antipater was then possessed, he replied that he could never become the slave of a large dowry and a father-in-law's swollen pride. And though his relatives tried to push him into this marriage, and regarded Antipater as "Corinthus, son of Zeus," he did not give way until the Emperor Severus summoned him to the East and gave him the girl in marriage. Then, when one of his friends asked him when he was going to celebrate the unveiling of the bride, Hermocrates replied with ready wit: "Say rather the veiling, when I am taking a wife like that." And it was not long before he dissolved the marriage, on finding that she had neither a pleasing appearance nor an agreeable disposition.
When the Emperor had heard Hermocrates declaim he admired him as much as his great-grandfather [Polemo], and gave him the privilege of asking for presents. Whereupon Hermocrates said: "Crowns and immunities and meals at the public expense, and the consular purple and the high-priesthood our great-grandfather bequeathed to his descendants. Why then should I ask from you to-day what I have so long possessed? However, I have been ordered by Asclepius at Pergamon to eat partridge stuffed with frankincense, and this seasoning is now so scarce in our country that we have to use barley meal and laurel leaves for incense to the gods. I therefore ask for fifty talents' worth of frankincense, that I may treat the gods properly and get proper treatment myself." Then the Emperor gave him the frankincense with approving words, and said that he blushed for shame at having been asked for so trifling a gift.
In his public declamations Hermocrates was aided in the first place by his great-grandfather's renown, since it is human nature to set a higher value on abilities that have been handed down from father to son; and for this reason more glory is won by an Olympic victor who comes of a family of Olympic victors; more honorable is that soldier who comes from a fighting stock; there is a keener pleasure in pursuits that have been followed by one's fathers and forefathers; and in fact arts that have been inherited have an advantage over the rest. But he was also aided by the beauty of his personal appearance, and he was indeed possessed of great charm and looked like a statue with the bloom of early youth. Then, too, the courage of this stripling, when facing a crowded audience, produced in most of his hearers that thrill of admiration which human beings feel for those who achieve great things without intense effort. Moreover his easy flow of words and the striking effects of his voice contributed to his success, and the fact that he could review his themes in the twinkling of an eye, and that what he recited from a manuscript or declaimed was more what one expects from hoary old age than from a mere youth to invent and deliver. There are extant perhaps eight or ten declamations by Hermocrates and a sort of short address which he delivered at Phocaea over the PanIonian loving-cup [see Life of Apollonius, iv. 5-6]. But let me here record my judgment that the eloquence of this stripling would have been such that no one could surpass it, had he not been cut off by an envious deity and prevented from attaining to mature manhood. He died, as some say, at the age of twenty-eight, though according to others he was only twenty-five, and the land of his fathers and the sepulchres of his fathers received him.
26. Heracleides the Lycian was also a very notable person, in the first place as regards his family, since he was descended from distinguished ancestors and so became high-priest of Lycia, an office which, though it concerns a small nation, is highly considered by the Romans, I suppose on account of their long-standing alliance with Lycia. But Heracleides was still more notable as a sophist, because of his great abilities both in invention and oratorical expression; in judicial arguments also he was simple and direct, and in speeches composed for public gatherings he never revelled in a mere frenzy of rhetoric.
When he had been turned out of the chair of rhetoric at Athens in consequence of a conspiracy against him got up by the followers of Apollonius of Naucratis, in which Marcianus of Doliche was first, middle, and last, he betook himself to Smyrna, which more than any other city sacrificed to the sophistic Muses. Now the fact that the youth of Ionia, Lydia, Phrygia, and Caria flocked to Ionia to study with him is not so wonderful, seeing that Smyrna is next door to all these countries, but he attracted thither the Hellenes from Europe, he attracted the youth of the Orient, and he attracted many from Egypt who had already heard him, because in Egypt he had contended for the prize of learning against Ptolemy of Naucratis. Thus, then, he filled Smyrna with a brilliant throng, and he benefited her in several other ways too, as I shall show. A city which is much frequented by foreigners, especially if they are lovers of learning, will be prudent and moderate in its councils, and prudent and moderate in its citizen assemblies, because it will be on its guard against being convicted of wrongdoing in the presence of so many eminent persons; and it will take good care of its temples, gymnasia, fountains and porticoes, so that it may appear to meet the needs of that multitude. And should the city have a sea trade, as Smyrna in fact has, the sea will supply them with many things in abundance. He also contributed to the beauty of Smyrna by constructing in the gymnasium of Asclepius a fountain for olive oil with a golden roof, and he held in that city the office of the priest who wears the crown; the people of Smyrna designate the years by the names of these priests.
They say that in the presence of the Emperor Severus he broke down in an extempore speech, because he was abashed by the court and the Imperial bodyguard. Now if this misfortune were to happen to a forensic orator, he might well be criticized; for forensic orators as a tribe are audacious and self-confident; but a sophist spends the greater part of his day in teaching mere boys, and how should he resist being easily flustered? For an extempore speaker is disconcerted by a single hearer whose features have a supercilious expression, or by tardy applause, or by not being clapped in the way to which he is accustomed; but if in addition he is aware that malice is lying in wait for him, as on that occasion Heracleides was subtly conscious of the malice of Antipater, his ideas will not come so readily, his words will not flow so easily, for suspicions of that sort cloud the mind and tie the tongue.
It is said that for cutting down sacred cedars he was punished by the confiscation of a great part of his estate. On that occasion, as he was leaving the law-court, his pupils were in attendance to comfort and sustain him, and one of them said: "But your ability to declaim no one will ever take from you, Heracleides, nor the fame you have won thereby." And he went on to recite over him the verse: "One methinks is still detained in a wide" — "privy purse," interrupted Heracleides, thus wittily jesting at his own misfortunes.
This sophist, more than any of the others, seems to have acquired his proficiency by means of hard work, since it was denied to him by nature. And there is extant a rather pleasing composition of his, a book of moderate size, called In Praise of Work. Once, when he was carrying this book in his hands, he met Ptolemy the sophist in Naucratis, and the latter asked him what he was studying. When he replied that it was an encomium on work, Ptolemy asked for the book, crossed out the letter "p," [by dropping the first letter ponos, "work," is altered to onos, "ass"] and said: "Now you must read the title of your encomium." Furthermore, the discourses which Apollonius of Naucratis delivered against Heracleides reproach him with being slow-witted and plodding.
As for the teachers of Heracleides, Herodes is one as to whom we have no sure evidence, whereas among those who were certainly his teachers are Adrian and Chrestus; and we may believe that he attended the school of Aristocles besides. It is said of him that he had an endless appetite, and gorged himself with rich food, but this gluttony had no ill effects on his health. At any rate he was over eighty and physically sound when he died. He is said to be buried in Lycia, and he left a daughter and some freedmen who were none too honest, to whom he bequeathed "Rhetoric"; now "Rhetoric" was a small estate of his near Smyrna, worth ten talents, and he had bought it with the fees that he earned by his lectures.
27. Let none rate Hippodromus the Thessalian lower than the sophists whom I have described above; for to some of them he is evidently superior, while I am not aware that he falls short of the others in any respect. Now the birthplace of Hippodromus was Larissa, a flourishing city in Thessaly, and his father was Olympiodorus, who had a greater reputation as a breeder of horses than any other man in Thessaly.
Though in Thessaly it was thought a great thing to have been president at the Pythia even once, Hippodromus twice presided over the Pythian games, and he outdid his predecessors in wealth and in the elegance with which he ordered the games, and also in the magnanimity and justice which he showed as umpire. At any rate, his conduct in the affair of the tragic actor has left no one else a chance to surpass him in justice and good judgment. The facts are these. Clemens of Byzantium was a tragic actor whose like has never yet been seen for artistic skill. But since he was winning his victories at a time when Byzantium was being besieged [the siege of Byzantium lasted A.D. 193-196 when it was taken by Severus. See Cassius Dio Ixxv. 10], he used to be sent away without the reward of victory, lest it should appear that a city that had taken up arms against the Romans was being proclaimed victor in the person of one of her citizens. Accordingly, after he had performed brilliantly in the Amphictyonic games, the Amphictyons were on the point of voting that he should not receive the prize, because for the reason that I have mentioned they were afraid. Whereupon Hippodromus sprang up with great energy and cried: "Let these others go on and prosper by breaking their oath and giving unjust decisions, but by my vote I award the victory to Clemens." And when another of the actors appealed to the Emperor against the award, the vote of Hippodromus was again approved; for at Rome also the Byzantine actor carried off the prize.
But though he was so firm in the face of assembled crowds, in his public declamations he displayed an admirable mildness. For though he had adopted a profession that is prone to egotism and arrogance, he never resorted to self-praise, but used to check those who praised him to excess. At any rate, on one occasion when the Greeks were acclaiming him with flatteries, and even compared him with Polemo, "Why," said he, "do you liken me to immortals?" [Odyssey xvi. 187] This answer, while it did not rob Polemo of his reputation for being divinely inspired, was also a refusal to concede to himself any likeness to so great a genius. And when Proclus of Xaueratis composed a coarse satire, unworthy of an old man, against all who were teaching at Athens, and included Hippodromus in this lampoon, we expected to hear from him a speech that would be a sort of echo of what had been said about him. But he uttered nothing that was mean, but recited an encomium on fair-speaking, beginning with the peacock, and showing how admiration makes him spread his plumage aloft.
Such then was his behavior towards those who were older than himself and ranked as his seniors, whether by many years or few; but what was his bearing towards those of his own age the reader may learn from what follows. A young man from Ionia who had come to Athens used to recite the praises of Heracleides till he wearied his hearers out of all patience. So when Hippodromus saw him at his lecture, he said: "This young man is in love with his own teacher. Therefore we should do well to further his cause with his beloved. And certainly it will be a windfall for him if, when he leaves us, he has learned how to make an encomium." And forthwith he delivered a eulogy of Heracleides such as had never before been uttered on that theme. Again, the tears that he shed for Diodotus the Cappadocian and his wearing black in mourning for him, because he had displayed a great natural talent for declamation but had died on the threshold of manhood, proclaimed Hippodromus father of the Hellenic students, and one who made it his concern that after his death there should continue to be a supply of really distinguished men. This he made very evident at Olympia. For when Philostratus of Lemnos [the biographer's son-in-law, the author of the Imagines], his own pupil, aged twenty-two, was about to try his chances in an extempore oration, Hippodromus gave him many useful hints for the art of panegyric, namely what one ought and ought not to say. And when all Greece called on Hippodromus to come forward himself without delay, he replied: "I will not strip for a fight with my own entrails." Having said this, he put off the declamation till the day of the sacrifice [the last day of the festival]. I have said enough to show that he was a man truly well-educated, with a benevolent and humane disposition.
When he had held the chair of rhetoric at Athens for about four years, he resigned it at the instance of his wife, and also on account of his property; for she was a most energetic woman and an excellent guardian of his money, but in the absence of both the property was beginning to deteriorate. Nevertheless he did not fail to attend regularly the public festivals of Greece, but frequented them partly in order to declaim in public, partly that he might not be forgotten. And on these occasions also he showed himself superior by always keeping up his regular studies even after he had ceased to teach. For indeed Hippodromus, among those who ranked after Alexander the Cappadocian as blessed with a good memory, learned more by heart than any of the Greeks, and he was the most widely read, with the exception, that is, of Ammonius the Peripatetic; for a more erudite man than Ammonius I have never known. Moreover Hippodromus never neglected his study of the art of declamation, either when he was living on his country estate or when travelling by road, or at sea, but he used to call it a possession even greater than wealth, quoting from the hymns of Euripides and Amphion.
Though he was somewhat rustic in appearance, yet an extraordinary nobility shone out of his eyes, and his glance was at once keen and good-natured. Megistias of Smyrna also says that he noticed this characteristic of his, and he was considered second to none as a physiognomist. For Hippodromus came to Smyrna after the death of Heracleides — he had never been there before — and on leaving the ship he went to the market-place in the hope of meeting someone who was proficient in the local style of eloquence [the Ionian type]. And when he saw a temple with attendants sitting near it, and slaves in waiting carrying loads of books in satchels, he understood that someone of importance was holding his school inside. So he entered, and after greeting Megistias, sat down without making any inquiry. Now Megistias thought that he was going to talk to him about pupils, and that he was some father or guardian of boys, and asked him why he had come. "You shall learn that," he replied, "when we are alone." Accordingly when Megistias had finished examining his pupils, he said: "Tell me what you want." "Let us exchange garments," said Hippodromus. He was in fact wearing a travelling-cloak, while Megistias wore a gown suitable for public speaking. "And what do you mean by that?" asked Megistias. "I wish," he replied, "to give you a display of declamation." Now Megistias really thought that he was mad in making this announcement and that his wits were wandering. But when he observed the keenness of his glance and saw that he seemed sane and sober, he changed clothes with him.
When he asked him to suggest a theme, Megistias proposed "The magician who wished to die because he was unable to kill another magician, an adulterer." And when he took his seat on the lecturer's chair, and after a moment's pause sprang to his feet, the theory that he was mad occurred still more forcibly to Megistias, and he thought that these signs of proficiency were mere delirium. But when he had begun to argue the theme and had come to the words: "But myself at least I can kill," Megistias could not contain himself for admiration, but ran to him and implored to be told who he was. "I am," said he, "Hippodromus the Thessalian, and I have come to practice my art on you in order that I may learn from one man so proficient as you are the Ionian manner of declaiming. But observe me through the whole of the argument." Towards the end of the speech a rush was made by all lovers of learning in Smyrna to the door of Megistias, for the tidings had soon spread abroad that Hippodromus was visiting their city. Thereupon he took up his theme afresh, but gave a wholly different force to the ideas that he had already expressed. And when later on he made his appearance before the public of Smyrna, they thought him truly marvellous, and worthy of being enrolled among men of former days.
His style in introductory discourse was wholly dependent on Plato and Dio, while his declamations had Polemo's vigor and an even greater suavity and freshness; and in his easy flow of words he resembled one who reads aloud, without effort, a work with which he is perfectly familiar. Once when Nicagoras had called tragedy "the mother of sophists," Hippodromus improved on this remark, and said: "But I should rather call Homer their father." He was, moreover, a devoted student of Archilochus, and used to say that Homer was indeed the voice of the sophists, but Archilochus was their very breath. There are extant perhaps thirty declamations by this man, and of these the best are: "The citizens of Catana," [a theme inspired by the eruption of Etna in 425 B.C., Thucydides iii. 116] "The Scythians," and "Demades argues against revolting from Alexander while he is in India." His lyric nomes [these were hymns in honor of the gods] are still sung, for he was skillful also in composing nomes for the lyre. He died at home aged about seventy, and left a son who, though he was well enough able to take charge of the country estate and the household, was crack-brained and foolish, and had not been educated for the sophistic profession.
28. Let those who think Varus of Laodicea worthy of mention receive no mention themselves. For he was trivial, vain, and fatuous, and such charm of voice as he had he degraded by uttering snatches of song which might serve as dance music for some shameless person. Why then should I record or describe any teacher or pupil of his, since I am well aware that one would not be likely to teach such arts, and that it would be disgraceful for his pupils to admit that they had listened to such teaching?
29. The birthplace of Quirinus the sophist was Nicomedia. His family was neither distinguished nor altogether obscure, but he had a natural talent for receiving instruction and a still greater talent for handing it on, for he carefully trained not only his memory, but also his faculty for lucid expression. This sophist's sentences were very short, and when he was maintaining an abstract thesis he was not very successful. Nevertheless he was vigorous and energetic, and was skilled in startling into attention the ears of his audience. For indeed he used to speak extempore, but since he seemed better adapted by nature for making speeches for the prosecution in the courts, he was entrusted by the Emperor with the post of advocate for the treasury. Though he thereby attained to considerable power, he showed himself neither aggressive nor insolent but mild and unchanged in character, never greedy of gain but, like Aristeides in the story that the Athenians recite about him — how after he had arranged the amount of the tribute and the affairs of the islands, he came back to them wearing the same shabby cloak as before — so too Quirinus returned to his native place dignified by poverty.
When the informers in Asia found fault with him for being more lenient in his prosecutions than accorded with the evidence furnished by them, he said: "Nay it were far better that you should adopt my clemency than I your ruthlessness." And when they cited a small town for the payment of many myriads of drachmae, Quirinus did indeed win the case, though much against his will, but when the informers came to him and said: "This case when it comes to the Emperor's ears will greatly enhance your reputation," he retorted: "It suits you but not me to win rewards for making a town desolate." When his relatives tried to console him for the death of his son, he said: "When, if not now, shall I prove myself a man?" He had been a pupil of Adrian, but he did not approve of all his writings, and even expunged some passages that had been incorrectly expressed. His life came to a close with his seventieth year; his tomb is in his native place.
30. Philiscus the Thessalian was a kinsman of Hippodromus and held the chair of rhetoric at Athens for seven years, but was deprived of the immunity that was attached to it. How this came about I must now relate. The Heordaean Macedonians had summoned Philiscus to perform public services in their city, as was their right in the case of all who on the mother's side were Heordaeans, and since he did not undertake them they referred the matter to the courts. Accordingly the suit came before the Emperor (this was Antoninus [Antoninus Caracalla] the son of the philosophic Julia); and Philiscus travelled to Rome to protect his own interests. There he attached himself closely to Julia's circle of mathematicians and philosophers, and obtained from her with the Emperor's consent the chair of rhetoric at Athens. But the Emperor, like the gods in Homer who are portrayed as granting favors to one another, but sometimes against their will, nourished the same sort of resentment, and was ill-disposed to Philiscus because he thought that the latter had stolen a march on him. So when he heard that there was a suit brought against him and that he was to hear it tried, he ordered the official in charge of lawsuits to give notice to Philiscus that he must make his defense himself and not through another. And when Philiscus appeared in court he gave offense by his gait, he gave offense by the way in which he stood, his attire seemed far from suitable to the occasion, his voice effeminate, his language indolent and directed to any subject rather than to the matter in hand.
All this made the Emperor hostile to Philiscus, so that he kept pulling him up throughout the whole speech, both by interjecting his own remarks in the other's allotted time, and by interrupting with abrupt questions. And since the replies of Philiscus were beside the mark, the Emperor exclaimed: "His hair shows what sort of man he is, his voice what sort of orator!" And after cutting him short like this many times, he ranged himself on the side of the Heordaeans. And when Philiscus said: "You have given me exemption from public services by giving me the chair at Athens," the Emperor cried at the top of his voice: "Neither you nor any other teacher is exempt! Never would I, for the sake of a few miserable speeches, rob the cities of men who ought to perform public services." Nevertheless he did, even after this incident, decree for Philostratus of Lemnos, then aged twenty-four, exemption from public service as a reward for a declamation. These then were the reasons why Philiscus was deprived of the privilege of exemption. But we must not, on account of the shortcomings of his facial expression, his voice and his dress deprive him of that high place among rhetoricians which is due to his Hellenic culture and his ability to compose speeches. The style of his eloquence was colloquial rather than forensic, but it was illumined by a pure Attic vocabulary and had effects of sound that were original. He died leaving a daughter and a worthless son, and the measure of his life was sixty-seven years. Though he had acquired a charming little estate at Athens, he was not buried on it but in the Academy where the commander-in-chief holds the funeral games in honor of those buried there who have fallen in war.
31. Aelian was a Roman, but he wrote Attic as correctly as the Athenians in the interior of Attica. This man in my opinion is worthy of all praise, in the first place because by hard work he achieved purity of speech though he lived in a city which employed another language; secondly because, though he received the title of sophist at the hands of those who award that honor, he did not trust to their decision, but neither flattered his own intelligence nor was puffed up by this appellation, exalted though it was, but after taking careful stock of his own abilities, he saw that they were not suited to declamation, and so he applied himself to writing history and won admiration in this field. Simplicity was the prevailing note of his style, and it has something of the charm of Nicostratus, but at times he imitates the vigorous style of Dio.
Philostratus of Lemnos once met him when he was holding a book in his hands and reading it aloud in an indignant and emphatic voice, and he asked him what he was studying. He replied: "I have composed an indictment of Gynnis [the "womanish man," applied to Heliogabalus, who was put to death in 222], for by that name I call the tyrant who has just been put to death, because by every sort of wanton wickedness he disgraced the Roman Empire." On which Philostratus retorted: "I should admire you for it, if you had indicted him while he was alive." For he said that while it takes a real man to try to curb a living tyrant, anyone can trample on him when he is down.
This man used to say that he had never travelled to any part of the world beyond the confines of Italy, and had never set foot on a ship, or become acquainted with the sea; and on these grounds he was all the more highly esteemed in Rome as one who prized their mode of life. He was a pupil of Pausanias, but he admired Herodes as the most various of orators. He lived to be over sixty years of age and died leaving no children; for by never marrying he evaded begetting children. However this is not the right time to speculate as to whether this brings happiness or misery.
32. Since Fortune plays the most important part in all human affairs, Heliodorus must not be deemed unworthy of the sophistic circle; for he was a marvellous instance of her triumphs. He was elected advocate of his own country among the Celtic tribes, with a colleague. And when his colleague was ill, and it was reported that the Emperor [Caracalla] was cancelling many of the suits, Heliodorus hastened to the military headquarters in anxiety about his own suit. On being summoned into court sooner than he expected, he tried to postpone the case till the sick man could be present; but the official who gave the notifications of the suits was an overbearing fellow and would not allow this, but haled him into court against his will, and even dragged him by the beard. But when he had entered he actually looked boldly at the Emperor, asked for time to be allotted to him in which to plead, and then with ready skill delivered his protest, saying: "It will seem strange to you, most mighty Emperor, that one should nullify his own suit by pleading it alone, without having your commands to do so." At this the Emperor sprang from his seat and called Heliodorus "a man such as I have never yet known, a new phenomenon such as has appeared only in my own time," and other epithets of this sort, and raising his hand he shook back the fold of his cloak. [A sign of approval; cf. Eunapius, Life of the Sophist Julian.] Now at first we felt an impulse to laugh, because we thought that the Emperor was really making fun of him. But when he bestowed on him the public honor of equestrian rank and also on all his children, men marvelled at the goddess Fortune who showed her power by events so incredible. And this power was illustrated still more clearly in what followed.
For when the Arab comprehended that things were going well for him, he profited by the Emperor's impulsive mood, like a navigator who crowds on all sail when the wind is fair for sailing: "O Emperor," said he, "appoint a time for me to give a display of declamation." "I give you a hearing now, and speak on the following theme," said the Emperor: "'Demosthenes, after breaking down before Philip, defends himself from the charge of cowardice.'" And while Heliodorus was declaiming he not only showed himself in a friendly mood, but also secured applause from the others present by looking sternly at those of the audience who failed to applaud. What is more, he placed him at the head of the most important body of public advocates [advocates of the Treasury] in Rome, as being peculiarly fitted for the courts and for conducting legal cases. But when the Emperor died he was deported to a certain island, and having incurred a charge of murder in the island he was sent to Rome to make his defense before the military prefects. And since he proved himself innocent of the charge he was also released from his exile on the island. He is spending his old age in Rome, neither greatly admired nor altogether neglected.
33. Ravenna was the birthplace of Aspasius the sophist — now Ravenna is an Italian city — and he was educated by his father Demetrianus who was skilled in the art of criticism. Aspasius was an industrious student and was diligent in attending the rhetorical schools. He used to praise novelty, but he never lapsed into bad taste, because what he invented he employed with a due sense of proportion. This is, of course, of the greatest importance in music also, for it is the time measures of the notes that have given a voice to the lyre and the flute and taught us melody. But though he took great pains to express himself appropriately and with simplicity, he gave too little thought to vigor and rhetorical amplification. Though he had no natural ability for extempore speaking, he made good the deficiency by hard work.
He visited many parts of the earth, both in the train of the Emperor and travelling independently. He held the chair of rhetoric at Rome with great credit to himself, so long as he was young, but as he grew old he was criticized for not being willing to resign it in another's favor. The quarrel between Aspasius and Philostratus of Lemnos began in Rome, but became more serious in Ionia, where it was fomented by the sophists Cassianus and Aurelius. Of these two men Aurelius was the sort of person who would declaim even in low wine-shops while the drinking was going on; while Cassianus was a man of such impudence of character that he aspired to the chair at Athens, seizing on opportunities of which he made full use, and this though he had taught no one except Periges the Lydian. However since I have described the manner of their quarrel, why should I relate again what has been made sufficiently plain? The saying that even from an enemy one can learn something worth while [Aristophanes Bird 375] has often been illustrated in human affairs, but never more clearly than in the case of these men. For while their controversy lasted Aspasius achieved for himself the art of speaking extempore with ease and fluency, because Philostratus already had a great reputation in this branch of eloquence; while the latter in his turn pruned down his own style of oratory which was running to riot before, till it matched his opponent's accuracy and terseness.
The epistle composed by Philostratus called How to Write Letters is aimed at Aspasius, who on being appointed Imperial Secretary wrote certain letters in a style more controversial than is suitable; and others he wrote in obscure language, though neither of these qualities is becoming to an Emperor. For an Emperor when he writes a letter ought not to use rhetorical syllogisms or trains of reasoning, but ought to express only his own will; nor again should he be obscure, since he is the voice of the law, and lucidity is the interpreter of the law. Aspasius was a pupil of Pausanias, but he also attended the school of Hippodromus, and he was teaching in Rome, well advanced in years, when I was writing this narrative.
So much for Aspasius. But of Philostratus of Lemnos and his ability in the law courts, in political harangues, in writing treatises, in declamation, and lastly of his talent for speaking extempore, it is not for me to write. Nay nor must I write about Xicagoras of Athens, who was appointed herald of the temple at Eleusis; nor of Apsines the Phoenician [Apsines of Gadara taught rhetoric at Athens about A.D. 235] and his great achievements of memory and precision. For I should be distrusted as favoring them unduly, since they were connected with me by the tie of friendship.