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· HIMERIUS," the sophist,' says Suidas,
· the sophist,' says Suidas, was the son of the rhetorician Aminius, and was " born at Prusias in Bithynia. He lived in the time of the emperor Julian, and was rival of • Proæresius at Athens. In his old age he lost his sight. He made declamations. That is the whole article.
His life was also written by Eunapiusamong other sophists and philosophers : but it is short. He says, Himerius was born in Bithynia. He says, he did not know Himerius, though he lived at the same time with him. Julian sent for him, by whom he was well received. He seems to say, that Himerius accompanied Julian so long as he lived, and that he did not settle at Athens till after the death of Proæresius. He commends the style of Himerius, and says, he imitated the divine Aristides. He lived to a great age, and for some time was afflicted with the leprosy : but perhaps he means the epilepsy, or falling sickness.
Cave, a in the Life of St. Basil, observes, that for the direction of his studies he chiefly ap• plied himself to Himerius and Proæresius, two of the most eminent sophists at that time at • Athens, men renowned for learning and eloquence, and upon that account in favour with the • emperor Julian. For which Cave refers to Socrates and Sozomen ; who in the same place say the same of Gregory Nazianzen, and that they afterwards studied under Libanius at Antioch.
Photius has two articles for Himerius : in the first of which he has a catalogue of his declamations; in the other he makes some extracts out of them. He seems to say, that Himerius taught some while at Corinth. His declamations were in number almost seventy: one,' Photius calls a dissertation at Philippi, when he was there in his way to Julian, who had invited him to come to him : the next is an oration at Constantinople, in praise of that city and Julian. One of these declamations, or orations, was in praise of Prætextatus,” proconsul of Greece; to which office he had been appointed by Julian" in the year 862, and he continued in it some while under Valentinian. •
At the end of the first article, having highly commended the style of Himerius, Photius concludes in these words : · But though he was so excellent a writer, ' yet as to religion he was plainly impious: and for his reflections upon the Christians he may be compared to a snarling
He flourished in the time of Constantius, and the most impious Julian ; and presided • in the school of rhetoric at Athens.'
They who desire to know more of Himerius may consult 'Tillemont, 9 and the writers' of The ancient Universal History; and especially Fabricius' in the places referred to by me at the bottom of the page. By Cave' he is placed at the year 361: I place him at 363.
• V. Ιμεριoς.
m - και εις τον ανθυπαλον της Ελλαδος Πραιτεκταίον. ons iepas yo08. p. 129.
Phot. p. 353. m. & Lives of the Fathers, p. 219.
* Aderat his omnibus Prætextatus, præclaræ indolis graviSocrat. 1. iv. cap. 26, p. 242. Soz. I. vi. cap. 27. p. 659tatisque priscæ Senator, ex negotio proprio forte repertus apud
-- νεοι γαρ δη ονίες 87οι εν ταις Αθηναις γενομενοι των Constantinopolim, quem arbitrio suo Achaïæ Proconsulari τότε ακμασανίων σοφισων, Ιμερια και Προαιρεσια ακροαίαι prefecerat potestate. Ammian. Μarc. 1. xxii. cap. 7, p. 331. γενομενοι, και μετα ταυτα εν τη Αντιόχεια της Συριας Λιζανιω • Vid. Zos. I. iv. p. 735, fin. συμφοίθησανίες, ακρως την ρητορικην εξεπονησαν. Socr. p. 242. Ρ Αλλα τοιε7ος ων εν τοις λoίoις, ασεξης, (ως δηλον εςι) την
3 Cod. 165, p. 351, &c. n Cod. 243, p. 1075, &c. θρησκειαν ει και τες λαθραιες μιμείλαι των κυνων, καθ' ημων
1 Είλα προς τας ελαιρος συντακληριος, ο7ε εξεει εις Κορινθον, υλακτων. Ηκμασε δε επι Κωνςανλια και τα δυσσεβεςαλα Cod. 165, p. 352, sub fin.
Ιολιανά και το εν Αθηνησι κατα ρητοριαν προυση διδασκαλειε. . Και δη και εις την απο Κορινθο επαγρδον. p. 353, in. Et vid. Cod. 165, p. 356. 9 Tillen. L'Emp. Julien. art. 34. ibid. ad fin. * P. 353. fin.
r Vol. xvi. p. 276. Και διαλεξις εν Φιλιπποις, ο7ε απηει παρα Ιαλιανε βασιλεως • Bib. Gr. I. iv. c. 30. T. iv. p. 413, &c. et I. v. cap. 38. καλεμενος: ειΠα ρηθεις εν τη πολει εις αυτην τε την Κωνσταντινο Τom. ix. p. 426, &c. * Hist. Lit p.
346. πολιν, και Ιθλιανον τον βασιλεα. p. 353. m.
He was a
Himerius must be reckoned an example of the moderation of the Christian government at that time. The reign of Julian was short: Himerius lived to a great age: a good part of his time was spent under the Christian emperors, Julian's predecessors and successors. zealous Gentile, and in favour also with Julian: nevertheless he suffered not
usage. For a while he taught at Corinth: afterwards he presided in the school of rhetoric at Athens. He was a great author, and published many declamations written with elegance; a proof of his high spirit and easy circumstances; and in some of them he made free reflections upon the Christians.
His father Aminius likewise was a rhetorician, or sophist, and undoubtedly of the Greek religion. He must have lived in the times of Constantine and Constantius; under whom he taught rhetoric at Prusias in Bithynia without molestation or disturbance. His son Himerius, more eminent, and more famous than himself, was one of his scholars, and did honour to his school: so, in like manner, Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, and others, by their oratorical talents, did honour to Himerius.
I. His time, and writings, and character. II. Extracts out of his Oration to the emperor Jovian.
III. An account of another Oration addressed by him to Valens. IV. Farther remarks upon his character.
1. THEMISTIUS, "surnamed Euphrades, or the fine speaker,' a philosopher, greatly celebrated for his eloquence, was born in Paphlagonia about the year 317, and reached to the year 385, or later. His father was Eugenius, likewise a professor of philosophy.
Beside thirty-six Orations (thirty-three of which are still remaining, including that to Valens, which we have in Latin only) he wrote Commentaries upon Plato and Aristotle. Having gained in other places a great deal of reputation for his philosophy and eloquence, he settled at Constantinople; which he made the place of his ordinary residence for the space of near forty years. He was in great esteem with all the emperors of his time, from Constantius to Theodosius. His first Oration was pronounced before Constantius in 347: by whom he was made senator of Constantinople in the year 355: by which senate he was ten times deputed to several emperors. He had the honour of two brass statues, one of which was erected by order of Constantius in 357. He was made præfect of Constantinople by Julian in the year 362, and again afterwards by Theodosius in 384.
Some, by mistake, have supposed him to have been a Christian, confounding him with an. other of the same name. The style of all his Orations shews him to be a heathen; one proof of which may be sufficient. He concludes an Oration, in praise of Gratian, spoken in the Roman senate in the year € 377, with an ardent prayer to Jupiter, father of gods and men, founder • and protector of Rome, and to Minerva, and Quirinus, tutelary dæmon or genius of the Roman
empire, that Rome may be loved by the emperor, and the emperor be again loved by Rome.' 8
* Vide Phot. Cod. 73. p. 164. Suid. V. Θεμιςιος. Fabric. κληθορ και πολιεχε, και προμηθερ Αθηνα, και Κυρινε, δαιμων
& Mr. Mosheim had a fancy, that many learned men about Vid. Themist. Or. 2. p. 28. D. ed. Harduin. Paris, 1684. that time made little difference between Gentilism and Chrisc Vid. Orat. 17. p. 214. Or. 31. p. 352, 353.
tianity, and were willing to join them in one.
Among these • Or. 17. p. 214. Or. 31. p. 353.
he placeth Themistius; but I see no ground for it. They • Fabric. Bib. Gr. T. viii.
lived in the time of Christian emperors, when Christians * Συ δε, ο σαλερ μεν θεων, σαλερ δε ανθρωπων, Ζευ, Ρωμης were numerous in every part of the empire; they judged it
He may be said to have twice quoted the Old Testament, but as a book with which he was not much acquainted. In the first place he says, he had observed an elegant saying in the « writings of the Assyrians, that “the mind of the king is held in the hand of God.”. Prov. xxi. 1. To the like purpose in another place: that he had often admired some things in the Assyrian « writings. And that particularly he could not but admire and commend that saying, which is • somewhere to be found in them: “The heart of the king is held in the hand of God." There can be no doubt, that by the writings of the Assyrians' he intends the scriptures of the Old Testament.
This may suffice for a general history of Themistius: some more particulars will be added hereafter.
And indeed, before I proceed any farther, I would take notice of his article in Suidas: who says, he was a philosopher who lived in the time of Julian the apostate, by whom he was made præfect of Constantinople. And having mentioned divers philosophical works written by him he adds, and dissertations. If by these he does not intend his Orations, he has not mentioned them at all.
On the other hand, Photius begins his article of Themistius, saying, he' had read his • thirty-six political discourses, spoken to the emperors Constantius, Valens, the younger Valen• tinian, and_Theodosius. After which he mentions his philosophical writings. He says his • father was Eugenius, who 8 also was a philosopher.'
He appears to have been greatly esteemed for his learning and eloquence, and other abilities. Among the letters of Gregory Nazianzen, there are two * to Themistius, which are very polite and complaisant. He calls him the king of eloquence; and says, it was that in which he most excelled, though he excelled in every thing. There is also still' extant a very long letter of Julian written to him. Fabricius has made a collection of fourteen letters of Libanius to him: and there are still more among the epistles of Libanius published by Wolfius. How he was esteemed by the emperors Constantius, Julian, Valens, Gratian, and Theodosius, he has himself observed in one of his Orations, in a beautiful paragraph " to which I refer.
II. There are two Orations of which we must take particular notice; one of which is to Jovian, or Jovinian, upon his accession after the death of Julian, when also the emperor was consul: for which reason it is called a Consular Oration. And I place Themistius as flourishing at this time. Of this Socrates speaks in this manner: • The affairs of the Christians were then . in great agitation: for the presidents of the several sects made addresses to the emperor, in"treating his support and assistance against those who differed from them. To whom he made * such answers as were suitable. For P the emperor had formed this determination, with kind • words, and civil usage, to compose the dissensions of all parties. And he declared, that he
would give no disturbance to any upon account of their opinions; but that he would love and • highly esteem those who promoted the peace and unity of the churches. That this was his • conduct is attested by Themistius the philosopher; for in his Consular Oration, he commends • the emperor for allowing to all full liberty to worship the Deity according to their own senti* ments, thus checking the designs of flatterers; whom also he ridicules very freely, saying, that • they worship the purple, not the Deity; and they mightily resemble the Éuripus, which some• times flows one way, and at other times quite the contrary.'
proper to be civil to Christians : nevertheless, they kept their Jure naturali et Gentium. I. i. c. 2. p. 85. Vol. i. Londini. Gentilism entire. The character of Themistius is manifest 1726. in the place above cited ; and, perhaps, may be still more Θεμισιος φιλοσοφος, γείονως επι των χρονων Iελιανε το apparent before we finish this chapter. Mr. Mosheirm's argu- Παραβατε, υφ' ε και υπαρχος προεβληθη Κωνσταντινοπολεως. ment may be seen quoted above p. 238.
-και Διαλεξεις. -Αλλ' εδω ποτε υπησθομης και των Ασσυριων γραμ- Ανείνωσθησαν Θεμισια λοξοι πολίλικοι λς. Cod. 74. p. μαθων ταυ7ο τείο κομψευομενων, ως αρα ο νες το βασιλεως εν 164.
-και αυτος φιλοσοφησας. Ιbid. τη τε Θεέ παλαμη δορυφορείθαι. Οr. 7. p. 89. D.
h Gr. Naz. Ep. 139, 140. Tom. i. p. 865, 866. • Αλλα τε ηγασθην πολλάκις των Ασσυριων γραμμάτων και Ειπερ συ βασιλευς των λοίων. p. 866. Α. αλαρ 8ν και τελο θαυμασως αγαμαι, και επαινω λεξει γαρ σε
* P. 865. C. εκεινα τα γραμματα, την· το βασιλεως καρδιας εν τε Θεο | Julian. Opp. Tom. I. p. 253. edit. Spanhem. παλαμη δορυφορεισθαι. Οr. 11. p. 147. C.
m Bib. Gr. Tom. viii. p. 37. &c. • Unde, ut cætera huc faventia mittam, Themistius
epare- n Or. 31. p. 354. D.
• Socr. 1. iii. c. 25. in.
203, pala Two Acoupiwy, Assyriorum literas, substituit pro eo quod Ρ Ο μενθοι βασιλευς προθεσιν ειχε, κολακεια και πειθοι, των est sacra Hebraeorum volumina ; ubi scilicet Salomonis laudat διερωλων την φιλονεικιαν εκκοψαι, φησας, μηδενι οχληρος των dictum, de corde seu mente regis in manu Dei, Selden, de όπωσεν αισευοντων εσεσθαι. κ. λ. ib. p. 204, 205.
Socrates goes on to say: “Thatthe emperor leaving Antioch, went on to Tarsus of Cilicia, • where he interred the body of Julian. Having finished the funeral solemnities, he intended to * go to Constantinople, and was got as far as Dadastana, upon the borders of Galatia and Bithy
nia: there Themistius, and others of the senatorian order, met him: and he then pronounced • his Consular Oration, which he afterwards recited at Constantinople in the presence of all the * people.'
Thus I have transcribed from Socrates this authentic account of the oration to Jovian, which must have been pronounced before the emperor in the beginning of the year 364.
I shall now recite a part of the Oration itself: it can by no means be omitted: it has a double claim to our regard, for the relation it has to Christian affairs, and for the excellence of the sentiments. • The beginning of your care of mankind,' says this senator, is a law con• cerning religion-For you alone, as it seems, are not ignorant, that it is impossible for an emperor to compel his subjects in all things: and that there are some things above compulsion, and beyond the reach of threatenings and commands; as indeed is every virtue, and especially piety toward God: and that in order to be sincere in it, there must be an unforced disposition of mind, which is in its own power, and willing of itself. This you have wisely considered: • for it is not possible for you, O emperor, by an edict to make him love you who is not disposed • to it: how much less can you make men pious and religious by the terror of human ordinances; • a short necessity, and weak fear, which time has often introduced, and often removed? If this fear prevailed, we should only become ridiculous, worshipping the purple rather than the Deity, and shifting our religion as often as Euripus
-This, O most divine emperor, is not your case: but, as in other things you are su* preme, and ever will be so, you ordain, that the affair of religion should be in every man's
power: herein resembling God, who has made the disposition to be religious common to the s human nature, but has left the particular way of worship to every man's own choice. And he · who introduces force here, takes away that freedom which God has granted. For this reason
the laws of Cheops and Cambyses scarcely lasted so long as the lives of those who made them. • But' the law of God, and your law, remains for ever: that the mind of man be left free to • that way of worship which it thinks best. Nor have fines, or gibbets, or fires, prevailed to abrogate this law. The body indeed you may gain or kill, if you please; but the soul will
escape, carrying with it the free sentiments of the law, though you may force the tongue.' He proceeds to argue, that different sentiments and studies, produce emulation, which is of great advantage. And, perhaps,' says he, it is not pleasing to God that there should be this agree* ment among men: for nature, according to Heraclitus, loves to be hid; and, above all, the • author of nature: whom for this reason we the more reverence and admire, because the know
ledge of him is not easy, nor to be attained without a great deal of study and labour. This • law I esteem no less than I do the friendship that has been made with the Persians: by that • we are freed from a war with barbarians; by means of this law we live together without con• tention. We were before worse to one another than the Persians: accusations brought against * each other from each sect in every city, in the midst of the commonwealth, were more grievous * than their incursions. The time past, o emperor, dear to God, affords you evident examples • of this. Let the balance remain suspended on itself; depress it not on either side by your weight: let prayers be offered up to heaven for the prosperity of your government from all
quarters.' He then reminds the emperor, that his army consists of men of different nations, of different ranks and offices, and different kinds of armour. • Yet,' says he, all are subject to you, and depend upon your pleasure: and not only the military men, but likewise all other
Cap. 26. p. 205.
This, I suppose, is the passage to which Socrates referred • Ενθα και Θεμισιος και φιλοσοφος μελα των αλλων συσκλητι- in the place above cited. κων απαντησας, τον υπατικον επ' αυle διεξηλθε λοίον, ον ύσερον • Αλλ' 8 συ γε, ω θεοειδεςαλε βασιλευ' αλλα τα τε αλλα και εν Κωνσανλινε σολει επι το πλήθος επεδειξαθο. p. 205. C. αυτοκραιωρ ων τε, και εις τελος εσομενος, το της αγινειας μερος
“Είλα σοι προοιμιον γείoνε της ανθρωπων επιμέλειας ή περι απαντος είναι νομοθελεις. κ. λ. p. 68. Α. τα θεια νομοθεσια-Μονος γαρ, ως εoικεν, εκ αννοεις, οι μη 1 ο δε τε Θε8 και σος νομος ακινηθος μενει τον πανια αιωνα, σανlα ενερι τω βασιλει βιαζεσθαι της υπηκους, αλλ' εςιν α την απολελυσθαι την έκασο ψυχην προς ην οιειαι οδον ευσεβειας. ανα ίκην εκπεφευδε, και απειλης εςι κρειτίω, και επίκαιματος. p. 66.Β. Themist. Or. 5. 67.
1 Είδα ελεγχομεθα πανυ γελοιως αλερλιδας, 8 Θεον θεραπευονlες, και ραον Ευριπε μεταβαλλομενοι τας αισειας. p. 67. D.
• who bear no arms, husbandmen, rhetoricians, they who speak, and they who hear, and they • who philosophize. Believe, and be persuaded, that the governor of the universe is even pleased • with this variety: it is his will and pleasure, that the Syrians should have their particular insti. • tutions, the Greeks theirs, and the Ægyptians theirs; and that the Syrians should not all have • entirely the same. For even among them are differences: for no man agrees exactly with his • neighbour, but one thinks in this way, another in that. Why then should we attempt by • violence to obtain what is impossible ?’
Here is no express mention of the Christians. This learned philosopher, and honourable senator, though speaking to a Christian emperor upon so joyful an occasion, when also he had so good reason of gratitude for so just and excellent a law, and was disposed to commend and praise him for it, has not vouchsafed to make particular mention of the religious sect which this emperor professed, and for which he was very zealous. However, none can make any doubt, that he applauds a general toleration allowed by a Christian emperor. And I suppose, - that by Syrians in the last cited paragraph, we are to understand Christians: for they had their original in Palestine, a branch of Syria. Then he names them first: the reason of which seems to be respect for the emperor
. The next mentioned are the Greeks, the speaker's own sect or people, and lastly the Ægyptians. Besides, he particularly observes, that there were differences even among the Syrians: if by these are intended Christians, the consideration must be of weight to confirm the emperor in his present moderation toward all men. Finally, this interpretation is supported by the quotation from the Old Testament, which he calls the writings of the Assyrians,' as seen above.
III. We are now to make inquiries after another Oration, addressed by Themistius to Valens in the year 375.
Socrates, having related the death of Valentinian, goes on: · Valens however, still residing • at Antioch, was free from foreign warsBut he persecuted those who held the Homoüsian • doctrine in a most grievous manner; and was every day inventing greater punishments for "them: till · the philosopher Themistius, by a monitory oration, reduced his great severity to • some degree of moderation. In which oration he observed, that the emperor ought not to * wonder at the diversity of opinions which there was among the Christians: for the diversity • among them was small, if compared with the multitude and confusion of opinions among the • Greeks, which were not less than three hundred: and it was necessary that there should be "great variety. And moreover, that God was well pleased with the difference of opinions, that
all men might the more revere his majesty, because the knowledge of him was not obvious, • and easy to be attained. These and other things having been observed by the philosopher, ' the emperor became milder for the future.'
To the like purpose Sozomen: Valens " still residing at Antioch in Syria, grew more and * more bitter toward those who had different sentiments from himself. At which time the philosopher Themistius, addressing an oration to him, reminded him, that he ought not to wonder at the diversity of ecclesiastical opinions, it being less in degree and number than that which was among the Greeks. For among them there was a very great variety of opinions.' And more to the like purpose, so agreeable to what we have already seen in Socrates, that it needs not to be rehearsed.
But it is greatly to be suspected, that neither of these historians has confined himself to the very words of Themistius. • Christian,' and ecclesiastical opinions, or · opinions in the church,' are phrases that appear no where in any of this philosopher's orations now extant, though we have a large part of them.
However, the main question is, whether the oration to which these historians refer be now extant. There is an oration to Valens in Latin, in which is to be found what those writers say of the necessity and usefulness of different opinions. Valesius, in his notes upon the forecited
# The word is so understood by Petavius. See his notes upon the place. p. 403.
b Socrat. I. iv. cap. 32. p. 250.
• Εως αυτά την παλλην απηνειαν και φιλοσοφος Θεμισως μειριωθεραν τω προσφωνήλικω λοίω ειρίασαίο: εν ω μη δειν
ξενιζεσθαι επι τη διαφωνία των Χριστιανικων δούμαλων παραινει τω βασιλει. Ιbid. d Sozom. 1. vi. cap. 36. p. 696.
-παρηνει, μη χρηναι θαυμαζειν την διαφωνιαν των εκκλησιαςικων δογματων, κ. λ. Ιbid. ? Orat. xii. p. 154. &c.