The Ancient Library

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under Herodes Atticus at Athens, and subsequently travelled through Egypt, Greece, and Italy. The fame of his talents and acquirements was so great, that monuments were erected to his honor in several towns which he had visited.1 Shortly before his return, he was attacked by an illness which lasted thirteen years, but which, notwithstanding, did not prevent him from prosecuting his studies. He subsequently settled at Smyrna, and when this city was nearly destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 178, he used his influence with the Emperor M. Aurelius Antoninus to induce him to assist in rebuilding the place. The Smyrneans showed their gratitude to Aristides by offering him various honors and distinc­tions, most of which he refused. He accepted only the office of priest of JEsculapius, which he held until his death, about A.D. 180.

The works of Aristides which have come down to us are fifty-five ora­tions and declamations (including those which were discovered by Morelli and Mai), and two treatises on rhetorical subjects, of little value, namely, irepl iroXiriKov \6yov, and Trcpl d</>eAoOs \6yov. Some of his orations are eulogies on the power of certain divinities ; others are panegyrics on towns, such as Smyrna, Cyzicus, Rome. One among them is a Panathe-naicus and an imitation of that of Isocrates. Others, again, treat of sub­jects connected with rhetoric and eloquence. The six orations called lepol \6yot are a sort of diary of his long illness and recovery, and he re­lates in them that he was frequently encouraged, by visions in his dreams, to cultivate rhetoric to the exclusion of all other studies. They have at­tracted considerable attention in modern times on account of the various stories they contain respecting the cures of the sick in temples, and on account of the apparent resemblance between these cures and those said to be effected by mesmerism.2 Aristides, as an orator, is much superior to the majority of sophists in his time, whose great and only ambition was to shine and make a momentary impression by extempore speeches, and a brilliant and dazzling style ; although it must be confessed that, in his panegyric orations, he himself often endeavors tu display as much brill­iancy of style as he can. On the whole, his manner of expression is brief and concise, but too frequently deficient in ease aiui clearness. His sentiments are often trivial, and spun out to an intolerable length, which leaves the reader nothing to think upon for himsblf. His orations remind us of a man who is fond of hearing himself talk. Notwithstanding these defects, however, Aristides is still unsurpassed by most of his contempo­raries. Several learned grammarians wrote commentaries on his ora­tions, from which the extant scholia are probably compilations.

The first edition of the orations of Aristides (fifty-three in number) is that published at Florence, 1517, fol. A better edition, with some of the Greek scholia, is that of Jebb, Oxford, 1722, 2 vols, 4to. Manv corrections of the text of this edition are contained in Reiske's Animadversiones in Auctores Grcecos, vol. iii. Morelli published, in 1~H, the oration n-pbs AeTrnVrj^ vrrep areAeia?, which he had discovered in a Venetian MS. It was afterward edited again by F. A. Wolf, in his edition of Demosthenes's oration against Leptines, Halle, 1789 ; and by Grauert, in his Declamationes Leptinea, Bonn, 1827, 8vo. This edition of Grauert contains also an oration, 7rpb<? Ar^on-fle'i/^ Trepl dreAeuxs, which had been discovered by Mai, and published in his Nova Collect. Script. Vet., vol. i., p. 3.

1 Aristid,, Orat. JEgypt.,ii., p. 331, seqq. 2 Thorlacius, Opusc., ii., p. 129, seqq.

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