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ROMAN PERIOD. 477
A complete edition of all the works of Aristides, which gives a correct text and all the scholia, was published by W. Dindorf, Leipzig, 1829, 3 vols. 8vo.
VII. lucjanus (Aowiavos),1 a witty and voluminous Greek writer, whom we may consider under the present head, in consequence of his early pursuits. He was born at Samosata, the capital of Commagene, in Syria, probably about A.D. 120, and he appears to have lived till toward the end of this century. We know that some of his more celebrated works were written in the reign of M. Aurelius Antoninus. Lucian's parents were poor, and he was at first apprenticed to his maternal uncle, who was a statuary. He afterward became an advocate, and practiced at Antioch. Being unsuccessful in this calling, he employed himself in writing speeches for others instead of delivering them himself. But he did not long remain at Antioch; and, at an early period of his life, he set out upon his travels, and visited the greater part of Greece, Italy, and Gaul. At that period it was customary for professors of the rhetorical art to proceed to different cities, where they attracted audiences by their displays, much in the same manner as musicians or itinerant lecturers in modern times. He appears to have acquired a good deal of money as well as fame. On his return to his native country, probably about his fortieth year, he abandoned the rhetorical profession, the artifices of which, he tells us, were foreign to his temper, the natural enemy of deceit and pretension. He now devoted most of his time to the composition of his works. He still, however, occasionally travelled ; for it appears that he was in Achaia and Ionia about the close of the Parthian war, A.D. 160-165: on which occasion, too, he seems to have visited Olympia, and beheld the self-immolation of Pere-grinus. About A.D. 170, or a little previously, he visited the false oracle of the impostor Alexander, in Paphlagonia. Later in life, he obtained the office of procurator of part of Egypt, which office was probably bestowed upon him by the Emperor Commodus.
The nature of Lucian's writings inevitably procured him many enemies, by whom he has been painted in very black colors. According to Suidas, he was surnamed the Blasphemer, and was torn to pieces by dogs as a punishment for his impiety; but on this account no reliance can be placed. Other writers state that Lucian apostatized from Christianity, but there is no proof in support of this charge; and the dialogue called Philopatris, which would appear to prove that the author had once been a Christian, was certainly not written by Lucian, but was probably composed in the reign of Julian the Apostate. The scholiast on the Alexander, § 47, asserts that Lucian was an epicurean, and this opinion has been followed by several modern critics. But, though his natural skepticism may have led him to prefer the tenets of Epicurus to those of any other sect, it is most probable that he belonged to none whatever. Of Lucian's moral character we have no means of judging except from his writings, a method which is not always certain. Several of his pieces are loose and licentious, but some allowance should be made for the manners of the age. In the Alexander, § 54, he seems indignant at the charge of immorality
1 Smith. Diet. Biogr., s. v.