The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Libentina – Liber

776

LIBANIUS.

in Reiske's edition of Libanius (iv. p. 266, &c.), and also in most of the editions of Demosthenes.

5. 'E7r«TToAaf, or letters, of which a very large number is still extant. In the edition of J. C. Wolf (Amsterdam, 1738, fol.) there are no less than 1605 epistles in Greek, in addition to which there are 397 epistles of which we only possess a Latin translation by Zambicarius, first published at Krakau,but reprinted with several others in Wolf's edition (p. 735, &c.). Two other letters in the Greek original were published by Bloch, in Hun­ter's M-iscellanea (Hafniae, i. 2, p. 139, &c.). Many of these letters are extremely interesting, being addressed to the most eminent men of his time, such as the emperor Julian, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, and others. In this collection there are also many very short letters, being either letters of introduction, or formal notes of politeness and the like. The style in all of them is neat and elegant. Among the same class of literary compositions we may also reckon the eTntrroAtKoi %apa«r>]p6s, or formulae of letters, which were first edited by W. Morellus (Paris, 1551, 1558, 8vo.), and afterwards at Lug-dunum (1618, 12mo.). Many epistles as well as orations are still extant in MS. at Madrid, Venice, and other places, but have never been published, and others which are now and then alluded to by later writers seem to be lost.

As regards the style of Libanius as an orator, some modern critics have called him a real model of pure Attic Greek (Reiske, Praefat. p. xvii.), but this is carrying praise too far, and even Photius entertained a much more correct opinion of him (Bibl, Cod. 90, p. 67, b.). There can be no doubt that Libanius is by far the most talented and most successful among the rhetoricians of the fourth century ; he took the best orators of the classic age as his models, and we can often see in him the disciple and happy imitator of Demos­thenes, and his animated descriptions are often full of power and elegance ; but he is not able always to rise above the spirit of his age, and we rarely find in him that natural simplicity which constitutes the great charm of the best Attic orators. His diction is a curious mixture of the pure old Attic with what may be termed modern, and the latter would be more excusable, if he did not so often claim for himself the excellencies of the ancient orators. In addition to this, it is evident that, like all other rhetoricians, he is more concerned about the form than about the substance, whence Eunapius (p. 133) calls his orations weak* deadj and lifeless. This tendency not seldom renders his style obscure, notwithstanding his striving after purity, inasmuch as he sometimes sacrifices the logical connection of his sentences to his rhetorical mode of expressing them. As far as the history of Libanius's age is concerned, however, some of his orations, and still more his epistles are of great value, such as the oration in which he relates the events of his own life, the eulogies on Constantius and Constans, the orations to and on Julian, several orations describing the condition of Antioch, and those which he wrote against his professional and political opponents.

A complete edition of all the works of Libanius does not yet exist. The first edition of the Pro-gymnasmata appeared under the name of Theon, together with a similar work by the latter author, at Basel, 1641, 8vo., edited by J. Canamerarius ; a

LIBER.

more complete edition is that of F. Morellus (Li-banii Praeludia Orat. LXXII.^ Dedamat. XL V.9 et Dissertat. Moral., Paris, 1606, fol.), but some further additions were subsequently made by Leo Allatius, and the whole is to be found in Reiske's edition (vol. iv. p. 853, &c.). The orations and declamations were first published, though very in­complete, at Ferrara, 1517, 4to., then in the above-mentioned edition of F. Morellus ; and after se­veral more had been published from MSS. by J. Gothofredus, Fabricius and A. Bongiovanni, a comr plete collection, with some fresh additions, was published by J. J. Reiske (Libanii Sophistae Ora-tiones et Declamationes ad fidem codd. recens. et perpet. adnotat. illustravit, Altenburg, 1791—97, 4 vols. 8vo.). The best edition of the epistles is that of J. Ch. Wolf (Libanii Epistolae, Graece et Latine edid. et notis illustr., Amsterdam, 1738, fol.). For further particulars see J. G. Berger, De Libanio Disputationes Sex, Vitebergae, 1696, &c., 4to. ; Reiske, in the first vol. of his edition ; F. C. Petersen, Commentat. de Libanio Sophista^ part i. (containing an account of the life of Libanius) ; Hafniae, 1827, 4to.; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vi. p. 750, &c.; Westermann, Gesch. der Griech. Beredtsam-Tceit, § 103, and Beilage, xv. p. 330, &c.

Four other persons of the name of Libanius, none of whom is of any importance are enumerated by Fabricius (Bibl. Graec. x. p. 106). [L. S.]

LIBENTINA, LUBENTINA, or LUBEN- TIA, a surname of Venus among the Romans, by which she is described as the goddess of sexual pleasure (dea libidinis, Vair. de Ling. Lot. v. 6; Cic. de Nat. Deor. ii. 23 ; August, de Civ. Dei9 iv. 8; Nonius, i. 324; Plaut. Asin. ii. 2. 2; Ar- nob. adv. Gent. i. p. 15, who however speaks of Libentini dii.) [L. S.]

LIBER. This name, or Liber pater., is fre­quently applied by the Roman poets to the Greek Bacchus or Dionysus, who was accordingly regarded as identical with the Italian Liber. Cicero (de Nat. Deor. ii. 24), however, very justly distin­guishes between Dionysus (the Greek Liber) and the Liber who was worshipped by the early Ita­lians in conjunction with Ceres and Libera. Liber and the feminine Libera were ancient Italian divi­nities, presiding over the cultivation of the vine and fertility of the fields ; and this seems to have given rise to the combination of their worship with that of Ceres. A temple of these three divinities was vowed by the dictator, A. Postumius, in b. c. 496, near the Circus Flaminius ; it was afterwards restored by Augustus, and dedicated by Tiberius. (Tac. Ann. ii. 49; Dionys. • vi. 17.) The most probable etymology of the name Liber is from liberare; Servius (ad Virg. Georg. i. 7) indeed states that the Sabine name for Liber was Loeba-sius, but this seems to have been only an obsolete form for Liber, just as we are told that the ancient Romans said loebesus and loebertas for the later forms liber(us) and libertas. (Paul. Diac. p. 121, ed. MUller.) Hence Seneca (de Tranq. Anim. 15) says, u Liber dictus est quia liberat servitio cura-rum animi;" while others, who were evidently thinking of the Greek Bacchus, found in the name an allusion to licentious drinking and speaking. (Macrob. Sat. i. 18; August, de Civ. Dei, vi. 9 ; Paul. Diac. p. 115.) Poets usually call him Liber pater, the latter word being very commonly added by the Italians to the names of gods. The female Libera was identified by the Romans with Cora or

Pages
About | First

775

776

777
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.