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On this page: Orgetorix – Oribasius



(i. ser. salvidienus orfitus, consul a. d. 110, with M. Peducaeus Priscinus.

7. ser. scipio orfitus, consul a. d. 149, with Q. Nonius Priscus. He is perhaps the same as the Orfitus who was praefectus urbi in the reign of Antoninus Pius (Capitol. Anton. Pius, 8). This emperor reigned from a. d. 138 to 161.

8. M. gavius orfitus, consul a. d. 165, with L. Arrius Pudens.

9. orfitus, consul a. d. 172, with Maximus. (Lamprid. Commod. 11.)

10. orfitus gavius, consul a. d. 178, with Julianus Rufus. (Lamprid. Commod. 12.)

As the three persons last mentioned all lived in the reign of M. Aurelius (a. d. 161—180), it is impossible to say which of them was the Orfitus who was advanced to various honours in the state by this emperor, although he was the paramour of the empress (Capitol. M. Anton. PUl. 29).

31. orfitus, consul in a. d. 270, with An-tiochianus. Trebellius Pollio (Claud. 11) calls his colleague Atticianus.

M. O'RFIUS, a Roman eques, of the municipium of Atella, was a tribune of the soldiers in Caesar's army, whom Caesar strongly recommended in b. c. 59 to his brother Quintus, who was then one of Caesar's legates. (Cic. ad Qu. Fr. ii. 14.)

ORGETORIX, the noblest and richest among the Helvetii, anxious to obtain the royal power, formed a conspiracy of the principal chiefs in b. c. 61, and persuaded his countrymen to emigrate from their own country with a view of conquering the whole of Gaul. Two years were devoted to making the necessary preparations ; but the real designs of Orgetorix having meantime transpired, the Helvetii brought him to trial for his ambitious projects. Orgetorix, however, by means of his numerous retainers, set justice at defiance; and while the Helvetii were collecting forces to compel him to submit to their laws, he suddenly died, probably, as was suspected, by his own hands. Notwithstanding his death the Helvetii carried into execution the project which he had formed, and were thus the first people with whom Caesar was brought into contact in Gaul. After their defeat a daughter of Orgetorix and one of his sons fell into the hands of Caesar. (Caes. B. G. i. 2—4, 26 ; Dion Cass. xxxviii. 31.)

ORIBASIUS ('Opugdffios or 'OptgdVios), an eminent Greek medical writer, who was born pro­bably about a. d. 325. Suidas (s. v. 3OpeL€d<rios) and Philostorgius (ffist. Ecdes. vii. 15) call him a native of Sardes in Lydia; but his friend and biographer Eunapius says (Vit. Philos. el Sophist. p. 170, ed. Antw.) he was born at Pergamus in Mysia, the birth-place of Galen. According to the same author, he belonged to a respectable family, and, after receiving a good preliminary education, he studied medicine under Zeno of Cyprus, and had for his fellow-pupils lonicus and Magnus. He early acquired a great professional reputation. It is not known exactly when or where he became acquainted with the emperor Julian, but it was probably while that young prince was kept in con­finement in different places in Asia Minor. He was soon honoured with his confidence and friend­ship, and was almost the only person to whom Julian imparted the secret of his apostacy from Christianity. (Eunap. I. c. p. 90 ; Julian, ad AtJien. p. 277, B. ed. 1696.) When Julian was raised to the rank of Caesar, and sent into Gaul,


Dec. 355, he took Oribasius with him (Julian, L & p. 277, C. ; Oribas. ap. Phot. Biblioth. Cod. 217) j and in the following year (see Clinton's Fasti Rom.\ on the occasion of some temporary absence, addressed to him a letter, which is still extant (Epist. 17), and is an evidence both of their inti­macy and of their devotion to paganism. It was while they were in Gaul together that Julian com­manded Oribasius to make an epitome of Galen's writings, with which he was so much pleased that he imposed upon him the further task of adding to the work whatever was most valuable in the other medical writers. This he accomplished (though not till after Julian had become emperor, A. d. 361) in seventy (Phot. Biblioth. Cod. 217) or (accord­ing to Suidas) in seventy-two books, part of which are still extant under the title ^vvaytayal 'larpiKal, Collecta Medicinalia, and will be mentioned again below. Eunapius seems to say that Oribasius was in some way instrumental in raising Julian to the throne (/SatnAecc tov 'lovAicwov dTreSe^e), but the meaning of the passage is doubtful, as the writer refers for the particulars of the transaction to one of his lost works. He was appointed by the em­peror, soon after his accession, quaestor of Con­stantinople (Suid. I. c.), and sent to Delphi to endeavour to restore the oracle of Apollo to its former splendour and authority ; but in this mission he failed, as the only answer he brought back was that the oracle was no more : —

SauJaAos ai'Aa.


kcu \a\ov i;

Eftrare to! $a<riAe?? Oi)/cen «I>o?§os 6%et Ov Trayav AaAeou<raz/,

(Cedren. Hist. Compend. p. 304, ed. 1647.)

He accompanied Julian in his expedition against Persia, and was with him at the time of his death, June 26, A. d. 363. (Philostorg. I. c.) The suc­ceeding emperors, Valentinian and Valens, were not so favourably disposed towards Oribasius, but confiscated his property, and banished him to some nation of " barbarians " (as they are called) — pro­bably the Goths : they had even thought of putting him to death. The cause of this treatment is not mentioned ; his friend Eunapius (who is not a very impartial witness) attributes it to envy on account of his reputation (Sicfc Tr\v VTrepoxyv vys So^s), but we may easily suppose the emperors to have had some more creditable motive than this, and might perhaps be allowed to conjecture that he had made himself obnoxious, either in the discharge of his duties as quaestor, or by his enmity against the Christians. In his exile Oribasius exhibited proofs both of his fortitude and his medical skill, whereby he gained such influence and esteem among the barbarian kings, that he became one of their principal men, while the common people looked upon him as almost a god. As Eunapius does not mention that the emperors who recalled Oribasius were different from those who banished him (/. c. p. 173), it is probable that his exile did not last long, and that it ended before the year 369. After his return he married a lady of good family and fortune, and had by her four children, one of whom was probably his son Eustathius, to whom he addressed his " Synopsis," mentioned below. lie also had his property restored out of the public treasury by command of the suc­ceeding emperors, but Eunapius does not specify which emperors he means. The date of his death is unknown, but he was still living with U.\3

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