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On this page: Perpetuus – Persaeus

PERSAEUS.

Perperna acted apparently in concert with Serto­rius, he and the other Roman nobles who accom­panied him were jealous of the ascendency of the latter, and at last were mad enough to allow their jealousy and pride to destroy the only man who could have restored them to political power. In B. c. 72, Perperna and his friends assassinated Ser-torius at a banquet. His death soon brought the war to a close. Perperna was completely defeated in the first battle which he fought with Pompey after the death of Sertorius, and was taken prisoner. Anxious to save his life, he offered to deliver up to Pompey the papers of Sertorius, which contained letters from many of the leading men at.Rome, inviting Sertorius to Italy, and expressing a desire to change the constitution which Sulla had esta­blished. But Pompey refused to see him, and commanded him to be put to death, and the letters to be burnt. (Appian, B.C. i. 107, 110, 113— 115 ; Plut. Pomp 10, 20, Sert. 15, 25—27 ; Liv. Epit. 96 ; Eutrop. vi. 1 ; Flor. iii. 22 ; Oros. v. 23; Veil. Pat. ii. 30 ; Sail. Hist. lib. ii. iii. ; Cic. Verr. v. 58.)

PERPETUUS, P. TI'TIUS, consul a. d. 237 with L. Ovinius Rusticus Cornelianus.

PERSAEUS (n^o-cuos), surnamed Cittieus (KiTTiet/s), from his native town Cittium, in the south of Crete, was a favourite disciple of Zeno, the stoic, who was also of Cittium. Suidas (s. v.) states that he was also named Dorotheas, and that his father's name was Demetrius. Diogenes La-erlius mentions that it was doubtful whether he was merely an intimate friend of Zeno's, or whether, after having been the slave of Antigonus Gonatas, and tutor to his son Alcyoneus, and then presented by that monarch to Zeno as a copyist, he had been freed by the philosopher. The opinion that he had been Zeno's slave prevails extensively in later writers, as in A. Gellius (ii. 18). But the notion is contradicted by the general current of his life, and seems to have originated in a remark of Bion Borysthenites. Bion having seen a bronze statue of Persaeus, bearing the inscription, Hspffa'iov ztjvowos Kmea. remarked that this was a mistake, for Ufpffaiov 7.r}i>(j0vos ot/cmea. (Athen. iv. p. .162, d.) But from the sal nigrum which charac­terises Bion's sayings, this seems nothing more than a sneer at the servility which he thus insinu­ated that Persaeus, with whom he had come into rivalry at the court of Antigonus, manifested in his demeanour to Zeno. Indeed, if Persaeus had actually been Zeno's slave, the sarcasm would have been pointless. We learn from Diogenes Laertius, that Zeno lived in the same house with Persaeus, and he narrates an incident, which certainly supports the insinuation of Bion. The same story is told by Athenaeus (xiii. p. 607, a. b.), on the authority of Antigonus the Carystian, somewhat differently, and not so much to Zeno's credit. Persaeus was in the prime of life in the 130th Olympiad, b. c. 260. Antigonus Gonatas had sent for Zeno, between b. c. 277 and 271 (Clinton, F. H. vol. ii. p. 368, note i), when the philosopher was in his eighty-first year. Zeno excused himself, but sent Per­saeus and Philonides, with whom went also the poet Aratus, who had received instructions from Persaeus at Athens. Persaeus seems to have been in high favour with Antigonus, and to have guided the monarch in his choice of literary associates, as we learn from a sneer of Bion's, recorded by Laertius. At last, unhappily

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for himself, he was appointed to a chief command in Corinth, and hence he is classed by Aeliun (V. H. iii. 17), among those philosophers who have taken an active part in public affairs. Ac­cording to Athenaeus (iv. p. 162, c), who has no high opinion of his morality, his dissipation led to the loss of Corinth, which was taken by Aratus the Sicyonian, b.c. 243. Pausanias (ii. 8, vii. 8) states that he was then slain. Plutarch doubtfully represents him as escaping to Cenchreae. But this may have been to put into his mouth when alive, what Athenaeus says of him when deacl, that he who had been taught by Zeno to consider philo­sophers as the only men fit to be generals, had been forced to alter his opinion, being corrected by a Sicyonian youth.

We find a list of his writings in Laertius, in which we are startled to find ®v€<tttis. Athenaeus (iv. 140, p. 6, e) agrees with Laertius, in attribut­ing to him a work, entitled FIoAireia Aa/awj/iK?7. He also gives a general view of the contents of a work bearing his name, entitled ^v^iroriKol AiaAoyoj (iv. p. 162, e.). But that the favourite pupil of Zeno, and the trusted friend of Antigonus for many years, could have written such a work as he describes, seems incredible. He very probably did write a book bearing the title 'TTro/nviijuara ^vfJLiroriKa (as stated by Laertius), on the model of the Sw-7roVjoj/ of Plato ; hence the Tlepl Td/^ov and Hepl 'Eptoroov, mentioned by Laertius as sepa­rate treatises of Persaeus. But, being the friend of Antigonus, he was deemed to be an enemv to

o * v

Greek freedom ; hence the inveterate enmity of Me-nedemus (Diog. Lae'rt. ii. 143), and hence spurious productions of a contemptible character were pro­bably assigned to him. Lipsius, however (iManu-duct. ad Stoic. Philosopli. xii. 1), seems to be of an opinion quite the reverse. Suidas and Eudocia (p. 362) state that he wrote a history, which may refer to his political writings. He also wrote, according te Laertius, against the laws of Plato. Of his philosophical opinions, we know hardly anything. It is reasonable to conjecture that he ad­hered closely to the tenets of Zeno. Accordingly, we find him, on one occasion, convicting Ariston of inconsistency in not adhering in practice to his dogma, that the wise man was opinionless (dSo^acr-ros). We find him, however, if we can trust Laertius, agreeing with Ariston in his doctrine of indifference (dfiiatyopia), and himself convicted of inconsistency by Antigonus — an incident which has been ingeniously expanded by Themistius. (Orat. xxxii. p. 358.) Cicero (de Nat. Deor. i. 15, where the old reading was Perseus] censures an opinion of his that divinity was ascribed not only to men who had improved the arts of life, but even to those material substances which are of use to mankind. Meursius (de Cypro,\\. p. 167) thinks that this is taken from a work of his entitled 'HOiKal 2%oA«i mentioned by Laertius. Minucius Felix (Ociav. p. 22, ed. Lugd. Bat. 1652), alludes also to this opinion, but he seems to have derived his knowledge from Cicero, as the illus­trations are Roman, and not Greek, as we might have expected. Dio Chrysostom (Orat. liii.) states that following the example of Zeno, Persaeus, while commenting on Homer, did not discuss his general merits, but attempted to prove that he had written Kara So£ai/, and not Kara d\7]0eiav. (Comp. Diog. Lae'rt. vii., with Lipsius, Meursius. //. w., and Fabric. Bill. Grace, vol. iii. p. 570.) [YV. M. G.J

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