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On this page: Proxenus – Proximus – Prudentius


Egypt, and is now in the Museum at Turin. The inscription is:—


that is, " the work of Protys, the chief of the artists' workshop." (R. Rochette, Lettre a M. Schorn, pp. 3.94, 395.) [P. S.]

PROXENUS (nprf|6ws). 1. A native of Boeotia (according to Diod. xiv. 19, of Thebes). He was a disciple of Gorgias, and a friend of Xenophon. Being connected by the ties of hospi­tality with the younger Cyrus, the latter engaged him in his service. He came to Sardes at the head of 1500 heavy armed, and 500 light armed soldiers, (Xen. Anab. i. 1. § 11, 2. § 3.) It was at his invitation that Xenophon was induced to enter the service of Cyrus (iii. 1. §§ 4, 8). He was one of the four ill-fated generals whom Clear-chus persuaded to accompany him to Tissaphernes. He was seized with the rest, and taken to the king of Persia, and afterwards put to^death (ii. 5. § 31, &c. 6. § 1). Xenophon speaks of him as a man whose ambition was under the influence of strict probity, and who was especially anxious to secure the affections of his soldiers, so that while the well-disposed readily obeyed him, he failed to inspire the rest with a wholesome fear of his au­thority (ii. 6. § 17, &c.). He was 30 years of age at the time of his death (b. c. 401). For other occasions on which he is mentioned by Xenophon, see Anab. i. 5. § 14, ii. 1. § 10, v. 3. § 5. (Comp. Diog. Lae'rt. ii. 49.)

2. A brother of Hermocrates of Syracuse. (Xen. Hellen. i. 3. §13.)

3. One of the Tegeates, who was selected to join in founding Megalopolis. (Paus. viii. 27. § 2 ; Xen. Hellen. vi. 5. § 6.) [C. P. M.]

PROXENUS (npo£ei/os), literary. 1. Two persons of this name, one of Posidonia, and the other of Sybaris, are mentioned among the followers of Pythagoras by lamblichus ( Vit. Pytli. cap. ult.).

2. A person mentioned in Aristotle's will. (Diog. Lae'rt. v. 15.) From the directions given regard­ing his likeness, it is probable that he enjoyed the intimate friendship of the philosopher. [W.M.G.J

PROXIMUS, STA'TIUS, a tribune of the praetorian cohorts, joined the conspiracy of Piso against Nero. He was pardoned by the emperor, but put an end to his own life, 'through the foolish vanity of obtaining renown by dying when he might have lived, (Tac. Ann. xv. 50, 71.)

PRUDENTIUS, AURE'LIUS CLEMENS. Our acquaintance with the personal history of Prudentius.; whom Bentley has designated as " the Horace and Virgil of the Christians," is derived exclusively from a short autobiography in verse, written when the poet was fifty-seven years old, and serving as an introduction to his works, of which it contains a catalogue. From this we gather that he was born during the reign of Con-stantius II. and Constans, in the consulship of Phi-iippus and Salia, a. d. 348 ; that after acquiring, when a boy, the rudiments of liberal education, he frequented, as a youth, the schools of the rheto­ricians, indulging freely in dissipated pleasures; that having attained to manhood, he practised as a forensic pleader ; that he subsequently discharged the duties of a civil and criminal judge in two important cities ; that he received from the em­peror (Theodosius, probably, or Honorius), a high


military appointment at court, which placed him in a station next to that of the prince, and that as he advanced in years, he became deeply sensible of the emptiness of worldly honour, and earnest in his devotion to the exercises of religion. Of his career after a. d. 405, or of the epoch of his death, we know nothing, for the praises of Stilicho, who suffered the penalty of his treason in 413, indicate that the piece in which they appear (C. Symm. ii.) must have been published before that date, but can lead to no inference with regard to the decease of the author.

The above notices are expressed with so much brevity, and in terms so indefinite, that a wide field has been thrown open to critics for the exer­cise of ingenious learning in expanding and inter­preting them. Every thing, however, beyond what we have stated, rests upon conjecture. We may, indeed, safely conclude that Prudentius was a Spaniard (see especially Peristeph. vi. 146) ; but the assertions with regard to the place of his birth, rest upon no sure foundation ; for although he speaks of the inhabitants of Saragossa (Peristeph. iv. 1. comp. 97.) as " noster populus," he uses elsewhere the self-same phrase with regard to Rome (C. Symm. i. 192, comp. 36), and applies the same epithet to Calahorra (Peristeph. i. 116, iv. 31 j, and to Tarragona (Peristeph.- vi. 143). In like manner the attempts to ascertain the towns in which he discharged his judicial functions, and to determine the nature of the dignity to which he was eventually elevated, have proved entirely abortive. With regard to the latter, Gennadius concludes that he was what was called a Patatinus miles, i. e. an officer of the household (Cod. Theod. 6. tit. 37), and certainly it is highly improbable that he ever was employed in active service ; others imagine that he was consul, or praefect of the city — or ot the praetorium—or that he was raised to the rank of patrician — opinions unsupported by even plau­sible arguments, and therefore not worth confuting.

The extant poems of Prudentius, of which we now proceed to give a list, are composed in a great variety of metres, and these we shall describe as we go along.

I. PraefatiO) containing, as we have already remarked, an autobiography and a catalogue of the author's works. It extends to forty-five verses, and is composed in a stanza which would be termed technically Tricolon Tristrophon, the first line being a Choriambic Dimeter, the second a Choriambic Trimeter, the third a Choriambic Tetrameter, all acatalectic, and all formed upon the Horatian model.

II. Cathemerinon (i. e. KaBy/AepivoSv v^v^vj Liber. A series of twelve hymns proper to be repeated or sung by the devout Christian; the first six at particular periods during each day ; the remainder, with one exception, adapted to special occasions: —

1. Ad Gallicantum, 100 lines, Iambic Dim. Acat.

2. Hymnus Matutinus, 112 lines, same metre as the preceding. 3. Hymnus ante cibum, 205 lines, Pure Dactylic Trim. Hypercat. 4. Hymnus post cibum, 102 lines, Phalaecian Hen decasyllabic. 5. Hymnus ad incensum lucernae, 164 lines, Choriam­bic Trim. Acat. 6. Hymnus ante somnum, 152 lines, Iambic Dim. Cat. 7. Hymnus jejunantium, 220 lines, Iambic Trim. Acat. 8. Hymnus post jejuniitm, 90 lines, Sapphic Stanza. 9. Hymnv£ omni hora, 114 lines, Trochaic Tetram. Cat. 10, Hymnus in exsequiis dc/unctorum, 172 lines, Ana-

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