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Many casual references, which appear to have been derived from sacred history, are to be found in the writings of Aristophanes, and there are some forms of expression which bear a striking resemblance to passages of holy writ.
Born B.C. 444; Died B.C. 360.
An Athenian, celebrated as a general, historian, and philosopher. He is said to have become, at an early age, a pupil of Socrates, and a fellow-disciple with Plato, whom he emulated. At the battle of Delium, having fallen from his horse, Socrates, who had been himself dismounted, and compelled to fly, lifted him from the ground and carried him on his shoulders a considerable distance; a service which Xenophon appears never to have forgotten. He adhered with fidelity to his preceptor and preserver through life, defended him against his traducers, and transmitted his doctrines and opinions in a most impressive manner to succeeding times.
Xenophon accompanied the younger Cyrus in his march against his brother Artaxerxes, and after the failure and death of Cyrus, being compelled either to surrender or retreat, he conducted the division of the army under his command in the most masterly, skilful, and courageous manner, through a vast tract of the enemy's country, pursued by foes and beset by traitors, until he had brought them to a place of safety. Xenophon subsequently attached himself to Agesilaus, and served under him in Asia, and at the battle of Coronea; after an active life spent in military service, having incurred the jealousy of his countrymen, he was banished from Athens, and spent the remainder of his days in exile. His death is supposed to have occurred at Corinth; but the place and date are not positively known.
The works of Xenophon now extant are upwards of thirty in number: of these the following are the most important :-The Anabasis; a history of the expedition of Cyrus, above mentioned: it contains much curious information on the country that was traversed by the retreating Greeks, and on the manners of the people. The Hellenica, a history of the affairs of Greece during a period of forty-eight years, terminating with the battle of Mantinea, B.C. 362. The Cyropædia, which has been characterised as a political romance based on the history of Cyrus, the founder of the Persian monarchy. The Memorabilia of Socrates, in which the philosopher is vindicated from the charge of corrupting the youth of Athens by irreligious teaching. It professes to exhibit in a series of conversations the doctrines of Socrates as enunciated by himself. The Apology of Socrates, and the Symposium, or Banquet of Philosophers, which were written with a similar object: the latter is interesting as a picture of an Athenian drinking party and of the conversation with which it was enlivened. In the Economics Socrates is again introduced, giving instruction in the art of managing a household, and in the duties which belong to private property.
The works of Xenophon do not indicate any particular acquaintance with the sacred writings; but they afford in many instances strong confirmation of the truth of Scripture history. His account of the death of Belshazzar and the taking of Babylon are exactly in accordance with the prophecies of Jeremiah and Daniel. Many of his descriptions of the countries which he traversed will also be found to correspond with similar notices in the sacred volume.
Born B.C. 429-Died B.C. 347. Contemp. Nehemiah; Malachi ?
Plato is said to have been a native either of Athens or of the neighbouring island of Ægina, and to have traced his descent from Codrus on his father's side, and from Solon on his mother's. When a youth he contended in the Isthmian and other games; but at a later period became a disciple of Socrates, and the most ardent of his admirers. He was instructed in grammar, music, and gymnastics by the most eminent teachers, and after the death of Socrates, travelled in search of knowledge, visiting Egypt, Sicily, and Italy, and according to some writers the interior of Asia, and the countries of the Hebrews, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians. After his return to Athens he began to teach in the Academia, delivering his lectures gratuitously, and chiefly in the form of dialogues or disputations. The most advanced of his disciples assembled in his own private garden; and it was to them, most probably, that the inscription set over the vestibule of the house was addressed— "Let no one enter here who is not acquainted with geometry."
The writings of Plato have been preserved complete. They treat of various subjects, and may be divided into physical, logical, ethical, and political. He speaks of the Supreme Being in various places with a comprehension and sublimity of thought which seem to rise beyond the highest reach of unassisted reason, considering God as the beginning, middle, and end of all things, and he blames philosophers for attributing to a second cause what ought to be attributed to a first.
Plato maintained the immortality of the soul, and confirmed his views with arguments of so much force as to have brought conviction to the minds of many; although he himself, in his Phaedo, acknowledges that the doctrine could not be demonstrated with certainty unless supported by some more sure reliance than was obtainable, “as by a divine word (λόγου θειου τινὸς).”
There are some traces to be found in Plato of the sacred doctrine of the Trinity. See notes on Matt. iii. 16, and 1 John v. 7.
The moral precepts of Plato are greatly to be admired. He inculcates a patient endurance of calamities, a peaceful and forgiving disposition, and an elevation of the mind, directing itself to things honest and eternal. He is supposed to have derived much of his information from the Jews, and may possibly have had intercourse with the prophets Nehemiah or Malachi. He acknowledges that he received his best and chief divinity from the Phoenicians, by whom he may perhaps have meant the Hebrews. Clement of Alexandria styles him the Hebrew Philosopher, and both he and Eusebius speak of one Aristobulus, a Jew, who affirmed that Plato followed the Jewish institutions, and curiously examined the several parts thereof. Justin Martyr also says that he drew many things from the Hebrew fountain, especially his pious conceptions concerning God and his worship.
Born B.C. 384-Died B.C. 323.
Aristotle was the son of Nicomachus, physician in ordinary to Amyntas II., king of Macedonia. At the age of seventeen he was left an orphan, and went to Athens to pursue his studies, where he became a pupil of Plato. Plato distinguished him above all his other disciples, and used to call him "The Mind of the school,' and to say when he was absent "The Intellect is not here: " he also designated his house as The house of the Reader." Aristotle continued at Athens twenty years, during the latter ten of which he gave instruction in rhetoric, and published his rhetorical writings. Leaving Athens after the death of Plato, he repaired to Atarneus and afterwards to Mytilene. Philip of Macedon invited him to undertake the instruction of his son Alexander, and at Aristotle's request rebuilt Stagira, the philosopher's native city, in which he founded a gymnasium for him and his disciples. Alexander continued for four years under his tuition, and on his accession to the throne Aristotle returned to Athens, where the Lyceum was assigned to him by the State, in the shady walks of which he delivered his lectures, not sitting, as was usual with other philosophers, but walking to and fro (πeρiаτv) whence the name peripatetic, afterwards given to his school. He continued teaching here for fourteen years, and during this time composed the greater part of his works, being assisted by the great liberality of his former pupil Alexander. At a later period mutual jealousies arose between the king and the philosopher, causing an estrangement between them, which continued until the death of Alexander.
The works of Aristotle may be classed under the several heads of-Logic, comprising a variety of treatises usually published together under the title of the Organon ;-Physics, a series of tracts on the phenomena of nature, animate and inanimate ;-Metaphysics, eleven books;-Mathematics;-Ethics, ten books addressed to his son Nicomachus, and called the Nicomachean, or Greater Ethics, and seven books addressed to Eudemus, but of the authenticity of which there is some doubt;-Rhetoric, three books; and-Poetics.
Eusebius remarks that many persons were led by the teaching of Aristotle to adopt the principles of true religion; and so great is the conformity between many of his opinions and the doctrines of Scripture, that some have believed that he was by birth a Jew, and derived much of his knowledge from the works of Solomon, entrusted to him by Alexander, who was said to have obtained possession of them when at Jerusalem.
Born B.C. 436.-Died B.C. 338.
An orator of Athens, of whose numerous orations only twenty-one are extant. His natural timidity prevented him from speaking at any of the public assemblies; but he gave instruction in oratory to a great number of rich and distinguished pupils, from whom he derived great wealth. His orations are remarkable for the purity and elegance of their language, and also for the high tone of moral feeling to which they give expression.
Born B.C. 385-Died B.C. 322.
The greatest orator of the Greeks, a pupil of Isæus, and according to some authorities, of Plato and Isocrates. For fourteen years he devoted all his energies to resist the aggressions of Philip of Macedon; who put an end to the struggle by his victory at Charonea, when the independence of Greece received its final blow. Demosthenes terminated his life to avoid falling into the power of Antipater, by sucking poison from pen in the temple of Poseidon at Calauria, to which he had fled for sanctuary.
Born B.C. 371-Died B.C. 274
A comic poet of Greece, contemporary with Menander. The fragments of his works which remain display much wit, elegance, and observation.
Born B.C. 342-Died B.C. 291.
A celebrated comic poet of Athens, educated under Theophrastus. Of 108 comedies which he wrote, only a few fragments remain. His compositions are entirely free from the gross expressions and illiberal satire which abound in those of Aristophanes, and give expression to so much excellent morality and generous sentiment, that it is to be lamented so small a portion of his writings are extant. Terence has preserved both the action and the language of some of Menander's comedies in his imitations of them; but no adequate idea of them can be formed from this source.
Flourished B.C. 322.
A Greek philosopher, a disciple of Plato, and afterwards of Aristotle, by whom his name was changed from Tyrtamus to Theophrastus, or the Divine Speaker, on account of the grace and fluency of his language. He succeeded Aristotle as president of the Lyceum, and is said to have had as many as two thousand disciples. Theophrastus composed many books, and Diogenes has enumerated the titles of above two hundred treatises, all written with great elegance, but of which six only are extant. The Characteres contains a description of vicious characters; and is remarkable for the picture it gives of the manners of certain classes of the Athenians.
Theophrastus died, loaded with years, yet lamenting the shortness of life, and complaining of the partiality of nature, in granting longevity to the crow and the stag, but
not to man.
Born B.C. 300-Died B.C. 220.
A Stoic, born at Assos in Troas. He was poor, and worked all night at drawing water for gardens that he might devote the day to the study of philosophy. He succeeded Zeno, whose disciple he was, in the direction of his school, and was honoured by a statue erected to his memory by the Romans.
Cleanthes appears to have maintained some principles of truth, and to have expressed sentiments of piety and virtue. Clement of Alexandria speaks in the highest praise of his writings, which he regards rather as displaying a genuine theology than a poetical theogony. His celebrated Hymn to Jupiter is almost the only one of his productions extant: it contains many striking passages, which seem to indicate some apprehension of doctrines which could only have been imparted originally by revelation.
A bucolic poet, a native of Syracuse. He visited Alexandria during the reign of
Ptolemy Soter, and there became acquainted with Aratus. It is probable that he may have had some knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures, which were translated about that time into Greek, especially as he appears to have borrowed many poetic figures and similitudes from the Canticles of Solomon, to which, as a pastoral allegory, his attention in composing idyls might naturally be directed.
Flourished B.C. 280.
A bucolic poet born at Smyrna: he appears to have dwelt in Sicily, where he died of poison, as appears from an elegy written on his death by Moschus, his pupil.
Flourished B.C. 270.
A native of Soli in Cilicia. He was appointed physician to Antigonus Gonatas, king of Macedonia, and also experienced the favour of Ptolemy Philadelphus. Theocritus is said to have borrowed from him the pious beginning of his seventh ode. He wrote two astronomical poems, the Phænomena, an account of the constellations, with the rules for their risings and settings, and the Diosemeia, consisting of prognostics of the weather from observations of the heavens. Clement of Alexandria supposes that St. Paul quotes from Aratus at Acts xvii. 28; which see.
Flourished B.C. 259.
A poet of Alexandria. The only one of his poems which has come down to us, the Cassandra or Alexandra represents the prophecies of Cassandra concerning the fall of Troy, and embraces many mythological and historical events. Its obscurity is proverbial.
Flourished B.C. 256.
This celebrated poet and grammarian was chief librarian of the famous library at Alexandria, where he founded a grammatical school. His works were very numerous, and on various subjects, but some of his poems are all that remain to us, viz., six Hymns, a collection of Epigrams, and some fragment of Elegies. Callimachus was one of the seven men of genius at Alexandria who were distinguished by the name of Pleiades. He lived at the time when the Septuagint version of the scriptures was made, and from his office of librarian must have had many opportunities of becoming acquainted with it. Accordingly some vestiges of sacred truth are to be found in his hymns; and it is probable that these would have been much more frequent had not the bulk of his writings been lost. His Atria, an epic poem, On the causes of the various Mythical stories, is especially to be regretted.
Flourished B.C. 250.
A grammarian and pastoral poet of Syracuse, a pupil of Bion. Four of his idyls only are extant.
Flourished B.C. 194.
A native of Alexandria, and some time chief librarian there. His Argonautica, a poem in four books, gives an account of the adventures of Jason and his companions in quest of the golden fleece, and the return of the adventurers to their native shores after long and perilous wanderings. He was a pupil of Callimachus.
Born B.C. 204; Died B.c. 122.
A celebrated historian, a native of Megalopolis, in Arcadia. After the conquest of Macedonia B.c. 168, he was carried to Rome, and there, finding a liberal patron in Scipio, was able, by his means, to obtain access to public documents and to accumulate materials for his great historical work. He tells us that he made long and dangerous journeys into Africa, Spain, and Gaul, and even to the shores of the Atlantic, on account of the ignorance that prevailed respecting those countries. He also visited Egypt. His Universal History embraced a period of fifty-three years, from B.C. 220 to B.c. 146. It consisted of forty books, of which the first five only remain entire.
Flourished B.C. 59.
The author of an Universal History, embracing the period from the earliest mythical ages to the beginning of Cæsar's Gallic wars. Only fifteen of his forty books, with some fragments collected from Photius and others, are now extant.
Diodorus is particularly commended by Justin Martyr for the confirmation which he affords to the Mosaic history; and many testimonies to the truth of the sacred writings, and the fulfilment of prophecy, may be gleaned from his books. He speaks of Moses by name, as the first legislator, and as one who professed to derive his precepts from Iao, or JEHOVAH.
Born B.C. 54.-Died A.D. 24..
A native of Pontus, author of a work on Geography in seventeen books, which has come down to us almost entire. Strabo visited most of the countries which he describes, and has given details of the institutes, manners, policy, and religion, of various nations with great accuracy and judgment. The notices of sacred history which are scattered through this work are often of considerable importance, and bear abundant testimony to the truth of the accounts given in holy scripture. He mentions Moses and the Exodus, and refers to many of the ordinances of the Levitical dispensation.
Flourished B.C. 20.-Died A.d. 7.
A celebrated Rhetorician: author of a History of Rome in twenty-two books; from the mythical times down to B.C, 264, in which year the history of Polybius begins with the Punic wars. He was a native of Halicarnassus, but his history was written at Rome, where he lived on terms of friendship with many distinguished men, and had great opportunities of acquiring information.
Flourished A.D. 90.
A celebrated Stoic philosopher, born at Hierapolis in a servile condition, and sold as a slave to Epaphroditus, a freedman of Nero. Having acquired his freedom, he devoted himself to philosophy and taught in Rome, but was banished with other philosophers by Domitian, and retired to Nicopolis, in Epirus. He afterwards returned to Rome, where he was kindly treated by Adrian. He wrote nothing; but his Manual or Enchiridion, and eight books of Dissertations (of which four only are extant) were collected by his pupil Arrian; being drawn up from notes which had been taken from his oral teaching by his disciples. The sum of his moral precepts is ȧvéxov kaì åñéxov, “Endure and abstain;" he teaches that all things happen according to the appointment of Providence, and are to be accepted with resignation. Some have supposed that he was a convert to Christianity; but although he lived at Rome at the very time that Paul preached there, and was probably well acquainted with his doctrines, it is evident from the way in which he speaks of the Christians that he had not adopted their faith.
The discourses of Epictetus have been held in the highest estimation both by Christians and heathens. Lucian tells us that his lamp was bought for 3,000 drachms, by a person who was persuaded that if he went to sleep with it in his room the wisdom of Epictetus would be communicated to him in a dream, and produce in him a conformity to the mind of the philosopher.
Flourished A.D. 110.
A philosopher and biographer, a native of Cheronea in Boeotia. The writings of Plutarch are replete with instruction. His Lives make us acquainted with the most interesting characters of antiquity; while his moral and critical works contain the most solid reflections, and are calculated to promote a due regard to the relative and social duties of life.
The biographical writings of Plutarch consist of forty-six Lives, which are arranged in pairs, each pair containing a Greek and a Roman, with a comparison of the two men. His Moral or Ethical Works are above sixty in number, some of which are of little value, while others are distinguished for sound sense and practical wisdom. His philosophy is derived sometimes from Plato and sometimes from Aristotle. As a moralist he is far in