During the first and second centuries, a resurgence of interest in Hellenic education and oratory swept the elite classes of the Roman Empire. This era, known as the Second Sophistic, saw the establishment of several schools of rhetoric and influenced Roman education immensely. The Sophists of the Roman Era collection contains significant texts from the core writers of the Second Sophistic—Dio Chrysostom, Philostratus, Aelian, and more.
Philostratus’ The Lives of the Sophists is the fundamental text for studying the history of this fascinating era, and in Life of Apollonius of Tyana, he presents a close study of one particular Pythagorean philosopher. Dio Chrysostom’s Discourses addresses political concerns and moral questions of the time. Philostratus’ Imagines and Callistratus’ Descriptions demonstrate the writers’ rhetorical skills as they describe the details of artistic images and statues. The Letters of Alciphron, Aelian, and Philostratus describe life during the second century. With strong imagination, realism, and literary finesse, these letters present fictional social and romantic lives of fishermen, farmers, and courtesans.
This collection contains the complete texts in their Loeb Classical Library editions. Each text is included in its original Greek, with an English translation for easy side-by-side comparison. Logos’ language tools help you to go deeper into the Greek text and explore the Roman sophists’ elegant language. Use the dictionary lookup tool to examine difficult Greek words and find every use of the same word in your library. Students of literature, history, education, and the classics will enjoy these works and appreciate their significance.
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Dio Chrysostom (40–120) of Bithynia began as a rhetorician who was hostile to philosophers, but after traveling to Rome, he converted to Stoicism. After voicing criticism of the emperor Dominitian, he was banned from Italy and Bithynia and spent the next 15 years traveling in poverty in the lands north of the Aegean. After a speech to the Greeks at Olympia in 97, he was welcomed back to Rome by the emporer Nerva and allowed to return to his homeland. His years of traveling and speaking in political circles are evident in his surviving Discourses.
Philostratus (172–250) was a Greek sophist who studied and taught in Athens and settled in Rome.
Eunapius was a Greek sophist and historian. He was born at Sardis in 347 and studied under Chrysanthius and Prohaeresius the rhetorician.
Callistratus was a minor Greek sophist of the third (or possibly fourth) century. His best-known work is Descriptions, in which he presents the details of 14 works of stone or brass by distinguished artists of the time.
Alciphron was a Greek sophist and eminent epistolographer.
Aelian was a Roman author and rhetorician who wrote primarily in Greek.