Maximus of Tyre

Maximus of Tyre

Cassius Maximus Tyrius (Maximus of Tyre; (Μάξιμος Τύριος; 2nd century AD) was a Greek rhetorician and philosopher who flourished in the time of the Antonines and Commodus. His writings contain many allusions to the history of Greece, while there is little reference to Rome; hence it is inferred that he lived longer in Greece, perhaps as a professor at Athens. Although nominally a Platonist, he is really an Eclectic and one of the precursors of Neoplatonism.


There are still extant by him forty-one essays or discourses on theological, ethical, and other philosophical subjects. With him God is the supreme being, one and indivisible though called by many names, accessible to reason alone:

In such a mighty contest, sedition and discord, you will see one according law and assertion in all the earth, that there is one god, the king and father of all things, and many gods, sons of god, ruling together with him.

As animals form the intermediate stage between plants and human beings, so there exist intermediaries between God and man, viz. daemons, who dwell on the confines of heaven and earth. The soul in many ways bears a great resemblance to the divinity; it is partly mortal, partly immortal, and, when freed from the fetters of the body, becomes a daemon. Life is the sleep of the soul, from which it awakes at death. The style of Maximus is superior to that of the ordinary sophistical rhetorician, but scholars differ widely as to the merits of the essays themselves.

Maximus of Tyre must be distinguished from the Stoic Claudius Maximus, tutor of Marcus Aurelius.


An English translation by Thomas Taylor, the Neoplatonist was published in 1804 and was made available online at Google Books in 2006. A more recent translation was published in 1997.

  • Taylor, Thomas, The Dissertations of Maximus Tyrius. C. Wittingham. (1804)
  • Taylor, Thomas, The Dissertations of Maximus Tyrius. The Prometheus Trust (1994) - for extract [1]
  • Trapp, Michael. Maximus of Tyre: The Philosophical Orations. Clarendon Press. (1997).


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