Philostratus, was the name of four Greek sophists of the Roman imperial period:

# (c. 150-200) "Philostratus I": Very minor author, known only for a dialogue "Nero", possibly written by Philostratus II.
# (c. 170-247) "Philostratus II": son of Philostratus I. Also called "Philostratus the Athenian" or "Lucius Flavius Philostratus"
# (born c. 190) "Philostratus III": the probable nephew of Philostratus II. Also called "Philostratus of Lemnos" or "Philostratus the Elder"
# (born c. 220) "Philostratus IV": the probable son of Philostratus III. Also called "Philostratus of Lemnos", or "Philostratus the Younger".

Philostratus II

Of these the most famous is Philostratus "the Athenian". Very little is known of his career. Even his name is doubtful. The "Lives of the Sophists" gives the praenomen "Flavius", which, however, is found elsewhere only in Tzetzes. Eunapius and Synesius call him a Lemnian; Photius a Tyrian; his letters refer to him as an Athenian. It is probable that he was born in Lemnos, studied and taught at Athens, and then settled in Rome (where he would naturally be called "Atheniensis") as a member of the learned circle with which empress Julia Domna surrounded herself.

He was born probably around 172, and is said by the "Suda" to have been living in the reign of emperor Philip the Arab (244 - 249). His death possibly occurred in Tyre circa 250 AD.

There is a near consensus that Philostratus II was the author of the following four works:

* (between 217 and 238 AD) "Life of Apollonius of Tyana", which he wrote for Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus and mother of Caracalla (see Apollonius of Tyana); he completed it after her death.
* (231-237) "Lives of the Sophists". The Lives is dedicated to a consul Antonius Gordianus, perhaps one of the two Gordians who were killed in 238. The work is divided into two parts: the first dealing with the ancient Sophists, e.g. Gorgias, the second with the later school, e.g. Herodes Atticus. The Lives are not in the true sense biographical, but rather picturesque impressions of leading representatives of an attitude of mind full of curiosity, alert and versatile, but lacking scientific method, preferring the external excellence of style and manner to the solid achievements of serious writing. The philosopher, as he says, investigates truth; the sophist embellishes it, and takes it for granted.
* (after 220) "Gymnasticus". The "Gymnasticus" contains interesting matter concerning the Olympic games and athletic contests generally.
* (?) "Epistolae" or "Love Letters". The Letters breathe the spirit of the New Comedy and the Alexandrine poets; portions of Letter 33 are almost literally translated in Ben Jonson's "Song to Celia", "Drink to me only with thine eyes." The letters are mainly of an erotic character.

The fact that the author of the "Life of Apollonius" is also the author of the "Lives of the Sophists" is confirmed by internal evidenceFact|date=October 2007. The "Lives of the Sophists" was to have an enormous impact upon later writers, particularly Neoplatonists.Fact|date=October 2007

Philostratus III

The works "Heroicus" and "Imagines" were traditionally attributed to Philostratus II, but are now more commonly attributed to Philostratus III.

* "Heroicus", formerly attributed to Philostratus the Athenian, is probably the work of Philostratus the Lemnian. It is a popular disquisition on the heroes of the Trojan War in the form of a conversation between a Thracian vine-dresser on the shore of the Hellespont and a Phoenician merchant who derives his knowledge from the hero Protesilaus, Palamedes is exalted at the expense of Odysseus, and Homer's unfairness to him is attacked. It has been suggested that Philostratus is here describing a series of heroic paintings in the palace of Julia Domna.
* "Eikones" (polytonic|Εἰκόνες, "Images" or "Imagines"): Ostensibly a description of 64 pictures in a Neapolitan gallery. Goethe, Welcker, Brunn, E. Bertrand and Helbig, among others, have held that the descriptions are of actually existing works of art, while Heyne and Friederichs deny this. In any case they are interesting as showing the way in which ancient artists treated mythological and other subjects, and are written with artistic knowledge and in attractive language.

Philostratus IV

Another volume of "Imagines" was composed by Philostratus IV (or by some later sophist). Of this work, the descriptions of pictures, 17 remain.

Ambiguities in attribution

There is great difficulty, due to a confused statement of the "Suda" in disentangling the works and even the personalities of these Philostrati. Reference is there made to Philostratus as the son of Verus, a rhetorician in Nero's time, who wrote tragedies, comedies and treatises. The "Suda" thus appears to give to Philostratus the Athenian a life of 200 years! We must be content to assume two Lemnian Philostrati, both sophists, living in Rome.



External links

* [ Livius] , [ Philostratus] Updates the preceding article with some ninety years of more recent research.
* [ Online Text: Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana translated by F. C. Conybeare] see also wiki biography of F. C. Conybeare
* [ Online Text: Philostratus IV, Imagines translated by Arthur Fairbanks]
* [ Flavius Philostratus] entry in historical sourcebook with [ fresh translations] of excerpts from the "Life of Apollonius" by Mahlon H. Smith
* [ (Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University), "On Heroes" ("Heroicus") on-line text in modern translation] .

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  • Philostratus — Philostrătus, Flavius, der Ältere, aus Lemnos, griech. Sophist zu Ende des 2. bis Mitte des 3. Jahrh. n. Chr. in Athen, später in Rom, verfaßte u.a. eine Lebensbeschreibung des Apollonios von Tyana, eine mytholog. Geschichte der Helden des Trojan …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Philostratus — Philostratus, Gelehrtenfamilie auf Lemnos; von P., dem Sohn des Verus, fruchtbarem Dramatiker u. Rhetor, besitzen wir nichts; von seinem Sohne P. Flavius (P. der ältere), gegen Ende des 2. Jahrh. n. Chr., ist eine myth. Geschichte des… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • PHILOSTRATUS° — (b. c. 172 C.E.), a native of the island of Lemnos, he studied rhetoric in Athens and later joined the literary and philosophic circle in Rome of Empress Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus. She commissioned him to write a literary life of… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • PHILOSTRATUS — I. PHILOSTRATUS Atheniensis quidam Leno, et cultus in vestitu nimium studiosus. Aristoph. Equit. i. Vide Scholia p. 350. F. II. PHILOSTRATUS huius pater Athenis docuit Neronis, an Vespasiani et Titi tempore: scripsit Panegyricos plures ac… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Philostratus — Flavius Philostratos oder Philostratos der Ältere ist der bekannteste von vier als Philostratos von Lemnos bekannten griechischen Sophisten aus einer lemnischen Familie im 2. und 3. Jahrhundert n. Chr. Flavius Philostratos wirkte um 200 n. Chr.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • PHILOSTRATUS Lemnius — temporbus Severi Imperatoris eiusque uxoris Iuliae, epistolarum magister, ut ipse plane monstrat, in vita Apoillonii Tyanei: scripsit vitas Sophistarum ad Severum, de vita Apollonii libros 8. Iuliae hortatu, praeterea Heroica, quae hodie exstant …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Philostratus, Flavius — ▪ Greek author born AD 170 died c. 245       Greek writer of Roman imperial times who studied at Athens and some time after AD 202 entered the circle of the philosophical Syrian empress of Rome, Julia Domna. On her death he settled in Tyre.… …   Universalium

  • Philostratus the Lemnian — ▪ Greek author born AD 190       ancient Greek writer, son in law of Flavius Philostratus. He was the author of a letter to Aspasius of Ravenna and of the first series of the Imagines in two books, discussing, in elegant and sophisticated prose,… …   Universalium

  • Imagines (work by Philostratus) — Imagines is a work in Ancient Greek now generally attributed to Philostratus III. It ostensibly describes 64 works of art seen by Philostratus in Naples. The entire work is framed in terms of explaining art, its symbols and meaning, to a young… …   Wikipedia

  • ФИЛОСТРАТ —    • Philostrătus,          Φιλόστρατος,        1. сын Вера, софист в Афинах, жил во 2 в. от Р. X., написал, кроме многих других сочинений, до 43 трагедий и 14 комедий. Из сочинений его не осталось ничего;        2. Флавий Ф., сын предыдущего,… …   Реальный словарь классических древностей

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