Favorinus - Encyclopedia




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FAVORINUS (2nd century A.D.), Greek sophist and philosopher, flourished during the reign of Hadrian. A Gaul by birth, he was a native of Arelate (Arles), but at an early age began his lifelong travels through Greede, Italy and the East. His extensive knowledge, combined with great oratorical powers, raised him to eminence both in Athens and in Rome. With Plutarch, who dedicated to him his treatise IIEpi Tov irpwrov 11vxpov, with Herodes Atticus, to whom he bequeathed his library at Rome, with Demetrius the Cynic, Cornelius Fronto, Aulus Gellius, and with Hadrian himself, he lived on intimate terms; his great rival, whom he violently attacked in his later years, was Polemon of Smyrna. It was Favorinus who, on being silenced by Hadrian in an argument in which the sophist might easily have refuted his adversary, subsequently explained that it was foolish to criticize the logic of the master of thirty legions. When the servile Athenians, feigning to share the emperor's displeasure with the sophist, pulled down a statue which they had erected to him, Favorinus remarked that if only Socrates also had had a statue at Athens, he might have been spared the hemlock. Of the very numerous works of Favorinus, we possess only a few fragments (unless the KopcvOcaKOs Xoryos attributed to his tutor Dio Chrysostom is by him), preserved by Aulus Gellius, Diogenes Laertius, Philostratus, and SuIdas, the second of whom borrows from his HavroSairrt iiropca (miscellaneous history) and his 'Airo,uvmuovEUµara (memoirs). As a philosopher, Favorinus belonged to the sceptical school; his most important work in this connexion appears to have been Hvppwvetot rpoiroc (the Pyrrhonean Tropes) in ten books, in which he endeavours to show that the methods of Pyrrho were useful to those who intended to practise in the law courts.

See Philostratus, Vitae sophistarum, i. 8; Suidas, s.v.; frags. in C. W. Muller, Frag. Hist. Graec. iii. 4; monographs by L. Legre (1900), T. Colardeau (1903).

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