Maximus of Tyre - Encyclopedia

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MAXIMUS OF TYRE (CASSIUS MAXIMUS TYRIUS), a Greek rhetorician and philosopher who flourished in the time of the Antonines and Commodus (2nd century A.D.). After the manner of the sophists of his age, he travelled extensively, delivering lectures on the way. 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 (ScaX a) on theological, ethical, and other philosophical commonplaces. With him God is the supreme being, one and indivisible though called by many names, accessible to reason alone; but 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 Maximus, tutor of Marcus Aurelius.

Editions by J. Davies, revised with valuable notes by J. Markland. (1740); J. J. Reiske (1774); F. Dubner (1840, with Theophrastus, &c., in the Didot series). Monographs by R. Rohdich (Beuthen, 1879); H. Hobein, De Maximo Tyrio quaestiones philol. (Jena, 1895). There is an English translation (1804) by Thomas Taylor, the Platonist.

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