NICOLAUS DAMASCENUS, Greek historian and philosopher of Damascus, flourished in the time of Augustus and Herod the Great, with both of whom he was on terms of friendship. He instructed Herod in rhetoric and philosophy, and had attracted the notice of Augustus when he accompanied his patron on a visit to Rome. Later, when Herod's conduct aroused the suspicions of Augustus, Nicolaus was sent on a mission to bring about a reconciliation. He survived Herod, and it was through his influence that the succession was secured for Archelaus; but the date of his death, like that of his birth, is unknown. Fragments of his universal history (`Iaropia KaBoXLKi 7), from the time of the Assyrian empire to his own days, his autobiography, and his life of Augustus (Bios Kacaapos) have been preserved, chiefly in the extracts of Constantine Porphyrogenitus. Nicolaus also wrote comedies and tragedies, paraphrased and wrote commentaries on parts of Aristotle, and was himself the author of philosophical treatises.
Fragments in C. Muller, Fragmenta historicorum Graecorum, iii.; see also F. Navet, Nikolaus von Damascus (1853), containing an account of his life and writings, and translation of the fragments.
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