by Aelius Aristides
edited and translated by Michael Trapp
Harvard University Press, 2017
Cloth: 978-0-674-99646-5
Library of Congress Classification PA3874.A6 2017


Meticulous eloquence.

Publius Aelius Aristides Theodorus was among the most celebrated, versatile, and influential authors of the Second Sophistic era and an important figure in the transmission of Hellenism. Born to wealthy landowners in Mysia in AD 117, he studied in Athens and Pergamum and had begun a promising oratorical career when in the early 140s he fell chronically ill and retreated to the healing shrine of Asclepius in Pergamum. There he began to follow a lifelong series of dream revelations and instructions from the god that inspired the six autobiographical books of Sacred Tales, an invaluable record of both temple therapy and personal religious experience published in the 170s. By 147 Aristides was able to resume his public activities as a member of the landed and gubernatorial elite and to pursue a successful oratorical career. Based at his family estate in Smyrna, he traveled between bouts of illness and produced speeches and lectures for both public and private occasions, declamations on historical themes, polemical works, prose hymns, and essays on a wide variety of subjects, all of it displaying deep and creative familiarity with the classical literary heritage. He died between 180 and 185.

This edition of Aristides’ complete works offers fresh translations and texts based on the critical editions of Lenz-Behr (Orations 1–16) and Keil (Orations 17–53). Volume I contains the Panathenaic Oration, a historical appreciation of classical Athens and Aristides’ most influential work, and A Reply to Plato, the first of three essays taking issue with the attack on orators and oratory delivered in Plato’s Gorgias.

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