A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Ἀδριανός), a Greek rhetorician born at Tyre in Phoenicia, who flourished under the emperors M. Antoninus and Commodus. He was the pupil of the celebrated Herodes Atticus, and obtained the chair of philosophy at Athens during the lifetime of his master. His advancement does not seem to have impaired their mutual regard; Herodes declared that the unfinished speeches of his scholar were " the fragments of a colossus," and Adrianus showed his gratitude by a funeral oration which he pronounced over the ashes of his master. Among a people who rivalled one another in their zeal to do him honour, Adrianus did not shew much of the discretion of a philosopher. His first lecture commenced with the modest encomium on himself πάλιν ἐκ Φοινίκης γράμματα, while in the magnificence of his dress and equipage he affected the style of the hierophant of philosophy. A story may be seen in Philostratus of his trial and acquittal for the murder of a begging sophist who had insulted him: Adrianus had retorted by styling such insults δήγματα κόρεων, but his pupils were not content with weapons of

ridicule. The visit of M. Antoninus to Athens made him acquainted with Adrianus, whom he invited to Rome and honoured with his friendship : the emperor even condescended to set the thesis of a declamation for him. After the death of Antoninus he became the private secretary of Commodus. His death took place at Rome in the eightieth year of his age, not later than A. D. 192, if it be true that Commodus (who was assassinated at the end of this year) sent him a letter on his death-bed, which he is represented as kissing with devout earnestness in his last moments. (Philostr. Vit. Adrian.; Suidas, s. v. Ἀδριανός.) Of the works attributed to him by Suidas three declamations only are extant. These have been edited by Leo Allatius in the Excerpta Varia Graecorum Sophistarum ac Rhetoricorum, Romae, 1641, and by Walz in the first volume of the Rhetores Graeci, 1832.