Damascius

, a celebrated heathen philosopher and writer, of the stoic school as some say, of the peripatetic according to others, was born at Damascus, and flourished about 540, when the Goths reigned in Italy. If great masters can make a great scholar or philosopher, Damascius had every advantage of this kind. Theon, we are told, was his preceptor in rhetoric; Isidorus in logic; Mavinus, the successor of Proclus in the school of Athens, in geometry and arithmetic; Zenodotus, the successor of Marinus, in philosophy ', and Ammonias in astronomy, and the doctrines of Plato. He wrote the life of his master Isidorus, and dedicated it to Theodora, a very learned and philosophic lady, who had been a pupil of Isidorus. In this Life, which was copiously written, Damascius frequently attacked the Christian religion; yet obliquely, it is said, and with some reserve and timidity: for Christianity was then too firmly established, and protected by its numbers, to endure any open attacks with impunity, especially in a work so remarkable for obscurity, fanaticism, and imposture. Of this Life, however, we have nothing remaining, but some extracts which Photius has preserved; who also acquaints us with another work of Damascius, of the philosophic or the theologic kind. This was divided into four books; 1. De admirandis operibus; 2. Admirandae narrationes de daemonibus; 3. De animarum apparitionibus post obitum admirandae narrationes. The title of the fourth has not been preserved. Damascius succeeded Theon in the rhetorical school, over which he presided nine years: and afterwards Isidorus in that of philosophy at Athens, in which situation it is supposed that he spent the latter part of his life. 2

2

Cave. —Moreri. Brucker