Lucian

, a Greek author, was born at Samosata, the capital of Comagene; the time of his birth is uncertain, though generally fixed in the reign of the emperor Trajan; but Mr. Moyle, who has taken some pains to adjust the age of Lucian, fixes the fortieth year of his age to the 164th year of Christ, and the fourth of Marcus Antoninus; and consequently, his birth to the 124th year of Christ, and the eighth of Adrian. His birth was mean; and his father, not being able to give him any learning, resolved to breed him a sculptor, and in that view put him apprentice to his brother-in-law; but, taking a dislike to the business, he applied himself to the study of polite learning and philosophy; being encouraged by a dream, which he relates in the beginning of his works, and which evidently | was the product of his inclination to letters. He tells us also himself, that he studied the law, and practised some time as an advocate; but disliking the wrangling oratory of the bar, he threw off his gown, and took up that of a rhetorician. In this character he settled first at Antioch; and passing thence into Ionia in Greece, he travelled into Gaul and Italy, and returned at length into his own country by the way of Macedonia. He lived four and twenty years after the death of Trajan, and even to the time of Marcus Aurelius, who made him register of Alexandria in Egypt.*

*

Valerius’s notes on Marcellinus, p. 398 and on Eusebius, p. 147 his word in Latin is “hypomnematographu.<.” This however is not absolutely certain; some say he was an assessor, others a procurator; and Mr. Dodwell, in his lectures, will have him to be praefectus augnstalis, or governor of Egypt; but this last mut be a mistake, since Lucian himself, in his “Apologia pro mereede coiiductis,” says, that the post he was then in was a step to the government of a province.

He tells us himself, that when he entered upon this office, he was in extreme old age, and had one leg in Charon’s boat. Suidas asserts that he was torn to pieces by dogs. He died, however, in the year 214, aged 90.

As Lucian made a figure in various employments, his works exhibit him sometimes as a rhetorician and panegyrist; in others he is distinguished chiefly as a pleader; in a few he assumes a more serious tone, and reasons on the subject before him in a vein of manly sense, united to deep observation and knowledge of mankind. Of far the greater part of his " Dialogues/' however, the leading and prominent feature is ridicule, in dispensing which he is so often guilty of obscenity and impiety, that moralists in all ages have united in condemning him. In this country he has, notwithstanding, found many translators, Spence, Mayne, Hickes, Carr, and Francklin, who have doubtless bespoke attention to his wit by omitting the objectionable passages. The best editions of the original, which was first printed in 1496, at Florence, are those of Bourdelot, Paris, 1615, folio; of Grevius, Amst 1687, 2 vols. 8vo; of Hemsterhusius, ibid. 1743, 4 vols. 4 to, edit. opt. which has been followed by all subsequent editors. 1

1

Vossius. —Moreri. Brucker. Cut. Rev. vol. I. p. 419, Lardner’s Works, —Saxii Onomast.