Taurus, Calvisius

, of Beryta, who flourished under the reign of Antoninus P. II., Pope from 1458 to 1464, was of the family of the Piccolomini, and is known to history as Æneas Sylvius, and under which…">Pius, is mentioned as a Platonist of some note. Among his pupils was Aulus Gellius, who has preserved several specimens of his preceptor’s method of philosophising. He examined all sects, but preferred the Platonic: in which he had at least the merit of avoiding the infection of that spirit of confusion, which at this period seized almost the whole body of the philosophers, especially those of the Platonic school. In a work which he wrote concerning the differences in opinion among the Platonists, Aristotelians, and Stoics, he strenuously opposed the attempts of the Alexandrian philosophers, and others, to combine the tenets of these sects into one system. He wrote several pieces, chiefly to illustrate the Platonic philosophy. He lived at Athens, and taught, not in the schools, but at his table. A. Gellius, who was frequently one of his guests, gives the following account, in his “Noctes Atticae,” of the manner in which they were conducted “Taurus, the philosopher, commonly invited a select number of his friends to a frugal supper, consisting of lentils, and a gourd, cut into small pieces upon an earthen dish; | and during the repast, philosophical conversation, upon various topics, was introduced. His constant disciples, whom he called his family, were expected to contribute their share towards the small expence which attended these simple repasts, in which interesting conversation supplied the place of luxurious provision. Every one came furnished with some new subject of inquiry, which he was allowed in his<turn to propose, and which, during a limited time, was debated. The subjects of discussion, in these conversations, were not of the more serious and important kind, but such elegant questions as might afford an agreeable exercise of the faculties in the moments of convivial enjoyment; and these Taurus afterwards frequently illustrated more at large with sound erudition.1

1 Auli Geilii Noct. Atticse. Biucker.