Ælian, Claudius

, an historian and rhetorician, born at Praeueste in Italy, about the year 160, taught rhetoric at Rome, according to Perizonius, under the emperor Alexander Severus. He was surnamed MEXryXaxro--, Honeytongue, on account of the sweetness of his style. He was likewise honoured with the title of sophist, an appellation in his days given only to men of learning and wisdom. He loved retirement, and devoted himself to study; and his works shew him to have been a man of excellent principles and strict integrity. He greatly admired and studied Plato, Aristotle, Isocrates, Plutarch, Homer, Anacreon, Archilochus, &c.; and, though a Roman, gives the preference to the writers of the Greek nation. His two most celebrated works are his “Various History,” and that “Of Animals.” He wrote also an invective against Heliogabalus, or, as some think, Domitian; but this is not certain, for he gives the tyrant, whom he lashes, the fictitious name of Gynnis. He composed likewise a book “Of Providence,” mentioned by Eustathius; and another on divine appearances, or the declarations of providence. Some ascribe to him also the work entitled “Tactica, or De re Militari;” but Perizonius is of opinion, that this piece belonged to another author of the same name, a native of Greece. There have been several editions of his “Varipus History.” The Greek text was published at Rome in 1545, by Camillas Peruscus. Justus Vulteius gave a Latin translation, which was printed separately in 1548; and joined to the Greek text in a new edition, by HenricusPetrus, at Basil, 1555. It contains likewise the works of several other authors, who have treated on such subjects as ^lian. John Tornaesius published three several editions at Lyons, in 1587, 1610, and | 1625. All these were eclipsed by that of John Schefferus, in 1647 and 1662: he rectified the text in many places, and illustrated the whole with very learned notes and animadversions. Perizonius gave a new edition in two volumes, 8vo, at Leyden, 1701. He followed the translation of Vulteius, which he rectified in many places, together with the Greek text, illustrating the most intricate passages with learned notes. The nextand best edition of this work is that of Abraham Gronovius, who has given the Greek text and version of Vulteius, as corrected by Perizonius, together with the notes of Conrad Gessner, John Schefferus, Tanaquil Faber, Joachim Kuhnius, and Jac. Perizonius; to which he has added short notes of his own, and the fragments of Ælian, which Kuhnius collected from Snidas, Stobaeus, and Eustathius. His treatise on animals is in many respects a curious and important work, but, like that of Pliny, often disgraced with ridiculous and fabulous accounts. 1


Gen. Dict.—Fabric. Bibl. Græc.—Saxii Onomasticon.—Bibliographical Dictionary.