Aristides, Ælius

, the sophist, was a native of Adriani, a small town in Mysia, and was disciple of Polemon the rhetorician of Smyrna, son of Eudaimon, a philosopher and priest of Jupiter in his own country. He also heard Herod at Athens, and Aristocles at Pergamus. He is supposed to have flourished about the year 176 of the Christian era. He appears to have been a good writer and an able orator. He is credulous, indeed, and superstitious, | but there are many excellent passages in his writings in favour of truth and virtue, and he seems to have considered private virtue as indispensable to public character. A man of such eminence was no doubt an ornament to the heathen religion; and his eloquent hymns to the gods, and his other orations, must have had powerful attractions. To the city of Smyrna he was a great benefactor, for when, it was almost destroyed by an earthquake, he so pathetically represented their calamities, in a letter to the emperor Marcus, that this prince could not forbear weeping at some parts of it, and presently promised to restore the city. Besides this letter, he published a monody, bewailing the unhappy circumstances of the people of Smyrna, and after that wrote an oration, or epistle, in the year 173, congratulating tjiem on their restoration. In this last he celebrates not only the favour and liberality of the emperor, but likewise the generous compassion of many others, among whom Tillemont thinks he glanced at the Christians. Lardner has produced several passages from him, among his “Testimonies of ancient Heathens.Aristides’s constitution was infirm, yet it is supposed he reached his sixtieth or seventieth year. The best edition of his works was published by Dr. Jebb, 2vols. 4to, Oxford, 1722—30. 1


Fabric. Bibl. Grace. Basnag. Ann. 176. Dr. Chapman’s Charge, p. 91. Tillemont. Larduer. Sascii Onomasticon.