, a native of Emesa in Phoenicia, and bishop of Tricca in Thessaly, flourished in the reigns of Theodosius and Arcaclius towards the end of the fourth century. In his youth he wrote a romance, by which he is now better known than by his subsequent bishopric of; Tricca. It is entitled “Ethiopics,” and relates the amours of Theagenes and Chariclea, in ten books. The learned Huetius is of opinion that HcUodorus was among the romance-writers what Homer was among the poets, the source and model of an infinite number of imitations, all inferior to their original. The first edition of the Ethiopics was printed at Basil, 1533, with a dedication to the senate of Nuremberg, prefixed by Vincentius Opsopseus, who informs us that a soldier preserved the ms. when the library of Buda was plundered. Bourdeiot’s learned notes upon this romance were printed at Paris in 1619, with Heliodorus’s Greek original, and a Latin translation, which had been published by Stanislaus Warszewicki, a Polish knight, (with the Greek) at Basil, in 1551. An excellent English | translation of this romance was published by Mr. Payne in 2 vols. 12mo, in 1792. A notion has prevailed that a provincial synod, being sensible how dangerous the reading of Heliodorus’ s Ethiopics was, to which the author’s rank was supposed to add great authority, required of the bishop that he should either burn the book, or resign his dignity; and that the bishop chose the latter. But this story is thought to be entirely fabulous; as depending only upon the single testimony of Nicephorus, an ecclesiastical historian of great credulity and little judgment; and it is somewhat difficult to suppose that Socrates should omit so memorable a circumstance when speaking of Heliodorus as the author of “a love-tale in his youth, which he entitled Ethiopics.” Valesius, in his notes upon this passage, starts another difficulty, for while he rejects the account of Nicephorus as a mere fable, he seems inclined to think, that the romance itself was not written by Heliodorus bishop of Tricca; but in this opinion he has not been followed. Opsopaeus and Melancthon have supposed that this romance was in reality a true history; but Fabricius thinks this as incredible as that Heliodorus, according to others, wrote it originally in the Ethiopic tongue. Some again have asserted, that Heliodorus was not a Christian, from his saying at the end of his book, that he was a Phoenician, born in the city of Emesa, and of the race of the sun; since, they say, it would be madness in a Christian, and much more in a bishop, to declare that he was descended from that luminary; but such language, in a young man, can scarcely admit the inference.

Besides the Ethiopics, Cedrenus tells us of another book of Heliodorus, concerning the philosopher’s stone, or the art of transmuting metals into gold, which he presented to Theodosius the Great; and Fabricius has inserted in his “Bibliotheca Gra3ca,” a chemical Greek poem written in iambic verse, which he had from a ms. in the king of France’s library, and which carries the name of Heliodorus bishop of Tricca; but leaves it very justly questionable, whether it be not a spurious performance. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri. —Saxii Onomast.