Sozomen, Hermias

, an ecclesiastical historian of the fifth century, was of a good family; and born at Bethelia, a town of Palestine. After being liberally educated, he studied the law at Berytus in Phoenicia; and then going to Constantinople, became a pleader at the bar. Afterwards he applied himself to the writing of ecclesiastical history; and first drew up a compendium of it in two books, from the ascension of Christ to the year 323; but this is lost. Then he continued his history in a more circumstantial and closer manner to the year 440; and this part is extant. He has many particulars relating to him in common with the ecclesiastical historian Socrates: he lived at the same time, was of the same profession, and undertook a work of the same nature, and comprised it within the same period: for his history ends, as it nearly begins, at the same point with that of Socrates. His style is more florid and elegant, says Jortin, in his “Ecclesiastical Remarks,” vol. III. than that of Socrates; but he is by no means so judicious an author. Being of a family which had excessively admired the monks, and himself educated among them, he contracted a superstitious turn of mind, and great credulity for monkish miracles: he speaks of the benefit which himself had received from the intercession of Michael the archangel. He gives an high commendation of a monastic life, and enlarges very much upon the actions and manners of those recluses: and this forms the greater part of what he has added to the “History of Socrates,” who, it is universally agreed, wrote first, and whom he every where visibly copies. | His history has been translated and published by Valesius, with Eusebius and the other ecclesiastical historians; and repnblished, with additional notes by Reading, at London, 1720, in 3 vols. folio. 1