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Headword: Νικόλαος
Adler number: nu,393
Translated headword: Nikolaos, Nicolaus
Vetting Status: high
Of Damascus; acquaintance of Herod the king of the Jews and of Augustus Caesar; Peripatetic or Platonic philosopher. He wrote a universal history in 80 books,[1] and the early stages of the life of the Emperor. And the Emperor was so delighted with him that he called the flat cakes, or rather honey-cakes, which were sent by this man to the Emperor, by the name of Nikolaoi. And this [custom] has remained to this day. He also wrote about his own life and upbringing.[2]
This citizen of Damascus, having been raised in the other discipline[3] because of his father's great eagerness concerning it, since he acquired great wealth and fame from it, yet furthermore cultivated this science[4] with immense love, having among other things an energetic nature, so that before reaching manhood he was noted in his fatherland and stood out among his peers; for he studied grammar better than anyone and on this account all of the art of poetry, and he himself wrote famous tragedies and comedies; and he pursued these fields all the more as he grew up, so that at the same time he broadened his skill in rhetoric and the musical arts and the theory of mathematics and all of philosophy. For he became an admirer of Aristotle and was attracted to the variety of his learning and said that he was eternally grateful to the sciences, as they had much of what was fitting for free men, as well as much of what was useful for life, and most of all what was accessible to both youth and old age, and said that in addition the Muses were recounted to be many in number by the theologians for this reason, because learning has a great deal of variety and particular usefulness for one's entire life; and he thought that neither the possession of learning nor lack of them were similar to the possession or lack of the manual arts, but that on the contrary, to those who had some means of living the ignorance of the former and the understanding of the latter was worthy of censure. So he did not use any branch of learning for the acquisition of money, nor did he trade in them. Nikolaos said that all of education was similar to travel, for just as in travel it happens to those who are away from their home and are undertaking a long journey to lodge and find overnight housing only in some places, and only to stop for food in some places, but in some places to stay for several days, and to take a look at some places on the way, but then to return to their own home to settle there, so, he said, those who are going through the entire course of education must spend more time in some branches, but less time in others, and learn some things in their entirety, but other things in part, and pick up some things at the elementary stage, and having gained possession of what is useful in them, return to their true ancestral home and exercise philosophy.
Greek Original:
Νικόλαος, Δαμασκηνός, γνώριμος Ἡρώδου τοῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων βασιλέως καὶ Αὐγούστου Καίσαρος, φιλόσοφος Περιπατητικὸς ἢ Πλατωνικός. ἔγραψεν Ἱστορίαν καθολικὴν ἐν βιβλίοις π#, καὶ τοῦ βίου Καίσαρος ἀγωγήν. οὕτως δὲ ἠσπάσατο αὐτὸν ὁ Καῖσαρ, ὡς τοὺς ὑπ' ἐκείνου πεμπομένους πλακοῦντας τῷ Καίσαρι, ἤγουν μελιττούτας, Νικολάους αὐτὸν καλεῖν. καὶ διαμένει τοῦτο ἄχρι τῆς σήμερον. ἔγραψε καὶ περὶ τοῦ ἰδίου βίου καὶ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ ἀγωγῆς. οὗτος ὁ Δαμασκηνὸς ἐν τῇ ἄλλῃ παιδείᾳ τεθραμμένος διὰ τὸ καὶ τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ περὶ ταῦτα μάλιστα σπουδάσαι, ἐπειδὴ ἀπ' αὐτῆς αὐτῷ ὅ τε πλοῦτος καὶ ἡ δόξα ὑπεγένετο, ἔτι μᾶλλον ηὔξησε ταύτην ἔρωτά τινα ἀδιήγητον αὐτῆς σχών, ἄλλως τε καὶ φύσεως οὐ φαύλης λαβόμενος, ὥστε πρὶν γενειᾶν, εὐδόκιμος εἶναι ἐν τῇ πατρίδι καὶ τῶν ἡλίκων διαφέρειν: γραμματικῆς τε γὰρ οὐδενὸς χεῖρον ἐπεμεμέλητο καὶ δι' αὐτὴν ποιητικῆς πάσης, αὐτός τε τραγῳδίας ἐποίει καὶ κωμῳδίας εὐδοκίμους: ἔτι μᾶλλον ὕστερον αὐξηθείς, ὥστε καὶ τὴν δύναμιν συναυξῆσαι ῥητορικῆς τε καὶ μουσικῆς καὶ τῆς περὶ τὰ μαθήματα θεωρίας καὶ φιλοσοφίας πάσης. ζηλωτὴς γὰρ Ἀριστοτέλους γενόμενος καὶ τὸ ποικίλον τῆς περὶ τὸν ἄνδρα παιδείας ἀγαπήσας χάριν εἰδέναι πᾶσιν ἔλεγεν ἀεὶ τοῖς μαθήμασι πολὺ μὲν ἔχουσι τὸ ἐλευθέριον, πολὺ δὲ τὸ χρήσιμον εἰς τὸν βίον, πάντων δὲ μάλιστα τὸ εὐδιάγωγον πρός τε νεότητα καὶ γῆρας. ἔλεγε δὲ καὶ τὰς Μούσας ἄρα διὰ τοῦτο πολλὰς ὑπὸ τῶν θεολόγων παραδεδόσθαι, ὅτι πολὺ τὸ ποικίλον ἔχει τὰ παιδεύματα καὶ πρὸς πᾶσαν βίου χρῆσιν οἰκεῖον: καὶ οὔτε τὴν ἐμπειρίαν αὐτῶν οὔτε τὴν ἀπόλειψιν ὁμοίως ὑπελάμβανεν εἶναι τῇ τῶν βαναύσων τεχνῶν, ἀλλὰ τοὐναντίον ἐπονείδιστον τοῖς μετρίως ζῶσι τήν τε τούτων ἄγνοιαν καὶ τὴν τῶν βαναύσων ἐπιστήμην. οὗτος μὲν οὖν οὐκ ἔστιν ὅτῳ τῶν παιδευμάτων πρὸς ἀργυρισμὸν ἐχρήσατο, οὐδὲ ἐκαπήλευσεν. ἔφη δὲ Νικόλαος ὁμοίαν εἶναι τὴν ὅλην παιδείαν ἀποδημίᾳ. ὡς γὰρ ἐν ταύτῃ προσσυμβαίνει τοῖς ἀποδημοῦσι καὶ μακρὰν ὁδὸν διεξιοῦσιν ὅπου μὲν ἐγκατάγεσθαί τε καὶ ἐναυλίζεσθαι μόνον, ὅπου δ' ἐναριστᾶν, ὅπου δὲ πλείους ἐνδημεῖν ἡμέρας, ἐνίους δὲ τόπους ἐκ παρόδου θεωρεῖν, ἐπανελθόντας μέντοι ταῖς ἑαυτῶν ἐνοικεῖν ἑστίαις, οὕτω καὶ διὰ τῆς ὅλης παιδείας διερχομένους δεῖν ἐν οἷς μὲν ἐπιτηδεύμασιν ἐπὶ πλέον ἐνδιατρίβειν, ἐν οἷς δ' ἐπ' ἔλαττον: καὶ τὰ μὲν ὅλα, τὰ δὲ ἐκ μέρους, τὰ δὲ ἄχρι στοιχειώσεως παραλαμβάνειν καὶ τὸ ἐκείνων χρήσιμον κατασχόντας ἐπὶ τὴν ὡς ἀληθῶς πατρῴαν ἑστίαν ἐλθόντας φιλοσοφεῖν.
Born c.64 BCE. OCD4 Nicolaus; FGrH 90; Kassel-Austin, PCG 7.55.
[1] Incorrect: the true figure was 144.
[2] An extract from this (FGrH 90 F132) now follows.
[3] i.e. rhetorical education, as opposed to philosophical (suggested by Dr. Hubert Martin).
[4] i.e. philosophy.
E. Parmentier and F.B. Barone (eds.), Nicolas de Damas (Paris 2011)
Keywords: biography; comedy; economics; ethics; food; geography; historiography; history; imagery; mathematics; meter and music; philosophy; poetry; religion; science and technology; trade and manufacture; tragedy
Translated by: Akihiko Watanabe on 29 March 1999@01:14:12.
Vetted by:
Ross Scaife ✝ on 29 March 1999@12:06:50.
Shannon N. Byrne on 20 May 2000@19:06:58.
David Whitehead (augmented notes; added keywords; cosmetics) on 2 May 2001@10:29:04.
Catharine Roth (added keyword) on 29 September 2005@02:14:42.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 4 December 2005@09:22:38.
David Whitehead (added bibliography and more keywords; cosmetics) on 6 August 2012@03:06:08.
David Whitehead (cosmetics; raised status) on 9 June 2013@08:38:42.
David Whitehead on 7 August 2014@04:28:26.
David Whitehead (expanded primary note) on 24 December 2014@08:50:11.


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