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Headword: Domninos
Adler number: delta,1355
Translated headword: Domninos, Domninus
Vetting Status: high
A philosopher, Syrian by descent, from both Laodicea and Larissa, a city of Syria;[1] a pupil of Syrianus and the schoolmate of Proclus, according to Damascius.[2] He was a capable man in mathematics, but rather superficial in other philosophical matters. As a result, he also perverted many of Plato's opinions with his own. Although he corrupted them, he nonetheless gave a satisfactory defense to Proklos, who had written to him an entire treatise that, according to its title, was a purification of Plato's opinions. He was not even strong enough in his way of life that one could truly call him a philosopher. At Athens Asklepios prophesied the same remedy for the Athenian Plutarch and for the Syrian Domninos: the latter was frequently spitting blood and had brought this as the name of his ailment; the former suffered from some other sickness. The remedy was to stuff oneself with pork. Now Plutarch did not submit to this cure, even though it was not a traditional religious offence for him, but arose from sleep, propped himself up on the couch on his elbow, looked towards the cult statue of Asklepios (since he happened to be sleeping in the anteroom of the shrine)[3] and said, "What, my lord, have you commanded[4] for the Jew who is sick with this illness? Since surely you would not have ordered that man to fill himself with pork." So he spoke, and Asklepios from the statue immediately prescribed another treatment for his illness: a very fitting utterance indeed. But Domninos, contrary to the traditional law of Syrians, persuaded by the dream and failing to follow the example of Plutarch, then and ever afterwards consumed pork. It is said that if he somehow went one day without tasting it he was afflicted with the full force of his illness until he gorged himself. Asklepiodotos as a youth is said to have encountered Domninus when he had grown old, and to have seen a man somewhat excessive and stiff, who did not deign to speak at length with those he met, whether private individuals or foreigners: not even with those who could claim some distinction. Asklepiodotos was unconcerned that he would also be treated rather harshly, since he did not think he ought to agree with Domninus about some numerical theorem or other because he was a young man, nor to submit meekly, but rather to debate the argument so forcefully that Domninos no longer admitted him into his company.[5]
Greek Original:
Domninos, philosophos, Suros to genos apo te Laodikeias kai Larissês poleôs Surias, mathêtês Surianou kai tou Proklou sumphoitêtês, hôs phêsi Damaskios. en men tois mathêmasin hikanos anêr, en de tois allois philosophêmasin epipolaioteros. dio kai polla tôn Platônos oikeiois doxasmasin dietrepse. kai dialumênamenos apochrôsas homôs euthunas tôi Proklôi dedôke, grapsanti pros auton holên pragmateian, kathartikên hôs phêsin hê epigraphê tôn dogmatôn tou Platônos. ên de oude tên zôên akros hoion alêthôs philosophon eipein: ho gar Athênêsin Asklêpios tên autên iasin echrêsmôidei Ploutarchôi te tôi Athênaiôi kai tôi Surôi Domninôi, toutôi men haim' apoptuonti pollakis kai touto pheronti tês nosou to onoma, ekeinôi de ouk oida ho ti nenosêkoti. hê de iasis ên empiplasthai choireiôn kreôn. ho men dê Ploutarchos ouk ênescheto tês toiautês hugieias kaitoi ouk ousês autôi paranomou kata ta patria, alla dianastas apo tou hupnou kai diankônisamenos epi tou skimpodos apoblepôn eis to agalma tou Asklêpiou [kai gar etunchanen enkatheudôn tôi prodomôi tou hierou], ô despota, ephê, ti de an prosetaxas Ioudaiôi nosounti tautên tên noson; ou gar an kai ekeinôi emphoreisthai choireiôn kreôn ekeleusas. tauta eipen, ho de Asklêpios autika apo tou agalmatos emmelestaton dê tina phthongon, heteran hupegrapsato therapeian tôi pathei. Domninos de oude kata themin peistheis tôi oneirôi, themin tên Surois patrion, oude paradeigmati tôi Ploutarchôi chrêsamenos ephage te tote kai êsthien aei tôn kreôn. legetai pou mian ei dieleipen hêmeran ageustos epitithesthai to pathêma pantôs, heôs eneplêsthê. toutôi oun êdê prosgegêrakoti neôteros ôn entuchein ho Asklêpiodotos legetai, idein de anthrôpon echonta ti peritton kai astemphes ouk axiounta logou pollou tous entunchanontas idiôtas ê xenous, allôs te kai tous epi tôi diapherein auchountas, amelei kai heautôi prosenechthênai trachuteron. epeidê peri arithmêtikou hotou dê theôrêmatos ouk êxiou homologein pros auton, hoia de neos ôn oude endidonai ti malthakon, alla dielenchein ton logon houtô thraseôs hôste ton Domninon mêketi prosesthai auton eis homilian.
Domninus (c.415 - c.485) is known for his relations with Proclus and with the Neoplatonist school as well as for his mathematical and physical interests. According to a short notice from Proclus himself, he gave an explanation of the myth of Phaethon (OCD(4) 1120) in reference to the comets. Domninus maintained that the comets consist of dry matter in a powdery aspect, and the passage of the Earth through the tail of one of these heavenly bodies had brought about the inflammation of the powder in the part lightened by the Sun. Thus an entire part of the Earth would have been set on fire, which seems to be alluded to in the above-mentioned myth.
Some works on mathematics have come down to us, under the title *)egxeiri/dion a)riqmhtikh=s ei)sagwgh=s and *pw=s e)/sti lo/gon e)k lo/gou a)felei=n.
[1] i.e. a city known by both of these names: first Larissa but renamed Laodicea during the reign of Seleukos I or one of his successors. Barrington Atlas map 68 grid C3 ('Larissa/Sizara').
[2] This whole entry, in fact, comes from Damascius: Life of Isidore fr. 218 Zintzen (134 Asmus). For other sources on Domninos see Proclus, In Platonis Timaeum 78, 34b; Marinus, Vita Procli 36.
[3] This parenthetical phrase recurs (faultily) at pi 2367.
[4] cf. delta 520.
[5] cf. pi 2648.
Pauly-Wissowa, Realenzyklopaedie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, vol. V-1, Muenchen 1903: 1521-1525
Peter Riedlberger, Domninus of Larissa: Encheiridion and spurious works (Rome 2013); reviewed BMCR 2014.02.15
Keywords: biography; dreams; ethics; food; geography; mathematics; medicine; philosophy; religion; science and technology
Translated by: Bradley Buszard on 7 April 2005@11:55:06.
Vetted by:
Antonella Ippolito (modified a point of translation) on 7 April 2005@12:14:55.
Antonella Ippolito (added notes; added keyword; cosmetics; set status) on 7 April 2005@13:29:49.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 7 April 2005@15:50:30.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 7 April 2005@15:54:17.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 7 April 2005@15:56:09.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, cross-references) on 8 April 2005@01:02:51.
David Whitehead (another headword; more keywords; cosmetics) on 11 April 2005@12:12:11.
Catharine Roth (added keyword) on 29 September 2005@02:05:28.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 2 October 2005@08:34:05.
David Whitehead (another keyword; tweaks and cosmetics) on 16 July 2012@06:38:18.
David Whitehead (tweaked tr; another x-ref) on 22 May 2013@03:40:15.
David Whitehead (added bibliography) on 12 February 2014@02:56:52.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 13 November 2015@03:52:22.


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