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Headword: Ἀέτιος
Adler number: alpha,571
Translated headword: Aetios, Aetius
Vetting Status: high
From Antioch in Syria,[1] the teacher of Eunomios,[2] he happened [to be] of poor and lower-class parentage. His father was one of those in the army who were faring rather poorly; when he had just sent that son away, he died. So he [Aetios] having come to the extreme of difficulty took himself to goldsmithing and became very skillful. But when his nature yearned for better studies, he turned to logical theories. And he joined Paulinos right when that man had recently arrived at Antioch from Tyre. He still attended him [as a student] in the time of Constantine, displaying a great force of impiety in his disputations with his opponents, and few men could withstand him. After Paulinos died, when Eulalius held the see as twenty-third [in succession] from the apostles,[3] many of those who had been shamed by Aetios thought it a terrible thing to have been defeated by a man who was a newcomer and a craftsman: they banded together and drove him out of Antioch. Being driven out he came to Anazarbos.[4] And he, so full of every ability, brought forth fruits better than his given circumstances. He did not at all stop disputing them, although he was poorly dressed and lived as he happened to be able.[5]
This man was a heresiarch,[6] who was called an atheist in the time of Constantine the Great. He believed the same things as Arius and applauded the same doctrine, but he separated himself from the Arians. Aetios was a heretical[7] man earlier and he passionately hastened to advocate the dogma of Arius, for when he had learned a little in Alexandria he departed. And upon arrival in Antioch in Syria (for he was from that place) he was made a deacon by Leontios, who was bishop at the time. And he shouted at[8] those who met him, discoursing from the Categories of Aristotle and setting right the contentious arguments.[9] He also patched together letters to the emperor Constantine. But even though he said the same things as the Arianists, he nevertheless, although agreeing with those people, was thought a heretic by his own familiars who were unable to understand the complexity of the arguments. And on account of this he was expelled from their church and he himself decided [it was best] not to have dealings with them.[10] And now because of that there are men who were then called "Aetianists" but now "Eunomians". For Eunomios who was his secretary and was taught by him in the heretical doctrine assumed the leadership of this faction.
Greek Original:
Ἀέτιος: ἐξ Ἀντιοχείας τῆς Συρίας, διδάσκαλος Εὐνομίου, ἀπὸ πενιχρῶν καὶ εὐτελῶν γονέων τυγχάνων. ὁ δὲ πατὴρ αὐτῷ τῶν ἐν στρατιᾷ δυσπραγέστερον ἐνηνεγμένων γενόμενος, ἐτεθνήκει κομιδῇ παῖδα τοῦτον ἀφείς. αὐτὸς δὲ εἰς ἔσχατον ἀπορίας ἥκων, ἐπὶ χρυσοχοί̈αν ἐχώρησεν ἀκρότατός τε ἐγένετο. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἡ φύσις αὐτῷ μειζόνων ὠρέγετο μαθημάτων, πρὸς λογικὰς θεωρίας ἐτράπετο. καὶ δῆτα συγγίνεται Παυλίνῳ ἀρτίως ἀπὸ τῆς Τύρου εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν ἀφικομένῳ: ἔτι κατὰ τοὺς Κωνσταντίνου χρόνους τούτου ἠκροᾶτο, πολλὴν ἐπιεικῶς φαίνων τῆς ἀσεβείας τὴν ῥώμην εἰς τὰς πρὸς τοὺς διαφερομένους ζητήσεις: καὶ οὐχ ὑπόστατος ἤδη τοῖς πολλοῖς ἦν. ἐπεὶ δὲ Παυλῖνος ἐτεθνήκει, Εὐλαλίου τρίτου καὶ εἰκοστοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων ἔχοντος τὸν θρόνον, πολλοὶ τῶν ὑπὸ τοῦ Ἀετίου ἐλεγχομένων δεινὸν ποιησάμενοι πρὸς ἀνδρὸς δημιουργοῦ καὶ νέου κατὰ κράτος ἐλαύνεσθαι, συστάντες ἐξήλασαν αὐτὸν τῆς Ἀντιοχείας. ἐξελαθεὶς δὲ εἰς τὴν Ἀνάζαρβον ἀφικνεῖται. ὁ δὲ ἤδη τάχιστα δυνάμεως πάσης πιμπλάμενος μείζους ἀεὶ τῶν δεδομένων ἀφορμῶν εἰσέφερε τοὺς καρπούς. ὁ δὲ οὐδὲν ἐπαύετο τοὺς μὲν διελέγχων, φαύλως δὲ ἀμπισχόμενος καὶ ὡς ἔτυχε ζῶν. οὗτος αἱρεσιάρχης ἦν, ὃς καὶ ἄθεος ἐπεκλήθη ἐπὶ τοῦ μεγάλου Κωνσταντίνου. τὰ αὐτὰ μὲν οὖν ἐφρόνει Ἀρείῳ καὶ τὴν αὐτὴν συνεκρότει δόξαν: πρὸς δὲ ἀρειανίζοντας διεκρίνετο. ἦν δὲ καὶ πρότερον αἱρετικὸς ἄνθρωπος Ἀέτιος καὶ τῷ Ἀρείου δόγματι διαπύρως συνηγορεῖν ἔσπευδεν: ἐν γὰρ τῇ Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ μικρὰ παιδευθεὶς ἀναζεύγνυσι. καὶ καταλαβὼν τὴν ἐν Συρίᾳ Ἀντιόχειαν, ἐντεῦθεν γὰρ ἦν, ὑπὸ Λεοντίου τοῦ τότε τῆς Ἀντιοχείας ἐπισκόπου χειροτονεῖται διάκονος. εὐθὺς οὖν συνεξεφώνει τοὺς ἐντυγχάνοντας ἐκ τῶν Ἀριστοτέλους κατηγοριῶν διαλεγόμενος, τοὺς ἐριστικοὺς κατωρθωκὼς λόγους. ἐπιστολάς τε συνεκάττυε πρὸς βασιλέα Κωνστάντιον. ἀλλ' εἰ τὰ αὐτὰ τοῖς ἀρειανίζουσιν ἔλεγεν, ὅμως ὑπὸ τῶν οἰκείων οὐ δυναμένων συνιέναι τὸ περισκελὲς τῶν λογισμῶν ὡς αἱρετικὸς ὁ ὁμόφρων αὐτοῖς ἐνομίζετο. καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἐκδιωχθεὶς τῆς αὐτῶν ἐκκλησίας ἔδοξεν αὐτὸς μὴ βούλεσθαι κοινωνεῖν αὐτοῖς. καὶ νῦν εἰσιν ἐξ ἐκείνου οἱ τότε μὲν Ἀετιανοὶ νῦν δὲ Εὐνομιανοὶ λεγόμενοι. Εὐνόμιος γὰρ ταχυγράφος ὢν ἐκείνου καὶ ὑπ' αὐτῷ παιδευθεὶς τὴν αἱρετικὴν λέξιν τοῦ στίφους τούτου προέστη.
See Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Eunomianism at web address 1.
[1] Syrian Antioch (cf. alpha 2692 and OCD(4) s.v. Antioch(1)) is on the River Orontes (cf. omicron 622), near present-day Antakya, Turkey, some 20km inland from the eastern Mediterranean coast (Barrington Atlas map 67 grid D4). The qualifier (again later in the entry) is used because there was more than one city of that name, e.g. one in Pisidia (in west-central Asia Minor; near the modern-day city of Yalvaç, Turkey; Barrington Atlas map 62 grid F5).
[2] Eunomios: epsilon 3598.
[3] Eulalius was patriarch of Antioch for five months in the year 332.
[4] Anazarbos: alpha 1866.
[5] Philostorgius, Historia ecclesiastica III.15b, pp.44-47 Bidez-Winkelmann. Philostorgius himself had Arian sympathies, and presents a more favorable view of Aetius than does Socrates Scholaticus, in what follows here.
[6] The rest of the Suda entry is based on Socrates, Historia ecclesiastica 2.35. See translation at web address 2.
[7] Socrates says "contentious" (ἐριστικός ).
[8] Socrates says "he astounded them by his strange language" (ἐξενοφώνει ).
[9] This clause is not in Socrates.
[10] Socrates says that Aetios pretended to have decided for himself to break his association with the Arianists.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; Christianity; chronology; clothing; economics; ethics; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; philosophy; religion; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 3 May 2001@16:36:40.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (modified translation, added references) on 3 May 2001@22:32:14.
Catharine Roth (Added link.) on 7 May 2001@20:06:41.
Catharine Roth (modified translation) on 8 May 2001@01:14:02.
Catharine Roth (added cross-reference) on 17 February 2002@23:19:35.
David Whitehead (augmented keywords; restorative and other cosmetics) on 10 June 2003@05:36:28.
Catharine Roth (augmented reference) on 28 November 2004@23:37:53.
Catharine Roth (added keyword) on 2 October 2005@01:41:21.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 17 August 2006@00:57:43.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 31 December 2011@17:50:58.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 12 January 2012@06:00:52.
David Whitehead (another note) on 28 April 2015@02:41:46.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 28 April 2015@10:40:42.
Ronald Allen (added map notes and cross-references) on 5 April 2018@23:43:19.
Catharine Roth (modified translation, added a link) on 7 April 2018@18:24:07.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 7 April 2018@18:27:27.
Catharine Roth (expanded notes) on 7 April 2018@18:42:27.
Catharine Roth (recent tweaks inspired by Ron Allen's suggestions) on 7 April 2018@18:45:44.


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