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Headword: *(ermei/as
Adler number: epsilon,3036
Translated headword: Hermeias
Vetting Status: high
This philosopher [was] agreeable by nature and upright in his character. Having studied philosophy under the great Syrianos,[1] in industry he was inferior to no one of his companions, nor even of his former fellow-student Proclus[2] who later became [the successor][3] – nor [did he lack] love[4] of learning such things as philosophy offers truly worthy of love. He was[5] very shrewd and acute [...] so that he is said to have sworn to Aigyptos,[6] who was dying, that his soul[7] was immortal and imperishable. This bold declaration was enabled by his good life which denied the nature of the body and turned into itself and already at once perceived the separation [sc. of body and soul] and the immortality [of the soul]. For he was more deficient than accurate in that which concerns speaking, but well-practiced in virtue, so that not even Momus himself would find fault, nor either would envy hate him. Such gentleness was in the man and such righteousness.[8] For example, if he bought something from the dealers (this commonly happened with books), the seller being a common man, if it happened thus, would ask a price less than the value, but Hermeias would correct his mistake, and saying that the book was worth more he would give that much, not loving a bargain like other people, nor supposing that he was doing nothing wrong if he as a willing buyer made a purchase for any amount from a willing seller.[9] [He believed] that there was a kind of ambush and deceit in the matter, not one which speaks falsehood, but one which keeps quiet about the truth, so that it escaped most people’s notice that it was injustice, not forcible, but larcenous, not committing a risky theft like a highwayman, but although permitted by law nevertheless overthrowing justice. Such a man was Hermeias.
Greek Original:
*(ermei/as: ou(=tos o( filo/sofos e)pieikh\s fu/sei kai\ a(plou=s to\ h)=qos. filosofh/sas de\ u(po\ tw=| mega/lw| *surianw=| filoponi/a| me\n ou)deno\s e)lei/peto tw=n e(tai/rwn, ou)de\ au)tou= ge sunakrowme/nou tou= pa/lai *pro/klou gegono/tos u(/steron: ou)de\ e)/rwtos maqhma/twn, oi(=a pare/xetai filosofi/a tw=| o)/nti a)cie/rasta. a)gxi/nous de\ kai\ o)cu\s sfo/dra h)=n w(/ste o)mwmoke/nai le/getai pro\s to\n *ai)/gupton teleutw=nta a)qa/naton ei)=nai kai\ a)nw/leqron th\n yuxh/n. e)poi/ei de\ tou=to to\ qa/rros h( eu)zwi/+a a)nainome/nh th\n tou= sw/matos fu/sin kai\ ei)s e(auth\n e)pistre/fousa kai\ sunaisqanome/nh tou= xwrismou= kai\ a)/ntikrus h)/dh th=s a)qanasi/as. h)=n ga\r ta\ me\n peri\ lo/gous e)ndee/steros h)\ kata\ th\n a)kri/beian, ta\ de\ pro\s a)reth\n eu)= h)skhme/nos: w(/ste mhd' a)\n to\n *mw=mon au)to\n e)pimwmh/sasqai, mhd' au)= mish=sai to\n fqo/non. tosau/th pra|o/ths e)nh=n tw=| a)ndri\ kai\ toiau/th dikaiosu/nh. toigarou=n ei)/ ti pri/aito tw=n pwloume/nwn [suxno\n d' e)pi\ bibli/ois tou=to sune/bainen], o( me\n pwlw=n i)diw/ths w)/n, a)\n ou(/tw tu/xh|, ti/mhma me\n a)ph/|tei th=s a)ci/as e)/latton, o( de\ *(ermei/as e)phnwrqou=to th\n pla/nhn, kai\ plei/onos ei)=nai fh/sas a)/cion to\ bibli/on tosou=ton a)\n e)pe/dwken, ou) kata\ tou\s a)/llous a)gaph/sas to\ e(rmai=on, ou)de\ oi)hqei\s a)/ra mhde\n a)dikei=n, ei) e(kw\n para\ e(ko/ntos o(tiou=n e)wnh/sato. kai\ ga\r e)ne/dran tina\ e)nei=nai tw=| pra/gmati kai\ a)pa/thn, ou) le/gousan to\ yeu=dos, a)lla\ siwpw=san th\n a)lh/qeian, w(/ste kai\ a)diki/an ou)=san lanqa/nein tou\s pollou/s, ou) bi/aion, a)lla\ klopimai/an, ou)de\ e)piki/nduno/n tina lh|stou= di/khn kle/ptousan, a)ll' u(po\ me\n tou= no/mou a)feime/nhn, to\ de\ di/kaion a)natre/pousan. toiou=tos h)=n o( *(ermei/as.
Damascius, Life of Isidore fr. 122 Zintzen, 54 Athanassiadi (74 Asmus); cf. Photius, Bibliotheca 341a 9-12, 18-33. See also epsilon 3035.
For Hermeias' wife Aedesia, see alphaiota 79; for his brother Gregory, see gamma 453.
[1] Syrianos: sigma 1662.
[2] Proklos: pi 2473.
[3] Zintzen's edition supplies tou= diado/xou (sc. as head of the Platonic Academy). Bernhardy conjectured pa/nu for pa/lai ("of his fellow student the famous Proclus"). See Athanassiadi p. 153.
[4] Bernhardy conjectured e)/rwti (dative) which would be more consistent with what precedes.
[5] Photius has ou)/ti "not."
[6] Aigyptos, uncle of Isidore: see epsilon 3035. Athanassiadi (p. 155 n.129) says, "The passage must refer to Hermeias' own death rather than that of Aegyptus, though in the state in which it has been transmitted the text is ambiguous." But the Suda's text unambiguously indicates that Aigyptos was the one dying. It is not so clear whether Hermeias was ascribing immortality to Aigyptos' soul or to human souls in general.
[7] Or, "the soul."
[8] cf. mu 1331.
[9] cf. epsilon 3030.
P. Athanassiadi, Damascius, The Philosophical History. Athens 1999.
Keywords: biography; chronology; daily life; economics; ethics; law; philosophy; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 4 January 2008@23:10:23.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (another keyword; tweaks and cosmetics) on 6 January 2008@10:51:33.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation and notes, using Athanassiadi's edition) on 14 January 2008@21:12:52.
Catharine Roth (added cross-references) on 14 January 2008@21:16:54.
Catharine Roth (moved note number) on 28 April 2009@01:10:25.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 28 October 2012@08:23:30.
David Whitehead (changed a ref) on 12 February 2016@10:37:40.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation and note 6) on 15 February 2016@01:40:54.
Catharine Roth (expanded notes) on 19 February 2016@00:27:14.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note 6 again) on 19 February 2016@22:18:26.


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