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Headword: Nikolaos
Adler number: nu,393
Translated headword: Nikolaos, Nicolaus
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
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:
Nikolaos, Damaskênos, gnôrimos Hêrôdou tou tôn Ioudaiôn basileôs kai Augoustou Kaisaros, philosophos Peripatêtikos ê Platônikos. egrapsen Historian katholikên en bibliois p#, kai tou biou Kaisaros agôgên. houtôs de êspasato auton ho Kaisar, hôs tous hup' ekeinou pempomenous plakountas tôi Kaisari, êgoun melittoutas, Nikolaous auton kalein. kai diamenei touto achri tês sêmeron. egrapse kai peri tou idiou biou kai tês heautou agôgês. houtos ho Damaskênos en têi allêi paideiai tethrammenos dia to kai ton patera autou peri tauta malista spoudasai, epeidê ap' autês autôi ho te ploutos kai hê doxa hupegeneto, eti mallon êuxêse tautên erôta tina adiêgêton autês schôn, allôs te kai phuseôs ou phaulês labomenos, hôste prin geneian, eudokimos einai en têi patridi kai tôn hêlikôn diapherein: grammatikês te gar oudenos cheiron epememelêto kai di' autên poiêtikês pasês, autos te tragôidias epoiei kai kômôidias eudokimous: eti mallon husteron auxêtheis, hôste kai tên dunamin sunauxêsai rhêtorikês te kai mousikês kai tês peri ta mathêmata theôrias kai philosophias pasês. zêlôtês gar Aristotelous genomenos kai to poikilon tês peri ton andra paideias agapêsas charin eidenai pasin elegen aei tois mathêmasi polu men echousi to eleutherion, polu de to chrêsimon eis ton bion, pantôn de malista to eudiagôgon pros te neotêta kai gêras. elege de kai tas Mousas ara dia touto pollas hupo tôn theologôn paradedosthai, hoti polu to poikilon echei ta paideumata kai pros pasan biou chrêsin oikeion: kai oute tên empeirian autôn oute tên apoleipsin homoiôs hupelambanen einai têi tôn banausôn technôn, alla tounantion eponeidiston tois metriôs zôsi tên te toutôn agnoian kai tên tôn banausôn epistêmên. houtos men oun ouk estin hotôi tôn paideumatôn pros argurismon echrêsato, oude ekapêleusen. ephê de Nikolaos homoian einai tên holên paideian apodêmiai. hôs gar en tautêi prossumbainei tois apodêmousi kai makran hodon diexiousin hopou men enkatagesthai te kai enaulizesthai monon, hopou d' enaristan, hopou de pleious endêmein hêmeras, enious de topous ek parodou theôrein, epanelthontas mentoi tais heautôn enoikein hestiais, houtô kai dia tês holês paideias dierchomenous dein en hois men epitêdeumasin epi pleon endiatribein, en hois d' ep' elatton: kai ta men hola, ta de ek merous, ta de achri stoicheiôseôs paralambanein kai to ekeinôn chrêsimon kataschontas epi tên hôs alêthôs patrôian hestian elthontas philosophein.
Notes:
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.
Reference:
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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