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Headword: Σαραπίων
Adler number: sigma,116
Translated headword: Sarapio, Sarapion
Vetting Status: high
Isidore befriended this man, who had received[1] all men in piety and a whole philosophical way of life, except Isidore himself. The man had so much of true manner and speech, and of that which is accustomed to be called in the proverb, and in deed confirmed by him, "live secretly," that I would expect no one of men living at that time either of the younger or of the elders would know what I mean;[2] nor did anyone else know what kind of man that Sarapio was, and even I would not know now, if the philosopher himself had not shown me Sarapio by his words. For he said that never in fact could he persuade[3] him to meet another man, especially because when he grew old he no longer came out frequently from his own house; he lived alone in a truly small dwelling, having embraced the solitary life, employing some of the neighbors only for the most necessary things. He said that Sarapio was exceptionally prayerful, and visited the holy places in the dress of an ordinary man, where the rule of the feast led him. For the most part he lived all day in his house, not the life of a man, but to speak simply, [the life] of a god, continually uttering prayers and miracle-stories to himself or to the divinity, or rather meditating on them in silence. Being a seeker of truth and by nature contemplative, he did not deign to spend time on the more technical aspects of philosophy, but absorbed himself in the more profound and inspired thoughts. For this reason Orpheus was almost the only book he possessed and read,[4] in each of the questions which came to him always asking Isidore, who (so to speak) had achieved the summit of understanding in theology. He recognized [Isidore] alone as an intimate friend and received him [in his house]. And [Isidore] seemed to observe in him the Kronian life of mythology. For that man continued doing and saying nothing else but recollecting himself and raising himself, as far as he could, towards the inward and indivisible [life].[5]
He despised money so much that he possessed nothing whatever but only two or three books (among these was the poetry of Orpheus); and [he despised] the pleasures of the body so much that straightway from the beginning he offered to the body only what is necessary and alone brings benefit, but of sexual [activity] he was pure throughout his life. And he was so little concerned about honor from men that not even his name was [known] in the city. He would not have been known subsequently, if some one of the gods had not wished to make him an example for mankind of the Kronian life, so that the saying would not seem to be [merely] a myth, not having the history to bear it witness. For the one called Chiron stood rather in the interval between the rule of Kronos and [that of] Zeus, whence he had two natures.[6] But let this Sarapion be recorded such as he was known by the philosopher; he used Isidore as an heir, having no [heir] from his family, nor supposing that anyone else was worthy of his property, I mean of two or three books.[7]
In this time period another man arrived at Alexandria, differing diametrically from Sarapio, or rather [differing] still more greatly than diametrically, if it is possible to say [this]; for the one was a man of Kronos and of Zeus in his lifestyle, but the other was a man of Typhon, and a wild beast even more changeable than Typhon, and more fiery.[8] For there is no one of men living now who does not know what Pamprepius[9] became both in soul and in fortune.[10]
Greek Original:
Σαραπίων: τοῦτον ἐποιήσατο φίλον ὁ Ἰσίδωρος, τὸν λαβόντα πάντας ἀνθρώπους ἐπὶ εὐσεβείᾳ τε καὶ ὅλῃ φιλοσοφίᾳ βίου, πλὴν αὐτοῦ τοῦ Ἰσιδώρου. τοσοῦτον δὲ τῷ ἀνδρὶ περιῆν ἀληθοῦς τρόπου τε καὶ λόγου, τοῦ τε ἐν παροιμίᾳ λέγεσθαι εἰωθότος, ἔργῳ δὲ βεβαιωθέντος ὑπ' ἐκείνου, τοῦ λάθε βιώσας: ὥστε οὐδένα τῶν τότε ζώντων ἀνθρώπων οὔτε τῶν νεωτέρων οὔτε τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἐλπίσαιμι ἂν εἰδέναι οἷον λέγω: οὐδὲ ἔγνω τις ἄλλος, οἷος ἦν ὁ Σαραπίων ἐκεῖνος, οὐδὲ ἂν ἔγωγε νῦν ἠπιστάμην, εἰ μή μοι αὐτὸς ὁ φιλόσοφος ὑπέδειξε τῷ λόγῳ τὸν Σαραπίωνα. οὐ γὰρ ἔργῳ ποτὲ ἔφη πείσεσθαι αὐτὸν ἐντυχεῖν ἑτέρῳ ἀνδρί: ἄλλως τε καὶ ὅτε ἐγήρα, μηκέτι καταβαίνειν θαμὰ ἀπὸ τῆς σφετέρας οἰκίας: οἰκεῖν δὲ μόνον ἐν οἰκίσκῳ μικρῷ τῷ ὄντι, μονάδα βίον ἀναδεδεγμένον, πρὸς μόνον τὰ ἀναγκαιότατα χρώμενον τῶν γειτόνων ἐνίοις. εὐκτικὸν μὲν οὖν εἶναι τὸν Σαραπίωνα διαφερόντως ἔλεγε καὶ ἐν ἰδιώτου σχήματι πανταχοῦ περιφοιτᾶν τῶν ἱερῶν χωρίων, ὅπου ἦγεν ὁ τῆς ἑορτῆς νόμος. τὰ πολλὰ δὲ ἐπ' οἴκου διημερεύοντα ζῆν, οὔ τινα ἀνθρωπίνην ζωήν, ἀλλ' ἀτεχνῶς εἰπεῖν θείαν, εὐχάς τε ἀεὶ καὶ ἀρετὰς πρὸς ἑαυτὸν ἢ πρὸς τὸ θεῖον φθεγγόμενον, μᾶλλον δὲ σιγῇ διανοούμενον. ζητητικὸς δὲ ὢν τῆς ἀληθείας καὶ φύσει θεωρητικὸς οὐ περὶ τὰ τεχνικώτερα τῆς φιλοσοφίας ἠξίου διατρίβειν, ἀλλὰ τοῖς ἁδροτέροις καὶ ἐνθουσιαστικωτέροις νοήμασιν ἐνεφύετο. διὸ μόνον σχεδὸν τὸν Ὀρφέα ἐκέκτητο καὶ ἀνεγίνωσκεν, ἐρωτῶν ἐφ' ἑκάστοις ἀεὶ τοῖς παραπίπτουσι ζητήμασι τὸν Ἰσίδωρον, ἄκραν, ὡς εἰπεῖν, ἐπιστήμην ἐν θεολογίᾳ προβεβλημένον: ὃν μόνως οἰκεῖον ἐγνώριζεν ὄντα καὶ προσεδέχετο. καὶ δὴ ἐν αὐτῷ θεάσασθαι ἐδόκει τὸν μυθευόμενον Κρόνιον βίον. οὐδὲ γὰρ ἄλλο τι διετέλει πράττων καὶ λέγων ἐκεῖνος ἢ συνάγων ἑαυτὸν ἀεὶ καὶ συναιρῶν, ὡς οἷόν τε, πρὸς τὸ εἴσω καὶ τὸ ἀμερέστερον. ὃς οὕτω μὲν κατεφρόνει χρημάτων, ὥστε κεκτῆσθαι μηδοτιοῦν ἢ μόνα β# ἢ γ# βιβλία: ὧν ἦν καὶ ἡ Ὀρφέως ποίησις: οὕτω δὲ ἡδονῶν τῶν περὶ τὸ σῶμα, ὥστε ἐξαρχῆς εὐθὺς τὰ ἀναγκαῖα καὶ μόνα προσφέρειν τῷ σώματι, ἀφροδισίων δὲ ἄχραντον εἶναι διὰ βίου παντός. οὕτω δὲ ἠμέλει τιμῆς τῆς παρὰ ἀνθρώπων, ὥστε οὐδὲ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει. οὐδ' ἂν ἐγνώσθη μετὰ ταῦτα, εἰ μὴ θεῶν τις ἠβουλήθη παράδειγμα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις χαρίσασθαι τοῦ Κρονίου βίου, ἵνα μὴ δοκῇ μῦθος εἶναι ὁ λόγος, μὴ ἔχων ἐπιμαρτυροῦσαν τὴν ἱστορίαν: ὁ μὲν γὰρ Χείρων λεγόμενος ἐν μεθορίῳ μᾶλλον εἱστήκει τῆς Κρόνου καὶ Διὸς ἀρχῆς, ὅθεν διφυής. Σαραπίων δὲ οὗτος ὑπὸ τοῦ φιλοσόφου γνωσθεὶς ἀνα- γεγράφθω τοιοῦτος: ὃς κληρονόμῳ τῷ Ἰσιδώρῳ ἐχρήσατο, μηδένα πρὸς γένους ἔχων, μηδὲ ἄξιον ἄλλον ὑπολαμβάνων εἶναι τῆς ἑαυτοῦ οὐσίας, δυεῖν λέγω ἢ τριῶν βιβλίων. ἐν δὲ τούτῳ τῷ χρόνῳ ἕτερος ἀνὴρ ἀφίκετο εἰς Ἀλεξάνδρειαν, κατὰ διάμετρον ὅλην τοῦ Σαραπίωνος ἀφεστώς, μᾶλλον δὲ ἔτι καὶ τῆς διαμέτρου μειζόνως, εἰ οἷόν τε φάναι: ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἦν τὴν ζωὴν Κρόνιός τις καὶ Δίϊος, ὁ δὲ Τυφώνειος, καὶ Τυφῶνος ἔτι πολυπλοκώτερον θηρίον, καὶ μᾶλλον ἐπιτεθυμμένον. οὔπω γάρ τις ἀγνοεῖ τῶν νῦν ζώντων ἀνθρώπων, οἷος ὁ Παμπρέπιος ἐγεγόνει τήν τε ψυχὴν καὶ τὴν τύχην.
[1] Latte conjectured ὑπερβαλόντα "who surpassed."
[2] On the Epicurean saying λάθε βιώσας , see nu 192 and lambda 41 (the latter an excerpt from this passage).
[3] Asmus conjectured πύθεσθαι "[Isidore] had never learned that [Sarapio] met ..."
[4] On Orphic literature, see omicron 660 and other entries cross-referenced there.
[5] Thus far, Damascius, Life of Isidore fragments 33, 34, 37, 39, 41 Zintzen (22 Asmus).
[6] On Chiron the centaur, half man and half horse, see chi 267. Athanassiadi suggests that Damascius may be alluding ironically to Christological controversies.
[7] Damascius, Life of Isidore fr. 287 Zintzen (175 Asmus). Athanassiadi makes everything to this point fr. 111.
[8] Typhon: tau 1226, tau 1227 (the latter quotes this passage).
[9] Pamprepios: pi 137.
[10] Damascius, Life of Isidore fr. 287 Zintzen (167 Asmus, 112 A Athanassiadi). According to Photius Bibliotheca 242.352a9, John Malalas, Chronographia 389.8, and Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De insidiis 166.17-19, Illous had Pamprepius executed and his body thrown over the ramparts of the fortress where he was holding out: cf. Cameron p. 499 n. 184.
Athanassiadi, Polymnia. Damaskios, The Philosophical History: Text with Translation and Notes. Athens: Apamea Cultural Association, 1999
Alan Cameron, "Wandering Poets: A Literary Movement in Byzantine Egypt," Historia 14 (1965) 469-509
Keywords: biography; Christianity; chronology; clothing; daily life; economics; ethics; food; gender and sexuality; history; imagery; mythology; philosophy; poetry; proverbs; religion
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 21 April 2008@15:53:50.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 22 April 2008@03:34:42.
Catharine Roth (tweaked notes) on 22 April 2008@11:52:14.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 22 December 2013@05:12:50.


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