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Headword: Hermogenês
Adler number: epsilon,3046
Translated headword: Hermogenes
Vetting Status: high
Of Tarsus; nicknamed Xyster.[1] Sophist. The philosopher Musonius[2] attended his classes. He lived under the emperor Marcus [sc. Aurelius], and had great natural talent. When he was lacking in years his wisdom by contrast abounded; but he did not enjoy this for long, since at the age of about 24 he went out of his mind and did not know himself, although there was no cause and no physical ailment. Consequently some made the following joke about this poor, poor person: 'Hermogenes, an old man among boys and a boy among old men.' But aged about 18 or 20 he wrote these books, laden with marvels: Art of Rhetoric, which is in everyone's hands; On Issues (1 book); On Types of Styles (2 books); On Coele Syria (2 books).
Philostratus of Lemnos, in his Descriptions of the Sophists, has this to say about him:[3] "Hermogenes, whom Tarsus bore, when he was 15 years old had advanced to such great fame as a sophist as to make even the emperor Marcus desire to hear him. So Marcus went to hear him; he was delighted by his informal discourse and amazed by his improvisation, and gave him splendid gifts. But when he reached adulthood he was deprived of his ability, though not by any apparent disease. Hence he gave the envious an opportunity for humour: they said that words are winged, just as Homer says;[4] for Hermogenes had moulted them like feathers. And the sophist Antiochus[5] once mocked him by saying: 'This is Hermogenes, an old man among boys and a boy among old men.' The type of style which he cultivated was like this. In his informal discourse before Marcus he said: 'See, emperor, a rhetor still needing a pedagogue, a rhetor still awaiting his prime.' And the informal discourse contained many similar pieces of buffoonery. He died at an advanced age, but considered as one of the crowd; he was despised, because his art had left him."
This is also said about him by some people: after his death he was cut open, and his heart was found to be covered in hair and far to exceed in size the human nature. These are the stories that are told about him.
Greek Original:
Hermogenês, Tarseus, ho epiklên Xustêr, sophistês: hou diêkouse kai Mousônios ho philosophos. gegone de epi Markou tou basileôs, euphuestatos, kai tês hêlikias autou endeesteras huparchousês mallon hê phronêsis hupereichen. all' ouk eis makron tautês apêlause. genomenos gar peri ta k# kai d# etê exestê tôn phrenôn kai ên alloios hautou, mêdemias aphormês genomenês ê arrôstias tou sômatos: hôste kai tinas aposkôptein eis toutoni ton trisathlion tode to logion: Hermogenês ho en paisin gerôn kai en gerousi pais. plên peri ton iê# ê k# chronon genomenos graphei tauta ta biblia ta gemonta thaumatôn, Technên rhêtorikên, hên meta cheiras echousin hapantes, Peri staseôn biblion a#, Peri ideôn logou biblia b#, Peri koilês Surias b#. Philostratos d' ho Lêmnios en tais tôn Sophistôn anagraphais tauta phêsin peri autou: Hermogenês de, hon Tarsoi ênenkan, pentekaideka etê gegonôs, eph' houtô mega proubê tês tôn sophistôn doxês, hôs kai Markôi basilei paraschein erôta akroaseôs. ebadise goun epi tên akroasin autou ho Markos kai hêsthê men dialegomenou, ethaumaze de schediazonta, dôreas lampras edôken. es de andras hêkôn aphêirethê tên hexin hup' oudemias phaneras nosou. hothen asteïsmou logon paredôke tois baskanois: ephasan gar tous logous atechnôs kath' Homêron pteroentas einai: apobeblêkenai gar autous ton Hermogenê kathaper ptera. kai Antiochos ho sophistês aposkôptôn pote es auton houtôs ephê: Hermogenês ho en paisi gerôn, en de gêraskousi pais. hê de idea, hên epetêdeue, toiade tis. epi gar tou Markou dialegomenos, idou soi, ephê, basileu, rhêtôr paidagôgou deomenos, rhêtôr hêlikian perimenôn. kai pleiô hetera dielechthê kai hôde bômolocha. eteleutêse men en bathei gêrai, heis de tôn pollôn nomizomenos. katephronêthê gar, apoleipousês autôi tês technês. legetai de kai touto hupo tinôn, hoti teleutêsantos autou, anetmêthê kai heurethê hê kardia autou tetrichômenê kai tôi megethei polu tês anthrôpeias phuseôs huperballousa. kai tauta men ta peri autou aidomena.
C2 AD. See generally RE Hermogenes(22); OCD4 Hermogenes(2); PIR2 H149; FGrH 851, BNJ 851.
[1] = 'rasp, plane'.
[2] Probably the Athenian Stoic mentioned in Porphyry, Life of Plotinus 20 (RE Musonios (17)). This and other details in the present article are discussed in Heath (1998).
[3] Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists 2.7, 577-8.
[4] Homer, Iliad 1.201 and passim.
[5] Antiochus of Aegae: RE Antiochos(65); Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists 2.4.
M. Heath, Hermogenes: On Issues (Oxford 1995)
M. Heath, 'Hermogenes' biographers', Eranos 96 (1998) 44-54
G. Lindberg 'Hermogenes of Tarsus', ANRW II 34.3 (1997) 1978-2063
H. Rabe 'Aus Rhetoren Handschriften: 1. Nachrichten ueber das Leben des Hermogenes' RhM 62 (1907) 247-62
H. Rabe (ed.), Prolegomenon Sylloge (Leipzig 1931) xiv-xix
C. Wooten, Hermogenes On Types of Style (Chapel Hill 1987)
Keywords: biography; chronology; daily life; epic; geography; history; imagery; medicine; philosophy; rhetoric
Translated by: Malcolm Heath on 10 February 2001@17:20:51.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added note and keywords; cosmetics) on 13 September 2002@04:59:43.
David Whitehead (augmented primary note; another keyword) on 2 June 2011@05:29:55.
David Whitehead (updated bibliog; cosmetics) on 28 October 2012@09:08:20.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 1 August 2014@09:14:55.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 10 December 2014@01:16:16.
Fred Jenkins (added ref.) on 25 May 2016@17:02:56.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 3 December 2017@20:10:52.


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