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Headword: Αἰδεσία
Adler number: alphaiota,79
Translated headword: Aidesia, Aedesia
Vetting Status: high
Wife of Hermeias.[1] She was related by birth to the great Syrianos,[2] and was the fairest and finest of all the women in Alexandria. In her character she was similar to her husband: simple, noble, and a devotee of justice no less than of propriety through her whole life. But her outstanding quality was her piety and her philanthropy. Because of this she tried to benefit those in need even beyond her means, to the extent that even when Hermeias died and she was left behind with orphan children she continued in her good works. In fact, she spent her life in debt to her sons, upon which basis some even tried to find fault with her. But she, thinking there to be but one storehouse of hope for the better -- for whoever might wish to lighten the burdens of holy and virtuous men -- spared nothing, out of her pity for the fortunes that befall humankind. Therefore even the most wretched of the citizens loved her. She especially took care for her sons in the area of philosophy, desiring to bequeath to them the wisdom of their father as though it were a sort of inheritence of paternal property. She saved for the children the public allowance given to their father when they were still young, so they studied philosophy.[3] This is something that we know of no other man doing, much less any other woman. There was no small amount of honor and respect for Aidesia in the eyes of all. But when she even sailed together with her sons to Athens, who were sent there to learn philosophy, it was not only the common crowd of philosophers who marvelled at her virtue, but even their chief, Proklos.[4] It is this Aidesia whom Syrianos would have betrothed to Proklos had not one of the gods prevented Proklos from entering upon marriage. In regard to divine matters she was so pious and holy and, to put it in a single word, god-loving, that she was deemed worthy of many epiphanies. Such was Aidesia, and she lived her whole life beloved and praised by god and by men. I met her when she was an old woman, and at her death, while I was still young, a mere lad in fact, I recited at her tomb the customary eulogy adorned with heroic verses. Of her sons by Hermeias, Heliodoros was the younger and Ammonios[5] the older. The latter was more talented and more studious, the former simpler and more ordinary in his habits and in his speech. Both studied philosophy under Proklos, with their mother acting as pedagogue when they came to him. Proklos paid special attention to them as children of Hermeias, a man who was his friend and companion, and as children of Aidesia, who was related by birth to Syrianos and was there together with them at that time. In fact Hierax the brother of Synesios came to Athens with them also.
Greek Original:
Αἰδεσία, Ἑρμείου γυνή. αὕτη ἦν μὲν προσήκουσα γένει τῷ μεγάλῳ Συριανῷ, καλλίστη καὶ ἀρίστη γυναικῶν τῶν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ: τὰ μὲν ἤθη τῷ ἀνδρὶ παραπλησία, ἁπλῆ καὶ γενναία καὶ δικαιοσύνης οὐδὲν ἧττον ἢ σωφροσύνης ἐπιμεληθεῖσα διὰ βίου παντός: τὸ δὲ ἐξαίρετον αὐτῆς φιλόθεον καὶ φιλάνθρωπον. διὰ τοῦτο καὶ παρὰ δύναμιν εὖ ποιεῖν ἐπεχείρει τοὺς δεομένους, ὥστε καὶ τοῦ Ἑρμείου τελευτήσαντος ἐπὶ παισὶν ὀρφανοῖς ἀπολειφθεῖσα τῶν αὐτῶν εἴχετο δαπανημάτων εἰς τὰς εὐποιί̈ας. τοιγάρτοι καὶ ὑπόχρεων τοῖς υἱέσι τὸν βίον ἐποίησεν, ἐφ' ᾧ καὶ μέμψασθαί τινες αὐτὴν ἐπεχείρουν. ἡ δὲ ἕνα θησαυρὸν ἡγουμένη τῆς ἀμείνονος ἐλπίδος, εἴ τις ἐθέλοι τοῖς ἱεροῖς καὶ ἐπιεικέσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐπικουφίζειν τὰ ἄχθη τῆς χρησμοσύνης, οὐδενὸς ἐφείδετο διὰ τὸν ἔλεον τῆς κατὰ τὰ ἀνθρώπεια τύχης: τοιγαροῦν ἠγάπων αὐτὴν καὶ τῶν πολιτῶν οἱ πονηρότατοι. μάλιστα δὲ τῶν υἱέων ἐπεμελεῖτο τὰ περὶ φιλοσοφίαν, ὀρεγομένη τὴν τοῦ πατρὸς ἐπιστήμην αὐτοῖς παραδοῦναι καθάπερ κλῆρόν τινα πατρῴας οὐσίας. ἥ γε καὶ τὴν δημοσίαν τῷ πατρὶ σίτησιν διδομένην τοῖς παισὶ διεφύλαξε νέοις ἔτι οὖσιν, ὡς ἐφιλοσόφησαν: ὅπερ οὐκ ἴσμεν οὐδὲ ἀνδρῶν ἕτερον πεποιηκότα, μήτι γε δὴ γυναικῶν. ἦν γὰρ παρὰ πᾶσι τιμὴ καὶ αἰδὼς οὐκ ὀλίγη τῆς Αἰδεσίας. ἀλλ' ἐπεὶ καὶ συνέπλευσε τοῖς υἱέσιν Ἀθήναζε στελλομένοις ἐπὶ φιλοσοφίαν, ἐθαύμασεν αὐτῆς τὴν ἀρετὴν ὅ τε ἄλλος χορὸς τῶν φιλοσόφων καὶ ὁ κορυφαῖος Πρόκλος. αὕτη ἐστὶν Αἰδεσία, ἣν κόρην οὖσαν ἔτι τῷ Πρόκλῳ κατεγγυήσειν ἔμελλεν ὁ Συριανός, εἰ μὴ θεῶν τις ἀπεκώλυσεν ἐπὶ γάμον ὁρμῆσαι τὸν Πρόκλον. τὰ δὲ πρὸς θεὸν εὐσεβὴς οὕτω καὶ ἱερά, καὶ τὸ ὅλον φάναι θεοφιλής, ὥστε πολλῶν ἐπιφανειῶν ἀξιοῦσθαι. ἡ δὲ Αἰδεσία τοιαύτη ἦν καὶ διεβίω πάντα τὸν βίον ὑπὸ θεοῦ τε καὶ ἀνθρώπων ἀγαπωμένη καὶ ἐπαινουμένη. καὶ ταύτην ἐπίσταμαι γραῦν γυναῖκα, καὶ ἐπ' αὐτῇ τεθνεώσῃ τὸν ἐπὶ τῷ τάφῳ λέγεσθαι νομιζόμενον ἔπαινον ἐπεδειξάμην ἡρωικοῖς ἔπεσι κεκοσμημένον ἔτι νέος ὢν τότε καὶ κομιδῆ μειράκιον. ταύτης δὲ παῖδες ἀπὸ τοῦ Ἑρμείου νεώτερος μὲν Ἡλιόδωρος, πρεσβύτης δὲ Ἀμμώνιος. οὗτος μὲν οὖν εὐφυέστερος ἦν καὶ φιλομαθέστερος, ὁ δὲ ἁπλούστερος καὶ ἐπιπολαιότερος ἔν τε τοῖς ἤθεσιν ἔν τε τοῖς λόγοις. ἄμφω μὲν γὰρ ἐφιλοσοφησάτην ὑπὸ Πρόκλῳ μετὰ τῆς μητρὸς ὡς αὐτὸν ἀφικομένω παιδαγωγούσης. καὶ ὁ Πρόκλος αὐτοῖς προσεῖχε τὸν νοῦν ἐπιμελέστερον ὡς παισὶν Ἑρμείου, φίλου τε καὶ ἑταίρου ἀνδρός, παισὶ δὲ Αἰδεσίας, τῆς γένει Συριανῷ προσηκούσης καὶ ἅμα σφίσι τὸ τηνικαῦτα παρούσης. ἀφίκετο μὲν δὴ σὺν αὐτοῖς Ἀθήναζε καὶ Ἱέραξ ὁ Συνεσίου ἀδελφός.
Damascius, Life of Isidore fr. 124 Zintzen (75 Asmus).
[1] epsilon 3035, epsilon 3036 (cf. also pi 2251, pi 137, alpha 4497, gamma 453).
[2] sigma 1662.
[3] Or following Bekker in reading ἕως for ὡς , "until they began to study philosophy".
[4] pi 2473.
[5] alpha 1639.
Keywords: biography; children; daily life; definition; economics; ethics; gender and sexuality; geography; history; law; philosophy; religion; women
Translated by: William Hutton on 29 October 2002@13:57:40.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth on 29 October 2002@23:50:19.
David Whitehead (updated core reference; restorative cosmetics) on 30 October 2002@03:14:23.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 16 November 2005@08:05:35.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 22 November 2005@09:57:15.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 11 May 2012@06:55:14.


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