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Headword: Ἡγίας
Adler number: eta,60
Translated headword: Hegias
Vetting Status: high
This man was better than his father[1] as regards the things that lead to virtue and the things that lead to eloquence. When still a young man he had hopes in himself and presented himself to everybody as in a sense not much inferior to the great Plutarch.[2] Accordingly Proclus considered him, even though still young, worthy of hearing his lecture-course of [= on] the Chaldean Oracles.[3] There was in him, by nature, a love of learning and a reasonableness. But apparently there was also wealth, that usual great evil for souls, furnishing the flatterers with an abundant supply not only of money (for this [is] not yet terrible) but also of a soul of a young man, easily devoured by such beasts, just like a freshly flowering plant. These people corrupted the life of Hegias in a way that he was no longer a philosopher. Otherwise he was eager to learn to interpret everything in relation to its nature; yet in accordance with his other habits there were times when he even deviated from correct reasoning. Wanting to be, above all else, holy,[4] he covertly celebrated the rites of in-laws in the Attic manner, without their consent, and he changed also, out of zeal, many other long-established things -- [whether] rather dangerously or rather piously.[5] Hence he became well-known in the civic community and attracted to himself those enemies who aimed to get the large fortune of which he was master and who were plotting [against him] with the support of the established order; for there was in Hegias something of Theagenes' magnanimous nature in his benefactions;[6] but [it was] more frugal than his to the extent of what he spent on friends and suppliants.
Greek Original:
Ἡγίας: οὗτος ἀμείνω τοῦ πατρὸς ἦν τὰ πρὸς ἀρετὴν ἥκοντα καὶ τὰ πρὸς λόγους. ἔτι μὴν μειράκιον γεγονὼς ἐλπίδας ἔσχεν ἐφ' ἑαυτῷ καὶ πᾶσι παρέσχεν ὡς οὐ πολύ τι ἀπολειπόμενος τοῦ μεγάλου Πλουτάρχου. τοιγαροῦν ὁ Πρόκλος ἠξίωσεν αὐτὸν ἔτι νέον ὄντα τῆς τῶν Χαλδαϊκῶν λογίων ἀκροάσεως. φιλομαθία τις αὐτῷ καὶ ἐπιείκεια προσῆν κατὰ φύσιν. ἀλλὰ τοῦτο δὴ τὸ εἰωθὸς ὁ πλοῦτος μέγα κακὸν ταῖς ψυχαῖς ἔοικεν εἶναι, νομὴν ἄφθονον τοῖς κόλαξι παρεχόμενος, οὐ χρυσίου μόνον [οὔπω γὰρ τοῦτο δεινὸν], ἀλλὰ νέου ψυχῆς ἁπαλῆς καὶ ῥᾳδίως ὑπὸ τῶν τοιούτων θηρίων καταβοσκομένης, ὥσπερ ἀτεχνῶς ἄρτι ἀνθούσης βοτάνης. οὗτοι διέφθειραν τὴν Ἡγίου ζωὴν πρός γε τὸ μὴ γνησίως φιλοσοφεῖν. ἄλλως δὲ φιλομαθὴς ὅσα τὴν φύσιν ἐξηγήσασθαι: ἐπεὶ κατὰ τὴν ἄλλην συνήθειαν ἔστιν ὅπη καὶ διεκπίπτει τῶν ὀρθῶν λογισμῶν. ἱερὸς δὲ εἴπερ τις ἄλλος εἶναι βουλόμενος τά τε τῶν κηδεστῶν ἱερὰ λαθὼν ἐτελειώσατο κατὰ τὴν Ἀττικήν, οὐ πείσας ἐκείνους, καὶ πολλὰ ἄλλα τῶν κειμένων τέως ἐκ πλείστου χρόνου πάλιν ἐκίνησε παραβολώτερον ἢ εὐσεβέστερον τῇ προθυμίᾳ χρησάμενος. ὅθεν ἐν τῇ πολιτείᾳ περιβόητος ἐγένετο καὶ χαλεποὺς ἐφ' ἑαυτῷ τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ἐπεσπάσατο τούς τε μεγάλων χρημάτων ὀρεγομένους, ὧν κύριος ἦν, καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν καθεστώτων νομίμων ἐπιβουλεύοντας: ἐνῆν γάρ τι τῷ Ἡγίᾳ καὶ τῆς Θεαγένους μεγαλόφρονος φύσεως ἐν ταῖς εὐεργεσίαις: ἀκριβέστερον δὲ ἐκείνου τοσοῦτον ὅσον ἐς φίλους καὶ δεομένους ἀναλίσκειν.
Damascius, Life of Isidore fr.351 Zintzen (221 Asmus, 145B Athanassiadi) on Hegias, successor of Isidore as diadochus in the Athenian Academy.
[1] It is not clear who his father was. Martano (see bibliography below) follows Zumpt in believing that he was a relative of Plutarch of Athens. Zumpt believes Hegias was his grandson, and son of Archiadas (friend of Proclus); Martano states that he was his great-grandson, and son of Theagenes (see n.4 below). "Better" in the masculine nominative singular should be ἀμείνων ; at least one manuscript has corrected the spelling to this.
[2] The founder of the Athenian Neoplatonic school. Although it is not clear whether Hegias was a relative of Plutarch, it is attested by Marinus, Life of Proclus 26, that Hegias knew him personally.
[3] On the "Chaldean Oracles" see under pi 2098, chi 12, etc. For Proclus, see pi 2473.
[4] This special interest of Hegias' in ἱερατικὴ πραγματεία is attested also by fr. 227 Zintzen.
[5] According to Athanassiadi ad loc., what Hegias was restoring without his relatives' permission might have been either rites or shrines. She mentions, without accepting it, Alan Cameron's suggestion that Hegias' relatives may have disapproved because they were Christians.
[6] According to Martano, Theagenes (theta 78) was Hegias' father.
E. Zeller & R. Mondolfo, La filosofia dei greci nel suo sviluppo storico Volume VI: G. Martano, Giamblico e la Scuola di Atene, La Nuova Italia Editrice, Florence
P. Athanassiadi, Damascius: The Philosophical History. Athens 1999
Keywords: biography; botany; Christianity; economics; ethics; history; imagery; philosophy; religion; science and technology
Translated by: Stefano Sanfilippo on 1 November 2005@04:15:14.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (began to modify translation; adjusted note numbers, added cross-reference) on 2 November 2005@00:46:26.
David Whitehead (more of same, in tr and notes) on 2 November 2005@03:36:37.
David Whitehead (more of same) on 3 November 2005@05:55:45.
Catharine Roth (modified translation and notes, added keywords, set status) on 19 November 2005@12:10:54.
Catharine Roth (modified note) on 19 November 2005@19:49:33.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 4 December 2005@09:12:41.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 3 December 2012@09:53:09.
Catharine Roth (expanded note) on 16 July 2018@22:55:56.


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