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Headword: Ἱεροκλῆς
Adler number: iota,178
Translated headword: Hierokles, Hierocles
Vetting Status: high
A philosopher, from Alexandria. This man, along with his unchanging and magnificent breadth in thought to an outstanding degree and excelling in eloquence and abundance of the most beautiful nouns and verbs, used to astound his audiences everywhere. He also had a disciple Theosebios, a man the equal of any whom we know in looking into the souls of men. The same Theosebios used to relate that Hierokles once said that Socrates'[1] words were like cubes: they were everywhere 'no-fall', no matter how they landed.[2] Of Hierokles' courage and high-mindedness the lot that befell him gave evidence. For when he went to Byzantium he gave offense to those in power[3] and being led to trial he was beaten with the blows of men. As his blood flowed, dipping the hollow of his hand he sprinkled the judge, saying, "Cyclops, come, drink wine, since you eat the flesh of men."[4] But when he was condemned to exile and returned much later to Alexandria he taught his customary philosophy to those who approached. It is possible to learn the great-spirited wisdom of Hierokles from his writings, which he composed on The Golden Verses of the Pythagoreans[5] and of other lengthy books On Providence; in these the man appears high-minded in his way of life, but not accurate in his knowledge.
Greek Original:
Ἱεροκλῆς, φιλόσοφος, Ἀλεξανδρεύς. οὗτος μετὰ τοῦ ἀτρέπτου καὶ μεγαλοπρεποῦς εὔρους τε τὴν διάνοιαν εἰς ὑπερβολὴν καὶ διαφέρων εὐγλωττίᾳ καὶ εὐπορίᾳ τῶν καλλίστων ὀνομάτων καὶ ῥημάτων κατέπληττε πανταχοῦ τοὺς ἀκροωμένους. ἦν δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ μαθητὴς Θεοσέβιος, ἀνήρ, εἴπερ τις ἕτερος ὧν ἡμεῖς ἴσμεν, εἰωθὼς ἀποβλέπειν εἰς τὰς τῶν ἀνθρώπων ψυχάς. ἔλεγε δὲ ὁ αὐτὸς Θεοσέβιος ἐξηγούμενον φάναι ποτὲ τὸν Ἱεροκλέα, κύβοις ἐοικέναι τοὺς Σωκράτους λόγους: ἀπτῶτας γὰρ εἶναι πανταχοῦ, ὅπῃ ἂν πέσωσι. τοῦ δὲ Ἱεροκλέους τὸ ἀνδρεῖον καὶ μεγαλόθυμον ἦθος ἀπέδειξεν ἡ συμβᾶσα τύχη περὶ αὐτόν. εἰς γὰρ τὸ Βυζάντιον ἀνελθὼν προσέκρουσε τοῖς κρατοῦσι καὶ εἰς δικαστήριον ἀχθεὶς ἐτύπτετο τὰς ἐξ ἀνθρώπων πληγάς. ῥεόμενος δὲ τῷ αἵματι, βάψας κοίλην τὴν χεῖρα προσραίνει τὸν κριτὴν ἅμα λέγων: κύκλωψ, τῆ, πίε οἶνον, ἐπεὶ φάγες ἀνδρόμεα κρέα. φυγὴν δὲ κατακριθεὶς καὶ ἐπανελθὼν χρόνῳ ὕστερον εἰς Ἀλεξάνδρειαν συνεφιλοσόφει τὰ εἰωθότα τοῖς πλησιάζουσιν. ἔξεστι δὲ μαθεῖν τὴν Ἱεροκλέους μεγαλογνώμονα φρόνησιν ἀπὸ τῶν συγγραμμάτων, ὧν γέγραφεν εἰς τὰ Χρυσᾶ ἔπη τῶν Πυθαγορείων καὶ ἑτέρων βιβλίων περὶ προνοίας συχνῶν: ἐν οἷς φαίνεται ὁ ἀνὴρ τὴν μὲν ζωὴν ὑψηλόφρων, τὴν δὲ γνῶσιν οὐκ ἀκριβής.
Damascius, Life of Isidore fr. 106 Zintzen (54 Asmus); cf. Photius, Bibliotheca 338b 28 ff.
On Hierocles and Theosebius see also epsilon 2424.
[1] sigma 829.
[2] A wrestling metaphor.
[3] That is, Christian authorities.
[4] Homer, Odyssey 9.347 (web address 1).
[5] cf. under pi 3120.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: athletics; biography; Christianity; epic; ethics; food; geography; imagery; law; philosophy; religion; rhetoric
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 18 January 2007@00:44:08.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 18 January 2007@03:20:28.
Catharine Roth (added keyword) on 18 January 2007@10:41:52.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 9 January 2013@08:34:34.
Catharine Roth (upgraded link) on 10 January 2013@01:37:13.
David Whitehead (note tweak) on 26 April 2016@04:49:37.


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