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Headword: Οὐλπιανός
Adler number: omicron,914
Translated headword: Oulpianos, Ulpianus, Ulpian
Vetting Status: high
Brother of Isidore the philosopher;[1] [a man] who "was naturally talented in mathematical studies, so that he introduced many new problems and also solutions of the problems, in addition to the explanations of the mathematicians; his name was prominent among the mathematicians at Athens. Syrianus,[2] admiring his natural ability, related to many that it was not possible to set any lock before him so complicated and mechanically contrived that he could not easily open it himself, but that nevertheless he did not demonstrate any accomplishment worth mentioning in other branches of philosophy. Ulpian was moderate and orderly in his habits and seemed in this respect to differ from his brother, perhaps because he abstained completely from political involvements from beginning to end. People have become accustomed to apply the name of virtue to the business-hating life, but in my opinion it is not so. For the virtue which is involved in the midst of the community with political deeds and words exercises the soul towards greater strength and prepares it better for testing, insofar as it is healthy and unified; but insofar as baseness and falsity lurks in human lives, this all is examined and made more ready for correction. How much beneficial and useful is there in political activity? How great is boldness and confidence? Those learned men who sit in corners and philosophize at length very solemnly concerning justice and self-control make fools of themselves when they are forced to emerge into action. So every word which is not accompanied by deeds appears futile and empty. Ulpian became such a man while still young and ended his life unmarried, leaving much praise of his good character."
Greek Original:
Οὐλπιανός, ἀδελφὸς Ἰσιδώρου τοῦ φιλοσόφου: ὃς εὐφυέστατος ἐγεγόνει πρὸς τὰς μαθηματικὰς ἐπιστήμας, ὥστε καὶ πολλὰς εἰσενέγκασθαι καινὰς ἀπορίας καὶ λύσεις γε τῶν ἀποριῶν, πρὸς τὰς τῶν μαθημάτων ἐξηγήσεις: ὄνομά τε αὐτῷ μέγα ἦν ἐπὶ τοῖς μαθήμασιν Ἀθήνησιν. θαυμάζων δὲ αὐτοῦ τὴν φύσιν ὁ Συριανὸς διηγεῖτο πολλοῖς τισιν, ὡς οὐδὲν ἦν αὐτῷ προβάλεσθαι κλειδίον οὕτω πολύπλοκόν τε καὶ μηχανικῶς εἰργασμένον, ὅπερ οὐκ ἀνοιγνύναι ῥᾳδίως αὐτόματον: ἀλλ' ὅμως πρὸς τὴν ἄλλην φιλοσοφίαν μηδὲν ἐπιδείκνυσθαι λόγου ἄξιον. ἐπιεικὴς δὲ καὶ τὰ ἤθη κεκοσμημένος ὁ Οὐλπιανὸς ἐγεγόνει καὶ ἐδόκει ταύτῃ γε τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ διαφέρειν: ἴσως δὲ ἐπειδὴ πραγμάτων πολιτικῶν ἀπέσχετο τὸ πάμπαν ἐξ ἀρχῆς εἰς τέλος. πεφύκασι γὰρ οἱ ἄνθρωποι τῇ μισοπράγμονι ζωῇ τὴν ἀρετὴν ἐπιφημίζειν, οὐχ οὕτως ἔχον κατά γε τὴν ἐμήν. ἡ γὰρ ἐν μέσῃ τῇ πολιτείᾳ διὰ τῶν πολιτικῶν ἔργων τε καὶ λόγων ἀναστρεφομένη ἀρετὴ γυμνάζει τε τὴν ψυχὴν πρὸς τὸ ἐρρωμενέστερον καὶ βεβαιοῦται μᾶλλον ἐπὶ τῆς πείρας ὅσον αὐτῆς ὑγιές τε καὶ ὁλόκληρον, ὅσον δὲ κίβδηλον καὶ ἐπίπλαστον ἐμφωλεύει ταῖς ἀνθρωπίναις ζωαῖς, τοῦτο πᾶν διελέγχεται καὶ ἑτοιμότερον καθίσταται πρὸς διόρθωσιν. τὸ δὲ ἀγαθοεργόν τε καὶ ὠφελητικὸν ὅσον ἐστὶν ἐν τοῖς πολιτεύμασι; τὸ δὲ θαρραλέον καὶ βέβαιον ἡλίκον; τοιγαροῦν οἱ ἐν γωνίᾳ καθήμενοι λόγιοι καὶ πολλὰ φιλοσοφοῦντες μάλα σεμνῶς περὶ δικαιοσύνης καὶ σωφροσύνης, ἐκβαίνειν ἐπὶ τὰς πράξεις ἀναγκαζόμενοι ἀσχημονοῦσιν. ὡς ἅπας λόγος, ἂν ἀπῇ τὰ ἔργα, μάταιόν τι φαίνεται καὶ κενόν. τοιοῦτος ὁ Οὐλπιανὸς γενόμενος, ἔτι νέος ὢν, ἄγαμος ἐτελεύτα τὸν βίον, πολὺν ἔπαινον ἑαυτοῦ τῆς ἐπιεικείας ἀπολιπών.
Damascius, Life of Isidore fr. 324 Zintzen (296 Asmus, 123-124 Athanassiadi); quoted in part at mu 1127 and tau 177.
[1] Isidore: iota 631.
[2] Syrianus: sigma 1662.
Keywords: biography; ethics; geography; imagery; mathematics; philosophy; politics; science and technology
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 21 August 2003@01:08:55.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (supplemented headword; cosmetics) on 21 August 2003@03:11:21.
David Whitehead (added x-ref) on 21 August 2003@04:48:41.
Catharine Roth (added keyword) on 29 September 2005@02:17:15.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 20 November 2005@10:24:12.
Catharine Roth (augmented note) on 20 November 2005@19:46:45.
Catharine Roth (added cross-reference) on 24 April 2008@15:23:13.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 1 August 2013@06:59:51.


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