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Headword: Οὐράνιος
Adler number: omicron,936
Translated headword: Uranius, Ouranios, Vranius
Vetting Status: high
[Uranius] by name, Syrian by birth, he wandered about the imperial city, pursuing the physician's craft, and, although he came to know nothing in detail of Aristotelian doctrines, yet he bragged of knowing a great deal, while conducting himself arrogantly by being contentious at public gatherings. For often, going before the Royal Stoa or sitting in the bookshops,[1] he became engaged in quarrels and boasted to those gathered on the spot, and especially to those who kept recirculating their pet phrases about the Higher Power--most of those men, I think, not having been regularly educated nor having exhibited the best manner of living--about such things as this is its Nature, its Essence, its Disposition, and its Distinctness.[2] This man Uranius once came before [the] Persians, having been led by Areobindus the envoy.[3]
Greek Original:
Οὐράνιος ὄνομα, Σύρος τὸ γένος, κατὰ τὴν βασιλέως πόλιν ἠλᾶτο, τέχνην ἐπαγγελλόμενος τὴν ἰατρικὴν μετιέναι, τῶν δὲ Ἀριστοτέλους δογμάτων οὐδὲν μὲν ἐς τὸ ἀκριβὲς ἐγίνωσκεν, ἐκομψεύετο δὲ ὡς πλεῖστα εἰδέναι, βρενθυόμενος, τῷ δύσερις εἶναι παρὰ τοὺς ξυλλόγους. πολλάκις γὰρ ἰὼν πρὸ τῆς βασιλείου στοᾶς καὶ ἐν τοῖς τῶν βιβλίων ἥμενος πωλητηρίοις διεπληκτίζετο καὶ ἐμεγαληγόρει πρὸς τοὺς αὐτόθι ἀγειρομένους καὶ ταῦτα δὴ τὰ εἰθισμένα ῥημάτια τοῦ κρείττονος πέρι ἀνακυκλοῦντας, ὁποῖον δή τι αὐτοῖς ἥ τε φύσις ἐστὶ καὶ ἡ οὐσία καὶ τὸ παθητὸν καὶ τὸ ἀξύγχυτον: ὧν οἱ πλεῖστοι οὐδὲ ἐς γραμματιστοῦ οἶμαι φοιτήσαντες, οὐδὲ μὴν βίῳ ἀρίστῳ ἐκδεδιῃτημένοι. οὗτος ὁ Οὐράνιος ἧκέ ποτε παρὰ Πέρσας, ὑπὸ Ἀρεοβίνδου τοῦ πρεσβευτοῦ ἀπηγμένος.
The Syrian-born medical doctor and philosopher -- a combination of professions not uncommon in Late Antiquity (Westerink, pp. 169-177) -- Uranius (fl. mid-C6 CE, cf. PLRE IIIb s.v. Vranius) frequented legal and intellectual circles at Constantinople (kappa 2287).
This Suda entry on him comes from two passages in Agathias: see nn. 2-3 below.
[1] Many lawyers, among them Agathias himself (c. 532-c. 580; see alpha 112 and Cameron, p. 31), were employed at the Royal, or Basileios Stoa, a structure in Constantinople that has been located not far to the west of the Hagia Sophia cathedral, long also a mosque, but now a museum, in present-day Istanbul, Turkey (Frendo, p. 68). The bookstalls too were nearby (Rapp, p. 378).
[2] From Agathias, Histories 2.29.1-3 (p. 127 Niebuhr, p. 78 Keydell); cf. Keydell in Byzantinische Zeitschrift, pp. 68-71. Taking its clues from Agathias' hostility toward the loquacious Syrian intellectual, scholarship has generally cast Uranius as a "quack philosopher" (Cameron, p. 35 note) or the like; for a reassessment, however, see Walker, pp. 45-69.
[3] Agathias, Histories 2.29.9 (p. 128 Niebuhr, p. 79 Keydell). His diplomatic mission probably taking place some time after 532 CE, Areobindus (cf. PLRE IIIa s.v. Areobindus 3--perhaps identical with PLRE IIIa Areobindus 4--and alpha 3823) was the envoy to the Persian king Chosroes (ruled 531-79, cf. chi 481). [A more famous embassy, including seven Athenian philosophers, occurred earlier, about 531-2 (Athanassiadi, pp. 48-53), but a close reading of Agathias, Histories 2.30, suggests that the Suda errs (cf. pi 2251) by including Areobindus in that prior entourage (Martindale in PLRE IIIa, p. 110).]
J.R. Martindale, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, vol. IIIb, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992
L.G. Westerink, 'Philosophy and medicine in late antiquity,' Janus, vol. 51, 1964
Averil Cameron, Agathias, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970
J.D. Frendo, trans., Agathias: The Histories, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1975
C. Rapp, 'Literary culture under Justinian,' in M. Maas, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 376-400, 2005
R. Keydell, 'Review of Averil Cameron, Agathias,' in Byzantinische Zeitschrift, vol. 64, pp. 68-71, July 1971
J.T. Walker, 'The limits of late antiquity: philosophy between Rome and Iran,' in The Ancient World, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 45-69, 2002
J.R. Martindale, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, vol. IIIa, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992
P. Athaniassiadi, ed., Damascius: The Philosophical History, Athens: Apameia, 1999
Keywords: biography; ethics; geography; historiography; history; law; medicine; philosophy; politics; religion
Translated by: Ronald Allen on 11 August 2010@02:26:14.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (tweaks to tr and notes; more keywords) on 11 August 2010@03:29:09.
David Whitehead on 1 August 2013@09:43:04.


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