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Blossom Stefaniw

Didymus the Blind (c. 313—c. 398) was a textual scholar and ascetic practitioner. He is not associated with any of the major ascetic settlements around Alexandria and appears to have spent his entire life in or near the city. He is most known for his treatises On the Holy Spirit and On the Trinity (although the authorship of the latter is disputed) and for his biblical commentaries.Although the Council of Nicaea in 325 took place when Didymus was still a schoolboy, controversy and competition by the parties involved continued through Didymus’ lifetime. Didymus himself supported the decision of the Council, which the Alexandrian bishop, Athanasius, had promoted. After Didymus’ death, however, he was no longer associated with the orthodoxy of the day and, because of his reception of Origen of Alexandria, was condemned, along with Origen and Evagrius Ponticus, in connection with the 2nd Council of Constantinople in 553.


Aristarchus of Samothrace is the most important Hellenistic philologist. He was head librarian of Alexandria, and produced editions of many Greek authors. Among his most important achievments (the one we have most information) is his edition with commentary of Homer, which had a great impact on the history of the Homeric text.Aristarchus (c. 216–144bce) was born in Samothrace but spent most of his life in Alexandria, where he was a pupil of Aristophanes of Byzantium. Ptolemy VI Philometor (king from 180 to 145bce) appointed him as a tutor to his sons (Sudaα 3892 and POxy. 1241, a papyrus dating to the 2nd centuryce), probably around 155bce. At Alexandria royal tutors often were also the head librarians in the Royal Library. Aristarchus occupied this role as a successor of other important scholars (Zenodotus, Apollonius Rhodius, Eratosthenes, and his own teacher Aristophanes of Byzantium) in the first half of the 2nd century .


Marius Victorinus is one of the few direct links between the Platonist schools of late antiquity and Latin theology. A professor of rhetoric in mid-4th century Rome, Victorinus is perhaps the only Latin author whose writings, composed before and after his conversion to Christianity, survive. His school works of grammar and rhetoric were used for over a millennium, and he anticipated Boethius in integrating logic and dialectic into the rhetorical curriculum. He also translated the Neoplatonic works that deeply impacted Augustine. After conversion, Victorinus composed theological works of various genres: treatises and hymns in defense of the Nicene Creed and commentaries on the Pauline epistles, the first in Latin. The treatises reveal his chief contribution to the history of Christian thought: a philosophical interpretation of the trinity that drew deeply on late antique Platonist language and conceptuality to formulate a pro-Nicene theology. His commentaries on Paul employ the grammarian’s literal treatment of the text to identify the situational context of the epistles and the apostle’s rhetorical strategy. Victorinus was a pioneer of the synthesis of Christianity and Platonism in the Latin church, which reached its heights in late antiquity with Augustine and Boethius and flowered variously in the medieval Latin church.


Christopher Pelling

Bellum Civile (“Civil War”), title of three works.

(1)*Caesar's commentaries on the war begun in 49 bce: Caesar is unlikely to have used the title himself.

(2) Lucan's epic (see annaeus lucanus, marcus): this, or De Bello Civili, is the best-attested ancient title, though the popular alternative Pharsalia (cf. 9. 980–986) is regaining some scholarly fashion.

(3) The poem of 295 hexameters introduced into *Petronius Arbiter's Satyricon (119–124).

Some criticism of Lucan is clearly suggested, especially his suppression of divine machinery; but interpretation is not straightforward, given the satirical characterization of the speaker Encolpius.