Maximus of Tyre

Maximus Of Tyre, a Neo-Platonic philosopher, surnamed after the place of his abode, flourished in the 2d century as teacher of philosophy and rhetoric, first in Greece and afterwards in Rome, whither he made two journeys, one under the reign of Antoninus, another under that of Commodus. He may be ranked with Phaedrus, Quintus Curtius, and others, of whom their contemporaries have scarcely made mention, and therefore of whom very little is known. We have extant of his works forty-one Διαλέξεις, or dissertations, upon various arguments, a MS. copy of which was first brought out of Greece into Italy by Janus Lascaris, and presented to Lawrence de Medicis. From this copy a Latin translation was made, and published by Cosmus Paccius, archbishop of Florence, in 1519; then in Greek by Henry Stephens in 1557; then in Greek and Latin by Daniel Heinsius in 1607; by J. Davis in 1703; by Reiske in 1774, and since, in 4to. These dissertations are entertaining, curious, and instructive, and have gained the author high encomiums among the learned. The following examples will give some idea of the subject of Maximus's dissertations: "On Plato's Opinion respecting the Deity;" "Whether we ought to return Injuries done to us;" "Whether an Active or a Contemplative Life is to be preferred;" "Whether Soldiers or Husbandmen are more useful in a State;" "On the Daemonium of Socrates;" "Whether Prayers should be addressed to the Deity," etc. The dissertations have been translated into French by Morel (Paris, 1607), by Forney (1764), and by Dounais (1802); into Italian by Petro de Bardi (Venice, 1642); and into German by C. T. Damm (Berlin, 1764). There is, we believe, no English translation of this author. Isaac Casaubon, in the epistle dedicatory of his Commentaries upon Persius, calls him "mellitissimus Platonicorum;" and Peter Petit represents him as "auctorem imprimis elegantem in philosophia ac disertum" (Misc. Observat. lib. 1, 100:20). He has spoken a good deal of himself in his thirty-seventh dissertation, and seemingly in a style of panegyric, for which his editor Davis has accused him of indecency and vanity; but Fabricius (Bib. Graec. lib. 4, 100:23) has defended him very well upon this head by observing that Davis did not sufficiently attend to Maximus's purpose in speaking thus of himself; "which was," he says, "not at all with a view of praising himself, but to encourage and promote the practice of those lessons in philosophy which they heard from him with so much applause." Some have confounded Maximus of Tyre with Maximus Ephesius, the preceptor of Julian the Apostate. See Genesis Biog. Dict. s.v.; Smith, Dict. Greek and Roman Biog. and Mythol. s.v.; English Cyclopaedia, s.v.

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