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Vying With Aristides In The Fourth Century: Libanius And His Friends

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Chapter Summary

The sophist Libanius in Antioch was one of Aelius Aristides? most fervent admirers, and paid tribute to him in letters and orations. This chapter addresses the questions: why Aristides was so irresistible to orators in the fourth century; what were the reasons (besides his perfect Attic style) that made him a cardinal point of reference? In addition, since the direct references to Aristides in Libanius date to the first phase of his activity in Antioch, it is meaningful to inquire whether Aristides? influence on the fourth-century sophist can be perceived in later periods. Vying with another writer meant acknowledging one?s forebears and disclosing one?s literary pedigree but might also involve a degree of antagonism and the attempt, often botched, to improve on a forerunner. Libanius twice invoked his tutelary deity, Tyche, who allowed him to disprove the adage that ?a prophet is not honored in his own country?.

Keywords: Aelius Aristides; antagonism; fourth-century sophist; sophist Libanius; Tyche



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