Flavius Philostratus Criticism - Essay

F. C. Conybeare (essay date 1912)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Conybeare, F. C. “Introduction.” In The Life of Apollonius of Tyana: The Epistles of Apollonius and the Treatise of Eusebius, by Philostratus, translated by F. C. Conybeare, pp. vii-xvii. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1912.

[In the following essay, an introduction to his translation of Philostratus's Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Conybeare summarizes the work and evaluates the veracity of Philostratus's account.]

The Life of Apollonius of Tyana has only been once translated in its entirety into English, as long ago as the year 1811, by an Irish clergyman of the name of E. Berwick. It is to be hoped therefore that the present...

(The entire section is 2342 words.)

Wilmer Cave Wright (essay date 1921)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Wright, Wilmer Cave. “Introduction.” In The Lives of the Sophists, by Philostratus and Eunapius, translated by Wilmer Cave Wright, pp. ix-xli. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1952.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1921, Wright offers an overview of Philostratus's Lives of the Sophists, discussing the date of composition, its style and content, as well as including summaries on several sophists who were overlooked by Philostratus in his treatise.]

The island Lemnos was the ancestral home of the Philostrati, a family in which the profession of sophist was hereditary in the second and third Christian centuries. Of the works...

(The entire section is 9266 words.)

G. W. Bowersock (essay date 1969)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Bowersock, G. W. “The Biographer of the Sophists.” In Greek Sophists in the Roman Empire, pp. 1-16. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969.

[In the following essay, Bowersock discusses Philostratus's notion of the “sophistic,” characterizing his writing as a “reliable evocation of a grand baroque age.”]

Literature, illuminating the society of an age through acquiescence or dissent, must always have its place in history as a reflection of attitudes and taste. The relation of literature to politics, however, has not been uniform throughout the ages; from time to time there have developed close alliances between literature and politics,—in England,...

(The entire section is 7643 words.)

C. P. Jones (essay date 1974)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Jones, C. P. “The Reliability of Philostratus.” In Approaches to the Second Sophistic: Papers Presented at the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association, edited by G. W. Bowersock, pp. 11-16. University Park, Pa.: The American Philological Association, 1974.

[In the following essay, Jones examines the reliability of Philostratus's account of the second sophistic, comparing it to other sources from the time, and contends that the value of Philostratus's text lies in the individual details preserved by the sophist, rather than the manner in which he presents them.]

Philostratus' Lives of the Sophists are the principal source for the...

(The entire section is 3125 words.)

Ewen Lyall Bowie (essay date 1978)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Bowie, Ewen Lyall. “Apollonius of Tyana: Tradition and Reality.” Aufstieg und Niedergang der Romischen Welt 2, no. 16, 2 (1978): 1652-71.

[In the following excerpt, Bowie asserts that although Philostratus's work is a primary source of information on Apollonius of Tyana, the writer altered and amplified the subject of his biography, and therefore, the information contained in this text must be studied with discrimination.]

Modern accounts of Apollonius of Tyana are necessarily dominated by the biographic work of Philostratus1. Earlier independent testimony is exiguous, and much of the later tradition in antiquity betrays the influence of his...

(The entire section is 12296 words.)

Simon Swain (essay date 1991)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Swain, Simon. “The Reliability of Philostratus's The Lives of the Sophists.” Classical Antiquity 1, no. 2 (1991): 148-63.

[In the following essay, Swain provides a summary of the sources Philostratus used in compiling his Lives of the Sophists, and how he interpreted and presented the information available to him.]

For those interested in investigating the Greek society and culture of the first three centuries a.d. Philostratus's record of sophistic activity in the Lives of the Sophists (VS) is unavoidable. There have been a number of important treatments of the Lives, including most recently a useful commentary on those...

(The entire section is 8123 words.)

Jaap-Jan Flinterman (essay date 1995)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Flinterman, Jaap-Jan. “The Writer.” In Power, Paideia & Pythagoreanism: Greek Identity, Conceptions of the Relationship between Philosophers and Monarchs and Political Ideas in Philostratus's Life of Apollonius, pp. 29-51. Amsterdam, Netherlands: J. C. Gieben, 1995.

[In the following excerpt, Flinterman summarizes the preface and introduction to Philostratus's The Lives of the Sophists, discussing the author's attitude toward the sophists and various Greek literary and political issues, and finally, challenges scholarly analyses that claim Philostratus did not identify with his fellow sophists.]

The Suda (Φ 421) calls the author of...

(The entire section is 14863 words.)

Jaap-Jan Flinterman (essay date 1995)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Flinterman, Jaap-Jan. “The Main Character.” In Power, Paideia & Pythagoreanism: Greek Identity, Conceptions of the Relationship between Philosophers and Monarchs and Political Ideas in Philostratus's Life of Apollonius, pp. 60-66. Amsterdam, Netherlands: J. C. Gieben, 1995.

[In the following excerpt, Flinterman discusses Apollonius of Tyana, examining the ontological status of the main character, and expounding on Philostratus's attitude toward magic and his hero.]

At numerous points in his work Philostratus explicitly states his intention of offering his readers a view of Apollonius which deviates from current opinion; in fact, it is at...

(The entire section is 5568 words.)

James A. Francis (essay date 1998)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Francis, James A. “Truthful Fiction: New Questions to Old Answers on Philostratus's Life of Apollonius.” American Journal of Philology 19, no. 3 (1998): 419-41.

[In the following essay, Francis critiques the assumptions and methods of scholarship often applied to Apollonius of Tyana, theorizing that new ideas about the nature of history and ancient fiction have opened up unexplored avenues for research into the text.]

Within the past twenty years four extensive works have appeared treating Philostratus' Life of Apollonius of Tyana (VA) from various literary, historical, and cultural perspectives. These include E. L. Bowie's...

(The entire section is 9083 words.)

Christopher Jones (essay date October 2000)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Jones, Christopher. “The Emperor and the Giant.” Classical Philology 95, no. 4 (October 2000): 476-81.

[In the following essay, Jones argues that a passage from Philostratus's Heroikos can help identify an emperor mentioned in a treatise by Pausanias; the critic claims that the man described is in fact Lucius Verus.]

A passage of the periegete Pausanias mentions an “emperor (βασιλεύs) of the Romans” who discovered, or caused to be discovered, the bones of a giant in the bed of the river Orontes. Though the identification of the emperor has been discussed inconclusively for well over a century, it involves the history and topography of...

(The entire section is 2781 words.)

D. Thomas Benediktson (essay date 2000)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Benediktson, D. Thomas. “Phantasia: Plato and Aristotle, Cicero and Other Romans, Dio Chrsysostom, and Philostratus.” In Power, Literature and Visual Arts in Ancient Greece and Rome, pp. 185-88. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000.

[In the following excerpt, Benediktson explores Philostratus's ideas on the relationship between literature and the visual arts as they are expressed in Apollonius of Tyana.]

The traditions of Plato, Cicero and Dio come together in Philostratus, the author of the Life of Apollonius of Tyana. … Along with his relative of the same name, who wrote the Imagines, Philostratus has received a great...

(The entire section is 1404 words.)

Christopher P. Jones (essay date 2001)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Jones, Christopher P. “Philostratus' Heroikos and Its Setting in Reality.” Journal of Hellenic Studies 21 (2001): 141-49.

[In the following essay, Jones examines the social and historical background of the events described in the Heroikos, first summarizing the work and then focusing on the date of composition, geographical setting, and the views expressed in it regarding heroes.]

As recently as 1987, the dialogue Heroikos (On the Heroes), usually attributed to Philostratus ‘the Athenian’ or ‘the Younger’, was ‘more often dismissed than discussed’. Since then the situation has changed. An Italian translation with...

(The entire section is 5792 words.)