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Διωκομενα, αλλ' ουκ εγκαταλειπομενο
Persecuted, but not forsaken:
2 CoR. Iv. 9.
Ει γαρ τις οξους οξυτομῳ πελεκει
το διδοι ψαρον πρ. αὗτας,
PIND. PYTH. IV. 468.
See'st thou, the forest's pride, yon stately Oak ? Soon it may stand, of fruit and foliage bare, It's honours lopp'd by the fell woodman's stroke, A mangled trunk in the tempestuous air.
Yet, shorne of strength,-yet, spoil'd of gay attire,
An Oak still proves it's vigour by the blaze.
FROM the memorials of DION, or D10, CHRYSOSTOM, which have been transmitted to our times by himself, by Photius, Philostratus, or others, and investigated by Fabricius in that immense and inestimable repository of ancient literature, the Bibliotheca Græca, lib. iv. cap. 10. we collect, that our author was the son of one Pasicrates, that his grandfather was honoured with the title and privileges of a Roman citizen by the reigning emperour of his day, that he was born at Prusa in Bithynia, but afterwards, like a man of sense and spirit, who estimates a country by the liberality and benevolence of it's manners and institutions, quitted the place of his nativity, where he rose to political distinctions as a magistrate, rather than submit to the tyrannical government then exercised in that province imitating Pythagoras, the most illustrious philosopher of antiquity, in this respect; who retired to Italy from the arbitrary domination of Polycrates: a circumstance, which Ovid seems to have thought too striking and important to be left unnoticed in his most beau
tiful and interesting narrative of that extraordinary man, no less distinguished by the humanity of his disposition and the purity of his life, than the sublimity and subtlety of his genius:
Vir fuit hic ortu Samius; sed fugerat unâ
Et Samon et dominos, odioque tyrannidis exsul
In Samos born, his native Isle he left
Our author Dio was familiarly acquainted with Apollonius. of Tyana and Euphrates of Tyre, during the igns of Nero and Vespasian. When he arrived at manhood, he travelled into Egypt and other countries for the improvement of his understanding by a survey of their curiosities, and by conversation with their inhabitants. On his return to Rome, his freedom of speech (that unpardonable offence to alt TYRANTS, and the true touchstone of POLITICAL VIRTUE in every community) in conjunction with his friendship for a man of honour, whom Domitian had put to death, endangered his life with that despotic monster, and drove him into banishment, about the year ninetyfour of the Christian æra, with no other companions of his exile besides Plato's dialogue on the Immortality of the Soul, and a single ora
tion of Demosthenes. From the manner in which he mentions the Getæ, Mysians, and Thracians, in several passages of his works, he seems to have penetrated during this pilgrimage to the very extremities of the Roman empire. He was recalled from banishment by Nerva, and was caressed by that emperour, but more particularly by Trajan, who conspicuously displayed his esteem and affection, by admitting our philosopher to accompany him on extraordinary occasions, when he rode in his triumphal chariot through the city. That magnanimous prince, the sovereign of the world, did not think himself disgraced by being seen in the procession of imperial Rome with a man of letters sitting by his side.
Dio's character, as a moral præceptor, an eloquent writer, and a graceful speaker, was in high estimation with his contemporaries and his successors in the same rhetorical department. He acquired the additional name of Cocceianus from his patron Cocceius, and of Chrysostom, or golden mouthed, from the elegance and purity of his compositions: a name, which has occasioned a frequent confusion of our Dio Chrysostom, the heathen philosopher, with John Chrysostom, the Christian preacher, so denominated for the same solid and splendid excellences of his style. In person our author is reasonably
presumed, from various circumstances of praise and censure on these topics in his orations, to have been slender, and of inferiour stature. He was married, brought up children, and lived to a good old-age.
A second volume of translations, certainly not less valuable than the present, from the same author, is deferred, till an experiment have been made on the public taste; but that volume will immediately follow it's precursor, if demanded by encouragement and approbation.
John James Reiske's edition of the original is the only copy of Dio Chrysostom in my possession. It was published at Leipsic, in 1784, without a Latin version, in two volumes 8vo. after the death of the commentator, by his learned widow, Ernestina Christina Reiske, wish a short preface by herself.
Feb. 15, 1800.