At the Limits of Art: A Literary Study of Aelius Aristides' Hieroi Logoi [1 ed.] 0199924872, 9780199924875

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At the Limits of Art: A Literary Study of Aelius Aristides' Hieroi Logoi [1 ed.]
 0199924872, 9780199924875

Table of contents :
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: An Author in Search of a Character
1. Hieroi Logoi : The God in the Text
2. Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics
3. Salvum Lotum! A Rhetor’s Improvised Baths
4. A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?
5. “Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife
General Index
Index Locorum

Citation preview

At the Limits of Art

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AT THE LIMITS OF ART A Literary Study of Aelius Aristides’ Hieroi Logoi JANET DOWNIE


Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford New York Auckland Cape Town Dar es Salaam Hong Kong Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Nairobi New Delhi Shanghai Taipei Toronto With offices in Argentina Austria Brazil Chile Czech Republic France Greece Guatemala Hungary Italy Japan Poland Portugal Singapore South Korea Switzerland Thailand Turkey Ukraine Vietnam Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and certain other countries. Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016

© Oxford University Press 2013 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by license, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reproduction rights organization. Inquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above. You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Downie, Janet. At the limits of art : a literary study of Aelius Aristides’ Hieroi logoi / Janet Downie. pages. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-0-19-992487-5 1. Aristides, Aelius. Sacred teachings. I. Title. PA3874.A7Z5 2013 885′.01—dc23 2012042481

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper


Preface and Acknowledgments Introduction: An Author in Search of a Character

vii 3

1. Hieroi Logoi: The God in the Text


2. Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


3. Salvum Lotum! A Rhetor’s Improvised Baths


4. A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


5. “Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife






General Index


Index Locorum


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Preface and Acknowledgments

Sacred Tales—is one of the literary oddities of the classical world. In a meandering narrative of illness and divine healing, Aristides enumerates at length, and with surprising frankness, his fevers and inflammations, as well as the purges, baths, and calisthenic exercises prescribed by the god Asclepius for their treatment. The pages of the Hieroi Logoi are also filled with dozens of dream narratives— by turns graphic and opaque, and very far from the polished style of the rest of his literary oeuvre. Because it seems so human and familiar, Aristides’ first-person voice is disarming, and readers have mined this rich and intriguing source for insight into the history of medicine and the body, ancient psychology, and the phenomena of religious experience in the Greco-Roman world. Although this is not immediately obvious from the Hieroi Logoi, Aristides was one of the high achievers of his age—a prominent rhetor among the educated elite of second-century imperial Asia Minor. He handed down to later generations a substantial body of works, including formal discourses, civic orations, declamations, and prose hymns. In contrast with these more conventional, polished texts, the Logoi have seemed to many readers to offer a reverse image of Aristides’ professional persona— and thus to reveal a personality split between the competitive aspirations of the public orator and the anxieties of his private life. The work gives the impression, on the one hand, of being an idiosyncratic text. On the other hand, scholars have also read Aristides’ Logoi as symptomatic of the kinds of social tensions that Gibbon, memorably, imagined working like “a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire” in the years of golden complacency sustained by Antonine Rome.1 Emerging from the

A E L I U S A R I S T I D E S ’ H I E R O I L O G O I —or

1. Gibbon 1845, chap. 2, 70.


Preface and Acknowledgments

pages of the Hieroi Logoi as (in modern terms) a hypochondriac and a failed mystic, Aristides has sometimes seemed to embody the ailments of a culture in decline. Charles Behr, his English-language translator and biographer—and, indeed, one of his most assiduous twentieth-century readers—described Aristides as a “deeply neurotic, deeply superstitious, vainglorious man.” Yet, as Peter Brown has reflected upon the odium psychologicum animating many twentieth-century assessments: “the problem with Aristides lies mainly with ourselves; he puzzles us.”2 And whether we are attracted or repelled by his personality, the puzzle is not merely psychological; it is also literary. In this book I set out to investigate Aristides as a rhetorical professional and literary craftsman—a figure who is, I suggest, as much at work in the Hieroi Logoi as he is in the rest of his highly polished oeuvre. I propose to read the Hieroi Logoi not as a record of personal anxiety, nor as symptomatic of an imperial culture in decline, but rather as Aristides’ calculated intervention in the contests of self-fashioning promoted by Antonine society. In this book, therefore, I focus on situating the text in its rhetorical context. I argue that the Hieroi Logoi constitute Aristides’ self-portrait as a divinely inspired rhetor and, indeed, his apologia for rhetoric as a vocation. Throughout his oeuvre, Aristides construes speech as a medium of communication between human and divine, elevating the rhetorical arts virtually to the status of a mystery religion and himself to the position of high priest. “Even if unbelievable things are heard,” he writes in one of his polemical orations, citing an epigram attributed to the ancient painter Parrhasius, “I make the following declaration: I say that the boundaries of this art have been discovered by our hand. An unsurpassable limit has been set—though nothing has come into being for mortals which is blameless” (Or. 28.88). Like the legendary Parrhasius, even in his acknowledgment of human weakness Aristides is deliberately provocative. He extends the limits of his art up to the boundary between mortal and divine—a kind of humility calculated to leave no room for his rivals in the zero-sum game of oratorical competition that engaged elite professionals. In the Hieroi Logoi, I suggest, Aristides makes his claim to divine proximity in the most egregious terms possible. In this text, woven

2. Behr 1981–1986, 2:425. Brown 1978, 41: “It is this puzzlement which has led so many scholars into precipitate psychiatric judgment on him. We obscurely resent the fact that a degree of intimacy with the divine which would make a saint or martyr of any of us should merely serve to produce a hypochondriacal gentleman of indomitable will.”

Preface and Acknowledgments


of symptoms and curative performances, fantastic dreams and their interpretations, Aristides incarnates his claim to divine inspiration. In the process, he experiments with literary form and tests the limits of rhetorical art in ways that modern readers have found consistently puzzling, and strangely compelling. This book began as a dissertation at the University of Chicago, and I am grateful to my advisers—Christopher Faraone, Shadi Bartsch, and Elizabeth Asmis—for their guidance and generous patience, both in the dissertation phase of the project and during the revision process. I have been very fortunate to have them as readers, and their continued support and encouragement have meant the world to me. In the post-Chicago phase, other readers, too, have helped me see the shape the book might take. I would like to thank Clifford Ando, Peter Brown, Alex Gottesman, David Jenkins, and Robert Kaster, who all read full drafts at different stages and offered valuable feedback. I would also like to thank Maud Gleason, who read various parts of the manuscript and has offered writing advice and moral support from very early on. I am grateful to the anonymous readers for Oxford University Press for their constructive criticism, and to Stefan Vranka for his assistance in navigating the path to publication. I would also like to thank Sarah Pirovitz, Marc Schneider, and Marie Flaherty-Jones for their editorial work, as well as Amanda Gregory, for proofreading assistance, and Joanna Luke, who prepared the index. I completed much of the revision during a year of research leave supported by Princeton University and by its Program in Hellenic Studies. I am exceedingly grateful to the program’s director, Dimitri Gondicas, for the Stanley J. Seeger Sabbatical Research Grant that made this extended leave possible. During that year I was a visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, where I benefited from conversations with Christopher Jones, Glen Bowersock, Angelos Chaniotis, Heinrich von Staden, and Anton Bierl. Over several years, it has been stimulating to be part of a gradually widening conversation on Aristides, and I thank Ewen Bowie, Dana Fields, Pascale Fleury, William Harris, Trevor Luke, Laurent Pernot, Georgia Petridou, Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis, Gil Renberg, Allen Romano, Thomas Schmidt, and Verity Platt, who have at various times shared their interest and their work. I was fortunate, upon leaving one home in Chicago, to find another in my extraordinary department at Princeton. It is a great pleasure to thank all my Princeton colleagues for their collegial support of my research and


Preface and Acknowledgments

teaching, and especially Yelena Baraz, Wendy Belcher, Michael Flower, Constanze Güthenke, Brooke Holmes, and Joshua Katz, for their friendship, good humor, and thoughtful encouragement. For another kind of sustaining energy, thanks to everyone who has played squash with me over the years in Chicago, Toronto, and Princeton. Finally, for their endless and unquestioning support my deepest thanks go to Todd Craver; to my parents, Bruce and Lindsay; and to my sister, Jennine.

At the Limits of Art

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Introduction a n a uthor in s earch of a c haracter

F R O M A N T I O C H in 365 ce, the orator Libanius addressed Theodorus, governor of Bithynia, to thank him for sending a portrait of one of his most beloved and admired rhetorical models, the secondcentury writer Aelius Aristides:


I have the Aristides, something I’ve long desired, and I am almost as grateful to you as if you had resurrected the man himself and sent him to me. I sit by his portrait, reading one of his works and asking him if he was really the one who wrote it. Then I answer myself: “Yes, he wrote that.”1 Libanius was not alone in his admiration for this great representative of Greek learning: to proclaim oneself philaristeides, a “lover of Aristides,” in the late antique and Byzantine world was to aspire to a place in a long Hellenic tradition, one in which imperial-era writers and classical masters alike were considered worthy of study and imitation.2 Yet as he conjures up his illustrious predecessor almost in the flesh, Libanius has a more pointed reason for his attraction. For Libanius, a tenacious defender of pagan

1. Libanius, Ep. 1534. The translation is slightly adapted from Norman 1992, letter 143. On the letter and Libanius’s interest in Aristides, see Cribiore 2007, 22–24 and Swain 2004, 362–373. See also Pack 1947, who discusses Aristides’ influence on Libanius’s Or. 1. Boulanger suggests “influence tyrannique,” and links a phrase in Libanius Or. 5 (Hymn to Artemis) to HL III.4 (1923, 454, with n. 2). Bowersock 2008 discusses Libanius’s engagement with Aristides’ lost speech on the pantomimes, For the Dancers. 2. The adjective philaristeides comes from the Byzantine epigrammatist Thomas Scholasticus: Anth. Gr. 16.315. On Aristides’ reception in late antiquity and Byzantium, see Jones 2008a, Robert 2009, Quattrocelli 2008. On Aristides’ literary afterlife in general, see Jones 2008b.



learning in a world increasingly dominated by Christian interests, Aristides offered not just a literary exemplar, but also an ethical model. Aristides approached oratory—logoi—as a solemn vocation, and his visual image likely reinforced this point: after Hadrian, portraits of intellectuals typically figured charismatic paideia through the iconographical details of a full beard and flowing robes.3 In the harmony between Aristides’ words and his countenance, Libanius found an image of the role traditional literary culture should play in the life of the Greek-speaking Roman Empire. For Aristides, oratory was everything: the highest pleasure, the greatest obligation, the sweetest reward. It took the place of children, of parents, of eros: “this is my play, this is my work. In this I rejoice, this I admire, its doors I haunt.” Oratory was “the sum of life,” the origin of all human endeavors, and the fundamental enabler of human community, making political and social life possible.4 It was, in its deepest and most comprehensive sense, a gift of the gods, and throughout his extensive oeuvre Aristides portrays his professional engagement as a divine vocation. Like Socrates, who was driven to philosophical inquiry by the Delphic oracle’s injunction “Know thyself,” and admonished and directed in his daily decisions by a divine sign, Aristides suggests that he, too, works under divine compulsion. Every speech is an obligation, an offering rendered in thanks to the gods who have initiated Aristides into the mysteries of logoi, a high honor he would not betray.5 It is easy to see why Aristides’ rhetoric—capitalizing on religious metaphors of inspiration and mystery initiation—appealed powerfully to Libanius, who, in the fourth century, found himself fighting a culture war on behalf of Hellenic learning. As restrictions were imposed on pagan teachers, and as ancient temples were closed and sacrifices ended, it seemed to Libanius that Greek culture was threatened simultaneously on

3. See Zanker 1995, 202 on the visual iconography of the “cult of learning” and charismatic paideia in this period. See also Zanker 1995, 262 and 230 with n. 42 on the extant statue that has been identified as Aristides. Cf. Richter 1965, 3:287, figs. 2051–2053. 4. For oratory as play, work, and the object of Aristides’ “pure” and familial love, see Or. 33.19–21 (33.19: ἐρασταὶ καθαρῶς; 33.21: στέργειν). Oratory is the “sum” (κεφάλαιον) of life at Or. 42.3. He orients the myth of Prometheus’s allotment of gifts to humankind around oratory at Or. 2.394–399. 5. For Socrates neglecting human affairs and living in the service of the gods, with the guidance of his daimonion (2.80), see Or. 2.77–83, with the comments of Puiggali 1985. For the metaphor of mystery initiation, see especially Or. 34, Against Those Who Burlesque the Mysteries (of Oratory). Cf. Gigante 1990 on Socrates as a “modello di vita” in the HL.



two fronts, for, as he writes, “there is a close kinship between these two things, cult (hiera) and oratory (logoi)”—literally, between holy things and words (Lib. Or. 62.8).6 Libanius was not, for his part, particularly interested in religion per se, but he recognized that religious practice, by giving logoi a tangible presence in the world, in some sense anchored the cultural and intellectual life he valued so highly.7 Libanius grasps a point that is fundamental to Aristides’ writings: religion and rhetoric are intimately entwined. This crucial idea inspires the language and the images of his oeuvre, and I argue in this book that it motivates his most eccentric text: the Hieroi Logoi—“Sacred Discourses” or “Sacred Tales,” as the title is often translated in English.8 Aristides’ extant works comprise fifty-three discourses that illustrate the range of ways in which rhetorical training and oratorical performance functioned in the cultural economy of the high imperial period. From traditional declamations to polemical orations; from prose hymns to civic and occasional speeches; and including the pièces de résistance—the Panathenaic Oration (Or. 1), Regarding Rome (Or. 26), and a set of discourses To Plato on the status of oratory (Or. 2–4)—most of these texts are crafted in fine Attic Greek, many are self-conscious about the rhetorical arts, and all reflect Aristides’ deeply serious conception of his vocation.9 The language of the sacred echoes in text after text, but it finds unique expression in his Hieroi Logoi (HL). Here, in five discourses and a fragmentary sixth, Aristides describes his professional challenges and triumphs over several decades, framed by the illness that brought him into an intimate relationship with

6. Libanius also writes of “a disease besetting logoi and the world” (Or. 1.84). Cf. Or. 1.154. 7. On Libanius’s lack of interest in religion, see Festugière 1959, 233–235, especially 235. In a letter to Bachius (Ep. 710), he rejoices over a sacrificial ritual to Artemis, but mostly because the ceremony provides the occasion for a festival speech. 8. The English translation “Sacred Tales,” current since Behr 1968, emphasizes the marvelous at the expense of the rhetorical, but any translation obscures the allusion to a wider tradition of texts of divine revelation—hieroi logoi—on the margins of Greek cult (see chapter 1). To preserve both the religious and the rhetorical resonance, I retain the Greek title in this book, usually abbreviated HL. 9. Behr 1981–1986 presents the whole corpus in English translation, including inscriptions attributed to Aristides, fragments, and attestations to works that are not extant. There is also a Spanish translation of the entire corpus in five volumes, edited and introduced by Gasco et al. 1987–1999, and the HL have been translated as a group into French, German, and Italian (Festugière 1986; Schröder 1986; Nicosia 1984). Throughout the book, translations from Aristides’ orations are my own, but I have always consulted Behr 1981–1986 and, where possible, Festugière 1986 and 1969.



the god Asclepius.10 In this first-person narrative, dominated by dream accounts that convey the support of his divine patron, the metaphor of logoi as hiera is made incarnate: Aristides presents the god as the sponsor of his life and his speaking. Aristides was not the only orator in the second century ce to cultivate a demeanor of religious authority. The educated elite who competed in rhetorical performance converted the trope of inspiration into valuable cultural capital, and religious metaphors for oratory and rhetoric were common in Aristides’ period. In that sense, he seems to be fully integrated into his Second Sophistic context. Yet, as far as we can see, no one developed this metaphor with the intensity that Aristides did, and no one explored the stylistic consequences of merging logoi and hiera as creatively as he did in the HL. In the opening lines of HL VI, Aristides dreams that a companion encourages him with words borrowed from Musonius Rufus: “What are you waiting for? For the god himself to stand next to you and give you a voice? Cut out the dead part of your soul and recognize the god.”11 Indeed, in Aristides’ account of his life as a rhetor, the god speaks through him. This is the claim he mounts in the HL, in the curative performances that mark his healing narrative, in the dreams he describes in meticulous detail, and ultimately in the speeches he gives and the texts he writes. In this book I seek to recover an understanding of his authorial endeavor in the HL, illuminating the style and substance of this idiosyncratic and experimental set of texts by exploring its points of contact with the rest of Aristides’ rhetorical oeuvre and with his professional engagements as a rhetor in the imperial context. In the introductory pages that follow, I begin by establishing the coordinates of Aristides’ biography, drawing on his extant orations and several inscriptions associated with him to highlight the degree to which he integrated a narrative of divine favor into his public and professional persona.

10. The six Hieroi Logoi (I–VI) correspond to Orations 47–52 in Keil’s 1898 edition (Keil 1958), on which all the modern-language translations are mainly based, including Behr 1968 and 1981–1986. In this book I follow recent scholarly convention in referring to the HL by Logos and paragraph (e.g., HL II.6 [= Or. 48.6]), and referring to Aristides’ other works by Oration and paragraph (e.g., Or. 2.6). Keil 1958 provides the Greek text for Orr. 17–53, while Orr. 1–16 can be found in the edition of Lenz and Behr 1976–1980. These editions have largely replaced Dindorf’s 1829 edition (Dindorf 1964). 11. HL VI.2: τί μένεις; ποῖ βλέπεις; ἢ μέχρι ἂν αὐτὸς ὁ θεὸς παραστάς σοι φωνὴν ἀφιῇ; ἔκκοψον τὸ τεθνηκὸς τῆς ψυχῆς, καὶ γνώσῃ τὸν θεόν. Cf. Muson. fr. 53 Hense. Because of losses in the manuscript tradition, only the first several lines of HL VI are extant.



I then compare this sketch with the brief portrait drawn by Philostratus in his third-century Lives of the Sophists (VS)—the earliest extant biographical account of Aristides as a professional figure. When we set Philostratus’s account next to Aristides’ own orations—and certainly next to the HL, with which we will be concerned over the course of the book—it is immediately striking that Philostratus omits any mention of Aristides’ religiosity. Because Philostratus has strongly conditioned modern readings of the second-century world of rhetorical education and performance oratory, juxtaposing his portrait with Aristides’ own self-presentation will make it possible to map the sight lines of recent scholarship on Aristides’ oeuvre in general, and the HL in particular. The dissonance between Philostratus’s biography of Aristides and Aristides’ own rendition is also key to the argument of this book: in the HL, I suggest, Aristides pushes the rhetoric of religion to its limits. At the vanishing point, in the pages of his first-person memoir, logoi and hiera merge.

Publius Aelius Aristides Theodorus When Publius Aelius Aristides was born, so he tells us in HL IV, the “star of Zeus split the mid-degree of the midst of heaven” (HL IV.58).12 Collating this horoscope with other temporal cues in the HL, Charles Behr assigned Aristides’ birth date to November 26, 117 ce.13 The horoscope itself, however, tells us more about the nature of Aristides’ ambition: the point of the story is to confirm that Aristides enjoyed “the manifest care” of the king of the gods—and the god of eloquence, for Hermes also appears in the geniture (IV.58).14 Certainly, in practical and material terms,

12. HL IV.58: τὸν τοῦ Διὸς ἀστέρα . . . σχίζειν γὰρ αὐτὸν μέσου τοῦ οὐρανοῦ . . . 13. See Behr 1994, 1141–1151, where he emends the date put forward in his 1968 monograph, Aelius Aristides and the Sacred Tales. For the biographical sketch of Aristides in the following pages, I rely on these two publications, as well as on Behr’s presentation of Aristides’ works in his two-volume translation of the complete oeuvre. See also Wilamowitz 1925, and, for an engaging overview, Phillips 1952. 14. The horoscope is mentioned in one of Aristides’ dreams, by an unnamed figure, as the explanation for Aristides’ good fortune (HL IV.58): “he gave the star of Zeus as the reason for these dreams and for the manifest care of the gods.” (ᾐτιᾶτο τῶν ὀνειράτων τούτων καὶ τῆς ἐναργοῦς τῶν θεῶν ἐπιμελείας τὸν τοῦ Διὸς ἀστέρα). Aristides has just recounted a dream in which he saw Plato sitting at a writing desk, working on his letter to Dionysius, and was told in the dream: Plato is “your Hermes.” Cf. the reference to “Hermes Logios” in Or. 37.21.



Aristides was born into favorable circumstances. His was, apparently, a wealthy, landowning family of the Mysian region near Hadriani in the Roman province of Asia. From his father—known as Eudaemon, according to tradition—he received the benefits of Roman citizenship, a landed inheritance, and an excellent education.15 He maintained a close connection to Mysia throughout his life, and to the regional centers of Smyrna, Cyzicus, and Pergamum, but his rhetorical career also took him to the major cities of the Mediterranean world: Alexandria, Athens, and Rome. Divinely favored, indeed, in his birth, education, and inheritance, he ultimately made his own way in the cosmopolitan world of the educated elite, as a member of a wide imperial network of teachers and students, rhetors and audiences, and their imperial and provincial supporters. The stature Aristides claimed for himself in this social and professional world is signaled by a fourth name—Theodorus—that, as we will see, he added to those his father had given him. Although Aelius Aristides scarcely mentions his family, he does write about his family estates and about the foster fathers (tropheis) who nurtured him in his youth.16 Additionally, several inscriptions, all of them religious dedications, mark his presence—and his investment—in the Mysian landscape. He dedicated a statue of Hera in the vicinity of what he describes in the Hieroi Logoi as his “ancestral hearth” (HL III.41: archaia hestia)—the temple of Olympian Zeus near Hadriani.17 Two briefer dedications to divinities were found in the same area, not far from the Laneion estate that he acquired in 141–142 with money he inherited when his

15. These basic biographical details about Aristides’ family are not given by Aristides himself, but come rather from the Prolegomena by Sopater, a notice in the Suda, and the biography in Philostratus’s Lives of the Sophists, supported by some inscriptional evidence. Behr 1968, 142–147 outlines and discusses the various sources for Aristides’ Vita, and Lenz 1959 provides an edition of the Prolegomena. 16. He refers to his father once in the HL, in a dream from the mid-160s (HL II.40), and mentions his mother briefly when he describes an illness that assailed him when he was residing on his ancestral estate in the late 140s (HL III.16). 17. Behr 1981–1986, 1:425: “And this [statue of the] Argive spouse of aegis-bearing Zeus/ Aristides erected in the plain [of the god].” See Magie 1950, 1477, and Puech 2002, 138–139. On the Mysian inscriptions attributed to Aristides, see Robert 1937, 207–222. Behr 1981– 1986, vol. 1, appendix 2 provides translations for all the inscriptions either confidently or doubtfully attributed to Aristides, with some notes. Puech 2002, 138–145 provides text, translation, and commentary for the five most securely linked to him, with further discussion.



father died.18 On the ancestral lands, the family retainers had their own residence separate from the main house, and it was there that he was brought up, Aristides tells us in the HL, at the hearth of his foster family (HL III.20). His foster father Zosimus, his nurse Philoumene, and their children appear to have been closely involved in Aristides’ life well into his adulthood, and all figure prominently in the HL. Their illnesses trouble him, their support sustains him in return; his foster siblings even appear as proxy figures for Aristides himself, as he regards their illnesses and ultimately their deaths as miraculous substitutes for his own.19 It is, perhaps, to these foster relations that Aristides would trace his highly developed religious sensibility. In the HL he describes another foster father, Epagathus, as “a very good man, most clearly in communion with the gods and able to recall whole oracles from his dreams” (HL IV.54).20 While the legacy from the family of his birth, then, was social and material, from those he calls his tropheis—“fosterers”—it seems to have been ethical and religious. Aristides’ adolescent education was entrusted to the grammarian Alexander of Cotiaeum. Aristides studied with him at Smyrna and remained in contact over many years through scholarly correspondence and personal attentions (Or. 32.3). When Aristides fell ill during his first professional sojourn at Rome, Alexander (by then tutor to the young Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus) was on hand to assist him.21 At that time, as Aristides recalls later in a funerary epistle for his former teacher, Alexander was “after the gods most responsible for my safe return home”

18. The dedications read “To Justice and Retribution, Aristides”; “. . . and to Sarapis, Aristides” (Puech 2002, 139). See Robert 1937, 216 and 218 for his reconstruction of the texts and the circumstances of discovery. Isis is the likely partner for Sarapis, but it is possible it was Asclepius, or that the dedication celebrated all three divinities. Cf. Behr 1978 on Aristides’ persistent interest in Egyptian gods. Aristides mentions the purchase of the Laneion estate at HL IV.105, and refers to the estate and the nearby temple of Zeus at HL III. 41–42. For the location of the estate, see Behr 1968, 5–6; Robert 1937, 207–208. See also Jones 1978, 231– 234 on an inscribed altar discovered in the same region and possibly attributable to Aristides (IG II2, cf. p. 62 n. 10, 4531; cf. Behr 1981–1986, 1:425). 19. On Aristides’ foster family, see Remus 1996, 154 and 162–164, and Behr 1968, 8, who comments on Aristides’ near-total disregard of his birth family. 20. HL IV.54: σαφέστατα ὁμιλῶν θεοῖς καὶ χρησμοὺς ἀπομνημονεύων ὅλους ἐξ ἐνυπνίων. 21. Behr 1968, 10–11; Vix 2010, 373–389. For Alexander’s imperial appointment, see Or. 32.12–15, and cf. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 1.10.



(32.39).22 In the same epistle, which was addressed to Alexander’s city of Cotiaeum, Aristides credits his teacher with all possible nurturing roles— with foster father at the head of the list—and acknowledges the impact this early education had on his later literary career.23 As he says in the letter to Cotiaeum and as we can see throughout Aristides’ oeuvre, Alexander’s favorite authors—Homer, Plato, and, notably, Pindar—are those to whom Aristides would most frequently refer in the course of his own writing life. “Fostering” as a metaphor for paideia—for Hellenic education and culture—is an attractive one for Aristides: Homer and the poets are “foster parents” (tropheis) of the Hellenes, and in his Panathenaic Oration he celebrates the ancient city of Athens because it offers the “nourishment” (trophê) of paideia.24 When Aristides went to Athens to pursue his training in rhetoric, however, this was not just a pilgrimage to the source of Hellenic learning, but a step further along the professional path of competitive oratory. He does not speak of his studies under the famous orators of his time—Polemo at Smyrna, Claudius Aristocles at Pergamum, and the eminent Herodes Atticus at Athens—probably because these men and their students became his professional rivals. In the HL and other orations he alludes to contemporary sophists in pejorative terms, but without naming names—perhaps to name them would be too great a concession to a competitor’s fame. Aristides prided himself on the careful study and emulation of the ancients, and he accused others of corrupting pure paideia by catering to the appetites of their audiences.25 In his polemical Or. 34, Against Those Who Burlesque the Mysteries (of Oratory), Aristides pillories a speaker who has lost the respect even of the crowd because of his showy effects: the audience mocks his sing-song delivery by chiming in ahead of him at the end of clauses, so that—as Aristides says—“the chorus

22. 32.39: καὶ τοῦ γε εἰς τὴν οἰκείαν σωθῆναι μετὰ τοὺς θεοὺς αὐτὸς αἰτιώτατος κατέστη. 23. 32.2: “Nurtured and educated by him .  .  . I could call him everything: foster father, teacher, father, companion.” (τραφεὶς ὑπ’ ἐκείνῳ καὶ παιδευθεὶς . . . τροφέα, διδάσκαλον, πατέρα, ἑταῖρον, πάντ’ εἶχον καλεῖν.) For a new text and commentary on this speech, see Vix 2010. On the bond between teachers and students, and the image of the teacher as surrogate father, see also Kaster 1988, 66–69. 24. Homer: Or. 17.15; poets: Or. 2.47; Athens: Or. 1.1; cf. Or. 1.332, 25, 110. On the Panathenaic Oration, see Oliver 1968. On Hellenic paideia in this period, see especially Whitmarsh 2001, Swain 1996, Vix 2010. 25. On sophists as declaimers, see Gleason 1995; Kennedy 1974; Reardon 1971, 99–119; and Pernot 2000, 200–207.



leader made quite a pretty picture by being later than his chorus” (Or. 34.47). He never identifies the speaker, but it is possible that this unnamed rival and object of scorn may be Hadrian of Tyre.26 As contemporaries, Hadrian and Aristides shared teachers and students—both studied with Herodes Atticus and taught Damianus—but Hadrian seems to have enjoyed greater favor and the more glamorous career. In dreams, however, Aristides can choose the company he keeps, put competitors in their place, and claim the superior position for himself. Thus, in one of many self-congratulatory dreams described in the HL, Aristides stands with the poet Sophocles on the threshold of his house, while “one of the very distinguished sophists” slips and falls to the left of the door, unable to keep his feet in the presence of such literary talent, ancient and modern (HL IV.61). Like many an aspiring pepaideumenos, Aristides marked his entry into the world of professional oratory with the Mediterranean travel itinerary that was the traditional capstone to a rhetorical education. In 142 he visited Egypt, stopping to declaim at Cos, Cnidos, Rhodes, and Alexandria, and upon his return to Asia he left almost immediately for Rome. He seems to have journeyed to mainland Greece in later years, and he also traveled on professional business within the province of Asia.27 Two different inscriptions from his professional years mark an upward trajectory in the cosmopolitan world of the intellectual and social elite. The first is an inscription found on the island of Lesbos, in the sanctuary of Asclepius at Mytilene—a brief votive to the god in which he identifies himself by the single name “Aristides.” The abbreviated signature, with no patronymic, is typical of sophists of the period and testifies to Aristides’ sense of his fame beyond the bounds of his own Mysian region.28 The second inscription

26. Vix 2010, 91–98 favors the identification with Hadrian of Tyre. It may also be Polemo who is intended (Behr 1968, 12). 27. In his biographical study, Behr 1968 offers a complete account of Aristides’ movements over the course of his career, as these can be tentatively reconstructed from the orations and other sources. See also Behr 1994. 28. Ἀριστεί-/δης Ἀσκλη-/πιῷ Σωτῆρι/εὐχήν. “Aristides [offered] a prayer to Asclepius the savior.” For the text, see Puech 2002, 139–140. The conceit involved is clear in Polemo’s dedication at the temple of Asclepius in Pergamum. He erected a statue of the orator Demosthenes and marked the statue with an inscription that named the famous Athenian orator’s patronymic and deme, while Polemo himself signed only a single name—as if he were the more famous: Δημοσθένην/Δημοσθένους/Παιανιέα/Πολέμων/κατὰ ὄναρ. Puech 2002 notes the arrogance of the paradox (400). Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis 2010, 116–121 sets the inscriptional evidence for Aristides in the context of the travel, tourism, and pilgrimage activities of the contemporary elite.



reflects in a different way his position in the cosmopolitan world of imperial paideia. These lines, composed for a statue erected in honor of Aristides by an unknown group of admirers, offer a glimpse of the orator in his role as a public speaker and a man of influence in the intellectual circles of second-century Smyrna:29 ῾ H πόλις ἡ τῶν Ἀλεξανδρέων καὶ Ἑρμούπολις ἡ μεγάλη καὶ ἡ βουλὴ ἡ Ἀντινοέων Nέ-

ων Ἑλλήνων καὶ οἱ ἐν τῷ Δέλτα τῆς Aἰγύπτου καὶ οἱ τὸν Θηβαϊκὸν νομὸν οἰκοῦντες Ἕλληνες ἐτίμησαν Πόπλιον Aἴλιον Aριστείδην Θεόδωρον ἐπὶ ἀνδραγαθίαι καὶ λόγοις.

The city of the Alexandrians and Hermopolis Magna and the council of the Antinoeis Neoi Hellenes and the Hellenes who dwell in the Delta of Egypt and in the Theban Nome have honored Publius Aelius Aristides Theodorus because of his excellence and his speeches.30

29. The inscription came to light at Piazzola, Italy, in 1743. The origin and authenticity of the inscription are not secure, but in spite of the discovery of a number of Venetian forgeries among the Veronese Maffei collection, epigraphers have not doubted its status (Quet 1992, 380 and Puech 2002, 141). Originally assumed to have come from Egypt, on the basis of its geographical references, the inscription is now associated with Smyrna, primarily on epigraphic grounds, even though the assortment of dedicators is hard to account for. Bingen 1987, 182–183 connects the inscription with Philostratus’s reference to a bronze statue of the orator that he says was erected in the marketplace in Smyrna by his Egyptian students and admirers (VS 582). As Quet 1992, 392 points out, the inscription lacks the attributes of a formal civic honor. Cf. Puech 2002, 143. 30. For the text, see Puech 2002, no. 44 (CIG III, 4679; OGIS 709; IGR IV, 1070). This is the only extant inscription associated with Aristides that would have been set up by others in his honor. See Behr 1981–1986, vol. 1, appendix 2; Behr 1968, 111; and Robert 1937, 207–222. For a survey of previous readings and attributions, see Quet 1992, 382.



The literary polish and allusive qualities of this text—with its evocation of a somewhat bookish Egyptian geography31—make it worthy of the orator it celebrates for his speeches (logoi).32 His oratorical accomplishments are a part of his andragathia (excellence)—the attributes of masculine virtue that embed his learning in a network of social and political relationships. In these lines, then, we see paideia given its full weight as a cultural attainment that indexes social power.33 Both inscriptions place Aristides in the mainstream of cosmopolitan rhetorical culture in the imperial era, but they also highlight the most distinctive feature of his professional persona and literary legacy: his proclamation of a special attachment to the divine. The Lesbian inscription to Asclepius is, to be sure, the sort of dedication any sophist might have made in the course of religious tourism. The Verona inscription points more directly to the place of the divine in Aristides’ self-presentation. Here, in addition to the official tria nomina that record his status in the Roman social order, he has a fourth name: Theodorus. The name means “gift of god,” and a story he tells in the HL describes its acquisition as a divine gift as well. The name, he says, was added to his older ones by a figure who appeared to him in a dream while he was in residence at the Pergamene Asclepieium. In the dream, he reports, “I was addressed by someone (in Smyrna, as it seemed) who was vigorously congratulating me: ‘Hail, Theodorus!’—and he added, I believe, ‘Asiarch’” (HL IV.53). The address was an indication that “all my affairs were gifts

31. Real political entities like the boulê of Antinopolis appear alongside general references to the Egyptian Delta and the Theban Nome. See Puech 2002, 142, and n. 2; cf. Bingen 1987. On Roman administration in Egypt, including the prerogatives of Antinopolis, see Lewis 1983, 27. Cf. Gagos and Potter 2006, 70–71. 32. As Puech points out, almost all the inscriptions that commemorate orators in this period center on the word logos, but the formula “for his words and his ethos” is also rather common (Puech 2002, 3–5). The reference to “Hellenes” in the ninth line may be a key to contextualizing the inscription: this was a preferred term of cultural self-identification among pepaideumenoi of the eastern empire in the early centuries ce, and Philostratus’s anecdotes in the VS suggest that there was a significant community of “Hellenes” of Egyptian origin at Smyrna in this period (Quet 1992, 396). Follet 1991, 206–207 discusses Philostratus’s use of the term “Hellene,” in the Lives of the Sophists. Bowie 1991, 184 locates this term in the inscriptional record, and cf. HL IV.45 with Puech 2002, 143–144. 33. Puech 2002 discusses the values of paideia expressed in the inscriptional record (29–31). Cf. Gleason 1995, and Schmitz 1997, 97–135, who discusses paideia in terms of the exchange of symbolic capital among the imperial elite.



(dôrea) of the god (theou).”34 Aristides’ new name, in other words, spells out (literally) divine favor, and it is paired in the dream with a title— Asiarch—that indicates that this divine support extends to his social engagements. The divine endorsement Aristides claimed was, then, part of his public profile, as we can see from anecdotes and remarks across his orations. In his Or. 45, Regarding Sarapis, he notes that he composed the piece to fulfill a vow he made when the god protected him during a storm at sea on his return from Egypt to Smyrna (45.13, 33).35 He presents his prose hymns to various gods as prompted by similar instances of divine favor, and asserts in his Isthmian oration—apparently delivered for the festival at Corinth in 156—that most of his lectures are concerned with the divine. Aristides presents himself as “mindful of the divine everywhere” (Or. 46.3), and even in his civic orations, which deal with other topics, he frequently credits divine care with enabling his work. Referring, in the opening lines of Or. 24, To the Rhodians: Concerning Concord, to the illness that prevents him from addressing the city in person, he says that he entrusts his affairs to the gods, who are his only salvation (24.1), and at the beginning of the panegyric in Cyzicus, he notes that in spite of his frailty he speaks under orders from Asclepius, “so that I can neither argue the weakness of my body with the Savior himself nor fear the greatness of the subject and the difficulty of success” (Or. 27.2). He addresses his divine sponsorship most extensively, however, in the HL. Written in the 170s, the text looks back over many years of intimacy with Asclepius, and while the narrative is framed around episodes of illness and divine healing, the god’s sponsorship of Aristides’ oratory emerges as the central concern. As he describes in HL II, Aristides fell ill shortly before his departure for Rome in 144. The trip was to be his professional debut in the imperial center, but when his symptoms worsened, he was forced to cut his stay short and return to Asia. The doctors there, as in Rome, were at a loss, and he ended up resorting to the therapeutic environment of the warm springs near Smyrna: “Here,” Aristides says, “the Savior first began to prophesy (chrêmatizein) to me.” Acclaiming

34. προσρηθῆναι μὲν ἔδοξα ὡς ἐν Σμύρνῃ ὑπό τινος καὶ μάλα συγχαίροντος· ‘Θεόδωρε χαῖρε’—καὶ ‘Ἀσιάρχης’, οἶμαι, προσῆν— . . . ὡς ἄρα πᾶν τοὐμὸν εἴη τοῦ θεοῦ δωρεά (Or. 4. 53–54). Note that Lucian parodies the name “Theodorus” in his Lexiphanes (12). 35. On the occasion of the speech, see Behr 1981–1986, 2:419.



Asclepius “in [his] dream (oneiron) as if in a waking state (hypar),” he soon departed, under divine instruction, for the god’s temple at Pergamum (HL II.7). He spent about two years at the cult site and in its environs between 143 and 145—a period he refers to as his “kathedra.” An unusual term for either a medical or religious retreat, the word was common for the coveted chairs of rhetoric in the major cities of the Greek world, and as Aristides uses it in the HL it seems deliberately multilayered.36 Writing an account of this period later in life, then, he finds the language to transform what might have been a professional disappointment—his abbreviated trip to Rome—into a professional advantage sponsored by the god. Indeed, although Aristides says he spent his first year at Pergamum in “silence,” he could not have been far removed from the practice of oratory, for the Asclepieium was itself a significant cultural center, with its own odeion and probably a library, attracting a steady stream of eminent visitors and benefactors.37 In the imperial period, the cult of Asclepius enjoyed immense popularity, and all Asia flocked to the renowned Pergamene temple, where festivals attracted crowds of worshippers and enthusiasts across the social ranks, including the social and intellectual elite.38 In this sense, a sojourn at the temple was time spent not in retreat, but in society. Although we have no sure archaeological evidence for Aristides’ presence in the temple, one fragmentary inscription certainly echoes his narrative.

36. Aristides uses the term at HL II.70, HL III.44, and it appears also in the subscription to Or. 30 (Behr 1981–1986, with note ad loc.; cf. Behr 1968, 26). As Israeolwich notes, it is attested in the contemporary medical writers Antyllus and Soranus, but was also used as a term for professorial chairs of rhetoric or philosophy (2012, 109–111). For examples of the latter, see Puech 2002, 358 and 367. 37. HL IV.14, 18. It is not necessary to attempt to date this year of silence too strictly. The crucial point, from the perspective of Aristides’ professional narrative, is that the god ultimately inspired his return to oratorical practice. On the second-century architecture and amenities of the temple, see Hoffman 1998 and Jones 1998. 38. On the prominence of Asclepius in the sacred landscapes of the period, see MacMullen 1981; Lane Fox 1987, especially chapter 4, “Seeing the Gods”; Petsalis-Diomidis 2010, in particular chapter 5; and Platt 2011, chapter 6; with Behr 1968, 32–33, for the ritual and festival organization of the Pergamene Asclepieium. Philostratus notes that the Pergamene sanctuary was a major religious center in the province of Asia (Life of Apollonius of Tyana 4.34), and the temple and the god figure in several anecdotes of sophistic wit in his Lives of Polemo of Laodicea, Antiochus, and Hermocrates. From Aristides’ account and the inscriptional record, we know the names of a number of visitors and patrons of consular rank, as well as others who were eminent in local and regional politics. On the elite clientele of the Pergamene sanctuary, see Behr 1968, 27 and 47–49, with Bowersock 1969. PetsalisDiomidis 2010 reads Aristides’ HL alongside other sources for healing cult, arguing against notions of an elite/popular divide in religious practices of this period.



This is a votive that celebrates the god for rescuing his protégé from deadly rivers, making him “comrade of the Ausonian kings,” and bestowing fame upon him in the cities.39 Whether the dedication can be attributed to Aristides or not, it offers a glimpse of the kind of elite suppliant who frequented the temple, as well as the permeability of such an individual’s religious, political, social, and professional worlds. It was at the time of the Pergamene kathedra that Aristides committed himself seriously to rhetoric, producing two of his most important statements on its status and practice: the polemical Concerning a Remark in Passing (Or. 28), which deals with issues of decorum in claiming divine inspiration; and the Platonic orations, in which he counters Plato’s attack on rhetoric in the Gorgias, again by arguing for its status as a human art that aspires to the realm of the divine. In this period he also began, with divine guidance, to compose and deliver hymns, verse and prose. The oration Regarding Sarapis, which may be an early example, begins with an elaborate discussion of the status of prose as a language of divine praise, and in his collection of prose hymns to various gods we can see him staking his claim to a divinely inspired voice in oratory.40 Thus, while Aristides spent only two years in residence at the sanctuary, the experience of the kathedra seems to have fed his literary imagination and imbued his rhetorical commitment with a religious seriousness that stayed with him for the rest of his professional life. We have already seen that Aristides advertised his divine sponsorship in various speeches and texts he wrote for political and diplomatic purposes. The god is present, too, in the set of discourses that mark what was arguably his most significant political intervention: addressing the people of Smyrna and the Roman emperors in an attempt to speed the rebuilding of his adopted city when it was substantially destroyed by an earthquake in 176. He attributes his own survival to the god’s protection, maintaining that Asclepius advised him to leave the city before disaster struck. Taking advantage of

39. Text in Behr 1981–1986, vol. 1, appendix 2, 425–426, who deems it spurious. Jones 2004, 95–98 argues that it should be attributed to Aristides. See also Petsalis-Diomidis 2010, 117–119, who surveys all the inscriptions associated with Aristides that allow us to place him in the Mediterranean landscape. 40. On an early date for Regarding Sarapis, see Behr 1981–1986, 2:419–420. Goeken 2012, 547–556 reexamines the evidence, which remains quite inconclusive. Although it is virtually impossible to conjecture dates for most of the prose hymns (see Goeken 2012, 69–73 for an attempt), Aristides says that he was composing both prose and verse hymns during his kathedra in the mid-140s: HL IV.31–44.



this personal, divine protection, as well as his acquaintance with Marcus Aurelius, whom he had met only a few months earlier when the imperial entourage visited Asia, Aristides wrote to the emperor, appealing to him to support the city’s reconstruction (Or. 19) and enclosing the Monody for Smyrna (Or. 18), an extravagant and emotional lament for the city “composed,” according to the subscription to the speech, “in a moment upon receipt of the news.”41 Moved, apparently, by the text and by his memory of the city and its outstanding orator, Marcus agreed to rebuild the city whose glory he had seen firsthand. For Aristides, the exchange confirmed the value of his rhetorical gifts: in Smyrna’s restoration to brilliance, he flattered himself that he could see his words at work in the world. When he writes from his rural estate at Laneion to the Assembly at Smyrna, to celebrate the rebuilding work in progress, he prays to Zeus that “my part too [will] be [recognized as] something among the Hellenes, now and afterward” (Or. 20.23).42

Aristides Sophistês In his early refutations of Plato, in his experiments with the prose hymn, and in polemical and political orations from every phase of his life, Aristides presents his “part”—his distinctive professional contribution as an orator—in terms of his claim to divine inspiration. As we will see, this is a major theme of his HL, but it is not limited to that text. Aristides integrates divine support generally, and Asclepius specifically, into the set of coordinates that mapped his rhetorical career. For this reason, it is surprising, when we turn from the (brief ) inscriptional record and from

41. Behr 1981–1986, 2:359. The subscriptions seem to depend upon Aristides’ notes, transmitted by his first editor. At Or. 20.3 Aristides says that when he learned of the disaster he “sang out some monodies, until, before I realized it, I had composed some speeches under sway of emotion”; and at Or. 21.2 he says he delayed no more than a single night before writing a memorial on behalf of the city. Cf. Or. 19.6. The group Orr. 17–21 concern Smyrna. On Aristides’ relationship with that city, see Franco 2005. 42. Behr 1968, 7–8 speculates that Aristides’ family wealth, agriculturally based, was “commodious, though not luxurious,” so he may not have been able to contribute financially to the city’s rebuilding. Certainly, he was not inclined to, and he maintains that his bid for imperial sponsorship via rhetoric was in fact more valuable. “I knew that even if I could contribute nothing practically,” he writes, “calling your generosity to the task was within my power, so that my concern would not be in vain” (Or. 19.7). Cf. Or. 23.80, where he says that he would rather contribute to the city through oratory than through building works—unless it were through the building of temples.



Aristides’ writings themselves to the witness of his earliest biographer, to find that Philostratus makes no mention at all of Aristides’ devotion to Asclepius, let alone his repeated claim that the god’s support was the foundation upon which his professional career rested. In his sketch of Aristides in the Lives of the Sophists, Philostratus ignores Asclepius—and indeed any gesture toward the divine—completely. Although he mentions the HL in the opening lines of his discussion, Philostratus is silent about the religious dimension of Aristides’ life and professional pursuits.43 What Philostratus celebrates, rather, as Aristides’ distinctive contribution to the field of rhetoric is his excellent craftsmanship, and he acknowledges the impact of his craft in the world of diplomatic politics. Aristides might rightly be called “founder” of Smyrna, he says, for his success in attracting imperial support at the time of the earthquake. But where Aristides depicts this imperial transaction as a kind of divine commission, such considerations are consistently absent from Philostratus’s anecdotes. This is most conspicuous in Philostratus’s description of the HL, which he characterizes as a diary of illness—a writing exercise with some value for the aspiring wordsmith (VS 581–582):

τὴν μὲν οὖν ἰδέαν τῆς νόσου καὶ ὅτι τὰ νεῦρα αὐτῷ ἐπεφρίκει, ἐν Ἱεροῖς βιβλίοις αὐτὸς φράζει, τὰ δὲ βιβλία ταῦτα ἐφημερίδων ἐπέχει τινὰ αὐτῷ λόγον, αἱ δὲ ἐφημερίδες ἀγαθαὶ διδάσκαλοι τοῦ περὶ παντὸς εὖ διαλέγεσθαι. ἐπὶ δὲ τὸ σχεδιάζειν μὴ ἑπομένης αὐτῷ τῆς φύσεως ἀκριβείας ἐπεμελήθη καὶ πρὸς τοὺς παλαιοὺς ἔβλεψεν ἱκανῶς τε τῷ γονίμῳ ἴσχυσε κουφολογίαν ἐξελὼν τοῦ λόγου. The nature of his disease and the fact that he suffered from a palsy of the muscles he tells us himself in his sacred books (hiera biblia). These books served him in some sort as a diary (ephêmerides), and such diaries are excellent teachers of the art of speaking well on any subject. And since his natural talent was not in the line of extempore eloquence, he strove after extreme accuracy, and turned his attention to the ancient writers; he had the strength of natural ability and purified his style of any empty verbosity.44 43. See Momigliano 1987, chapter 10, on the variable place of religion in imperial biography and autobiography, and especially 174–175 on the discrepant accounts of Philostratus and Aristides. 44. Here, and throughout, translations from Philostratus’s Lives of the Sophists are slightly modified from Wright 1961.



Glossing the “sacred books” (hiera biblia) as a kind of diary (ephêmerides), Philostratus draws attention to Aristides’ illness without making any mention of the time he spent in the Pergamene temple or of his ongoing relationship with Asclepius. The focus is on the nature of Aristides’ eloquence and the kind of training it required. To be sure, divine cult is not a central concern in Philostratus’s Lives. Yet neither is it entirely absent from his sophistic portraits: other sophists stay overnight in the temple of Asclepius, and several seek divine advice in illness. Beyond this, some of his biographical subjects are portrayed as quasi-divine. Philostratus’s ideal sophist is Aeschines, whom he makes the founder of his “second” era of sophistic (VS 481, 507) and describes as a fluent and “inspired” (theios) speaker—a stylistic innovator who “extemporized as though he were carried away by divine impulse, like one who exhales oracles” (VS 509). As we will see, Philostratus favors the metaphor of divine inspiration for spectacular oratorical success—but he reserves it for success specifically in improvisation. It is not that the language of religion is absent from the Lives—but it is reserved for the oratorical gifts that, in Philostratus’s view, Aristides does not have. Indeed, Philostratus is dismissive of Aristides’ rhetorical attainments, which he presents as a form of compensation for limited natural talents. According to Philostratus, when Aristides was pressed to explain why he was putting off an oratorical performance for the emperor, he quipped: “I am one of those who do not vomit (emein) their speeches but try to make them perfect (akriboun)” (VS 583).45 In the eventual delivery Philostratus says that he mustered “an admirable impetuosity of speech [phorâ],” but he does not elaborate on the performance effect, except to indicate that it was enough to win Aristides imperial favor. Other near contemporaries appreciated Aristides’ technical expertise: the rhetorical theorist Hermogenes of Tarsus cites Aristides approvingly, comparing him to Demosthenes, and another second-century contemporary, Phrynichus, guardian of the Attic vocabulary and style that was so prized in this period, records his own admiration, while also pointing out that Aristides had jealous detractors.46 The remarks

45. The line became famous; cf. Eunapius 489. 46. Jones 2008a, 254 cites Phrynichus’s Sophistic Preparation from the report of Photius, Bibl. 158. Robert 2009 cites Hermogenes 353.26 Rabe; Peri id. 2.7. On Atticizing language and style in the imperial period, see Swain 1996, especially chapters 1 and 2, and chapter 8 on Aristides. Cf. Lucian’s A Slip of the Tongue in Greeting for a sense of the social stakes of Atticism.



indicate general esteem for Aristides’ competence and suggest he was formidable enough to win both friends and enemies in the intensely competitive world of Second Sophistic performance culture, where one’s command of the Greek language was closely scrutinized. The ultimate challenge of rhetorical improvisation, was to so perfectly internalize the rhetorical topoi and strategies as to be able to deploy them spontaneously, on demand. At the same time, all the work of preparation that lay behind such performances was to be hidden, for the cultural cachet of improvisation was that it allowed excellent practitioners to lay claim to natural gifts. Extempore oratory was, in this sense, an aristocratic discourse, one in which the rewards of success were substantial but the risks were high. Philostratus tells the story of Philagrus, who attempted to recycle orations, passing them off as improvised after the text had been published (VS 579). When he tried this on an audience of Herodes’ students, he was unmasked when they read the text aloud, one step ahead of him. It is Aristides’ limitation, in Philostratus’s eyes, that while he certainly works hard, he is unable to declaim spontaneously in a way that hides the preparation and training that lie behind the performance. Indeed, he mocks this earnest labor when he echoes Aristides’ metaphorical language: meditating on rhetorical problems, and working out his “improvisations” clause by clause and thought by thought is a process, Philostratus writes, that “we must regard as chewing rather than eating” (VS 583). When he comments that Aristides’ rhetorical pieces received mixed reviews, he advises his readers to consider the man’s erudition and weigh things up fairly—but his language at least partially undercuts the point when he urges them to overlook “the passages in which [Aristides] has driveled [paraptuein] and fallen into affectation.” Philostratus turns Aristides’ own metaphor of paideia as trophê against him. For while he acknowledges the accurate style and expert elaboration of themes that made him, “of all the sophists, most deeply versed in the art [technikôtatos],” Philostratus denies him any claim to talent in the crucial realm of extempore declamation.47 Careening from one scene of extravagant public display to the next, the Lives of the Sophists is out of step with Aristides’ own sober sense of his singular and underappreciated gifts.

47. Jones 2008b notes Philostratus’s focus on improvisation and points out that in the end the values Aristides represented—the values of conscientious, written art—carried the day. For example, Philostratus makes no mention of the works for which Aristides was best known in later antiquity: his Platonic orations and his prose hymns.



Aristides was called “divine” (theios) by the literati of late antiquity, who appreciated the fine style of his written texts. Late ancient readers remarked upon the density of his ideas and their fluid modulation in language, “which is both peculiar to the subject and shifts imperceptibly.” They appreciated, too, that “a kind of arrangement, which is unified from many parts, pervades the speech like a soul.”48 But Libanius may have been among the last of Aristides’ readers to give the “theios” metaphor its full ethical and religious weight. When he evokes Aristides’ divine reputation in his letter to Theodorus, he seems to be responding to Aristides’ work and his self-presentation on a deeper level. Before Theodorus’s portrait of Aristides reached him, Libanius says, he had received from another correspondent a different image, one he judged, from the luxurious hair and luminous countenance, to be the portrait of a god—not of Aristides, since the orator should have looked worn from the long illness he suffered. Thinking (he says) that his acquaintance had sent him a depiction of the god Asclepius by mistake, Libanius set the first portrait in its rightful place—the temple. When Theodorus’s version arrives and turns out to corroborate the first, Libanius is moved to acknowledge that the godlike figure must be none other than Aristides himself. He thus situates Aristides within the iconographic tradition that elevated the intellectual to the status of the holy: “it was only proper,” Libanius writes, “that such a handsome figure should produce such eloquence.”49 Libanius’s characterization of the divine ethos of the orator is a gesture Aristides would have appreciated, but it is a dimension of his selfpresentation that seems to have been problematic for both earlier and later readers. His near-contemporary Philostratus completely overlooks his claims to inspiration, and Aristides’ later readers, in the Byzantine period and beyond, expressed impatience with that aspect of his profile. His works were widely and deeply admired by the literati of Byzantium for their clear diction, fluent archaism, and vigorous ideas—but Aristides was simultaneously disparaged as a “conceited person and . . . boaster, always

48. These judgments are recorded in a scholiast’s notes on Or. 30 (Behr 1981–1986, 2:147 and 390). 49. Libanius’s confidence that Theodorus has the authentic portrait (Ep. 1534.4) might be based on his apparent geographical proximity to Aristides’ hometown. In the same letter, Libanius says that Theodorus has another image of Aristides in his possession, showing the hands and feet, and also has access to local legends surrounding the images (Ep. 1534.5).



talking about himself.”50 This was a critique lodged against the HL specifically, and the tenth-century scholar Arethas was provoked to complain about Aristides’ self-absorption in the margin of his copy: “what need is there, Aristides, for such never-ending fuss? For such waste of time? Or dreaming hallucination?”51 As Luana Quattrocelli points out, Arethas’s outrage at least partly reflects the clash between a Christian rhetoric of humility and Greco-Roman habits of self-presentation. A similar moral indignation colors nineteenth-century reactions. By this time, under the influence of late nineteenth-century romanticism, many scholars had little sympathy for what they viewed as the morally bankrupt sophistic project of later Greek literature, and the HL were regarded as simply an embarrassing record of excessive egotism.52 Aristides’ traditional rhetorical works could be granted a marginal place in the history of Greek eloquence, but the HL—an incomprehensible, repellent mass of “primitive” sentiment—constituted a chapter of their own somewhere on the fringes not so much of literary scholarship as of religious and social history.53 There were some important exceptions to the general disdain that characterized late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century reactions to the HL, and two substantial scholarly contributions from this time helped keep the

50. οἰηματίας ἄνθρωπος καὶ κομπορρήμων καὶ περιαυτολόγος (cited and translated from Arethas’s marginal notes on the HL in Quattrocelli 2008, 288). 51. ἀλλὰ τί ταύτης ἔδει τῆς τοσαύτης καὶ ἀνηνύτου πραγματείας, Ἀριστείδη; καὶ τῆς τοσαύτης τοῦ χρόνου τριβῆς; καὶ τῆς φασματώδους ὀνειρώξεως; (Quattrocelli 2008, 287). Jones 2008b, 122 refers to “two streams of critical opinion about Aristides, sometimes joining in the same person.” Praise for Aristides’ archaizing style appears, for example, in the scholium to Or. 30 (Behr 1981–1986, 2:147 and 390). 52. E.g., Croiset and Croiset 1899, 576 and 577: “Ses Discours Sacrés sont bien, quant au fond des choses, l’une des plus sottes et des plus impertinentes compositions qu’on puisse lire.” Cf. Lesky 1966, 836; Behr 1968, xiii and 115. 53. E.g., Lesky 1966, 836. Under the influence of late nineteenth-century romanticism, the literary preferences of classical scholars shifted away from Second Sophistic writers (Goldhill 2002b, 5–6). But as Reardon 1971, 3–11 points out, modern notions of “originality” cannot be mapped easily onto ancient value systems. As rhetorical discourse and the practice of literary imitation become objects of study in their own right, Greek literature of the imperial period has recently enjoyed a scholarly revival, newly valued as offering a complex array of resources for investigating a socially embedded literary culture. Whitmarsh 2001, for example, approaches literature as a matrix of cultural identity. Second Sophistic literature also stands to benefit from the shift from traditional source criticism to intertextual readings. To express the kind of creative energy that animated literary mimesis in this period scholars have drawn analogies with twentieth-century jazz and the nineteenth-century occasional sermon.



HL on the map, amid slight but steady interest in his more conventional rhetorical works. In his brief 1874 study of Aristides, Hermann Baumgart considers seriously the question of how to understand the HL in the larger context of Aristides’ rhetorical oeuvre.54 He rightly points out that a significant proportion of the material in the Logoi is directly concerned with Aristides’ oratorical career, and suggests that Aristides’ aim is to present a narrative of professional healing. The motif of physical healing that is elaborated throughout the HL is intended to prepare the reader—by way of the arguably more familiar, health-based analogy—for Aristides’ rehabilitation as an orator.55 Baumgart implies, then, that the close interlacing of professional and physical narratives in the HL represents Aristides’ deliberate rhetorical choice. For the most part, however, scholars have taken a slightly different view. Two generations on, in 1923, André Boulanger published a detailed and comprehensive study of Aristides that surveyed the whole of his literary output, including the HL. Attempting to situate the discourses in the various rhetorical and social contexts of the Second Sophistic, Boulanger investigates separately Aristides’ polemical texts on the art of rhetoric, his declamations on traditional themes, his “poetic” discourses, and his civic orations. Boulanger groups the HL with the prose hymns as examples of what he regards as the characteristic mystic tendencies of this syncretistic period. According to this scheme, the HL record Aristides’ naive spirituality but do not shed light on his rhetorical practice.56 This is the inverse of Philostratus’s judgment, in the sense that, to the extent that Philostratus commented on the HL at all, it was as a rhetorical text. In each case, however, the effect is the same: a divided reading of Aristides’ oeuvre.

Aristides Mystês Boulanger’s 1923 study established a place for the HL in the Aristidean corpus, but it was a place apart: these texts came to be regarded as speaking,

54. Baumgart 1874, chap. 4. 55. Baumgart 1874, 110: “Ueberall ist in den heiligen Reden am meisten betont und ausgeführt, was auf das Rhetorenthum Bezug hat. Auch quantitativ überwiegt dieses bei Weitem das eigentlich Medicinische, so dass die anfänglich ausführlichere Behandlung dieser Partie in der That nur als Einleitung und Vehikel zu dienen scheint um dem Hörer die bei Aristides neu und eigenthümlich auftretende Heilung durch Reden plausibel zu machen.” 56. Boulanger 1923, 156: the HL are “sortes de mémoires qui sont la source essentielle pour la biographie d’Aristide et la connaissance de ses idées religieuses.” Cf. 180–182 and 169–172.



primarily, for private experience as distinct from the professional realm. In fact, when the Logoi began to attract more positive attention in the midtwentieth century, it was for precisely this reason: scholars hoped the text would give modern readers access to the subjective experience of an ancient individual. Distanced from the literary and rhetorical conventions that shape our expectations of the rest of Aristides’ oeuvre, the HL became a curiosity in their own right, attracting attention not just from classicists and from historians of the late classical period, but also from scholars interested in the history of psychology, religion, and medicine. In particular, the HL were championed as evidence for what scholars saw as the affective religiosity of the imperial era—for a private sphere that appeared to represent the reverse of Aristides’ rhetorical and professional interests. E. R. Dodds and others turned to Aristides’ text for insight into the personal dimensions of Asclepieian temple experience, drawn especially to the dream narratives that promised access to some of the darker corners of the Greek mental landscape. Certain ritual contexts, Dodds hypothesized, conditioned worshippers to expect dream communications from the god and therefore cultivated in them “a strong inward sense of the divine presence.”57 Aristides’ HL appeared to offer valuable evidence for this kind of “curious symbiosis” with a god—unique in the polytheistic Greco-Roman tradition for the intensity and duration of the relationship, but characteristic of the wider religious environment of its time, the cosmopolitan Roman Empire at the time of Christianity’s emergence in the early centuries ce. Tracing the narrative of religious change in the imperial period, André-Jean Festugière, for example, drew on the HL to support his thesis that—beyond collective ritual—religion in the late classical world also accommodated a private relationship with the divine and anticipated developments in early Christianity. In numerous passages of affective religiosity in the HL, Festugière could see the conventions of dream interpretation and healing cult preparing the way for a “crisis of conversion,” in which these traditional elements become for Aristides deeply personal.58

57. Dodds 1951, 113. He quotes Aristides’ HL II.31 as an example of what he calls “a condition of self-induced trance.” For a brief history of the psychoreligious approaches to Asclepius’s cures, see Edelstein and Edelstein 1945, vol. 2, 142–145, and LiDonnici 1995, chap. 2. 58. Festugière 1954, 99, and chap. 6 in general. Cf. Dodds 1965, chap. 2 on the contemporary experience of a world of numinous daimonic powers. Aristides himself draws a distinction between festivals and sacrifices that are ordained “by law” and those that “arise spontaneously from our hearts” in his prose hymn to the Sons of Asclepius (Or. 38.23).



When Dodds and Festugière drew attention to Aristides’ first-person narration as a source for the spiritual dimensions of ancient and late ancient religiosity, they did so against the backdrop of a long tradition of historiographical interest in the reasons for Christianity’s rise in the early centuries ce.59 They did so, also, in the wake of the psychoanalytic discovery of the human unconscious, which hypothesized a realm of experience existing prior to and separate from rhetoric, a realm of experience that registered the response of the individual to the strains of culture. Because he offers a personal narrative with religious inflection, in an idiom that appears to bypass the rhetorical constraints of public speech, Aristides seemed to offer a key to unlock the secrets of what Dodds called an “age of anxiety.” The hypochondriacal self-absorption of the HL gave modern readers a glimpse beneath the placid surface of the golden years of the second century, a way inside the unconscious minds of the Antonine elite, a way to divine in the entrails of one of its emblematic figures the decline and fall of classical civilization. Charles Behr shared with Dodds and Festugière the hope that Aristides’ HL could offer a glimpse of an ancient personality, as he records in the preface to his groundbreaking biographical study: If the voluminous and faithful record of dream world and waking life, which is the substance of that work [the Hieroi Logoi], is correctly employed, for the first time unequaled possibilities are at hand to break down the barriers of anonymity which surround the inner life of even the best known figures of antiquity, and without qualification or conjecture, to penetrate to the subconscious level of one of them.60 Behr’s aims were specifically biographical, and without seeking to generalize about Aristides’ experience as symptomatic of his age, he meticulously sifted the HL and other works for the details that would allow him to locate Aristides in the real worlds of imperial public life and elite prosopography. He attended also, however, to the recurrent themes that linked Aristides’ firstperson memoir to other texts in the corpus, and as an appendix to his biographical analysis, he included a series of chapters addressing topics in

59. For the broad picture, see especially Brown 1978. 60. Behr 1968, xiii.



second-century literature and culture that provided a social and intellectual context for Aristides’ account: eclectic polytheism, disease and medicine, and dream interpretation.61 Thanks to his painstaking attention to chronology, Behr’s work has been fundamental for all subsequent research on Aristides. For work on the HL specifically, it was pathbreaking for different reasons: Behr took the first steps toward opening up Aristides’ mental world, putting the apparently intimate landscape of his first-person narrative in communication with some of the important discourses of contemporary culture. To read the first-person narrative of the HL as evidence either for the psychology of an individual or for the psychology of an age tends to entail a divided reading of Aristides’ corpus. Even Behr, who traces the thematic concerns that link the HL with Aristides’ other works, does not see the HL as sharing the same rhetorical space as Aristides’ more conventional and formal pieces. Indeed, amid the cultural contexts in which he seeks to locate the HL—religious, medical, and oneirocritical—oratory is conspicuously absent.62 For Behr, as for many of Aristides’ readers up until the late twentieth century, the dream narratives of the HL seemed to make this text qualitatively different from Aristides’ Atticizing, professional writings. For some scholars, indeed, Aristides’ dreams have been read as symptomatic of a personality split between the urge to participate in the masculine display culture of his time and the urge to retreat from those public stages, a disturbance of identity resulting from Aristides’ internal conflict between acceptance and rejection of the values of manly strength and health promulgated by his society. According to this reading, the imaginative world of divinely inspired dreams offers Aristides a way to bridge the gap between physical reality (his illness) and wider cultural ideals of manly comportment in a private forum where he is not continually subject to public scrutiny.63 Yet the psychocultural dynamics of dream 61. Behr 1968, chaps. 6–8 and appendix D. 62. Behr 1968 has a brief appendix (A) on the composition of the text, but assessing the rhetorical structure of the HL is not his priority. He remarks that the HL present such “unbelievable confusion” as to ultimately “repel close and prolonged study” (Behr 1968, 118 and xiii) and identifies Aristides’ “congenital fault” as “a weakness for the ‘attraction of analogy’” (118). For similar verdicts, compare Boulanger 1923, 169; Reardon 1971, 256. In his later study, however, Behr reflects on the theme of the mystification of oratory in the HL (1994, 1163–1171). 63. For example, Miller 1994, 202. Gourevitch 1984, 49 also refers to the “deux pôles de sa personne,” and writes: “hors des Discours Sacrés, il lui arrive bien d’évoquer la santé, mais ce sont des discours du rhéteur Aristide, qui n’ont pas grande chose à voir avec le vécu du malade Aristide.”



narratives are always complex—and differently complex in the ancient and the modern (post-Freudian) worlds. In the cultural imagination of the ancients, the role of dreams in public life was greater, and their importance as a mode of understanding one’s place in the world—past, present, and future—meant they were understood more often as sources of practical information than as revelations of unacknowledged emotional depths.64 Since the HL were intended for publication, it is prudent to ask how the dozens of dream accounts Aristides’ presents might have worked in his social—and indeed his rhetorical—world. Just as mid-twentieth-century readings of the HL were conditioned by assumptions that dreams reflect a realm of private experience, so too expectations of autobiography shaped critical reactions to Aristides’ first-person narrative. Because scholarship on autobiography has until relatively recently been informed, implicitly, by the models of Christian conversion and of philosophical (and psychological) self-reflection, the flamboyant and self-vaunting HL were an awkward fit.65 In the long tradition of self-description and self-examination traced by Georg Misch in his History of Autobiography in Antiquity, for example, the Hieroi Logoi approach—but ultimately fall short of—the status of “psychological autobiography.” If we look hard for Aristides’ awareness of his spiritual and intellectual life, Misch feels, we find ultimately a shallow and vain personality whose divine visions are merely instruments of his own “highly cultivated subjectivity” rather than opportunities for spiritual enrichment.66 Measured by the criteria of self-awareness and spiritual development that Misch takes to be the goals of autobiography, the HL are a failure to be explained either by a lack of spiritual sophistication on Aristides’ part or by the psychological mechanism of willful selfdeception. In his evolutionary account of self-writing, Misch distinguishes between ancient autobiography, which grew out of legal apologia and retained a strong element of rhetorical performance, and spiritual autobiography, which he attributes to growing literary self-awareness during the

64. See, for example, Price 1986, although he focuses almost exclusively on dreams’ predictive function. 65. On the pervasiveness of the religious-philosophical model, see, for example, the analysis of Stroumsa 1990. 66. Misch 1950, 503 and 508.



Middle Ages.67 What Misch and others consider “real” autobiography has its roots in this later tradition and, in the eyes of many critics, requires an element of sheer inwardness for which Augustine’s Confessions were long regarded as the model. As recent studies remind us, however, Augustine too is in dialogue with the rhetorical model provided by scripture-based prayer, constructing God as his interlocutor;68 and when even the Confessions present a more complex enunciatory scenario, the autobiographical ideal of perfect and unmediated self-scrutiny begins to look like a theoretical illusion. Revised readings of this central text of the autobiographical tradition in its premodern phase are in step with critical developments that posit a “post-interiorized” view of the individual, according to which we become persons as interlocutors, and as a consequence autobiography is never autarchic.69 The direction taken recently in scholarship on autobiography, then, has something in common with ancient views that selfanalysis is insufficient for an account of an individual, and that to take the measure of a person requires not just introspection but a view from the outside as well.70 Thus, whereas Misch traced a trajectory away from the rhetorical, performative posturing of ancient apologia toward a self-reflective mode that seemed to be a product of the advent and expansion of Christian literary culture, and struggled to find a place for Aristides between the two, recent critical developments, questioning the opposition of rhetoric and religiosity, public and private, have opened up the intermediate space in which Aristides’ professional self-portrait seems to work.

New Interpretive Trajectories The HL are now clearly recognized as a public text, and in recent decades the Logoi have found their place in scholarship on the sophisticated literary sensibilities of imperial Hellenism and on strategies of self-fashioning in

67. For Misch the main ancient example of fully internalized autobiography is Marcus Aurelius, who constitutes an exception because (in Misch’s view) he apparently was not writing for publication. Misch 1950, 185 surveys a range of styles of autobiography in the second century ce. Bompaire 1993 attempts to situate Aristides’ autobiographical voice among diverse contemporary examples of first-person writing by Lucian, Marcus Aurelius, and Galen. 68. Brown 1967, Wills 2011. 69. Taylor 1985, 278; with Taylor 1989; and Dickson 2009, 100, with n. 2. 70. See Momigliano 1985, 90–91 for what he calls the “sociality of the self.”



Second Sophistic oratorical culture. Aristides’ first-person narrative has long been valued as a window on second-century cultural realities—not just for its evocation of the contemporary religious milieu, but also because (as Behr showed) it offers a wealth of prosopographical and exemplary detail of value for the study of the political, social, and intellectual elite in this period.71 Central to more recent work, however, is the notion that Aristides’ text is not just a reflection of contemporary cultural dynamics; it also makes an intervention in that cultural world. Like his Second Sophistic contemporaries, Aristides was caught up in what has been called the “ethical theater” of public speaking in which the speaker’s deportment—as much as his learning—was on display, and in which the onstage persona one cultivated had sharp social and political consequences.72 The first-person voice of the HL raises many questions about authorial persona, and since this text was, like Aristides’ other discourses, intended for public consumption, it makes sense to ask how he intended the text to contribute to his profile. When it comes to positioning the text within contemporary discourses of self-fashioning—especially the discourses of religion and the body, scholars have taken a variety of approaches. For Judith Perkins, Aristides’ insistent attention to his ailing body, and the fact that he describes his identity and his relationship with the divine in terms of physical symptoms and prescriptions, make the HL part of an emerging “subjectivity of the sufferer” that was characteristic of contemporary developments in GrecoRoman religion and early Christianity.73 Moving away from classical notions of self-control, she argues, individuals began to entrust the care of their bodies increasingly to figures outside themselves—to a doctor, a god, or a representative of secular authority.74 Indeed, many twentieth-century scholars have characterized Aristides’ illness as psychosomatic—implying that his physical complaints were symptoms of psychological discomfort— and E. R. Dodds regarded Aristides’ idiosyncratic but fervent reports of engagement with the divine as part of the picture of an imperial “age of anxiety” in which individuals moved beyond traditional cults and explored

71. See also Bowersock 1969, and Swain 1996, chap. 8. 72. For the phrase “ethical theater,” see Connolly 2001, 83. See also Gleason 1995; Korenjak 2000, 2005; and Schmitz 1997. 73. Perkins 1995, 9. It turned out to be the strength of the Christian church as an emerging institution, she argues, that it was able to capitalize on a new tendency to describe subjectivity in terms of suffering. 74. Perkins 1995, 183; cf. 157 and 165–166.



“mystical” practices in an attempt “to build a psychological bridge between man and Deity.”75 For Perkins, however, Aristides’ account of his illnesses is not merely a symptom of the high personal costs—psychological and physical—of contemporary social life. Rather, his therapeutic relationship with Asclepius provides him with an intellectual structure “for understanding his infirmities and living with them,” and his illness narrative is a mode of self-knowledge and self- creation.76 Judith Perkins reads the HL as a religious narrative in which we can see Aristides negotiating his relationship to himself and to his god. Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis, by contrast, reads the HL as a text in which we see Aristides engaging the language and practices of Greek cult primarily in order to negotiate his relationship to his professional peers. Since the landscape of religious cult belonged as much to the educated elite as to the anonymous lower classes in the imperial world, Aristides had a vested interest in charismatic religion and personal access to the divine, and he sought to turn this interest to his professional and social advantage. In Petsalis-Diomidis’s reading, the HL have a polemical purpose: the text is an intervention in debates about the right way to practice religion as a member of the social and intellectual elite—debates whose echoes we see, for example, in Lucian’s biting satire on the widely popular cult of Alexander of Abonuteichos. Aristides speaks for the other side, in a sense, playing the role of a theios anêr to an audience of his peers and thus “construct[ing] a new social and intellectual model . . . [and placing] religion at its very center.”77 Both Perkins and 75. Dodds 1965, 100. Faced with the contradiction between his medical complaints and his evident professional success, many readers have seen Aristides’ illness as psychosomatic. E.g. Phillips 1952 (hypochondria); Behr 1968, 162–164 (psychosomatic symptoms); Dodds 1965, 39–45 (psychosomatic symptoms). His case has also attracted interest from psychological perspectives: Michenaud and Dierkins 1972, chap. 3, esp. 99 and 111, offer a clinical diagnosis of hypochondria with hysterical characteristics, noting that Aristides’ text does not present all the information a modern analyst would ideally solicit. Andersson and Roos 1997 critique previous psychoanalytic interpretations that read the HL entirely as evidence for neurosis and argue that Aristides suffered from real illness, magnified by a narcissistic temperament. Miller 1994, 190–194 describes Aristides as presenting a “scenario of brokenness” and outlines various analyses of the rupture in his personality. Bowersock 1969, 71–72: hypochondria was “possibly the most disquieting aspect of Antonine society and inducing a sense of foreboding” (cf. Bowersock 1969, 74). As Gleason 1995, xvii–xviii points out, the historiographic tradition of describing the empire as a body in disintegration and decline begins with Gibbon. 76. Perkins 1995, 186. Cf. King 2006, 130. Quet 1993 also makes the case for regarding the text of the HL itself as an exercise in self-creation but pays less attention to the particular role of illness in this process. 77. Petsalis-Diomidis 2010, 129.



Petsalis-Diomidis credit Aristides’ investment in his relationship with Asclepius and, by not questioning the sincerity of his commitment, make room for religion as an aspect of Aristides’ public persona. In recent work on the HL, then, religion appears, along with health and gender, as one of a range of “technologies of the self ” that emerged from the philosophical tradition to inform a widespread culture of self-regulation and askêsis in this period. In a series of studies, Michel Foucault traced the effects of this discourse of personal agency as it pervaded imperial society, and others have shown how this culture of self-regulation extended outward from the individual to structure the dynamics of social performance—especially in the arena of oratory.78 Epideictic oratory in the imperial era elided any distinction between public and private because it was, as Maud Gleason has shown, a performance of masculinity, a means of achieving status through the articulation of a whole repertoire of signs that codified male socialization. In this effort, the speaker’s body was as much a part of the performance as his words: because the voice was regarded as a manifestation of the body’s humoral balance, the quality of one’s public speech registered a person’s position on the scale of values (hot/cold and wet/dry) used to qualify the ideal, male bodily constitution. There was a social imperative, then, to cultivate the physical conditions of manliness that were the outward markers of appropriate paideia and personal excellence.79 At the same time—ironically, in the context of a highly disciplined profession that entailed complete mastery of the Greek linguistic and literary tradition, as well as the self-mastery of physical askêsis—performers achieved special distinction by breaking the mold. As Gleason illustrates with the example of the flamboyant eunuch

78. Foucault 1988, 1986, 2001b, with the assessment of Porter 2005 and 2006. Foucault’s thesis in the third volume of History of Sexuality is that the new intensity of self-preoccupation in this period led to a revised ethics of pleasure in which the indulgence of sexual desires was considered to have serious negative consequences for the cultivation of a healthy relationship to one’s self. This search for self-control led to a more restrictive focus on the marriage relationship as the site for sexual pleasures. For Stoicism as a widespread vernacular, see Francis 1995, chap. 1, and on the tendency of Roman stoicism toward a Platonic dualism, in which the physical body is the object of disdain, and philosophic detachment from it the only true freedom, see Bartsch 2006, 171–182. Cf. Gleason 1995, 84: askêsis was the “watchword of the era.” 79. Gleason 1995.



Favorinus and other orators who inverted or expanded the expected codes of manly self-display, a kind of inspired extravagance was the hallmark of excellence. This zero-sum game of “ethical theater” functioned in part by way of what Joy Connolly has described as an “aesthetic of performative excess,” a process by which cultural power accrues to individuals through virtuosic manipulation of established codes—a kaleidoscopic game of one-upmanship.80 The world of competitive oratory in which Aristides participated as an educated Hellene—a pepaideumenos—and as a professional rhetor, was a world of self-performance.81 Every performance envisioned an audience, and the HL are no exception: Aristides says explicitly that he was charged by the god with bringing his account into the public sphere (eis meson). With no evidence for contemporary reaction, however, it is difficult to imagine how the work was received.82 Set against Aristides’ other discourses, the Logoi seem, on their surface, both disordered and fabulously self-indulgent. What impression could Aristides have hoped to make? Facing this question head-on, Martin Korenjak has suggested that it may have been Aristides’ aim to confuse. A dramatic example of Connolly’s “performative excess,” the disordered surface of Aristides’ text is, in Korenjak’s reading, a linguistic power play on the part of the author, who set out to exercise total domination over an uncomprehending audience.83 Yet as Petsalis-Diomidis’ reading underscores, Aristides’ substantive claims in the text matter too—wonder at divine thaumata was a powerful force in the imperial world. Aristides has something at stake in both the subject matter and the style of his divinely inspired account. The questions raised by the HL reveal the limits of modern notions that the relationship between rhetoric and religion is (or should be) one of tension. In the world of Aristides’ HL, rhetoric and religion are allies. This

80. Connolly 2001, 78–79, 88–90. Cf. Gleason 1995, 74. Ultimately, Connolly (77) suggests that certain orators chose to cultivate this oratorical style as part of a resistance mechanism in Greek culture to the political reality of Roman rule. 81. The imperial world of performance extended beyond the oratorical to the athletic arena, which, as König 2005 shows, offered its own route to cultural capital. 82. Quattrocelli 2009 argues from a detailed analysis of the text that each Logos implies a slightly different audience, and hypothesizes that some of the Logoi were performed for a temple audience of the god’s devotees, and others for separate audiences of Aristides’ professional peers. 83. Korenjak 2005.



perspective on the text has grounded a set of recent studies by Laurent Pernot. For Pernot the text works through the imbrication of illness and intellectual activities “under the sign of religion,”84 but religion is intertwined with rhetoric both at the basic level of their shared linguistic medium and at the level of culture. In Aristides’ imperial context, sophists aspired to the aura of the magician or “holy man,” Pernot reminds us, partly by cultivating a sense of the magic of words.85 There is, then, a religious dimension to oratory, just as much as there is a rhetorical dimension to religion. This—as Libanius appreciated—is the heart of the issue in the HL: religion and rhetoric are so closely entwined that it is almost impossible to subordinate one to the other. Reading the HL involves coming to terms with what Pernot called the “triangle Aristidien”: religion, the body, and rhetoric.86 To tease out the many dimensions of this text must be a multifaceted—and, ultimately, a collaborative—effort. Of many possible angles on the HL, in this book I have chosen to emphasize oratory as Aristides’ primary commitment, and to investigate how he uses the rhetoric of religion—as well as the rhetoric of illness and healing—to shape his self-portrait as an orator. I argue, therefore, that Aristides’ aims in this self-presentation were not religious per se, but distinctly professional. What he sought to account for, to himself and to his audience, was not his religious conduct but his professional conduct—by claiming Asclepius as his divine enabler. One thing in particular compels us to at least entertain a view of the “triangle Aristidien” from the perspective of rhetoric: while the HL can be helpfully accommodated within the religious and cultural discourses of the imperial period, from a stylistic point of view they are outliers in Aristides’ corpus and in extant contemporary literature. If he aims to make certain claims about the nature and authority of his professional competence and status as a rhetor, what does it mean for Aristides—who prized the Attic language, his classical models, and akribeia above all—to offer up this unconventional narrative in a simple, artless style so far from his usual, sober prose? Since Boulanger, style has been decisive in setting the HL apart from the rest of

84. Pernot 2002, 381. 85. Pernot 2006, 245–246. He cites examples from Philostratus’s VS, noting as well that the Latin rhetor Apuleius was indicted on charges of magic. 86. As Luana Quattrocelli has suggested, we might extend the triangulation into a third dimension, by adding a fourth term: “audience.”



Aristides’ oeuvre, but the closer we admit the relationship between rhetoric and religion to be in this text, the more seriously we need to take the question of how Aristides’ rhetorical investments play out in this narrative of divine sponsorship. In this book, I argue that Aristides uses his narrative of divine healing to substantiate his claim to professional status, and that stylistic innovation and experimentation is part of that claim. In the chapters that follow, I present a reading of the Hieroi Logoi that takes seriously Aristides’ rhetorical and literary aims. I begin, in chapter 1, with a reading of the text’s two prologues. At the beginning of HL I, and again at the beginning of HL II, Aristides reflects on the kind of project he undertakes in this account of the god’s benefactions. In the first prologue, by way of a series of epic images he complicates the relationship between mortal and immortal in this story of illness and divine healing. In the prologue of HL II, in turn, he reflects on the textual status of the account. Together, I suggest, these two prologues show that Aristides intended the HL as an open text, in which he makes various layers of composition visible in order to expose the dynamics of memory and language and to reflect more adequately the hermeneutic effort unique to divine-human collaboration in the literary process. In the two following chapters I turn to the two most remarkable features of the HL: Aristides’ dream accounts and his narratives of divine cure. Each has been the focus of much scholarly discussion, and in each case, Aristides’ aims and methods need to be read against the backdrop of contemporary literary and cultural practice. In chapter 2, I argue that when we set Aristides’ dream narratives against contemporary texts on dreams, what stands out is the degree to which Aristides engages the complexities of the dream scenario as a linguistic and literary challenge. If we read his dream narratives in a rhetorical context, I suggest, we can see that he is interested in testing the limits of vivid description—the limits of enargeia. In chapter 3, I argue that by way of his cure narrative in the HL Aristides makes a bid for the kind of status offered by extempore rhetoric. He does this by shaping for himself the persona of hero and mystic initiate, and by incarnating two of the dominant metaphors for rhetoric: agonistic performance and mystery initiation. There is evidence in Aristides’ corpus of writings that he faced opposition from some quarters when he broadcast his claims to divine inspiration. How, then, was he to avoid such opposition to a text made up substantially of dream narratives and oriented around a claim to divine inspiration in not just the personal, but also the professional sphere? In



chapter 4 I argue that Aristides faced a literary challenge in merging an extensive record of divine revelation with a project of self-presentation, and I suggest we should consider how his response to that challenge grows out of his ongoing literary engagement with the prose hymn. In chapter 5 I consider Aristides’ account, in HL IV, of the legal and political entanglements he faced when he sought to avoid positions of public service. Claiming exemption on the basis of his status as a rhetor, he invokes his story of divinely inspired askêsis as the platform for his claim to an exceptional position in the context of second-century provincial politics. The audience for Aristides’ claim to exceptionalism is not limited, however, to a contemporary audience. In this final chapter I consider how he negotiates the relationship between oral and written, between literature and paideia, in a text that he understands as part of his own literary afterlife. B. P. Reardon imagined that the playwright Euripides might have found in Aristides an intriguing dramatic character: chaste, devoted to rhetoric, and obsessed with a sense of self-importance born of intimacy with the gods.87 But unlike Euripides’ Hippolytus, Aristides tells his own story. Aristides’ version is the group of texts he calls the Hieroi Logoi: a fabulous, self-indulgent memoir of astonishing dexterity—one that conspicuously avoids the crisis of recognition that might turn propaganda to tragedy, or transmute the arrogance of classical apologia into something recognizable as spiritual autobiography. Working at the limits of his art, in an eccentric text Aristides exposes the interweaving of rhetoric and religion, of hiera and logoi.

87. Reardon 1971, 264. He also alludes to the Pirandello play, the title of which I have adapted for this introduction.

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Hieroi Logoi the god in the tex t

1 7 7 C E , on a visit to the Pergamene Asclepieium where he had briefly resided some three decades earlier, Aristides delivered a Lalia for Asclepius (Or. 42). Apparently one in a series of daily addresses, this piece was presented in the magnificent new temple of Zeus-Asclepius (42.2), as a tribute to the god who had, as Aristides puts it, granted him “as from a great sea of despair to reach a calm harbor” (42.1).1 Aristides viewed the Lalia as a votive offering perfectly suited to the kind of help he had received from his divine sponsor. For while most worshippers credited Asclepius with their recovery from particular illnesses, Aristides proclaims that he is divinely gifted not only in his physical health but also in his professional and intellectual pursuits (42.7, 11). For this reason, beyond the conventional cult offerings of sacrifice and incense—in which he enthusiastically shares—Aristides expresses his special gratitude through speeches, logoi (42.3). He acknowledges his divine sponsor for the gift of speaking that has put him on good terms with the emperors, the empresses, and “the whole imperial chorus” (42.14) and compares himself to Homer’s Odysseus in the land of the Phaeacians, famously endowed with oratorical gifts by the goddess Athena.2


1. 42.1: οἷον ἐκ πελάγους πολλοῦ καὶ κατηφείας λιμένος τε λαβέσθαι γαληνοῦ. 2. 42.14: “But the greatest thing in this respect is putting me on such friendly terms with even the divine emperors, and aside from contact with them by letter, making me speak in their presence, and to be prized as no one ever had been, and at that equally by the emperors and the empresses and the whole imperial chorus. Now, Odysseus was empowered by Athena to give an oratorical display in Alcinoos’s house. Certainly this, too, was a great thing and very timely.” (τὸ δὲ δὴ μέγιστον τῶν περὶ ταῦτα τὸ καὶ τοῖς θείοις βασιλεῦσιν εἰς

τοσοῦτον οἰκειοῦσθαι καὶ χωρὶς τῆς διὰ τῶν γραμμάτων συνουσίας ἐπιδείξασθαι λέγοντα ἐν αὐτοῖς καὶ σπουδαζόμενον ἃ μηδεὶς πώποτε, καὶ ταῦτα ὁμοίως μὲν παρὰ τῶν βασιλέων, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τῶν βασιλίδων γενέσθαι, καὶ παντὸς δὴ τοῦ βασιλείου χοροῦ. Ὀδυσσεῖ δὲ ὑπῆρξε παρ’ Ἀθηνᾶς ἐν Ἀλκινόου καὶ Φαίαξιν ἐπιδείξασθαι. μέγα δή που καὶ τοῦτο καὶ μάλα ἐν καιρῷ.) Aristides’ statement that he has performed before the



In the Lalia, Aristides identifies logoi as the medium of his special connection with the god, and he refers explicitly to the HL as a written record that will substantiate his self-portrait as the heroic recipient of divine gifts: “absolutely everything of this nature that it was possible to recall,” he says, “is also in the sacred discourses (hierois . . . logois)” (42.10).3 Indeed, in the HL he notes that he has composed his account in response to a divine injunction to make his experiences public (II.2: agein eis meson), and since Philostratus was familiar with this collection of texts in the early third century, it seems clear that Aristides included the HL among his published works. Yet, while scholars now concur in reading the HL as a public text, questions persist about the nature of his commemorative effort and the coherence of the account he offers in the extant Logoi. Why, scholars have asked, is his account so confused? And, in particular, what are we to make of the stylistic discrepancy between HL I and the rest of the Logoi?4 In this chapter, I focus on the problem of the discontinuity between the “diary” of HL I and the more thematically oriented account that Aristides presents in HL II–VI—a discontinuity accentuated by the fact that each of the first two Logoi begins with a prologue. Faced with these redundant prologues, and observing that the two introductions share many common themes, readers have generally assumed that there was some lapse of time and attention between Aristides’ composition of the first Logos and his return to the project—now broader in scope—with HL II. Yet, assuming that the project evolved over time in this manner, since he intended the text for a public audience, and since the divine guidance he celebrates in the Logoi is, in part, literary and rhetorical, it seems reasonable to ask: What kind of artistic unity did Aristides think his Hieroi Logoi possessed? What matters is not so much the scenario of composition—however protracted or compact this was; the more interesting question is why it may have seemed appropriate or desirable to him to leave the traces of that compositional process in the published text. The reading I propose is twofold. I suggest, on the one hand, that in spite of their similarities, the two

imperial family suggests that Or. 42 was composed after Marcus Aurelius’s visit to Smyrna in 176 (Behr 1968, 11–12 and 32, n. 47. See also Behr 1981–1986, 2:416, and Goeken 2012, 475–479 for the circumstances of the text’s performance). The new, second-century temple of Zeus-Asclepius was built by L. Cuspius Pactumeius Rufinus as part of a midcentury refurbishment of the complex and postdated Aristides’ kathedra. 3. 42.10: ὅσα δ’ αὐτῶν οἷόν τε ἀπομνημονεῦσαι ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς καὶ ταῦτα ἔνεστι λόγοις. 4. Korenjak 2005 and Dorandi 2005 address these two questions directly.

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prologues are not thematically repetitive, but complementary. And on the other hand, I suggest that their juxtaposition—as well as the juxtaposition of different styles of narration in HL I and the rest of the text—exposes the challenges and paradoxes that Aristides regards as crucial to his aretalogical project. I argue in the following pages that he preserves different layers of composition in an open text deliberately, in an attempt to expose problems of memory and to capture more adequately the hybrid voice that he sees as characteristic of divine-human collaboration in logoi.

Memory, Time, and Interpretation In Or. 42, Aristides says that his audience will find in the HL as many deeds of the god as he could relate from memory (apomnêmoneusai). He makes the Logoi sound like a kind of catalog of divine benefactions. Yet when we turn back to the HL themselves, he further complicates the process of memorialization and the very idea of a complete record. For although he will go on to tell the stories of dozens of dreams and cures over the ensuing Logoi, Aristides begins each of the first two books by claiming that his experience of divine care exceeds his narrative capacities. In the methodical first part of HL I, he relates his dreams and medical symptoms as they occurred day by day over the months of Poseidon and Lenaeon (January and February) 166.5 Yet he prefaces this detailed, diary account by pointing out, in epic style, that a catalog of divine miracles is impossible. He states, in the opening lines of HL I, that he could never undertake to “tell all the achievements (agônismata) of the savior” (I.1):

καὶ οὐκέτ’ ἐνταῦθα τὸ τοῦ Ὁμήρου προσθήσω, ‘οὐδ’ εἴ μοι δέκα μὲν γλῶσσαι, δέκα δὲ στόματ’ εἶεν᾽· μικρὸν γὰρ τοῦτό γε· ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ἂν εἰ πᾶσαν ὑπερβαλοίμην τὴν ἐν ἀνθρώποις δύναμίν τε καὶ φωνὴν καὶ γνώμην, οὐκ ἄν ποτε οὐδ’ ἐγγὺς αὐτῶν ἀφικοίμην. Nor shall I add the words of Homer here—“not if I had ten tongues and ten mouths”—for this would be too little. Not even if I could

5. Aristides begins the diary (I.4): “I will give an account of everything day by day. For it was the month of Poseidon—in you know what kind of a winter!” (λογιοῦμαι δὲ ἕκαστα πρὸς ἡμέραν. ἦν μὲν γὰρ Ποσιδεὼν μήν, ἴστε οἵου χειμῶνος.) Behr has dated these diary entries to January and February 166, the period when Aristides was sick with complications from the Antonine plague.



surpass all the strength and speech and wisdom of men could I ever approach them [the god’s deeds]. The Homeric topos that he cites appears in the catalog of ships (Iliad 2.489), where the epic narrator invokes the Muses to help him in a feat of memory that exceeds his capacity as a human poet.6 Thus, with this brief and self-conscious gesture to the convention of the epic catalog, Aristides appropriates the authority of Homeric tradition. At the same time, however, he departs from his epic model—here and throughout this first prologue—by omitting the appeal for divine aid that is the central point in the Homeric context. We will see that Aristides complicates his Homeric models in quite intricate ways in this prologue, but what claims his attention from the beginning is the nature of human limitation. He denotes the impediments to memorialization, here, in general terms—strength, speech, wisdom—before elaborating in the second prologue. In HL II and subsequent Logoi, Aristides leaves behind the diary form of the first Logos. The text retains some of the effect of the literary catalog, but he shapes his account thematically, and with a sense of time that is not precisely linear but reflects the dynamic process of recollection. In keeping with this shift, when he describes the difficulties of his work in the second prologue, he frames these in personal terms (II.1):

Φέρε δὴ καὶ τῶν ἀνωτέρω μνημονεύσωμεν, ἐάν τι δυνώμεθα· ὧν τὸ μὲν ἐξ ἀρχῆς οὐδὲν ἡμῖν ἐπῄει γράφειν, ἀπιστίᾳ τοῦ μὴ περιέσεσθαι, ἔπειτα καὶ τὸ σῶμα οὕτως ἔχον οὐκ εἴα σχολάζειν τούτοις. χρόνου δὲ αὖ προελθόντος ἕν τι τῶν ἀδυνάτων εἶναι ἐδόκει καὶ μ νημονεῦσαι ἕκαστα καὶ δι’ ἀκριβείας εἰπεῖν· κρεῖττον οὖν εἶναι σιωπᾶν ὅλως ἢ λυμήνασθαι τοσούτοις ἔργοις. Let us recall earlier things, then, if we are able—which, in the beginning it did not occur to me to write about at all, because I did not believe that I would survive. Then, too, my body was in such a state that it did not give me leisure for these things. And as time passed, it seemed to be an impossibility to recall each thing and to tell it precisely. So it seemed better to keep completely silent than to spoil such great deeds.

6. He cites the same Homeric line at Or. 45.16.

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Memory, here, is a practical problem, conditioned in part by the vicissitudes of Aristides’ body: between the deeds of the god and their written record, physical pain has intervened, and now what illness made difficult, the passage of human time has made seemingly impossible. At a distance of many years, his experiences seem to Aristides less and less commensurate with language. The result is virtually a loss of voice, for Aristides worries that any attempt to speak will be not just inadequate to the god’s deeds but harmful (lumênasthai). The predicament he identified in the first prologue in the formal language of epic, he here explains in terms of a retrospective personal history, questioning on a deeper level the relationship between memory and writing and the constitution of narrative authority. In different ways in each prologue, then, Aristides makes it clear that the HL can offer no simple, comprehensive account of the god’s deeds. It is only in the second prologue that he elaborates a complex textual scenario to account for the distance between commemorative ideal and commemorative reality in this regard. For, no sooner has he said that he has found it impossible to put his experiences into words, than he explains that he has already done this. The god’s first command, from the beginning (archê) of his illness, was that he should make a written record (II.2):

νυνὶ δὲ τοσούτοις ἔτεσι καὶ χρόνοις ὕστερον ὄψεις ὀνειράτων ἀναγκάζουσιν ἡμᾶς ἄγειν αὐτά πως εἰς μέσον. καίτοι τοσοῦτόν γε ἔχω λέγειν, ὅτι εὐθὺς ἐξ ἀρχῆς προεῖπεν ὁ θεὸς ἀπογράφειν τὰ ὀνείρατα· καὶ τοῦτ’ ἦν τῶν ἐπιταγμάτων πρῶτον. ἐγὼ δὲ τῶν μὲν ὀνειράτων τὴν ἀπογραφὴν ἐποιούμην, ὁπότε μὴ δυναίμην αὐτοχειρίᾳ, ὑπαγορεύων · οὐ μέντοι προσετίθην οὔτ’ ἐν οἷς ὄντι προσεγίγνετο ἕκαστα οὔθ’ ὁποῖ’ ἄττ’ ἀπέβαινεν ἐξ αὐτῶν, ἀλλ’ ἤρκει μοι ὥσπερ ἀφοσιοῦσθαι πρὸς τὸν θεόν, ἅμα μὲν διὰ τὴν ἀδυναμίαν, ὥσπερ ἔφην, τοῦ σώματος, ἅμα δὲ οὐκ ἄν ποτε ἤλπισα εἰς τοσοῦτον προβήσεσθαι προνοίας τὸν θεόν· And now, so many years later, dream visions compel me to make these things somehow public [eis meson]. And yet I have this much to say, at least, that right from the beginning the god commanded me to make a record [apographê] of my dreams. And this was his first command. And I made a record [apographê] of my dreams, dictating them whenever I was not able to write myself. But I added neither the circumstances in which each thing happened nor what came of each, but I was satisfied to, as it were, fulfill my duty toward



the god, because of the weakness, as I said, of my body—and at the same time I never expected that the god would advance to such a point of providence [pronoia]. The record Aristides describes here sounds, in fact, very much like the catalog-style dream diary presented in HL I. That diary ranges over a matter of weeks, but in the prologue of HL II Aristides asks his readers to imagine a more expansive account in a similar vein—a record, kept over decades of illness and divine intimacy, containing all manner of dreams, speeches, and poetry, and extending, he claims, over some three hundred thousand lines.7 In this passage from the second prologue, Aristides refers to the record he kept over decades of illness and divine intimacy as the apographê, and he reflects upon its strengths and limitations. As a kind of catalog, the apographê offered the promise of a complete record that Aristides hoped would satisfy his divine obligation. Yet because it omitted the circumstances and the outcomes of his dreams and cures, the apographê ultimately fell short. In a sense, of course, Aristides could not know the outcomes before some time had passed—indeed, as he says, one of his reasons for not writing this account sooner was that he could not have imagined living so long, under the god’s protection. Divine foreknowledge is most visible to humans in retrospect, and it is only now, at some distance, that Aristides can face the challenge of composing a narrative of consequences and of rendering a public account (agein . . . eis meson), by piecing together disparate aspects of his story and speaking in summary fashion. Every day and night of our lives, as he says in the first prologue (HL I.3), has its own narrative (suggraphê). The apographê, at its best, is a catalog of experience. The suggraphê, on the other hand, is Aristides’ attempt to make sense of that experience. It is precisely this tension between apographê and suggraphê that interests Aristides when he reflects on his project in the second prologue. Thus, while he begins the second prologue by setting a wide gulf between his experience and any spoken or written record, he continues to invoke the apographê as a text that matters because it is close, materially and temporally, to the events it records. When he introduces the apographê he claims it was difficult to use and not entirely accessible to him as he set to 7. II.3: “I think there are no fewer than three hundred thousand lines in the apographê . . .” (μυριάδας γε ἐπῶν οὐκ ἔλαττον ἢ τριάκοντα ἡγοῦμαι τῆς ἀπογραφῆς εἶναι . . .)

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work on the HL (II.3). Yet later in the second Logos he refers his readers to “the parchment books” (diphtherai) where he says they can find the details of his cures if they wish (II.8).8 Aristides views these textual efforts as complementary, and he keeps the apographê in view as he composes what is essentially a hybrid text. Indeed, while he is determined to remain focused on the prophetic shape of his narrative, he remarks that it would be “in every way more awesome and clearer to narrate the simple visions themselves” (II.29)—feeling the pull of two kinds of account: the contemporary record of the apographê and the sense-making effort of the suggraphê. In sum, Aristides’ introduction of the apographê unsettles as much as it reassures, and in the second prologue he deliberately problematizes the relationship between this prior text and the composition under way in the HL. Lee T. Pearcy regarded the apographê as “a foil against which the existence of the narrative must be read,” and he argues that this was a device intended to heighten the authority of the HL themselves by setting the text free from the objective “claims of reality.”9 The motif of the eyewitness observer and that of the “lost original” are common literary tropes in imaginative literature of the period—indeed, Aristides himself employs a similar trope in his Egyptian Discourse (Or. 36.1) as a way of crafting narrative authority. In that case, although he had slaves take careful notes (hypomnêmata) on the phenomena he observed and the research he conducted on his journey to Egypt, these notes, he says, were lost; yet he claims he can still offer an account that will solve once and for all the mystery of the Nile’s flood.10 In the Egyptian Discourse, the insistence on firsthand observation enhances Aristides’ authorial pose as the industrious researcher, establishing his fidelity to the real phenomena, even though his essay on this academic chestnut of natural history is probably largely based on library sources.11 In the rather different literary venture of the HL, there is even

8. Cf. III.26, where he says he will fill out the details of the prescription if the dreambooks show up again. On the apographê, see also the comments of Pearcy 1988, 381. 9. Pearcy 1988, 383. 10. 36.1: “the one small question” (τὸ ἕν τε καὶ μικρὸν ἐρώτημα). Aristides speaks ironically here: the Nile’s flood was a great traditional debate, and Or. 36 runs to nearly forty pages. On the motif of the lost notes, Behr 1981–1986, 2:404 remarks drily that this was a “recurrent problem.” 11. Behr 1981–1986, 2:402–409 comments on Aristides’ sources, his original observations, and his place in the tradition.



more at stake in Aristides’ construction of eyewitness narrative authority, for here he is not just the observer, but also the object of study: his personal experience constitutes the substance of this text. Aristides’ references to the apographê, therefore, function not to separate the textual world from the real world, but to insist on their complex relationship. When Aristides draws attention, in the HL, to the relationship between experience and the written text, he is interested in exposing— rather than masking—the process of memory that mediates between the two. He signals this, as we have seen, in the second prologue, by complicating the status of both the apographê and the suggraphê, and he makes their relationship a central feature of his text as it proceeds. For, as Tim Whitmarsh points out, the narrative incorporates two different “representational registers” within the same composition: one, the register of Asclepius’s divine communication with Aristides by way of dreams; and another, Aristides’ own communication with the public for whom he composes the HL.12 In each Logos, Aristides’ personal narrative is punctuated by dream accounts in which he purports to describe, directly and vividly, episodes form the catalog of his divine context. In dreams, the god offers him oracles (II.7), illuminates the future (II.13, 48, 54; V.35), and offers him tokens by which he will know that what is destined is unfolding (II.26). He describes dreams as full of divine presence (II.31) in the manner of an epiphany (II.18, 20) and as a means of access to communion with the god (IV.25). Dreams are also directly and indirectly prescriptive (IV.15: παρακλητικῶν) moments of divine access that Aristides presents as meaningful examples from his vast repertoire. Thus, the notional apographê that is on display in the first Logos, and theorized in the second, remains present throughout the text. Wherever Aristides recounts his dreams and cures in the detailed style characteristic of the diary of HL I, he juxtaposes catalog and narrative frame. Each dream description opens onto another register of divine memorialization, and behind the prior text of the apographê, with its opaque visual details and characteristically disjunctive syntax, lie the dreams and physical cures that offer a body of proof for the divine healing and inspiration he claims. Both Pearcy and Whitmarsh have shown how Aristides engages different levels of narration in the HL. Neither, however, directly addresses the puzzle of the first Logos, which stands apart from the others because it

12. Whitmarsh 2004, 444.

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is organized as a diary of dreams and symptoms, in the catalog form of the apographê. Scholars have generally assumed that after making a beginning with the first Logos, Aristides took stock and decided to expand the scope of his commemorative project.13 Recently, however, Tiziano Dorandi has proposed an alternative hypothesis: the double prologue and the unique style of HL I, he suggests, may indicate that the first Logos was not written by Aristides himself but was composed by one of his students who had access to his papers after his death.14 Dorandi bases his proposal on two general points: first, that certain loose narrative connections in HL I suggest a text compiled of heterogeneous materials, including manuscript marginalia; and second, that the two prologues are too repetitive in their themes to have been part of the same text. Now, since the HL consistently flout normal patterns of rhetorical organization, it seems problematic to judge the text by ordinary standards of literary unity and coherence, however basic. Nevertheless, the doubts Dorandi raises about Aristidean authorship are reasonable, and ultimately it is probably not possible either to deny or to confirm his hypothesis conclusively. As a consequence, his reading compels us to shift the focus of inquiry. Instead of attempting to reconstruct Aristides’ compositional process, we should ask: What might have motivated him to preserve the traces of this process in the published version of the Logoi? In the second prologue, as we have seen, Aristides abandons the notion of the catalog as a structuring device and instead shapes his narrative of divine benefactions within the framework of divine providence, retrospectively understood. In contrast with the linear progress of the diary in HL I, in subsequent Logoi time markers are relative, and serve to weave a network of associations that range widely across the months, years, and decades of his illness, from the mid-140s to the mid-160s. Each of the Logoi has its own different (and relatively loose) thematic structure, and in a sense each stands alone. HL III and V collect episodes of divine intervention according to an associative (rather than a temporal) logic—medical miracles, in the case of HL III, and oratorical ones in the case of HL V—but these two orations are framed by ones in which Aristides makes

13. Behr 1981–1986, 2:425 imagines that the project was spurred by Aristides’ discovery of the apographê among his papers, and that it grew spontaneously beyond the first Logos simply because he discovered he had more to tell. Saffrey apud Festugière 1986, 136 sees the second prologue as marking a new beginning. 14. Dorandi 2005.



an effort to articulate the prophetic shape of his narrative. Within each Logos stories are related by theme, and a sense of prophetic time structures the narrative, imbuing individual episodes with significance and linking them to one another in circular fashion. On the small scale, in HL II Aristides reports a “prophecy of years” (II.18)—a dream in which the god appeared to him as at once Apollo and Asclepius, announcing the number of years during which he would enjoy divine protection; this prophecy, then, places Aristides’ life under the god’s control and provides the framework for a series of stories of death averted and simulated death—including a “catalog of baths”—that occupies much of this Logos.15 On the larger scale, Aristides’ account of the onset of his illness in HL II provides a point of reference in HL IV and VI, each of which begins with an acknowledgment of its place in a more expansive story. HL IV begins with a prophecy that comes to Aristides in the tenth year of his illness and instructs him to return to the place where the illness began, at the Aesepus River; HL VI (tantalizingly) seems to offer a kind of summation, and begins by placing the events of the Logos in relation to the temporal markers from HL II and IV: “In the second year after I left the Aesepus, and in the twelfth from the time I was first sick, many marvelous visions came to me, which led me to Epidaurus.”16 To arrive at this understanding of the temporal trajectory of divine protection and the circular paths of prophecy requires a retrospective stance, and from the second Logos onward the HL is—overtly—a text born of reflection on the past. Diary record and reflection are not merely juxtaposed; they are also presented as being in meaningful interaction. When divine commands and recent “visions of dreams” require Aristides to render a public account (agein . . . eis meson) of his experiences, the point of the suggraphê is not to replace but to make sense of the apographê, to carry out the

15. This “catalog of baths” is announced at II.24 and taken up again at II.45, after Aristides has traced the prophecy of years. 16. VI.1. The first words of the sixth Logos have a summary feel: “The god thus conducted [διῆγεν] us through many things, showing by signs [σημαίνων] what should be done, and finding us obedient if ever any other man was obedient to the god” (VI.1). At one time scholars entertained the notion that Aristides died before he could complete the text (e.g., Boulanger 1923, 162). The idea is first mentioned by Nicephorus Gregoras in a scholium on Ptolemy (Behr 1968, 91, n. 1). It seems more likely, however, that the end of the text was lost early in the transmission history (Behr 1981–1986, 2:445). It is possible that the sixth Logos filled in the events of 155–165, which are mostly missing from Aristides’ account. Like HL IV and VI, HL II also begins with the exhortation to “recall further back” (ἀνωτέρω μνημονεύσωμεν)—as if the project of memory were already under way.

Hieroi Logoi


work of narrative upon the material of memory in order to compose an adequate testament to the god’s providence. It matters, therefore, that HL I is part of the text as Aristides conceived it, for it represents the material upon which Aristides works in composing the HL, and helps reveal the hermeneutic process that he signals in the second prologue. HL I helps create the retrospective dynamic of dream and interpretation, simple record and elaborated account, apographê and suggraphê.17 Aristides’ manipulation of the hermeneutic distance between the two is illustrated by his story of the text’s title, which shows how his visions accrue meaning over time. Immediately following the prologue of HL II, as he deliberates where he should start, amid all the oracles, prophecies, and visions he might relate (II.9),18 Aristides lights upon a dream from the first night he spent as a suppliant in the sanctuary of Asclepius at Pergamum some thirty years earlier, in the summer of 145 ce. The dream came not to him but to his foster father, Zosimus, and it was a vision of the god “in the form of Salvius—the present consul” (II.9):19

ὅστις δὲ ὁ Σάλβιος, οὔπω τότε γε ᾔδειμεν· ὁ δ’ ἐτύγχανε προσεδ ρεύων τῷ θεῷ κατ’ ἐκεῖνον τὸν χρόνον. ἔφη δ’ οὖν ὁ τροφεὺς ὡς ἐν τούτῳ δὴ τῷ σχήματι διαλεχθείη πρὸς αὐτὸν περὶ τῶν λόγων τῶν ἐμῶν ἄλλα τε δή, οἶμαι, καὶ ὅτι ἐπισημήναιτο ὡδὶ λέγων· “ἱεροὶ λόγοι.” Of course, at that time we did not yet know this Salvius, but he happened to be paying homage to the god at that time. In any case, my foster father said that in this form [i.e., of Salvius] [the god] said various things to him about my discourses—including especially, I think, that he designated them with these words: “hieroi logoi [sacred discourses].” To a reader with the text of the Hieroi Logoi in hand, this dream is prophetic: the discourses designated “sacred” must be this very collection of texts presenting Aristides’ intimate relationship with Asclepius. At the

17. For discussion of the term suggraphê, see Pirenne-Delforge 2008, 21–40. 18. II.8–9; νῦν δὲ ἐνθένδε ποθὲν ἀρξώμεθα . . . “now then, let us begin from somewhere or other . . .” (II.9). 19. II.9: ἐν τῶL Σαλβίου τοῦ νῦν ὑπάτου σχήματι. Behr has tried to emend this phrase (see below).



same time, of course, logoi are the basic stuff of Aristides’ profession as an orator, and thirty years earlier in the summer of 145, this divine pronouncement would surely have sounded like praise of Aristides’ “speeches” in general—a divine endorsement delivered somehow in the guise of an as-yet-unknown elite peer.20 Aristides heightens the dream’s prophetic import by drawing attention to the time that has passed between the dream and his writing up of the story in HL II. For it is only now, some three decades on, that its full significance is clear: Salvius—little more than a cipher at the time of the vision—has, in the intervening years, acquired a public profile: now, as Aristides writes, he is a consul, and so in a figure of authority whose appearance in a long-ago dream gives special weight, in retrospect, to that divine endorsement of Aristides’ work.21 The dream of Salvius shows that the distance separating suggraphê from apographê is a hermeneutic one, for when Aristides describes his dreams in the Logoi these accounts incorporate an interpretive process.

Hieroi Logoi and Authorial Voice HL I helps establish the hermeneutic distance that, as we have seen, captures Aristides’ attention in the second prologue. There, the diary record, or apographê, is set in relation to the narrative aims of the suggraphê, in which

20. Cortés Copete 1999, 261–262, and Weiss 1998, 30–31. Aristides seems to take the omen as having general professional pertinence, but he does not suggest it spurred him on to write the HL specifically. 21. This passage has been the subject of much controversy because the reference to “Salvius, the current consul” would appear to be crucial for establishing a composition date for the HL. There is secure evidence for the consulship of a Salvius Julianus in 175 ce, so this would seem to settle the issue. To Behr, however, this date seemed incompatible with passages in HL I that suggest a date of 170/171 (Behr 1994, 1160–1163). Preferring not to assume a lapse of four or five years between HL I and the rest of the Logoi, Behr emended the Salvius passage several times and offered several different interpretations of the text. Behr 1981–1986, ad loc. identifies him as L. Salvius Julianus, a jurist and consul ordinarius in 148 ce. For this reason, he offers a text reading “[now] one of the consulars” instead of “the present consul.” Cf. Behr 1994, section 3. Weiss 1998 38–46, on the other hand, argues for the later date of 175 (cf. Bowersock 1969, 79–80). He critiques (in nn. 55 and 56) Behr’s reading of the passages from HL I that seem to suggest a date of 170/171 for the first Logos, and argues that the whole text was written to be performed for Marcus Aurelius when he passed through Asia Minor in 176 to put down the revolt of Avidius Cassius (39–46). Whichever reading (and dating) is preferred, however, Aristides’ point is simple: Salvius’s identity and public importance were obscure at the time of the dream but now are clear.

Hieroi Logoi


readers should be able to discern the shape of divine providence. At root, Aristides is dealing with traditional themes when he asserts the difficulty of recording the god’s deeds adequately in human writing, and to the extent that this is the central concern of the second prologue, it mirrors the first quite closely: there too, as we have already seen, Aristides evokes the trope of the incommensurability of human language when it comes to conveying his experience of the divine. In this sense it is true, as Dorandi points out, that the two prologues cover much of the same ground.22 Nevertheless, they differ in their development of their central themes in ways that make them complementary rather than repetitive. Just as the HL take shape in the space between apographê and suggraphê, they take shape also in the space between the two voices—divine and human—that are evoked in Aristides’ two prologues. Scholars have generally attempted to account for the double prologue by imagining a composition scenario in which Aristides took stock at the end of the first Logos and decided to expand his account. In these readings, the second prologue offers not so much a new beginning, as a reorientation. Dorandi, on the other hand, proposes that the first prologue was only a draft: Aristides chose the second prologue to begin his published version and left the first among his papers where it would be found after his death, Dorandi hypothesizes, by the student/ compiler who augmented the text. Following earlier scholars, I support the notion of a process of composition more exploratory than polished. I also suggest, however, that Aristides may have regarded each prologue as making a distinct contribution to the final product. The contrast between the apographê and the suggraphê is unpacked in the second prologue, but Aristides has already introduced the two terms in the prologue to HL I. There, however, they are constellated with a third narrative term—diêgêsis—that evokes the possibility of divine narration (I.3):

ἑκάστη γὰρ τῶν ἡμετέρων ἡμερῶν, ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ νυκτῶν, ἔχει συγγραφὴν, εἴ τις παρὼν,23 ἢ τὰ συμπίπτοντα ἀπογράφειν ἠβούλετο ἢ τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ πρόνοιαν διηγεῖσθαι, ὧν τὰ μὲν ἐκ τοῦ

22. Dorandi 2005, 59 identifies the double prologue as the most serious obstacle to considering HL I part of the text as published by Aristides, and discusses the issues in detail (59–66). On the correspondences between the two prologues, and their topoi, see also Pernot 1993a, Festugière 1969, 125–126. Also Saffrey apud Festugière 1986, 157 n. 1, and Schröder 1986, 19 n. 3. 23. Here I follow the manuscript reading accepted by Wilamowitz 1925; Behr 1981–1986, vol. 2; and Festugière 1986.



φανεροῦ παρὼν, τὰ δὲ τῇ πομπῇ τῶν ἐνυπνίων ἐνεδείκνυτο, ὅσα γε δὴ καὶ ὕπνου λαχεῖν ἐξῆν· For each of our days and each of our nights has an account [suggraphê] if someone were present and wished either to record [apographein] the events or to narrate [diêgêsthai] the providence [pronoia] of the god. Some of these things he revealed, visibly present, while others he revealed in the parade of dreams, whenever I was able to snatch some sleep. In the triangle of narrative possibilities presented in these first few lines, the suggraphê seems to occupy a neutral position—the story will take its distinctive shape depending upon the way in which a particular teller navigates the perspectives of divine and human. Here, by contrasting it with a mortal and time-bound record (apographê) of events, Aristides establishes the account (diêgêsis) of the god’s providence (pronoia) as an ideal narration from the perspective of eternity. In the second Logos, Aristides addresses the dynamics of selection and authority in the composition of a suggraphê—focusing on the difficulty of memory. Here, in the first prologue, by contrast, he evokes the ideal of the timeless account. The possibility of diêgêsis is absent from the second prologue, but diêgeisthai is one of the most common verbs for narration in the HL— particularly when it comes to Aristides’ dream accounts.24 As he explains later in HL II, in a moment of narrative self-consciousness reminiscent of his “Homeric” first prologue, an adequate narrative—diêgêsis—would replicate exactly the temporal span of the events themselves (II.58): Tίς κεν ἐκεῖνα πάντα γε μυθήσαιτο καταθνητῶν ἀνθρώπων; οὐ γὰρ πεντάετες οὐδ’ ἑξάετες οὐκ ἀρκεῖ, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐλαττόνων ἴσως ἐστὶ χρόνων ἡ διήγησις ἢ ἐν ὅσοις τὰ πράγματα ἐγίγνετο. What mortal man could tell the story of all those deeds? Even five or six years would not suffice.25 But perhaps the narration [diêgêsis] requires no less time than the amount of time in which the deeds took place.

24. Castelli 1999, 198. 25. Cf. Homer, Od. 3.113–116.

Hieroi Logoi


In this sense, ideal diêgêsis is the prerogative of the god, who has a perfectly comprehensive temporal perspective. This, in fact, is one of the features of the HL that Aristides comments on in his Lalia for Asclepius (Or. 42). For in his second reference to the HL in that speech, he suggests that the HL constitute not only a more complete repository of stories, but also a record of his education in the relationship between time and eternity. It is Asclepius, Aristides proclaims, “who preserves both eternal being and that which comes into being”; and “in what fashion he taught these things has been described in the sacred discourses (hierois logois)” (42.4).26 To the extent that Aristides aspires to diêgêsis in the HL, then, the crucial point is not that the narrative is sequential—nor even precisely that it is complete—but that it is atemporal, comprehending the divine perspective of eternity. The notion of divine narration to which diêgêsis seems to refer, then, is the space traditionally occupied by “hieroi logoi” in Greek literature and cult—echoed, obviously, in the title of Aristides’ collection of texts. With the title he advertises the intersection of his religious and professional concerns, but he also situates his account of Asclepius’s benefactions within a long tradition of religious writings that claimed a special connection with the divine. By convention, the term “hieros logos” designated “a sacred legend justifying a rite of special worship, such as a sacred interdiction or a ceremony of initiation,”27 and was associated with Orphic lore and other mysteries. From the classical period through much of the imperial era, writers refer to hieroi logoi to lend authority to cult practice or revelation and to claim a personal link between god and human.28 Claiming supernatural origins, hieroi logoi activate the dynamic of religious secrecy and revelation, operating, in essence, as “virtual texts and ideological constructions” on the “written and unwritten margins of the sacred.”29 26. 42.4: . . . ἐν ὅτῳ δὲ ταῦτ’ ἐδίδαξεν τρόπῳ καὶ ὅπως, ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς λόγοις εἴρηται—, οὗτός ἐσθ’ ὁ . . . σῴζων τά τε ὄντα ἀεὶ καὶ τὰ γιγνόμενα. 27. Festugière 1954, 88. Cf. Burkert 1987, 69–73. 28. Henrichs 2003, 210. He mentions Pausanias (4.33.5), Lucian (Syr. 4, 11, 15), and Dio (Or. 1.49) among the imperial authors who use the term to lend solemnity to parables and a sense of mystery to ancient rites. References to “hieroi logoi” may also signal personal access to the divine (Tasseva 2009, 460–464): “une sorte de manifestation de ce lien personnel” (461). In his Or. 45.29, Regarding Sarapis, Aristides mentions the hierai thekai biblôn hierôn in the temples of the Egyptian god that contain the records of miraculous interventions. For the Greek view of Egypt as “the proverbial land of ‘sacred tales’ . . . and ‘sacred books,’” see Henrichs 2003, 225–226. 29. Henrichs 2003, 210. As Henrichs points out, “The religious history of the Mediterranean is full of books whose power and propaganda value lay precisely in their supernatural origins and, from a profane perspective, their non-existence” (247).



Identifying his diêgêsis as a collection of hieroi logoi, then, Aristides presents the text as a conduit of the god’s own voice. In composing the suggraphê Aristides embarks on the project of composing a retrospective, written text, and there are moments throughout the text where (as we will see in chapter 5) Aristides reflects upon the written character of his account. As in the wider tradition of “hieroi logoi,” however, in the sense that he aims ultimately to channel the divine voice of revelation, the HL retain a link with oral performance.30 The relationship between orality and the divine gives us another perspective from which to appreciate the set of images that shape Aristides’ first prologue. There, the topos of ten tongues and ten mouths that evokes the epic narrator is framed by two references to Homeric scenes of storytelling through which Aristides imagines a collaboration of human and divine language. He begins with a reference to Helen, storyteller in the fourth book of the Odyssey, as a model for his own role as narrator (I.1):

Δοκῶ μοι κατὰ τὴν Ἑλένην τὴν Ὁμήρου τὸν λόγον ποιήσεσθαι. καὶ γὰρ ἐκείνη πάντας μὲν οὐκ ἄν φησιν εἰπεῖν “ὅσσοι Ὀδυσσῆος ταλασίφρονός εἰσιν ἄεθλοι,” πρᾶξιν δέ τινα αὐτοῦ μίαν ἀπολαβοῦσα, οἶμαι, διηγεῖται πρὸς τὸν Tηλέμαχον καὶ Mενέλεων, κἀγὼ πάντα μὲν οὐκ ἂν εἴποιμι τὰ τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἀγωνίσματα, ὅσων ἀπέλαυσα εἰς τήνδε τὴν ἡμέραν. It seems to me that I am about to make this account in the manner of Homer’s Helen. For she said that she could not describe “how many were the trials [aethloi] of stout-hearted Odysseus” [Od. 4.241], but instead, I think, selected one of his deeds [praxis] to recount to Telemachus and Menelaus. So I, too, could not tell all the achievements [agônismata] of my savior, how many they are that I have benefited from up to this day.

30. As Luana Quattrocelli has recently highlighted (2009), it is quite likely that the HL were performed. The Logoi are, as she notes (266–267, with reference to Pernot 1993a, 454ff.), of a reasonable length for performance, and she points out the contrast between Aristides’ emphasis on the written nature of the parchment diphtherai of his apographê and his description of his narrative in the HL as composed ex epidromês (263). Suggesting that HL II and III may have originated as temple orations (cf. Aristides’ “daily addresses” at Or. 42.2), she imagines a more limited audience of friends and associates for the Logoi (IV and V) that deal with more professional and political material. This is certainly possible, although as Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis 2010 has argued, the professional elite and temple crowds— perhaps especially at Pergamum—were not mutually exclusive circles.

Hieroi Logoi


This gesture to Helen, queen of Sparta, regaling Telemachus with stories of his father’s heroic exploits, is conventional—a fact that Aristides seems to acknowledge (“I think”)—but he gives the topos his own spin by choosing to emphasize not Helen’s Egyptian-sourced pharmaka but the detail of her narrative selectivity.31 The story she chooses to tell to the assembled company in Odyssey 4 is the story of the Trojan horse, but in Homer’s account her version of the tale is arguably oriented as much toward rescuing her own moral virtue as to celebrating Odysseus’s heroism. By evoking Helen as a selective, even an unreliable, narrator, Aristides points to the capacities of language that are distinctly human—selection and organization. In the lines that follow, Aristides evokes the topos of the epic narrator, before offering a third Homeric image for his authorial voice: the final scene of Odyssey book 5, where the shipwrecked Odysseus is clinging to his battered raft and struggling to reach shore in the land of the Phaeacians (1.2):32

ἐδόκει γάρ μοι παραπλήσιον εἶναι ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ διὰ παντὸς τοῦ πελάγους ὕφαλος διεξελθὼν εἶτ’ ἠναγκαζόμην ἀποδιδόναι λόγον, ποσοις τισὶ τοῖς πᾶσιν ῥοθίοις ἐνετυχον καὶ ποίας τινὸς τῆς θαλάττης παρ’ ἕκαστον αὐτῶν ἐπειρώμην καὶ τί τὸ σῷζον ἦν. For it seemed to me to be nearly as if having gone through the whole sea under water I was then compelled to give an account—how many were all the dashing waves I encountered and what sort of sea I experienced with each of them, and what it was that saved me. Here, the Homeric reference is oblique, hovering behind a simile from the natural world that Aristides uses to reframe the conventional epic adunaton in experiential terms. And whereas his first narrative model— Helen—focused on human language, in this image Aristides channels the divine. For in the Homeric scene he evokes here, Odysseus is guided and saved, transfigured and inspired, by his divine protector, Athena. The story of Odysseus’s arrival at the Phaeacians is the story of Odysseus as the

31. From Gorgias’s Encomium of Helen forward, Helen’s pharmaka were a sophistic topos. See Philostratus, for example, when he invokes her as a model storyteller at the beginning of his VS; cf. VA 7.22. Aristides refers to the traditional stories about Helen elsewhere (e.g., Orr. 20.3, 28.90, 36.108), but not to her profile as a storyteller. 32. Cf. Pearcy 1988, 379.



godlike (Od. 8.173: theon hôs), intellectual hero who excels as a speaker and teller of tales because the goddess Athena has breathed life into him and continues to support him. It is a Homeric reference that Aristides found resonant again and again in his work when he touched on the rights of the quasi-divine orator: in Or. 28, he invokes Odysseus among the Phaeacians as an example of inspired oratory and its prerogatives (43); in his oration To Those Who Criticize Him Because He Does Not Declaim (33.18), he refers to this passage at a crucial point, when he makes oratory the central concern of his life; and, as we saw at the beginning of this chapter, Aristides also invokes this same Homeric scene at the culmination of his Lalia to Asclepius, when he credits his divine sponsor with all the gifts of health and speech.33 As the first prologue draws to a close, then, Aristides puts himself in the position of the hero, appropriating the voice of the Homeric Odysseus about to tell his own story to the Phaeacians. Like Odysseus, Aristides’ heroism is both intellectual and physical, and at the end of the first prologue, as soon as he has evoked the scene of Odysseus floundering in the sea, he turns immediately to medical matters, announcing a serial account of his abdominal troubles. The transition is abrupt, but it is the kind of shift—in more exaggerated form—for which his layered epic allusions have prepared the reader. He has just described his body as assailed by triple waves,34 and then says: “But now I want to reveal to you (dêlôsai) how it was with my abdomen (êtron). And I will give an account (logioumai) of everything day by day.” Like Odysseus, the Homeric figure whose heroism is linked characteristically to his belly (gastêr), Aristides’ intimacy with the god embraces every facet of his life, and allows him to imagine his authorial voice at the intersection of the human and the divine.35

33. He refers to the same episode in his Isthmian Oration: Regarding Poseidon, where he notes that Leucothea saved Odysseus, “the wisest and best of the Greeks,” and still saves all those who love wisdom as Homer’s hero did (Or. 46.39: πάντας ὁπόσοις σοφίας ἔρως [ἦν]). In his oration to Athena Aristides describes the goddess’s rescue of Odysseus from the sea as one of her most illustrious episodes of salvation (37.23). On Athena in the HL, see Quet 2001. The link between Aristides and Athena’s epic protégés, Odysseus and Telemachus, is made explicit when Aristides has an epiphany of the goddess as he lies in bed, ill with plague (HL II.41). 34. HL I.3: ὑπὸ τῶν περὶ τὸ σῶμα τρικυμιῶν. Aristides uses the metaphor of sea travel frequently for vulnerable states of body and mind. Cf. HL II.42 and HL II.11, where he fears he “sailed alone.” 35. On the function of the belly in Odyssean heroism, see Pucci 1987, especially chap. 14, where he discusses its appearance in the lion simile that prepares Odysseus’s meeting with Nausicaa in the land of the Phaeacians (Od. 6.130–136).

Hieroi Logoi


Looking back from this image of Odysseus to the earlier image of Helen as narrator, we can see that with these overlapping Homeric images Aristides has crafted a complex authorial voice. When he imagined himself as Helen, trying to make a selection of the god’s benefactions for his narrative, he cast the god as Odysseus, and the deeds of the god from which he has benefited as—in a peculiar phrase—agônismata (I.1).36 The word’s associations with physical competition and self-display make it a logical extension of the heroic aethloi that were the substance of Helen’s account in their Homeric context. Yet agônismata is not an ordinary expression for divine benefactions. In his prose hymns Aristides tends to refer to the erga or the dunameis of a god, and when he uses the term agôn in the hymnic context, it is to refer to his own task of speech.37 Agônismata is a word that belongs to human contests, both physical and intellectual. In the writings of this period, compounds with agôn permeate the declamatory milieu, where every verbal performance was also a taxing, physical exertion and a competitive display in which bodily deportment carried ethical weight. Thus, when Aristides refers to the god’s agônismata at the outset of the HL, he locates Asclepius in his own world of physical and rhetorical performance, creating the sense that his relationship with Asclepius is somehow reciprocal. The first prologue, then, constructs the ambiguity that scholars have often detected in the Logoi: it is a story of two heroes.38 It is also, however, a story with two narrators—and the first prologue is important for this reason. The prologue cannot be reduced to its epic topos—the ten mouths and ten tongues of the epic narrator, cited so briefly—because, as his sequence of images suggests, Aristides sees the problem of narration in more complex terms. He seeks an authorial voice that bridges the gap between mortal and divine in a way that reflects his own experience of intimacy with the god, and the shifting roles of his elaborate and multifaceted epic reference capture this in a distinctive way.

36. Behr 1968, 47 and n. 24 comments on the oratorical overtones of agônismata in the opening of the HL, whereas Festugière 1969, 118 rules out this nuance here: “Asclépios ne s’est pas livré à des combats littéraires.” 37. Erga: Or. 38.21; Or. 41.12; Or. 42.13; Or. 43.6, 7; Or. 45.16, 30, 32; Or. 46.16. dunameis: Or. 37.28; Or. 40.12; Or. 42.4, 5; Or. 45.22, 23. Other words include praxeis (Or. 37.28; Or. 40.18); euergesia (Or. 37.10; Or. 38.14; Or. 42.11); kratos (Or. 37.8); sêmeia (Or. 40.2); thaumata (Or. 40.12); kinêsis (Or. 40.12); philanthrôpia (Or. 42.12); charis (Or. 42.15); timai (Or. 45.22); dôra (Or. 45.16); agatha (Or. 45.15; Or. 43. 6). 38. Especially Boulanger 1923, 171.



In this first prologue, Aristides gestures toward the narrative ideal of diêgêsis before turning, in his second prologue, to explore the practical challenges of composing a written narrative. In the HL Aristides is deeply self-conscious about the process of textualization, and we should probably include the dream diary and reflections of HL I as part of this collection, partly because first the prologue highlights in a unique way the collaboration of divine and human voices, and partly because the diary of HL I embodies the cataloging impulse of the apographê that remains in dialogue with Aristides’ notion of the suggraphê as he works out the dynamics of the written text. It remains possible that, as Dorandi suggests, the first Logos was not part of the collection Aristides had in mind when he directed the audience of his Or. 42 to consult his “hieroi logoi”—and yet to include HL I makes sense as part of the multilayered account that Aristides presents as the most adequate demonstration of the complex relationship between human and divine in the compositional process. The Logoi share an interest in the dynamics of retrospection and, more precisely, an interest in the hermeneutic function of time and the nature of narrative voice. It is this continuity of purpose that is reflected in the first line of the second prologue, when Aristides picks up his project of commemoration in order to carry it further: “Now then, if we are able, let us consider even earlier things.”


Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics feature of the Hieroi Logoi is the quality of Aristides’ dream descriptions. Ancient Greeks commonly spoke, as Aristides does, of “seeing” a dream.1 But his attempt to re-create the visual impact of the dream in words, for an audience, is unprecedented. Aristides purports to give detailed accounts of precisely what he saw, and so to bring vividly before the eyes of his listeners (and ultimately his readers) scenes from his dream world before they have been fully distilled by interpretation. Therefore, while Aristides presents his dreams as divinely inspired, and situates himself in proximity to the tradition of dream incubation in Asclepieian healing cult, his approach to dream narration sets him apart from that votive and commemorative tradition. Nor can a narrative precedent be found in the technical world of ancient oneirocriticism, nor even in the realm of literary dreams—for in both cases the tendency is to distill dreams to highlight their meaningful symbols. Aristides’ descriptions, by contrast, preserve discontinuity, obscurity, and ambiguity. He creates a dream landscape that strikes modern readers (and dreamers) as familiar, precisely because of its distance from the classical traditions of divine epiphany, symbolic revelation, miraculous healing, and medical prognosis. In his recent account of dreaming in antiquity, William Harris draws a fundamental distinction between episodic and epiphanic dreams, between dreams that work through narrative and those whose central feature is the appearance of an authority figure, often a divinity, with a message for


1. Aristides uses a wide range of terms to denote his dreams, including the words onar and enupnion, but also opsis (“vision”) and opsis oneiratos (“vision of a dream”). He usually introduces his dream accounts with a past tense of dokein: “it seemed to me,” “I seemed to be.” See Behr 1968, 190–192, and Björck 1946. Some of the material in this chapter appears in Downie 2008 and Downie forthcoming.



the dreamer. Most dreams that mattered, and that were preserved, in the ancient world, Harris concludes, were of the second type. Dreams were important in the Greco-Roman world because they offered the possibility of accessing information—often predictive—that was beyond human scope. As Harris points out, this does not mean that ancient dreamers did not dream in the same variety of styles that we do now, or that the human experience of dreaming does not share some traits across the centuries. It means rather that the practices of interpretation—conditioned by cultural priorities and by the dream’s rhetorical purposes—favored the epiphanic mode.2 In this context, Aristides emerges as a singular witness to Harris’ episodic style of dream narrative, and it is therefore worth asking what motivated his choice of this alternate mode of dream description. How did his dream narratives work in a wider cultural context that prioritized the rhetoric of epiphany? Philostratus’s reference to Aristides’ text in his Lives of the Sophists offers one way to begin to locate the HL in a rhetorical context. Describing the Logoi as a kind of ephêmerides—“diaries” or “daybooks”—he says that “such diaries are excellent teachers of the art of speaking well [dialegesthai] on any subject.”3 Highlighting the pursuit of rhetorical craft, Philostratus seems to posit that the practice of translating lived experience into language on a daily basis helps the aspiring orator develop versatility of expression. Without elaborating on the content of Aristides’ “diaries,” or claiming that the HL were themselves a standard rhetorical product, he nevertheless gives the text a place within the sphere of rhetorical training. The point is picked up later by the early fifth-century ce writer Synesius of Cyrene, who—reading both Aristides and Philostratus—suggests that Aristides’ dream pictures should be understood in the context of the rhetorical practice of enargeia, or vivid description, here put to the extreme test of rendering inner worlds in language. Philostratus and Synesius suggest a vantage point from which to consider the unique syntax of Aristides’ dream accounts and the rhetorical ends toward which he directs them. In HL I, and throughout the text, syntactic features like extreme parataxis, verbal hesitation, and slippage between direct and indirect speech reflect the challenge of conveying

2. Harris 2009. Cf. Dodds 1951, chap. 4 “Dream Pattern and Culture Pattern.” 3. VS 581. Cf. Philostratus’s mention of ephêmeridês among Herodes Atticus’s books, papers, and scholarly ephemera (VS 565).

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


visionary experience vividly in language. Aristides uses these linguistic features, I suggest, to explore dreaming as a cognitive process, and to expose the difficulty of separating representation from interpretation. By offering dream accounts that avoid the reductive simplicity of perfectly matched description and interpretation common in other ancient evidence, including cult votives, literary texts, and interpretive handbooks, Aristides presents his dreams not only as a divinatory and prescriptive link with the god but also as a sprawling repertoire of personal detail—a kind of archive— from which he constructs an autobiographical narrative. In what follows, I first examine the language of Aristides’ dream accounts, suggesting they engage the problems of literary description in a way that other literary and votive accounts of dreaming do not, and seeking to locate their idiosyncrasies in the realm of rhetorical enargeia. I then turn to Aristides’ preoccupation with hermeneutics and, in particular, to several episodes of interpretive failure in HL I where he makes a point of the difficulty of setting the right parameters: Are his dreams coded within a medical framework or should they be interpreted as more broadly relevant to the “secondary business” of his social life? Finally, I consider why Aristides chooses, in such an unorthodox manner, to make the descriptive and hermeneutic uncertainty of dream narratives central to his text. By tangling with the syntactic challenges of vivid dream description, Aristides engages dreaming as a cognitive process, and he uses these miniature personal fictions—in a more complex way than is typical in ancient literature—to expand the scope of his self-presentation. By exhibiting instances of interpretive failure early on in HL I, and then moving this process inside the frame of the dream itself—so that his dreams become, ultimately, selfinterpreting—Aristides claims virtually limitless hermeneutic control over his first-person narrative.

The Language of Dreams At the outset of HL I, Aristides seems about to embark upon something like an aretalogical account of divine healing oriented toward praise of the god to whom he has entrusted himself “as to a doctor” (I.4). From the epic references of the prologue, he descends abruptly to a prosaic daily record of his abdominal troubles: “But now I want to reveal to you the state of my abdomen [êtron]” (I.4). Therefore, when his dreams quickly take over the narrative, it seems natural to place the text (as scholars have typically done) within the commemorative tradition of temple incubation associated with



Asclepius.4 This tradition brings dreams and healing into close proximity, but it also simplifies their relationship through the rhetoric of miracle in a way that Aristides does not. Temple records generally claim, either explicitly or implicitly, a direct divine communication. In second-century inscriptions from Rome, for example, we find the vocabulary of oracular proclamation (chrêsma, chrêmatizein), and a group of first-century bce votive dedications from Lebena highlights the language of divine command (epitattein, keleuein). One Cretan inscription actually offers details of the therapy prescribed by the god in dreams and notes that the god ordered his patient to inscribe her visions (opseis). Most such votive records, however, are laconic and merely gesture to a dream with the phrase kat’ onar (“according to the dream”).5 These inscriptions record the economy of divine gift and human commemoration, without giving much insight into the visionary experience that is supposed to have been the vehicle of the interaction. When inscriptions in the cult context offer more detail about the dreams themselves, they do so within a rhetorical framework that elides problems of interpretation and focuses on therapeutic success. The famous fourth-century bce inscriptions from Epidaurus, for example, report the healing dreams of dozens of suppliants in some visual and physical detail. The reader of these third-person accounts of divine epiphany and healing is offered vivid, even humorous, glimpses of what the incubant claimed to see during the divine visitation, and of what temple personnel and companions may have witnessed. One incubant, at first skeptical about Asclepius’s miracles, reported an epiphany: he saw the god dancing over the fingers of his paralyzed hand as he played at dice below the temple, and when he woke his paralysis was cured. Another incubant had visited the temple as a proxy dreamer for her daughter, who suffered from dropsy. Mother and daughter had the same dream: the god seemed to cut off the patient’s head, hang her body upside down so that the fluid drained out, and then fit the head back on in its proper fashion. When the mother returned home, her daughter had been restored to health. These accounts of the visions of temple visitors are lively, but selective. No detail is mentioned that is not meaningful,

4. See, for example, Edelstein and Edelstein 1945, and Petsalis-Diomidis 2010, chaps. 3–5, who situates Aristides in the temple complex at Pergamum. 5. Rome: IG XIV, no. 966. Lebena: IC I, xvii, nos. 17–19. Van Straten 1976 and Renberg 2003 and 2010 offer comprehensive surveys of this material.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


and often the accounts—as in the examples just cited—completely close the gap between dream and therapeutic result, eliding interpretive activity, so that the dreams themselves enact episodes of miraculous healing: sore toes, paralyzed fingers, diseased eyes, and infestations of leeches are reported to have been healed while the patients slept and dreamed their cure.6 Two second-century ce inscriptions from the temples of Asclepius at Pergamum and Epidaurus suggest that even when the dream relationship between god and suppliant was presented according to a prescriptive model, themes of successful healing and thanksgiving take priority over description of the dream itself. In a votive dedicated at Pergamum, Publius Aelius Theon records that he abstained from food and drink for a hundred and twenty days—without describing the god’s instructions in this regard. While the dedicant says that Asclepius saved him “clearly” (enargôs), the dream that facilitated his salvation remains invisible.7 At imperial-era Epidaurus, by contrast, Marcus Iulius Apellas catalogs divine instructions (keleuein) pertaining to dress, diet, and exercise, along with other direct—if obscure—prescriptions, and he even gives a glimpse of the actual dream dynamics, briefly quoting the god: One day when I drank just milk he said, “Put honey in the milk, so it can work its way through.” When I begged the god to give me quicker relief I dreamed [ôiesthai] I emerged from the abaton near the akoai (“ears”) anointed all over with mustard and salt, and a slave boy led the way holding a smoking censer, and the priest said, “You have been cured and you must render thank offerings.” I did what I had seen.8 For the fact that he records the details of divine communication, Apellas’s style of commemoration is similar to Aristides’, and yet in the votive context the consistent emphasis is on successful healing: the closing phrase of Apellas’s imperial-era votive—“full of gratitude, I departed healthy”9—echoes

6. IG IV2, 1, nos. 121–124. See LiDonnici 1995 and Wickkiser 2008, chap. 3. 7. For text and discussion, see Müller 1987. 8. IG IV2, 1, no. 126. The text can be found in Edelstein and Edelstein 1945, 1:248 (T. 432), whose translation I have slightly modified. 9. χάριν εἰδὼς καὶ ὑγιὴς γενόμενος ἀπηλλάγην (IG IV2, 1, no. 126).



the earlier Epidaurian miracle inscriptions and, more generally, the whole tradition of dream-inspired, kat’ onar votive dedications, which typically proclaim divine agency and positive result while omitting the details of the dream encounter and downplaying human engagement in the process of interpretation and implementation.10 From his time at the Pergamene temple, in the company of worshippers like Apellas and Theon, Aristides would have been familiar with the Asclepieian votive tradition and the politics of cult commemoration.11 Against this background, the HL are an unusual text, differing from the epigraphic evidence for dreaming in the Asclepieian context not just in length but in kind. The language of divine prescription is not absent from Aristides’ text—Asclepius “commands” and “clearly indicates” various therapeutic actions—and the text is certainly underwritten by the same assumption of direct, epiphanic encounter that the kat’ onar dedications implicitly claim.12 But these gestures toward prescriptive and epiphanic clarity are overwhelmed by an abundance of truly baffling dream descriptions. For the most part, Aristides’ accounts sound less like votive records of divine communication and more like the chaotic narratives of modern dreamers—stream-of-consciousness reports full of incongruous details. Without taking a position on the complex question of the relationship between Aristides’ written text and his nighttime experience, it is worth asking what motivates the style of

10. Compare the closing formula common in the Epidaurian accounts: “when day came, she/he departed sound” (ἁμέρας δὲ γενομένας ὑγιὴς ἐξῆλθε). See, for example, Stelai 1.3, 1.4, 1.8, 1.18, 2.28, 2.32, 2.38 (IG IV2, 1, nos. 121–122), presented in LiDonnici 1995. Even when the narrative of the dream event gathers its own momentum, as in the imperial-era account of a suppliant to the Greco-Egyptian healing god Imouthes-Asclepius, the epiphany itself is brief and self-contained. In this account (POxy 1381; trans. Lewis 1976, 46), composed in the first or second century ce, the vision that appears to the speaker and to his mother is apprehended (and described) only fleetingly: “there was a figure, taller than human, clad in shining raiment, carrying a book in his left hand; it only looked at me from head to foot two or three times and disappeared.” As an account of a divine dream solicitation the text offers a parallel to the HL; as a dream narrative, it is quite different. 11. Additionally, at the beginning of HL VI Aristides speaks of making a journey to Epidauros, so he may have been familiar with the Epidaurian iamata specifically. On the didactic agenda of these aretalogical inscriptions, see Dillon 1994. 12. Aristides’ first contact with Asclepius is by way of a divine command: epetaxe (II.7). For other compounds of tattein, compare I.6, II.48, II.59, II.75, II.78, III.9, III.34, IV.30 (prostattein); I.57, II.45, II.47, II.82, III.7, III.27, IV.38, V.49 (epitattein). In the first line of the fragmentary HL VI, Aristides writes that the god “directed him” (diêgen) and “gave him signs” (sêmainôn); cf. I.66, II.15, III.11, IV.39, IV.71, IV.97, V.1.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


his presentation. For Aristides’ dream descriptions are complex—even at the level of sentence structure—in ways that make his project a curiosity in the ancient context. Particularly in the first Logos, but throughout the HL, Aristides’ dream accounts preserve the hesitations that modern readers recognize as characteristic of attempts to capture the dream world in human language: vacillation of identity; unaccountable shifts in space and time; scenarios that are opaque and can only be described approximately, or in hypothetical terms; and a permeable boundary between account and explanation.13 The syntax reflects these hesitations and discontinuities: highly paratactic sentence structure, with little logical subordination; temporal markers of succession and simultaneity, and expressions like “somehow,” “as if,” and “as it were,” by which Aristides attempts to qualify and define more precisely the scene he describes.14 So, for example, after summing up a dream in which he was giving a speech about the well in the temple at Pergamum, Aristides describes another thought—and another scenario— that occurred to him simultaneously (I.42–43):

ταῦτά τε οὕτως ἐδόκουν διαλέγεσθαι καὶ τυγχάνειν ἀκηκοὼς ὡς, εἰ γενοίμην ἐν χερσὶ τοῦ θεοῦ, ἐλπίδες εἶεν. καί πως ἅμα τούτοις ἑστάναι μὲν ὡς οἴκοι ἐν τῷ προθύρῳ, ναρκῶντος δέ μοι τοῦ ποδὸς παρελθεῖν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τὸν μέγαν. And I dreamed that I discoursed about these things in this way, and that I happened to hear that if I were in the hands of the god, there would be hope. And [I dreamed] that somehow at the same time I stood, as if at home, in the forecourt and, with my foot numb, went into the great hall.

13. Vacillation of identity: dreaming that he is at the shrine of Asclepius in the gymnasium in Smyrna, Aristides sees a statue that seems, at one moment, to be a statue of himself, and at another moment a statue of Asclepius (I.17). Shifts in space and time: a dream scene shifts abruptly from somewhere near the Warm Springs to the agora at Smyrna (I.22); other examples at HL I.18, I.43, I.44, and IV.49: “I thought that I heard and saw such things, and that I spoke and calculated some of these things by the statue of Zeus, and some in the Temple of Asclepius before my house.” See the comments by Del Corno 1978. 14. These features are especially prominent in HL I, but they are not limited to this part of the text. Compare the vague expression at V.51: “and somehow after this . . .” Gigli 1977, 219–220 lists examples from across the HL of the four main features of dream language she identifies. This kind of dream language is what Harris 2009 describes as the “episodic,” as opposed to the “epiphanic,” dream account. See also Harris 2005.



Aristides’ dream syntax is cumulative and abrupt. The expressions “and somehow at the same time” and “as if at home” reflect the difficulty of putting into language the temporal and spatial shifts that are typical phenomena of human dreaming. The logical connectors that normally shape a narrative are frequently missing, and people appear in the landscape out of nowhere. During his sojourn at the resort of Allianoi, near Pergamum, for example, Aristides dreamed “that I was carried alone on a raft in the Egyptian Sea. I was at the very edge near land. In my distress, my foster father, Zosimus, appeared to me on land, with a horse. And I somehow disembarked and gladly took the horse.” Frequently, the sense of dislocation in a shifting dream landscape pertains to Aristides himself. So, for example, when he dreamed that the doctor Porphyrio praised his oratory to the Cyziceans, just as Athena promoted Odysseus to the Phaeacians, it seemed the Cyziceans “were persuaded. And at the same time there was a theater and I was in the theater” (V.12).15 A dream from the diary of Logos I includes a particularly detailed attempt to capture the disjuncture between dream world and waking world, in addition to discontinuities of both location and personal identity within the dream (I.17):

ἐνάτῃ ἐδόκουν ὡς ἐν Σμύρνῃ περὶ ἑσπέραν προσιέναι τῷ ἱερῷ τοῦ Ἀσκληπιοῦ τῷ ἐν τῷ γυμνασίῳ, προσιέναι δὲ μετὰ Zήνωνος, καὶ εἶναι τὸν νεὼν μείζω τε καὶ ἐπειληφότα τῆς στοᾶς ὅσον ἐστὶν τὸ ἐστρωμένον· ἅμα δὲ καὶ ὡς περὶ προνάου τούτου διενοούμην. προσευχομένου δέ μου καὶ ἀνακαλοῦντος τὸν θεὸν ὁ Zήνων “οὐδέν,” ἔφη, “προσηνέστερον,” λέγων δὴ καὶ αὐτὸς τὸν θεόν, καταφυγήν τε καὶ τοιαῦτα ὠνόμαζεν. περιεσκόπουν δὲ ὡς ἐν τῷ προνάῳ δὴ τούτῳ ἀνδριάντα ἐμαυτοῦ· καὶ τοτὲ μέν γε ὡς ἐμαυτοῦ ὄντα ἑώρων, πάλιν δὲ ἐδόκει μοι εἶναι αὐτοῦ τοῦ Ἀσκληπιοῦ μέγας τις καὶ καλός. And on the ninth, I dreamed that in Smyrna, as it were, toward evening, I went to the temple of Asclepius that is in the gymnasium, and [I dreamed] that I went with Zeno, and that the temple was bigger and spread out over the stoa, as much of it as is paved. And at the same time I was thinking of this [temple] as if it were the

15. Compare V.60, where Aristides describes “many sudden changes” in the weather or the condition of the air, which seems to be stormy and hot at the same time.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


vestibule of a temple. And while I prayed and called upon the god, Zeno said, “Nothing is more gentle,” referring also to the god; and he called him a refuge and such things. Then I examined in this vestibule of the temple, as it were, a portrait statue of myself: at one moment I was seeing it as a statue of myself, but then at another moment it seemed to me to be a great and fair [statue] of Asclepius himself. The phrase “as it were” seems to be Aristides’ attempt to correlate the features of the space he perceives in his dream with spaces of the real world known to himself and his audience: the city of Smyrna, the cult spaces of temple and vestibule. The dream space is at once the same as and different from spaces of the waking world, so Aristides brings his audience imaginatively to the temple of Asclepius in the gymnasium, and then makes that temple grow before their eyes, so that it spreads out over the space occupied by the stoa in their mental picture of the landmark.16 The effect is not one of perfect clarity, but he captures the dynamics of his dream world, his own cognitive process. He activates a similar play between the known and the imagined when he describes the statue that seems to be “at one moment” an image of himself and “at another moment” a likeness of the god Asclepius. The visual ambiguity of the dream, conveyed by the hesitant language of the account, heightens Aristides’ claim not just to intimacy but to a kind of homology with the god. He can claim this homology precisely because his identity is in flux within the space of the dream. By exploiting the discontinuity that is a typical feature of the dream world, and writing in a style that manifests these discontinuities on a syntactic level, Aristides opens up a space for identity construction that makes the rhetoric of his dream narratives very different from the rhetoric of the votive tradition of healing cult. His use of the episodic style of dream narration also sets his text apart from dream accounts in the literary tradition. In ancient literature, the epiphanic dream tends to serve as a means to propel the plot (or complicate it), shed light on character, or furnish an opportunity for setpiece description and thematic enhancement. Even in those cases where the dream description is episodic, it is generally meant to be read symbolically

16. Schröder 1986, ad loc. identifies this as the older Asclepius temple in Smyrna. Cf. Strabo 14.1.37.



or allegorically as part of a coherent hermeneutic.17 When the incoherence of the dream state figures in literature, it offers a way of conveying a particular emotional state or evoking it in the reader. Perhaps the most famous example of this in the Greek tradition is Homer’s description of Hector running away from Achilles “like in a dream” (II. 22.199–201). For the most part, however, the narrative aims and literary tastes of the ancients seem to have favored tidiness and coherence in dream descriptions. In the literary context as in the votive context, then, Aristides is exceptional.18

Enargeia and Hermeneutics Modern scholars have tried to understand the unprecedented style of Aristides’ dream descriptions either as reflecting the difficulty of capturing numinous experience in words (a religious framework) or as a “natural” language of dreaming that transcends cultural difference (a psychological framework).19 In these readings, either Aristides’ dreams are prime examples of dreams that were really dreamed in the ancient world, or he is using the rhetoric of religion or psychological experience to persuade his readers of their authenticity. The rhetoric of truth does seem to be part of his agenda, but I suggest that he also tackles dream description as a literary challenge. To put it in rhetorical terms, he is concerned with enargeia, especially as practiced in the rhetorical set-piece description, or ekphrasis, in which speech is charged with the task of bringing a scene to life in the minds of an audience. As Ruth Webb has shown, the visual element was dominant in literary and oratorical pursuits of the imperial era. To this end, enargeia and ekphrasis were part of basic rhetorical education in this period, constituting the building blocks of technique that structured the rhetor’s command of his craft and consequently his relationship with his audience: the rhetor aimed to re-create in his audience the “effect of perception.”20

17. On literary dreams as hermeneutic puzzles for direction and indirection of plot in the ancient novel, see Bartsch 1989. 18. Most Greek and Roman dream reports are decidedly “undreamlike,” as Harris 2009 shows at the beginning of his study and at 96–102, especially 100. The dream—and dreamlike—worlds of Apuleius’s Metamorphoses, however, provide an interesting secondcentury comparison, as Lev Kenaan 2004 suggests. 19. See, for example, Gigli 1977, who maps a linguistic analysis of Aristides’ style in the HL onto Freud’s observations about the universal syntax of dreaming. 20. Webb 2009, 38. Cf. 96–97.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


In this context, dreams constitute a limit case, because their status as objects of perception is ambiguous. To the extent that he pursues a rhetoric of immediacy, attempting to re-create his experience of dreaming, Aristides faces the ultimate test of enargeia in language.21 Synesius, who was familiar with both Aristides’ text and Philostratus’s comments on it in the Lives of the Sophists (VS 581), viewed the HL in this light, as an experiment in enargeia. In his fifth-century treatise On Dreams Synesius claims Aristides as a model, first for the assertion that divine dreams have given him literary inspiration in his writing (14),22 and then for the notion that dreams have value as a terrain for stylistic exercise and experiment. He refers to the HL directly and unpacks Philostratus’s comments: But also for those who are concerned with language, I do not know if there is any other subject besides this one that would provide [such] varying exercise in the faculty of speech. For if the Lemnian sophist says that diaries are good teachers of [the art of ] speaking well about anything, because [one does] not show contempt for slighter things, but is required to go through everything, both the trifling and the serious, would it not be worthwhile for “nightbooks” to be kept, as a subject for interpretation [hermeneias]? And one would see what a great task it is, when one attempts to match speech to visions—in which things are divided that are by nature joined, and things are joined that are by nature divided—and one must make visible in speech what is not visible [in real life].23

21. Webb 2009, 22 describes the challenges of enargeia. 22. Synesius claims in one of his letters (Ep. 154) that the whole of the treatise On Dreams came to him one night in a dream (100–114). He also says in On Dreams that dreams have given him stylistic help with his writing. 23. Synesius, On Dreams 18.2–3: ἀλλὰ καὶ οἷς ἐπιμελές ἐστι τῆς γλώττης, οὐκ οἶδ’ εἴ τις ὑπόθεσις ἀντὶ ταύτης ἑτέρα παντοδαπὸν ἂν γύμνασμα γένοιτο τῆς ἐν τῷ λέγειν δυνάμεως. εἰ γὰρ τὰς ἐφημερίδας ὁ Λήμνιος σοφιστὴς ἀγαθὰς εἶναι διδασκάλους φησὶ τοῦ περὶ ἅπαντος εὖ εἰπεῖν τῷ μηδὲ τῶν μειόνων ὑπερορᾶν, ἀλλ’ ἀνάγκην εἶναι διὰ πάντων ἰέναι φαύλων τε καὶ σπουδαίων, πῶς οὐκ ἄξιον ἄγεσθαι τὰς ἐπινυκτίδας εἰς ἑρμηνείας ὑπόθεσιν; ἴδοι δ’ ἄν τις ὅσον τὸ ἔργον, ἐπιχειρήσας συμπαρατείνειν τὸν λόγον τοῖς φάσμασιν, ὑφ’ ὧν χωρίζεται μὲν τὰ φύσει συνόντα, συνάγεται δὲ τὰ φύσει κεχωρισμένα, καὶ δεῖ τῷ λόγῳ τὸν μὴ πεφαντασμένον φαντάσαι. Synesius’s interest in dreaming and dream narrative reflects his own philosophical interests in the function of the imaginative soul, and—to a certain extent—emanates from a thought world different from those of Aristides and his earlier reader Philostratus. All these are linked, however, by a continuous tradition of rhetorical training. Bregman 1982 offers a general introduction to Synesius’s treatise on dreams. For the text, and a translation of On Dreams, see Lacombrade 1978.



Synesius reasons through what Philostratus left obscure in his comments on the rhetorical value of diaries: keeping a diary (or a nightbook), Synesius says, requires one to turn every detail of experience into language, and therefore offers the ultimate rhetorical test: for translating vision into speech requires real creative power when the objects of (inner) sight do not actually exist in nature (18.2–3), or even in the literary tradition. The challenge Synesius identifies here, of “hermeneia,”—the interpretive move of expressing in language the imaginative leaps of the dreaming soul—is an extension, then, of the rhetorical challenge of ekphrasis.24 Myths offer the basic starting point for orators honing their powers of description, but dreams should be regarded as the litmus test of excellence. In this context, Aristides’ dream accounts in the HL are an experiment in literary craft, a feat of technical sophistication, and a record of rhetoric’s triumph over dream features such as shifting identities and locations, and temporal disjuncture. In Webb’s account, ekphrasis and enargeia aim at re-creating in the mind of a listener the emotional and sensory experience of the orator, and she distinguishes this from a “hermeneutic” mode of writing and reading that aims at intellectual judgment.25 Ancient theorists recognized, however, that it was difficult to separate description from interpretation, and Aristides’ dream accounts illustrate this point. He consistently opens the narrative frame with a verb of seeming, seeing, or thinking, and the actions and scenes of the dream typically unfold in a series of subordinate infinitives, so that the dream picture stands at one remove from the main narrative—rather in the way an ekphrastic set piece occupies its own space within a larger story. In spite of this syntactic pattern, however—which is regular but not perfectly consistent—it is frequently difficult to discern a clear boundary between the dream and the surrounding narrative of medical cure and social life, between dream description and interpretation.26

24. As Webb 2009, 10 (cf. 105) notes, ancient reflections on the theory of ekphrasis show an awareness of the paradox underpinning visual description: the “as-if-ness” that is characteristic of ekphrasis and enargeia marks the simultaneous power and failure of language to create “a universe of likeness” that reflects an interplay of presence and absence. Synesius’s use of the word hermeneia captures this sense of paradox. 25. Webb 2009, 36–37 and 122. 26. For this reason, Behr’s italicization of dream material in his translations of the HL (1968 and 1981–1986) is at once helpful and potentially misleading.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


An episode from the diary of HL I exhibits the intermingling of real life and dream life that is characteristic of Aristides’ accounts (I.24–26):

πέμπτῃ ἐφαίνετο μὲν τὸ ἱερὸν τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος τὸ ἐν τῷ ὄρει τῷ Mιλύᾳ· ἐδόκει δὲ οἰκήματα ἄττα προσγεγενῆσθαι, καὶ ὄνομα εἶναι τῷ χωρίῳ Ἐλεφαντίνη ἀπὸ Ἐλεφαντίνης τῆς ἐν Aἰγύπτῳ· ἔχαιρον δὴ καὶ κατ’ αὐτὰ τὰ οἰκήματα καὶ κατὰ τὴν οἰκειότητα τοῦ τόπου τῷ τόπῳ. καὶ δὴ καὶ ἱερέα εἶναι τοῦ θεοῦ τὸν τῆς Ἴσιδος τῆς ἐν Σμύρνῃ ἱερέα, παρ’ ᾧπερ καὶ κατάγεσθαι, καὶ ἐνθυμεῖσθαι πρὸς ἐμαυτὸν ὅτι πολλά μοι πρὸς αὐτὸν οἰκεῖα ὑπάρχοι ἐκ πολλοῦ· καί τι καὶ τυγχάνειν παρ’ αὐτοῦ πρόσθεν ἐωνημένος, ἔπειτα ὑπόλοιπόν τι ἔχων ἐθέλειν ἀλλάξασθαι. κἀκ τούτου δὴ ἐδόκουν εἰπεῖν τινὰ κοιφὶ μετὰ οἴνου· λαβεῖν τε δὴ εὐθὺς αὐτὸ ὡς ἴαμα καὶ σκοπεῖν εἴτε τῷ προσώπῳ δέοι προσθέσθαι εἴτε καὶ τοῖς ἐντός. καί τινος εἰπόντος ὅτι ἐπικάοι ὅπου ἐπιτεθείη, ἐνθυμηθῆναι ὡς ἐπιτηδείως ἔχοι παντὸς μᾶλλον ψύξεως εἶναι φάρμακον. καί πως ἐκ τούτων εἰπεῖν πρὸς τὸν ἱερέα ὅτι δῆλον ἦν ἐξ ὧν ἀνεγίγνωσκον ὅτι οὐχὶ δεήσοι φαγεῖν. καὶ δῆτα εὐθὺς εἶχον ἐν νῷ ὡς διατελέσων ἄσιτος τὴν ἡμέραν· ἠσίτησα δή. On the fifth day, there was a vision of the temple of Apollo, the one on Mount Milyas. But it seemed that some buildings had been added, and that the name of the place was Elephantine, from the Elephantine in Egypt. And I rejoiced, indeed, both on account of the buildings themselves and on account of the similarity of the one place to the other. And moreover, [I dreamed] that the priest of the god was the priest of the temple of Isis in Smyrna, with whom [I dreamed] I was staying and [I dreamed] that I thought to myself that I had been very friendly with him for a long time. And that I happened to have bought something from him earlier on, and that since I had something left over, I wanted to make an exchange. And after this I dreamed that someone said, “Koiphi with wine,” and that straightaway I took it as a remedy and considered whether I should apply it to my face or internally. And when someone said that it would burn where it was placed, [I dreamed that] I thought that it would be especially suitable as a remedy for cold. And somehow after this [I dreamed] I said to the priest that it was clear from what I learned that it would be necessary not to eat. And indeed straightaway I had in mind that I would finish the day without eating. And I did.



Aristides knew the Egyptian landscape firsthand from his own travels, and Isis played a role early in his life as his first divine protector (III.45).27 He remained connected to the goddess’s cult in Asia Minor, and speaks elsewhere of sacrificing to her at Smyrna. Here, in his rambling, disorienting dream story, the goddess’s two temples—in Asia Minor and Egypt— merge, furnished with new, imagined buildings and with personnel who reflect the cultural and geographic syncretism of the shifting dreamscape in which image and interpretation merge. As throughout the text, Aristides presents his dream account in indirect speech, and here he layers the verbs introducing the account in such a way as to blur the boundary between dream space and interpretive activity. The first framing verb, ἐφαίνετο (“there was a vision”), gives more autonomy to the dreamscape, while the second, ἐδόκει (“it seemed”)—by far the most common introductory verb in the dream accounts of the HL—heightens the sense of the dream as an active mental process on the part of the dreamer.28 Perhaps the most disorienting feature of this representation of the experience of dreaming, however, is that it is almost impossible to tell where the dream ends. We are no sooner inside the space of the dream than the indirect construction dependent on ἐδόκει (“it seemed”) is interrupted by another finite verb ἔχαιρον (“I rejoiced”). This could be either a description of Aristides’ affect in the dream (in which case the switch to direct speech marks vividness) or a description of Aristides’ waking reflection on what he experienced in the dream: breaking into direct speech, Aristides seems to blur the boundary between dream and reality.29 Thus, just as ekphrasis in literature produces tension between imaginative immersion and awareness of the need to interpret,30 so the destabilizing syntax of his dream accounts reflects Aristides’ interest not just in vivid description of what he has seen and experienced but in the problem

27. Aristides proclaims his familiarity with the Egyptian landscape, including Elephantine, in Or. 36. On his visit to that land, see Behr 1968, 14–22. On koiphi as a known remedy in the Egyptian context, see Schröder 1986, ad loc. Cf. Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 80. 28. On verbs that typically introduce dream accounts, see Behr 1968, 191, n. 67; Hanson 1980, 1409; Björck 1946. 29. Ἐδόκει is reinforced by ἐδόκουν midway through the account, on which subsequent infinitives depend. With the final action of the sentence, ἠσίτησα δή, we are clearly outside the dream. Behr 1968 italicizes the second-to-last phrase, suggesting (as with ἔχαιρον) that it is part of the dream. This is quite plausible, though it is also possible that Aristides reports a waking reflection. The ambiguity seems deliberate. 30. Webb 2009, 179.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


of the boundary between description and hermeneutics: he leaves the rough edges and ambiguities of his dream pictures intact and portrays dream material and interpretation as inextricably entwined. Even in a retrospective account of miraculous, divine healing, Aristides gives his readers access to the uncertain terrain of practical oneirocriticism. Departing both from the conventions of votive commemoration and from more conventional literary accounts of dreaming, he uses his dream narratives to present hermeneutic complexity.

Dream Hermeneutics and Interpretive Failure As we have noted, votive evidence rarely informs us about the visual or sensory experience of dreaming. It places the emphasis, rather, on successful healing. Greek literary authors, on the other hand, present the details of dreams in such a way as to further their aims of plot and characterization, either diminishing problems of interpretation or using these to create dramatic tension out of the gulf of understanding that separates one character from another, or character from audience. There is nothing in either tradition to match Aristides’ portrayal of the sensation of a dreamer’s disorientation, and no ancient text can compare to his as an enactment of the challenge dreams pose for the syntactic resources of language. Even the few texts we have as evidence of practical dream interpretation in the Greco-Roman world avoid the complexity of Aristides’ depiction. Technical treatises aim at a typology of dreams and offer practical guidance in correlating dream data with the questions and concerns of clients or patients, diminishing interpretive problems in the process. This is true of both Artemidorus and Galen, Aristides’ second-century contemporaries who wrote on dreams in the divinatory and the medical contexts respectively. They are interested in dreams not as experience but as the carefully demarcated objects of interpretation, either mantic or medical. As the author of a treatise on dream interpretation, the Oneirocritica, Artemidorus was mainly interested in predictive dreams of divine origin (oneiroi), and he sets precise boundaries for his enquiry. On the one hand, he is concerned with dreams that are complex, and the interpretive challenges they pose are his main motivation for writing. For this reason, he disdains to address the divine dreams of temple worshippers, which are, he says, perfectly simple to understand: gods like Asclepius communicate plainly with suppliants at Pergamum, Alexandria, and elsewhere, addressing illness in language that is usually clear. When



the language is not patently clear, the symbolism used is of the most elementary sort.31 For the gods may couch their prescriptions in punning wordplay, but behind this thin disguise lie ordinary remedies, under ordinary names, and a basic medical knowledge will put the aspiring dream interpreter on an equal footing with any temple practitioner.32 On the other hand, however, once he has isolated those dreams that do require his special skills of interpretation, Artemidorus no longer problematizes either the source of the dreams that he treats or the realm of their divinatory applicability. Artemidorus presents his Oneirocritica as a solution to problems of interpretation that attend specifically the “allegorical” subset of predictive dreams (oneiroi). In this vast taxonomy, he tracks dream symbols across a range of variables, observing how the status of the dreamer—gender, age, trade, state of health, geographical location, social position—appears to affect the meaning of each particular dream detail.33 To decode the gods’ advice, an interpreter will need to position each dreamer as precisely as possible in relation to the patterns observable in the vast archive of past dreams. Often, however, Artemidorus acknowledges, there is no way of knowing whether an interpretation is correct until one has seen the dream fulfilled (4.24). The fundamentally conjectural nature of the enterprise is the reason for his immense effort of empirical research into “old dreams and their consequences” (1, proemium). His compendium includes some dreams symbolic of illness, but from the outset, he sets aside symptomatic dreams of a physical origin (1.1). On the other side of the oneiros/enhypnion divide, medical practitioners were interested in just the kind of dream dismissed by oneirocritics like Artemidorus: symptomatic dreams believed to reflect the state of the body’s humors and to offer no access to the divine realm of prophecy (enhypnia). The author of the essay on dreams transmitted as the Hippocratic Regimen 4 writes that when an individual is asleep, the soul sees and

31. Artem. 4.22: “You will find that the commands of the gods are simple (haplai) and hold no riddle (ainigma) . . . or when the gods do riddle, they riddle (ainissesthai) quite plainly (saphôs).” He caricatures the delight temple interpreters take in crafting cleverly obscure puzzles and solutions—testimony more, he says, to their capacity for ingenious fiction than to their understanding of the gods’ care for humans (to philanthrôpon, Artem. 4.22). 32. Artem. 4.22. See Oberhelman 1987, 49 with n. 14 for the association of temple dreaming with Artemidorus’s rather vague category of chrêmatismos. 33. Price 1986, especially 13–16. Cf. Foucault 1986, 14–25.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


reveals what the body suffers (Regimen 4.86-87), and he sets out to offer hermeneutic guidelines for interpreting these visions. While he posits a different origin for dreams, along with a different set of questions to which they may provide answers, this anonymous medical author and others in the Hippocratic tradition nevertheless deploy a symbolic structure that mirrors schemes for interpreting divine symbolic dreams.34 But how does a physician decide that a given dream is prognostic rather than prophetic? Galen, who like most ancient medical writers accepted the pertinence of dreams in a variety of contexts, both divinatory and medical, cautions that a doctor can err by interpreting as medical a vision that in fact pertains to a nonmedical aspect of the patient’s life:35 The conditions of the body do not account for all of the soul’s dream images in sleep. Some dreams come from our daily habits and actions, while others originate in our [waking-state] thoughts. Also, it has been our experience that certain matters are prophetically foreshadowed by the soul. Therefore the diagnosis of the body on the basis of dreams that have their impulse from the body itself becomes no easy task.36 Galen goes on to say that it is specifically the prophetic potential of dreams that poses the greatest challenge for physician-interpreters. Dreams that originate in waking thoughts and actions will be easy to recognize and dismiss, but because the future is naturally obscure, it may be difficult to know whether one is dealing with a symbol or a symptom. As an example of just such a mistake, Galen tells the story of a person who dreamed his leg had turned to stone. Skilled interpreters, he says, who followed the logic of a common symbolic substitution, took this as a prophetic reference to the man’s slaves, so everyone was surprised when the dream turned out to pertain to the man’s body: when he

34. In fact, the bulk of the treatise, after the first few theoretical paragraphs, reads rather like a book of dream interpretation. For discussion, see Oberhelman 1983, 43–47. 35. Among medical sects, only the Methodists rejected dreams as a guide to therapy (Oberhelman 1993, 136–139). In the second century ce, Rufus of Ephesus writes in his guidelines for physicians interviewing patients that they should ask not just whether, and how, the individual has slept, but also whether he has dreamed, since dreams can convey information about the state of the body’s humors. See Rufus of Ephesus, Corpus medicorum graecorum, supplementum 4, ed. H. Gärtner (Berlin, 1962), 34–36 (sections 29–33). 36. Galen 6:833 Kühn. Transl. Oberhelman 1983, 44.



suffered paralysis of his leg, it was clear his advisers had chosen the wrong interpretive framework.37 Unlike the technical writers who are interested in dreams, Aristides is not concerned with the question of a dream’s origin. He clearly presents his dreams as coming from the god, and as expressions of divine care. Even so, he engages with problems of oneirocriticism in ways that the technical writers do not. To narrow the range of interpretive possibilities, ancient dreamers needed to determine what kind of dream they thought they had seen: “Is my dream prophetic, or is it the result of poor digestion?” “Does the dream mean what it appears to mean, or was the vision allegorical?” “Are the details of my dream significant or a meaningless reiteration of waking preoccupations?” For Artemidorus and Galen, these questions are urgent, in the sense that they can proceed to put dream material to use only once they have established a framework of interpretation. Unlike Artemidorus, whose treatise presents dreams already distilled, reduced to their component parts and images for symbolic interpretation, Galen, as we have seen, acknowledges the difficulty of determining the language and pertinence of dreams. Nevertheless, dreams are useful to his diagnostic and prognostic pursuits only to the extent that he can trace fairly precisely the relationship between dream symbol and medical interpretation. Aristides, on the other hand, presents a kaleidoscopic array of dream details. If he has an agenda in describing his dreams, this must reside precisely in exposing his audience to their fluidity and interpretive ambiguity.38 In the HL, Aristides ascribes all his visions, ultimately, to the god, using the language of divine oneiros and symptomatic enhypnion interchangeably.39 Still, he is interested in the problem of arriving at an interpretive framework. Early in the first Logos, he is twice derailed by uncertainty about the horizon of interpretation for his dreams—the kind of error that is, as the passage from Galen shows, a persistent

37. Galen, 6:834 Kühn. Cf. Oberhelman, 1983, 45 with nn. 63 and 64 on correspondence with Artemidorus’s discussion of the symbolism of a paralyzed leg, and dissonance with Hippocratic interpretations of the same. Cf. Artemidorus 1.47 and 1.48. 38. Behr 1968, chap. 8 and appendix D, offers a helpful study of the relationship between Aristides’ dream details and interpretive strategies and those of the oneirocritic tradition, specifically Artemidorus. 39. See Artemidorus 4, proem on the fact that the distinction between oneiros and enhypnion is a technical one understandably disregarded in lay circles.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


hazard of conjectural interpretation.40 As the text opens, his illness involves abdominal difficulties, and many episodes of the dream diary center on the issue of bathing. At one point, the god has prescribed abstention from baths (alousia, 1.6), but Aristides thinks that subsequent dreams may be indicating the opposite.41 The next dream account describes an interpretive failure, and instead of reporting dream and outcome with retrospective clarity, Aristides depicts hermeneutic confusion (1.7):42 Mετὰ δὲ τοῦτο ὄναρ γίγνεται, ἔχον μέν τινα ἔννοιαν λουτροῦ, οὐ μέντοι χωρίς γε ὑπονοίας· ἀλλ’ ἐδόκουν τι καὶ μολυνθῆναι· ὅμως δὲ ἔδοξεν λούσασθαι, πάντως δ’ εἰ καὶ τῷ ὄντι τοῦτ’ ἐπεπόνθειν, ὕδατος δεῖν. εὐθύς τε οὖν οὐχ ὡς ἥδιστα ἔσχον ἐν τῷ βαλανείῳ, καὶ ἐπειδὴ ἐπανῆλθον, ἐδόκει πάντα πλήρη εἶναι, καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα οἷον ἀσθμαίνοντος ἦν· ὥστε ἐπ’ ἀρχῇ τῆς τροφῆς εὐθὺς ἐπαυσάμην. διαφθορὰ μετὰ τοῦτο ἐκ νυκτὸς καὶ προῆλθεν εἰς τοῦτο, ὥστε μόλις κατέστη πρὸ μεσημβρίας μικρόν. After this there came a dream [onar] that contained some notion [ennoia] of bathing—not, however, without a second-order meaning [hyponoia] (though I did seem [edokoun] to be actually defiled [molunthênai] in some way), but it seemed [edoxen] nevertheless a good idea to bathe, especially because if in fact I had suffered this [defilement], water was necessary. Straightaway, then, I spent some rather unpleasant time in the bathhouse. And when I got out, all [my body] seemed full and my breathing was like an asthmatic’s so that, to begin with, I immediately stopped taking nourishment. After this there was corruption [diaphthora] from night onward, and it went on to such an extent that it scarcely let up a little before noon.

40. On episodes of interpretive failure, see Behr 1968, 194 with nn. 72 and 73. 41. Abdominal disorder was understood to result from an excess of moist humors. So from the Hippocratic writers forward, a “drying” regimen (including abstention from baths) was considered an appropriate corrective; see Downie 2008, 119 with n. 13. In the Hippocratic Corpus, see especially Regimen 2.57; Affections 53; Regimen in Acute Diseases 18. Bathing was believed to help people obtain nourishment from food, so its opposite, alousia, was a logical concomitant of fasting: Hippocrates, Places in Man 43, and Galen, Commentary on Hippocrates’ “On the Nature of Man,” Kühn 15:196. 42. On this passage, see also Downie 2008, 119–123.



He reports this dream in a style similar to the accounts discussed above, preserving the sense of hesitation and uncertainty that we have seen is characteristic of his descriptions. The convoluted syntax seems to reflect his uncertainty: the first sentence of the passage presents a succession of apparently contradictory qualifications (mentoi . . . alla . . . homôs) that make the account opaque, and as the boundary blurs between “notion” and “second-order meaning,” dream appearance (edokoun) and interpretive reflection (edoxen) intertwine. In this case, though, he reports neither the details of what he actually saw in his dream (onar), nor, indeed, any clear dream symbol. Instead he refers to a “notion,” or “general impression” (ennoia), of bathing, and some sense of being defiled (molunthênai)—the vagueness of which causes him to hesitate over the dream’s “second-order meaning” (hyponoia).43 Aristides’ hesitation reflects uncertainty about the appropriate framework of interpretation for this dream. While he does not offer details about his dream of “defilement,” we might imagine an excrement dream—of the sort that Artemidorus and Galen both describe, each offering a very different interpretation. According to Galen, if a person dreams he is standing in excrement or mud, it means either that his humors are disordered or that his bowels are full.44 According to Artemidorus, on the other hand, a dream involving excrement (animal or human) may portend sickness, particularly if the excrement stains,45 but as a symbol of impurity it may also pertain to a variety of issues relating to the dreamer’s daily life.46

43. Aristides’ use of these two terms is probably subtechnical, but the distinction between ennoia and hyponoia seems to be one of dream picture, or dream story, versus symbolic, “second-order” meaning. In the HL, ennoia appears three times (I.28, III.39), hyponoia only here (though cf. 1.55, at the end of the diary, for the verbal form). Cf. Oration 38.2, where ennoia is contrasted with nous, which seems to indicate the “message” or “intent” of the dream. Schröder 1986, ad loc. and Behr 1968, 194 interpret ennoia as meaning “specious” or “false.” 44. Oberhelman 1983, 46 (Galen 6:835 Kühn): “For if a person dreams of passing time in the midst of feces and filth, either his humors are bad and foul-smelling and putrid or there is too much feces contained within his bowels.” 45. Artemidorus 2.26.3: “[Excrement] indicates despondency and harm, and—when it stains—illness” (δυσθυμίας καὶ βλάβας σημαίνει, μολύνουσα δὲ καὶ νόσον). 46. Artemidorus (2.26) surveys a range of excrement dreams, the significance of which will (as always in Artemidorus) depend upon the identity and personal circumstances of the dreamer, the situation depicted in the dream, and the relative status of anyone else who appears in the dream.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


We can imagine, then, that Aristides’ hesitation signals uncertainty about the appropriate hermeneutic framework: within a symbolic framework touching on the social and moral concerns of daily life, “defilement” imposes the requirement of purification—and water is the purifying element par excellence; within a medical framework, on the other hand, “defilement” is likely to mark an intestinal disturbance best treated by keeping the body as dry as possible. If Aristides were to interpret the dream within a medical framework, as an indication of his physical state, he would refrain from bathing to avoid further indigestion. When he decides, instead, that bathing is the solution to the “defilement” (molunthênai), he seems to favor instead an allegorical interpretation in the style of Artemidorus: he turns to water as a symbol of purification. The increased “corruption” (diaphthora) that he suffers as a result seems to indicate that Aristides has chosen the wrong interpretive horizon for this dream, and a second episode of unsuccessful interpretation confirms this (I.8):

Ὄψις δὲ ὀνείρατος οὑτωσί πως εἶχεν, ὡς ἄρα εἴην ἐν ὕδασι θερμοῖς, προκεκυφὼς δὲ εἰς τὸ πρόσθεν ὁρῴην τὰ κάτω τῆς κοιλίας ἀτοπώτερον διακείμενα. ἐβουλευσάμην μὲν δὴ μεῖναι ἐπ’ ἀλουσίας, ἔφη δέ τις ὡς οὐκ ἐπ’ αὐτοῦ γε τοῦ λουτροῦ τὸ δυσχερὲς ἦν τὸ φαινόμενον, οὐδ’ εἰκὸς ὡς αἴτιον φυλάξασθαι. ἐλουσάμην τε εἰς ἑσπέραν καὶ ἅμα τῷ ὄρθρῳ τὸ ἦτρον ἤλγουν, καὶ ἐπεχώρει τὸ ἄλγημα ἐπὶ δεξιὰ καὶ μέχρι βουβῶνος κάτω. And the vision of the dream went something like this: that I was in the warm waters, and bending forward I saw that the lower parts of my intestine were in a disordered state. I thought it was a good idea, therefore, to continue to abstain from bathing. But someone [else] said that the evident difficulty was not on account of the bath per se, and it was not reasonable to guard against it as the cause. So I washed toward evening, and when dawn came I had abdominal pain, and the pain extended on the right all the way down to my groin. In this second dream, Aristides sees “disorder” in his body, and interprets this as a sign that bathing has had (and will have) a negative physical effect. For a symptomatic dream in the medical framework, he is on the



right track, until an unidentified interlocutor raises doubts by suggesting it is not bathing itself that has caused the problem. Since he experiences pain when he eventually does bathe, the process of trial and error confirms his original conjecture that the dream was a symptomatic one, reflecting his physical condition. The problem of a dream’s interpretive framework is highlighted in these episodes from the HL, but it is an issue Aristides reflects upon elsewhere as well, in more abstract terms. In an oration To Plato (Or. 2), written while he was an incubant in Pergamum and concerned with defending the technê of rhetoric, Aristides draws a parallel between medicine and dream interpretation, as two examples of the conjectural nature of human technê. Dream interpreters, and mantic specialists more generally, he says, use reason to make sense of signs that are obscure and ambiguous. Like the physician who faces the challenge of piecing together disparate symptoms to understand his patient’s condition and to make a prognosis, so too the mantic interpreter aims at forming a “likely picture” (eikazein) in response to whatever issue the inquirer has raised. In any conjectural venture, the question posed is crucial, for it sets the horizon of interpretation, as Aristides explains with reference to the mantic arts (Or. 2.167):

εἰ γὰρ μὴ φράσαις τὸ ἐρώτημα, οὐδὲν ἔχει σοι λέγειν περὶ ὧν εἶδεν σημείων. . . . οὐ γὰρ ἔγκειται τὰ πράγματα αὐτῷ προφαινόμενα, ἀλλὰ τὰς πύστεις τοῖς σημείοις προσάγων εἰκάζει πρὸς τὸν λόγον. If you should not state your question, the seer can tell you nothing about the signs he has seen. . . . For him, matters are not fixed and apparent in advance, but by relating a person’s inquiries to the signs he forms a picture [eikazein] that has regard for reason [logos]. He goes on to suggest that dream interpretation is paradigmatic of the picture-making quality of divination: seers interpret their material, Aristides says, “just like dreams” (Or. 2.168). Like mantic phenomena in general, dreams present a bewildering mass of data, and every interpretive trajectory is crucially conditioned by the choice of a starting point. Only in retrospect can the dreamer and his interpreter collectively decide whether their “likely picture” was the right one.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


Aristides’ Dream World The Greek conception of dreaming as a function of vision places image and interpretation in an inseparable relationship.47 Technical writers obscure this fact, because in a prophetic or prognostic context the visual qualities of a dream are generally distilled to produce meaning. But Aristides, by presenting all the haphazard and unreasoned images of his dream world, attends to the cognitive process of dreaming. In a sense, then, while he claims that his divinely inspired dreams are both prophetic and prescriptive, he also offers a glimpse of the ancient understanding of a third broad category of dreams—those that were generally dismissed as eluding divinatory and medical structures of interpretation and regarded as insignificant repetitions of the ephemera of the dreamer’s waking and imaginative life.48 This functioned as a category of exclusion, a way of setting aside dreams, or dream details, that could not apparently be processed within a hermeneutic system. Precisely because they were regarded as insignificant from a prophetic or prognostic perspective, such dreams have a marginal presence in the ancient literary record, but in the HL, as he re-creates the picture-making quality of dream experience that he refers to in Or. 2, Aristides brings this heterogeneous material to the fore. What, then, does Aristides gain by giving his readers an inside view of the conjectural process? While he blurs the distinction between significant and nonsignificant dreams, there are relatively few moments in which he explicitly problematizes this. In fact, having presented the scenario of hermeneutic confusion and interpretive failure early on in HL I, he subsequently asserts narrative control by transporting the activity of interpretation inside the divinely sponsored dream itself and, ultimately, establishing the dreamscape as a space of direct communication between himself and Asclepius. Retaining his characteristic mode of dream description, he turns his dreams into a free narrative space backed by divine endorsement, which allows him to dwell on the social and professional implications of his dreams. By bringing the faculties of dream elaboration

47. See Dodds 1951, 105; Oberhelman 1987, 48; Björck 1946. 48. See Plato, Timaeus 45e–46a, where Plato describes dreams that have no clear prophetic import as resulting from “residual internal ‘motions’”(Gallop 1971, 188). Gallop 1971 surveys Plato’s references to dreams and considers their implications for his understanding of the levels of cognition.



and dream interpretation into close proximity, and claiming a rhetorical position of quasi-divine interpretive expertise, Aristides imposes significance implicitly on even the most mundane dream scenarios, effectively making every dream into a meaningful oneiros and assuring readers that he controls its interpretation. The “double dream” is one of Aristides’ strategies for establishing interpretive control by virtue of divine endorsement.49 Immediately after the two instances of hermeneutic failure at the outset of HL I, Aristides moves the interpretive process inside the divine dream, so that his account of the vision includes a dream narrative and an interpretive conversation with one or more interlocutors (I.9):

Ἐνάτῃ ἐπὶ δέκα ἔδοξά τινας τῶν βαρβάρων ἐγκρατεῖς γεγενῆσθαί μου καί τινα αὐτῶν ἐπιέναι μοι καὶ δόξαν παρασχεῖν ὡς στίξοντα· ἔπειτα καθεῖναι τὸν δάκτυλον οὑτωσὶ μέχρι τοῦ λαιμοῦ καί τι ἐγχέαι κατὰ δή τινα ἐπιχώριον νόμον, ὀνομάσαι δὲ αὐτὸ ὀξυσιτίαν· ταῦτα δὲ ὕστερον ὡς ὄναρ διηγεῖσθαι καὶ τοὺς ἀκούοντας θαυμάζειν καὶ λέγειν ὡς ἄρα τοῦτο αἴτιον εἴη τοῦ διψῆν μέν, μὴ δύνασθαι δὲ πιεῖν, τῷ τρέπεσθαι εἰς ὄξος τὰ σιτία. ἐκ δὴ τούτου ἔμετός τε ἐδείκνυτο καὶ προσέταξεν ὁ βάρβαρος λουτροῦ τε ἀποσχέσθαι καὶ διάκονον ἕνα παραστήσασθαι τὸ τήμερον εἶναι. ἀλουσία καὶ ἔμετος μετὰ ῥᾳστώνης. On the nineteenth, I thought that some of the barbarians had got hold of me, and that one of them approached and made me think he was about to tattoo me. Then [I thought] that he put his finger in as far as my throat and poured something in, according to some local custom, and named it “heartburn” [oxysitian].  .  . . And [I dreamed] that I later recounted [diêgeisthai] these things as a dream, and that those listening marveled and said that this was the cause of my being thirsty, yet unable to drink—by virtue of the fact that my food was turning sour. So from this vomiting was indicated, on the one hand, and also the barbarian ordered that I should abstain from bathing and have one servant to assist me that day. Abstention from bathing and vomiting, with a sense of ease.

49. The most famous example of a “double dream” that includes its own interpretation within it is Penelope’s dream of the geese in the Odyssey (19.535–550). Behr 1968, 194–195 catalogs the instances in the HL of interpretation within dreams.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


This dream has two parts: first, Aristides sees himself set upon by barbarians; then he sees another dream scenario in which he tells the story (diêgeisthai) of that attack to an audience who help him interpret it.50 Decoding the linguistic components of the name given to the symbolic substance the barbarian has poured down his throat—oxysitia (oxy, “sharp, acid”; sitia, “food”)—yields an explanation in medical terms for the conflict between Aristides’ desire to drink and his inability to do so: corruption of food in his system. This etymological approach to interpretation appears elsewhere in the HL,51 and it was a common technique in ancient dream hermeneutics—but here the parsing of oxysitia is represented as taking place inside the vision, with the effect that the dream itself provides its own interpretation. The activity of stochastic interpretation—which Aristides would, in the real world, undertake in collaboration with an interpretive community of professional critics, temple staff, or friends and associates—is transferred into the dream space. In this case, the hermeneutic employed is fairly clear, but because the interpretation is placed inside the dream, it is sustained—in theory—by the god’s all-knowing power and—in practice—by Aristides’ agency as author of the account. As far as Aristides’ narrative presentation is concerned, the dream is self-interpreting. Over the course of HL I, Aristides moves the initial uncertainties of interpretation to the background, so that however elusive or tangential a vision seems to the reader, or however desultory in its details, divine sponsorship underwrites a favorable correspondence between the dream and Aristides’ waking life. Most dramatically, in a dream near the close of HL I, when Aristides is uncertain how to translate vision into action, he petitions the god directly. After dreaming that he had eaten figs and then deliberately vomited—warned (in the dream) by the prophet Corus that the fruit was poisoned (I.54)—Aristides conjectures (hyponoein, I.55) that he should understand an injunction to fast, but he is uncertain. Involved in a tangle of competing interpretations (as in the episode at I.6, where he also used the word hyponoia for a point of confusion), Aristides makes no

50. The infinitives dependent on ἔδοξά (διηγεῖσθαι, θαυμάζειν, λέγειν) make the scene of interpretation part of the dream. On the motif of branding, see Jones 1987. On the figure of the barbarian, see Behr 1981–1986 ad loc. and Schröder 1986, ad loc., who suggests (cf. IV.105) that “barbarian” might just as well describe a local individual as a foreigner. 51. See, for example, HL I.51, where he dreams that he is carrying a volume by Menander and interprets this as a sign from the god that he should “stay” (menein).



attempt to solve this puzzle by conjectural and experimental methods. Instead, he makes a direct appeal to the god for clarification (I.55): “I asked the god to indicate more clearly which he meant: fasting or vomiting.”52 In response to his request, he receives another dream: while he is in the Pergamene shrine at midday, observing a fast, the doctor Theodotus comes to his bedside and converses with him about his medical condition and treatment (I.55–56): [ἔδοξα] . . . Θεόδοτον ἐπελθεῖν . . . καὶ εἰπεῖν ὅτι “ἐγώ τοι ἀνέμενον μετὰ πάντα ταῦτα ἃ οὗτοι ποιοῦσιν, φλεβοτομίᾳ χρῆσασθαι· τὸ γὰρ ἄλγημα τοῦ νεφροῦ ἐστιν, καὶ ἡ ἀσιτία δέ,” ἔφη, “νόθος τις ἔξοδός ἐστι τοῦ πυρὸς διὰ τοῦ στήθους διεξιοῦσα.” [I dreamed] .  .  . that Theodotus came .  .  . and said: “After all the things these men are doing, I have decided to put off performing a phlebotomy on you. For the pain is in your kidney, and fasting,” he said, “is some illegitimate outlet through your chest for the flame.” The medical scenario and language of this dream response backs up the earlier, prophetic dream, and the logic of fasting presented here is subsequently confirmed by a divine sign—two sparks that Aristides takes (in the dream) as an omen that Theodotus is right in his reasoning that the “flame” (pain) should be starved out of Aristides’ body. This sequence of dreams highlights the fluid negotiation between dream and interpretation, and between dream and waking reality. Ironically, the dream of Theodotus is the only one in the HL where Aristides marks the division between dream world and waking reality by framing his account with the statements that he “fell asleep” and “woke up.” Here, the unusually strict delineation of the dream space highlights the temporal coincidence between dream world and waking world that gives prophetic confirmation to the whole quasi-scientific interpretation offered within the dream: Aristides finds when he awakes that it is actually the hour at which he dreamed Theodotus had come to him, and when he tells

52. I.55: ἐδεόμην δὲ τοῦ θεοῦ σημῆναι σαφέστερον ὁπότερα λέγοι, ἀσιτίαν ἢ ἔμετον. Behr 1968, 187 calls this a “problem” dream—one of the rare times Aristides puts a direct question to the god. Compare I.71 where, when the god appears to him, Aristides grasps his head three times and entreats him to preserve the life of his foster father, Zosimus.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


his attending physician in the waking world about the dream and the temporal coincidence, the doctor too “yields to the god.” The hermeneutic trajectory he traces in the diary portion of HL I gives Aristides free reign in the narrative presentation and embellishment of his dreams: they become a space for self-portrayal, with the god underwriting literary license. This empowers Aristides to include (and perhaps even invent) dream material that might otherwise seem extraneous to the prescriptive and symptomatic agenda that drives his narrative at the beginning—figures and scenarios from his waking life that resist being reduced to a schematic symbolic language.53 Aristides conscripts all dream details to the realm of divine inspiration, creating a space for what he calls in HL I the “secondary business” (parergon) of his dreams—stories that allude to the realia of his professional and social life.54 Against the background of an intense interest in interpretive problems, then, Aristides makes meaning out of the kind of dream usually dismissed, in the ancient world, as nonsignificant. Dreams that reproduced situations and details from an individual’s everyday life were regarded by ancient interpreters as a category separate from either divine or symptomatic dreams. For both Galen and Artemidorus, as for ancient dreamers more generally, it would seem, such dayresidue dreams were uninteresting because they offered no guide to practical action. Aristides, however, taking an oblique stance to classical dream theory, and approaching dreams as an opportunity for the practice of rhetorical enargeia, discovers a narrative use for such dreams: the ambiguities of space, time, identity, and interpretation offer unparalleled opportunities for self-construction. Whereas Artemidorus suggests that some details in dreams serve only for embellishment (kosmou eneken, Artem. 4.42), in the world of Aristides’ HL, every detail (whether or not it speaks meaningfully to the reader) is invested with potential meaning by

53. Quet 1993, 220–221: “comme si sa vie onirique se confondait presque complètement, à cette date, avec la vie éveillée qu’il avait menée antérieurement.” 54. Behr 1968, 193 and n. 70 suggests the phrase be translated as “collateral dreams,” and explains it as referring to Aristides’ perception of his dreams as disjointed: several different subjects may arise in the course of one night. Festugière 1969, 121 redirects interpretation toward the notion of separate topics, which Behr 1981–1986 accepts, translating parergon as “secondary.” The word parergon appears five other times in Aristides’ writings (in Orr. 1, 2, and 3), always speaking to the relationship between two things, or two realms, rather than referring to the sort of general disorder that the interpretation of HL I.16 by Behr 1968 seems to suggest.



virtue of his claim that every aspect of his life communicates divine sponsorship.55 By establishing full interpretive control over this divinely sanctioned environment, he turns the vivid dream narratives of the HL into an ideal vehicle of self-presentation.

Conclusion In the HL, Aristides shows a lively interest, first, in dream description. He is also interested in matters of interpretation, and he brings into focus a fundamental problem that haunts Greek treatises on dream hermeneutics: the difficulty of determining a dream’s horizon of interpretation. For Aristides, as for many technical writers, the most basic question is whether a dream is symptomatic of his physical condition, or whether it pertains symbolically to other aspects of his life, and in the first Logos he describes two episodes of hermeneutic failure that highlight precisely this issue. But this is only the starting point of the interpretive trajectory of HL I. After exposing the limitations of the human technê of stochastic interpretation, he cultivates a narrative approach to dream description that allows him the maximum freedom in the development of detailed dream pictures, under the aegis of divine sponsorship. By moving the interpretive drama and its consequences inside the dream, he creates a free narrative space for material that would otherwise be extraneous to the prescriptive project: elaborate dreams that re-create persons, themes, and preoccupations of his waking life in scenarios that highlight his own agency and interpretive power. As Aristides expands his dream rhetoric beyond the votive tradition, and also beyond a directly prescriptive dynamic, so he extends his claims to divine sponsorship from his body to all aspects of his social and professional life. To modern readers, who frequently approach the HL quite familiar with what William Harris has called the “episodic” dream narrative—and with the post-Freudian instinct that even the most quotidian dream details have revelatory power—Aristides’ desire to imbue his dreams generally

55. Besides the fact that Aristides takes advantage of the dream space as a place to offer narrative glimpses of his waking concerns, he cultivates a heightened sense of significance by including excess, uninterpreted dream material. Why, for example, does the Parthian give him prescriptive advice at I.9? Unexplained details reinforce the rhetoric of reality in Aristides’ account and also remind the reader of the premise of practical interpretation: that a more perfect understanding may be possible in the future.

Dream Description and Dream Hermeneutics


with significance often seems intuitively right. I have wanted to suggest, however, that his interest in creating a literary rendition of this expansive dreamscape can best be situated not with reference to modern notions of stream-of-consciousness writing but as an extension of ancient rhetorical practices of vivid description—enargeia. Freudian and post-Freudian hermeneutics place the origins of the dream in the realm of the unconscious, but this implies a loss of interpretive control that is at odds with Aristides’ aims in bringing his dreams to an imperial-era public, where divine visions had the potential to be both socially empowering and rhetorically interesting. In the HL, Aristides labors to express the visual qualities of mental landscapes, and places descriptive and hermeneutic issues in the foreground deliberately, in order to establish dream narrative and dream interpretation as a mode of self-creation.

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Salvum Lotum! A Rhetor’s Improvised Baths T H E A S C L E P I E I A N tradition of divine healing, dreams are the medium of communication between god and human, but this relationship is also made physically manifest through the performance of cures and their commemoration. In the imperial world, interest in charismatic religious cults ran high, and an appetite for divine thaumata (wonders) cut across class lines.1 This was an era in which people desired to meet their gods face-to-face—even, most directly, through their bodies—and Aristides’ aretalogical narrative has attracted special attention for the passages in which he describes the physical and affective experience of communion with the divine.2 Although he rarely presents a visual epiphany of the god in the conventional terms we might expect from classical literature, the effects of divine contact are powerful and comparable, as Aristides remarks on several occasions, to the feelings associated with initiation into divine mysteries.3 Aristides’ narrative belongs also to a period in which the educated elite were taking a heightened interest in their personal health, and the HL IN

1. Petsalis-Diomidis 2010. Some of the material in this chapter appears in Downie 2010 and Downie forthcoming. 2. On the face-to-face aspect of imperial-era religiosity, see Lane Fox 1987, chap. 4, “Seeing the Gods.” Besides the cult of Asclepius, other cults flourished that offered worshippers personal contact with the gods, as did oracles, which offered another means of direct communication. Perkins 1995 makes a strong case for the role of the body as a medium of divine contact in this period. 3. To E. R. Dodds, Aristides’ idiosyncratic but fervent reports of engagement with the divine were part of the picture of an imperial “age of anxiety,” in which individuals moved beyond traditional cults and explored “mystical” practices in their attempts “to build a psychological bridge between man and Deity” (Dodds 1965, 100).



offer a glimpse of this medical conversation in the Greco-Roman world.4 The Logoi cover a period much longer than the two years Aristides spent in residence at the temple in Pergamum, and while his relationship with the god remains at the center of the narrative, his medical contacts are various, and his story is inflected through a range of medical discourses. Most important, Aristides offers a view of the experience of illness in personal terms, from a patient perspective that is rarely accessible in the ancient world. Ultimately, divine healing offers him a way to understand his illness and, in turn, enables his professional self-presentation.5 Through descriptions of his symptoms and his curative regimen of dream prescription and therapeutic performance, Aristides creates a version of his physical experience that has consequences extending beyond the physical phenomena to the rest of his life. In this respect, his illness account becomes most powerful at those points when his body exceeds narrative and requires interpretation: juxtaposing the extremes of mortal pain and divine pleasure, Aristides creates a body that is transparent to the god, and he transforms his own role from patient to performer. In turning his personal illness narrative to professional and rhetorical ends, Aristides’ specific concern, I suggest, is to enhance his stature as an oratorical performer, particularly in the arena of extempore oratory. We know from Philostratus that improvised declamation was not Aristides’ strong suit.6 In the HL, however, he uses the discourses of medicine and divine cure to construct for himself the heroic profile of an orator empowered through divine inspiration. In arguing that Aristides makes rhetorical and professional use of his narrative of divine healing, I do not mean to deny either his devotion or his concern for his health— indeed, his narrative depends for its conviction upon making these concerns credible. Nevertheless, his account is well pitched for professional self-presentation. He simultaneously invokes and resists both the language of medical technê and the mise-en-scène of temple healing in order to stage his illness and cure as a heroic exploit. In the process, he enacts and incarnates two of the major metaphors for excellence in rhetorical performance:

4. See Bowersock 1969, 59–72 and Mattern 2008, especially 14–27. Foucault 1986 made the body central to cultural discourse of this period, and as others have shown, doctors had a role to play in the “care of the self” (Perkins 1995, 156–162). In this broader context, Luchner 2004, 274 comments on the particular intensity of Aristides’ attention to his illness. 5. King 1998, chap. 6, and 1999. 6. VS 582: “His natural talent was not in the line of extempore eloquence [to schediazein].”

Salvum Lotum! A Rhetor’s Improvised Baths


agonistic performance and mystery initiation. His cures thus figure the divinely inspired status he seeks as an orator. He highlights the utility of this parallel himself at the end of HL II: when he reports the audience’s response to triumphal performances ordered by the god at Ephesus, he says explicitly that physical and oratorical performances mirrored one another: “Those who saw my performance wondered no less at my bath (loutron) than at my words (logoi). And both were from the god.”7 In the HL Aristides presents a physical narrative to support his claim that his oratory is divinely inspired—“theios.”

Patient or Performer? In a polemical oration on the prerogatives of the divinely inspired orator (Or. 28), Aristides claims that when he fell ill he sought healing exclusively from the god, considering that if he were to be saved (sôzesthai) at all, it would be thanks to Asclepius (Or. 28.132).8 In the Hieroi Logoi, however, he gives a more complex account of the relationship between divine aid and other traditions of medical technê. To be sure, in the HL the god consistently trumps all human practitioners. Still, Aristides does not eliminate doctors, and their craft, from the narrative. Rather, as we will see, he uses medical rhetoric, and the scenarios of contemporary medical performance, to give the account of his healing dramatic force. He sets the stage for a contest between rival claimants—doctor and god—and between the two he constructs his own role, less as a patient than as a heroic performer in his own right. It is not surprising to find doctors present in a narrative of divine healing. In Greco-Roman antiquity the quest for health involved a close and complex interaction among learned medical techniques, popular practices, and appeals for divine intervention. Dedicatory inscriptions from all periods found in Asclepieia show that physicians honored Asclepius as their divine patron, and in the Roman era doctors increasingly appear as benefactors of healing shrines.9 Although there is little material or literary 7. II.82: οἱ δ’ ὁρῶντες οὐχ ἧττον τὸ λουτρὸν ἢ τοὺς λόγους ἐθαύμαζον· τὰ δ’ αμφότερ’ ἦν παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ. 8. Aristides refers at Or. 28.88 and 28.132–133 to his life as an incubant at the Pergamene Asclepieium. These references, and the correspondence between Or. 28.116 and the narrative at HL IV.52, suggest that the oration may date to the period of the kathedra, as Behr supposed, though Goeken 2012, 347–359 has argued differently. I discuss Or. 28 further in chap. 4. 9. Nutton 1992, 34, and Samama 2003, 64–66.



evidence to suggest that physicians had any formal or practical role in Asclepieian cult, scholars have sometimes suggested that by the imperial period sanctuaries of Asclepius functioned rather like health spas, providing not just miracle cures for the gravely ill but also dietetic attention for “the worried well.”10 In Aristides’ case, while he says that it was the failure of his doctors that led him to Asclepius in the first place, human medicine nevertheless remains a prominent part of the landscape of the HL, and medical knowledge is characterized as a valued possession.11 Skilled professionals often constitute the first point of appeal in the narrative: at III.18, when Aristides falls ill on his Laneion estate, those in attendance summon a doctor; when his foster sister falls ill, Aristides sends a doctor (V.19), and he later dreams of what the doctor Porphyrio prescribed (V.24). Over the course of his life, in his own struggle for health and in the crises that affected those close to him, Aristides’ sense of the landscape of medical treatment included both human and divine practitioners. In fact, in the HL, as elsewhere in his oeuvre, Aristides idealizes medicine in general and seeks less to deny it than to appropriate its claims for Asclepius. Therefore, while doctors are frequently depicted as baffled and as misguided in their advice (II.34; cf. I.73, III.8), they are not sidelined. Aristides names several among his elite peers in the Pergamene context.12 The physician Satyrus (probably the teacher of Galen), who attended him in Pergamum, is linked professionally to Aristides: Aristides describes him as “a sophist of no mean rank” (III.8–9); Heracleon, who witnesses one of Aristides’ divine

10. On the interaction of various healing technologies in antiquity generally, see Nutton 1992 and 2004, chaps. 7 and 18. Cf. King 1998, 104–106. Graf 1990, 199 makes the comparison to health spas. Cf. Ginouvès 1962, 359–361. On “the worried well,” see Bowersock 1969. As we can see from Habicht 1969, there is no evidence to confirm that doctors were professionally active in the Asclepieium at Pergamum, but there certainly is evidence that the temple complex functioned partly as a gathering place for the elite. 11. At the beginning of his illness (II.5), “the doctors were entirely at a loss—not because they could provide no help, but because they couldn’t discern what the whole thing was.” (ἦν τοῖς ἰατροῖς ἀπορία πολλὴ μὴ ὅτι ὠφελεῖν οὐκ ἔχουσιν, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ γνωρίσαι ὅ τι εἴη τὸ σύμπαν.) Cf. II.63, II.69. Asclepius becomes the dominant force in Aristides’ life at this point, but he had earlier sought divine help of a medical sort from Sarapis. See Or. 45 and Behr 1968, 21–22 and chap. 6, nn. 4–9. 12. Aristides’ text supports the notion that doctors in the Roman East were relatively prosperous and mingled with urban elites, even if they were not always at the center of those circles (Nutton 1992, 42). On the prestige of medical practitioners in this period, and on provincial doctors’ access to imperial power at Rome, see Nutton 1992, 37–38 and 45–49, with Bowersock 1969, chap. 5. Israelowich 2012 sets the HL in this broader medical landscape of the period.

Salvum Lotum! A Rhetor’s Improvised Baths


therapies and offers his professional opinion, is described as a physician and companion (II.20); and the doctor Theodotus appears several times in the course of the HL as Aristides’ friend and confidant.13 Theodotus expresses a physician’s doubts about some of the treatments Aristides undergoes—a dose of absinthe recommended by the god, for example (II.34)—but he also exhibits exemplary receptivity to the commands of Asclepius: during Aristides’ kathedra he shepherded a choir of young boys because Asclepius had prescribed that Aristides should listen to performances of his own compositions as a remedy for a troublesome cough (IV.38). Considering the company he keeps, it makes sense that Aristides is fluent in the language and the practices of dietetic medicine. The regulation of food intake and physical exercise, including bathing, is basic to his attempt to understand and address his abdominal troubles in HL I, and many of the prescriptions he mentions make some allusion to a physician’s techniques and pharmacopoeia.14 Even though he considers his health to be overseen by the god, the cures he describes seem to emerge from within a medical frame of reference, and the narrative consciously frustrates any attempt to untangle the evidence for technical or folk medicine from Asclepius’s more idiosyncratic, spectacular treatments. As he says at HL III.30, Asclepius combined remedies (pharmaka) that he had composed himself with ones that were in common usage. What separates the god’s prescriptions from human ones is simply the fact that Asclepius’s prescriptions worked (II.73):

τὸ γὰρ τὴν αὐτὴν δίαιταν καὶ τὰ αὐτὰ πράγματα, ὁπότε μὲν ὁ θεὸς ἡγοῖτό τε καὶ διαρρήδην εἴποι, σωτηρίαν ἰσχὺν κουφότητα 13. III.8: Behr 1994, 1163–1177, with 1968, 106, with n. 39, points out that Aristides generally uses the word “sophist” negatively. Certainly in this passage it seems hostile, since Aristides’ remark on Satyrus’s remedy is sarcastic: “But it was no cornucopia.” It is clear from Aristides’ anecdotes about “sophists” in the HL and other orations that he considered these fellow orators his main competitors—and thus, by implication, his peers. Remus 1996, 160–161 suggests that among the physicians Aristides names, only Theodotus should be classed as a friend. Satyrus is presumed to be the teacher of Galen, but the others are not attested outside the HL. Apart from acquaintances who figure in the narrative as active physicians, in Aristides’ domestic entourage his foster father, Zosimus, is described as “skilled in the medical arts” (I.75: τὴν τέχνην ἀγαθὸς τὴν ἰατρικήν), and at I.37 Aristides describes the king of the Medes, Vologases, as “experienced in medical affairs” (ἰατρικῶν τινων ἐμπείρως ἔχειν). 14. Nicosia 1984 and (especially) Schröder 1986 annotate many of the medical details of Aristides’ text in their translations. For focused studies of particular cures, see also Boudon 1994, who compares Aristides’ narrative with Galen’s approach to therapeutic bathing, as well as Müller 2004 and 1987, and Israelowich 2012, who offers a wide-ranging discussion.



ῥᾳστώνην εὐθυμίαν πάντα τὰ κάλλιστα καὶ τῷ σώματι καὶ τῇ ψυχῇ φέρειν, ἄλλου δέ του συμβουλεύσαντος καὶ μὴ στοχασαμένου τῆς γνώμης τοῦ θεοῦ πάντα τἀναντία τούτοις ἐπιφέρειν, πῶς οὐ μέγιστον σημεῖον τοῦ θεοῦ τῆς δυνάμεως; For the fact that the same regimen and the same things, whenever the god directed them and expressed them directly, brought safety, strength, lightness, ease, joy, and all the best things to both body and spirit, but when someone else counseled them and failed to conjecture the god’s intentions, [they] brought about all the opposite things to these—how could this not be the greatest sign of the god’s power? As Aristides explains here, the nature of the prescriptions and cures themselves may well follow contemporary dietetic and pharmacological norms, but the success of a prescription depends upon the authority of its source— ideally, the god. Any other practitioner at work upon the same illness with the same materia medica will produce precisely the opposite results. For this reason, the details of his remedies are beside the point, and Aristides is regularly vague about these. Of one medicine (pharmakon) he remembers only that it contained salt (I.66), and in another case he directs his reader’s attention from the material itself to its paradoxical effects: “Next there was a kind of soap mixed with raisins and other materials, and then thousands upon thousands of things. But necessarily passing over all this, I wish to recall what was paradoxical (to paradoxon).” The important point is that he passed from illness and pain to a miraculous sensation of “safety” (sôteria), strength, lightness, ease, and joy (II.10). Aristides speaks the language of medicine in the way that many of the educated elite of his time appear to have done. Plutarch suggests in his Advice on Keeping Well (129d) that it was common social courtesy to inquire after the details of diet and regimen of ill friends, and we see an example of this attention to health in the correspondence of Marcus Aurelius and Fronto, his tutor and friend. In educated circles of the second century, familiarity with the medical tradition—both practical and literary—was considered desirable.15 In his treatise On Examining the Best Physicians, Galen

15. Bowersock 1969, chap. 5; Ballér 1992; von Staden 1997; Luchner 2004 surveys the medical interests of imperial-era authors. The enthusiasm of the literary elite for medical topics occupied a certain “grey-zone” between “professional commonplaces and folk wisdom” (Luchner 2004, 9, n. 2). See also Pearcy 1993.

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sets high standards for general knowledge: any patient who is to make an informed choice of physicians should be well-read, particularly in the Hippocratic texts, and in command of enough medical theory to be able to test a candidate’s skill in prognosis.16 While Galen here gives a rather optimistic impression of the capacities of nonprofessionals, there were certainly possibilities for broad exposure to medical theory. Anatomy, physiology and medical technique were considered good material for public contests and lecture performances in the second century, and such educational spectacles regularly played to mixed audiences of doctors and laymen.17 While Aristides’ engagement with medical technê speaks, on the one hand, to the contemporary currency of medical interests, it probably also reflects the fact that the medical heritage was part of the archive of literary paideia. The Hippocratic corpus provided a point of reference for debates among academic physicians in the imperial world—for Galen, most conspicuously, in his attacks on Methodism, and for his near-contemporary Rufus of Ephesus, whose Hippocratic commentaries do not survive, but whose Medical Questions make explicit reference to Hippocratic precedent.18 At the same time, among second-century Hellenes the Hippocratic writings were as much a literary preoccupation as a scientific one, and the Hippocratic tradition was part of what was meant by “being Greek.”19

16. De optimo medico cognoscendo 13.5 and 5.1 (ed. Iskandar 1988; with discussion by Nutton 1990, 245). 17. Medical contests were institutionalized as part of annual festivals, and rhetorical performers like Galen drew diverse spectators for anatomical demonstrations on an independent basis (von Staden 1995 and 1997; Gleason 2009). 18. On the Methodists’ lack of Hippocratic orthodoxy, see, for example, Galen’s Prognosis 2.1, 3.4, 5.1, with the comments of Jouanna 1999, 350–351; Nutton 1990, 246; King 2006, 257. Between the 170s and the 190s ce Galen wrote at least eighteen works on Hippocratic texts (Manetti and Roselli 1994, 1529–1634), and he situates this work within a considerable tradition of analysis: in the treatise On the Order of My Books, Galen mentions by name eight authors of commentaries on Hippocratic writings, including Rufus. In his Medical Questions, Rufus of Ephesus rests his case for the value of interviewing patients on the basic Hippocratic principle of treating each illness episode as a unique and specific manifestation, and he suggests that this appropriately complements the characteristic Hippocratic interest in assessing local epidemiological trends—a preoccupation of the Hippocratic Airs, Waters, Places, for example, or the “Constitutions” of the Epidemics. On the Hippocratic tradition in general, see Jouanna 1999. Cf. Smith 1989, 108, and Smith 1979, 178. 19. King 2006, 259. In the second century, Artemidorus produced the first complete scholarly edition of Hippocrates (Pigeaud 1988, 328) and presented it to Hadrian (Smith 1979, 235ff. and Nutton 1992, 45); cf. Galen K. 15.21 = CMG v. 9.1, p. 13, who took issue with the edition because it made the texts too “Coan.” On this, see King 2006, 256: “At this point, being faithful to Hippocrates has come to be about language as much as content.”



Homage was paid to Hippocrates by Erotian (who wrote a glossary of Hippocratic words), by the first-century pneumatic physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia (who imitated Hippocrates by writing in the Ionian dialect), and by the anonymous composers of doctors’ epitaphs, which frequently echo the Hippocratic texts.20 In addition to this proliferation of interest among medical writers and grammarians, literary and philosophical authors of the imperial era also refer to Hippocrates by name and cite his texts directly. In all, these developments suggest that the Hippocratic texts—and Hippocrates as a literary and cultural hero—enjoyed a surge of popularity in the late first and early second century ce, and not just among medical specialists.21 The Hippocratic texts, then, were part of the canon of literary reference points available to Aristides as he approached the task of writing about his illness, and he draws on this Hippocratic heritage both implicitly and explicitly in the HL in order to frame his healing as a contest between human and divine physicians. The function of medical rhetoric is most obvious, perhaps, in HL I, where Aristides combines a diary account reminiscent of the Hippocratic Epidemics with a dramatic scene of divine healing that echoes contemporary practices of medical debate. Aristides’ diary of symptoms, dreams, and cures covers a period of some two months in which he struggled with a digestive disorder. In its basic orientation as a serial account of illness, the diary recalls the Hippocratic Epidemics, and this point is reinforced by the terse, anecdotal style of his observations on the condition of his abdomen “day by day” (I.5):

Ἦν μὲν γὰρ Ποσιδεὼν μὴν, ἴστε οἵου χειμῶνος· ἔκαμνεν δὲ ὁ στόμαχος τὰς νύκτας καὶ ἀγρυπνίαι ἦσαν ὑπερφυεῖς, ὥστε οὐδὲ τὰ βραχύτατα πέττειν ἦν. αἰτία δ’ οὐχ ἥκιστα ἡ συνέχεια τῶν χειμώνων, ἣν οὐδὲ κέραμος οὐδεὶς ἐνέγκαι ἐλέγετο· ἐπεὶ καὶ ὁ ἱδρὼς ἔστη πάντα τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον πλὴν ὅσα λουμένῳ. It was the month of Poseidon—you know during what kind of a winter! [My] stomach was upset during those nights, and there was extraordinary insomnia, so that it was not possible to digest the

20. Nutton apud King 2006, 256. On Aretaeus, see Jouanna 1999, 351. 21. King 2006, 256; cf. Smith 1989, 107; Jouanna 1999, 348–351; Pigeaud 1988, 328. Philostratus reports, for example (VS 536), that the orator Polemo studied medical writings and notes and that he was well versed, specifically, in Hippocrates.

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smallest morsel. Not the least cause was the continuous succession of storms, which they said not a single roof tile withstood. And then, too, the sweat ceased that whole time, except when [I] bathed.22 This first entry is typical of the rest of the diary for its short sentences and elliptical syntax. In its style, but also in its conjunction of individual illness with a report on climatic conditions, the diary recalls both the anecdotal case histories of the Epidemics, and its “constitutions”—accounts of the weather conditions that impacted public health in particular locations with each season.23 Aristides identifies the weather as a cause (aitia) of illness here, and to illustrate how unbearable his physical situation was, he observes its effects not just on his own body but on features of the manmade, inanimate environment—the roof tiles that “barely withstood” the winter storms. Knitting his own body into the cosmic fabric, he creates a sense that human illness exists within a wider landscape of physical phenomena, and he invites his audience not, at first, to sympathize directly with his subjective experience of pain, but to corroborate it from their own recollection of a shared experience of environmental conditions: “you remember what a winter that was!” The sequential dream narratives of HL I, then, whose internal dynamics we considered in the previous chapter, are framed within the diary by a series of brief annotations of symptoms and treatment that echo the observation-based language and the abrupt syntax characteristic of the Hippocratic “case notes.”24 Symptoms of abdominal disorder and a treatment regimen of purgation and abstention from baths are detailed according to a moderately standardized format: the day of the month is identified, a dream narrative is presented, and a terse notation of therapeutic action follows—“no bathing (alousia), and vomiting with ease”;

22. For this interpretation of the Greek ἔστη (“cease”), see Festugière 1969, 120 (contra Behr 1968 ad loc.). He points to I.6 to corroborate the sense that Aristides perceived a lack of perspiration as a medical problem, and notes that sweating and bathing went together because bathing was preceded by a rubbing down to open the pores. Cf. I.18 and I.50. 23. The Hippocratic Epidemics were analyzed in terms of the case history/constitution structure in perhaps the first century ce by Artemidorus and Dioscorides (Smith 1979, 239ff.). 24. On Hippocratic style, see Pigeaud 1988, 308, cf. 317; Manetti 1990, 143. Galen emulated the case-history approach in his medical writings; Rufus of Ephesus may also have imitated not only the case-history approach but also the journalistic format in a text that has been reconstructed from later Arabic manuscripts (Ullmann 1978, 15–25). See Mattern 2008, 33 on Rufus, and 40–43 on case histories in Galen’s medical milieu.



“on the seventeenth, no bathing as a result of a dream, and on the eighteenth no bathing” (I.9). In contrast with the Hippocratic case histories, which advance according to the day of the patient’s illness (i.e., day 2, day 5, etc.), Aristides’ healing narrative charts its course across a common calendar. Because Aristides understands the landscape of physical phenomena as shot through with divine intention and divine meaning, the implication is that his own body is one part of a divinely ordered cosmos. He sets his illness within a world of physical phenomena open to his reading audience’s observant gaze. The Hippocratic Epidemics were not, of course, the only model available for the annotative, diary style of HL I, and we need not posit that Aristides studied these texts in depth—although he might have.25 The fact that (as we will see below) Aristides refers to Hippocrates by name later in the HL suggests that he knew enough of the medical tradition in literature, at least secondhand, to allude to their form. Furthermore, the status of the Hippocratic texts as part of the library of literary Hellenism would surely have made them an attractive point of reference as Aristides approached the task of writing about his illness and presenting that experience within a wider physical and temporal framework.26 What the Epidemics—and the Hippocratic heritage more generally—offer that is crucial to the narrative that Aristides constructs in the HL, however, is a point of entry into the power dynamics at play in the scenario of medical observation and healing. One effect of the observation-based medical rhetoric of the diary is to create a sense of separation between the voice of the author recording symptoms and treatments and the experience of Aristides as a patient within the narrative. As Aristides re-creates the space of medical treatment

25. The journalistic form was a feature of other texts in the second century. Plutarch, for example, claims that his Life of Alexander the Great is based in part on Alexander’s own journals (ephêmerides), particularly the ones in which he recorded the details of his final illness (Life of Alexander 76.1; cf. Arrian, Anabasis 7.25–26). The habit of reflective daily accounting is also a feature of philosophical practice in Roman-era Stoicism as suggested, for example, by Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. Philostratus writes that Herodes Atticus kept ephêmerideis (VS 565). 26. Ullmann 1978, 24 speculates there may have been a place for public presentation of treatment journals (written in the style of the Epidemics) in the medical contests that took place in this period, at Ephesus, for example. Nutton 1972, 55 suggests that the Hippocratic Epidemics were one of several stylistic influences on Galen’s Prognosis. For Aristides’ education in general, see Behr 1968, 9, with nn. 20 and 21. On his references to Hippocrates, see King 2006.

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at the beginning of HL I, he assigns himself to the patient position and highlights the competition for physician authority—a competition, implicitly, between human doctors and the god. He launches the diary by saying that he decided to entrust himself to the god “truly as to a doctor, to do in silence whatever he wishes” (I.4),27 and draws the diary to a close by noting that his friend, the physician Theodotus, had come to recognize Asclepius as Aristides’ “true and proper physician” (I.57).28 Framed by these references to Asclepius, the diary presents an idealized version of the patientphysician relationship in which the divine doctor—sending dreams and managing dietetic cures—represents expertise and authority.29 The power dynamics of the medical encounter are staged more dramatically at the end of HL I, when Aristides brings the diary to a close and narrates an episode of healing in the dramatic terms of a diagnostic agôn. In the story of his tumor (phyma), Aristides faces a medical crisis, and his account pits his physicians against the god in a prognostic debate (HL I.61–68) —a scene of competitive medical consultation familiar especially from Galen’s writings.30 The cause of the tumor was not clear, Aristides says, though the god had warned him to beware of dropsy and had

27. I.4: ἐγνώκειν παρέχειν ὡς ἀληθῶς ὥσπερ ἰατρῷ τῷ θεῷ σιγῇ ποιεῖν ὅ τι βούλεται. 28. I.57: ἡμεῖς ἐγνωρίζομεν τὸν ἀληθινὸν καὶ προσήκοντα ἡμῖν ἰατρὸν καὶ ἐποιοῦμεν ἃ ἐπέταξεν. Homer calls Asclepius the “blameless physician” (Il. 4.194; 11.518, 835), and he became a patron of doctors and a sponsor of medical arts (Edelstein and Edelstein 1945, 337–381). He is, however, rarely addressed as “physician” (cf. the Hippocratic oath for Apollo as “physician”), either in votive inscriptions or in extant hymns from the fourth century bce and the imperial period (LiDonnici 1995; Furley and Bremer 2001, 6.1, 6.4, 6.6, with discussion in vol. 2, chap. 6; cf. Chapot and Laurot 2001, 157–160, 206–207). He is invoked as “paian” and described as “healer (paustôr) of illnesses” and “giver of health” in the paean of Isyllos from Epidaurus (37, 58–59, 61). Aristides is elsewhere interested in the ideal relationship between human medicine and the god: e.g., Or. 38.15–16, where he traces the dissemination of medical knowledge to mankind through Podalirius and Machaon. See also Behr 1968, 168–170. 29. In Or. 34 (Against Those Who Burlesque the Mysteries of Oratory), Aristides uses the doctor as an analogue for the ideal orator, who respects the exacting standards of his discipline more than he does the whims of his audience (Or. 34.53, 34.60; cf. Or. 24.5, To the Rhodians), and in Or. 23 (Concerning Concord) Aristides cites the example of the doctor to support his claims to parrhêsia (Or. 23.61, cf. 23.43). He has a Platonic precedent for this in the Gorgias (504b, 505a; see in general Lloyd 2003, chap. 6.). Cf. Or. 2.433; for further references, see Behr 1968, 168–170, nn. 21–26. 30. E.g., Prognosis 2.15, ed. Nutton, p. 78, and see Nutton’s comment ad loc. to the effect that this may have been a common procedure. Cf. Nutton 1972, 60–61 and von Staden 1997 on medical performance in the imperial period. See also Barton 1994, chap. 3 and Mattern 2008, 95–97, who reads Galen’s case histories alongside examples—including the HL and the Gospel of Mark—of healing narrative that show illness to be a public event in this period.



instructed him on how to redirect the humors within his body. Asclepius’s remedies seem to have mixed quasi-magical, symbolic pharmaka— including “Egyptian slippers, which the priests are accustomed to use”— with more sophisticated instructions to direct downward the excess fluid (rheuma) in Aristides’ body (I.61–62). In spite of the god’s attempts to regulate this internal imbalance, eventually the problem that was hidden inside the body became visible on its surface as a diseased growth (phyma)—bulky, and accompanied by unusual symptoms that Aristides records with clinical precision: a distended groin, swelling, and pain with fever. Faced with these symptoms of medical crises, the doctors debate (I.62–63):

ἐνταῦθα οἱ μὲν ἰατροὶ πάσας φωνὰς ἠφίεσαν, οἱ μὲν τέμνειν, οἱ δὲ ἐπικάειν φαρμάκοις, ἢ πάντως δεῖν ὑπόπυον γενόμενον διαφθαρῆναι. ὁ δὲ θεὸς τὴν ἐναντίαν ἐτίθετο, ἀντέχειν καὶ τρέφειν τὸν ὄγκον· καὶ δηλαδὴ οὐχ αἵρεσις ἦν ἢ τῶν ἰατρῶν ἀκούειν ἢ τοῦ θεοῦ. ὁ δὲ ὄγκος ἔτι ἐπὶ μᾶλλον ᾔρετο καὶ ἦν ἀπορία πολλή. τῶν δὲ φίλων οἱ μὲν ἐθαύμαζον τὴν καρτερίαν, οἱ δὲ ἐνεκάλουν ὡς λίαν ἅπαντα ἐπὶ τοῖς ὀνείρασι ποιουμένῳ, τινὲς δὲ καὶ ὡς ἄτολμον ἐπῃτιῶντο, ἐπειδὴ οὐ παρεῖχον τέμνειν οὐδ’ αὖ φαρμάκων ἠνειχόμην. ὁ δ’ αὖ θεὸς διὰ τέλους ἀντεῖχεν κελεύων φέρειν τὸ παρόν, πάντως γὰρ αὐτὸ ὑπὲρ σωτηρίας εἶναι· εἶναι γὰρ τοῦ ῥεύματος τούτου τὰς πηγὰς ἄνω, τοὺς δὲ κηπουροὺς τούτους οὐκ εἰδέναι τοὺς ὀχετοὺς ᾗ χρὴ τρέπειν. Meanwhile, the doctors cried out all kinds of opinions: some said to do surgery, some said to use caustic drugs, or that a part was tending toward suppuration and it was necessary for it to be entirely destroyed. But the god gave the opposite opinion: to endure and feed the growth. And clearly there was no choice between listening to the doctors and listening to the god. But the growth increased still more, and there was much dismay. But of my friends, some wondered [thaumazein] at my strength [karteria], others accused me of setting too much store by my dreams in all these matters, and others even accused me of a lack of boldness [atolmos], since I would not allow cutting and would not accept drugs. But the god for his part held out to the end, ordering me to bear the present situation, since it was all for the sake of my safety [sôteria]. For [he said] that the sources of this flow were above, but those gardeners did not know which way they ought to turn the channels.

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The treatments proposed by various physicians cover the traditional range of Hippocratic practices—surgery, cautery, drugs.31 But Asclepius enters the fray as if he were attending at Aristides’ bedside along with other medical consultants, and he wins the case with his heterodox advice to wait and let the illness run its course. This clearly falls outside the expected range of medical responses, and the god’s language, as Aristides reports it, hovers between the technical and the mysterious. That the flux troubling Aristides is said to come from above seems an allusion to the movement of humors and to the god’s earlier warnings of dropsy, but the whole garden analogy of “sources” (pêgai) and “channels” (ochetoi) carries a numinous, oracular charge that human medicine cannot command—the doctors are dismissed as mere “gardeners.” This medical drama pits human uncertainty against divine knowing, and Aristides uses Hippocratic medicine to set the stage for the god’s triumph.32 The story reaches its climax with a dream prescription in which the god appropriates medical technique: Asclepius appears to Aristides and his foster father in the same night, prescribing a compound drug that wondrously eliminates the tumor on contact. In a second confrontation with his physician-rivals, he prescribes another treatment that removes from Aristides’ body every trace of the experience—his leg is “unscarred in every respect” (I.68). Ordinary substances with numinous qualities— egg, in the second prescription—produce divine effects, and the god triumphs in the medical agôn with a treatment whose power comes from a realm beyond human technê. The story of the tumor stages a competition that is primarily between the doctors and the god, leaving Aristides to assume the position of the patient: at the center of the debate, but the passive object of medical attentions. Later in the HL, however, a dream featuring a pseudo-Hippocratic prescription illustrates how Aristides joins interpretive control with a powerful sense of divine endorsement to transform his passive role in the diagnostic and therapeutic drama into a more active one. He recounts a dream that came to him during a recent illness close to the time of the

31. Pearcy 1992, 608, and 605–610 more generally for a reading of the Hippocratic language of this passage, which Pearcy suggests can be traced to Epidemics 7. 32. As Pearcy shows, in his illuminating analysis of the passage, Aristides uses illness as a structural principle in the narrative (1992, 612–613), and is not interested in “Hippocratic” questions of causality (609). The swelling appears “from no apparent cause, as might appear in any other case” (I.62).



text’s composition—so recently, he says, that it was still at the front of his mind (enaulos). He states at the outset that the god “wondrously healed [him] in his customary way,” yet goes on to present a lengthy narrative account (diêgeisthai) of the dream itself, and to stage a drama of interpretation with himself as the primary actor, taking the role of the responsible—and surprisingly confident—patient-interpreter (V.50). In the dream, he says, he saw two physicians debating Hippocrates’ position on cold baths as a medical treatment. “What does Hippocrates say?” one asked the other, as if they were trading proof texts in an academic debate. The implausible response is that Hippocrates says the patient should run ten stades and then immediately jump into the sea. Scholars are unanimous that there is no Hippocratic precedent for this prescription.33 Its style is more in keeping with the divine cures Aristides enacts over the course of the HL. By absorbing the Hippocratic voice into the Asclepieian dream, then, Aristides channels all the authority of observation-based, medical technê into the divine healing process in which he is engaged and claims classical medical authority for one of his own most paradoxically athletic treatments: strenuous exercise accompanied by cold-water bathing in the outdoors.34 Aristides takes the dietetic recommendation as divinely inspired, but he also takes a highly rational approach to its implementation. Intervening at a secondary dream level to appropriate the authority of the medical profession for himself, he asserts his own interpretation of the “Hippocratic” prescription. A coded text that needs to be deciphered like any other dream, the phrase “into the sea” really means “alongside the river,” as Aristides reasons according to his inland situation. In this episode, the voice of “Hippocrates” is ultimately detached from its associations with rational, medical technê. The “father of Greek medicine” becomes instead a source of dream prescriptions, and Aristides claims that he is specially qualified to interpret and understand these

33. Saffrey apud Festugière 1986, ad loc.; Schröder 1986, ad loc.; Behr 1981–1986, ad loc. There is Hippocratic precedent for cold bathing, as Schröder points out (Hipp. de vict. 2.57.2), but the combination of bathing with running, and the vigorous nature of the exercise, are characteristic rather of the athletic pattern of cures in the HL. Baumgart 1874, 99–100 compares Aristides’ alteration of the dream prescription in this passage with other substitutions permitted Aristides by the god (cf. II.12 and II.27). For another recent treatment of this episode, see Horstmanshoff 2004. For the location in which Aristides performs the cure, near the Laneion, see Robert 1937, 220. 34. In On Keeping Well (17) Plutarch complains that cold baths after exercising are ostentatious and juvenile. Boudon 1994 examines Galen’s views on bathing.

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mysterious oracular statements—like all the instructions received in visions from his divine sponsor. Posing briefly, himself, as the Hippocratic physician, Aristides takes charge of interpreting the network of signs that describe his body and prescribe its treatment. The interpretation he offers within the dream is “clear” and “necessary,” and as the narration proceeds, it is Aristides who gives the orders to the doctors, demonstrating his own command of medical knowledge (V.51). He portrays himself as knowledgeable about the normal dietetic guidelines for eating, resting, and bathing, and organizes his own treatment. Since the lay of the land presents problems in fulfilling the prescription (the river bank is very steep and less than ten stades distant, and there is no real space for running parallel to the river), Aristides adapts. Scouting farther down, he finds a suitable spot, carefully measures out the required distance, and arranges to be carried partway downriver in a carriage, from which he alights just at the point from which he can run the prescribed amount before arriving at the bathing spot (V.54):

ἔπειτα καταβὰς ἔθεον τούς τε πόδας ἀνέλκων μόλις καὶ ἅμα ὁ βορέας ἐπαιγίζων ἀνέστελλεν τὸ 35 εἰς τοὐπίσω καὶ παρεῖχεν ἱδρῶτα θαυμαστὸν ὅσον, ὥσθ’, ὅτε δὴ ἀπέραντον ἦν, παρεῖχον ψύχειν ὁπόσα βούλοιτο. Then alighting [from the carriage] I ran, though I was scarcely able to drag my feet, and at the same time the north wind rushed against me and pushed back my clothing, and there was an incredible amount of sweat—so much that when it didn’t stop I allowed it to chill me as much as it wished. Running exercise has a place in medical dietetics—as in the Hippocratic On Dreams, where running in a cloak is supposed to help the balance of bodily humors by encouraging perspiration (Regimen 4, 89.18). Aristides’ run seems a gesture toward this kind of practice, and at the same time a flamboyant reversal, since he thwarts any attempt to build up therapeutic heat by throwing his clothing open to expose his overtaxed, perspiring body to the chilling wind. The leap into the river’s icy waters he presents as an unlikely pleasure, and he claims afterward to have enjoyed “a marvelous warmth and a wholly different constitution [synkrisis]” (V.55). A hybrid of 35. Suppl. Behr 1981–1986, 2:470.



natural cure and miracle, Aristides’ healing in this episode is an agonistic performance that he has engineered and performed, from beginning to end, by virtue of his own quasi-medical, interpretive prowess.

Pain, Pleasure, and the Production of Thaumata In the HL, Aristides is engaged in the production of thaumata. Between medical tradition and divine miracle, he creates his own heroic profile and describes—in scene after scene—his own “aristeia.” In the narrative of the tumor, for example, when he has dismissed the human doctors and embraced the god’s order to endure and feed the growth, Aristides makes himself an object of wonder for his friends.36 Some criticize him for not submitting to more drastic treatments, censuring his lack of boldness (atolmos), but he claims the virtue of strength (karteria), asserting that his endurance constitutes its own heroic performance. Indeed, from what Aristides describes, even before the tumor disappears he enjoys a certain quasi-miraculous reprieve, a mode of life (diatribês) over a period of four months that involves what he calls “wonderful things” (thaumata) as a consequence of divine protection, and this divine thauma of physical comfort is accompanied by renewed professional activity on his own part. His sickbed, initially the focal point of a medical agôn played out among doctors, becomes the stage for a rhetorical agôn of festival quality: “there was even something like a celebratory gathering [panêgyris] in the house” (I.64). Still technically a sufferer— since the tumor has not yet disappeared—Aristides defies the expectations of onlookers who suspect he will succumb to his illness, transforming his role from patient to performer, “for friends, who were preeminent among the Hellenes at that time, were always around and attended me giving speeches in competitive fashion [tous logous . . . tous agônas], right from my bed” (I.64). Thus, while much of the tumor narrative is devoted to setting the god above human physicians, at the center of the account Aristides claims his own heroic profile—and he does so, notably, by describing oratorical performance. In one sense, Aristides has already enacted divine thaumata by performing his cures in the temple. Yet in another sense much depends upon

36. Pearcy 1992, 610 points out that our attention is drawn to Aristides himself, and he describes the HL as ultimately “a celebration of their author’s piety and endurance.” Pearcy sees him cutting a heroic profile—calling this Aristides’ “aristeia” (612). For Pearcy, “clinical history appears not as the reason for the story’s existence but as a principle of its literary form” (613).

Salvum Lotum! A Rhetor’s Improvised Baths


the shape he gives to his experience in the account he composes after the fact. Temple miracles and divine dietetics were common currency in the imperial period, to judge by the literary and inscriptional evidence, so Aristides faces the challenge of distinguishing his claims. He enhances his heroic profile in two ways: by describing his cures in competitive terms and by going beyond simple description to offer an account of his interior experience of illness and healing. Pain is one part of this, and for this dimension of interior experience in the ancient world, the HL is a rare source. The other dimension of Aristides’ interiority—and one that consistently strikes readers of the HL—is the euphoria of his moments of divine communion. These two poles of Aristides’ affective experience have generally been discussed separately, but as we will see, they work together as two complementary facets of Aristides’ heroic aristeia. The logic of divine paradox was a familiar and integral part of healing cult and its curative performances, which seem regularly to have involved taxing exercise and strange diets. In HL II and III, Aristides boasts of going barefoot in the winter, practicing open-air incubation, going without an undershirt (II.80), and racing on horseback (III.5); and HL II is structured partly around a catalog of extraordinary cold-water baths that he portrays as evidence of divine prophetic protection.37 According to Marcus Aurelius, however, things like equestrian exercise, cold baths, and going unshod are standard Asclepieian prescriptions (Meditations 5.8), and indeed, Aristides is well aware that he is not the first to receive these sorts of commands from the god (II.55–56). To set himself apart in a crowded field, then, when he reports his curative thaumata, Aristides stages his physical exploits as agonistic competitions against fellow worshippers. When he receives a dream prescription from Asclepius instructing him to drink wormwood, Aristides boasts that he drinks more than anyone ever has before him (II.35). So, too, with phlebotomies: the therapeutae of the temple agree that no one has given up so much blood, except perhaps for one Ischuronos—but once again Aristides’ overall condition makes his story the more amazing or “paradoxical” (II.47). The agonistic ethos is dramatized again when certain of Aristides’ companions undertake to accompany him in a divinely mandated bath in the temple well.

37. He consistently emphasizes extraordinarily bad weather situations, e.g., HL II.19, or II.79, where he describes how hot water poured over the spring in the temple courtyard freezes on contact.



While his companions succumb either to fear of the cold or to actual chill and spasms, Aristides reports that he feels only the sensations of a warm spring day (II.76). Another strategy for distinguishing himself, in the written account, is to offer the inside view. To the outside observer of the bath in the temple well, Aristides and his companions may have appeared to fare the same: Aristides’ sensation of warmth is private—until he offers, in the HL, to interpret his physical and spiritual experience. He frequently characterizes both his pain and the pleasurable sensations of his cures as “unspeakable,” yet through writing he creates a vivid impression of each—and of the dichotomy between the two. Pain he describes primarily from a quasiobjective perspective, in language that is reminiscent of medical discourse and creates a sense of his alienation from his body. The pleasure associated with health and cure, on the other hand, is characterized in terms of the integrating force of divine communion. Aristides’ heroism lies in his ability to transform alienating pain into the pleasure associated with the experience of divine epiphany. Thus, his healing narrative is concerned with describing not a return to health precisely—the kind of physical restoration that would be objectively visible—but rather the attainment of a state that exceeds any human conception of health: a feeling of perfect wholeness in communion with the god.38 When we set them against his descriptions of divine pleasure in this way, the objective character of Aristides’ descriptions of pain is striking. He writes abundantly, and graphically, about acute pain—about algos and odunê, as well as lupê and aporia—but if these passages were taken out of context, it would be difficult to know that this was a first-person account.39 Using observation-based language, he traces the progress of pain through his body, describing a landscape of illness in which the pain itself is often the active, grammatical subject. In the first episode of the diary (I.5), for example, it is Aristides’ stomach that is “upset”— literally, it “labored” (ἔκαμνεν δὲ ὁ στόμαχος). Sweat and sleeplessness are also active subjects of verbs in these lines, while Aristides is present

38. Aristides’ sense of plenitude and pleasure cannot, as Holmes 2008, 109 remarks, be reduced to “the negative figure of the tabula rasa.” 39. For these terms, and Aristides’ vocabulary of pain, see King 1998, chap. 6, and 1999. Ponos does not occur in HL, though it does in the Lalia to Asclepius. He also speaks of “weakness,” asthenia.

Salvum Lotum! A Rhetor’s Improvised Baths


only implicitly.40 Similarly, when he describes the onset of his illness at Rome in HL II, it is not the authorial “I” who is the active subject of the verbs in the passage, but external forces: his physicians, naturally, but also the illness itself. As he describes his swollen intestines, the shivering that racked his body, his inability to breathe, and the doctors’ futile attempts at purgation, his language is impersonal (II.63):

καὶ ὡς ἀνθήψαντο αἱ σικύαι, παντάπασι τὸ πνεῦμα ἀπελήφθη, καὶ διῆλθεν ὀδύνη ναρκώδης καὶ ἄπορος φέρειν, καὶ πάντα αἵματι ἐπέφυρτο καὶ γίγνομαι ὑπέρινος. καὶ τῶν σπλάγχνων ᾐσθανόμην οἷον ψυχρῶν τε καὶ ἐκκρεμαμένων, καὶ τὸ τῆς ἀμηχανίας τῆς περὶ τὴν ἀναπνοὴν ἐπετάθη. And when the cupping glasses were applied, breathing was stopped entirely and a numbing and unbearable pain ran through, impossible to bear, and everything was spattered with blood, and I was violently purged. And I felt as if my innards were cold and hanging out, and the impossibility of respiration was increased. The scenario Aristides evokes for his audience is graphic and immediate— the medical instruments, their instant, stunning effect on the patient’s body—but the connection between the patient and the narrator is hazy, and the narrative perspective is unclear. When he writes that “everything” was spattered with blood, does he mean his body? Those around him? The room? Then again, we could read this very disorientation as an effect of pain, for when Aristides does enter the narrative as a personal subject, he is not fully himself. Now “violently purged” (hyperinos), he has the perception that his body’s interior exists somehow separate from him. Aristides, then, is both present and not present in his descriptions of pain. In HL III.16, he describes an episode from 148 ce, at the height of his disease, in which “terribly strong pains” assailed his head. In this lengthy and graphic account (III.16–19), there are very few first-person verbs. Only Aristides’ reclining on his bed, his struggle to draw breath, and his nod to communicate with his companions are presented in the first person. With these few exceptions, it is generally the pain that is the

40. Aristides appears as referent of the dative participle: ὁ ἱδρὼς ἔστη πάντα τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον πλὴν ὅσα λουμένῳ. (“The sweat ceased that whole time, except when [I] bathed.”)



active subject, or parts of his body: his face, his lips. Eventually, he is racked by a convulsion (III.17):

καὶ ἐπιγίγνεται σπασμὸς ἐπὶ τῷ πυρετῷ οὔτε τις ῥητὸς οὔθ’ οἷον ἄν τις καὶ διανοηθείη, ἀλλ’ εἵλκετο πάσας ἕλξεις τὸ σῶμα, καὶ τὰ μὲν γόνατα ἄνω πρὸς τὴν κεφαλὴν ἐφέρετο καὶ προσερρήγνυτο, τὰς δὲ χεῖρας οὐχ οἷόν τ’ ἦν κατέχειν, ἀλλ’ εἰς τὸν τράχηλον καὶ τὸ πρόσωπον ἐνέπιπτον· τὸ δὲ στῆθος ἔξω προεωθεῖτο καὶ τὸ νῶτον εἰς τοὔπισθεν ἀντεσπᾶτο ὥσπερ ἱστίον ἐξ ἀνέμου κεκυρτωκός. ἠρέμει δὲ οὐδὲν τοῦ σώματος οὐδὲ μικρόν τι παρήλλαττεν τοῦ κατὰ φύσιν, ἀλλ’ ἦν ἐπὶ πλεῖστον ἡ κίνησις καὶ ἡ τῶν ὀδυνῶν κατάτασις ἄρρητος, οὔτε σιωπᾶν ἐῶσα καὶ πρὸς τὴν φωνὴν ἔτι μεῖζον ἀπαντῶσα. And there followed upon the fever a spasm that was neither describable nor even the sort of thing one could conceive: the body was wrenched about every which way, and the knees were borne up and dashed against the head, and it was impossible to restrain the hands—they fell upon throat and face. And the chest was thrust out and the back was stretched back in reverse toward the rear like a mast bent in the wind.41 And no part of the body was unmoved, nor was this some small change from its natural condition, but there were terrible convulsions and unspeakable racking pains, which did not allow silence and which resulted, all the more, in screams. Taken out of context, most of this passage could be read as an account of physical symptoms as observed by a physician. For Aristides describes his pain and its effects in terms that include no direct personal reference. The fact that he insists on the “unspeakable” quality of his pain does mark the narrative as one based on personal experience—and yet the intimate knowledge he claims in this way simultaneously eliminates his personal agency.42 For although it does not reduce him to silence, pain disorders language—Aristides’ screams are inarticulate. The pain that assails him threatens to reduce Aristides to the realm of the physical—a proposition he resists, in the HL and in other orations,

41. See Schröder 1986, 69 on Aristides’ description of opisthotonos. 42. For discussion of pain as incommensurate with language, see Scarry 1985.

Salvum Lotum! A Rhetor’s Improvised Baths


since his primary allegiance is to matters of the spirit and the intellect. In a dream episode from the time of the plague that swept Asia Minor in 165, he describes the sensation of being overtaken by the same physical crisis that he had observed day by day laying low the servants and beasts of his household. Despairing of his survival, setting aside his remaining hopes of personal agency, he dreamed his death through the image of an actor, removing his theater buskins and leaving the stage (II.40). But even in this moment of crisis, he reports (II.39):

τὸ μέντοι τοῦ Ὁμήρου κἀν τούτοις εἶπες ἂν τὸ “νόος γε μὲν ἔμπεδος ἦεν·” οὕτω παρηκολούθουν ἐμαυτῷ, ὥσπερ ἂν ἄλλῳ τινί, καὶ ᾐσθανόμην ὑπολείποντος αἰεὶ τοῦ σώματος, ἕως εἰς τοὔσχατον ἦλθον. But you would even have cited the line of Homer: “his mind was fast within him”—so conscious of myself was I, as if of another person, and I perceived my body always slipping away, until I came to the brink of death. Here, as in his more vivid accounts of pain, Aristides presents his physical crisis in terms of a split between mind and body.43 In his dream he imaginatively resists being reduced to the physical, and turns to Homer for this heroic assertion, citing lines in which the warrior Eurypylus maintains his dignity in spite of his wounds (Il. 11.813). As Aristides steps into the role of epic hero, the physical threat is displaced onto one of his foster children, who dies on the same day that Aristides recovers his health. This is, Aristides explains, “a kind of exchange,” in which he gains a new life for Hermias’s death (II.44). By the logic of exchange that he invokes here, the “new life” Aristides gains in his recovery from the plague is his physical health and survival. A restoration to health of this sort is not, however, what Aristides presents, overall, as the reverse of the experience of acute pain that he describes so vividly over the course of the HL. Instead, ranged opposite his accounts of alienating pain are his descriptions of the pleasure of full communion with the god. Aristides’ descriptions of divine communion are epiphanic—but in an untraditional mode. In the Asclepieian cult context, divine epiphany was construed as the mode and vehicle of divine healing: following the intervention of the

43. Holmes 2008 describes Aristides’ “self-splitting” (91) as a sense of alienation in which Aristides has a persistent sense of the body as mysterious and vulnerable (89).



god by way of a dream or a vision, patients—according to the rhetoric of the Epidaurian iamata, at least—“departed healthy.” In the HL, by contrast, the dream itself does not appear to function as the arena of direct divine healing.44 Rather, Aristides appropriates the epiphanic function for himself, by making his own body a vehicle of divine presence, transfigured by an experience of pleasure in which physical and spiritual (split, as we have seen, in his experience of pain) are integrated. Aristides describes only four dreams in the HL that are explicitly epiphanic in the traditional mode.45 Two of these frame the so-called prophecy of years that structures the first part of HL II. At HL II.18, Aristides describes how the god appeared to him at Smyrna, in the late 140s, as “at the same time Asclepius and Apollo,” extending his hands with his fingers positioned so as to symbolize, as the god said in the vision “‘ten years from me [Asclepius/Apollo] and three from Sarapis.’” As Aristides explains, the god’s gesture could be read as indicating either thirteen or seventeen—and in the event it would be seventeen years before his life was dramatically threatened by the plague in the mid-160s.46 When he lay close to death, at the expiration of this period of divine protection, he was saved by another epiphanic dream—this time of Athena, who appeared to him “with her aegis and with the beauty and magnitude and the whole form of the Athena of Phidias in Athens,” to reassure him that he, like his epic predecessors Odysseus and Telemachus, enjoyed her special protection (II.41). These two divine epiphanies give a prophetic shape to Aristides’ narrative in HL II, offering a framework of traditional divine endorsement for the litany of nontraditional epiphanies that he offers in what he calls his “catalog of baths.” For in Aristides’ narrative, instead of appearing directly in dream visions, Asclepius mainly makes his presence known through physical performances

44. Aristides never describes Asclepius acting directly upon his body, and he rarely describes Asclepius appearing visibly in his dreams. In one remarkable dream, however, Sarapis appears “in the form of his seated statues” and performs a surgical operation on Aristides’ face (III.47). 45. At IV.50, Asclepius appears in the form of his statue; at II.41–43, Athena appears and promises Aristides protection; at II.18, the god appears in the likeness of Apollo and Asclepius at once; and at III.47, Sarapis appears and operates on Aristides’ face. At I.71 Asclepius appears in a dream and Aristides grasps his head, entreating him to save his foster father Zosimus. 46. Behr 1981–1986, 2:429, n. 32 explains that in this counting system each finger on one hand stands for units of five, while each finger on the other hand stands for units of one. The visual difference between thirteen and seventeen depends upon which hand represents which units. Cf. Behr 1968, 71–72, where he cites several ancient sources for the use of fingers to represent numbers, according to various systems. Cf. Macrobius, Sat. 7.13.9-10, with the notes ad loc. of Kaster 2011, 3:266.

Salvum Lotum! A Rhetor’s Improvised Baths


in which Aristides’ body becomes transparent to the god. In the second Logos—in a dramatic reversal from the medical narrative of HL I, with its divinely mandated regimen of abstension from bathing (alousia)—these physical performances especially feature spectacular scenes of immersion in natural bodies of water. In a sense, Aristides’ baths evoke a traditional cure scenario—since it seems that water had an important role to play in the context of Asclepieian ritual. But Aristides deliberately moves his “catalog of wintry, divine, and very strange baths” outside the temple and beyond the bounds of ritual convention, in order to stage the drama of epiphany on his own terms. Beyond its basic purificatory function in the ritual context, water had a special place in the cult of Asclepius, and Aristides’ immersion episodes surely allude to this. Sanctuaries of Asclepius were invariably built around a well or spring, and elaborate engineering frequently enhanced the symbolic value of water as a numinous link between human and divine.47 The sanctuary at Pergamum was no exception to this pattern, and in his Or. 39, On the Well in the Temple of Asclepius, Aristides praises the small, ritual water source located at the heart of the traditional temenos for its symbolic, numinous, and health-giving powers.48 As the god’s “co-worker” (Or. 39.14:

47. Ginouvès 1962, 349–350. At Corinth, for example, the ritual water source inside the abaton—although it was artificially piped to the location—was apparently designed to evoke a natural underground spring (Ginouvès 1962, 352). A similar underground basin has been discovered in the Asclepieium on Cos, close to the temples and altar and, it would seem, in proximity to dormitory accommodations for ritual participants (Ginouvès 1994, 240). At Epidaurus, water was piped by way of a vast aqueduct from sacred springs located to the northwest of the original cult site into the Asclepieium (Ginouvès 1962, 354; cf. Lambrinoudakis 1994, 231). Scholars have suggested that many Asclepieia were actually built on top of preexisting shrines to Apollo (Ginouvès 1962, 350) for their mantic associations, although this motivation is debated (Edelstein and Edelstein 1945, 237, n. 15). Other suggestions regarding the origin of the connection between Asclepius and water sources invoke the natural connection of chthonic gods with the generative and restorative powers of the earth (e.g., Lambrinoudakis 1994, 229). Archaeological evidence for therapeutic bathing in connection with the cult of Asclepius is widespread from the fourth century bce onward, with an impressive proliferation in the Roman period (Ginouvès 1962, 360). For a typology of the functions of water in Asclepieian cult, see Ginouvès 1994, 238. On ritual bathing as part of the purification process, see Dillon 1994, 245. The inscriptional record at Pergamum suggests that purification with water was necessary before entering the Asclepieium (Inschr. von Perg. 2.264), though Pausanias suggests that this was a special requirement of those who had made a prior sacrifice to Telephus (Paus. 5.13.3). 48. Wells stood at the heart of the Pergamene sanctuary, near the main temple, from its foundation, and they continued to play a role in the imperial-era cult. See Radt 1988, 250– 254. When the complex was significantly redesigned in the second century ce, a new and elaborate structure, apparently for water delivery, was added—although the unusual orientation of the “Lower Round Building,” with its main entrance facing the exterior of the complex, leaves its ritual or therapeutic role unclear (Ziegenaus 1981, 76–77; Radt 1998).



sunergos) the water serves to make the divine force physically effective, just as the slaves of doctors and wonderworkers (thamatopoioi) facilitate their similarly miraculous treatments. The waters of the well rise from the base of a plane tree—“from a place that is healthy, indeed from the place of the orchestrator [chorêgos] of health, springing from the shrine and feet of the savior” (Or. 39.6). This, or another of the wells in the temple precinct, must have been the destination of the bath commanded by the god in which Aristides’ companions were overcome by convulsions from the cold, while Aristides enjoyed the sensations of a warm spring day (II.76). Aristides describes several of these temple baths, made paradoxical as cures by wintry weather and his own weak constitution. He moves even further, however, from the formal cult uses of water when he describes the bathing episodes that take place well beyond the boundaries of the sanctuary.49 In the second Logos he describes six immersion episodes, all of which take place in natural bodies of water that are turbulent and inhospitable, and in each case Aristides describes a state of physical and mental exaltation that constitutes a divine epiphany. Four of these episodes are river immersions at Pergamum and Smyrna (II.18–23, II.46–49, II.50, II.51–53) and two are sea baths at Elaia (II.54, II.55). All of them took place in the years 145–146, during the period of his kathedra at the Pergamene Asclepieium, but at locations outside the sanctuary and away from the city.50 In every case (as Aristides reports it) his physical condition and the harsh weather conditions in which he undertook the baths made the miracle of divine protection fully apparent. The god’s command to bathe in the river Caicus, for example, coincided with a peak of physical distress: “There were catarrhs and difficulties with my palate, and everything was full of frost and fire, and the stomach trouble was at its peak” (II.46). Not only that, but the command came in the midst of another taxing course

49. Aristides says very little about temple ritual or formal incubation. On the HL as evidence for the use of therapeutic bathing practices, see Boudon 1994, cf. Habicht 1969, 14. On the later Asclepieian sanctuary as “spa,” see Graf 1990, 199 and Ginouvès 1962, 360. 50. HL II.48: “He ordained for me a bath in the Caicus River, and it was necessary for me to cast off my woolen wrappings, journey there (hodoiporein), and bathe”; II.50: “Then another bath at Smyrna was ordered . . . and it was necessary for me to journey (poreuesthai) to the warm springs and not to use the warm water, but the river that flows by”; II.52: “First we were rained upon on the way .  .  . for we went up along the road to Hippon, because we wanted to find pure water that had not yet been touched by the city”; II.54: “He sent me to wash in the sea . . . so when we came to Elaia, we were outside at the harbor.” On Aristides’ “pilgrimages” out from the sanctuary at Smyrna, see Rutherford 1999, 141.

Salvum Lotum! A Rhetor’s Improvised Baths


of copious, divinely mandated bloodletting.51 The second bath is typical for its setting: it was “rainy and cold . . . and the northwind blew without mitigation” (II.50). In the third bath of the catalog, Aristides emphasizes the natural harshness of the river itself, which “churned up [kulindein] rocks, carried timber along, and surged with swells as if from the wind, and nothing was visible on the river bed, but there was a great roar and din” (II.53). There is no explicit social or ritual framework for these baths— or at least that is the impression Aristides seeks to convey. Rather, the god is unexpectedly present in the wintry, churning floods that Aristides describes as paradoxically “light” (kouphos) and “pure” (katharos)—and unexpectedly present in the body of his patient, too: when Aristides says he became rosy all over (panta ephoinikto) (II.53), the physical paradox marks a numinous spiritual effect. As Aristides says about the “lightness and relaxation” that he enjoyed after his bath in the Caicus, it was “very easy for a god to understand, but not at all easy for a man to conceive of or write about” (II.49).52 Aristides makes the epiphanic claim of his baths explicit in his account of the immersion episode that followed the more traditionally epiphanic dream of the “prophecy of years.” That dream’s second phase included a divine prescription to bathe in the river flowing before the city—and Aristides’ fulfillment of this prescription occupies more narrative space than the account of his dream. He takes time to set the scene: a winter’s day so cold that the rocks and water at the river’s edge seemed a continuous sheet of ice and, gathered nearby, a motley crowd of curious observers attracted “by the announcement of the epiphaneia” (II.20)—which seems to be a reference not just to the god’s dream appearance but also to the spectacular performance Aristides is about to give. Appropriating the divine function of epiphany, then, Aristides makes himself the center of visual attention. Following the god’s orders, he throws himself into the river, and emerges to spontaneous acclaim (II.21):

ἀλλ’ ἔτι τῆς θέρμης τῆς ἐκ τῆς ὄψεως τοῦ θεοῦ μεστὸς ὢν ἀπορρίψας τὰ ἱμάτια οὐδ’ ἀνατρίψασθαι δεηθείς, ἵεμαι οὗ τοῦ

51. Aristides takes a full paragraph to describe the extreme quantity of blood Asclepius required of him, from what part of his body it was extracted, and how this performance compared with other bloodlettings in temple history. 52. See Lonnoy 1986 for comments on Aristides’ vocabulary of ease—“lightness” (kouphotês) and relaxation (anapsychê), which is both physical and mental or spiritual.



ποταμοῦ τὸ βαθύτατον ἦν. . . . ὠς δ’ ἐξέβην, ὅ τε δὴ χρὼς πᾶς ἤνθει καὶ τὸ σῶμα πάντη κοῦφον ἦν καὶ βοὴ πολλὴ τῶν τε παρόντων καὶ ἐπιόντων τὸ πολυύμνητον δὴ τοῦτο βοώντων “μέγας ὁ Ἀσκληπιός.” Still full of warmth from the vision of the god I tore off my clothing, without asking for a rubdown, and jumped into the river where it was deepest. . . . And when I came out, not only was my skin all abloom, but my body was entirely light and a great shout went up from those present and those approaching as they cried out that much-hymned phrase, “Great is Asclepius!” With his account of this performance, the narrative focus shifts from the dream apparition of Asclepius/Apollo to Aristides himself as human actor. The bright “bloom” of his skin and the lightness of his body are physical transformations that signify Asclepius’s numinous presence. As a conduit for the god, the visible surface of his body becomes an epiphany in its own right, and the audience on the riverbank responds by heralding the divine power behind this miraculous event with the same acclamation that Aristides addressed to his divine patron at the moment of his first prophetic contact at the Warm Springs: “Great is Asclepius!”53 Among the baths of Aristides’ catalog, this one is paradigmatic for the sensations of light and ease brought about—paradoxically—by the icy river water. These sensations constitute not just a physical response but also an affective one that is diametrically opposed to the sense of dislocation and alienation characteristic of his descriptions of illness and pain. Aristides describes feeling (II.23): .  .  . τις ἄρρητος εὐθυμία, πάντα δεύτερα τοῦ παρόντος καιροῦ τιθεμένη, ὥστε οὐδ’ ὁρῶν τὰ ἄλλα ἐδόκουν ὁρᾶν· οὕτω πᾶς ἦν πρὸς τῷ θεῷ. .  .  . a certain indescribable gladness of heart that regarded everything as subordinate to the present moment, so that although I was looking at other things, I seemed not to see them. Thus I was entirely with the god.

53. Cf. II.7. This was a common acclamation. See Habicht 1969, no. 34 for epigraphic corroboration from Pergamum.

Salvum Lotum! A Rhetor’s Improvised Baths


In contrast with Aristides’ descriptions of self-alienating pain, which has the effect of separating mind from body, the sensation of “gladness of heart” that he presents here is an experience of being wholly integrated in the present moment. Entirely self-contained, he has not even the ordinary sense of the separation of subject and object—he sees nothing that is external to himself. The paradoxical bath is the vehicle for a feeling of oneness with the god that gives an affective charge to his physical descriptions: his body, “light” and “abloom” from the water, makes mental exaltation incarnate.54 Physical symptoms are no longer simply medical, but charged with spiritual force, so that when he speaks, a few lines later, in terms of a humoral balance of dry and wet, these are indicators of divine influence: the perfectly balanced physical warmth he feels emerging from the bath, from the very fact that it is unchanging (diênekês), could not have been brought about through any human contrivance. The perfect physical condition he enjoys is matched by an analogous mental disposition (ta tês gnômês) of pleasure (hêdonê) or joy (euphrosunê) that exceeds human understanding. Thus, the state he describes here is the inverse of his experience of pain. Whereas he experienced pain as a separation of body and mind, the experience of exalted pleasure is one in which physical and mental are the same. In his narrative of physical cures, then, Aristides’ body becomes the location for an encounter between human and divine, a vessel for divine epiphany that exceeds any framework of temple or cult.

Improvised Speeches Portraying his body as a space of divine encounter, Aristides shares in some measure—as Judith Perkins has shown—the rhetoric of contemporary Christian martyr narratives.55 Like the martyrs, Aristides makes a spectacle of pain and salvation, and his literary account in the HL shares with these examples of early Christian narrative a certain repertoire of images relating to athletic agonism and to the mystery of divine intimacy.

54. Lonnoy 1986, 46–47 comments on the shift in this passage from a focus on physical effects to a concern with mental sensations of well-being. However, words like “bloom” (ênthei) and “light” (kouphon) arguably already have more than physical connotations. Perkins 1995, 176–177 is helpful on this and similar passages, when she notes that the mode of Aristides’ spiritual experience in the narrative of the HL is distinctly physical. See also Behr 1968, 163–164. 55. Perkins 1995, chap. 7, especially 189, locates Aristides in terms of broader trends in the discourse of the body that Christianity, especially, used to create its new cultural power.



As Aristides’ paradoxical cures seem more taxing than therapeutic—a feature that he underscores by presenting himself in competition with his fellow worshippers—so too the martyr-heroine of the Passion of Perpetua, for example, dreams of stripping for her struggle to the death in the arena “like an athlete preparing for a contest,” and “becomes a man” in the process (3.2).56 And in narratives of pain both Christian and pagan, physical trials are represented as manifestations of divine support. These two performance scenarios differ crucially, however, in the power dynamics of the encounter between actor and audience. As Brent Shaw has shown, the dissenting Christian martyrs exploit their bodies to “reverse the map of power,” to assert by way of divine paradox their freedom from the constraints of secular authorities.57 To achieve their rhetorical effect, furthermore, the martyr narratives require internal audiences that are hostile to the stance taken by their devout protagonists. In the Passion of Perpetua, the audience assembled in the arena is complicit in the humiliation and torture of the martyrs, clamoring for their death. The onlookers react jubilantly to the spectacle of cruelty as it unfolds: when the heroine’s fellow martyr, Satyrus, thrown to a leopard in the amphitheater, loses copious amounts of blood, they send up the mocking cry, “Salvum lotum!”—“Had a great bath!”58 Ultimately, the editor of the written account writes this phrase from the bathhouse into his narrative of salvation—through his suffering, Satyrus has indeed bathed in the redemptive, baptismal waters of the Lord—but in the eyes of the audience in the amphitheater, what is enacted is death, not birth into eternal life. Like the editor of the Passion of Perpetua, Aristides undertakes to interpret his cures for the audience of his text, controlling the spiritual meanings of his physical performances in a way he likely could not have done during the performances themselves. In his case, however, the degree of interpretive irony is much less. In contrast with the martyrs, Aristides does not work against existing power structures, but rather to claim his own position within them. To this end, he makes his illness a heroic display in 56. See Musurillo 1972 for the text, with Shaw 1993, 28–29. Blandina, too, is described as contending like Christ, “that mighty and invincible athlete” (Musurillo 1972, 75; cf. Shaw 1993, 17–19). Agonistic language is also prominent in the Pauline books of the New Testament (Shaw 1996, 289, and n. 62). 57. For the language, see Shaw 1996, 272. 58. See Shaw 1993, 9 for discussion, with further references in his n. 25 on the background of the bathhouse acclamation. See Shaw 1993, 20–21 for an outline of the text’s component parts.

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traditional terms that will be recognizable to his peers and contemporaries, and he presents audiences for his cures within the HL as skeptical, but not hostile. Whereas the martyrs invert the classical norms of virtue, embracing suffering and endurance (hypomonê) as paradoxically heroic, in the rhetoric of Aristides’ thaumata, illness and pain are forces to be resisted—as his vocabulary for the experience of pain suggests.59 And within the narrative Aristides depicts his physical experience as if the transformation of pain into pleasure were visible to the audiences witnessing his cures. Thus, when Aristides describes a “great” or a “salvific” bath, he portrays audiences of his peers who share his familiarity with the rhetoric of medical agôn and divine thaumata and are able to confirm the paradoxical pleasure that he stages in his text. So, in the bathing episode that follows the “prophecy of years,” he briefly describes the entourage that accompanies him (II.20): . . . παρέπεμπον ἡμᾶς οἱ φίλοι καὶ τῶν ἰατρῶν οἵ τε δὴ συνήθεις καὶ ἄλλοι οἱ μὲν ὡς ἀγωνιῶντες, οἱ δὲ καὶ τῆς ἱστορίας εἵνεκα· ἐπεγένετο δὲ καὶ ἄλλος ὄχλος συχνός—καὶ γάρ τις καὶ διάδοσις ἔτυχεν ἔξω πυλῶν οὖσα—καὶ πάντ’ ἦν κάτοπτα ἀπὸ τῆς γεφύρας. ἦν δέ τις Ἡρακλέων ἰατρός, ἑταῖρος ἡμέτερος, ὃς πρὸς ἐμὲ ὡμολόγησε τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ ἦ μὴν πεπεικὼς αὑτὸν ἰέναι, ὡς εἰ τὰ κράτιστα πράξαιμι, ὀπισθοτόνῳ συνέξομαι ἤ τῷ ἄλλῳ τοιούτῳ. . . . friends escorted us and various doctors, some of them acquaintances and others who came either out of concern or even for the purposes of investigation. Another great crowd had formed as well, for some distribution happened to be taking place outside the gates, and everything was visible from the bridge. There was a certain Heracleon, a doctor, a companion of ours, who confessed to me the next day that he had come convinced that if I fared as well as possible, I would be afflicted with opisthotonos or something similar.

59. Shaw 1996 argues that endurance (hypomonê) emerged as a new moral ideal in imperial culture (esp. 278–280, 291–295), and he remarks upon Aristides’ disconnection from this discourse as it took shape in early Christian martyr ideology (300). Aristides’ vocabulary for the experience of pain is a vocabulary of resistance: κάμνω, ἀντέχω, καρτερία. See also Holmes 2008, 106, with n. 60, where she comments that Aristides differs from contemporary Christians because he “wants life after death in this life.”



Aristides clearly revels in the mass audience and its acclamation—when he emerges from the river, light and rosy from his bath, the crowd acclaim this “epiphany” with the cry “Great is Asclepius!”—but he also emphasizes the presence of doctors in this crowd, spectators motivated—like Heracleon—by personal sympathy and intellectual curiosity. Aristides places great stock in the affirmation of his peers, and in this sense his account is triumphant: the fact that a physician has been led to doubt his professional opinion is testament to the power of the divine thauma. Thus, while Aristides sets his cures outside and beyond the expected frameworks of either temple healing or technical medicine, he also ensures that both of these interpretive structures remain in view. Aristides’ narrative of thaumata in the HL, then, does not reverse the map of power. Rather, he engages a rhetoric of performative excess, speaking the language of his audience and exploiting established frames of reference in a kind of agonistic personal theater.60 As dramatic bids for social status, his physical performances in the HL function as an extension of the oratorical arena to which he was professionally committed—and, specifically, as an extension of the practice of improvised declamation, to which the highest cultural capital accrued. For in Aristides’ professional world, public, extempore declamation was a high-stakes endeavor in self-formation—a “calisthenics of manhood,” in Maud Gleason’s phrase—that was as much physical as intellectual.61 While Lucian’s satirical A Slip of the Tongue in Greeting shows that educated speakers were expected to control the minutiae of language and style, texts like his Professor of Public Speaking make the point that oratorical performance was a full-body endeavor, and “marvelous” orators aimed to provoke the wonder of the audience not just with their fine language but with the power and speed of their delivery (Dio, Or. 33.4– 7; Cf. VS 614). Philostratus describes sophists—like Favorinus and Dio—who managed to “charm” (thelgein) audiences (including the emperor Trajan) who did not know Greek but were fascinated by its sound, by the cadence of the orator’s voice, the rhythm of his speech, and his expressive glance (VS 488, 492). Oratorical performers were in some sense “magicians” (VS 619), so as Aristides portrays his exaltation through thaumata in the physical context of divine healing, he accesses a language that is professionally powerful at the same time. Specifically, he draws on two main analogies—the athletic

60. Connolly 2001 unpacks the dynamics of this personal theater. 61. Gleason 1995, xxii.

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analogy of competitive physical performance and the inspiration analogy associated with mystery initiation—that were widely current in the contemporary world of oratorical performance.62 Philostratus uses the athletic analogy in his Lives to evoke several dimensions of the work of oratory: the rigorous training, the competitive encounter, and the personal toll exacted by the high stakes of public performance. In his sketch of Rufus of Perinthoos he notes that the orator strengthened and hardened his body by a strict regimen of diet and exercise—“working his body out [diaponein] practically in the fashion of competitive athletes [hoi agônizomenoi].” In his account of Hippodromos, he says that when people pressed him to give an oration on the same stage as one of his students, the orator objected in the language of athletic engagement: “I will not strip for a fight with my own entrails” (617). He also reports the famous quip of Polemo, addressing a gladiator who was sweating in anticipation of a bout to the death: “You look in such agony as if you were about to declaim” (541). The motif of the rhetorician forced to confront physical limitations and overcome them is, of course, one that imperial-era writers found in stories of their literary predecessors, including, for example, in the lore surrounding Demosthenes.63 According to Plutarch in his Life of Demosthenes, the orator suffered from a weak voice and shortness of breath (6.3), and his infirmities (4.3: tou sômatos astheneia; katischnos; nosôdês) had kept him from the palaestra (and thus from rhetorical studies) as a child. Pursuing a training regimen of his own devising—speaking with pebbles in his mouth, for example, and running while reciting—he built up his strength so that he could counter the accusations of his rivals that he was better suited for a luxurious life than for the oratorical agôn (6.4). The topos of strenuous preparation was balanced by notions of impromptu declamation as—at its best—“inspired” or “divine.” Aeschines, whom Philostratus regards as the founder of his “second sophistic,” employed the “inspired [theios] manner in his extempore speaking [autoschedios logos]” (VS 509–510). Nicetas of Smyrna’s style is described as Bacchic and dithyrambic (511), as is that of Scopelian who, when a critic complained his style

62. For a discussion of this imagery in its Second Sophistic context, see Korenjak 2000, chap. 8. 63. See, e.g., HL IV.15 and IV.18, where Demosthenes figures in one of Aristides’ first dreams upon his arrival at the Asclepieium, and provides the model for his first foray into declamation after falling ill.



was overwrought, countered that it was, rather, heroic (520). Polemo, moved to speak by divine impulse (533), holds forth with Demosthenic gravity that is “inspired” (empnous) as if from tripod (542), and Lollianus has moments of brilliance that flash like lightning (527). Philostratus uses the language of the mysteries to describe the oratorical gifts of Aristides’ contemporary and rival Hadrian of Tyre. To explain how at a young age Hadrian could improvise extempore orations in the style of every famous sophist (except the master, Herodes Atticus), Philostratus credits his “sophistic strength of nature” (VS 585): Hadrian, he says, simply “breathed on a higher plane than others,” and so his would-be peers and competitors, as well as his students, revered him “as the tribes of Eleusis revere the initiating priest [hierophantês]” (VS 587). Signaling inborn ability and hard work respectively, the two metaphors of divine inspiration and athletic training together reinforced the established system of social approbation that created the self-perpetuating educated elite of the imperial Greek world, and Aristides’ polemical orations illustrate these metaphors at work in the public arena.64 In Oration 28, he uses the image of mystery initiation to draw the boundaries of his discipline, insisting that noninitiates are “deaf” to “holy things” and that an audience member’s inability to appreciate Aristides’ art and his prerogatives as an orator places him outside the community of the elect: “like a secret tale in a myth, it will be uttered for those who can understand, but not for you.”65 As he develops his point—and the metaphor—further, Aristides makes it clear that the mysteries of oratory are not just exclusive, they are also competitive and hierarchical. If his critic claims to be an initiate, he has still not attained the degree that Aristides has (28.135):

εἶτα μύστης ὢν τὸν ἱεροφάντην ἐξετάζεις; καὶ ὁ μὲν ἀρτιτελὴς μύστης ἀτιμότερος τοῦ πάλαι μύστου, ὁ δὲ νῦν πρῶτον εἰς μύστας τελῶν κρίνεις τὸν μυσταγωγόν; If you are an initiate do you presume to examine the initiating priest? And the newly inducted initiate is of a lower standing than the old initiate—but do you, joining the ranks of the initiates now for the first time, presume to judge the initiates’ teacher?

64. For the metaphors, see especially Korenjak 2000, chap. 8, and, on the dynamics of cultural capital, Schmitz 1997. 65. Or. 28.113: ὥσπερ ἐν μύθῳ τις ἀπόρρητος λόγος τοῖς μὲν ἀκούειν δυνατοῖς εἰρήσεται, σοὶ δὲ οὐδὲν μᾶλλον.

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The mysteries of paideia are, on the one hand, a matter of unique and personal inspiration, but these intangible gifts also regulate a hierarchical community: his critic is assigned the position of a novice, while Aristides claims the position of mystagogue (mystagôgos), the expert “hierophant.”66 In Or. 34, On Those Who Burlesque the Mysteries of Oratory Aristides attacks professional rivals for flouting the rules of this carefully guarded art, and by using the language and imagery of “burlesque” he loads the mystery metaphor with physical implications. The oration is an invective speech against the so-called Asiatic style of oratory—a dramatic, singsong, rhythmic delivery of the sort practiced by speakers like Favorinus and Aristides’ rival Hadrian of Tyre.67 Gadding about like dancers, pantomime artistes, and female harpists, lesser orators “burlesque” (34.60: exorcheisthai; cf. 22.13) and “profane” (34.56: chrainete) the sacred rites, while the perfect initiate, the true professional, practices absolute mastery of the body on the athletic model. Caricaturing his opponents in this speech in physical, gendered, and sexual terms, Aristides says they are far worse than the cross-dressing Heracles, whose effeminate behavior was a momentary jest (Or. 34.60): enacting the myth of Caineus in reverse, they choose to become women (34.61). While his rivals are the incarnation of porneia, Aristides, for his part, lays claim to the perfect deportment, physique, and achievement of the prize-winning Olympic athlete, disciplined

66. Quintilian likewise claimed the role of a “hierophant of the mysteries,” and among Greek literary scholars Dionysius of Halicarnassus uses the trope of ritual exclusivity to ban the profane (bebêloi) from “the initiation rituals of style” (On Literary Composition, 25). In the classical world, the motif of initiation had long served to describe the process of access to exclusive knowledge and the status associated with it—first in the context of philosophical inquiry, where Plato’s Symposium and Phaedrus are crucial sources, and then beyond philosophy where it was invoked to regulate the boundaries of various domains of paideia. By the second century ce, the language of mystery initiation was used in a variety of contexts— from rhetoric, to mathematics, to medicine—to describe the dynamics of access and exclusivity (Kirchner 2005; Riedweg 1988; cf. Bouyer 1981, 44). Playing on this commonplace, Lucian uses the trope to satiric effect in his Professor of Public Speaking, where the corrupt and degenerate speaker urges the aspiring orator to take the shortest way to the top of the profession and to go boldly forward without hesitating “even if he has not been initiated into all the preliminary rites [proteleisthai] of rhetoric through which the usual course of elementary instruction [propaideia] guides the steps of the senseless and silly” (14). 67. One of these two orators may have been Aristides’ target in this speech. Vix 2012, 226 makes the point that whereas Schmid assessed the controversy in stylistic and lexical terms, it seems to have been mainly a matter of moral polemic. In part, the so-called Asiatic style simply targeted a broader and more diverse audience that the more exclusive Atticizing rhetoric. As Vix notes, the language associated with Atticizing style appears in Or. 34: e.g., akribeia (21, 28, 31, 38, 39, 40), semnotês (30, 45).



and vigorous in body and soul (Or. 34.23; cf. 34.42). Thus Aristides uses the metaphor of mystery initiation to set up a rhetorical ideal, and the language of the body to mark its realization but also—most vividly—its degradation. In his evocation of ideal oratory in Or. 34, Aristides aligns mystery initiation with athletic success in the crown contests, but for the most part his physical characterization of oratorical practice is focused on the negative portrait of the “burlesquers,” whose moral and physical degeneracy is compared also to illness, specifically “wasting” or consumption (34.27: phthoê)— a reference that has puzzled commentators, because consumption is one of the diagnoses of Aristides’ own illness in the HL, offered by Asclepius himself in a dream (III.11).68 When Aristides includes “wasting” among the states of physical degeneration that he offers as images for substandard rhetorical performance, has he no sense that the metaphor could be deployed in the opposite direction by his own critics? The apparent dissonance between these two texts—the polemical oration and the HL— reminds us just how unusual the HL are in the scope of Aristides’ oeuvre. For although he refers to his own illness as an inhibiting factor on certain occasions—it prevents him from addressing the city of Rhodes in person, for example (24.1), and from coming in person to Cotiaeum on the occasion of his teacher Alexander’s death (32.41)—he does not dwell at length on his illness in other orations.69 Rather, oratory’s inspired initiate is mostly cut off from the realm of the physical, operating in a world of the mind that is quite distinct from the foreign idiom of the body. The dichotomy between physical and intellectual pursuits is delineated most insistently in Or. 33, To Those Who Criticize Him Because He Does Not Declaim, where Aristides sets his own commitment to oratory against the interests of those who prioritize physical pleasures (33.25–31). Others, he says, are concerned only with bathing, while he values his intellectual pursuits as he values life itself. In this regard, he sees himself following in a

68. Behr queries the comment as “self-hatred.” Behr 1994, 1170, n. 136. 69. Aristides does, however, use the metaphor of illness in the abstract. In his Or. 24, To the Rhodians: Concerning Concord, for example, faction is the “disease of the city,” which, imagined in terms of contagion, provides a model for factionalism as periodically endemic in the Greek world (24.31), and the body politic, like the physical body, is most threatened by forces that corrupt it from within (24.16). Cf. The Sons of Asclepius, 38.19. Similar imagery is widespread in contemporary literature, as in the orations of Dio Chrysostom, who also makes frequent allusion to his own poor health (Billault 2002; Luchner 2004).

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great Hellenic tradition. Referring to the myth that Homer was the son of the Mysian river Meles, for example, Aristides takes the poet’s “rough” or “squalid” life (auchmêron bion) as an ascetic model. Homer, he says, approved only “improvised baths” (loutra autoschedia) for medical purposes— as Plato did, he notes—and rejected anything more as luxury (truphê). Even when the Antonine plague was at its height, Aristides fumes, while others wallowed in the “swinish pleasures” of luxurious baths that were decidedly not “improvised,” he continued the noble work of declamation. He urges wayward orators (33.31):

ἀπολαῦσαι τοῦ βίου τὰ κάλλιστα, ἕως ἔξεστιν, ἵν’ εἰ μὲν τῆς σῳζομένης μοίρας εἴημεν, ἐν τοῖς καλλίστοις σῳζώμεθα, ἐν μαθήμασι καὶ λόγοις, καὶ μὴ τὴν ὕειον ἁρμονίαν ἡρμοσμένοι νύκτα ἐκ νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας κυλινδώμεθα, εἰ δὲ μὴ, κέρδος γ’ ᾖ πᾶν ὅ τί τις προὔλαβεν. Take pleasure in the finest things of life as long as possible, so that if we are of the portion who are saved, we will be saved among the finest pursuits—study and oratory—and we will not be wallowing in our accommodation to the swinish temperament night after night and day after day. But if we are not [of the portion who are saved], the gain will be everything that each person pursued up to that point. Aristides’ choice of bathing as a target for his critique of physical luxury is not unusual—bathing was a favorite luxury in Roman culture, and a wellworn topic of satire. His moral urgency in this passage, however, casts the bathing narrative of the HL in an interesting light. There, it would seem, Aristides has delineated risky territory for himself by choosing to develop a self-portrait in predominantly physical terms, and we can therefore see that much is at stake, rhetorically, in the catalog of divine baths he offers in HL II. In these extreme baths—as in his accounts of various therapies and cures—Aristides needs to mobilize the language of athletic competition and of divine inspiration in order to turn his physical narrative into professional capital in the oratorical realm he polices so vigilantly in his own polemical speeches. In the HL, then, by describing his curative activities and portraying the experiences of pain and elation that accompanied them, Aristides incarnates the two metaphors that address most clearly the risks and rewards of performance oratory. Engaging a rhetoric of performative excess



through the twin languages of agonism and inspiration, he establishes a claim to heroism in the physical realm and seeks to transfer this to his professional engagements as well. These two realms converge most obviously in HL IV, where the first half of the Logos is taken up with an account of Aristides’ return to the practice of rhetoric, with the god’s help, after a lapse imposed by his illness—a loss of voice in professional terms that mirrored a loss of breath in physical terms (II.6). The metaphors of mystery initiation and athleticism frame the story of his rebirth as an inspired extempore speaker during his kathedra at the temple of Aslcepius at Pergamum. Aristides prefaces the account of his return to rhetoric with a story of his divinely mandated return—his epanastrophê—to the Aesepus River, the place where he had first succumbed to the illness that doomed his professional efforts at Rome.70 There, he performed rituals—“purifications at the river by libation and purgations at home through vomiting” (IV.6)— that were “like an initiation into a mystery” for their strangeness.71 When he is further instructed to symbolically enact his own death, the divine command mixes the central life/death paradox of mystery initiation with an allusion to the palaistra—the place of both intellectual and physical training in the Greek tradition (IV.11):72

ἔπειτα κελεύει ὁ θεὸς ὡς δεῖ ἀντὶ τοῦ κατορυχθῆναι ἐπαμήσασθαι τῆς λευκῆς γῆς, τὸν ἐν παλαίστρᾳ δὴ τρόπον, βεβαιότητος οὕνεκα, καὶ ὡς εἴη τρόπον τινὰ καὶ τοῦτο ἐκπεπληρωμένον·

70. Rutherford 1999 has described this episode in terms of pilgrimage. 71. IV.7: “It was, then, not only like some initiation [teletê], so divine and paradoxical were the rites performed [tôn drômenôn] . . . For one could feel at the same time cheerfulness and joy, and ease, of both soul and body, and at the same time, as it were, doubt that it would ever be possible to see that day when one would see oneself free of such great troubles, and in addition a fear also that somehow one of the usual things would happen again and harm one’s overall hopes.” (ἅμα μὲν γὰρ ἦν εὐθυμεῖσθαι, χαίρειν, ἐν εὐκόλοις εἶναι καὶ τῆς ψυχῆς καὶ τοῦ σώματος, ἅμα δ’ οἷον ἀπιστεῖν εἴ ποτε ταύτην ἰδεῖν ἐξέσται τὴν ἡμέραν, ἐν ᾗ τις ἐλεύθερον αὑτὸν τῶν τοσούτων πραγμάτων ὄψεται, πρὸς δὲ καὶ δεδιέναι, μή πού τι τῶν εἰωθότων αὖθις συμβὰν λυμήνηται ταῖς περὶ τῶν ὅλων ἐλπίσιν.) Lonnoy 1986 (drawing a comparison with passages in Apuleius) notes that the paradoxical mix of emotions is characteristic of descriptions of mystery initiation. 72. Burkert 1987, 101. Cf. Or. 42.6–7, for the image of resurrection, where Aristides says he has been raised up (ἀναστῆναι) by the god many times, and that Asclepius has formed his whole body “just as Prometheus is said in the ancient stories to have fashioned man” (ὥσπερ Προμηθεὺς τἀρχαῖα λέγεται συμπλάσαι τὸν ἄνθρωπον).

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Then the god commanded me that it was necessary—in place of burial—to heap up over myself white earth, in the manner of the palaistra, for the sake of security, and so that this too [i.e., burial] should, in some fashion, be fulfilled. Both motifs are picked up in the narrative that ensues, as he recalls his time as an “initiate” in the literary sphere, during his kathedra at the Pergamene temple. Receiving guidance from Asclepius in dreams—topics for speeches, words, and turns of phrase73—Aristides embarked upon a course of professional askêsis in which the god was his trainer, transmitting secrets of the art that transformed his waking practice and enabled him to excel in performance. In particular, he received help in that greatest oratorical challenge—improvisation (IV.26):

πολλὰ δὲ καὶ προβλήματα ἀφίκετο καὶ ὅπως χρὴ τὸ σύμπαν μεταχειρίσασθαι παρεδείχθη, χωρὶς τῶν εἰς μνήμην δι’ ἀκριβείας ἐλθόντων ῥημάτων. ἦν δέ τις καὶ οὗτος τρόπος φέρων εἰς ἐπίδοσιν, ὁ τῆς ἀδήλου παρασκευῆς· ἔδει γὰρ ἀναστῆναι κεκεντρωμένον εἰς λόγους καὶ παρεσκευασμένον ἐκ νυκτὸς, ὥσπερ ὅταν ἀθλητὴς προγυμνάσηται τὰ ἑωθινά. Many themes for speaking came to me also, and examples were given of how to treat them in general—besides the words that came into my memory in a very precise way. But there was also this technique that led to improvement: that of unseen preparation. For it was necessary to arise, spurred on to speaking and prepared from the night, like when an athlete does his earlymorning exercises. The performances Aristides undertakes with the god’s guidance he describes as a “firstfruits” offering of “improvised and competitive” orations (IV.15), that provides evidence of his divine inspiration. In his account of the thauma of his improvised declamation in the temple, Aristides offers his readers a professional aristeia. With the god as his trainer, Aristides recovers the breath that failed him on his journey to Rome, and takes the stage in the Pergamene temple, with his coincubant

73. See HL IV.14–47, esp. IV.23–26.



Sedatius as audience.74 The prospect of declaiming again makes him apprehensive—how can he orate, he complains, when he can scarcely breathe?—and he intends to fulfill his religious obligation with as brief a stint as possible, adopting the stance of the orator, and uttering just a few words. Sedatius, however, urges him on, because he has heard of another of the god’s patients who had rid himself of his illness by performing a similar, oratorical cure: when he threw himself into the contest, the perspiration was enough to restore the humoral balance of his body and return it to its proper condition. He encourages his friend, therefore, to exert all his strength to contend: ἀγώνισαι, he says. Aristides reports (HL IV.22):

συνέβαινε δέ μοι λαμβάνοντι μὲν τὰ προβλήματα καὶ καθισταμένῳ πρὸς τὸν ἀγῶνα ἀπορεῖσθαι καὶ μόλις ἀναφέρειν ἐπιλείποντος τοῦ πνεύματος, προϊόντι δὲ τῶν προοιμίων ῥᾷον ἴσχειν ἤδη καὶ ἀναπνεῖν οἵῳ τε εἶναι, καὶ προϊόντος ἀεὶ τοῦ λόγου δυνάμεως ἐμπίπλασθαι μετὰ κουφότητος καὶ συνείρειν οὕτως ὥσθ’ ἕπεσθαι μόλις τοὺς ἀκροωμένους. καὶ ἦν δὴ τὸ θέαμα κρεῖττον ἢ τὸ ἀκρόαμα γνώμην γ’ ἐμήν. It was my experience that when I received my problems and stood ready for the contest, I was at a loss and scarcely recovered from my failure of breath; but as I proceeded in the introduction, I was able to manage and regulate my breath more easily; and as my speech went on, I was filled with strength and lightness and strung my words together so well that the audience scarcely followed them. And in my estimation it was a greater spectacle for the eyes than for the ears. In this divinely inspired, improvised oration in the temple, Aristides achieves the paradoxical effect so prized by Philostratus’s successful sophists. With the god as his trainer, Aristides manages his pneuma, his breath, to produce such a torrent of words that his audience is caught up in the flood of sound and scarcely able to follow the swift progression of his thought.75 Aristides offers a theama—a spectacle—in which the outward 74. Behr 1994, 1157, n. 69 identifies Sedatius as the pretorian Sedatius Theophilos. Cf. Behr 1968, 47, n. 25. 75. As Quintilian and others explain, management of the breath (pneuma), to promote its diffusion throughout the body, was crucial to oratorical training. Pneuma made flesh rarefied and light—qualities valuable both for health and intelligence—and it was believed that those who declaimed in deep tones incorporated more pneuma into their bodies (Gleason 1995, 85–86 and 89–92). For Aristides, pneuma marks the intersection of his three main concerns: rhetorical improvisation, divine inspiration, and medical cure.

Salvum Lotum! A Rhetor’s Improvised Baths


aspects of his performance are proof of the divine inspiration that is the source of his eloquence. The wonder is as much visual as it is auditory: this is a thauma of divine epiphany.

Conclusion In the HL Aristides turns Asclepius’s therapeutic prescriptions into opportunities to stage-manage his own illness and to interpret it for his audience as a paradoxical strength. In the process, he develops a heroic profile by incarnating two of the most powerful and widespread metaphors for oratorical excellence: agonistic competition and mystery initiation. In a spectacular—and risky—departure from his polemical orations, where he tends to portray his rhetorical vocation as a disembodied art, in the HL, through the narrative of his illness and healing, he mobilizes his body to substantiate his claims to professional excellence. In the physical narrative of the HL, then, Aristides creates space for himself to play the game of sophistic one-upmanship and performative excess that he disdained in his more straightforward polemical engagements.

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A Prose Hymn for Asclepius? succinct statement of the benefactions of his god, the Lalia for Asclepius (Or. 42), Aristides subordinates all the benefits of physical healing to the gift of oratory, logoi. Since speech itself comes from the god, Aristides says, the common votive gifts of sacrifice and incense are not enough. Only in speech can he fittingly give back the most personal (oikeiotaton) gift he has been given, pronouncing—like an actor or an interpreter (hypocritês)— speeches (logoi) that are, in some sense, not his own. In his experience, as he puts it, the god “reversed” the story told about Pindar (42.12):1 IN HIS MOST

ἐκείνου μὲν γὰρ ὁ Πὰν τὸν παιᾶνα ὠρχήσατο, ὡς λόγος, ἐγὼ δέ, εἰ θέμις εἰπεῖν, ὧν 2 ὑποκριτὴς εἶναι· προὔτρεψάς τε γὰρ αὐτὸς ἐπ’ αὐτοὺς καὶ τῆς ἀσκήσεως κατέστης ἠγεμών. For in his case, Pan danced his paean, so the story goes. Whereas I, if the expression is permitted [themis], to be the interpreter [hypocritês] since you yourself [Asclepius] directed me toward rhetorical studies [logoi] and established yourself as the commander of my training [askêsis].

1. The Vita Ambrosiana of Pindar (Drachman 1903, 1.2.2) records the tradition that Pan was seen between Cithaeron and Helicon singing one of Pindar’s paeans. On Pindar’s song of gratitude (fr. 95) see the comments of Gkourogiannis 1999, 110. Cf. Or. 3.191, where Aristides brings this story to bear on an argument about philotimia, and Or. 28.55, where Aristides refers to Pindar, Ol. 2.86–88 and invokes him as a model for poetic pride. On Aristides’ use of the Pindaric biographical tradition, see Gkourogiannis 1999, 114–116 and 119–125. 2. Keil 1958, ad loc. follows previous editors in positing a lacuna and offers this conjecture in his apparatus. Other conjectures make Asclepius explicitly the author. See Keil 1958, ad loc., and G. Dindorf 1829, 1.68, n. 3 (Or. 6 = Or. 12 K). Behr 1981–1986, 2.249 and 463 translates Reiske’s emendation: ὧν ὑποκριτὴς εἶναι, “I say that I am the actor of your compositions.”



We saw in the previous chapter that Aristides makes the metaphor of athletic training incarnate in the HL. In this passage from Or. 42, he alludes to that metaphor and adds another dimension by introducing the relationship between author and actor as a parallel. Presenting himself, here, as the “interpreter” (hypocritês) of divine speech—as a mouthpiece of the god—Aristides prepares the paradox offered up in the emphatic personal pronoun of the closing line of Or. 42: “I myself [egôge] would say that this grace, too, is proffered by you: that you, best in everything, stand by us and endorse [epipsêphizein] our logoi.” If he is the hypocritês of Asclepius, then who speaks when Aristides says “I” (egôge)? In the HL, Aristides is a notoriously self-absorbed writer, but placing those texts alongside Or. 42 and other hymnic pieces reminds us that this authorial ego is complex. Here in the Lalia for Asclepius, and throughout his oeuvre, Aristides’ literary signature entails a keen sense of the double nature of his first-person voice: he presents his writing as a medium of encounter between divine and human. The paradox of Aristides’ authorial ego is worked out in extenso in the HL, but much of the groundwork for that extravagant literary and rhetorical experiment is laid in earlier texts, particularly in the prose hymns that he composed over the course of his career. In the prose hymns, Aristides develops a theory of the power of logos and works out an authorial stance that propels him toward a calculated break with formal genres of divine address and commemoration. He aspires to dissolve the barrier between his own voice as human author and the divine source to which he traces that voice, partly by appropriating for prose the conventions of poetic inspiration and the persona of the poet. In this chapter, I argue that we should read the HL as the culmination of this effort to claim a divine voice. The text’s unusual style reflects not the state of Aristides’ personal archive, nor his psyche, nor even his divine subject matter, but rather his pursuit of a hybrid authorial voice. Readers of the HL have always found the rhetorical style of the text puzzling, if not positively rebarbative: Why, in a text that presents the central claim of his professional life—his divine inspiration—would Aristides choose not to display, in all their perfection, the rhetorical gifts he credits to Asclepius? The point he wants to make, I suggest, is that his authorial voice exceeds the bounds of conventional rhetorical forms, including the hymn. For this reason Aristides consciously seeks an experimental style as the best way to stake what he knows is a risky claim to divine inspiration. To unpack these issues, I turn to the texts—hymnic and polemical— in which Aristides develops his notion of logos as the arena in which the

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


human authorial voice converges with the divine voice. The traditional image of the poet as a channel of divine inspiration furnishes an important precedent, and I begin by showing that Aristides appropriates poetic prerogatives for his own prose ventures—in theoretical terms in the prologue of his address Regarding Sarapis, and in biographical terms in a brief narrative sequence from HL IV. I then consider Aristides’ prose hymns—in particular their proemia—in order to show, with reference to Or. 28, Concerning a Remark In Passing, that when it came to literary texts in written form (as opposed to oral performance) Aristides found himself pushing the traditionally accepted boundaries of the hymnic genre. His hymnic and polemical texts together show Aristides’ commitment to the idea of logos as a site of encounter between human and divine, and reveal that he faced a challenge in making that encounter part of his written, literary legacy. In the HL, therefore, he leaves behind the conventions of the hymnic genre for uncharted territory in prose stylistics.

Aristides’ Manifesto Aristides’ extant prose hymns comprise ten short texts written over the course of his career, in various styles, and in praise of various divinities (Orr. 37–46).3 They are, collectively, an important source for his delineation of the relationship between human and divine—as much on account of their form as their subject matter, for Aristides exploits the conventions of the hymnic genre to reflect on the access he has as a writer and rhetor to divine inspiration. The finely crafted core of each hymn follows the traditional pattern of invocation, praise, and prayer, but in the proemia Aristides experiments with how to position himself, as speaker and writer, in relation to the gods he honors. The hymn Regarding Sarapis, for example, celebrates the Egyptian god as a universal, divine power, but it was written for personal reasons, as Aristides explains in the brief proemium and peroration: its performance fulfills a vow made when he appealed to Sarapis for protection at sea (45.13–14), and the god “stretched out [his] hands, revealed the hidden heavens, and granted us to behold the earth

3. This group of ten prose hymns includes Or. 39 On the Well in the Temple of Asclepius, and Or. 44 Regarding the Aegean Sea. On the group, see Boulanger 1923, 300–317, and now Goeken 2012.



and to make port” (45.33).4 Aristides tends to elaborate his own presence on the edges of the formal, hymnic text, and seems to feel the limits of a genre shaped by the decorum of piety in a performance setting, whether oral or written. I will consider the hymnic proemia as a group in a moment, but I begin with the Regarding Sarapis because it features, in addition to this brief proemium (45.13–14), an extensive prologue (45.1–12) in which Aristides establishes the divine power of logos that grounds his claim to an authorial voice that merges divine and human.5 In the lengthy Sarapis prologue Aristides portrays logos as a mode of contact between human and divine, developing this assertion by appropriating for prose writing—logos in its broadest sense—the largely poetic prerogative of divine inspiration. Because he begins in a polemical vein, with an attack on poets, scholars have sometimes assumed he is merely rehearsing the classic debate—otiose by the second century ce—between prose and poetry. In fact, what he presents is a manifesto for his own vocation as a writer.6 Prose, he acknowledges, is nearly ubiquitous in the imperial world, but there is still a lingering sense that poetry has a closer link to the gods and is more appropriate for divine praise.7 To make a case for not just the possibility but the necessity of the prose hymn is to make the ultimate claim for prose tout court: it is a divine form of speech.8

4. Aristides may have delivered the speech in Smyrna on his return to Asia Minor from Egypt, perhaps on the occasion of the festival of Sarapis (Behr 1981–1986, 2:419–420). The people of Egypt, Aristides says, recognize Sarapis’s universal power, invoking him as “the one, the Zeus” (Or. 45.21). 5. Goeken 2012, 556–557 outlines the structure of the hymn, distinguishing within the lengthy, polemical “exorde” the briefer proemium—“exorde proprement dit.” 6. On the Sarapis prologue, see Russell, 1990b, 201–209; Pernot 1993a, 642–645; Vassilaki 2005; and on the debate between prose and poetry in the fourth and fifth centuries bce, see Goldhill 2002a. Because this debate has such a long history, Boulanger 1923, 307 describes Aristides as having “enfoncé à grand fracas des portes ouvertes,” when he echoes topoi found already in, for example, the opening passages of Isocrates’ Evagoras. On the other hand, Velardi 1991, 211 describes Aristides’ prologue as a “manifesto” for the genre of the prose hymn. 7. On prose as a vehicle of innovation in Roman Greek literature, see Whitmarsh 2001, 27–28. For discussion of the appearance of Greek prose in the fifth century, see Goldhill 2002a, with Ford 2002, who argues that a wider category of “literature” emerged from the prose-poetry debate of the fifth and fourth centuries bce. Vassilaki 2005 shows that as the prologue progresses, Aristides’ use of poetry shifts from direct citation for critical purposes to more allusive appropriation. 8. Prose hymns were performed in cult and in the musical agônes and were part of the training of the progymnasmata (MacMullen 1981, 17–18; Bowie 1989, 213, n. 9). Russell

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


Surely, Aristides argues, prose writers depend no less on divine assistance than poets do, and they should therefore honor the gods after their own fashion. More to the point, should we not especially offer up to the gods the kind of speech that was their first gift and the primary enabler of the human arts of civilization? Just as walking is more natural for humans than “being carried in a conveyance,” Aristides insists, so too prose—literally, “pedestrian”—language (logos pezos, 45.8) is a more natural means of expression than metrical poetry because it is closer to the origins of language, and therefore closer to the divinely endorsed cosmic order.9 He offers his own linguistic cosmogony (45.8):

οὐ γὰρ μέτρα πρῶτον ἐγένετο, εἶθ’ οὕτως εὑρέθη λόγος καὶ διαλέγεσθαι, οὐδὲ ποιηταὶ γενόμενοι καὶ τὰ ὀνόματα οἷς δεῖ χρῆσθαι διέθηκαν, ἀλλ’ ὄντων ὀνομάτων καὶ λόγου πεζοῦ χάριτός τινος ἕνεκα καὶ ψυχαγωγίας ἡ τούτων ἐργάτις ὕστερον εἰσῆλθε ποιητική. For meter did not come into being first, and then after that speech and conversation were invented, nor when poets came into being did they set out the words [“names,” onomata] that men must use, but when the words and prose already existed, there was later introduced, for the sake of grace and charm, poetry, which produces these things. Aristides downplays the mystique of poetry by describing it in workmanlike terms (ergatis) as adding to language the outwardly seductive qualities of grace and charm. More important, however, he enhances the mystique of prose by associating it with the primordial act of assigning words—literally,

1990b, 207–209 and Russell and Wilson 1981, xvi outline the evidence for hymnic prose writing before Aristides: the Platonic speeches in praise of the divine Eros in the Symposium and Phaedrus were important precedents, and the prose hymn had a place—if slight—in rhetorical theory; Matris of Thebes is said to have written hymns to the gods, and Hermesianax of Colophon a hymn to Athena. Menander Rhetor, writing in the early third century, dismisses the idea that poetry has an exclusive claim on the divine, but he does maintain that poetry enjoys more license and flexibility than prose (1.333.31–334.5 and 334.19–334.21). On the tradition of the prose hymn, see also Pernot 2007. 9. Logos pezos was one standard expression for prose (Russell 1981, 149), but it is particularly apt here because it mirrors the image of the chariot for inspired poetry (cf. Or. 28). For the wide appeal, in the second century ce, of the famous chariot image from Plato’s Phaedrus, see Trapp 1990.



“names” (onomata)—to things. If we would respect the natural order established by the wishes of the gods, Aristides says, we should prefer prose, and we should do so especially in the hymns we compose in their honor. Aristides did not invent the prose hymn: as he acknowledges elsewhere, it was already part of the landscape of contemporary performance.10 The point of the Sarapis prologue, then, is not to claim innovation, but to make a strong case for the power of prose language as a conduit between human and divine. The tradition of divine presence and inspiration in Greek literature belonged mainly to poetry—in the Sarapis prologue Aristides cites the epic invocation of the Muses, divine epiphany in tragedy, and poetic addresses to the gods in hymns and paeans—but it is a matter of professional urgency for Aristides to imbue his own work in prose with this numinous quality. In his oration To Plato: In Defense of Oratory, he invokes Hermes Logios, Apollo Leader of the Muses, and the Muses themselves as guides of his speech—an appropriate summons, he points out, since these divinities’ gift of rhetorikê provides both the subject of his discourse and its means of expression (Or. 2.19). In this text, too, as in the Sarapis prologue, he situates prose in the mythic realm of human origins and divine cosmogony—this time by telling a version of the Prometheus tale in which the Titan god’s philanthropic gift is a linguistic one.11 The expressive capacity of rhetoric (rhetorikê), obtained by Hermes from Zeus, enables, first, human community and all the arts of civilization, and then communication with the gods through “firstfruits offerings” (prôtai aparchai) of speech, “in which, even now the gods especially delight, as the account [logos] shows, because from that source first humans came to recognize the gods” (Or. 2.398).12 Beyond the convention of the poet’s momentary inspiration from the Muses, then, rhetorikê, in Aristides’ view, anchors language as the medium of an ongoing divine-human relationship. Rhetoric is, as Aristides

10. He says, for example, that his contemporaries were hymning the deeds of Heracles in prose: Or. 40.1. Cf. Or. 44.1. 11. Or. 2.394–400. Aristides calls his tale a “mythos” in the opening and closing lines of the passage, but as he concludes he asserts that the tale is transparent to reality and has essentially the same status as a reasoned account: “That these things are no ordinary myth, nor a dream [ὄναρ], but a waking vision [ὕπαρ], and that this is a reasoned account [λόγος] of the matter is clear from the matter itself” (2.400). 12. For “speech” (logos) as the god’s most important gift to humankind, see also Or. 1.330. For the use of logos to honor gods and heroes, as well as excellent men, cf. Or. 2.411.

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


puts it in To Plato, “the bond of the universe.”13 In the Sarapis prologue, he envisions logos on this cosmic scale by way of the poetic concept of metron.14 Since Gorgias’s famous description of poetry as “prose with meter,” champions of prose had often represented meter as merely a cosmetic enhancement of language.15 Poetic metron, Aristides argues, measures only the vowel quantities of the hexameter or trimeter, to ensure that they fill out (plêroun) the sound (tonos). In the case of poetry, he maintains, metron is superficial, credited to the poets as a group by reputation (euphêmia), while the prose writer has the truer claim of use (chreia, 45.9). Aristides appropriates for prose its own deeper, more comprehensive metron that puts human language in touch with the basic function of assigning to things and concepts words commensurate with their value (45.10):

ἐνταῦθα δὲ ὅλον καταμετρεῖ τὸν λόγον καὶ διὰ παντὸς ὡς ἀληθῶς δίεισιν, καὶ ἄρχεταί γε εὐθὺς ἐκ τοῦ ὀνόματος. οὔτε γὰρ ὑπερβαλεῖν οὔτ’ ἐνδοτέρω τῆς ἀξίας ἐλθεῖν ἐᾷ, ἀλλ’ ἑκάστῳ τὸ γιγνόμενον ἀποδιδόναι κελεύει. Here it measures the whole speech, and truly passes all through it, and it begins right from the word [“name,” onomatos]. For it allows neither excess nor falling short of true worth, but it demands a proper usage in each case. Aristides is talking not about the cadence of prose but—on a completely different scale—about metron as a measure of worth (axia) based on a link between words and the things or ideas they identify. To speak of metron beginning “right from the word” (onoma) is to express a theory of logos on a cosmic scale in which the communicative power of language is grounded in the divine-human relationship. This power is appropriated from the world of the poets, and the poets themselves—described as eudaimones

13. Or. 2.424: “so that one would properly say that rhetoric is the bond of the universe in this respect too.” (ὥστε καὶ σύνδεσμον τὴν ῥητορικὴν τοῦ παντὸς ὀρθῶς ἂν καὶ τοῦτο εἴποι τις.) 14. Goeken 2004 shows, however, that Aristides’ analysis of the relationship between poetry and prose cannot be reduced to the issue of metron. See also Gigli 1975. 15. Gorgias, Helen 9: “All poetry I consider and define as speech with meter.” (τὴν ποίησιν

ἅπασαν καὶ νομίζω καὶ ὀνομάζω λόγον ἔχοντα μέτρον.)



(blessedly happy)—in the first word of the Sarapis prologue, offer a model for the kind of inspiration Aristides wants to claim for himself as a writer.16

Aristides’ Poetic Inspiration Delineating the quasi-divine power of logos, Aristides enhances the status of the prose author, who can lay claim to a voice that is at once human and divine. As we have seen, he argues the point in theoretical terms in the Sarapis prologue, but he breathes life into this authorial persona in the HL where he uses the tradition of the poetic vita to dramatize his own inspiration—as a composer first of poetry but ultimately of prose. In a section of HL IV focusing on Asclepius’s role in his rhetorical training, Aristides sketches an autobiography in miniature in which his own attempts at composing poetry echo details from the lives of famous poets of antiquity (HL IV.31–47). For Aristides, as for all members of the educated elite in this period, the study, composition, and performance of poetry would have been a necessary component of a rhetorical education, but the point of including this narrative here is less to complete the picture of his accomplishments than to substantiate his writerly claim to poetic prerogatives.17 The series of autobiographical snapshots is framed at the beginning and end by Pindar, Aristides’ favorite poetic model for an intimate connection between divine inspiration and the voice of the human author.18 The Pindaric vita inspires Aristides’ account of his first steps toward poetry on his early visit to Rome. Instructed in a dream (enhypnion) to compose a paean to Apollo, he lights upon a first line that echoes the second Olympian: “I shall praise Paean, king of the lyre” (HL IV.31).19 Lacking technical experience (he claims), and at a loss as to how to proceed, Aristides relies on Apollo to help

16. Metron also begins “right from the word” in the sense that, for example, etymologically, the terms metron and logos contain notions of measurement and proportion. Gigli 1975, 243–244 outlines the range of interpretations scholars have offered in trying to decide whether to translate onoma as “name” or “word.” 17. The relationship between poetry and epideictic oratory was particularly close. Poetry was used in the rhetorical schools as a source for illustrative figures and episodes, and as a model for argumentative form (Russell and Wilson, 1981, xxxii). Bowie 1989, 214–221 places this sequence of poetic efforts in the educational and professional context of the Second Sophistic. 18. See Gkourogiannis 1999 and Vassilaki 2005. Bowie 2008, 21 (cf. 17) suggests that Aristides saw Pindar as a “kindred spirit.” 19. Φορμίγγων ἄνακτα Παιᾶνα κληίσω. Cf. Pindar, Ol. 2.1.

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


him move from that “bottom rung” through three stanzas to complete a full round of strophe, antistrophe, and epode.20 As he finishes the paean, a realworld coincidence chimes in to confirm his divine sponsorship: the imperial city begins to celebrate the Apollinaria, featuring a horse race—details meant, presumably, to resonate with legends of Pindar’s own proximity to Apollo and with the occasion of Olympian 2, the four-horse-chariot victory of Theron of Acragas.21 The story of Aristides’ divine favor is not over; at this point he embarks on a long story of how the Apollonian paean was responsible for his physical salvation on the dangerous journey home from Rome— and here he invokes the poet Simonides as precedent. When he detains his sailors against their will at Delos during a storm,22 thus saving them from probable shipwreck, Aristides claims this inspired foresight as the profit and reward (kerdos and misthos, HL IV.36) of the song he had composed in the god’s honor. Just as Simonides escaped the collapse of his patron Scopas’s house, Aristides says, summoned away by the Dioscuri in disguise, so he too benefits from a similar exchange in the poetic economy that links human and divine.23 Acting as the god’s “interpreter,” as a kind of hinge between mortal and immortal, Aristides outdoes his poetic predecessor, saving not just his own life but the lives of his crew as well (HL IV.36).24 This divinely inspired paean for Apollo leads off a sequence of briefer anecdotes of verse hymns composed at the behest (and under the instruction) of various gods. Athena, Apollo, and Asclepius all appear to Aristides in dreams to urge the composition and performance of hymns in their honor (HL IV.39, 41), and his hymnic efforts were part of the day-to-day life of temple healing and ritual, as another manifestation of divinehuman relationship.25 He reports a dream in which a hymn to Dionysus

20. Aristides affects ignorance, for example, of the term “epode” (IV.31). 21. For the legend that the poet was born during the Pythian festival of Apollo, and that his name was called out every day at the moment the priests closed the doors of the temple of Apollo at Delphi, see Pindar fr. 193. As for many of the archaic poets, the “Life” of Pindar had a long tradition and would have been widely known in Aristides’ day (Lefkowitz 1981, 65). 22. An island sacred to Apollo, as he points out (IV.32). 23. Cf. Simonides fr. 510. 24. Carson 1999, 40 uses this story of Simonides to describe the poet as “hinge.” 25. Aristides refers to his poetic compositions for various gods: III.4 to Asclepius, “nearly” the first verses he wrote; IV.4 to Asclepius; IV.4 to Artemis Thermaia, the nymphs, the Aesepus River; IV.40 to Hermes and Dionysus, to Zeus; IV.41 to the nymphs of Smyrna; IV.42 a paean to Heracles Asclepius (cf. 40.21). He speaks again of melê for Asclepius but also for other gods— Pan, Hecate, Acheloos, and others (IV.39). See Behr 1981–1986, 2:414–415.



provokes ritual action: “While this was being sung in sleep there flowed around my ears a marvelous sound. And it was necessary to supplicate bending the right knee and call the god Lusios [Deliverer]” (HL IV.39).26 He also describes a choral competition in the temple of Asclepius at Pergamum, for which he composed a cycle of songs with the god’s assistance (IV.43–44). Apparently, during his kathedra Aristides maintained (at the god’s instruction) a chorus of boys who sang his poetic compositions (asmata and melê) as he crafted them. With a group of choristers on hand to realize his work, Aristides could bask in his literary accomplishments, experiencing (as he says) a sense of well-being (rhastonê), high spirits (euthymia), and the profit (kerdos) of release from physical pain—as well as a sense of composure (autarcheia, HL IV.38)—as he listened to the boys’ voices. When a group of these compositions won distinction in a choral competition, Aristides decided to commemorate the event. He commissioned a tripod, intending to dedicate it to the god and to have it inscribed with an epigram that would celebrate his own role in every aspect of the literary affair: “The poet, president of the contest, and choregos himself,/ has dedicated to you, lord, this memorial of the choral performance” (HL IV.45).27 Before he could have the lines inscribed, however, the god intervened in a dream, rejecting the verses and dictating instead a strikingly Pindaric commemoration: “Not unknown among the Hellenes, Aristides has made this dedication,/illustrious charioteer of ever-flowing tales [muthoi].”28 The language of the god’s revised epigram has the effect of enhancing Aristides’ poetic prestige, but it also subordinates him to Asclepius: the final inscription records the poetic voice of the god, so that Aristides writes himself onto the monument—and into the text of the HL—as the god’s interpreter, his hypocritês. In this series of poetic efforts, the god’s voice seems to be the final one we hear, in the improved lines that Aristides presumably had inscribed for commemorative purposes within the sanctuary.29 In fact, though, in this exchange of divine and human voices, Aristides claims the rhetorical last

26. For Dionysus as “deliverer” (lusios), see Or. 41.7. 27. HL IV.45: Ποιητὴς ἀέθλων τε βραβεὺς αὐτός τε χορηγός,/σοὶ τόδ’ ἔθηκεν, ἄναξ, μνῆμα χοροστασίης. 28. HL IV.45: Oὐκ ἀφανὴς Ἕλλησιν Ἀριστείδης ἀνέθηκεν/μύθων ἀενάων κύδιμος ἡνίοχος. I have discussed this passage in Downie 2009. 29. As Petsalis-Diomidis 2010, 262 points out, the dedication of the tripod would have made Aristides visible (oὐκ ἀφανὴς) in the sanctuary.

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


word, and as he does so he appropriates for prose the poetic prerogative of divine sponsorship. For when he offers his interpretation of the god’s intervention, he quietly alters the muthoi (“tales”) of the inspired dedicatory inscription to logoi (“words,” “speeches”), the designation he prefers for all his writing: “the god,” he says a few lines later, “had proclaimed that my speeches [logoi] would be ever-flowing [ aenaoi].” The adjective “ever-flowing” (aenaos) comes originally from the world of poetry, linking Aristides’ efforts with those of Pindar and his lyric contemporaries and, through them, with the epic tradition of Muse-inspired verse.30 In other words, Aristides appropriates for his literary endeavors in prose the prestige of poetic composition and performance, and the aura of divine inspiration evoked by the epithet that the god had applied to his choral poetry.

Experiment and Innovation Aristides tells us that his verse hymns were gathered together in a book (HL IV.39)—though none of this material has come down to us beyond the brief invocations and references that punctuate this autobiographical excursus in the fourth Logos. In his extant works, however, we can see that in his prose hymns Aristides develops his conception of logoi as a zone of contact between human and divine. The same idea is at work elsewhere in his oeuvre, and especially in his prose hymns, where he cultivates a double authorial voice. At once devotional pieces and “weapons in [his] sophistic armoury,” Aristides’ prose hymns cover a wide stylistic range, from those that exhibit a high concentration of cultic and Platonic features—short cola, rhythmic elements, and patterning devices like anaphora—to more elaborately periodic epideictic pieces.31 The shape of each hymn follows, in general, the standard, three-part

30. Cf., e.g., Homer, Od. 13.109; Simonides 531 and 581; and Pindar, Pyth. 1.6 and Ol. 14.12, with discussion by Ford 2002, 108–112 of the “quasi-magical” resonance of aenaos. 31. “Weapons”: Bowie 1989, 221. Furley and Bremer 2001, 57–59 separate cult from literary hymns—though even in the cult context hymns have a double purpose: (a) to “realize” the meeting between god and worshipper, and (b) to construct a foundation for prayer on behalf of the community. Russell 1990b, 200 groups Aristides’ Orr. 37, 41, 43, and 45, in the first category (cultic), and Orr. 44 and 46 in the second (epideictic). Orr. 39, 40, and 42, he suggests, have elements of both styles. However, the nexus of rhetoric and cult is particularly close in the hymns, as Goeken 2012, 60–61 points out. Cf. Goeken 2007, 202.



development: invocation (epiklêsis), development (eulogia), and prayer (euchê),32 but Aristides is especially interested in the brief proemium that precedes these elements, where he has license to develop a personal voice and to elaborate anecdotally on his own relationship with the god. In many of these proemia he claims divine inspiration in dreams, and indeed Orations 37–41 and Or. 53 are known as manteutai for this reason.33 The genesis of these prose hymns, then, Aristides attributes to the same kind of divine intimacy that fostered his poetic ventures. Modeling himself again on the inspired poet, at the end of his hymn to Heracles, he describes himself as “singing” his logos, just as one would melic poetry, and he links this performance to a recent dream in which he spoke (legein) the praises of Heracles in the vestibule of Apollo—Pindar’s patron and the god of poetry and the lyre (Or. 40.22). Aristides defines his authorial voice through and against the poetic tradition again in the oration to Dionysus, where he invokes a virtual chorus of gods to inspire the hymn (Or. 41.1–2):

Ἡγείσθω μὲν αὐτὸς34 Ἀσκληπιὸς ὁ φήνας τὸ ὄναρ, ἡγείσθω δὲ Διόνυσος αὐτός, ᾧ χορεῦσαι δεῖ, Ἀπόλλων τε μουσηγέτης, τοῦ μὲν πατήρ, τοῦ δὲ ἀδελφός, ὡς λόγος. τοὺς μὲν οὖν τελέους ὕμνους τε καὶ λόγους περὶ Διονύσου Ὀρφεῖ καὶ Mουσαίῳ παρῶμεν καὶ τοῖς ἀρχαίοις τῶν νομοθετῶν· αὐτοὶ δὲ ὡσπερεὶ συμβόλου χάριν, ὡς οὐ τῶν ἀμυήτων ἄρ’ ἦμεν, συμμέτρῳ τῇ φωνῇ προσείπωμεν τὸν θεόν· πάντως δὲ καὶ μήκη καὶ βραχύτητες καὶ ὁτιοῦν τῶν ἐν τῇ φύσει φίλον αὐτῷ. καί πως καὶ τὰ ἐκ τοῦ ὀνείρατος συμβαίνει, τὸ δεῖν εἶναι πολυμηχάνους περὶ τοὺς λόγους. Let Asclepius himself, who revealed the dream, take the lead; let Dionysus himself, for whom we all should dance, lead off, and

32. The structure appears in verse hymns throughout the literary and cult tradition and is ascribed to prose hymns in later rhetorical treatises. See Furley and Bremer 2001, 50–63; Pernot 1993a, 1:223. 33. Menander Rhetor is the first to refer to the orations collectively by this title (3.344.1–4). See Russell and Wilson 1981 with note ad loc., and Russell 1990b, 199. For descriptions of how Aristides received literary guidance in dreams, see HL IV.25, IV.30, and Or. 42.2, 42.11. 34. I follow the text of Goeken 2012, who, like Dindorf (47) and Behr 1981–1986, 2:244, 463, retains αὐτὸς (bracketed by Keil 1958) as a feature of parallel structure.

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


Apollo, leader of the Muses, father to the one and brother to the other, as the story has it. Let us leave to Orpheus and Musaeus, and to the ancient lawgivers, the perfected hymns and speeches about Dionysus. But for ourselves, as if to offer a sign that we are not among the uninitiated, let us address the god with measured voice [summetros phônê]. Indeed, length and brevity and everything in nature is dear to him. And somehow the matter of the dream comes to pass, that we must be skillful in oratory. Aristides grants to the quasi-mythical poets and lawgivers (Orpheus and Musaeus) of the ancient past their perfect, consecrated (teleoi) hymns and logoi about Dionysus,35 but he claims a different—equally divine—voice for himself in terms similar to the Sarapis proemium: a symmetros phônê that is a measured reflection of the natural order (phusis) of the cosmos. As in the other “manteutai,” he finds this voice by way of a divine dream that gives him a privileged relationship to the god, as one of the fold of “initiates.”36 In the proemium of the hymn to Athena, Aristides suggests that his logos is evidence of a relationship with the goddess that involves interiorizing the divine voice. He describes the oration as a mixture of hymn (hymnos) and prayer (euchê), asking that Athena “touch the present speech” (Or. 37.1) and make the things that are in his dream (onar) a waking reality (hypar).37 He uses the intimate relationship of prayer to seek a stronger correspondence between the inner world (of dream revelation) and the outer world, especially at the end of the hymn, where he hopes for excellence “in thought and speech,” and for not just the outward manifestation of divine inspiration—victory and success—but its inward reality: “may I be victorious as much as I wish, and may the better things triumph inside me first.”38 The implication seems to be that the divine is in some way a

35. “Logoi” presumably has special resonance here in connection with the Orphic hieroi logoi. See Henrichs 2003, and chap. 1, above. 36. See Goeken 2012, 465 (notes ad loc.) on the learned irony with which Aristides claims his own space in this proemium. 37. Or. 37.1: τοῦ παρόντος ἔφαψαι λόγου. See Goeken 2012, 361 on the oration as a “mixture” of prayer and hymn. 38. 37.29: νικῷμι δὲ ὅσον βούλομαι· ἐν αὐτῷ δ’ ἐμοὶ πρώτῳ νικῴη τὰ βελτίω. Cf. Socrates’ prayer at the end the Phaedrus (279b8): “O dear Pan, and the other gods of this place: grant that I may become beautiful inside.” (Â φίλε Πάν τε καὶ ἄλλοι ὅσοι τῇδε θεοί, δοίητέ μοι καλῷ γενέσθαι τἄνδοθεν.)



part of him—the better part: it is because Athena has conquered his mind that Aristides attains public success. The oratorical victory Aristides prays for in the hymn to Athena relies, then, on the realization of a voice that is double, both human and divine, and that makes the inner world of inspiration and the outer world of literary composition and performance transparent to each other. Aristides dissolves the boundary between the divine voice of the dream and his own rhetorical performance in his hymn for the Sons of Asclepius.39 In other proemia dreams are a source of inspiration; here, dream and speech actually contain and reflect one another (Or. 38.1): “Kλῦτε φίλοι, θεῖός μοι ἐνύπνιον ἦλθεν ὄνειρος,” ἔφη αὐτὸ τὸ ὄναρ· ταύτην γὰρ δὴ ἐδόκουν ἀρχὴν ποιεῖσθαι τοῦ λόγου, ὡς ὕπαρ τὸ ὄναρ σκοπῶν ἐπ’ ἐμαυτοῦ· ἐχέτω δὴ καὶ τὸ ἐνύπνιον ὡς ὕπαρ καὶ τὸ δρώμενον ὡς ἡ πρόρρησις εἶχεν. “Hearken friends, a divine dream came to me in sleep,” said the dream itself. For indeed I dreamed that I made this the opening of my speech, while I regarded the dream before me as if it were a waking reality.40 So let the dream indeed be like waking reality, and let the sacred rite [to drômenon] be as was prophesied [prorrhêsis]. The speaker’s first words in this oration turn out to be a dream voice— appropriated in turn from the scene of Agamemnon’s dream in Homer in which the hero reports his vision to the assembled Achaeans (Il. 2.56–59).41 When Aristides speaks, it is the dream itself speaking— but a dream that replicates (and therefore predicts) the performance scenario of waking reality. The layers of dream and reality in this proemium are almost as complex as in the HL: Aristides’ speech is not just inspired by his dream, but is a realization of it—in more vivid fashion than the other hymns—to the extent that his rhetorical performance is

39. He also virtually writes himself, as author, into the divine genealogy: “the speech and the youths,” he says, “have the same father” (Or. 38.5). 40. On Aristides’ language of the waking vision, see Behr 1968, 191-192, especially n. 68. 41. Il. 2.56–59. Since Agamemnon misunderstands his dream, Aristides seems to evoke the complexity of a dream world that is hard to read and sometimes deceptive. Cf. Goeken 2012, 389 (ad loc.).

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


elevated to the status of a sacred rite (to drômenon) fulfilling a prophecy (prorrhêsis). By situating the divine voice inside his mind in the prayer at the end of the hymn to Athena, and by playing with the interpenetration of dream and speech in the proemium of his piece for the Sons of Asclepius, Aristides works on the margins of the prose hymn to break down the boundaries between human and divine. In a sense, this runs counter to convention since the hymn, in both its rhetorical and cultic dimensions, depends upon recognizing the division between god and man at the same time as it constructs a bridge between the two that is coextensive with the performance (or with the text) itself. Aristides seems eager to abolish the division altogether, but he experiments with this idea only in the proemia: at least in the written versions of these texts, the place for the writer’s voice is on the fringes of the hymn proper. Within the body of each hymn, we find the rhetorical topos that language is inadequate to express divine subjects, but in the proemia Aristides’ insistent claim to personal divine inspiration creates tension with this tradition. As his logoi are aenaoi, according to the divine voice in his dream of the dedicatory inscription (HL IV.45)—Aristides’ prose, with its symmetros phône, aspires to a double voice, human and divine.

Periautologia and the Constraints of Genre As important as they are to Aristides, the proemia of his hymns are, in formal terms, a peripheral literary space. Only on the edges of the hymn does Aristides experiment with the double voice of authorial inspiration; the body of each composition remains focused on the god. For the genre of the hymn imposes some limits: How much authorial presence is acceptable within a text addressed to—and in praise of—a god? Aristides’ polemical Or. 28, Concerning a Remark in Passing, suggests that he crossed a line in this regard with at least one of the many hymns, both prose and verse, that he presented during his two-year sojourn in the Pergamene Asclepieium. A moment of self-assertion during the performance of an address to Athena apparently provoked criticism, and in Or. 28 Aristides presents a lengthy self-defense in response to the complaint of an audience member that he “improperly made a remark in passing (paraphthengesthai) during the encomium and the speech to



the god” (Or. 28.2).42 In an excursus from his hymnic text, Aristides had apparently claimed that certain turns of phrase had come to him from the goddess herself (28.21).43 In his critic’s mind, this claim to divine inspiration amounted to boasting (alazoneia), and he faulted Aristides for mixing self-assertion with praise of the god. Like so many texts in the Greek apologetic tradition, Aristides’ Or. 28 turns an attack into an opportunity for even stronger self-presentation. Whereas in the original performance Aristides’ divine inspiration was the subject of a parenthetical excursus, here it is the central focus of an oration that offers, essentially, a new theory of self-praise (periautologia).44 He draws up a lengthy catalog of precedents in the Greek tradition to support the right of the brilliant individual to advertise his natural authority, and in the oration’s central section he describes and enacts the kind of divine inspiration that prompted the paraphthegma in the first place—the inspiration that, Aristides claims, should free him from the formal conventions of the hymnic genre.45 Aristides’ catalog of literary periautologia includes examples from both poetry and prose and is organized by genre, so as to foreground questions of generic propriety. He begins with examples of heroic self-assertion (28.16–17, 25–44), and then moves from Homer, through lyric and choral

42. 28.2: οὐκ ὀρθῶς παραφθεγξαίμην μεταξὺ τοῦ ἐγκωμίου καὶ τῶν λόγων τῶν εἰς τὴν θεόν. Scholars have debated whether the controversial performance at issue in Or. 28 concerned the extant hymn To Athena (Or. 37). Behr 1968, 53 thought not, because the subscription to Or. 37 indicates that the oration was written at Baris under the proconsul Severus, when Aristides was thirty-five years old. This would date the hymn from late 152 to early 153, whereas Or. 28 would appear to belong to the time of his kathedra, since Aristides refers at 28.133 (cf. 88) to his “fellow worshippers” (συμφοιτηταί) and to “the current situation in the temple of Asclepius” (τὰ νῦν ἐν Ἀσκληπιοῦ). In his introductory note to Or. 28, however, Goeken 2012, 347–359 shows that these references are far from conclusive when it comes to dating Or. 28, and that the thematic links between Or. 28 and Or. 37 merit closer attention. 43. 28.21: “Indeed we said, if you remember, that we related directly from memory some of the expressions the goddess revealed—unless you object.” (ἐλέγομεν γοῦν, εἰ μέμνησαι, ὅτι καὶ ἄντικρυς ἔστιν ἃ τῶν ῥημάτων ἀπεμνημονεύσαμεν ὧν ἡ θεὸς προὔδειξεν, εἰ μὴ τὸ σὸν κωλύει.) Aristides does not say explicitly that Athena delivered the lines in a dream, but this is in keeping with the general pattern of his experience (cf. 28.102 and 28.75). 44. Rutherford 1995. This new theory of self-praise is based not on managing the restrictions of social decorum, as Plutarch had outlined in his On Inoffensive Self-Praise, but rather on asserting the right of the brilliant individual to advertise his natural authority. See Betz 1978; Fields 2008 and 2009. 45. Behr 1981–1986, 2:382 outlines the structure of the oration, including the following core sections: catalog (of Greek writers who justly express pride) 18–97; centerpiece (on the circumstances and causes of the remark) 98–134; second catalog (of Greek writers) 135–152.

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


poetry—including Pindar and Simonides—to history and oratory, Plato, Isocrates, and the comic poets. His central concern is the place of the authorial voice in the text, particularly when one’s subject is divine. Hesiod provides a prime example, and Aristides uses a moment from the beginning of the Theogony to show that even this giant of archaic poetry might be accused of mixing self-praise with praise of the gods (28.21):

ὅσῳ δὲ ἡμεῖς ἐπιεικέστεροι Ἡσιόδου μάθε, ἐπειδή γε ἀναγκάζεις. ὁ μὲν μεταξὺ τὸν ὕμνον ποιῶν ταῖς θεαῖς τοῦτο ἐντέθεικε τὸ ἔπος, ἐγκώμιον, ὡς εἰπεῖν, ἑαυτοῦ· ἡμεῖς δὲ τοὺς εἰς τὴν θεὸν λόγους καθαροὺς καθαρῶς ἐξεργασάμενοι μικρόν τι περὶ ἡμῶν αὐτῶν ἄγραφον παρεφθεγξάμεθα. Since you force the issue, learn how much better our behavior is than Hesiod’s. He, in the midst of making a hymn for the goddesses, attributed this verse, an encomium, so to speak, to himself. But we, having worked out pure speeches to the goddess in a pure fashion, said a small thing in passing about ourselves, without writing it down. In Hesiod’s text, in fact the offending assertion of divine inspiration—“The Muses taught Hesiod fair song” (Theogony 22)—not only interrupts Hesiod’s hymn to the Muses, it also interrupts the litany of gods whose praises the Muses themselves sing. Aristides underscores the inappropriate juxtaposition of human and divine by describing this in the strict generic terms his anonymous critic seems to insist on maintaining: Hesiod interrupts the divine “hymn” with a human “encomium” (of himself !) even more egregiously than Aristides has been accused of doing—especially since in Hesiod’s case it is enshrined in a written text, rather than constituting simply an oral detour of the sort Aristides claims to have made. The division between hymn and encomium is basic to imperial-era taxonomies of epideictic literature by writers like Quintilian, Menander Rhetor, and Alexander Numenius. When they survey the vast array of epideictic possibilities, categorizing them by occasion and form, they regularly begin by identifying the object of praise: human or divine.46 Despite

46. Quintilian, who is the first to offer guidelines for writing about the gods in epideictic prose (Quint. 3.7.7–10), makes this distinction, though without using the designation “hymn” (cf. Boulanger 1923, 309–310). Menander Rhetor seems to be working with the same basic distinction (Menander Rhetor 1.331, 18–21). The Hadrianic writer Alexander Numenius, in his treatise on epideictic oratory, distinguishes between “encomia” in praise



the strictness of this division in theory, it is in fact a porous boundary that Aristides seems to be interested in manipulating in order to create a less rigorously defined terrain in which to explore his own literary interests.47 He avoids generic terms for his own work, describing his oration to Athena instead in terms of voice, as “pure speech spoken purely.” So while Aristides seems, on the one hand, to endorse generic norms, attempting to diminish his own transgression by suggesting that Hesiod’s offense was more pronounced than his own, on the other hand he stands by the integrity of his own performance, asserting that his literary voice sets him beyond generic boundaries. Part of Aristides’ claim to “purity” in Or. 28, of course, is that his self-regarding excursus was only spoken; it was not part of the written text like Hesiod’s, and like the numerous literary examples he cites in his catalog.48 He later suggests that whereas the rest of the oration was written in advance of the performance (28.75), the offending comment was “in speech only” (28.94) and “outside the text” (28.96).49 Still, as a defense, this is paradoxical, since Or. 28 itself is devoted to defending—indeed, commemorating—this avowedly marginal comment as the most important of the entire hymn. Aristides clearly wants to insist that his critic was inappropriately pedantic. The same desire to make the marginal central motivates Aristides’ comparison of his paraphthegma to the parabasis in drama. At the point of transition from his initial catalog of precedents to the text’s central passage on divine inspiration, Aristides invokes this theatrical convention (28.97):

ἴδοι τις ἂν καὶ τοὺς ἀγωνοθέτας καὶ τοὺς θεατὰς ἐπιχωροῦντας μικρόν τι περὶ αὑτῶν παραβῆναι, καὶ πολλάκις ἀφελόντες τὸ of men and “hymns” in praise of gods. In his Progymnasmata Theon (Spengel 1854–1885, 2:109) divides praise into three categories: praise of living people (encomium), praise of dead people (epitaphios), and praise of the gods (hymn). Cf. Aphthonius (Spengel 1854– 1885, 2:35), whose main distinction is between human and divine, and Hermogenes (Spengel 1854–1885, 2:14–15), for whom hymns are an afterthought. For older discussions, see Aristotle, Rh. 1.9.33. 47. Vix 2007, 241 discusses another instance in which Aristides pushes generic boundaries. 48. For a different interpretation of what Aristides means by the “purity” of his speech, see Rutherford 1995, 193, n. 3, who suggests that Aristides implies he spoke his hymn to Athena in its entirety before adding a self-aggrandizing comment at the end. 49. Cf. 28.36. 28.94: ἀπὸ στόματος μόνον (“in speech only”); 28.96: ἐγγράφειν (“write down”) vs. λόγου ἔξω (“outside the text”); 28.137: ἔξω τοῦ βιβλίου παρελήρησα (“I rambled nonsense beyond the text”). Also 28.36, 100.

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


προσωπεῖον μεταξὺ τῆς Mούσης ἣν ὑποκρίνονται δημηγοροῦσι σεμνῶς. One may observe that both agonothetes and spectators allow [the dramatic poets] to step forward and say something [parabênai] about themselves. So often, removing their mask in the midst of the poetic entertainment they’re acting, they address their listeners seriously. With the analogy of the dramatic parabasis Aristides revokes the very idea of a misstep.50 The remark he uttered in passing during the hymn to Athena was not beside the point; in fact, it was central. He redefines the paraphthegma as a moment of the utmost professional honesty, akin to the moment in which the classical audience encountered the voice of the playwright directly. Aristides reminds his audience that Isocrates uses the same image of the parabasis at the beginning of his Panegyricus when he announces that in the speech to come he must speak in a manner worthy of his entire life.51 For both authors this dramatic convention works as a topos of truth telling and of self-disclosure, and for Aristides it marks the claim that his paraphthegma discloses the foundations not just of this speech but of his rhetorical activities in general. Where Aristides departs from his fourthcentury model, however, is in asserting that these foundations consist of divine support. Here again, as in the Lalia for Asclepius, Aristides styles himself the dramatic interpreter of the god. In the central section of Or. 28, in a breathless syntactical crescendo that mimics the transport of inspiration, he explains that the paraphthegma was the goddess speaking through him to his listeners (28.105):

κἀμὲ οὕτως ἐξέταζε, καὶ ἔτι μεῖζον προστίθει· εἰ μὴ μέλλων ἀγωνιεῖσθαι, ἀλλ’ ἐμβεβηκώς [ἀγωνιζόμενος], εἰ παρ’ αὐτὴν τὴν χρείαν, εἰ τοῦ κρείττονος ὤν, εἰ ζέοντος τοῦ λόγου, εἰ πρῶτον μὲν αὐτὸς ἐλαυνόμενος, εἶτα τοὺς πολλοὺς τῷ αὐτῷ κέντρῳ κινῶν,

50. Earlier in this sentence Aristides has connected the parabasis with comic and tragic poets, as well as “those who are essential (anagkaiois) to these contestants”—perhaps a (sarcastic?) reference to mimes and pantomimes. On this passage, see Rutherford 1995, 194; Behr 1981–1986, 2:386 n. 142 and 143. On evidence for the tragic parabasis, see Rutherford’s n. 8. Cf. Aristides’ use of the word parabênai to describe a digression in To Plato, Or. 2.207. On the educational function of the parabasis, see Or. 29.28. 51. Or. 28.95, referring to Isocrates, Panegyricus 14, cf. 188.



ταῦτα παρεφθεγξάμην ἐπιστροφῆς εἵνεκα καὶ κοινῆς ὠφελείας τῶν ἀκουόντων, ὃ καὶ τῶν προοιμίων ἐπαινοῦμεν καὶ προσδεῖν αὐτοῖς φαμεν, κἂν εὑρίσκῃς ἃ λέγω προσόντα, τόλμησον εἰπεῖν· “οὐχ ὅδ’ ἄνευ θεοῦ τάδε μαίνεται, ἀλλὰ παρούσης τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς, ᾗ τὰ κράτιστα τῆς σωφροσύνης ἀνεῖται.” And examine me in this way, too, and add a more important consideration: if not about to contend, but already embarked upon contending, if by virtue of need itself, if under the sway of one greater, if the speech was boiling over, if I myself first launched into it and then, inciting many with the same goad, made this side remark for the sake of correction and of common assistance of the listeners— [a rhetorical move] which we both approve in our proemia [prooimia] and assert to be needful in them—and if you should find what we say pertinent, then dare to say: “this man does not rage madly without the god, but rather with Athena present, to whom the height of prudence is attributed.” In his role as hypocritês, Aristides identifies himself as an active link between the god and the audience. On these grounds he announces a philanthropic purpose for his periautologia that makes it not an elective but a necessary component of the prose hymn.52 Thus, the rhetorical features of direct address and personal testimony that, as we have already seen, Aristides tended to elaborate in the prologues and perorations of his prose hymns emerge here as the core of his hymnic project. While he argues from literary precedent in Or. 28, Aristides seems aware he is pushing the limits of generic propriety, and he justifies his

52. Aristides seems here to use the term prooimion as a synonym for hymnos, though elsewhere his reference to the Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo (Or. 34.35), as a prooimion shows that he is also familiar with the archaic function of the hymn as a prelude to the main epic performance: he refers to the poet’s address to the Delian girls (lines 169–172) as coming “at the end of the prooimion.” Aloni 1980, 30–33 argues that Aristides regarded his prose hymns as prooimia in the traditional sense of a prelude, but frequently used the term hymnos (e.g., 37.1, 45.34; cf. Weinreich 1969, especially 317, n. 2) because it was the more refined designation among contemporaries. For my purposes, it is unimportant whether Aristides means prooimion here to designate his hymns in their entirety or their introductions. Either way, he is saying that what is crucial in a hymn or hymnic prologue is to establish an instructional relationship between speaker (or author) and audience that is grounded in the understanding that the speaker has special access to the god. Note that in three of the five manuscripts that Keil takes as primary witnesses for his edition of Or. 28, πρὸ ἡμῶν appears instead of προοιμίων at 28.105 (Keil 1958 ad loc.).

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


attempt to claim a wider territory on grounds of divine inspiration. His central assertion in this polemical oration is that the orator is able to teach his audience because he preserves a divine trace (ichnos theion, 28.122): as we admire the Homeric warrior whose plumed helmet flashes in battle, he says, so we should admire an orator “from whose head the goddess emits fire” (28.110); the eloquence of a divinely gifted speaker cascades like a river’s torrent—and no ordinary river, but the Nile itself (28.111); certain “divine madness” (28.116: theia mania) is the “token” of the orator (symbolon 28.117), and so even if he could identify no precedent in any genre, divine inspiration would make his venture legitimate (28.117). As illustrated by his manteutai, dreams are the typical mode of Aristides’ divine inspiration, and they empower him to claim the double nature—human and divine—of his authorial voice. In Or. 28 Aristides relates that a dream—“notes of the sacred night,” as he describes it—had come through the gate of horn, reserved by the ancient poets reserved for true dreams, to furnish “a kind of sacred tale” (28.116: λόγον τινὰ ἱερὸν). Here, Aristides reports, is what the god said:

ἀνάγκη τὸν νοῦν, ἔφη, κινηθῆναι τὴν πρώτην ἀπὸ τοῦ συνήθους καὶ κοινοῦ, κινηθέντα δὲ καὶ ὑπερφρονήσαντα θεῷ συγγενέσθαι καὶ ὑπερέχειν. καὶ οὐδέτερόν γε, ἔφη ὁ διδάσκων, θαυμαστόν. ὑπεριδών τε γὰρ τῶν πολλῶν θεῷ τε ὁμιλήσας ὑπερέχει. “It is necessary,” he said, “for your mind to be moved first of all away from the customary and the common, but when it has been moved and has become scornful, for it to associate with the god and excel. And neither,” said my teacher [Asclepius], “is any wonder. For he excels who has scorned the general populace and has conversed with god.” Aristides sets himself apart, and claims his prerogative of self-expression, by characterizing his public speech as an extension of his conversation (hômilein) with the god.

Hieros Logos and Lalia Reporting these words of divine endorsement, Aristides places at the center of Or. 28 a dream that he calls a “hieros logos.” Twenty years later he would write a set of texts, full of divine dreams, to which he—or rather, the



god—would give the collective title “hieroi logoi,” and in the fourth of those logoi, he repeats almost verbatim the divine dream of Or. 28. This textual link between Aristides’ defense of his hymnic misstep and the HL is suggestive. For Aristides undertakes the writing of the HL to commemorate the deeds of Asclepius, and this collection of texts is his most dramatic assertion of divine communion, yet the HL are obviously not hymnic in the strict sense: defiantly unclassifiable, they offer a literary instantiation of his relationship with the divine. Aristides here moves beyond generic constraints into the kind of free space he was reaching for in Or. 28. In the HL he develops fully the claim to inspiration that makes his authorial voice at once human and divine. The informal style of the HL has sometimes led readers to conclude that it is a stream-of-consciousness record of personal experience. Reading the text against the performance scenario of Or. 28, however, allows us to see that the HL also encode Aristides’ awareness that his text probably runs the risk of a negative reaction from his audience. Aristides himself attributes the style partly to the fact that he wrote without easy access to the collection of notebooks in which he says he had faithfully recorded his dreams and other fragments of divine inspiration. As we saw in chapter 1, however, this is primarily a narrative device that helps Aristides establish his concern with prophetic time. Far from a stream-of-consciousness record, then, his written text represents a hermeneutic effort. For this reason, the text is punctuated by moments of reorientation in which he asks the god for compositional guidance. From one perspective, these invocations of his personal muse seem an acknowledgment that human language reaches its limit when charged with describing the divine. Yet in the HL this is not a gesture of failure: Aristides wagers that his dependence on Asclepius frees him from notions of sequence and causality that are basic to narrative, traditionally conceived, and he claims his literary independence.53 The issue is not merely that Aristides’ topic is divine but that he wants to claim a partly divine voice. Indeed, only up to a certain point are Aristides’ metanarrative remarks primarily concerned with the topos of

53. Pearcy 1988, 379 puts this in terms of the literary critical tradition: “The Sacred Tales proceed from an awareness that the human desire to perceive reality in the shape of a story must give way when the subject is divine, and that sequence, causality, and the other determiners of Aristotelian narrative (Poetics 1450 B24) cannot take their accustomed place if the narrative is to represent the condensations and displacements common to dreams and miracles.”

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


linguistic incommensurability: the motif of soliciting the god’s assistance with remembering and ordering the narrative, for example, is prominent in HL II, and it appears in HL III but not in subsequent Logoi.54 Instead, in HL IV and V, remarks about the decorum of his account—particularly as written document—become prominent, and Aristides voices hesitation about his visions of union with the god. His rendition of the “hieros logos” from Or. 28 is repeated in terms that precisely echo the earlier speech. As we can see from his account of the scenario that prompted Or. 28, Aristides knows that there may be a price to pay for this degree of self-assertion, and so the HL also incorporate a series of metanarrative remarks in which he anticipates the reaction of his human audience. At HL IV.52 Aristides repeats the vision from Or. 28, describing it as “a tale concerning oratory and divine communion.” Here, it is preceded by a series of self-aggrandizing visions that portray his close connection to the god: dreams in which he receives a crown for his speeches, finds that he shares a tomb with Alexander (on the grounds that they have each reached the top of their respective fields), and gains other marks of special distinction. In one dream, after a collective ritual observance, Aristides alone is detained by Asclepius, who appears to him in the likeness of his statue. Grateful at being singled out by the god, Aristides acclaims (ekboein) Asclepius (IV.50) “the one!” (heis).55 But Asclepius turns the formal acclamation back to Aristides, saying, “You are!” (su ei)—an exchange of affirmations that enacts the kind of synergy between divine and human voices that he sought to develop in the rhetorical-devotional context of his prose

54. See Gigli 1977, 218. Aristides also uses the language of religious mystery to express hesitation that his experience is incompatible with human language: Cf. II.33: “And what man could describe these things in words? If any one is of the initiated, he knows and understands”; III.48: “There were other things, which caused a wonderful feeling of terror, and cannot perhaps be told to all.” 55. Cf. HL II.7, where Aristides says he acclaimed the god at the Warm Springs: “Great (megas) is Asclepius!” and HL II.21, where those watching Aristides’ river bath shout “that celebrated (polyhymnêton) phrase, ‘Great is Asclepius!’” The concept of the oneness or singularity of the god appears also in aretalogical and hymnic contexts, particularly as an attribute of Sarapis (see Versnel 1990, 243 and cf. Or. 45.21). Versnel 1990, 50, n. 32 (citing the Greek magical papyri) notes that acclamation of a god as “one” is characteristic of records of salvation from illness, in some variation on the formula εἷς θεὸς ὁ βοηθῶν or βοηθός. The attribute of “oneness” does not imply a monotheistic view of the world. Partly for this reason scholars are generally inclined to take Aristides’ acclamation of the god—εἷς—as an affective, rather than a theological or philosophical, outburst (Höfler 1935, 65; he compares it with Or. 45.18, in the sense “you are my all”; cf. Nock 1933, 292–293: “not a creedal statement but a cry of enthusiasm”).



hymns, and that forecasts the “divine communion” represented by the god’s “hieros logos.”56 In HL IV Aristides also prefaces his report of the “hieros logos” with a metanarrative remark that shows he is aware his assertions of divine intimacy are so bold that he might be accused of a misstep of the sort that was at issue in Or. 28. In the first of a series of self-conscious rhetorical gestures in HL IV and V, he appeals to the god to sanction his words (IV.50):

τὰ δ’ ἐντεῦθεν ἤδη, εἰ μὲν θέμις, εἰρήσθω καὶ γεγράφθω, εἰ δὲ μὴ, τοσοῦτον σοὶ μελήσειεν, δέσποτα Ἀσκληπιέ, ἐπὶ νοῦν ἀγαγεῖν μοι διαγράψαι παντὸς δυσκόλου χωρίς. As to what comes next, if it is lawful, let it be said and written; but if not, may it be your concern, Lord Asclepius, to prompt me to strike it out, without any discontent.57

56. To acclaim a human heis is unusual (see Peterson 1926, 180–181); for its use this way in a satiric context, see Versnel’s 1990 study of Martial 5, and also Lucian’s Peregrinus 15, where the dêmos acclaims (anakrazein) Peregrinus as ἕνα φιλόσοφον .  .  . ἕνα Διογένους καὶ Kράτητος ζηλωτήν (“the one philosopher . . . the one emulator of Diogenes and Crates”). Also in a humorous mode, in Lucian’s, Zeuxis 2, the speaker is said by others to be ἕνα καὶ μόνον (“one and only”) among Hellenes. Cf. HL IV.78, where Aristides is described as being “first” (prôteuein). The theme of singular authority appears in Or. 43.18 (To Zeus), where Aristides links human governmental order with divine order and subordination. Behr 1968, 50 takes the acclamation at HL IV.50 as primarily oriented toward the metaphoric transfer of the hieratic title to Aristides himself (“you are”). Cf. HL I.17, where Aristides dreams of seeing a statue that is at once of himself and of the god. The concept of homoiosis with the god as the telos of human life was well developed by middle Platonist philosophers like Albinus, one of Aristides’ contemporaries in second-century Smyrna (Dillon 1996, 299). Even if there was no “school of Gaius” in second-century Smyrna (Dillon, contra Behr 1981–1986, 449; Moreschini 1994, 1242), it seems likely he would have had some contact with middle Platonism in intellectual circles there and at Pergamum (De Lacy 1974). Aristides does not use the technical terminology of middle Platonic philosophy, nor does he suggest here a particular theological framework, but the collection of references to philosophers (classical and contemporary) and to their teachings suggests that he aims to appropriate the prestige of this branch of intellectual endeavor, and in particular philosophy’s claims to special access to the cosmic and divine order. 57. The translation of διαγράψαι raises problems, as it may mean either “strike out” or “inscribe.” For reasons I explain below, I support Behr’s original 1968 translation of διαγράψαι (“strike out”) rather than the 1981 version: “As to what comes next, if it is fitting (themis), let it be said and written, and if not, may you be fully concerned, Lord Asclepius, to prompt me to describe it without causing any disagreeableness.” Cf. Festugière 1986 and 1969, 144–145, “.  .  . sinon, puisses-tu prendre soin toi-même, Seigneur Asclépios, de me mettre dans l’esprit de n’en écrire que tout juste ce qu’il faut, sans que nul ne le prenne à mal,” and his critique of the translation in Behr 1968 (Festugière 1969, 144–145). On either reading, the meaning is clear: Aristides calls upon the god to sanction his work and take responsibility for the text. However, the meaning “strike out” (for διαγράψαι) is well supported

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


Obviously, Aristides has every intention of describing the vision of unity with the god that follows, and no thought of deleting it from his account. But he can still make the rhetorical suggestion that he might omit it: setting up the dichotomy of lawful (themis) and unlawful, he raises the possibility that the god might disapprove the vision as blasphemous in order to make the point to his human audience that since he voices it, he does so with the god’s endorsement.58 The problem of self-assertion, therefore, recalls Or. 28, where he invoked the same hieros logos of communion with the god in an attempt to elude the generic expectations of his audience, and it recalls as well the point that Aristides made there concerning the special liberties of oral performance. In his oration Concerning a Remark in Passing, he emphasized that—in contrast with a written text—the scenario of oral performance should permit personal digressions. This argument makes sense on the imperial stage: literary performances regularly included a medley of introductory vignettes as preface to more formal declamations, and in the temple context, hymns were presented alongside other kinds of pieces—indeed, Apuleius prefaced a hymn to Asclepius with not just a conversational prologue but also a dialogue in the god’s honor.59 Aristides, too, mixed hymns with some sort of an address to an audience (demêgorein, HL II.30), and Lucian’s writings show that short, introductory pieces were a rhetorical staple, most of them aiming to capture the attention and the goodwill of the audience in preparation for the oratorical pièce de résistance. The opportunity for personal digression, then, depended upon the speaker negotiating the right kind of relationship with his audience. When Aristides prefaces his “hieros logos” in the HL by asking the god to sanction his speech, he seeks, indirectly, consent from

by parallels from Aristides’ On a Remark in Passing: Or. 28.11, 14, and 24. At 28.14 Aristides argues that he not only judges the actions and productions of others but he criticizes (psegein) his own work, too: ἃ γὰρ διαγράφω καὶ μεταποιῶ, πῶς οἴει με πρὸς ταῦτα ἔχειν; (“For how do you think I feel about those things I strike out and change?”) Similar preoccupations appear at 28.89 (ἀναλεῖψαι); 28.63 (ἐξαλειπτέον); 28.148 (ἀπαλείψειεν). 58. After making a pretense of concern whether the god will permit him to commit the vision to writing, he closes with the focus still on the god’s reaction, expressing the hope that he will not see his esteem (timê) from Asclepius diminished (HL IV.51). 59. Apuleius, Florida 18.39. This piece is a prolalia to the hymnic performance, which incorporated pseudo-Platonic touches and the rhetorical flourish of bilingualism (Harrison 2000b, 34 and n. 124). Cf. Edelstein and Edelstein 1945, 337 (T. 608). See also Bowie 1990, 83–84 on these competitive and cult performance and MacMullen 1981, 18 on the vast audiences such performances might draw.



his human audience to embark upon the story of personal inspiration he wants to tell. In moments of metanarrative self-consciousness in the HL, Aristides not only expresses hesitation but also creates a literary space at the heart of his text for the kind of self-expression he aspired to in his hymns. In the HL we see him in the process of opening up a very traditional genre by incorporating into it some of the expressive freedom that was part of the experimental rhetorical landscape in the imperial period. By the time Menander Rhetor was writing, surveying some three centuries of imperial-era Greek prose to offer a systematic account of rhetorical genres, the personal, informal introductory vignettes that Lucian called “dialexeis” had taken on a literary life of their own.60 Menander acknowledged the variety and mixture of texts and performances that had emerged, by finding a place in his taxonomy of traditional “genres”—the basilikos logos, the epithalamium, the epibatêrios or the propemptikê, for example—for what he calls lalia, or the “informal chat.” The style of the “chat,” he says, should be “simple, plain and unadorned” (393.22), and the text should hide its artifice (391.23, 392.13), free of the topical structures of traditional rhetoric (392.11).61 A mode of speaking and writing (genos diexelthein, 389.1) characterized by great freedom, lalia may aim at an effect of “continuous disorder” (391.19–28) and is distinctive in allowing the author to speak about his own emotions (388.27; cf. 390.19, pathoi). This “informal chat” stands apart from other generic forms Menander discusses because it is not linked to any standard performance context—indeed its primary concern is to establish authorial voice by negotiating a situation-specific relationship between rhetor and audience. As the personal “chat,” or lalia developed over the course of the imperial period, then, it created a place for personal oratory—no longer merely as prologue to a more traditional oration, but sometimes as the central rhetorical event in its own right. By setting his Or. 28 next to his literary venture in the HL, we can see that Aristides brings to the imperial-era development of personal rhetoric a distinctive set of preoccupations. The HL are Aristides’ most overtly

60. Nesselrath 1990, 112. Lalia may have links with the Hellenistic philosophical sermon, but Russell and Wilson suggest that it emerged as a part of rhetorical practice only with imperial-era writers (Russell and Wilson 1981, xxxi). We have no evidence that lalia had a formal status in treatises on rhetoric before Menander Rhetor. 61. Pernot 1993a, 565 gives a summary definition of lalia: brief, amusing, informal, and allusive.

A Prose Hymn for Asclepius?


personal text, but their central concern with a double, divinely inspired, authorial voice, and their self-consciousness about the social consequences of literary experimentation, are themes that we can trace also in the corpus of prose hymns that are an important and distinctive part of his literary legacy. It is through pushing at the boundaries of hymnic convention that Aristides develops his sense of language as a dynamic link between human and divine, and in the HL he carves out a free literary space in which to establish this understanding as the foundation of his self-image as a rhetor.

Conclusion Aristides was an active participant in an arena of performance oratory that was at once shaped by genres and conventions operating to restrict prose logoi, and in constant renegotiation by individuals who were creatively involved in literary culture. In this context, we should see the HL as a kind of literary experiment. Or. 28 shows that oratorical propriety was contested, and that Aristides felt the constraints of rhetorical decorum in speaking about the gods—particularly when it came to including testimony to his own contact with the divine that might strike audiences as inappropriately self-assertive. When he decides, some two decades later, to present in the HL an extended account of the relationship with Asclepius that he regularly claims as the grounds for his excellence in oratory, he faces the challenge of finding a style of writing in which he can combine personal narrative with praise of the god. In fact, he had been working toward this stylistic experiment over the course of his professional career. We can trace this preoccupation in various prose hymns, particularly their proemia, and also in the vocational manifesto of the Sarapis prologue, where Aristides works out a powerful and original vision of metron by appropriating and redefining the poetic tradition of the value of language as the intermediary between human and divine. In the HL, then, he expands on the limited possibilities for personal address offered by hymns, to make room for the double voice—human and divine—required by his role as the hypocritês of the god.

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“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife of HL I and II, Aristides notes that he is under divine obligation to acknowledge the deeds and providence of the Savior (I.1–3, II.2–3). He insists again in HL V that he presents his account, in the first instance, as a celebration of the exploits of Asclepius. From this perspective, he reasons, it would be misplaced (atopon), when he has described in such detail the god’s physical cures, “to pass over in silence (parelthein siôpê) those things that at the same time raised up my body, strengthened my soul, and increased the glory of my oratory” (V.36).1 Indeed, Aristides’ professional reputation comes to the fore in HL IV and V, where the narrative focuses on his public engagements at the intersection of oratory and politics. As we saw in chapter 3, Aristides begins the fourth Logos with a narrative of his return to oratorical practice, after a year of illness, in 145 (IV.14–62). In the second half of HL IV, he records his attempts, between 147 and 153, to obtain release on professional grounds from duties of public service (IV.63–108), and in HL V he goes on to describe a series of triumphant oratorical performances he gave in the cities of Asia Minor between 165 and 171, close to the time of the text’s composition.2 This focus on public reputation in HL IV and V is motivated, at least to some degree, by his concern about time spent away from the public arenas


1. HL V.36: ἐκεῖνα δὲ ἃ ὁμοῦ τὸ σῶμα ἀνίστη, τὴν ψυχὴν ἐπερρώννυ, τοὺς λόγους ηὖξε μετ’ εὐδοξίας. 2. Behr 1994, 1160–1163 argues for a composition date of 171. Weiss 1998, 38 and nn. 55 and 56 proposes the later date of 175, based on a hypothesis about the identity of the consul Salvius, named in II.9 (see chap. 1, above); cf. Bowersock 1969, 79–80. Scholars have speculated that HL VI, which breaks off after only several lines, may have dealt with the years of travel and performance between 155 and 165 (Behr 1981–1986, 2:445).



of Asia Minor’s major cities, for Aristides worries aloud about his absence from Smyrna at the time when honorary decrees (psêphismata) were being proclaimed (V.56).3 He seems to have moved in and out of public life over the course of his career, and part of his aim in this section of the text is to give his own account of those movements. His most visible withdrawal, of course, was the retreat from Rome that brought him ultimately to his twoyear kathedra at the Asclepieium in Pergamum—but the kathedra itself he presents in HL IV as a period of professional rebirth and flourishing. Although, as he says, he gave up oratory during the first year of his illness and his residency, the god led him back to it through the inspired askêsis that he presents as the foundation of his subsequent career. The kathedra was not his only move to retire from public life, however, and when he details the limits of his social and political engagement in the second half of HL IV, he wants to explain that his professional agenda is backed by the god. In this part of the Logoi, then, Aristides seems concerned to fend off accusations of a lack of involvement in civic life. Specifically, in the “immunities narrative” he gives an account of how he succeeded in obtaining ateleia, or “immunity” from costly public service positions. He seems, here, to have in view an audience of contemporaries who were knowledgeable about his affairs and had a stake in the local political landscape. Nevertheless, while the motivation to give an account of his actions and engagements may be occasioned by immediate professional rivalries, he is also concerned about his reputation in posterity. Thus, by arguing that he earned exemption from public service on the grounds of his professional status, and by showing that he was backed in this appeal by divine sponsorship, Aristides makes a case for the unique political and social value of literary studies—paideia. Withdrawal (hêsychia) and solitude (emautô suneinai) may appear to detract from his reputation in the short

3. HL V.56: “I calculated how much time I had been away from Smyrna—and this when honorary decrees had come—and that I was already middle-aged, and in addition the many earlier years when it had been possible, if one was healthy, to tour the cities, and that there was a risk that even my existing reputation might be diminished through long silence . . .” (ἀναλογιζομένῳ δέ μοι τόν τε χρόνον ὁπόσον τινὰ ἀπείην τῆς Σμύρνης, καὶ ταῦτα ψηφισμάτων ἡκόντων, καὶ ὅτι καὶ ἡλικίας ἤδη μέσως ἔχοιμι, καὶ πρὸς τούτοις τῶν ἄνω χρόνων τὸ πλῆθος, ἐν οἷς ἐξῆν, εἴ τις ἔρρωτο, ἐπελθεῖν τὰς πόλεις, καὶ ὅτι καὶ τῆς ὑπαρχούσης δόξης δέος εἴη ἀφαιρεθῆναί τι διὰ τὴν πολλὴν ἡσυχίαν . . .) He is not explicit about the nature of these decrees, or about what they might mean for him.

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


term, but they will prove (he trusts) ultimately more profitable (V.56) because they allow him to devote energy to the written legacy that he regards as the proper record of his status and accomplishments. In this chapter, I focus on the immunities narrative of HL IV. This extended, sequential narrative presents the most public and politically sensitive material of the text, and it has been extensively studied and cited by scholars to illustrate the dynamics of provincial politics in the imperial context.4 My concern, however, is not with what Aristides may tell us about the contemporary political and social climate, but rather with how he goes about presenting a story that has been politically problematic for him as a triumph in professional terms. For, in contrast with polemical writings like Orations 28, 33, and 34, the HL are not fundamentally self-defensive or apologetic— Aristides simply asserts his heroic status. We have already seen that he casts his physical and his professional narrative in the heroic terms of athletic competition and mystic initiation. In the immunities narrative of HL IV he extends that heroic profile into the realm of contemporary politics. Turning, in the second part of the chapter, to Aristides’ conception of his literary heroism, I suggest that in the key dream stories of HL IV and V he develops a homology of body and book that illuminates the value of the HL for his public reputation. The monumental nature of written commemoration matters to Aristides, and while body and oratory corroborate one another as evidence of his divinely gifted status in contemporary contexts of performance, he seeks ways to make this reality also part of his literary afterlife.

The God and the Emperor: Aristides’ Case for Liturgical Immunity In 147 ce, in one of his first public appearances after the kathedra at Pergamum, Aristides entered the Assembly at Smyrna as an invited guest and was hailed by universal acclamation as the next high priest of Asia—a signal honor, it would seem, for a rhetor moving in the elite circles of the Roman Empire’s eastern provinces.5 But he refused the nomination. With

4. Bowersock 1969, 30–42; Nutton 1971, Behr 1994, 1205–1217; Swain 1996, 266–274. 5. Aristides appears to refer to the leadership of the imperial cult, an office normally designated by the term “Asiarch” (Friesen 1999, 276, n. 12). At IV.101, however, he describes the office as “the common priesthood of Asia” (τὴν ἱερωσύνην τὴν κοινὴν τῆς Ἀσίας)— perhaps an idiosyncratic circumlocution to avoid the un-Attic term “Asiarch.” Cf. IV.53, where Aristides is hailed as “Asiarch” in a dream.



a display of rhetorical pyrotechnics—as he tells the story in the HL—he managed to persuade his admirers that the will of Asclepius would prevent him from taking the position. Quick-witted in response, the Assembly tried to catch him at his own game by proposing an alternative office that he surely could not refuse: priest of Asclepius, then! But Aristides argued his way out of that one too, insisting he could do nothing without the god’s own guidance. “They were in awe,” (ethaumasan) of his powerful speech, Aristides says, “and they yielded” (IV.102). This dramatic scene is the culminating episode in Aristides’ account of his efforts to obtain immunity from civic liturgies. It captures the preposterous irony of the entire narrative: for all Aristides’ resistance to public service, he clearly values the status that these nominations imply. The point of the long and convoluted story of his battles with the Assembly and various governors for exemption from positions of public responsibility, then, is to bolster his public profile. He gives the impression that he was a regular presence in the political arena of Smyrna: the dêmos, he says, had sacrificed in his honor “many times before,” and the din that greeted his entry on this occasion was, he says, “customary” (IV.100–101). Between 147 and 153 ce he was targeted for appointments as high priest of Asia (IV.101); priest of Asclepius at Smyrna (IV.102); tax collector (IV.96); chief of police of his birthplace, Hadriani (IV.72); and “Prytanis” at Smyrna (IV.88); but he repeatedly contested the assignments.6 Aristides considers himself to be, in some sense, among the leading citizens of the province— “not among the obscure,” as he puts it—and yet he maintains that while his rank (taxis) might qualify him for service, the actual state of his affairs was something “completely different” (IV.73). Aristides was not the only leading citizen in this period to seek release from archai and leitourgia. Provincial and local offices and liturgies functioned essentially as a form of indirect imperial taxation, and increasingly individuals looked for ways to avoid the considerable financial outlay involved in taking on positions like guardian of the peace, or high priest.7 At various

6. He avoids the un-Attic titles “eirenarch” and “eklogistes,” opting instead for the circumlocution “guardian of the peace” (φύλακα τῆς εἰρήνης, IV.72) and the form “eklogeus” (ἐκλογεύς, IV.96), both of which have better Attic pedigree. See Schröder 1986 ad loc.; Behr 1968, 77, n. 54. On the role of the eirenarch, see Magie 1950, 647; cf. Jones 1940, 212–213. On the role of prytanis, see Magie 1950, 643. 7. The original distinction between archai—which traditionally carried prestige—and leitourgiai—which involved considerable financial outlay or liability—was gradually eroded, beginning as early as the second century (Millar 1983, 78; Jones 1940, 175, 339, n. 38, and

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


points in his immunities narrative Aristides alludes to financial circumstances, health issues, and technicalities of local attachment that may have provided grounds for contesting the appointments he resisted, but ultimately, his whole account is organized to support the claim that he won ateleia on the basis of his credentials as a rhetor.8 By imperial decree, a limited number of practitioners of certain professions were granted the privilege of exemption from service, but since Aristides was (apparently) not named among the five exempt rhetors of Smyrna, he had to launch an appeal for immunity in response to each nomination. One of the provisions he would presumably have invoked—although he nowhere refers to this—appears in the rescript of Antoninus Pius. The clause opened a route of appeal for those who did not enjoy the privilege of regular exemption but could be defined as “exceptionally learned” (agan epistêmôn).9 This, it would seem, was precisely the kind of status Aristides wanted. For, his aim in seeking immunity was not just to obtain release from all communal obligations but simultaneously to confirm and enhance his status as an orator. The requirements and procedure for seeking immunity on the grounds that one was “exceptionally learned” are not spelled out in legal or historical documents from the period, but from Aristides’ discussion it seems to have been necessary that an individual be actively involved in rhetorical activities, and especially in teaching. As he scrutinized a letter of recommendation from one of Aristides’ colleagues, a provincial legate remarked that it was one thing to be called “first of the Greeks and supreme in oratory” but quite another to be “engaged in this and have pupils” (IV.87). His advice to Aristides was to go to the council chamber and attempt to persuade his fellow citizens that he was so cf. 182 and 184 on the avoidance of liturgies; Magie 1950, 650–651). While civic contributions were consistently celebrated in commemorative inscriptions, documents suggest that from the second century ce people tried to evade these obligations in greater and greater numbers by claiming ateleia. Garnsey 1974 discusses this apparent “paradox” in his analysis of how the system of participation gradually broke down. As Millar 1983, 77 puts it, “The tension between rule and exception is fundamental to the nature of Imperial lawgiving.” 8. Aristides points out that he was attached to Smyrna before Hadriani was granted city status in 123 (Behr 1994, 1154)—the implication being that any obligations he owes are to Smyrna—and he refers in passing to considerations of poor health and legal jurisdiction that may have supported his case when Severus wanted to appoint him eirenarch of Hadriani (IV.73; cf. IV.83). 9. Nutton 1971, 53 points out that this provision made a sizeable loophole available to those who wanted to press their case. He contests Bowersock’s 1969 reading of Digest 27, 1, 6, 2f., and argues that an appeal lodged according to the agan epistêmôn clause rested (in form at least) exclusively on intellectual qualifications and activity.



engaged—for it was the regional and local councils, along with the emperor’s provincial representatives, who held the power to grant exceptional liturgical exemptions.10 Aristides aspired, though, to a wider audience, and played for the higher stakes of imperial intervention. And so, while the governors of Asia figure prominently as interlocutors when he presents his petitions, and eminent locals support him with their testimonials, it is—in his version of the story in the HL—the emperor’s backing that is decisive. Sophists did appeal directly to the emperor—sometimes with disastrous consequences when they lost imperial favor.11 Aristides, of course, has an even higher point of appeal: his imagined structure of power culminates not even with the emperor but with the god, who bolsters Aristides’ position with “manifest signs” (IV.101). Just as the god managed Aristides’ withdrawal from professional life after the failed journey to Rome, and supported his gradual return to oratorical performance during his kathedra, so Asclepius is crucial to his attempt to win public recognition for his rhetorical qualifications. He draws attention to the god’s role by telling the story of his quest for immunity in reverse-chronological order, “as if we were advancing ever upward on a ladder,” from his nomination to the “common priesthood of Asia.”12 As elsewhere in the HL— notably the case of his catalog of divine baths in HL II—when Aristides draws attention to the effects of chronology he does so for narrative ends. Here, the effect is to turn a sequence of legal exchanges into a dramatic professional story of divine sponsorship. The account is inflected to highlight his rhetorical prowess, to emphasize the recognition of his excellence by local elites and (especially) the emperor, and to assert his ultimate disdain for the very system whose endorsement he seeks. The core of Aristides’ immunities narrative is a series of encounters with the Asian governor Severus in the years 152–153. Working backwards, he begins with an episode that constitutes a postscript to the main story: an ideal

10. They were also responsible for selecting the allotted number of “immune” individuals (Nutton 1971, 54 and 56; Millar 1977, 501). Swain 1996, 269–270, interested in Aristides’ relationship with imperial power and provincial administration, has drawn attention to the fact that Aristides’ narrative features mainly easterners. See also Pernot 2008. 11. For discussion of these sometimes volatile relationships, see Bowersock 1969, chap. 4. 12. HL IV.100: Φέρε δὴ καθάπερ κλίμακος αἰεὶ τὸ ἀνωτέρω προϊόντες ἑτέρου τῶν ὑπὲρ ταῦτα μνημονεύσωμεν. “Come then, as if we were advancing ever upward on a ladder, let us recall another of the things that came before these.” Swain 1996, 267–268; cf. 261, n. 29, where Swain comments on the reverse chronology.

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


interaction with Severus’s successor Quadratus that models the kind of recognition that Aristides felt was owed to him based on his professional stature, and that serves as a foil for his more complicated relationship with Severus.13 Aristides approached Quadratus as a professional colleague, a fellow “rhetor” (IV.63). Writing to him in 153 when he took office, Aristides’ primary objective was official—to confirm the liturgical immunity he had recently secured from the previous governor, Severus—but he is concerned in his narrative to show that this question of status could be settled through a relationship of friendly mutual recognition between educated peers. On the day his letter was to reach Quadratus, Aristides had a dream that represented precisely the honorable transaction he sought, and indicated divine support for his cause. In the dream the current priest of Asclepius and that man’s grandfather (who was, Aristides tells us, associated with a particularly prodigious period in the history of divine miracles at the Pergamene temple) conferred with Quadratus in his bedchamber. The elder priest, standing at the head of the governor’s bed in a posture of divine epiphany familiar from Asclepieian votive images, zealously praised the excellence of Aristides’ speeches—an omen of divinely sanctioned professional endorsement that was fulfilled when his letter of introduction and petition to Quadratus eventually met with approval and “excessive praise” (IV.67). This anecdote of ideal professional recognition, in which the judgment of the rhetor-governor converges perfectly with the quasi-divine judgment of the miracle-working priests of Aristides’ dream, functions as a preface to the political contests at the center of Aristides’ story—a series of engagements in which Aristides reveals that his support comes from higher places, both from the emperors and from the god. Quadratus’s predecessor, Severus, was Aristides’ main opponent in a series of legal challenges, and Aristides’ account of these clashes seems to illustrate the claustrophobic web of local politics at its most extreme. Generally speaking, the governor was the first point of appeal on questions of immunity. When Severus names him eirenarch of Hadriani, however, Aristides is trapped with no clear recourse, because the governor himself

13. See Behr 1994, 1195–1200 for discussion of these two governors, whom he identifies as C. Julius Severus and C. Julius Quadratus Bassus.



has both made and confirmed the nomination.14 With no obvious legal adversary, Aristides decides to launch an appeal against the officials who brought the letter of appointment—but he is intercepted in the end by the god, who promises divine support by way of an oblique, oracular message: “these things will be a care to me and the white maidens” (IV.75). “How was this fulfilled?” Aristides asks, rhetorically (IV.75). In retrospect, he indicates, the oracle signaled imperial intervention. The “white maidens” prophesied letters that arrived, just a few days later, from Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius in support of his case. For Aristides, the oracle signals that both the god and the emperors are on his side. But what does it say about his opponent? Although Aristides does not unpack the details of the oracle any further, to an audience of Hellenes “the verse from Delphi,” as Aristides calls it, would have represented a rallying point of Greek pride, and its historical resonance would seem to cast Aristides’ opponent, Severus, in the role of the barbarian aggressor. For, the oracle is a historical one that originally prophesied the Delphians’ successful resistance during the legendary Gallic invasion of Greece in 279 bce.15 As such, as Simon Swain has shown, in the context of Aristides’ legal predicament it probably alludes to the Gallic heritage of the governor Severus, whose “assault” Aristides will likewise successfully repel.16 While Severus was in fact a member of a very powerful local family, with deep roots in Asia, the oracle paints him as a foreigner in cultural terms. Aristides—rhetor and defender of Hellenic paideia—faces an unworthy “barbarian” opponent. Aristides leaves this dimension of the oracle’s significance implicit, but that very subtlety suggests that he trusts an audience of his peers to be familiar with Severus’s cultural background and to appreciate the pointed slight. Aristides’ portrait of Severus is unflattering, or at least ambiguous, in other respects too. He describes him as “lofty in manner” and unmovable when he set his mind to something (IV.71),17 and certainly the story of Severus’s behavior in this appointment

14. Jones, 1940, 185. Aristides does not say why Severus skipped over other names on a list of nominees specifically to choose him. 15. HL IV.75: Ἐμοὶ μελήσει ταῦτα καὶ λευκαῖς κόραις. On the oracle, see Parke and Wormell 1956, 2:133 (no. 329) and 1:254–258. On its iambic form, see 1:33–34 with n. 73. 16. Swain 1996, 271, with n. 69 for Severus’s ancestry. 17. Behr 1981–1986 translates “proud in his ways.” Quattrocelli 2009, 274–275 reads the passage as an overt attack on the representatives of Roman power and suggests that it could only have been performed before an audience of close friends and disciples.

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


is one of unilateral action without regard for administrative procedures. He offers Aristides the dignity neither of due process nor of direct communication that might create the kind of fellow feeling Quadratus, apparently, had fostered by his willingness to honor Aristides on his own terms. Of course, while he censures Severus here for bypassing administrative procedure, Aristides’ own aim, ultimately, is to make himself an exception to all the rules of civic participation. He does so by claiming the support of a transcendent authority, and he shapes his account in the HL to underscore this sense of special election. In the case of his nomination as eirenarch, his victory is worked out through the intervention of the imperial power by letter, but Aristides has structured his narrative to make this support appear spontaneous and unsolicited. The timely arrival of the letters—which, he says, “praised me variously and confirmed my immunity on account of my rhetorical career”—makes them a quasi-miraculous realization of the god’s providence, and by telling his story backward Aristides can make this epistolary intervention look (briefly) like a fortuitous outpouring of imperial friendship and respect. As we learn subsequently, however, he had solicited the imperial letters for an earlier case—his nomination as tax collector (IV.96).18 While their arrival follows the typical pattern of petition and reply that obtained between the Roman emperor and the provincial elite, Aristides has done his best to make it appear that his relationship with imperial power manifests the divine providence that sets him apart from ordinary mortals.19 While it is certainly true, then, that the political tensions Aristides describes in this central portion of the immunities narrative are essentially local, his aspiration is to transcend this close, restricting web of civic and provincial politics. Although he makes no direct appeal above Severus in the case of his nomination as eirenarch, Aristides implies, by the structure of his narrative, the rather bolder claim that he did not even need to submit a petition: the issue has the appearance of being resolved by

18. Other letters arrived at the same time from Heliodorus, the prefect of Egypt, and Aristides describes them explicitly as γραφέντα μὲν πολλῷ πρότερον τῆς χρείας ταύτης, ἀπαντήσαντα δὲ εἰς τὸν καιρὸν τότε (“written much in advance of this need, but arriving at that very moment” IV.75). Aristides’ friend Pardalas (IV.87) also seems to have sent letters spontaneously. Cf. Millar 1977, 472. 19. Magie 1950, 642, 652; Millar 1977, chap. 8 shows that rhetors and intellectuals had special access to the emperors. Cf. Bowersock 1969, chap. 4. For Aristides’ relationship to imperial power, see also Pernot 2008, and cf. Or. 19.1 for Aristides’ ongoing contact with emperors.



spontaneous providential intervention from the imperial center of power, where his worth is wholeheartedly endorsed. Severus finally comes around to what Aristides regards as the right view when he recognizes Aristides’ status and his imperial support in his resolution of the case (IV.78): “‘I have long known of Aristides,’ he said, ‘and I marvel at his reputation, and I agree that he holds the first place in oratory, and these things have also been written to me by my friends in Rome.’”20 Furthermore, while the “spontaneous” intervention of the emperor is the means by which Aristides’ case is resolved, Asclepius is of course the power behind this and is—for Aristides—the ultimate authority. The god supports him not merely from a point beyond the civic and provincial politics, as the emperors do, but from beyond the human social order. Indeed, the ateleia (“immunities”) narrative suggests that what Aristides really seeks is the prerogative of complete escape that the god legitimates. The god, Aristides asserts at the end of this account, is the true “governor” (IV.103–104). As he moves from his struggle with Severus over the appointment as eirenarch toward the scene of his triumphant resistance to nominations as Asiarch and priest of Asclepius, he constructs the emperor and the god, first, as twin sources of power that give him leverage from a position outside the dynamics of local politics. In the end, however, the god takes precedence: as he climbs “ever higher” on the ladder of his reverse-order account, he moves toward a scene of professional performance in which he represents his own oratory and the god’s authority as mutually reinforcing.

Performance and Parrhesia Boasting of support from the emperors, and ultimately from the god, Aristides disdains real participation in the civic community and its elite networks, even while he derives a sense of his status partly from their endorsement of his professional profile. Practical concerns may have motivated Aristides to avoid service—poor health, for example, and the desire he shared with increasing numbers of the elite in this period to conserve his wealth. Yet he tells his story in such a way as to make it appear that professional honor was the only issue. His petitions and the interventions

20. HL IV.78: ἅνωθεν Ἀριστείδην, ἔφη, γιγνώσκω καὶ τῆς δόξης ἄγαμαι καὶ σύμφημι πρωτεύειν περὶ λόγους, καὶ ταῦτά μοι καὶ παρὰ τῶν ἐν Ῥώμῃ φίλων ἐπέσταλται.

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


of his supporters cite his excellence as a practitioner of rhetoric, and the immunities narrative culminates in a performance in Smyrna that is both a political victory and an oratorical triumph: by special invitation, Aristides enters the Assembly to universal tumult and an honorary sacrifice, and as the magistrates and people shout and crowd him from every side, rivaling each other in their zeal to acclaim him high priest of Asia, he silences them with his speech (IV.102). No public orator could ask for a more flattering reception or devise a more dramatic illustration of his charismatic power. Thus, although Aristides is determined to avoid public service, he is not interested in withdrawing from the public eye altogether. Motivated by a strong sense of the rights and dignity of the professional orator, he makes rhetorical performance a form of political engagement. Throughout the immunities narrative in HL IV, Aristides gives his political scenes this kind of oratorical éclat. In a dramatic episode in which he addresses Severus before the assize court at Pergamum to contest his appointment as prytanis at Smyrna, he invokes the classical political value of parrhesia, “freedom of speech,” while simultaneously describing the behavior of those in attendance, a collection of assessors and pleaders, as being “entirely like that of an audience at a lecture” (IV.91):21

πέντε δὲ μέτρων ἐκπερανθέντων καὶ παρρησίᾳ μου χρησαμένου πλείονι καὶ παραδηλώσαντος, ὁποῖός τις ἂν ἦν, παρὰ τῷ βασιλεῖ τούτους ποιούμενος τοὺς λόγους . . . (IV.92) When five measures of the clock had been used up, and I had spoken very freely [parrhesia] and had displayed the kind of figure I would be if I made this speech in the presence of the emperor, [Severus sent me to the boulê with a letter of exemption]. He redefines parrhesia—the central classical value of civic engagement— for his own purposes, making it a license to set himself above local obligations and to proclaim the emperor as his ideal audience.22 Bypassing any

21. πάντ’ ἦν ὥσπερ ἐπὶ σχολῆς ἀκροωμένων. 22. See Korenjak 2005 on Aristides’ generally supercilious stance toward his audiences. On parrhesia in the imperial period in general, see Fields 2009, and on the contradiction between Aristides’ apparently philanthropic view of parrhesia as a way of offering valuable advice to an audience and his lack of interest in active public service, see Fields 2008.



protocol of speech and response that might bind the civic elite together in mutual respect, Aristides makes his comment almost a veiled threat: the governor, he implies, should not underestimate the kind of influence Aristides would command, as a rhetor, if he spoke to true power, at the imperial center. In the classical polis, speech was conceived as being in the service of democratic politics. In Aristides’ view, by contrast, as he appropriates parrhesia for his own purposes, speech becomes an absolute value and politics are subordinated to it. Thus, in some of his polemical orations he uses the language of parrhesia not to describe speech in a political context but to expand the terrain of eloquence in its own right. In Or. 28, Aristides describes his “remark made in passing” during the speech in honor of Athena as an example of parrhesia that constitutes a kind of literary enfranchisement (28.147) and trumps his critics’ freedom to object (28.47).23 He implies that his critics assume that parrhesia governs only the world of social interactions, whereas Aristides believes that it should also foster freedom of literary and rhetorical expression. He claims, in essence, a kind of literary or artistic license. Such license is a measure and a reward of merit, as he shows when he takes on rivals and critics in Or. 34: if we punish those who debase the coinage, he says, why do we fail to censure those who debase the coinage of language and rhetoric? (34.62). Literary life should be treated with the same seriousness as civic life, and in this context literary parrhesia belongs exclusively to the orator who knows that to speak freely means to refuse to pander to audiences whose standards are not what they should be. By revising the classical value of parrhesia, so that politics are sublimated in speech, and the ultimate freedom is a kind of literary license, Aristides is able to present his withdrawal from local politics in a positive light, and, in turn, to denigrate political oratory. In a brief satire on local politics, Aristides contrasts his own pure, inspired oratory at Smyrna in 167 (V.29ff.) with the antics of a rival orator, a “little Egyptian fellow” (anthrôpiskos) who waltzes into the city and seems bent on corrupting councillors and citizens alike with his interest in politics and his liberal spending.24 This foreigner, who is “making it look like he would

23. The language of parrhesia occurs on six occasions in this speech. 24. Divine sponsorship is evident from the crowds that come out to greet Aristides as he enters the city (V.29), and in his decision to give a public declamation on the spur of the moment (V.31–32). The fact that Aristides’ entrance (parôdou) into the theater was spontaneous (ex hypoguiou) contributes to the marvel that he was able to assemble such a large crowd.

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


participate in politics and would pursue his ambitions with money,” is just as eager to work his way into the liturgical system as Aristides is to find a way out of it.25 Aristides characterizes this style of oratorical performance in the service of politics as crass opportunism, a matter of buying and selling honor. When he eventually presents his own declamation, the very purity of his inspired rhetorical effort raises it above the advantage-seeking politics of his competitor (V.33–34). At his own performance,

τό γε τοῦ θορύβου τε καὶ τῆς εὐνοίας, μᾶλλον δέ, εἰ χρὴ τἀληθὲς εἰπεῖν, ἐνθουσιασμοῦ, τοσοῦτον παρὰ πάντων συνέβη ὥστε οὐδεὶς ὤφθη καθήμενος οὔτ’ ἐπὶ τοῦ προαγῶνος οὔθ’ ἡνίκα ἀναστὰς ἠγωνιζόμην, ἀλλ’ ἐκ πρώτου ῥήματος εἱστήκεσαν ὤδινον ἐγάνυντο ἐξεπλήττοντο, συμπαρένευον τοῖς λεγομένοις, ἠφίεσαν φωνὰς οὔπω πρόσθεν γενομένας. There arose from all such an abundance of clamor and of goodwill, or rather—if the truth be told—of inspired ecstasy, that no one was seen sitting, neither during the proagôn nor when I rose to contend; but from the first word they stood, labored painfully, rejoiced, were astonished, expressed their assent to what was said, cried out things that had never before been uttered. Aristides removes his own rhetorical effects to a realm beyond the reach of conventional politics, and although his power over the audience is perfect, he describes it in terms more of inspiration than of manipulation.26 The conflicted and turbulent emotions of this crowd at Smyrna—their inspired ecstasy—hold a mirror up to Aristides’ own, reinforcing the claims to intimacy with Asclepius that he has built over the course of his cure narrative. It is ironic that Aristides makes the cornerstone of civic society— parrhesia—a means of avoiding his own obligations within that society, since in several orations he uses oratory to configure his conception of the political realm in a world at peace. Oratory is useful in the civic context (Or. 23.4)—and, indeed, more important than valor in war

25. .  .  . δόξαν παραστήσαντος ὅτι καὶ πολιτεύσοιτο καὶ φιλοτιμίας θαυμαστὰς οἵας φιλοτιμήσοιτο ἀπὸ χρημάτων (V.30). On the practice of paying for the honor of holding office, see Magie 1950, 650–651. 26. Korenjak 2005 discusses Aristides’ forceful manipulation of his audiences.



(Or. 2.302).27 Harmonizing the traditional Greek dichotomy of word and deed, he articulates the orator’s threefold responsibility: to think rationally, to prepare his own right actions, and to offer similar direction to others in their actions (Or. 2.392). In his panegyric on Athens he emphasizes the contemplative side of the dichotomy, breaking off a lengthy recital of the city’s military and hegemonic glories to elaborate on Athenian accomplishments in literary paideia—accomplishments that have been so great that the entire civilized world has turned toward that city’s “form of life and dialect” (diaita kai phônê). Athens’ cultural achievements constitute a kind of “bloodless trophy” (anaimakton tropaion): speech substitutes for the proverbial deeds of battle (Or. 1.322). That Aristides is sensitive to questions about the ethical status of oratory we can see in his preoccupation with the traditional opposition between word and deed in those dream narratives of the HL that go beyond prescriptions for health to explore his social role. Aristides describes this terrain as the “parergon” of his dreams, a secondary field of application that concerns his identity as an orator. In a dream vision in which he is working up a piece for performance, for example, he sees himself adopting the persona of Demosthenes facing a crowd of Athenians (I.16):28 “ὑμεῖς μὲν οὖν διὰ τοῦ κήρυκος ἐρωτᾶτε τίς ἀγορεύειν βούλεται, ἐγὼ δὲ ὑμᾶς ἡδέως ἂν ἐροίμην τίς ὑμῶν βούλεται πράττειν . . .” “You inquire through the herald whether anyone wishes to speak publicly [agoreuein], but I would gladly ask you: Which one of you wishes to act [prattein]? . . .” Juxtaposing the categories of public speech (agoreuein) and civic action (prattein), he mixes an echo of the standard proclamation of the herald in

27. Cf. Or. 2.382, 235 where oratory is described as partaking of the four parts of virtue: intelligence, moderation, justice, and courage. On this characterization of oratory, see the discussion of Sohlberg 1972 and Pernot 1993b, 319. 28. “But it is worthwhile also to speak of the secondary business of my dreams. For I dreamed that in the course of my customary rhetorical practice I was working on a piece of Demosthenes, and was in fact speaking to the Athenians as if I were he.” (ἄξιον δὲ καὶ τὸ πάρεργον τῶν ὀνειράτων εἰπεῖν. ἐδόκουν γὰρ ὡς ἐπὶ τῇ εἰωθυίᾳ μελέτῃ τῶν λόγων Δημοσθένους τινὰ μεταχειρίζεσθαι καὶ λέγειν δὴ πρὸς τοὺς Ἀθηναίους ὡς ἐκεῖνος ὤν.) On paideia as ethical impersonation, see Whitmarsh 2001, 92–93.

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


the Athenian Assembly—“Who wishes to address the people?”29—with an allusion to the orator’s speech On the Chersonese, where Demosthenes criticizes his audience for their handling of confrontations between Phillip and Diopeithes, and complains that their inactivity undermines his own efforts.30 Reduced to powerlessness in his role as orator by the indifference of his audience, Demosthenes claims a dysfunctional relationship between the speaker as adviser to the city and the citizens themselves, whom he expects to translate advice into action. If they do not, he observes, what is the point of his oratory? Thus, in the fictional world of his dreams, Demosthenes offers Aristides a model for the ethical relationship between the orator and his audience. Ultimately, in the final passages of On the Chersonese, Demosthenes destabilized the opposition between speech and action and argued in his own defense that his vocation as an orator constituted the best sort of political action. A similar impulse is at work in Aristides’ conception of his place in the political life of the empire: Aristides transfers the role of the orator as social educator to the imperial world of the second century.31 As we have seen, this knits him into the highest reaches of the imperial power structure as an interlocutor of the emperors. He elaborates this role in HL I, for example, when he describes a dream in which the emperors bestow honors (pronoia and timê) upon him as a guest at the imperial palace (I.49):32

29. On the standard herald’s cry that opened debate in the ekklêsia, see Hansen 1987, 91, 171 n. 581. Cf. Demosthenes’ speech On the Crown, 18.170, 191. 30. On the Chersonese, 8.23.1–3: “You, then, are accustomed every time to ask whoever is at hand, ‘What is there to do?’ But I want to ask you, ‘What is there to say?’” Aristides interprets the rhetorical irony of his fourth-century model: in the dream passage of HL I Aristides’ statement—“But I would gladly ask you [eroimên] which one of you wishes to act [prattein]?”—conflates Demosthenes’ jibe at the Assembly’s refusal to take action (“What is there to do?”) with the corrective expression that follows it: “What is there to say?” Keil 1958, ad loc. notes the allusion. The contrasting terms in Aristides and Demosthenes are πράττειν/ἀγορεύειν and ποιεῖν/λέγειν respectively. 31. Aristides of course wrote a number of orations for political purposes appropriate to the imperial context, including addresses appealing for civic concord (e.g., Orr. 23 and 24), and letters and speeches of intervention and commemoration in times of disaster (e.g., Orr. 18, 19, 22). Still, as Flinterman 2002 shows in his investigation of the Platonic orations (Orr. 1–3), Aristides was preoccupied with the question of the role—and practical function—of the orator in political circumstances quite different from those of his classical models (Or. 2.429; Flinterman 2002, 205). 32. The two emperors are Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Behr dates the dream sequence to February 166. Swain 1996 comments on the substantial presence of the emperors in this Logos. Cf. Or. 42.14.



οἱ δ’ ὑπολαβόντες, “ἡμεῖς μὲν οὖν,” ἔφασαν, “τοῖς θεοῖς ἔχομεν χάριν πειραθέντες ἀνδρὸς τοιούτου· ἡγούμεθα γὰρ καὶ περὶ τοὺς λόγους ὅμοιον εἶναι.” κἀκ τούτου ἤρχετο ὁ πρεσβύτερος λέγειν ὅτι τοῦ αὐτοῦ εἴη καὶ ἄνδρα ἀγαθὸν εἶναι καὶ περὶ λόγους ἀγαθόν. ἐπεξῄει δὲ ὁ νεώτερος ῥῆμά τινος λέγων ὅτι ἀκολουθοίη τῷ τρόπῳ καὶ τὰ τῶν λόγων. κἀγὼ εἶπον ὅτι “βουλοίμην ἂν ταῦτα οὕτως ἔχειν· λυσιτελεῖ γάρ μοι εἰς τοὺς λόγους, εἴπερ γε τὰ ἄλλα τοιοῦτος ὑφ’ ὑμῶν ὑπείλημμαι, καὶ ἅμα εἰ μέλλω δύ’ ἀνθ’ ἑνὸς ἕξειν τἀγαθά.” The emperors said, “We, for our part, thank the gods that we have known such a man. For we also believe him to be of the same quality when it comes to speaking.” After this, the elder one began to say that it was characteristic of the same man to be morally good and a good speaker, while the younger chimed in with the common saying that “speech follows character.” And I said that I wished that this were so. For it is to my advantage in speaking, if indeed in other things I am so regarded by you, and if at the same time I am in a position to have two goods instead of one. Aristides cites the proverb —“speech follows character”—in other orations as well.33 Here, he frames it as a personal compliment from the emperors, who are thus imagined to endorse the implicit priority of rhetoric over action. Earlier in the same Logos, Aristides describes another dream encounter in which oratory moves into the space of political and military affairs and takes narrative precedence: the emperor Marcus Aurelius and the king of the Medes, Vologases, royally attired and attended by retinues, are concluding a treaty of peace—and they approach Aristides to give a speech. The theater of war now transformed into a stage for oratorical performance, Aristides speaks on the theme of the enjoyment of special honors. He draws an analogy between the honor of speaking before such an important audience and the experience of receiving divine visions— managing to flatter himself and his imperial audience at once—and underscores the lasting value of the inspired speech he has offered them 33. Or. 2.392: οἷος ὁ τρόπος, τοιοῦτον εἶναι καὶ τὸν λόγον· καὶ πάλιν τὸ ἕτερον ὡσαύτως. Cf. Or. 2.429. Pernot 1993b, 319 and 335 shows that engagement with this ethical ideal is central to Aristides’ defense of oratory in his Platonic orations (Orr. 1–3). For the proverb, cf. Pl. Rep. 400d; Sen. Ep. 75.4, 114, 115; Quint. 11.1.30; Juvenal 4.82. See Sohlberg 1972, 191–193.

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


by noting that he allowed each of his listeners to choose from a casket one written oration of his choice to take away and peruse at leisure (HL I.36–39). The conventional pair of word and deed, speech and action, is so deeply ingrained in Greek culture that it is something Aristides is compelled to address in an account of his rhetorical vocation and his professional relationship with his political and social world. In several ways in HL IV he shifts the terms of this discussion in order to redefine political engagement through a value scheme that is weighted toward the commitments of a rhetor: speech and oratorical performance. The classical vocabulary of parrhesia is useful to him in this respect, and he uses it in the HL and elsewhere in his writings to give an absolute and independent status to the spoken word. He gives unique dramatic shape to this notion of free speech in his immunities narrative, invoking imperial support as something virtually equivalent to a divine imprimatur for the vocation he professes as his own political mode.

Writing As we saw in chapter 3, part of Aristides’ agenda in the HL is to cultivate the kind of profile associated with the high-prestige activity of extempore oratorical performance. At the same time, the text bears witness to his primary investment: language in its written form. In the HL Aristides develops the idea that writing mediates between speech and action, between word and deed. This notion is most prominent in the immunities narrative, but in a wider sense, throughout the HL, writing is the means by which Aristides secures the professional space of withdrawal that, paradoxically, represents political and social engagement on his own terms. On the one hand, many of the negotiations and interactions of the immunities narrative are carried out through written communication. On the other hand, writing is also what gives both speech and action tangible and enduring presence in the world. Beyond the specific circumstances of his legal challenge, this is an attractive idea generally to Aristides, who is overtly concerned with not just his contemporary profile but also his literary afterlife. In several scenes in the HL, written documents offer Aristides a way to settle issues from a distance, particularly when it comes to his Laneion estate in rural Mysia. During his time in Pergamum, Aristides reports,



“certain Mysians” attempted to seize the property he had acquired some years before. Set apart from the cities, this rural estate represented physically the space of withdrawal from civic obligations that Aristides had persistently sought in his bids for liturgical immunity, and as Simon Swain notes, it was his “favorite piece of real property.” Aristides describes the Mysian attempt as a violent physical attack. Hurling spears, making missiles out of the very earth they stood on, engaging the estate’s protectors in hand-to-hand combat, and appropriating the household goods as if they were their own, the attackers set upon the place in such a violent manner that, as Aristides says (IV. 105), “everything was full of confusion and wounds.”34 The violence of the estate’s “wounds” reverberates in Aristides’ own body: in the next sentence he says that when report of the attack was brought to him at Pergamum he suffered loss of breath and was uncertain how to proceed. But, with this occupation of his lands unfolding at a distance, Aristides brings his case to the assizes, and wins: “we entered into it under court order [hypo grammatôn]. Armed men, slingers, all those things yielded to the god.”35 In this episode (106–107), Asclepius furnishes Aristides with timely (kairos) access to judicial power: he instructs him in a dream to go to the Pergamene temple at a moment when the governor Julianus and the civic benefactor Rufinus happened to be there, and as a result of this coincidental meeting Rufinus personally champions Aristides in court. It is the adjudication of the court, however—set down in writing— that makes Aristides’ right to the property clear and binding in perpetuity and allows him to establish that right in tangible fashion, even at a distance. Writing works in a similar fashion when it comes to Aristides’ case for legal immunity. For he negotiates with Quadratus partly by means of a letter that articulates his case in absentia (HL IV.63–67). The letter, Aristides says, won approval immediately—not just from the governor, but also from the crowd who had assembled to hear Quadratus read it aloud. In Aristides’ account, the audience react as they would to the spectacle of declamation and clamor to lay hands on the written text as a memento of the performance. Through writing, in other words, Aristides has achieved both his immediate political goal and his desire for public acclaim.

34. Swain 1996, 274. The assault presumably involved violence against the slaves and householders who occupied the place in Aristides’ absence, but he does not specify this. See Behr 1968, 5–6 n. 8 for the place of the Laneion estate in Aristides’ personal history and geography. 35. HL IV.108: ὁπλῖται δὲ καὶ σφενδονῆται καὶ πάντα ἐκεῖνα ὑπεχώρει τῷ θεῷ.

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


In the political context, though, writing is not always binding and lasting in its effects—a problem that Aristides recognizes when he comments, to his acquaintance Rufinus, on the vulnerability of written texts to reinterpretation.36 Explaining to Rufinus the progress of his appeal for immunity, he reported that Severus had agreed his exemption was legal, but for Aristides “the written verdict was not enough,” because each new governor could interpret it differently, “command[ing] some different thing of me, with this same clause, and so the immunity would be undone through the addition of ‘it remains in force.’ I wanted not a phrase [rhêma] but the thing itself [pragma]” (IV.81–83).37 Indeed, even as Severus had confirmed Aristides’ right of immunity, recognizing his preeminence in oratory and his imperial endorsement, he had simultaneously attempted to bypass this formal recognition, pushing Aristides to share in his administration nonetheless. As Aristides points out to Rufinus, then, even a written verdict may be vulnerable to being undermined by further, oral negotiations. When it comes to his status and his civic immunity, Aristides wants finality, and even though writing does not necessarily provide this, he pursues written communications and written verdicts as the closest approximation of the security he seeks. When he involves Rufinus in his negotiations with Severus, he asks him to write a letter to the governor “in his own tongue” (i.e., in Latin) to further impress upon Severus the consequences of failing to uphold the promised exemption, and also simply to build the dossier that would give his case tangible presence in his own mind. When he succeeds in establishing his exemption from civic duties by way of the letters prophesied by the “white maidens” oracle, Aristides says (IV.75) that Severus “set his seal” on his immunity from civic service. The sense this confers, in the documentary context, of a final resolution of deserved status is one that Aristides wants to appropriate more generally

36. Rufinus was consul ordinarius in 142 and an important donor to the Pergamene Asclepieium. On his contributions to the second-century refurbishment of the temple, see Bowersock 1969, 60–61. On his role in Aristides’ immunities narrative, see Swain 1996, 257. 37. HL IV.83: τοῦτο δ’ οὐκ ἐξαρκεῖν γεγράφθαι· καὶ γὰρ ἄλλῳ παντὶ τῶν ἡγεμόνων ὑπάρξειν ἄλλο τι προστάττειν ἐμοὶ μετὰ τοῦ αὐτοῦ τούτου παραγράμματος, καὶ οὕτω λυθήσεσθαι τὴν ἀτέλειαν διὰ προσθήκης τοῦ μένειν. δεῖσθαι δὲ οὐ τῆς τοῦ ῥήματος εὐπρεπείας, ἀλλὰ τοῦ πράγματος. Aristides concludes, “For thus was the state of my body” (τὸ γὰρ σῶμα οὕτως ἔχειν μοι).



for his social and intellectual attainments, too: earlier in HL IV, in an episode in which the contemporary philosopher Rhosander praises him for the Demosthenic excellence of his speeches, Aristides asserts that the god had “in waking reality too set his seal [episphragizein]” on his pursuits (IV.19–20). The idea that he bears the impression of the god’s seal makes Aristides’ own body analogous to a text and underscores a tension that is central to the HL: the tension between a dynamic physical narrative of ongoing illness and healing and the closure characteristic of any written account. On the one hand, Aristides’ body, and the narrative of physical illness and healing that so vividly displays divine providence at work in his life, offers evidence for his claims that professionally—and politically too—he enjoys divine sponsorship. As we have seen in chapter 3, numerous accounts of physical wonders serve as a kind of proof of divine favor, and at the end of HL II, when he reports the audience’s response to triumphal performances ordered by the god at Ephesus, he says explicitly that the physical and oratorical mirror one another: “Those who saw my performance wondered no less at my bath [loutron] than at my words [logoi]. And both were from the god.”38 As the text progresses, Aristides focuses ever more intently on confirming the social and political standing that accompany his identity as a rhetor, and this claim, in HL IV and V, to the cultural capital of rhetorical paideia is substantially reinforced by his portrayal in the earlier books of improvised therapeutic performances in the physical realm.39 On the other hand, however, it matters that what Aristides composes in the HL is ultimately a written record and not an oral performance. The HL are not a catalog of physical evidence, but rather a project of commemoration—whether of himself or of the god—and he aims ultimately to transform fleeting experience into a lasting textual monument. We saw in chapter 1 that the whole text is framed by an overarching concern to preserve a narrative record of Aristides’ divine salvation; at the level of individual episodes as well, written texts are a frequent theme. This is most dramatic at the point in HL IV when he transitions from his account of oratorical rebirth and askêsis to the immunities narrative.

38. HL II.82: οἱ δ’ ὁρῶντες οὐχ ἧττον τὸ λουτρὸν ἢ τοὺς λόγους ἐθαύμαζον· τὰ δ’ αμφότερ’ ἦν παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ. 39. Baumgart 1874, chap. 4 proposed this reading of the HL.

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


At IV.68, he sums up his account of what happened at an earlier time (anô chronou, i.e., 153–154), and says that he was about to move on to record what had happened under other governors, when a dream came to him as he worked (IV.69):

ἔδοξα λέγειν ἔν τισιν ἐπιδεικνύμενος αὐτοῖς, μεταξὺ δὲ τῶν λόγων ὧν ἠγωνιζόμην καλέσαι τὸν θεὸν ὡδὶ λέγων· “δέσποτα Ἀσκληπιέ, εἰ μὲν καὶ ὑπερέχω τε λόγοις καὶ πολὺ ὑπερέχω, ἐμοὶ μὲν ὑγίειαν, τοῖς βασκάνοις δ’ εἶναι ῥήγνυσθαι.” καὶ ταῦτά τε ὡς ὄναρ τυγχάνειν ἑωρακὼς καὶ γενομένης ἡμέρας βιβλίον τι λαβὼν ἀναγιγνώσκειν· εὑρεῖν οὖν ἐνόντα ἅπερ ἐφθεγξάμην. I seemed to be speaking among some people, giving a rhetorical performance [epideiknumenos] before them, and in the midst of the speech with which I contended [I seemed] to call upon the god in this way, saying, “Lord Asclepius, if I both excel in oratory [logoi] and excel greatly, [grant] health to me, but to my opponents [grant] that they be broken.” And [it seemed that] I happened to have seen these things as if in a dream, and that when day came I took up a book and was reading. And indeed I found in the book the very things I had said. In this dream account, not only does he pray to Asclepius to make his body the physical touchstone of his excellence as an orator, but also he sees the power of this physical evidence confirmed by its inscription in writing, in a book. The whole dream—one that Aristides presents as contemporary with the writing of HL IV—is a reflection of the textual work of the HL themselves: according to the homology established in the text, Asclepius works healing miracles that substantiate Aristides’ excellence in oratory, and this truth is preserved for posterity in a retrospective, written account in which the narrative reveals body and oratory as twin manifestations of Aristides’ divinely inspired powers. The homology between body and text that Aristides establishes in the HL is dominated by a quest for security, a desire for salvation (whether physical or professional) “once and for all.” The most complex expression of this appears in HL V when he describes a dream that anticipates the death of his foster daughter, Philoumene (V.22–4). This dream is best known for its central motif of substitution, for Aristides ultimately interprets the dream to mean that, when the girl dies, she has given her life for his, “body for body and soul for soul,” as he puts it (V.24). But the whole



account also offers a complex picture of the interactions between body and text as they pertain to the issue of permanence. The story of Philoumene begins with a dream in which Aristides sees himself inspecting the entrails of an animal he had offered for sacrifice, and in particular the area called “the god and the deliverer [lutêr]” (V.20). Searching the body of the animal, in this hieroscopic scene, for a divine prophecy pertaining to his own health, Aristides inquires of a seer whether the “delivery” referred to is a temporary delay or “once and for all.” The seer hesitates, Aristides says, but seems to gesture toward the climate and the stars, as if to indicate (it would seem) that the answer to his question is written not just in the body of the sacrificial animal but also in a wider set of ordered relationships that pattern the cosmos. Then, at the time of this dream, Aristides receives news that Philoumene has died, and interprets as an act of divine providence the fact that he was not present at the time—apparently because, as he explains a moment later, according to the logic of a coordinated cosmos, the girl died in his place (V.21). The finality of the girl’s death should, reciprocally, indicate that Aristides has won the safety that he sought “once and for all.” The second part of the dream sequence is oriented around writing. Aristides dreams that one Telesphorus comes to him with oracles written down in the form of a letter from Alcimus, Philoumene’s father. The letter apparently contains omens pertaining not to Philoumene, but to Aristides (V.22), and this piece of divine writing directs him toward another portentous text: the inscription of Philoumene’s troubles on her very body—“on her insides, as if in the entrails of sacrificial animals” (V.23). As Aristides describes the dream, he seemed to be peering into the girl’s body (V.23):

κεφάλαιον δ’ ἦν, ὡς ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ σώματι τῆς Φιλουμένης καὶ τοῖς ἐντὸς, ὥσπερ ἐν σπλάγχνοις ἱερείων, ἐγγεγραμμένου παντὸς τοῦ περὶ αὐτὴν πράγματος. ἐδόκουν δὲ καὶ κοιλίαι τινὲς εἶναι πλείους, καὶ ἅμα πως ἑώρων αὐτάς, αἱ μὲν ἄνω ὑγιεῖς καὶ εὖ διακείμεναι, ἐν δὲ τῇ τελευταίᾳ τὸ πεπονθὸς ἦν. καὶ ἐδείκνυντο ὑπὸ τοῦ ἐφεστῶτος ὅστις καὶ ἦν. The sum was that the whole affair concerning Philoumene had been written on her very body, and on her insides, as if in the entrails of sacrificial animals. And rather a lot of her intestine appeared, and at the same time somehow I saw it—the parts above healthy and in a good state, but the part that was diseased was at the

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


farther end. And it was exhibited by someone standing by—whoever he was. Instead of asking about Philoumene’s condition, or the reason for her death, Aristides questions the man about his own “hesitation [oknoi] and lack of exertion [dysergia],” and in response the man points to a spot on the inside of Philoumene’s body where Aristides sees his own name inscribed, “Aelius Aristides,” along with various titles at intervals “that pertain to safety [sôteria].” Aristides says explicitly that he understood these omens to herald his own safety, that Philoumene had given her life for his own (V.24). But the textual dimension of the episode makes this a story of more than simple substitution. Philoumene’s body takes the place of Aristides’ own, in the sense that it bears the inscription of disease and salvation in a more permanent, indeed, a deadly, fashion: the language of signs is displaced from Aristides’ ill body to the body of the girl.40 The fact that what is displaced is language, however, suggests that the dream account speaks not only to Aristides’ physical survival but also to his textual afterlife in the HL themselves and in his corpus of writings more broadly. In his closing comment about this dream Aristides notes that “other oracles which pertained to the same were in the dream, all written in certain books, all of which Alcimus wrote and Telesphorus seemed to carry back home” (V.24) and there is a sense that while the god speaks through the body, it is the literary record in book form that makes the god’s salvation most real for Aristides. He is interested, ultimately, in a displacement from body to text, from the physical realm to the realm of literature. This, for him, is safety “once and for all,” and hence it matters to him that the HL have the status of a lasting record and commemoration.

Revising for Posterity: Books and Tombs Because he has an abiding interest in his literary and professional afterlife, the nexus of practical experience, oral speech, and written literary artifact is one that concerns Aristides deeply. Elsewhere in his oeuvre, in

40. Compare the scene here to Aristides’ dream inspection of his own “innards” (koilia) at HL I.8. On Philoumene’s inscription as “deadly,” and on this passage more generally, see Holmes 2008, 97–98. See also Pearcy 1988, 387–389.



two funeral speeches for professional colleagues—one for his teacher, Alexander of Cotiaeum, and one for his student Eteoneus—we see his reflections on the interplay of oral and written forms of oratory, and on the practical contribution and afterlife of the successful rhetor. The concerns that surface in these speeches on the professional and personal virtues of others help to illuminate what was at stake for Aristides as he reflected on his own life and career in the HL. Aristides’ Funeral Address in Honor of Alexander (Or. 32) is written as a letter to the council and the people of Cotiaeum, Alexander’s hometown, and in it Aristides reflects on his teacher’s rhetorical career in its civic context. He celebrates Alexander as “first of the Greeks” (32.1),41 and by his imagery he associates him with central institutions of Greek culture: as a guide and educator of the young, he inducted them into the “mysteries” of literature, and as a custodian of the classical inheritance he was like the “common fund” (tamieion koinon) of the Greeks (32.7). His excellence as a teacher gives him, in Aristides’ view, the status of “founder” for the Greeks; like an expansive metropolis, he has sent out his students to spread Hellenic civilization to remote corners of the world.42 Aristides insists that Alexander’s activity was not restricted to the arena of logos, and that he made as great a contribution in praxis and politeia as well. He may have made some impact as a donor to the city of Cotiaeum, yet this is still, in Aristides’ calculation, secondary to the moral values— sophrosunê and dikaion—he brought to bear through his good counsel. Indeed, Aristides says that even if he had never offered money, or been of any financial use to the city, still the status (taxis) he attained as an educated person would have been enough to bring honor upon the town (32.19). For Aristides praises the fact that in spite of his eloquence (phônê) he chose not to withdraw (anachôrein) to write history but to spend his time “in the service of the ancient Greeks” (32.10). By teaching, correcting, and commenting upon the texts of the Greek heritage, Alexander rendered a service to the ancient writers analogous to the service he rendered to his own students and, through both of these, to contemporary society. Hence, the great decoration he bestows upon Cotiaeum in perpetuity is

41. Cf. IV.87, where Aristides says that he was described this way by Pardalas in the letters of recommendation he submitted to Severus’s legate. 42. See Vix 2010, 65–70 for discussion of the form and literary precedents of the letter, as well as its circumstances of composition and possible professional aims. Vix comments as well (68–70) on the fact that here, as often, Aristides makes a public intervention by letter.

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


the propagation of the city’s name in association with a brilliant scholar of the classical heritage: in the books he carefully corrected (diorthousthai), Aristides says, the name of Cotiaeum is inscribed next to Alexander’s own.43 Aristides succeeds in defining his teacher’s political engagement through rhetorical paideia, even to the point of comparing his interactions with the imperial household to Aristotle’s relationship with Philip and Alexander. Yet through the praise, we can see Aristides’ concern about the ephemeral nature of Alexander’s accomplishments. His writings, Aristides says, are good—but his lectures were better, and he cites Plato’s Phaedrus for the notion that the text cannot measure up to the living presence of the person (32.26). The depth of Aristides’ concern is obvious when, at the end of the letter, he mentions his preoccupation with revising his own texts for posterity. Alexander, he says, was continually pressing him to send him his work, to be placed in a spot of honor in his library in Cotiaeum, but Aristides did not comply because he was still busy revising (32.40). Aristides’ awareness of the incommensurability of life and text is foregrounded in this speech of lamentation for his former teacher, but it is a concern at work throughout his oeuvre that own his writings should live up to his ideal sense of his vocation. At the end of his “Hippocratic” dream in HL V, for example, one of his doctors asks Aristides why he does not declaim for them while he is awaiting the right moment for his bath: because, he says, “‘it is more important for me to revise [epelthein] some of the things I have written. For I must also converse with posterity.’ And at the same time I pointed out that I was pushing myself, lest something happen first” (V.52). Aristides’ concern for posterity appears also in the funeral oration he wrote for his student Eteoneus (Or. 31), but here the motif of lasting commemoration is presented in monumental terms. Written at the height of Aristides’ career, the speech follows the traditional pattern: after a proem, in which Aristides wonders aloud how he can adequately mourn him, he traces his birth and family, his character and education, and proceeds

43. 32.21: “But just as others are known by their fathers’ names or from other things, so this man is linked directly with his city when people speak of him. Since even in the books that he corrected this token has been left. For after ‘Alexander’ was written his native city” (ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ οἱ ἄλλοι πατρόθεν ἢ ἀπὸ τῶν ἄλλων πραγμάτων γνωρίζονται, οὕτως ἐκεῖνος μετὰ τῆς πόλεως εὐθὺς ἠκούετο. ἐπεὶ κἀν τοῖς βιβλίοις ἃ διωρθοῦτο τοῦτο ἐγκαταλέλειπται σύμβολον· ἐπὶ γὰρ τῷ Ἀλεξάνδρῳ παράγραμμα ἦν ἡ πατρίς).



through the sections of lament, consolation, and peroration.44 The young Eteoneus emerges as a paragon of rhetorical education—an “image (agalma) of reverence” (31.10) Aristides says (quoting Aristophanes), in part because he is too young to have produced any rhetorical or literary works. Lacking a body of work to celebrate, Aristides commemorates Eteoneus as a boy who lived his life “as though it were a sacred rite” (31.19) and in a series of image-rich exclamations, he compares the boy’s death to the recent destruction of the temple at Cyzicus: as the community lamented the loss of the temple of the imperial cult in a recent earthquake, Eteoneus’s death came as an “aftershock” (31.13).45 Comparing Eteoneus to the temple, Aristides seeks to give the boy a monumental afterlife, but in another sense he retreats from the notion of the physical monument. In the midst of his lamentation, Aristides says, he seemed to hear the voice of a god, like one intervening in a tragic performance from a theatrical machine: “the tomb shall not contain him, and he will go about forever after as a famous and ageless hero.” In keeping with this divine endorsement, in which Eteoneus’s fame exceeds any human constraints of space or time, Aristides offers the boy—instead of the typical civic and heroic honors—a book (biblion): “Cleverest of boys, such a little book do I send you, of such words as you now derive benefit from!” (31.14–15) What Aristides means by this book is not clear. A text of praise, like the one he has just composed, in which Eteoneus’s virtues are enshrined for posterity? An Orphic mystery text meant to accompany the dead on his journey to the afterlife? What is clear is that Aristides imagines a text as a lasting and commensurate substitute for the public honors Eteoneus is no longer present to receive. In the Funeral Oration for Eteoneus, the book seemed to stand as a consolation for opportunities lost—a consolation for the fact that because he has died young, Eteoneus will never have the opportunity to win the kind of honors that his model devotion to rhetorical studies seemed to augur for

44. On the formal style of the speech, see Vix 2002. For its date and circumstances, see Vix 2010, 51–65. Vix argues for a date in the late 160s, based on references in the text to the earthquake at Cyzicus in 161 and to the temple at Cyzicus—probably, according to Vix, the temple of the imperial cult begun under Hadrian and completed early in the realm of Antoninus Pius (Vix 2010, 53–62). 45. The death of Eteoneus is presented as an “aftershock,” and the metaphorical link between boy and temple is strengthened, if we accept (as Vix and Behr both do) the conjecture of Keil (νεῲ for νέῳ): “O, second ruin! You have fallen such a youth after such a temple! This addition! Such was our aftershock!” (31.13: ὢ τοῦ δευτέρου πτώματος, οἷος ἐφ’ οἵῳ τῷ νεῲ κεῖσαι· ὢ τῆς ἐπιθήκης, οἷον αὖ τὸ δεύτερον ἡμῖν ἔσεισεν.) See Vix 2010, 54, and Behr 1981–1986, 2:393, n. 10.

“Immunity” and Aristides’ Literary Afterlife


him: “The tragic daimon! Who just now foreshadowed council chambers, orations, emulation, and joy, but quickly concluded the drama [drama] far from these things” (31.13). Aristides’ lament for his student in this sense resonates with his own concern in the HL about being passed over for honors at Smyrna. In that context, he described a consoling dream concerned with monumental commemoration and the literary afterlife. In the dream, he was living below the acropolis at Athens, with the temple of Athena in view (V.57). The temples of several literary figures were visible as well, and, conversing with his companions about these memorials, Aristides notes that Plato, for one, was less admired while he was alive than after his death (V.62). Worthy as these authors are of monumental commemoration—and in the dream, temples are proposed for Plato, Homer, and Demosthenes— Aristides makes a distinction: “perhaps it is proper to consecrate temples to the gods, but to honor famous men with the offering [anathesis] of books. . . . For statues [andriantes] and images [agalmata] are the monuments [hypomnêmata] of bodies, but books of words [logoi]” (V.63). In other words, the material of paideia, of the literature and learning of Hellenism, and of the rhetorical culture that preserves it, has its best commemoration in the written memory of books. Aristides ends this sequence of dream scenarios by noting that he also dreamed he called Eudoxus (“of good fame”) to copy them down—to record his visions in writing (V.66). This episode, in which Aristides imagines himself back into the Athenian landscape of his classical literary heroes, can be read as a version of the dream at IV.49, a vision in which he saw himself sharing a tomb with Alexander the Great. The double tomb, he noted there, was appropriate to the fact that each of them had reached the pinnacle of their respective careers—Alexander in the sphere of military deeds, and Aristides in the sphere of logoi and paideia. But in his account of the Athenian dream, Aristides suggests that the more appropriate and distinctive commemoration for literary and rhetorical pursuits—his own included—would be quite separate from the realm of military and political action: he would replace the tomb of the civic hero with the book as literary memorial. While Aristides makes a case, in the HL and elsewhere, for redefining politics in terms of oratorical practice, and while he uses a narrative of his physical body as proof of the divinely sponsored freedom that guarantees his professional excellence and grounds his claim to social status, he locates his safety—ultimately—in the written word. Aristides writes for posterity, in the HL as in his other works, and in this text he negotiates a place for the story of divine inspiration in his literary afterlife.

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Conclusion rhetoric—to the spoken word, the written word, and the power of language as a social force—is apparent across his oeuvre, and my aim in this book has been to show how, in the HL, he makes this devotion concrete, embodied, and personal. Intending this account as a triumphant vocational self-portrait, Aristides casts himself as initiate, worshipper, and high priest in the cult of logoi. Strictly speaking, of course, the god of the text is Asclepius, and the work itself is presented as a fulfillment of Aristides’ religious obligation to him. Yet the narrative energy of the text centers on Aristides—on his curative performances, his dream visions, his public profile, and ultimately on what means most to him: his literary aspirations and his vocation as a rhetor. The details of his self-portrait are physical, ethical, political—even oneiric—but his ultimate goal is the enhancement of his professional profile. By merging an account of his quest for professional recognition with the story of his bodily illness and cures, and by crediting Asclepius with his professional as well as his physical salvation, he elaborates a model of performance and training—askêsis—in which he serves the god through rhetoric and makes literature itself virtually an extension of cult practice. The immunities narrative of HL IV and certain remarks in the fifth Logos suggest that the composition of the HL was motivated in part by Aristides’ desire to defend his public and professional status, and in this context it is remarkable that he departs from his usual polemical strategy of combining an overt stance of self-defense—classical apologia in the Socratic tradition—with invective. The HL are decidedly more adventurous. A literary experiment in self-presentation in which he pushes the boundaries of generic convention and oratorical decorum in the spirit of the most innovative imperial prose, Aristides’ unorthodox text is a triumphant declaration and demonstration of the divine source of his rhetorical gifts.






Many of the biographical details that appear over the course of the HL— particularly the details of his political entanglements—would have been known to those of Aristides’ elite contemporaries who likely formed the first audience for various parts of the text in oral performance. To this audience, then, Aristides presents a familiar story—but in heightened dramatic terms, casting himself as a heroic figure. At the same time, he has in view a wider audience: drawing on the rhetoric of cult votive and epic tale, he offers up to readers of the written text in posterity his own version of the ethos of the inspired orator. In some sense, Aristides gives in the HL the sort of portrait of himself that Philostratus would deny him in the Lives of the Sophists. Philostratus’s gallery of sophists has strongly conditioned the scholarly picture of oratorical culture in this period, and Aristides’ failure to fit the mold has been seen as a sign of weakness, a sign of his inability to compete in that world. Since Philostratus’s lens in the Lives of the Sophists largely filters religion out of the landscape of the Second Sophistic, the HL—where religion is a serious theme—have been read as an illustration and an explanation of Aristides’ marginal position. This is, in a sense, to pathologize the text as a document of self-revelation marred by egocentric superficiality, instead of acknowledging it as a self-conscious and inventive hybrid of religion and logoi. In Philostratus’s early third-century sketch, Aristides seems to fit imperfectly into his version of the literary culture of the period: a glittering world of sophistic performance and dazzling, outrageous self-display. Over the course of this book, however, I have built a case for recognizing this text as Aristides’ bid to engage contemporary performance culture on his own terms by elaborating a drama of religious inspiration and healing in order to heighten the rhetoric of his professional excellence. For Aristides, his vocation as a rhetor embraces the cultural, the political, and the religious. This is paideia in its most expansive sense. Libanius, perhaps uniquely among Aristides’ late classical and Byzantine commentators, seems to have appreciated the intensity of his predecessor’s devotion to Hellenism across its full spectrum, as well as the peculiarly vivid terms in which he portrayed it. Not only does he seem to acknowledge and humor Aristides’ fantasy of unity with the classical healing god, as we saw in his response to the portrait of the orator sent by Theodorus, but he also recognizes that Aristides’ seriousness about rhetorical paideia resonates with his own dedication to maintaining a living tradition of Hellenism in an increasingly Christian environment. As Libanius saw the gap growing, in the fourth century, between the new dominant religion and the old



culture, he longed for the continuation of a unified Hellenism, knowing that Christian attacks on pagan temples would entail hostility to traditional literature, too: “they are familiar and kindred, these two things: cult and literature [hiera kai logoi]” (Or. 62.8). While the religious climate of his era was distinct, and his own position unique, Libanius seems to have recognized that the self-portrait Aristides constructed across his oeuvre, and through divine dream narratives and ritualized curative performances in the HL, offered a powerful vision of the value of literary paideia in the person of the quasi-divine rhetor. While Aristides came ultimately to regard the HL as a single, collective text—as his reference to the “Hieroi Logoi” in Or. 42 suggests—we can still see traces of its evolution. The collection seems to have grown by a process of accretion as Aristides’ project of self-presentation progressed, and indeed its final form eludes us, for by accident of transmission, the extant text breaks off near the beginning of the sixth Logos. As we have seen, however, the prologues of HL I and II exhibit a high degree of narrative self-consciousness, and each in a different way complicates the project of votive memorialization. In prologue 1, Aristides explores this by way of a series of Homeric references that highlight the limits and the possibilities of the narrative voice; in prologue 2, when he begins again and gives his narrative a broader scope, he reflects further on the origins and purpose of his account as a written composition. The composition, or suggraphê, that he presents at the god’s command in the HL works interpretively upon past texts (written and unwritten) in order to trace the divine shape of his life. Neither the suggraphê nor the diary record of the apographê, to which he refers in HL II, is complete by itself. Rather, it is their relationship that is meaningful, and to the extent that Aristides can discern that relationship, he accesses and channels the divine perspective of diêgêsis, which is unbounded by the temporal limits that normally condition human narrative. When Aristides unsettles the relationship between event and apographê, between apographê and suggraphê, and, indeed, between his first and second prologues, he creates a multilayered text that aspires to an authorial voice that is collaborative—both human and divine. Recognizing Aristides’ interest in these dimensions of memory and interpretation prepares us to read his remarkable dream accounts not as psychological transcripts but as reflections of his interest in hermeneutic challenge. In the ancient world, interest in the prophetic and prognostic meaning of dreams was strong, but as we can tell from the votive, technical, and literary record, dream narratives are generally distilled for



interpretive ends. In this context, Aristides’ presentation of the uncertain and shifting texture of his dreams is remarkable: he exhibits a complex dream terrain, full of resonant images, and then he moves interpretive activity inside the dream space in which meaning is guaranteed by the god, thereby claiming an arena of complete narrative freedom with divine sponsorship. By way of his rambling dream narratives, then, Aristides paradoxically claims authorial power and artistic innovation. For Aristides’ dream narratives can perhaps best be appreciated in the context of the ancient rhetorical practice of vivid description, enargeia, and from this perspective his attempt to bring the phantom world of dreams vividly before the mind of his audience is a kind of rhetorical tour de force. Besides his dream narratives, the most characteristic feature of the HL is the extensive—even obsessive—attention Aristides pays to his physical body. This preoccupation, unprecedented in his other writings, has given him the reputation of a hypochondriac, but as we have seen, it is part of a calculated move in the service of the development of his public ethos. Just as Aristides makes the opaque and discontinuous language of his dream accounts a mode of transparency to the divine, turning the possibility of interpretive uncertainty into a paradoxical strength, so too, in the physical realm, he makes his claim to divine intimacy manifest in his paradoxical cures and stage-manages his own illness in order to cultivate a heroic profile. Through these curative performances Aristides incarnates two of the most powerful metaphors for oratorical excellence—agonistic performance and mystery initiation—so that the text works as his own claim to the experience of physical and mental exaltation associated with the improvised performances of his most eminent sophistic rivals. Scholars have sometimes tried to explain the rambling style and loose organization of the HL as a reflection of the impossibility of talking about the divine. The context offered by his prose hymns, however, suggests that this was not precisely the issue. The challenge, rather, is to find a way of portraying the link between human and divine when literary decorum separates divine hymn from human encomium. Aristides develops the motif of divine intimacy in the proemia of his prose hymns, where he has a certain amount of license to focus on his own interactions with the god. He seems to have faced a challenge from critical audiences, however, when he tried to move these themes from margin to center. In Or. 28, Aristides defends himself against accusations that a remark on his divine inspiration, made in passing during a speech to Athena, amounted to self-aggrandizement that was inappropriate in the hymnic context. In



the HL Aristides flouts such conventions, claiming his own space with a kind of freestyle prose writing that later anatomists of imperial epideictic rhetoric—like Menander Rhetor—might describe, loosely, as lalia: an oral, free-associative style that hides its artifice and makes room in the work, spoken or written, for the persona of the author. Consideration of Aristides’ relationship to his audience led us, finally, to examine the section of the HL in which he presents perhaps the most contentious part of his personal story: the account of his attempts to evade responsibility for public service in the form of civic liturgies. While he was clearly concerned about his public profile, referring in passing to his worry about being passed over for honors at Smyrna, it is striking that in contrast with his other polemical orations, the HL is not an overtly apologetic text. What Aristides offers instead is a triumphant account of his quest for immunity from public service in which he entwines politics and oratory, determined to base his case for status on his professional identity as a rhetor. Both oral performance and written documents play a crucial role in the immunities narrative, and Aristides uses this account to reimagine political engagement on his own terms. In the process, he exposes his own fundamental concern, not just for the fleeting honors of contemporary society, but also for the acknowledgment of an audience in posterity. His primary preoccupation is with his literary afterlife, and in the HL he projects this partly through the juxtaposition of a physical narrative with his professional one. Just as he seeks perfect, divinely supported health in perpetuity, so he seeks—with the professional inspiration of Asclepius—a textual afterlife. Occupying a territory between the oral and the written, as we have seen, the HL are Aristides’ attempt to capture both the glitter of sophistic improvised performance and the highly self-conscious, monumentalizing capacity of the written text. In this book I have sought to uncover Aristides’ rhetorical agenda and literary strategies in the HL by looking closely at the dynamics of the text itself and by putting it in dialogue with Aristides’ other writings and the professional concerns that animate them. What we would like to have, of course, is some evidence for the reaction of the contemporary and nearcontemporary audiences that received the oral and written versions, for some sense of whether Aristides hit his mark with this text or not. The level of self-assertion in the HL is high, and many of Aristides’ readers in the Byzantine and modern period have thought he makes himself ridiculous. But this was—as Philostratus illustrates so well—a period of extravagant claims and dramatic self-staging. Aristides, it would seem, is playing



this game, but in the HL he does so entirely on his own terms, pushing the rhetoric of religion as far as he can in service of his professional image. Aspiring to an authorial afterlife, he gives himself space to elaborate a self-portrait that seems to have been transgressive both in content and in style. The HL, then, offer a glimpse of individual creativity at work in a highly traditional context, pushing the limits of genre to claim inspired freedom. As we have seen, the HL break down the boundaries modern scholars have tended to set up between public and private, between rhetoric and religion. For this reason, Aristides’ text offers us a view of rhetorical culture in this period that is more expansive than Philostratus’s “Second Sophistic” and finds its echo in the unified Hellenism to which Libanius aspired.


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General Index

Note: References to ancient authors indicate general discussions; the Index Locorum contains passages cited. Modern authors are referenced only where their work is discussed in the main text, and not in the footnotes. Important references are signified in bold. Transliterated terms are in italics and may be represented by cognates in the text. “A.” denotes Aristides, and “HL” denotes Hieroi Logoi. abdominal disorders of A. 59, 75, 80–81, 91, 94–95, 104–105, 110 Aelius see Aristides Aeschines 19, 117 Aesepus River 46, 122, 135n25 aethloi (trials) 52, 55 “age of anxiety” 25, 30, 87n3 agôn athletic 31n79, 32n81, 113, 114n56, 116–120, 157 dramatic arts 130n8, 144–145 medical 89, 93, 97–99, 102, 115 rhetorical viii, 32, 55, 102, 117, 124 agônismata 39, 52, 55 agonistic performance, metaphor for rhetorical excellence 34, 55, 88–89, 116–117, 121–123, 125, 186 akribeia 33, 119n67 Alcimus (foster relation of A.) 176, 177 Alexander Numenius 143 Alexander of Abonuteichus 30

Alexander of Cotiaeum 9–10, 120, 178–179 Alexander the Great 96n25, 149, 179, 181 Alexandria 8, 11, 12, 71 alousia (abstention from bathing) 75–78, 80–81, 109 see also bathing: therapeutic qualities of ambiguities, textual 55, 57, 65, 70–71, 74 Antoninus Pius 159, 162 Apellas, Marcus Iulius 61 Aphthonius 144n46 apographê (diary or written record) 41–45, 46–47, 48–50, 52n30, 56, 185 see also diary style of HL I Apollo 46, 108, 112, 132, 134–135 apologia viii, 27, 28, 35, 183 Apuleius 33n85, 66n18, 122n71, 151 Aretaeus of Cappadocia 94 Aretalogical narrative 39, 59, 87


General Index

Arethas 22 aristeia 102, 103, 123 Aristides askêsis directed by Asclepius 35, 123, 127, 156, 174, 183 childhood 7–9 dedications made 8–9, 11, 15–16, 136 education 9–13 political life 16–17, 18, 29, 35, 159n8 see also immunities narrative religious sensibility 6, 9, 16, 18–19, 30 travels of 8, 11, 14, 43 see also illnesses of A.; Index Locorum; kathedra at Pergamum; Orations of A.; prose hymns (Orr. 37–46); written texts Artemidorus 71–72, 74, 76, 83, 93n19, 95n23 Artemis, hymn to 135n25 Asclepieia 63, 65n16, 89–90, 109n47 Asclepieium at Pergamum 15, 52n30, 61, 90, 109–110, 112n53, 161, 173n36 A. present at 37, 47, 60n4, 62, 63, 82, 136 see also kathedra at Pergamum Asclepius A. as 63n13, 65 A. as hypocritês of 127, 128, 136, 153 cult of 57, 59–63, 109–110 see also Asclepieia cures of 24n57, 89–102, 103–104, 110–112, 115–116 as director of A.’s askêsis 35, 123, 127, 156, 174, 183 epiphanies of 14–15, 46, 60, 108–113, 120, 135, 149 saves A. 14, 16–17, 46, 129–130 see also cures, divine sponsors A.’s immunity from public service 156, 158, 160, 194 sponsors A.’s oratory 14, 17–18, 33, 37, 47–48, 166n24, 175

Asiatic style of oratory 119 askêsis (training) 31, 35, 123, 127, 156, 174, 183 ateleia (immunity from public service) 156, 159, 164 see also immunities narrative Athena epiphanies of 54n33, 108, 135 hymns to 139–146, 166, 186–187 see also Index Locorum Odysseus’s oratorical skill bestowed by 145–146, 166, 186 Athens 8, 10, 168, 181 athletic agonism 31n79, 32n81, 113, 114n56, 116–120, 157 athletic cures 100, 101, 103 Atticizing style 5, 19, 26, 33, 119n67, 157n5, 158n6 audiences of A. bathing 89, 111–112, 115–116, 149n55, 174 intended 32–33, 35, 38, 52n30, 57, 65–66 negative reactions of 141–142, 148, 149, 152, 153, 186–187 responses to A.’s oratory 89, 174 A.’s attitude to 165n22, 166, 167n26 Augustine, Saint 28 authorial voice 48–56, 138, 143–144, 152, 186 see also double voice (divine and human) autobiography 18n43, 27–28, 35, 59, 134, 137 apologia viii, 27, 28, 35, 183 bathing as performance 110–112, 115–116, 149n55, 174 therapeutic qualities of 75–78, 91n14, 95–96, 103–104, 108–110, 115, 121

General Index baths catalog of 46, 103, 108–113, 121, 160 cold 100–101, 103, 109–110 in natural water 100–101, 109–113, 116, 149n55 temple 103–104, 109–110 Baumgart, Hermann 23 Behr, Charles viii, 7, 25–26, 29 biographical value of HL 24 body discourse of 29, 33, 113n55 homology with text 157, 174, 175–176 as medium of divine contact 87–88, 96, 108–109, 112–113 and rhetoric 31, 33, 116–117, 119–120, 157, 175 books as literary memorials 157, 175, 177–181 see also diphtherai (parchment books) Boulanger, André 23 Brown, Peter viii catalog of baths 46, 103, 108–113, 121, 160 catalog of dreams and cures 41, 43, 45, 52n30 childhood of A. 7–9 Christianity 3–4, 22, 24–25, 27, 28, 29, 184–185 Christian martyrs, rhetoric of 113–115 Claudius Aristocles (sophist) 10 commemorative tradition 59–61, 62 compositional process visible in HL 34, 38–39, 43, 45, 49, 52, 56, 185 composition date of HL 39n5, 48n21 Connolly, Joy 32 cult (hiera) of oratory (logos) 5–6, 7, 35, 38, 47, 51–52, 184–185 see also religion, relationship with rhetoric in HL cult of Asclepius 57, 59–63, 109–110 see also Asclepieia


curative performances 87, 88–89, 101–103, 108–109, 111–112, 124–125, 174, 186 cures, divine 24n57, 89–102, 103, 110–112, 115–116 competing with human 59–62, 89–92, 94, 97–99, 102 Cyziceans 14, 64, 186 Damianus (sophist) 11 dates of composition of HL 39n5, 48n21 dedications by A. 8–9, 11, 15–16, 136 Demosthenes 11n28, 19, 117, 168, 169, 181 descriptions of dreams 57–71 see also dreams, language of; ekphrasis; enargeia diary-keeping as rhetorical training 18–19, 58, 67–68 see also ephêmerides diary style of HL I 38, 39, 42, 44–46, 83, 94–97 see also apographê (diary or written record) diêgêsis (narrative) 49–52, 56, 185 diêgeisthai 50, 80, 81, 100 see also apographê (diary or written record); suggraphê (written account) dietetic medicine 90, 91, 92, 97, 100, 101, 103 Dio Chrysostom 116, 120n69 Dionysius of Halicarnassus 119n66 Dionysus 135–136, 138–139 Dioscorides 95n23 diphtherai (parchment books) 43, 52n30 divine commands, language of 41, 60, 62, 71–72, 122–123 chrêsma 60 keleuein 60, 61 tattein 60, 62n12, 62n14 divine cures see cures, divine divine epiphany see epiphanies


General Index

divine inspiration claimed by A. 83, 118, 129, 138, 144–145, 181 decorum of claiming 16, 34, 141–142, 143, 146–147, 186–187 poetic tradition of 129, 130, 134, 137 divine protection 16–17, 42, 46, 102, 103, 108, 110, 129 divine voice 52, 56, 140, 141, 185 see also double voice (divine and human) doctors, and divine healing 89–92, 96–100, 102, 115–116 Dodds, E.R. 24, 25, 30 dokein 57n1, 70, 75, 76 Dorandi, Tiziano 45, 49, 56 “double dream” 80–81 double prologue of HL 45, 49 double voice (divine and human) 56, 128–129, 130, 137, 140, 147–148, 153, 185 dramatic arts, rhetoric of 107, 144–145 dream hermeneutics 66–78, 81, 84–85 in Greek culture 57, 58, 59, 185–186 interpretive failure 74–78, 79, 82 dream incubation 57, 59–60, 103, 110n49 dreams, descriptions of 57–71 dreams, language of 57, 58, 59–66, 67, 68, 70, 81, 186 chrêmatizein 14, 72n32 dokein 57n1, 70, 75, 76 ennoia (notion) 75, 76 ephainesthai 70 oiesthai 61 oneiroi (dreams of divine origin) 71–72, 74, 80 opseis (visions) 57n1, 60 see also ekphrasis; enargeia dreams in antiquity 27, 57–58 dream space 65, 70, 81, 82, 84n55, 186 dream types

“double dream” 80–81 epiphanic 57–58, 60, 62, 65, 107–108 episodic 57–58, 63n14, 65–66, 84 excrement 76–77 medical 39, 71–78, 81–82, 88, 89–92, 94–96, 97–100 oracular 9, 44, 47, 162, 176–177 education of A. 9–13 Egypt 12, 14, 43, 51n28, 70 Egyptian deities 9n18, 62n10, 129–130 ekphrasis 66, 68, 70 see also enargeia Elaia 110 elite context health concerns 87–88, 92–93 religious concerns 15–16, 30, 52n30, 90 see also agôn; paideia (Hellenic education and culture) emperors’ endorsement of A. 16–18, 19, 37, 160–164, 166, 169–171, 173, 179 enargeia 34, 58, 59, 66–68, 83, 85, 186 enhypnion (dream) 72, 74, 74n39, 134 ennoia (notion) 75, 76 ephêmerides 18–19, 58, 96n25 see also diary-keeping as rhetorical training Ephesus 89, 96n26, 174 epic tradition 34, 39–40, 52–55, 108, 184, 185 see also Homer Epidaurus 46, 60, 61, 62n11, 108, 109n47 epideictic oratory 31, 134n17, 137, 143n46, 187 epiphanic dreams 57–58, 60, 62, 65, 107–108 epiphanies Apollo 46, 108, 112 Aristides 112 Asclepius 14–15, 46, 60, 108–113, 120, 135, 149 Athena 54n33, 108, 135

General Index episodic dreams 57–58, 63n14, 65–66, 84 Erotian 94 Eteoneus (student of A.) 178, 179–181 “ethical theatre” 29, 32 Euripides 35 excrement dreams 76–77 exercise 100, 101, 103 experimentation in A’s oeuvre 17, 128, 137–141 in HL ix, 6, 34, 67, 68, 152, 153, 183 extempore rhetoric ideal of 19, 20, 116, 117–118 A.’s aptitude for 18, 20, 34, 88, 122–125 family of A. 8 see also foster relations of A. fasting 75n41, 81, 82 Favorinus 32, 116, 119 Festugière, André-Jean 24, 25 foster relations of A. 8, 10, 52, 90, 99, 107, 175–177 see also Zosimus Foucault, Michel 31, 88n4 Freudian hermeneutics 27, 66n19, 84, 85 Galen 28n67, 90, 91n13, 92–93, 95n24, 97, 100n34 on dreams 71, 73–75, 76 Gleason, Maud 31–32, 116 Gorgias (sophist) 53n31, 133 Hadrian 4, 23n29, 180n44 Hadrian of Tyre 11, 118, 119 Hadriani 8, 158, 159n8, 161 Harris, William 57–58, 84 healing, divine see cures, divine Helen as narrator 52–53, 55 Hellenism 28, 96, 181, 184–185, 188 Herakleon (doctor) 90–91, 115, 116


hermeneia 67, 68 hermeneutic approach to dreams see dream hermeneutics Hermes 7, 132, 135n25 Hermogenes of Tarsus 19, 144n46 hero Asclepius as 55 A. as Epic 53–55, 107, 142 A. as oratorically gifted 88, 102–103, 104, 114–115, 121–122, 157, 186 Herodes Atticus 10, 11, 58n3, 96n25, 118 Hesiod 143, 144 hiera, relationship to logoi 5–7, 35, 185 see also religion, relationship with rhetoric in HL Hieroi Logoi (HL) A.’s intention in writing viii, 33–34, 38, 128, 148, 155, 171, 183 composition date 39n5, 48n21 interpretations of vii–viii, 18–19, 22–33, 67–68 place in A.’s oeuvre vii, 26, 32, 33–34, 120, 128, 148, 153 style vii, 32–34, 38–39, 62–63, 94–95, 128, 148, 186–187 title, origin of 47, 147–148 see also Index Locorum hieroi logoi in Greek literature 51–52, 139n35 Hippocrates (sophist) 93–94, 96, 100–101 see also Index Locorum “Hippocratic” dream 179 Hippodromos 117 History of Autobiography in Antiquity (Georg Misch) 27 Homer 10, 121, 181 see also epic tradition; Index Locorum hymns of A. see prose hymns; verse hymns hypar (waking vision) 15, 132n11, 139, 140 see also onar (dream)


General Index

Julianus (governor) 172

lalia (chat) 152, 187 Laneion 8–9, 17, 90, 100n33, 171–172 language of divine command 41, 60, 62, 71–72, 122–123 chrêsma 60 keleuein 60, 61 tattein 60, 62n12, 62n14 language of dream narratives 57, 58, 59–66, 67, 68, 70, 81, 186 chrêmatizein 14, 72n32 dokein 57n1, 70, 75, 76 ennoia (notion) 75, 76 ephainesthai 70 oiesthai 61 oneiroi (dreams of divine origin) 71–72, 74, 80 opseis (visions) 57n1, 60 see also ekphrasis; enargeia language of oracular proclamation 60, 100–101, 162 language of written texts 21, 129, 148, 187 Lebena 60 Lesbos 11, 13 Libanius 3–5, 21, 33, 184–185, 188 logoi viii, 4, 5, 37–38, 127–134, 137, 141, 181 relationship to hiera 5–7, 35, 185 see also religion, relationship with rhetoric in HL Lollianus (sophist) 118 Lucian 30, 116, 151 see also Index Locorum Lucius Verus 9, 169n32

kathedra at Pergamum 14–16, 19, 78, 89n8, 91, 110, 136, 141–142 A. reborn as extempore orator 122–124, 156, 171–172 kat’onar 60, 62 see also votive tradition Korenjak, Martin 32

manteutai (Orr. 37–41, 53) 138–141 Marcus Aurelius 17, 28n67, 48n21, 92, 103, 162, 170 see also Index Locorum martyrs, rhetoric of 113–115 masculinity evinced by performance 13, 26, 31–32, 116

hypochondriacal nature of HL viii, 25, 30n75, 186 hypocritês (actor) A. as 127, 128, 136, 145–146, 153 hyponoia (second-order meaning) 75, 76, 81 iamata 62n10, 107–108 see also cures, divine illnesses of A. diagnoses 30n77, 120 narrative of 18–19, 33, 94–95, 99n32, 102–107, 112 as strength 114–115, 125, 186 immunities narrative 35, 155–164, 165, 171, 173, 183, 187 imperial endorsement of A. 16–18, 19, 37, 160–164, 166, 169–171, 173, 179 incubation 57, 59–60, 103, 110n49 inscriptions 8–9, 11–13, 16n39, 60–62, 89–90 see also Index Locorum intellectual context 11–12, 25–26, 27, 29, 30, 120–121, 150n56 interpretation of dreams see dream hermeneutics interpretations of HL vii–viii, 18–19, 22–33, 67–68 interpretive failure 74–78, 79, 84 Isis 9n18, 69–70 Isocrates 130n6, 143, 145

General Index medical context of HL 72–73, 87–88, 89–96, 100–101, 121 medical dreams 39, 71–78, 81–82, 88, 89–92, 94–96, 97–102 medical rhetoric 88, 89, 93n17, 94, 96–97, 102, 115 memory, dynamics of 34, 39–41, 44, 46n16, 50, 185 Menander Rhetor 143, 152, 187 see also Index Locorum metanarrative 148, 149, 150, 152 metron 133–134, 153 miracles 45, 60–62, 101–102, 103, 111, 161, 175 Misch, Georg 27–28 Musonius Rufus 6 mystery initiation as metaphor for rhetoric 34, 88–89, 116–120, 121–123, 125, 149n54, 186 narrative see diêgêsis (narrative); suggraphê (written account) Nicetas of Smyrna 117 Odysseus 37, 52, 53–55, 108 onar (dream) 57n1, 60, 62, 76, 139 see also hypar (waking vision) oneirata 15, 57n1 oneirocriticism 26, 57, 71–72, 74 oneiron (dreams of divine origin) 71–72, 74, 80 opseis (visions) 57n1, 60 oracles 9, 44, 100–101, 162, 176–177 oracular proclamation, language of 60, 100–101, 162 Orations of A. manteutai 138–141 Platonic 16, 169n31, 170n33 polemical 118, 125, 166, 187 prose hymns see prose hymns see also Index Locorum for individual orations


orators, contemporary 10–11, 117–119, 161, 166–167, 177–179 oratory epideictic 31, 134n17, 137, 143, 187 importance to A. 4, 33, 167–168 masculinity evinced by 13, 26, 31–32, 116 see also rhetoric paganism 3–4, 185 paideia (Hellenic education and culture) cultural context 4, 10, 31, 93, 156, 168, 181 A. embraces 10, 11–13, 20, 119, 162, 174, 181, 184–185 pain 103, 104–108, 112, 113–115 paraphthegma (remark in passing) 141, 142, 144, 145 parergon (secondary business of dreams) 83, 168 parrhesia (freedom of speech) 97n29, 164–171 Pearcy, Lee T. 43, 44 pepaideumenoi 11, 13n32, 32 performance culture Aristides’ part in 89, 102–104, 122–125, 153, 164–171 of rhetoric 5, 6, 20, 31–32, 55, 93, 116–117 see also agôn performance of cures 87, 88–89, 101–103, 108–109, 111–112, 124–125, 174, 186 Pergamum, Asclepieium 15, 52n30, 61, 90, 109–110, 112n53, 161, 173n36 A. present at 37, 47, 60n4, 62, 63, 82, 136 see also kathedra periautologia 141–147 see also self-presentation of A. Perkins, Judith 29, 30, 113 Pernot, Laurent 33


General Index

personality of A. 25, 26, 27 Petsalis-Diomidis, Alexia 30–31, 32 pharmaka 53, 92, 98 Philagrus (sophist) 20 philaristeides 3 Philostratus ignores A.’s religiosity 7, 18–19, 21, 184 on rhetoric 18–20, 58, 67–68, 88, 117–118, 184 see also Index Locorum Philoumene (foster daughter) 175–177 Phrynichus 19 physicians see doctors Pindar 10, 134, 135, 137, 138, 143 see also Index Locorum Plato 10, 16, 119n66, 121, 143, 150n56, 179, 181 see also Index Locorum Platonic orations 16, 169n31, 170n33 Plutarch 92, 96n25, 117 see also Index Locorum poetic tradition 128–137, 138–139, 142–143, 153 polemical orations 118, 125, 166, 187 Polemo 10, 11n26, 11n28, 94n21, 117, 118 political life of A. 16–17, 18, 29, 35, 159n8 see also immunities narrative politics, role of rhetoric in 165–171 Porphyrio 64, 90 proemia of prose hymns 129, 138–141, 146, 151, 153, 186 prognostic dreams 73, 74, 79, 97, 185 prologue of Regarding Sarapis 130–134, 153 prologues in HL 38–45, 48–50, 52, 54–56, 185 prologues of hymns 129, 138–141, 146, 151, 153, 186 pronoia (providence) 42, 50, 169 prophecy of years 46, 108, 111, 115 prophesies 14–15, 46, 72, 140–141, 148, 176

prose as divinely inspired 130–132, 136–137 prose hymns (Orr. 37–46) 14, 16, 23, 35, 55, 127–153, 186 experimental style 137–141 periautologia 141–147 poetic inspiration 134–137 proemia 129, 138–141, 146, 151, 153, 186 providence, divine 42, 47, 49, 50, 169 psychological reading of A.’s oeuvre viii, 24, 25–26, 27, 29–30, 66, 185 psychosomatic nature of A.’s illnesses 29–30 public life, avoidance of see immunities narrative purification 77, 109, 122 see also bathing Quadratus (governor) 161, 163, 172 Quattrocelli, Luana 22 Quintilian 119n66, 124n75, 143 see also Index Locorum reality, relationship to dreams 41, 43, 70, 82, 83, 84n55, 132n11, 139–140, 148n53 Reardon, B.P. 35 religion, relationship with rhetoric in HL 33, 35, 51, 184, 188 see also hiera, relationship to logoi religion, rhetoric of 4–6, 7, 33, 184, 188 religious context of HL 24–25, 29–30, 87 religious sensibility of A. 6, 9, 16, 18–19, 30 reputation 11–13, 17–23, 155–164, 165, 186 in posterity 19, 156–157, 171, 177–181 rhetoric agôn viii, 32, 55, 102, 117, 124 A.’s devotion to viii, 4, 33, 183 Asiatic style 119

General Index askêsis (training) 31–32, 35, 123, 127, 156, 174, 183 Atticizing style 19, 26, 33, 119n67, 157n5, 158n6 of the dramatic arts 107, 144–145 extempore see extempore rhetoric parrhesia (freedom of speech) 97n29, 164–171 performance 10–11, 32, 55, 88, 116–117, 164–171 as political engagement 165–171 relationship with religion in HL 33, 35, 51, 184, 188 see also hiera, relationship to logoi of religion 4–6, 7, 33, 181, 184, 188 of votive tradition 57, 60–61, 65, 71, 84, 161, 184 rhetorical metaphors agonistic performance 34, 55, 88–89, 116–117, 121–122, 125, 186 athletic agonism 31n79, 32n81, 113, 114n56, 116–120, 157 mystery initiation 34, 88–89, 117–120, 122–125, 149n54, 186 rhetorical value of diary-keeping 18–19, 58, 67–68 Rome 9, 11, 60, 105, 122, 134, 135 Rufinus, L. Cuspius Pactumeius 38n2, 172, 173 Rufus of Ephesus 73n35, 93, 95n24 Rufus of Perinthoos 117 Salvius (consul) 47–48, 155n2 Sarapis 9n18, 108, 129–130, 149n55 Satyrus (doctor) 90, 91n13 Scopelian 117–118 Second Sophistic context 6, 20, 22n53, 23, 28–29, 117, 134n17, 184 Sedatius (acquaintance of A.) 123–124 “seeing” a dream 57 self-absorption of A. 22, 25, 27, 29–30, 32, 35, 128, 149, 184


self-presentation of A. as divinely favored 13–14, 21, 38, 59, 83–85, 141–142, 147, 149–151 as orator 32–34, 116, 121, 125, 145, 153, 159, 183–186 in social context viii, 22, 27–29, 31, 184 Severus (governor) 142n42, 159n8, 160–164, 165, 173 Shaw, Brent 114 Simonides 135, 143 Smyrna A. at 8, 9, 14–15, 16–17, 70, 110, 130n4 Asclepieium 63, 65n16 A.s reputation in 12–13, 17n41, 18, 155–156, 157–159, 165, 181 sophists, contemporary 10–11, 13, 17–23, 33, 90, 91n13, 116, 160 see also Second Sophistic context sôteria (safety) of A. 92, 98, 177 spatial ambiguities 63–64, 83 stochastic approach (conjecture) 81, 84 style of A.’s oeuvre 21, 129, 148, 187 Atticizing 19, 26, 33, 119n67, 157n5, 158n6 Hieroi Logoi (HL) 33–34, 38, 62–63, 94–95, 128, 148, 153, 186–187 see also enargeia; syntax lalia 152–153 Or. 31 (Funeral Oration for Etoneus) 180n44 of prose hymns 137–138, 151 suggraphê (written account) 42–47, 48–50, 52, 56, 185 Swain, Simon 162, 172 Synesius of Cyrene 58–59, 67–68 syntax 44, 58, 63–64, 66n19, 69–70, 76, 95 temple baths 103–104, 109–110 temple incubation 57, 59–62, 103, 110n49


General Index

textual homology with body 174–177 see also books as literary memorials thaumata (wonders) 32, 55n37, 87, 102–103, 115–116, 123, 125 theios, A. as 19, 21, 30, 89, 117 Theodorus (governor of Bithynia) 3, 21 Theodorus, name taken by A. 8, 13 Theodotus (doctor) 82, 91, 97 Theon, Publius Aelius 61 time and narrative structures 39–48, 50–51, 63–64, 68, 82–83, 148 training (askêsis) 31–32, 35, 123, 127, 156, 174, 183 travels of A. 8, 11, 14, 43 tropheis (foster parents) 8, 10, 52, 99 see also Zosimus

vocabulary, specialised 104n39, 111n52, 115, 171 votives of A. 8–9, 11, 15–16, 136 votive tradition 57, 59–62 water for purification 77, 109–110 see also bathing: therapeutic qualities of weather conditions 64n15, 95, 103n37, 110–111 Webb, Ruth 66, 68 Whitmarsh, Tim 44 written texts and orality 35, 52, 102–104, 141, 144, 151, 181, 187 significance to A. 157, 171–181, 183, 185, 187 style 33, 129, 148, 187

unconscious mind 25, 85 verse hymns 134–137 visualisation 57, 65–67, 68n24, 79, 85, 87, 124–125

Zeno (acquaintance of A.) 64–65 Zeus 7, 8, 9n18, 17, 37, 38n2, 130n4, 132 Zosimus (foster father to A.) 9, 47, 64, 82n52, 91n13

Index Locorum

Note: References to A.’s works follow numbering convention described on p6, note 10 Passion of Perpetua 114 ALEXANDER NUMENIUS Rhet. 143n46 ANTONINUS PIUS Digest 27, 1, 6, 2f 159n9 APHTHONIUS Progymnasmata 144n46 APULEIUS Florida 18.39 151n59 Metamorphoses 66n18 ARISTIDES For the Dancers 3n1 Hieroi Logoi (HL) Logos I (HL I) I 34, 38, 39, 44–45, 47, 48–49, 56, 58–59, 63n14, 79, 81, 83, 84, 91, 94–97, 109, 185; I.1 52, 55; I.1–3 155; I.2 53; I.3 42, 49–50, 54n34; I.4 59, 97; I.5 94–95, 104; I.6 62n12, 81, 95; I.8 77, 177n40; I.9 80, 84n55, 95–96; I.16 83n54, 168; I.17 63n13, 64, 150n56; I.18 63n13, 95n22; I.22 63n13; I.24–26 69; I.28 76n43; I.36–39 171; I.37 91n13; I.42–3 63; I.43 63n13; I.44 63n13; I.50 95n22;

I.51 81n51; I.54 81; I.55 76n43, 81; I.55–56 82; I.57 62n12, 97; I.61–63 98; I.61–68 97; I.62 99n32; I.64 102; I.66 62n12, 92; I.68 99; I.71 108n45; I.73 90; I.75 91n13 Logos II (HL II) II 14, 34, 38, 40, 42, 46, 48, 52n30, 103, 108, 121, 149, 174, 185; II.1 40; II.2 38, 41–42; II.2–3 155; II.3 42n7; II.5 90; II.6 122; II.7 15, 44, 149n55; II.8 43; II.8–9 47–48; II.10 92; II.11 54n34; II.12 100n33; II.13 44; II.15 62n12; II.18 44, 46, 108; II.18–23 110; II.19 103n37; II.20 44, 91, 111, 115; II.21 111–112, 149n55; II.23 112; II.24 46n15; II.26 44; II.27 100n33; II.31 24n57, 44, 54n34; II.33 149n55; II.34 90, 91; II.35 103; II.37 91–92; II.39 107; II.40 8n16, 107; II.41 54n33; II.41–43 108; II.42 54n34; II.44 107; II.45 46n15, 62n12; II.46–49 110; II.47 62n12, 103; II.48 44, 62n12; II.49 111; II.50 110, 111; II.51–55


Index Locorum

ARISTIDES (continued) 110; II.53 111; II.54 44; II.55–56 103; II.58 50; II.59 62n12; II.63 90n11, 105; II.69 90n11; II.70 15n36; II.75 62n12; II.76 104, 110, 112n53; II.78 62n12; II.79 103n37; II.80 103; II.82 62n12, 89 Logos III (HL III) III 45, 52n30, 149; III.4 3n1, 135n25; III.5 103; III.7 62n12; III.8 91n13; III.8–9 90; III.9 62n12; III.11 62n12, 120; III.16 8n16; III.16–19 105–106; III.18 90; III.20 9; III.26 43n8; III.27 62n12; III.30 91; III.34 62n12; III.39 76n43; III.41 8; III.41–42 9n18; III.44 15n36; III.45 70; III.47 108n44; III.48 149n55 Logos IV (HL IV) IV 35, 46, 52n30, 122, 129, 149, 150, 155, 156, 157, 165, 171, 174, 175, 183, 185; IV.4 135n25; IV.6 122; IV.7 122n71; IV.11 122–123; IV.14 15n37; IV.14–47 123n73; IV.14–62 155; IV.15 44, 117n63, 123; IV.18 15n37, 117n63; IV.19 174; IV.19–20 174; IV.22 124; IV.23–26 123n73; IV.25 44, 138n33; IV.26 123; IV.30 62n12, 138n33; IV.31 135n20; IV.31–44 16n40; IV.31–44 134; IV.31–47 134; IV.32 135n22; IV.36 135; IV.38 62n12, 91, 136; IV.39 62n12, 135, 137; IV.40 135n25; IV.41 135; IV.42 135n25; IV.43–44 136; IV.45 13n32, 136, 141; IV.49 63n13, 181; IV.50 108n45, 149, 150; IV.51 150n58; IV.52 89n8, 149; IV.53 157n5; IV.53–54 14n53; IV.54 9; IV.58 7; IV.61 11; IV.63 161; IV.63–67 172; IV.63–108 155; IV.67 161; IV.68 175; IV.69 175;

IV.71 62n12, 162; IV.72 158; IV.73 158; IV.75 162, 163n18, 173; IV.78 150n56, 164; IV.81–83 173; IV.82 174n38; IV.83 159n8, 173n37; IV.87 159, 178n41; IV.88 158; IV.91 165; IV.92 165; IV.96 158, 163; IV.97 62n12; IV.101 157n5, 160; IV.100–101 158; IV.102 158, 165; IV.103–104 164; IV.105 9n18, 81n50, 172; IV.106–107 172; IV.108 172n35 Logos V (HL V) V 45, 52n30, 149, 150, 155, 157, 174, 183; V.1 62n12; V.12 64; V.19 90; V.20 176; V.21 176; V.22 176; V.22–24 175; V.23 176; V.24 90, 177; V.29 166; V.30 167n25; V.31–32 166n24; V.33–34 167; V.35 44; V.36 155; V.49 62n12; V.50 100; V.51 63n14, 101; V.52 179; V.54 101; V.55 101; V.56 156–157; V.57 181; V.60 64n15; V.62 181; V.63 181; V.66 181 Logos VI (HL VI) VI 6n11, 46, 62n12, 81n13, 155n2, 185; VI.1 46n16; VI.2 6n11, 62ns11–12 Or. 1 (Panathenaic Oration) 5, 10, 83n54, 170n33; 25 10n24; 110 10n24; 322 168; 330 132n12; 332 10n24 Orr. 1–3 169n31, 170n33 Or. 2 (To Plato: In Defense of Oratory) 83n54; 19 132; 45e–46a 79; 47 10n24; 77–83 4n5; 106.30 132– 133; 167 78; 168 78; 207 145n50; 235 168n27; 302 167–168; 382 168n27; 392 168, 170n33; 394–399 4n4; 394–400 132n11; 398 132; 411 132n12; 429 169n31, 170n33; 433 97n29 Orr. 2–4 5

Index Locorum Or. 3 (To Plato: In Defense of the Four) 83n54, 169n31, 170n33; 191 127n1 Or. 17 (Smyrnaean Oration 1) 15 10n24 Or. 18 (Monody for Smyrna) 17, 169n31 Or. 19 (A Letter to the Emperors Concerning Smyrna) 17, 169n31; 1 163n19; 6 17n41 Or. 20 (A Palinode for Smyrna) 3 17n41, 53n31; 23 17 Or. 21 (Smyrnaean Oration 2) 2 17n41 Or. 22 (Eleusinian Oration) 169n31; 13 119 Or. 23 (Concerning Concord) 169n31; 4 167; 43 97n29; 61 97n29; 80 17n42 Or. 24 (To the Rhodians) 169n31; 1 14, 120; 5 97n29; 16 120n69; 31 120n69 Or. 26 (Regarding Rome) 5 Or. 27 (Panegyric in Cyzicus) 2 14 Or. 28 (Concerning a Remark in Passing) 16, 118, 129, 131n9, 186; 2 142; 11 150n57; 14 150n57; 16–17 142; 21 142, 143; 24 150n57; 25–44 142; 36 144n49; 43 54; 47 166; 55 127n1; 63 150n57; 75 142n42; 88 89n8; 89 150n57; 90 53n31; 94 144n49; 95 145n51; 96 144n49; 102 142n42; 110 147; 111 147; 116 147; 117 147; 122 147; 132 89; 132–133 89n8; 135 118; 37 144n49; 147 166; 148 150n57 Or. 29 (Concerning the Prohibition of Comedy) 28 145n50 Or. 30 (Birthday Speech to Apellas) 15n36, 21n48 Or. 31 (Funeral Oration for Eteoneus) 179–181; 14–15 180 Or. 32 (Funeral Address in Honor of Alexander) 9, 178–179; 3 10n23; 12–15 9n21; 39 9; 41 120


Or. 33 (To Those Who Criticize Him Because He Does Not Declaim) 18 54; 19–21 4n4; 25–31 120–121 Or. 34 (Against Those Who Burlesque the Mysteries (of Oratory)) 4n5, 10–11; 21 119n67; 23 120; 27 120; 28 119n67; 30 119n67; 31 119n67; 35 146n52; 38 119n67; 39 119n67; 40 119n67; 42 120; 53 97n29; 56 119; 60 97n29, 119; 61 119; 62 166 Or. 36 (Egyptian Discourse) 70n27; 1 43; 108 53n31 Or. 37 (To Athena) 142n42; 1 139; 21 7n14; 23 54n33; 29 139n38 Orr. 37–46 129–134, 137n31 Or. 38 (The Sons of Asclepius) 1 140; 2 76n43; 5 140n39; 15–16 97n28; 19 120n69; 23 24n58 Or. 39 (On the Well in the Temple of Asclepius) 109–110, 129n3 Or. 40 (To Heracles) 1 132n10; 21 135n25; 22 138 Or. 41 (To Dionysus) 1–2 138–139; 7 136n26 Or. 42 (Lalia for Asclepius) 37–38, 39, 54, 56, 104n29, 169n31, 185; 2 52n30, 138n33; 3 4n14; 4 51; 11 138n33; 12 127–128; 14 169n32; 6–7 122n71 Or. 43 (To Zeus) 18 150n56 Or. 44 (Regarding the Aegean Sea) 129n3; 1 132n11 Or. 45 (Regarding Sarapis) 16, 90n11, 129–134; 3 14; 13 14; 18 149n55; 29 51n28; 33 14 Or. 46 (Isthmian Oration: Regarding Poseidon) 39 54n33 Or. 53 (A Panegyric on the Water in Pergamum) 138 ARISTOTLE Poetics 1450 B24 148n53


Index Locorum

ARISTOTLE (continued) Rhetoric 1.9.33 (=1367b28–34) 144n46 ARRIAN Anabasis 7.25–26 96n25 ARTEMIDORUS Oneirocritica 1, proemium 72; 1.1 72; 1.47 74n37; 1.48 74n37; 2.26 76ns45–46; 4, proemium 74n39; 4.22 72ns31–32; 4.24 72; 4.42 83 DEMOSTHENES On the Chersonese 8.23 169 On the Crown 18.170 169n29; 18.191 169n29 DIO CHRYSOSTOM Or. 1 49 51n28 Or. 33 4–7 116 DIONYSIUS OF HALICARNASSUS On Literary Composition 25 119n66 GALEN Commentary on Hippocrates’ “On the Nature of Man” (ed. Kühn) 15.196 75n41 On Diagnosis from Dreams (ed. Kühn) 6:833 73; 6:835 76n44 On Examining the Best Physicians (De optimo medico cognoscendo) CMG Suppl. Or. IV, ed. Iskandar) 92–93 On the Order of My Books 93n18 Prognosis (CMG 5.8.1, ed. Nutton) 96n26; 2.1 93n18; 2.15 97n30; 3.4 93n18; 5.1 93n18 GORGIAS Encomium of Helen 53n31; 9 133 HERMOGENES Progymnasmata (ed. Rabe 1913) 144n46; 353.26 (=Peri id. 2.7) 19n46 HESIOD Theogony 22 143

HIPPOCRATIC CORPUS (ed. Littré) Airs, Waters, Places 93n18 De vict. (Regimen) 2.57.2 100n33 Epidemics 93n18, 94, 95; 7 99n31 On Dreams (Regimen 4) 86–87 72–73; 89.18 101 Places in Man 43 75n41 HOMER Iliad 2.56–59 140; 4.194 97n28; 11.518 97n28; 11.813 107; 11.835 97n28; 22.199–201 66 Odyssey 3.113–116 50; 4.241 52; 5 53; 6.130–136 54n35; 8.173 54; 13.109 137n30; 19.535–550 80n49 ISOCRATES Evagoras 130n6 Panegyricus 14 145n51 ISYLLOS Paean for Asclepius 37, 58–59, 61 97n28 JUVENAL Satires 4.82 170n33 LIBANIUS Ep. 710 5n7; 1534 3n1 Or. 1 84 5n6; 154 5n6 Or. 5 (Hymn to Artemis) 3n1 Or. 30 21 Or. 62 8 5, 184–185 LUCIAN Peregrinus 15 150n56 Professor of Public Speaking 116; 14 119n66 Slip of the Tongue, A 116 Syr. 4.11.15 51n28 Zeuxis 2 150n56 MACROBIUS Sat. 7.13.9–10 108n46 MARCUS AURELIUS Meditations 96n25; 1.10 9n21; 5.8 103 MENANDER RHETOR 1.331, 18–21 143n46; 1.333.31–1.334.5 131n8; 1.334.19–1.334.21 131n8; 3.344.1–4 138n33

Index Locorum PAUSANIAS 4.33.5 51n28; 5.13.3 109n47 PHILOSTRATUS Life of Apollonius of Tyana (VA) 4.34 15n38, 53n31; 7.22 53n31 Lives of the Sophists (VS) 7, 13n32, 33n85, 53n31; 481, 507, 509 19; 488 116; 492 116; 507 19; 509 19; 509–510 117; 511 117; 520 118; 527 118; 533 118; 536 94n21; 541 117; 542 118; 565 58n3, 96n25; 579 20; 581 58, 67; 581–582 18; 582 12n29, 88; 583 19, 20; 585 118; 587 118; 614 116; 617 117; 619 116 PHRYNICHUS Sophistic Preparation 19n46 PINDAR fr. 193 135n21 Olympian Odes 2.1 134; 2.86–88 127n1; 14.12 137n30 Pythian Odes 1.6 137n30 Vita Ambrosiana 127n1 PLATO Gorgias 504b 97n29; 505a 97n29 Phaedrus 131n8, 131n9; 279b8 139n38 Republic 400d 170n33 Symposium 131n8 Timaeus 45e–46a 79n48 PLUTARCH Advice on Keeping Well 17 (=131b–d) 100n34; 15 (=129d) 92 Life of Alexander 76.1 96n25; Life of Demosthenes 4.3 117; 6.3 117; 6.4 117 On Inoffensive Self-Praise 142n43 On Isis and Osiris 80 (=383e) 70n27 QUINTILIAN Institutio Oratoria 170n33; 3.7.7–10 143n46


RUFUS OF EPHESUS Medical Questions (CMG Suppl. 4, ed. Gärtner) 4 93n18 SENECA Ep. 75.4 170n33; 114 170n33; 115 170n33 SIMONIDES fr. 150 135n23 fr. 531 137n30 fr. 581 137n30 STRABO Geographica 14.1.37 65n16 SYNESIUS OF CYRENE (ed. Lacombrade) Ep. 154 67n22 On Dreams 18.2–3 67–68 THEON Progymnasmata 144n46 INSCRIPTIONS CIG III 4679 12n30 IG II2 4531 9n18 IG IV2,1 no. 126 61n8; nos. 121–22 62n10; nos. 121–24 61n6 IG XIV no. 966 60n5 IGR IV 1070 12n30 Inschr. von Perg. 2.264 109n47 Inscriptiones Creticae I, xvii nos.17–19 60n5 OGIS 709 12n30 POxy 1381 62n10