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Alexander Peloplaton

*)Ale/candros *Phlopla/twn), a Greek rhetorician of the age of the Antonines, was a son of Alexander of Seleucia, in Cilicia, and of Seleucis. (Philostr. Vit. Soph. 2.5.1, compared with Epist. Apollon. Tyan. 13, where the father, of Alexander Peloplaton is called Straton, which, however, may be a mere surname.) His father was distinguished as a pleader in the courts of justice, by which he acquired considerable property, but he died at an age when his son yet wanted the care of a father. His place, however, was supplied by his friends, especially by Apollonius of Tyana, who is said to have been in love with Seleucis on account of her extraordinary beauty, in which she was equalled by her son. His education was entrusted at first to Phavorinus, and afterwards to Dionysius. He spent the property which his father had left him upon pleasures, but, says Philostratus, not contemptible pleasures. When he had attained the age of manhood, the town of Seleucia, for some reason now unknown, sent Alexander as ambassador to the emperor Antoninus Pius, who is said to have ridiculed the young man for the extravagant care he bestowed on his outward appearance. He spent the greater part of his life away from his native place, at Antiochia, Rome, Tarsus, and travelled through all Egypt, as far as the country of the Γύμνοι. (Ethiopians.) It seems to have been during his stay at Antiochia that he was appointed Greek secretary to the emperor M. Antoninus, who was carrying on a war in Pannonia, about A. D. 174. On his journey to the emperor he made a short stay at Athens, where he met the celebrated rhetorician Herodes Atticus. He had a rhetorical contest with him in which he not only conquered his famous adversary, but gained his esteem and admiration to such a degree, that Herodes honoured him with a munificent present. One Corinthian, however, of the name of Sceptes, when asked what he thought of Alexander, expressed his disappointment by saying that he had found " the clay (Πῆλος), but not Plato." This saying gave rise to the surname of Peloplaton. The place and time of his death are not known. Philostratus gives the various statements which he found about these points. Alexander was one of the greatest rhetoricians of his age, and he is especially praised for the sublimity of his style and the boldness of his thoughts; but he is not known to have written anything. An account of his life is given by Philostratus (Vit. Soph. 2.5), who has also preserved several of his sayings, and some of the subjects on which he made speeches. (Comp. Suidas, s. v. Ἀλέξανδρος αἰγαῖος in fin.; Eudoc. p. 52.)


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174 AD (1)
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