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Chaere'mon

2. Of Alexandria, a Stoic philosopher and grammarian, and an historical writer, was the chief librarian of the Alexandrian library, or at least of that part of it which was kept in the temple of Serapis. He is called ἱερογραμματεύς, that is, keeper and expounder of the sacred books. (Tzetz. in Hom. Il. p. 123. 11, 28, p. 146. 16; Euseb. Praep. Evang. 5.10.) He was the teacher of Dionysius of Alexandria, who succeeded him, and and who flourished from the time of Nero to that of Trajan. (Suid. s. v. Διονύσιος Ἀλεξανδρεύς.) This fixes his date to the first half of the first century after Christ; and this is confirmed by the mention of him in connexion with Cornutus. (Suid. s. v. Ὠριγένης; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 6.1.9.) He accompanied Aelius Gallus in his expedition up Egypt [GALLUS, AELIUS], and made great professions of his astronomical knowledge, but incurred much ridicule on account of his ignorance (Strab. xvii. p.806): but the suspicion of Fabricius, that this account refers to a different person, is perhaps not altogether groundless. (Bibl. Graec. iii. p. 546.) He was afterwards called to Rome, and became the preceptor of Nero, in conjunction with Alexander of Aegae. (Suid. s. v. Ἀλέξανδρος Αἰγαῖος.)


Works


1.
History of Egypt

His chief work was a history of Egypt, which embraced both its sacred and profane history. An interesting fragment respecting the Egyptian priests is preserved by Porphyry (de Abstinent. 4.6) and Jerome (c. Jovinianum, ii.).


2. On Hieroglyphics (ἱερογλυφικά

He also wrote On Hieroglyphics (ἱερογλυφικά), (Suid. s. v. Ἱερογλυφικά and Χαιρήμων).


3. On Comets (περὶ κομητῶν

Origen. c. Cels. 1.59: perhaps in Seneca, Quaest. Nat. 7.5, we should read Chaeremon for Charimander; but this is not certain, for Charimander is mentioned by Pappus, lib. vii. p. 247).


4. A grammatical work, περὶ συνδέσμων.

This is quoted by Apollonius. (Bekker, Anecdot. Graec. 2.28, p. 515. 15.)


Assessment

As an historian, Chaeremon is charged by Josephus with wilful falsehood (c. Apion. cc. 32, 33). This charge seems to be not unfounded, for, besides the proofs of it alleged by Josephus, we are informed by Tzetzes ( Chil. 5.6), that Chaeremon stated that the phoenix lived 7000 years !

Of his philosophical views we only know that he was a Stoic, and that he was the leader of that party which explained the Egyptian religious system as a mere allegory of the worship of nature, as displayed in the visible world (ὁρώμενοι κόσμοι) in opposition to the views of IAMBLICHUS. His works were studied by Origen. (Suid. s. v. Ὠριγένης; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 6.19.) Martial (11.56) wrote an epigram upon him.


Further Information

Ionsius, de Script. Hist. Philos. p. 208; Brucker, Hist. Crit. Phil. ii. p. 543, &c.; Kruger, Hist. Philos. Ant. p. 407; Vossius. de Hist. Graec. pp. 209, 210, ed. Westermann.

[P.S]

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