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Dexippus, Publius Here'nnius

a Greek rhetorician and historian, was a son of Ptolemaeus and born in the Attic demos of Herms. (Böckh, Corp. Inscript. i. n. 380, p. 439, &c.) He lived in the third century after Christ, in the reigns of Claudius Gothicus, Tacitus, Aurelian, and Probus, till about A. D. 280. (Eunap. Vit. Porphyr. p. 21.) He was regarded by his contemporaries and later writers as a man of most extensive learning; and we learn from the inscription just referred to, that he was honoured at Athens with the highest offices that existed in his native city. In A. D. 262. when the Goths penetrated into Greece and ravaged several towns, Dexippus proved that he was no less great as a general and a man of business than as a scholar, for, after the capture of Athens, he gathered around him a number of bold and courageous Athenians, and took up a strong position on the neighbouring hills. Though the city itself was taken by the barbarians, and Dexippus with his band was cut off from it, he made an unexpected descent upon Peiraeeus and took vengeance upon the enemy. (Dexipp. Exc. de Bell. Scyth. p. 26, &c.; Trebell. Poll. Gallien. 13.)


We are not informed whether Dexippus wrote any rhetorical works; he is known to us only as an historical author. Photius (Bibl. Cod. 82) has preserved some account of three historical works of Dexippus.

1. Τὰ μετὰ Ἀλέξανδρον, in four books.

It was a history of Macedonia from the time of Alexander, and by way of introduction the author prefixed a sketch of the preceding history, from the time of Caranus to Alexander. (Comp. Euseb. Chron. 1.)

2. Σύντομον ἱστορία

Σύντομον ἱστορία or as Eunapius (p. 58) calls it, χρονικὴ ἱστορία, was a chronological history from the mythical ages down to the accession of Claudius Gothicus, A. D. 268. It consisted probably of twelve books, the twelfth being quoted by Stephanus of Byzantium (s. v. Ἔλουροι), and it is frequently referred to by the writers of the Augustan history. (Lamprid. Alex. Sev. 49; Capitolin. Maximin. Jun. 6, Tres Gord. 2, 9, Maxim. et Balbin. 1; Treb. Poll. Gallien. 15, Trig. Tyr. 32, Claud. 12; comp. Evagrius, Hist. Eccles. 5.24.)

3. Σκυθικά

Σκυθικά, that is, an account of the war of the Goths or Scythians, in which Dexippus himself had fought. It commenced in the reign of Decius, and was brought to a close by Aurelian.


Photius praises the style and diction of Dexippus, especially in the third work, and looks upon him as a second Thucydides ; but this praise is highly exaggerated, and the fragments still extant shew, that his style has all the faults of the late Greek rhetoricians.


The fragments of Dexippus, which have been considerably increased in modern times by the discoveries of A. Mai (Collect. Script. Vet. ii. p. 319, &c.), have been collected by I. Bekker and Niebuhr in the first volume of the Scriptores Historiae Byzantinae, Bonn, 1829, 8vo.


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