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1. A philosopher and sophist of the time of the emperor Hadrian. He was a native of Arles, in the south of Gaul, and is said to have been born an Hermaphrodite or an eunuch. (Philostr. Vit. Soph. 1.8.1; Lucian, Eunuch. 7; Gel. 2.22.) On one occasion, however, a Roman of rank brought a charge of adultery against him. He appears to have visited Rome and Greece at an early age, and he acquired an intimate acquaintance of the Greek and Latin languages and literature. These attainments combined with great philosophical knowledge, very extensive learning, and considerable oratorical power, raised him to high distinctions both at Rome and in Greece. For a time he enjoyed the friendship and favour of the emperor Hadrian, but on one occasion he offended the emperor in a dispute with him, and fell into disgrace, whereupon the Athenians, to please the emperor, destroyed the bronze statue which they had previously erected to Favorinus. He used to boast of three things: that being a eunuch lie had been charged with adultery, that although a native of Gaul he spoke and wrote Greek, and that he continued to live although he had offended the emperor. (Philostr. l.c.; D. C. 69.3; Spartian. Hadr. 16.) Favorinus was connected by intimate friendship with Demetrius of Alexandria, Demetrius the Cynic, Cornelius Fronto, and especially with Plutarch, who dedicated to him his treatise on the principle of cold (περὶ τον̂ πρώτου Ψυχρον̂), and among whose lost works we have mention of a letter on friendship, addressed to Favorinus. Herodes Atticus, who was likewise on intimate terms with him, looked up to him with great esteem, and Favorinus bequeathed to him his library and his house at Rome. Favorinus for some time resided in Asia Minor; and as he was highly honoured by the Ephesians, he excited the envy and hostility of Polemon, then the most famous sophist at Smyrna. The two sophists attacked each other in their declamations with great bitterness and animosity. The oratory of Favorinus was of a lively, and in his earlier years of a very passionate kind. He was very fond of displaying his learning in his speeches, and was always particularly anxious to please his audience.


Favorinius' extensive knowledge is further attested by his numerous works, and the variety of subjects on which he wrote. None of his works, however, has come down to us, unless we suppose with Emperius, the late editor of Dion Chrysostomus (in a dissertation de Oratione Corinthiaca falso Dioni Chrys. adscripta, p. 10, &c. Brunsvig. 1832), that the oration on Corinth, commonly printed among those of Dion Chrysostomus, is the work of Favorinus.

The following are the titles of the principal works ascribed to him:

1. Περὶ τῆς καταληπτικῆς Φαντασίας

Περὶ τῆς καταληπτικῆς Φαντασίας, probably consisting of three books, which were dedicated respectively to Hadrian, Dryson, and Aristarchus. (Galen, vol. i. p. 6.)

2. Ἀλκιβιάο̂ης

Ἀλκιβιάο̂ης. (Galen, iv. p. 367.)

3. A work addressed to Epictetus.

A work addressed to Epictetus, which called forth a reply from Galen (iv. p. 367).

4. A work on Socrates.

A work on Socrates, which was likewise attacked by Galen (iv. p. 368).

5. Πλούταρχος περὶ τῆς Ἀκαδημικῆς Διαθέσεως

Πλούταρχος περὶ τῆς Ἀκαδημικῆς Διαθέσεως. (Galen, i. p. 6.)

6. Περὶ πλάτωνος

Περὶ πλάτωνος. (Suidas.)

7. Περὶ τῆς Ὅμήρου Φιλοσοφίας

Περὶ τῆς Ὅμήρου Φιλοσοφίας. (Snidas.)

8. Πυρρώνειοι τρόποι

Πυρρώνειοι τρόποι, in ten books, seems to have been his principal work. (Philostr. Vit. Solh. 1.8.4; Gel. 11.5.) Favorinus in this work showed that the philosophy of Pyrrhon was usefil to those who devoted themselves to pleading in the courts of justice.

9. Παντοδαπὴ Ἱστορία

Παντοδαπὴ Ἱστορία, consisting of at least eight books, probably contained historical, geographical, and other kinds of information. (D. L. 3.24, 8.12, 47.)

10. Ἀπομνημονεύματα

Ἀπομνημονεύματα, of which the third hook is quoted. (D. L. 3.40.)

11. Γνωμολογικά

Γνωμολογικά. A work about proverbs.

Other works

Philostratus (comp. Gel. 17.12) mentions several orations, but we have no means of judging of their merit.

Further Information

Besides the two principal sources, Philostratus and Suidas, see J. F. Gregor, Commentatio de Favorino, Laub. 1755, 4to; Forsmann, Dissertatio de Favorino, Abo, 1789, 4to.

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