a son of the notary Theodorus, who, with others, was put to death by the emperor Valens at Antioch A. D. 371, for seeking by magical arts to ascertain who was to be the successor of that emperor.
He appears to have been a pagan; a man of suspicious temper, and easily led by others into acts to which probably his own disposition would not have prompted him. When he entered upon his office, A. D. 384, Antioch was suffering from a severe famine, and he made matters worse by threats against the bakers, in order to induce them to sell at a fixed price, an arbitrary proceeding which induced them to take to flight.
The sophist Libanius, to whom Icarius had shown great respect as to a father, induced him to recal his threats; but Icarius soon reverted to his arbitrary proceedings. Libanius addressed three Orations
to Icarius, one hortatory, the others invectives.
The second invective is not given in the edition of the works of Libanius by Morell (2 vols. fol. Paris, 1606-1627), but was first published in the edition of Reiske, 4 vols. 8vo. Altenburg, 1791-97.
Icarius was distinguished by his literary attainments; and Tillemont is disposed to identify him with the rhetorician mentioned by Augustin in his Confessiones,
to whom Tillemont gives the name of Icarius; but in the editions of Augustin which we have consulted the rhetorician is not called Icarius.
Icarius wrote a poem in honour of the emperor Theodosius the Great; and received from him, apparently in return for this compliment, the dignity of comes Orientis.
From these Orations of Libanius, and from the discourse of Libanius, Περὶ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ τύχης
, De Fortuna
(s. De Vita sua
), our knowledge of Icarius is derived.
Comp. Tillemont, Hist. des Emp.
vol. v. p. 108, &100.227, &c.