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Sextus

3. Of Chaeroneia, a Stoic philosopher, nephew of Plutarch, and one of the instructors of the emperor Marcus Aurelius (Jul. Capitolin. Vita M. Antonin. Philos. ; Suid. s. v. Μάρκος; comp. Antonin. De Rebus suis, 1.9).

According to Suidas it was during the reign, and indeed in the latter part of the reign of Marcus, and when Sextus was teaching at Rome, that the emperor attended his instructions. He is perhaps the " Sextus the Philosopher," mentioned by Syncellus as flourishing under the reign of Hadrian.


Confusion of Sextus of Chaeroneia with Sextus Empiricus

Suidas (s. v. Σέξτος Χαιρωνεὺς) confounds the nephew of Plutarch with a contemporary or nearly contemporary philosopher, Sextus Empiricus [SEXTUS EMPIRICUS : and this confusion, into which several modern critics have also fallen, makes it difficult to determine to which of the two the particulars mentioned by him in the article are to be referred. When he states that Sextus was the disciple of Herodotus of Philadelphia, and was so high in the favour of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, that he was invited to share with him the judgment-seat, it is probable that our Sextus is spoken of. To him also we may suppose the account to refer, that an impostor, who resembled him in features, attempted to personate him, and thus to obtain possession of his honours and property. The impostor is said to have been discovered, through his ignorance of Greek learning, by the emperor Pertinax.


Works


Ἠθικά, and Ἐπισκεπτικά, βιβλία δέκα,

Suidas ascribes to our Sextus two works, Ἠθικά, Ethica, and Ἐπισκεπτικά, βιβλία δέκα, Episceptica (for which some propose to read Σκεπτικά, Sceptica, or ἔτι Σκεπτικά), Libris decem. Menage (vid. Kuster, Not. in Suid.) suspects that the mention of the second work has been inserted by some transcriber, who confounded the two Sexti above mentioned; but the mistake (if such it be) is probably to be attributed to Suidas himself or the authority from whom he took it, for we find it also in the Ionia of the empress Eudocia.


Διαλέξεις,

But it is not impossible that one, perhaps both of these titles, were intended to apply to certain Διαλέξεις, Dissertationes, written in the Doric dialect, and which Fabricius describes as Dissertationes Antiscepticae. They are five in number, and very short. The subjects are :--

Editions

These were published by Hen. Stephanus (Henri Etienne), among the Fragmenta Pythagoraeorum, without an author's name; and appeared, still anonymously, but with a Latin version and notes, by John North, in the Opuscula Mythologica, Physica, Ethica, of Gale, 8vo. Cambridge, 1670, and Amst. 1688. John North, in his first note, asserts that the author's name was Mimas, founding his assertion on a passage in the fourth Dissertatio, of which the reading has since been corrected. They were again printed, with North's version, but without his notes, by Fabricius (Biblioth. Graec. vol. xii. p. 617, ed. vet.).

Authorship

These dissertations, it has been conjectured, were written by Sextus of Chaeroneia : but whether the conjecture is well founded, and if so, whether they are the Ἠθικά or the Ἐπισκέπτικά of Suidas, is altogether uncertain. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. v. p. 528, note b., ed. Harles ; Idem, Notae in Testimonia praefixa Operibus Sex. Empirici.

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