), a Greek sophist and historian, was born at Sardis in A. D. 347, and seems to have lived till the reign of the emperor Theodosius the Younger.
He received his first education from his kinsman Chrysanthius, a sophist at Sardis, who implanted in him that love of the pagan and that hatred of the Christian religion which so strongly marked his productions.
In his sixteenth year he went to Athens to cultivate his mind under the auspices of Proaeresius, who conceived the greatest esteem for the youth, and loved him like his own son.
After a stay of five years, he prepared to travel to Egypt, but it would seem that this plan was not carried into effect, and that he was called back to Phrygia.
He was also skilled in the medical art.
During the latter period of his life, he seems to have been settled at Athens, and engaged in teaching rhetoric.
He is the author of two works.
This work is still extant.
He composed it at the request of Chrysanthius.
It contains 23 biographies of sophists, most of whom were contemporaries of Eunapius, or at least had lived shortly before him. Although these biographies are extremely brief, and are written in an intolerably inflated style, yet they are to us an important source of information respecting a period in the history of philosophy which, without this work, would be buried in utter obscurity. Eunapius shews himself an enthusiastic admirer of the philosophy of the New Platonists, and a bitter enemy of Christianity.
His biographies were first edited with a Latin translation and a life of Eunapius by Hadrianus Junius, Antwerp, 1568, 8vo. Among the subsequent editions we may mention those of H. Commelinus (Frankfurt, 1596, 8vo.) and Paul Stephens. (Geneva, 1616, 8vo.) The best, however, which gives a much improved text, with a commentary and notes by Wyttenbach, is that of J. F. Boissonade, Amsterdam, 1822, 2 vols. 8vo.
In fourteen books. (Phot. Bibl. Cod.
It began with the death of Claudius Gothicus, in A. D. 270, and carried the history down to A. D. 404, in which year St. Chrysostom was sent into exile, and which was the tenth year of the reign of Arcadius.
This account of Photius (l.c.
) seems to be contradicted by a passage of the excerpta (p. 96, ed. Bekker and Niebuhr), in which Eunapius speaks of the avarice of the empress Pulcheria, who did not obtain that dignity till A. D. 414; but the context of that passage shews that it was only a digression in the work, and that the work itself did not extend to A. D. 414.
It was written at the request of Oribasius, and Photius saw two editions of it.
In the first, Eunapius had given vent to his rabid feelings against Christianity, especially against Constantine the Great; whereas he looked upon the emperor Julian as some divine being that had been sent from heaven upon earth.
In the second edition, from which the excerpts still extant are taken. those passages were omitted; but they had been expunged with such negligence and carelessness, that many parts of the work were very obscure.
But we cannot, with Photius, regard this " editio purgata" as the work of Eunapius himself, and it was in all probability made by some bookseller or a Christian, who thus attempted to remedy the defects of the original.
The style of the work, so far as we can judge of it, was as bad as that of the Lives of the Sophists, and is severely criticised by Photius.
All we now possess of this work consists of the Excerpta de Legationibus, which were made from it by the command of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, and a number of fragments preserved in Suidas.
These remains, as far as they were known at the time, were published by D. Höschel (Augsburg,1603, 4to.)
, H. Fabrotti (Paris, 1648, fol.)
, and in Boissonade's edition of the Lives of the Sophists. (vol. i. p. 455, &c.)
A. Mai discovered considerable additions, which are published in his Scriptorum Vet. Nova Collectio, vol. ii. p. 247-316, from which they are reprinted in vol. i. of the Corpus Script. Hist. Byzant. edited by I. Bekker and Niebuhr.
The rhetorician Eunapius
Whether the rhetorician Eunapius, whom Suidas (s. v. Μουσώνιος
) calls ὁ ἐκ Φρυγίας
, is the same as our Eunapius, is uncertain. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. vii. p. 538.