Lucian, On the Death of Peregrinus by Fire


“The ill-starred Peregriunus, or as he preferred naming himself, Proteus, has suffered the very same fate as that Homeric Proteus: turning in to everything for the sake of repute and acquiring countless forms, in the end turning even into fire. By such a great lust for fame he was possessed! And now? Now your best friend has burnt to a crisp like Empedocles….”


῾Ο κακοδαίμων Περεγρῖνος, ἢ ὡς αὐτὸς ἔχαιρεν ὀνομάζων ἑαυτόν, Πρωτεύς, αὐτὸ δὴ ἐκεῖνο τὸ τοῦ ῾Ομηρικοῦ Πρωτέως ἔπαθεν· ἅπαντα γὰρ δόξης ἕνεκα γενόμενος καὶ μυρίας τροπὰς τραπόμενος, τὰ τελευταῖα ταῦτα καὶ πῦρ ἐγένετο· τοσούτῳ ἄρα τῷ ἔρωτι τῆς δόξης εἴχετο. καὶ νῦν ἐκεῖνος ἀπηνθράκωταί σοι ὁ βέλτιστος κατὰ τὸν ᾿Εμπεδοκλέα



Lucian wrote more than most people will read in a lifetime. (Well, still less than Galen. And more exciting). Peregrinus was a cynic philosopher who eventually converted to Christianity before he recanted and fell in love with Indian philosophy. He cremated himself at Olympia in 165 CE. Lucian makes a joke about it…

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