The Unremarkable Life of Phoinix the Thessalian Sophist


From Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists 22


“Phoinix the Thessalian is neither worthy of admiration nor, however, of being ignored completely. He was one of the students of Philagros, and he was better at invention than investigation—for although his thought was ordered, and he never said anything inappropriate to the moment, his style of speech seemed disconnected and out of rhythm. He was considered more effective with those who were just beginning their studies than those who were already possessed of some learning, since his subjects were just left unadorned and his diction did not dress them well. He died in Athens at age seventy and was buried in a conspicuous place, since he lies near those who died in the wars, on the right side of the road toward the Academy.”

κβ′. Φοῖνιξ δὲ ὁ Θετταλὸς οὐδὲ θαυμάσαι ἄξιος, οὐδὲ αὖ διαβαλεῖν πάντα. ἦν μὲν γὰρ τῶν Φιλάγρῳ πεφοιτηκότων, γνῶναι δὲ ἀμείνων ἢ ἑρμηνεῦσαι, τάξιν τε γὰρ τὸ νοηθὲν εἶχε καὶ οὐθὲν ἔξω καιροῦ ἐνοεῖτο, ἡ δὲ ἑρμηνεία διεσπάσθαι τε ἐδόκει καὶ ῥυθμοῦ ἀφεστηκέναι. ἐδόκει δὲ ἐπιτηδειότερος γεγονέναι τοῖς ἀρχομένοις τῶν νέων ἢ τοῖς ἕξιν τινὰ ἤδη κεκτημένοις, τὰ γὰρ πράγματα γυμνὰ ἐξέκειτο καὶ οὐ περιήμπισχεν αὐτὰ ἡ λέξις. ἑβδομηκοντούτης δὲ ἀποθανὼν ᾿Αθήνησιν ἐτάφη οὐκ ἀφανῶς, κεῖται γὰρ πρὸς τοῖς ἐκ τῶν πολέμων ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς ᾿Ακαδημίανδε καθόδου.

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