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Biographies (21)

Philosophers

Proclus

, , 8/2/411 - 17/4/485

   The most important representative of the later Neo-Platonic School, born A.D. 412 at Byzantium. He received his first instruction at Xanthus, in Lycia, and betook himself to Alexandria to complete his education. There he attached himself chiefly to Heron, the mathematician, and to the Aristotelian Olympiodorus. Before the age of twenty, he removed to Athens to attend the lectures of the most celebrated Platonists of the time, Syrianus and Plutarchus. On the death of the latter he became head of the Platonic School until his own death in 485. His disciples were very numerous; and his learning and zeal for the education of the young, combined with his beneficence, his virtuous and strictly ascetic life, and his steadfastness in the faith of his fathers, gained him the enthusiastic devotion of his followers. We possess an account of his life, full of admiration for his character, by his pupil and successor, Marinus. The efforts of Proclus were directed to the support of paganism in its struggle with the now victorious Christianity, by reducing to a system all the philosophic and religious traditions of antiquity. His literary activity was very great, and extended over almost every department of knowledge; but Platonic philosophy was the centre of the whole. His philosophical works, now extant, are a commentary on a few dialogues of Plato (mainly on the Timaeus), also his chief work on the theology of Plato, as well as a summary of the theology of Plotinus, with writings treating several branches of philosophy from his own point of view. Some of his minor works have reached us only in a Latin translation. As specimens of his mathematical and astronomical works, we have a commentary on the first book of Euclid, a sketch of the astronomical teaching of Hipparchus, Ptolemy, and others, a slight treatise on the heavens, etc. One of his grammatical writings survives in his commentary on Hesiod's Works and Days. Lastly, we have two epigrams by him and six hymns. It is doubtful whether the Grammatical Chrestomathy, extracts from which, preserved by Photius, are the only source of our knowledge of the Greek cyclic poets, was really written by him, and not rather by a grammarian of the same name in the second century A.D. There is no complete edition of the works of Proclus. A partial edition is that of Cousin, 6 vols. (Paris, 1820).

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Proclus : Various WebPages


Emperors

Constantine the Great

   Gaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Claudius, known as The Great, son of the emperor Constantius Chlorus and Helena, was born A.D. 272, at Naisus, a city of Dacia Mediterranea. When Constantine's father was associated in the government by Diocletian, the son was retained at court as a kind of hostage, but was treated with great kindness at first, and was allowed several opportunities of distinguishing himself. After the abdication of Diocletian, Constantius and Galerius were elevated to the rank of Augusti, while two new Caesars, Severus and Maximin, were appointed to second them. Constantine was not called to the succession. Diocletian, partial to Galerius, his son-in-law, had left the nomination of the two new Caesars to the latter; and the son of Constantius, whose popularity and talents had excited the jealousy of Galerius, and whose departure, although earnestly solicited by his father, was delayed from time to time under the most frivolous pretences, with difficulty at length obtained permission to join his parent in the West, and only escaped the machinations of the emperor by travelling with his utmost speed until he reached the western coast of Gaul. He came just in time to join the Roman legions, which were about to sail under his father's command to Britain, in order to make war upon the Caledonians. Having subdued the northern barbarians, Constantius returned to York (Eboracum), where he died in the month of July, in the year 306. Gale rius, sure of the support of his two creatures, the Caesars, had waited impatiently for the death of his colleague, to unite the whole Roman Empire under his individual sway. But the moderation and justice of Constantius had rendered him the more dear to his soldiers from the contrast of these qualities with the ferocity of his rival. At the moment of his death, the legions stationed at York, as a tribute of gratitude and affection to his memory, and, according to some, at his dying request, saluted his son Constantine with the title of Caesar and decorated him with the purple. Whatever resentment Galerius felt at this, he soon perceived the danger of engaging in a civil war. As the eldest of the emperors, and the representative of Diocletian, he recognized the authority of the colleague imposed upon him by the legions. He assigned to him the administration of Gaul and Britain, but gave him only the fourth rank among the rulers of the Empire with the title of Caesar.
    Under this official appellation Constantine administered the prefecture of Gaul for six years (A.D. 306-312), perhaps the most glorious, and certainly the most virtuous, period of his life. The title and rank of Augustus, which his soldiers had conferred upon Constantine, but which Galerius had not allowed him to retain, the latter gave to Severus, one of his own Caesars. This dignity had been expected by Maxentius, son of the abdicated emperor Maximian, the former colleague of Diocletian. Indignant at his disappointment, Maxentius caused himself to be proclaimed emperor by his army; and, to strengthen his usurpation, he induced his father to leave his retreat and resume the imperial title. A scene of contention followed, scarcely paralleled in the annals of Rome. Severus marched against the two usurpers; but was abandoned by his own troops, surrendered, and was slain. Galerius levied a great army, and marched into Italy against Maximian and Maxentius, who, dreading his power, retired to Gaul and endeavoured to procure the support of Constantine. This politic chief did not consider it expedient to provoke a war at that time and for no better cause; and, Galerius having withdrawn from Italy and returned to the East, Maximian and Maxentius returned to Rome. To aid him in the struggle, Galerius conferred the title of emperor on his friend Licinius; and thus there were at once six pretenders to the sovereignty of the Empire--namely, Galerius and Licinius; Maximian and his son Maxentius; Maximin, who had been nominated Caesar by Galerius; and Constantine, the son and successor of Constantius. Among these rivals Constantine possessed a decided superiority in prudence and abilities, both military and political. The harsh temper of Maximian soon led to a quarrel between him and his son Maxentius. Leaving Rome, he went to Gaul, to Constantine, who had become his son-in-law when he and his son were endeavouring to make head against Galerius. Here also Maximian found himself disappointed of that power which he so greatly longed to possess; and having plotted against Constantine, was detected and put to death. Galerius died not long after (311), leaving his power to be divided between his Caesars, Maximin and Licinius; so that there were now four competitors for the Empire: Constantine, Maxentius, Maximin, and Licinius. Maxentius speedily provoked open hostilities with Constantine, who marched at the head of a powerful army towards Rome.
    It was while Constantine was proceeding on this momentous expedition that he made an open and public declaration in favour of Christianity. Before that time, the persecuting edicts of Diocletian had been much mitigated by the forbearance and leniency of Constantius; and Constantine not only followed his father's example in being merciful to the persecuted Christians, but even showed them some marks of positive favour. Very considerable numbers of them, in consequence, flocked to his standard and swelled the ranks of his army. Their peaceful, orderly, and faithful conduct, contrasting most favourably with the turbulent and dissolute behaviour of those who formed the mass of common armies, won his entire confidence. To what extent this led Constantine to form a favourable opinion of Christianity, or inclined him to view with esteem and respect the tenets which had produced such results, cannot be ascertained. How far, also, his avowed reception of Christianity was influenced by the prudence of the politician, how far by the conviction of the convert, it is impossible to determine. The accounts of his dream and his vision, which united to enforce his trust in Christianity, bear too much the aspect of fiction, or of having been the illusive consequences of mental anxiety, brooding intensely on the possible results of a great religious revolution, to be woven into the narrative of sober history. The story goes, however, that on his march to Rome, either at Autun in Gaul, or near the Rhine, or at Verona in Italy, Constantine beheld in the sky a brilliant cross with the inscription En toutoi nika, "By this conquer!" and that on the night before his decisive battle with Maxentius a vision appeared to him in his sleep, bidding him inscribe the shields of his soldiers with the sacred monogram of the name of Christ. This, at least, is certain, that Constantine caused the Cross to be employed as the imperial standard, and advanced with it to promised victory. After the armies of Maxentius, led by his generals, had sustained two successive defeats, that emperor himself, awakening from his sensual and inactive life at Rome, advanced against his formidable assailant, and met him near the little river Cremera, about nine miles from the city. Maxentius lost the day, after a bloody conflict, and, in endeavouring to enter the city by the Milvian bridge, was precipitated into the Tiber, where he perished (October 27th, 312). Constantine was received at Rome with acclamations; Africa acknowledged him, as well as Italy; and an edict of religious toleration, issued at Milan, extended the advantages, hitherto enjoyed by Gaul alone, to this prefecture also. After a brief stay at Rome, during which he restored to the Senate their authority, disbanded the Praetorian Guard, and destroyed their fortified camp, from which they had so long awed the city and given rulers to the Empire, Constantine proceeded to Illyricum to meet Licinius, with whom he had formed a secret league before marching against Maxentius. The two emperors met at Milan, where their alliance was ratified by the marriage of Licinius to Constantine's sister. During this calm interview, Constantine prevailed upon Licinius to repeal the persecuting edicts of Diocletian, and to issue a new one, by which Christianity was encouraged, its teachers were honoured, and its adherents advanced to places of trust and influence in the State. After the overthrow of Maximin by Licinius, and his death at Nicomedia, Constantine and his brother-in-law were now the only two that remained of the six competitors for the Empire; and the peace between them, which had seemed to be established on so firm a basis, was soon interrupted by a strife for sole supremacy. In the first war (A.D. 315) Constantine wrested Illyricum from his competitor. After an interval of eight years the contest was renewed. Licinius was beaten before Adrianople, the 3d of July, 323, and Constantine the Great was recognized as sole master of the Roman world.
    The seat of empire was now transferred to Byzantium, which took from him the name of Constantinople. Several edicts were issued for the suppression of idolatry; and the churches and property restored to the Christians, of which they had been deprived during the last persecution. A reconstruction of the Empire was effected upon a plan entirely new, and this renovated Empire was pervaded by the worship and the institutions of Christianity. That much of the policy of the statesman was mixed up with this patronage of the new religion can easily be imagined. But still, it would be wrong to make him, as some have done, a mere hypocrite and dissembler. The state of his religious knowledge, so far as we have any means of judging, was certainly very inadequate and imperfect; but he was well aware of the characters of the two conflicting religions, Christianity and Paganism, and the purity of the former could not but have made some impression upon his mind.
    The private character of Constantine has suffered, in the eyes of posterity, from his stern treatment of Crispus, his son by his first wife, whom he had made the partner of his Empire and the commander of his armies. Crispus was at the head of the administration in Gaul, where he gained the hearts of the people. In the wars against Licinius he had displayed singular talents, and had secured victory to the arms of his father. But from that moment a strong and unnatural jealousy stifled every paternal feeling in the bosom of the monarch. He detained Crispus in his palace, surrounded him with spies and informers, and at length, in the month of July, 324, ordered him to be arrested in the midst of a grand festival, to be carried off to Pola in Istria, and there put to death. A cousin of Crispus, the son of Licinius and Constantine's sister, was at the same time sent, without trial, without even an accusation, to the block. His mother implored in vain, and died of grief. It is fair, however, to say that Niebuhr found evidence to support the view that Crispus aimed at supplanting his father. Fausta, the daughter of Maximian, the wife of Constantine, and the mother of the three princes who succeeded him, was shortly after stifled in the bath by order of her husband for infidelity.
    In the following year the celebrated Council of Nicaea was held, at which he opposed the Arians, probably on political grounds only, as being the weaker party; for just before his death he received baptism from an Arian bishop, Eusebius of Nicomedia.
    Constantine died at the age of sixty-three, at Nicomedia, July 22d, 337, after a reign of thirtyone years from the death of his father, and of fourteen from the conquest of the Empire. He left three sons, Constantine, Constans, and Constantius, among whom he divided his Empire. The first, who had Gaul, Spain, and Britain for his portion, was conquered by the armies of his brother Constans, and killed in the twenty-fifth year of his age, A.D. 340. Magnentius, the governor of the provinces of Rhaetia, murdered Constans in his bed, after a reign of thirteen years; and Constantius, the only surviving brother, now become the sole emperor, A.D. 353, punished his brother's murderer, and gave way to cruelty and oppression. He visited Rome, where he enjoyed a triumph, and died (361) in his march against Julian, who had been proclaimed emperor by his soldiers at Paris.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Constantine the Great (280 - 337)

, , 280 - 337

  Constantine the Great brought the moral force of Christianity to revive the spirit of the declining empire and he decided to create a new capital at Byzantium, which was renamed Constantinople.
  Constantine was brought up at the court of Diocletian. After a series of civil wars Constantine became first western emperor (by his time the empire was ruled by two co-emperors) and then sole emperor (324). He ascribed his success to a vision of a Christian cross and began favourable treatment of Christians.
  As the Christian church grew in power disputes arose. The dispute over the question of Trinity threatened to split the church. Constantine called a council of churchmen at Nicaea in Asia Minor in 325. The Nicene creed came out of this council. Constantine was baptized shortly before his death.

This text is cited July 2003 from the Hyperhistory Online URL below.


Constantine I The Great

  Constantine I the Great (Flavius Valerius Constantinus) (272-337), proclaimed Augustus by his troops in 306; ruled parts of the Roman Empire from 307. Constantine is commonly accepted as one of the greatest Roman Emperors who also helped to shape the course of Western civilization.
  He was born at Naissus in Upper Dacia to Constantius 1 Chlorus and an innkeeper's daughter, Helena. Constantine was well educated and served at the court of Diocletian after the appointment of his father as one of the two Caesari, at that time a junior emperor, in the Tetrarchy in 293. Constantine I rebuilt the ancient Greek city of Byzantium and renamed it Constantinople making it the capital of the empire.
  He legalized and strongly supported Christianity beginning around the time he became emperor, but he neither made paganism illegal nor made Christianity the state religion. Though the church prospered under Constantine's patronage, it also fell into the first of many public schisms. He himself called the First Council of Nicaea to settle the problem of Arianism, a dispute about the personhood and godhood of Jesus. He himself was not baptized and chrismated until close to his death. Ironically, Constantine may have favored the losing side of the Arian controversy, as he was baptized by an Arian bishop, Eusebius of Nicomedia.
  Constantine's adoption of Christianity seems to have stemmed from both his family (Helena was probably born a Christian) and from a major battle he won in 312 near Rome, the Battle of Milvian Bridge. Constantine credited his victory to the Christian God and converted not long afterwards. That victory made him Western Augustus, or ruler of the entire western half of the empire. In 324, he became sole emperor after winning a power struggle with the eastern ruler, Licinius.
  Although he earned his honorific of “The Great” from Christian historians long after he had died, he could have claimed the title on his military achievements alone. In addition to reuniting the empire under one emperor, Constantine also won major victories over the Marcomanni and Alamanni (306-08), the Vandals and Marcomanni (314-15), the Visigoths in 332 and the Sarmatians two years later. In fact, by 336, Constantine had actually reoccupied most of the long-lost province of Dacia, which Aurelian had been forced to abandon in 273.
  At the time of his death, he was planning a great expedition to put an end to raids on the eastern provinces from Persia by conquering that nation--something no Emperor since Trajan had contemplated. He was succeeded by his three sons, Constantine II, Constantius II and Constans. The last member of his dynasty was his grandson, Julian, who attempted to restore paganism.

This text is cited July 2003 from the Malaspina Great Books URL below, which contains image.


Members of the Filiki Etairia (Society of Friends)

Theodoros Negris

, , 1790 - 1824

Ypsilantis Alexandros

, , 1792 - 1828

Ypsilantis Dimitrios

, , 1793 - 1832

Related to the place

Suidas


John Argyropulos


Musicians

Fighters of the 1821 revolution

Tsokris Dimitrios

, , 1796 - 1875

Novelists

Poets

Writers

Cananus, Joannes

Cananus, Joannes (Ioannes Kananos), lived in the first part of the fifteenth century, and wrote a description of the siege of Constantinople, by Sultan Mourad II. in A. D. 1422. The title of it is Diegesis peri tou en Konstantinoupolei gegonotos polemou kata to suil etos (A. M. 6930), hote ho Amourat Peis (Bei) parepese tautei meta dunameos Bareias, &c. It was first published with a Latin translation, by Leo Allatius, together with Georgius Acropolita and Joel, and accompanied with the notes by the editor and by Theodore I)ouza, Paris, 1651, fol. The best edition is that of Immanuel Bekker, appended to the edition of Phranzes, Bonn, 1838, with a new Latin translation.


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