AENEAS

AENEAS of Gaza d. after 518. Born at Gaza of a fairly high-ranking family Procopius of Gaza, Ep. 82 in Hercher, Epistol. Graeci 564, 15-16. It is not possible to establish his exact date of birth, which is probably ca. 450, since he composed his main work, Theophrastus, shortly after 484, when he must have already reached full maturity in Theophr. 66, 11- 67,16 Colonna, PG 85, 1000 A2-1001 B3, the persecution of the orthodox by the Vandal king Huneric in 484 is presented as a very recent event, see also M.E. Colonna, Teofrasto VIII; and in his Life of Severus, Zacharias Scholasticus says that he bore a letter to Zenodorus from Aeneas, the great and learned sophist PO II, 90, between 488 491. Aeneas studied at Alexandria, devoting himself especially to the study and practice of rhetoric. He also pursued philosophical studies extensively at the school of the Neoplatonist Hierocles PG 85, 873 A5-8, 876 A4-5. Aeneas developed a friendship with Sopater the famous rhetor whose school Severus of Antioch and Zacharias Scholasticus frequented Ep. 9 and 16; Vita Sev. PO II, 12 and with Serapion, the deacon involved in the religious troubles which broke out following the publication of the emperor Zeno’s Henoticon see Zach. Schol. Hist. eccl. VI, 1, p. 86, 24; VI, 4 p. 91,1 Ahrens – Kr¼ger. Back in Gaza, he dedicated himself to teaching Ep. 13, p. 9,7-8; Ep. 16, p. 11,12-14; he continued to hold discourses in the public theater, according to the custom of the Gazan sophists Ep. 16, p. 11,14-15. He was also an expert in law. Procopius, in Ep. 82 in Hercher, Epistol. Gr. 564-565, describes him as an upright jurist who, appointed superintendent of courts and superprefect by some cities, became an object of the governors’ contempt because it was not his practice to lavish them with gifts; he would then lose his position. That Aeneas was in fact a high magistrate and a superprefect seems evident from two letters, Ep. 3, in which he enjoins the priest Alphius not to advance claims over a piece of land, and Ep. 24, in which he orders the magistrate Marcian to deal with the banditry that infested the city’s surroundings. Zacharias Scholasticus speaks of Aeneas with great respect and in the Life of Isaiah CSCO Scriptores Syri 3.25, p. 8,21-29 of the Latin version of E.W. Brooks says that Aeneas, sophist of the city of Gaza, a very Christian man, extremely well educated and illustrious in every field of wisdom, would consult Isaiah on certain dubious phrases in Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus; Isaiah would explain to him their thought, pointing out their errors and confirming the truth of Christian teaching. He was in contact with other famous sophists, e.g., Dionysius of Antioch and Zonaeus. But his most important friends were Procopius of Gaza and his brother Zacharias, better known as Zacharias Scholasticus or Zacharias of Mytilene. He died shortly after 518, the year in which the Life of Severus was written: in this work Zacharias Scholasticus does not speak of Aeneas in the customary way of speaking of persons already dead on all this biographical information, see esp. Legier, 349-369. A collection of 25 letters to students and acquaintances and the dialogue Theophrastus are his only surviving works. The Epistles are not only sources of precious information on Aeneas’s person and activity but also an important testimony regarding Late Antique and Byzantine rhetoric. Richly interwoven with reminiscences of earlier authors see the apparatus fontium of the edition ed. by M.E. Colonna is his main work, Theophrastus, a dialogue that Aeneas imagines took place at Alexandria shortly after the persecution 484 of orthodox Christians ordered by the Vandal king Huneric 66,1-67, 16 Colonna, PG 85,1000 A2-1001 B3. The parties to the dialogue are Aegyptus, Theophrastus and Euxitheos. While Aegyptus is a dull and secondary figure who speaks only at the beginning and then disappears almost entirely, Euxitheos is the dialogue’s true protagonist, Aeneas’s faithful spokesman: to him are reserved the refutation of philosophical doctrines not consonant with the truth of the Christian faith and the exposition and defense of doctrines held to be perfectly orthodox. To Theophrastus, however, presented at the beginning as a teacher to whom Euxitheos has turned under the guise of a student desirous to learn, is assigned the enunciation of certain philosophical doctrines and the formulation of objections regarding the content of the Christian faith. The procedure followed in Theophrastus thus closely follows that of Gregory of Nyssa’s De anima et resurrectione. The main themes are 1 refutation of the two Platonic doctrines of the preexistence of the soul and metempsychosis; 2 apparent evils and true happiness, providence and the reasons for suffering; 3 reasons for the usefulness of the various stages in the death of human beings; 4 the immortality of human souls; 5 the limited, noninfinite number of the latter; 6 the creatio ex nihilo, closely connected with the creation of matter; 7 the origin of the world in time, its consummation and rebirth in a perfect state; 8 the soul’s journey in only one human body, the only one destined to rise and enjoy immortality; 9 the denial of the resurrection of animals; 10 the existence of some cases of resurrection already in this life, proof of the future resurrection see also M.E. Colonna, introd. XIV n. 1 and the pinax on p. 1 of his edition. To S. Sikorski belongs the merit of having shown, in a careful investigation using precise textual comparisons almost always synoptic, the ample utilization in the Theophrastus of philosophical and patristic authors, in particular Plato, Plotinus and Gregory of Nyssa. The most profound and exhaustive research, however, on the close relation between Aeneas and the Platonic tradition on basic questions such as the idea of God, the Trinity, the creation of the world ex nihilo, dependent on the free divine will and occurring at a specific moment, and the world’s future preservation is that of M. Wacht, who also examines both Aeneas’s position within the patristic tradition with regard to criticism of the Neoplatonic theory of creatio ab aeterno and his views on the rebirth of the world in itself corruptible after its dissolution. Wacht highlights not only the concordances but also the discrepancies between Neoplatonic theology and cosmology on the one hand and Aeneas’s theories on the other; Wacht also brings out the most specifically Christian traits of Aeneas’s conception of God 48-50, 55-62, specifying the extent of Aeneas’s orthodoxy. Regarding the latter, Wacht’s thesis seems unacceptable that Aeneas had not understood the clear Nicene distinction between gennema and poiema, since he compares the origin of the Son and the Holy Spirit to the creation of the intelligible essences and the subsequent creation of the sensible world, though affirming the full consubstantiality of the second and third persons p. 96: in Theophrastus 44,10 Colonna PG 85, 960 A10 Aeneas uses precisely the term gennema. Theophrastus: CPG 7450; PG 85, 872-1004; Jo. Fr. Boissonade, Aeneas Gazaeus et Zacharias Mitylenaeus. De immortalitate animae et De mundi consummatione. Ad codices recensuit Barthii Taurini Ducaei, notas addidit Jo. Fr. Boissonade, Paris 1836, 1-78 with commentary, 155-316; M.E. Colonna, Enea di Gaza. Teofrasto, Naples 1958, 1-68 with It. tr. and commentary, 69-114, 115-138; on pp. XXXIX-XL is a list of the oldest editions. Epistles: CPG 7451; R. Hercher, Epistolographi Graeci, Paris 1873, 24-32; L. Massa Positano, Enea di Gaza. Epistole Collana di Studi Greek diretta da V. De Falco XIX, Naples 1950, 2-17 with tr. and comm., 29-80; 2 1962. Studies: E. Legier, Essai de biographie d’Ene de Gaza: OrChr 7 1907 349-369; M. Freudenthal, PWK I.1, 1021-1022; V. Grumel, DHGE 15, 458-459; L. Massa Positano, Ancora sulle epistole di Enea di Gaza: GIF 5 1952 205-207; J.P. Sheldon-Williams, in Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy, Cambridge 3 1980, 483-486; G. SchalkhauŸer, Aeneas von Gaza als Philosoph, Erlangen 1898; S. Sikorski, De Aenea Gazaeo, Vratislaviae 1909 BPhA 9.5; M.E. Colonna, Zaccaria scolastico. Il suo Ammonio e il Teofrasto di Enea di Gaza: AFLN 6 1956 107-118; R. Loenertz, Observations sur quelques lettres d’Ene de Gaza: HJ 77 1958 438-443; A.G. Downey, Gaza in the Early Sixth Century, Norman 1963, 111-112; H. Herter, Von Xanthos dem Lyder zu Aineias aus Gaza. Tylon und andere auferweckte: RhM 108 1965 189-212; M. Wacht, Aeneas von Gaza als Apologet. Seine Kosmologie im Verh¤ltnis zum Neuplatonismus Theophania 21 Bonn 1969 recension of M. Baltes, Gnomon 4 1970 547-551; A. Garzya, Varia philologica VIII, in Studi classici in onore di Quintino Cataudella, Catania 1972, 253-257; M. Starowieyski, De vita et operibus Aenal Gazaei: Meander 28 1973 3-22; Id., Epistulae I-XXV: Meander 28 1973 93-108; E. Gallicet, Per una rilettura del Teofrasto di Enea di Gaza e dell’Ammonio di Zacaria scolastico: AOT Classe di sc. mor., stor. and filol. 112 1978 117-135, 137-167; Id., La risurrezione dei morti in Enea di Gaza e in Zacaria scolastico: Augustinianum 18 1978 273-278; Id., Probl¨mes de chronologie: Koinonia 10 1986 67-80; N. Aujoulat, Le De Providentia d’Hierocl¨s d’Alexandrie et le Thophraste d’Ene de Gaza: VChr 41 1987 55-85; A.M. Milazzo, La chiusa del Teofrasto di Enea di Gaza. Il meraviglioso come metafora: Sicul. Gymn. 40 1987 39-70; Id., Un tema declamatorio alla scuola di Enea: Sicul. Gymn. 42 1989 241-263; Id., Dimensione retorica e destinatari nel Teofrasto di Enea di Gaza, in var. aus., Retorica della comunicazione nelle letterature classiche, ed. A. Pennacini, Bologna 1990, 33-71; Id., I personaggi del dialogo di Enea di Gaza: storicit  e tradizione letteraria, in Su,ndesmoj. Studi in onore di R. Anastasi I, Catania 1991, 1-19; S. Lilla, in Patrologia V, 265-274.
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