1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Eunapius

EUNAPIUS, Greek sophist and historian, was born at Sardis, A.D. 347. In his native city he studied under his relative the sophist Chrysanthius, and while still a youth went to Athens, where he became a favourite pupil of Proaeresius the rhetorician. He possessed a considerable knowledge of medicine. In his later years he seems to have resided at Athens, teaching rhetoric. Initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries, he was admitted into the college of the Eumolpidae and became hierophant. There is evidence that he was still living in the reign of the younger Theodosius (408–450). Eunapius was the author of two works, one entitled Lives of the Sophists (Βίοι φιλοσόφων καὶ σοφιστῶν), and the other consisting of a continuation of the history of Dexippus (q.v.). The former work is still extant; of the latter only excerpts remain, but the facts are largely incorporated in the work of Zosimus. It embraced the history of events from A.D. 270–404. The Lives of the Sophists, which deals chiefly with the contemporaries of the author, is valuable as the only source for the history of the neo-Platonism of that period. The style of both works is bad, and they are marked by a spirit of bitter hostility to Christianity. Photius (cod. 77) had before him a “new edition” of the history in which the passages most offensive to the Christians were omitted.

Edition of the Lives by J. F. Boissonade (1822), with notes by D. Wyttenbach; history fragments in C. W. Müller, Fragmenta Hist. Graecorum, iv.; V. Cousin, Fragments philosophiques (1865).