Thomas Stanley, translator (1665) Claudius Aelianus His Various History. Translator's Preface (3 unnumbered pages)


Preface.

To pass by that Ælian (if his name were such, for some Copies reade Helian, others Hadrian) whom Martial, lib. 12 Epigr. 24. mentions as his contemporary and friend : The first eminent person of this name was the Author of the Tacticks, who appears to have been (not a Roman but) a Grecian, in regard he acknowledgeth in his Preface that he had no knowledge of the Roman Tacticks. The time wherein he lived is manifestly collected from the same Preface, which he addresseth to the Emperour Adrian, and in it saith that he met Nerva at Formia.

Later in time (as being contemporary with Philostratus the Lemnian who lived under Severus) was Ælian the Sophist, of whom Philostratus gives this account ;

Ælian was a Roman, but spoke Greek as purely as those who lived in the midst of Attica : This man seems to me worthy of praise ; First, because though he lived in a City which used another Language, yet he arrived at the purity of the Greek : Next, because being honoured by the Title of Sophist by those who used to confere such attributes, he was nothing the more confident of himself, nor conceited of his own opinion, nor exalted with so great a title, but making scrutiny into himself, and finding himself not proper for publick declamations, he gave himself to writing, in which he was admirable. His style is unaffected, with a gracefulneß beyond Nicostratus. Sometimes he imitates Dion and his way. On a time Philostratus the Lemnian found him intent upon a Book, and reading it with anger and eagerneß, he asked him what he was about ; He answered, I am making a declamation against Gynnis, for so I name that Tyrant who so lately by his infamous life dishonoured Rome. Philostratus replied, I should have admired you, if you had declaimed against him whilest he was living ; for to oppose a living Tyrant is manly, but every one can revile him when dead. This man said that he never went out of Italy, that he never went on Shipboard, or saw the Sea ; for which he was much respected by the Romans, as one that loved their manners. He was a hearer of Pausanius : but he admired Herod as the most florid of all Oratours. He lived above threescore years, and died without issue ; for he approved not the having of Children or mariage.

Suidas more briefly of the same Ælian of Preneste in Italy, chief Priest and Sophist, surnamed Claudius called Meliglosssus and Meliphthongus taught Rhetorick in Rome in the times after Adrian. Suidas implieth that he lived under Antoninus who succeeded Adrian, but that he was not the same with the other Ælian, Author of the Tacticks.

This last Ælian in all probability, was the Author of this Treatise, as also of that concerning living Creatures ; both which are one style, and that much different from his who wrote the Tacticks. In his Treatise concerning living Creatures he cites Dion (Caßius) who lived under Severus : In this, he takes many passages out of Athenæus, not Athenæus out of him ; for Athenæus is very punctual in citing his Authors omitted by the other.


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