Aedesius was born into a wealthy Cappadocian family, but he moved to Syria where he was apprenticed to Iamblichos. He quickly became his best pupil and the two became friends. Aedesius' own philosophical doctrine, however, was somewhere between Platonism and eclecticism. After his teacher's death, he distanced himself from philosophy, probably because he feared the hostile attitude of the Christian emperor Constantine the Great towards the practice of philosophy. His students nevertheless succeeded to convince him to devote himself again to philosophy. He moved to Pergamon, where he became a teacher. None of his writings have survived, but there is an extant biography by Eunapius, a Greek sophist and historian of the 4th century who wrote a collection of biographies entitled Lives of the Sophists.
He migrated to Syria, attracted by the lectures of Iamblichus, of whom he became a follower. According to Eunapius, he differed from Iamblichus on certain points connected with theurgy and magic. After the death of his master the school of Syria was dispersed, and Aedesius seems to have modified his doctrines out of fear of Constantine, and took refuge in divination.
An oracle in hexameter verse represented a pastoral life as his only retreat, but his disciples, perhaps calming his fears by a metaphorical interpretation, compelled him to resume his instructions.
He settled at Pergamum, where he numbered among his pupils Eusebius of Myndus, Maximus of Ephesus, and the emperor Julian. After the accession of the latter to the imperial purple he invited Aedesius to continue his instructions, but the declining strength of the sage being unequal to the task, two of his most learned disciples, Chrysanthius and the aforementioned Eusebius, were by his own desire appointed to supply his place.
School of philosophy at Pergamon
Aedesius founded a school of philosophy at Pergamon, which emphasized theurgy and the revival of polytheism. The later emperor Julian was one of his many students. After he became emperor, he invited Aedesius to further educate him. By this time Aedesius was however too old and too weak and he personally appointed two of his most talented followers, Chrysantes and Eusebius, to take his place. Another of his followers was Maximus of Ephesus.
- Cappadocia: A region in central Turkey, largely in Nevşehir Province.
- Jowett, Benjamin (1867), "Aedesius", in Smith, William, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology 1, Boston, p. 23
- Eunapius, Vita Aedesius
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1867). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
|This ancient Roman biographical article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|