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Areius or Areius Didymus or Arius (Ancient Greek: Ἄρειος) was an Alexandrian philosopher of the Pythagorean or Stoic schools who lived in the 1st century BCE. He was the "personal philosopher" of the Roman emperor Augustus for a time.

Augustus esteemed him so highly that after the conquest of Alexandria, he declared that he spared the city chiefly for the sake of Areius.[1][2][3][4] Modern scholars disagree over whether this was the actual reason Augustus spared the city, as at the same time Augustus claimed he was also doing it to honor the memory of Alexander the Great, and some scholars also suggest that he did it to curry favor with that city's elite.[5][6]

Areius as well as his two sons, Dionysius and Nicanor, are said to have instructed Augustus himself in philosophy, and Areius for a time resided directly within Augustus's household.[7][8] He is frequently mentioned by the philosopher Themistius, who says that Augustus valued Areius not less than Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who is commonly thought of as Augustus's confidant and right-hand man (though it must be mentioned that Themistius was writing four hundred years after the fact).[9]

Others sources state that he was offered the post of Praefectus Augustalis (governor) of Egypt, but that Areius turned Augustus down in order to take a post in the province of Sicilia, though modern scholars have some doubt about this anecdote (primarily because there are no other examples of anyone being "offered" a post by Augustus and having turned him down). It has been suggested that this story was state propaganda to justify Augustus's removal of Areius from the province of Egypt and installation of Cornelius Gallus as Praefectus.[5]

Areius was succeeded as "personal philosopher" of Augustus by the philosopher Theon.[8] From Quintilian it appears that Areius also taught or wrote on rhetoric.[10][11][12][13]


  1. ^ Plutarch, Ant. 80, Apophth. p. 207
  2. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History 51.16
  3. ^ Julian, Epistulae 51
  4. ^ Strabo, Geographica xiv. p.670
  5. ^ a b Capponi, Livia (2005). Augustan Egypt: The Creation of a Roman Province. Studies in Classics. Routledge. pp. 87, 179. ISBN 9781135873691. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  6. ^ Gurval, Robert Alan (1998). Actium and Augustus: The Politics and Emotions of Civil War. University of Michigan Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 9780472084890. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  7. ^ Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Augustus 89
  8. ^ a b Arnold, Edward Vernon (1911). Roman Stoicism: Being Lectures on the History of the Stoic Philosophy with Special Reference to Its Development Within the Roman Empire. The University Press. pp. 110–111. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  9. ^ Themistius, Orations v. p. 63d. viii. p. 108b. x. p. 130b. xiii. p. 173c. ed. Petav. 1684
  10. ^ Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria 2.15.36, 3.1.16
  11. ^ Seneca, De Consolatione ad Marciam 4
  12. ^ Claudius Aelianus, Varia Historia 12.25
  13. ^ Suda, Ἄρειος, Θέων

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLeonhard Schmitz, Leonhard (1870). "Areius". In Smith, William (ed.). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. p. 275.