Polemon of Laodicea
Marcus Antonius Polemon (Greek: Μάρκος Ἀντώνιος Πολέμων; c. 90 – 144) or Antonius Polemon, also known as Polemon of Smyrna or Polemon of Laodicea (Greek: Πολέμων ὁ Λαοδικεύς; c. 90 – 144), was a sophist who lived in the 2nd century.
Polemon was Anatolian Greek and originally came from a family of Roman Consular rank. He was born in Laodicea on the Lycus in Phrygia (modern Turkey), however, he spent a great part of his life in Smyrna (modern İzmir, Turkey). From early manhood, he received civic honors from the citizens of Smyrna for his services to the city.
Polemon was a master of rhetoric, a prominent member of the Second Sophistic. He was favored by the Roman Emperors Trajan, Hadrian and Antoninus Pius; although there is a famous story of his arrogant behavior towards Antoninus Pius, whom he threw out of his house at midnight when Antoninus was the newly arrived Governor of Asia. Polemon gave the dedicatory oration to Hadrian's Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens.
Polemon was the head of one of the foremost schools of rhetorics of the Hellenistic Culture in Smyrna. His style of oratory was imposing rather than pleasing; however his character was haughty and reserved.
The only fully surviving works of Polemon are his funeral orations for the Athenians generals Callimachus and Cynaegirus, who died at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. These orations are titled logoi epitaphioi (epitaphs). His rhetorical compositions were subjects that were taken from Athenian history. A treatise on physiognomy is preserved in a 14th-century Arabic translation (translated into Latin by G. Hoffmann, Leipzig 1893).
In his later years, Polemon suffered from arthritis. At the age of 56 and no longer able to stand the pain, he ordered his servants to lock him in his family tomb. When his friends and family begged him not to commit suicide in this manner, he said, "Give me another body and I shall come forth." There, he most likely died from either starvation or dehydration .
- M. W. Gleason, Making Men: Sophists and Self-Presentation in Ancient Rome, Princeton (1995).
- M. D. Campanile, Note sul bios de Polemone, Studi ellenistici XII (1999), 269–315.
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
- Suda π 1889