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A. Lucian's times, his life and works.
(1) LUCIAN lived about 120—200 AD and was one of the chief literary characters of the period commonly known as the age of the Antonines.' The civilized world, and much that was barbarian, was ruled by Roman laws and guarded by Roman armies. The imperial administration had settled into a centralized despotism governing the provinces through a host of subordinates, but to a great extent respecting local institutions. All power within the Roman frontiers now emanated from or existed by sufferance of the emperor : he was the one mainspring of the whole machinery, and from his camp or palace sent forth his orders to be obeyed through the whole empire from the Euphrates to the Clyde. The vast mass of countries composing this empire may be divided into West and East, the former speaking Latin, the latter Greek. This rough division of speech marks an important fact. The western provinces were greatly Romanized; the eastern, submitting far more readily to the conquerors and adapting themselves quickly to the forms of provincial government, remained almost unaffected by Rome while they exercised a powerful influence upon her.
(2) Such few and broad outlines must here suffice to give a faint idea of the outward aspect of the Roman world in the second century of our era. What has been said of the East generally will apply in particular to Syria. That country had come more and more under Greek influences since the con
quests of Alexander and the foundation of kingdoms by the generals who divided his great empire. But, as would naturally be the case where Greek learning and ingenuity were introduced
among oriental apathy and luxury, the mixture produced a people unrivalled in the arts of elaborate immorality and crime. The wave of Syrian slaves pimps poisoners and quacks of all descriptions that deluged Rome, added another pernicious influence to corrupt a society already only too much debased by the contact with the western Greeks. Christianity was it is true doing something for the reformation of Seleucia and Antioch ; but Christianity itself took no good from the contact. Among such a people, intellectual but immoral, at the town of Samosata on the upper Euphrates, the capital of the district called Commagene, Lucian (Novklavòs or Aurīvos) was born. Wę know very little of his life save what may be learnt from his own writings; and even that is not much. It is chiefly to be gathered from the pieces called? (1) the Dream (2) the Twiceaccused (3) the Defence of salaried service.
(3) After the failure of an attempt to bring him up to the trade or profession of statuary, young Lucian seems to have devoted himself to the attainment-how, we know not-of such culture as his native province could afford ; and in particular to rhetoric, for it is hardly credible that, being born of a poor family, he can have gone off on his travels without the rudiments of some profession at least. We find him still a youth roaming about western Asia Minor (Tepi tnv 'Iwviav), the chief cities of which were Ephesus and Smyrna, rival seats of learning and commerce. Here he became a finished rhetorician, and entered upon his literary career. He seems to have earned his living partly by pleading in the courts, partly by public lectures or rhetorical displays such as the professors 2 (σοφισται)
περί του ενυπνίου ήτοι βίος Λουκιανού, δίς κατηγορούμενος και δικαστήρια, απολογία περί των επί μισθώ συνόντων.
? Some of these men were actually endowed professors. The Fla. vian Caesars set the example of such endowments, and the Antonines followed the lead.