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Flavius Philostratusthe elder, a Greek Sophist, of Lemnos, son of a celebrated Sophist of the same name. He taught first in Athens, then at Rome till the middle of the 3rd century A.D. By order of his great patroness Julia Domna, the learned wife of the emperor Septimius Severus, he wrote (a) the romantic Life of Apollonius of Tyana. Besides this we have by him (b) a work entitled Heroicus, consisting of mythical histories of the heroes of the Trojan War in the form of a dialogue, designed to call back to life the expiring popular religion. (c) Lives of the Sophists, in two books, the first dealing with twenty-six philosophers, the second with thirty-three rhetoricians of earlier as well as later times, a work important for the history of Greek culture, especially during the imperial age. (d) Seventythree letters, partly amatory in subject. (e) A fragment of a work intended to revive interest in the old Gymnastic. Lastly (f), the Imagines in two books, being descriptions of sixty-six paintings on all possible subjects. Of these it is doubtful whether, as he pretends, they really belonged to a gallery at Naples (a statement accepted by Brunn Kunstlergeschichte, ii 178; Jahrb. f. Philol. Supplementband 4, 179 pp. and 1871]; or whether their subjects were invented by himself [as maintained by Friederichs, Die Philostratischen Bilder, 1860; and Matz, De Philostratorum in Describendis Imaginibus Fide, 1867]. Like all his writings, this work is skilful and pleasing in its manner, and the interest of its topic makes it particularly attractive. It is not so much designed to incite to the study of works of art, as to exhibit the art of painting in a totally now field; and herein he is followed both by his grandson and namesake, and by Callistratus (q.v.).
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