Greek Sophists in the Roman Empire by G. W. Bowersock
By G. W. Bowersock
Greek Sophists within the Roman Empire
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32 SPECIAL P R I V I L E G E S immunity, legal, literary, and epigraphical, has now to be reviewed and assessed. First, texts from the Digest. ' 1 This statement is inexact. 2 Other evidence, which will emerge, indicates edicts rather than rescripts, and the conjunction of Vespasian and Hadrian in respect of a category of teachers that includes philosophers is clearly wrong. This can be said confidently because of the existence of an important inscription from Pergamum recording an edict of Vespasian on the subject of immunity for teachers, who are specified as doctors and teachers.
They are, it has to be emphasized, few in comparison with the many known magistracies and benefactions of sophists. But it is a fact that 1 2 Dig. 27. I. 6. 7: φανεροί γενήσονται µη φιλοσοφονντες. See p. 33, η. 3 above. SPECIAL P R I V I L E G E S 35 people nevertheless existed in the second century or early third who were unwilling to serve and to spend, and their cases complement the account already given of the measures of Pius. The first exhibit is Favorinus of Arelate. Philostratus reports 1 that he was appointed high priest ες τα οϊκοι πάτρια, an expression normally taken to indicate Arelate, but the high priesthood ought rather to be the flaminate of the Narbonensian concilium.
Under Glabrio the people of Smyrna proposed Aristides for the high priesthood of Asia, a post laden with honour, timeconsuming, and expensive. 6 Aristides' illness seemed neither now nor later to deter persons from proposing him for liturgies. Assisted by encouraging dreams, Aristides persuaded the people to alter their plan, but instead—cleverly—they nominated him to serve as priest of Asclepius : a new temple was then under construction, and Aristides, whose health was in the care of Asclepius, could pay for it.