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On this page: Celer – Celeus – Celsus



(Paus. ix. 5. § 5; Athen. vii. p. 290 ; Philostr. Vit. Apollon. vi. 11; Find. Fragm. 25, p. 568, &c. ed. Bockh; comp. Huschke and Bottiger, in the Neue Teutsche Mercur, ii, p. 38, &c.) [L. S.]

CELER. 1. A freedman of Atticus, in all pro­bability. (Cic. ad Ait. x. 1, xi. 4, xii. 8.)

2. A Roman knight, poisoned Junius Silanus at the instigation of Agrippina, in the first year of Nero's reign, a. d. 55. (Tac. Ann. xiii. 1, 33.)

3. A Roman knight in the time of Domitian, was scourged to death in the comitium for having committed incest with Cornelia, a Vestal virgin, although he persisted in his innocence to the last. (Plin. Ep. iv. 11; comp. Suet. Dom. 8; Dion Cass. Ixvii. 3.)

CELER, an artist of considerable talent and renown, was, together with Severus, the principal architect of Nero's immense building, the golden house, of which only a few remains are now visible in the baths of Titus, and perhaps at the foot of the Palatine near the arch of Titus. Not satisfied with the completion of this colossal palace, both artists, whose daring and talent did not shrink from the mightiest works, undertook a still more gigantic enterprise. Since the sea-ports of Ostia and Portus were small and dangerous, so that all larger vessels entered the port of Puteoli, they got the emperor's consent to dig a canal from the lake Avernus to the mouth of the Tiber, and began actually by working a way through the hills near the lake, but were probably prevented from executing their intention by the death of their employer. (Tac. Ann. xv. 42 ; Osann, Kunstblatt^ 1830, No. 83.) [L. U.]

CELER, ASI'NITJS, lived in the reign of Ca­ligula, and is mentioned by Pliny (H.N. ix. 17. s. 31) as a man of consular rank ; but when he was consul is not known. He may have been the son of C. Asinius Gallus, consul b. c. 8.

CELER, CANFNIUS, a Greek rhetorician, the teacher of M. Aurelius and L. Verus, was one of the secretaries of Hadrian, and was distinguished for his skill in the composition of the imperial let­ters. He wrote a work on the art of rhetoric. (Philostr. Vit. Soph. i. 22, who calls him tg^vo-•ypafyos; Capitol. Ver. 2; Aristeid. Or. Sacr. 5. vol. i. p. 335, ed. Jebb.)

CELER, DOMI'TIUS, an intimate friend of Piso, persuaded the latter, after the death of Ger-manicus, to return to Syria, and was himself pre­viously sent by Piso into the province. (Tac. Ann. ii. 77—79.)

CELER, P. EGNA'TIUS. [barea.]

CELER, METELLUS. [metellus.]

CELEUS (KT/Aeo's), a king of Eleusis, and hus­band of Metaneira. When Demeter, on her wan­derings in search of her daughter, came to Eleusis, she stayed in the house of Celeus. The goddess wished to make his son Demophon immortal, and, in order to destroy his mortal parts, she put him at night into the fire; but Metaneira, ignorant of the object, screamed aloud on seeing her child in the fire, and Demophon was destroyed by the flames. Demeter, to make up for the loss, bestowed great favours upon Triptolemus, the other son of Celeus. (Apollod. i. 5. § 1; triptolemus.) Ce-leus is described as the first priest of Demeter at Eleusis, and his daughters as priestesses of the goddess. (Horn. Hym. in Dem. 101, &c.; Paus. i. 38. § 3, ii. 14. § 2.) There is another mythical personage of this name. (Anton. Lib. 19.) [L. S.]


CELSUS (T. Cornelius), one of the thirty ty­rants enumerated by Treiellius Pollio. [Comp. aureolus.] In the twelfth year of Gallienus, a. d. 265, when usurpers were springing up in every quarter of the Roman world, a certain Celsus, who had never risen higher in the service of the state than the rank of a military tribune, living quietly on his lands in Africa, in no way remark­able except as a man of upright life and command­ing person, was suddenly proclaimed emperor by Vibius Passienus, proconsul of the province, and Fabius Pomponianus, general of the Libyan fron­tier. So sudden was the movement, that the ap­propriate trappings of dignity had not been pro­vided, and the hands of Galliena, a cousin it is said of the lawful monarch, invested the new prince with a robe snatched from the statue of a goddess. The downfall of Celsus was not less rapid than his elevation : he was slain on the seventh day, his body was devoured by dogs, and the loyal inhabi­tants of Sicca testified their devotion to the reign­ing sovereign by devising an insult to the memory of his rival unheard-of before that time. The effigy of the traitor was raised high upon a cross, round which the rabble danced in triumph. The names 71 Cornelius rest upon the authority of medals pub­lished by Goltzius now universally recognised as spurious. (Trebell. Pollio, Trig. Tyrann.) [W. R.]

CELSUS, a Greek rhetorician, a pupil of Liba-nius. (Liban. Ep. 627., 1581, Orat. xxvL vol. ii. p. 606.)

CELSUS, an Epicurean, who lived in the time of the Antonines, and was a friend of Lucian. There was another Celsus, who lived before the time of Nero, but he is of no historical importance. Neither would the other have been so, but for the doubt whether he is not the author of the attack on Christianity called the Myos dA-Tjfty's, which has acquired so much notoriety from the answer written to it by Origen. [origenbs.] To the Epicurean Celsus, Lucian dedicated his life of the magician Alexander, and in the course of it (§ 21) praises a work written by him against the belief in magic. But in the book against Christianity, Celsus stated with apparent approbation the opinion of the Platonists, that enchanters had power over all who have not raised themselves above the influence of sensuous nature (v/V*?), but not over those who are elevated to communion with the Deity ; the whole of which sentiment is inconsistent with the doc­trine of Epicurus. Again, he talked of the soul's relation to God, of the spirit of man as immortal and derived from the Divinity, of evil spirits springing from the v\rj and opposing the designs of God. All these are plainly the sen­timents, not of an Epicurean, but of a Plato-nist. Indeed,, the only reason for supposing the author of this work to be the Epicurean Celsus, is the positive assertion of Origen, who, however, is obliged to have recourse to some curious hypo­theses to account for the prevalence of the Platonic element. One is, that the author chose to conceal his real views, because there was at the time a strong prejudice against Epicureans as deniers of all religion, and therefore unfit to be judges of the merits of Christianity. But this seems improbable, and on the whole it is better to suppose Celsus the Epicurean and Celsus the author of this book to be different persons. With regard to the work itself, it is a mixture of self-sufficiency, ignorance, and inconsistency. In one place the author re-

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