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On this page: Phosphorus – Photius

PHOTIUS.

PHOTIUS.

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P [1 01(0 'NTS (<f»opwm), a surname of lo, being according to some a descendant, and according to others a sister of Phoroneus. (Ov. Met. i. 668 ; Hygin. Fab. 145.) [L. S.j

PHOSPHORUS (*«<r<J><Jpos), or as the poets call him 4wcr<f>6pos or •fcaea^opos (Lat. Lucifer}, that is, the bringer of light or of Eos, is the name of the planet Venus, when seen in the morning before sunrise (Horn. II. xxiii. 226 ; Virg. Georg. i. 288 ; Ov. Met. ii. 115, Trist. i. 3. 72.) The same planet was called Hesperus ( Vesperugo, Vesper, Noctifer or Nocturnus) when it appeared in the heavens after sunset. (Horn. //. xxii. 318 ; Plin. //. N. ii. 8 ; Cic. De Nat. Deor. ii. 20 ; Ca-tull. 62, 64 ; Horat. Carm. ii. 9. 10.) Phosphorus as a personification is called a son of Astraeus and Eos (Hes. Theog. 381), of Cephalus and Eos (Hy­gin. Poet. A sir. ii. 42), or of Atlas (Tzetz. ad Lye. 879). By Philonis he is said to have been the father of Ceyx (Hygin. Fab. 65 ; Ov. Met. xi. 271), and he is also called the father of Daedalion (Ov. Met. xi. 295), of the Hesperides (Serv. ad Aen. iv. 484), or of Hesperis, who became by his brother Atlas the mother of the Hesperides. (Diod. iv. 27 ; Serv. ad Aen. i. 530.)

Phosphorus also occurs as a surname of several goddesses of light, as Artemis {Diana Lucifera, Paus. iv. 31. § 8 ; Serv. ad Aen. ii. 116), Eos (Eurip. Ion. 1157) and Hecate. (Eurip. Helen. 569.) [L. S.]

PHOTIUS (*wV/os). 1. Of constantinople (1). In the Ada Sanctorum^ Junii, vol. i. p. 274, &c., is given an account of the martyrdom of St. Lucillianus, and several others who are said to have suffered at Byzantium, in the persecution under Aurelian. The account bears this title : — 4>wriou rov /.la/captcoraTOt; aKevofyvXaitos roov'A.yiwv 'ATroa"-ToAwi/ Kol \oyoQerov iyKto/juov els rov ujlov lepoudp-Tvpa A.ouKi\\iavov.. Sancti Martyris Lucilliani En­comium, auctore beatissimo Photio, Sanctorum Apo-stolorum Sceuopliylace ac Logotheta. Of the writer Photius, nothing further appears to be known than is contained in the title, namely, that he was keeper of the sacred vessels in the great Church of the Apostles at Constantinople, which was second in importance only to that of St. Sophia ; and that he must be placed after the time of Constantine, by whom the church was built. The Encomium is given in the Ada Sanctorum in the original Greek, with a Commentarius praevius, a Latin version, and notes by Conradus Janningus. ( Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. x. pp. 271, 678.)

2. Of constantinople (2). Photius, a pres­byter of the church at Constantinople, was one of the most decided and active supporters of the unfortunate heresiarch, Nestorius [nestorius], in the fifth century. When Antonius and Ja­cobus were sent, some time before the council of Ephesus, a. d. 431, to convert, by persecution, the Quartadecimans and Novatians of Asia Minor, they presented to some of their converts at Phila­delphia, not the Nicene Creed, but one that con­tained a passage deemed heretical on the subject of the incarnation, which excited against them Charisius, who was oeconomus of the church at Phi­ladelphia. In these proceedings Antonius and Jacobus were supported by Photius, who not only gave them letters at the commencement of their mission, attesting their orthodoxy, but procured the deposition of their opponent Charisius, who thereupon presented a complaint to the council of

Ephesus (Concilia, voh iii. col. 673, &c. ed. Labbe). Tillemont is disposed to ascribe to Photius the answer which was drawn up to the Epistola ad Solitaries of Cyril of Alexandria. A Photius, a supporter of Nestorius, was banished to Petra, about A. d. 436 (Lupus, Ad Ephesin Concil. va-rior. PP. Epistolae, cap. clxxxviii.), whom, not­withstanding the objections of Lupus (not. in loc.) we agree with Tillemont in identifying with the pre§byter of Constantinople. (Tillemont, Memoires, volxiv. pp. 300, 332, 494, 607, 787.)

3. Of constantinople (3). Of the eminent men whose names occur in the long series of the Byzantine annals, there is hardly one who combines so many claims upon our attention as Photius. The varied information, much of it not to be found elsewhere, contained in his work?, and the sound critical judgment displayed by him, raise him to the very highest rank among the Byzantine writers: his position, as one of the great promoters of the schism between the Eastern and Western Churches, give him an almost equal eminence in ecclesiastical his­tory ; and his position, striking vicissitudes of fortune, and connection with the leading political characters of his day, make him a personage of importance in the domestic history of the Byzantine empire.

The year and place of his birth, and the name of his father, appear to be unknown. His mother's name was Irene: her brother married one of the sisters of Theodora, wife of the emperor Theo-philus (Theoph. Continuat. lib. iv. 22): so that Photius was connected by affinity with the im­perial family. We have the testimony of Nicetas David, the Paphlagonian, that his lineage was illustrious. He had at least four brothers (Moun-tagu, Not. ad Epistol. Photii, 138), Tarasius, Con-stantine, Theodore, and Sergius, of whom the first enjoyed the dignity of patrician. Photius himself, in speaking of his father and mother, celebrates their crown of martyrdom, and the pa­tient spirit by which they were adorned ; but the rhetorical style of the letter in which the notice occurs (Epist. 234, Tarasio Patricio fratri} pre­vents our drawing any very distinct inference from his words; though they may perhaps indicate that his parents suffered some severities or privations during the reign of Theophilus or some other of the iconoclast emperors. This is the more likely, as Photius elsewhere (Epistol. 2. Encycl. § 42, and Epistol. ad Nicol. Papam) claims Tarasius, patri­arch of Constantinople, who was one of the great champions of image worship, as his relative, which shows the side taken by his family in the con­troversy. What the relation between himself and Tarasius was is not clear. Photius (//. cc.) calls him irarpoOeios, which probably means great-uncle. But the ability of Photius would have adorned any lineage, and his capacious mind was cultivated, as both the testimony even of his op­ponents and his extant works show, with great diligence. " He wus accounted," says Nicetas David, the biographer and panegyrist of his com­petitor Ignatius, " to be of all men most eminent for his secular acquirements and his understanding of political affairs. For so superior were his at­tainments in grammar and poetry, in rhetoric and philosophy, yea, even in medicine and in almost all the branches of knowledge beyond the limits of theology, that he not only appeared to excel all the men of his own day, but even to bear com­parison with the ancients. For all things combined

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