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On this page: Simonides – Simplex – Simplfcius

SIMPLTCIUS.

7. A distinguished philosopher, who flourished in the reign of Jovian (Suid. s. v.}.

Respecting the question, to which of these wri­ ters we should assign the several epigrams which are found in the Greek Anthology with those of the great Simonides, see Jacobs, Anthol. Graec. vol. xiii. pp. 954, 955. [P. S.]

SIMONIDES, a Greek painter, of whom we know nothing except the statement of Pliny, " Si­ monides (pinxit) Agaiharcum et' Mnemosynen" (H.N. xxxv. 11. s. 40. § 38). [P. S.]

SIMPLEX, CAECI'LIUS, was raised to the consulship by Vitellius, and was consul suifectus along with C. Quintius Atticus from the 1st of November, a. d. 69. (Tac. Hist. ii. 60, iii. 68 ; Dion Cass. Ixv. 17.)

SIMPLFCIUS (StjuwAfewy), a native of Ci-licia (Agathias, ii. ,30 ; Suid. s. v. TrpeaSeis— it is inaccurately that Suid. s. v. Damascius calls him a countryman of Eulamius the Phrygian), was a disciple of Ammonius (Simpl. in Pliys. Ausc. f. 42, 43, &c.), and of Damascius (ibid. 150, a. b., 183, b., 186, &c.), and was consequently one of the last members of the Neo-Platonic school. Since this school had found its head-quarters in Athens, it had, under the guidance of Plutarchus the son of Nestorius, of Syrianus, Proclus, Marinus, Isidorus and Damascius (from about a. d. 400 to 529), become the centre of the last efforts to maintain the ancient Hellenic mythology against the vic­torious encroachments of Christianity, and was therefore first attacked by the imperial edicts pro­mulgated in the fifth century against the heathen cultus. Athens had preserved temples and images longer than other cities ; yet Proclus, who had rejoiced in dwelling between the temples of Aes­culapius and Bacchus, lived long enough to be compelled to witness the removal of the consecrated statue of Minerva from the Parthenon. (Marinus, Vita Prodi, c. 29.) Proclus died in A. d. 485. The promise of the goddess, who had appeared to him in a dream, that she would thenceforth inhabit his house, served to console him (ibid. c. 30). Against personal maltreatment the followers of the ancient faith found legal protection (Cod. Theod. 16. tit. 10), until, under the emperor Justinianus, they had to endure great persecutions. In the year 528 many were displaced from the posts which they held, robbed of their property, some put to death, and in case they did not within three months come over to the true faith, they were to be banished from the empire. In addition, it was forbidden any longer to teach philosophy and jurisprudence in Athens (a. d. 529 ; Malalas, xviii. p. 449. 51, ed. Bonn ; comp. Theophanes, i. 276, ej. ed.). Probably also the property of the Platonic school, which in the time of Proclus was valued at more than 1000 gold pieces (Da-masc. ap. Phot. p. 346, ed. Bekk.), was confis­cated ; at least, Justinian deprived the physicians and teachers of the liberal arts of the provision-money (trm7<7eis), which had been assigned to them by previous emperors, and confiscated funds which the citizens had provided for spectacles and other civic purposes (Procop. Arcan. c. 26). Ac­cordingly, seven philosophers, among whom were Simplicius, Eulamius, Priscianus, and others, with Damascius, the last president of the Platonic school in Athens at their head, resolved to seek protection at the court of the famous Persian king Kosroes, who had succeeded to the throne in a. d. 531.

SIMPLICIUS. 837

But, disappointed in their hopes, they returned home, after Kosroes, in a treaty of peace concluded with Justinian, probably in A. d. 533, had stipu­lated that the above-mentioned philosophers should be allowed to return without risk, and to practise the rites of their paternal faith (Agathias ii. 30 ; comp. C. G. Zumpt, Ueber den Bestand der phi-losophischen Schulen in A then, in the Schriften der Berl. Akademie, 1843). Of the subsequent fortunes of the seven philosophers we learn no­thing. As little do we know where Simplicius lived and taught. That .he not only wrote, but taught, is proved by the address to his hearers in the commentary on the Physica Auscultatio of Aristotle (f. 173), as well as by the title of his commentary on the Categories. He had received his training partly in Alexandria, under Ammo­nius (see especially Simplicius in II. de Caelo, f. 113), partly in Athens, as a disciple of Da­mascius ; and it was probably in one of these two cities that he subsequently took up his abode ; for, with the exception of these cities and Constan­tinople, it would have been difficult to find a town which possessed the collections of books requisite for the composition of his commentaries, and he could hardly have had any occasion to betake himself to Constantinople. As to his personal history, especially his migration to Persia, no definite allusions are to be found in the writings of Simplicius. Only at the end of his explanation of the treatise of Epictetus (p. 331, ed. Heins.) Simplicius mentions, with gratitude, the conso­lation which he had found under tyrannical op­pression in such ethical contemplations ; from which it may be concluded, though certainly with but a small amount of probability, that it was composed during, or immediately after, the above-mentioned persecutions. Of the commentaries on Aristotle, that on the books de Caelo was written before that on the Physica Auscultatio, and probably not in Alexandria, since he mentions in it an astrono­mical observation made during his stay in that city by Ammonius (/. c. f. 113; Brandis, Scholia in Arist. p. 496. 28). Simplicius wrote his com­mentary on the Physica Auscultatio after the death of Damascius, and therefore after his return from Persia (in Arist. Phys. Ausc. f. 184, &c.). After the Phys. Ausc. Simplicius seems to have applied himself to the Metaphysica, and then to the books on the soul (de Anima). In the commentary on the latter he refers to his explanations on the Physica Auscultatio and on the Metaphysica (in Arist. de Anima, 55, b., 7, 61). When it was that he wrote his explanations of the Categories, whether before or after those on the above-mentioned Aristotelian treatises, it is impossible to ascertain.

Simplicius, in his mode of explaining and un­derstanding his author, attaches himself to the Neo-Platonists ; like them, he endeavours, fre­quently by forced interpretations, to show that Aristotle agrees with Plato even on those points which he controverts, and controverts them only that, by setting aside superficial interpretations, he may lead the way to their deeper, hidden meaning. In his view not only Plotinus, but also Syrianus, Proclus, and even Ammonius, are great philo­sophers, who have penetrated into the depths of the wisdom of Plato. Many of the more ancient Greek philosophemata also he brings into much too close a connection with Platonism. He is,

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