Libanius (314–393 CE) was one of the last great publicists and teachers of Greek paganism. His story, as presented in his Autobiography and the Life by Eunapius, is supplemented by information from a correspondence of over 1500 items and 64 extant orations. A native of Antioch, he began his teaching career in Constantinople in 340, but soon had to retire to Nicomedeia, where he became acquainted with St. Basil and influential in the development of Julian's paganism. After a second tenure at Constantinople he returned home to become professor in Antioch in 354, a position which he held, through many vicissitudes, for the rest of his life.
As sophist of Antioch and a devoted exponent of the traditional Hellenic system of education, Libanius remained deliberately and contemptuously unacquainted with Latin, and deplored its growing influence. Naturally humane in outlook and sympathizing with the local bourgeoisie, he criticized bitterly the encroachments and oppressions of the central administration, and the general cruelty of his day. Sincerely pagan in an increasingly aggressive Christian society, he became an influential voice against religious persecution, official or unofficial. The orations on Julian, to whose memory he remained devoted all his life, were composed between 362 and 365, and present Libanius with a congenial subject, revealing him at the height of his powers and influence.
Also available in the Loeb Classical Library is a two-volume edition of Libanius's Autobiography and Selected Letters.
- Preface vii
- Bibliography ix
- Oration 2. To those who called him Tiresome 1
- Oration 50. For the peasantry, about Forced labour 53
- Oration 30. To The Emperor Theodosius, For The Temples 91
- Oration 45. To The Emperor, On The Prisoners 153
- Oration 33. To The Emperor Theodosius, Against Tisamenus 194
- Oration 23. Against The Refugees 246
- Oration 19. To The Emperor Theodosius, About The Riots 268
- Oration 20. To The Emperor Theodosius, After The Reconciliation 310
- Oration 21. To Caesarius, Master of Offices 348
- Oration 22. To Ellebichus 374
- Oration 48. To The City Council 420
- Oration 49. To The Emperor, for the City councils 460
- Oration 47. on Protection Systems 491
- Index of Proper Names: A 537
- Index of Proper Names: B 541