ΠΕΡΙ ΤΗΣ ΠΕΡΕΓΡΙΝΟΥ ΤΕΛΕΥΤΗΣ
Λουκιανὸς Κρονίῳ εὖ πράττειν.
1Ὁ κακοδαίμων Περεγρῖνος, ἢ ὡς αὐτὸς ἔχαιρεν ὀνομάζων ἑαυτόν, Πρωτεύς, αὐτὸ δὴ ἐκεῖνο τὸ τοῦ Ὁμηρικοῦ Πρωτέως ἔπαθεν· ἅπαντα γὰρ δόξης ἕνεκα γενόμενος καὶ μυρίας τροπὰς τραπόμενος, τὰ τελευταῖα ταῦτα καὶ πῦρ ἐγένετο· τοσούτῳ ἄρα τῷ ἔρωτι τῆς δόξης εἴχετο. καὶ νῦν ἐκεῖνος ἀπηνθράκωταί σοι ὁ βέλτιστος κατὰ τὸν Ἐμπεδοκλέα, παρ᾿ ὅσον ὁ μὲν κἂν διαλαθεῖν ἐπειράθη
The Passing of Peregrinus
Best wishes from Lucian to Cronius.1
Unlucky Peregrinus, or, as he delighted to style himself, Proteus,2 has done exactly what Proteus in Homer did.3 After turning into everything for the sake of notoriety and achieving any number of transformations, here at last he has turned into fire; so great, it seems, was the love of notoriety that possessed him. And now your genial friend has got himself carbonified after the fashion of Empedocles, except that the latter at least tried to escape
- 1The greeting here employed (its sense might perhaps be more adequately rendered by “Good issues to all your doings”) marks Cronius as a Platonist. Lucian himself (Lapsus, 4) ascribes its origin to Plato, and he employs it in addressing the philosopher Nigrinus (I, p. 98). A Platonist named Cronius is more than once mentioned by Porphyry, but to identify the two would contribute next to nothing to our knowledge of either.
- 2Cf. Aulus Gellius, XII, 11: philosophum nomine Peregrinum, cui postea cognomentum Proteus factum est, virum gravem et constantem, etc. Lucian calls him Peregrinus Proteus in Demonax, 21 (I, p. 156), but simply Proteus the Cynic in adv. Indoct., 14 (III, p. 192), and he is Proteus to the Philostrati (cf. Vit. Soph. II, 1, 33 and for the elder Philostratus the title of his lost work Proteus the Cynic; or, the Sophist), to Tatian (Orat. ad Graecos, 25), and to Athenagoras (Legat. de Christian., 26). The name Peregrinus is used in Aulus Gellius, VIII, 3, Ammianus Marcellinus, XXIX, 1, 39, Tertullian ad Martyres, 4, and Eusebius, Chron., Vol. II, p. 170, Schöne. From the passage in Gellius cited above we can infer only that he did not hear the sobriquet Proteus when he was in Athens. The manner of its employment by Lucian is sufficient evidence that it did not originate with Lucian, or after the death of Peregrinus. It was probably applied to him towards the close of his career. That it bears a sense very like what Lucian attributes to it is clear from Maximus of Tyre, VIII, 1. In § 27 Lucian professes to have heard that he wanted to change it to Phoenix after his decision to immolate himself.
- 3The transformations of the sea-god in his effort to escape from Menelaus, who wanted to consult him, are told in the Odyssey, IV, 454–459.