Wealthy, conceited, hypochondriac (or perhaps just an invalid), obsessively religious, the orator Aelius Aristides (117 to about 180) is not the most attractive figure of his age, but because he is one of the best-known -- and he is intimately known, thanks to his
Sacred Tales -- his works are a vital source for the cultural and religious and political history of Greece under the Roman Empire. The papers gathered here, the fruit of a conference held at Columbia in 2007, form the most intense study of Aristides and his context to have been published since the classic work of Charles Behr forty years ago.
W.V. Harris is Shepherd Professor of History at Columbia University and Director of the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean. His book
Dreams and Experience in Classical Antiquity will be published by Harvard University Press in 2009.
Brooke Holmes, who took her first degree at Columbia, is an Assistant Professor of Classics at Princeton University. Her first book,
The Symptom and the Subject: The Emergence of the Body in Ancient Greece, is forthcoming from Princeton University Press.
"This volume fills a gap that has been allowed to develop in the scholarly literature and provides a detailed portrait of one of antiquity's most entertaining figures. Though the core market is undoubtedly those with an interest in the Second Sophistic, the range of the papers ensure that this volume will appeal to classicists with a more general curiosity concerning Aristides" (
Bryn Mawr Classical Review, July 2009).
All those interested in the Greeks and Greek culture under Roman rule, the Second Sophistic, the worship of Asclepius, the history of ancient medicine and the late-antique and Byzantine after-life of classical rhetoric.