Author

Nicolaus of Damascus

1st-century BC historian and philosopher

1963   -   2001

languages spoken, written or signed: Ancient Greek
occupation: historian, philosopher, writer

Ebooks: on Wikisource

Nicolaus of Damascus (Greek: Νικόλαος Δαμασκηνός, Nikolāos Damaskēnos; Latin: Nicolaus Damascenus) was a Jewish historian and philosopher who lived during the Augustan age of the Roman Empire. His name is derived from that of his birthplace, Damascus. He was born around 64 BC. Nicolaus is known to have had a brother named Ptolemy, who served in the court of Herod as a type of book-keeper or accountant. He was an intimate friend of Herod the Great, whom he survived by a number of years. He was also the tutor of the children of Mark Antony and Cleopatra (born in c.68 BC), according to Sophronius. He went to Rome with Herod Archelaus, to defend the young man's claim to the throne upon the death of his father Herod the Great.Given that Book 4 of his History was on Abraham, Nicolaus was most likely a Jew, though one who had been thoroughly Hellenised. As such, he may well have known his contemporary Philo of Alexandria. Since Nicolaus wrote a work On the Psyche, he may well have been, like Philo, in the school of the Pythagoreans or Platonists and been part of the syncretisation of Judaic monotheism with the monotheism (the Monad/The Good) of those two schools. His output was vast, but is nearly all lost. His chief work was a universal history in 144 books. He also wrote an autobiography, a life of Augustus, a life of Herod, some philosophical works, and some tragedies and comedies. There is an article on him in the Suda.
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