Past, Present, and Future in Late Neoplatonic Historical Discourse

Edward J. Watts

in Riot in Alexandria

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780520262072
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945623 | DOI:
Past, Present, and Future in Late Neoplatonic Historical Discourse

Show Summary Details


This chapter examines the intellectuals in Alexandria who came to be involved in the riot of 486 involving Paralius. After demonstrating the nature of the anecdotes that circulated within the school of Horapollon and its associated intellectual circles, it shows that his school encouraged interpersonal ties which caused students to become invested in these traditions. Of particular interest, however, is the fate of these traditions after Paralius's beating. This act of violence and its aftermath frayed the strong personal relationships between teachers and students, while also changing the nature of communal discourse. As the community splintered, so too did its collective sense of the past. Among some philosophers, old traditions celebrating pagan resistance to Christian imperial power were disavowed silently, while others glorifying social withdrawal and a passive response to political pressure became more prominent. This process of development, which is on display within the various narrative levels of Damascius's Life of Isidore, created a number of distinct views of the ethical values appropriate for a pagan intellectual.

Keywords: Alexandria; riot; intellectuals; Paralius; violence; personal relationships; teachers; students; Damascius; Life of Isidore

Chapter.  16988 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.