Firmicus Maternus, Julius

CITE id:
Stoa id:
Alt id:
LCCN n 82111816
Firmicus Maternus, Julius
Firm. Mat.
Jul. Firm.
Alt names:
Firmicus Maternus
Maternus, Firmicus
Maternus, Julius Firmicus
Julius Firmicus Maternus
Firmico Materno, Julio
Firm. Mat.
Jul. Firm.
Field of activity:
Oxford classical dict. (Firmicus Maternus, Julius
of Syracuse
wrote first ca. 334-337 A.D.)
Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Vol 2, 1867, p. 152-4: "Firmicus Maternus, Julius, or perhaps, VILLIUS. We possess a treatise, which bears the title Julii Firmici Materni Junioris Siculi V. C. Matheseos Libri VIII., the writer of which, as we gather from his own statement (lib. iv. praef.), during a portion of his life, practised as a forensic pleader, but abandoned the profession in disgust. The production named above is a formal introduction to judicial astrology, according to the discipline of the Egyptians and Babylonians, as expounded by the most renowned masters, among whom we find enumerated Petosiris, Necepso, Abraham, and Orpheus..."
Brill's New Pauly: "Came from a respected family, not necessarily of senatorial rank, probably from Syracuse, his later place of residence. Educated in Latin as well as Greek, he gave up work as an attorney in Rome during his work on the Matheseos libri VIII. Written between the end of AD 334 and the beginning of 337 for his friend Lollianus Mavortius, governor of Campania and proconsul of Africa, it represents the most comprehensive astrological handbook in Latin. In bk. 1, which is Neoplatonically inspired, F. defends astrology as a mystery of salvation and throughout the remainder, interrupted by prayers, he offers the technical explanations, mostly in Lat. terminology. After his conversion to Christianity, it was certainly the same Firmicus Maternus who between 343 and 350 in De errore profanarum religionum exposed the gods of the ‘heathens’ as dubious humans (2-17), and the symbols and rites of the (Neoplatonically elevated) mystery cults, which can be compared to the Christian ones, as diabolic mimics of the latter (18-27). He called for general conversion (28f.) and was the first to call upon the emperors (using a Florilegium that was originally meant to prevent the Christians from apostasy in the persecution around 250
Cypr. De fortitudine 2-5) to eradicate violently the non-Christian cults...." From Hoheisel, Karl (Bonn). "Firmicus Maternus, Iulius." Brill's New Pauly. Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and Helmuth Schneider . Brill, 2010. Brill Online. Tufts University Library. 12 January 2010
Author info:
Smith's Dictionary

Works Currently Cataloged

De errore profanarum religionum