This page cannot be viewed in frames

Go to page

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Evasion of office by certain rhetorician

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Evasion of office by a certain rhetorician
Evasion of office by a certain rhetorician

Not everyone in ancient Rome dreamed of holding high and prestigious offices. Retor and sophist from the 2nd century CE Aelius Aristides, a Greek from Asia Minor, one of Asclepius’ most ardent followers, is an example of persistent avoidance of service to the state, and he did it extremely effectively.

As a well-known and wealthy man, he was elected by the administrator of the province of Asia, a certain Severus, a “peace keeper” (ejrenarch). Aristides appealed against this decision, sent lawyers to Severus, but they only received from him assurances of tax exemption; the office nomination remained in force. While writing letters, convincing and consulting lawyers and friends, Aristides was in the meantime appointed to the second office! This time he was supposed to be a quote. Now he had to refer to the same governor in both cases. He made a fiery speech before him and delighted him so much that Severus did not mention any office. A year ago, Aristides had a similar problem: he was elected a tax collector.

The speaker sent a letter, this time to Rome, explaining the impossibility of taking office for health reasons. It worked, and again the sophist avoided an unpleasant duty for him. As if that was not enough, shortly afterwards, Aristide was elected the high priest of Asclepius. He said, however, that he would not take it because he did not receive any instructions from God (Asclepius of course). This was not the end of Aristydes’ problems: his candidacy for the Provincial Assembly was put forward. Again, the rhetor had to write an appeal, and again effectively. He was released from all duties while he was in the sanctuary of Asclepius, that is, during treatment, which Aristides did for 17 years of his life.

Author: Aneta Liwerska
  • Aelius Aristides, Sacred Tales, translation. Marian Szarmach, Studio Graeco - Latina II, Toruń 1991

IMPERIUM ROMANUM needs your support!

If you like the content that I collect on the website and that I share on social media channels I will be grateful for the support. Even the smallest amounts will allow me to pay for further corrections, improvements on the site and pay the server.



Find out more!

Check your curiosity and learn something new about the ancient world of the Romans. By clicking on the link below, you will be redirected to a random entry.

Random curiosity

Random curiosity

Discover secrets of ancient Rome!

If you want to be up to date with newest articles on website and discoveries from the world of ancient Rome, subscribe to the newsletter, which is sent each Saturday.

Subscribe to newsletter!

Subscribe to newsletter

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: