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For others with this name, see Arrianus.
Lucius Flavius Arrianus
Born c. 86
Nicomedia, Bithynia, Asia Minor
Died c. 160[1]
Ethnicity Greek
Occupation Historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher

Arrian of Nicomedia (c. 86/89 – c. after 146/160 AD;[2][3] ; Latin: Lucius Flavius Arrianus; Greek Αρριανός Arrianós) was born in Greece, and a historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the Roman period.[3]

The Anabasis of Alexander by Arrian is considered the best source on the campaigns of Alexander the Great.


  • Arrian's life 1
  • Works 2
    • Voyage round the Euxine sea 2.1
    • Encheiridion, and the Discourses, of Epictetus 2.2
      • Homiliai Epichtaeton (Ομιλίαι Έπικτήτου) 2.2.1
    • Ta meta tou Alexandrou (τα μετ' Αλέξανδρον) 2.3
    • Parthica 2.4
    • Bithyniaca 2.5
    • Nicomediensis Scripta minora 2.6
    • Indica ( Ινδικη ) 2.7
    • Tekhne/Techne Taktika 2.8
    • Kynēgetikos (κυνηγετικός) 2.9
    • Ektaxis katà Alanon 2.10
    • biographical series 2.11
    • The Anabasis of Alexander 2.12
    • work of shared authorship 2.13
  • Sources, transmission, translations and publications 3
    • Other works 3.1
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Arrian's life

Arrian was born in Nicomedia (present-day Izmit), the provincial capital of Bithynia, Dio called him Flavius Arrianus Nicomediansis. In respect to his birth date, sources provide similar dates for his birth; within a few years prior to 90, 89, and 85 - 90 AD. The line of reasoning for dates belonging to 85-90 AD is from the fact of Arrian being made a consul around 130 AD, and the usual age for this, during this period, being forty-two years of age. (ref. p.312, & SYME 1958, same page).His family was from the provincial aristocracy of Greek stock, and his full name, L. Flavius Arrianus, indicates that he was a Roman citizen, suggesting that the citizenship went back several generations, probably to the time of the Roman conquest some 170 years before.[4][3][5][6][7][8][9]

Sometime during the 2nd century AD (117 to 120 AD [10][11]) while in Epirus, probably Nicopolis, Arrian attended lectures of Epictetus of Nicopolis, and proceeded within a time to fall into pupillage of him, a fact attested to by Lucian. All that is known about the life of Epictetus is due to Arrian, in that Arrian left a Encheiridion (Handbook [12]) of Epictetus' philosophy. After Epirus he went to Athens, while there he became known as the young Xenophon, as a consequence of the similarity of his relation to Epictetus as Xenophon had to Socrates. [13][10][14][15][16][17]

For a period, some time about 126 AD, a friend of the emperor Hadrian, who appointed him to the Senate. First consul suffectus, during 132 AD (Howatson shows 131 [18]) he was made prefect or legate (governor) of Cappadocia,by Hadrian, a service he continued for a six-year duration. When he retired, Arrian went to live in Athens, where he became archon sometime during 145 or 146 (EJ chinnock shows, he retired to Nicomedia and was appointed priest to Demeter and Persephone while there [13]). He died in the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. [13][10][19][20][21][22][17][18]

Arrian referred to himself as the second Xenophon, on account of the reputation and esteem of him. Lucian stated him to be: [23][14]

a Roman of the first rank with a life-long attachment to learning
— quote of Lucian in P. E. Easterling, B. M. W. Knox -p.143

this quality is identified as paideia [24] ( παιδεια [14]) which is the quality considered to be of one who is known as an educated and learned personage,id est, one who is highly esteemed and important. [25][26][27][28]


There are eight extant works (c.f. - Syvänne, foot of p. 260). The Indica and the Anabasis are the only works completely extant. The entire remaining are known as FGrH 156 to designate those collected fragments which exist. [10][29][30][21]

Voyage round the Euxine sea

This work is the earliest extant that is dated with any confidence. It is a writing addressed to the Emperor, Caesar Adrian Augustus.[31][32][33]

Encheiridion, and the Discourses, of Epictetus

Some writing was made from the lectures of Epictetus. Arrian was a pupil of Epictetus around 108 AD.[34] Arrian chose to transmit through auto-publication, his annotations or otherwise defined recordings of Epictetus, due to others thieving publications. [11]

The Encheiridion is a short compendium of all Epictetus' philosophical principles. It is also known as a handbook, and accordingly A Mehl, professor at Martin Luther University c.2011, considers the Encheiridion as a vade mecum for Arrian. The Encheiridion is apparently a summary of the Discourses. [4][12][21][35][18]

According to

  • Collected works: Flavii Arriani Quae exstant omnia, vol. 1 and vol. 2 edited A.G.Roos (1907)
  • Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, Teubner monolingual Greek edition, edited by A.G. Roos (1907)
  • Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, translated by E.J. Chinnock (1893)
  • Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, (section 1.13-16) (pdf, pp. 18-19), Battle of Granicus, from the Loeb Classical Library edition.
  • Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, (section 4.18.4-19.6), Sogdian Rock, translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt
  • Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, (Section 7.5.1-16) , translated by John Yardley
  • Arrian, Cynegeticus, [1] translated and edited by William Dansey (1831)
  • Arrian, Events after Alexander (from Photius' Bibliotheca) translated by John Rooke, edited by Tim Spalding
  • Arrian, The Indica translated by E. Iliff Robson.
  • Arrian, Array against the Alans (Ἔκταξις κατὰ Ἀλανῶν) translated by Sander van Dorst, with the Greek (transliterated) and copious notes.
  • Photius' excerpt of Arrian's Anabasis, translated by J. S. Freese
  • Photius' excerpt of Arrian's Bithynica, translated by J. S. Freese
  • Photius' excerpt of Arrian's Parthica, translated by J. S. Freese
  • Photius' excerpt of Arrian's Events after Alexander, translated by J. S. Freese
Texts online
  • Livius, Arrian of Nicomedia by Jona Lendering
  • William Dansey 1831Arrian On Coursing: the Cynegeticus

External links

  • Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander, translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt, Penguin Classics, 1958 and numerous subsequent editions.
  • Phillips, A.A., and M.M. Willcock, (eds.). Xenophon & Arrian On Hunting with Hounds. Cynegeticus. Oxford: Aris & Phillips, 1999. ISBN 0-85668-706-5.
  • P. A. Stadter, Arrian of Nicomedia, Chapel Hill, 1980.
  • R. Syme, 'The Career of Arrian', Harvard Studies in Classical Philology vol.86 (1982), pp. 171–211.
  • E. L. Wheeler, Flavius Arrianus: a political and military biography, Duke University, 1977.nn
  • Cartledge, Paul; Romm, James S.; Strassler, Robert B.; Pamela Mensch (2010). The Landmark Arrian: The Campaigns of Alexander. New York: Pantheon.  

Further reading

  1. ^ "Arrian". Retrieved 2010-01-07. Arrian born c. AD 86, Nicomedia, Bithynia [now İzmit, Tur.] died c. AD 160, Athens? [Greece]. 
  2. ^ a b c d e FW Walbank - edited by F. W. Walbank (was Rathbone Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at the University of Liverpool and a Fellow of the British Academy), A. E. Astin. The Cambridge Ancient History. Cambridge University Press, 6 Sep 1984 ISBN 052123445X. Retrieved 2015-04-01. 
  3. ^ a b c "Arrian". Retrieved 2010-01-07. Arrian (born c. ad 86, Nicomedia, Bithynia [now İzmit, Tur.] died c. 160, Athens? [Greece]) Greek historian and philosopher who was one of the most distinguished authors of the 2nd-century Roman Empire.  Wolfgang Haase, Hildegard Temporini (1990). Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt: Geschichte und Kultur Roms im Spiegel der neueren Forschung, Volume 2;Volume 34. Walter de Gruyter. p. 228.  
  4. ^ a b c Le Clerc, Jean, 1657-1736., Rooke, John, fl. 1729. Arrian's History of Alexander's expedition. Translated from the Greek. With notes historical, geographical, and critical. By Mr. Rooke. To which is prefix'd, Mr. Le Clerc's Criticism upon Quintus Curtius. And some remarks upon Mr. Perizonius's vindication of the author. London, Printed for T. Worrall etc., etc. 1729. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  5. ^ N. G. L. Hammond -. Sources for Alexander the Great: An Analysis of Plutarch's 'Life' and Arrian's 'Anabasis Alexandrou'. Cambridge University Press, 13 Aug 2007 ISBN 0521714710. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  6. ^ EL Bowie (edited by PA Stadter, L. Van der Stockt - Professor of Greek language and literature at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Honorary President of the International Plutarch Society c.2002) -. Sage and Emperor: Plutarch, Greek Intellectuals, and Roman Power in the Time of Trajan (98-117 A.D.). Leuven University Press, 1 Jan 2002 ISBN 9058672395. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  7. ^ AM Devine - Oxford (H Temporini, W Haase, J Vogt) -. Aufstieg U Niedergang D Roemwelt Teil 2 Bd 34/1, Volume 2; Volume 31; Volume 34. Walter de Gruyter, 1993 ISBN 3110103761. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  8. ^ FP Polo (Professor of Ancient History at the Departamento Ciencias Antigüedad at the Universidad de Zaragoza) - The Consul at Rome: The Civil Functions of the Consuls in the Roman Republic Cambridge University Press, 24 Feb 2011 ISBN 1139495992 [Retrieved 2015-04-04](ed. used p.1-3 to identify nature of < consulship >)
  9. ^ "Arrian". Retrieved 2010-01-07. Arrian (born c. ad 86, Nicomedia, Bithynia [now İzmit, Tur.] died c. 160, Athens? [Greece]) Greek historian and philosopher who was one of the most distinguished authors of the 2nd-century Roman Empire. Wolfgang Haase, Hildegard Temporini (1990). Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt: Geschichte und Kultur Roms im Spiegel der neueren Forschung, Volume 2;Volume 34. Walter de Gruyter. p. 228.  
  10. ^ a b c d I Syvänne. Philosophers of War: The Evolution of History's Greatest Military Thinkers [2 Volumes]: The Evolution of History's Greatest Military Thinkers. ABC-CLIO, 21 Oct 2013 ISBN 0313070334. Retrieved 2015-04-01. 
  11. ^ a b c d Hans-Josef Klauck - Professor of New Testament Exegesis, University of Munich, Germany. Religious Context of Early Christianity: A Guide To Graeco-Roman Religions (p.350). A&C Black, 1 May 2003 (reprint, revised) ISBN 0567089436 (544 pages). Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  12. ^ a b JS. Romm - James H. Ottoway, Jr. Associate Professor of Classics at Bard College, P Mensch. Alexander The Great: Selections from Arrian, Diodorus, Plutarch, and Quintus Curtius (p.xix). Hackett Publishing, 11 Mar 2005 ISBN 1603843337. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h  (information was also retrieved during the 5th and 6th of April 2015)
  14. ^ a b c P. E. Easterling, B. M. W. Knox. The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Volume 1, Greek Literature, Part 4, The Hellenistic Period and the Empire (p.143 - ). Cambridge University Press, 4 May 1989 ISBN 0521359848. Retrieved 2015-04-05. 
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  96. ^ PLEASE SCROLL DOWN LIST ON OPENING LINK TO VIEW THIS SOURCE P Kelemen - El Greco Revisited: Candia, Venice, Toledo - Page 110 Macmillan, 1961 (176 pages) [Retrieved 2015-04-06]
  97. ^ Alexander Chalmers - The General Biographical Dictionary: Containing an Historical and Critical Account of the Lives and Writings of the Most Eminent Persons in Every Nation: Particularly the British and Irish; from the Earliest Accounts to the Present Time, Volumes 5-6 - p.396-7 J. Nichols, 1812 [Retrieved 2015-04-02]
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Arrian's other works preserve the philosophy of Epictetus in Discourses of Epictetus (c. 108 AD), and include the Indica a description of Nearchus' voyage from India following Alexander's conquest, the Ars Tactica, and other short works.

Other works

The voyage of Nearchus and Periplus of the Erythrean Sea were translated from the Greek by the then Dean of Westminster, William Vincent, and published 1809. Vincent published a commentary in 1797 on The voyage of Nearchus.The work was also translated into French by M.Billecocq, under the auspices of the government (c.f. - p. 321).[98]

Nicholas Blancard (c.1669 Greek professor at Franekar) made translations of Arrian during 1663 and 1668.[97]

Everything known of his life derives from the 9th century writing of Photius in his Bibliotheca, and from those few references which exist within Arrian's writings. The knowledge of the fact of his attaining consularship, is in the least as a result of literature produced by Suidas. Arnobius (c.3rd century AD [93]) mentions Arrian. Arrian was also known of by Aulus Gellius. Pliny the Younger addressed seven of his epistles to him. Simplicius made a copy of the Encheridion, which was transmitted under the name of the monastic father Nilus,during the 5th century, and as a result found in every monastery library. in regards to him recording Epictetus' teachings. [13][94][4][95][11][96]

Sources, transmission, translations and publications

Tōn Epiktētou diatrivōn vivlia tessera was authored also with Epictetus.[91][92]

work of shared authorship

The work comprises seven books. [13] Arrian used Xenophon' account of the March of Cyrus as the basis for this work. [90]

The Anabasis of Alexander

Monographs or biographies, including of Dio of Syracuse, Timoleon of Corinth, and Tilliborus, brigand or robber of the Asia minor, which are now lost. [85][86][87][88][89]

biographical series

Arrian identified the particular means, he makes explicit, of pursuing warfare, as being based on Greek and Macedonian methods, within the work. [82][83][84]

Ektaxis katà Alanon is also translated as Acies Contra Alanos The work was known for a time as A History of the Alani ('Aλανικη or τά κατ' 'Aλανονς , via Photius [51]) a fragment describing a plan of battle contra the Alani was found in Milan c.17th century which was thought at that time to belong to the History. [81]

Arrian identified the particular means, he makes explicit, of pursuing warfare, as being based on Greek and Macedonian methods, within the work. [78][79][80]

A work of a now fragmentary nature, the title is translated as Deployment against the Alani or The order of battle against the Alans,or referred to simply as Alanica. It is thought not have been written as a presentation of facts but for literary reasons. Pertaining to the relevant historical fact though, while governor of Cappadocia Arrian had to command the repelling of an invasion of the Alani, sometime during 135 AD, a struggle in which Arrian' two legions were victorious. [72][73][74][75][20][76][77][51]

Ektaxis katà Alanon

The work is based on an earlier exposition made by Xenophon, whom Arrian thought to be the authority on the subject of hunting. [70][71]

Cynegeticus, translated as the hunting man, [18] is a work about hunting dogs, canes venatici, the Celtic grey-hound.[64][65][66][67][19][68][69]

Kynēgetikos (κυνηγετικός)

Scholarly opinion of why Arrian' wrote this text is; for the provision of genuinely useful information per military tacticians, produced in mind of the occasion of Hadrian's vicenallia, and, or, written specifically to curry favour vis-á-vis Hadrian.[62][63]

Another translation of the title is Ars tactica, in Greek is Τέχνη τακτική.[60][61]

Written 136/137 AD, (in the 20th year of Hadrian [31]), it is a treatise on Roman cavalry and military tactics, and includes information on the nature, arms and discipline of the phalanx. The hippika gymnasia is particularly a concern of Arrian in the writing.[22][53][54][55][56][57][58][59]

Tekhne/Techne Taktika

Indica is a work on a variety of things pertaining to India, and the voyage of Nearchus in the Persian Gulf. The first part of Indica was based largely on the work of the same name of Megasthenes, the second part based on a journal written by Nearchos.[50][51][52][17]

Indica ( Ινδικη )

A work translated a Nicodemian script (minor).[48][49]

Nicomediensis Scripta minora

A work of eight books, Bibliotheca (Photius) states it is the fourth to have been written by Arrian. [22][47]


A lost work of seventeen books, fragments were maintained by the Suda and Stephen of Byzantium. The work survives only in states of adaptation made later by Photius and Syncellus. Translated, the title is History of the Parthians. Arrian's aim in the work, was to set forth events of the Parthian war of Trajan. The writing mentioned the Parthians trace their clan to Artaxerxes II. [44][22][45][43][46]


The writing is about the successors to Alexander III, circa 323 - 321 or 319, particularly certain events concerning the Achaemenid.[13][43][18]

Three extant fragments are the Vatican Palimsest (of the 10th century AD [2]), PSI 12.1284 (Oxyrhynchus [2]), and the Gothenburg palimpsest (of the 10th century also [2]), these possibly stemming originally from Photius.[42][13]

History of the Diadochi or Events after Alexander is a work originally of ten books, a commentary on this work was written by Photius (FW Walbank - p. 8).[21][40][2][41]

Ta meta tou Alexandrou (τα μετ' Αλέξανδρον)

Friendly conversations with Epictetus is a 12 book work mentioned by Photius in his Bibliotheca, of which only fragments remain.[13][16]

Homiliai Epichtaeton (Ομιλίαι Έπικτήτου)

JB Stockdale considered Arrian made eight books of which four were lost by the Middle Ages, of which the remaining were made to be the Discourses. In a comparison of the contents of the Encheiridion with the Discourses, it is apparent that the former contains material not present within the latter, suggesting an original lost source for the Encheiridion.[38][11][39]

[18] and are apparently in fact a verbatim recording of Epictetus' lectures. Diatribai The Discourses are also known as [37].Discourses and the Dissertations Photius states that Arrian produced two books the [36]

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