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Lucius Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor ( Αλέξανδρος Πολυΐστορας, Αλέξανδρος ο Πολυίστωρ ) (105-35 BC) was a Greek scholar who was enslaved by the Romans during the war of Sulla and taken to Rome as a tutor. After his release, he continued to live in Italy as a Roman citizen. He was so productive a writer that he earned the surname ‘’polyhistor’’. The majority of his writings are now lost, but the fragments that remain shed valuable light on antiquarian and eastern Mediterranean subjects. Alexander's most important treatise consisted of 42 books of historical and geographical accounts of nearly all the countries of the ancient world. His other notable work is about the Jews; it reproduces in paraphrase relevant excerpts from Jewish writers, of whom otherwise nothing would be known. One of Alexander’s students was Gaius Julius Hyginus, Latin author, scholar and friend of Ovid, who was appointed by Augustus to be superintendent of the Palatine library. As a philosopher, Alexander Polyhistor wrote Philosophers’ Successions, mentioned several times by Diogenes Laertius in his Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers. From what Laertius describes or paraphrases in his work, Alexander recorded various thoughts (on contradictions, fate, life, soul and its parts, perfect figures), and different curiosities (such as do not eat beans).

Links

Life and Works (http://www.tmth.edu.gr/en/aet/3/4.html)
Example of Alexander's Work (http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/af/af02.htm)

This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

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