Aristides the Athenian (also Saint Aristides or Marcianus Aristides; Greek: Ἀριστείδης Μαρκιανός) was a 2nd-century Christian Greek author who is primarily known as the author of the Apology of Aristides.
Very little is known of Aristides, except for the introductory information given by Eusebius of Caesarea and Saint Jerome. According to their account, Aristides practiced philosophy in Athens, where he lived, prior to and after his conversion to Christianity. Eusebius writes in his Ecclesiastical History “Aristides also, a faithful disciple of our religion, has left an Apology of the faith dedicated to Hadrian.” Eusebius and Jerome both state that the Apology was given to Hadrian at the same time that Quadratus delivered his own apology. This suggests that Aristides gave his apology during Hadrian’s reign (r. 117–138) as emperor of Rome, which supports the theory of Aristides died between the years 133–134 AD. It is also supported by the express language of the Apology in the Armenian version. It is contradicted only by the second superscription to the Syriac version, which says that the Apology was given to Emperor Antoninus Pius in the year 140. If this is taken to mean that it was delivered in person by Aristides, it would rule out the dating of Aristides’s death in 133-134 AD. It has been suggested that Eusebius was confused by the fact that Antoninus Pius had adopted the name “Hadrianus” (Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius) and believed it was Hadrian to whom the Apology was given, and further that Jerome had never read the Apology and copied Eusebius’s mistake accidentally. But Jerome tells us that the Apology was extant in his day, and he gives an account of its contents. The testimony of Eusebius and Jerome and the text of the Armenian version are all in favor of its being delivered to Hadrian, probably in circa 124–125 AD.
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material; the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. For purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.