Plutarch was a Greek philosopher, essayist, biographer, and historian. He also served as the priest at the Temple of Apollo. He is best remembered for his work Parallel Lives, a series of 48 biographies of noteworthy men. His writings had a huge influence on French and English literature. Writers like Shakespeare were influenced by his works.
Josephus was a Romano-Jewish historian. He played a major role during the First Jewish–Roman War, where he fought against the Romans as head of Jewish forces. However, he surrendered to Roman forces in 67 CE. As a historian, Josephus' works provide the first-known source for stories considered Biblical history. These stories include the narration of the Siege of Masada.
Pliny the Elder was a Roman natural philosopher, author, and army and naval commander of the Roman Empire. His work Naturalis Historia became an editorial model for the present-day encyclopedias. Today, his statue greets the visitors of Cathedral of S. Maria Maggiore in his hometown, Como.
Livy was a Roman historian. His seminal work, Ab Urbe Condita, covers the history of Rome through several centuries. A respected figure in society, he was on friendly terms with members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He wrote during the reign of Emperor Augustus, who was reportedly his friend. Livy was married and had at least two children.
Plotinus was a Hellenistic philosopher whose writings on metaphysics have inspired centuries of Jewish, Christian, Pagan, and Gnostic mystics and metaphysicians. His philosophy also had a major influence on the evolution of Christian theology. Plotinus' ideas influenced medieval Islam as well as a group of philosophers and theologians at the University of Cambridge which was known as the Cambridge Platonists.
Lucretius was a Roman philosopher and poet. He is credited with originating the three-age system, which was formalized by C. J. Thomsen in 1836. His only known work De rerum natura, a philosophical poem, influenced several Augustan poets, including Virgil. The poem also played a prominent role in the development of atomism.
Known for writing the first authentic history of Rome in Latin, Cato disliked luxury and was against the Hellenic culture that the Scipio family propagated. His role in the destruction of Carthage is of major significance. The Roman statesman gained many enemies for his stern actions as a censor.
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite was a Christian Neoplatonist who is believed to have been a Syrian monk using a pseudonym. His Greek treatises merged Neoplatonism and Christian theology, though his identity hasn’t yet been confirmed. Some of his best-known treatises include On the Divine Names and On the Celestial Hierarchy.
British monk and theologian Pelagius is known for his theological system called Pelagianism that lay-stress on human choice in salvation and freedom of human-will. He censured the theory of original sin of Augustine of Hippo who held that original sin is transmitted by concupiscence. Pelagius was eventually accused of heresy and Pelagianism was condemned at the 418 Council of Carthage.
Ancient Platonic philosopher Atticus lived in the 2nd century, during the reign of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. The only known source that reveals about him is Greek historian Eusebius's Preparatio Evangelica. He wrote against the Peripatetic school of philosophy. His polemic claimed Aristotle was an atheist.
Thracian diplomat and historian Priscus was a rare Christian in the Pagan court of Attila the Hun, as a representative of Roman Emperor Theodosius II. He later also traveled to Egypt. The massive 8-volume Greek work History of Byzantium was penned by him. He penned an intriguing account of a dinner with Attila.
Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus was a Gallo-Roman historian who lived during the reign of the emperor Augustus. He hailed from the Celtic Vocontii tribe in Narbonese Gaul. He is believed to have been a polymath and wrote books on the natural history of animals and plants. His best-known work is the Philippic Histories, preserved only in excerpts today.
Roman Stoic philosopher of the 1st century, Lucius Annaeus Cornutus soared to fame during the reign of Emperor Nero. He was also an educator and friend of Roman poet and satirist Persius. He penned many works such as Theologiae Graecae but was banished by Nero for being critical of him in his works.
Roman philosopher and author Nigidius Figulus was a friend of philosopher Cicero, who supported him during the Catilinarian conspiracy. His iconic works on Roman religion include De diis. He also penned Commentarii grammatici. He also worked on Pythagorean doctrines, such as math, astrology, and magic.
In Greek mythology, Troilus was a Trojan prince and the son of King Priam of Troy. In medieval writings, Troilus appeared as an innocent boy betrayed by a girl named Cressida, a tale that inspired Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida. He was killed by Achilles while he drank from a fountain.
Orthodox abbot Eutyches served as an archimandrite of a monastery outside Constantinople and first gained notice when he opposed Nestorianism at the First Council of Ephesus. However, while denouncing Nestorianism as heresy, he himself established Eutychianism, an extreme heresy that stressed on the exclusive existence of the divinity in Christ.