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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (St. Basil of Caesarea) > Letter 351

Letter 351

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

Basil to Libanius.

Many, who have come to me from where you are, have admired your oratorical power. They were remarking that there has been a very brilliant specimen of this, and a very great contest, as they alleged, with the result that all crowded together, and no one appeared in the whole city but Libanius alone in the lists, and everybody, young and old, listening. For no one was willing to be absent— not a man of rank— not a distinguished soldier— not an artisan. Even women hurried to be present at the struggle. And what was it? What was the speech which brought together this vast assembly? I have been told that it contained a description of a man of peevish temper. Pray lose no time in sending me this much admired speech, in order that I too may join in praising your eloquence. If I am a praiser of Libanius without his works, what am I likely to become after receiving the grounds on which to praise him?

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Source. Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 8. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3202351.htm>.

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